Motion made and Question proposed—
That a Supplementary Sum not exceeding £85,000 be granted to Her Majesty for grants in aid of the expenses of the British Protectorate in Uganda and Central and East Africa, and under the Uganda Railway Act of 1896.
§ MR. H. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
I should have thought the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who is entrusted with explaining the policy of the Foreign Office, would have given us some explanation of the position of affairs in Uganda, and all the more so as the official statement recently presented to the House is exceedingly disappointing. It is very difficult to make out what had taken place during the time covered by the dispatches contained in that book, and a great deal has subsequently occurred of which nothing of an official character is publicly known. Looking on the matter as a speculation, our occupation of Uganda and East Africa has not been very satisfactory, and I, for one, have always protested against it, and foreseen that it would be unsatisfactory. I find that last year the Estimate for Uganda was £161,000. Now we are asked for a Supplementary Estimate of £85,000; and there is a prospect that next year the sum demanded will be so preposterous that the Secretary to the Treasury has already deemed it necessary to distribute a special memorandum in order to quiet our minds with regard to it. I do not wish to go into the whole question of Uganda, but I am bound to point out that, as a matter of hard fact, we were originally drawn into this Uganda business by the Chartered Company, which, having first made a Treaty with King Mwanga, sent up troops, and there were wars and massacres, and all sorts of things of that kind. That Company, having compromised us somewhat seriously, called upon us to come to their aid when they were at the end of their own resources. Sir 505 Gerald Portal was subsequently sent into the country, and a British Protectorate was declared in 1891; but it was specially stated that the Protectorate was over Uganda proper, and the boundaries were specified. The Protectorate then consisted principally of the provinces of Uganda and Buddu, but at present we find that that Protectorate has extended itself over Unyoro, Usoga, and Kairrondo. Yet, Sir, we have had no Paper presented to the House of Commons specifically describing these additions to Her Majesty's Empire. We have had no Blue Book stating precisely what has been taken over. I know there are hon. Gentlemen opposite who feel a patriotic glow whenever they hear of another wretched swamp or jungle in Central Africa being added to our Empire, and it is a little unfair to them not to know what we have taken over. I think it will be admitted that it is a very strong measure that all these great districts should be included in the Protectorate without our knowing what has been done, or any information being given to us as to what we have incorporated in our Uganda Protectorate. I am not going at the present moment into the question of the expedition to find out the sources of the River Juba. The first dispatch we have before us on the subject is from Lord Salisbury, on the 9th June, 1897, informing Major Macdonald that it had been decided to obtain a more accurate knowledge of the country, and that with this view he should proceed to the Juba. That dispatch would reach Major Macdonald about the 9th of August, for it would take two months to communicate with him, but we find a dispatch from Major Ternan, which is dated 25th June, that is to say a few days after the first dispatch was written, and long before it could have been received, stating that the whole thing had been done. But it seems to me pretty clear that we have not had all the dispatches which passed between Lord Salisbury and Major Ternan. A good deal must have been concealed, for we find that whilst Lord Salisbury ordered a thing to be done, Major Ternan wrote to him to tell him that it had been already done. Who was responsible—Lord Salisbury or Major Ternan? Major Ternan gave instructions to Mr. Jackson, but I have never discovered from the Blue Book what were the positions 506 of Major Ternan and Mr. Jackson. So far as I can make out, Major Ternan was Acting-Commissioner in Uganda. But in any case, Mr. Jackson was told to collect 300 Soudanese, 100 Swahilis, and 100 porters; and I am inclined to think that these porters were slaves, because they were to be paid only ten rupees per annum, and that at a time when they knew they would have to undertake terrible risks in this expedition. It is admitted in his dispatch by Mr. Jackson, that the pay of these Soudanese was much in arrear, and there was a considerable amount of discontent amongst them. Even Tommy Atkins, though he loves his country, would be discontented if he were not paid for six months. Some of these Soudanese had been the troops of Emin Pasha. They raided the country, committing outrages. They were hostis humani generis, and yet we took them over, and made them the garrison which was to maintain British rule in Uganda. I cannot help thinking that it is not surprising that there should be a feeling against our rule in Uganda when we took such men as these and made them our garrison. It appears that these Soudanese, with a number of Nubians, who were only given a small amount of pay, were left in various parts of the Protectorate to keep down the Ugandese. These men, it appears, insisted upon having a minimum of three wives each, and no doubt the villages were raided to get the daughters, or even, perhaps, the wives of the Ugandese, to supply the requirements of these remarkable warriors. Well, now, Sir, I come to the beginning of the recent events which have taken place in Uganda. So far as I can understand, at the commencement of June everything was supposed to be going on exceedingly well, the Ugandese being charmed with our civilisation, and delighted with the extension of our Protectorate. But on the 23rd June Major Ternan writes to Lord Salisbury saving he had arrested three Chiefs of the Soudanese who had incited the lower classes to revolt. Two of them were men of considerable importance, and one of them was mentioned as being at the head of 25,000 men. When Mr. Stanley was in that part of the world, a good many years ago, at any rate, they were the chief supporters of King Mwanga. On the 9th July King Mwanga was reported 507 to have fled to Buddu in the south of Uganda. We have no explanation in these papers of why King Mwanga did so, but evidently there was a movement against him, and these men, his chief supporters, were desirous of inciting the lower classes to revolt. Then, on the 23rd July, information is sent that Mwanga had gone to German territory, and that we had followed the rebels, and that, as usual in these cases of African warfare, they had been defeated, and their villages burnt down. At the same time information was sent that Mwanga had been deposed. Now, the succession to the crown has been somewhat singular in that country since we have been there. The population of this country consists of many who are worshippers of Fetishes, many who are Mohamedan, many who are Catholics and Protestants, and we have declared, in a sort of Electress-Sophia policy, that the King must be a Protestant. Now, King Mwanga was a practical man, sometimes of one religion and sometimes of another. I do not think I ever heard of any man who was more eclectic in religion; in point of fact, to make use of a nautical expression, he boxed the religious compass all round. I see it is stated that his son Chua is only two years old, and, therefore, cannot be very strongly confirmed in the Protestant faith. Then it is thought that this child might die, so permission is asked to change the Electress-Sophia sort of succession, so that a Catholic nephew might succeed, if this boy should die. The King's son is a Protestant only two years old, but "as it is possible he may die in his infancy," instructions are desired as to his successor. There is a very curious phrase in the dispatch as to this child—I propose to take steps to proclaim his son, named Chua, a young child, being baptised as a Protestant.Now, what on earth that means, I really do not know; but it appears that that course was taken, as we know from the despatches. Now, the disturbances which we were led to suppose were quelled, were not. We heard nothing more for some little time, but the next information we have was that these rebels who were vanquished were concentrating in Buddu, and that an army of 10,000 men were going to be marched against 508 them. I notice whenever disturbances take place we always use the opportunity to annex something in the neighbourhood. We were told of what was taking place in the Uganda Protectorate, and I cannot but think Uganda had a very good reason for the course they took; but we were told that there was no fear that Uganda would be mischievously influenced thereby. What do we find? We find that Archdeacon Sinclair takes quite a different view. Speaking of the position of the country in the summer, he says a great part of the population of the Uganda Protectorate was secretly hostile to us, and that any reverse to our arms would turn them against us. That is the position of the country so far as I understand it. They differ in a great many things, but, with the exception of a black gentleman, named Apollo, they unite in disliking us, and all are only waiting for an opportunity to rise against us. Now, one would suppose that when the Soudanese garrisons were discontented, but had to be kept there to maintain our rule, we should not have chosen that particular time to move three companies in order to see if Major Macdonald had discovered the sources of the Juba river. I should have thought that that might have waited until matters were in a more settled state. But they were sent to Major Macdonald to find the sources of the Juba river precisely at that time. I find that these men were used first at Karronda to suppress an insurrection there, but they were then sent to Buddu, which is at the other end of the Protectorate, and then marched back 350 miles and were taken outside the Protectorate to join this expedition of Major Macdonald's, although it was known at the time that they were discontented. It has been admitted that they were legitimately discontented because they had not received any pay for six months. What do you think would happen to our Army here under similar circumstances? With all respect to our Tommy Atkinses, supposing you agreed to give them, not the shilling a day you are promising they shall have, but the ninepence a day you have been giving them; and supposing instead of paying the ninepence a day you said you would owe it to them, they would be discontented in spite of all their patriotism and love of their 509 country. I find that these men did eventually reach Major Macdonald, and they at once told him they declined to join him in this expedition, and they at once commenced to march back to Uganda. They fell back on the Ravine Fort, and here discussions took place with Major Macdonald, in the course of which they told him that they were ill-paid and ill-fed, and that they had been obliged to leave their wives in Uganda, where they were afraid they might be badly treated by the Ugandese; and that was not surprising when they knew that rebellion was going on all over the country. They naturally thought their fields and their wives would be in danger at the hands of these people. They further stated that when they were enlisted, they were enlisted on the distinct and explicit understanding that they were not to go beyond the Frontiers of the Protectorate of the Uganda. When you give men land in such a way as this, and when you make them a species of Volunteers or Militia, but not an absolute military force, it is only probable to suppose that they would require to spend some considerable time on their land. They are there for the purpose of defending the country in times of danger, and are not there to be used for the purposes of an expedition to look for and discover the sources of the Juba river. Therefore, I think, it was a very fair case which they made out. The firing, I think, commenced on the part of Major Macdonald's forces, but, at all events, firing at these men did take place, and they then continued their march back to Uganda. They fell back some 40 miles, when more fighting took place. Here there was another Uganda garrison, which immediately joined them, and which imprisoned its officers and carrried them along with them. On the 17th October they reached a place called Fort Lubwas, only 70 miles from Mengo, on the Upper Nile, and only a few miles from where the Nile emerges from Lake Victoria, at what we used to understand was the Frontier of the Protectorate of Uganda. There, I regret to say, they then killed their officers. The next day Major Macdonald came up with them, and righting took place, and he explains in his dispatches that his great object was to imprison them in a fort on that side, and to prevent them 510 passing over the Nile, and so crossing into Uganda. But on the 9th January they escaped from the fort and crossed over the river; and the explanation of what then took place is very vague. But what happened seems to be that they took canoes and crossed Lake Victoria in order to get to Budda. At any rate, they seemed to have burned and destroyed a steamer which we had on the lake, and what has taken place since we do not exactly know. We do not know where these Ugandese are, and we do not know what is going on in any part of Uganda. All that we do know is that a demand is made for Indian troops to hurry up, and it is stated that it is absolutely necessary, if we wish to maintain our hold on that country, to keep at least 500 Indian troops there. We know the Mwanga has escaped from German territory, and is in the country, but it is impossible to tell where, and that is why I wish the right hon. Gentleman to give us a little further information as to the communications of these district. Now, Mr. Lowther, I have always been against this Protectorate. I have never troubled myself as to who were the persons in power who are responsible for it. I have just steadily decided to oppose everything which is brought before the House connected with Uganda. It is a question whether it is desirable or not for us to retain our position in Uganda; but I have always thought there is a special reason why it is not desirable that we should assume the protectorate of that country. My impression is, if you wish to retain your hold on that country, not only will you have to send these 500 Indian troops, but you will have to send in the end a large quantity of English troops. The place is a long way from the seashore—700 miles from the seaboard; between that and the country of Uganda there is a country in parts desolate and in parts inhabited by savage tribes, called the Markets, and I know perfectly well, when we take it under our protectorate, the next demand will be for money to build a railroad; and though we know a railway is being asked for, we do not know what it will cost. We are told that there would be markets there, but I do not believe, myself, in taking over this country near the equator, where Europeans cannot live or thrive. The 511 same principle was laid down by Sir Robert Peel. He it was who said I am always in favour of the natural expansion of the country, but only in such places where Europeans can live and thrive. Here you have to deal with a quantity of Africans who are not civilised. You have to tolerate slavery, and, at the present moment, you are doing so. And, though you may get some small amount of trade, you will not get anything like a trade commensurate with the expenditure, risk, trouble, and responsibility, which you assume by assuming a protectorate over this country. With regard to the markets, I have got the latest Foreign Office and Diplomatic and Consular Reports on trade and finance. This is a Report of the 18th February, 1897. I find that it is stated in this that the last six months' imports were 240,620 rupees, whilst the exports were 150,895 rupees. That is a mere trifle. But we are told that the imports are due to the effect of the administration and the Europeans who are sent up there to administer the country, and that they themselves required these goods for their own use. On the other hand, the only export of the country appears to be ivory. Well, we know that ivory is, every year, decreasing in all parts of Africa, and it is impossible to count on that for any length of time, or to depend upon it for export. Then we are told that coffee, rice, cotton, tobacco, ground nuts, castor oil, etc., can be crown there. Yes; but so they can in a large number of other places, where they can be grown better. Our old friend, the India-rubber tree, is trotted out in the Reports, and we are always told they will be able to cultivate the India-rubber tree. But at the present time, there is almost a war going on between the Colonial Office and the Foreign Office in West Africa. They both have armies, and when asked what they are going to do, they say we are going to cultivate India-rubber trees, and flood the world with India-rubber. It looks as if the Foreign Office wants to cut out the Colonial Office in this particular matter. Now, there is a very remarkable thing in regard to this report. We are told that the great object of this is that we may be able to send out our cotton goods, and so promote the interests both of Manchester and 512 Lancashire. Now, I have found a little statement in the