HC Deb 22 May 1890 vol 344 cc1632-73

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a further sum, not exceeding £3,929,500, he granted to Her Majesty, on account, for or towards defraying the Charge for the following Civil Services and Revenue Departments for the year ending on the 31st day of March 1891, viz.: —

Public Works and Buildings, Ireland 30,000
United Kingdom and England:—
House of Lords, Offices 10,000
House of Commons, Offices 10,000
Treasury and Subordinate Departments 16,000
Home Office and Subordinate Departments 15,000
Foreign Office 15,000
Colonial Office 8,000
Privy Council Office and Subordinate Departments 3,000
Board of Trade and Subordinate Departments 25,000
Bankruptcy Department of the Board of Trade
Board of Agriculture 14,000
Charity Commission 7,000
Civil Service Commission 7,000
Exchequer and Audit Department 10,000
Friendly Societies, Registry 1,500
Local Government Board 28,000
Lunacy Commission 3,000
Mercantile Marine Fund, Grant in Aid 15,000
Mint (including Coinage) 5,000
National Debt Office 2,000
Public Works Loan Commission 1,500
Record Office 3,000
Registrar General's Office 7,000
Stationery Office and Printing 130,000
Woods, Forests, &c, Office of 2,000
Works and Public Buildings, Office of 8,000
Secres Service 9,000
Secretary for Scotland 2,000
Fishery Board 4,000
Lunacy Commission 800
Registrar General's Office 1,000
Board of Supervision 1,500
Lord Lieutenant and Chief Secretary 7,000
Chari'able Donations and Bequests Office 300
Local Government Board 15,000
Public Works Office 3,000
Record Office 700
Registrar General's Office 3,000
Valuation and Boundary Survey 5,500
United Kingdom and England:—
Law Charges 12,000
Miscellaneous Legal Expenses 8,000
Supreme Court of Judicature and Land Registry 65,000
County Courts 20,000
Police Courts (London and Sheerness) 3,000
Police, England and Wales 8,000
Prisons, England and the Colonies 90,000
Reformatory and Industrial Schools, Great Britain 80,000
Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum 4,000
Lord Advocate, and Law Charges and Courts of Law 25,000
Register House 6,000
Crofters' Commission 1,500
Prisons, Scotland 15,000
Ireland: —
Law Charges and Criminal Prosecutions 15,000
Supreme Court of Judicature, and other Legal Departments 16,000
Land Commission 15,000
County Court Officers, &c. 17,000
Dublin Metropolitan Police, &c. 12,000
Constabulary 250,000
Prisons, Ireland 15,000
Reformatory and Industrial Schools 25,000
Dundrum Criminal Lunatic Asylum 1,000
United Kingdom and England:—
Public Education, England and Wales 800,000
Science and Art Department, United Kingdom 75,000
British Museum 35,000
National Gallery 3,000
National Portrait Gallery 400
Learned Societies, United Kingdom 5,000
Universities and Colleges, Great Britain 20,000
London University 2,000
Public Education 150,000
National Gallery 400
Ireland: —
Public Education 200,000
Endowed Schools Commissioners 100
National Gallery. 500
Queen's Colleges 3,000
Colonial Services, including South Africa 14,000
Cyprus, Grant in Aid
Subsidies to Telegraph Companies, &c. 11,000
Superannuation and Retired Allowances 100,000
Merchant Seamen's Fund Pensions, &c. 5,000
Friendly Societies Deficiency
Miscellaneous Charitable and other Allowances, Great Britain 800
Pauper Lunatics, Ireland 40,000
Hospitals and Charities, Ireland. 5,000
Temporary Commissions 5,000
Miscellaneous Expenses 2,000
Total for Civil Services £2,609,500
Customs 100,000
Inland Revenue 100,000
Post Office 600.000
Post Office Packet Service 160.000
Post Office Telegraphs 360,000
Total for Revenue Departments £1,320,000
Grand Total £3,929,500
(8.8.) MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)

Before the general discussion proceeds, I wish to call attention to the state of business of Supply. We have almost reached the month of June, the end of the Session cannot be considered as very-distant, and yet at the present moment not one penny of Irish Supply has been taken except by the summary and comparatively un-Constitutional method of a Vote on Account. If we look back at Supply taken in the Session we find the Government have only obtained British Votes in Class 1, and a few casual Votes in addition; while the whole business of Irish Supply remains undischarged. Two years ago the scandal in regard to the business of Supply reached such a height that we were obliged to protest with considerable energy. We then received from the Government the most emphatic pledges that in future the business of Supply would proceed with regularity from beginning to end of the Session, and should be taken at least one day every week. Last year, however, there was no attempt to keep those pledges, and the slovenly and most objectionable method of discharging business by Votes on Account was resorted to again and again. Five Votes on Account were taken before the regular business of Supply came to be discharged. At the opening of this Session the pledges were repeated that Supply should be taken every week, and that thus Members should have the opportunity of discussing grievances, and tin's is the more necessary since the Government have appropriated so ranch of the time of the House. I have to repeat, in the strongest possible form, on behalf of my hon. Friend the Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) and my Colleagues our protest against the evasion and postponement of the business of Supply by repeated Votes on Account. Before we proceed further, I have to ask for an assurance that after the conclusion of the holidays the business of Supply shall be taken up, and shall go forward from week to week until the end of the Session, and that Irish Votes shall be taken in their proper order. With regard to Irish Votes, sometimes, no doubt, at the request of individual Members, but more generally for the convenience of the Government, they have been put back until the end of the Session, until the month of July, and as the result we have had a congested mass of Irish Votes heaped together, and taken at late hours of the night, when an attempt to bring forward grievances in a reasonable and systematic manner in which they can be subjected to public scrutiny becomes impossible. I am sure the Chancellor of the Exchequer, financial purist as he is, and predisposed, from the disposition of his mind, to orderly and Constitutional methods, will appreciate the force of my protest. I again ask for an assurance that, after the holidays, Supply shall be taken at least one day in each week, if not oftener, and that Irish Votes shall he taken in their order as they arise.

*(8.15.) THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN,) St. George's, Hanover Square

I am under the impression that frequently, and not on one or two occasions only, Irish Votes have been postponed at the wish of Irish Members, and in order to suit their convenience.


I have said so. Votes have been thus deferred, but that was in consequence of the irregularity with which Supply has been taken, and Irish Members never knew when it might be necessary they should be present.


No doubt it would be more agreeable to myself, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and to the House generally, if Supply could be taken to a greater extent and more regularly early in the Session; but what can the Government or the House do when the discussion of matters other than Supply is conducted by a few hon. Members at such length?It has been impossible to get Supply taken with duo regularity, because upon other questions it has been necessary sometimes to allow four nights and sometimes five nights for discussion, and naturally when Debate is prolonged to such an extent it is impossible to proceed with Supply, as otherwise we would desire. I can assure the hon. Member that the Government are perfectly alive to the inconvenience of taking Supply irregularly; but I fear it will be found utterly impossible to give such a pledge as the hon. Member desires. We shall do our best in the matter, and we shall be only too glad if the hon. Member and his friends will assist us by keeping discussion within reasonable length.

(8.17.) MR. J. MORLEY (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)

I do not wish to interpose between my hon. Friend and the Chancellor of the Exchequer; but in reference to the right hon. Gentleman's remarks upon the length of discussion, I would say they are not borne out by what happened up to Easter. We have it on the highest authority that up to that time the Government and the House had nothing to complain of. I regret that the right hon. Gentleman should again have made this accusation.


I was obliged, in answer to the hon. Member, to show how it was we were unable to fulfil our pledges to proceed regularly with Supply.


I do not wish to enter into mutual recrimination. I would suggest to the Chancellor of the Exchequer a possible course of meeting the difficulty. If the Government resolve to continue the Morning Sittings on Tuesdays and Fridays after Whitsuntide, it would be worth their while to consider whether they could not take Bills in the Morning and Supply at the Evening Sittings. The Government might well consider the point between this time and to-morrow, and then inform the House of the conclusion they come to. My own experience is that when we get into heavy Bills and proceed with them from day to day in Committee, the Committee gets stupefied with the continuance, and that it would be a relief to Members to alternate the work. It is merely my own suggestion; I do not know how it may be consonant with the view of my hon. Friend or others.

(8.20.) MR. SEXTON

I only wish to say that it was in consequence of the irregularity with which Irish Supply has been taken that the Irish Members, not knowing when it would come on, have sometimes asked for postponement. I approve of the suggestion of the right hon. Member for Newcastle, and think it might be carried out. I have to repeat in the plainest possible terms that we cannot suffer the business of Supply to fall into the condition it has been in at the end of recent Sessions.

