HC Deb 03 July 1899 vol 73 cc1289-331

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)


In calling the attention of the Committee to the position of the Royal Niger Company and the proposals which Her Majesty's Government make with regard to the future administration of the territories now under the company's control, I shall dwell very little on the history of the past. I can remember, when I held the office of Colonial Secretary in 1880, that our interests in that part of Africa were not considered important. I think they were practically centred in what was then the unimportant and small Colony of Lagos. Since that time, and especially within the last fifteen years, those interests have, as I need hardly remind the Committee, increased to a great extent. The Niger Coast Protectorate has been established, embracing the territory which was formerly known as the Oil River, and extending from Lagos up to the German sphere of influence at the Cameroons. Very large interests inland, on the basin of the Niger, have also been created over a vast territory by the enterprise of the founders and promoters of the Royal Niger Company. The position of affairs in the Niger basin was brought under the attention of the Government of the day before the year 1885; and, after much consideration, Lord Granville directed the preparation of a charter to that company, in May, 1885, and shortly afterwards that Government resigned. The matter was discussed by the succeeding Government, which, I think, was only in office for seven months, and afterwards by its successors. In May, 1886, it was decided to grant a charter to the Royal Niger Company, and the charter was actually issued in July of that year. Therefore the Committee will see that whatever may have been the merits—and I think they were considerable—of the policy adopted in granting a charter to a company in that region, and whether the provisions of the charter were good or not, at any rate, the policy was the policy, not of one Party alone, but of both the great Parties in the State. The charter conferred very wide powers on the Royal Niger Company parry. It empowered them to obtain and hold any treaty rights in the region to which it related, to trade there, and to hold land and any privileges, monopolies, and concessions from any potentate or government in Africa or elsewhere. It recognised thirty-seven treaties already made by the company with the chiefs in the Niger basin ceding territory to the company. It empowered the company to levy customs duties to be applied solely to defray the necessary expenses of government, including expenditure already incurred for administrative purposes or otherwise in relation to the maintenance, acquisition, and execution of treaty rights. The company was made in certain matters subject to the control of the Secretary of State; and there were provisions in the charter by which the Secretary of State could check their administrative accounts, and by which also it was stated that nothing in the charter should be deemed to authorise any monopoly of trade, and that the obligations of the Treaty of Berlin relating to the navigation of the Niger should be adhered to. Therefore, within this region of Africa three different kinds of British administration were established. First, there was the Colony of Lagos under the control of the Colonial Office; secondly, there was the Niger Coast Protectorate under the Foreign Office; and, thirdly, there was the Royal Niger Company, subject only, as far as Her Majesty's Government were concerned, to the very slight control I have stated to the Committee. Perhaps it was hardly likely that these three different kinds of administration would work in harmony, and they have not done so. The Royal Niger Company set itself to the work authorised by its charter with very great energy. It did not do what is a very common thing now—it did not make its shares the subject of speculation on the Stock Exchange, nor has it become the fruitful parent of many other companies, granting concessions for various purposes, which are perhaps often of greater advantage to those who obtain them than they are to the public at large. The Royal Niger Company devoted itself to administration and trade and to the development of the great territories entrusted to its care. As a trading company it has been successful. On its paid-up capital of £500,000 it has divided amongst its shareholders 6 per cent. during each year since the charter was granted; and it has established a considerable reserve fund from its trading profits, and has applied large sums from those profits to the expenses of the administration of the territory which it incurred beyond the amount derived, under the provisions of the charter, from customs duties and other charges it was authorised to levy for the purposes of administration. But my work to-night is to deal with the administrative rather than the trading side of the company. In the work of the administration of the company, two men, I think, stand out pre-eminent—the late Lord Aberdare and Sir George Goldie. Two Secretaries of State—Lord Salisbury and Lord Kimberley—have borne testimony in the highest terms to the energy, the ability, and the resource displayed by the directors of the company, and especially by those I have named, in the work of the administration of these vast territories. Under their guidance the company extended its protectorate over an area of something like half a million square miles, with an estimated population of 30,000,000. It put down slave-raiding and massacres over a great area. It conquered the powerful Ameer of Napé and the Sultan of Ilorin, and took the town of Bida after an expedition with which Sir George Goldie's name will always be honourably connected. Some two or three years ago it abolished the legal status of slavery within its own jurisdiction; and it, also did what I think is greatly to its honour—it checked materially that terrible curse of Africa, the trade in spirits with the natives. The company further established very valuable relations with the great empires of Sokoto and Ganda—empires which are, as compared with African tribes generally, really civilised countries. Generally speaking, I think it may fairly be said that the company has founded an empire extending over many thousands of square miles in the most valuable part of Equatorial Africa; and this has been done in sharp contrast with the neglect which successive Governments and Parliaments in this country have shown of British interests in that part of the world. I am afraid that nothing in the past is much less to our credit than the manner in which the communications and the trade with the interior of Africa have been allowed by us to be cut off from our settlements of Gambia, Sierra Leone, and even to some extent the Gold Coast. The company acted very differently. It is owing to their work, and to nothing else, that they have preserved for our commerce and for our interests the great artery of the Niger; and in dealing with the company, either now or in the future, I am confident that the work which they have done in this respect will never be forgotten by their countrymen. But, of course, there is another side of the shield. The charter had not long been granted when difficulties arose in working. Some time ago there was a difficulty with the native tribe inhabiting the Brass country within the Niger Coast Protectorate. As far as I am aware, the relations between the company and the tribes within its own territories have been excellent. But the tribes to whom I refer had been in the habit of trading freely with the interior of Africa, of passing in British goods, and of bringing African produce to the coast. When the company was necessarily authorised to establish customs regulations and a customs tariff at its boundaries, these tribes found themselves, of course, seriously hampered in their freedom of intercourse with the interior; and the result was a very dangerous rising on their part and great loss of life and property, as well as expenditure by the company, before it was put down. Then, again, the company, being bound to establish a customs tariff, had to take care that it should not be evaded by smuggling, and they had to issue certain regulations formed with that object. They made certain provisions with regard to the granting of Customs certificates, with regard to the sums which should be paid for licences to trade on the Niger, and also with regard to the places where vessels might be allowed to trade or call for fuel on the voyages up and down the river. These regulations were undoubtedly to a great extent in restriction of trading by anyone else than the members of the company, and in my opinion they were almost necessarily so. But that was their effect, and consequently grave complaints were made by other traders not connected with the company, both in this country and in France, that practically these regulations, although I believe they were found to be within the legal rights conferred on the company by its charter, did infringe the spirit of the Act of Berlin in respect of the navigation of the Niger. That was a matter of natural complaint with regard to the company. But the great difficulty that has arisen, and the real ground, to my mind, which justifies the change we propose in the position of the company, has been the rivalry in that region between France and this country. We all remember the difficult and delicate nature of the situation two years ago. We remember the strained relations—more strained, I think, sometimes than the public generally appreciated—which arose, and we are all glad that that state of things has been put an end to by the treaty recently ratified by the two Governments. But it was perfectly clear through those difficulties that, although the Chartered Company might be the best means of dealing with that region as far as the natives were concerned, it was not the proper instrument with which the obligations of this country could be performed with regard to anything affecting our civilised neighbours in Europe. The officers of the Niger Company, however able—and they have had very able servants among these officers—must have been primarily influenced by the local and the trading interests of the company they served. It was impossible for them, of course, to consider matters from the broad point of view from which it would be the duty of Imperial officers to consider them; and, undoubtedly, if the Niger Company had been allowed a free hand in its relations with the French there would have been most grave danger of misunderstanding, and, perhaps, even of conflict, which might have led to a great and terrible war. Therefore, they were not allowed a free hand in this matter, and consequently they naturally devoted themselves to other matters within their own territory, rather than on their frontier, in which they were allowed a free hand, and the duty fell to Her Majesty's Government of taking such measures to protect the frontiers of the Niger Company as the circumstances required. The Committee will remember that we have had to organise a great West African frontier force and to send it out to those regions, with the practical result that within the, territories of the company there has been established a kind of dual administration, military and civil, of Her Majesty's Government and the company, one controlling the relations with the French, and the other controlling the relations with the natives. I need not dwell on the waste and on the risk of friction which that arrangement must necessarily bring with it, and this is the main reason why we have found it necessary to terminate the state of affairs which has hitherto prevailed and to advise Her Majesty to revoke the charter of the company. On that revocation the company will be relieved of all its administrative rights, powers, and duties, and will make over to Her Majesty's Government all its treaty rights, all its land and mineral rights, whatever they may be, and however acquired; further, it will make over to the Government so much of its administrative buildings and plant as we have deemed necessary for the administration of the territory. It will be reduced in itself to the position solely of a trading company, and will be left in possession of nothing more than its trading plant, buildings, stations, wharves, and so on, which are actually at present within its occupation. I am quite sure that the Committee will feel that on this very important change being made in the position of the company it is entitled to full recognition of the position which it has created for itself, and the rights which it has acquired in the territories covered by the charter. Those rights are very large. They are contained, I believe, in something like 300 treaties, of which, as I have said, thirty-seven were made before the charter was granted. But they also include private land rights and other rights which were not acquired by the company in virtue of the charter, and which were actually purchased out of its private trade profits. When the charter was granted the company was allowed to levy customs dues for the cost of the administration, and included in that cost was a sum representing the expenditure already incurred in relation to the maintenance, acquisition, and execution of its treaty rights. That sum was fixed as long ago as 1888 at £12,500 a year to be charged on the customs duties of the Niger territory. On that charge the company raised in order to recoup themselves for expenditure before the grant of the charter, a sum of £250,000, which is the debt of the Niger Company's territory. We propose to take over that debt on the condition, of course, that we obtain the rights now possessed by the company to redeem it. The debt bears 5 per cent. interest, and is not redeemable at par until 1938; but it is redeemable at any time on three months' notice at a premium of 20 per cent.; and part of the proposal I have to make is that we shall raise £300,000 in order to redeem that debt at once. Then I come to another point. The company was allowed to raise customs duties for the necessary expenses of administration. I think it is very probable that if it had had any anticipation of what we propose to-day, the revenue from these customs duties would have been sufficient to bear those necessary expenses, because it would have been obvious to the company that, not having a permanent tenure, they were not bound to expend in the administration and development of their territory more than was absolutely necessary to secure their trade profits. But that was not the view they took of the position from the beginning. They considered, of course, that they had a permanent tenure under their charter, and they acted accordingly; expending in addition to the necessary outlay on administration to secure their trade profits large sums much beyond the produce of the customs duties, which were paid by them out of profits which they made in trade. This matter has been gone into very carefully by the Foreign Office, who, as I think the Committee are aware, have been since the grant of the charter furnished every year with the company's administrative account. We have been satisfied that the company have a fair claim on this account to be reimbursed their expenditure in what may be called "unexhausted improvements," for, of course, they will not reap what they have sown in this way owing to the change that will be made in their position. The total amount of this expenditure, together with interest at about 2 per cent. since the granting of the charter, amounts to £300,000. That is the sum which we propose to ask Parliament to pay to the company on account of these unexhausted improvements. I think it ought never to be forgotten that the company risked a great deal in this matter. They have risked the whole of their capital in the attempt to develop a notoriously unhealthy and practically unknown region of Africa. They might have lost every penny of their capital. On the contrary, they have succeeded in their work, and I am sure that the House will not be willing to treat them with anything but fairness, and I would even add with liberality, in making this charge. Then I come to another point. In addition to their treaty rights—treaty rights, I mean, by cession of territory and matters of that kind—the company have acquired by private purchase very valuable land rights along the banks of the Niger. There is a strip for many miles along the banks of the Niger of excellent land in many places susceptible of irrigation, from 500 to 2,000 yards broad, which the company hold practically by virtue of purchase; and the total area so held may, I believe, be fairly estimated at something like 500 square miles, or 320,000 acres. It will be perfectly obvious to the Committee that these land rights must in future be of great value. The Niger is the great highway to this territory, and whether it be for the establishment of trading stations or factories, or the establishment of plantations, the strip of land to which I have referred at present affords not only the most suitable but perhaps the only really suitable ground for the promotion of commerce and industry in that country. We take these over from the company, and we also take over from the company the mineral rights they have acquired by treaty. Those rights are of considerable extent, particularly in the empire of Sokoto and Gando, and they exist under special treaties. It is reported that there are silver, tin, antimony and other metals in those regions; and, of course, there is always the hope of gold. I do not wish to exaggerate the importance of the mineral rights in this area, because it is a part of the world where hitherto minerals have not been successfully worked. But still it is perfectly obvious that the company holding those rights ought to transfer them to the Government so as to avoid friction and trouble in the future, and they will also be taken over by the Government on the conditions I am about to mention. We propose to pay to the company for its land rights I have described and for its mineral rights and also by way of compensation for the dislocation of business caused by the revocation of its charter, £150,000. The future Government of the territory will charge a royalty, and the company will for a period of ninety-nine years from the revocation of the charter be entitled to half the proceeds of any such royalty on minerals worked in a defined part of Northern Nigeria, between the Niger on the west and a line drawn from a place called Yola to Zinder on the east. Now I come to the last head, administrative plant. Of course, it is necessary that the new administration of the territories should be provided with adequate plant, buildings, steamers, and other requisites. We have had the advantage in this matter of the advice of Colonel Lugard and Sir R. Moor, who are intimately acquainted with the different places and with the property of the company to which I have referred. We propose to take over from the company a steamer, several hulks, launches, and boats, a considerable amount of war material, and the following buildings—at Akassa, the headquarters on the coast, a plot of 200 acres of made and cleared land, various buildings, machine shops and machinery, and a slipway for steamers; at Akaba, barracks, gaol, court-house; and similar buildings at Okuta and other places; and some stores which will have to be checked on the part of the company and of the Government. Of course, all these matters stand at a certain sum in the company's books. This has been carefully gone into, and we have made very considerable deductions from the sum. We have agreed with the company to take over the property to which I have referred for the sum of £115,000. I believe they are worth more than that, and they certainly would cost far more if we had to provide them afresh for ourselves. The Committee will see that we have dealt with four several sums—£300,000 to pay off the debt; £300,000 compensation to the company for their expenditure in developing the territory; £150,000 for land and mineral rights and compensation for the dislocation of trade, and £115,000 for plant; amounting together to £865,000. We propose that that shall be a debt against these territories in future. I believe it will not be many years before they will begin to pay it off. Out of this we propose that £820,000 shall be raised by way of loan on terminable annuities for thirty years; the remaining £45,000, being for articles like steamers, stores, and warlike material, we propose to charge on the Consolidated Fund out of the revenues of the year. I think I have completed what I have to say with regard to the arrangements proposed to be made with the Royal Niger Company, and for any detailed statement of future arrangements for the government of our territories in this part of the world I think I ought to refer hon. Members to my right hon. friend the Colonial Secretary. But perhaps I may say generally that throughout these territories all inland customs frontiers will be abolished, and there will be perfect freedom of trade to all alike. There will be a common arms law throughout the whole region and a common tariff, except that the importation of trade spirits into Northern Nigeria will be prohibited as now. For the present, and until a healthy site for a capital can be selected and better means of communication provided, the territories will be divided for administrative purposes into three divisions all under the control of the Colonial Office. One division will be Lagos, with its present area; the next will be Southern Nigeria, composed of the Niger Coast Protectorate and part of the Niger Company's territories, nearly half as large again as now; and the third, Northern Nigeria, composed of the rest of the company's territories, including Borgu and Ilorin, bounded on the south by a line drawn from Dahomey along the 9th parallel of latitude to Idda on the Niger, and thence following the same direction to the Anglo-German frontier. I should add that the military and police establishment in all these territories will be reorganised, and that especially in Lagos I believe it will be found capable of very material reduction, and in Northern Nigeria will be utilised for preventive purposes. I hope these proposals, which I have endeavoured to explain as shortly as possible, may commend themselves to the Committee. Papers relating to the subject will be laid on the Table to-night. Of course, if the Committee should agree to the Resolution, and I should be allowed to bring in a Bill to be based upon it, we should not propose to take the Second Reading until the papers shall have been in the hands of Members. But I suggest that, at any rate, there should be no objection in principle to the proposals. It may seem to some hon. Members that we are assuming on the part of the Government, and, therefore, of the country, a very material increase of responsibility in this region. That is not really the fact. All the responsibility rested upon us throughout, and all we are really assuming is the power of carrying out that responsibility as it ought to be carried out. In making this change we have endeavoured to deal fairly with the Royal Niger Company. I feel most strongly that to revoke their charter, to deprive them of their existing position, to reduce them to the position of a trading company and nothing else, without the fairest consideration, would be an act of gross injustice. We must remember what they have done for this country. I do not say they have been faultless in their policy or administration; I dare say many points could be stated which would show the contrary, but they have done a great work for us in those parts of the world. They have established a position which will be of profit and advantage to this country in the future to an extent which we perhaps are hardly able to appreciate now, and therefore, when on public grounds we feel ourselves compelled to ask Parliament to make this change, I would submit very respectfully that it ought to be made with the fairest and fullest consideration for the rights and interests of those who have done this great work.