Report, which reads rather curiously with regard to the interests of Manchester and Lancashire. It is stated there, that—Cotton has been grown by the natives from very remote times. It is sometimes woven into coarse cloth by means of the primitive native hand spindle and loom, but at present, owing to the existing large imports of manufactured cloths, it is more generally used by the natives as lint. There, seems, however, to be no reason why the introduction of a mill should not eventually produce a first-class material for use throughout the Protectorate.That is what, Sir, we are to be called upon to spend money for. In order to establish cotton mills in this country; in order to free them from having to import cotton goods from Manchester and Lancashire. Well, if these Gentlemen are going to support the policy of the Government because they hope that it will tend to the increase of our markets, they will look, I fancy, a little askance upon the suggestion that public money should be spent for the two purposes of establishing cotton mills in a place where, if porters can be got for 10 rupees a year, there is every probability that the operatives will be found to work a mill at a similar wage, when by so doing we shall deprive Lancashire and Manchester of all the benefit of all the exports that the opening of these markets would give them. We were compromised by the Chartered Company at the commencement. We drifted into this Protectorate, although I myself was opposed to it; and we have now drifted into all those troubles which have taken place in Uganda. I quite admit it would be impossible to withdraw our troops at the present time, but it seems to me that our main object ought to be to get these people to establish some form of government there, and then to withdraw. [Laughter from the Ministerial Benches.] You may laugh at the idea. Hon. Gentlemen opposite are certainly in other parts of the world very fond of withdrawing. They seem to me, when there is any question with regard to Africa, to send good money after bad. Surely we may form an opinion now as to whether we are gainers or losers by having this Protectorate over Uganda, and whether we shall be gainers or losers by having this railroad. I know the 513 reason why hon. Gentlemen do not want to withdraw. It is not merely a commercial speculation. They have an idea that we may open an inner line in Africa from the Cape to Alexandria. Well, unfortunately, hon. Gentlemen opposite cannot be gratified in that, because below Uganda Germany steps in and impedes this inner line. Lord Salisbury himself has spoken most strongly against it; but, in default of this, we want to have an inner line, which will give us the whole of the Nile Valley. Therefore we would use Uganda as the point to which to work up, and we use it as a point to which to work down. That, I think, clearly gives what the views of the hon. Gentlemen opposite and the Government are. It is not, I submit, so much as a good speculation as because they want to keep the whole of the Nile Valley. Under existing circumstances, I am perfectly certain that they could not withdraw this Protectorate of Uganda, but I am speaking of it as a business speculation, referring alone to Uganda, nothing more. I say the speculation is a thoroughly unsound one. Now, I don't think it is necessary for hon. Gentlemen who vote with me to take my views upon this question with regard to the whole of Africa. I think that they may fairly vote with me on the score that they think that things have been thoroughly badly managed at Uganda, that they object to this system of setting blacks against blacks as we have in that country, and that they regard it as perfectly monstrous and iniquitous that at the very moment when there was an outbreak in Uganda we should withdraw a portion of the garrisons in order to encourage an expedition which certainly might have been undertaken on another occasion. It is sometimes said that now that the money has been spent it has got to be paid. I perfectly agree that when the money has been spent we have got to pay. I perfectly agree that in this case the money has been spent and we have got to pay it. We cannot make Lord Salisbury or the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs pay. We have got to pay it. But, Sir, we have to act up to certain forms of the House. We cannot bring up a Resolution protesting against the action of Her Majesty's Government. We have to ventilate these matters either on the Supplementary 514 Estimates or the Estimates for the year. A reduction is moved, and a Vote is taken; not that we object to the payment of the money, but that we protest against the mode in which the money is expended. As a matter of fact, when a reduction is moved—and I am one of the few Members of this House who have ever carried a reduction on the Estimates—we come to an arrangement with the Government, and we put it back upon the report stage. It is in this way that I ask the House to consider it, and in order to meet the suggestions made to me by one hon. Gentleman I will not move, as I had given notice to do, that the reduction should be £40,000. To make it clear, my specific object is to simply move a reduction of £1,000. That, Mr. Chairman, I beg to move.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
In seconding the Amendment of my hon. Friend I should like to mention to the House the reason which appears to me to be the strongest possible reason, in support of the reduction my hon. Friend has moved. But, Sir, before I touch it, I desire to ask one question of the Government. We have twice, at Question time, asked what information they had with regard to the return of Mwanga, the king, from German territory to Buddu. The Papers which the Government have now laid before the House go to show that Mwanga was taken over by the German Commissioner of the Frontier, who wrote, as though he made himself responsible for Mwanga's action. I want, therefore, to ask the Government whether they have no information of the circumstances under which Mwanga came back into Buddu from the German territory. Having asked that question, I should like to put, as strongly as possible, the grounds upon which I rise to support my hon. Friend, and which are different from those which he has put before the House. Now, Sir, Major Macdonald has for several years been held up as a man who was a special enemy of these Soudanese, and who had caused the death of their chosen leader, whom, on a charge of insubordination, he had committed to prison at Zanzibar, on the road to which he died. The Soudanese have, undoubtedly, always held that Major Macdonald 515 was responsible for this. Now, was it not, therefore, a mad thing to put these Soudanese under the command of Major Macdonald? Did not everyone who knows the facts say months ago there would be trouble if these men were placed under Major Macdonald's command? It was prophesied many times before it occurred, and what occurred was certain to occur under the circumstances of the case. Now, Sir, these Soudanese are probably a collection of ruffians, but whether that is so, as my hon. Friend thinks, or whether it is not, have we not broken faith with these men, and, ruffians or not, ought we to have kept faith towards them? My hon. Friend put that in the course of his observations to the House, but he did not press it, nor give the grounds upon which that opinion was formed. Now, Major Lugard, who engaged these men, has written a book on the East African Empire, and in the course of that book vol. ii., p. 213) he states the conditions under which he engaged these Soudanese. He says—"I undertook, pending a reply from Egypt"—we have never heard what that reply was, or whether there was a reply—not to order any of the Soudanese to the Soudan, or beyond the Frontier of Unyoro.That is to say, he pledged himself that they should remain with their wives and children in the territory of Uganda. What are the circumstances, what are the conditions, under which this Soudanese garrison was taken over from the Company, after Major Lugard had engaged them, by Her Majesty's Government? They are the only conditions described in any of the Uganda papers, and I undertake to say, from the inquiries which I have made, that there are no other conditions outside them. In Africa, No. 8, of 1893, the conditions of the enlistment of the Soudanese are described, and they simply say—These men are merely taken over without anything being said as to terms of service.Now, Major Lugard had promised these men that they should not be sent 516 outside the province in which he had gathered them. I undertake to say, therefore, that you undoubtedly broke faith with these men when you ordered them to march upon an expedition which my hon. Friend has described as being in search of the source of the River Juba. Now, Sir, we shall not be in order in discussing what this expedition was about; that will arise on the next item; but, Sir, we know that this expedition was one over an enormous distance; it was going for hundreds of miles to the north; and I say, Sir, you broke faith with those men. You tried to take them upon that march, and, ruffians that they might be, you ought to have kept faith with them. Now, Sir, they put forward grievances which are practically admitted in the Paper before us to have been legitimate grievances. I say you broke faith with them. You have put them under the command of a man, of all others, that they had reason to distrust and to dislike, and who had been, as they thought, the cause of their present grievances. And how were those grievances dealt with? And how were the lives of those three British officers sacrificed, and two other jeopardised? On page 22 of the Papers it is stated that they wished to see Major Macdonald, to say they could not go without their women and children. He did not ask them anything, but said—No. 1 Section, shoulder arms, right turn, quick march; and then the same to No. 2 Section.That was the only reception they met with when they went to complain of a breach of faith towards them, and of conditions which could not reasonably be imposed on these men, under the circumstances of the case, and when they had actually in their power at that moment the three European officers, that they proceeded to murder, as their relatives believed, under circumstances of revolting cruelty. I do not defend these men. I say they are ruffians; it has always been our opinion that they were ruffians, towards whom you broke faith, and whose revolt was produced by the circumstances of the time. Well, Sir, the ultimate result was 517 the murder of three officers, and subsequently the murder of two others. An inquiry into the conduct of Major Macdonald may be promised. Meanwhile, the action we are here to attack is the action of Lord Salisbury in sending Major Macdonald to command these troops and it is on that point, and that point mainly, that I rise to support the Amendment of my hon. Friend.
§ MR. H. M. STANLEY (Lambeth, N.)
I do not think I can support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Northampton for the reduction of this Vote. I would rather vote for an increase of money towards repairing the mischief that has been done in Uganda. Sir, I find myself for once in accord with the sentiments of the hon. Member for Northampton and the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean. I have no reason to have any great affection for these Soudanese people; I know them thoroughly, and I know the iniquities which they have committed. At the same time, Sir, they were brought to Uganda on certain terms, and I think the promise then given to them ought to have been kept. They are the worst men to be put in any expedition to any distant country, and are entirely incapable of marching. They have a custom of taking their families with them. Now, in this case, their families were forbidden to accompany them, and they were also to be taken to a distant country, which they knew nothing at all about. At the same time, they were wearied with their many travels, for altogether they had travelled over 1,300 miles. Now, on exploring expeditions we generally halt every 500 miles for a week or a month, according to the privations that the people have undergone. But in this case no attempt whatever was made to conciliate them, and what strikes me in the whole of the White Book is the absolute want of considerateness towards these men. Wicked as they were, spoiled as they were, after 13 years of licentious life in the Equatorial Province, we must admit that since Colonel Lugard brought these men 518 to Uganda they did excellently, but needed a continuance of justice, firmness, conciliatoriness, and considerateness to keep them loyal. But, in spite of that, poor Major Macdonald is ordered by the Premier to take 300 of these people to the source of the Juba, to explore the northern Frontier. Major Macdonald arrives at his camp on the 20th September, and the first column is marched off on the 21st, the second column on the 22nd, and the third column on the 23rd. Now, I do not wish to attach any blame to any particular officer connected with the Uganda Protectorate, either to Major Ternan or Major Macdonald. I do not wish to enter into the controversy between Colonel Lugard and Major Macdonald; and I think most of the questions propounded this afternoon by the hon. Member for Northampton may be very easily answered by the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs. When I came across the letter of instructions by Lord Salisbury to Major Macdonald, I found the following words—You will, of course, be careful in all your dealings with the Natives to avoid any steps likely to bring about a collision with them, and you will maintain strict discipline among your escort.Now, it seems to me. Sir, that if there was another paragraph following that—such as: "Be considerate to your troops"—I think this mutiny would have been avoided, and we should not have heard of any conflict there. Suppose, if in the expedition conducted by Sir W. Lockhart, lately in India, after the troops had travelled and fought for many months, they had been ordered to suddenly march into Thibet, imagine how all the troops would have complained, and what a grievance they would have had. Now, if Major Macdonald had asked these Soudanese if they were willing to march with him, and if he had given them some small things they wanted, I do not think we should ever had heard of this mutiny. Sir, we are trying to make a Christian country of Uganda. We have already succeeded to a great extent. They have 320 churches in Uganda, and several 519 thousand youths know how to read and write. I have had letters from Natives, and voluminous notes of what is going on, just as if there were a special correspondent on the spot. But what will be the effect upon these people if these mutinies continue? It will destroy all our prestige, all our hopes, all the good work that we have done. The Natives are very strong; and if they joined the Soudanese they could soon destroy all the English in Uganda. Therefore, I feel obliged to urge upon the Government that they should send these young officers, who are out there, the special advice that they should be considerate towards these coloured people. Last year—the last two years, I think—the country has been in rather a bad state, owing to several revolts and this late mutiny, and there can be no improvement if young offcers are not advised to treat their men fairly. If these people were trained white soldiers, of course they would never think of expostulating with their commanders; but these half-savage tribes must be treated in a kindly and fatherly way; officers must advise with them, and ask them if they have any grievances, and, if they have, try to rectify them. By these means, I am quite sure, we need entertain no fear of Uganda, no matter of what races these coloured troops are. I should also like to urge upon the Government that, as things went very well in Uganda while Mr. Berkeley was there, there should have been an able Sub-Commissioner sent there to take Mr. Berkeley's place when he retired. If we had had someone with Mr. Berkeley's mental calibre there, to take his place in case of being incapacitated by illness or accident, I do not think this disaster would have taken place. In our other Colonies we have Governor-Generals and Lieutenant-Governors, and, as we have a Commissioner in Uganda, it would seem advisable that we should have a clever and competent man to take the place of the Chief Commissioner during his absence. Another thing I should like to urge upon the Government. It is now two and a half years since the House of Commons voted over £3,000,000 for the construction of the Uganda, railway, and at present, I think it is only about 100 miles long.
§ *THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. G. N. CURZON,) Lancashire, Southport
§ MR. STANLEY
Thank you. I am very pleased to know it. It ought to be 232 miles. This railway has really a connection with this business, in this way—that these men complain of not being paid. Their pay is poor, and yet they have not been paid for six months, and Major Ternan is in a quandary as to how to get goods. He thought of buying them from the German side of the lake, because it would save trouble and expense. If this railway was pushed on, that would be another preventive against these disasters. That is the reason why I did not rise to support the reduction of the Vote, but rather the increase of the Vote to push on this railway, because only by the completion of this railway shall we secure that there is no revolution in Uganda.
