§ MR. SAMUEL MONTAGU (Tower Hamlets, Whitechapel)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware that Messrs. J. H. Schröder and Co. applied on 15th January last to the Crown Agents for the Colonies for English silver coin for shipment to Lagos, and that in the reply dated 16th January they were referred to the African Banking Corporation, who were the constituted bankers to the Lagos Government; whether he is aware that on 20th February Messrs. Schröder applied to the African Banking Corporation for £3,000 in English silver for Lagos, and were refused on the plea that the Crown Agents can grant no further orders until the prohibition of the Colonial Government is removed; and whether he has heard that silver coin is very scarce at Lagos, and that this refusal to allow silver to be shipped is a hindrance to trade?
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
The correspondence referred to as having taken place in January took place in January, 1892, not this year. The correspondence referred to as having taken place in February took place this year. The African Banking Corporation applied to the Crown Agents for an order for the £3,000, presumably required by Messrs. 801 Schröder; but the application was refused on the grounds that the Corporation had just previously received an order for £20,000, and the Governor had requested by telegraph that that amount, which is very largely in excess of the usual requirements of the Colony, might be treated as the limit of importation for the present. No representation as to a scarcity of silver coin at Lagos has been received from the Governor.
§ MR. S. MONTAGU
Will the Under Secretary take into consideration the desirability of extending the limit?
§ MR. S. BUXTON
We have telegraphed for information, and, as I have already stated, the Governor does not think it advisable to have more silver sent out at present.
An hon. MEMBER: Is the Under Secretary aware that the African Banking Corporation charge a very heavy commission? Cannot the merchants have silver direct from the Mint instead of through the Corporation?
§ MR. S. BUXTON
The arrangement with the African Banking Company will cease very shortly, as they are going to withdraw from Lagos, and then some new arrangement will be made between the Government and the merchants.