§ The House then went into Committee of Supply, and resumed discussion of the Vote £133,189 for public education in England and Wales.
§ Mr. JOHN ELLIS in the chair.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ MR. G. C. T. BARTLEY (Islington, S.)
asked how far the increase in the Vote was flue to increased attendance in 651 the elementary schools. Another point to which he wished to refer was the practice of warning schools, which, he said, was a matter of considerable importance to the smaller schools.
§ THE CHAIRMAN
calling the hon. Member to order, said: I am unable to see how the hon. Member connects his remarks as to the policy of "warning schools" with the specific item before the Committee.
§ MR. R. W. HANBURY (Preston)
said he thought the Committee should have a distinct and definite ruling on the point. Were hon. Members to understand that although this grant applied to every child attending the elementary schools, they were prohibited from discussing any point except the increase in the vote?
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
asked, whether the Chairman of Committees, on the preceding night, did not say that he would not state for the guidance of Members what might or what might not be discussed, but would call them to order when they were out of order?
§ THE CHAIRMAN
The ruling which I have just given is based on a ruling of the late Chairman of Committees in the last Parliament applicable to Supplementary Estimates. It was referred to by the Committee on Estimates Procedure of 1888 in their Report, and has now become firmly established as the law of Parliament. I have nothing further to add.
§ THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Mr. A. H. D. ACLAND, York, W. R., Rotherham)
, replying to Mr. Bartley, admitted that the contention that the Free Education Bill would not lead to such a rapid increase of average attendance as was expected, had been borne out by results, for although a very much larger number of children had crowded into the schools, the advance in the, percentage of average attendance, though steady, had been slow. The actual number of children provided for in this Estimate for this year was 50,000 beyond what had been expected. In the year before, the advance was 3 per cent., which was very much larger than had taken place in former years, when 1 per cent. advance was more usual. Last year they allowed for 1¾ per cent., but the advance was 652 much nearer 3 per cent., which accounted for the increase in the present Estimate. The figures as to attendance were—1891, 77.70; 1892, 77.84; 1893, 79.98; and in 1894, 81.28; showing that there had been a slow and gradual increase.
§ In reply to VISCOUNT CRANBORNE (Rochester),—
§ MR. ACLAND
said, that the meaning of the words "habitually present" was that if the inspector should find that during a given number of weeks there was an additional increase beyond what was ordinarily reasonable, taking the year all round, he would call attention to it.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
said, the words "habitually present at any one time" appeared to be a contradiction in terms, and were open to the most extraordinary misunderstanding. Matters of this kind ought not to be dependent upon the particular Minister for the time being. The language of these rules, under which money was invested and great efforts were expended, ought to be precise and clear. The expressions "habitually present" or "present at any one time" were conceivable; but "habitually present at any one time" was a contradiction in term. If the right hon. Gentleman had been content with "average attendance" they would have understood his meaning. He did not mean to say it would have satisfied them altogether, but they should have been able to discuss the matter on that basis and might have come to some agreement. The people who had to interpret the Code were not skilled persons. Every country clergyman and country manager throughout England had to interpret it, and the Department were, therefore, bound to express themselves clearly. It was not surprising that the National Society should have found itself totally unable to understand these words when Lord Playfair himself could not understand them. The right hon. Gentleman ought to put in express words exactly what he meant.
§ SIR RICHARD TEMPLE (Surrey, Kingston)
, as a practical educationist, 653 submitted that the figures of the Estimate were not laid clearly before the House. He had brought the same point before the Committee last year, and though the right hon. Gentleman then gave a general and vague explanation, he was in hopes that this year the figures would have been presented in a more explicit manner. There had been a prima facie increase in the average attendance; but that would have been better shown by a statement of the estimated average attendance and the actual average attendance. At present they did not know what the exact increase had been.
§ SIR RICHARD TEMPLE
said, it would have been better if it had been shown by comparative figures. They had, however, some data whereby they could form their own conclusions. The fee grant for day scholars had exceeded the Estimate by £63,700. That meant that there had been at least 127,000 new scholars. These new scholars must have earned grants, and as these were given at 18s. a head they might have looked for an increase in the amount of grant earned of £111,000. But the Supplementary Estimate showed an increase of only, £72,000. Further, he inferred from the Statement accompanying the Estimate that the rate of grant per scholar had risen, but there was no room for that increase in this £72,000. There must be some discrepancy in these figures, and it arose because the statement was not properly made. It might be convenient for the Department to make the statement in this form, in order that there might be as few points as possible of which the Opposition could lay hold, but there were educationists in the House who were obliged to be versed in these matters, and the right hon. Gentleman could not wonder if they insisted on raising this question. He did not mean to say that the discrepancy in the figures was very important, but it ought to be explained: and he had the less compunction in pressing the matter now because he raised the same point a year ago. He hoped a more explicit explanation would be given now than was furnished on that occasion.
§ MR. R. W. HANBURY
thought they were entitled to have some in- 654 formation from the right hon. Gentleman as to what appeared to be, at first sight, a discrepancy in the figures. He thought they were entitled to ask the Vice President how far a rule of that kind, which pressed very heavily upon the poorer schools, and especially upon the Roman Catholic schools, which were among the best in the country, had the effect of producing the discrepancy to which his hon. Friend had referred. They were also entitled to ask what proportion of schools which would have earned the 21s. had been cut down to 17s. 6d. There was another point to which he wished to refer, and it was with regard to the question of attendances in small schools during such severe weather as we had experienced of late. Take the case of schools where many of the children had to go no less than three miles to get to them. At the present moment an absurd regulation practically made them during the severe weather, unless they were going to considerably reduce the grant, absolutely to shut the schools up for a certain time and prevent all children attending, because, as the right hon. Gentleman knew, the average attendance was calculated upon the number attending if the school was open a certain number of times. During any long spell of bad weather, therefore, the children at a distance were unable to attend, and consequently the grant was cut down. If, however, they wanted to get the full grant they had to close the school even to those children who were able to attend. Surely some better regulations than that could be made, because it inflicted considerable injustice upon the children living in the neighbourhood of the school, and who were deprived of their—education. The right hon. Gentleman had shown a disposition during his term of office to make the rules elastic and to do away with some of the cast-iron regulations, and he would do something also to remedy this particularly absurd state of things.
