HC Deb 31 May 1888 vol 326 cc792-872

(2) Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding, £46,073, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1889, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL (&c.) Kirkcaldy,

said, he desired to move the reduction of this Vote by £500, with the view of eliciting something with regard to the policy of the Government in the Soudan. He wanted to know whether we had really and truly abandoned the Soudan. If we had, why was there an officer at Suakin calling himself Governor General? He found that the Governor General there treated the tribes in the vicinity as rebels. He did not see how they could be rebels if we had abandoned the Soudan. He was one of those who by no means asserted that the case for the abandonment of the Soudan was made clear. There was a great deal to be said in favour of either retaining the Soudan, or in making it over to the Italians; though there was also a great deal to be said on general grounds for the abandonment of the Soudan. As a matter of fact, the Egyptian Government had proclaimed that the country had been abandoned. There were many reasons why it should be abandoned. He only hoped it was abandoned for deliberate reasons. He was bound to confess that the measure had been successful, that it had not exposed us to as very great danger as was prophesied, that the defence of the Egyptian frontier was easy as compared with the defence, for instance, of the North-West frontier of India. If we would only avoid those irritating little wars outside Suakin, the abandonment of the Soudan, however much some might regret it, might be regarded as successful; the measure had been fairly successful up to this, and would be successful altogether if we could only make up our minds to keep our hands off the tribes over the frontier. He did not desire, at this moment, to go into the policy of retaining Suakin. There might be reasons—he did not quite see them himself—connected with the Slave Trade why that town and port should be retained; but he did question the policy of involving ourselves in little wars beyond the town. It was patent to all the world that, for the last few months, the Governor General of Suakin had attacked the tribes outside the town, and got the worst of it, putting us in a very ignominous position. There could be no doubt that the Governor General of Suakin had been subsidizing and egging on the tribes—called friendly—to attack other tribes who were treated as unfriendly. The result was that the "unfriendlies" had called Osman Digna to their assistance, and he had attacked us and beaten us. He (Sir George Campbell) could not help thinking that the Governor General had brought these defeats upon himself. The tone in which the Governor General talked of rebels and "friendlies" was not the tone of a man who had made up his mind to confine himself to his own proper dominion of Suakin. His hankering after dominion had brought about the present state of things, and he (Sir George Campbell) wanted to know what the policy of the Government really was with regard to the matter. It was no use saying this was a question for the Egyptian Government. It was patent that we it was who forced the abandonment of the Soudan upon the Egyptians against their will. The Governor General was a distinguished English officer—Colonel Kitchener—and, speaking of those who served under him, that officer had said they were English officers nominated by the English Government. On several late occasions, too, the troops at Suakin had been assisted by the British Fleet. Suakin was held for us; whatever went on, there was our policy, and therefore he might fairly ask the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Sir James Fergusson) to explain what that policy was. He knew that the Foreign Secretary had in "another place" said that Suakin was held to prevent the Slave Trade. But what was the policy with regard to the fighting outside Suakin. How far had we encouraged the raids and petty wars which had gone on for months past? There was another subject which was indirectly connected with this matter, also a subject of great importance. It seemed to him very strange indeed that when we had abandoned that which he might call the natural highway into the interior of Africa—the highway of the great rivers—we should seek to enter the country by another route. We were apparently doing that by means of a new Company called the East African Company. No information whatever had been vouchsafed to Parliament in regard to the formation of that Company. He had seen a newspaper paragraph which stated what had been done, but nothing was known to the general public or to the House of Commons. He wanted to know what were the circumstances under which, and what were the objects for which, a new territorial Company had been established for East Africa? It seemed to him it was very dangerous that the country should be led into these great annexations silently, quietly, without competition, and in the ignorance of the public and of the House of Commons. He understood this East African Company had been established to exercise the rights of dominion. The idea was that the Company was to establish dominion over the great territory which led to the great lakes of Central Africa. It was but fair that hon. Members should demand that the right hon. Baronet the Under Secretary of State should give them some information on this matter. Surely these territories should not be parcelled out without competition. No Department of the Government could give a contract for 100 pairs of boots, without first subjecting it to competition. Yet these great territories were given away quietly, and without the House knowing anything about the matter. He did not desire, at that moment, to question the policy of extending British dominion; he only wished to ascertain what were the facts, and what were the views of Her Majesty's Government, in regard to this matter. Having paid a good deal of attention to the politics of Africa, he would say that a great deal of evil resulted from the haphazard way in which annexation was carried out. Africa was being sandwiched, as it were, amongst the different European States. Germany got a slice, then France got a slice, then we had a slice, then the Portugese got a slice, and then someone else got a slice, and so annexation was going on all through Africa. He could not help thinking it would be much more politic and dignified on the part of this country, if it was to take part in the scramble for Africa, to do so upon some system, that we should come to some arrangement with other countries by which our possessions should be gathered together and be made more compact. By the present accidental sandwiching out of Africa, the basis of very great complications in the future was being laid. At any rate, he hoped the Government would tell them that the policy of chartering this new Company was a deliberate one, and not one forced upon the Government by the pertinacity of the Company. He was aware that up to the present the right hon. Baronet the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs had firmly refused to recognize the territorial possessions of what he might call the fighting missionaries and traders, who had established a kind of dominion in the Lake District of South Eastern Africa. He desired to know whether the Government would hold out in this firm course? He hoped the right hon. Baronet would be able to tell the Committee that the Government were not following in the wake of the Commercial Companies—Companies which established dominion over the natives for commercial gain—or even of the missionary enterprizes. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would tell them that the Government had some fixed and decided policy in this matter; that they had resolved whether they were to go forward and take a large share of Africa or not; whether, if they were to take a large share of Africa, they intended to do so deliberately; and whether they themselves were determined to decide what was to be done, and not allow Companies or missionaries to decide for them. In the hope of eliciting some information on this subject, he begged to move the reduction of the Vote by £500.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £45,573, be granted for the said Service."—(Sir George Campbell.)

MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

said, his hon. Friend (Sir George Campbell) said he did not complain of the policy of retaining Suakin.


I said I did not express an opinion upon the subject.


said, that he did express an opinion upon it; he thought it was a very absurd policy on our part. It would be remembered that we went there because we entered into an engagement with the Egyptian Government to maintain the remnant of rule on the border of the Red Sea. At that time it was said, as an excuse, that we also went there in order to prevent the Slave Trade. There was nothing more certain than that we had in no sort of way hindered the Slave Trade by retaining Suakin, for the reason that it was very easy to go across the Red Sea in a few hours from Africa to Asia. The dhows could put in along the coast; they did not require to put in at any particular port; they took the slaves sent down to them, and in the course of the night they crossed to Arabia. That had not been controverted. The Government of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) fell back on the fact that whether right or wrong, we were pledged to retain Suakin, because we had entered into a promise with the Egytian Government, but he (Mr. Labouchere) would like to know how long this promise was to continue. Were we to retain Suakin for ever? Surely there must be some limit. When the promise was made, Egypt was practically at war with the Soudanese. It was said that now Egypt was at peace with the Soudan. We ought, therefore to come to some understanding with Egypt with regard to the retention of our garrison at Suakin. His hon. Friend said—"While I do not express an opinion upon the retention of Suakin, I do protest against the little wars that go on with the tribes in the neighbourhood." The occurrence of these little wars was one of the reasons why he (Mr. Labouchere) was opposed to the retention of Suakin. In the present state of matters, it must necessarily follow that there would be little wars. One tribe came under our protection, another tribe further off attacked it, and then we sallied forth in order to defend the tribe under our protection, and so, as it always happened in the case of these military frontiers, we found ourselves perpetually engaged in little wars, slaughtering people who, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian said, "are rightly struggling to be free." Then his hon. Friend complained of the establishment of the East African Companies. He agreed with the hon. Gentleman that the Committee ought to know what the Charters to these Companies were. The Charters ought to be laid before the House of Commons before they were granted. Take the case of the Borneo Charter. That was granted, he believed, by a Conservative Ministry; anyhow, a Conservative Ministry had pledged itself so strongly to grant it, that the Liberal Ministry which followed it felt it its duty to fulfil the pledge. At last the matter came up for the consideration of the House. The hon. Gentleman (Sir John Gorst) who was now Under Secretary of State for India raised the question, and he pointed out that by the Charter we did our very best to encourage the Slave Trade. By one of the conditions of the Charter we engaged to return to their masters slaves who took refuge in the offices of the Company. A more monstrous thing was never done, and yet because Parliament had not been permitted to look into the Charter, and because no one in the Public Offices had looked closely into the matter, the Charter existed. Therefore he did most strongly demand that before any pledge or assurance was given on the part of the Government to grant Charters to Companies, the House should have an opportunity of seeing what the Charter was. His hon. Friend (Sir George Campbell) said he was opposed to the system of sandwiching out Africa, but then he proposed what seemed a monstrous proceeding—he proposed that we should take over a large portion of the country as our share. [Sir GEORGE CAMPBELL: No.] What the hon. Gentleman said certainly amounted to that. He (Mr. Labouchere) objected to this parcelling out of Africa. The hon. Gentleman suggested that our parcel should be in the South. Heaven knew what it would cost. He earnestly hoped we would not give Charters to East African Companies, or to West African Companies, or to North African Companies, or to South African Companies, and that we would give up the policy of either parcelling out Africa between the European Powers or of taking a very large slice for ourselves. This Vote covered the whole policy of Her Majesty's Government in all parts of the world outside of England. They had not had during the present Session an opportunity of discussing the foreign policy of Her Majesty's Government. Some people had said this ought to be an Irish Session, some had said it ought to be an English Session, but, in the meantime, the Marquess of Salisbury had had absolutely his own way as Minister for Foreign Affairs. No one had had an opportunity of calling the noble Marquess over the coals, and yet——


Order, order! An Amendment has been proposed to reduce the Vote in respect of certain proceedings in Africa, and the discussion should be confined to Africa.


Then I will postpone my remarks upon the general foreign policy of the Government.


said that the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell) did not find fault with the action of Her Majesty's Government with respect to Suakin, but wished to know on what ground it was retained. The hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere), on the other hand, objected altogether to the retention of Suakin, and thought we ought to have retired from Suakin as we had retired from the Upper Nile. There was a certain misapprehension in the minds of the hon. Gentlemen. The British Government did not hold Suakin: it was held by the Egyptian Government, and although it had been said that that was the same thing, there was a very important difference. What Her Majesty's Government were doing was to aid the Government of Egypt to improve the government of that country, and he believed very great success had attended those efforts. Very great praise was due to the Khedive and his Ministers for the policy they were pursuing, and for the reforms they had carried out. Suakin was the only point in the Soudan now held by Egyptian troops, and it was very important it should be so held. It was very important that piratical expeditions should not be made from that point of departure, and it was extremely desirable, both from the point of view of the Egyptian and British Governments, that Suakin should not be made the great nest or chief seat of the Slave Trade. There could be no doubt it would be a great centre and rallying point of the Slave Trade unless it was kept by the Egyptians, and he was sorry to say he believed that at this moment many of the Slave Trade operations were directed from Suakin. The Egyptian officers at Suakin were often able to get intelligence of intended Slave Trade expeditions and to frustrate them. No doubt a good deal went on in spite of our endeavours, but were it not for these endeavours there was every reason to believe that the Slave Trade would flourish much more actively than it did at present. The hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell) asked what we were doing at Suakin. The Egyptians were doing as little as possible. They were obliged, unfortunately, to defend Suakin against the followers of the False Prophet and the Dervishes who came down to the immediate neighbourhood of Suakin. It was very necessary that the place should be both resolutely and economically defended, and owing to the admirable dispositions of Colonel Kitchener, the Governor General, it could now be defended by a very small force. The forts were strong, but it had been necessary to afford the place the assistance of some of Her Majesty's ships. It was quite evident that the Slave Trade could not be prevented in the Red Sea without the assistance of Her Majesty's ships. Ships had been employed in that duty, and advantage had been taken of their presence there to render assistance to the Egyptian troops in the defence of Suakin. It was very desirable that trade should establish itself as freely as possible, and with as little interference as possible. Great steps had been taken in that direction, but the peaceful traders were very much interfered with by the bodies of Dervishes under Osman Digna, who rendered the trade routes exceedingly dangerous, and who rendered the peaceful occupations of the country somewhat perilous. But there were signs of considerable improvement, and he thought that if the present policy pursued at Suakin could be only let alone for a little longer a better state of things might soon be expected in that region. The hon. Member (Sir George Campbell) said, that we had abandoned the great highway of the Nile, but we were trying to open up a new route to the lakes from the Zanzibar Coast. It was easy to talk of the lakes as if they were one small tract, but the Committee would surely not forget that the distances were enormous from the portion of the Nile which was occupied by the Egyptians, and the lake district which might be approached from the Zanzibar Coast. It was quite evident that any commercial or colonizing undertaking on the Zanzibar Coast was a very different matter from the extension of Egyptian rule southwards. The deliberate policy pursued had been to confine the Government of Egypt to the Northern portion of Africa. But there was no reason why the whole of the rest of Africa should be closed to European enterprize. Other nations were not insensible of the value of African markets, and there was no nation in Europe that had not made great exertions to establish its influence in Africa and to extend the trade with that country. He thought there was little hope for the trade of this country except by opening up new markets, and English merchants would justly reproach the Government if they were to refuse to give such encouragement as they could to the multiplication of markets in the great continent of Africa. The portion of Eastern Africa in which the enterprize of certain people was now seeking to push English trade was, perhaps, the most hopeful district North of the Equator with which we were acquainted. It was healthy, suitable for European settlement, and inhabited by tribes immensely superior, intellectually and in point of civilization, to those on the West Coast and those further towards the South. This enterprize had been well considered, and it was hoped that it was destined to open up new fields for English commerce, and that it would be possible to join hands with Emin Pasha, who was so gallantly maintaining himself in the interior. The hon. Gentleman opposite said he did not see why we, the Germans, Belgians, and other nations, should all be carving out slices of Africa for ourselves; but surely it was better that we should make arrangements with other European nations than that we should come into rivalry and possible collision with them; it was better that the spheres of influence in Africa should be directed from different points, and he could not but think that the policy now being pursued was not only convenient and prudent in itself, but one that was most likely to colonize Africa in the best way. The hon. Gentleman had also spoken of the Consul in the Lake District as having been engaged in hostilities. He had, on the second day before the Recess, been asked and replied to a Question on this point—namely, whether the action of the Consul was taken with the consent of Her Majesty's Government or with their encouragement? With regard to the present question, he said it was inaccurate to say that the Consuls in their present positions were engaged in hostilities. They were there without any such intention. They were there to afford such assistance to British interests as they could afford by British authority; but it was only when a European Settlement was being attacked by Arabs, and was in considerable danger, that other action took place. Undoubtedly, it was not the duty of the Consuls to lend themselves to any hostile movement with armed forces. It was not for him to defend the missionaries from the imputation of being militant persons. He believed, however, that there were men carrying on a good work with great courage and at considerable risk, and that they only took up arms in self defence. But there was a great difference between missionaries and the Trading Bodies in that part of Africa, who united in their own defence; and if these had engaged in attacking an Arab stronghold, it might, to some extent, no doubt, have been in retaliation, but it ought to be remembered that it was sometimes necessary for the purpose of defence to anticipate the action of those who threatened attack. The hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) had talked about our slaughtering people who were rightly struggling to be free. He could not consent to be led into a discussion on the old Egyptian controversy, which he had hoped had long been laid at rest. The defence of Suakin by Her Majesty's ships could hardly be called the slaughter of people struggling to be free; and such language was wholly inappropriate to the defence of a garrison attacked by dervishes. He (Sir James Fergusson) said that we were not interfering with any matters in the Soudan; we sanctioned the holding of Suakin for reasons which Parliament had fully approved—namely, the prevention of the Slave Trade on the Red Sea, which would increase and become much more active were it not for the resistance offered by England. As to the remark that it was inexpedient to encourage Trading Companies to settle in Africa, he believed this to be a legitimate form of procedure and well calculated to further the best interests of the country. It was not necessary that British responsibilities should be unduly extended; but he thought it was eminently desirable that where enterprizing merchants were willing to push British trade in Africa, Her Majesty's Government should give them all proper assistance. He did not think that a case had been made out for the reduction of the Vote.

MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)

said, he hoped the case of Mr. Thomas Wilkinson, who had received unfair treatment from the Consular Authorities in Madagascar, whose action had been condemned by the Law Courts of the Mauritius, would not be passed over in silence.

