§ MR. JOSEPH A. PEASE (Northumberland, Tyneside)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the transfer of some thousands of slaves, who had been owned by the late Sultan of Zanzibar, to the present Sultan recently appointed by Her Majesty's Government, was carried out with the knowledge and consent of Her Majesty's Government, or the Resident British Representatives, in view of the fact that Clause 4 of the Decree of 1890 declares that slaves could only be inherited at the death of their owner by the lawful children of the deceased, and that Clause 1 of the same Decree declares that the Decree should be binding on the Sultan as well as on his subjects?
The hon. Member has not quite correctly quoted Clause 1 of the Decree of 1890, which he will see upon reference enjoins upon the Sultan, as well as his subjects, all former Decrees and Ordinances, but does not similarly enjoin the Decree in question. Indeed, in the Proclamation accompanying the Decree, it is expressly stated that the latter is to be made known to and obeyed by all the Sultan's subjects, but there is no mention of the Sultan. It is, however, unnecessary to raise the question of the legal interpretation of the Decree, since it has always been held that the slaves of the Sultan pass with the Crown; and they have been so inherited on two occasions since 1890.