Motion made and Question proposed— That it is expedient to authorise the issue, out of the Consolidated Fund, of sums not exceeding £865,000, and for the purpose of providing for any such issue, to borrow, by means, of terminable annuities charged on and paid out of moneys annually provided by Parliament for foreign and colonial services, and if these moneys are insufficient, out of the Consolidated Fund, any sum not exceeding. £820,000 for making payments to the Royal Niger Company, in consideration of the transfer to the Crown of the administrative powers of the said company, together with their treaty and other rights, property, and for meeting the expenditure rendered necessary by such transfer."—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)


The Committee must, I am sure, have listened with the deepest interest to the singularly clear statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Of course he will not, as he states, expect the Committee to pronounce an opinion on the particulars of the arrangement which has been made, especially in the absence of the Papers which have been promised. We must defer any discussion, I would suggest, until the Bill is before us for our approval. But the story which the right hon. Gentleman has told is, I think, a very clear instance at once of the convenience and of the dangers and difficulties attending government by chartered company. There are, as I have said, conveniences in the system, but undoubtedly one of the effects of it is that the country is often insidiously led on to a somewhat rapid expansion of its responsibilities without being really aware of what is being incurred in its name. I therefore think this is obviously a case in which this mode of government has been carried too far, and that it is time this country should openly undertake its responsibility and become possessed of the power to deal with what is practically in its hands. I believe there will be universal agreement in what the right hon. Gentleman has said as to the conduct of Sir George Goldie and those who have taken part with him in the control of the Niger Company. There is no doubt that individually he has shown the very highest qualities, and that those who have been associated with him have done their part well also. The policy of the company also has been distinguished by an evident desire all through to deal with the great evils of slave raiding, slave driving and slavery itself, as well as with those of the liquor trade in those regions. That in itself should be sufficient to cover any trifling sins that may be brought home to the company in the course of its administration. But at the present time I do not think it is desirable to spend much time in discussing the matter, because until we have details before us in the Papers promised by the right hon. Gentleman we really are not in a position to offer any detailed criticism upon the proposal he has submitted—a proposal which, however, I imagine will commend itself to the judgment of the Committee.

MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

I entirely agree with the Chancellor of the Exchequer that this company is far more respectable than those other chartered companies which the right hon. Gentleman did not name, but which we perfectly well understood him as referring to. I think it is most desirable that we should take over this company. But it should also be thoroughly understood that while recognising the fact that the company ought to be taken over we entirely reserve to ourselves the right to discuss the terms of the agreement, because it has more than once happened that when a Vote of this kind has been taken we have subsequently been told that we have pledged ourselves to agree to it. We want to have before us the figures and the accounts of the company before we can come to a conclusion. This is a company with a capital of £500,000 and a debt of £250,000. So far as I gather we take over the debt of a quarter of a million and further agree to give the company a sum which is in excess of the par value of its shares. For that we are to obtain the political rights of the company, certain lands, and certain mineral rights. It certainly does seem to me to be a somewhat considerable amount to pay, awl the Chartered Company ought to pay the cost of the administrative charges. We leave to the company practically all its commercial undertaking, and therefore I do not see, when we positively relieve the company of a heavy charge upon its finances, why we should pay them for being relieved.


I congratulate both the company and the Government on the arrangement made. It seems to me that both in the interests of good government and of Her Majesty's Government themselves it is desirable that some such new arrangement as the Chancellor of the Exchequer has sketched should be made. As regards the amount, I think we are not capable of dealing with that at the present moment; and indeed this discussion must necessarily be adjourned, in the first place because we shall have further information before us, and in the second place, this House cannot deal with figures which are thrown out, as it were, without the slightest notice. But is it not possible to make some alteration in the practice of the House? When money is to be voted, the amount to be asked for should be placed in hon. Members' hands a day or two before they are called upon to vote; and I should like to ask whether it would not be possible so to alter the practice in this respect as to bring it into accord with what I confess I believe to be the true intention and meaning of the Standing Order.

MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)

If we agree to this Vote we shall be really binding ourselves, if not to the exact figure, substantially to the amount which it is proposed to give to the Niger Company for the revocation of its charter. I object to the sum, which I think is monstrous so far as we have any information laid before us, and I object to the whole principle on which the sum has been arrived at in the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I think the House of Commons is very unfairly treated in being asked, in the way in which it has been called upon to-day, to Vote a sum of £800,000 for compensation to a company when, I venture to say, we are all, even after the lucid statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, practically in the dark as to what we are doing. There is really nothing in the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer which would convince anybody that we are getting £20,000 value for £865,000. We ought to have had a statement of the finances of the country, and of the balance between the receipts from the Customs duties and the administrative expenses since the charter was granted. We ought to have some information also as to the price which was paid, if any, by the Chartered Company for those valuable lands which we heard so much of in the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and for those vague mineral rights which may turn out to be of no value whatever. I object to the amount which is set forth in this Vote, and the method by which this amount has been arrived at, and the manner in which the Committee has been treated on the present occasion. There is one point which appears to me to be of exceedingly great importance in connection with this proposal. This, unfortunately, is not the only chartered company now existing under the Crown, and you cannot deal with the Niger Chartered Company without taking into account the precedent that you are setting. You have to remember that another chartered company will have to be wound up very soon, for, if what is published in the newspapers is true, I think the time is very near at hand when complications will arise which will compel the Government to deal with the South African Chartered Company, and the same principle will apply. The Chancellor of the Exchequer drew a very flattering but hardly true comparison between the Niger Chartered Company and the South African Chartered Company. It is notorious that the South African Company has pursued methods which may necessitate an outlay of five, or six, or seven millions, if the charter is to be revoked on the same principle as has been adopted in the present case. Therefore, in dealing with this proposal, we cannot deal with it as if it were entirely disconnected with other matters. What is it we are asked to do by this resolution? The Niger Company, according to the statement of the Chanceller of the Exchequer, is to do great things for this country. Well, it remains to be proved that the Niger district will be an advantage to this country at all. I confess that I have not sufficient knowledge to form an opinion; but the fact remains that none of these West African colonies have ever paid their way, and this Niger Company, although, according to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, controlled by men of great capacity and great business experience, never has paid its way; on the contrary, the deficit which we are asked to take over, amounting to £250,000, represents a period of ten or eleven years' administration. It therefore remains to be proved whether we are not, in the present instance, taking over a losing concern, and relieving the company of a burden which is equivalent to a loss of many thousands per annum. Then, nothing was said on the trading position of the company. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has not placed before us any rough estimate of the loss contemplated by the company consequent upon the withdrawal of the charter. Therefore, it appears to me that, with the exception of buildings, steamers, land, and mineral rights, the Government is getting nothing whatever for all this money. I do not think that is a reasonable proposal, and though I know that many Members who have their doubts of this scheme may not see their way to do so, I shall divide the House against this proposal if I can get anybody to tell with me.

* SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucester-shire, Forest of Dean)

There is one question which ought to be brought before the Committee before this Vote is taken, and it is a similar one to that which occurred on the purchase of the East Africa Company some time ago. I understand that the French Govern-ment have some claim against the Niger Company—which they have put out as a set off against the Waima claim—owing to what occurred on the River Niger some time ago. It is now stated that the French Government are prepared to give compensation, and to go to arbitration to see what amount is to be paid, but they require that the other claim which they have against the Niger Company should be settled at the same time. Now that is a matter which ought to be raised here, and the Government ought to tell us whether a settlement will be come to between the company and the French Government before the company is taken over, otherwise it appears to me to be a bar to the arrangement in the Waima case which the Chancellor of the Exchequer tells us he is anxious to come to. All these matters, I think, should be taken into account.


I do not think I need say anything further than that this motion does not in any way bind the House as to the Bill the Government is about to introduce. The hon. Members for East Mayo and King's Lynn seem rather to have misinterpreted the meaning of this resolution. I take it that the resolution is tantamount to asking leave to introduce a Bill, and hon. Members will be quite at liberty to discuss the principle on the Second Reading. With regard to the point put by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Forest of Dean, I understand that there are claims, not only by the French Government against the company, but that there are very heavy claims by the Niger Company against the French Government. But all that will be considered.

* MR. J. E. ELLIS (Nottingham, Rushcliffe)

I am bound to say I think there is some substance in the matter raised by the hon. Member for King's Lynn, and I think there could be no objection to placing these Resolutions upon the Paper, that we might see them. I think that the House of Commons, dealing as it does with the taxpayers' money, is entitled to see these resolutions before they are moved. I am quite aware that this is not a matter which is entirely in the discretion of the Chairman. No doubt every Government desires in these matters to be as silent and swift as possible; but that is no reason why the House, sitting in Committee, should not have full and ample notice of the actual sum of money that it will be required to vote. I entirely accept the views of the right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as to the meaning of the resolution, and we are not bound beyond giving formal liberty to bring in a Bill, and therefore do not now say anything further on the matter.

MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has promised us Papers, but this Paper will not be included. It is essential to know what the profits of the company are year by year, and I would suggest that we should also have the last two or three balance-sheets of the company, and we ought to know what its trading arrangements are. As I understand, the Government are going to take user the administrative part of the company, and leave the company as a trading company. If that is so, we ought first to know what the costs of administration are, and also what the profits of the company are. I trust the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be able to give us those figures, so that we may be able to judge what price should be given to the company.

COMMANDER BETHELL (York, E. R., Holderness)

I think the reasons which called this particular form of procedure into existence have long since passed away, and that being so, it is not worth while offering any resistance to this motion.

DR. CLARK (Caithness)

Before this Vote is carried to a Division we ought certainly to have all the facts before the House. I am afraid I cannot follow the Government in this matter. All I know of the Niger Company is that it is a trading company, and twelve years ago it was given a charter, and prevented the men of Liverpool and the Clyde, who were doing business in those parts, from earning their living, and they were ruined. Now you are going to buy back what was given for nothing. I do not know who is going to benefit by that. I would like to know before anything is done. We shall have a list of the shareholders before us so that we may see whom the money is going to.

MR. W. F. LAWRENCE (Liverpool, Abercromby)

I have systematically asked for many years for the balance-sheets of the Chartered Niger Company to be produced. I cordially endorse what has been said upon this matter, and I am prepared to say that the people of Liverpool, although they have suffered at the hands of the Company, welcome the proposed change, and are prepared to forget and forgive. At the same time, we should like to know what we are going to get for our money.

MR. WARNER (Stafford, Lichfield)

It seems to me that the Government are going to buy for a large sum of money a thing which they know nothing about, and I certainly think with the hon. Member for Poplar that we ought to have some account of the cost of administration. I hope this point will be considered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and he will be able to give us some satisfactory answer on the point.


There will be no difficulty in giving any information with regard to the cost of administration of the Company. As to the trade accounts, I am not quite sure that we shall find it necessary to have those. But I have no doubt that we shall be able to give the House full particulars.

