§ MR. J. H. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)
asked the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies a Question, of which he had given private notice, namely— whether he had been correctly reported that day in The Times as having stated in the course of the speech delivered last night at the Constitutional Club in regard to the South African Republic, when he was made to say, "The administration is defective and corrupt; the preservation of order, the administration of the police, all the Departments of the State are subject to just criticism"; and whether, having regard to the important effect which that declaration was likely to have, he intended to afford the House an early day for the discussion of the Transvaal question. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
The private notice of which the hon. Gentleman speaks only reached me a few minutes ago, but at the same time I am perfectly able to answer the Question. ["Hear, hear!"] I have not been able to read the report of my speech in The Times, but I have no doubt that it is, as usual, substantially correct. ["Hear, hear!"] As regards the particular paragraph to which the hon. Member refers, I would point out to him that it alludes to circumstances and facts which are matters of common report and of common knowledge, and have been so for a long time past, and, therefore, it does not constitute any special ground for urgency of discussion. ["Hear, hear!"] At the same time, my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House has already stated that if it should be the desire of any considerable section of the House that the matter should be discussed, although the Government do not think that the present is the most convenient time, they will be perfectly ready to put down the Colonial Vote for discussion at an early date.
§ MR. DALZIEL
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would be prepared to lay any papers upon the Table with 1536 reference to the charge of corruption against the Transvaal Government.
§ SIR E. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
said that, with regard to the statement just made by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies, he wished to ask whether the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury would put down the Colonial Vote for to-morrow week in case that there was a considerable expression of feeling in favour of that course being adopted.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
Yes. If I am satisfied that that is the general view of the House, I am certainly prepared to do it; but I will remind the House of what my right hon. Friend has said with regard to the views of the Government as to the convenience of the present time for the discussion of the subject.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN, rising subsequently, said: Mr. Speaker, my right hon. Friend has asked me to make a further statement with regard to the Colonial Vote. I want the House to understand that I am informed that the reply of President Kruger to the invitation of Her Majesty's Government to come to England is on its way, and may arrive at any moment. As soon as it has arrived the situation will, of course, be considered by the Government, and, in all probability, no doubt it will result in my laying upon the Table the whole of the correspondence which has passed with reference to the subject. ["Hear, hear!"] I venture to submit to the House, under these circumstances, that the most convenient time for discussing the subject will be after these papers are in the hands of hon. Members. ["Hear, hear!"]