MR. PICTON (Leicester)

said, that he must almost be regarded as an ignoramus on questions of this kind; but he could not keep silence under the enunciation of such doctrines as they had just heard from the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Sir James Fergusson). The right hon. Baronet had said that the object of the Foreign Office was to allow the Egyptians to govern Egypt. That, he (Mr. Picton) thought, was a very simple matter, and one which could be arranged without a heavy expense for the Foreign Office. But then it was urged that the Egyptians would govern Egypt not exactly in the manner we desired, and that a state of things entirely foreign to our interests would arise; to allow the Egyptians to govern Egypt would be to allow them to have whatsoever Governor they pleased, even that violent Patriot whom we had expatriated to Ceylon. But it was expressly to prevent the Egyptians from governing Egypt, except in accordance with our ideas, that our forces were kept in that country. That was a state of things which was entirely unsatisfactory; and he was not inclined to keep up an expensive Foreign Office for the purpose of obtaining such a result. Then they were told that the Egyptians must defend Suakin against the False Prophet; but they were not told against what false prophet. Who was he? There were a large number of false prophets in the world—a good many on the other side of the House as well as on that side, He did not know whether Osman Digna was or was not a false prophet; but they understood that the Mahdi was destroyed, and he did not know whether he had any successor. But if the Egyptians wanted to defend Suakin, by all means let them do so. Why should we be called upon to do it for them? And hon. Members were told that it was necessary to have British vessels at Suakin to protect our trade. He did not know what trade we did at Suakin; and it was quite possible that if this policy was to be pursued we might be compelled to have more vessels than were really necessary, whatever that trade might be. Violence would never open the country to trade. Missionaries had done far more than soldiers to open up African trade. However that might be, he did not think that Africa would be opened up to trade by our extravagant expenditure on military forces in that country. It appeared to him that there had been an utterly reckless waste of human life in this work, and that an unnecessary claim had been made upon the taxpayers of the country in consequence, for which reasons, if the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy went to a Division, he should heartily support him.


said, he did not think the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs had given the Committee as much information as they were entitled to claim. The right hon. Baronet had dealt altogether in generalities. His (Sir George Campbell's) own opinion was that the best course would be to hand over Suakin to the Italians; but, at any rate, he hoped that fighting outside the place would be discouraged. He thought the authorities in Suakin were a good deal to blame for what had occurred there, because they had drawn down upon themselves Osman Digna by that abominable practice of subsidizing one Native Tribe for the purpose of attacking another. He thought that the term False Prophet was entirely misapplied by the right hon. Gentleman, although he rather approved the plan of coming to arrangements with other European nations as to trade stations in Africa. He was unfavourable to our taking a large share of Africa, because he thought we had already enough on our hands; but he thought that, under any circumstances, we should confine ourselves as much as possible to one part of the country. The right hon. Gentleman told them that the only hope for the trade of this country was to conquer new markets. He thought the right hon. Gentleman had said that in order to extend British trade it was necessary to acquire new countries.


I beg the hon. Baronet's pardon. I am sure I did not use the words or anything like them.


said, he admitted the right hon. Gentleman did not use the words, but he had justified the policy by assuming that it was only by opening up new markets that we could hope to maintain our trade at its present level. He would not, however, pursue that matter further, but he repeated that the Committee was entitled to ask whether a Charter had been granted to the East African Company; and, if so, what powers and conditions were conferred on the Company, and what territory had been handed over?


said, the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell) had returned after the Whitsuntide Holiday with some extraordinary notions; he now proposed that we should hand over Suakin to the Italians. But that would be worse than giving it to the Egyptians. He (Mr. Labouchere) said, whatever might be done, let us have nothing whatever to do with it. The right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs had said that Suakin was retained on account of the Slave Trade. He (Mr. Labouchere) thought Lord Palmerston was the inventor of that system of defending aggression, on the ground that it was necessary for the purpose of preventing the Slave Trade; he kept up a large Squadron on the Coast of Africa, which occasionally picked up a Slavetrader, but the Slave Trade was only a pretext for keeping up the Naval Force in that part of the world. The question, however, was, did we, by aiding and abetting the Egyptians in maintaining themselves in Suakin, really in any sort of way diminish the Slave Trade? [Sir JAMES FERGUSSON: Yes.] The right hon. Gentleman said they did. But had there been a single Slaver taken at Suakin. [Sir JAMES FERGUSSON: Ships have been caught in the neighbourhood.] Exactly; they must have ships cruising about the Red Sea, if they wanted to look after the Slave Trade. But were there no slaves at Cairo and Alexandria? While the Egyptians bought slaves in their own markets, we were to go down to Suakin for the purpose of stopping the Slave Trade there. He said that the whole thing was absurd, and that the fact was we had got into a mess, and did not know how to get out of it. The Military Commander out there was a brave man, and liked to bring his bravery before the British public; lie engaged in these little skirmishes, and when the people came down to the seaside, they were immediately fired upon by the ships outside. As he had said, the whole thing was a great piece of absurdity, a gross waste of money, and an outrage upon the country; because our presence at Suakin did not directly or indirectly tend to put down the Slave Traffic. But the right hon. Gentleman read really surprised him by his statement with regard to the Chartered Companies in Africa. The right hon. Gentleman said the noble mission of the Government was to aid and abet merchants in establishing forms of British government in different parts of Africa. What did the right hon. Gentleman mean by that—what were those forms of British government? Did he mean that the merchants were to go out to Africa, and that we were to aid them in establishing there a House of Lords and a House of Commons? It meant that we were to back up these men when they wished not only to trade, but to establish themselves in some dominating position which would compromise us. King Theodore said—"I know all about you. You send missionaries, then you send merchants, and then an army, and when you send an army where is the African King?" Let merchants go into Central Africa by all means; but let them go at their own risk and peril. If they wished to become martyrs, it was their own business; but they must not ask us to support them in establishing some sort of quasi-right over the Treads of the people of the country. Most assuredly the Committee had a right to know whether this Charter had been given, and, if so, what was the nature of that Charter—if not, whether there was any intention of giving a Charter? He asked the right hon. Gentleman just now whether he would pledge himself to lay any of these Charters before the House of Commons, or make them thoroughly public, so as to give the House an opportunity of expressing its opinion upon them, before the English nation was pledged to maintain them in the form in which they were made by the Foreign Office?


said, in dealing first with the remarks of the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere), he thought he might take up a line directly in opposition to him on the question of the Slave Trade. It was the duty of this country to use its best efforts in the suppression of the Slave Trade, and anything like lukewarmness on the part of the Government would be justly considered by the House and the country as a departure from the established policy of the country. Again, he did not think that the case with regard to Lord Palmerston had been correctly stated by the hon. Gentleman. The House was well aware that a large sum of money was annually expended by the country in maintaining a Naval Force for the suppression of the Slave Trade on the West and East Coasts of Africa, the Persian Gulf, and elsewhere, and if it had not been for that Force, the Slave Trade would have very considerably increased. The hon. Gentleman asked if any slave vesselshad been taken in the Red Sea. [Mr. LABOUCHERE: At Suakin?] Certainly not. It was hardly likely that any attempts would be made to carry on the trade at that place, when it was occupied by an Egyptian Governor, with a British vessel lying in the harbour; but vessels had been caught coming out of places along the coast in the neighbourhood of Suakin. It was the opinion of naval officers, and of all those best qualified to judge, that the maintenance of Suakin was absolutely necessary for the prevention of the Slave Trade in the Red Sea, and on that ground he trusted that no considerable section of the Committee would vote for the reduction of the Estimate on that account. With regard to the Charters granted to Companies, the hon. Member spoke as if the position was not within the knowledge of the House. The House was in possession of the terms of the Charter of the Royal Niger Company; it knew the powers with which the Company had been entrusted by Her Majesty's Government; and what he had stated was that the companies had been authorized to make Treaties with the Native Chiefs in Africa, and to carry on trade operations on a large scale, and to carry out the principles of British law and order. He had already told the Committee that they had made something like 200 Treaties with Native Chiefs, and he believed that they had introduced good order and government to the countries over which their Charter extended, and that there was every prospect that in due time they would do great good in that part of the world. It had been said that the Companies imported rum; but, as a matter of fact, the importation of that article was now only a quarter of what it was four years ago. He was asked to state distinctly whether a Charter had been granted to the East African Company. It had not been granted. The Company was only in process of formation, and if a Charter should be granted it would be no less binding than that which had been granted to the Royal Niger Company. It would provide that law and order, as the Government understood it—[Opposition cheers]—and he hoped they understood the best form of law and order—should be maintained; the proceedings of the Company, wherever its influence might extend, would be constantly under the direction and review of Her Majesty's Government, so that nothing should be done which would not be creditable to this country.


said, he was afraid he had put his question with regard to the case of Mr. Wilkinson at Madagascar too briefly, as it appeared to have escaped the right hon. Baronet's attention.


said, he must ask the hon. Member's pardon for his question having escaped from his memory. He was unable to give any answer upon the case of Mr. Wilkinson without referring to the Papers; but if the hon. Member would repeat his question to-morrow, he would be glad to give him all the information he had upon the subject.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 55; Noes 103: Majority 48.—(Div. List, No. 117.)

Original Question again proposed.


said, the Committee would now allow him to pass from Africa to Europe. Now that we knew what our policy was in Africa, he considered that there was nothing more important than that they should know precisely what was the policy of Her Majesty's Government in Europe. When the Conservatives were last in Office the policy of Lord Salisbury was to support the Turkish Empire, and to expend vast sums of money in aiding and abetting the Turk to remain in Europe. At that time the country was said to be entirely permeated by Jingoism; but at the General Election it was shown that Lord Salisbury was going entirely in opposition to the views of the country, and the result was that he was ejected from Office. It was well known that there were Gentlemen on that side of the House who were ready to sacrifice everything to retain Lord Salisbury in Office, and therefore it became the duty of hon. Members who did not share his Lordship's opinion with regard to Ireland and other parts to keep special watch, so that the country might thoroughly understand, at least, what he was doing in Europe. Last year, Lord Salisbury had done his very best to involve us in war, in order to maintain Prince Alexander of Bulgaria on his throne. It appeared from the Blue Book on the subject that Lord Salisbury had sent despatches to almost every Government in Europe imploring those Governments to join with him in alliance against Russia, and it was only because those Governments were wiser than Lord Salisbury, that we were not involved in a dangerous and costly war. This year there had been a most suspicious interchange of views between Her Majesty's Government and those Governments calling themselves the Triple Alliance. Europe was divided into three camps, and the three Powers had come to an agreement that if one of them should be attacked by Russia they would prevent France from joining that country. He (Mr. Labouchere) did not ask whether that was right or wrong, but he asked what business was it of ours? With those vast armies maintained on the Continent war was always imminent, and there was always a probability of war some day breaking out. A British Minister's duty was to keep his country free from every pledge that might entangle it in such a war. He remembered about two months ago having brought this question forward; he did not then receive a satisfactory assurance from the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. The right hon. Gentleman, it was true, said that the Government had given no assurance to Italy that if she were to join the Triple Alliance we would come to her aid; but when he (Mr. Labouchere) asked that what had been done should be presented to Parliament the right hon. Gentleman spoke of negotiation still going on, and he declined to state to Parliament what Lord Salisbury and the Foreign Office were doing. Why did the right hon. Gentleman do that? Certainly it was not on account of Austria, Germany, or Italy, because the negotiations took place between them and the English Government. Was it for the House of Commons that this silence was preserved? He could not conceive that it was so. It was then on account of France and Russia that the right hon. Gentleman was afraid to make public what was being done. Now he objected to our entering into negotiations with two or three Foreign Governments which we were afraid to show to other Governments. Let our policy be open, and let it be clearly a policy of peace, and let us say that if those countries were so foolish as to go to war, we should not join with any of them. We had no business directly or indirectly in an alliance which was practically aimed at France; as was well known, she had lost Alsace and Lorraine, and it was not probable that she would always maintain peace. For his own part, he thought that France had a perfect right, whenever she was strong enough to do so, to seek to reacquire those Provinces. [Mr. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne): No, no!] His hon. Friend who said "No, no" came from Cornwall, and he (Mr. Labouchere) ventured to say that if we were at war with France, and if France seized Cornwall, the hon. Member would call upon the Government to re-acquire it. One of the great evils of annexation of foreign territory by any rower was that the aggrieved country, unless thoroughly crushed and incapable of making an effort, would seize every opportunity that presented itself to regain the territory it had lost. For his own part, he should be sorry if there were an European war; but he said if they were to take sides at all, if they were to have sympathy with one or other of the Continental Powers, his sympathy would not be with Germany or Austria; it would be on the side of France, because Alsace and Lorraine belonged to France de jure, if not de facto, and not to Germany. Now that the negotiations had ceased, he thought the Committee ought to Dave a distinct and specific understanding of what the negotiations really had been before they passed the Vote. He held that no pledges, if there were pledges, ought to be entered into directly or indirectly with Foreign Governments without as soon as possible submitting them to the House of Commons in order that the House of Commons might form an opinion upon them and accept or protest against them at once. The people of the country were now paying the interest on an immense Debt for having been participators in wars on the Continent, not one of which remotely concerned us. He wanted to understand whether the Prime Minister and his Colleagues were in favour of a system of absolute abnegation with regard to Continental politics; were they in favour of simple non-intervention? The country had always been in favour of non-intervention, and the electors of the country did not understand this reckless interference in foreign affairs, the cost of which they had to bear. They had been told that England must play a great part in Europe. He protested entirely against that doctrine, and maintained that they ought to adopt a policy of non-intervention. Let us always be on the defensive, but do not let us mix ourselves up with the melancholy disputes which rage in Europe every few years. The British Empire did not alone consist of these Islands; it consisted of immense Colonies in Australia, America, and other parts of the world. Did the House suppose that those Colonies would maintain their allegiance and love for this country, because they found that we had made some pledge to go to the aid of Italy if she were attacked? We must be, and we were, a great Power spread over the whole world; and whereas we ought to have an army for defence, if we were attacked we ought to be especially careful not to make pledges with regard to Continental affairs, not only in the interests of the inhabitants of these islands, but of those Colonies which, together with them, constitute the British Empire. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would be able to give the Committee some specific information as to what had been done with regard to the Triple Alliance, and that he would say that no pledge had been given on our part, either directly or indirectly, in any war which might arise on the Continent. If the right hon. Gentleman could do that without any arrière pensée, and not merely as a diplomatic mode of expression, he, for his part, should be satisfied. He remembered, however, that Lord Salisbury pledged himself on a former occasion that no Treaty had been entered into, but it was entered into; his confidence would be extremely qualified therefore, but he would like to hear what was our precise position with regard to Continental Powers at the present moment.