§ MR. A. H. D. ACLAND
was grateful for the last few words the hon. Member had used, because he had not often received expressions of such a nature from that side of the House. With regard to the last question that had been raised, he thought that the removal of the regulation, instead of encouraging children to go to school on 655 bad days, would have the inevitable result of making bad-day attendances not count at all. They were constantly taking into account the various difficulties which presented themselves to keep up the school attendance, and he had sent out a special circular asking the Inspectors to bear in mind the difficulties which schools had to face during the recent severe weather. They were therefore assessed on the basis of that consideration, and he was inclined to think that it was doing well, because out of the hundreds of schools inspected up to the present he had not received a single complaint. He did not know how far the question of the 17s. 6d. limit entered into the Debate, and did not think the hon. Member would want him to go into the policy of that limit. He was sorry, however, that the figures had not been made more clear, and would undertake on the occasion of the next Supplementary Estimate to explain them a little more carefully. The £72,000 was made up of two parts, one part being due to the increased attendance of the children, and the other part was due to the fact that the Inspectors had given larger grants than were estimated. The first was, roughly speaking, £45,000, and the second, £26,000, was due to the actual increase of the grant. They had estimated the increased grant at 18s. 6½d., but it turned out to be 18s. 8d., so that the Estimate was not a sufficiently large one. The payment of the fee grants was an extremely complicated system, as they paid a certain amount per quarter, and then in the fourth quarter made up a certain larger sum. Sometimes there were excess payments, and reductions had to be made because, the fee grants to certain schools had been overestimated, but gradually they were settling them, and he hoped the reductions would eventually disappear. It was an extremely complicated subject, but there was no desire on the part of the able men who had to do the Estimate work of the Department to complicate it more than they could avoid. The Committee, he thought, would understand that the attendance of children was a matter difficult to forecast, and as a matter of fact the Department required more money than was at first expected.
§ SIR RICHARD TEMPLE
asked the right hon. Gentleman to explain, before the Vote was taken, to what cause he attributed the increased attendance. He presumed it was in consequence of the free education system, but wished to have the assurance of the Vice President on the point.
§ MR. ACLAND
had no doubt that the Free Education Act had largely drawn children to the schools. At the same time, education was becoming more generally appreciated in this country, and parents were beginning to recognise the importance of the regular attendance if their children at school. Both the causes had been operating at the same time.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
thought it would interest the Committee if the right hon. Gentleman would state to what he attributed the increased grant which was so much above the Estimate. Was it in consequence of superior excellence on the part of the children, or through the alteration which was made in the Code last year?
§ SIR R. TEMPLE
asked to what cause the right hon. Gentleman attributed the increase in the average attendance?
§ MR. ACLAND
said, he was sure the Committee would not expect him to give more than a rough idea. He thought that heads of families had done their best before to promote regular attendance. They were beginning to realise the great importance of the matter. As the noble Lord well knew, he could not there and then analyse the causes. He thought the improvement all round was partly due to this, and partly to the fact that some extra subjects were being more taken up and better taught.
§ In reply to MR. W. WICKHAM (Hants, Petersfield),
§ MR. W. E. M. TOMLINSON (Preston)
was not quite sure whether he would be in order, but there was one matter which he would like to bring before the Department. He referred to a school at Preston where there was a cookery class. This was not carried on at the schools but near to them; but the Inspector found that the register was defective, and so the schools suffered. If a little more time had been allowed, the register 657 could have been corrected. It seemed to him only a technical matter and that the schools should not be excluded.
MR. JAMES LOWTHER
said, the point he wished to refer to was that extra subjects had recently been added with respect to which these grants were given. ["No!"] Was it not so, that certain additional subjects had been added and grants given?
§ MR. H. S. FOWLER (Suffolk, Lowestoft)
hoped they would have an early opportunity of discussing the whole question. The right hon. Gentleman knew that during the last two years the Vote on Account, so far as education went, had always been closured. He therefore thought they had a right to have an opportunity of discussing the whole policy of the Education Department.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ On the Vote of £10 for London University,
§ SIR A. K. ROLLIT (Islington, S.)
said, he was sorry to have to move a reduction in this Vote, as his desire was to stimulate the University and give it more adequate means of conducting its eduction. Therefore, nominally, his Motion would be at variance with the desire he had, but he moved the reduction with the object of drawing the attention of the House. With reference to the University, he might point out its strong claims for liberal treatment. It had only £20,000 a year, and students by their payments of their fees provided the whole of the advantage of the education given by the University, which might be spoken of as a self-supporting institution. The State gave this £20,000, and, on the other hand, it had a right 658 to see that the work was done well, that there should be proper and efficient tests both of the qualifications of the students for their degrees and the manner in which the teaching was done by the public schools of the country which sent them up for examination. Notwithstanding the representations made to the Governments of both Parties that the examination rooms are wholly insufficient—that the scientific appliances, which were of great importance in conducting examinations, were almost entirely wanting; that the necessary physical apparatus was not provided, and, even in reference to accommodation absolutely necessary, nothing had been done. A correspondence had been going on with the Treasury for a long time past, and he should call attention to one or two letters on the subject. In November 1893 the Senate represented to the Treasury that these works were absolutely necessary, and in that month a reply was received from the Department, in which it was said that the Department regretted the delay in providing new examination rooms, and that the only pretext which was advanced for not doing that which the Ministry required, was that the present condition of the Revenue forbade it. The Revenue, however, must be provided. Of all Votes taken in Parliament, the most economical was, undoubtedly, the Educational Vote. The letter of the Treasury said that they were wishful to provide accommodation, and in the interest of giving proper examination rooms they would concede a small sum for the provision of the electric light. He thought it was absurd to meet a demand for educational appliances by saying that lighting for the building would be provided, a concession which was absolutely irreconcilable with the want which had been expressed. The Treasury also admitted on November 7th, 1894, that new laboratories were wanted for this purpose, and yet they declined, on the score of want of Revenue, to provide them. He had before him resolutions of the Senate, in which they said that the request of the Registrar to call the attention of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury to the difficult and unfair position in which the Senate was placed, by the insufficient accommodation at their disposal for carrying out the public 659 duties with which they were entrusted, and urging the provision of additional accommodation, should no longer be deferred. Again, in December last, a renewed representation having been made, My Lords again regretted that the demands of the Exchequer prevented this paltry accommodation for the institution, which cost the State nothing from being granted. The Registrar was directed to acknowledge the receipt of the letter, and to express regret at the non-provision, while again impressing on the Government the urgent and admitted need of such laboratories for the conduct of the business of the University. That representation came from the Senate, which included among its members the Lord Chancellor, as well as other men closely identified with the educational work of the country. He pointed out that this question had been raised nearly a year ago, and that on the Estimates the Secretary to the Treasury gave something amounting to almost an assurance to the hon. Baronet, the Member for St. Pancras (Sir J. Goldsmid), and himself, that this subject should receive attention. He did not doubt that any promise on the right hon. Gentleman's part to give attention to the question, would be amply fulfilled; but what was wanted was money, not attention.