*(8.20.) MR. GOSCHEN

I will consult with the First Lord of the Treasury, and trust that it may be possible to make some reasonable arrangement in the matter to suit general convenience.

*(8.21.) MR. E. BKCKETT (York, N.R.,) Whitby

I rise for the purpose of calling attention to the position of affairs in South and East and Central Africa, which is undoubtedly a somewhat serious one, and though the pressure of business is considerable, I think I am justified in raising a discussion on matters of great public interest and importance. The Committee is aware that Sir Percy Anderson was recently sent to Berlin to enter into negotiations—happily, for the moment, suspended—with the German Government respecting the delimitation of the frontiers between the English and German spheres of influence and the English and German territorial possessions. It was obvious that some clearly-defined and generally-recognised delimitation had become necessary if the cordial relations between the two countries were to remain undisturbed. I do not, therefore, wish to say a word in censure of the Government for opening negotiations, and I hope that they may be able to show that the spirit in which they are negotiating is equally unworthy of censure. But their conduct is not free from suspicion, and they are themselves responsible for this Debate. Questions have been asked by many hon. Members as well as myself, to which no satisfactory answer has been received. None of us have desired to press the Government unduly; we have only been anxious to receive an assurance that we shall remain in possession of an uninterrupted right of way from north to south, and territory, either British or which had been declared to be within the sphere of British influence, is not to be surrendered to Germany. But the Government will give us no such assurance; therefore it is reasonable to conclude that they cannot give it, as they would surely give it if they could to save themselves from further questioning and to set the mind of the country at rest. The territories about which most anxiety is felt are the territories extending northwards from the Zambesi along Lake Nyassa, Lake Tanganyika, the Victoria Nyanza, to the Albert Nyanza—Uganda- -and in South Africa the territory lying between Bechuana-land the 20th deg. of longitude and the Zambesi. Is it correct to say that these territories "have not yet been geographically defined, and the understanding was general in its terms V It is true that no hard and fast line was drawn upon the map as regards the territory that surrounds the German sphere of influence in. East Africa, though it was understood what that sphere was to be; but in South-West Africa the British sphere of influence was precisely and geographically defined as far as it was possible to define it, and the expression of any doubt or uncertainty on the part of the Government as to the extent and limits of our spheres of influence can only proceed from a desire to have them doubtful and uncertain, so that if any concessions are made to Germany they may be able to tell the country that there has been no surrender. That device is a little too transparent. Let me ask them this question. Did they, on opening negotiations with Germany, state exactly what territory they considered inalienable and what territory they were prepared to throw into the melting pot?Now, I maintain that we have a right to hold that by far the larger part of the territories in question are inalienably ours. The Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs acknowledges that an understanding was arrived at with Germany, and this understanding was embodied in the Agreement of 1887, quoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Leith. That understanding, though in general terms is quite precise enough for our purpose, and on their own initiative excludes the Germans from the territory in the centre of Africa, which was expressly reserved for British influence, but which they now wish to occupy so as to place them selves across our highway to the Great Lakes to the North, which is absolutely indispensable to the successful and profitable issue of our undertakings. Though the Germans are full of friendly expressions their aim and object seems to be the limitation of our expansion, and the expansion of their limitations. Starting from the East Coast and the West, they want to join hands in the centre of Africa, and thus cut us off for ever from realising our ambition to own a continuous and unbroken strip of territory stretching from Cape Colony to the sources of the Nile. I do not blame the Germans from entertaining this design; but any English Government would be greatly to blame which allowed them to accomplish it. This design is still more apparent if we examine the demand we have reason to believe they are making in South-West Africa. There was something more than an understanding arrived at as to our sphere of influence in this region. It was proclaimed generally in December, 1884, and clearly defined by the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1888. Writing in December, 1888, Sir H. Robinson says— Looking to the interval that has elapsed, as well as to the fact that the Protectorate has been explained to the Chiefs concerned, the question can no longer be considered as open to discussion"— and was authorised to declare on 4th February, 1889, that Her Majesty's Government are responsible for the peace and prosperity of the vast and important country peopled by Bechuana tribes, and extending from Cape Colony to the Zambesi. One would think that Her Majesty's Government, as well as Sir H. Robinson, considered the question as no longer open to discussion, but the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies told me on 16th May that the "boundaries still remained undefined." You can hardly call the course of a river or a degree of longitude an undefined boundary, but it seems that even the laws of geography must give way to the exigencies of Secretaries of State. The Under Secretary of Foreign Affairs tried to escape on the ground that the Zambesi and the 20th degree of longitude do not intersect each other. As a matter of fact, two tributaries of the Zambesi do intersect the 20th longitude, and if no surrender were contemplated we should never have been put off with an answer of this kind. Fortunately, I have been informed, not by rumours in the newspapers, which those who remember the disclosures of the Globe will not be always disposed to discredit entirely, but from a private source of unimpeachable accuracy, exactly what it is that the Germans are asking for. Taking advantage of the admission, equally unnecessary and incorrect, that the North-West corner of the British sphere of influence has not been geographically defined, they wish to draw a line in a North-Easterly direction from the intersection of the 20o of longitude and the 22o of latitude to the Victoria Falls on the Zambesi. A glance at the map will show the House that the importance of the concession thus demanded can hardly be exaggerated. It would plant the Germans on the banks of the Zambesi, make them a Zambesi Power, bring them a great stride nearer to their Eastern possessions, and give all the country surrounding, and fertilised by, the Upper Zambesi into their hands. The Zambesi overflows every year like the Nile, and "scatters plenty o'er a smiling land." The products of this rich and fertile country could be transported by the Zambesi to the East Coast, or, more probably, the Germans would prefer to tap it by a railway through Damaraland from the West Coast. I am speaking now of the country that the Germans would acquire to the North of our sphere of influence, but the proposed line runs through the centre of a country that has been declared to be within our sphere of influence, and is acknowledged to be so by natives, explorers, hunters, concession seekers, in fact, by everyone except Her Majesty's Government. Now I am informed that the opinion of all who know the country of the Western Bamangwatos is that in securing it we have secured the pride of Central Africa. There is abundance of water, there is a river navigable for 400 miles, there is grazing land that will carry innumerable flocks and herds, and there is reason to believe that the soil is rich in minerals. When Sir Sydney Shippard was informed that a concession had been granted to an Englishman, he is reported to have said— I am delighted to hear it, for in getting that concession he has secured for England a footing in a country of the highest value to her. But there is another point of great importance. We have promised all the tribes of the Bechuana people our protection. Now, the Western Bamangwatos are a tribe of the Bechuana people. Four generations ago the entire Bamang-wato nation resided in the neighbourhood of Shoshong. Owing to internal dissensions the nation split into two parts, the one part staying whore they were, and where they still remain, and where they live and thrive under the firm and wise rule of Khama, the most intelligent and civilised Chief in Africa, and our very good friend; the other part, following the banks of the Botletle River finally settled down in the Lake N'Gami country, where they are ruled by their Chief, Moremi. The best relations now prevail between the two branches of the Bamangwato nations. The chiefs and head men on either side intermarry with the women on the other, and these tender ties bind them so close together that, when the Matabeles invaded N'Gamiland, Khama dispatched a force to Moremi's assistance, which largely contributed to the total rout of the Matabelc warriors. If we give the Germans what they are now asking for we shall divide a nation that is practically one, by placing one half under one 'rule and one half under another, they being perfectly contented with our rule, and regarding the Germans with aversion and dread. By so doing we should excite the indignation of Khama and the whole Bechuana nation, whose faith in our promises and protective power will be rudely shaken, and who will change the attitude of loyalty and fidelity they have hitherto preserved for one of suspicion and distrust. The presence of the Germans in Bechuanaland will expose us to a new danger, which, by shutting them out, we can easily avoid. A few years ago a very remarkable article was published in Berlin, which attracted a great deal of attention. The purport of the article was that the Dutch and the Germans were practically of the same race, language, and religion, and that the difference between them in these respects was so small and superficial, that, virtually they might be considered as brothers. Now why, it was asked, should not they combine to drive the English out of Africa?Of course, a few years ago such a project was absurd; would it be equally absurd if the Germans were established in Bechuanaland?They would still be a long way away from, the Transvaal, but they would be divided from it only by Bechuanaland, and if the Bechuanas grew dissatisfied with our rule, and came to regard the Germans as the conquering race, they might place themselves under German protection, and one day we might be confronted with a German Dutch Alliance, which would threaten not only our dominion but our very existence in South Africa. Such a danger is remote, but why should we not keep it remote?Why should we invite it to come nearer?My last and strongest objection to the proposed extension of German territory in this part of Africa is that it would completely bar our expansion to the North-West. There is a vast piece of territory running from Bechuanaland to the Congo Free State, at present left white on the map— I do not want it all to be painted red or painted blue. Let Germany have her share, by all means, but let us also have-ours. We do not wish to exclude Germany, but still less do we wish to be excluded ourselves; and to set a bound and limit to our own expansion northwards, while, at the same time, we hand over to Germany a large slice of our own possessions would put a coping stone to the vast pile of blunders we have so assiduously laboured to rear in South Africa. If I did not know for a fact that Germany had made this demand, and if I did not gather from Ministerial answers that it was being seriously entertained, I would not have believed that any English Government, certainly that no Conservative Government, could contemplate such a surrender. It is said that the Germans know how to ask. I hope Lord Salisbury will know how to refuse. We have allowed the spheres of German influence to grow at a prodigious rate. In 1883 the Germans had but Angra Pequena, a territory comprising 150 square miles; now their sphere of influence extends over territories larger than India, and it must be remembered that nearly every mile over which they rule was discovered, explored, given to the world, and opened for civilisation by Englishmen. Truly it may be said of them they reap where they have not sown, and gather where they have not planted. There are those who view the expansion of Germany almost with gratification, and who believe that she will not be able to maintain her position, and that, if we find ourselves cribbed,? cabined, and confined, we have only to step in and take what we want. That is a very comfortable theory, but it might not work very well in practice, and certainly no statesman ought to act upon it. We should like to have Delagoa Bay, but what chance is there of our getting it? Our Colonial Empire has lost some of its brightest jewels by this heedless abandonment of lands that were once ours, and might have been so still. Mr. Stanley, in his speech at the Guildhall, and again last night, drew a vivid picture of the value of the lands we had allowed to pass away from us, and in burning words rebuked our apathy and indifference. Depend upon it that now, as in 1878, and in 1884, his words are being carefully weighed in Germany, where they are fully alive to the advantages to which we so foolishly and obstinately shut our eyes. Their Government though, from time to time, it has expressed its disapproval of colonial enterprise, has invariably backed up the German African Companies, and in consequence of this backing Mr. Stanley pointed out that our English Companies cannot compete with the German on equal terms. He adds, ominously enough, that if there is to be any more surrender he should "advise the British East African Company to retire altogether and give it up as a bad job." He has told us that he has come back with his pocket full of Treaties. We have now a new opportunity, and perhaps the last. Shall we throw it away? Shall we back up Mr. Stanley, shall we firmly resist German encroachments, or shall we throw up the sponge, declare that the mission of England as a colonising power is ended, and sit idly looking on, while the Germans absorb territory that might, in the future, sustain and nourish millions of our race?Lord Salisbury said lately— Dominion is not an unmitigated luxury; it carries with it duties, burdens, obligations, and dangers. I hope we shall not he reduced into undertaking obligations which are beyond our strength to perform. These words savour of surrender. They have a weary ring about them. They are the words of Hercules after he has performed his labours, and wishes to repose in the lap of Omphale. They do not breathe the spirit in which Clive and Hastings won India, in, which Wolfe drove the French out of America, in which Chatham laid the foundations of our Colonial Empire. General Caprivi recently pointed out that the Germans had neither the men of experience nor the command of money that we have, and yet he said that "Nothing is left for them to do but advance." If those words are true of Germany, still more are they true of England. Yet we do not ask the Government to send out expeditions; we only ask them not to give up what individuals have won, and to let the pioneers of English civilisation feel that they have the strong arm of the English Government behind them. And, as a set off to Lord Salisbury's words, I will conclude with a quotation from the same remarkable article I referred to before, which has exercised so much influence over the German mind— A new Empire, possibly more valuable and more brilliant than even the Indian Empire, awaits—in the newly-discovered Central Africa —that Power which shall possess sufficient courage, strength, and intelligence to acquire it.