MR. W. A. M'ARTHUR (Cornwall, Mid, St. Austell)

said, he did not always agree with his hon. Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere); but he was entirely in accord with him when he said that if we were to maintain a close and intimate connection for purposes of defence between the Colonies and England, it must be made clear by English Members that our policy was to be one of peace. He agreed that there was no more loyal community in the world than the English speaking Colonists, and, he believed, there were none who would more willingly respond to a call for aid if England were attacked; but they would be quick to see the folly of allowing themselves to be mixed up with quarrels with which they had no concern. So far as the Colonies were concerned, they did not care one button about any dynasty or country in Europe, except so far as it affected themselves. While it would be found that in case of a defensive war, they would be ready to help us to the last farthing, he was quite sure that our relations with them would be imperilled unless it was laid down once for all that our Minisers should not act as if they were merely the Ministers of this particular part of the dominions of the Queen, but that the policy of England was adopted in the interests of the whole Empire. If we did not pay adequate regard to the interests of the whole Empire, we should run a great risk of the ultimate separation of many English speaking communities of the British Empire. The principal point to which he desired to direct the attention of the Committee was the action of Her Majesty's Government in the Pacific, and especially with regard to Samoa. There was considerable confusion in the minds of all parties interested as to the position we had taken up with regard to Samoan affairs, during the last six or seven years. The Samoan Islands were in the direct track of mail communication between Canada and the United States and New Zealand, and they were the centre of a large English trade in the Pacific. But English interests in Samoa ought not to be measured only by money or the amount of trade with those islands. To begin with, we discovered the islands, and the officers of our men-of-war made the charts which made it safe for ships of all nations to trade with them, and the London Missionary Society had been there 50 years and had established a Training College from which missionaries were sent to all parts of the Pacific. The domestic affairs of the islands were some seven or eight years ago in confusion, and at that time Sir Arthur Gordon established the late King Malietoa on the Throne. As Her Majesty's Commissioner in the Western Pacific he issued a proclamation in which occurred these words— We have accordingly resolved to resume official relations with the party which has for the last three months held undisputed possession of the seat of Government, and is supported by an overwhelming and increasing majority of the people of Samoa. That was in 1879, and it was followed by a treaty made with the King and signed by him on the 28th of August of that year. It was denied that the King had signed as King of Samoa. But he (Mr. M'Arthur) said that the first treaty was signed by Sir Arthur Gordon on behalf of the English Government, and by Malietoa on behalf of the Samoan Government. Then followed a convention in September, 1879, between Great Britain, Germany, the United States, and Samoa, which was also signed by Sir Arthur Gordon and King Malietoa, and it would be therefore plain that both the treaty and the convention were entered into by Her Majesty's Govern- ment with the King as the de facto head of the Samoan Government. In 1884 King Malietoa made a treaty with the German Government under protest, and he (Mr. M'Arthur) would point out that for the last ten years persistent attempts had been made by the German Government to obtain domination over the island. On the 29th of December, 1884, Malietoa wrote a pitiful protest to the German Emperor in the following terms:—

"Your Majesty, I am writing to your Majesty to make known my distress on account of difficulties which are being caused to me and my Government by gentlemen of your Government who are resident in Samoa. I humble myself and beg to entreat your Majesty to listen to my complaint. The first thing concerning which I wish to make known my complaint, your Majesty, is this; The Treaty made on the 10th of November between the Government of Germany and the Government of Samoa, the means by which that treaty was secured were unjust; for we did not want it, and we were not permitted to deliberate and consider well concerning it. I wrote to the German Consul to give me a copy of that treaty in order that we might understand clearly all the words in the treaty, but he did not reply, as he was unwilling to give me and my Government a copy unless we should first accept it, after which he would deliver up a copy to me and my Government. But the reason of our accepting it and of writing our names (Malietoa and Tapia) was on account of our fear through our being continually threatened. I make known these to your Majesty in order that the treaty may be given up, because there are many sentiments in it which are difficult to us. Therefore, I beseech your Majesty not to receive that treaty. There is another matter concerning which I complain to your Majesty. It is in reference to the difficulties which are I wing caused at the present time by a gentleman of your Government, Mr. Weber. He is continually endeavouring to produce divisions which will bring about wars and quarrels in Samoa. I have many accounts of his acts which he is doing at the present time in order to cause difficulties in Samoa. He is scheming with certain Samoan Chiefs, and keeps giving them money in order that they may obey his will and bring about insurrection against my Government. I complain to your Majesty on account of the wrong things done by Mr. Weber, in order that you may check that gentleman and prevent him from continuing to cause matters to arise which will lead to the shedding of blood of men of my Government. I trust your Majesty and your Government may prosper.

(Signed) MALIETOA,

King of Samoa."

Now, following that protest of the Samoan King against the action of the then German Agent in Samoa—an action which was not only undertaken in one individual case, but which had been persisted in for 10 years previous, and which was an action deliberately designed to stir up civil war in Samoa, and so give the German Government an excuse to step in and annex the Island on the pretext of restoring peace—following up that protest to the German Emperor a petition signed by nearly all the Samoan Chiefs was sent to Her Majesty the Queen through Sir William Jervois, the Governor of New Zealand, praying her to annex the Island to Great Britain. The following were the words of this Petition:—

"To their Excellencies the Governor and Chief Assistant Rulers of New Zealand. Your Excellencies, We are the King and Chiefs of Samoa. We write to you to make known our prayer and entreaty to Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain that the will of Her Majesty should extend over our islands, and that it should be entirely at the disposal of Her Majesty's Government whether they should form a separate colony or be connected with your Government in New Zealand.

Our King wrote nearly a year ago offering the sovereignty of these Islands to Her Majesty the Queen and Government of Great Britain, and we have been very anxious for an answer, but no answer has yet reached us. We, therefore, send this entreaty to you in order that you may forward it to Her Majesty the Queen and Government of Great Britain. We earnestly entreat you to assist us by praying Her Majesty to accept our request. We earnestly beg that you will listen to our prayer and render us all possible assistance, for our fear is great on account of the information we have received that our islands are about to be seized by Germany. We greatly love and respectt he Government of Great Britain, because we know that the Government acts justly and protects well the people who are under its rule. We do not want any other Government to take possession of our country. We pray and ask your Excellencies to make known our position by telegram to the Queen and Government of Great Britain. We rely on Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain to take means to prevent Germany taking possession of our islands against the wish of ourselves and our people. We trust that your Excellencies by your aid and your entreaty to Her Majesty the queen will bring to pass the settling up of Her Majesty's sovereignty in Samoa. May your Excellencies live long.

We are,

(Signed) MALIETOA (King),

TAPUA (Vice-King),

and 52 Chiefs."

Well, the threat referred to was not carried out by the German Government probably in consequence of the remonstrances of the American and British Governments; but in 1885 a further attempt was made by Germany to obtain possession of these Islands. An armed force was landed at Apia, the capital, and the German flag was hoisted. The force that so landed set to work to build a fort, but the English and United States Consuls protested successfully, the troops being re-embarked and the attempt to sieze Samoa being abandoned. But in 1886—in May of that year—another attempt was made by Germany to sieze the sovereignty of these Islands. A German squadron arrived at Apia—a fleet of a foreign power came before the capital of an independent Sovereign with whom that foreign power was in treaty relation. Malietoa complained to the Consuls that the Admiral had not visited him, but had gone to the Chief Tamasese, his rival for the Throne, to try and stir up war. On this occasion again the English and American Consuls protested vehemently and officially against the action of the German Commander, and the following declaration was signed by the three Consuls of Germany, Great Britain, and the United States— We, the Consuls of Germany, Great Britain, and the United States of America, hereby give notice that we and our Governments do not and never have recognized in any way Tamasese as King of Samoa, and order all Samoans to return to their homes and remain quiet and peaceable. That declaration succeeded for the moment in quieting the troubles in Samoa itself, and as a result a Conference was appointed to meet at Washington between representatives of Great Britain, Germany, and the United States, and settle which of them was to be what was called the Mandatory Power in Samoa. Things went smoothly enough in that place until the next year—namely, the year 1887. In the year 1887, on the 19th of August, a German squadron of four or five ships arrived at Apia. The German Consul, Mr. Becker, on the 23rd of August—that was to say, four days after the squadron had arrived, wrote a letter to Malietoa, in which he said—

"I am commanded by the Government of Germany to inform you as follows:—1st. That your people attacked German people on the evening of the day celebrating the anniversary of the birthday of His Majesty the Emperor, the 22nd day of March of the present year. This action has caused great offence and much distress of mind to the Emperor and all the German people. I now inform you to become on friendly terms with the Government of Germany in this wise. You will be quick to punish the above offenders, and do so at once. You will also pay the sum of 1,000 dollars to those who were wounded, and you are to make the most abject apology (to Germany). 2nd. From one year to another year in the past your people have stolen animals and produce from plantations belonging to Germans, and have injured their lands. For four years they have continued this abuse of their lands to the extent of more than 3,000 dollars each year. I now inform you that you are to pay quickly for all this abuse by your people. 3rd. For many years past your Judges have been unable by themselves to protect Germans (among you), and this is the reason your people have been abusing the Germans. I now tell you that it is highly necessary that the Government should be more severe in their trials and judgments in order that they may be able to protect Germans in the future. It is my opinion that there is nothing just or correct in Samoa in all the days that you may have the rule, or while you are at the head of the Government. I send you this letter the morning of the present day. I shall be at Afega on the morning of to-morrow (Wednesday), the 24th of August, at 11 o'clock. I want to hear from you your reply.

May you live.

(Signed) BECKER,

German Consul."

As to the first of the three points mentioned in this letter there certainly was some dispute between a few Germans and Samoans in the month of March, and this dispute arose out of a drinking bout on the occasion of the celebration of the birthday of the German Emperor, and this was only another proof of the disastrous effects of the liquor traffic which the Government of Germany had not taken steps to prevent in Samoa. A German was struck by a bottle thrown by someone, and several Samoans were brought before the Consular Court and charged with having thrown the bottle. It did not appear, however, whether the bottle was thrown by a Samoan or by a fellow countryman of the man struck by it, and every native charged with the offence was acquitted. It was alleged by some English and Natives that the bottle was really thrown by a German sailor. This matter, however, was made the subject of a claim for 1,000 dollars compensation. A heavy demand was also made for compensation—3,000 dollars a-year for four years—for damage to the plantations of German subjects, without a single item of particulars being given to the Samoan King, and that, notwithstanding that the punishment of offenders had nothing to do with the Samoan King, seeing that the cases were dealt with by the Consular Court. The monstrous demand was made that the Samoan King should pay this sum of 13,000 dollars in cash at a day's notice. The whole trade of the country was carried on in produce, and it was next to impossible for the King, or any resident, whether European or Native, to raise such a sum quickly, there being no bank, and the only circulation being Chilian dollars. The King, therefore, very naturally asked for time, sending the Consul the following reply:—

"Afega, Aug. 23, 1887.

J. Becker, Esq.,

German Consul at Apia, Samoa.

Sir,—I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this date. It will be clear to you that it will be necessary to me to consult my Government and principal chiefs before replying to the grave charges and heavy demands contained in your communication, and the time within which an answer is required does not enable me to do so. I shall, however, at once convene a meeting for the purpose of dealing with your letter, and will send you a reply on Saturday, 27th inst. I regret that it is impossible for me to comply with your demand for an answer to-morrow evening, and trust that you will be satisfied with a reply on the day named.

(Signed) MALIETOA."

The reply given by the German Consul was simply this—on the next day he landed 700 troops from the squadron and issued the following Proclamation:—




I hereby say to you that Tamasese, King of Aana, is declared from this day, by the Government of Germany, to be King of the whole of Samoa.

(Signed) BECKER,

German Consul, Apia, Aug. 25, 1887."

In this Proclamation, Tamasese was made King, and all Malietoa's followers were made rebels. Now he (Mr. W. A. M'Arthur) wanted to know what earthly right the German Government had to declare anyone to be King of Samoa? The King of Samoa had Treaty relations at the time with us, with the United States, and with Germany. It was possible by this time—Aug., 1887—we had given Mandatory Powers to Germany in regard to Samoan affairs, but surely such Mandatory Powers, if given, did not reach to the extent of allowing Germany to nominate anyone she pleased as King of Samoa, and to take whatever stops she pleased against a man with whom we had Treaty relations and who was our own Ally?


said, he had not stated that we had given the German Government the Mandatory Power. He had said that it was proposed in the Conference that one of the Powers should exercise influence on behalf of the rest, but that that proposal was not carried out.


said, if that proposal was not carried out, it made the case very much the worse. He had understood that Her Majesty's Government had not interfered with Germany because it was agreed at the Conference that Germany was to occupy the position of Mandatory Power in Samoa. If, however, that was not the case, and no such agreement was ever entered into, surely it was a monstrous thing for the English Government to allow this outrage upon the King of Samoa to take place without a word of remonstrance. He did not care a straw whether Germany was a Mandatory power or not. If she was the Mandatory Power, notice of what she intended to do ought to have been given to the British Consul in time to prevent him signing a declaration which was issued by the Representatives of the United States and Great Britian; and which was afterwards repudiated by the Government of England; and if she was not the Mandatory Power, the outrage committed by her should not have been passed without remonstrance. Our Consul in Samoa seemed to be of the same mind as the right hon. Baronet (Sir James Fergusson), because he also thought that Germany had no Mandatory Power, and he, therefore, was a party to the following Proclamation, to which he (Mr. W. A. M'Arthur) had just referred:—


Whereas the Government of Germany has this day proclaimed Tamasese King of Samoa.

Now, therefore, we, the undersigned Representatives of the United States of America and Great Britain, hereby give notice that we and our Governments do not and never have recognized Tamasese as King of Samoa, but continue as heretofore to recognize Malietoa.

We advise all Samoans to submit quietly to what they cannot help, not to fight whatever the provocation, but to await peaceably the result of deliberations now in pro- gress which alone can determine the future of Samoa.


Consul General of the United States of America.


British Pro-Consul.

Apia, Samoa, Aug. 25, 1887."

He (Mr. W. A. M'Arthur) understood the right hon. Baronet now to say that in his opinion Germany had no Mandatory power over Samoa at that time, and that no Mandatory Power was given to her. He would ask, then, why it was that three weeks or a month ago the right hon. Baronet, in an answer to a Question he (Mr. W. A. M'Arthur) had put to him as to why our Consul was not supported in the Proclamation, said that our Consul issued that Proclamation simply because he was not informed of the result of the negotiations between Great Britain and Germany?


said, that as the hon. Member was referring to an answer he (Sir James Fergusson) had given to him in the House, it would perhaps be convenient if, at this point, he were to remind the hon. Member of what that answer was. He had said that instructions had been given to Her Majesty's Representative in Samoa to observe neutrality between the German Government and Malietoa, but as it was necessary that the telegraphic message had to be forwarded by vessel from New Zealand, it did not reach him in time. He had acted on his own responsibility, and did not receive his instructions till afterwards.


said, he again thought the explanation made the case still worse. If Germany had made up her mind to make an attack on Samoa, did the right hon. Baronet mean to say that she only gave the English Government so short notice that they had no time to notify our Consul on the subject, and give him his instructions in time to prevent his taking action on his responsibility? The German squadron must have left the last port it touched at before arriving at Samoa with instructions to make war upon King Malietoa, and surely there should have been an opportunity given for an English vessel to leave simultaneously bearing information as to the exact position of affairs to the British Consul. Either Germany had acted in defiance of the feelings of England, or she had refused to give our Government notice in time to inform our Consul of what had taken place, and in either case Germany had acted in disregard of our rights and with great disrespect to this country, with whom she was supposed to be on friendly terms. To continue the narrative of what happened in Samoa. After the force of 700 men had been landed, and after the protest he had read had been written and published by the English and American Consuls, King Malietoa wrote a letter. He had fled to the bush, and information was conveyed to him that if he did not surrender himself the capital would be destroyed and his followers would be attacked. Well, he then wrote the following letter to the English and American Consuls:—

"I, Malietoa, King of Samoa, write this letter to you as I am now in great distress. When the chief Tamasese and others first commenced the present troubles it was my wish to punish them and put an end to the rebellion that they had raised. Acting, however, on the advice and under the assurances of the then British and American Consuls, I refrained from doing so. I was repeatedly told by the Representatives of the British and American Governments that they would afford me and my Government assistance and protection if I abstained from doing anything that might cause war amongst the Samoan people. Relying upon these promises I did not put down the rebellion. Now I find that war has been made upon me by the Emperor of Germany, and Tamasese has been proclaimed King of Samoa. The German forces and the adherents of Tamasese threaten to make war upon all Samoan people who do not acknowledge Tamasese as King. I am innocent of any wrongful act, and I hereby protest against the action of Germany; but as the German nation is strong and I am weak, I yield to their power to prevent my people being slaughtered. I shall deliver myself up to the German forces to-morrow to prevent bloodshed and out of love to my people. I desire to remind you of the promises so repeatedly made by your Governments, and trust that you will so far redeem them as to cause the lives and liberties of my chiefs and people to be respected. I wish to inform you that I fear that the Germans will compel me—as they are now forcing my people—to sign papers acknowledging Tamasese as King, and if I sign such papers it will only be under compulsion, and to avoid war being made on my people.


King of Samoa."