§ SIR A. K. ROLLIT
said, the University of London provided the right hon. Gentleman with the means within £10 or £20 of the whole of its cost. On the other hand, if the University did its work the State was under a binding obligation to the University to allow that work to be performed, and the students who paid their fees had a right to protest against the way in which their examinations were being conducted. He intended on this occasion, as a means of extracting money, or at least as a means to indicate the determination to extract it if possible, to divide the Committee. He concluded by moving the reduction of the Vote by £5.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
said, that the object of the hon. Member was to extract money out of the Exchequer for a purpose which he admitted to be an admirable one. There was an old saying, however, that "you cannot get more out 660 of a cat than the skin." The skin of the cat had been presented to the Committee already in the shape of the Estimates which were before hon. Members. While admitting the utility of this institution, and the reasonableness of its demand, he maintained that as long as the expenditure of the country grew every year by millions—last year by between £3,000,000 and £4,000,000 and this year by £2,000,000—he was afraid that he must say no to many of the objects which were pressed upon his attention, and with respect to which one would willingly say yes. They were obliged, therefore, when the expenditure increased to make economies in other directions and though he should be glad if he could to find money for purposes which were very useful, he was compelled to recognise that when the country was spending something like £4,000,000 or £5,000,000 additional on ironclads, their demands must be limited in respect of bricks and mortar. He must cut his coat according to his cloth; but his cloth was all gone, and he had no material to make coats out of for the London University or for anyone else. In these circumstances it was not because he did not sympathise with this object, or that he would refrain at the earliest time to give money to it, but simply because he had not the means, unless indeed his hon Friend would rise and propose additional taxation, say another 6d. on the Income Tax, or any other indulgence of that character. Then he would be glad to satisfy the claims of his hon. Friend or those of other hon. Members. But having regard to the state of the Estimates, and the provision which it was necessary to make to meet them, he was sorry to say that he could only repeat on behalf of My Lords that their present position was that of "splendid paupers." He was afraid, therefore, that he must again plead the unfortunate difficulty of not being able to find this money.
§ SIR JULIAN GOLDSMID (St. Pancras, S.)
said, he had been for 20 years a member of the Senate of the University of London, and had enjoyed many opportunities of seeing the valuable work which was done by that institution. He thought that the case was even a little stronger than that placed before the Committee by his hon. Friend. Several years ago the First Commissioner 661 of Works prepared a plan for putting up new laboratories which should supply the requirements of the University at the top of the existing building. That plan was submitted to the Senate of the University of London and approved by them. Subsequently, when the Office of Works was about to carry out the undertaking on which it had entered, a difficulty arose in consequence of the probability of injuring the light of the Royal Academy of Arts, and the result was that the First Commissioner was unable to carry out the work, and the University did not obtain the necessary additions to the building. The First Commissions of Works admitted later, however, that these facts did not exonerate him from the duty which devolved upon him, nor from the undertaking which he had given to the authorities of the University of London; but nothing had been done. The Senate had for the last four years made steady and persistent representations to the Treasury on this important subject. That was a matter of fact which could not be denied; therefore, the present Government as well as the last Government were equally bound by their obligations to the University. He might tell the Committee what it probably did not know—that the annual fees which came from the examination of students who presented themselves were increasing largely, and the statement of his hon. Friend was inaccurate in that he exaggerated the amount which the State paid to the cost of the University of London. At present the fees which were received from the examination of students were in excess of the amount which was paid for the examinations themselves. The result was that the Treasury were actually making a profit out of the examinations. It was true, they said, that there was a counterbalancing expenditure, inasmuch as they maintained the building and supplied the stationery for the Public Departments. Therefore, the Committee had to set off those two items against the balance of receipts on account of the examinations which were held. When the Government gave £5,000 a year and other large sums to small University colleges in different parts of the Kingdom, it was a little hard that the University of London should be refused an expenditure which was absolutely 662 necessary for its work, simply because the Budget requirements did not allow it.
§ MR. G. C. T. BARTLEY
rose to Order, and asked whether this was a matter of principle or of policy, or whether the discussion was to be confined to the amount required in this special item.
§ THE CHAIRMAN
Some of the remarks of the hon. Baronet are a little wide of the particular item in the Vote.
§ SIR JULIAN GOLDSMID
thought that the item was for the whole Vote of the University of London. If he was not to be allowed to discuss the whole Vote there would be no means of bringing this question before the attention of the House. It must be obvious to every hon. Member that he was strictly within the rule which the Chairman had laid down.
§ SIR JULIAN GOLDSMID
said, that he was not now referring to new buildings, but to expenditure. The expenditure of the University was practically more than covered by the receipts from examination fees; and if any other expenditure were involved the Chancellor of the Exchequer would not require more than £5,000 or £10,000 to meet the requirements of the case.
§ MR. T. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
said, the Chancellor of the Exchequer had declared that he was cutting his coat according to his cloth; but the reverse was proved by the presentation of this supplementary estimate. The right hon. Gentleman was cutting his cloth according to his coat, and, not having enough cloth, he was now asking for more. The Committee was entitled to discuss what was to be the use of the extra cloth, and whether it would improve the original garment. He wished for an explanation of the term "Pro rata payments to contingent examiners."
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Sir J. T. HIBBERT, Oldham)
said, that the examiners were considerable in number, and were paid at different rates. The Vote was not a supplementary estimate in the real sense. A considerable number of extra students had been examined in the past year. That was an additional expense; but it had provided an additional number of 663 fees, which quite met the additional expenditure. The sum of £10 was put down to bring the matter before the House. As to the argument of the hon. Member for Islington (Sir A. K. Rollit), he quite admitted that the Senate had made out a very strong case for the provision of better examination rooms and rooms for the other purposes alluded to by the hon. Member. But the exigencies referred to by the Chancellor of the Exchequer had been too great for the Treasury; and he was afraid that the matter would have to remain over for future consideration. He could assure the hon. Member that as far as he could help forward the object he should be very glad to do so.
§ MR. W. P. BYLES (Yorkshire, Shipley)
said, that if the Amendment were carried to a Division he should support it. The argument of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was that in order to provide plenty of money for the Navy, other useful and much-needed expenditure must be cut down. The London University was, in other words, to be starved that new battleships might be provided; and he preferred that the money should be spent on the University than on bloated armaments.