Does the hon. Gentleman move?

(8.45.) DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)

I hope the hon. Gentleman will not.


Order, order?


On a point of order, Sir, should I not be precluded from speaking on public works if the hon. Member moved this Amendment?


Yes; the hon. Member should have risen before.


I had no opportunity, Sir.


The hon. Member might have intervened at the commencement of the speech of the hon. Member for the Whit by Division.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the item of £15,000 (Foreign Office) be reduced by £500."—(Mr. Ernest Beckett.)

(9.13.) Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,

(9.16.) MR. BUCHANAN (Edinburgh, W.)

Sir, I desire to make a few observations on the subject on which the hon. Member who has just spoken addressed the House, namely, South Africa. I cannot entirely agree with all he said. It seems to me a great misfortune that we have had so few opportunities of discussing foreign affairs, and obtaining information from Ministers with regard to them. I do not myself believe very much in the system of secrecy in regard to foreign affairs which obtains in certain quarters. I can quite understand that it is not desirable to discuss the details of pending negotiations, still there are occasions when discussions would enable Her Majesty's Government to understand the opinion of the country, and thus strengthen their hands in negotiating with foreign Powers. I think we have suffered in the past owing to the absence of discussion— particularly with regard to our interests in Africa. I think if the public had been fully aware of what was happening, we would not have had the scramble for South Africa which has been spoken of. I think with regard to the question of Laingshan, five or six years ago, that our action there would not have been taken had the country possessed full information on the subject. Again, I think we would have avoided many of the difficulties we have experienced with Portugal had we possessed full details of the view taken by Her Majesty's Government. We find now that all along Her Majesty's Government have taken a much clearer and more decided view with regard to our interests in Nyassaland than has ever been stated in the House of Commons. And I think the discussion we are having to-night in regard to our negotiations with Germany and England will be of service to Her Majesty's Government and to this country. I am not going to make an attack on Her Majesty's Government, such as was made by the hon. Member who introduced the Motion. I think that Lord Salisbury, in dealing with African affairs, has looked far too much to our connection with Germany as a European Power Ho has appeared too ready to sacrifice our interests in Africa to our interests in Europe. I think that to be a great fault in his conduct, and worthy of attention. I do not adopt the strong language of the hon. Member who moved the reduction of the Vote, nor could I agree with the line which he wishes Her Majesty's Government to adopt in Africa. There are three questions brought forward in this Motion—our relations with Germany with regard to Nyassaland territory, with regard to Nyanza territory, and with regard to Lake Nyanza. The discussion with regard to Lake Nyanza is, undoubtedly, caused by the rivalries of the two trading companies, and the German Company is backed up by the German Government. What. I would impress upon Her Majesty's Government is this, to take care that no limitation should be placed on the commercial development of our subjects within the control of the African Company. We should see that they have a free hand under their charter, though I do not think it is incumbent upon us to go further than that. We should see that they get the full benefit of the concessions they obtain, and that they are perfectly free to open up trade, if they can, right from Central Africa to the Coast. I should like, if the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs could find it, some information with regard to Nyassaland. On a former occasion he told us that it was impossible to make a definite statement on the subject, but I think now he may be able to tell us something with regard to Nyassaland and the Shire River. There are impediments placed in the way of our subjects having connection between the outside world and their settlement, and I think that Her Majesty's Government should tell us whether they are endeavouring to arrive at a settlement of our position in that country on a certain and permanent footing. Lake Nyanza covers the water basin of the Zambesi and the Congo, and freedom of connection would, undoubtedly, be of importance to the inhabitants of the regions around the Lake. The Zambesi should be a free waterway to the interior of Africa from all parts of the world. I maintain the same, also, with regard to the Shire. It does seem to me very advisable that Her Majesty's Government should look towards the future development of Africa, and that, in the interests of our commerce, they should endeavour to make a clear and free route for the outside world to the interior of Africa. Not only the Zambesi, but the Shire River should be free. In 1887 there was a correspondence between Lord Salisbury and the Authorities at Barlin with regard to certain encroachments made by the Germans upon the British sphere of influence. Negotiations took place, and the result was that the 22nd degree of east latitude was taken as the line between the British Protectorate and the Protectorate of the German Government. Therefore, in our negotiations with the German Government for the maintenance of our boundary, we have this precedent to go on. That, however, is a matter of detail which I do not wish to enlarge upon. What I would urge on Her Majesty's Government is that, as to the question of ScV-"' Africa, we ought to have regard primarily to the opinions and wishes and desires of our fellow subjects of the Cape Colony and other colonists in South Africa. Our interests in this part of the world are comparatively slight and distant. They are also interests more or less individual, but to the people living in South Africa itself—to our colonists at the Cape and elsewhere in British South Africa—these matters are very much more vital. South Africa is their country and their home, and to its free expansion and development in the future they are bound to look with natural ambition and very sincere interest. I think we should look to carrying out what are beyond dispute the views and opinions and aspirations of our colonists in South Africa. We should take care that their commercial freedom is in no way retarded or impaired by our political arrangements with Germany; that there should be what we should all like to see, namely, a waterway, free to all the world, up the Zambesi to Tanganyika and Nyassa; that, as regards what is called South-East Africa, we should remember that our interests are small as compared with those of the colonists, and that it should be a sine qua non in any nogotiations with Germany that we should make certain that Cape Colony is with us.


