HC Deb 23 March 1896 vol 38 c1610
MR. J. F. HOGAN (Tipperary, Mid)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies, whether he can state the reasons that retard the restitution of the moneys admittedly received from the Island of Dominica, and converted to the purposes of the British Exchequer: whether he has received a petition from the elective Members of the Legislative Assembly of Dominica praying, inter alia, for a restitution of moneys received on account of the Crown lands in that island; whether he contemplates any action in connection with that petition; and, whether the Financial Report will be made accessible on an early day?


The hon. Member refers to the proceeds of certain sales of Crown lands in Dominica from about 1765 to 1773. There were certain payments of such proceeds into the Exchequer, but at this distance of time it is impossible either to ascertain the exact amounts or to distinguish the proceeds from Dominica from those from the other West India Islands. If, moreover, the matter had to be treated on the footing of a strict account, the issues from the Exchequer during the same period for salaries and miscellaneous services would have to be set off, and also the value of some lands which after sale were forfeited and reverted to the Crown; but it should be remembered that Dominica was a prize of war, and that the expenses of its capture might properly have been charged on the proceeds of Crown lands in it. Under the circumstances, I think that the matter may be fairly regarded as constituting a vague but equitable claim for generous treatment, but that it is impossible to base upon it any claim for a specific sum. A resolution (from the elective members of the Legislative Assembly, praying for a restitution of moneys received on account of the Crown lands) was forwarded in 1894 to my predecessor, who replied that such a claim was too remote to be considered now. The completed Report on the finances of the colony is not yet before me, and I cannot therefore at present say anything as to presenting it.