MR. MOON (St. Pancras, N.)

Has the Standing Order 62 been complied with here?


The Standing Order has been complied with in the same way that it has been for the last fifty or sixty years.


I do not think that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is quite right in saying that the House binds itself to nothing at all. It binds itself to vote £800,000, and it is not the mere formality which is suggested. What I suggest is that in future, when Her Majesty's Government desire to raise money, instead of leaving out the amount, they should allow it to be printed in the white paper. Might I appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to consider that point?


The procedure under which this is taken is very well known. It complies with a Standing Order which has been in existence some thirty-three years, and the procedure dates back for some two hundred years before that. There is nothing whatever unusual in it.

MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)

Several Members of the Committee have complained that the right hon. Gentleman has not brought forward sufficient data upon which to base even this stage of the Bill, and the right hon. Gentleman, as I understand, has promised to supply to the House full data later on. Is it not within the powers of any Member of the House to propose the adjournment of the Debate on the ground of insufficient information having been given?


I cannot put the question to report progress, as it seems to me, the practice being, as I have stated, a very old one, to alter it would require an alteration of the Standing Orders. There is nothing in the practice which has been followed on this occasion to differentiate it from the thousands of cases which have occurred before. I see no reason, therefore, why the adjournment should be moved.


Am I to understand that even if the Ministry come before the Committee without any data whatsoever in justification of any Vote, however large, we have no power in this House to postpone the further consideration of the question, and that, as. a matter of fact, the Committee is without any remedy, and that the Government may force through the House, with or without information, any proposal whatsoever, for any sum however large? I think, Sir, you will see the vast importance of the question now raised—whether the Government is entitled to proceed without being interrupted by a proposal for adjournment, however absolutely insufficient the information presented to the House may be.


I certainly did not go so far as the hon. Member says. The ground on which the hon. Member for King's Lynn wished to move the adjournment of the Debate was that the procedure on this occasion did not follow the Standing Order. That was the sole ground, as I understood.


May I correct you, Sir? The ground was, that sufficient time had not been given to the Committee to appreciate the figures which were put before it verbally only. I did suggest that there was not a proper compliance with Standing Orders. But that was not the ground upon which I put my objection.


May I remind the Committee of what occurred last year on a similar motion in connection with the Irish Local Government Bill. When exception was taken by myself and other Members upon this very point—that the Resolution was not placed upon the Paper in accordance with practice—the Chancellor of the Exchequer agreed to an adjournment. The resolution was placed on the Paper, but the Debate was adjourned on the ground that we had not time to consider the full bearing of the resolution.


My recollection is entirely contrary to that. The point in that case was that the resolution did not give as much money as was expected.


That does not touch the question of order. That was a part of the objection, but the other part of the objection was that it was impossible to discuss the question until we had the Resolution in our hands. A difference of opinion arose on the Treasury Bench as to whether it did limit us on the very point we have raised, and it became evident to the House that it would not be fair to discuss the question without having more information and more time to consider the matter.


Of course it is open to any hon. Member to move the adjournment of the Debate on the ground of information not being sufficient. My only duty is, if I consider a motion for adjournment an abuse of the rules of the House, to put it at once, or refuse to accept it. I certainly understood the hon. Member for King's Lynn to take exception to this Resolution on the ground that the procedure was not in compliance with Standing Orders. In fact, the first time he rose he had a copy of the Standing Orders in his hand. Therefore I presumed his sole objection to the procedure was that it did not follow the Standing Orders. To take such an objection, in my opinion, was an abuse of the forms of the

House, and I refused to accept the motion of adjournment. But if the hon. Member tells me that he desired to move the adjournment on the ground that sufficient information had not been given, I will, under those circumstances, accept his motion.


I wish to move the adjournment on the ground that we have not had the figures before us in any written form; we have only had them verbally. That would be the ground, and because sufficient information has not been placed before the Committee. I would therefore move the adjournment of the Debate.


rose to speak.

Question put, "That the Chairman report progress, and ask leave to sit again."

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 103; Noes, 192. (Division List No. 211.)

Allan, William (Gateshead) Foster, Sir W. (Derby Co.) Nussey, Thomas Willians
Bainbridge, Emerson Fowler, Right Hon Sir Henry O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Gourley, Sir Edward Temperley Palmer, Sir Chas. M. (Durham)
Billson, Alfred Haldane, Richard Burdon Pease, Sir Joseph W.(Durham)
Birrell, Augustine Hedderwick, Thos. Charles H. Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. Pilkington, Sir G. A. (Lancs S W
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Holland, Wm. H. (York, W.R. Pirie, Duncan V.
Caldwell, James Horniman, Frederick John Power, Patrick Joseph
Cameron, Sir Charles (Glasgow Jacoby, James Alfred Price, Robert John
Causton, Richard Knight Joicey, Sir James Priestley, Briggs (Yorks.)
Cawley, Frederick Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire) Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Channing, Francis Allston Kay-Shuttlew'th, Rt. Hn. Sir U. Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh. Kearley, Hudson E. Robson, William Snowdon
Clough, Walter Owen Kitson, Sir James Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Colville, John Labouchere, Henry Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfrshre.
Crombie, John William Langley, Batty Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.) Leng, Sir John Souttar, Robinson
Dalziel, James Henry Lloyd-George, David Stanhope, Hon. P. J.
Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan Logan, John William Steadman, William Charles
Davitt, Michael Lough, Thomas Stevenson, Francis S.
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Strachey, Edward
Dillon, John Lyell, Sir Leonard Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Donelan, Captain A. Macaleese, Daniel Tennant, Harold John
Doogan, P. C. M'Ewan, William Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) M'Leod, John Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Dunn, Sir William Mappin, Sir Frederick T. Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Ellis, John Edward Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand Warner, Thomas CourtenayT.
Evans, Sir F.H. (Southampton) Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel) Wedderburn, Sir William
Farquharson, Dr. Robert Morgan W. P. (Merthyr) Weir, James Galloway
Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond Moulton, John Fletcher Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Flynn, James Christopher Norton, Capt. Cecil William Williams, John Carvell (Notts
Wilson, Charles Henry (Hull) Woods, Samuel TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.
Wilson, Hy. J. (York, W. R.) Young, Samuel (Cavan, East) Gibson Bowles and Mr. T. P. O'Connor.
Wilson, John (Govan) Yoxall, James Henry
Woodhouse, Sir J T (Huddersf'd
Aird, John Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Milton, Viscount
Allsopp, Hon. George FitzWygram, General Sir F. Milward, Colonel Victor
Archdale, Edward Mervyn Flannery, Sir Fortescue Moon, Edward Robert Pacy
Arnold, Alfred Flower, Ernest Moore, William (Antrim, N.)
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Foster, Colonel (Lancaster) Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Galloway, William Johnson Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)
Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy Garfit, William Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)
Bailey, James (Walworth) Gibbs, Hn. A.G. H.(City of Lon) Newdigate, Francis Alexander
Baird, John George Alexander Gibbs, Hon. Vicary(St.Albans Nicholson, William Graham
Balcarres, Lord Giles, Charles Tyrrell Pierpoint, Robert
Baldwin, Alfred. Gordon, Hon. John Edward Pilkington, R.(Lancs., Newton)
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r) Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W.(Leeds Goschen, Rt. Hn. G.(St George's Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Banbury, Frederick George Graham, Henry Robert Priestley, Sir W. Overend (Edin.
Barnes, Frederic Gorell Gull, Sir Cameron Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward.
Barry, Rt Hn A H Smith-(Hunts Gunter, Colonel Purvis, Robert
Barry, Sir FrancisT.(Windsor) Halsey, Thomas Frederick Pym, C. Guy
Bartley, George C. T. Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord George Rankin, Sir James
Barton, Dunbar Plunket Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert W. Richards, Henry Charles
Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin Hardy, Laurence Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.
Beach, Rt Hn Sir M. H. (Bristol Hare, Thomas Leigh Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson
Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe Haslett, Sir James Horner Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye
Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo. Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter
Beresford, Lord Charles Heath, James Royds, Clement Molyneux
Bethell, Commander Heaton, John Henniker Russell, Gen. F. S. (Ch'lt'nh'm
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Hermon-Hodge, R. Trotter Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Biddulph, Michael Hill, Arthur (Down, West) Ryder, John Herbert Dudley
Blundell, Colonel Henry Hoare, Edw. B. (Hampstead) Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Hoare, Samuel (Norwich) Seely, Charles Hilton
Bowles, Capt. H.F.(Middlesex) Holland, Hon. Lionel R. (Bow) Sharpe, William Edward T.
Brassey, Albert Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil Sidebottom, Wm. (Derbysh.)
Brookfield, A. Montagu Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn Simeon, Sir Barrington
Burdett-Coutts W. Hughes, Colonel Edwin Smith, James P. (Lanarks.)
Butcher, John George Hutton, John (Yorks. N.R.) Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk
Campbell, Rt Hn, J. A. (Glasgow Jenkins, Sir John Jones Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Johnston, William (Belfast) Stanley, Henry M. (Lambeth)
Carlile, William Walter Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex) Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.) Jolliffe, Hon. H. George Stirling-Maxwell, Sir J. M.
Cayzer, Sir Charles William Jones, David Brynmor (Swan.) Strauss, Arthur
Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, E.) Kimber, Henry Strutt, Hon, Charles Hedley
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.) King, Sir Henry Seymour Sturt, Hon. Humphrey N.
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Knowles, Lees Talbot, Rt Hn J G (Oxf'd Univ.)
Chelsea, Viscount Laurie, Lieut.-General Tomlinson, Wm. E. Murray
Clarke, Sir E. (Plymouth) Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool) Tritton, Charles Ernest
Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E. Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.) Valentia, Viscount
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Lea, Sir Thomas (Londonderry) Vincent, Col. Sir C.E. Howard
Colomb, Sir John C. Ready Lecky, Rt. Hn. William E. H. Wanklyn, James Leslie
Courtney, Rt. Hon. Leonard H. Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Swan. Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.
Cox, Irwin Edward B. Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R. Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd
Cranborne, Viscount Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham) Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u.-L.)
Cripps, Charles Alfred Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Liverpool) Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Cruddas, William Donaldson Lowe, Francis William Wilson, J.W. (Worcestersh. N.
Dalbiac, Col. Philip Hugh Loyd, Archie Kirkman Wodehouse, Rt Hon E. R (Bath)
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Lubbock, Rt. Hon. Sir John Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Denny, Colonel Lucas-Shadwell, William Woodall, William
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Macartney, W. G. Ellison Wortley, Rt. Hon. C.B. Stuart
Doxford, William Theodore Macdona, John Cumming Wyndham, George
Drucker, A. M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Wyndham-Quin, Major W.H.
Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinb'rgh, W Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy
Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph D. Malcolm, Ian Young, Commander (Berks, E.
Fardell, Sir T. George Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw. Mellor, Rt.Hon. J.W.(Yorks.) TELLERS FOE THE NOES,
Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J.(Man.) Meysey-Thomson, Sir H. M. Sir William Walrond and
Finch, George H. Middlemore, J. Throgmorton. Mr. Anstruther.