§ SIR EDWARD GREY (Northumberland, Berwick)
With regard to any observations I have to make I shall endeavour to be as brief as possible, and they may be conveniently grouped under the heads that have already been touched upon to-day. I will endeavour to follow the right hon. Gentleman who makes the statement on behalf of the Government, and to summarise as shortly as I can some of the points which seem to me to be the most striking and the most important, as suggested by the Papers before the House. Sir, I will not attempt to go into the question of general policy. The hon. Member for Northampton, in moving his Amendment, I think, has admitted that a retirement from Uganda is not possible, at any rate, is not possible now, and, if retirement is not possible now, then I think it is absolutely necessary that some steps should be taken to supply a reliable force for the safety of the people who are in Uganda at the present moment, and that is what I gather that this Vote is intended to provide. Sir, we have before us in this Blue Book the sad story of misfortunes, one misfortune after another. I cannot criticise what may have hap 521 pened to cause these misfortunes, with the same authority, the same intimate knowledge of the probable circumstances and probable difficulties, which the hon. Member for North Lambeth, who has preceded me in this Debate, possesses. But there was one point which he raised which certainly did seem to me to be the most important in the whole of the Blue Book, and that is what is the cause of this Mutiny? What has been the cause of all the troubles? Sir, the cause seems to me, and must undoubtedly to anyone who reads the Blue Book, be that the Soudanese had become discontented from having too little pay, from that pay being often in arrear, and from being asked to do too much work. The Soudanese have shown themselves, when not under control, to be capable of the most gross excesses, but, on the other hand, they have shown themselves for a considerable period of time, when under good control, to be effective soldiers, and have done the work which has been asked of them satisfactorily and uncomplainingly. Major Macdonald has said in his Report that under good officers these Soudanese make good soldiers. What has been at the bottom of their discontent on this occasion? I believe, either the question of their pay, or the fact of that pay being in arrear. In addition to that, I think the main cause undoubtedly was that too much work was asked of them. In the first place, beginning last year, there were some troubles on the borders of the Congo State, then there were troubles at Cabarona, and the Soudanese were marched 250 miles to suppress that revolt. From Nande they were taken back to Buddu, a forced march of 300 miles. They were then taken back another forced march of 350 miles. That, altogether, is 900 miles, to say nothing of the hard employment and constant righting that took place at the three separate places to which they went at the end of their 900 miles' march. They had constant fighting, and they were told that they were required to start at once on an expedition to the north, through a country of which they had heard most unfavourable accounts; so that, I think, is no doubt the cause of the discontent, and what I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to say in his reply is whether we are correct in the conclusion we have drawn, and whether, what the hon. Mem 522 ber for Lambeth has stated is substantially the cause of this discontent of these men; and, if so, whether he will not give us some assurance, which, I suppose, he will readily do, that in future care will be taken that whatever forces we have in Uganda, the conditions of the work and the rate of pay shall be such as to prevent any possibility of these troubles being caused again in the same way as they have been already. So that that is my first point. Then, one or two other things strike me in reading the papers. It is curious that the Soudanese, being discontented and being overworked, no warning was given to Major Macdonald, whom the Soudanese were going to join. No warning was given to him of the condition of the Soudanese. Major Macdonald says on page 26 of the Blue Book that when the Soudanese arrived they—Were much overworked by the marches and counter-marches they had been through lately, were deficient in native officers—only one of the three companies had a captain—and were by no means in a high state of discipline.Sir, it seems to me strange that no warning was given to Major Macdonald as to what the men had been through, and what the condition of the force was. There is another point. These Soudanese, who were appointed to go with Major Macdonald, had apparently never been told what arrangements were being made for the support of their families while they were away. And on page 28 of the Blue Book Major Macdonald himself says—The men appeared to be quite in the dark as to any arrangement for the support of their wives and families.And the men apparently did not hear of this till after they had mutinied. The opinion was expressed that the conditions would have been satisfactory to the troops had they been known at the time, but then things had gone too far. This was apparently Major Macdonald's own opinion as to the cause of the Soudanese mutiny. Sir, when the Soudanese struck—when they refused to go forward when they deserted—the question arises whether it would have been possible to have taken more rapid measures to prevent the mutiny from spreading, and especially to prevent these Soudanese from joining the others in Fort Lubwas. Well, Sir, that criticism has been made. I have 523 seen it in the Press, and it is one upon which it is very difficult for us to pronounce an opinion. Twenty-two days, I think, were taken to march 170 miles to Lubwas, and Major Macdonald, with his forces, arrived just one day after the first mutineers had reached the garrison of Lubwas, and induced them to rise also. On that point I do not know whether there is any further information to be given, but it certainly is an important one with regard to what happened afterwards. Immediately afterwards we come to what is the saddest and most distressing thing in the whole of these events—that is, that Major Thruston, Mr. Wilson, and Mr. Scott were made prisoners in the fort, and were killed. Sir, we know, and everybody knows who takes any interest in these parts of Africa, that there is in this country a great desire on the part of officers and others to obtain this sort of service, which needs courage, which they know entails danger, and which, nevertheless, they are ready and willing to accept and eager to obtain. But, Sir, we know, and they must know, that when they go out they must run great risks, and that in these uncivilised parts of Africa there must be loss of life; but the circumstances under which these three lives were lost are exceptionally distressing. I notice that in the report we have before us all we have heard so far is that one sentence of Major Macdonald's—"I regret to inform your Lordships they murdered their prisoners." I do not know whether any more information is forthcoming, but we should like to have more information, not only on that point, but also as to whether it would have been possible for Major Macdonald to have arrived at Fort Lubwas in time to enter into any negotiations to gain any time during which something might have been done to save the three Europeans who were prisoners in the fort. Major Macdonald himself was on the alert as to the urgency of the situation. He says, when he arrived at Lubwas—I would not allow firing, because I hoped to secure the release of the European prisoners.It seems to me, when Major Macdonald took that point, he acted with judgment—he seems to have been alive to the necessity of gaining time for entering 524 into negotiations, rather than proceeding to use force. Then I gather from Major Macdonald's own account that he was driven to use force because the mutineers would not enter into negotiations, but attacked him—attacked him before he attacked them, and he was obliged to defend himself. An account of that is given very shortly. This was a critical moment. Major Macdonald has given his account of it in a few sentences. If there is any more information as to what attempts were made to enter into negotiations as to whether the mutineers absolutely refused any communications whatever, I think that would be interesting to the Committee, and would do all that we can hope can be done, at any rate now, to throw a little more light on what is the most painful event in the whole of this Blue Book. Those are the points which really I wish to raise, but although they are criticisms upon what has happened, I put them with considerable diffidence, and I would be far from wishing to state them as the result of definite conclusions. In cases of this kind, I do not know how it may be with the hon. Member for North Lambeth, or people like him, who can feel their way through the Blue Book of this kind with much greater certainty than we who have never been in Africa can do; but it seems to me that we who have to judge these things entirely from the point of view of men who have lived at home, must exercise great caution in criticising what has been the conduct of men in responsible positions in Africa in times of danger. I have raised those points, not in the way of prejudging them, but rather to invite the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and especially to ask him whether he can throw any more light upon those points which strike me on reading this Blue Book. In Africa, in the undeveloped parts at any rate, men are placed in positions where they have no system to depend upon; a system does not exist apart from the men. When matters become settled there is generally a system, which, if even the men break down, will keep things going for some time. But in Africa, particularly in districts like this, which are not settled, Europeans have to do the whole work by means of a force which is different from themselves in 525 race, in colour, in religion, in traditions, and in training of every kind; and what strikes me, in the whole of these matters in Africa, is not that these troubles occur as they do, but how it is that so much work is got through in such a small time and with such a small proportion of Europeans to the Natives employed. The individual European officer, with his decision, his courage, his character, is the centre of the whole organisation and authority—he has to bear a load of responsibility himself, he has to bear it alone often, and has to do it under conditions of climate, and sometime of unforeseen circumstances, which place an extra strain upon him, often at a time when his strength has been reduced by the trying nature of the climate. At the same time, we do expect, and, no doubt, we shall receive, some assurance from the Government that they are taking measures to supply a force for the Uganda Protectorate different to any which has been there before. I think the Committee cannot possibly be satisfied unless they feel that measures are being taken which will render occurrences of this kind in Uganda beyond the bounds of probability, at any rate, and I assume that this Vote is proposed because the Government are themselves impressed with the serious nature of the situation, and because they consider it is urgent that there should be some force in Uganda, on the spot, some force of a reliable kind which, I hope, will be capable of placing matters on a more substantial and a more reliable footing than we have yet been able to place them.
§ *MR. CURZON
If I were to pursue this Debate from the commencement, I should find some difficulty in dealing with the opening speech of the hon. Member for Northampton, because, if I followed it at all closely, I should really find so much to contest. Whenever I hear that hon. Member speak upon East African affairs, I am reminded of one of those mirrors in which you see everything upside down—everything in East Africa seems to present itself to the hon. Member in a topsy-turvy position. Where most of us, I think, are proud of the civilisation which, following upon the policy initiated by our predecessors, we are introducing 526 in the neighbourhood of the Great Lakes, the hon. Member for Northampton sees in the action of our officers there, to whom so eloquent and so just a tribute has been paid, only steps taken by a party of marauding buccaneers. Where most of us look with sympathy upon that railroad which we are building in the interest not merely of trade, but of civilisation, the hon. Member finds in it nothing but a foolish expenditure. Where those who know, the country regard it as one of great possibilities in the future, he persists, in all his speeches, in describing it as either a desert, a jungle, or a swamp. Where we employ porters and pay them the regular wages of the country, the hon. Member for Northampton, with his superior sources of information, insists that they are impressed slaves; and, finally, where we have evidence, which I shall put before the Committee, that the bulk of the population, even in times of turmoil, have remained contented, he persists that they are simmering with discontent at our rule. I know that it is useless to contend with these illusions on the part of the hon. Member for Northampton, and I think I am entitled, with the permission of the Committee, to dismiss them this evening, because they really result from that imperfection of vision on the part of the hon. Member which I have already described, and which, I believe, is not shared by a single other Member of the House of Commons. Before I proceed to answer the questions—the exceedingly fair and proper questions—which have been put to me from both sides of the House, perhaps I owe to the Committee some explanation of the rather remarkable figures in this Supplementary Estimate. It will be seen that we are asking the House for an additional sum of £40,000 for the Uganda Protectorate, and £35,000 for British East Africa. Of the latter sum, £25,000 is for the Macdonald Expedition. The remaining £50,000 is required for a number of causes to which I will allude. The first is the disturbance in the East African Uganda Protectorate, to which I will refer in a few moments. The second cause is one that enables me to answer the questions just put to me by the hon. Baronet. He has pointed out with great force, and recent circumstances have proved that he is right, that a new and more reliable force than that which 527 we at present employ in the Uganda Protectorate is necessary. There is no doubt that the present system has broken down. It has been shown that it is not a safe thing to rely exclusively upon the loyalty or the service of these Soudanese garrisons. These soldiers have been exhausted by long marches to and fro, their discipline has been undermined, and as a force they are neither strong enough nor numerous enough to defend the extended tract of territory now under our control. Under these circumstances it has long been seen that a new force must be organised for the purposes of that Protectorate, and even before this rebellion broke out it had been decided that the military force of the Uganda Protectorate should be reorganised, and in future should consist of a battalion of 700 of the best of these Soudanese men, 700 Swahilis, and 400 men recruited from India. This will, of course, entail a large increase in our annual expenditure, but it is one which I hope, in the interest of the Protectorate, the House will not grudge. The third cause of this large additional Vote is the new transport scheme, which is being organised for communication with the lakes. The present system has cost us about £16,000 a year, but like the military organisation, it has proved inadequate to the strain that has been put upon it. We have had to depend for the most part on private enterprise, which has shown itself in cases of emergency to be unreliable. We have had great difficulty in obtaining porters, and since the construction of the railway began, the rate of wages has gone up very much in consequence of the competition thereby caused. Well, Sir, this new transport scheme along the road to the lakes will cause an expenditure for the first year of a little over £40,000, and will subsequently cost about the same as the annual sum now required—£16,000 a year. Of course, the Committee will see that the charge will annually diminish in proportion as the railway is pushed forward, and as we carry by steam what is now carried on the backs of men. Then the fourth cause of this expenditure is this: that pending the arrival of the new force, to which I have alluded, we have been compelled to refer to the Government of India for their assistance—of course entirely at the expense of the 528 Imperial Government—an assistance which has been liberally rendered, one entire regiment having been sent some time ago to Mombasa, the greater part of which is on its way to the Lake, whilst a wing of a second regiment is at the present moment being organised in India, and will shortly follow to Mombasa. That is, briefly put, an explanation of the increased expenditure which we are now asking for. I may further explain that this increased expenditure is asked now, because the greater portion of it will fall within the expiring financial year.
§ *MR. CURZON
I think that may possibly be so, because I can hardly conceive it likely that the whole of this sum will have been expended by the end of the present month. I now turn to the subject about which I have been asked to many questions this evening—namely, the expedition of Major Macdonald and the unfortunate mutiny that has broken out in his camp. I gathered from something which fell from the right hon. Baronet that he proposed to raise the question of the instructions which were given to Major Macdonald, and the policy of the expedition on the next Vote.
§ *MR. CURZON
Therefore, I think I had better postpone what I can assure him will be an equally brief reply. In answer to a question put to me, I may say, however, that the expedition of Major Macdonald went by the Uganda road for this reason. In the first place they had the advantage of the railway, made, as I pointed out, for 130 miles, and of the excellent Sclater road, which runs from the termination of the railroad to the lakes. Then there is, of course, the much greater cheapness of transport by the railway and the road than would have been possible by any other avenue of approach; and, finally, there was the question of the escort, which it was thought more desirable and cheaper to provide to Major Macdonald from Uganda than from India. Major Macdonald had got as far 529 as the neighbourhood of the Ravine Station, when, on September 20th, he was joined by three companies of the Soudanese force from Uganda, which had been sent down to meet him. The bulk of these men started off the next day. They at once revolted and fled. They refused to come in and discuss their grievances, in response to a request made by their officers; and they retreated to the lake, arousing, as they went along, the garrisons of their own fellow-countrymen and fellow-soldiers in Nandi and in Mumia's, until they finally arrived at the Fort of Lubwa's, on the northern shore of the lake, where they also induced the garrison to rebel, and where they intrenched themselves and awaited further attack. Now, Sir, we come to the causes of this revolt, and I shall endeavour to satisfy the questions that were put to me by the hon. Baronet opposite. I am glad to notice a very marked difference, both of argument and in tone, between the suggestions of the hon. Baronet as to the causes of the mutiny and the innuendoes made by the right hon. Member for the Forest of Dean.