§ SIR JULIAN GOLDSMID
hoped that his hon. Friend would not divide, as no object was to be gained; and as personally he was in favour of greater and not less expenditure. Moreover. this £10 did not really cover any national expenditure. He hoped that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would give some assurance that next year the case would be more favourably considered.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
said, that, as far as he was concerned, as soon as he found himself able to do it there was not an object which he would be more willing to promote.
§ SIR A. K. ROLLIT
said, that after the statement of the right hon. Gentleman he should not be justified in dividing the House. He hoped the first opportunity would be taken of enabling the Senate to do its duty.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Vote agreed to.664
§ On the Supplementary Vote of the sum of £500 for services in connection with the suppression of the Slave Trade and the maintenance of certain liberated Africans,
§ MR. J. A. PEASE (Northumberland, Tyneside)
said, that he should move a reduction in this Vote on the ground that the expenditure failed to accomplish its object. There was a system of domestic slavery existing on the mainland between the large inland lakes, and with that at the present time Great Britain was not in a position to interfere. But on the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba the situation was different. In 1861, through the arbitration of Lord Canning, the influence of Great Britain became predominant on those islands; and in 1890 Great Britain obtained absolute control over the islands. But at the present time the Government were absolutely ignorant as to the extent and the condition of the slavery for the suppression of which this Vote was required. On the island of Pemba this country had not at present even a representative. In 1844 the estimated slave population of those islands was 360,000, and since then no record or census had been made. The Consular Report issued last year showed how ineffective the expenditure had been. In 1892 the export of cloves was 1,895,000 rupees, and in 1893 it was 2,218,000 rupees, so that the production of slave labour had considerably increased. He had it on the authority of Sir John Kirke—our representative in that district for 28 years—that the number of slaves on those islands was three times what it had been 10 years ago. It was absurd to ask that House for this money for services which absolutely failed to prevent the smuggling of slaves to Pemba and Zanzibar from the mainland. The decimation of the slave population was partly due to climatic reasons and partly due to the cruelty of the Arabs, described by Dr. Livingstone and by the officers of Her Majesty's ships to which fugitive slaves had fled. There was a decree of June 5th, 1873, which prohibited the importation of any slave, and this expenditure on the Estimates was aimed at securing its observance. But inasmuch as there were very few births on the islands among the slaves, it must follow that nearly the 665 whole of them were illegally detained. The greater number of the slaves in Zanzibar and Pemba came from our own Protectorate in Nyassaland. Only 10 per cent. of those taken, however, reached the coast, the other 90 per cent. perishing by the way. This anomaly existed—that our own subjects in the Nyassa Protectorate were raided and sold to our own subjects in Zanzibar. In their interpretation of our actions the Arabs doubted our sincerity, and the infamous traffic continued to supply the demand, against which this vote was wholly ineffective. We must destroy the demand; it was our duty to do so. Let the slaves on the island be emancipated, and there would be no need to come to the House for a vote like this. If we emancipated the slaves, it would do away with the female labour employed in coaling vessels. It might be said that wages were paid for this labour, but so long as the Mohammedan law prevailed in the district and Arabs possessed slaves which had value with their other goods, every penny piece these slaves got would be forced from them, and it was admitted that they were compelled to hand all the money over to the Arabs in whose possession they were. On the mainland there was a demand by travellers, by sportsmen, and by Her Majesty's Goverment in connection with transport service. There was a decree of September 1891 forbidding the enlistment of any slave outside the Sultan's dominions, and the Government derived a revenue from the enlistment of these slaves, of whom only one out of three going inland ever returned to the coast. Two out of every three died, a fact which would be found stated in Mr. Stanley's account of the expedition for the relief of Emin Pasha. Sir Gerald Portal's opinion was that the demand for these men could only be destroyed by the construction of a railway, and on this point he mentioned in passing that at midsummer next a vessel would be sent from the Clyde to the Victoria Nyanza, and the cost of transport would be about £29,000, equivalent to half the interest required to guarantee the making of a railway.
§ THE CHAIRMAN (Sir JULIAN GOLDSMID)
reminded the hon. Member that he must confine himself to matters relevant to the vote.
§ MR. J. A. PEASE
said, he was not only endeavouring to point out that the only effectual method of suppression was to destroy the demand, and the construction of a railway would have a direct influence in destroying the demand for slaves. Passing from that, he pointed out that on August 22nd, 1890, a secret decree was issued which refused to a slave the right to purchase his own freedom, and also directed the Arab master to punish a fugitive slave. With a secret decree like that in existence, how could we expect that by spending money such as the Committee were now asked to vote, any good result could be effected? He submitted that such a decree should be at once repealed. We could not destroy altogether the demand for slaves, for slavery existed in Persia, in Arabia, and in Morocco; we could not kill the trade altogether, but we could do a great deal by uniform and concerted action with other Powers. We could prevent a continuance of those revolting practices in an island of the Red Sea for the supply of eunuchs. These things were done daily, but a vigorous protest to the Turkish Government should put an end to them. Our policy had been a ridiculous and expensive failure. We might save £100,000 in naval expenditure for intercepting slaves. We were too lethargic, we depended too much on the gradual growth of civilising influences. We allowed a state of things to continue which retarded progress and development, which naturally arose where native races came into contact with Europeans; we delayed that commercial development which would be of advantage to our industrial population at home. He asked that the Government should emancipate the slaves, abolish the legal status of slavery on the mainland, repeal the decree of 1890—and he urged them to construct the railway to get rid of those evils on the mainland to which he had alluded. The Government, to its credit, be it said, had recently taken action to put an end to Armenian atrocities, but outrages equally abominable were perpetrated upon these slaves, and certainly the amount of suffering outweighed the atrocities perpetrated in Armenia. He hoped the Government would show themselves sensible of the evil deeds committed under the British flag for the last five years. Mr. Lecky, 667 the historian, classed our unwearied crusade against slavery in the past among the three or four virtuous State actions on record, but to justify that good opinion we must entirely alter our present policy, and then such Votes as this would not be required. He trusted that an assurance would be forthcoming that the stain and reproach on our national honour would be removed. He moved the reduction of the Vote by £100.
§ Question proposed, that a reduced sum of £400 be granted.