I think this is one of our most remarkable experiences for many years. Here we have the Government of the day coming down to propose an expenditure of over £800,000 and the taking over of the vast responsibilities of the government of a large portion of country, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer—the gentleman mainly responsible for the administration of the finances of the country, and the guardian and custodian of the public purse—makes this proposal without putting before the Committee one shred or syllable of information except such as he has verbally given to the House. I venture to say that in the history of this Parliament this is an unprecedented proposal, and it is an unprecedented manner of conducting business. The Chancellor of the Exchequer—who, deservedly, I believe, has the reputation of being a rigid economist and a vigilant guardian of the public purse—has come before the Committee to-night in a manner which would do credit to the most daring audacity of the most daring company promoter. He comes down here, and although he must have had this proposal in his mind for weeks and months, there is not a single Member of this House who has a single scrap of print before him with regard to this transaction. The right hon. Gentleman has felt the difficulty of the situation, because he has promised that the Papers will be ready tonight. Why, then, if the Papers are to be presented to-night is not this resolution postponed till to-morrow? I put it to the business men of this House whether in all which they have ever read during the last ten years of rotten company promoting they have ever heard of a case in which they have been asked to take shares without a single fact about the transaction with which they are asked to deal? This proposal reminds me of some recent transactions on the Stock Exchange, where a number of people began to gamble in shares before they even saw the prospectus. Here there are over £800,000 asked for from the taxpayers of this country; here is the control of a large portion of country passing from the hands of a private company into the hands of the Government; and therefore I say it is a transaction of vast and momentous importance; and although the Chancellor of the Exchequer tells us that the Papers will not be ready until to-night, yet he asks this Committee to accept this proposal to-day before a single one of these Papers is forthcoming. I do not think that a more remarkable fact has ever occurred in our history. What are our materials for forming an opinion of the proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer? I understand that he has given some details with regard to how this money is going to be spent. Just fancy upwards of £800,000 being asked for upon mere verbal details given across the floor of the House, of which Members of this House have no other means of gathering the drift except by the hasty notes which they were able to take in the course of the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Not only this, but he has made a most remarkable statement with regard to the proposed expenditure of this money. I understand that he stated that £120,000 was to be given for the mineral rights and land.




The right, hon. Gentleman shakes his head, and I must confess that I have not had the advantage of hearing the statement of the right hon. Gentleman. (Hear, hear.) Some hon. Members opposite cheer that statement ironically, but I doubt if even they have had the advantage of hearing the statement. How many of the Members who went into the Lobby just now had the advantage of hearing the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman? Is it tolerable that in a great transaction of this kind you should have no means of information except a verbal statement which not one-third or one-fourth of the Members of this House had the advantage of hearing? I only repeat the statement as it was given to me, and I understand that a very considerable sum is to be given for the so-called mineral rights. This transaction must be sifted to the bottom. I believe, from the evidence before me, that it is a thoroughly bad and unsound transaction, and the manner in which it has been brought before this Committee—with all due respect to the right hon. Gentleman—is an abuse of the powers of Government in forcing this proposal upon the Committee. This charter, I understand, was got for nothing, and was granted by the State something like thirteen years ago. This monopoly, which did not cost the, company one penny, is now to be bought back by the State which gave it for £800,000. That is surely a most extraordinary transaction which will require a great deal of justification. But that is not my real point. What I object to is the manner in which this transaction has been dealt with. I observed that the First Lord of the Treasury was rising at a previous portion of this Debate, and although I was rising at the same time I gave way to the Leader of the House. Now, I should like to hear what the right hon. Gentleman has to say about this transaction. Is it right that we should be left in this way without information? Then there is one point which the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave in his defence of his manner of dealing with this question; he said that this stage was practically a formal stage of the Bill, and that it pledged nobody to anything except giving the Government permission to introduce the Bill. I do not wish to imply that this resolution will decide the fate of the Bill, but, at the same time, I want to put this to the First Lord of the Treasury. Why is it that this method of procedure has been adopted by the Government with regard to all money bills? At this stage of the Bill, instead of being bound down by the same rule of only a single speech which binds the House when the Speaker is in the chair, there is full and ample means of discussing this question. Are all these rules a farcical nullity or a reality if the right hon. Gentleman can come down here and make a proposal of this description, then I say these rules are a farcical nullity. If these precautions were meant to be real I do think the right hon. Gentleman is straining his power in this House in calling upon us to assent to this Bill in the absence of material for judging of the merits of the transaction. For these reasons I do hope that the right hon. Gentleman will postpone the further consideration of this matter until these Papers—which he says will be in the hands of Members to-night—have been issued, and until we have had some further opportunity of judging this great and important measure.


I should like to ask whether it is proposed to take over from the company its administrative duties, which are carried on at a loss, while all the company's trading rights are to be continued to it. Are the Government acting in the interests of Liverpool and Manchester? The Chambers of Commerce of those cities asked that this monopolist company should be bought out altogether in order that there might be free trade and competition in the region of the Niger. But according to the proposal before us you are only going to buy up what has been a source of loss to the company, and the company is to continue as a trading concern with all its huge monopolies. I suppose the company was well aware that something of this kind was going to take place, and it has been doing all it possibly can to secure its own position as a trading concern after it has given up to you what is to it a source of loss, and it will still be able to exercise a practical monopoly. Is it not a fact that the company has been buying sites where trading stations could be placed, and has been putting pressure on the chiefs to obtain valuable rights for a mere song? You are taking over all responsibility, and you are asking Parliament to approve of that course without giving us any Papers on the subject. I think it is ridiculous, under those circumstances, to ask us to pass this resolution without any information having been given to us. If this stage is necessary, we ought to have full particulars before we pass from it. This scheme was, I believe, originally promoted by an astute Glasgow man, who secured a promise from the late Government—this Government is not responsible—to buy up at a great price what is now a source of loss to the company. Before the Government ask us to pass this Vote they ought to tell us whether these are the actual facts or not. When the matter was mentioned it was thought that the Government were buying up the whole concern, just as the British East African Company was bought up. We ought to have been supplied with a list of the shareholders of the company, in order that we may know with whom we are dealing. Every ordinary company is required to send a list of its shareholders to Somerset House, but a chartered company is not required to give that information. That and other information ought to be given to us before we proceed any further with this proposal.


The statement of the hon. Gentleman is not a fact. What we propose is to take over the rights of the company in such a way that there must be free trade on the Niger, and there can be no monopoly in future.


Is it not a fact that the company has had no legal monopoly for ten years?


It has been alleged that the Company has had a practical monopoly in recent years, but it cannot have that monopoly in future. As to the land rights, I explained to the Committee that the land rights we propose to purchase are the very land rights alluded to by the hon. Gentleman. Therefore any trade which the Government of the Niger Protectorate desire to attract to the neighbourhood will have no difficulty in settling there.