It is always an uncomfortable task to urge on the House abstinence from discussion of matters of public interest, and it has been my lot more than once to be reproved for exhortations of this kind. I think, however, I may be excused if I offer to the Committee some considerations to show why a prolonged discussion on this subject at the present time is undesirable and will serve no useful purpose. I do not undervalue or deprecate the legitimate aspirations of my fellow countrymen, and I am not wanting in admiration for the sacrifices of those who have made the discoveries which have opened a Continent to civilisation and paved the way for the colonising efforts of our own and other nations. I bops that the mission of our countrymen is not yet fulfilled, but that further regions will be opened by them to civilisation and Christianity. What I say may give offence to some, but I am quite sure that the feeling I have expressed is deeply seated in this country, and that there are many who are ready to sacrifice themselves in those great efforts which in times past have conferred such honour on our nation. I cannot agree with the hon. Member who has just sat down that the object of negotiations conducted by the Government of this country is best promoted by public discussion while such negotiations are in progress. It places the Government in this position — either they must subscribe to or deny propositions. If they commit themselves to those propositions it is evident that they must stand by them, while, on the other hand, if they deny them they may be supposed to be indifferent to objects which many are in favour of. Therefore it is manifest that we must be silent, because it is impossible we can reveal our position or defeat our own efforts by premature declarations. I presume that the hon. Member who has moved the reduction of the Vote does not blame Her Majesty's Government for having entered into negotiations for the delimitation of our sphere of influence in South Africa. It is evident that were the nations of Europe are competing for influence in the comparatively untrodden regions which offer markets for our commerce and colonisation there must be rivalries and jealousies, and it is to the highest degree important that nations which have much in common and which wish to act fairly in regard to their respective claims should desire as far as possible to avoid friction and jealousy by timely settlement of their interests, so that they can move forward on their new missions on parallel lines. It is said that no satisfactory answer has been given as to the progress of the negotiations, but it is impossible to enter into the questions involved while the matters are under discussion. This country has interests to maintain, and I trust Her Majesty's Government will not be slow to maintain them, and when the negotiations are completed every explanation will be given to the House. Reference has been made to rumours which are current as to sacrifices which have been consented to after discussion by Her Majesty's Government. Some of those mentioned have not reached me, and I am quite sure that they derive no authority from those who are engaged in confidential negotiations on behalf of the English and German Governments. As the Prime Minister said the other day, it would be very convenient, no doubt, if Parliament sat in secret Session, for then Her Majesty's Government could communicate to hon. Members, who have the interests of the country as much at heart as ourselves, the details of pending negotiations, but that cannot be done. My hon. Friend has talked about land passing out of our possession. Some people talk and write about parts of Africa through which some of our enterprising fellow-country men have travelled as if it was our inheritance. While I hope the Government will not be behindhand in Africa any more than elsewhere, people really must not talk as if we have an indefeasible right to the country. We must allow other nations to have similar aspirations to our own. What the Government and the House of Commons have to see to is that our interests are not neglected. Where we have acquired rights and asserted them we should not lightly give them up; but the Government are dealing with a friendly Power, and negotiations are going on on terms of mutual respect and confidence, which are engendered by past experience and by the remarkable unanimity which has attended the proceedings of Great Britain and Germany in the recent operations on the West Coast of Africa. The Government has a full sense of the claims which our fellow-countrymen possess on account of their past enterprise. They are not unmindful of the claims which our commerce has to legitimate expansion, and these objects are entirely consistent with a due respect to similar objects on the part of neighbouring States. The Government are endeavouring by the delimitation of spheres of influence to obviate causes of jealousy and friction in the time 'to come. The security that the country and the House has as against the Government is that the result of those negotiations cannot long be concealed, and if in any way the interests of the country are neglected a speedy retribution will attend those who have so neglected those interests. Having that speedy review and verdict before our eyes, the Government, hon. Members may feel sure, will not be likely to neglect the great interests which they, in common with all their fellow-countrymen, have at heart. The hon. Member for West Edinburgh has also referred to the interests of the region further south in the neighbourhood of Lake Nyassa, where the hon. Member's countrymen and my own have done good work in the cause of civilisation and Christianity. The Government, I think, have shown of late that they are fully alive to the rights which our fellow-county men have obtained there by being first in the field. They have maintained their right to the free navigation of the Zambesi River. They have refused to allow it to be closed against us. They have claimed that our fellow-countrymen in the Shire Highlands and on the shores of Lake Nyassa shall not be endangered by the invasion of any other Power, and necessarily it will be their object to obtain and secure and retain access to other regions where we have interests. I would ask the Committee to show the same reticence and forbearance the Government are so sensible of in past years, which I hope they have not been unworthy of, and I can assure the House that the confidence I now ask from the Committee will not be misplaced. In that sense I deprecate prolonging the discussion.

(9.48.) MR. MUNRO FERGUSON (Leith, N.)

I am sure we all trust that nothing will be said in these discussions which will have the effect of hampering the Government in these discussions. I am sure the delicacy of the situation will be so appreciated on the Front Opposition Bench as to prevent any prolonged discussion of the subject from that quarter of the House. But there are some of us who think that an opportunity for the expression of individual opinions would by no means hamper the hands of the Government. I can quite understand that the Foreign Office is not able to throw any light on the subject at present; still, the German Foreign Office is not so reticent as our own. The present Chancellor in Germany and his illustrious predecessor have never found any difficulty in expressing their views as to the conduct of Foreign Affairs by Germany, and I believe, from what I have seen, discussions in the Reichstag and in the French Chamber, whether upon Africa or upon Newfoundland, are more frequent and prolonged than the discussion of foreign affairs have been in this House during the last few years. In my opinion, the language used on this subject by certain organs and by the great explorer who has recently returned to this country has done more to revive the doctrines of the old Manchester school than to forward the objects which they themselves have at heart. The question before us seems to be how far unoccupied land shall pass into the absolute possession of Foreign Powers and out of the sphere of the legitimate commerce and enterprise of Great Britain, and of the world in general. We desire to have some reassurance that our actual interests in Africa are not in peril. There has been a good deal of anxiety as to the expedition which has recently started, and which includes in its ranks Emni Pasha. We have also to consider the future of our great African possessions which, when they are one day formed into a dominion, will be disposed to ask how far the course now adopted by Her Majesty's Government has affected their prospects. The policy of the Government is watched at the Cape with no less interest than in England. I do not share the fears of my hon. Friend who moved this Motion with regard to the Cape. The Cape will hold its own by its own enterprise, and if it stood by itself it would have little to fear either from the Dutch or the Germans. We wish also to know what lines are being drawn to further confine enormous areas to the exclusive enjoyment of Foreign Powers. Those-areas have, to a largo extent, been explored and partially developed by British and especially Scottish enterprise. The other day some interesting correspondence between Lord Salisbury and the Ambassador at Berlin was published regarding the delimitation between the German and the British sphere of influence in the neighbourhood of Lake Nyanza. There is a line leading* from Lake Nyassa to the south end of Lake Tanganyika, and known as the Stephenson Road. The large region of which that road forms the centre has-been developed and, to some extent, civilised by missionaries. Our position in that district was preserved by the action taken by Lord Salisbury last spring; but if it has been preserved from Portugal in order to be handed over to Germany, I think it will be hard to justify the action of Her Majesty's Government, because in that case the deduction would certainly be that what has been got from bullying the weaker Power has been given up by knuckling down to the stronger Power. It seems to me that the question of maintaining the line of the Stephenson Road is one of the very greatest importance to our interests in that portion of Africa. Then I would ask, what is the use of a sphere of influence if that sphere is not to be maintained?The result of the spirited foreign policy of which we have heard so much seems likely to be the sacrifice of our commerce in those regions. We have a right to know whether the Government, in the course of their negotiations, intend to permit the exclusion of British interests from the areas I have mentioned. In any event, by making this protest we lay upon the Government the responsibility of the negotiations, and there is no doubt that the country will require from them a strict account.

