§ SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies, with reference to his statements in the House on 12th March and 16th July 1896, whether in or about September last, nearly 1,000 natives were recruited at the Gambia and about 150 at Sierra Leone, to be employed as labourers on the Congo Railway, and conveyed by the Leopoldville to Matadi; and, if so, whether Her Majesty's Government sanctioned this arrangement; and whether he can tell the House the number of natives whom Baron Dhanis was allowed, earlier in the year, to recruit as soldiers for service in his expedition into the north-eastern interior of the Congo Free State?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. J. CHAMBERLAIN,) Birmingham, W.
After careful inquiry, I satisfied myself that the men employed by the Congo Railway Company are well treated, and the Governors of the West African colonies were authorised to allow men to be engaged for that purpose. The number of men engaged by Baron Dhanis was 350. I may add that since I came into the House, I have received the copy of a Dispatch from Consul Pickersgill, who has been along this line of railway, and in communication with the natives employed. The latter he found thoroughly contented, happy, and well treated.