§ 8. £190, Supplementary, London University.
§ (7.15.) MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
I should like to have some explanation of the increase in this Vote.
§ *MR. JACKSON
There has been a slight increase in the expenditure owing to the fact that there have been more candidates for examination, and that there have had to be more examiners. The increased expenditure, however, has been more than covered by the additional fees received.
§ (7.18.) MR. CONYBEARE
Owing to a policy adopted not only by the present Government but by their predecessors, and in fact by all Governments, the books in these cases are of no value. The money is not required; still, it has to be spent. I have seen most curious entries about some Departments, and it comes to this: that when the money is voted they are bound to find somebody to receive it. The money is run away with in a most mysterious manner, and I would ask the right hon. Gentleman for an assurance that the fact that money is voted does not necessarily imply that it must all be spent.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
Have we a guarantee from the right hon. Gentleman that there is no sort of religious test upon any person whatsoever in seeking to pass an examination at the London University?
§ (7.21.) DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
We always appreciate the extremely nice way in which the right hon. Gentleman answers questions, but I never was so surprised as I was just now to learn from him that, practically speaking, we have defective bookkeeping in respect of the fees received in connection with examinations. We asked the right hon. Gentleman what was the reason for the increased expense under the Vote, and he says it is in consequence of increased examinations; and he supplements it by saying that the increased examinations bring in an increase of fees, so that there is a balance in favour of the Department. Then he tells us that the Vote is asked for in consequence of the extraordinary system of book-keeping of the Department. That seems to me rather ridiculous. The right hon. Gentleman belongs to one of the most important Departments of the State—the Department having charge of the public money—and I really think he should try and bring about some modification of this system which he tells us himself he takes exception to. The Committee ought to impress upon Her Majesty's Government the necessity of doing this. If the right hon. Gentleman can demonstrate to us a little more plainly why this money is asked for we shall be glad. If it is not really wanted why ask for it?
§ (7.24.) DR. CLARK
The Government will make £136 this year by the London University. Under the head "a" we are told that it is caused by an increased number of theoretical examinations and by insufficient accommodation for University building, and there is an addition under the head "b" for examinations in physics. Under the circumstances—as the University of 532 London is a source of gain to the State and the Government are asking us for new buildings—I think we ought to have some scheme brought forward for making the London University suitable for the work it has in hand.
§ *(7.26.) MR. JACKSON
We have tried for some time past to do that. These examinations are held at particular times, and temporary accommodation has to be obtained, which involves the necessity of hiring rooms. The Vote is in consequence of an increased number of candidates and a corresponding increase of examiners. They have rendered increased accommodation necessary. The receipts in fees are estimated at £700 more than they were last year. It was not my intention to convey the impression that the system at present adopted was bad, because it is quite obvious that if the total cost grows there should be power given by the House to provide for that additional expenditure. The original amount was £3,647, but it was found necessary to spend £3,778. The system of book-keeping adopted is a good one. Vote agreed to.
9. Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £11,484, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1891, for certain Charges connected with West and South Africa.
§ *(7.27.) SIR G. CAMPBELL
I desire to take exception to the item of £600 for the Anglo-French Mission to settle the boundary of Gambia. I would suggest that we should do away with this expense by getting rid of Gambia altogether. There has been a good deal of talk about the place, and it has been clearly demonstrated that it is of no use to us, being surrounded and enclosed by French territory. It is a sort of thorn in the side of the French in Africa. We have what I may call a "roughness" with the French in Newfoundland, and they are dissatisfied with something we are doing in Egypt; therefore I think it would be a good thing to throw a little oil on the waters by handsomely presenting France with this colony. Mention was made of this question in a letter which appeared in the Daily Graphic, signed "F. Buxton," and it appeared to many of us that there 533 might be a great deal of truth in that gentleman's statements. I have noticed also that a constituent of my own has described the state of affairs in these colonies in West Africa. He tells us that the people in the French Colonies there are God-fearing Mahommedans who do not drink spirits, and that their places are comparatively healthy. In the British colonies he found a different state of things existing. The people are dirty and degraded, and they consume enormous quantities of drink. That is unfortunately encouraged or permitted by us, and tends to the insanitary or degraded condition of these colonies. Under the circumstances, I will not move the reduction of this Vote, but I would suggest to Her Majesty's Government the great advantage of giving up or trading away Gambia to the French. I hope it may be possible on some future occasion to get rid of this unnecessary and inconvenient colony.
§ *(7.32.) BARON H. DE WORMS
Sir' I am sure the hon. Gentleman will not wish me to consider the expediency of giving up to France territory which we are now engaged in delimiting. If the hon. Gentleman looks at the Agreement of the 10th August, 1889, he will see by Article V. we have the right of nominating Commissioners to make such special survey as might be necessary to establish the line of demarcation between the English and the French territory. This sum of £600 is simply for the purpose of paying the Commissioners who were engaged in the delimitation of the boundaries. The delimitation of a portion of the boundaries, from Lagos to Porto Novo, has been successfully performed by an English and a French officer. At present the Commissioners are engaged in the delimitation of Gambia and Sierra Leone, the geography of which is very difficult. The delimitation is being carefully carried out in order to prevent the possibility of future dispute. It was decided to appoint officers who were capable of making a survey, and Royal Engineer officers, with a staff of non-commissioned officers and men, were appointed. It is to pay a proportion of the expenses of these officers and men that the £600 is now asked for. We divide the expense with the colony, which provides, in addition, a local trans- 534 port, carriers, interpreters, and an escort. I may say that the colony is also at the expense of providing an additional outfit. The hon. Gentleman also referred to some letters from a person named Buxton, giving, from his own experience, a terrible account of Sierra Leone; and he said that he thought there was much truth in that person's statements.
§ *BARON H. DE WORMS
This person, named Buxton, went out to the Gambia to find a Government appointment. He found none, and went on to Sierra Leone. He could not pay his hotel bill, and was turned into the streets. Then the residents got up a subscription for him, and sent him back to England after he had been in the colony for a day or two. Soon after his return he brought out a flaming prospectus for carrying a railway across the Sahara. If the hon. Gentleman possessed the information which I have about Mr. Buxton I do not think he would attach any importance whatever to his letters in the Daily Graphic.
§ *SIR G. CAMPBELL
I do not attach importance to anonymous letters in newspapers, but still I should like to know whether there is this drunkenness in the colonies.
§ *BARON H. DE WORMS
I think I can give the hon. Gentleman the assurance that the picture is very highly coloured and very much overdrawn.