(10.2.) CAPTAIN BUTHELL (York, E. R., Holderness)

I have been a good deal disturbed by the remarks which have been going about as to the possibility of the delimitation of the great region south of the Zambesi being re-opened in the course of the present negotiations. There is south of the Zambesi a noble Empire which will some day be, and which ought to be, an Anglo - Saxon Empire, as it is ours by right of conquest and by right of the work we have done there. It was a stupid blunder when Damaraland and Namaqualand were given up, but stupid as was that blunder, we have hitherto kept the trump card in our hands, and it will not do to commit another stupid blunder by re-opening the question of the German boundaries south of the Zambesi. I think we may reasonably expect from my right hon. Friend an assurance that there is no intention of re-opening that question. Such an assurance will remove a great deal of misapprehension on both sides of the House.

(10.6.) MR. A. O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.)

I hope, for totally different reasons from those which have been put forward, that the Government will afford the House and the country some more information than they have vouchsafed up to the present. I have listened to the discussion, and during its progress I have been forced to realise the feelings of Gil Blas when he found himself in the cave of the robbers. When they conducted him to his first exploit they exhorted him to go in for a spirited foreign policy, and when he picked up the wallet of the padre he had robbed no doubt he considered it was his by right of conquest. If the speeches which have been delivered this evening are to be taken as an indication of the views of hon. Members respecting the morality of the present position, it seems to me that this House is adopting a code of morality very different from that which is found in the Bible, and in the mouths of Christian Missionaries, whose work hon. Members are so anxious to help forward. In that old Book, which is much more frequently referred to than read, there is a precept that you shall not covet your neighbour's goods. Now, I should like to know whose goods these are which yon propose to divide with Germany and Portugal, and other despoilers in Africa. We were assured by the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs some nights ago that all these matters were being discussed in a friendly spirit at Berlin, and that the important interests involved would not be prejudiced by abstention from discussion at the present time. Whose are the important interests involved?They are not the interests of Great Britain, or Germany, or Portugal. They are the interests of the innocent inhabitants of Africa, and I say that Germany, and Great Britain, and the other European Powers are acting the part of the bully and robber. You may talk about your "diplomatic relations;" this is only a large phrase to cover what is essentially immoral, unjust, cruel, and cowardly. This House proposes to deliver up Africa to the interests of Chartered Companies of adventurers—men who pretend to be promoting the interests of civilisation and the Bible, but who are nothing more nor less than a pack of robbers. I am very much afraid that there are Members of this House who are not altogether personally disinterested in some of these schemes. It would certainly be well if we could obtain some further information as to the intentions of the Government. I suspect, if Germany stands firm, Her Majesty's Government, instead of sending an armed expedition or a temporary message, will discover some modus vivendi, and if the robbers should fall out the Africans would get a good many goods restored to them. But I want to know, for my own satisfaction, and, as I believe, for the satisfaction of a large portion of the population of this country who have no interest and no sympathy with your robbing expeditions, what it is the Government propose to do in Africa, and what is to be the position of these unfortunate people, with regard to whom you say you have extended your sphere of influence. Suppose the inhabitants of Africa held a palaver and decided to divide this country into two portions, one tribe having the land from the English Channel to the Thames, and another tribe having the land from the Thames to the Humber? What would be your view of the matter? You would ridicule them, and say they had no possible right. Perhaps they would want to spread Mahomedanism. I have been rather proud to consider myself a Christian, but I am rather doubtful as to the sort of Christianity you are likely to spread in Africa. It is all very well for hon. Gentlemen to urge the Government to maintain the prestige of the Empire, and to secure their sphere of influence. It would be more worthy of a great Government to show some ground for the aggressive policy which has been adopted with regard to Africa, to show that they have some right to go and claim a sphere of influence and territorial possession in a country with which they have naturally nothing to do, than to come down and talk about civilising influences, when we all know that it is nothing more than empty hypocrisy.

(10.12) SIR GEORGE BADEN-POWELL (Liverpool, Kirkdale)

I should like to say a few words about the bullies and robbers who, the hon. Member seems to think, are likely to get hold of Africa. I am in no way interestsd, financially or otherwise, in the matter, but I wish to deprecate both jealousy of Germany and fear of Portugal. I have been in Africa, and I always hope we shall work hand in hand with all civilised Powers, who may set about the task of reducing Africa to civilisation. [Laughter.] Hon. Members laugh, but I think before I sit down they will agree with me that we ought to go hand in hand with others in the work we have yet to perform in Africa. I have no wish to detain the Committee at any length, but I would merely allude to the great works in which I am convinced hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite will support Her Majesty's Government, and those works are the suppression of the liquor traffic amongst the native population and the abolition of slavery. The hon. Member for East Donegal may talk of bullies and robbers, but these are the main objects the Chartered Companies have in view in Africa. I hope I may make the same remark as to the Portuguese. Certainly the Belgians are doing good work in the same direction on the West Coast of Africa. Still, I do not think we need in any way endanger the negotiations at present proceeding at Berlin. I understand our technical negotiator is at present in England, but is soon to return to Berlin. I hope he will go back fully assured that, as far as this House is concerned, we are determined to support the British race in co-operation with all other States in doing what is not only to our interest, but also our duty and obligation.

(10.16.) SIR G. CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)

I have very often admitted, and I am ready to admit on this occasion, that in matters of foreign policy I have great confidence in the head of the Foreign Office. So long as he does not yield to pressure, as I am afraid he is apt to do, from Members opposite and a few so-called Liberals on this side who adopt a quasi-jingo policy, I have every confidence in Lord Salisbury. I entirely agree with the words of wisdom which recently fell from him on this subject— that, after all, Europe is more important to us than Africa. I think it is more important that we should be safe at home than that we should be safe in Africa. At the same time, I quite agree with my hon. Friends that we should work in concert and good feeling with other Powers in Africa. I cannot, however, agree with the hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir George Baden-Powell) that the sole and main object of the Chartered Companies is to stop the liquor traffic and to abolish slavery. That distinguished traveller, Mr. Stanley, has told us that the people who bring noxious liquors into Africa are Europeans. As to the abolition, of slavery, I know it is a proper thing to say we are going to abolish slavery. Whenever people want to get up a company in the City, and to make a good deal of money, they always say they are going to abolish slavery. I do not think, however, that we ought to condemn the Government because they are not inclined to go so fast as Mr. Stanley wishes them to go. I think the concessionaires who ask to enter Africa with the Bible and the bullet are people Her Majesty's Government ought not only not to encourage, but ought to be very careful about. Of course, we ought to do everything to spread Christianity, but I think we ought to have at heart first of all the interest of our own country. We have to pay the piper in all these matters, and I think we ought to look to our own interests first.

* (10.25.) SIR WALTER BARTTELOT (Sussex, N.W.)

All classes of the community are waiting to see the action which the Government will take in regard to Africa. It is very well for hon. Members on the other side of the House to make remarks as to our position there, but each of them knows how, with an increasing population, it is necessary to have a growing trade, and therefore we must be anxious, and deliberately anxious, to extend that trade as well as the outlets for the population. We have to meet the competition of nations who are protectionists in the highest degree, and whose only anxiety is to get for themselves colonies which they may keep entirely to themselves, and in the markets of which they may shut out Great Britain. Therefore, I maintain that the question of our position in Africa is one of the greatest importance, especially since if we lost in that country the prestige and power we have asserted elsewhere, we shall have descended from the position which we boast we hold among the nations of the world, and those who come after us will say that we have failed in this day to do our duty. My right hon. Friend was quite right in deprecating discussion when negotiations are going on. Bat my right hon. Friend has kept us in suspense on many questions. Twice last year I asked questions about our British Indian subjects, and I should like to know, even now, what reparation our British Indian subjects have received from Germany. I certainly believe that if Germany had been in a similar position to that which we occupy she would have demanded and obtained reparation. My contention is, that we should show that we are a great nation by demanding reparation in cases where injury is done to people whom we are bound to protect. I wish also to touch on the subject of Swaziland, as to which the Government had some months ago a Report from Sir Francis de Win ton, and as to which we are still waiting with patience for further information. The natives of Swaziland are all in favour of having the protection of this country, and do not desire to have anything to do with the Boer population, or the so-called African Republic. Therefore, I think we should only be doing our duty by maintaining what we have a right to maintain, the sphere of influence over Swaziland, which I hope we shall never give up. There is another question. We had some islands that were conceded by the Sultan of Zanzibar to the British East African Company. Those islands have been taken possession of by Germany, and I should like to know what action the Government are going to take in the matter?


What islands?


The islands of Lamu, Mauda, and Patta. If I am wrong in my statement, then I shall be very glad to hear that the Germans have not been there, that they have not hauled down our flag, and are not in occupation. I and sure it will be a great relief to learn that such is not the case. I presume the Under Secretary is aware of the actual state of things, whether the Germans have been there, or whether the place has been visited by a filibustering expedition. It was understood that the Germans were not to interfere to the north of a certain line. This country has rigorously kept to the position allotted to it by the agreement with Germany, and it is only fair to ask that the Germans should keep to the same position as we have undertaken to maintain towards them.

