§ 26. "That a sum, not exceeding £104,000, he granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1897, for Grants in Aid of Expenses connected with the British Protectorates in Uganda and in Central and East Africa."
Resolution agreed to.
28. "That a sum, not exceeding £1,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1897, for a Grant in Aid of the Revenue of the Island of Cyprus.
§ *SIR C. DILKE
contended that the whole financial position in Cyprus was absolutely indefensible. This Vote was for a portion of £636,000 which was required to make up the deficit on the local budget. It was necessary every year to Vote large sums to make up the deficit on the Budget of the island; but it was not a real deficit. The island was able to pay the expenses of administration, but a large sum of money had to be paid over to Turkey as tribute, and it was a great grievance of the islanders that such heavy taxation should be imposed on them as was required to pay both this tribute to the Porte as well as the entire cost of the administration of the island, except so far as it was defrayed by this country. When the island was first occupied it was thought to be of such strategic importance to tin's country that, whatever arrangement might be made, it should be faced rather than that the island should be given up; but 522 it was admitted now that the strategic importance of Cyprus was altogether exaggerated, and that was illustrated by the fact that the garrison of the island had now been reduced to a company of a regiment. If the trade accounts of the island were looked at it would be seen that the one thing we did for the island was to promote to a certain extent the growth of wheat there. The only purpose these annual grants served was that of subsidising the island in the growth of wheat. He now took the same objection to this Vote as he had already expressed on former occasions extending over many years past. He should leave his hon. Friend the Member for Warrington to deal with the question of tribute. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ *MR. ROBERT PIERPOINT (Warrington)
said that his right hon. Friend the Member for the Gloucester Division of the Forest of Dean had referred in a brief way to the tribute paid by the island of Cyprus, and had practically left him to deal with the matter. The island of Cyprus was a small one, having a sparse population of some 210,000, who were not capable of raising any very large revenue. We had had possession of the island since 1878, and from that date to the present time there had been paid out of the tribute to the Turkish bondholders the sum of £1,450,998. During the same period the grants in aid furnished by this country had amounted to £6562,085. Under the Convention entered into between England and France with regard to the Turkish-Crimean loan of 1855, England was to be the paymaster, and was to render an account to France. The result of our taking possession of Cyprus was that we had made a fairly good profit ourselves, while France had made a large profit. The saving of France had amounted to £725,499, whilst the saving of England had amounted to £163,414. The amount put away for the so-called Sinking Fund, including interest, amounted to £140,000. During the period that we had had possession of the island the gross loss to it had been £1,590,998, while the net loss to the island after deducting grants in aid, which amounted altogether to £562,085, was £1,028,913, or nearly £5 per head of the population, or about £25 per family. The result was that one-third of the revenue of the 523 island was taken away every year and was spent outside of it. He confessed that he should like to know what hon. Members representing Irish constituencies would say if Ireland were treated in a similar manner. It used to be said that the English flag brought justice to every territory over which it flew, but he could not say that it had brought justice to Cyprus. When we first took over the island it was said that we were about to give an object-lesson to the eastern world as to the result of good government, but that lesson had not proved a very instructive one. He was willing to admit that the administration of the law in Cyprus under our Government had been good and just, and that it prevented in justice being done between man and man, and that criminals were fairly tried, and fairly punished when convicted. But those facts did not justify this country in taking away such a large amount of the revenue of the island. The result of our action in the matter was that public works in Cyprus were greatly neglected. Although the islanders acknowledged that they were happier under the English flag than they were under the Turkish crescent, it must not be forgotten that we held it only by a leasehold tenure, and that, therefore, the islanders could not claim the advantage of being subjects of the Queen; they could if their island actually formed a portion of the British dominions. The majority of the population were Greek by language and by religion. He was perfectly aware that the right hon. Gentleman was good enough to send over an engineer to the island to consider the possibilities of irrigation, and he should like to know what was being done in that matter, and whether there was any chance in the future of one of the ports being made a free port, so that merchants might store their goods, and ship them in small quantities as they were wanted. He also wished to know whether there was any possibility of the Imperial Government doing anything to help the people of the island to build the railways which they needed, and to obtain a direct line of steamers between Cyprus and Egypt, so that once a week they might send vegetables and fruit into the Egyptian market quickly. The present service was practically useless for this purpose. 524 He could not conceive that the island could be fairly called bankrupt, as it produced every year far more money than was necessary to carry on its own expenses. If they were to be told that it was morally or legally right that England should treat one of its colonies, because it was a small island, as the Spaniards used to treat their colonies in centuries gone by, he could not understand such a policy.
§ MR. R. B. MARTIN (Worcester, Droitwich)
said that this was really a Vote in aid of the sum due under the loan of 1855, and not at all in aid of the revenues of Cyprus, which were quite sufficient to carry on the Government.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. J. CHAMBERLAIN,) Birmingham, W.
My right hon. Friend the Member for the Forest of Dean appealed to my hon. Friend the Member for Warrington, as though they were in the same boat in this matter, but I think the discussion has shown that that is not at all the case. The solo object of the intervention of the right hon. Member for the Forest of Dean was to advocate the immediate abandonment of the island. His view is that the island is of no advantage to this country, I understand; and therefore I assume that, by asking the House to Divide against this Vote, he desires to commit the House to the opinion that we ought to hand it back to Turkey, because it is perfectly clear that, without the grossest breach of international faith, we could not dispose of it in any other way. I can only say that, if that really be the view that he takes on the subject, I cannot believe he would be supported by many persons on his own side, who have been, as we know perfectly well in recent times, very much disturbed by the treatment Turkey has meted out to her subjects in other parts of the world. ["Hear, hear!"] Coming to the speech of the hon. Member for Warrington, I must say that his language must have been used without sufficient apprehension of its probable effect elsewhere. My hon. Friend says that Cyprus is a small and powerless island, and being, as he represents, in the possession or under the control of Great Britain, it cannot get justice. He says that this country cannot, unfortunately, be arraigned before the Courts, but that 525 it has been guilty of an offence, at all events, against the moral law. He says that Cyprus ought at least to be found none the worse for the British occupation, instead of which, as he represents, it is worse off by the action of the British Government, and I am sure the impression produced by his speech will be that we derive large sums from it in aid of this payment.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Quite so, but let me say that, if that is true, a more discreditable series of actions on the part of successive British Governments cannot be imagined than that we should have taken over this country, and that we should have used brutally our force in order to extract from it money which it could not pay for our personal advantage—that we should have treated it, in the words of the hon. Gentleman, as Spain used to treat her colonies. If that were the case, my hon. Friend has disclosed a state of things winch is a disgrace to this country, and, as I say, to successive Governments. ["Hear, hear!"] But, if what he has said is inaccurate, then I cannot help saying that a speech such as he has made is really calculated to do a great deal of mischief—["Hear, hear!"]—because there is no doubt that the Greeks and other people who inhabit Cyprus are perfectly ready to accept as gospel, statements of this kind, and to assume that they are badly treated, and to be discontented in consequence. The real fact is that this island of Cyprus, which has been so badly treated according to my right hon. Friend, is £500,000 better off than it would have been but for the English occupation. That is the pecuniary result alone, and that £500,000 has been taken out of the pockets of the taxpayers of this country.
