HC Deb 17 July 1890 vol 347 cc72-3

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will lay upon the Table of the House the following Papers relating to an increase in the-Military contribution proposed to be levied on the Straits Settlements, namely, the Despatch from the Colonial Office of the 13th December, 1889, to the Governor of the Straits Settlements containing the demand of Her Majesty's Government for an increased Military contribution; the Proceedings of the Legislative Council of the Straits Settlements in connection with that Despatch; the Governor's Despatch forwarding the Proceedings of the Legislative Council to the Secretary of State for the Colonies; together with any other Papers bearing on the subject which are already in hand, so that the House may have an opportunity of forming a judgment on the proposed action in this matter?


I have also to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether Her Majesty's Government are at present endeavouring to arrange for a more adequate contribution for military defence from those Colonies which are garrisoned by Her Majesty's troops borne on the British Estimates; whether such contribution is required from colonies with a good revenue, which have hitherto paid little or nothing, as well as from those which have hitherto made considerable contributions; whether the rich Colony of Ceylon is resisting the demand made upon it; whether Her Majesty's Government propose to insist on a demand put to this country in the case of Ceylon, Natal, and other colonies which have hitherto contributed too little; and whether the representatives of the tax- payers of the British Colonies will be given an opportunity of expressing an opinion as well as the Colonies?


In reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, I am afraid I cannot add anything to the answer which I gave on the 19th ult. to a similar question from my hon. Friend the Member for Greenock. As regards the question put by the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy, Her Majesty's Government have given much consideration to this subject, and have determined that the military contributions of the colonies must be increased where such contributions are inadequate. No demand, except for the present year, has yet been made upon Ceylon or Mauritius, the amount to be claimed being under discussion. No question has been raised as to Natal. An increased contribution has been demanded from the Straits Settlements and Hong Kong.