§ *(7.37.) MR. BUCHANAN
I desire to call the attention of the House to the item of £5,000, a moiety of the deficit to be granted in aid of Swaziland. As to the agreement with Swaziland, what has practically been done is that we have entered into a joint Government of Swaziland with the Transvaal, and the statement of Sir Francis de Winton that there is no finality about the arrangement is confirmed by the resolution of the Transvaal Republic—that the joint agreement is a transition measure. I perfectly allow that the hands of the Government and of the Prime Minister were forced in this country by those who were interested in various financial enterprises in Swaziland. With regard to the financial aspect of the question, Sir F. de Winton, in his Report, says that nearly 535 all the concessions are in the hands of the South African Republic. The concessions are not mining concessions, but concessions of revenue and of Customs Duties, already made to individuals, and purchased by the Government of the South African Republic. As far as I understand no advance has been raised as to the possibility of buying up these concessions. Sir F. de Winton puts down the estimated expenditure for police and Government at £22,500, and he estimates the Revenue at £5,000. The estimated deficit, therefore, comes to £17,500. I may say that in the Estimates for the ensuing year there is a charge of £7,000 for Swaziland, which is an estimate made by the High Commissioner. This sum is due under the Convention, which says that any deficiency shall be duly certified. I asked the right hon. Gentleman a few days ago whether there had been any audit of the accounts or any certification of the deficit. The right hon. Gentleman replied that the rules of the audit of accounts, which were provided by an Article of the Convention, had not yet been received for South Africa, nor could the deficit be certified until the close of the year, on the 31st inst. The right hon. Gentleman also stated that the revenue derived from Swaziland was £1,347, as against the £5,000 estimated by Sir F. de Winton. That £1,347 is only for six months, so that the revenue for the year would be £3,700 instead of £5,000. The expenditure estimated by Sir F. de Winton comes to £22,500, so that we shall have a very much larger deficit next year. It appears, therefore, that this is only the first demand, and that in all probability we shall have before us a continuous and increasing demand for the purpose of sup porting the Government of Swaziland. We may have a continuously increasing demand, and, therefore, I think it is only right that the House of Commons should take note of the first appearance of this very serious charge upon the revenues of this country. We know very well what happened in regard to Bechuanaland, where the expenses incurred had to be borne by the Home Government. The cost was at first estimated as only a small matter, but it went on increasing from year to year, until at last it amounted to£110,000 536 and £120,000 a year. Undoubtedly, considering the difficulty we shall be under in administering this country, and in attempting to do so in partnership with the South African Republic, we shall find that the calls made upon our Exchequer will be likely to increase from year to year, and that at present we are only at the beginning of what will be a continual charge on our resources; therefore I desire to obtain from the House some expression as to whether the policy on which we have embarked is a wise policy, and ought to have received the approval of the House of Commons. I have, however, given no notice of a Motion for reducing the Vote, and, therefore, I will merely ask the right hon. Gentleman to favour us with further information on the subject. At present our information is exceedingly meagre, and, while urging him for a more explicit statement, I would also endeavour to impress upon him that he should take advantage of the present opportunity, when negotiations are going on in this country, for the settlement of a great number of our political relations in various parts of South Africa, to come to some permanent settlement with regard to Swaziland. Surely it would be a wise step on the part of the Government not merely in our own interests but in those of the natives of Swaziland, were they to seize this opportunity of bringing about a permanent and satisfactory settlement of the question. In doing this the Colonial Office should endeavour to effect such an arrangement as would leave it as little to do as possible, and would throw on South Africa the greater share of responsibility, at the same time relieving the taxpayers of this country, as far as may be, of a permanent burden on their resources.
§ (7.50.) MR. CONYBEARE
It may save time if I endeavour to bring this matter practically before the Committee by urging upon the Government a point in relation to the liquor traffic in Swaziland and the regulations authorised by the Government of this country in regard to it. I wish to draw the attention of the Government to the Appendix of the main Report of Sir F. de Winton, already quoted by the hon. Member for West Edinburgh, in which was given a very interesting account of the discussion on the liquor question which took place 537 between Sir F. de Winton and his colleague the Transvaal Commissioner, and the native chiefs, the latter of whom desired the traffic to be suppressed altogether. The Swaziland natives sent their representative to put before us, as the Governors of the country, the necessity of suppressing the liquor traffic; and they made strong representations as to the ruin it brought about, not only upon the men but also among the women and young children in Swaziland If the Committee will turn to page 37 of the Appendix to the Report they will find it there stated that the question was first introduced by Sir Francis de Winton, who agreed that young men and women ought not to drink the stuff, and that those whom he was addressing must try and join them in endeavouring to abolish the evil. Upon this one of the head men said drink was the ruin of the country, and was making it rotten. It is quite clear from what was then said that the Commissioners adopted the idea that the concessions for canteens, granted by the late King, could not be revoked, but the claim made by the Swazi nation was that it was useless to rely simply upon prohibitive regulations which permitted the sale of liquor in the country, because it was found by experience that they were always contravened, even when the most careful regulations were enforced by the police. The natives desired to have the canteens done away with altogether, so that the liquor traffic might be entirely abolished; but this desire was met by the Commissioners with the statement that the canteens had a locus standi granted them by the late King, and therefore they could not meet the wishes of the natives by doing away with them. On page 41 of the Appendix there is an account of another meeting between the Commissioners and the head men of the Swazi nation. Sir F. de Winton introduced the business by telling the natives that they had come to the conclusion that something must be done, and they would be glad to hear from the head men their opinion on the subject. A Mr. Brennen, who was present, and who was apparently interested in the canteens, here interposed and asked what evidence there was that the natives wished the canteens to be abolished. Sir F. de Winton replied that the Indunas were 538 present, and Mr. Brennen might see the letter if he wished. So that here we have the canteen concessionaires fighting strongly for their rights, the head men of the Swazi nation strenuously opposing the existence of the canteens, and the Commissioners asserting that they could not recommend prohibitive regulations, and were unable to consider the possibility of putting an absolute veto on the canteens. Now, the statement of Mr. Brennen, that the drinking of spirits did not do harm to white men, was a very strong one indeed; as also was his assertion that British subjects-would fight to the bitter end rather than allow these concessions to be taken away from them. I should like to ask the Government whether, in view of a threat of that kind, they are prepared to back up the statement and to insist that these drinks shall be supplied in Swaziland to the degradation and ruin of the natives? Umbandeene said at this Conference that the natives wished to see all the canteens closed, because so long as the canteens-were there, the natives could not help drinking. Mr. Brennen, in reply to that, suggested that what the natives asked was impossible, and thereupon Mr. Shepstone pointed out that all they wanted was that a check should be put upon their own drinking. They had no idea of a middle course; all they thought-necessary was that the canteens should be closed. Mr. Shepstone added that that was their way of putting it and that would not affect the rights of white men to indulge in drink. Now, with all due deference to Mr. Shepstone, I cannot quite agree with that interpretation of the wishes of the natives. The only reason why I have ventured to trouble the Committee with quoting at such great length this statement, is in order to bring before the people of this country the great evils which now prevail among the Swazis, and to point out that the natives themselves are desirous that a prohibition should be introduced for the sake of their women and children, because they know perfectly well that indulgence in these drinks means the ruin and degredation of their nation. I think it is rather hard that Mr. Shepstone should have tried to gloss over their words at this Conference. There is no doubt that they want the canteens closed altogether, because if 539 they are open for any one class of people the possibility is that others may be able to get the drink; these people undoubtedly ask for the absolute and total prohibition of the liquor traffic. They know perfectly that, unless the canteens are closed altogether, they will be unable to prevent many of their race from becoming degraded and ruined with drink. This is a very important question for our consideration, and I think we are bound to impress upon the Government the necessity of taking the Swazi view of this matter, and of putting a stop altogether to the importation of liquor into this country. At this Conference, Sir Francis do Winton pointed out the difficulty of closing canteens altogether in face of the concessions which had been granted, and he suggested that it was only possible to go to work in a legal way to stop the drink traffic, and objected to the total demolition of the canteens. It might not be desirable to pull the canteens down altogether; I am not in this country, at any rate, an advocate for anything like compensation, because I do not believe there is a vested interest in licences; but I take it that the case of Swaziland is somewhat different, and I hold that if it were found necessary in the interests of the Swazis to pull down the canteens, and to pay the concessionaires the cost to which they had been put in their erection, it would not be an improper step that we should provide compensation. I have only one other quotation to deal with: Sir Francis de Winton, as will be seen on page 46 of this book, said the Court had considered the question concerning canteens, and would take such steps as would secure that it would be entirely the fault of the natives themselves if they indulged in drink. The chief who represented the Swazis on that occasion suggested that that was not enough, and that what they wanted was that no more spirituous liquors should be imported; and Sir Francis De Winton promised that that point should be further considered, adding that it would be their own fault if any natives indulged in more drinking. Now, the passage which I have quoted showed exactly what were the sentiments of the Swazis, and I hold that it is the duty of the Government to take measures to prevent the importation of 540 spirits into the country. Whether or not the Government take that view, we on this side of the House will at all events have done our duty in bringing this matter before the House. We have now given publicity to the appeals of these unfortunate people, who desire to be rescued from the demoralised condition which their nation may afterwards be placed in by reason of the policy which we have been pursuing. I hope that my appeal to the Government may not be unsuccessful. I do not think it would be agreeable to this House or to this country that the pleadings of these people should be rejected by us, because hereafter we may discover that the rejection has placed the nation in a miserable and degraded condition. What we urge is this: That if it be impossible to prevent the importation of beer—which, undoubtedly, is not so deleterious to any human creature as spirits—we might at any rate prohibit the importation of strong spirits, which are nothing more than poison in the form of firewater. This fire-water is indeed the worst kind of poison; and we would urge upon the Government, whatever may be their views with regard to the importation of beer and drinks of that kind, which are not poisonous, vigorously to prohibit the importation of these poisonous spirits. I will not trouble the Committee any further, and can only hope that it will not be deaf to the appeals and pleadings of these Swazi chiefs, which certainly ought strongly to appeal to the consciences of Englishmen. I trust the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies will give us some satisfactory, undertaking that this matter shall be most carefully considered before any final decision is come to, and that the decision, when arrived at, shall be in the direction of total prohibition of the importation of the worst and most poisonous drinks that exist.