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir E. GREY,) Northumberland, Berwick
said, this was not a Foreign Office Vote, and certainly he was not prepared to enter at any great length into the policy of the Foreign Office in regard to the difficulties of the law, for he had not anticipated having to make a statement that evening. He would, however, do his best to meet the points raised by his hon. Friend. First, he would say of the Committee that it should be borne in mind in estimating this question of slavery in Zanzibar, that only since 1890 had there been a British Protectorate, and he did not think there was much to be gained by going back to events which occurred previously. The usual practice—he would not say it was without exceptions—but the general practice hitherto had been that when a British Protectorate was assumed over a native state, that native state was allowed freedom so far as its domestic institutions were concerned. Against the slave trade the British Government had made, and would continue to make, constant warfare; but the institution of domestic slavery was common to all Mohammedan countries, and certainly it had not been our general practice, upon assuming a Protectorate, to force a complete change in the institutions which had heretofore obtained in a native state. In addition to this, it must be borne in mind that a law passed by the late Sultan of Zanzibar, and to which he had on a former occasion made reference, restricted and regulated the institution of slavery, and the details of that law would have the result of bringing slavery in the island to an end within a comparatively limited time. Since he had been at the 668 Foreign Office this question of slavery in Zanzibar and Pemba had occupied the attention of officers on the spot. There had been reports from British representatives in Zanzibar dealing with this question of slavery, and, upon the whole, the reports possessed by the Foreign Office tended rather to show that the difficulties in the way of putting an end to the institution of slavery in the island were considerably greater than his hon. Friend estimated them to be; that the hardships connected with slavery in the island were considerably less, and that clandestine importation of slaves was not so great as it had been represented to be in some published statements. On the whole that was the tendency of reports received up to the present time. Now the time had come when, having got this information, having taken all things into consideration, the Government had to consider whether they could be regarded as a complete answer to the very strong statement of his hon. Friend. He was convinced that, though the difficulty of putting an end to slavery might be underestimated by his hon. Friend, though certain consequences might occur from taking any strong steps, consequences which, perhaps, were not contemplated by members who advocated that cause, still there was at the same time one very serious consideration to be borne in mind, that so long as the institution of slavery existed on these two islands, so long was there a temptation to evade the Sultan's regulations, so long was there a temptation to evade British cruisers and to smuggle slaves into the islands. It had also to be borne in mind, that not only was there in these islands a British Protectorate, but in a very intimate sense, British influence and interests were concerned in the administration of affairs. He freely admitted we had now arrived at such a position in regard to these islands, that he thought the House would be perfectly justified in insisting that the period of time during which slavery would continue to exist must be limited. But, still, a little further information was required. Up to the present time the Foreign Office had no information as to the condition of Pemba. The present Government had taken steps to obtain this information; they had sent a vice-consul to Pemba specially instructed 669 to collect information as to the condition of the people in regard to slavery, and to furnish information which might Lend to throw more light on the question, and help the Government to come to a decision as to what might be done. His hon. Friend had recommended three courses. He alluded to a certain decree issued, and then withdrawn, the effect of which would be to fix the money price at which a slave should be entitled to purchase his own freedom. His hon. Friend recommended that this decree should be re-established, that the status of slavery should be abolished, by which he meant, he concluded, not the declared emancipation of every slave—
§ MR. J. A. PEASE
, interrupting, explained that he did not advocate the re-enactment of the previous decree, because, personally, he did not think it was right that anybody should obtain an acknowledgment of right of property in a slave. What he did advocate was that the second decree of August 20, 1890, should be repealed.
§ SIR EDWARD GREY
thought that was pretty much what he had said. The second point was that the status of slaves should be abolished, by which he understood his hon. Friend to mean not that there should be special emancipation of all the slaves in the islands, but that slaves should be entitled to appeal to the Courts for redress.
§ MR. J. A. PEASE
said, that on the islands he advocated emancipation pure and simple; but on the mainland, where domestic slavery and not plantation slavery existed, he advocated the abolition of the legal status.
§ SIR EDWARD GREY
said, he could not, of course, hold out any hope to the Committee that they could, by one enactment, emancipate at one stroke all the slaves on the islands; but the question of the abolition of the status, as sketched out by his hon. Friend with reference to the mainland, was another matter, and, though he could not say that the Government would pledge themselves to that course, it was one worthy of consideration. The third point was that the law previously passed by the Sultan should be strictly enforced, and he had no hesitation in saying that the Sultan's Government would do their utmost to secure that. But although, with regard to the withdrawal of a 670 certain decree which had previously been issued and the abolition of slavery on the islands, he could not pledge Her Majesty's Government, yet during the course of the last two months they had sent instructions to our representative in Zanzibar to furnish a report as to the steps which should be taken with a view of bringing the status of slavery to an end in the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba at an early date. Therefore he was able to say that the object that his hon. Friend had advocated was one not only the importance but the necessity of which Her Majesty's Government admitted, as they had already asked for a report with the view of considering what were the best steps that could be taken. Until that report was given it was impossible for him to say more; but he ought to tell the Committee that, according to the intimation which he had received on this subject, it was shown very clearly that, at first at any rate, the termination of the status of slavery would result in a tremendous falling off in the revenues of Zanzibar. His own opinion, from information he had received, was that that would be the temporary result. The place of the slave labour would not be taken immediately by free labour, and undoubtedly there would be very great hardship on the two islands and a great falling off in the revenue. That would for some years, in his opinion, be the case. He would like it to be distinctly understood that he admitted that there ought to be an abolition of the status; but, although the present Government was now considering what means could be taken to attain that object, if the House was to approve of the abolition by Her Majesty's Government it ought also to be prepared, if the necessity arose after steps had been taken, to fall back on the Vote of the House, he did not say for the compensation of slavery, but to come to the assistance of the revenues of Zanzibar.
§ CAPTAIN BETHELL (York, E.R., Holderness)
said, that slavery in Zanzibar and Pemba was in a very curious position; although the British flag did not fly there, yet they were actual dependencies of this country. That being so, the question was—Was the honour of this country tainted by the existence of slavery? It was not a question of a few thousand pounds, but a question of what 671 had been the policy of this country in the past, and whether the institution of slavery ought to exist there. He thought the Government ought to look at this question more liberally than they had done in the past. The edicts of the Sultan had not, he believed, been strictly observed, and the Government had the power of seeing that those edicts were enforced. Considering the peculiar position of these Islands, he thought the Government ought to take speedy steps for the emancipation of slaves.