§ *SIR C. DILKE
It is contested whether they ever paid in gold to Turkey anything like the tribute which they are now paying.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I am quite aware that everything is contested, especially by persons who are only anxious to be convinced that they 526 are badly treated in order to base a further claim on the British Exchequer; but the arrangement was that they should pay after the occupation what they had paid before. An investigation with all the authority and information of the British Treasury was made. Our people had no object in raising the amount, but, on the contrary, their object was to make it appear as small as possible; and, having gone into the facts, they came to the conclusion that the average sum which they had hitherto paid to Turkey amounted to the same at which the tribute was finally fixed. Where is the hardship there? If this island had continued under the rule of Turkey, the whole of this amount would have been extracted from the inhabitants as it had been before, and not only that, but it would have been extorted from them by the means which we know are too frequently adopted in countries such as Turkey, in order to obtain the taxation which they derive from subject nations. ["Hear, hear!"] The island is infinitely better off pecuniarily in consequence of the acceptance of the control of this country than it would have been if it had remained under the control of Turkey. I do not say that the condition of the island is one upon which we may look altogether with satisfaction, but it is not our fault. I am perfectly ready to admit with my hon. Friend that the burden of the tribute is a very heavy one—it has been found too heavy for the island to bear; and the consequence is that we have undertaken to bear the burden of nearly one-half. When I came into my present office, I found that in accepting this burden every effort had been made to secure economies in the administration of the island, and I admit that I think that attempt has been carried too far, and that the economies were passed to a greater extent than was—I will not say just, but wise—both in the interests of the island and of this country, because it is in the interest of both that its cultivation should be developed in order that it may bear the burden of its heavy tribute with greater ease than it can at present. Accordingly, when this matter was last brought before the House I promised that I would investigate the matter and endeavour, in the first place, to secure a larger amount for the current expenses 527 of the island; and, secondly, to see if something could not be done in the way of developing its resources, either by improved communications or by a system of irrigation. My hon. Friend has, I think, been misinformed when he says that the miserable sum of £4,000 was all that was allowed to be spent on public works.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
That is not the case. The real figures are as follows: In 1893–4, £11,942 was spent; in 1894–5, £9,917: in 1895–6, £7,900. The average of those three years was £10,000.
I mean the actual money spent on the works themselves, deducting expenses—excluding administration.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I am giving the actual expenditure on public works. What my hon. Friend means by expenses I do not understand; this is the actual money expended on public works in the island of Cyprus in the three years stated, and the average is £10,000 a year. But what I want to say is that for the present year, with the assent of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I have nearly doubled that amount, and the expenditure estimated for 1896–7 is to be £19,000. At the same time an additional grant has been given for education and for certain other necessary expenditure. Now, that is distinctly in the nature of what was called the other day, in the case of the island of St. Dominica, a compassionate allowance; it is an extra grant made from the taxation of this country towards the expenses and expenditure of the island of Cyprus. I believe it is justified, but, at all events, it is entirely inconsistent with the language used by my hon. Friend, not only as to the niggardliness, but as to the injustice of this country in dealing with the island. But, what I look forward to with even greater interest and hope, is the proposals which may be made for increasing the resources of the island; if those proposals can be successfully carried into effect it will not only benefit the island, but will have the result of relieving this country of its heavy burden, or of a portion of it. In view of that we sent out an engineer to the island, an expert who is well acquainted 528 with irrigation in India, to report; his report has now been received—up to the present time I have not been able to look through it more than casually—but it is being carefully considered and examined in my office, and all I can say at present is that I am hopeful that good will result. Then there is the question of a line of steamers between Cyprus and Egypt, and I may say that I hope we shall establish a weekly mail service. As to the other matters referred to, they shall be carefully considered; and, as regards railways, I hope that, either by private enterprise or in some other way, railways will be made in the island. In the first place, the duty is to repair the roads and bridges, which is even of greater importance than the railways; and the additional sum which is now being granted in aid of public works will be mainly applied to this purpose. As to these matters, I hope we shall be able to give a better account in future years.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 142; Noes, 38.—(Division List, No. 408.)
§ Twenty-ninth and Thirtieth Resolutions agreed to.
Postponed Resolutions further considered.
12. "That a sum, not exceeding £22,036, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1897, for the salaries and expenses in the Offices of the House of Commons.
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON (Cumberland, Cockermouth)
said he had inquired as to the licence for the sale of drink on the premises, but he had been unable to get any information. [Laughter.] There were five open liquor bars in the House, and it was not a proper thing that they should be carried on without a licence. There were at least four such places. He believed they were open to all comers, and therefore, in his opinion, the House of Commons was breaking the law by selling liquor to people without a licence. He would ask the Attorney General whether this was legal, and if he could say it was not illegal he would not divide 529 the House. But otherwise, he would certainly take a Division, for, in his opinion, law-makers should not he lawbreakers. It must not be supposed that he made this Motion in the cause of temperance—[laughter]—because if he did so he should get little support. [Laughter.] He was quite aware that many Members on both sides would be unwilling to come there at all unless they were able to get those luxuries—[laughter]—but he did not put the matter on that footing. He raised the question in defence of law and order, and he thought he was right in doing so. Whenever he made a proposition it was said to him, "My dear fellow, you are quite wrong; the proper tiling to do is to see that the present law is enforced," and that was what he was doing now. He sought to enforce the existing law, and he simply moved the reduction of the Vote to give the Attorney General an opportunity of stating what was the law.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said the hon. Baronet had not quite satisfactorily stated the facts of the case when he said that anybody who came to that House was supplied with drink. That might be the experience of the hon. Baronet, but it was not in accordance with his own. [Laughter] He was not prepared to say that everybody who came into that building could get drink by paying for it, nor did he know how far the hon. Baronet and his Friends could get drink. It would be more satisfactory if the hon. Baronet would tell the House what conduced the mischiefs he desired to complain of.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said that, dealing with the abstract question, he did not say there were not some circumstances in which they might be called upon to interfere; for instance, if it were a fact that at those bars—with which the hon. Baronet seemed to have so large an acquaintance—[laughter]—it was possible for strangers to get drink who had no connection at all with the House it seemed to him quite possible that under such circumstances there ought to be the protection of a licence. If, on the other hand, only persons who really had a right to get drink—Members and their friends, for whom the Members 530 paid—he doubted very much whether a licence was required. For many years there had been the sale of intoxicating liquors in the other House, yet the conscience of the hon. Baronet did not seem to have been troubled by the fact that noble Lords got drink without having a licence. He would confer anxiously on the subject with his noble Friend who presided with so much satisfaction over the Kitchen Committee, and he would occupy whatever time was necessary during the Recess in considering the matter. His labours would he assisted if the hon. Baronet would submit to him a statement of fact with regard to the facilities with which strangers could be supplied with liquor in the House. He thought his noble Friend the Chairman of the Kitchen Committee had been perfectly justified a few days ago in saying that the system under which liquor had been supplied in the House had existed for upwards of a 100 years, and as it had never occurred to anyone before that a licence was necessary he did not propose to make any change in that system on his own initiative. If the hon. Baronet wished him to look into the matter he would do so, for the question whether a licence was required for the supply of intoxicating liquor within the Palace of Westminster was, no doubt, one of considerable interest.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn Resolution agreed to.
14. "That a sum, not exceeding £29,400, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 189", for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies, including a Grant in Aid of certain Expenses connected with Emigration.