§ *(8.17.) BARON H. DE WORMS
I will deal first with the observations of the hon. Member for Edinburgh. The hon. Gentleman will remember that by the 9th clause of the Convention entered into with the Transvaal Republic, it was agreed that any deficit in the revenue available for the purposes of the joint Government should be borne in equal shares. The annual deficit has been approximately estimated at £14,000, 541 but the proportion required during the present financial year will not exceed £5,000; and I hope that next year probably it will be less, as I believe the revenue will be larger and the expenses less. It is probable that in the future, when the inquiry into the reckless concessions granted by the late King has been completed, two of the Judges may be dispensed with; and in that case, a saving of £3,600 a year will be effected. With regard to the question of the Government of Swaziland, I would remind the hon. Member that three alternatives were open to the Government—the first, that this country should assume the sovereignty; the second, that it should be left to the Boers; and the third, that there should be a joint Government, consisting of a Representative of this country, a Representative of the Transvaal Republic, and a Representative of the Swazi nation. I think it will be admitted that Her Majesty's Government were right in adopting the last alternative. Nobody would approve of placing a white population—a population of Englishmen, Scotchmen, and Irishmen—under the entire control of the Boers. The hon. Gentleman asks me, has anything been done in the way of buying up concessions. Nothing, whatever, has been done with regard to buying up concessions.
§ *MR. BUCHANAN
I was referring to concessions of taxes. I understood the Transvaal had purchased the concession of Customs duties and postal rights.
§ *BARON H. DE WORMS
I do not understand that, but I may say that a great many of the concessions have been investigated, and the bad ones are being sifted out. As to the important question raised by the hon. Member for Camborne, who has asked whether Her Majesty's Government are prepared to suppress the liquor traffic in Swaziland, there is every wish on the part of the Government to deal with the liquor traffic, but it is utterly impossible to go beyond the Convention. That has already been ratified.
§ MR. CONYBEARE
I did not know that the Treaty had been ratified; but I wanted the Government, in any case, to carry out this policy of total prohibition.
§ *BARON H. DE WORMS
It is utterly impossible for us to go beyond the Convention, and to introduce new conditions after the Treaty has been ratified.
§ *BARON H. DE WORMS
The Convention was presented to the House in November, 1890. I explained its provisions three or four times last Session.
§ *BARON H. DE WORMS
Oh, no. The Convention was discussed last year on the Colonial Vote, on two separate occasions.
§ MR. CONYBEARE
I only ask the Government to carry out the wishes expressed in the appeal of the Swazis themselves, that the importation of spirits should be totally prohibited.
§ *BARON H. DE WORMS
The Government of Swaziland is at this moment vested in three persons as I have already stated. It is for this Joint Government to lay down such laws for the regulation of the liquor traffic as they think fit. Moreover, it is expressly provided in the Convention that the Representatives forming the Joint Government shall have no share in the management of affairs in which natives alone are concerned. I can, however, assure the hon. Member that, so far as Her Majesty's Government are concerned, they will be most willing to do anything in their power to modify the evils of the liquor traffic. Where-ever Her Majesty's Government have control they have made very stringent prohibitive laws, and have done their best to carry them out. But in this case they have no power to interfere, and can only hope that the three Representatives forming the Government will do their utmost to check the evils feared.
§ (8.29.) MR. CONYBEARE
I should like to point out that this Conference took place prior to the ratification of the Treaty, and the object was to ascertain first the views of the settlers, and secondly those of the natives, upon this grave question of the importation of intoxicating liquors. The natives had made a strong appeal to have the importation of liquor put an end to, in their own defence. I have shown the 543 line taken by our own Commissioner in relation thereto, and I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman what was the use of this discussion between our Commissioner and the Representatives of the natives on the question, if no attention is to be paid to their wishes. It is all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to quote the clause of the Convention and say, "We cannot do anything because the Government of the country is placed in the hands of these three persons, and it is for them to make whatever regulations they like; only our Commissioner has no power whatever to deal with any matter affecting the natives themselves." I do not wish to use harsh language, or I should be inclined to say that it is only quibbling with the question. The broad and important point is that no effect has been given to the wishes of the natives. We have in the Blue Book a list of concession after concession, recognised and confirmed by our own Representative, for the establishment of canteens and dram-shops in that country. We sent out a Commissioner to find out the wishes of the people, and their wishes have been expressed in clear language against the importation of intoxicating liquors. I want to know what line our Government has taken in the matter. Has the Government had under consideration the question whether it would be possible to get rid of these canteen licences by compensating those who hold them, as suggested in the Report of Sir Francis de Winton? If nothing has been done to meet the wishes of the people we have a right to be informed why.
§ *BARON H. DE WORMS
Will the hon. Gentleman read Article 6 of the Convention? If the hon. Gentleman had read the Convention his speech would not have been delivered.
§ MR. CONYBEARE
Let us assume that provisions have been made. That disposes of the right hon. Gentleman's argument that our Representative has no power to deal with matters affecting the Swazi people themselves. All I say is that, on the broad, general principle, it was the duty of the Government to take measures for meeting the wishes of the Swazi people. The whole question arises on this Report of Sir F. de Winton, and we could not know what the wishes of the people were until we 544 had the Report before us. That Report was issued to us after the House rose last August. How on earth was it possible for us to inform the House what the wishes of these unfortunate people were before we had an opportunity of appealing to the exact words used by the Swazi Chiefs? This is the first time we have been able to place properly before the House and the country the way in which the piteous appeal of the natives is being treated, and I think that is a proper opportunity for protesting against the pernicious practice of ratifying Conventions behind the back of the House of Commons. How is this House to keep a proper control over the actions of the Representatives of the country abroad unless we are able to see for ourselves the exact facts on which Conventions are based? These natives have a right to be protected against the ruin we are bringing upon them. For the right hon. Gentleman to come down and say, "We cannot do anything now, because the Convention has been ratified" is simply to play with the House. I hope the Government, in view of the interest which attaches to these questions in the eye of the public, will mend their ways in the future, and see that we have proper material for forming a correct judgment on such questions be fore any conclusion is arrived at. I take a special interest in this matter, because many of my constituents have gone out to the mines in Swaziland, and I am sure they would all endorse the views I have expressed on the subject. (8.41.)
