§ SIR C. W. DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it is the case that, until recently, in assuming the protectorate of countries in which slavery had previously existed, Her Majesty's Government have cleared themselves from the stigma of recognising the legal status of slavery; whether this policy has been carried out in India, West Africa, Cyprus, and the Malay Peninsula; whether, before the establishment of a British Protectorate in Zanzibar, Her Majesty's Government had taken every opportunity to urge on the Sultan of Zanzibar the importance of ignoring slavery as a status recognised by law; whether Sir John Kirk has always 821 urged the non-recognition of slavery as a status known to the law as being a policy essential to prosperity in East Africa; whether the policy of Lord Granville in this respect was continued by the declarations of Lord Salisbury as late as 1889; and whether the recent abstention from action in the same direction in East Africa since the assumption and extension of the Zanzibar Protectorate constitutes a breach of the permanent policy of the country?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir E. GREY,) Northumberland, Berwick
The precedents quoted refer> except in the case of Cyprus, to oases in which natives are subject to British-made laws, as in India and In our West African and Malay Colonies. This is not the case in Zanzibar, where natives are under Mahometan law, which recognises the legal status of slavery. If Sir J. Kirk's opinion be as stated it would be tantamount to urging a closer connection between Great Britain and Zanzibar. We have no knowledge that the policy, which has been that of the suppression of the Slave Trade and the gradual extinction of slavery, has ever undergone a change. It is the opinion of all who know the country that extinction of slavery at an early date must be the result of the decrees of 1890. The traffic in and sale of slaves is absolutely prohibited; all children of slaves born after a certain date in 1890 are declared free; every person entering the Sultan's Dominions from outside is free; and it must be obvious that these three provisions alone, which are strictly enforced, provide for the complete extinction of slavery within a very few years. As a matter of fact, the number of slaves in Zanzibar has been so diminished already that some parts of the clove plantations are going out of cultivation.
§ SIR C. W. DILKE
asked if the answer did not amount to this—that while the Sultan was an independent Ruler we pressed an active policy upon him, but ceased to do so when we became responsible for rule in Zanzibar?
§ SIR E. GREY
I must ask for longer notice of questions an answer to which require a reference to past history.
§ In reply to a further question,
§ SIR E. GREY
denied that there had been any change of policy such as that suggested in the last paragraph of the right hon. Baronet's question.
§ SIR C. W. DILKE
Did not Lord Salisbury press on the Zanzibar Government to take certain steps for the suppression of slavery? Are they now being taken?