The immediate result of that appeal from the Monarch who had trusted in the word of the English and American Con- suls was this: he surrendered himself next day, was put on board a man-of-war and was deported 8,000 miles away from his own country, to the Cameroons. So far from Her Majesty's Government manifesting any interest in this Monarch, and from carrying out the undertaking given by our Consul, it was actually a fact that only six weeks ago they did not know where the German Government had carried this unfortunate King. He (Mr. W. A. M'Arthur) had already spoken of the extraordinary answer given by the right hon. Baronet as to the repudiation by this country of our Consul's Proclamation; but he believed, so far as he could gather, that the whole action of Germany in Samoa was the result of agreement between Her Majesty's Government and the German Government made at an earlier date than 1887. He was not in the secrets of the Foreign Office and was not likely to be, and therefore he had no certain information; but it certainly did appear to him that the course we had allowed Germany to pursue in Samoa was the result of an agreement entered into deliberately between ourselves and Germany in 1886, or, at any rate, at an earlier date than 1887. At that time there was a great deal of talk outside this House of the somewhat strained relations of this country and Germany on account of our policy in Egypt, and it appeared to him that a deliberate bargain was entered into between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of Germany by which this unhappy Monarch was sacrificed for the sake of keeping things straight in Europe. This was not the first time that the interests of our Colonists in Australia had been sacrificed on account of quarrels in Europe with which the Colonies had no connection whatever. They were told the Colonial Conference was consulted upon this question; but the references in the Minutes of Conference were obscure and meagre, and it was not the fact that the delegates were actually apprised of the fact of the German intervention in Samoa. The references in the Minutes were no answer whatever to the question which he had asked, which was, whether the Australian Colonies had been consulted as to whether or not Germany should be the Mandatory Power in Samoa? He did not believe they ever were consulted. There was a very strong feeling on the matter in Australia, and he believed that he would be con- firmed in that statement by all who took any interest in Australian affairs, and who watched the progress of these questions. There was a strong feeling in New Zealand on the matter, and in other parts of Australia, against the action we had permitted the German Government to take. He would like to ask another question on this point—namely, when the Mandate was presented to the Conference, and it was agreed that the Commissioners should consider the matter, why was not our Consul at Samoa advised of the opinion of Her Majesty's Government; and why was he allowed, five months afterwards, to publish this Proclamation which he had read pledging the faith of the British Government only to be told, subsequently, that he had acted on his own responsibility and without sufficient information? There was ample time to communicate with him as to the action he should take and the action which was being taken by the Government. He had said that the Australian Colonies had not been consulted. Well, neither did he believe that the American Government was consulted as regarded the abandonment of our Treaty with them, for he found a letter from Mr. Bayard, the American Secretary of State, to Mr. Pendleton, the American Minister in Berlin, in which he expressed regret that a powerful Government like that of Germany had not found it possible to take a more liberal view of the condition of Samoan life and civilization, and the unfortunate condition of the Native King, who, in regarding himself as the rightful ruler, could point in confirmation of his title to a long series of acknowledgments by all the Treaty Powers. The Secretary of State went on to say that, in the opinion of the Government of the United States, the course adopted by Germany could not be regarded as marked by that just consideration which the ancient friendship of the United States and Germany entitled the former to expect, and that the present condition of affairs in the Samoan Islands could not, in view of circumstances under which it was brought about and was still maintained, be regarded by the United States as satisfactory. So that the Government had offended the Australian Colonies, they had offended the American people, they had broken a Treaty entered into with our American Allies, they had sacrificed Malietoa, and for the sake of an advantage—he could not say what advantage, but evidently for the sake of some advantage—because he could not imagine otherwise that any English Government would have been guilty of such wholesale violation of engagements which they had entered into. He could tell the Committee, he thought, the secret of the anxiety of Germany to obtain possession of Samoa. Some years ago a largo trade was done with that Island by German traders in guns and liquor. Payment for those articles was made in grants of land. Every grant of land in that country had to be ratified by the King, and the King, finding out how these grants had been obtained, had refused to ratify any of the transfers. Why Germany wished to bring about a change in the government of the country was obvious. They wished to obtain a ratification of these grants of land, and as the King refused his consent, they espoused the cause of the rebel Tamasese, whom they appointed King in place of Malietoa, and to whom they assigned a German Prime Minister, who, of course, dictated the King's policy, being supported by 700 German troops. The legal claims of the German traders to the grants of land would, of course, be recognized, and German influence would develop until eventually the Island was annexed to Germany. So far as he (Mr. W. A. M'Arthur) was concerned, he should prefer that Germany would annex the Island at once. Every threat which might be addressed to English or other European residents in Samoa would be put down to the action or the influence of the Native King, and as having nothing to do with the German Government, whereas the person who would be really pulling the string would be the German Prime Minister, whose influence in the Island at present was absolute. If Australian interests in the Pacific were not to be supported by this country, and if the Government of this country were prepared, for the sake of European quarrels, absolutely to disregard what went on in countries close to our Australian Colonies, he, for one, failed to see any advantage to the Colonies in the Imperial connection. The Australian Colonies had stood a good deal in the past. They had been loyal; they still were loyal—there was no country more loyal on the face of the earth. They had helped us in time of war, and they were, no doubt, ready to do it again; but they, in return, did expect some little recognition of their claims upon us. How long would they continue to be loyal if the Government persisted in such a course as that they had adopted in connection with Samoa? It was a monstrous thing that the interests of all our Australian Colonies should be sacrificed for the sake of some paltry advantage which Her Majesty's Government hoped to obtain in Europe. He did not propose to move a reduction of the Vote, as he did not think it would serve any useful purpose to take a Division upon such a subject as this; but he did wish to enter his earnest protest against what he thought the most scandalous violation of an agreement and solemn pledges, entered into by a Representative of this country with a Native Monarch, against whom we had no cause of complaint that he had ever heard of.

MR. J. E. ELLIS (Nottingham, Rushcliffe)

said, he had no intention of following the hon. Member for the St. Austell Division of Cornwall (Mr. W. A. M'Arthur) into the case of the Native Potentate he had brought before the Committee. He had listened carefully to the hon. Member's lucid and forcible speech, as, no doubt, the right hon. Baronet the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs had done, and he had no doubt that the right hon. Baronet would find in that statement material that required an answer. He had been much interested in the forcible remarks that fell from the hon. Member, at the outset of his speech, as to the feelings of the Colonies on this subject, and the Government might depend upon it that the hon. Member for the St. Austell Division, in his remarks as to the feelings of the Australian Colonies, was representing a vast body of feeling, not only in the Colonies, but also in this country. Those who knew the hon. Member were aware of his close connection with Australia, and it must be obvious to all that his observations, as expressive of the sentiments of Her Majesty's Colonial subjects, were worthy of the most careful consideration. But his (Mr. J. E. Ellis's) purpose in rising this evening was rather to say a few words in endorsement of the observations which had fallen from the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere), and also in endorsement of the observations which had fallen the evening before the Whitsuntide Recess from the hon. Member for West Bradford (Mr. Illingworth), as to the general question of our foreign policy. He thought the Government could have no reason to complain of their desiring to have a clear and explicit declaration of their policy in regard to foreign affairs. During the debate on the Address, the subject was very lightly touched upon, and with that exception, and during the discussion on the Vote on Account, which the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith) had attempted so peremptorily to close, the House had had absolutely no opportunity this Session of learning from the Government their views on the question of foreign policy. He (Mr. J. E. Ellis) was one of those who was free to confess that he could not forget that the present Prime Minister was Foreign Secretary during a large part of that disastrous period from 1874 to 1880, when a Conservative Administration was in Office and commanding a majority in the House. He was willing to hope, and he believed from some murmurs which reached his ears at that moment, that some occupants of the Benches opposite looked upon the period to which he referred as a disastrous one from the point of view of foreign policy. [Cries of "No, no!"] He noticed that the hon. Baronet the Member for London (Sir Robert Fowler) dissented from this view; but he commended to his notice the words of truth and wisdom which had lately been uttered from the Mansion House by the present Lord Mayor of London. He (Mr. J. E. Ellis) was willing to believe that the policy of Her Majesty's Government was now not such as it had been between the years 1874 and 1880 He was free to confess, though sitting on those (the Opposition) Benches, that he was not particularly proud of some of the policy pursued by the Liberal Government between the years 1880 and 1885. He did not believe that their policy in South Africa and Egypt, and still more recently in Burmah, redounded to the credit of this country. One of the earliest votes he had given in Parliament was against what had taken place in Burmah, and he should be quite willing to repeat that vote if the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) were in power at this moment and were pursuing a similar policy. He maintained that not only was it necessary to ascertain from Her Majesty's Government a clear and explicit declaration of their policy with regard to foreign affairs, because the noble Marquess the present Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister (the Marquess of Salisbury) was the person who was Foreign Secretary from 1874 to 1880, but there was a special reason for this necessity just now. They had before them at the present time several Bills of a very serious character relating to the National Defences. One of them was set down for discussion on Monday next, and he did venture to assert, without for a moment going into the merits of these Bills, that it was impossible to discuss them or enter into the general discussion which they had had more than once in the House on the Motion of the hon. and gallant Member for North-West Sussex (Sir Walter B. Barttelot); it was impossible for them to deal with these matters except as the outcome and result of the declared foreign policy of Her Majesty's Government. They wanted to know what view the Government took of the means of carrying out their policy. He had listened with great pleasure to some words which had fallen from the right hon. Baronet the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Sir James Fergusson) a short time ago, when he had assured them that the Government had not entered into any engagement pledging the action of this country, which was not known to the House, and that the Government were free to deal with events as they arose and as the interests of the country might require. Those, he doubted not, were well-considered words spoken by the right hon. Baronet on behalf of Her Majesty's Government; but he ventured to press the right hon. Baronet a little further, and to ask what was the key-note of their policy with regard to intervention or non-intervention in European affairs? Of course, they were all aware that this great Empire was a member of the European family of nations, and they had no desire to shirk the responsibilities attached to that position. But he ventured to deny emphatically that we ought to consider ourselves situated like the Continental States. That was the distinction he drew. Geographically, and upon other grounds, we occupied a distinct and insular position in the great federation of nations in Europe, and the question he wished to address to the right hon. Baronet the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs was whether he agreed with that view? Did the right hon. Baronet consider that though we were a member of the European family, we were not so in the same sense as other European Powers on the Continent? Such a position carried with it grave consequences, and if they had due regard to that fact they would always find themselves upon pretty safe ground. He (Mr. J. E. Ellis) wished to recall to the House some words which were used by the noble Lord the Member for the Rossendale Division of Lancashire (the Marquess of Hartington) when he issued his Election address in 1880. The noble Lord had used some very striking language. Speaking of the power and influence of this country in March, 1880, the noble Lord had said— They are the result of a gradual but constant progress in the moral and material condition of the people, and consequent progress in the moral and material resources of the country. Every advance in the direction of civil and religious liberty, of self-government, of the freedom of the Press, of trade, and of popular education, has been a step in the growth of the true power of the Empire. Those were wise words, he ventured to say. He, for one, should stand by the words of the noble Lord which he had just quoted; and he hoped Her Majesty's Government would approve of them, and base their policy on the ideas expressed in them. He looked upon this question of foreign policy as to some extent irrespective of Party. He believed that both Parties in the past in regard to foreign policy had been sinners, and he was quite ready to support the present Government in any efforts they might make to restrain some of their more ardent followers from dangerous proposals and evil courses. He hoped, therefore, they might hear from the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs a more distinct and clear note on this subject before the Vote was taken. He thought he might say that the progress the Government would make with some Bills which would come before the House, and to which he had alluded, would be, in some degree, dependent upon the assurance the right hon. Baronet gave the Committee that the Government adhered to a policy of strict peace and non-intervention in Europe.

MR. A. E. PEASE (York)

said, that since the Papers relating to King Ja Ja, of Opobo, had been laid upon the Table of the House and presented to Members—he thought at the end of April—he had hoped to find them made matter of discussion; but there had been no opportunity up to the present for discussing the subject and bringing it before the attention of the House and the country, although it affected, as he believed, the honour of this country very deeply. It was only during the last hour or two that he had discovered that he would be in Order in raising the question of King Ja Ja, of Opobo, and especially to bring before the notice of the House the conduct of Consul Johnston on the West Coast of Africa; and, therefore, it was that he desired, to some extent, to claim the indulgence of the Committee whilst he endeavoured to bring the case of the African potentate Ja Ja before the notice of the Committee. He thought he might state, as a preliminary, that for many years past British merchants trading at Opobo and the West Coast of Africa, and having factories near to the State over which King Ja Ja ruled, had complained that that African potentate excluded white men from trading with the interior. From the correspondence that appeared in the Papers laid before the House, it was quite clear that Ja Ja admitted that he had endeavoured to prevent white men from trading without the interference of a middleman with the Natives of the interior. Ja Ja admitted, but, at the same time, it appeared that he had Treaty rights on his side, and he also pleaded that the necessities of the case obliged him to levy duties on exports from the interior, and which passed through the hands of British traders. Ja Ja's plea of necessity amounted to this—that be ruled over a poor country where there was little or no land susceptible of cultivation, and that he existed as a State chiefly by the profits which he, as a middleman, could obtain by selling products from the interior to British merchants on the coast. But Ja Ja had still stronger claims to the position which he held, and they were the Treaties which, from time to time, had been entered into with him by the Representatives of this country; and if the Committee would excuse his quoting from the Papers for a few moments, he should like to allude to some of these Treaties and negotiations entered into by this country with King Ja Ja. On January 4th, 1873, a Commercial Treaty was signed with King Ja Ja. In the first article of that Treaty were the words— In the name of Her Britannic Majesty's Government, we hereby acknowledge Ja Ja King of Opobo, and fully entitled to consideration as such.'' In the third article of the Treaty the King undertook to prevent any trading establishment or hulk being set up in or off the Town of Opobo and prevent Any trading vessel to come higher up the river than the White Man's Beach, opposite Hippopotamus Creek. The Article went on to say— If any trading ship or steamer proceeds further up the river than the creek above mentioned, after having been duly warned to the contrary, the said trading ship or steamer may be seized by King Ja Ja and detained until a fine of a hundred puncheons be paid by the owner to King Ja Ja. Now, this Treaty was signed by King Ja Ja, John E. Commerell (Commodore), and Charles Livingstone, who was then Consul. He believed that if Sir John Commerell had been in the House at this time, he would, to some extent, at any rate, have sympathised with the view which he (Mr. A. E. Pease) took on this matter, and which he believed was not confined to hon. Members sitting on that (the Opposition) side of the House. Now, at a later date, in 1884, another Treaty was entered into with King Ja Ja, and amongst the articles of that Treaty, which was submitted to King Ja Ja for his signature, was one enumerated No. 6, which contained the following provisions:— The subjects and citizens of all countries may freely carry on trade in every part of the territories of the King and chiefs parties hereto, and may have houses and factories therein. Now, Ja Ja all through had protested against the principle of Free Trade being carried into his country, and had refused to be a signatory to the Treaty if that clause were included, and it was only when that clause in the Treaty was struck out that he consented to sign the document. That Article was deleted and it then obtained the signature of Ja Ja. Further than that, he (Mr. A. E. Pease) might allude to a letter which appeared on page 29 of these Papers from Consul Hewett to King Ja Ja. In this letter the Consul says— I write, as you request, with reference to the word 'protection' as used in the proposed Treaty, that the Queen does not want to take your country or your markets. And he went on to say— She undertakes to extend her Gracious favour and protection which will still leave your country under your Government. She has no wish to disturb your rule. Further on, at a later stage of the correspondence reported here, on instructions being given at the Admiralty to hold an inquiry, the position of King Ja Ja was still further recognized in a letter written to the Admiralty in September of last year. The Foreign Office, writing to the Admiralty, says— It must, however, be borne in mind that Ja Ja refused to agree to Article 6 of this Treaty when it was negotiated, and it may be consequently inferred that he is within his rights in denying free trade to British subjects within his actual territory. That privilege, however, does not warrant him in barring the trade to the inland districts beyond his own jurisdiction, such as Ohombela. To this point the inquiry should be specially addressed. Well, he (Mr. A. E. Pease) thought the principal point to which the attention of the Committee should be directed was the action of Consul Johnston in connection with this difficulty with the King of Opobo. It was in January, 1886, that Consul Johnston first undertook his duties on that coast, and it was quite evident from the correspondence which had been submitted to the House that this gentleman undertook his duties with a decided animus against the King, because, if they turned to page 34 of the Papers, they would find Consul Johnston writing to the Marquess of Salisbury on January the 15th, the first day he arrived at Bonny on the West Coast of Africa, as follows:— I need not recapitulate the antecedents of Ja Ja; once a slave, then a trader, and lastly, a powerful chief; but I might remind your Lordship that for the last three years the arrogance of this man, who solely owes his existence and wealth to the protection of the British Government, has been sensibly increasing, so that he now affects an independence and an arbitrary rule quite at variance with the several treaties and agreements he has signed with British authorities. Vice Consul Johnston made that assertion before he had been at the place a day, and when he could not have ascertained by personal observation any of the facts of the case. It was alleged—though of this he (Mr. A. E. Pease) could not speak of his own knowledge—that Vice Consul Johnston boasted, on board the steamship Calabar, that on his arrival in this part of the world he would deport King Ja Ja. He (Mr. A. E. Pease) would not allude to the long recriminatory correspondence reported in the Papers submitted to the House, but he wished to refer to the circumstances under which King Ja Ja was deported, first to the Gold Coast and then, he believed, to an Island in the West Indies. After Vice Consul Johnston arrived on the West Coast of Africa, Ja Ja found his position worse than it had ever been under previous Vice Consuls there, through whom he had correspondence with British traders with regard to having uninterrupted concourse with the interior, so that he, King Ja Ja, undertook to send envoys to England to lay his case before Lord Salisbury. The envoys arrived in England on the 26th August, and on the 27th the deputation from Opobo wrote rather a long letter impressing the chief points of the grievances they had come to represent to Lord Salisbury. No notice apparently was taken of that correspondence for some time. The letter was written on August 27; on September 12 Vice Consul Johnston telegraphed to the Foreign Office the telegram which appeared on page 54, which was as follows:— Ask immediate permission remove Ja Ja temporarily Gold Coast. Organizes armed attacks, obstructs water ways markets. Intrigues render this course imperative. Dispatch following explanations. Ask Admiralty telegraph assistance. This telegram was received on September 12, at 3.55 p.m. Apparently no answer was sent—at any rate there was nothing to show in the Papers submitted to the House that any answer was sent to this telegram asking leave to seize King Ja Ja—but on the same afternoon, although some time had elapsed since the King of Opobo's envoys had arrived in London, a telegram was despatched from the Foreign Office to the deputation as follows:— Sir James Fergusson, on behalf of Lord Salisbury, will receive deputation at Foreign Office to-morrow at 2.30. Now, what he (Mr. A. E. Pease) wanted to impress upon the attention of the Committee was this—that Vice Consul Johnston acted on his own authority in the first instance in seizing King Ja Ja. He did not apparently at any time receive the required sanction of the Foreign Office——


was understood to dissent from the statement of the hon. Member.