§ (9.13.) Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,
§ *(9.15.) MR. BUCHANAN
The right hon. Gentleman the Undersecretary was in possession of the House, and if he desires to proceed I will not stand in his way. There are one or two points to which I should like to direct attention. In the first place, with reference to the concessions in Swaziland, I referred not to the mining rights, but the concessions acquired by the Transvaal Government postal, telegraph, banking, Customs, &c.; and the point of my argument, enforced by the Report of Sir Francis de Winton, was that our partnership with the Transvaal is not 545 upon equal terms financially, because the Transvaal Government are in possession of revenue from Customs and other sources. The question I have to ask is whether any steps have been taken, as Sir Francis de Winton contemplated there would be, supposing a dual Government instituted towards the purchase of these concessions of Customs duties? Because undoubtedly if any steps have been taken in that direction, and are likely to bring forth fruit, it would make up for deficiencies in regard to the financial position in Swaziland, as to which we are now asked for this £5,000. In his statement the right hon. Gentleman complained, and complained, I venture to think, rather unfairly, of our raising this discussion now, because he said we had ample opportunity before us last Session. That was far from being the case. There was a supplementary sum for the Swaziland Mission; but, as the right hon. Gentleman will remember, the Government made an appeal to their supporters not to discuss the subject, but to allow the Vote to be taken on the ground that negotiations were not yet concluded. More than that; on the 17th March a supporter of the Government, the Member for one of the divisions of Liverpool, was induced to withdraw a Motion for which he had the first place on that ground. It was not until August 2nd that the Convention was concluded, and the general terms were announced by the right hon. Gentleman on the 4th or 5th August. On the 12th August undoubtedly the Colonial Vote came on for discussion; but I find, on reference to Hansard, that it was at 11.44, a quarter of an hour before midnight, that the hon. Member for Peckham rose to ask one or two questions in regard to the Swaziland arrangement. It may be in the recollection of Members of the Committee that we then had merely an abstract of the Convention in an answer from the right hon. Gentleman; we had no papers; we had not the Convention, nor the Report of Sir Francis de Winton, nor this volume of correspondence. These were only issued in October or November last. Since having these we have had absolutely no opportunity of raising the question unless we had made it the subject of Amendment to the Address in reply to the Queen's Speech, and the 546 Government might fairly have complained had we taken that course. The' question raised by the hon. Member for Camborne (Mr. Conybeare) is undoubtedly a serious one. Have we any power under the Convention of controlling the canteen holders and the sale of intoxicating liquors in Swaziland? Article 6 of the Convention provides that the control in Swaziland, in matters in which natives only are concerned, remains unaffected by such organic proclamation. It seems to me it is a strange interpretation to put upon that article to take it to mean that by that section we are prevented from any control over the canteen holders in Swaziland. I suppose the sale of drink is equally to white settlers as to natives, and I suppose regulations apply to the whole of the traffic; and surely it must be straining of the terms of the article to say we have absolutely no jurisdiction over the liquor traffic in Swaziland under the Convention. I think it will largely affect the judgment of the people of this country when we are called upon to find £5,000 now, and during the ensuing year £7,000 in aid of the government of Swaziland, if they are told that notwithstanding such grant in aid we are to have no responsibility or control over this traffic. This is a subject upon which many people take the deepest interest—this sale of drink to natives in Africa. If we are to have no control in this matter, I think the people of this country will regard with great jealousy the terms of this Convention, and will grudge the Vote of £7,000 for the maintenance of government in that country. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman can enlighten us on this point.
§ (9.23.) MR. LABOUCHERE
I understand that my hon. Friend (Dr. Clark) intends to move a reduction of the Vote on specific grounds; and as that may deprive me of the opportunity, I now wish to put a question in reference to the telegrams to the Lord High Commissioner. The original Estimate was £750, but now we have £1,750. An increase of a few hundreds I could understand, but the original Estimate is more than trebled. I suppose this is in connection with the Chartered Company of South Africa, but is there any explanation of this excessive amount?
§ *(9.24.) BARON H. DE WORMS
I can assure the hon. Gentleman the increase is not in connection with the South Africa Company; the bulk of the telegrams chargeable under the Vote have relation to Bechuanaland and Swaziland. There was an extensive telegraphic correspondence during the negotiation of the Convention.
§ *(9.24.) MR. MORTON (Peterborough)
I desire to say a few words upon this drink question. It is, of course, not a new one, and, under various aspects, it has been under public discussion since American and African colonisation first began. I understand that under this Convention we are to have no control over the drink traffic in Swaziland, but we may well ask how it comes about that we have no such power or control? How is it that a responsible Government does not take care of this, which the people of this country consider of the greatest importance? Of course, we understand that the Tory Party, having special interest in the drink question, do not look upon these matters so keenly as we do; but the people generally have the strongest sense of the iniquity of native races being ruined by the supply of strong drink. Swaziland, we understand, is to be governed by three Commissioners, one of whom is the Representative of this country. Cannot we instruct our Representative to take care that the question is dealt with? It is almost an absurdity to suppose that we have no influence in the matter. I am afraid the Government are not sufficiently alive to the importance of this question. Surely they must have the power if they care to use it. When I was in Canada, a good many years ago, I found that the colonists had made it a crime to sell or give ardent spirits to the Indians. Surely if the Colonial Authorities could do that the Imperial Government can do something of the same kind. It has been a reproach to our Christianity that we go among native races with the Bible in one hand and the whiskey bottle in the other; and hence it is that our efforts at civilisation are so often treated with contempt. I hope we may have an assurance that, through our Representative on the Commission, every effort will be made to stop the 548 drink traffic among natives altogether. Prom my experience in Canada, I know that if it cannot be entirely stopped, it can be very much restricted. Our duty is plain; and I earnestly hope the Government will not neglect it.
§ *BARON H. DE WORMS
The question referred to by the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Buchanan) has not been overlooked. I may say I did not complain at all of the question being brought on. What I complained of was the statement of the hon. Member for Camborne (Mr. Conybeare) that the question had never been brought before the House. When the matter was discussed in August last I gave a complete telegraphic summary of the Convention. The hon. Member for Camborne has asked me about the liquor traffic in the colonies. Hon. Members must recollect that, as we have not annexed Swaziland, we have no power to put down the liquor traffic. We have to consult the Representative of the Transvaal Government and also the Representative of the Swazis themselves. The hon. Member for Camborne says the Swazis are not represented; but they have a Representative in Mr. Shepstone, whose sole business it is to look after their interests. I can give the hon. Member an assurance that we will instruct our Representative to press on his colleagues the desirability of checking the liquor traffic as far as possible. That is all we have power to do, because we cannot act without the co-operation of the Representatives of the Transvaal and the Swazis.
§ *MR. MORTON
Will the right hon. Gentleman say why the Government had not taken power in the Convention to deal with this drink question?
§ (9.34.) SIR G. CAMPBELL
I am not prepared to submit to the House of Commons a plan for dealing with Swaziland, but I sympathise very much with what was said by the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Buchanan) to the effect that, whilst we are more and more committing ourselves to dealing with Swaziland, we are not in any way getting out of the difficulty in which we are placed. We have imposed upon ourselves a very heavy responsibility in regard to the liquor traffic. The right hon. Gentleman tells us Her Majesty's Government are desirous of diminishing the liquor traffic as much as possible. 549 We have heard that again and again, but it has not been done. I do not, in the least, believe that anything will come of the present declarations. One thing is certain, that as long as you allow liquor to be sold to the white Christian, the white Christian will sell it to the natives. If the Government were really seriously in earnest, they would put down the traffic in spite of the interests of the white trader, and the desire of the white Christian for his liquor. I am not altogether in sympathy with the desire of my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Buchanan) that general South African questions should be settled in Africa. I do think it necessary, however, that we should take to heart what Sir Hercules Robinson has told us, and that we should have an Imperial policy or a South African policy, that we should either tell the South Africans that certain things must be done, and they must pay for them, or that if we pay we shall undertake the management. At present we are taking the chestnuts out of the fire for the benefit of the Cape Government. We pay the piper as long as there is trouble; but when there is benefit to be obtained, it is all made over to the self-governing Cape Colony. That seems to me to be a very undesirable and unfair system as regards this country. On the Vote for the Army we were told that it was intended to withdraw the troops from Natal, and to concentrate them in the Cape Colony. We were told that some effort was to be made to get the Cape Government to contribute to the Vote of the troops; but at present nothing has been paid by them, and I believe nothing will be paid as long as they see we are willing to take the chestnuts out of the fire for them.