§ SIR R. TEMPLE
rose to support the hon. Member who moved the reduction of the Vote, and he hoped that it would be seen, by a Division, whether or not the House of Commons was prepared to insist upon the abolition of slavery in Zanzibar. We had allowed these two islands to be virtually the slave market for the mainland. Africans were actually hunted and raided within regions under the sphere of British influence. He did not think Wilberforce and his collaborators would have believed that such a scandal would have been permitted in the second generation after their labours. Such circumstances, as had been calmly detailed that evening by the hon. Baronet, were enough to make the bones of Wilberforce turn in his grave. This was the third occasion on which the matter had been brought before the House, and on each occasion they had had the usual stereotyped reply. He admitted that on this occasion the reply went a little farther than it did before, but they had heard any time during these last two or three years that inquiry was being made. The hon. Baronet calmly told the House that if this was abolished there would be a falling off in the revenues of the Sultan of Zanzibar. That was what his argument amounted to. [SIR E. GREY: "No."] He would ask the House to remember the sacrifices made in the West Indies, and by England herself, for the freeing of the slaves. The hon. Baronet did say that the revenues would be seriously diminished, and he did not say that the plantations would be ruined, or that there would be very great private distress. The Mover of the Amendment had shown that this slave labour had increased, and that it was flourishing more than ever. He had also shown how the decrees issued by the Sultan of Zanzibar to 672 abolish the slave trade had been treated simply as waste paper. Our officers at Zanzibar had not acted with the firmness which British Administrators had shown elsewhere, simply because the instructions sent to them from home were not sufficiently urgent. Hon. Members of that House were somewhat to blame too in the matter, by not insisting by large majorities that the Government should act promptly and resolutely. Surely the policy of vacillation should now be put an end to, and the Foreign Office made to understand that the House of Commons had made up its mind once for all that this evil should be abolished.
§ SIR EDWARD GREY
thought the hon. Baronet had not quite understood what he had said the Government had done in the matter. What he intended to convey was, that some little time ago—before the Session began—the Foreign Office sent out instructions to the British representatives on the spot to report as to what steps it would be best to take to bring this system of slavery to an end. Obviously until that report was received he could not pledge the Government to take any particular steps in the question. But the thing had to be done, and they had asked for a report to be sent home to them as to the best means of carrying it out. He had also said that the result would very likely be, that the revenues of Zanzibar would be affected—that they would fall through the abolition of the system, and he thought so still. But it would be the duty of the Government—whatever Government were in power—to come to that House for the rescue of the revenues of Zanzibar.
§ SIR C. W. DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)
said, the steps taken by the Government had been taken two years too late. The Foreign Office had failed to appreciate the gravity of the situation, and he still held the view he had previously expressed—that so long as this Protectorate remained under the Foreign Office they would have the difficulty with them. He ventured to say that if the Protectorate had been under the Colonial Office, the system of slavery would have been put an end to four years ago. Backed up by the House of Commons the Colonial Office would have acted promptly and decisively in the matter. Some years ago there had been slavery in a new British Protectorate 673 under the Colonial Office in the Malay Peninsula, and the same reasons had been adduced for leaving it alone which were given now, hut it had been soon put a stop to; and when the Under Secretary declared that we should have to vote monies towards the revenues of Zanzibar, he had to say that a similar claim might have been made for voting money towards the revenues of Pera, and that nobody even thought of doing anything of the kind. He should offer uncompromising resistance to any such proposal.
MR. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith)
said, he thought the real and true remedy for the evil complained of had been strangely overlooked in the discussion. We had been spending large sums almost uselessly year after year in combatting the evil, when all the time it had been in our power to stop the traffic—to stop the raiding for slavery and the bringing of caravans to the coast, by constructing a railway. The whole question was considered by the eminent men who met at Brussels, and the very first article in the Brussels Act they state that the most effective way if not the only effective way, of stopping this slave traffic was by the construction of railways.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
rose to a point of order. He wished to know whether the hon. Member was in order in raising the question of the expediency of building railways in Africa. Personally, he had no objection, for he was prepared to go into the whole question if it was raised.
MR. J. W. LOWTHER
said, he had no wish to raise the whole question of building railways in Africa, but he had mentioned it to show that there was another and more effective remedy for dealing with the evil than those which had been advocated.
§ SIR C. W. DILKE
, on the point of order, said, the Mover of the Amendment, when he began to refer to the subject of railways in Africa, was called to order by the Chairman. If the point could be referred to now it would not be quite fair that those who raised this question of the slave trade should be laid open to the reproach of not bringing forward this particular point, seeing that the Mover of the Amendment was prevented from doing so.
§ THE CHAIRMAN
said, the hon. Member for Penrith would not be in order to discuss the whole question of railways. He understood the hon. Member to refer to the question only incidentally.
MR. J. W. LOWTHER
, said, he would not pursue the point further, but it did seem extraordinary to him that the House should go on year after year voting large sums to grapple with the evil, and neglect to take the one effective means of destroying it at its very source. As to abolishing slavery in Zanzibar at once, he had some doubt. He thought the first step we should take in the matter was to refuse entirely to acknowledge the status of slavery; and if that was done, the slave owners would gradually come to understand that, in those circumstances that status could no longer exist. In that way they might arrive at a solution of the question without resorting to violent measures.
§ COLONEL LOCKWOOD (Essex, Epping)
asked, why, if the Government recognised the importance of the question, they did not send to our representatives at Zanzibar two years ago for a report as to the best means of dealing with the traffic. There had been ample time for them to have got a report and to have acted upon it. He was astonished to hear the Under Secretary state as a point for consideration in this matter, that if the slave trade was abolished the revenues of Zanzibar would suffer. Let them suffer; the point was a very small one, carrying little weight it. He believed that if British officers at Zanzibar had had definite and urgent instructions to put an end to the slave trade, they would not have failed to act on them. Members of both Parties now believed that almost culpable neglect had been exhibited in this matter. It was not a question of Party; it was a question of suffering humanity. And no reference to the revenues of the Sultan of Zanzibar ought to have been introduced in a matter that concerned the honour of England and of her flag.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN (Birmingham, W.)