said, if he was incorrect he desired to withdraw the statement, and would go straight to the case of Vice Consul Johnston's action in the matter, and he thought that it was betrayed in his despatches, which were to be found at page 51 and page 53, that he was prejudiced against King Ja Ja. He said, in a despatch to the Marquess of Salisbury, received on the 1st of December, 1887— Their trade is stopped by the machinations of one of the most grasping, unscrupulous, and overbearing of mushrooms, who ever attempted to throttle the growing commerce of white men with the rich interior. The despatch, after describing the rich interior, said— Here is the country where white men may hope to settle and enjoy good health, and it is from lands like these that runaway slaves and upstart Kings like Ja Ja are trying to keep us from penetrating lest their ill-gotten gains should be diminished. I can understand the complaints that the merchants make of the lukewarm way in which the British Government support British traders who are no longer content to sit down on the unhealthy fringe of the swampy coast, and trade in a peddling way through middlemen, but who desire to plant their establishments in the rich interior, and avoid the tax on the produce which the middlemen have hitherto imposed. I can understand these complaints; but, at the same time, I feel sure that they are unfounded; that Her Majesty's Government, so far from desiring to support Native Chiefs or usurping middlemen in their claims to close their markets to the white men, will insist uniformly on freedom of trade in all districts under Her Majesty's protection, or within the provisions agreed to at the Berlin Conference. The most humiliating incident in the conduct of the British Government or their Representatives in dealing with King Ja Ja was the arrest of his Ambassadors on their way home at the instance of the Vice Consul Johnston. He saw with regret that the sanction of the Foreign Office was given to that proceeding, which he was sure would not have been sanctioned in the case of the Ambassadors of any other Power, and was only sanctioned in this case because Ja Ja happened to be a black King. He now came to the most disgraceful of all these proceedings—namely, the seizure and deportation of King Ja Ja himself at a time when he was under the supposed protection of a safe-conduct given to him by our Vice Consul. On page 81 of the Blue Book would be found Vice Consul Johnston's own account of this transaction. The despatch, which was dated the 24th of September, said— When I returned to Opobo I took counsel with Lieutenant and Commander Pelly of H.M.S. Goshawk, and then I wrote to Ja Ja inviting him to a meeting on Monday, the 19th September. When the King was invited to meet the Vice Consul, his suspicions appear to have been aroused as to the treatment he was likely to receive, and he asked for a white man to be sent as a hostage for his safety. The despatch continued— I refused to do this: but advised Ja Ja strongly, and in his own interest, to attend the meeting, at the same time pledging myself that, whether he accepted or rejected my terms, no force should be put upon him to prevent his having the Court if he refused to submit to my proposal. He did not know what Mr. Johnston's idea of "no force" might be, or of an honourable pledge given to a Native; but he would quote his own account of the proceeding by which he entrapped the King. He said— Punctually, at 11, I entered the Court with the Commander and officers of H.M.S. Goshawk, and read aloud to Ja Ja an Ultimatum, of which a copy is inclosed. I gave him one hour for consideration; but before 10 minutes were over he sent to say he accepted my terms. In half-an-hour he had surrendered himself to Captain Pelly, and by noon he was placed safely on board H.M.S. Goshawk. His large following of people was simply stupified at their King's surrender, and, for a short time, refused to disperse. When, however, they saw him proceeding quietly on board the Goshawk, under the escort of Captain Pelly, they began to realize the situation, and all of them quietly entered their canoes and paddled back to the town. Throughout all these transactions no force whatever was used, although it was made patent to all present that the Goshawk was ready for action, and would instantly bring her guns into play if the crowd of Natives attempted any violent intervention. He (Mr. A. E. Pease) must now trouble the Committee with a few words from the Ultimatum, which, in his opinion, was a monstrous and wicked document. The Vice Consul said— I have been instructed by Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to inform you that the Government of Her Majesty the Queen has decided that you are to leave Opobo immediately, and accompany me to Accra in the British Colony of the Gold Coast. Now, the Vice Consul had not the slightest authority for such a statement as that, which was practically untrue, and the word "falsehood" was not too strong to apply to it. Let the Committee recollect the pledge given to the King that there should be no force used, and compare it with the following paragraph of the Ultimatum:— In the hope that you will see the absolute necessity of complying with the orders of the British Government, I have been instructed to invite you to surrender yourself to me in a peaceable manner, as, indeed, you would naturally do, if you were confident of your innocence of having in any way wronged British subjects or committed breaches of Treaty obligations. But should you be so misguided as to refuse to submit to the orders of the British Government it will be taken as an admission that you are guilty of the charges brought against you. I shall then proceed to use an armed force, which will mercilessly crush any resistance you may offer. You will be deposed, and tried for your misdeeds, as a common malefactor; your property will be confiscated, and your country brought to ruin by the stoppage of trade. Should you attempt to evade me by escaping into the interior you will be declared an outlaw, a reward will be offered for your capture, which will be sufficiently large to tempt the greed of your treacherous followers, and your bitter enemies among the surrounding tribes, hitherto held in restraint by the British Government, will be free to avenge on you old grievances. No man ever stood in a more critical position than you are in at the present moment, King Ja Ja. But you are still able to choose. Surrender to Accra, and you may count on receiving every consideration at my hands, and of being justly dealt with. But refuse to do so, and you leave this Court a ruined man for ever, cut off from your people and your children. I give you one hour to consider, and you will give me your answer here. If you consent to accompany me to Accra, you will be placed on board H.M.S. Goshawk, and I will give you 24 hours to make your preparations. He thought such proceedings as this towards a black King on the West Coast of Africa did not redound to the credit of the country or those at the head of affairs. He looked upon the whole of them as concerning the national honour and discreditable to the country; and, considering the manner in which the King had been entrapped—an example which ought not to have been set by the English nation—he had felt it his duty to bring these scandalous proceedings before the attention of the Committee and the country also.


said, before other hon. Members addressed the Committee he thought that he ought to reply to the various remarks that had been made on this portion of the Estimate. The Committee would, he believed, feel that he had some slight reason for complaint that matters of such importance should be introduced at a moment's notice, because his experience of the House of Commons at the present time, and in days gone by, was that really important cases should be brought forward upon Notice, especially when they were raised upon Estimates to which they did not properly belong. He believed the Committee would recognize that the question of the conduct of a Consul would properly arise upon the Consular Vote; and one hon. Member who desired to call attention to an incident relating to the Consular Service had, on his (Sir James Fergusson's) pointing out that fact, said that he would deal with it when the Consular Vote came forward. Therefore, if he should deal with the case brought forward by the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. A. E. Pease) in an imperfect manner, he hoped that it would be in the mind of the Committee that he was replying at a moment's notice. It was, of course, his duty to have knowledge of the proceedings at the Foreign Office for the last two or three years, and he hoped he should be able to satisfy the Committee that the conduct of the Consul in question had not been so bad as the hon. Gentleman had stated, and that Her Majesty's Government had had reason for supporting him in the certainly extreme course he had adopted with regard to King Ja Ja. The hon. Member had begun by saying that he would admit at once that King Ja Ja had stopped European trade in the interior of his dominions, and he said he had the excuse of poverty for doing so. But Rob Roy had, he believed, the same excuse for levying contributions on the highway at one time, although, when the country began to be regularly governed, that excuse was not admitted. [An hon. MEMBER: No, no!] At all events, poverty had not been admitted as an excuse for unlawful transactions at any time. He could not go into all the particulars of the case, but believed he should be able to give the Committee a sufficient account of it. The hon. Member had quoted a Treaty made with King Ja Ja by Consul Livingstone and Admiral (then Commodore) Commerell, whose absence they all regretted. By that Treaty, undoubtedly, Ja Ja gave free access to the Opobo markets, and probably the arrangement was the best that could be made at the time. The Committee would remember that they were endeavouring to win over the tribes to legitimate trading; and it was therefore expedient, in the early stages of such an effort, that certain Chiefs should be selected as middlemen, through whom the trade with the interior should be conducted. Ja Ja was permitted to make certain charges upon goods passing through by the Treaty of 1873; but he had not limited himself to those charges, and he had made others which he had no right to make. Those charges were declared by Lord Rosebery to amount to a violation of the Treaty, and he also decided that the King had forfeited his rights. Lord Rosebery accordingly considered that our relations with Ja Ja were limited to the Treaty of 1884, which bound him to act under the advice of Her Majesty's Consul. That was quite sufficient for the purposes of Her Majesty's Government, whose intention was to establish free trade in the interior. He might remind the Committee that the British Government were under considerable liabilities to other nations with regard to maintaining freedom of commerce with the interior. They were bound at the Congress at Berlin to establish free commerce for all nations; and he would like to ask the hon. Gentleman if he supposed that if we had permitted Ja Ja to bar the trade of British merchants the French and the Germans would have submitted to his interference? Would they have paid any regard to his pleading that he was a poor man, and had to make money as he could? He rather thought they would not admit that as a reason for denying them freedom of trade with the interior. It was quite true that Consul Livingstone and Commodore Commerell had made an arrangement with the King; but it was absolutely absurd to suppose that a Native would be allowed for all time to cut off communication with the interior; such a claim would be monstrous. Why, if we made a Treaty with a great Power, we could terminate it on giving six or twelve months' notice, and was it reasonable to suppose that we could not terminate a Treaty with King Ja Ja? The Treaty, then, had been terminated by Lord Rosebery by reason of the conditions having been broken; and that, he (Sir James Fergusson) ventured to think, was an answer to the question of the hon. Gentleman opposite. The hon. Gentleman said that if Admiral Commerell were present, he would, no doubt, sympathize with Ja Ja. He believed that many naval officers who had been on the coast would sympathize with him as a man who had been misled, and got himself into serious difficulties. He was a savage with qualities which made him popular, and probably if he had not listened to bad advice he would have remained undisturbed. Unfortunately, he received such advice; he would not listen to the warnings given by the Consul and by Her Majesty's Government, and he had declared his intention of not allowing trade with inland markets, unless it passed through his hands. Was not Ja Ja fairly warned? Could he be allowed to act in defiance of a Treaty and the Protectorate which we had established? Had he not entered into an agreement on board one of Her Majesty's ships to give free access to the upper markets, and did he not repudiate that agreement afterwards? As to the suggestion that the agreement was made under pressure, undoubtedly Her Majesty's Government would not have permitted him to stop the trade up the river; but when he had made the agreement he was bound to allow free trade up the river, and when Consul Johnston went up to open the markets he was resisted by Ja Ja's men, pelted, and threatened with sticks and firearms, and he was forced to return. The hon. Member had referred to a mission from the King; but when the son of Ja Ja was received at the Foreign Office, there was no knowledge at that Office of the out- rage which had been committed upon our Representative, and had it been known Ja Ja's messengers would not have been received in the manner in which they were received. But when the facts were known, what would have been said in this country if we had submitted to having our Consul insulted and driven back? It would have been said that the Government had shown disregard of British trade, and British prestige would have gone down on the coast of Africa. The hon. Member had said that the action of Consul Johnston was treacherous. But what treachery was there in telling Ja Ja that he was required to go on board a British ship to answer for his offences? On board he was told that on account of his failure to fulfil his engagement, and on account of the attack made upon the Consul by his orders, he was to be removed to Accra to meet an inquiry; he was told that he was free to go away; but that if he went, and if there were any attempt to resist the authority of the Consul, undoubtedly hostilities would be resorted to. What should have been the conduct of Her Majesty's Representative when he received orders, not only from Lord Salisbury alone, but also from Lord Rosebery, that he was to open up free trade by the river? Was it not the duty of the British Consul to assert the dignity and authority of the Power which he represented? Well, having summoned Ja Ja on board ship, the Consul told him that he would have to go to Accra to answer the charge against him, and that if he failed to do so he would be treated as an enemy. That was what the hon. Member called treachery; but he (Sir James Fergusson) called it plain dealing. The Consul had not promised one thing and done another. The hon. Member said also that Consul Johnston told a falsehood in saying that he had been instructed by the Secretary of State to inform the King that Her Majesty's Government had decided that he was to leave Opobo, and accompany him to Accra in the British Colony on the Gold Coast. It was true that he had not received such instructions; but he thought that he had—[Ironical cheers.]—and he had some ground for that supposition, for his instructions might well be supposed to have given him such power. Hon. Members would see that a telegram of the 12th of September contained the words—"Your proposals are approved." That message really referred to another matter; but it had crossed on the way another message from the Consul. The hon. Member had read the Papers very carefully; but he had not been able to see that the despatch might very well be considered by Mr. Johnston to be a sanction on the part of Her Majesty's Government of his direction to the King to accompany him to Accra. But the act of Consul Johnston was in full accord with the well-understood practice in these matters, as it would be seen by a despatch from Lord Salisbury of the 24th of November, in which he reviewed the whole transaction, and formally ratified his acts. The hon. Member said that Ja Ja would not have been treated in this way if he were not black. No doubt, Ja Ja was black; and if he had not been a savage and in a savage country he would have been in different circumstances; but there were also other black people in Africa. Ja Ja had not been particularly gentle in his dealings with coloured people, and in these Papers it would be seen that a case of great atrocity was recorded against him soon after he was established by Admiral Commerell. He thought he had said enough to show the Committee that Her Majesty's Government, in sanctioning the act of Consul Johnston, had done so because he had shown a strong regard for British interests and asserted British authority in a not unbecoming manner. Successive-Governments had warned Ja Ja that he was acting contrary to the Treaty which had been made with him, and that the British Government could not permit him to interfere permanently with free trade to the interior. The carrying out of the agreement that there should be free trade was resisted, the Consul being threatened and driven back by Ja Ja's Chiefs and men.