§ *SIR E. ASHMEAD - BARTLETT (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
called attention to the fact that the discussion of the affairs of the Transvaal had been delayed to this period of the Session, and complained that a promise made by the Government that, after the Blue-book had been issued another day should be given for the purpose had not been fulfilled. He had repeatedly asked for an earlier date, but on one plea or another the Colonial Vote had been put 531 off to the last moment. Before making a few general observations on the subject he wished to deal with certain statements the Secretary for the Colonies had made during the past week, with reference to the two gentlemen—British subjects—who were then held prisoners in the gaol at Pretoria, and with reference to the obligations of the Government towards them. The Secretary for the Colonies had on several occasions denied that there was any obligation on the part of the British Government to intercede on behalf of those gentlemen. He had, indeed, gone so far beyond that as to deny that there was any promise of protection made to them by representatives of Her Majesty. Those gentlemen were at present in gaol because they were unwilling to address an humble petition to an alien Government begging for their release on certain terms which they deemed unworthy of them, and they affirmed—and it was practically impossible on good grounds to dispute their statement—that they received a distinct pledge of protection from the representatives of the British Crown. It would be in the recollection of the House that on Tuesday last the Colonial Secretary distinctly denied that any promise of protection was given to those gentlemen. In fact, the right hon. Gentleman went beyond this, because he said that Sir Jacobus de Wet, who was Her Majesty's representative at Johannesburg at the time when the pledge was made, distinctly denied that any such statement was made, and that it was clear that it was never made properly. At another time and in another place he said that the allegation was contradicted by both the High Commissioner and Sir Jacobus de Wet. He would remind the House that three gentlemen—all of whom are well known—had publicly affirmed that Sir Jacobus de Wet did make the alleged promise of protection to the Reform League. Mr. Lionel Phillips, a gentleman who was respected by all who knew him, and who had occupied a prominent position in the Transvaal for some years, wrote to The Times, on August 4, to the effect that Sir Jacobus de Wet, in the presence of himself and a large majority of the Reform Committee, promised that if the inhabitants of Johannesburg would lay down their arms not a hair of the head 532 of any member of the Committee would be touched, and that no personal indignity, such as imprisonment, would be inflicted on them. Mr. Salter White, another member of the Committee, had on August 5th repeated the words of Mr. Phillips, and said those words were as nearly as possible verbatim as he had heard them from Sir Jacobus de Wet. Another gentleman, Mr. Bisset, had made a similar statement in the Public Press, and he (Sir Ashmead-Bartlett) was assured by gentlemen who were in every respect worthy of credence, that authoritative declarations to the same effect could be obtained from many other persons who heard the pledges given by Sir Jacobus de Wet. What did the Colonial Secretary do? He ventured to say that the right hon. Gentleman had taken a course as a responsible Minister of the Crown which was without precedent in the House. He told the House last Tuesday that Sir Jacobus de Wet distinctly denied having given those promises or made those pledges of protection. Every hon. Member present who heard the right hon. Gentleman must have understood him to mean that that denial was made on the strength of official information from Sir Jacobus de Wet. ["Hear, hear!"] He asked the right hon. Gentleman on Friday last whether his attention had been called to the statements of Mr. Phillips and Mr. White as to the pledge having been given, and the right hon. Gentlemen asked him to postpone the matter until Monday, so that he might be able to give the House fuller information. The only just inference surely to be drawn from that request was that the right hon. Gentleman was in telegraphic communication with Sir J. de Wet in order to obtain his authorisation for an official denial. When the right hon. Gentleman answered the question on Monday he was obliged to confess he was relying for the alleged statement of Sir Jacobus de Wet upon a letter in the Saturday Review. He doubted whether there was ever before au instance of a Minister quoting a representative of the Crown on the strength of a letter in a magazine, a weekly newspaper, or even in a daily newspaper, the authenticity of which had not been proved. ["Hear, hear!"] He now asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he had 533 communicated with Sir Jacobus de Wet directly, and, if so, what reply he had received. A movement had taken place in the Transvaal for political, legal, and social privileges, and that movement was, according to the Dispatches of the right hon. Gentleman himself, thoroughly justified; it was a protest, to quote the right hon. Gentleman's own words, against an "Administration that was defective and corrupt." The movement was, so far as it possibly could be, a constitutional movement; and it was not until President Kruger had insolently and offensively rejected their petitions and bad threatened Johannesberg with violence under the famous metaphor of the tortoise, that the Uitlanders organised and, to a certain extent, armed. The action of Her Majesty's Government at the time of Dr. Jameson's raid laid them under peculiar responsibility to the people of Johannesburg. On the night Dr. Jameson's force was captured the Colonial Secretary authorised Sir Hercules Robinson to go from Cape Town to Pretoria to act as a peacemaker, and in his Dispatch to Sir Hercules Robinson on January 13th the right hon. Gentleman said:—The people of Johannesburg laid down their arms in the belief that reasonable concessions would be arranged through your intervention, and until these are granted or definitely promised to you by the President the root cause of the recent troubles will remain.He went on to say it would be "the duty of Sir Hercules Robinson to use firm language." Those were admirable words, but for some mysterious reason which had never yet been explained the right hon. gentleman from that moment went backwards. Since then he had never endeavoured to fulfil a single pledge made by himself or his representatives, had allowed some 60 British subjects to be arrested and thrown into a most unwholesome and noisome gaol and kept there for weeks, and had then, without protest as far as was known, allowed heavy penalties to be imposed on the Reform leaders for their action in protesting in a constitutional way against a defective and corrupt Administration. What was worse than that was that, after terms had been arranged by local influence for the release of these British subjects thus treacherously and unjustly imprisoned, the right hon. Gentleman 534 advised the only two prisoners who refused to bow the knee to the Boer Government to make an humble petition and to give a ridiculous pledge to the Boers. The Colonial Secretary was not ashamed to advise those men to sign such a petition in order that they might obtain the clemency extended to others. That was without precedent, and he could not think that, when it became understood, such action would be approved in the country. There was one other important point. Sir Hercules Robinson was the Queen's High Commissioner. He was sent down to obtain, according to the Dispatches of the Colonial Secretary, good terms for the Uitlanders. Sir Hercules Robinson sent Sir Jacobus de Wet to Johannesburg as his representative, and it was acting as his representative that Sir Jacobus de Wet made solemn pledges to the Reform leaders, about the reality of which there could not be the least doubt. The High Commissioner had previously paralysed the action of the Uitlanders by publishing the Queen's proclamation at Johannesburg, and by ordering the people to disarm. Such a step involved great responsibility on the part of the British Government. He had also appealed most solemnly to the Uitlanders to disarm in order to save the lives of Dr. Jameson and his comrades. That was a mistaken plea, but it was the High Commissioner's own fault that he had not found out the truth as to the terms of Dr. Jameson's surrender. ["Hear, hear!"] He thought Sir Jacobus de Wet had been very unjustly treated. Sir Jacobus de Wet bore a Dutch name, but he had always honourably represented this country in Pretoria. If the Dispatches were published, it would be found that the fault lay with the Colonial Office and not with Sir Jacobus. Notwithstanding the misleading and rather disingenuous statement of the right hon. Gentlemen as to Sir Jacobus de Wet and Amatongaland, it was a fact that Sir J. de Wet did warn the late British Government of the Boer designs upon the territories between Swaziland and the sea. It was owing to Sir Jacobus de Wet that the territories of Zambaan and the other chiefs were annexed to this country by the late Radical Government and the Transvaal was thereby prevented from obtaining a seaport. Thus 535 a great danger to this country was averted, for if once the Boers had a footing on the sea coast they would invite some foreign power to plant their flag there. He, however, had been practically cashiered on a pension of £300 a year, yet the High Commissioner, who was sent to Pretoria to protect British interests, who absolutely failed to do a single thing for British interests there, but sat trembling in his lodgings during the whole affair, who showed the most absolute ignorance of everything that was going on, who knew nothing about the movements of the Chartered Company or of Dr. Jameson, who did not even take the trouble to inquire what were the terms of Jameson's surrender, who allowed the Boor Government to dictate the very conditions on which his aide-de-camp should interview the Reform prisoners, was promoted to the Upper House. He fully admitted that the conduct of Sir Hercules Robinson at Pretoria was a very great excuse for the