HC Deb 13 March 1891 vol 351 cc912-3

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies if Le will state what are the relations between the Colonial Office and the Crown Agents for the Colonies; whether the control exercised by the Colonial Office over the Colonial Agents comprehends any division of the profits of the agencies; if so, to what amount, and under what head is it credited to the Imperial Revenue; what are the annual profits of these agencies, and what is the annual amount of their business; and whether he is aware that the West Indian Colonies, including British Honduras and British Guiana, have recently passed Resolutions through their Legislatures condemning the agency system as an expensive and wasteful medium for the transaction of their business; and, if so, upon what grounds have these resolutions been overridden by the Colonial Office?


The hon. Baronet will find full information in the Parliamentary Paper C 3075 of 1881, and there has been no change since then in the relations of the Colonial Office with the Crown Agents, who are appointed on fixed salaries. These officers derive no personal profit from the transactions of their office beyond their remuneration as fixed by the Secretary of State. No charge is incurred by Imperial Revenues in connection with the Crown Agents Office, and no receipts accrue to those Revenues. The Secretary of State is satisfied that economy and efficiency are secured in a notable degree by the employment of the Crown Agents.