DR. CLARK (Caithness)

said, there was no evidence in the Papers that Ja Ja was responsible for the acts of these men.


said, he did not know what evidence the hon. Member wanted. There was not the slightest doubt that the men some of whose names were given were Ja Ja's men, and the action was only in conformity with his previous conduct in having first made an agreement and then repudiated it. Consul Johnston, following up the declaration of Lord Rosebery, and acting in conformity with the views of Her Majesty's Government, insisted on free trade with the interior. The hon. Member had not gone into the later stages of the affair; but he (Sir James Fergusson) wished to say that Lord Salisbury had decided that the inquiry into Ja Ja's conduct should take place, not before any Consular officer; who might be supposed to be committed to a definite line hostile to Ja Ja, but that it should be undertaken by a high naval authority—namely, the Naval Commander on the coast, who had always been supposed to hold the balance between the Consular officers, the traders, and the Natives. Admiral Sir Walter Hunt-Grubbe was considered likely to be more impartial and trusted by all parties, including the Natives than any other officer on the coast. The Committee would not, of course, suppose that the inquiry was conducted with all the forms of the Court of Queen's Bench in London; but it was conducted in a fair manner by the Admiral, who was satisfied that the main charge against Ja Ja had been proved, and, indeed, it was admitted by himself. It was, therefore, deemed advisable that Ja Ja should be removed for a time, at any rate, from the coast of Africa, where his influence was extraordinary, because it was one of those curious superstitious influences occasionally exercised by a negro over his fellows. The place where Ja Ja was to reside was St. Vincent, where the old Government House had been prepared for his reception; he would be treated with consideration, and not like a criminal, and when a settled form of government had been established in this region—he hoped before long—there would be no reason why he should not be permitted to return. If the British authority was not to be despised on the coast of Africa, it was absolutely necessary that such breaches of Treaty and such insults as had been offered to the Consul by Ja Ja should not be passed over. The hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) had expressed great distrust of Lord Salisbury's foreign policy, and was very anxious to elicit a specific declaration that the Government would not interfere in Continental af- fairs. As the hon. Member had stated that he should in no circumstances have confidence in the present Government, he was afraid, whatever declaration he (Sir James Fergusson) might be authorized to make, that he could hardly hope to secure the approval or confidence of the hon. Member. But these were grave matters, and he wished he could say that the hon. Member had dealt with them with adequate seriousness. They had often doubts of the hon. Member's motives. He (Sir James Fergusson) did not ascribe motives; but he thought that those who heard the speech of the hon. Gentleman must think that he had treated these grave matters in a tone of great levity. The hon. Gentleman went so far as to say that if there were a war between France and Germany, his sympathies would be with the Power that wished to regain Alsace and Lorraine. Those who had seriously to consider these matters looked upon a breach of the peace and a state of war between Powers of stupendous strength and enormous resources as an evil to themselves and to all other nations—an evil so terrible that they could not bring themselves lightly to talk of a breach of the peace and all the horrors of war on the Continent of Europe, and the consequent disturbance of credit and commerce all over the world. He was not going to fall into the temptation of lightly making declarations on important subjects. The hon. Member for the Rushcliffe Division of Nottingham (Mr. J. E. Ellis) had quoted a declaration which he made in the earlier part of the Session on the subject, to the effect that he (Sir James Fergusson) had told the House that Her Majesty's Government had contracted no engagement for material action that was not known to Parliament. But he had also told the Committee, in the present month, that Her Majesty's Government had made no fresh engagement since the previous declaration, and that their policy remained the same. He thought that those assurances, which were accepted by the House earlier in the Session, might suffice now, unless the hon. Member's object was not so much to elicit information as to place the Government in a difficulty. It might be a small thing for the hon. Member to place the Government in a difficulty; but it would be a very serious thing to impair the influence which the Government might possess for good in the world. [Cries of "Oh!"] Yes; he hoped that the peace of the world counted for something with hon. Gentlemen opposite. We were a great Power, and he hoped that we were respected, and that some confidence was placed in the Government by other Powers. But respect could not be felt, and confidence could not be placed in them, if they made rash declarations in reference to subjects of importance with regard to the great affairs of the world, to which affairs this country could not be indifferent, inasmuch as they were solemnly pledged to them by Treaties. In the beginning of the Session he (Sir James Fergusson) told the House that the engagements and the purposes of Her Majesty's Government were within the scope of the Treaties with other nations that were known to Parliament. He thought the House knew that there were solemn engagements to which they were parties, and therefore it could not be said that we were not concerned in the affairs of Europe. The hon. Member, and an hon. Member who followed him, had talked about the interest which Her Majesty's Government possessed in other parts of the world, and said that they ought not to be limited by Europe in their sympathies and interests. He apprehended it was the sense of the world-wide interests which the country possessed which ought to make Her Majesty's Government very careful not to make rash declarations, and that ought to make them not indifferent to the peace of the world. He would like to know how long they would retain their Colonial Empire if they had not friends in the world? An isolated position could only be maintained by an enormous expenditure on material forces. The hon. Member for the St. Austell Division of Cornwall (Mr. W. A. M'Arthur), in referring to the Samoan question, had said that the Ministry of the country should not concern themselves with European dynasties, but consider the interests of the whole of the Empire. The Colonies and our Indian Empire must naturally be of the first consideration to Her Majesty's Government; but certainly, although their affairs ought to be more prominently in their minds than those of any dynasty of Europe, it would not be for them to dictate to this country as to what its policy should be. He could well believe that there were British subjects in Samoa of the highest standing and respectability who might have suffered by what had occurred, and as far as Her Majesty's Government could control events their interests should not be neglected, and our representations to any friendly Power allied with us he was sure would command attention. He might say that the Treaty rights of this country and of British subjects were intended to be, and would be, protected. The hon. Member had referred to a guarantee which he said had been given to Malietoa. Her Majesty's Government never guaranteed any rights to that King. The hon. Gentleman said they had broken their Treaty with Samoa. They had recognized that King, and he had bound himself to govern in conformity with the usual principles of good government; but he (Sir James Fergusson) utterly denied that there was any agreement entered into with him in any way by Her Majesty's Government which bound them to offer to interfere or defend him against any Foreign Power. There were Treaties entered into with Germany, the United States, and France; but in none of these was this country bound to protect Malietoa against any other country. He was sure the House would recognize that it was not proper for us—for Her Majesty's Government at least—to comment here upon the conduct of another Government. All Governments were subject to criticism—Her Majesty's Government had been subject to criticism themselves. The German Government had a quarrel with Malietoa. They considered they had been insulted on a certain occasion—he believed on the birthday of the Emperor—by the subjects of Malietoa, and they demanded a complete apology and redress in the form of compensation for outrages committed on German subjects; and, not receiving the reparation they considered necessary, they deported Malietoa. Now there was nothing in the Agreements or the Treaties entered into by Her Majesty's Government with Malietoa which made it incumbent upon them to protect him against Germany.


said, the right hon. Baronet would forgive him for interrupting him; but it might have the effect of rendering it unnecessary for him (Mr. W. A. M'Arthur) to make a speech afterwards. He desired to say that his complaint was this—that the English Government had entered into a Convention not only with Malietoa, but with the United States and Germany also, and that that Convention was broken, because Malietoa could not do an impossibility and find a large sum of money at a few hours' notice, the result being that he was deported without a word of remonstrance from Her Majesty's Government.


said, that that Convention and the Treaties which were entered into were for the good government of Samoa, and for the safety of Europeans in that country. It must be remembered that the following of the two rival Chiefs claiming Sovereignty in Samoa were about equal in numbers, and it certainly was not incumbent upon Her Majesty's Government to guarantee the maintenance of the Sovereignty of Malietoa against Germany. When the hon. Member (Mr. W. A. M'Arthur) asserted now, as he had done on previous occasions, that there was some sort of derogation from the dignity of Her Majesty's Government in their not receiving an intimation of the intention of the German Government to require reparation from Malietoa in time to communicate with their Consuls, the Committee should consider how impossible it was for a Power, which thought it necessary to demand reparation from a Native Chief, to wait until directions bearing upon the matter were sent in course of post by Foreign Governments to their Agents abroad before taking action. It must be manifest to the Committee that if acts of war were justifiable, it was impossible for a Government who contemplated them to wait until they had warned all their friends that they found it necessary to undertake them before they commenced operations. He denied that in the removal of Malietoa from Samoa there was any breach of agreement, or any departure from engagements contracted by Her Majesty's Government. He thought that this country would have to take a great deal on its hands if it were to declare that it would protect against all the consequences of foreign war every Native State, or every State in the world with which it had a Treaty. Her Majesty's Government, he trusted, would always be faithful to their engagements. They would never shrink from any duty which they had undertaken; and, while in this case he held that they would have gone considerably beyond their duty if they had asserted any such right as the hon. Member had seemed to attribute to them, he trusted that they would never be slow to fulfil their engagements in any part of the world, where they really existed, in a manner befitting the Government of a great Power.

MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

said, it was not easy to take part briefly in a debate of this kind, on account of its wide range; but he wished to say a few words on one or two of the points raised. With regard to the most important point, that of the general relation of the European Powers to one another at this time, and the action of Her Majesty's Government therein, he thought the Committee would receive with satisfaction the assurance which he had taken down from the right hon. Baronet the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, when he said— The engagements and liabilities of Her Majesty's Government amongst European Powers at large were strictly limited to engagements already known to Parliament. He (Mr. Bryce) thought they were justified by the manner of the Under Secretary in taking those words in the full and liberal sense in which they seemed to have been used; and, taking them in that sense, he thought they must be a cause of considerable satisfaction to the Committee, and that the evening had not been misspent in eliciting such a declaration.


I beg to say that the words I used to-night are precisely the same I used on two previous occasions.


said, that although the right hon. Baronet had used some similar words on former occasions, he had qualified his words on those occasions by contexts, which contexts had, to a considerable extent, impaired the breadth, and therefore the value, of his declaration. He (Mr. Bryce) thought that he had to-night a stronger and more explicit declaration than they had ever before had from the right hon. Gentleman. The discussion had wan- dered from Europe to the West African case of Opobo, and from Opobo to Samoa and the affairs of King Malietoa. He did not propose to enter at length into these matters. They were not matters brought before the Committee with formal Notice; therefore the right hon. Baronet opposite might fairly say that he was not able to give as complete an answer as he might have done if he had had Notice of the intention of hon. Members to raise these questions in the usual way. But, taking the statement of the hon. Member for the St. Austell Division of Cornwall and the answer given by the right hon. Baronet opposite, it did not appear that Her Majesty's Government had played an altogether satisfactory part in this matter. It was perfectly true that no Treaty could be pointed to under which Her Majesty's Government were bound to protect King Malietoa against Germany; but it was plain that Treaties were entered into by this country, Germany, and the United States with Malietoa, the effect of which was destroyed by the single action of Germany. As had been stated in the course of the discussion, without that being contradicted by the right hon. Baronet the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, King Malietoa had relied upon our support, and had been, to a large extent, guided in the course he had taken by the assurances of support which he had received from our Representative in Samoa. It could not be supposed that Malietoa was a practised diplomatist and scrutinized Treaties with the carefulness which would be displayed by the right hon. Baronet himself; and, no doubt, he thought from our attitude that whilst he did not do anything to infringe the Treaties with two other Powers we would intercede for him in any difficulties he experienced, and protect him from harsh treatment. That expectation had, however, been ruthlessly disappointed. It seemed to him (Mr. Bryce) that Malietoa had been harshly treated, and that, to no small extent, because of the reliance he placed in the benevolent intentions of Her Majesty's Government; and he could not help thinking that, under these circumstances, we had played no very dignified part in allowing this unhappy King to be deported, absolutely addressing no remonstrance whatever to the Ger- man Government in regard to what had taken place. No doubt, there was a reason why the Government should not remonstrate with Germany, even if they thought the action of that country somewhat harsh. The hands of Her Majesty's Government were not clean. It would be easy for Germany to retort that Her Majesty's Government had given equally harsh and probably more unjust treatment to King Ja Ja. We had not heard Germany's side of the Samoa case, so he did not wish to speak very positively regarding it. We had heard the case made by the Under Secretary in justification of the deposition and deportation of Ja Ja; and a lame case it was. He would not go into earlier matters relating to Opobo; but he thought the story of Ja Ja's deposition was one which was not to the credit of England. He would not consider the terms of the Treaty, nor how far Ja Ja had kept those terms—although a good case might be made out on that point, because the one person in England who might be taken as thoroughly knowing the facts, and who, unfortunately, had lately ceased to be a Member of the House, was of opinion that Ja Ja had been hardly dealt with; but he submitted that unless some better defence could be made of the treatment of King Ja Ja than that which they had heard from the right hon. Baronet the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, the Committee must conclude that the fairness and consideration in dealing with Native races which ought to characterize this country had not, on this occasion, been observed, and that the great power which the British Navy exercised had been misused and the reputation of Britons for honest dealing lowered. He could not help speaking with some warmth of a matter of this kind, because it seemed to him that the stronger a country like England was, the more anxious she should be to deal in a straightforward and fair way with such weak races as those of the African Coast; and, for that reason, he could not help hoping that the opinion of the Committee would be strongly expressed, and expressed in such a way as to induce the Government to reconsider the case of King Ja Ja, and give him justice.

DR. CLARK (Caithness)

said, that if he had been astonished at the conduct of Consul Johnston, he was much more astonished to hear the statement made on behalf of the Government to-night. What he wished to point out, however, was the unfair way in which the right hon. Baronet the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs had misrepresented the facts of the case. First, in reference to the Treaty made by Commodore Commerell and Mr. Livingstone with King Ja Ja. In that Treaty King Ja Ja's right to the whole of the Opobo River markets was acknowledged, and he was permitted to prevent any trading establishment or hulk in or off the town of Opobo, or any trading vessel to come higher up the river than the White Man's Beach or Hippopotamus Creek. If any ship proceeded higher up the river than the Creek, after having been duly warned to the contrary, it was to be seized by King Ja Ja, and detained until a fine of 100 puncheons was paid by the owners. The right hon. Baronet seemed to think that the Treaty of 1884 opened up the Opobo River to all commerce; but that was a complete misunderstanding of the case. Possibly that was the intention of Consul Hewett, when he made the Treaty with King Ja Ja. King Ja Ja, however, although a black, seemed to have some knowledge of the way in which Treaties were made and kept, for he seemed to have demanded from the Consul a definition of the word "protection" contained in the Treaty. Consul Hewett, in reply, said— I write, as you request, with reference to the word 'protection,' as used in the proposed Treaty with the Queen. The Queen does not want to take your country or your markets, but at the same time is anxious that no other Natives should take them. She has no wish to disturb your rule, although she is anxious to see your country get up as well as the countries of the other tribes with whom her people have been for so long trading. That was giving Ja Ja to understand that his country was to be left to him, and that the markets and the whole condition of things was to remain as before, but that, to prevent France or Germany coning and taking the country, this country took Opobo under her protection. The right hon. Baronet the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs said it had been proved over and over again that King Ja Ja had broken his Treaties; but when he (Dr. Clark) had asked the right hon. Baronet to point out an instance in which this had occurred, the right hon. Baronet said that they would be found in the Blue Book.


I beg pardon. I said I would not go behind the late Secretary of State, who said that King Ja Ja had broken the Treaties. That will be found in the Correspondence with Lord Rosebery on the 16th of June, 1886.


said, he was not referring to two years ago, but to last year. He was referring to a charge made by the right hon. Baronet against Ja Ja, when he said that Consul Johnston had stones and sticks and mud thrown at him, and was prevented from going up the river. Did the right hon. Baronet hold Ja Ja responsible for that? If he would refer to Consul Johnston's Correspondence, he would find that King Ja Ja had no hand in it. The decision of the Judge that the Government themselves appointed falsified the statement of the Government made in the House to-night. The words of the authority to whom the subject was referred were these— It is distinctly proved, your flat denial to the contrary notwithstanding, that on the occasion of Acting Consul Johnston's visit to Azumena Creek, when his progress was barred by a boom placed across the Creek, that your men were there at the time, and, although they took no active part in obstructing the Consul, they were the reverse of friendly, jeering and laughing at him and those with him. Those who had assaulted Consul Johnston and his party shouted out that they did so by your orders. Your canoes were passing through an opening left apparently for your purposes only. That was one of the paragraphs of the decision sent to King Ja Ja. King Ja Ja denied the truth of the statements contained in this paragraph—there were two tribes of Natives quarrelling and fighting in the interior, and the difficulties encountered were owing to that circumstance, King Ja Ja's men having nothing to do with them. The Admiral who gave the decision said that Ja Ja's men were not throwing stones, although they were laughing and jeering. That was what King Ja Ja was found guilty of—of having subjects who laughed and jeered at the Consul, and of the fact that the party who assaulted the Consul shouted out that they did so by his orders. Then those who assaulted the Consul were not Ja Ja's men, and he (Dr. Clark) thought it unfair that, when their own Judge brought in Ja Ja not guilty of this outrage, the Under Secretary should charge him with it in debate in that House. The facts of the case were that half-a-dozen English merchants wanted to bull the trade, and give a low price to Ja Ja. One man refused to bull, and worked the market alone with Ja Ja, and got all the trade, and Consul Johnston became the tool of the other five firms and went to force the boom. It was not true that the Natives refused to trade. Why should they? They were all glad to trade. There was any amount of competition, and all that was wanted was that a few English firms should not be allowed to swindle Ja Ja. Ja Ja was opposed to these firms, and the Acting Consul took their part, and invited the unfortunate King to come and talk to him in a friendly fashion—he invited him to come on board a British vessel, and then informed him that if he did not agree to the terms submitted to him he would be shot down with his people. They had deported this unfortunate Monarch and sent him to the West Indian Islands. This matter would be returned to again when the salary of Acting Consul Johnston was under consideration. With regard to the case of King Malietoa, there was one thing the right hon. Baronet had forgotten, and that was the Proclamation issued by the British and American Consuls. He did not know whether the right hon. Baronet had seen it; but, according to the official action of the British as well as the American Consul, this country still looked upon Malietoa as King of Samoa. The Proclamation issued, and signed by our own Consul and the Consul of the United States, was in these terms—


"Whereas the Government of Germany has this day proclaimed Tamasese King of Samoa.

"Now, therefore, we, the undersigned Representatives of the United States of America and Great Britain, hereby give notice that we and our Governments do not, and never have, recognized Tamasese as King of Samoa, but continue as heretofore to recognize Malietoa.