§ (9.40.) DR. CLARK
I beg now to move a reduction of the Vote by £500, being the money contributed by this country of the deficiton the account of the territory, I move this because I am thoroughly opposed to the policy adopted by Her Majesty's Government, and because this is the first time we have had an opportunity of discussing that policy with the Papers before us. I should like to ask the Government one or two questions: Last time we were discussing this matter we had a telegraphic summary of the contents of the Convention before us, but since that we have had the Convention 550 itself placed in our hands; and since that, again, we have had the Report of Sir Francis do Winton. I would ask, "Why has this arrangement been entered into, and who advised it? "Who is the author of this arrangement? Because he ought to get the credit of it, whoever he may be. Up to the present there has been no document published by the Government in which any responsible Authority in South Africa has recommended this course. Two very important officers have tendered advice to the Government in regard to this matter. The first of these is Sir Hercules Robinson, who probably knows more about the question than any living man. He is the greatest authority, just now, in South Africa, having had great experience in the affairs of that country, and having had experience of the transition from the old condition of things to the present. Then there is Sir Francis de Winton, who was sent out by the Government, and he has sent in a Report. Sir Hercules Robinson strongly urged the Government not to take the course they have done. I could have understood their action if, after having received that advice and being unwilling to follow it, they had sent out some one on whose wisdom and discretion they could rely to report, and this official had recommended a different course to that suggested by Sir Hercules Robinson. But we find that their special Commissioner, who was sent out at great cost, strongly endorses the recommendations of Sir Hercules Robinson. He says that the Government should not adopt the course they have taken. I ask, therefore, who recommended the course they have taken, and why has it been adopted? It is not necessary for me to point out the strong character of the words of Sir Hercules Robinson, because they are not official, but I would draw attention to the recommendations of Sir Francis De Winton. He says that the system of dual control you have adopted will be a very bad thing indeed. He says it will not lead to any finality, and that it will result in a state of things adverse to the interests of Great Britain and South Africa. The Government have gone against that opinion. Secondly, I ask, "In whose interest are we to spend this £12,500, and are we to have a perpetual tax of £10,000?" I think 551 the annual tax on this country will be more like £20,000 than £10,000, as I doubt very mach whether our partner to the transaction will get his share as easily as you do. In this House you will get some £10,000 by merely ringing the Division bell, but in the Transvaal Parliament things are very different. President Kruger is a strong man, but I know the material of which the Transvaal Parliament is composed, and I doubt whether he will be able to get a single penny of this money. If he makes it a matter of confidence and of remaining in office, the result will be that he will quietly disappear, and somebody else will take his place. In whose interest are you asking for this money? Not in that of the natives of Swaziland. If it had been, there would have been something to say for this Convention; but as usual in treaties between the British and the Boers, or between a Colonial Government and the British Government, native interests are overlooked, neglected, or sold. I have often had to protest against that. I did so in the Zululand question, five years ago. The Boers and the British are able to look afer themselves, but not so the natives. Under the precious 6th clause, which you tell us ties your hands and prevents your doing anything, the natives are left a prey to the white people, who secure all sorts of wicked concessions from them. They get concessions, for instance, for selling liquor, and, as a result, I have seen the Swazi girls asking everybody for money and buying liquor, and lying about the canteen doors, drunk. You have debauched the people, and there is no power given by the Convention for preventing further demoralisation. In whose interest, I ask again, can this be? It can only be in the interest of the concessionaires. The Swazi King, Umbandine, was a very decent man at one time, but he fell into the hands of unscrupulous adventurers, who robbed him of all his possessions by the concession system; and now you have set up a Government to empower these adventurers to carry out these unjust concessions. Why has this policy been adopted? Do the Government think it will settle the question, or do they intend to re-open the matter? It has been imposed on the Swazis without their consent, and on the Boers by a 552 threat. The Swazis have some right to ask us for protection, for when we annexed the Transvaal the Swazis were a portion of it, and by the Transvaal law these men had an absolute right to their own location—and Swaziland was one large location. By the Treaty of Pretoria we cut off Swaziland, because there were no white men there—as we did in the case of Bechuanaland—and it came under the control of the King only. Swaziland is a small portion of the Transvaal. It is not so large a portion of the Transvaal as Kent is of England. It was a native location that no white man could obtain any control or power over, but when it was out off white adventurers came in, and the King gave away concessions until he had parted with every acre of his country, with all mineral rights, grazing rights, and rights of every possible kind, to his secretaries and members of his Council, if the reports in all the South African newspapers are correct. It is somewhat amusing to see the kind of concessions he has given. There are 42 wicked concessions which the Swazi people very much object to, and which they say the King had no right to give; but I understand from the South African papers that the Courts are upholding all the concessions. Mr. Thoburn, for some time secretary to the King—like Mr. Shepstone—has a concession for the manufacture of gas, another for surveying, and others for pawn broking and lotteries. Mr. Cohen obtained a concession for Customs which he sold to the Transvaal Republic, who now have the sole right to raise any Customs they think fit in that country. The mere mention of this shows the absurdity of the arrangement. There are concessions given for forming townships, wool washing, the importation of machinery, the importation of cement, tobacco, and other things. A Mr. Harrington had the right to all Inland Revenue and taxation raised in the country, and that the Transvaal Government have also bought. Another person has the sole right of insurance. Mr. McNab has the sole right to sell patent medicines, other people have the sole right of photography, farming, for selling silver, glass ware, for tanneries, for postal arrangements, for advertising, for grinding, for sup- 553 plying veterinary surgeons, prospecting, representing the commissionaires, railways and refreshment bars, abandoned concessions, dynamite. The railway concession the Transvaal Government has also bought. One man has bought the right to import all goods free. These are a few of the 200 concessions which have been granted. These rights were given by the poor old King when he was drunk and had no notion of what he was doing. I saw him myself giving these concessions. One man came to him and complained that he had a concession for mineral purposes overland, which the King, a fortnight before, had handed to somebody else. The King said "I am sorry about that; but can you not agree." "No," was the answer "we cannot." The King then said "If you like I will give land somewhere else." "I don't want that," said the man. "Then," replied the King, "The strongest man must keep it." The Court which has been sent out to Swaziland has not to settle whether or not these concessions should have been conceded, but whether they are bonâ fide, whether the King really did grant them or not, because frauds were often committed, a nought being sometimes added to a figure, so, for instance, as to make "20" acres of land "200" and "300" acres "3,000." The price of the drink concession was £10, and for that sum power was given to debauch the people. This country has no control over it, neither have the Swazis themselves. They are to be left to drink, and witchcraft/and anarchy. Those who have got letters by to-day's mail, or the last mail, will find that the native regiments are getting drunk and fighting each other regarding the division of the women. Anarchy still exists there, and that anarchy is brought about by us, because we have not done anything for the Swazis. Therefore I ask the Committee to refuse this Vote, and to reverse the policy of Her Majesty's Government. The question is what policy should be adopted in its place. There are two or three policies which would tend to the benefit of the white people and the Swazis. I do not care for the white people. They have gone out under false pretences, and for inadequate sums have got rights from the King, many of which he did not even know the meaning of. It will be seen, therefore, that there were 554 several courses open to the Government. There was first of all the course they have adopted, then they might have come to an arrangement by which Great Britain should have taken possession of Swaziland, as we did in the case of Bechuanaland. In that case the Government would have had aright to have asked Parliament for money, because it would then have had power as well as responsibility, whereas now it has responsibility but no power. Had Swaziland been as near as Bechuanaland, so that it could have been as easily got at, the wisest course would have been to have annexed it, but you cannot annex it now; it is surrounded on three sides by the Transvaal and on the fourth by the Portuguese, and the only way through it would have been through the Tonga territory, which is exceedingly unhealthy. In 1886 I took a Division in this House against your giving to the Boers the territory which would have enabled you to have dealt with Swaziland, but I was defeated, and it is entirely by your own action that you are now shut off from that part of the country. You are upon its borders and, but for this Convention, you could easily have added Swaziland to Natal, but you neglected the opportunity. The only other course for you to have pursued was to have arranged that the Transvaal Government should have taken over Swaziland and given you some equivalent for it. That was recommended by the Natal Government, the Cape Government, the High Commissioner and the Special Commissioner, and the whole of them advised Her Majesty's Government against the course they have taken, but instead of taking Swaziland over, which would have been the best thing for the natives, you did exactly what you ought not to have done and gave the country to the new Republic. The result is that you have practically failed to settle this question, although you have succeeded in involving yourselves in no end of difficulty and expense. The general result will be a state of affairs adverse to the interests of Great Britain in South Africa. Under these circumstances, I move the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £5,000. I repudiate the settlement you have made. It is not in the interests of the natives, who will continue to be debauched and demoralised, whose territory will be taken away from them, whose mineral 555 rights have been given to European adventurers, and to whom no sort of protection has been afforded. You merely bolster up injuries which would be prejudicial to any population, and adopt a policy which is contrary to the well-being of South Africa.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item I (Swaziland), be reduced by £5,000."—(Dr. Clark.)