failure of the Colonial Secretary to achieve some beneficial results for the Uitlanders. What had happened since January 13th? There had been no redress of the Uitlanders' grievances, and the right hon. Gentleman had apparently given up asking for it. His recent communications with President Kruger had been confined to apologies and explanations, which had followed each other with the rapidity of Maxim shot. At one moment he was apologising for sending an extra five hundred men to Matabeleland, and inviting a Boer officer to see that there were no more. At another he was explaining away his own Dispatches and accepting the most humiliating ultimatums from the Boer Government. At the next the right hon. Gentleman was informing President Kruger and the world that the Uitlanders had only suffered what they deserved for having dared to take up arms. [Ironical Opposition cheers and laughter.] The cheers for the right hon. Gentleman's policy always came from the other side; that was one of his greatest complaints against it. The right hon. Gentleman began his statement of Transvaal policy this year by an attempt to justify the infamous capitulation after Majuba. Ever since, his policy had been greeted with the cheers of the "Little Englanders" on the opposite Benches. He was, now abandoning the 536 rights of British subjects in the Transvaal much as they had been abandoned in 1881. While on one side the right hon. Gentleman had pursued a policy of surrender, on the other side he had done his best, perhaps unwittingly, to aggravate Boer feeling and foreign feeling generally against this country. It was part of this new diplomacy and amateur statesmanship, which consisted in trying to adapt our Imperial and colonial policy to the momentary exigencies of the House of Commons without regard to tradition and consistency of national honour, that it should involve consequences the opposite of what were intended. The Uitlanders were now in a worse position than ever. They were practically helpless. The Boer population was armed to the teeth, and were much more difficult to deal with now than six months ago. The Orange Free State was also largely armed, and had made secret arrangements with the Transvaal Republic. Emissaries from the latter State had organised the Boer population even in Natal and the Cape Colony. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman meant well when he made his suggestion of Home Rule for the Rand on February 4th, but that suggestion and the most undiplomatic publication of that Dispatch before it was received by the Boer Government greatly irritated President Kruger, and made this country ridiculous in the eyes of the world. In his speech at the Constitutional Club on April 22nd the right hon. Gentleman denounced the Transvaal administration as defective and corrupt; that too, had an unfortunate effect on the Boer Government, and kept the prisoners longer in gaol. Why did he make that speech if he intended to follow a policy of universal surrender. Then the right hon. Gentleman must, on the same occasion, flaunt the Union Jack in the face of Foreign Powers and exasperate German feeling against us. There were facts connected with the Jameson raid and the attitude of Germany which might have justified a strong line in January on the part of the British Government—a line which would have been supported by the country. But at later periods it had always been most necessary to conciliate Germany as far as possible without of course permitting foreign intervention in South Africa. The whole of our relations with the Transvaal during the 537 last six months had been one of the most deplorable episodes of our modern history. The right hon. Gentleman's policy had been marked by complete failure. He had failed to carry out the pledges of his earlier Dispatches. He had failed to obtain real protection for the Reform leaders or benefits for the Uitlander population; and he had failed to conciliate Boer feeling. In South Africa we stood in a position of the greatest danger, not so much from the arms of foes, as for the feeling of discontent, dissatisfaction, and disgust which had been aroused in almost every British subject throughout South Africa. It was hardly possible to find a man of British blood in South Africa, except for a few millionaires—whose policy was naturally from financial reasons quieta non movere—who did not speak in the strongest condemnation of the Government's policy in South Africa during the past six months. It had been hoped always that there would be some turn in affairs. Many hoped the Colonial Secretary had a marvellous plan concealed somewhere, which would be brought forth in due course. But this plan turned out to be like General Trochu's plan, it had no existence. Our position had steadily drifted from bad to worse. The right hon. Gentleman could not complain that he had been excessively pressed. He had been given practically a free hand throughout the past seven months. But failing any effort to defend and uphold British interests, he felt justified now in putting his sincere views before the House in regard to South Africa, and our immense interests there, interests which were of the very greatest importance, both for political and commercial reasons, to this country.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE
said that it was not for him to undertake the defence of the right hon. Gentleman against his infuriated follower. [Laughter.] But the hon. Member had done scant justice to the Colonial Secretary in attributing to him the unfortunate disruption of friendly relations between the Boers and the British. The hon. Member ascribed to the right hon. Gentleman all the consequences which had followed from the unfortunate raid. ["Hear, hear!"] But what he wished to ask his right hon. Friend was whether anything had been done, and. if not, whether he could 538 promise that nothing should be definitely done to commit this country to a cable across the Pacific in the direction suggested by the recent conference. The cable had been recommended on military grounds, and if the Admiralty and the War Office considered it was wise to make the cable and contribute money towards it, he would not oppose it. But before it was too late he would like to suggest that there were other directions in which expenditure might be more profitable, especially from a military point of view. It was to be hoped that it would never be necessary to defend the Canadian frontier from not only a general attack, but from even a raid, for it was weak in a military sense, and the Militia of Canada had neither the number nor arms to defend it. The first cable that ought to be made ought to be, in his opinion, a line to Gibraltar and Sierra Leone and to the Cape, with a branch to Mauritius and from the Cape to Australia. That would pass along a line more traversed than the Pacific, and would be far more important from a military point of view.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN,
who was received with cheers from both sides of the House, said: In answer to the last speaker, I do not know whether he entirely understands the position in regard to the proposed cable. The question is raised, as he is probably aware, at the instigation of the Governments of the Canadian Dominion and the Australian Colonies; and it was a joint proposal from them that an Inquiry should be held, in the hope, of course, that it would result in the laying of a cable to which we would be willing to contribute. Up to the present time there has been absolutely no pledge on the part of this country. All we are bound to is to institute an Inquiry as to the making of the cable, the best route to be followed, and, as a subsequent consideration, the proportionate amount of our contribution towards the cost. May I say, in regard to the suggestion of my right hon. Friend of an alternative route for the cable, that of course strategical reasons will have great importance in the consideration of matters of this kind. Hitherto, the British Government has never subsidised a cable intended solely for commercial purposes. Every subsidy hitherto has been justified by strategical reasons. 539 But if we are to enter into a comparison between the Pacific line and the line suggested by my right hon. Friend, there is this to be said in favour of the Pacific line, that we should have large contributions towards its cost both from Canada and Australia, for that route is one which is very favourably viewed by both those great colonies. ["Hear, hear!"] Now I turn to my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield. I say at once that I do not complain in the slightest degree of the attack which it has amused him to make upon me this afternoon. [Laughter.] I have been aware for some time, by the rather numerous questions which he has addressed to me during the Session, that he was anxious for an opportunity of expressing his dissent from the policy which I have had to announce on behalf of the Government. I am only sorry that the opportunity could not have been found for him earlier. But I hope that now that he has relieved his mind he will feel more comfortable. [Laughter.] I am sorry to say that I cannot follow him at length into his speech, partly because the greater portion of it was a violent diatribe and an exaggerated attack upon the Colonial Secretary, and partly because I do not think that even now the time has come to discuss fully the policy of this country in regard to South Africa. There are too many open questions still before us to make it possible for any one in my position to go at great length, or with any particularity, into the various difficulties that have presented themselves. ["Hear, hear!"] But I will deal with the personal question which the hon. Gentleman raised in the early part of his speech. He referred again to the case of Messrs. Samson and Davies, the prisoners in Pretoria. It is very difficult for me to add anything to what I have already stated in the very full reply which I gave the hon. Gentleman on this subject yesterday. What is the position of the hon. Gentleman? He asks me a question as to which, of course, I can have no personal knowledge, because the transaction referred to in the question occurred between the members of the Reform Committee at Johannesburg and Sir Jacobus de Wet. I can only give an answer on the information supplied me by Sir Jacobus de Wet and the High Commissioner. I gave the hon. Gentle- 540 man yesterday an answer definite and conclusive, so far, at any rate, as a statement made by the High Commissioner and Sir Jacobus de Wet can be conclusive.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