"We advise all Samoans to submit quietly to what they cannot help, not to tight, whatever the provocation, but to await peaceably the result of deliberations now in progress, which alone can determine the future of Samoa.


Consul General of the United States of America,


British Pro-Consul.

"Apia, Samoa, August 25, 1887."


said, he did not wish to detain the Committee, but he wished to say just one word in regard to King Ja Ja. He could not but think that King Ja Ja had received from Consul Johnston very harsh treatment. He was glad to see the right hon. and learned Member for East Denbighshire (Mr. Osborne Morgan) in his place, because he thought he was a Member of the Government of 1880, and would, perhaps, be able to say something with regard to their action in the matter, although he himself was not officially connected with this subject in that Government. The right hon. and learned Gentleman would correct him if he (Sir Robert Fowler) was wrong; but he was rather inclined to believe that the Government of 1880 had not a very favourable opinion of King Ja Ja, and there could be no doubt, as his right hon. Friend the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs had said, that Lord Rosebery, in the last Government, had written a very strong despatch on the affairs of King Ja Ja, and therefore he thought the present Government had only been acting on the views of those who went before them. It was only natural that Consul Johnston should think, in the course he was taking, that he was supported by successive Governments on both sides of the House. In spite of that, however, he (Sir Robert Fowler) could not but think that the course Consul Johnston had taken had been a very harsh one—it was a very harsh course towards one who had been for many years an Ally of the British Government, and whose security had been guaranteed by British officers who had been in command on the coast. Consul Johnston's conduct would be open to investigation later on, when they came to consider the Consuls' salaries; and, although that question was not now before them, he must say that he thought it might be a harsh thing to cut down the salary of a gentleman representing British interests in a distant and one of the most pestilential parts of the world it was possible to conceive, in consequence of what had been done; but the matter was one for discussion. All he (Sir Robert Fowler) wished to say was, that Consul Johnston was guilty of a very harsh measure, and to express a hope that in any course the Government took in the future they would give every consideration to the case of the unfortunate Potentate Ja Ja.


said, he did not intend to delay the Estimate for any length of time, but merely wished to bear testimony to the impartial and moderate statement of the case of Malietoa, set forth by the hon. Member for the St. Austell Division of Cornwall (Mr. W. A. M'Arthur). He (Mr. Henniker Heaton) was in Australia when this occurrence took place, and he, therefore, was in a position to state that the hon. Member's account set forth accurately the facts of the case. But it should be borne in mind that there was a scramble going on at that time for the various Islands of the Pacific. Seeing how badly Samoa had been treated by Germany, the British Government might with wisdom have taken a different course from that which they had adopted; and when history came to deal with the scramble for these Pacific Islands, the action of England with regard to Samoa, as in the case of New Guinea—in connection with which Germany also played an important part—would not appear in a very favourable light. The point on which he (Mr. Henniker Heaton) wished more particularly to confirm the statement of the hon. Member for the St. Austell Division of Cornwall was as to the way in which the Australian Colonies had been treated. Every step which we had taken in regard to these Islands had been taken without consulting these Colonies in the way in which he thought they ought to be consulted when important matters of this kind arose. He would have an opportunity later on, under the Colonial Office Vote, of referring to these matters, and he would content himself now with merely saying that the present position of this country in relation to the Australian Colonies on subjects of this kind was one which deserved immediate consideration. He protested against great annexations being permitted in the Pacific without consulting the Australian Colonies, and must declare that, unless a different course of action was pursued than that to which attention had been called to-night, we should very soon part company with the Australian Colonies, although he very much regretted that he should have to make any such announcement. He had nothing to add to what had already been said, and would only again repeat his belief that a large portion of the inhabitants of Australia were of opinion that this country had acted very badly towards King Malietoa in this matter.

MR. OSBORNE MORGAN (Denbighshire, E.)

said, he felt it necessary to make some reply to the challenge which had been thrown out by the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Henniker Heaton). He could only say that during the time Earl Granville was at the Colonial Office and he (Mr. Osborne Morgan) was acting under him, on every question in which any of the Australian Colonies were in the slightest degree interested, they made a point of consulting the wishes of that Colony. He defied the hon. Member to point to a single instance where they had failed to do so.


Might I point out——


Order, order! The subject is not appropriate to this Vote.

MR. ANDERSON (Elgin and Nairn)

said, he should like to take the sense of the Committee upon the course taken by the Government in relation to King Ja Ja. He did not think a more important question had been brought before the Committee or the House for some time. He did not wish to occupy the time of the Committee by going into the Consular question, as that would be discussed fully when it arose; but he desired to treat of the course taken by Her Majesty's Government in regard to King Ja Ja. What the right hon. Baronet had said, as he understood it, was this—that King Ja Ja was a kind of Rob Roy, that was to say a freebooter; but the right hon. Baronet forgot that this King had a solemnly signed Treaty with Her Majesty's Government. This poor man's only offence was that he desired to abide by that Treaty. He was not allowed to do that, however. The right hon. Baronet said that King Ja Ja had committed breaches of the Treaty, and it was said that Lord Rosebery had admitted that. Well, suppose Lord Rosebery had admitted it, did the King by that course deserve the treatment which he had received? Was it for a moment to be tolerated that a King—a petty King if they liked, but still a King—because he had committed a breach of Treaty, was to be taken out of the country and banished to some wretched island a long way from his friends? That was what he desired to emphasize by taking a Division upon this question, and he thought it his duty to do this in order to give those hon. Members who desired to do so an opportunity of expressing their dissent from such a course as that being pursued. He looked upon the course which the Government had adopted with great aversion, as he knew it to be one which they would never have adopted with regard to any Power which could assert itself. When a Treaty was broken by any first or second-rate Power no such course as this was adopted. The King broke a Treaty, was entrapped on board a man-of-war, and was compelled to sign an abrogation of a Treaty under pressure, and was then taken out of the country altogether. He was sorry to hear that any English Government attempted to justify such a course of action as that. So far from the right hon. Baronet the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs being taken by surprise in this matter, he (Mr. Anderson) did not think any such thing had happened. Strong representations as to the action of the Government had come, not only from the Opposition, but also from the other side of the House. He had heard with some pleasure the statement of the hon. Baronet the Member for London (Sir Robert Fowler), who evidently disapproved of the course which had been taken; and he (Mr. Anderson) had every reason to believe that they would have heard similar expressions of disapproval from the gallant Admiral whose name had been very frequently mentioned in the course of this debate (Admiral Commerell) if he had been any longer in the House. They all regretted the absence of the gallant Admiral at this moment—the Government had the very keenest reason for regretting his absence. He (Mr. Anderson) could not help thinking that the gallant Admiral would think that the Treaty he had signed on behalf of Her Majesty's Government had been broken, and that it had been followed up by reprehensible conduct on the part of Her Majesty's Government. He begged to move the reduction of the Vote by £500.


That was the amount of the reduction last moved, and the hon. and learned Member, therefore, must move another.


I would move the reduction of the Vote by £1,000.

Motion made, and Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £45,073, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Anderson.)

The Committee divided:—Ayes 62; Noes 111: Majority 49.—(Div. List, No. 118.)

Original Question again proposed.


said, that when the right hon. Gentleman (Sir James Fergusson) was speaking just now, he reminded him of one of those abject Roman Senators who were ready to regard their Emperor as a god. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to imagine that Lord Salisbury was so wise and so experienced a statesman—[Ministerial cheers]—that so long as he condescended to take into his hands the conduct of our foreign affairs Parliament was to abdicate its duties, and that, in fact, anyone who ventured to ask even a question as to what was taking place between our Foreign Office and foreign countries was guilty of unbecoming levity. He perfectly understood the cheers which rose from the other side when he mentioned the eminent wisdom of Lord Salisbury. Hon. Gentlemen were perfectly justified in entertaining that opinion; but it might surprise them to know that many Members on the Opposition side, and a very considerable number of people outside, did not share their estimate of Lord Salisbury. Hon. Members sitting round him considered it to be the duty of Members on the Opposition side to inquire as often as they possibly could into the acts of his Lordship in regard to foreign countries. Now, the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Sir James Fergusson) said that our engagements and liabilities were limited to those already known to Parliament. An hon. Friend of his (Mr. Labouchere) had said that the right hon. Gentleman was more specific upon this occasion than he had been on previous inasmuch as he had not made any of those limitations he had made on other occasions. But if our engagements and liabilities were limited to those already known, why was the right hon. Gentleman not prepared to produce the Correspondence which had taken place? Most unquestionably there was correspondence; most unquestionably there were negotiations. In fact, the right hon. Gentleman admitted it, because, on a previous occasion, he said that negotiations were going on, but he would not produce the Correspondence. He (Mr. Labouchere) presumed that the negotiations were now over, and still the right hon. Gentleman declined to produce the Correspondence. Quasi-official organs of Austria and Germany, which probably had the opportunity which hon. Members had not had of seeing something of the negotiations, took a directly contrary view to that which was stated by the right hon. Gentleman. They considered that we had given pledges; they did not consider that we had limited our engagements and liabilities to those already known to Parliament; they held there were more; and surely if there was this difference of opinion between the right hon. Gentleman speaking in Parliament and the organs of the Austrian and German Governments speaking to the people of their respective countries, hon. Members of the House ought to have the Correspondence before them, in order to form their own conclusions, whether or not there had been these limitations to the existing Treaties. He could not understand why the right hon. Gentleman would not let them see the Correspondence. Let it be remembered that the negotiations were undertaken with three Governments on the Continent, and that they were carefully kept away from two other Governments on the Continent, although we were on terms of amity with all the five Governments. There must be some reason why the right hon. Gentleman would not produce the Correspondence, and the reason was offered that the right hon. Gentleman did not dare to produce it, because he was afraid of the public opinion which would rise in this country, or because he was afraid of the public opinion which would rise in France and in Russia. The right hon. Gentleman was indignant with him (Mr. Labouchere) because he had ventured to say that in the event of war between France and Germany his (Mr. Labouchere's) sympathies would be on the side of France. His sympathies would be on the side of France; but he did not ask that the right hon. Gentleman's sympathies should be on that side. On the contrary, he knew perfectly well the right hon. Gentleman's sympathies, and the sympathy of all his Colleagues, would be against Republican France, and in favour of Monarchical Germany. Lately the right hon. Gentleman and Her Majesty's Government had inflicted what he might term a deliberate insult upon France. As the Committee was aware, in 1889 there was to be a Universal Exhibition in France. This Exhibition happened to be fixed for the same year which was the centenary of the taking of the Bastille; and because of that the right hon. Gentleman said that although we were represented at the Exhibition when there was an Emperor in France, we were not to be represented officially on the present occasion by a Royal Commission. When they discussed that a little while ago the right hon. Gentleman put the matter upon the ground that a difference of opinion existed in France in regard to the advantage to the country of the taking of the Bastille, He (Mr. Labouchere) would like to know who entertained any doubt that the taking of the Bastille was an unmixed blessing to the people of France? Did the Bonapartists? The Bonapartists certainly did not. Did the Orleanists? Certainly they did not. Did the Republicans? Most assuredly they did not. The fact was that the right hon. Gentleman would have, in order to find this difference of opinion, to run about the Faubourg St. Germain, where possibly he might find some fossils ready to deny the advantages to the country of the taking of the Bastille. He (Mr. Labouchere) thought there was hardly a man in France who would say that the taking of the Bastille was not one of the most glorious events in French history. It was quite distinct from some atrocities which took place in the French Revolution. Burke, Pitt, and Fox, gloried in the taking of the Bastille, and regarded it as a great advantage to the human race. The right hon, Gentleman was bound to tell them from whence he derived the information that we ought not to take part in the forthcoming Exhibition, because it happened to be fixed for the year which was the centenary of the taking of the Bastille. Let him say from whom he derived the information that there was a difference of opinion in France in regard to the result of the taking of the Bastille. He (Mr. Labouchere) had always understood that we derived the public opinion of the country from the Government of the country. In this particular case, the Government of the country were the authors and projectors of this Exhibition, and they had coupled it with the taking of the Bastille; and yet, notwithstanding, the right hon. Gentleman and his Colleagues absolutely ignored the Government of France, and went back and said there was a difference of opinion existing in the country in regard to the event to be commemorated. But the right hon. Gentleman did not go so far as the Hungarian Prime Minister, who, encouraged, no doubt, by the attitude of Her Majesty's Government, denounced France the other day on account of having an Exhibition the same year as the centenary of the taking of the Bastille, and he said that he did not believe that Hungarian goods would be safe in France. The right hon. Gentleman and his Colleagues had joined in that Boycotting of France, and it seemed to him (Mr. Labouchere) perfectly monstrous that the right hon. Gentleman should get up in his place and say—"We do not wish to interfere in any sort of way in the internal affairs of other countries, but wish to be at peace and amity with the whole of the world, and we hope and desire that peace will continue in Europe," and should at the same time inflict this uncalled for insult on the French nation, who ought to be more than any other nation in Europe our friends and allies. He hoped the Committee would receive some clear indication from the right hon. Gentleman as to from whom he derived the information that there was a difference of opinion in France as to the benefit to the country of the taking of the Bastille.

THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)

said, he wished to put it to the Committee whether it was at all desirable that the debate which had been raised by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) should be continued? The hon. Gentleman had made the statement that it was the desire and intention of Her Majesty's Government to Boycott the Government of France. He (Mr. W. H. Smith) wished to state most explicitly that that was a sentiment which had found no expression whatever in France itself. The French Government was a friendly Government in every sense of the word, and they had received the expressions of opinion which Her Majesty's Government in regard to the forthcoming Exhibition had thought it right to make with perfect amity and good feeling. There had been no remonstrances of any kind whatever, and he protested against language being used in the House which would tend to raise unfriendly feeling between this country and the Government of France, with which Her Majesty's Government desired to remain on the most friendly and cordial terms. The hon. Gentleman had thought it right to refer to a remark which fell from the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Sir James Fergusson) with regard to the course pursued by the Government respecting the peace of Europe. The Government had nothing whatever to add to, or to retract from, the statement they had made. Throughout the whole of the negotiations the aim of the Government had been to maintain the peace of Europe and the peace of the world. The aim of the Government was to respect the Treaties by which this country was bound, and which had been communicated to the House of Commons, and which were known to the House of Commons. They had not added to the obligations of the country, and they held that it would be most unpatriotic either to excite hostile feeling between Germany and France by any such language as the hon. Gentleman had thought it right to indulge in to-night, or to do anything which would tend to impair that peace which it was the greatest interest of this country, and which he believed to be the greatest interest of Europe to preserve. There were undoubtedly dangers abroad in Europe; but any man who had really the interests of humanity at heart would hesitate to increase those dangers by the use of any language which would tend to bring about the greatest calamity which could befall the human race—a great war between two powerful nations. He strongly deprecated the language which the hon. Gentleman had thought it right to use in regard to both France and Germany. They were both friends; they were both allies of this country; they were countries with whom Her Majesty's Government desired and hoped to remain on terms of perfect amity, and any effort they could make to maintain peace between those two great Empires it would be the duty and the pleasure of any Government holding Office in this country to make.


said, the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith) protested against the language of the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere), on the ground that it was likely to raise unfriendly feeling in France. He would like to ask what was more likely to raise unfriendly feeling in France than the conduct of Her Majesty's Government in respect to the courteous invitation addressed to them by the French Government to take part in the forthcoming Exhibition? Let him point out to the Committee that the ground on which the Government based its churlish refusal to accept the invitation was not that given officially by the French Government for the holding of the Exhibition. He was bound to admit that the beginning of the whole of this business was to be traced to the last Liberal Government of this country. Lord Rosebery set a very bad example, for, instead of accepting the invitation, he instructed his Ambassador to find out whether it was the fact that the Exhibition was meant to celebrate the French Revolution, and then to find out whether any official documents could be found bearing out such an intention. Since then a distinct invitation had been addressed to Lord Salisbury in which not one word was said about the French Revolution; and, therefore, on Lord Salisbury and his Government alone rested the responsibility of the refusal, and with it all the consequences which that refusal might have upon the friendly feeling between France and this country. What had the Government done? The invitation of France had been addressed to all the other countries. The Continental despotisms had refused the invitation; the one free country in the world which was fit to rank with this country, the kindred people on the other side of the Atlantic, had accepted the invitation. He happened to be in Washington only a short time since, when the Senate of the United States passed a Resolution granting a large sum in aid of the American contribution to the Exhibition—he believed that sum amounted to between 250,000 and 300,000 dollars. He complained that the right hon. Gentleman and his Colleagues, instead of ranging themselves with the free Republic of the United States, had ranged themselves with the Continental despots of Europe. Before he sat down, he wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Sir James Fergusson) a question with reference to one item in the account. The Committee would observe that year after year enormous sums were voted for the clerks not only of this Department, but of all Departments; and he thought it was a scandal to the Committee that it should submit year after year to the enormous exactions on the part of the bureaucracy which really governed this country. In this case there was a Permanent Under Secretary of State, receiving a salary of £1,500, and he believed that gentleman was paid an allowance for receiving affidavits in regard to the distribution of the Secret Service Money. There was an Assistant Under Secretary receiving £1,500 a-year; there was another Under Secretary receiving £1,500 a-year; there was a Chief Clerk who was paid £1,250; and there were five clerks getting £1,000 a-year each. The question he wished to ask had reference to the salary of the gentleman who was called Chief Clerk. He dared say the point had been explained before, and if he was putting a question which had already been answered the responsibility must rest with those who prepared the Estimates, and who had not prepared them in a way which was intelligible to hon. Members. The Chief Clerk received £1,250 a-year, but at the foot of the Estimate there was a note to the effect that he also received nearly £800 a-year for compensation on abolition of Foreign Office Agencies, provided in Class VI. He (Mr. Robertson) had looked through Class VI., and he did not find any explanation of what Foreign Office Agencies were. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would explain what it was, and why it was that the Government continued to pay the Chief Clerk this enormous sum in addition to his regular salary?