* (10.32.) SIR J, FERGUSSON

I am glad to be able to give some satisfaction to my hon. Friend on one point. With regard to one of the islands mentioned by the hon. Member—Lamu— the Government entered into arbitration, and the award was in favour of this country. As to the other two islands—Mauda and Patta—the policy at present is one of mutual abstinence.


May I correct my hon. Friend's error as to Swaziland'.' My hon. Friend is wrong in supposing that Swaziland is within the sphere of British influence. It is a native State that has been ad ministered by a joint European Committee, but negotiations are going on, and it is impossible while the negotiations are pending to say anything. [Several hon. MEMBERS: The negotiations are finished.]

*(10.34.) MR. J. M. MACLEAN (Oldham)

I think the observations we have just heard show that the House is not in possession of that correct information we ought to have. The Under Secretary deprecates discussion at the present time, and now and always we are anxious to yield to the wishes of the Government. But may I remind the Government that they have been four years in office, and there has not yet been a full discussion of their African policy? Not long ago Lord Salisbury said that the African question was probably the most important political question of the day. It is a little remarkable, therefore, that the House of Commons has not yet been taken into the confidence of the Government as to what their African policy is, and that there has not been any full discussion of what is going on there. I think it is of great importance to the Government itself that there should be a discussion of these questions in the House, because what could be more advantageous for the Government, which is really a Committee of the Representative House of this country, than to know what the national feeling is on a policy of this kind? Besides, the question is discussed everywhere in the Press, and Mr. Stanley is going about the country lecturing people and telling them what they ought to do, and attempting to dictate the Imperial policy of this country, and he is listened to by largo masses of our countrymen, who are under the influence of the glamour of Stanley's name. I have been astonished by some of the speeches which have been made on the other side, and which seem to indicate a return to the old principles of the Liberal Party, because from articles in the Radical Press and speeches by Radical leaders I had been led to think that what used to be called the bastard Imperialism of Lord Beaconsfield had become the accepted gospel of the Radical Party. In fact, we are rather in danger of forgetting that there are other portions of the habitable globe of some importance to the Empire besides the Dark Continent of Africa. I do not myself believe that the value of the trade and the colonisation which may be developed in Africa is so overwhelming as is sometimes represented; but, at the same time, I am strongly of opinion that England ought to have her fair share of all the expansion that is going on there. There are a good many critics who blame the too great caution of Lord Salisbury in the view of what the Government of this country ought to do in Africa, but a Conservative Government is bound to be cautious. But when it is said that Lord Salisbury is to blame for giving in so much to Germany, we ought to remember that it was the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian who, in the first instance, invited Germany to pursue her glorious work of colonisation in that region. In a speech made in 1885, after that little quarrel between Lord Granville and Prince Bismarck had been brought to a close by Lord Granville making his apology in the House of Lords to Prince Bismarck for having said anything to offend him—in 1885 the right hon. Gentleman in glowing sentences said that if Germany was to become a colonising power—and the right hon. Gentleman wished her God speed—she became the ally of this country and partner in the execution of the purposes of Providence in carrying the light of civilisation to the backward regions of the earth. But the House is told by the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs that very important and delicate negotiations are going on, and that we ought not to interfere with them. It seems to me that while those negotiations are going on Germany is advancing all along the line. This country does nothing to attack German interests, although we read of the way in which the Germans are storming one position after another along the East Coast of Africa, and are equipping new expeditions to start into the interior of the country. Now, if the Government of this country instead of promoting new colonising expeditions —which I firmly believe are bound to fail; for I do not see, although a great deal is talked by Stanley of the advantage of settling there, that there is any part of the coast, except the south, where it is possible to settle colonies of white men—if the Government would remember the interests of this country we have an important trade there which the Government is bound in honour and interest to look after. The whole trade of the East Coast of Africa has been in the hands of Indian subjects of Her Majesty. Those traders have been settled there for several generations, and have carried on a very important and flourishing trade. From time immemorial the Indian merchants and the daring sailors from the West of India have had control of all the traffic round the coasts of the Indian Ocean. But the Germans have regularly harried all the settlements of British Indian subjects; men have had their homes destroyed and have been despoiled of their property; and scores of families have been carried by English men-of-war to Zanzibar in consequence of German interference. Is it to the credit of Great Britain that such interference by a Foreign Power should be permitted? With some knowledge of the East, I say that no more serious blow could be struck at the political honour and authority of England in the East than has been struck by the subordination of English power to Germany in East Africa. Will the Under Secretary give the House some information as to the decay of trade in that part of Africa as the result of German interference there? It would have been far better for this country if its Governments had stood up for the interests and the honour of British Indian subjects there, and had said that, whatever Germany might choose to do, we would suffer no interference with the interests of the British Empire. What have we to gain from the concessions to Germany in Africa? Why should we bind ourselves to one nation in particular? We have interests in Europe, Egypt, and in the far East, and it is necessary that we should cultivate friendly feeling with all European Powers; but why give any particular preference to Germany? What has Germany done for us? The right hon. Member for Mid Lothian spoke of civilisation as if German civilisation and English civilisation were the same thing. The civilisation of Germany is a much inferior article to the civilisation of England, and is very often quite antagonistic to it. The Germans are energetic and enterprising, and if they had some touch of magnanimity in them they might become the foremost nation in the world. But I believe that England, in the long run, will beat the Germans out of the field; and I maintain that the Government of this country is bound, in considering what they are doing in East Africa, to pay, first of all, some regard for national interests, and afterwards to keep on terms of a good understanding with other Powers. Germany will respect this country more if we stand up for our interests instead of conceding everything she demands. Now a word upon these Chartered Companies so often alluded to. Of course, these companies do not carry on their work for the sake of putting down the Slave Trade or stopping the drink traffic. Quite lately we had a Debate upon a subsidy to be granted to a line of steamers trading to the East African ports, and I find I have been upbraided in the newspapers for saying England is incurring responsibility by having those Chartered Companies. I am not at all afraid of responsibility, which England is now better able to undertake than she ever was before. But whether England should work with Chartered Companies is quite another question. I think that Chartered Companies are an anachronism. The Chartered Company which was established in India raised armies, collected revenues, established States, and reigned over vast provinces. But it would not have been able to do that under the direct and immediate control of the British House of Commons. As it was, it took 200 years and constant wars to establish itself in India. That is completely out of the question for the African Companies, which cannot move a step without having their actions reviewed and questioned in the House of Commons. Mr. Stanley said that if the House of Commons did not give the East Africa Company its help and support against the Germans, that company would have to give up its civilising and beneficent work. If that is the case, it becomes a question whether we ought to give the companies all the profits, while the taxpayers of England have the cost of protecting them. Surely it would be better for the State to undertake the business itself rather than trust to those Chartered Companies.

(10.47.) MR. PICTON (Leicester)

I do not think we are quite prepared to take the view of the hon. Gentleman. Of course, we all agree we are a great nation with a noble mission; the only question is to the manner in which we should extend British dominion and carry out our noble mission. Much has been said of the East Coast of Africa. I have something to say of the West, and wish to refer to a matter which occurred near Sierra Leone, and is referred to in the Blue Book C5740. Probably some hon. Member may remember that a little while ago I called attention to the manslaughter of a native by a British subject.


An Amendment has been moved to reduce the Vote on Account of Foreign Office policy, and this is now under Debate.


I was not in the House, and was unaware that an Amendment had been moved.

(10.50.) COLONELNOLAN(Galway,N)

The hon. Gentleman the Member for Oldham has a false idea when he blames the leader of the Opposition for encouraging the Germans to go to East Africa. Now, the right hon. Gentleman, in my opinion, pursued a very strong African policy, and left our position in Africa much better than he found it.

An hon. MEMBER

The Transvaal?


But the Transvaal was annexed by a Conservative Government.


Order, order!