§ *MR. CURZON
The right, hon. Baronet's speech must have left on every one the impression that he brought a direct charge against the Government and its officers, that this rebellion was due to the action of Major Macdonald, who had been placed in command of the Soudanese, that the Soudanese remembered old sores and avenged themselves on him by at once declining to remain in his service. I think it is perfectly clear from the evidence that has been placed before me that this mutiny had nothing whatever to do with Major Macdonald. It was due to circumstances long anterior in their origin to the appearance of Major Macdonald on the scene. The right hon. Baronet implied that there had been a want of consideration shown by Major Macdonald to these men. That is not the case. If the right hon. Baronet will look at the Blue Book, at page 23, he will see that Major Macdonald, at an interview with one of the captains of this regiment, Hussein Effendi, made to him a number of very substantial concessions, 530 in response to what he understood to be the request of the Soudanese. Their desire to take their women has been already spoken of. He promised that each man might take one woman, and that extra rations should be allowed to these women. When they represented that they were tired and weary, he offered that they should take donkeys to help them on their march, and that they should make short marches, as he knew they had just come from a long period of marching. These concessions, I think, indicated a desire on the part of Major Macdonald to meet the men in a most reasonable spirit; but, unfortunately, it appears that these concessions were not communicated to the men by their native officers, and that the bulk of them marched away unconscious of the dispositions made for their comfort. What, then, were the causes of the mutiny? They had nothing whatever to do with bygone history, in so far as Major Macdonald was concerned, and, whatever may have been the history of the past, I must confess I think it is a little unfair on that officer, placed as he was in circumstances of grave peril and trouble, that he should be attacked in this House as he has been by the hon. Baronet without, so far as I can see, any shadow of evidence. I turn now to the consideration of the real causes of the mutiny—the grievances of the mutineers. I think they were very correctly expressed by the hon. Baronet on the Front Bench opposite. No doubt these Soudanese soldiers, marching about as they had been for the repression of petty revolts, east and west, and north and south, in the Protectorate for many months past, were fatigued and in no high spirits; and it is not unnatural that, hearing that they were to march off again, they should resent this expedition into an unknown country, from which many of them thought they might never return. There was the question of the women, of their being ill-rationed and illfed in the past, and there was the question of the conduct of their officers. It appears that the soldiers had made complaints because the young English officers appointed did not in some cases know their language, and had difficulty in communicating with them. Another cause for their resentment was being 531 placed under civilians, the existing staff of officers being insufficient, and these grievances, added together, undoubtedly constitute grave cause for inquiry and redress. I at once accede to what the hon. Baronet has said. We must have a thorough inquiry into the causes of these grievances, and they must be redressed; and as we are starting this new military organisation we must see that it is free from the blemishes of the existing system. Now, I pass to the narrative of events. I have carried the history up to a point at which the mutineers reached Fort Lubwa's, and then a long interval occurs, from October 19th to January 9th, during which period they were being besieged by Major Macdonald and his forces. In this space of time there were repeated combats. The first took place on October 19th, and it was after this that Major Thurston and Messrs. Wilson and Scott unfortunately met with their deaths. Now, the hon. Baronet opposite asks whether proper efforts were made by Major Macdonald to assure the safety or to obtain the release of these men before any fighting took place. On that point we have no information beyond that printed in the papers, where it is clearly stated that upon arriving at the fort Major Macdonald refrained from hostilities, with a view to entering into negotiations for securing the release of these brave men. Those negotiations had no result, and the next morning, being attacked by the mutineers in full force, he had no alternative but to resist. The battle ended in the defeat of the Soudanese, who retired to the fort, and, in the indignation and revenge of the moment, murdered these unhappy officers who were under their control. Of course, if any further information arrives on the matter I shall at once lay it before the House; but so far as we know it does appear to be one of those melancholy, but at the same time unpreventible, incidents which are likely to occur in warfare with that class of men. Hon. Members have asked why there was this long delay in besieging Lubwa's. It was due to the want of ammunition on the part of Major Macdonald's force. He was not strong enough, and his force was not sufficiently 532 well armed and provided with ammunition to enable him to attack the fort. Further engagements took place on November 24th and December 11th, and at last, on January 9th, the Soudanese garrison escaped from the fort across the lake. They were thought at the time to be marching on Uganda, and Captain Harrison was dispatched with a force to operate against them, but the latest information, dated February 11th, is that the Soudanese force, which must have been very much reduced in numbers by the fighting, is still at no very great distance from Lubwa's, to the north of the lake. Now I turn to the other points of interest, and I will endeavour, with the permission of the Committee, to explain the present situation of affairs, or, at any rate, the latest situation as reported to us by telegram. The main force of Major Macdonald—he himself having gone elsewhere—was left in the hands of Captain Woodward, and he is apparently on the northern shores of the lake. At Kampala, which is a European station, Mr. Wilson, who has been acting as British Commissioner, and has apparently shown the greatest discretion and foresight throughout, represents to us that all the Europeans are contained in a strong fort incapable of being taken, and are well supplied with ammunition, much of which has been very courteously supplied to us by the Germans from their stations on the southern part of the lake. They are also well furnished with provisions. The Soudanese garrison at Kampala, consisting of 330 men, whose loyalty was suspected, have been disarmed, and in that locality which, of course, is the most populous and important centre of the Protectorate, there seems to be, as far as we know, no present cause for fear. Then, Sir, as regards the movements of Major Macdonald. He went to the Province of Buddu, which is in the southern part of the Protectorate, early in December, to reinforce Lieutenant Hobart and the Soudanese Garrisons who had remained loyal in that quarter against King M'wanga. Now, the right hon. Baronet asked me to-night—and he has more than once before asked me—if I would explain the circumstances under which King M'wanga escaped from German territory, but I am sorry to say 533 that I cannot. We know nothing but the fact. We know that he crossed the border into German territory last summer, and was living near it. Representations were made to the German officers requesting them to remove him as far away as possible from the border, because of the troubles that his presence there might cause. What answer was returned to this request I do not know; but, anyhow, it appears that the ex-king escaped from his confinement by water, and that he turned up again in the province of Buddu, and, with as many materials as he could find, at once set to work. Our latest news from there is that at the end of January he was defeated by Major Macdonald, and therefore I hope that the trouble there is coming to an end. It is satisfactory to know meanwhile that all the other Soudanese garrisons, consisting all told of 850 men, have remained loyal. Finally, as regards the military dispositions that were made to meet this crisis, the full forces of the British East African Protectorate that were at Mombasa, or in the interior, were at once pushed forward by Sir Arthur Hardinge, who happened to be in that locality. When the outbreak occurred an Indian regiment, 750 strong, was dispatched from India, and five of its companies are now on the lake, the remaining three companies being at the rail-head waiting to be moved forward, while an additional wing of 360 men is about to follow from India. These are the simple facts of the case as they are known to the Government, and they are all the facts that are known. Now, what do they show? Do they not indicate, Sir, that this rebellion, both in Uganda and among the Soudanese, is just one of those events to which a small European force, military and civil, at a great distance from home, with a long and most imperfect line of communication, and relying upon an alien garrison, is from time to time exposed? There is nothing to show that these events have been due to any policy of rash adventure. On the contrary, they have been due to the steps which we have taken in pursuance of the policy initiated by right hon. Gentlemen opposite, who, as we all know, seldom did anything adventurous, and never did anything rash. There is 534 nothing to show that these events have been due to any administrative blunders on the part of our officers, civil or military. They appear in reality to represent one of those inevitable risks that an extended Empire like ours must bring in its train. The hon. Member for Northampton seemed to imply that not merely had the Soudanese risen against us, but that the whole country was in revolt. That, Sir, is not at all the case. When King Mwanga started the first rebellion in the summer of last year none of the principal chiefs joined him, and he fled almost alone.
§ *MR. CURZON
If the chiefs were with him, why did he not stay and fight? What cause was there to flee?
§ *MR. CURZON
Yes; but I should like to read to the House what the character of one of these two chiefs is.
§ *MR. CURZON
He is represented as a very drunken Roman Catholic chief, in very bad odour with the priests.
§ *MR. CURZON
I prefer not to read it now. Hon. Members can read it for themselves, nor do I think it is very material. What I was endeavouring to show was that this rebellion has not been at any moment since the first rising last year a popular rebellion. On the contrary, we have over and over again heard from Kampala that the Native chiefs and the population have remained loyal to us there, and at the only point upon the Uganda road where the natives have risen against us it appears from reports that they rose because they thought that the mutineers, who were marching through their territory, were Government troops, and as soon as that delusion was shattered they settled down again. Sir, it is gratifying to find, as the hon. Baronet pointed out, that our officers on the spot—many of them young men placed for the first 535 time in positions of great responsibility—have conducted themselves throughout this difficult emergency with courage and resource. I hope that the steps which we are now preparing to take, and which I have indicated to the House, will effectually prevent any recurrence of these incidents, and that they will result in the consolidation of the dominion which we have acquired in that part of Africa.
§ MR. J. A. PEASE (Northumberland, Tyneside)
Allusion has been made by the right hon. Gentleman to the Uganda railway, which, I understand, will be 150 miles long. Inasmuch as the gauge of this railway is different to other railways throughout Africa, I desire to know whether the Government will consider the propriety of altering the gauge, so as to secure a uniform gauge throughout the whole of the African railways.
§ *MR. CURZON
I do not think the hon. Gentleman expects me to give him an affirmative reply. The whole question was gone into by a Committee of experts, and it was decided that the gauge adopted was the best—i.e., the most suited to the country and the purposes in view. As regards the delay in the construction of the railway, that has been due, in the first place, to sickness amongst the staff in the fever-stricken districts; secondly, to the engineers' strike in this country, which prevented the orders for engines and rails from being executed up to time; and thirdly, the disorganisation consequent upon having to move this large body of troops to the front.
§ COMMANDER G. R. BETHELL (York, E.R., Holdness)
I do not wish to cast any aspersions whatever upon the proceedings of Major Macdonald. The suspicion that may arise in our minds is fortified by what has been said by my hon. Friend behind me, but I am disposed to suspend judgment upon the action of Major Macdonald. I regret extremely the very vigorous attack upon this officer made by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. ["No, no!"] It left that impression upon me, and upon other hon. Members who heard the right hon. Gentleman's address. The House, at any rate, should suspend 536 any judgment that it might make upon the action of Major Macdonald and other officers, even though the dispatches might show that there had been a want of consideration displayed. Now, may I inform my right hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, that the Committee is being asked for large sums of money for these troops in various parts of the world, and which we are asked to vote en bloc, that I think we ought to have details of the wages paid to these various troops. There are no details whatever given; and one of the charges and suggestions that have been made to explain this rising was that these soldiers were not paid highly enough. It is quite impossible for us to form any opinion unless a more detailed report is given. The hon. Member for Northampton, in the early part of his speech, took the occasion of this rising in Uganda to show the House how wise he was. The fact of the matter is that between every occupation that is, or has been, made in Africa or anywhere else, when it is managed by armed troops, there almost always occurs one of these risings. This is one of the difficulties with which you have to contend—a certainty that you have to contend with, and it is only one of the difficulties which invariably assail you in these affairs, and to suppose that we are going to get to Uganda, or West Africa, or anywhere else, without these difficulties, is against all previous experience. I only make these remarks by way of protest against the suggestions and insinuations that have been made against these men, who are struggling with great difficulties.
§ *SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Monmouthshire, W.)
There is one point upon which we have not received that amount of information which the Committee ought to have been supplied with. No one can doubt that this unfortunate rebellion would never have taken place unless this expedition of Major Macdonald's had been organised, and the remarkable part of it is that it was ordered by the Foreign Office in England, who are undertaking, in this dispatch, to determine the exact number and the constitution of the force. To my mind the 537 great question is—what was the meaning of this expedition of Major Macdonald? Those who directed it have exhibited the most extraordinary ignorance of the condition of the Protectorate of Uganda. Was the Protectorate of Uganda in a condition, under any circumstances, to send out an expedition, and to be denuded of forces, small as they were, to maintain this immense territory? We know that the Government have not been satisfied with the occupation of Uganda itself. I understand there have been forts in Unyoro—but, at all events, in the surrounding districts—which are not portions of the Protectorate of Uganda, and that those scattered forts were occupied by the Soudanese troops. What justification was there in a district which was notoriously unsafe for sending off this expedition, which was ordered on the 9th June? Curiously enough, the whole thing broke out before the dispatch arrived, which proves the extraordinary ignorance that must have existed at the Foreign Office when they ordered this expedition. When my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton made some allusion to the fact that Uganda was to be employed as part of a scheme for extending the British territory from the Cape to Alexandria it was received with enthusiastic cheers from the other side of the House. What we want to know is whether this expedition had that object in view, whether it was one of those unfortunate Hinterland expeditions for effecting occupation which have given rise to so many military disasters in Africa and elsewhere? I confess that when I read this dispatch of Lord Salisbury, of the 9th June, I was utterly unable to understand what was the meaning of sending these 300 Soudanese and 200 porters through territory which it was admitted was unknown, and was probably hostile. What was the object of sending such an expedition, considering the condition in which Uganda was at that time? We are, of course, always told when we embark on enterprises of this kind that everything is all right. I remember that when the occupation of Uganda was broached we were invited by Major Lugard to have the most profound confidence in King M'wanga. He told us that he was a man to be trusted. He had been a Catholic, and, as my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton 538 says, he became a Protestant, and now, apparently, he has become a Mahomedan. That was one of the great grounds held out as making the whole thing perfectly easy; we had only to walk in and enjoy ourselves, because the king was the most friendly and trustworthy person in the world. We are told about the feeling of the people, and the right hon. Gentleman asks us to believe, in spite of what the archdeacon tells us, that the whole of the people are with us. But the archdeacon has told us that the whole of the people are secretly hostile to us, and the right hon. Gentleman has given us no evidence whatever to rebut the statement of the archdeacon.
§ *MR. CURZON
I quoted the evidence of Mr. Wilson, who is the Administrator at Kampala, and who has reported over and over again that the whole of the people are loyal.
§ *SIR W. HARCOURT
But Kampala is only a small part of the territory. You are occupying an enormous mass of territory, not only in Uganda, but beyond, and there is no evidence to show that this population can be depended upon. The first dispatches speak of it more as a rebellion on the part of the Soudanese troops. What were these Soudanese troops discontented about in the work they had been called upon to do? The Soudanese troops had been exhausted in a contest with a discontented people. It is a remarkable fact that misfortunes and disasters of this kind have arisen in all parts of Africa from the settlement of chartered companies. You have not been fortunate in your chartered companies in South Africa or in East Africa. You have been obliged, from the settlement made by the Chartered Company in Uganda, to proceed, I think, with great rashness. They ought to have worked their way from the shore much more slowly. We found ourselves, and you find yourselves, in the position of being compelled to sustain that which had been done, but everybody ought to have seen that it was a position of great insecurity, a position in which you had no real hold upon the country at all; and in point of fact you ought to have taken altogether different measures and different 539 precautions from those that have been adopted in this case. I must say that, when the right hon. Gentleman was good enough to throw down a Party challenge to us, it was not a very discrect proceeding. He said that they had made a movement which was not venturesome or rash, because it was a movement we had made, and then the right hon. Gentleman added that we never did anything venturesome or rash. I accept that as a compliment, though I hardly think it was so intended. I venture to think the right hon. Gentleman is the able representative of everything that is venturesome and everything that is rash. Certainly, if he was the author of this expedition and of this dispatch of June 9th, from the Foreign Office, he may claim the credit of being both venturesome and rash; but I should like to know what he means by saying that we ever did anything of the kind. Where is the expedition sent forth under the authority of the Government which we represented of the character of this sent under Major Macdonald? On the contrary, when we saw that there was a risk with reference to advances made, we stopped anything venturesome or rash of that description immediately. It seems to me that these deplorable events—everybody must agree in deploring them—have arisen partly from a general discontent which exists, and has existed for a long time, in this district, and from the most unwise expedition of Major Macdonald, for which the Government is responsible. He was ordered to go on an expedition which, in the circumstances of the Protectorate of Uganda, was not justifiable; the number of troops was prescribed for him, and, as it turned out, they were totally unfit for the purpose. This unfortunate rebellion took place; loss of life has occurred, and, of course, we cannot do otherwise than our best to rescue the community of Uganda from the disastrous consequences which have arisen. This only confirms very much the opinion I have always held, and still hold, of the impolicy of entering upon enterprises of this kind without contemplating the consequences which necessarily ensue. It is folly to embark upon these enterprises and imagine that they are extremely easy, and that they will be very cheap. Thus year after year you find that they become more dan 540 gerous and more costly, and you come down for greater and greater votes. The result as to profit does not turn out what was hoped and expected, and you are committed to the people whom you encourage to go there. The people are sent there on representations which turn out to be unfounded. Then you have enormous Estimates of this character and very little return for them. As regards the Vote proposed, it is, of course, impossible to decline to vote that money which is necessary to repair the misfortunes that have occurred. One can only hope that these disasters will teach a lesson which will prevent such rash and venturesome expeditions as Major Macdonald's in the future. We are told that we are to establish a new military force there, and the right hon. Gentleman admitted that the cost will be very heavy. The Supplementary Estimates of this year amount to something like £100,000, and next year it appears, from the Estimates delivered this morning, it will amount to £142,000. After all, I believe this sum, if it is intended to retain anything like the secure possession of the country, will prove entirely inadequate.