§ *(10.5.) CAPTAIN BETHELL (York, E.R., Holderness)
I quite concur with the statement that our having allowed the Boers to penetrate in Swaziland has been the cause of much of the trouble; I do not personally think there was anything in the treaty to prevent our taking Swaziland and ruling it ourselves, even without the assent of the Transvaal Government, but this was not the general opinion. I am strongly opposed to the alternative suggested by the hon. Member opposite, namely, that we should hand Swaziland over to the Transvaal Government; to do this, without making satisfactory arrangement for the welfare of the people, would have been a sad breach of faith. It has occurred to me that supposing the present arrangement should last for a number of years, an opening might be offered for undoing what we did in 1886, by making some sort of an exchange for that portion of the territory which is between Swaziland and Natal; but that is a question of future policy. Not having taken either of these courses there only remained the policy Her Majesty's Government have adopted. The hon. Member opposite has taken exception to this policy on various grounds. He says the interests of the natives have been entirely set aside, and that the arrangement come to has been contracted against the advice and judgment of those who are most experienced in South African affairs. I am under the impression, from what I have read, that Sir Hercules Robinson was in favour of handing Swaziland over to the Transvaal Government, but that was because he was of opinion that our own Government could not act strongly enough if they were to take over the territory. I want to point out, that on a question of policy of this sort we are entitled to judge for ourselves, while giving the High Commissioner's opinion every weight, though not treating it as if it dealt with a matter entirely beyond us. We have to look 556 to something more than to the idiosyncrasies of the people or local peculiarities. We have to look at the question as it affects our other colonies. I disagree with my hon. Friend when he says that the Government acted wrongly in not accepting the advice of those who had great experience. As I have said, while attaching weight to the opinion of those of experience, it is none the less our duty to consider such questions apart from local peculiarities, and in connection with our policy as affecting other Colonial Governments. My hon. Friend further complained of there not being sufficient advantages to balance the responsibilities undertaken. That there will be some charge upon us, is without doubt; but if you look to Bechuanaland and others of the colonies, you will find that within a year or two they make a profitable return in trade. The hon. Member denounced the expenditure in connection with South Africa generally, and said that no return was obtained. I am convinced that if he were to add up the advantages derived from commerce, that there is a large balance upon the whole in favour of this country. The expenditure we incur in opening up these countries, little and narrow as it is, is not merely useful in safeguarding and protecting the interests of the natives, but is productive in the development of commerce with this country. With regard to the liquor question, so far as I have been able to discover, the interests of the natives in that direction have not been sufficiently safeguarded by the Convention made last year. Subject to correction, I am bound to say something more might have been done in making the Convention, to prevent the introduction of liquor among the natives. It may be that difficulties were thrown in the way by the other Party to the Convention, still I am very much inclined to think that if greater insistence had been shown with the Transvaal Government, much more might have been done to exclude drink, which does so very much to destroy the natives. Upon the whole, I congratulate Her Majesty's Government in the general course they have taken, in concluding the Convention, considering it merely as a temporary, and not a permanent, arrangement. I consider it is of advantage that the arrangement should be temporary until we see what will be the future course 557 of the South African Republic. So much depends upon future events that it would be unwise either to take Swaziland or to give it over to the Transvaal. The period of probation allowed us therefore—during which I hope the best interests of the natives will be carefully considered—will be best for those who have taken part in the Convention.
§ *(10.25.) BARON H. DE WORMS
I am sure that those who have listened to the speech of my hon. and gallant Friend must feel that he expressed not only the views of the great majority of this House, but the great majority of the people of this country when he said that, if Her Majesty's Government had adopted the course suggested by the hon. Member for Caithness of handing over to the Transvaal the white and native population, we would have acted contrary to their wishes. My hon. Friend, in referring to the concessions, seemed to believe that they had been sanctioned by Her Majesty's Government. No statement could be more erroneous. Those concessions, as I stated in the earlier part of the evening, have been investigated, and we have discarded those which are worthless, and have been obtained by improper means. Therefore, there is not a shadow of foundation for saying that Her Majesty's Government in the slightest degree approved the concessions referred to by the hon. Member for Caithness. The speech of the hon. Member for Caithness was rather a remarkable one, because he spoke in the interests of the Boers in urging that the Treaty of London ought never to have been made. While implying that Her Majesty's Government had some responsibility for the making of it, he seemed to forget that it was made in 1884, when the right hon. Member for Mid Lothiau was in power, and that his policy with regard to the Transvaal was the subject of a Vote of Censure moved against the Government of the day. The hon. Member said that, notwithstanding the existence of that Treaty, it should be abrogated or ignored by the Government, and Swaziland handed over to the Boers. There were three courses open to the Government. One was to ignore the arrangement of 1884 and take over Swaziland; secondly, to abrogate the Treaty of 1884 and allow the Boers to take it over; and the third and most rational course was the one which has been 558 adopted—namely, to respect the Treaty of 1884 and establish a joint system of government. Well, then, the hon. Member proceeded to say that it was owing to the action of our Government that the natives of Swaziland have been degraded and brought into a miserable condition. The hon. Gentleman seems to have forgotten the whole history of Swaziland. When those negotiations began the Swazis were, owing to the drunken King who ruled over them, in snch a degraded condition that the Government, in conjunction with the Transvaal Government, felt that the moment had arrived when a better state of things ought to be established, and the natives be relieved from their miserable state of barbarism and anarchy. I am therefore at a loss to understand how the hon. Member has arrived at the conclusion that the policy of the Government has reduced the Swazis to a state of degradation. The state of affairs which led to the intervention of the Government in Swaziland was the indiscriminate granting of concessions by the late King, and the incursion of numerous whites, some of them in search of mining and other concessions. Some of these whites, with the consent of the Swazis, were elected a Committee of Government, but they had no experience of administration, and nearly all the members of that Committee had private interests of their own, while their proceedings were marked by internal dissensions and an absence of desire for the welfare of the country. That was the condition of Swaziland when the Government interfered to see whether they could not remedy it. A Report was made in October 1889, by the resident and official agent to the Swazi nation, who stated that affairs for a long time had been growing worse and worse, and that there was no sort of security for the life and property of the inhabitants. Then it was that Sir Francis de Winton was appointed to inquire into the condition of Swaziland, and he reported in favour of handing the land over to the Boers. But the Government were not bound to accept and act upon that Report. They alone were responsible to the country, and accepting that responsibility they chose the other alternative, under which the Provisional Government was established. It consisted of one officer nomiated by our Goverment, one by 559 the South African Government, and one by the Swazi nation. It is perfectly true we have been pat to certain expense in Swaziland, and probably we shall have to spend money on it for some years to come. But if we had violated the Treaty of 1884 and annexed the country, should we not have had to pay much more? It is strange that those who are always advocating economy should, in the same breath, wish us to take over a responsibility which would involve an expenditure of a far greater amount. As a matter of fact we acted in accordance with the Convention of 1884 and the policy of the Government was dictated in the interests of the Swazis themselves. They are protected by the convention whatever hon. Members may say to the contrary. If hon. Members will read Article 6 they will see that all matters in which the natives alone are concerned are to be regulated by native laws and customs.