Well, I do not want to talk about that, though I am quite ready to do so. The hon. Member for Oldham spoke in a deprecatory way of Mr. Stanley, who is certainly the greatest traveller who has lived in our time. [Cries of "No," "Livingstone."] Well, it is matter of opinion; I think him the greatest traveller since Marco Polo. He certainly can speak with knowledge and experience, and he has told us that there are vast tracts of Africa fit for the settlement of white men. The hon. Member for Oldham speaks of the unhealthiness of the East Coast, and there he is right; but what Mr. Stanley means is inland territory, 600 or 700 miles above sea level, and he declares that he has seen immense tracts well adapted for white settlement. I am afraid there is a good deal of what is very much like cant talked about our noble motives and civilising influences. The Slave Trade, of course, we can take credit for endeavouring to suppress, and, naturally, we do not wish to have those under our authority debauched with bad liquor, nor would we here, if we could help it; but I do not believe that in Africa or here you can keep liquor out. Since exploration opened up the interior of Africa to European enterprise, there has been a scramble among Continental nations for a portion of it; and it has, therefore, become an absolute necessity for England to see that it gets its fair share. Unless the country is annexed in a formal manner, it must become a prey to filibustering expeditions. It is perfectly legitimate to extend British influence and dominion, though, of course, it is a matter that must be carefully watched. But a quarrel with Germany, leading to a war, would, whatever else might be the result, mean an expenditure that half a century's occupation of Africa would not balance. It is well to note that the spread of Christianity in Africa is but slight compared with the spread of Mohammedanism. This last is spreading among the African tribes at a tremendous rate. For my part, I have some respect for the Mohammedan religion; it is certainly better than Paganism, and there are points in it not unlike our own.


But this has nothing to do with the policy of the Foreign Office.


On that point, Sir, I bow to your ruling. Knowing that half the world's wars have arisen out of religious causes or pretexts, I very much doubt that this has nothing to do with Foreign Office policy. But though I am not convinced I shape my conduct by your ruling. I would only remark that I do not think the hon. Member for Oldham has any cause to reproach the leader of the Opposition, who has left this country in a splendid position in Africa, a position which Lord Salisbury seems in danger of frittering away.


I sincerely hope that hon. Members opposite, having spoken at such length and with such vehemence and caustic assertion, will now act up to the opinions they have advocated by going to a Division, and I shall support them with the very greatest pleasure.

(11.1.) The Committee proceeded to a Division:—


was appointed one of the Tellers for the Ayes, but no Member being willing to act as the second Teller for the Ayes, the CHAIRMAN declared that the Noes had it.

Original Question again proposed.

(11.4.) DR. TANNER

Several admirable works have been suppliedto Members of this House, and this is a Report which I hold in my hand by one of the accredited Agents of Her Majesty's Colonial Office. It records a very sad state of affairs, indeed, in the Caicos Islands. We have had an extremely interesting discussion on land grabbing in Africa, and as to whether Germany or Great Britain is to become possessed of certain vast territories. Hon. Members opposite have spoken of a bastard Imperialism, and I thought of the Government policy at Tipperary. While all these discussions occur, here we have a Report of the condition of these islands, in which the state of affairs is most deplorable. The Report is signed H. M. Jackson, who says that experience shows that once in three years the rainfall is insufficient to nourish the crops to feed the people who grow them. One of three results, Mr. Jackson says, is certain. Either the lands must be abandoned, or the people must starve, or the Government must provide for the wants of the increasing population. This Report has been in the hands of Members since last October, yet it seems to me an extraordinary fact that we have heard not one word about the condition of these people. I know that there are hon. Members who are anxious to deal with certain other matters—to deal with a pauper population nearer home, pauperised by the savage action of certain individuals, aided and abetted by Her Majesty's Government I am not, therefore, going to pursue the obstructive tactics of hon. Members opposite, who, after talking 2½, hours, have not the courage to go to a Division. This Report shows that the wells in the Caicos Islands are at least four miles walk from the town, and that a very small quantity of water can be obtained for drinking purposes. Means are required to enable these unfortunate people to exist; and the First Lord of the Treasury might have been here to subdue the intolerable ardour of his followers, who talked for hours without coming to a result, so that some attention could have been given to this subject. If Her Majesty's Government are so very anxious to conciliate the German Emperor, let them give up Heligoland, our possession of which is a menace to the German Empire. Heligoland is nothing better than a, bathing place in the North Sea, patronised by the Germans. Her Majesty's Government, instead of allowing the German Emperor to say in Africa "Thus far shalt thou go and no farther," might do more to conciliate the German people by giving up Heligoland than could be accomplished in any other way. The island is useless to us, either for commerce or as a shelter for our vessels of war. I think a great deal might be done if this little island were given up to the German Emperor in establishing a modus vivendi between the two countries. I sincerely hope that Her Majesty's Colonial Secretary will give some answer to these observations, notably as to the state of affairs in the Caicos Islands.


I shall be very happy to give the hon. Member the information he desires when the Colonial Vote is reached.


I was not aware the Colonial Vote was coming on. I learnt these facts when I was enjoying the hospitality of the Chief Secretary for Ireland—having got this Report in prison. Other Blue Books were sent to me there which I shall take opportunity to refer to. I had time to study them.

(11.17.) CAPTAIN VERNEY (Bucks, N.)

I move to reduce the Vote of the Charity Commissioners by £500. The first duty of the Charity Commissioners is to inquire into the administration of Charitable Trusts. The second duty is to compel the production of accounts of expenditure and to audit such accounts when produced. My charge against the Commissioners is that they are appointed by the country to be custodians of money left for the poor. I maintain that they habitually neglect that duty; that the money left for the poor is stolen by the rich, is used for the purposes of the rich, is often lost, and in many causes misappropriated. By this pamphlet I find that the Charity Commissioners have sent in no Report since 1887, and previous to that since 1861 and 1856. The pamphlet was drawn up on information got from the Charity Commissioners. I went myself to the Charity Commissioners on many occasions, and I am bound to say that each time I was met with the utmost courtesy, and every desire was shown to afford me information. I do not believe the fault rests with the Charity Commissioners individually. I believe it only rests with the office of the Charity Commission, which does not attempt to perform the most elementary duty of protecting the property of the poor. I do not know why they do not do it. Probably because they have not a sufficient staff. Now, in the case of one charity they have not sent in accounts since 1879—something like 11 years—and I find the Trustees are a Duke, a Baron, a Baronet, two squires, and two parsons. Yet these men, who ought to know their duty, have not sent in accounts for 11 years. It is the duty of the Charity Commissioners to make these people send in their accounts, and the Act of Parliament gives them full power to do so. The money, no doubt, was wisely expended; but the poor of the parish knew nothing about it. As a rule, the Charity Commissioners do not make the persons having charge of these small village charities send in their accounts, and I ask what remedy have the poor under such circumstances? What opportunity have those whose life is spent at the plough to protect their own interests if their richer neighbours fail to do so? The Trustees of these charities are usually the church wardens and overseers. We have a special Department whose business it is to protect the poor in these small places, and the charge brought against those who compose that body is that in a large number of cases the Charity Commissioners fail in the discharge of their first and elementary duty. I assert that the Charity Commissioners permit the poor to be robbed of the money which is left for their use, and allow that money to be appropriated to some other use. What is this but theft? Take the case of the money left for Spiers' Charity as lately as in 1856. The amount was £8 a year, and I have the names and addresses of the churchwardens and overseers responsible for the distribution of that sum. I will not give the names, because I know that good work is not promoted by personal attacks on individuals. I may, however, say that that money is gone; it has been stolen by the men whose duty it was to distribute it amongst the poor. In another case, £3 8s. was left for the benefit of the poor, and of that sum £3 3s. was given to the Oxford Infirmary. In another parish £50 was left for the poor, and the executors refused to pay the money because of some difference as to whether it was left to the poor of one parish or of those of another parish, the result being that the executors have pocketed the money, and the poor have derived no benefit from it to this day. In another case, £35 a year was left for apprenticing the children of the poor. Of that sum £19 goes to a school account, which certainly is not apprenticing poor children. I have many more cases of the same kind in which money left for the poor has been appropriated to other purposes; but I will not go into them now. My third charge is that money left for educational purposes has been expended for other purposes. In one case the amount was from £120 to £130 a year. Then there is the case of Lady Saye and Sele's Charity in which £320 was left for apprenticing poor boys. How was that money expended?£30 went to the Brandon School, £40 to the school-master, £150 for the repair of the parish church, and 10 guineas towards the salary of the parish clerk. Are we to pass these things over year after year? Who is to protect the poor if the Charity Commissioners do not? I hope I shall leceive some assurance from, the Treasury Bench that this duty imposed on the Charity Commissioners will be insisted on. I am sure that hon. Members opposite are as much interested in this subject as I am, and I trust they will support me in the action I am now taking, especially when they know, as many of them must know, that money left to educate poor children is really expended in saving the pockets of the rich, the poor deriving no benefit whatever from it. In many cases this is done deliberately, because in a large number of rural villages there is a strong objection to the education of the poor, those of the better class saying, "What are we to do for servants if the poor are educated?" My remarks are not meant in any way as an attack upon the Government; but I assure them that this is a matter of burning importance in the rural districts, where, in most cases, a small sum-—say of £10 or £12—devoted to a scholarship would act as great a stimulus to a village school as an exhibition of £50 or £100 in a large public school. I hope the Government will see their way to press this important duty on the Charity Commissioners.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the item of £7,000 (Charity Commission), be reduced by £500."—(Captain Verney.)


