HC Deb 13 July 1899 vol 74 cc692-4
SIR WILFRID LAWSON (Cumberland, Cockermouth)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Government will lay before Parliament papers containing a full account of the Bloemfontein negotiations, and relative communications with the Governments of Cape Colony and Natal in regard to the position of affairs in the South African Republic.


I beg at the same time to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can now see his way to lay upon the Table of the House the despatches from Sir A. Milner giving an account of the proceedings at the Bloemfontein Conference.


The papers relating to the Bloemfontein negotiations will be given. As to the communications with the Cape and Natal Governments I will consider what papers can be given—I may have to consult the Colonial Governments.


I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has formed an approximative estimate of the number of British-born white subjects of Her Majesty now domiciled in the Transvaal Republic; and, if so, whether he will communicate it to the House.


No census of the Transvaal has been taken since 1890. Sir J. de Wet estimated in 1894 that of a total Uitlander population of 70,000, 63,000 were British subjects. The total number of Utilanders now in the Republic has been estimated roughly at 200,000, of which the same proportion as in Sir J. de Wet's estimate would be 159,000 British subjects.

MR. WHARTON (Yorkshire, West Riding, Ripon)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the law as to the education of children of English-speaking parents in the elementary schools in the Transvaal remains the same as described wit- nesses before the South African Committee, i.e., that in elementary schools at Johannesburg and elsewhere education was only allowed to be given in the Dutch language, although it was admitted that there were plenty of competent English-speaking teachers available; and, whether the taxation of food and other necessaries of life continues as onerous and stringent as reported by witnesses before the Committee, and whether any change has taken place with regard to such taxation.


The law remains unaltered. Under it the Superintendent of Education may make arrangements for the education of non-Dutch speaking children on the Goldfields, and at present English is allowed to be the medium of instruction in the lowest standards, but more and more Dutch is required until Dutch becomes the only medium. The Uitlanders, being unable to avail themselves of the State-aided education, for which they have to pay, have voluntarily subscribed about £100,000 as a fund for providing education for English children on the Rand. I believe that the taxation on food and necessaries, though some alterations have been made in the customs tariff, remains substantially the same.

DR. CLARK (Caithness)

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether these taxes are above or below the same taxes in Cape Colony?


If the hon. Gentleman will give notice of the question I will give him a reply.


I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether it is the case that under the resolution of the Volksraad in 1896 five schools have been established on the Goldfields of the South African Republic; that of the fifteen teachers ten are English and five Dutch; and that the maximum time required to earn the highest grants in these schools is five hours per week for the senior scholars.


I understand that a few such schools have been established, but I am not in possession of details as to the staff and the hours. I believe that a condition attaching to the grant is that the children must pass an examination in South African history and in the Dutch language. (See page 77 of C. 9345.)