No, I must ask the hon. Gentleman to hear me out. [Laughter, and general cheers.] After giving the hon. Gentleman that answer yesterday, he gets up again to-day and for twenty minutes he repeats the statement as if it were a proved statement—a statement that could not be denied by any one, although it is a statement absolutely denied by one of the parties to the supposed transaction. [Cheers.] On what grounds does he think the answer I made on the authority of Sir Jacobus de Wet is insufficient? Because he says it is an unofficial statement. I do not distinguish between a statement made by an official to the Government, and one made to the newspapers. ["Hear, hear!"] I do not understand that a man lies when he writes to the newspapers, and that he tells the truth when he makes an official ststement. [Laughter and cheers] If he is capable of lying in one case he is capable of lying in both. [Cheers and laughter.] Although it has not been in my power to communicate with Sir Jacobus de Wet, who is no longer a servant of the Crown, I have had the opportunity of communicating with Sir Hercules Robinson, and I have not the slightest doubt that in the statement made to him, Sir Jacobus de Wet has only stated what he firmly believed to be true—namely, that although when he was asked what would happen to those gentlemen he expressed his private opinion that nothing whatever would happen to them, he did not give them, for he could not give them, any pledge whatever on the part of the Government. Will the House bear in mind what was the course of these proceedings? In the first place, Sir Hercules Robinson was informed by the Transvaal Government that Johannesburg must lay down its arms unconditionally. That was the knowledge possessed by Sir Hercules Robinson when he sent Sir Jacobus de Wet to inform the Reform Committee of the demands of the Transvaal Government. Very well. The Reform 541 leaders, after this conversation with Sir Jacobus de Wet, passed a resolution in which they said not a single word about protection or about having been influenced in their decision by promises in regard to themselves. The resolution says "That, having seriously considered the ultimatum of the Government, we unanimously decide to comply with that demand." They then go on to say that in coming to that decision they desire to secure the safety of Dr. Jameson, to advance the amicable discussion of a settlement with the Transvaal Government, and to support the High Commissioner. These are the terms upon which those gentlemen in their own resolution expressed their readiness to lay down their arms. But that is not all. The Transvaal Government were not satisfied with this resolution. They said it was a conditional laying down of arms, and, accordingly, they telegraphed to Sir Jacobus de Wet that the surrender must be unconditional. They rejected the conditions which formed part of the resolution of the Reform Committee as having nothing to do with the laying down of arms. After receiving this message the Reform Committee telegraphed, "We lay down our arms unconditionally." As I said yesterday, I do not want to impute to these gentlemen anything more than a misunderstanding. I do not doubt they are under the impression that they received something more than the mere statement of Sir Jacobus de Wet as to what would probably happen. But I can only say that in my position it is impossible for me, in view of the facts I have brought before the House, to doubt the word of Sir Jacobus de Wet when he said, "I did not pledge the Government; I only expressed my own personal opinion." [Cheers.]
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. Gentleman says, "Will you ask him?" I should think I would insult him if I asked him whether the letter he wrote to the Saturday Review was untrue. [Cheers.] That is the question the hon. Gentleman asks me to put to Sir Jacobus de Wet, whose praises he has been I sounding. [Cheers.] He makes a charge against me of having caused this valuable servant of the Crown to resign, and of then giving him a miserable pension 542 of £300 a year. I have not a word to say against Sir Jacobus de Wet. But he was not forced to resign. His health suffered greatly during the last few months. I am speaking from memory now, and I do not wish to be held positively to what I say, but during four months Sir Jacobus de Wet was obliged on four separate occasions to absent himself from his official duties entirely owing to indisposition, and he himself expressed the desire to retire. He expressed the wish to resign to the High Commissioner, provided some arrangement could be made for a pension. He entered the public service when somewhat advanced in years. He served six years, and the terms of his appointment precluded any pension at all; but, having regard to all the circumstances and that Sir Jacobus thought he had done the best in his power for the interests of the British Government, I was able to persuade the Treasury to treat this case as entirely exceptional, and do what the Treasury had seldom done, and where the engagement contained no reference whatever to a pension, and therefore precluded it, to grant a pension of £300 a year. I think, under these circumstances, it is absurd to say I have been unfair to Sir Jacobus de Wet. There are two statements which have been put forward on behalf of the Reform leaders. The first is—made now for the first time—that they laid down their arms on a promise of personal protection to themselves. Per haps I ought to say that, to their credit, they have not put this forward themselves. We have not heard of it until recently. But the second statement put forward on their behalf is, that they laid down their arms on the understanding that Sir Hercules Robinson and the British Government would intervene to secure the rights for which they had been agitating. No pledge of any kind was given to secure those rights. But, undoubtedly, the High Commissioner has been instructed by me that the British Government are prepared to do everything in their power to acquire such rights as may be just and equitable-It was not a pledge for which these gentlemen laid down their arms. I cannot admit that for a moment. Having regard to the condition of Johannesburg 543 when the surrender of arms was made, the British Government, without making a pledge, held themselves bound by friendly relations to secure that result. That I have been trying to do. But what is the alternative—the policy which the hon. Member would have put forward if standing in my place? We know what it would be. He would have sent an ultimatum to President Kruger that unless these reforms (which he would have specified) were granted by a particular day, the British Government would interfere by force, and then he would have come here and asked the House for a Vote of Credit of 10 or 20 millions (it would not matter which particularly) and sent an army of 20,000 men at least to force President Kruger to grant reforms in a State with which we had pledged ourselves repeatedly—not this Government, but previous Governments, by the vows of successive Secretaries of State—that we would have nothing to do. That is his policy. It is not my policy, and never will be. My policy—and I am not sorry that the Debate enables me to make it clearer—has since this unfortunate raid been to restore the state of things that existed before it, to restore the good feeling which was beginning to exist and had been created between the Dutch population on the one hand, and the British population on the other. Does not the hon. Gentleman see that, whatever may have been the grievances of the Uitlanders when the raid (which I believe even he does not defend) took place, there must have been a feeling of irritation among the inhabitants of the Transvaal, and common prudence demanded that we should give time for that to subside, and not base upon our own wrong a demand which would be even more unjustifiable. I say that has been my policy, and I believe it has succeeded. If I may trust the reports I get—and I get them from every quarter, I do not receive reports from one side only (my complaint of the hon. Member is that all his reports come from one side, I receive them from all quarters and all sides)—I think I am justified in saying that already there has been a considerable change for the better, and that, probably, in a short time we may be able to report a much more satisfactory condition of affairs. Meantime, these reforms, 544 which the hon. Member thinks we have lost sight of, have been considered, and I think there is every reason to believe we are making considerable progress. What is the news telegraphed from the Transvaal within the last few weeks? That the Transvaal Government have passed a law, very much desired by the population of the goldfields, restricting the supply of liquor to natives, and that they have passed an education law by which children of every nationality are to be brought up at the expense of the State in the language of their own nationality; and a Bill is under consideration by which a new municipality is to be granted to Johannesburg, and, if the conditions upon which that grant is made are at all satisfactory, it will not be far from the suggestion of Home Rule for the Rand which has received the approval of the hon. Member. Although these reforms are not all the reforms for which the Uitlanders asked, or for which, in my opinion, they were justified in asking, it is a great experiment, especially if you take into account that these reforms were given at a time when feeling was much excited and there was a great deal of irritation. I think the hon. Member is too impatient. I do not think a policy of this kind, the carrying out of which must extend over a considerable period, should be judged at such a short interval on insufficient information. I hope, however, the House will be satisfied, at all events, with the general lines of the policy I have explained, and that it may be such as to justify their approval.