§ DR. G. B. CLARK (Caithness)
This is a very curious Estimate; we are asked to vote it because the money is not to be spent this year. It ought to be put in next year's Estimates. The right hon. Gentleman has very cleverly evaded the charge made by my right hon. Friend below me in seconding the Amendment. He did not attack Major Macdonald; what he did attack was the Foreign Office and the Government for the course they took, for the dispatch which had been sent on the 9th June. In that dispatch the Commissioner was ordered to make arrangements for sending 300 Soudanese for going outside Uganda. That was a breach of faith, or else it was done ignorantly. The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head. Well, Colonel Lugard is still here, and possibly you will give us some information to-morrow. Unless Colonel Lugard, has been inaccurate in his dispatches, and in his book, then the Foreign Office were ignorant of the fact that the Soudanese were enlisted under certain con 541 ditions —that they were to remain in the territory and not be sent beyond it. I think the right hon. Gentleman has misunderstood the position taken by the right hon. Baronet. The facts as far as I know are as follows: when the first company of the Soudanese came in, Major Macdonald saw the commander and gave him information and then marched on. The second company came in the next day, and they refused to go until they got information. They came before Major Macdonald for information and he refused to say a word, except "'Quick march,' out of the place." They replied that they would desert. It may have been a blunder on the part of Major Macdonald. He thought, probably, that the commander would give information both to his own company and to the company that came in afterwards. The first contingent was satisfied and the second was not satisfied, for when they went for information it was absolutely refused. They determined not to obey. Captain Fitzpatrick, who followed them, talked to them, and they remained on good terms until the war was begun by the firing of a volley during the negotiations. It may have been a blunder on the part of Major Macdonald, but certainly the second troop coming in did not get the information they wanted, and they deserted because of that. They expressed themselves perfectly satisfied with the arrangements if they had only got the information. That was exactly the condition of affairs. I hope to know to-morrow whether the statement of the right hon. Baronet is true or not as to the conditions under which these men were engaged. As to the general subject, there were two or three questions asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton. We want to know why King M'wanga disappeared and began this rebellion against us, and why all these troubles arose. My hon. Friend the Member for Northampton pointed out that when we took over this territory there would be bloodshed, and there would be more money required. The result has been that his prophecy has been borne out. There has been more war and bloodshed during the time we have held Uganda than there was before, and the likelihood is that there will be still more bloodshed, because you have a but the better and more efficient weapon at the 542 present time. The blunders out there, however, have not been so bad as the blunders of the Foreign Office at home, in sending out the instructions they did.
§ MR. A. SPICER (Monmouth Boroughs)
A charge has been made that there has been a breach of faith with the Soudanese. Would the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs explain to us his belief as to whether there was a breach of faith with the Soudanese?
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
Would the right hon. Gentleman be good enough, at the same time, to tell us what constitutes the Protectorate of Uganda at the present moment? I would also ask the right hon. Gentleman how it comes about that Lord Salisbury, on June 9th, sent orders that certain specified men should be taken to join Major Macdonald, who sent these to Major Ternan, who on the 28th June, before he could have received the orders, wrote to Lord Salisbury to tell him that the whole thing had been done?
§ DR. C. K. TANNER (Cork, Mid)
In the course of his speech the right hon. Gentleman the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State read one part only of the Report. I will read on—and, as regards Mukwenda, who is Chief of Singo, the number of his wives has been the cause long since of his excommunication from the Protestant Church, and I can quite understand their dislike of European methods of administration.Why did not the right hon. Gentleman read that as well? Why did he run down one in order to praise the other? I will go further. I will take page 9 of Mr. Trevor Ternan's Report—I should report to your Lordship that the missionaries of both creeds in Buddu and Koki are all safe. The French priests in Koki took refuge in German territory, but the English missionaries remained in Koki, and their so doing had a reassuring effect on the natives, and was a support to Kamswaga,whoever that gentleman may be. He may be a relative of one of these chiefs, but the right hon. Gentleman must assure us on these points. I notice a 543 curious thing in these matters, and that is the House of Commons only get these Papers put into our hands at the last moment, without an opportunity of going thoroughly into them. Now, I want an explanation on another point—The King may die in his infancy; I should be glad if your Lordship would instruct me as to his successor. There are at present two Roman Catholic nephews of M'wanga's, and a Mahomedan nephew. All these are children under the age of ten. There is no other Protestant member of the family available.My intention is not to hurt the feelings of anybody in dealing with these matters, but anything more ridiculous than that I never read; and while we congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on the speech he made the other night, we hope he will do better in future, at any rate in connection with this matter, when he turns upon the Roman Catholic religion because it happens to be held by the French people—The French priests in Koki took refuge in German territory but the English missionaries remained in Koki;the French priests who, according to your own report, were turned out of the country, whilst the English missionaries are allowed to remain. I maintain there is a great deal to explain on the part of Her Majesty's Government in regard to this matter. So far as I am concerned, I merely look the thing up because I consider the right hon. Gentleman did not do his duty to the House of Commons. He read a portion of a paragraph, and had not the courage of a man to read the remainder. I throw down the gage, and sincerely hope once more that the right hon. Gentleman will not do it again.
§ *MR. J. PARKER SMITH (Lanarkshire, Partick)
I understand in his speech the right hon. Gentleman said the expense would be in carriage by Porters from the head of the railroad. I should like to ask about the Sclater road he spoke of, whether it has been constructed so as to be able to use beasts of burden or wagons; whether the carriage from railroad head will be by wagon or beasts of burden, or by porters; and I should like him to say where the transport train organised by the late Captain Sclater 544 is, and whether it is now being used for carrying up supplies.
§ *MR. CURZON
I will endeavour to answer the series of questions that have been put to me. As regards the transport train of the late Captain Sclater, I do not know at present where it is, but I will cause inquiries to be made. The road made by Captain Sclater is a very admirable road, and wagons will be used in future as a means of transport. With regard to the inquiry of the hon. Member for Northampton, whether I can tell him the actual boundaries of the Uganda Protectorate, I shall be glad if the hon. Member will put down a Question, and he shall, if possible, be referred to the sources from which correct information on the point can be derived. As to Major Ternan's dispatch of June 25th, with reference to Major Macdonald's expedition, the hon. Member has been led into some confusion. The instructions of Lord Salisbury to Major Macdonald, contained in the dispatch of June 9th, which was printed in the Appendix of the Blue Book, were given to Major Macdonald a few days before he left England. An expedition had been decided on some time in advance, and instructions and communications had been sent to Major Ternan, the acting administrator, some months before. It was the result of those communications which was contained in the dispatch of June 25th. There is one other question to be dealt with, which raises an important point, for it amounts to a charge of breach of faith on the part of the Government. It was said that these Soudanese troops had been engaged on the condition that they should not be taken outside the limits of the Uganda Protectorate, and consequently that the proposal to place them under Major Macdonald for an expedition in other regions was a breach of the agreement with them. It is quite true that Major Lugard was the first officer to enlist these troops; but the Foreign Office have no record of the pledge given by him. I am told, however, that an engagement of the character described is mentioned in Major Lugard's book. But what hon. Members have forgotten is that there was a subsequent transaction. In March, 1893, Sir Gerald Portal re-engaged as many of these Soudanese as he could for 545 a new term of service, and the conditions then agreed to contained nothing about the service being exclusively confined to the Uganda Protectorate.
§ DR. TANNER
I certainly will demand an answer to my question, which I have put down about these Roman Catholic members of the family of King Mwanga. If we go further down the Report we see on page 12—Though, according to arrangements made by Sir H. Colvile, and approved by your Lordship, the two Roman Catholic nephews are debarred from the Throne of Uganda, it will, I think, be necessary, in case of the death of King Chua, to select either one of these, or the young Mahomedan Prince. The selection of the latter would be extremely unpopular among all classes in Uganda, excepting among the small number who form the Mahomedan party; and, under these circumstances. I would venture to ask your Lordship's permission to consider the elder of the two Roman Catholic Princes as the heir.When the right hon. Gentleman took up one end of the stick, of course, somebody had to pick up the other. I hope I am not wanting in courtesy, but I do certainly ask the question, where you have two tribes of the same people fighting each other for the so-called love of God.
§ Question put,
§ The Committee divided.—Ayes 55; Noes 212.
§ After the usual interval—
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE
The subject I have now to bring before the Committee is the second item of this Vote, which is described as—British East Africa, Grant in Aid in connection with the disturbance in Uganda and with the expenses of the Juba expedition under Major Macdonald.And I beg to move—That Item C (British East Africa Grant in Aid) be reduced by £1,000.Sir, the Juba expedition is the expedition of which we have heard so much on the previous item in connection with the employment of Soudanese under Major 546 Macdonald. At the commencement of the Session, I think on the first night on the Address Debate, I alluded to the fall which overtook the expedition as a disaster to Major Macdonald's expedition. The right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State complained of my use of the word disaster. I was perhaps wrong in calling it a disaster to the expedition. I should have said a disaster in connection with the expedition, which stopped the expedition going on. The matter we have been discussing, the revolt of the Soudanese troops and the murder of their officers, was the result of this mistake, and, I confess, I thought I was justified in calling it a disaster to the expedition. It has brought the expedition to an end, and now Major Macdonald is hundreds of miles away in the Southern province of Buddu, where he is commanding the forces fighting against King Mwanga. My object in raising the matter here to-night is because a matter of the very greatest importance is really concerned in the story of this so-called Juba expedition. The hon. Member for Northampton alluded to it just now as an expedition to discover the sources of the Juba river. He got it from the papers before the House on what is called the Juba expedition. Now, when you speak of the source of the Juba it is quite a different thing to speaking of the Juba. The Juba is the Northern boundary of the new British East Africa Protectorate, and runs down through the South of Somaliland into the Indian Ocean, between the British and Italian spheres of influence. It is navigable for 400 miles, and we know very little of where its sources are. When you talk about sources of rivers, you talk about something very different to the river itself. If I were talking of the Severn everybody would know I was alluding to a river in Gloucestershire and Hereford, but if I were to speak of its sources, then you would know I was referring to where it rises in the heart of Wales. So it is with the sources of the Juba, which are hundreds of miles away from what is known as the Juba itself. When the "Juba Expedition" is brought before this House, it suggests an expedition entirely different to what it was. If it had been an expedition to what 547 was originally called the Juba, it would have taken a direction through fairly well-known British territory. The sources of the Juba lie in an unknown British sphere of influence. Unfortunately, there is equal vagueness about the boundaries of the French sphere of influence, which is extending towards our boundary. Now, Sir, that is with reference to the Juba Expedition. There is the most startling evidence contained in the Papers which are laid before the House with regard to the real nature of this expedition, and to it I will invite the careful attention of this Committee. On the top of page 2 of the Uganda Papers you will find these words—I have to acquaint you that I have received instructions that Major Macdonald is about to proceed from the coast to Njemps, whence he is to visit the source of the Juba River. The following arrangements are to be made. Supply 300 Soundanese troops, to include some Dinkas and Shilluks.Now, Sir, I daresay those words will make very little impression, because few of the maps show where the territory of these people is. Few of the maps throw the slightest light upon who these people are. But, Sir, some maps confirm what is known by men who know that territory best, and the most curious light is thrown upon the object of this expedition by those words, "to include some Dinkas and Shilluks." The territory of the Dinkas and Shilluks is not near the Juba sources. Those sources are undefined, and have wide ramifications over extended territory. There is a boundary to this district in the flow of the great river Nile, and the flood which rises out of the lake must undoubtedly cut off from the Bahr-el-Ghazel the sources of the Juba. I said just now that a large sphere of influence was entirely without any boundaries, and we claim the whole of the former equatorial provinces of Egypt. Sir, I said that there was an equally vague claim on the part of France, or in some sense on the part of France, because I believe that France does not nominally set up a claim of her own, but claims to act on behalf of Egypt, but, at all events, we have this fact, that the territories of these tribes, the Dinkas and Shilluks, from whom the Soudan troops going to Uganda are to be picked for 548 this expedition, specially on account of their knowledge of the language, lie on the Western side of the Nile, and not on the Eastern side, where the sources of the Juba are. Therefore, Sir, I say that throws a singular light on the intention of this expedition.
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE
How can it be imagination? Do you deny that the territory of these tribes is on the West side of the Nile?
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE
Why, in the preparations mentioned by Lord Salisbury for this expedition, the names of the two tribes of Bahr-el-Ghazel are mentioned. The territory of the Dinkas is in the most southern part of Bahr-el-Ghazel, and that of the other tribe, the Shilluks, followed beyond the territory of the Dinkas, and runs right down to the Western side of the Nile.
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE
I venture to say that no other construction can be put upon the objects of this expedition in selecting these tribes, except that these men are picked out to act as interpreters and guides. Now, Sir, the matter is one upon which this House has never been taken into consultation by the Government, although the initiation of the Juba Expedition cannot have cost less than £80,000. We know that the hon. Baronet, the Member for Northumberland, speaking for the late Government, declared that the whole of Bahr-el-Ghazel and the territory of the old Equatorial Provinces of Egypt were in our sphere of influence, and the entrance of France into these territories would be an unfriendly act. Now, Sir, that is a matter of extreme gravity, because since that time a French expedition, commanded by French officers, has advanced into that territory, and while at this moment it is probable that the territory of these Shilluks is occupied by a French expedition, it is certain that the territory of the Dinkas is in the possession 549 of the French. I say that this House has not been sufficiently informed of the objects of this Juba Expedition, the House has not been given sufficient information as to the project of the Government in this respect. When the Vote was put upon the Paper, we were not told that this so-called Juba expedition is to be accompanied only by the guides from the Shilluk country. It is now probably too late to consider the matter, but if you are going to send an expedition into this vast, vague, undefined territory, so far from all our sources of strength—if you are going to take this course, you ought to have entered upon it years ago. If it was to be done there has been monstrous delay in doing it, vast sums of money have been sacrificed, this disaster has occurred, and it has proved fatal to the chance of doing it at all. Although it is too late to express an opinion which could be of value as regards this measure, we have a right to express our censure on the concealment which has been practised by the Government.