I certainly agree with the hon. and gallant Gentleman that the matter is one of great importance, and although it does not come within my special province, nevertheless as the appeal has been made to me in the absence of my hon. Friend (Mr. W. Lowther), I will ask leave to say a few words upon the subject. The cases quoted by the hon. and gallant Member are cases coming under Endowed Schools schemes, and it is clear, therefore, that the Charity Commissioners are in no way responsible.


They are responsible to this extent, that all Charity Trustees are bound to send in their accounts to the Charity Commissioners, and if they do not insist on this being done they are in fault themselves.


At any rate, the matter is one which I regard as important, and I shall take an early opportunity of bringing it under the notice of the Commissioners. The complaint that the money of the poor is taken away and devoted to other purposes is a very old one; but if the hon. and gallant Member will furnish information as to specific cases, I will see that they are inquired into. With regard to the general scope of the speech on matters of administration I only wish the hon. Member will give me concrete evidence in regard to two or three cases, and I can assure him they will receive the utmost attention from myself, and I will bring them under notice in the proper quarter.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Original Question again proposed.

(11.31.) MR, J. MORLEY (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)

I am a ware that the right hon. Gentleman is anxious to dispose of this Vote on Account to-night, and therefore I will only detain the Committee two or three minutes. There is a rumour that a certain vacancy in the High Court in Ireland is about to be filled up, and I submit that, if that is so, the filling of the vacancy will be a breach of an undertaking given by the Chief Secretary on the 14th of April, 1887, a few weeks after he assumed office. I am not going into the question generally of the condition of the Irish Bench; it is admitted substantially on all hands that that Bench is immensely overmanned, immensely overpaid, and immensely underworked. In his speech, in April, 1887, the right hon. Gentleman re- ferred to the excess of strength in the Supreme Court of Judicature as a recognised evil in Ireland, and promised to bring in a Bill to reduce the number of Judges, stating that, without pledging-himself to the number, the reduction would be three or four. I am unwilling to believe, in the face of that declaration, the right hon. Gentleman is about to do as rumour says. He has not fulfilled his promise to bring in a Bill for the reduction of the Bench, the strength of which he admits to be in excess of the public requirements. I find that the Irish lawyers have distributed among them, in the shape of official salaries, a sum of £230,000 a year. The Irish bar is, I am told, about 1,000 strong, although there are only 300 in actual practice; therefore, the State pays at the rate of £750 a year for each practising barrister. I raise the subject briefly now, instead of on the Vote for the Irish Judicature, in order that the Chief Secretary may know that we protest in advance against the filling up of the present vacancy in the Queen's Bench Division.


The right hon. Gentleman has, with great brevity and clearness, described the case which he has to make against our exercise of legal patronage in Ireland. Now, confining myself strictly to the question raised by the right hon. Gentleman, it is the case that I gave the pledge in question in 1887. Legislation was brought in accordingly, but it did not meet with any favour from hon. Gentlemen who sit below the Gangway, and it was found impossible, in the then state of Parliamentary business, to attempt to carry it that Session. I do not think any opportunity has occurred since in which the Government could possibly have brought in the Bill with any possibility of passing it. If that is true, the question is what course the Government should have pursued. The right hon. Gentleman would almost lead the Committee to suppose that it rests with the Government to determine whether the vacancy is or is not to be filled up. That is not the fact. In the absence of legislation it is obligatory on the Government to fill up the vacancy. No blame can attach to the Government if they fulfil a duty imposed upon them by Act of Parliament by filling up vacancies in the Judicial Bench. The right hon. Gentleman is probably aware that the: present Government have never proposed to reduce the number of Common Law Judges. They have come to the conclusion that that would be inexpedient, and that the reduction should not be in that branch of the Judicial Service. But without further discussing what form legislation should take in the future, it is clear that if the rumour alluded to by the right hon. Gentleman is correct, and I do not suggest the contrary, no other course is open to the Government than to fill up the vacancy, and so to bring up the strength of the Judicial Bench to the limit fixed by Act of Parliament.

(11.41.) MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

As we are on the subject of judicial appointments, I wish to draw attention to a recent legal appointment in Ireland. Mr. Atkinson, Q.C., has recently been appointed Solicitor General for Ireland, and this gentleman was one of the counsel for the Times before the Royal Commission. I am given to understand that the Times has not paid its counsel their fees, and it appears to me possible that this appointment has been conferred upon Mr. Atkinson as a kind of quid pro quo. I should like to have an assurance from the Chief Secretary that, in his opinion, the obligation of the Times to pay its counsel remains as it stood before this gentleman was appointed Solicitor General, and is in no way wiped away by the appointment. Otherwise we find ourselves in the position of being called upon to vote money as a quid pro quo because this gentleman represented the Times gratuitously.

*(11.42.) MR. A. J. BALFOUR

The Government know nothing about the relations between the Solicitor General for Ireland and his private clients. Mr. Atkinson has been appointed to the post because there is no more eminent member of the Irish Bar.

(11.43.) DR. TANNER

I wish to ask whether the Chief Secretary has made any inquiry into the conduct of Mr. Gardiner, Resident Magistrate at Cork, and into the conduct of the Resident Magistrate at Macroom?Against the former gentleman a grave and serious charge has been made. We know well the character of the main portion of the scoundrels who are sent as officials to Ireland. If the right hon. Gentleman wishes to maintain a body of extremely immoral and bad men in Ireland, he cannot do better than promote these two men. I challenge the right hon. Gentleman to make an inquiry into the grave and horrible scandal attaching to Mr. Gardiner. Unless some investigation is made it will become my painful duty to follow the line of action which I adopted in regard to Captain O'Neill Segrave, whom the Chief Secretary had ultimately to dismiss. I call on the Chief Secretary to do his duty in the interests of justice.

*(11.48.) MR. F. S. WYKEHAM CORNWALLIS (Maidstone)

I will only detain the Committee a minute, but I wish to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is now prepared to grant to the Urban Sanitary Authority of Maidstone the sum of £300 to enable them to construct a main sewer, which is urgently needed in a district named Fant, where, owing to the present condition of affairs, diptheria is raging, and there have already been some fatal cases?I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give his immediate attention to this matter, as I feel sure the Local Government Board do not wish to be held responsible for any deaths that may occur.


I have given the matter my personal attention. What the borough of Maidstone are asking the Local Government Board to do is to enable them to borrow £300 for the purpose of committing a breach of the law. The Corporation of Maidstone desire to borrow £300 and to employ it in polluting a river. I have found myself quite unable to sanction the borrowing of this money for such a purpose. If the borough of Maidstone like to take upon themselves the responsibility of breaking the law, they have the means of doing so by taking the money out of the rates.

(11.52.) MR. SEXTON

Do the Government intend to suspend Mr. John Mackay, the County Solicitor of Tyrone?The facts of this case are that two men quarrelled outside that gentleman's house, and one having struck the other, he fell and broke a window in the house. Mr. Mackay came out of the house with a drawn sword, pursued the man, and struck him on the forehead, arm, and leg with the sword, and stated that if the man had refused to accompany him to the police barracks he would have murdered him. I wish to know what the Government intend to do with this man?


Although the criminal proceedings in connection with this matter before the Magistrates have terminated, there is still a civil action pending, and I am sure the hon. Gentleman will see that it is premature to go into the case until that action has been heard.


Of course; but I do contend that the offending official ought to be suspended from his office in the administration of the law. I am sure that no English official who had done such a thing as this man admitted before a Court of Justice he had done, would be allowed to retain his office.


I wish to know why Mr. John Slattery, now in Cork Gaol, is treated differently to myself?When I was in Clonmel Gaol I was allowed to see my wife in the Governor's room, and I ask that Mr. Slattery should be allowed to see his wife also. I asked for no favour for myself. We want no favour at the hands of the right hon. Gentleman, whom we are always prepared to fight. With all his bravado and swagger in connection with his Irish administration, the right hon. Gentleman, although he draws a large salary, seldom ventures to enter the country. He gave us an assurance that this class of prisoners should be treated better than first-class misdemeanants, but he has broken his promise so far as Mr. Slattery is concerned.


I can assure the hon. Gentleman that every prisoner in Ireland is treated strictly according to the rules prevailing with regard to the particular class to which he belongs. The rules that applied to the hon. Gentleman will be applied to Mr. Slattery if Mr. Slattery belongs to the same class.


Very well, that is all I ask for.

Question put, and agreed to.

Resolution to be reported to-morrow at Two of the clock; Committee to sit again to-morrow.