§ Resolution agreed to.
§ 18. "That a sum, not exceeding £28,869, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1897, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Charity Commission for England and Wales, including the Endowed Schools Department."
§ *SIR FRANCIS POWELL
alluded to the promotion of Mr. D. C. Richmond, of the Endowed Schools Department of the Commission, to an important position in the Exchequer and Audit Department, and rejoiced that Mr. Richmond's eminent services had been rewarded. Like the office of the 545 Local Government Board, the Department of the Charity Commission was greatly under-manned, and the public interest suffered in consequence. The delays of which complaints were sometimes made were not due to neglect or want of capacity, but because the staff was not numerically equal to the work imposed upon it.
§ Resolution agreed to.
§ 18." That a sum, not exceeding £28,869, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1897, for the S dories' and Expenses of the Charity Commission for England and Wales, including the Endowed Schools Department,"
§ Resolution agreed to.
§ 22. "That a sum. not exceeding £126,746, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will came in coarse of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1897, for the Expense of the Maintenance of Juvenile Offenders in Reformatory, Industrial, and Day Industrial Schools in Great Britain, and of the Inspectors of Reformatories."
*ADMIRAL FIELD (Sussex, Eastbourne)
complained that though the age for the admission of boys to reformatory and industrial school-ships had been raised it was still too low. Then there were general complaints that the British Mercantile Marine was being filled up by foreigners. There were 27,000 foreigners in the Mercantile Marine, whereas there ought not to be one. The Mercantile Marine were the great reserve of the Navy in time of war, so this became an Imperial question. The Manning Committee had suggested the establishment of Mercantile Marine training ships in all the ports of the country. It was much to be desired, but what he complained of was that no Minister of the day would bend his mind to make use of means at hand in the matter. Reformatory and industrial school-ships, if properly worked, would make up for much of the waste of life in the Mercantile Marine, and his object was to draw attention to the abominable way in which the ships were worked. He found no fault with the Committees or Captains, who worked hard to turn out good material with inadequate means. On the Mount Edgcumbe the stall' had been reduced from 12 to seven, and on the Southampton from 14 to eight. 546 He desired that the ships should be filled up to their proper complement, instead of being so much below their strength. One ship which had accommodation for 500, had only 250 on board. He objected to the system of Magistrates committing to the ships, as they were not always the best judges as to the boys who were most fitted for sea life. He urged that the different training-ships should be affiliated to the land schools, and that boys from the hitter should be allowed to volunteer for the training-ships, provided they were physically fitted for sea life. Boys should be allowed to volunteer at 14, be trained till they were 16, and then sent to sea. At present boys wont on these ships at 12, and a considerable number of them were under 12. He considered that this was too young, and that they should not be allowed to enter until they were 13, only healthy boys who could bear the hardships of sea life being taken from the land schools. At present not more than 46 per cent. of the boys trained on the ships afterwards went to sea. They were trained at great expense and afterwards left the sea for land, thus flooding the labour market. Matters for the last five years, from 1891 to 1895, had been even worse than for the previous five years. In the previous five years there were discharged to the shore the supposed as unfit for sea life) 1,206 boys, and 2,800 were sent to sea. What was the return of the last five years? 2,073 were discharged to the shore, and only 2,500 sent to sea. The matter was going from bad to worse, it was high time it should be dealt with, and he had shown how it was possible to make these ships supply the great waste that was going on in the Mercantile Marine. There was one ship which deserved to be honourably mentioned, and that was the Wellesley in North Shields, where there was a good land school in connection with it. The Wellesley took no boy who was under 14 years of age, and she sent her best boys to sea instead of discharging them to the shore. He thought the whole question ought to be considered by the Departmental Committee which had been sitting for a year or two. He urged that these training-ships, to be of value, should be affiliated to the land schools, from which the supplies should be taken, instead of from magistrates' commitments, and that only 547 boys physically fit should be selected. If these recommendations were carried out good would result from this large expenditure of money, whereas a large portion was now wasted, only 46 per cent. of the boys going to sea.
§ SIR MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY
thought it was rather hard that the hon. and gallant Gentleman should find fault with the Home Office for not supplying a reserve to the Mercantile Marine of this country. He was not concerned to deal with the Report of the Manning Committee. He scarcely knew what that Report advised, but he did not think part of their recommendations was that the reformatory and training ships of this country should be the main source from which they should look for the extra reserve supply of seamen for the Mercantile Marine. There could be no doubt that these ships were established not directly by the Government, but by philanthropic persons, in the hope that both from the industrial as well as from the reformatory side boys might be taken into the Navy or into the Mercantile Marine. He agreed with the hon. and gallant Gentleman it was a matter of regret that so very few boys had left these institutions for the service of the Queen, or of the Mercantile Marine, or the Army. Those interested in such institutions would, he was sure, only be too glad to use every effort to see that the boys from reformatories or industrial schools should either take to the sea or join the Army. A Departmental Committee had been sitting for a year or two, and he imagined that one of the subjects they would have considered would be whether these ships could be affiliated to the schools on land and made more efficient. The Report of the Committee was not yet in his hand, so that he did not know its tenour. He would be very glad to have any suggestions from the hon. and gallant Gentleman on this subject, the importance of which he fully recognised.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
would like to point out a fallacy running through the argument of the hon. and gallant Admiral—namely, that all these boys who were in ships and who did not go to sea were discharged because they were unfit to go to sea. That was not the real ground. They were discharged because either the boys themselves did 548 not wish to go to sea or their parents objected to their going. These industrial and reformatory schools did not undertake to send the children into professions which the parents did not desire for them, and if the parents thought they could do better for the children than by sending them to sea they did not send them.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
said they must take their chance of that. A boy was sent to a ship as part of the training and discipline of the school. On the ship he received certain instruction to enable him to go to sea, but if he did not want to go to sea, and his parents did not want him to go, he did not go, however fit he might be. He did not say that the affiliation which the hon. and gallant Admiral spoke of was not worth consideration, but he would not seriously alter the matter. He might fill up the ship, but when he had filled up the ship he had no security whatever that the boys would go to sea. The hon. and gallant Member must remember that there always would be a large percentage of those boys who, having been trained for the sea, would not go to sea, just as there were a large number of Her Majesty's subjects who did not prefer to go to sea, and, unfortunately, they were an increasing number in this country. That was really the cause why it had become worse. It was because parents were less and less disposed to send their boys to sea. The hon. and gallant Member must not suppose that there was any power in those who had the control of industrial and reformatory schools to increase the number of boys who went to sea contrary to the wishes of the children or the parents.
