HC Deb 29 April 1895 vol 33 cc34-5

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies with regard to the facts that in October, 1894, the Marquis of Ripon ordered Sir Hubert Jerningham, Governor of Mauritius, to impose a land tax, and to propose that the vote of £15,000 a year as a Military Contribution from the Colony should be doubled; that in December, 1894, the Governor replied that the proposed increase of the vote had been rejected by the Legislative Council of the Colony by 13 to 12; that even the official members of Council protested against it, that he endorsed their protest, and declared that it was materially impossible for the Colony to pay more, that there was a heavy deficit, that trade had declined, that the present condition of the silver market prevented any increase of the taxation, which was almost entirely borne by the planters, and that, nevertheless, a hut tax would be introduced; and, in view of the reply of the Colonial Office to the effect that the sum asked was the smallest which could be accepted, whether it is the intention of the Secretary of State to enforce the payment of the sum demanded, despite the protests of the Governor and the official members, the vote of the Council, and the condition of the Colony; and, whether the Secretary of State did, as promised in the despatch of the 15th January 1895, consult his colleagues in the British Cabinet, and with what result?


The question of the Military contribution from Mauritius, as well as two of the other Eastern contributory Colonies, is under the consideration of Her Majesty's Government, and I can give no definite answer at present to the hon. Member's question. I may observe that it is incorrect to say that the Governor was ordered to impose a land Tax; he was instructed to introduce a Bill imposing direct taxation either in the form of a land tax or otherwise.