thought there could be no doubt as to the very grave importance of the subject, which undoubtedly touched 675 the honour and reputation of this country. The hon. Member for Tyneside in his very interesting speech really dealt with two subjects, which it would be desirable to keep entirely separate. The first point which the hon. Gentleman raised was really the question of the policy of the Government with regard to the slave trade. That constituted an opposition to the whole of this Vote. Those who thought with the hon. Member for Tyneside—and he undoubtedly shared the hon. Member's opinion on this point—believed that the whole of our recent policy with regard to the slave trade had been a mistake. We were dealing with the matter where we could deal with it to the least advantage and not to the greatest advantage. He was not disinclined to accept the assurance of the Under Secretary that when these slaves found themselves in Zanzibar they were subject to what was called domestic slavery, and that their condition was not one of very great hardship. That might possibly be true. The suffering occurred upon the route. It was not the existence of the slaves when they got to Zanzibar, it was the provision of the slaves, and all the circumstances which attended upon that provision, that was the difficulty. That being the case it was of supreme importance to deal with the matter at the fountain head—to prevent the slave raids and the slave traffic. That was of infinitely more importance than to deal with the slaves when they were once on the island. That was one point raised by the hon. Member, and the hon. Member and those who thought with him would be only consistent if on that point they took a Division against the whole Vote. He did not deny that, to a certain extent, a question of that kind, inasmuch as it undoubtedly involved an attack upon the policy of the Government, must be considered a Party question. Of course, there might be independent Members of either Party who would not vote with their Party on that matter. But this was a great question of Government policy and ought to be kept entirely distinct from the other question raised by the hon. Gentleman, which was in no sense, a Party question. The other point was—Was it consistent with all that we had done and said in the past that what was practically the 676 British flag should fly over slavery? That was what had been going on for the last four years, and some of them thought it was quite time it came to an end. That question should be decided upon the Amendment of the hon. Member. He sympathised with the position of the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs. They knew that no Under Secretary in that House could commit his chief to a policy which had not been previously decided upon. But the hon. Baronet had shown considerable sympathy with the object they had in view; and if the Committee, he would not say by an unanimous vote, for that was not possible, but by the vote of a large majority, showed the Government that there was a universal opinion, on all sides of the House, that the present state of things in the islands should come to a very speedy close, they would strengthen the hon. Baronet's hands and the hands of his Department to proceed in the direction which the hon. Baronet had shadowed forth. The hon. Baronet had made a sort of appeal to the House—it was in that sense that he understood the hon. Baronet's allusion to the effect on the revenues of Zanzibar. He said to the House of Commons:—If you now press us to put an end to slavery in Zanzibar, we may have to come to you hereafter and ask you for a Vote of money.Let the Committee answer that when he came for that money they would grant it. They would make an answer of that kind if they voted for this Amendment. He, therefore, hoped that without the least regard to Party, or to the first question raised by the hon. Member, they would proceed to vote upon the immediate issue whether or not in their opinion slavery ought to go on in these islands; and whether or not they, as the representatives of the British people, were prepared to pay the cost whatever it might be.
§ MR. J. A. PEASE
asked leave to withdraw his Amendment on two grounds. In the first place, the money had been spent and they ought to vote it. In the second place, he desired that the question should be raised above Party. The statement of the Under Secretary "that the thing has got to be done"—that slavery must be terminated—was a step to the credit of the present Government which the late Government refused to 677 take. After the statement of the right hon. Member for West Birmingham and the way it was received, it would be perfectly obvious to the country that the House of Commons was prepared to meet any deficit that might arise. He therefore thought they might now leave the question in the hands of the Government.
Leave to withdraw the Amendment was refused.
§ SIR JAMES FERGUSSON (Manchester, N. E.)
said, it was rather touching to find that the hon. Member who brought the question forward shrank from the success which appeared to be likely to attend his exertions. He, however, desired to offer some considerations why the Committee should pause before voting with the hon. Member. The House had in the last two years given some Votes with highly philanthropic intentions which it afterwards had reason to regret. The Vote given for the appointment of the Opium Commission was one of which he thought some Members felt they had reason to be ashamed. Hon. Gentlemen had expressed the greatest readiness to make up to the Sultan of Zanzibar any loss that might accrue to him from the sudden abolition of slavery in his dominions. He was not sure that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had subscribed to these little promises, and he rather thought this was one of the cases in which they would be philanthropically liberal at somebody else's expense. He observed that there were hon. Members who shrank from finding the £20,000 or, perhaps, the £500,000, compensation to the Sultan of Zanzibar, which would stand in the way of any change. They were asked to censure the Government for the slowness with which they had proceeded to accomplish the abolition of slavery in Zanzibar, and to induce them to take more active steps. In the time of the late Government a good deal was done in the direction of the abolition of slavery in Zanzibar. A great deal of money had been spent in stopping the seaboard slave trade, but very little could be done in that way. They must stop the trade at its source. With the view of abolishing slavery in the Sultan's dominions, the late Government procured the issue of decrees by which no slave could be inherited and 678 none could be introduced, so that the institution of slavery was now in process of extinction through the operation of these decrees. Was not that what was done when Parliament decided to abolish slavery in the West Indies? It had always been recognised that a sudden change could not be made. The present Government had been watching the operations of the measures taken by the late Government; and they had been making inquiries with the view of taking other measures. He could not conscientiously vote for an amendment intended to censure the Government for not taking more active steps, while the measures initiated by the late Government, and designed at no distant date to terminate the status of slavery in the Sultan of Zanzibar's dominions, were in operation.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
said it was the unanimous opinion of the House that every measure that was possible should be taken for the purpose of putting down slavery. That was the policy of this Government, as it was of the last Government, and would be of future Governments. But the House must look at the matter from a practical point of view and see what measures were necessary. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham had initiated a counter policy, that the exertions of this country should be made not so much upon the coast as in the centre. He did not think that policy would be supported by the hon. Member for Northampton. [Mr. LABOUCHERE: "No, no."] Yet he was going to vote with the Member for West Birmingham.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
My right hon. Friend has misunderstood me. I regard that as an entirely separate and distinct question. What I am voting against now is the continuance of slavery in the island.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said, that in dealing with these countries they must deal with them according to their actual condition, and he would ask the House to consider what would be the effect on our relations with Zanzibar of coming to a resolution of the character suggested by the right hon. Gentleman. He could quite conceive a Vote of that House changing the whole condition of things in Zanzibar, and that would have a very serious effect on our relations with Zanzibar. This was, he 679 understood, intended to be a declaration in favour of an immediate change in the condition of things in Zanzibar, and he did not think that that would be a wise policy to pursue. All he could say, on behalf of the Government, was that they accepted the view that it was the duty of the Government to use their exertions at the earliest possible moment to put an end to slavery both in Zanzibar and elsewhere.