§ COMMANDER G. R. BETHELL (York, E.R., Holderness)
The whole of the argument of the right hon. Baronet has been founded on a probable ignorance of the facts. However that may be, it is quite certain that his view is that the schemes of the Government are improper and expensive. Simply because the map shows that the Dinkas' and the Shilluks' land is on the West side of the Nile, and that because in a certain despatch organising Major Macdonald's expedition orders were given to include certain Dinkas and Shilluks, that, therefore, it is going to take them into altogether unknown regions, seems to me an absurd position to take up. The right hon. Baronet says that the expedition to the Juba River, towards the Lagrudo, knowing nothing at all of the territory, it is natural to suppose that the expedition which is ordered to Juba is not ordered to that part of the country, but towards this unknown part which has hardly been traversed by anybody, and, indeed, that is a very good reason for an expedition in that direction. The hon. Member for Northampton, in his speech in the early part of the 550 evening, referred to the view which he supposed that Gentlemen on this side took of the occupation of Uganda, and with reference to the upper parts of the Nile. I agree that we do consider, and I believe that hon. Gentlemen on this side consider that the occupation of Uganda for political reasons alone, quite apart from more important ones, is of great value with reference to Egypt. So it appears to me to be not only natural, but it would be silly if we did not take the opportunity of sending some expeditions to inquire into those portions of Africa—to inquire into those provinces on the upper borders of the Nile. It appears to me that Her Majesty's Government, so far from being worthy of censure for having taken this course, considering the position in which we now are, they would have been deserving of censure if they had not made any efforts at all, the more so because, as we know, French expeditions have made investigations into those very quarters which the right hon. Baronet some years ago had reason to refer to in a statement which made much impression at the time. The statement was made, but it has not made much impression after all the years that have elapsed. So far from censuring Her Majesty's Government, I am very glad indeed, so far as I can, to give my support to the action they have taken, and to say that I think the expenditure that is necessary to redeem these operations is extremely well-worthy of consideration, for I hold the opinion very strongly that the accumulated wealth of the civilised nations of the world may, some portions at least, be very properly used in expeditions of this sort, which have a very good end after all, and in spite of difficulty, in spite of bloodshed, in spite of horror they entail, they do have the effect ultimately of bringing peace, civilisation, and good for us where now anarchy alone prevails.
§ MR. T. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
With regard to this expedition, it does not seem to me to show in favour of the particular capacity of the Foreign Office for dealing with a wild, savage country. The Foreign Office was not accustomed to deal with breechless blacks, and while in the first instance 551 it sometimes succeeded, in the latter instance it always failed. My belief is that if we are to retain Uganda—as to the advisability of which I have always had my doubts—I think it is well worthy the consideration of Her Majesty's Government whether they should not transfer the management of that place from the hands of the Foreign Office to that of the Colonial Office. As to this expedition, I think that the statement that has been made by the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean is not to be dismissed absolutely with contempt, whether or not his view is well founded as to these troops, because the expedition is not what it professes to be, for the discovery of the source of the Juba, and the limits of the Italian Frontier, and an expedition further West. I do know that the right hon. Baronet's knowledge, industry and experience of Foreign affairs is such as to make his utterances in this House always interesting and such as everyone will not be prepared to dismiss either with contempt or with disregard. As regards that expedition, Sir, that is all I have to say. With regard to the vote certain other circumstances arise, and we are called upon to deal more directly with those matters which are indirectly brought into the Question. Sir, this expedition, I cannot doubt myself, from what I have read in the Blue Book, and from what my hon. Friend the Member for North Lambeth with so much authority has said, I cannot doubt that this expedition had its origin in orders from London. Sir, I am prepared to repudiate any attacks that have been made on Major Macdonald. The troops themselves distinctly say that they had no complaint whatever to make against Major Macdonald, at any rate they say they have no complaint with regard to him. I must say I was prevented from voting for the Government on the last vote because no reply was given by my right hon. Friend sitting below me to the extraordinary statements made by the hon. Member for North Lambeth. I ask whether or not there has been an absolute breach of faith?
§ MR. GIBSON BOWLES
I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon. I was here during his speech, and he made no reference to it.
§ *MR. CURZON
The hon. Gentleman was not here when, in reply to a question from an hon. Member opposite, I gave what I believe the Committee accepted as an absolutely clear answer to that charge.
§ MR. GIBSON BOWLES
I regret I was not here during the second part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, but I confess it only shows the necessity, when you are making a speech in reply to charges, of not leaving out of that speech your reply to the gravest charge which has been put forward. That was what the right hon. Gentleman did in his first answer, which I thought was the whole answer. The responsibility for this breach of faith does not rest on Major Macdonald at all. The complaint of the Soudanese is, that they were taken away from the country in which they had been engaged to serve, and I am very sorry I did not hear the answer of the right hon. Gentleman to that complaint, because up to this moment I cannot conceive how a good answer could be given. Now, with regard to the Vote of £35,000. The Committee have been told by the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs that £25,000 of the Vote refers to the Macdonald expedition. But that expedition has been abandoned.
§ MR. GIBSON BOWLES
The right hon. Gentleman says "No." It will be found on Page 28 of the Blue Book that Major Macdonald, in a letter dated September 29th, 1897, said—As, owing to the fighting in Buddu, it is quite out of the power of the Acting Commissioner to let me have other troops at present to replace those that have deserted, my force of Soudanese is thus reduced to sixty or seventy men. In the circumstances, I have been reluctantly compelled to abandon, for the present, my projected operations north of Lake Rudolf and in the region of the Upper Juba.
§ MR. GIBSON BOWLES
I should like to know if this expedition is abandoned for the present or for five years. There is no information that it has been resumed. The whole of this money is to be expended by the 31st of the present month, and if it is not expended, it will have to be surrendered. Again, on Page 37 of the Blue Book, under dale of January 14th, 1898—a more recent date—Sir Arthur Hardinge says:—Major Macdonald being absent at Kampala, Captain Woodward writes to say that the Swahili soldiers who are with him cannot be relied on implicitly as a fighting force, and that it was only the personal leadership and the courage of their English officers which, in the recent engagements, prevented a disaster. It becomes a question, therefore, whether proposed recruitment of several hundred Swahilis for Uganda should be proceeded with.We have no further information to the effect that the expedition has been resumed. The last information from Major Macdonald is that he has had to abandon his expedition in consequence of the desertion of his troops. Then, Sir, I am compelled to ask myself why a continuance is made in the demand for this Vote when the expedition, for which the major part of the Vole itself is intended, is abandoned. Now I am coming to the most serious part—namely, the financial part. At the bottom of this Vote there is a note to this effect—The expenditure out of the grants in aid included in this Estimate will be accounted for to the Comptroller and Auditor General, but any balance out of the sums issued in the financial year will not be surrendered.Well, that, I think, is a very proper note. It is treating the House of Commons with frankness. It is intended to inform the House of the intention of the Government to keep in hand for further expenditure any balance that may be left unexpended. Although that is frank, I deny that it is possible. I venture to affirm that, under the Exchequer and Audit Act, and under the subsequent Act which regulates these matters, it is absolutely necessary that any unexpended balance which has not been spent in the manner for which it was voted should be returned and applied to the redemption of the National Debt. The right hon. Gentleman has already told us that he 554 does not expect to expend all this money by the 31st of March, and when the Estimate was drawn up that expectation was entertained. I submit that grants in aid are in no wise different to other grants; that they are subject to the same rules and the same provisions and the same Acts of Parliament. No doubt, if you have grants in aid applied generally in aid of the Government of Uganda, or of Major Macdonald, you may expend what you please and retain the balance; but when you have, as in this case, a grant in aid limited to a certain purpose, to that purpose and that purpose alone can it be applied. We are told distinctly by the right hon. Gentleman that the purpose of it is this Juba expedition. Every farthing that he can spend of that £25,000 on the Juba expedition before the 31st of March next will be properly spent; but I challenge the contradiction of any financial expert in the assertion that every farthing that has not been expended before that date must be surrendered, and must go to the redemption of the National Debt. It is not in the power of this House to divert unexpended balances from one year to the service of another, however convenient it may be to a Treasury or to a Chancellor of the Exchequer. It may seem a slight point, but there is a very serious principle involved, and I have thought it right on this the first opportunity I have had to raise the question.
§ *MR. R. MCKENNA (Monmouth, N.)
Mr. Lowther, the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs is under a delusion in thinking that he has given a satisfactory answer to the charge that has been made against the Foreign Office, that there has been a direct breach of faith with the Soudanese soldiers. He has quoted, in support of his vindication of the Foreign Office, from Major Lugard's book, but, unfortunately, the quotation he made use of had already been read to the Committee by the right hon. Member for the Forest of Dean, in support of the charge. These Soudanese troops were engaged under certain conditions, and when they were taken over from the Company, no new conditions were made. To the ordinary mind it 555 would appear perfectly obvious that a soldier, re-engaged under those circumstances, would himself at any rate conclude that he was engaged under the original conditions.
§ *MR. CURZON
That is exactly what the Soudanese soldiers have never supposed. The hon. Gentleman will not find, and I have not seen, in a single line of the complaints of the Soudanese any allegation of a breach of faith.
§ *MR. MCKENNA
I do not say the Soudanese soldiers put their complaints into the form of a direct charge of breach of faith. That would be, perhaps, a metaphysical conception rather beyond them. The right hon. Gentleman has only got to look up the list of grievances alleged by Trooper—I cannot recall the name of the trooper at the moment—to find that those grievances include seriatum, a breach of the exact conditions of the employment of these troops by the British East Africa Company. I trust the right hon. Gentleman will disabuse his mind that he has answered this question, and give us a more satisfactory answer to a direct charge against the Foreign Office. Of the £35,000 we are asked to vote, £25,000 relates to the Juba Expedition. We do not yet know what the extra £10,000 is for. I assume it is in relief of the British East Africa revenue. I wish to call the right hon. Gentleman's attention for one moment to the great neglect of the Foreign Office in not developing British trade at Mombasa. The complaint that I have to make is a complaint which is also raised by the representative of the Foreign Office in Zanzibar, Sir Arthur Hardinge. It appears that there is no line of—
§ *MR. MCKENNA
Of course, as we have no information as to how this £10,000 is made up, I could only assume that it was in relief of the British East Africa revenue, and that, therefore, my question was in order.
§ *MR. MCKENNA
It might be better if I wait until the right hon. Gentleman has given us an explanation as to what this £10,000 is wanted for.
§ *MR. CURZON
Mr. Lowther, I think I can explain the matter to the satisfaction of the hon. Member. Of the total of £35,000, £25,000 is due to the causes already explained. The remaining £10,000 is the expense falling on the East Africa Protectorate, owing to the newly-organised system of transport which I have described. The East Africa Protectorate extends to some distance from the coast, and several hundred miles of the railroad will run through that Protectorate, which will therefore, be as much a gainer by the new system of transport as Uganda itself. As regards the point of a breach of faith, I confess I am totally at a loss to understand the remarks which have just fallen from the hon. Member. I explained at an earlier stage of the evening that the Soudanese soldiers themselves could not possibly consider their employment in the Macdonald expedition as a breach of faith, because in the terms on which they were re-engaged there was nothing whatever specified as to the area of their employment. The hon. Member says that the Soudanese are such stupid people that they could not be expected to understand what a breach of faith was. Surely, Sir, if a breach of faith had been committed, the men would have been the first to complain. It is a little fantastic that the persons making this charge should be Members of this House and not the men themselves. I venture to think that hon. Members opposite have been a little demoralised by questions of a breach of faith. I should have thought that their experience in another part of the world, in regard to which they brought a similar charge a fortnight ago, would have been sufficiently unfortunate not to have encouraged them to bring it again. I do not think the hon. Member or anybody else gave any evidence in this House in 557 support of the charge of a breach of faith. If the right hon. Baronet who has put several questions to me to-night will give me his attention, I will endeavour to reply to him. The right hon. Baronet jumped to the conclusion that Major Macdonald's expedition was an expedition to turn the French out of a position which they might have acquired or are supposed to have attempted to acquire to the West of the Nile. But suppose that we wanted to turn the French out of the Bahr-el-Ghazal, is it in the least likely that we should have sent this expedition to the Ravine Station, since it would thus have been diverted from its obvious and most easy track? I think these facts will show that there is no foundation for the suspicion of the right hon. Baronet, which, I confess, never occurred to me until I entered this Chamber to-night, and which came upon me as an absolute surprise. I remember last year that when we announced an expedition up the Nile for the recovery of Khartoum the right hon. Baronet would have it that the expedition was going straight to Darfur. In fact, he cannot get out of his head the provinces to the west of the Nile in Central Africa. Subsequent events have proved his suspicions to be groundless, and on the present occasion, I can assure him they are without foundation. If we turn to the terms of the instructions to Major Macdonald, it seems to me that they are very clear. I should have thought, as an hon. Member said on this side of the House, they would have been welcomed by the right hon. Baronet. It was he who, a few days ago, when we were discussing the Abyssinian Treaty in this House, blamed the Government for the manner in which they had left the territory between Abyssinia and this country undefined. We have heard a great deal about the source of the Juba. It is not the source of the Juba that is the question at issue. If the right hon. Baronet will refer to the protocol by which we fixed our boundary with Italy in 1891, he will see this definition—The line shall follow from the sea the mid-channel of the river Juba up to latitude 6° North.558 Nobody in this country knows where the Juba cuts that parallel, and it was to remove these doubts, and to determine what are the Frontiers of our respective Protectorates in that part of the world, and to make treaties with the native chiefs, that this expedition was sent out. The hon. Member for King's Lynn has spoken of the expedition as abandoned for the present, but our latest information is to the effect that Major Macdonald, after he has composed these difficulties in the Uganda Protectorate, hopes to resume the expedition originally planned.
§ MR. GIBSON BOWLES
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman one question as to the surrender of the balances? I attach so much importance to that question that my vote depends upon it. Can be assure me that the balances not expended at the end of the present financial year will be surrendered?