§ *BARON DE WORMS
That provides that concessions within the boundaries of Swaziland shall be recognised and respected if they meet with the approval of Her Majesty's Commissioner. That is the very article to which I should have thought the hon. Member would not have drawn attention. His argument has been all the way through that these reckless concessions have been recognised by the Government, and yet here, in this very Convention signed by the Government, is a clause that any reckless or absurd concession shall not be declared valid unless it meets with the approval of Her Majesty's High Commissioner or of the President of the Transvaal Republic. Anything more illogical than the hon. Member's argument could hardly be conceived. Article 5 saves the Swazis from being dragged into illegal or improper concessions. The Government did not agree to the Treaty until it was expressly arranged that the Swazis themselves should have a special Representative. Mr. Shepstone is that special Representative, and he has equal authority with the Representatives of Great Britain and of the Transvaal Republic. Therefore, the policy of the Government has been to protect the Swazi nation. There is no doubt the degraded condition of Swaziland was brought about by the chronic drunken condition of its late King I must say the suggestion of the hon. 560 Member, that we ought to have handed over the control of the white population to the Boer Government, was one not likely to find favour in this House, neither do I believe it would have found favour outside. No doubt it would be supported by the hon. Member himself, who represents the Boer Government in an official capacity; therefore, we cannot, with all due respect to him, look upon his utterances as absolutely impartial. I trust that I have been able to dispose of the main arguments of the hon. Gentleman, and I think the House will not wish me to repeat the statement I have-already made as to the policy of the Government. We have been actuated by the best wishes for the welfare of the Swazis. My hon. Friend has alluded to the drink question. I can assure him that the Government will communicate with the Representative of Great Britain in Swaziland, and request him to place himself in communication with the Transvaal Government, and see what arrangements can be made with regard to the liquor traffic.
§ (10.37.) DR. CLARK
If the right hon. Gentleman had read Article 5 he would possibly have understood it, which he does not now. It begins by—saving all existing rights; and that is what I object to. Up to the proclamation of last year everything-given by Umbandine is reserved and saved by this clause.
§ DR. CLARK
All that requires the sanction of the Government is that which was granted after the date of the organic proclamation. The Court has to inquire into the validity of concessions which are disputed and which do not appear in the King's book But all the concessions, practically, were given to Shepstone, Nuller, and Thorburn; and as they took care they appeared in the King's book, the validity cannot be inquired into. The only ground upon which a concession can be declared void is, that it was obtained by fraud. And what has the Court done? I have carefully studied the South African papers, and all disputed concessions, with but one exception, have been declared valid and binding upon the Swazi people. I am not here in this House pleading the cause of the Boers; I am pleading the cause of the 561 Swazis, as I pleaded the cause of the Zulus against the Boers; and I ask the Government to take the advice of all who are able to speak with authority on this question. Who are responsible for the Treaty? Sir Hercules Robinson and ex-General Sir Evelyn Wood—who, when he entered into the negotiations, was burning to avenge Majuba—and the Chief Justice of the Cape. It was simply because the Swazis were at one time under the Boers that they lived; otherwise, the Zulus would have wiped them out altogether. Under Boer law, native reserves cannot be sold to white men; neither is drink allowed to be sold to natives; but under our rule, the Swazi's are deprived of the protection of both those provisions; and, therefore, I say that Sir Hercules Robinson, in acting on the evil advice of General Wood, has done much to debauch these natives. We know that in no territory in Africa do natives live so comfortable as those under Boer rule; and if Swaziland had been placed under the Boers, I venture to say that these concessions, of which I com-plain, would not have been ratified. In the joint Government to which I have referred, Mr. Shepstone represents the Swazis. Who is Mr. Theophilus Shepstone? He is a fraudulent bankrupt, who, having embezzled the funds of his clients, bolted away to Swaziland, and he is a fine type of the Europeans to be found there. The Transvaal, indeed, is a kind of sewer for all the vagabondage of South Africa. There you find some of the biggest rascals—the scum of the land. The Government have degraded and debauched the people by their policy, and not only are they doing nothing under the treaty to save their rights, but they are pursuing a course which will probably cause difficulty in the future.
§ *(10.50.) MR. GOSCHEN
I am glad the House understands now that when the hon. Member for Caithness talks of the debauching of the Swazis, the Government which made the arrangement of 1881 was the Government which began the debauching of the Swazis. In the early part of his speech it would have been thought that it was the policy of the present Government which has had that effect. The hon. Gentleman spoke as if it was the present Government which brought Mr. Shepstone there, but what has been the policy of 562 the present Government? Mr. Shepstone, before the existing arrangement was made, was practically ruler of the Swazi people, and what this Government has done is to neutralise the effect of the incursion of adventurers, to endeavour to stop the abuses which exist, and to establish something like regular government in Swaziland. The position had become intolerable, because the adventurers were practically bringing Swaziland into a condition which might have been a disgrace to civilisation. Under these circumstances, the Government had to make their choice as to what remedy should be applied. Whatever the hon. Member may say, and whatever other hon. Members may think at the present moment, I assert that there would have been the greatest possible outcry in this country if the Government had handed over Swaziland to the Boers. We should have heard, even from hon. Members opposite, denunciations of the weakness of such a policy, and of the abandonment of the natives, with reference to whom we are under some responsibility. With regard to finance, it would have been perfectly easy, if the Government had simply wished to adopt a convenient course, to hand over Swaziland to the Boers. It was a tempting policy in many ways. Swaziland is an embarrassment to us, but it is an embarrassment we cannot shake off in conformity with the obligations we have entered into simply by taking the course advocated by the hon. Member. They do not understand the sentiment of the British people, or even the views of this House, who think the Government would be likely to accept simply the policy of handing over Swaziland to the Boers. Therefore, the Government fell back on the existing arrangement, certainly not an ideal arrangement, but merely a temporary arrangement. However, it gave time to the Government to endeavour to work out a better system, and to see whether some arrangement could be come to by which the natives and the whites might be protected. The hon. Member objects to the Government undertaking the expense. Well, it is a very disagreeable expense, and the English taxpayer will be likely to get very little for his money; but let hon. Members understand that if they go into the Lobby in support of the Amendment, they will 563 be going in for the alternative policy of handing over Swaziland to the Boers. We are all interested in putting down the drink system, and reference has been made to the fact that the Boers do not tolerate the drink traffic with the natives in the Transvaal. If that is so, they will support our Representative in his efforts to suppress the drink traffic, and the liquor trade ought to have a very short existence in Swaziland.
§ *MR. GOSCHEN
If the Representative of the Boers is in favour of putting down the liquor traffic, and will support our Representative in his efforts in that direction, the liquor traffic ought to have a very short existence. My right hon. Friend has undertaken to use all his influence in that direction.
§ *(11.1.) SIR J. POPE HENNESSY (Kilkenny, N.)
The right hon. Gentleman has said very truly that Her Majesty's Government have, in taking charge of Swaziland, taken upon themselves a task of great embarrassment. How have the Government got into this position of embarrassment? The most experienced High Commissioner of our time advised them not to take over Swaziland. They acted against the advice of Sir H. Robinson. They then sent out a special Commissioner, Colonel De Winton, and they acted against his advice also. My right hon. Friend the Under Secretary said that all the embarrassing concessions are subject to the decision of the Courts. No doubt many of the smaller and less important of these concessions are being brought before the Courts, but the most important, such as the postal, telegraphic railway, banking, and Customs concessions, have been actually purchased by the Government of the Transvaal, and in the opinion of the law officers of the Crown that Government are within their legal rights in obtaining possession of these concessions. Looking to that state of things, it is clear the House will agree with the Chancellor of the Exchequer that Her Majesty's Government have certainly got a most embarrassing bargain in Swaziland.
§ (11.3.) MR. CONYBEARE
The argument of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is that Her Majesty's Govern- 564 ment could not act otherwise than they have acted: that they were afraid of public opinion. What, he said, would the country have said?
§ MR. CONYBEARE
The country always expects a Government to do their duty, but they do not always do it. I do not suggest that the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues did not think they were doing their duty, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer's argument was that if they had adopted the policy which is advocated by my hon. Friend the Member for Caithness (Dr. Clark), and which I do not support, namely, to hand Swaziland over to the Boers, they could not have stood against the indignant explosion of public opinion which he imagines would have ensued upon such an act of weakness, to use his own phrase. I am glad the right hon. Gentleman is, even at this late hour, learning something. Perhaps, the storm which was raised about his head last year in respect to his notorious Budget has led him to be wiser in future. But I want to point out that the closing words of the right hon. Gentleman's-speech were practically opposed to what we heard earlier in the evening from the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said if General Joubert, as my hon. Friend pointed out, is in favour of putting down the liquor traffic he will support the efforts in that direction made, or to be made, by our Representative, and the liquor traffic ought to have a short existence. That is not what the Under Secretary led us to understand. I put the question to the right hon. Gentleman: "Will you take steps for the prohibition of the liquor traffic?" and what was his answer?