§ MR. H. LABOUCHERE
pointed out that England took up this Protectorate over Zanzibar five years ago. For 2½ years the Government of right hon. Gentlemen opposite did nothing, and during the last 2½ years right hon. Gentlemen now sitting on the Treasury Bench had done nothing, except to tell the House that they would do something. The object of this Vote was simply to state that the House desired that some action should be taken at once to put an end to the abominable state of things which existed in what was practically a British Protectorate. In Pemba there was not one single free labourer. Not only was the acreage under cultivation increasing, but there was every year a large importation of slaves into the island. The cruelty, too, was so great that a slave wore himself out in ten years. He did not think it would be desirable to extend our conquests in the centre of Africa. Nothing could be gained by that so long as we kept a place for the purchase of these stolen goods within our own territory. If the market were done away with the trade would be done away with. He thought the House ought to agree to vote with his hon. Friend the Member for Tyne-side, or, at all events, for his proposal. His hon. Friend was no doubt most anxious that hon. Gentlemen should vote for him, but he was in a rather peculiar position as the Private Secretary to a Minister, and it was exceedingly difficult for him to press this Motion when it was said that Ministers were opposed to it. He hoped, therefore, that hon. Members would do what his hon. Friend wished to do, and not what he said he would rather they did not do.
§ SIR J. T. HIBBERT
explained that the Vote before the Committee was for money which had been earned by Her Majesty's ship Philomel; and, therefore, if the Committee refused the Vote they 680 would not be censuring the Government but punishing the officers and crew of the Philomel, a body of men who had done everything they could to serve their country.
§ MR. R. W. HANBURY
said, it was quite possible to get the money for the crew of the Philomel by putting up another Vote. He wished to express his regret that the right hon. Gentleman who spoke from the Front Bench on his side of the House had made a speech of a party character. With regard to the slavery in Pemba, there was not a pin to choose between the two sides of the House, and, therefore, this could not be a party matter. For 2½ years the late Government were responsible for this policy, and if anyone was to blame they were, because they set the example to right hon. Gentlemen opposite. He did not think that the issue could be avoided by such an excuse as that made by the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs. England was entirely responsible for the administration of affairs in Pemba. He had travelled a good deal in those countries, and he had never met with domestic slavery in the aggravated form in which it existed in Pemba. The lot of the domestic slave was not, after all, usually a very bad one, but the kind of slavery going on in Pemba was of a great deal worse description. England was still more responsible, because under her rule these slaves had largely increased in number, and, therefore, there was a very much larger market for them. When we suppressed slavery on the West Coast of Africa, we carried it out heartily, and at great cost to this country, but our treatment of slavery on the East Coast had been a very much more half-hearted matter; in fact, it had had the effect of greatly increasing the horrors of the trade. All we did was to divert the trade from the old routes, and the result was that the slaves had to be taken by much longer routes, the horrors of the trade being very much increased thereby. He knew that we had had serious difficulties with France, but whether that was so or not, it did seem to him that there was little ground for the outcries we made against the evils of misgovernment in Armenia under Turkish rule, when two great European powers who were responsible for the state of things on the East 681 Coast of Africa were acting there as France and England were acting.
§ MR. J. H. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy)
appealed to the Government to define their position a little more clearly. It was plain that there was a strong feeling on both sides of the House that there certainly had been a remarkable absence of enthusiasm on the part of the Government in the cause of the suppression of the slave trade. If the Foreign Office had been determined to put down slavery in Zanzibar, it would have been done two years ago, or even before. At the same time, it was not quite true to say that the present Government had done nothing in the matter, for they had appointed a Commission of some kind to go out and report as to the best method of putting down the slave trade.
§ MR. DALZIEL
supposed that this meant that the Government had made up their minds to put down slavery, and were only waiting to ascertain what was the best plan to adopt. That, however, was not made quite plain in the speech of the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and he wished to ask whether the Government would give a pledge, before the Division was taken, that they would act promptly after receiving the Report, and whether, in the event of the Report not embodying recommendations that could be accepted, the Government would undertake to do what they could on their own initiative to put down slavery in Zanzibar? Unless the Government meant business, he should feel compelled to oppose the withdrawal of the Amendment.
§ SIR EDWARD GREY
said, that he thought it only fair to explain at the beginning of his speech that there were certain difficulties in the way of the fulfilment of the wishes of hon. Members. He had explained that a Report had been asked for, not as to whether the thing could be done, but as to the best means of doing it. He had also said, he thought, that the thing had got to be done. He had pointed out the difficulties in the way only for the purpose of explaining why steps had not been taken before. When he alluded to the possible effect of a change in the present state of affairs upon the revenues of Zanzibar, he 682 did not do so because he thought that that course was an insuperable objection; but because he thought it fair to give a warning that the effect of the change must be to necessitate a future Vote. If a Vote should be proposed by any Government in the future, for the purpose of putting an end to slavery at Pemba, or Zanzibar, he should be delighted to support it.
§ MR. T. BAYLEY (Derbyshire, Chesterfield)
thought that the reason for taking over the island of Zanzibar was that we should have the power to stop the slave trade in Africa. We had now had the island for five years, and during those years there ought to have been an inquiry as to the best method of putting an end to slavery. His vote that day would not be given in favour of the Government who were asking for two or three more years for inquiry. The time for inquiry was over, and the time for action had come. Action ought to be taken within two or three months, and this disgrace to the honour of England ought to be wiped away. It was asserted freely that there were to-day British subjects in Zanzibar who owned slaves. It had always been stated by the Law Officers of the Crown that these slaves were held illegally, and they ought to be free men by the laws of this country. Only a small proportion of these slaves were domestic slaves. Most of them were made to work very hard by their task-masters, who were, very probably, using capital supplied from this country. He had seen it stated that these slaves lived only from three to five years.
§ MR. J. HOWARD (Middlesex, Tottenham)
wished it to be understood that hon. Members on his side of the House were not going to vote from Party considerations. They were glad that an opportunity had been found to bring the subject of slavery in Zanzibar before the House and the country. He trusted that what had been said would stimulate the Government to do that which was right, and so to maintain the honour of this country, which, he regretted to say, had not been maintained in this matter as it ought to have been, by every Government.
§ SIR J. M. CARMICHAEL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)
was glad that they had obtained a pledge from the Government that the slave trade would be abolished 683 in the islands under discussion. The Government had called for a Report from Zanzibar, not as to whether it was desirable to abolish the slave trade, but as to the best means by which its abolition could be accomplished, and the Government had pledged themselves to effect the abolition of the trade in Zanzibar and Pemba after receiving this Report. Being satisfied with the assurance that had been given, he should support the Government; but he reserved his right to vote against them on this question if, within a certain period, their pledges should remain unfulfilled.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 106; Noes 153.—(Division List No. 24.)
§ Vote agreed to.