In the course of this Debate a principle of the most extraordinary character has been laid down, and has apparently been accepted by some hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House. It is, however, a principle which I venture to contend is absolutely unsatisfactory, viz., that this motion does not in any way bind the House to the amount of motley it is proposed to take, and that it is nothing more than a formal motion. If that be so it would make no difference what the Chancellor of the Exchequer asked for, and he might have asked without question for £10,000,000 instead of £800,000. When put in that light can anyone understand that it does not matter what amount of money is asked for in the Resolution? Of course, such a contention is absurd. If the Committee passes the motion it will substantially accept the estimate in the Resolution. I do not mean that the House will be subsequently debarred from cutting down the amount on some small detail, but I hold that this is the stage when substantially the amount of the burden to be placed on the taxpayers has to be decided, and we are entitled to discuss before the Resolution is passed the general principles on which this sum has been arrived at. This sum appears to be based on a general Calculation made without anything like sufficient information, and we should have the detailed calculation on which the items are based before we are substantially committed to the principle. On the question of land, it is quite true, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer has stated, that certain valuable lands on the Niger River are to be taken over by the Government, but we have no details. We do not know that the company might not have retained all the valuable sites it desired, and handed over to the Government all which it did not value, but for which it is now to obtain £100,000. I think we are entitled to know how many cases of gin were given for these lands: it is probable that they were all bought for forty or fifty cases of the poison which is imported into the district. I really do say we are entitled to have some information as to the nature of the bargain, and the price to be given for the lands to be obtained. We are called upon to purchase the losing part of a concern, leaving to the company all its rights to carry on the business which has been a source of profit to it. The taxpayers are called upon to pay over £500,000, which is sufficient to give a bonus of 100 per cent. to every shareholder in the company, and then the company will continue its trading and pay 6 per cent. dividend. That is the transaction so far as I could understand it from the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and if that be a fair statement, it appears on the face of it, to use plain language, to be a most monstrous job. Under the circumstances we are not unreasonable in asking for further information.

MR. THOMAS BAYLEY (Derbyshire, Chesterfield)

I desire to ask one question. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has stated that there is to be free trade on the Niger River. Now the Niger River is only a small portion of the territory to be taken over, and I desire to know if there is to be absolutely free trade in the entire territory we are taking over? I think, for the credit of the House, and for our reputation as business men, that the Government have been very badly advised in not giving us more information. We have absolutely not a scrap of information, and even the terms of the resolution were not given on the Orders of the Day. It does appear to me to be exceedingly unfortunate, at a time when we have so much going on in connection with companies which is not satisfactory to this House or to the honour and credit of the country generally, that we should depart from our high traditions of fair play and honourable dealing in such a way as will I leave us open—I will not say to reflection—but which will, at any rate, make people wonder whether chartered companies are going to rule this House absolutely. I am very much in favour of this company being bought out, but all its rights should be bought out in a fair, clear, and honourable manner, and the transaction should be carried out in a straightforward way. It would have been a great deal better to have had a Committee of this House to deal with this question, and I hope the Government will reconsider their decision, and will not take a Vote on this resolution until we have had the printed Papers, and can absolutely know what we are buying, instead of giving a vote in the dark, as we would otherwise be doing. While I am in favour of buying out the company, I will most decidedly vote against the Government, as a protest against the manner in which they have brought forward this question.


The fault lies really very much with the rules and regulations of the House in regard to Money Bills. It is a very great disadvantage—asa rule—that we do not have the Papers before us before the resolution is proposed, and the resolution itself is not even put down in the Orders of the House. Then, although the Chancellor of the Exchequer says that we are not pledged to go on with the Bill because we have voted for the resolution, there is a bias in favour of going on with it if we agree to the resolution and allow the Chancellor of the Exchequer to raise that sum of money. I hope that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, before the Second Reading of the Bill, will give us very full Papers on everything connected with the company. The Chancellor of the Exchequer says that he will lay Papers before the House, but he has not told us what the Papers will be. For instance, in view of public opinion out of doors, it is desirable that we should have before us the number and names of the shareholders of the company. In all companies, unless chartered companies, their shareholders' names are to be seen at Somerset House. But these chartered companies were not intended as commercial companies, and consequently they were excluded from the operation of the Limited Liability Act, and we do not have the same oppor- tunity of looking into the operations of chartered as of other companies. It will simplify proceedings very much when the Second Reading comes on if we do have full Papers. For instance, take the case of the land and minerals. My hon. friend behind me said that these were obtained for a bottle of gin, or for a few beads. I do not know what was paid for them, but we know perfectly well that in all parts of Africa the black man is robbed for the benefit of the white man. When you talk of treaties having been made by which land rights and mineral rights are made over to white men, what happens? Someone belonging to one company or another meets a black man. Of course, he has an interpreter with him. He asks the black man if he is proprietor of certain land, and if he will sign a paper he shall have a bottle of gin. The black man at once accepts; a paper is put before him, and he is told to make his mark on it, which he does. And then we say that we have made a treaty by which all the rights in that country of the emperor, king, or chief, or whatever you call him, have been given over to us. That is the origin of all these treaties, and under these circumstances we ought to have the accounts of the company for the last ten or dozen years, with information as to how the lands and minerals were bought, and what has been paid for them. There is one point the Chancellor of the Exchequer could tell us now. I gather there is a loan to be paid off of £250,000. I do not know what price it was issued at; perhaps it was issued at below par. But the Chancellor of the Exchequer told us that it would require £300,000 to pay it off.


The loan of £250,000 was raised on a charge of £12,500 a year on the Customs duties of the Niger territory. It was repayable at par in 1938. Obviously the debt bears interest at 5 per cent., but there is a power to redeem it at any time on three months' notice, by a premium of 20 per cent., and we propose to raise £300,000 in order to do that.


The company has made a very good bargain for itself, or rather for the gentlemen connected with this loan. All these things we want to go into. We want to know exactly the expenditure, and how it was incurred. I confess I really do not understand the figures of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He tells us that we are to pay off this loan of £300,000 raised on the Customs duties, but if we pay off this loan, and take over the obligations of paying for the administration of the country, we really benefit the company in two ways, because the customs at present do not pay the cost of administration. If the company retains its commercial rights on which it makes its money, and at the same time if we pay off the loan, the £125,000 per annum goes into the commercial pocket.




Anyhow, that is a proof that stupid people like myself may make mistakes on a verbal statement. If I am wrong, that is a reason why I urge the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the interest of public business, to give us the very fullest accounts, and all the documents concerning this company which we deem necessary, in order that we may be able to arrive at a proper conclusion as to how much money ought to be paid to the company.

MR. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)

My hon. friends who oppose this Resolution do so from two different points of view. In the first place, we claim, and I think rightly, that on a matter of such great importance the ordinary rule should have been somewhat departed from, and the right hon. Gentleman should have given us the necessary Papers before the Resolution was brought before the House. There have been many occasions on which a demand similar to this has been met by the Government. I remember a case in which a very small sum was involved. The Chancellor of the Exchequer came forward with a proposal to give a certain guarantee to a certain Highland railway. I opposed the proposal, and the net result was that it was abandoned until such time as we had the full Papers before us, and then we had a mach more useful and full discussion than we could have had without the Papers. It is all very well to say that, according to Parliamentary forms, this is an introductory matter; but the result is that we bring in a Bill to carry out the decision of the Committee. The Bill itself is only a secondary method of carrying that decision into effect; and, therefore, it seems to me that we are entitled to fuller information. It has been said that we are buying a losing concern, and we are paying for it a vast amount of money—that such profit as had been made did not come out of the land, but from the trading which the company is still to retain. We ought to have some sound evidence on which the Government have based their decision. If an ordinary business man goes to buy a property, the first question he considers is how much a year has this property been yielding for the last ten or twenty years; and he finds this out before he puts a penny down. And if he discovers that the property has been yielding no money at all he will only offer the very smallest figure for it. It is said that this is practically to be made a free trade country, that we are purchasing certain lands which the company had acquired, and the right hon. Gentleman assures us that it would be impossible for the company to have a monopoly. But I see it stated in responsible newspapers this morning that the company had been buying lands a little distance away from those which they have sold to the Government. If that is true, it shows a shrewdness on the part of the company, and a want of enterprise on the part of the Government. This is more than a mere question of money; we are taking over by this resolution a vast territory, and the administration of twenty-five or thirty millions of people. That is a very big order. Without any Papers or evidence, and without any real opportunity for discussion, we are to be committed to the principle to-night that this great private enterprise is to cease, and that for the future that vast territory is to be governed by this country. The company have had a charter, but it is a question of very grave doubt whether the enormous power which they have exercised up to the present time is a power they were entitled to use at all. It seems to me that in the interest of the Government, and of the Bill which the right hon. Gentleman is about to bring forward, the wishes of such a very large number of the Opposition should be considered. If we were to have the Papers to-night the resolution might be taken on Wednesday, by which time we would have had the opportunity of reading the correspondence. If the right hon. Gentleman will give way, it will shorten the length of time for discussion on the Bill itself.


The Second Reading of the Bill will not be taken until hon. Members have had ample time to read the Papers.


It is so far satisfactory to know that the Second Reading will not be taken to-night. But sufficient time to consider the Papers before the Second Reading may mean a few days to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and a much longer period to those who are opposing it.


The Second Reading will not be taken this week.


This Bill is much too important to be rushed through by any Government. It is a Bill which I think ought to be carried with the general assent of the House, and not by mere catch party vote.

MR. LOGAN (Leicester, Harborough)

What fell from the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer has not satisfied me. As a man of business I should not for a single moment dream of putting my own money into the concern; I should refuse to take any shares in such a company; and I decline to invest the money of those I represent in it. We have been told over and over again that what we are taking from this company is a losing concern, and I cannot understand how the British taxpayer should be called upon to pay a large premium for the honour and glory of taking over a losing concern; particularly this year, when we have been compelled to dip into what is rightly called our "war chest" for the purpose of defraying the ordinary expenses of the year. We are told, if this transaction takes place the British people will acquire certain mineral rights. As a man of business, I have the greatest doubt as to whether the Niger Company are actuated by philanthropic notions in handing over these rights to the British people. If they have any real value at all, I am certain that the directors of the Niger Company would have kept them for themselves. We are told that there are sundry treaties with the natives which are to be acquired. I can fully bear out what the hon. Mem- ber for Northampton said as to how these treaties are obtained. I remember the bitter complaints of the natives of New Zealand as to the way in which they had been done out of their land for a trifling consideration. I am not concerned to obstruct the business of the House, but I say, as a man of business, I am entitled to further information as to why I should vote the money of those I represent. I hope the Government will reconsider the position, and adjourn the Debate for a day or so. If they do not, I believe the people of the country will not forget that at a time when we are so badly off for money that we cannot find any for old age pensions to the deserving poor, they cheerfully voted a million to a company who are going to hand over to us what they do not want.