§ Resolution agreed to.
§ 24. "That a sum, not exceeding £64,179, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1897, for Grants in Aid of the Expenses of certain Universities and Colleges in Great Britain, and of the Expenses under the Welsh Intermediate Education Act, 1889."
§ On the return of Mr. SPEAKER, after the usual interval,
§ *MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS (Notts,) Mansfield
said he moved the reduction 549 of this Vote in order to afford the House an opportunity of protesting against the action of the present Government in restoring the grant to King's College, after it had been withdrawn by the late Government, and withdrawn with the sanction of the late Parliament. He had not a word to say against King's College as an educational institution. It probably deserved all that was said of it for its efficiency and usefulness; but, so far as a right to share in a Parliamentary grant was concerned, it was open to the fatal objection that it was a distinctly sectarian institution. All the other colleges participating in the grants given under this Vote opened their doors freely to all professors, teachers, and students without imposing upon them any theological or ecclesiastical tests; but at King's College no person who was not a member of the Church of England was competent to fill any office, except the Professorships of Oriental literature and modern languages. To quote from a speech of Lord Herschell in the House of Lords a few nights ago—Under the system now pursued at Kind's College, a now Professor, though of the highest possible capacity, must be set aside if he is a Presbyterian, for instance, in favour of one of far less capacity and reputation, because he is not a member of the Church of England.And that the practice of the College corresponded with the theory was shown by the letter of a civil engineer which appeared in the Daily News a short time ago; the writer stating that he had been a student of the College, and wished to become a professor of engineering, but was informed that he could not be appointed if he were not a member of the Church of England. Now that was distinctly opposed to the policy adopted by Parliament when, after a lengthened agitation, it passed the University Tests Act of 1871, which enacted that—No person shall be required to subscribe any article or formulary of faith, or to make any declaration, or take any oath, respecting his religious belief or profession" or "to belong to any specified denomination.The exclusive character of King's College was not only opposed to the principle of that Act, but it had been condemned by authorities of great weight on purely educational grounds. This was a passage contained in the late Duke of 550 Devonshire's Commission on scientific instruction:—With regard to King's College, we would further suggest that the College should apply for a new Charter, or for an Act of Parliament, with a view of cancelling the proprietary rights of its shareholders, and of abolishing all religious restrictions (so far as any such exist) on the selection of professors of science, and on the privilege extendings to students of science. We consider that any grant of public money which may be made to King's College should be conditional on such a reconstitution of the College as should effect these objects.The Commissioners were not opponents of King's College, and certainly were not opponents of the Church of England; for they included, besides the then Duke of Devonshire, the Marquess of Lansdowne, Professor Miller, a Professor of King's College, Professor Stokes, and Sir John Lubbock. This weighty advice of the Commissioners was not taken; for, when King's College obtained its new Act of Incorporation, these restrictions were not, as they then might have been, removed, but the authorities of King's College deliberately resolved that it should remain a denominational institution. The question might be asked, How came King's College to become a recipient of a Parliamentary grant? and that brought him to the Parliamentary history of the question. The grant neither originated with, nor received the saction of this House. In 1889 Parliament voted a lump sum for universities colleges in Great Britain, and the then Government appointed a Committee of four persons to advise them as to the best mode of distributing the grant, and they recommended its distribution for the next five years among 11 colleges; one of them being King's College, and the amount allocated to it being £1,700 a year. In 1892 a second Departmental Committee was appointed to report as to the results of the grants, and to consider whether they should be increased, diminished, or withheld. The Report of that Committee contained this very significant addendum, which was signed by the present Member for the University of London and by Sir Henry Roscoe, formerly a well-known Member of this House:—'We have not dissented from the recommendation of the Committee that King's College, London, should be included in the grant to university Colleges, because we understand that 551 questions of general policy have not been referred to this Committee. But we desire to record our view that King's College, being by its constitution a strictly denominational institution, so far as relates to its governing body and its teaching staff, stands in a position differing from that of the other Colleges dealt with in this Report; and we reserve our own freedom of action on the subject, as Members of the House of Commons, in case the question of the right of King's College to participate in the grant should hereafter be raised in Parliament.'When this Report appeared, he called the attention of the House to the subject, and the late Government promised to take it into consideration. The result was that, when a third Departmental Committee was appointed, they were instructed that they would—be bound by the principle that a share in the grant cannot be for any college in which any denominational or religious tests are, or can be, demanded from, or are applicable to, any member of the teaching staff (other than theological teachers), or any of the students.But while the Committee necessarily reported against the continuance of the grant, they acted with the greatest consideration towards King's College, for they further reported as follows:—The Committee, bearing in mind that it is not improbable that King's College may take steps to remove the denominational tests which now apply to most of its chairs, have thought that, without finally excluding it, the principle laid down in the last paragraph of the Terms of Reference may be carried out, by provisionally retaining King's College in the list for a grant of £1,700, contingent, however, upon its removing the tests from all its teachers (other than theological) within the present year.This was a second, and still more serious warning to the authorities at King's College to bring the institution into harmony with the liberal spirit of the times—[ironical cheers]—but what had they done? They first of all resolved to abide by their narrow constitution, and therefore to abandon the grant. Then they appealed to the supporters of the College to either raise an additional £3,000 a year, or £100,000 as an endowment fund. But their supporters did not appear to be willing to pay so high a price for the retention of ecclesiastical tests; for after repeated appeals during many months, he believed that only about £25,000 was promised. Then came an event which had proved a most fortunate one, not for King's College only, but some other vested interests also. The present Government came 552 into office—[Ministerial cheers]—and forthwith King's College appealed to the new Government to undo the work of its predecessors by restoring the grant. And they complied with the request so promptly that as early as the 3rd of October last there was adopted a Treasury minute which, without assigning any reason for adopting such a course, stated that "My Lords have decided that the College may be placed in enjoyment of its share of the grant next year without stipulation as regards tests." So, unless the House saw fit to adopt the Amendment which he was about to move, King's College would keep its grants and keep its tests also. Not only so, but it was likely to draw more money from the national Exchequer; the Government having appointed a Committee to consider the advisability of increasing the amount annually voted to university colleges. He protested against such a reversal of a policy which had been deliberately sanctioned by Parliament, and which was, he believed, in harmony with the opinion of the country, and in the hope that the Committee would respect that opinion and maintain a liberal educational policy, he moved that the present Vote be reduced by the £1,700 proposed to be voted to King's College.