said, that now they had got the details of this Vote, he should like to ask why the Permanent tinder Secretary to the Foreign Office should be in receipt of £300 in connection with the Secret Service Fund? The Secret Service Fund was distributed by the Foreign Office, the Colonial Office, the Home Office, and, of course, a large portion of it went to Ireland. They did not find that the Permanent Under Secretary for Ireland, or the Permanent Under Secretary to the Colonial Office, or the Permanent Under Secretary to the Home Office received any allowance for their share in the administration of the Secret Service Fund. All that the Permanent Under Secretary to the Foreign Office did in connection with the Fund was to receive certain affidavits or papers from diplomatic officers as to the amount of money they had issued in connection with their secret and not always very presentable services. He supposed that an hour or two hours in the year would be quite sufficient for all the work that this worthy official had to do for his £300. The Chief Secretary for Ireland, who drew from the Foreign Office if he was in want of more money for Secret Service in Ireland, had a great deal more to do in the way of instructing detective officers than all the staffs of the Ambassadors abroad put together, and what justification there could be for this charge of £300 he (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) could not understand. Then, again, if hon. Members would look at page 109 of the Estimates they would see that the present Foreign Secretary had a Private Secretary with £300 a-year. But the present Foreign Secretary was also Prime Minister, and on the very same page there was a further entry showing that the Private Secretary to the Prime Minister received £400 a-year. Besides the Private Secretary to the Prime Minister there was an Assistant Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, and he was paid £250 a-year. Perhaps the right hon. Baronet would offer some explanation as to the arrangement respecting these Private Secretaries. There was another point upon which he had a few observations to make. There was, he believed, some nine, 10, or 12 legal appointments in the gift of the Foreign Office. They were abroad, principally in countries where Consular jurisdiction was exercised. He was informed that these appointments were given away on the recommendation of Members of the House of Commons, or other influential persons. The question he wanted to ask was, what was the gauge of qualification, or what circumstances were looked into in order to test the fitness of the men appointed to these places? He mentioned this, because at present he had before his mind the case of the appointment of a gentleman who was certainly nominally a barrister, because he had been called to the Bar, but who, he did not think, had ever been in a Court of Law in his life, and who certainly never heard an action proved. This gentleman was appointed to be a Judge in a very important city in the East with about £1,000 a-year. This was one example of the style of appointment which was made by the Foreign Office in places where Consular jurisdiction existed. Many men appointed possessed qualifications of the most meagre description for the posts they occupied. Was there any standard of qualification required; was it necessary that a man should show that he had been called to the Bar a certain number of years; was it necessary that he should show that he had had any practice, or was it a mere question of favouritism? Was it the fact that political supporters were recompensed by the appointment of relatives or friends to posts for which, in most cases, they were absolutely unfit?

MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)

said, that perhaps it would be convenient, before the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Sir James Fergusson) replied, that he (Mr. Conybeare) should refer to the question of the French Exhibition. Still, if the right hon. Gentleman preferred to answer hon. Gentlemen now, he (Mr. Conybeare) would postpone his observations. He was bound to say that the action of Her Majesty's Government, in reference to the proposed French Exhibition of next year, was the most Pecksniffian proceeding of all the Pecksniffian proceedings on the part of the Government. He did not know what reason or explanation Her Majesty's Government proposed to give; certainly the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith) had not condescended to give any reason at all. The probability was that if they pressed the Government they would get two or three reasons assigned; but, at present, no reason at all likely to enhance the position of this country in the opinion of civilized countries, which they were assured by the Government and their supporters was their one aim and ambition, had been assigned for the conduct of the Government. This was simply a question of carrying out a series of Exhibitions which had taken place in France periodically. He (Mr. Conybeare), at any rate, remembered the French Exhibition of 1867; there was an Exhibition in 1878; and now, in the natural sequence and order of things, came an Exhibition in the year 1889. It, no doubt, happened to be a coincidence that 1889 was the centenary of the taking of the Bastille, and the Government chose to make this an excuse for directly insulting and affronting our neighbours across the Channel by refusing to do what, he believed, we had never refused to do before—namely, to take such measures as we wished with the view of having this country properly and adequately represented at the Exhibition. Now, he did not base his arguement for interrogating the Government on this point, merely on the question of the insult or otherwise which appeared to be, and which, as he and his hon. Friends contended, was, by the action of the Government offered to our neighbours in France. But he reminded Her Majesty's Government, and especially the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith), who, he noticed, having fired his exceedingly potent shot, had retired from his place, that the proceeding of the Government might have a serious effect upon our trade. We had heard Her Majesty's Government more than once already that evening dilate with excessive eloquence upon the great interests of this mighty Empire, and of the duty of looking to the trade interests of this country. Therefore, he asked them to consider seriously whether it was not possible that we should be, by this foolish proceeding of refusing to have anything to do with the Exhibition of 1889, doing considerable injury to the trade of this country? He should have thought we had already done enough in that direction this Session by imposing the Wine Duties, which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) had argued were more than likely to result in reciprocal duties being imposed in France. It was perfectly well known that, oven supposing that a nation like the French chose to associate this great international affair with a particular epoch of their own history, its primary intention and object was to bring together the exhibits of all nations of the earth, and that it was by bringing together in friendly rivalry the commercial princes of the world, and inducing the great manufacturers of this country, as well as of all other countries, to place themselves side by side, and to emulate one another in the beauty and excellence of their exhibits, that we must look for success in the competition which was so prevalent among all the nations of the earth. It was on this account that he urged the Committee to consider carefully whether we were not really doing far more harm to ourselves in the matter of trade alone than we possibly did injury to the French by any petty and wretched jealousy or political feeling which seemed to have been imported into this matter, if we continued to refuse to take our proper position, and share, as a great nation, in the forthcoming International Exhibition. His hon. Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) had ventured to assert, to the great indignation of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith), that in this proceeding the Government had Boycotted the French. If that were so, it was a very unfair proceeding, because there appeared to be some ground for asserting that the French themselves were not very much supported by other countries in the world; and if we were to take the opportunity, when one country was standing more or loss isolated, to kick or otherwise insult her, it certainly did not square with our ideas of fair play or international comity. But if it was the case that the Government had in this way deliberately Boycotted the French, it did not seem to him that it was at all inconsistent with their general policy, or even with their private practice, because the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, who was so eloquent in denouncing the hon. Member for Northampton for suggesting that he (Mr. W. H. Smith) was capable, as a Member of the Government, of Boycotting France, was himself guilty of Boycotting his poorer neighbours on his own estate at Henley. He (Mr. Conybeare) maintained that that was an attempt to deprive the country of its proper position in connection with the proposed International Exhibition, and that at this moment it was exceedingly foolish and exceedingly out of place, because we were ourselves now—or, at least, a great many of the people of the country were—preparing to celebrate, on a large scale, a great triumph and a great feat of arms and a great moral victory in the history of our country. He referred to the proposed demonstration later on in the year in respect to the defeat of the "Invincible Armada." If we chose to celebrate in this fashion a great historical event, he wanted to know why we should Boycott the French because they chose to celebrate in their fashion an equally great and an equally glorious event in their history; an event, too, not altogether unimportant to us, inasmuch as all the modern liberty which we now enjoyed dated from the destruction of the Bastille in 1789. [Laughter.] Hon. Members opposite laughed; but he supposed that the real fact was that they did not know enough about their history to prevent them falling into the confusion of mind which seemed to have settled down on the Front Treasury Bench; because it was perfectly evident that if the motive which had been assigned for this most extraordinary action on the part of Her Majesty's Government were a true one, and they refused to have anything to do with the proposed Exhibition because of the events which succeeded the Revolution of 1789; they were mixing up the events which took place a few years after 1789 with what happened in that year itself. There was nothing whatever that the greatest purist in political matters could object to in the events which took place in 1789—there was the destruction of the Bastille, which he did not think even hon. Gentlemen opposite really disapproved of. All the legislation which took place after the razing of the Bastille in 1789 was legislation of the most beneficial kind, and it was not until France had been surrounded by enemies, it was not until she had been goaded into fury by attacks made by Tories of this country, and by the despots of other countries in Europe, that any atrocities took place, that any of those massacres which sent a thrill of horror through every civilized country in the world, occurred. Those massacres, however, had nothing whatever to do with the glorious Revolution which took place in 1789, and it was the merest humbug to object to taking our part—which as a nation we were entitled to take—in the celebration of the year 1789, simply because, in the year 1791 or 1793, other matters took place which had nothing whatever to do with the year 1789. He supposed that the real reason of the refusal was that this Government, with the most pharisaical and canting spirit, desired to dissociate itself from anything which savoured in the very least of Republicanism. He supposed they would have their day; but they who had the advantage of sharing, at any rate, the hon. Gentleman's views—all those who believed in Republicanism—hoped, one of these days, to have an opportunity of celebrating in this country a festival of Republicanism. [Laughter.] That seemed a ridiculous suggestion to hon. Gentlemen opposite; but he did not suppose their historical studies had carried them so far back as to cause them to have any knowledge of the glorious Revolution of 1688.


Order, order! I beg that the hon. Gentleman will be a little less discursive, and that he will keep to the question before the Committee.


said, it was quite true that the interruptions from hon. Gentlemen opposite had led him a great deal away from his text, but now the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr.W. H. Smith) had returned to his place, he would just like to refer to one argument which the right hon. Gentleman used. The right hon. Gentleman complained in a frantic, irate tone that hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition side of the House were raising unfriendly feelings in France, and that they were sowing discord between this country and France and other civilized countries in Europe. It was nothing of the kind; their argument was that the Government by their action had not only lowered this country considerably in the estimation of France and of other countries, but that by deliberately offering what they considered to be an insult to the dignity of France, they had gone very much further in the direction of raising unfriendly feelings towards ourselves in France than other hon. Members could do by any amount of debating in the House. It was just as absurd to argue that they, by the attitude they were taking in this matter, were in danger of sowing seeds of discord between ourselves and France, as it would be for the right hon. Gentleman to argue that, because they were constantly in that House raising their voices against the coercive tyranny of the Government in Ireland, they were tending to cause separation or alienation between Ireland and this country. He sincerely hoped that if his hon. Friend proposed to press this matter to a Division they would be able to show that, at any rate, there were in the House more than a few who were determined not to allow an insult of this kind to pass without entering their protest against it, and who were sufficiently anxious for the dignity of the country, and sufficiently anxious to protect the trade interests of the country, to insist that both one and the other were being wilfully thrown away and endangered by this foolish action on the part of the Government.

MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

said, that before the Committee passed the Vote which he ventured to hope the Committee would now proceed to do, he would like to say one word in regard to the remarks which had just fallen from his hon. Friends below the Gangway. Without entering into the Question whether the Government had been well advised or not in the action they had taken in regard to the French Exhibition, he might say, having observed as far as possible how the matter was received in France, that he had not observed any display of indignation in France, and that if them was any ill-feeling existing between this country and France, which he hoped was not the case, no part of that ill-feeling was in the least due to any action of the Government in this particular matter. He further desired to say that he did not think the general feeling in any part of this House, or in any Party in the country, was that Her Majesty's Government had shown undue partizanship in any question arising between the Powers of Europe, or had shown any unfriendliness towards any one of the great Powers. It would be a serious matter for this country if, at a moment like this, when the situation was full of tension, we were to forfeit the position of conciliatory detachment it held in the councils of Europe by the display of any unfriendliness towards any one of the different Powers. Without agreeing in many respects with the policy which the Government had taken up, he thought they might acquit them of any charge of that kind, and he believed the Government desired, as far as possible, to be on friendly terms with the French Government.


said, that the hon. and learned Member for Dundee (Mr. E. Robertson) had asked him to explain the extra receipts of the Chief Clerk. The Chief Clerk received a sum as compensation for the abolition of his office as one of the Foreign Office Agents. He remembered that in a debate which took place many years ago, Lord Palmerston and Lord John Russell strongly defended these Agencies; but in later years opinions changed, and in 1878, he thought, they were abolished, and superannuation allowances were given to the holders of the offices on a somewhat lower scale than was usually given to public servants on abolition of their appointments. Then, as to the addition to the salary of the Permanent Under Secretary in respect to his duties in connection with the Secret Service Fund, the matter had been very often discussed in the House. As a matter of fact, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone), in 1871, stated, in reply to a similar question, that it was necessary to have a responsible official to discharge these duties connected with the Fund. The allowance then was £500 a-year, but an arrangement was made that on the accession of a new incumbent to the office, it should be reduced to £300, at which sum it now stood. The hon. Gentleman the Member for East Donegal (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) had referred to certain legal appointments in the gift of the Foreign Office. The matter did not properly arise on this Vote; but he could say, speaking only for the present time, that very great care was taken in the selection of the men to fill these appointments. He could not say what was done in former times; but those only were now appointed who were properly qualified to discharge the duties of the office.

MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)

said, that the question asked was, why the Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Office should receive £300 a-year in respect to the distribution of the Secret Service Fund, while other officials also charged with that distribution had nothing?


said, that similar officials in other Departments had no Secret Service Fund to distribute.


said, that it had been given in evidence before the Public Accounts Committee that the officials of the Irish Office, the Colonial Office, and other Public Offices had to do with this distribution.


said, that the Home Office had certainly to do with the Secret Service Fund, and they had had explanations given why it was increased last year.


said, that there was no officer in the Public Service who was charged with the same responsible duties in respect to the Secret Service Fund as the Permanent Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs.


asked, if the right hon. Gentleman meant to say that this official regulated the distribution of the Secret Service Fund?


said, that the gentleman did nothing of the kind; but his duties were such as to necessitate special remuneration. The fact had been recognized by successive Governments, although, as he had said, the salary had been reduced.


said, that the fact of the salary having been supported by previous Governments was no answer at all. The question was, was there any duty done for this payment? And the answer of the Government was that the official was charged with no kind of duty in the distribution of the money. If that was so, he ought not to receive the £300 a-year.


thought he could explain the matter. This money was originally paid out of the Secret Service Money itself, but eventually it came before the notice of a Committee, and then it was considered desirable to charge the amount on the Estimates. As a matter of fact, the right hon. Gentleman (Sir James Fergusson) would excuse him for saying that the Permanent Under Secretary had really nothing to do with the Fund. The Secret Service Money was paid abroad at the different Embassies, and the accounts were sent to the Foreign Office. Perhaps there was some little auditing on the part of the Under Secretary; but really he had not so much to do with the Fund as the officials of the Home Office, and of other Departments.


said, that the hon. Member was well informed upon the subject. This payment was begun in 1824, and it was made by percentage from the Secret Service Money, and it never appeared on the Foreign Office Vote until 1870, when, at the instance of the late Mr. Rylands, it was inserted in the Estimates.


said, there could be no doubt in the mind of anyone, after reading the evidence given before the Public Accounts Committee, that there could not be three days' work for anybody in the Foreign Office in connection with the Secret Service Fund. The thing was a gross job, and therefore he ventured to move the reduction of the Vote by £300.

Motion made, and Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £45,773, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Arthur O'Connor.)

The Committee divided:—Ayes 43; Noes 126: Majority 81. (Div. List, No. 119.)

Original Question again proposed.


rose in his place and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

Question, "That the Question be now put," put, and agreed to.

Original Question put accordingly, and agreed to.

It being after Midnight, the Chairman left the Chair to report the Resolutions to the House.

Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.

Committee to sit again To-morrow.