SIR F. T. MAPPIN (York, W.R., Hallamshire)

This is, in my opinion, the most extraordinary proposal I have ever heard of since I have been in the House. We are asked to vote £865,000 without any information whatever. I cannot suppose that any business man in the House could, from the information we have before us, venture to support such a motion. We have no statement as to the value of the steamboats or machinery, and I would earnestly ask the Government to postpone this motion until we have further information.

MR. W. ALLAN (Gateshead)

The, right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that the Government were to take over from the Niger Company all the steamers, jetties, warehouses, plant, and machinery. May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if, in the Papers to, be submitted to the House, the age, carrying capacity, and value of the steamers will be entered; and who valued them. Further, will the original value of the jetties be entered, and who valued them? Will the same information be given in regard to the warehouses, plant, and machinery? Practical questions like these, will I am sure, commend themselves to the business abilities of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.


As I have already explained, a full schedule of the articles of various kinds to be taken over, with the prices, will be presented to the House. That schedule has been settled by a small Committee on which was included Colonel Lugard, who is well acquainted with the country and the places named, and Sir Ralph Moor, who is also acquainted with the places. The values were arrived at by a comparison with the company's books, which I believe allow for depreciation in each case. The value fixed—£115,000—is considerably less than the price at which these articles appear on the company's books. I may explain that the valuation has not only been taken by reference to the company's books, but also from the personal knowledge of Colonel Lugard of the company's plant and machinery.


I am sorry that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has not acceeded to the request for the postponement of the Debate. There is no option left but to move as an Amendment the deletion of the words "£865,000," with the view of inserting the words "£600,000."


rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the question be now put."

Question put, "That the question be now put."

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 216; Noes, 116. (Division List No. 212.)

Aird, John Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole Hardy, Laurence
Allhusen, Augustus H. Eden Corbett, A. Cameron ((Glasgow) Hare, Thomas Leigh
Allsopp, Hon. George Courtney, Rt. Hon. Leonard H. Haslett, Sir James Horner
Archdale, Edward Mervyn Cox, Irwin Edw. Bainbridge Hatch, Ernest Frederick G.
Arnold, Alfred Cranborne, Viscount Heath, James
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Cripps, Charles Alfred Henderson, Alexander
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Cruddas, William Donaldson Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter
Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy Cubitt, Hon. Henry Hill, Arthur (Down, West)
Baird, John George Alexander Curzon, Viscount Hill, Sir Edw. Stock (Bristol)
Balcarres, Lord Dalbiac, Colonel Philip Hugh Hoare, E. Brodie (Hampstead)
Baldwin, Alfred Dalrymple, Sir Charles Hoare, Samuel (Norwich)
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r Davies, Sir Horatio D.(Chat.) Holland, Hon. Lionel R.(Bow)
Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W.(Leeds Denny, Colonel Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry
Banbury, Frederick George Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Houston, R. P.
Barnes, Frederic Gorell Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Howard, Joseph
Barry, Rt. Hn. A. H. S. (Hunts Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S. Howell, William Tudor
Barry, Sir F. T. (Windsor) Doxford, William Theodore Hozier, Hon. J. H. Cecil
Bartley, George C. T. Drucker, A. Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn
Barton, Dunbar Plunket Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart Hughes, Colonel Edwin
Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. Egerton, Hn. A. de Ta[...]ton Hutton, John (Yorks, N.R.)
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas Jebb, Richard Claverhouse
Begg, Ferdinand Faithfull Fardell, Sir T. George Jenkins, Sir John Jones
Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Johnston, William (Belfast)
Beresford, Lord Charles Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J.(Mncr. Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)
Bethell, Commander Finch, George H. Keswick, William
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Kimber, Henry
Biddulph, Michael Fishier, William Hayes King, Sir Henry Seymour
Blakiston-Houston, John Fison, Frederick William Knowles, Lees
Blundell, Colonel Henry Fitz Wygram, General Sir F. Laurie, Lieut-General
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Fletcher, Sir Henry Lawrence, Sir E Durning- (Corn
Bowles, Capt. H. F.(Middlesex Foster, Colonel (Lancaster) Lawrence, Wm. F.(Liverpool)
Brassey, Albert Galloway, William Johnson Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Garfit, William Lea, Sir Thomas, Londonderry
Brookfield, A. Montagu Gedge, Sydney Lecky, Rt. Hon. William E. H.
Burdett-Coutts, W. Gibbs, Hn A. G. H.(Cityof Lond. Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn (Swan.)
Butcher, John George Gibbs, Hon.Vicary (St. Albans Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.
Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A.(Glasgow Giles, Charles Tyrrell Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine
Carlile, William Walter Gilliat, John Saunders Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.) Goldsworthy, Major-General Long, Rt. Hn. Walter(Liverpool
Cavendish, V.C.W.(Derbysh.) Gordon, Hon. John Edward Lorne, Marquess of
Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, E.) Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Lowe, Francis William
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Bir. Goschen, Rt Hn G. J.(St George's Loyd, Archie Kirkman
Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc. Graham, Henry Robert Lubbock, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Greene W. Raymond-(Cambs.) Lucas-Shadwell, William
Charrington, Spencer Gull, Sir Cameron Macartney, W. G. Ellison
Chelsea, Viscount Gunter, Colonel Macdona, John Cumming
Clare, Octavius Leigh Hall, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Halsey, Thomas Frederick Malcolm, Ian
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord Geo Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)
Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robt. Wm. Melville, Beresford Valentine
Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M. Richards, Henry Charles Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Middlemore, J. Throgmorton Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W. Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier
Milton, Viscount Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Ox'd.Unv.
Milward, Colonel Victor Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye Tomlinson, Wm. E. Murray
Moon, Edw. Robert Pacy Rothschild, Hon. Lionel W. Tritton, Charles Ernest
Moore, William (Antrim, N.) Royds, Clement Molyneux Valentia, Viscount
More, Robt, Jasper (Shropshire) Russell, Gen. F. S. (Ch't'n'm) Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. H.
Morgan, Hn. F. (Mon'mthsh.) Russell, T. W. (Tyrone) Wanklyn, James Leslie
Morrell, George Herbert Ryder, John Herbert Dudley Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.
Murray, R Hn. A. Graham(Bute Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd
Murray, Charles J. (Coventry) Seely, Charles Hilton Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L
Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath) Sharpe, William Edward T. Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Newdigate, Francis Alexander Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire) Wilson J. W. (Worcestersh.,N.)
Nicholson, William Graham Sidebottom, William (Derhysh. Wodehouse, Rt Hon E R(Bath)
Pierpoint, Robert Simeon, Sir Barrington Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Pilkington, R. (Lancs. Newton Smith, James P. ((Lanarks.) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C.B. Stuart-
Platt-Higgins, Frederick Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk) Wyndham, George
Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Stanley, Edward J. (Somerset) Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.
Priestley, Sir W Overend (Edin, Stanley, Henry M. (Lambeth) Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy
Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward Stanley, Lord (Lancs.) Young, Commander (Berks, E.)
Purvis, Robert Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Pym, C. Guy Stirling-Maxwell, Sir J. M. Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Rankin, Sir James Strauss, Arthur
Allan, William (Gateshead) Hemphill, Rt. Hon. C. H. Power, Patrick Joseph
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Hy. Holland, Wm. H. (York, W.R.) Price, Robert John
Bainbridge, Emerson Horniman, Frederick John Priestley, Briggs (Yorks.)
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Jacoby, James Alfred Randall, David
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Joicey, Sir James Rickett, J. Compton
Billson, Alfred Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea) Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Birrell, Augustine Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire) Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt Hn Sir U Robson, William Snowdon
Bowles, T. Gibson (King'sLynn) Kearley. Hudson E. Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Kitson, Sir James Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Langley, Batty Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarsh.
Burns, John Leng, Sir John Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Buxton, Sydney Charles Lloyd-George, David Souttar, Robinson
Caldwell, James Logan, John William Stanhope, Hon. Phillip J.
Cameron, Sir Charles(Glasgow Lough, Thomas Steadman, William Charles,
Cawley, Frederick Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Stevenson, Francis S.
Channing, Francis Allston Lyell, Sir Leonard Strachey, Edward
Clark, Dr. G.B. (Caithness-sh. Macaleese, Daniel Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Clough, Walter Owen M'Arthur, William (Cornwall) Tennant, Harold John
Clough, Thomas B. (Donegal) M'Dermott, Patrick Thomas,Abel(Carmarthen,E.)
Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.) M'Ewan, William Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.
Davies, M.Vaughan-(Cardigan M'Kenna, Reginald Trevelyan, Charles Phillips
Davitt, Michael M'Laren, Charles Benjamin Wallace, Robert
Dewar, Arthur M'Leod, John Walton, John L. (Leeds, S.)
Dillon, John Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe Wedderburn, Sir William
Donclan, Captain A. Mellor, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Yorks.) Weir, James Galloway
Doogan, P. C. Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Molloy, Bernard Charles Williams, John Carvell (Notts.
Dunn, Sir William Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel) Wilson, Charles Henry (Hull)
Ellis, John Edward Moulton, John Fletcher Wilson, Henry J, (York, W.R.)
Farquharson, Dr. Robert Nussey, Thomas Willans Wilson, John (Govan)
Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Woodall, William
Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Woodhouse, Sir J.T.(Hddersf'd
Flynn, James Christopher O'Connor, James(Wicklow,W. Woods, Samuel
Foster, Sir Walter(Derby Co.) Oldroyd, Mark Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)
Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham) Yoxall, James Henry
Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbt. John Paulton, James Mellor
Gourldey, Sir E. Temperley Pickersgill, Edward Hare TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Haldane, Richard Burdon Pilkington, Sir. G. A. (Lancs) Mr. T. P. O'Connor and Mr. Dalziel.
Hedderwick, Thomas C. H. Pirie, Duncan V.