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
We have here an expedition, which we are told is to go to the source of the Juba river. We ask what the Juba river is: we are told that they know that the Juba river runs into the sea; but the right hon. Gentleman does not know where it goes before it goes into the sea. And yet he tells us that Her Majesty's Government and Italy have made a treaty in which this Juba river defines the line of frontier between two spheres of influence, and now they want to go about in a vague and indefinite way with this expedition to find out where on earth this Juba river is. You will be surprised to hear that sometimes we are almost fighting with foreign countries about questions of miserable titles, and yet we see what these titles are worth. We have not the remotest notion who are the people who live there. The 559 only successful persons connected with this expedition appear to have been the Soudanese. They inquired what sort of a country it was. They were told it was a waterless desert, and into this waterless desert they had to go to find the source of the river. The intelligent Soudanese absolutely declined to go one inch. I would have done the same thing myself. I want to know how much this expedition has cost already. My right hon. Friend the Member for the Forest of Dean has said that £80,000 has been spent upon it. Is that the case, or is it not, that £80,000 has been spent upon it? Only the right hon. Gentleman won't find it in the Estimates.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
Is this all that has been spent upon the expedition? Has any money been taken from the Uganda Vote?
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
Then I understand quite clearly that this £25,000 is the only sum that has been spent?
§ *MR. CURZON
I do not understand all this confusion. The whole of this money for which we ask, is expected to be spent in the financial year that expires at the end of this month. It is in the nature of an Estimate. The expectation is that the money will be spent before the end of this month.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
We are now on the 3rd March, and the Ides of March will soon be passed. We will then get to the end of March, and that is the end of the financial year. Do I understand that the money has not been spent as yet, but that it is taken because it is 560 fairly believed that it will be spent in the subsequent three weeks of the financial year, or whether it is that the money is asked for in order to be spent next year?
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
If I were a betting man, I should bet that the money will not be spent in that time. Surely the Foreign Office has taken a full Vote, believing that the greater portion of the money will be required next year. But, of course, we must accept the views of the right hon. Gentleman. I am sure he believes in them himself. We must accept his statement that it is a bonâ fide sum, expected to be spent in the present year, because it is absolutely necessary that it should be spent at once. The right hon. Gentleman says that it has not been already spent; it is in case they may want it during the last three weeks of the financial year. It is a remarkable mode of finance. Then the whole question, as I understand it, raised by the hon. Gentleman the Member for King's Lynn collapses and falls to the ground, because it is not a case in point. As I understand it, the hon. Member for King's Lynn has not got a case, for the money will be spent this year. Really it is most confusing. I shall vote, I need hardly say, for the Amendment of my right hon. Friend. It seems to me that money has been cruelly and wastefully spent in Africa, but I do not think there is an instance of money being so absolutely fooled and pottered away in useless objects as this £25,000. We are met with the monstrous statement by the right hon. Gentleman that, after organising an expedition like this, they are going to re-organise it next year. What troops are going? I should like to know that. The Swahilis are not going. The Soudanese are not going, because they will not go. Who on earth is he going to take with him? Surely, after the money has been fooled away, we ought to have a most specific explanation as to what the objects of the expedition will be, what it 561 is intended for, who are the troops who will go with Major Macdonald, and all and everything connected with it before we agree to the expedition being launched attain next year.
§ MR. GIBSON BOWLES
I have not yet received an answer to my question whether the balance unexpended at the end of the present financial year will be surrendered.
§ *MR. CURZON
No, it will not be surrendered; but if the hon. Gentleman desires further information I must refer him to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 81; Noes 191.
§ Original Question again proposed—
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
A point which I want to bring before the Committee is one of considerable interest. There are two considerations which commend to the Committee the Vote for losses sustained by the French missionaries during the conflict in Uganda in 1892. One is that the Roman Catholic missionaries are, taking them the world through, known to the Members of this House who are experienced travellers, as many of them arc, or great readers of books of travel, or attenders at geographical societies, as a body who have shown great devotion to the cause of humanity. Their services to the world at large, entirely outside their own communion, have been great. Those who are acquainted with their lives know that some of them go out into the far-away places of the world, being sometimes for forty years entirely away from civilisation, dwelling entirely by themselves without any ties of family which exist in the case of other exiles from their homes, and devoting their lives to the service of the world around them. There is another consideration, which at first sight would tend to commend this Vote to the House of Commons—or, at all events, to a great majority of the House—which is, that it would at first appear as tending to promote good feeling between nations, and, 562 therefore, serve the cause of peace. I feel one has to go very carefully into this matter, and consider what the merits of the case are before one can remove from one's mind the very natural prejudice in favour of such a Vote. But this matter is not a new one in any way; it was well known to us in this House in the past. We discussed hypothetically the subject of such claims as that covered in this item in 1891 and 1895. No further information has been laid before the House—not because the Government do not possess further information—Sir, the Government have that information; it is in the possession of the Foreign Office. I believe that two reports were called for by the Government, and Major Macdonald was sent to Uganda for the purpose of reporting on Captain Lugard's Report. Major Macdonald made a Report to the Government, which the Government have, and which, although it has not been published here, has appeared in Germany. When Major Macdonald was sent out by the Foreign Office to report on Captain Lugard's Report he was accompanied by a German newspaper correspondent, who, of course, sent the whole of the Report to Germany, where it was printed in the columns of the Berliner Tageblatt. But it has never appeared here, and no Government has ever ventured to lay it before the House. Sir, before we can upset Captain Lugard's Report, and reverse the opinion expressed upon its merits by successive Foreign Secretaries, we must insist upon having the Report of Major Macdonald which was meant to supersede Captain Lugard's Report. The mission has put us to an expenditure of £10,000, and it is impossible we can meet those claims on Captain Lugard's Report unless we have the Report of this further mission. Now, Sir, it is, I believe, admitted by all those who are acquainted with the two Reports, and by all who know the history of this question, that there has been a great deal of laxity—to say the least of it—in the course taken by the French Government in presenting these claims to Her Majesty's Government. I have no doubt that the original claims, as signed in Paris, were prepared on the authority of the missionaries themselves, and, Sir, I will ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will give us 563 any information on the subject. Will he tell us whether one of these claims was for the destruction of a mission station at Chagwe, which never existed? Sir, our case at the time when we opposed payment to the Company, upon the very ground that some such claim as this might be made, involved another statement, Captain Lugard reported to the Company—and it is printed in "Africa, 2nd, 1893"—that "the large amount of ivory captured by us will largely indemnify the Company's expenses." In reference to these facts, we tried to induce the House to take the view that, if any claim were to arise, it was the Company and not the Government that should pay the account. The hon. Baronet, the Member for the Berwick Division of Northumberland, who was then Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, thought that, for the sake of peace and of our good relations with France, and in connection with a general settlement with France, some compensation might possibly be paid by the Government. The right hon. Baronet's words were—Without admitting any liability on the merits, the Government might be willing to pay something as part of a general settlement.The right hon. Baronet was repeatedly asked questions in regard to this matter, and always used the same expression that, "without admitting any liability on the merits," this matter might be dealt with "as part of a general settlement" of what he called "outstanding questions with France," which were being discussed at Paris. Our case is that the words "subsequent investigation" were used in this House at that time. Sir, there has been subsequent investigation. A Report has been made on the subject, and that Report has appeared in a foreign newspaper, but has never been presented to this House. We have not, therefore, before us the results of that subsequent investigation. With regard to the promise of the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on June 13th, 1895, that this matter was to be dealt with as part 564 of a general settlement, we have had no general settlement of "outstanding questions" with France. There are great outstanding questions with France. There is the question of Bahr-el-Ghazal, and there is the question of the Niger. But there are other outstanding questions, and questions that ought to be outstanding, which concern claims that ought to be made by us on France. The House is familiar with the action of the French in Madagascar. When the French entered the capital of Madagascar, their military occupied by force the property of the Protestant Missions, turned the people out, and put French soldiers in, and interfered with the Protestant missionaries. There is also the case of Waima, where, on January 5th, 1894, Captain Lendy, Inspector-General of Police at Sierra Leone, Lieutenant Liston, of the West India Regiment, Lieutenant Wroughton, West India Regiment, one sergeant-major, and six others were killed, and another sergeant-major and 17 men wounded by the new French repeating rifle in the hands of a French force, on territory which was said to be in dispute, but which has now been proved, without any dispute, to be British territory. And, so far as I know, no apology has ever been asked from or made by the French, and no compensation ever given to the widows and children of the men killed. If, for the sake of peace, or as part of a general settlement with France, we are to go beyond any report to this House, and without any further reports or any evidence of the subsequent investigations having taken place, we ought, at the same time, to make a demand for compensation. I have some reason to think that it is possible that some of this money has been paid already. If that is so, the House has been robbed and defeated of its right to properly and freely discuss this question. But whether that is so or not, whether it is the case that some of this money has been paid, at all events it has been promised, and promised without any evidence being placed before the House, such as that which, it seems to me, is imperatively necessary. Sir, I move—That Item E (Compensation Claims) be omitted from the proposed Vote.
§ *MR. WILLIAM JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)
I beg to second the Amendment. I think this is one of the most extraordinary proposals ever submitted to the House of Commons. In "Africa, No. 4, 1892," we find that, on August 13th, 1891, Captain Lugard reports, with regard to the their of Mwanga, at the French Mission—If his ideas are narrowed into the wishes and aims of Jesuit teachers, it is probable he may be no better than Mwanga, and probably a fanatical Catholic to boot, whose party feeling would give great trouble in the future.Sir, I do not wish to attack the British Roman Catholics, but I wish to read an extract, which will show that the rebellion was due to the instigation of the French Roman Catholic priests. With regard to their action in 1892, there is a report dated Zanzibar, July 14th, 1892, in which the following passage occurs—It was with the Catholics that all the disturbances originated, and that King Mwanga was disposed to be friendly towards the English, but that the French bishop incited him and the whole of the Catholic party against them.… The greatest hospitality and kindness were shown to the French priests, who were protected by the English at Kampalla.Captain Lugard wrote to Mr. Berkeley, from Kampalla, the 11th February, 1892—On the 12th January, the French bishop, who had gone to meet a party of newly-arrived priests, reached Mengo … There had been hitherto every prospect of continued peace, but now difficulties and quarrels began to spring up daily between the two parties, and as far as I could judge, the trouble in every instance arose from aggressions on the part of the Catholics.Again—The Bishop had used all his influence to prevent the King's return. He had promised me he would do all in his power to bring him back.And then again—The French priests have been joined by the King of Koki, with 700 more guns.566 On July 27th, 1892, Mr. Portal wrote, as follows, to the Marquess of Salisbury—It is reported that the French Bishop is urging the Roman Catholics to go on with the war, but the position of the Protestants in Uganda is now absolutely secure.Sir, it an extraordinary thing that the British House of Commons should be asked to compensate parties, whoever they may be, for damage alleged to have been sustained by them, when the damage sustained was in consequence of their action in fomenting a disturbance and creating war. And, Sir, it is reported by Captain Lugard, in his most interesting book on the "Rise of our East African Empire," Vol. II., page 66, that—French-made arms had been imported into the country.… These (in Uganda) must have been brought by the Fathers.… The Roman Catholics had been taught to desire French supremacy.Every consideration was apparently shown to them by Captain Lugard, even to this extent—I gave them the little drop of whisky we had" (p. 356).By the priests' account all the nine Fathers in Uganda were murdered, and I had myself cut the rings from their fingers" (p. 372).There was no doubt the reverend gentlemen were protected by Captain Lugard, and whenever there was any possibility they were carefully guarded; but Captain Lugard goes on to tell, in page 374, about the importation of armaments—Hidden in the loads of cloth were 50 Chassepot rifles on the way to Uganda, smuggled by the French Fathers.Then Captain Lugard shows that, while expressing "earnest wishes for peace," they were discussing our "defeat and annihilation." And, Sir, I trust the Government, in their desire to conciliate the French Jesuits, and to do a courteous thing to the great French nation, will not sacrifice all fair principles by giving compensation for injuries they never inflicted. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean has spoken about Madagascar. I should also 567 like to ask the Committee to give their consideration to the manner in which British trade has been abandoned there. We have heard of the losses supposed to have been sustained by French priests in Uganda, but what are we to say with regard to this communication in the Blue Book on Madagascar, which was recently published?—Mr. Edmonds, of the London Missionary Society, returned not long ago to his mission-house at Iriafahy, with his family, intending to continue his work, which had been interrupted owing to the rebellion. He was compelled to return to the capital, as the military commander is stated to have forbidden the people at Iriafahy to sell him anything, or to visit him, even after the death of one of his children, which occurred a few days after his arrival. Mr. Kingzert and Miss Pearse were at Ankerima Diniga on the 11th January, when the Governor, knowing that Miss Pearse had some knowledge of medicine, came to the house in which she was lodging, and brought one of his children, who was sick, to ask her advice. The officer in charge of the post heard of this, and at once held a meeting, stating that, if any Malagasy visited the English when staying there, they would be fined. Mr. Kingzest went to the office to explain the nature of the visit, but he would not listen, and told him that were it not for the fact that he had a lady with him, he would be ordered out of the town at once.I am not often in accord with the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean, but if we are to have such a Motion as this brought before the House I think we ought to have the fullest information concerning the imaginary or real grounds on which compensation is asked; and I am almost inclined to appeal to the right hon. Gentleman who so ably represents the Foreign Office in this House, and to whom it is always a pleasure to listen, to withdraw this Vote from the further consideration of the Committee.
§ *MR. M. DAVITT (Mayo, S.)
I hope the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for War may not be influenced by the arguments addressed to him, or the strong remarks made by the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean. We all recognise the thorough honesty of conviction which distinguishes the Member for Belfast when he speaks in this House, but I think 568 he cannot expect us to look upon him as an impartial witness when a French or Irish priest is concerned. I take it, Sir, that Her Majesty's Government, after receiving Major Macdonald's Report, have come to the conclusion that this sum of money is justly due to these missionary priests, and I trust that because it is due to the missionary priests the Committee will not follow the advice of the Member for the Forest of Dean and refuse this compensation. I think it would be a most ungracious thing if we did, just simply because they are missionary priests of other nationalities. I venture to say that, if a claim like this came before the French nation for similar injury in any part of the world, the French Chamber would deal with it as I hope this Committee will deal with this claim.