§ *SIR ALBERT ROLLIT (Islington, S.)
said that in August last he drew the attention of the House to the rescission of the grant to King's College, and elicited from the Secretary of the Treasury the promise of its renewal, which had since been fulfilled. ["Hear, hear!"] He reminded the House that the hon. Member who had just moved the reduction admitted he had not a word to say against the utility of King's College or against its educational efficiency, which was tested by special inspection under the direction of the Treasury, as a condition of the grant. Yet King's College had lost through the action of the late Government in two years £3,000, which went towards its educational work in science and art alone, for this was the most costly of all instruction, owing to the expense of apparatus, etc. Now, he defended the grant on the ground of the service which King's College rendered to the State. ["Hear, hear!"] The necessities of the State required that this grant should be made. Why had it been refused? On principle—because it was a 553 Church of England institution! A French Statesman once said, "Perish the colonies rather than principle!" In this case to refuse this Vote would be to proclaim a principle and at the same time to do that which was unjust to the institution and disadvantageous to the State. This was no principle, but a want of principle, against which, in the name of principle, he protested. ["Hear, hear!"] His hon. Friend had also appealed to the policy of Parliament and to precedents. But was he right? Parliamentary grants were made to elementary schools, and yet they were distinctly, in many cases, denominational institutions, and both sides of the House now conceded that more must be given to them; and the same remark applied to the grants to the training colleges and to denominational colleges in Ireland. ["Hear, hear!"] What was done at King's College, moreover, was done under the authority, and according to the requirements, of its Act of Parliament, and, therefore this expressed the policy of Parliament qua King's College. ["Hear, hear!"] King's College had now, as many of them on its Council had long demanded, a conscience clause, and he hoped this improvement would be followed by others; though, perhaps, the conscience clause might be ultra vires the King's College Act of Parliament. For he was ready to admit, as a friend of King's College and a former member of the Council, that he thought the theological tests imposed were unwise and wrong, and he and several others had resigned from the Council rather than, in the interest of the College and education, be parties to the continuance of them and to other things. ["Hear, hear!"] The staff, too, had been much opposed to them. He thought that what was good enough for Oxford and Cambridge was good enough for King's College. ["Hear, hear!"] To that extent he agreed with his hon. Friend opposite. More than that, he knew the tests were illusory, and they tended to exclude the conscientious and admit the unconscientious or indifferent. [" Hear, hear!"] He could, for instance, name one Professor who was tried for heterodoxy as a Professor, but he became a teacher in the College, the tests notwithstanding. But in his opinion his hon. Friend exaggerated somewhat the practical 554 effect of these tests. He knew of no case of real exclusion by reason of them, though he had been told they had occurred, and, if it were so, it was, of course, of serious moment educationally. ["Hear, hear!"] And he was of opinion that when King's College, as it did, forewent the tests in the case of its teachers of foreign and Oriental languages, it surrendered the whole case for the tests so far as the secular, as distinguished from the theological, departments were concerned. ["Hear, hear!"] But while making these concessions, he still defended the grant on educational grounds and for the State. ["Hear, hear!"] In this country we needed much greater provision for the higher scientific and secondary education. The two years' arrears of £3,000 ought, in fact, to be paid, and the grants to the University Colleges ought to be at least doubled, as had been recommended by a Committee, [Hear, hear! "] Vast branches of trade were actually being diverted from our country, and there was great difficult)' in keeping our commerce owing to the want of higher scientific and art instruction, to say nothing of higher personal considerations and of individual happiness and power. In many instances we were following upon instead of leading other nations In Germany, since the war, they had restored the University of Strasburg, which had cost £800,000 and which had an income of £60,000 or £70,000 a year, and each of the eight departments of which was larger than the very best modern university college that could be named in this country. He thought he might say that the fees paid by the whole of the students at the German universities were in it more than were paid in fees at King's College and University College alone. Only the other day at the Society of Arts they had to offer a prize as an inducement to the study of photogravure, because it was found that pictures were being sent out of this country to be reproduced in Germany, and they advisedly concluded that this was due to the defect of scientific and technical education. In many chemical and metallurgical processes we were much behind our German competitors. In France, in Paris, at the University, many were holders of perfectly free and open studentships, and the total cost 555 to each student of education in science each year did not exceed £5. Hence in Paris the university had nearly 18,000 students, and crowded class rooms, while 2,000 went out annually in law, compared with our five-and-twenty LL.B.'s at the University of London. What we wanted here was a university which was in accordance with the type and requirements of the day for a great commercial community, and not merely starved and limited colleges. In Scotland, for example, £42,000 a year was given in aid of university work, and last year £13,000 was given for the purpose of university buildings in Aberdeen. In Wales £44,000 was given, while in England only £15,500 was given for the university colleges, which were doing such good work for our manufacturing and other districts. So far, therefore, from reducing or refusing this grant, they ought really to increase it. The teaching work of the Metropolis ought also to be coordinated, and, by joint arrangements between King's, University, and other Colleges, much economy of both pecuniary and educational effort might be effected, and with more liberal aid, we might emulate the national and international success of Gresham College, during the time when our commerce was being built up, which was crowded out with students and led to the foundation of the Collège de France. [Cheers.]
Amendment, by leave withdrawn; Resolution agreed to.
27. "That a sum, not exceeding £52,738 (including a Supplementary sum of £27,550), be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1897, for sundry Colonial Services, including certain Grants in Aid, and Expenses incurred under 'The Pacific Islanders' Protection Act, 1875,' and certain Charges connected with South Africa,
§ *SIR C. DILKE
referred to a special grant made last year for Newfoundland and expressed the hope that the matter was closed. As to the West India Islands, he said that last year the Colonial Secretary suggested that probably it would be his intention in future to make certain proposals with regard to the development of the resources of the islands. The prosperity of the islands was increasing, and a 556 very considerable increase of trade, on the whole, had taken place in the last two or three years. He hoped that this progress would be continued; but the systems of government in those islands were varied and not altogether satisfactory. About a half of them either had a nominated system of government or a joint system of nomination and election, and there were several islands in which there was a representative element. But local circumstances in the different islands did not explain that variety of representation, and he suggested whether the Colonial Office could not see its way to introduce the elective element more largely than at present and to follow the example of Martinique and Guadeloupe.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
said that the question was a large one which could not be entered fully into now. He could not altogether accept his right hon. Friend's statement as to the state of prosperity in the Windward Islands; but undoubtedly the sugar industry, which was of the greatest possible importance to them, was in a very precarious position. By extending the number, differentiating the quality and character of the productions in those islands, there might be hopes of finding another industry which would restore them to their old condition. As to the comparison suggested between the French islands and our own, he did not feel himself to be in a position to follow that subject up. He was advised that the institutions in the French islands, though apparently on the surface called liberal, were nevertheless so limited by official and other restrictions, that the home Government, and above all the authority appointed by the home Government, retained in its hands a very large amount of control—larger, in fact, he was assured, than some which was governed as a Crown colony. The constitution of those islands differed materially, but if he were asked to say which constitution was the best he should hesitate to say. To speak of an elective system of representative Government as though it meant what we understood it to mean in the United Kingdom was absurd; in the West Indian Islands it meant nothing of the kind; it meant a Government by oligarchy. It was not proposed by any persons interested in 557 those islands that a representation fair, full, and equal should be given to the coloured population. As long as that was the case it was absurd to speak of representative government. What those gentlemen meant was that the voting power should he given to a small portion of the population only. As a matter of fact, the interests of the majority were at present represented by the Colonial Office. He thought in some cases the liberality of the constitution had gone too far, as for instance, in giving too much power to the oligarchy as opposed to the disinterested control of the Colonial Office in the interest of the population.
§ Resolution agreed to.