HC Deb 09 June 1891 vol 354 cc12-3

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, by the recent appointment of Major C. M. Macdonald as High Commissioner and Consul General at Old Calabar, the Foreign Office has come to a decision with regard to the application made on behalf of the African Association of Liverpool asking for a grant of a Royal Charter; whether it is to be assumed, from the appointment referred to, that Her Majesty's Government has decided to refuse the application; whether he can inform the House what was the result of Major Macdonald's investigation into the allegations against the Royal Niger Company, contained in a Memorial of the inhabitants of Lagos dated 12th March, 1889, which charged the Company's servants with (among other things) disarming some negro employés, enclosing them in a "compound," and shooting them down "in cold blood" at Lokoja, and— For no other reason than refusing to continue a dangerous journey in which they had already suffered the greatest privations"; whether he can state the terms of the appointment of Major Macdonald to the post of High Commissioner and Consul General for Old Calabar, and the extent of the powers conferred upon him; and whether natives who may have a legitimate grievance against the action of the Royal Niger Company, or the African Association of Liverpool, will have a right of appeal to Her Majesty's representative?


It is correct to assume that a Royal Charter will not be granted to the Association. Major Macdonald was not instructed to inquire into the alleged mutiny at Lokoja and its repression, which had been previously dealt with by the constituted tribunals. Major Macdonald is Commissioner and Consul General for the Oil River Protectorate. He will exercise administrative powers, and also judicial powers under the Africa Order in Council in 1889. He has no powers in the districts administered by the Niger Company. Natives in the district administered by him will have the right of placing before him grievances against British subjects. The Courts constituted under the Order in Council will be open to them. The African Association holds no exceptional position in the Protectorate

SIR G. CAMPBELL&c.) (Kirkcaldy,

Has the Government finally decided not to produce any part of Major Macdonald's Report?


The hon. Gentleman had better give notice of that question.