§ *MR. CURZON
In responding to what the hon. Gentleman has just said, I do not think I must allow myself to be influenced in one direction or the other by the question of religious feeling. I must discuss the matter simply on its merits. The whole case of the right hon. Baronet is invalidated by facts of which he is unaware. The payment of this sum of £10,000 to the French missionaries in Uganda is an obligation of good faith—a moral obligation which we have inherited from the late Government. They were prepared to concede this claim quite independently of any settlement relating to other matters, and when they left office they had agreed to do so. Any subsequent Government must be bound by their admissions and actions in this matter. The facts are well known. The original conflict took place in 1892 between sections of the population in tant sections of the population in Uganda. In this conflict losses were inflicted upon the French Roman Catholic priests. They said that they were caused by the action of the officers of the British East Africa Company. On the other hand, Captain Lugard denied in toto the responsibility of the Company and disputed the losses. The French Government, however, at once put in a claim for compensation, asking for £40,000. As far back as November, 1892—that is to say, towards the close of the same year—Lord Rosebery 569 wrote to Lord Dufferin a dispatch, in which he made this admission—If, after full investigation, a state of facts is revealed which gives rise, according to a just interpretation of the law of nations, to a liability on the part of the British Government to make compensation for material losses sustained by French subjects during the recent conflict in Uganda the British Government"—not the Company—the British Government would not be backward in discharging its obligations in that respect.Now, Sir, it, will be seen from this dispatch that that was a contingent promise on the part of the late Government to compensate on certain conditions. Then came the episode to which the right hon. Baronet alluded. Major Macdonald, who had been engaged in making surveys for the Uganda Railway on the spot, was instructed by the Government to report upon the causes of the war, and upon the comities of the officials of the British East Africa Company. His Report was not received until the middle of 1893. As the right hon. Baronet says, that Report has not been laid on the Table, but it is because there would be no advantage in doing so. He reported that both parties had been responsible for the conflict, but he said nothing about losses or damages. I now come to the crucial stage, to which I invite the attention of the Committee. It was after the receipt and due examination of Major Macdonald's Report that Lord Rosebery in March, 1894, represented to the French Government that there had been a conflict of evidence, that the further elucidation of this conflict would necessitate a very long delay, and that as his Government were desirous of showing their friendship to France and of removing any cause of complaint, they themselves proposed an immediate and direct solution—namely, that, while not admitting any legal responsibility, they were ready, as an act of international comity, to indemnify the French Roman Catholic missionaries for loss of property. And, 570 Sir, on April 12th, 1894, the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Edward Grey), in answering a question in this House, used these words—The question of compensation has not yet been settled, but the Government desire that the claim shall be dealt with in a generous spirit, and it is in that spirit that it is being discussed with the French Government.Now, Sir, that decision of the late Government was the governing decision and turning-point of the whole of this case. Lord Rosebery denied any legal responsibility in this matter, but he admitted the moral obligation. I submit, Sir, that, after the interpretation of that obligation by the hon. Baronet, it is not possible for any Government to disregard the continuity of policy or the continuity of moral obligation. Even then the matter was not settled. The principle of compensation had been admitted by Lord Rosebery, and defended in this House by the hon. Baronet; but an interval of haggling took place, in which each party did its best to make the best bargain for its own client. Then, if was in August, 1894, that the negotiations, to which the right hon. Baronet; alluded, began in Paris, and which it was hoped would result in a settlement of all the questions between France and ourselves in Eastern and Western Africa. Well, Sir, the question of compensation to the missionaries in Uganda not having been settled, a sum not having been definitely fixed, it was naturally included among the points to be arranged, and at the outset of the negotiations Lord Kimberley stated that he was prepared to give £10,000 compensation. As is now known the negotiations broke down; at any rate, nothing came of them.
§ *MR. CURZON
The sum of £10,000 was, I believe, suggested by the French Ambassador in conversation with Lord Kimberley, and I think the first time it was mentioned as a definite offer on the part of the Government, was at the commencement of the negotiations in Paris. When the negotiations broke down in Paris for the settlement of the wider 571 issue, it is quite clear that matters reverted to their original position, and that that was so is also clear from the Debate to which the right hon. Baronet alluded, which took place in this House in June, 1895. In the course of that Debate, a speech was made by the hon. Baronet opposite, I do not know whether the report of it is accurate or not, but one sentence is, I think, absolutely clear, and that is the sentence in which the hon. Baronet said:The Government made an offer to the French Government simply as an act of goodwill and in deference to the views which had been put forward by them.That is a statement absolutely unmistakable, in complete conformity with the assurances that had been given before, both by Lord Rosebery and by Lord Kimberley, and bears, I think, only the interpretation which I have put upon it. Such was the state of affairs when the present Government came into office. We found not merely had a moral obligation been admitted by our predecessors, but that the actual sum to be given in discharge of that moral obligation had been assessed and fixed by them, and we held that we were bound thereby. Now the right hon. Gentleman comes forward and says. What is the quid pro quo we have got for this? Sir, is not that a shabby view to take of such a transaction? We admit a moral obligation, but when we come to discharge it we are to make the most out of it that we possibly can! It has been said, why should you make this concession to the French Government or the French nation. Sir, it is not a concession to the French Government or the French nation. If it had been, I could quite understand that we might try to get something out of them in return, but it is nothing of the kind. It is a concession to French missionaries, who are subjects of our own, living under our Protectorate, and whose opinions we are specially bound to consider.
§ *MR. CURZON
I hope that that is not the case. It would not be likely that Lord Kimberley would have agreed to pay this compensation if that had been the case.
§ *MR. JOHNSTON
I was referring solely to the French priests, who, from what is stated in the Blue Book, were certainly the real aggressors.
§ *MR. CURZON
I quite understand the hon. Gentleman's argument, but I will not pursue it. I hope I have shown that this was not really a matter that we could look at from the sordid point of view of extracting something in return. We have paid the money because the late Government undertook to pay it, independent of any settlement of other questions, and because we accepted that view, and believed that it was desirable to remove a long standing sore from people under our Protectorate.
§ SIR EDWARD GREY
There are one or two remarks I should like to make upon the right hon. Gentleman's speech, though, in principle, I do not propose to differ from this Vote, and on the substantial points he has made I am certainly in agreement as to the accuracy of the history he has given of the question. First of all I would say that, alluding to Major Macdonald's Report, the right hon. Baronet gave the impression that it had no bearing upon this question of the claims made by the French Government on behalf of the French missionaries. I have not a copy here of that Report, but, according to my recollection of it, though it may have not dealt directly with that claim, its finding as to facts in which the right hon. Gentleman said the blame was distributed all round, did have a considerable bearing upon the way in which we were to meet the claim put forward by the French Government. [MR. CURZON: "Hear, hear!"] That is certainly my recollection of the Report. Still, speaking from recollection of that 573 Report, I, at any rate, am certainly unable to accept that Report as conclusive as regards the question of liability, but I admit it did raise questions of doubt. My own opinion was, as I think I stated the last time I spoke in the House upon this subject, that the matter really reduced itself to a fine point—whether, when the disturbances were taking place, Captain Lugard could or could not have put a guard over the property of the French missionaries and prevented it from destruction. The position of Captain Lugard at the time was, I think, a critical position. My view, certainly, was that, probably Captain Lugard had all he could do to maintain his own position, and that to raise the point, whether, when he was so hard pressed, he could or could not have placed a guard over the property of the French Mission at the time of the crisis, and in the very middle of the crisis, was raising a very fine point. But that point was left open to doubt by Major Macdonald's Report, and being laid open to doubt, it is quite true, as the right hon. Gentleman opposite has said, that the late Government did promise the French Government, in principle, that they would concede the claim. Then the question arose as to the amount, and, as the right hon. Gentleman said, there was some difference of opinion. The actual sum claimed, seemed to us to be greatly in excess of the damage which had been proved to be done, and we were not prepared to concede the full claim. It was conceded in principle, I admit, and the Government following us were, no doubt, bound to concede it in principle, but the question arose as to what the actual amount was to be. My recollection is that the actual amount of £10,000 was not conceded until the general negotiations were opened, and that, if those general negotiations were admitted, the claim on behalf of the French Mission Station was to be allowed at the amount of £10,000. Now I think it is really taking too fine a point to raise the question whether this amount is the exact amount which should be given or not. I quite admit that the 574 claim was conceded in principle, and, when £10,000 is the sum actually named as part of the general negotiations, it is taking too tine a point to raise the question whether £10,000 is not £2,000 in excess of what the claim should be allowed at. But, sir, at the time when we named the sum of £10,000, and I think, also, at the time when we conceded this claim in principle, we did really hope that there was some clearing on general questions, including other difficulties in Africa. But though I regard this as I think anybody ought to regard it, as something which is really in the nature of (to use a term we have seen rather frequently of late) a "graceful concession," we did feel, and I feel still, that, when graceful concessions are made, they ought to be something more than graceful, they ought also to be mutual. I regret very much that, after we had gone so far as to yield this point as the first point—not the most important, but, the first point—in general negotiations, those general negotiations should not have led to any further result. But now at the time we have arrived at, when there are many more important questions in dispute, and, admitting to the full that the late Government pledged themselves in principle, and, admitting also that I should not raise any point as to the actual amount, and, admitting also that we on this Bench may be pledged to support this Vote, I would appeal to hon. Members who may not regard themselves as so pledged, and ask them whether it is not rather too important that this is entirely different from anything we have been discussing here to-night. It is not a question connected with the internal administration of Uganda, but it is a question between the British and the French Governments. It is true that it is a claim on behalf of the French missionaries, and that the money would have gone to them, but the money was pressed for by the French Government. It was taken up by them as a question in which they were extremely interested. Now, Sir, considering the condition of other controversies, I think we ought to take a large view of such a point as this. I am most anxious that, on some other 575 things, the British Government should show that there are points about which they cannot give way, but I am also anxious that we should show, and that the whole Committee should show, that, whatever firmness we wish to be displayed on other things, that firmness does not arise from any want of neighbourly feeling towards France. I think, after all that has passed, it would be churlish to refuse this Vote, even on the part of hon. Members who may regard themselves as being perfectly free with regard to it, and not in any way compromised by anything that was done by the previous Government. This Vote does give us an opportunity of showing a neighbourly feeling in response to the keenly expressed interest of the French Government in the matter, and I think that, at any rate, we ought not to grudge the concession.
§ MR. MCKENNA
After what has been said by the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and by the hon. Baronet opposite, I have no doubt my right hon. Friend will not press his Motion to a Division, but I should like, before We part with the Vote, to refer to one or two points. The hon. Baronet opposite, said that there was an admitted liability on the part of Her Majesty's Government in this matter. I would like to point out that any such unqualified admission of liability constitutes a grave charge of misconduct against Colonel Lugard. The original form in which this matter was brought forward makes it impossible to admit our liability, except we admit very grave misconduct on the part of Colonel Lugard. M. Waddington, writing to Lord Salisbury, uses these words—I cannot conceal from your Lordship that the very gravest accusations are made in this matter by Captain Lugard.That is very serious language to use of a man in whom I feel sure every member of this Committee places the highest confidence. The hon. Baronet opposite expressed the hope that we should not take a 576 sordid view of this question. We shall all be agreed about that, and I do not think my right hon. Friend the Member for the Forest of Dean urged any sordid View. What we desire is that the Government should take purely and simply a mutual view of what are the relations between the French Government and our own, and regard this matter as connected with the general settlement of all outtanding claims between the two sides. The right hon. Gentleman has not replied to the question raised by my right hon. Friend as to the action of the French in attacking the soldiers of our West Indian Regiment at Waima. The right hon. Gentleman knows that we had then as grave a case against the French Government as it is possible to conceive, but no attention whatever seems to have been paid to our claims. I will trouble the House with only one other observation, and that is about the neglect to supply the House with Major Macdonald's Report. That Report was originally required by Lord Rosebery as a condition precedent to any settlement of the question. I have been able to discover in connection with this matter only one reference to that Report, and from that it appears that the Report was in the hands of the Foreign Office in the year 1893. It was a Report sent by Major Macdonald and a European gentleman, who, it appears, was a German newspaper correspondent. This latter gentleman sent the whole Report to his paper, and it has actually appeared in a Berlin newspaper. Yet the Report has never been laid before the House, and this Committee is left entirely without the materials on which to form an accurate judgment. I submit that, under these circumstances, the right hon. Gentleman should give some explanation as to the reasons which have induced the Foreign Office to withhold the publication of this Report.
§ SIR J. KENNAWAY (Devon, Honiton)
I trust that the right hon. Gentleman does not propose to press this Amendment to a Division, because, after the statements of the right hon. Gentleman 577 the Under Secretary of State and the hon. Baronet opposite, I think it is clear that we are morally bound to pay this sum. I only rise to express the hope that, in regard to claims made by the undoubtedly loyal Protestant missionaries, the same treatment may be extended to them, and that perfect equality may be shown in dealing with Protestant and Roman Catholic missionaries.
§ *SIR C. DILKE
I feel, Sir, that I have no alternative but to withdraw the Amendment, after the statements that have been made on this, as well as on the other, side of the House. But I cannot help saying that I still have the strongest feeling of dissatisfaction at the non-publication of Major Macdonald's Report. With regard to the case I referred to of the attack on the West Indian Regiment at Waima, I understand I should not be in order in raising it formally on this Vote; I will take another opportunity of bringing the matter before the House.
§ Motion by leave withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ 3. £1,533, Treasury Chest Fund.
Motion made and Question proposed—
That a sum, not exceeding £1,533 be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1898, to make good the net loss on transactions connected with the raising of money for the various Treasury Chests abroad in the year 1896–97.
§ DR. G. B. CLARK (Caithness)
On this Vote, I would like to ask why the loss in connection with the raising of funds at Ceylon, Mauritius, and Nora Scotia should be borne by the Imperial Parliament instead of by the Indian Parliament; why is this put in a Supplementary Estimate at all; and why is the amount so much less than it was last year?
§ *THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. R. W. HANBURY,) Preston
This is always brought in as an original Estimate tit the end of the year. With regard to the particular losses in connection with the raising of funds at Ceylon, Mauritius, and Nova Scotia, the hon. Member must know that certain troops have to be kept in those Colonies, and that provision for other Imperial services has to be made there.
§ *MR. HANBURY
That is simply due to the fact that the loss has not been so great this year as it was before.
§ MR. CALDWELL
Of course, we all know that that is so. It is preposterous for the right hon. Gentleman to tell us what is self-evident. But the point is that the sum asked this year is £1,533, against £16,304 in the previous year; and what we want to know is why there is such a considerable reduction this year.
§ *MR. HANBURY
I have really given the only explanation possible. The loss on transactions connected with the Treasury Chest is less this year than it was before, owing to the fact that the calculation in regard to the exchange rates of the rupee and the dollar was nearer the mark this year than it was in the preceding year.
§ MR. CALDWELL
Then, are we to understand that the whole thing is due to the depreciation of the rupee or the appreciation of the dollar?
§ *MR. HANBURY
Perhaps I may explain it in this way. This Vote deals with the loss during the year 1896–97. In February of each year, what is called a fixed rate between sterling and the rupee is agreed upon between the Indian and the Imperial Governments. In some years the rate agreed upon is either above or below the actual rate. The rate is fixed for the whole year. If the rupee rises 579 in exchange it is possible we should lose; if it falls the Treasury Chest gains.
§ Vote agreed to.