Original Question put accordingly.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 223; Noes, 101. (Division List No. 213.)

Aird, John Finch, George H. Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)
Allhusen, Augustus Henry E. Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Melville, Beresford Valentine.
Allsopp, Hon. George Fisher, William Hayes Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.
Archdale, Edward Mervyn Fison, Frederick William Middlemore, Jno. Throgmorton
Arnold, Alfred FitzGerald, Sir Rollert Penrose- Milton, Viscount
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. FitzWygram, General Sir F. Milward, Colonel Victor
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Fletcher, Sir Henry Montagu, Hon. J. Scott Hants)
Bagot, Captain J. Fitzroy Foster, Colonel (Lancaster) Moon, Edward Robert Pacy
Baird, John George A. Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk) Moore, William (Antrim, N.)
Balcarres, Lord Galloway, William Johnson More, Robert J. (Shropshire)
Balfoar, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Man'[...] Garfit, William Morgan, Hn. F. (Monmouthsh).
Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds) Gedge, Sydney Morrell, George Herbert
Banbury, Frederick George Gibbs, Hn A G H.(CityofLond.) Murray, Rt Hn. A. Graham.(Bute
Barnes, Frederic Gorell Gibbs, Hn. Vicary(St. Albans) Murray, C. J. (Coventry)
Barry, Rt. Hon. A. H. S. (Hunts) Giles, Charles Tyrrell Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)
Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor) Gilliat, John Saunders Newdigate, Francis Alexander
Bartley, George C. T. Goldsworthy, Major-General Nicholson, William Graham
Barton, Dunbar Plunket Gordon, Hon. John Edward Pierpoint, Robert
Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Pilkington, R.(Lancs, Newton)
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H.(Bristol Goschen, Rt Hn (St. George's) Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Graham, Henry Robert Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Begg, Ferdinand Faithfull Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs.) Priestley, Sir W. O. (Edin.)
Bentinck, Lord Henry c. Gull, Sir Cameron Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. E.
Beresford, Lord Charles Gunter, Colonel Purvis, Robert
Bethell, Commander Hall, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Pym C. Guy
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Halsey, Thomas Frederick Rankin, Sir James
Biddulph, Michael Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord George Richards, Henry Charles
Blakiston-Houston, John Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W. Rickett, J. Compton
Blundell, Colonel Henry Hardy, Laurence Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Hare, Thomas Leigh Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson
Bowles, Capt. H. F.(Middlesex) Haslett, Sir James Horner Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye
Brassey, Albert Hatch, Ernest Frederick G. Rothschild, Hon. Lionel W.
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Heath, James Royds, Clement Molyneux
Brookfield, A. Montagu Heaton, John Henniker Russel, Gen. F.S.(Cheltenh'm)
Butcher, John Goerge Henderson, Alexander Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Campbell, Rt Hn J. A.(Glasgow Hill, Arthur (Down, West) Ryder, John Herbert Dudley
Carlile, William Walter Hill, Sir E. Stock (Bristol) Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Cavendish. R. F. (N. Lancs.) Hoare, Ed. Brodie (Hampstead Seely, Charles Hilton
Cavendish, V. C. W.(Derbysh.) Hoare, Samuel (Norwich) Sharpe, William Edward T.
Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East) Holland, Hon. L. R. (Bow) Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm Houhlsworth, Sir Wm. Henry Sidehottom, William(Derbysh.
Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r Houston, R. P. Simeon, Sir Barrington
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Howard, Joseph Smith, James Parker(Lanarks.)
Charrington, Spencer Howell, William Tudor Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk)
Chelsea, Viscount Hozier, Hn. James HenryCecil Stanley Edward J. (Somerset)
Clare, Octavins Leigh Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn Stanley, Henry M. (Lambeth)
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Hughes, Colonel Edwin Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Hutton, John (Yorks. N.R.) Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart
Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready Jebb, Richard Claverhouse Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.
Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole Jenkins, Sir John Jones Strauss, Arthur
Compton, Lord Alwyne Johnston, William (Belfast) Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Corbett A. Cameron (Glasgow) Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex) Sturt, Hon. Humpbrey Napier
Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W. Keswick, William Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G.(Oxf.Univ.
Courtney, Rt. Hon. L. H. King, Sir Henry Seymour Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray
Cox, Irwin Edw Bainbridge Knowles, Lees Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Cranborne, Viscount Laurie, Lieut.-General Tritton, Charles Ernest
Cripps, Charles Alfred Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn Valentia, Viscount
Cruddas, William Donaldson Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool) Wanklyn James Leslie
Cubitt, Hon. Henry Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.) Welly, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.
Curzon, Viscount Lea, Sir Thomas (Londonderry Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd.
Dalbiac, Colonel Philip Hugh Lecky, Rt. Hon. Wm.Edw. H. Whiteley, H. (Asht'n-under-L.
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Swase. Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Davies, Sir H. D. (Chatham) Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R. Wilson, J.W.(Worcestersh. N.
Denny, Colonel Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R.(Bath
Disraeli, Conings by Ralph Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham) Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Long, Rt.Hn Walter (L'pool.) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C B. Stuart-
Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S. Lorne, Marquess of Wyndham, George
Doxford, William Theodore Lowe, Francis William Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.
Drucker, A. Loyd, Archie Kirkman Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy
Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H. Lubbock, Rt. Hon. Sir John Young, Commander (Berks, E.
Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Lucas-Shadwell, William
Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph D. Macartney, W. G. Ellison TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Fardell, Sir T. George Macdona, John Cumming Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edwd. M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)
Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J.(Man.) Malcolm, Ian
Allen, W.(Newc. under Lyme) Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire) Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Bainbridge, Emerson Kearley, Hudson, E. Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Billson, Alfred Kitson, Sir James Robson, William Snowdon
Birrell, Augustine Langley, Batty Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Leng, Sir John Shaw, Thomas (Hawick, B.)
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Lewis, John Herbert Sinclair, Capt. John(Forfarsh.)
Burns, John Lloyd-George, David Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Caldwell, James Lough, Thomas Souttar, Robinson
Cameron, Sir Ch. (Glasgow) Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.
Cawley, Frederick Lyell, Sir Leonard Steadman, William Charles
Channing, Francis Allston MacAleese, Daniel Stevenson, Francis S.
Clark, Dr G. B. (Caithness-sh M'Dermnott, Patrick Strachey, Edward
Clough, Walter Owen M'Ewan, William Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Curran, Thos. B. (Donegal) M'Kenna, Reginald Tennant, Harold John
Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.) M'Laren, Charles Benjamin Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)
Dalziel, James Henry M'Leod, John Thomas, Alfred(Glamorgan, E.)
Davies, M. V. (Cardigan) Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe Thomas, David Alf. (Merthyr)
Davitt, Michael Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand Wallace, Robert
Dewar, Arthur Molloy, Bernard Charles Walton, J. Lawson (Leeds, S.)
Dillon, John Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.
Donelan, Captain A. Moulton, John Fletcher Wedderburn, Sir William
Doogan, P. C. Nussey, Thomas Willans Weir, James Galloway
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Dunn, Sir William O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Williams, John Carvell (Notts.)
Ellis, John Edward O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal) Wilson, Charles Henry (Hull)
Farquharson, Dr. Robert O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)
Flynn, James Christopher Oldroyd, Mark Wilson, John (Govan)
Foster, Sir W. (Derby Co.) Palmer, Sir Charles M.(Durham Woodhouse, Sir J T (Huddersf'd
Gourley, Sir Edward Temperley Pickersgill, Edward Hare Woods, Samuel
Hedderwick, Thomas C. H. Pilkington, Sir G. A (Lancs S W) Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)
Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H. Pixie, Duncan V. Yoxall, James Henry
Holland, W. H. (York, W.R) Power, Patrick Joseph
Horniman, Frederick John Price, Robert John TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Jacoby, James Alfred Priestley, Briggs (Yorks.) Mr. Thomas Bayley and
Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea) Randell, David Mr. Logan.

Resolved, that it is expedient to authorise the issue, out of the Consolidated Fund, of sums not exceeding £865,000, and, for the purpose of providing money for such issue, the borrowing, by means of terminable annuities charged on and paid out of the moneys annually provided by Parliament for Foreign and Colonial Services, and, if those moneys are insufficient, out of the Consolidated Fund, a sum of not exceeding £820,000, for making payments to the Royal Niger Company, in consideration of the transfer to the Crown of the administrative powers of the said Company, together with their treaty and other rights and property, and for meeting expenditure rendered necessary by such transfer.

Resolution to be reported To-morrow.