§ MR. CONYBEARE
I am speaking of the answer the right hon. Gentleman gave when I was here. Of course, during the evening I had to seek refreshment, like the right hon. Gentleman. The Under Secretary led me to understand that at the present time it was beyond the power of our Commissioner to interfere in this matter. He quoted Clause 6 of the Convention, and charged 565 me with not taking the trouble to read the Convention. I want to be satisfied whether the Under Secretary is right or not. I am going into the Lobby against the Government, not to support my hon. Friend's (Dr. Clark's) plea for the annexation of Swaziland to the Transvaal, but as a protest against what I hold to be the fact that the Government have precluded themselves by the terms of their Convention against conceding, without the express demand or wish of the people, that their young people and old people should be protected against ruin and demoralisation caused by the importation of drink. There is not a single word in this Convention which even intimates the intention of the Government to put down the importation of spirituous liquor. The right hon. Gentleman pointed to Article 5 in connection with the question of the people having granted away their rights and so on, and would have us believe that the Court which is sitting to determine the validity of some of these concessions will be able to do right as between the Swazi and the concessionaires. The right hon. Gentleman did not say what is meant by the words, "saving all existing rights," which appear at the commencement of the article, and which govern the whole of the article. Does the right hon. Gentleman ask us to believe that any single concession, whether it be for a canteen, or a lottery, or anything else, that is granted by Umbandine will be upset by the Court, unless it can be proved there was something in the nature of fraud in the obtaining of it? What is the Court going to do in the case of the concession registered by Mr. Shepstone and granted to Mr. W. T. B. Wilson on the 28th March, 1889, giving a monopoly for lotteries P It appears you are going to demoralise and debauch these unfortunate people not only by drink, but also by gambling, which is so familiar with the aristocratic people of this country. Will the Under Secretary take steps to have all the proceedings of the Court placed before the House of Commons? Fortunately the Convention will come up for review at the end of three years, and then we shall be able to see whether our influence has been productive of mischief or the reverse. I do not desire to advocate the annexation of Swaziland to the Transvaal, and 566 I think that under the circumstances, the arrangement that we made, although a very humble and by no means heroic arrangement on the part of the Government was, perhaps, not an unreasonable one. But everything depends upon the way it is administered, and I assert, in spite of what the Under Secretary said earlier in the evening, unless he is prepared to pay attention to the voice of the Swazi people in connection with the matter of the liquor traffic, there will be great mischief in the future.
§ *(11.20.) SIR J. SWINBURNE (Staffordshire, Lichfield)
I should like to ask the Under Secretary whether he has taken into consideration the future arrangements in Swaziland, because there is no worse government than a dual government? There is in Swaziland a dual control—half British and half Boer. Would it not be possible to come to an arrangement to divide the country into two portions and have one portion under the supreme control of Great Britain, and the other portion under the control of the Transvaal? The present system will lead to the utter destruction of the native tribes; all the Europeans' vices and none of their virtues will be introduced.
§ (11.21) MR. LABOUCHERE
I never gave a vote with greater pleasure than I shall give my vote to-night [Cries of "Oh!"] If hon. Gentlemen think they will shorten the proceedings by crying "Oh!" they are very much mistaken. So far as I can see, the only persons in the world who are in favour of this expenditure, and the retention of this dual control, are certain vague Jingoes to whom the Chancellor of the Exchequer alluded, and who he fears will take an unfavourable view of the Government if they act according to the wishes of everybody who knows anything about the matter, and give up this attempt to rule over Swaziland. Your own High Commissioner and Special Commissioner have reported against the present system. You have the Cape Government and the Government of Natal opposed to it. You have the Swazi people themselves opposed to it, and you admit the English taxpayer will get uncommonly little for this expenditure. Who then, in the name of Heaven, except these vague Jingoes, are in favour of this expenditure, and why should we spend money—throw 567 it away, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer admits—upon such a foolish object as the maintenance of our sway-there? It appears to me we have established in Swaziland the most criminal Government it is possible to conceive. You got hold of a half drunken King and induced him to grant concessions of all kinds of things and to all kinds of people. A concession has been given to an individual to establish in this savage land operas, music halls, and to have a monopoly in midwives. Half a dozen concessions have been given to sell spirituous liquors. In every sort of way the Swazi have been exploited. My impression is that the next thing we shall be asked to do will be to vote a sum of money to do away with these concessions. We shall be told that this property in liquor, lotteries, operas, music halls, and midwives is sacred. I protest against money not only being wasted, but injuriously expended in order to please the vague people who appear to dominate the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Colonial Office.
§ *(11.26.) SIR G. BADEN-POWELL (Liverpool, Kirkdale)
The hon. Gentleman says nobody but only some vague Jingoes uphold the present system. I personally was very much against the arrangement made, but I see definite reason for adhering to the arrangement. We have, after consultation with the Government of the South African Republic, come to this conclusion, and we are bound by treaty to maintain this system for three years. I do not think it would be consistent with our honour to break the treaty. In the second place, we have to uphold existing rights, but I think we have made arrangements by which a distinction can be drawn between concessions which are ridiculous and those which are reasonable. I think the arrangement entered into will be excellent, as far as the natives are concerned. I do not think you can stop drunkenness among native races by mere control of the liquor traffic. What is far more effectual is to establish a civilised and strong Administration, and I hope that the result of our three years of temporary joint control in Swaziland will be to establish a proper Administration, which will effectually control the terrible curse of drunkenness in the native races.
§ (11.28.) DR. CLARK
I am glad to hear from the Chancellor of the Exchequer that this is only a temporary arrangement. So far as its most important clauses are concerned, however, the treaty goes on for ever. Only one or two points affecting Tongaland will come to an end if that district does not join the Cape Customs Union. I do not think it will be possible for it to join the Customs Union, as Tongaland has on one side the Cape, with 15 per cent. Customs duties, and on the other side Natal with 5 per cent. duties. The hon. Member for Liverpool (Sir G. Baden-Powell) says the arrangement must be maintained because we have entered into it with the South African Republic. The South African Republic has, however, pointed out the absurdity of the arrangement, and it has only ratified it in order to give it a trial. Evidently the Government intended to give powers to this new and costly Court to annul certain concessions that had been legally granted, but were contrary to the rights of the Swazi people, and contrary to public policy; but, unfortunately, the 5th clause of the Convention construes all the concessions granted up till last year, and the 3rd clause only gives the Court power to consider disputed concessions. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer really represents the views of the Government they have adopted these clauses because they are afraid of public opinion. The thing will, however, break down financially, because I am satisfied, from my own knowledge of the Boers, that they will never pay for the support of an expensive Government which does no good to them or anybody else. I know the gentlemen who form this Court. The head of it (Mr. Detoy) is an English barrister, and I am sure that if supported by the Government they would, under the saving clause, consider these concessions on their merits, and in the interests of the Swfzi people. I am glad to have this assurance from the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the arrangement is only a temporary one, and I am convinced that events will prove it is as indefensible as were the arrangements of 1881–84.
§ (11.32.) DR. TANNER
In respect to these concessions we have heard a great deal of a Court of Inquiry into the abstract rights and wrongs; but has there been any specific point upon which 569 a concession has been abrogated? From hon. Members who are better posted up in these matters than I can pretend to be, I understand this Court has been sitting for some time past, and if the Under Secretary can show us any instance in which a concession has been done away with or modified he will do much to clear up a great amount of doubt this Debate has shown to be existing. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said very rightly it is an embarrassing position in Swaziland. Can he tell us if the Transvaal Government, who have obtained concessions, are prepared to accept the dictum of this Court in respect to matters in which they are interested, or is there reason to apprehend a state of affairs we should all deplore, and strained relations between the Government of the Transvaal and Great Britain? An assurance on these points may enable us to terminate this discussion without a Division. It is an embarrassing subject, though some light has been thrown upon it by this Debate, lengthened somewhat by the Under Secretary not being fully acquainted with some of the details of the question.
§ (11.35.) The Committee divided:—Ayes 51; Noes 121.—(Div. List, No. 81.)
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.