3. Motion made, and Question pro posed—
That a supplementary sum not exceeding £139,425 be granted to Her Majesty to defray the charge which will come in the course of payment during the year ending 31st day of March 1899, for sundry Colonial services, including certain grants-in-aid.
That the item B, £70,000 for the Gold Coast (grants in aid of Northern Territories) be omitted from the proposed Vote."—(Mr. Weir.)
§ *MR. WEIR
The Motion I have put down is in respect of £70,000 for a grant in aid of the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast. The original estimate was £25,000, and a sudden jump up has been made to £95,000. On page 20 of the Estimates it is stated that the additional sum of £70,000 is required because the original Estimate was based on incomplete information supplied from the Colony. Now, I think we are entitled to know who is responsible for giving this inaccurate information to the Colonial Office. I also notice that in a second note under this item it is stated that so much of this expenditure as is found to be due to the cost of telegraph construction, which is believed to be from £25,000 to £30,000, is to be treated as a loan to be repaid by the Colony. I think we are entitled to know whether it is the intention to make the Colony pay interest on the balance of that amount, for in the last Report dealing with the Gold Coast Colony, dated 1896, it is stated that the Colony has no public debt. If we are to give money in this way to a Colony which has no public debt, without a return, I think it is most unfair to the taxpayers of this country. For what purpose is this money required? I find a reference in the Estimates that it is for the construction of roads. But surely that is a duty obligator} on the chiefs of the tribes. It appears to me that we are going to supply this £70,000 for the purpose of maintaining a number of idle native chiefs and their men. Why should they not do the work themselves, and why should a Colony without any public debt move the Colonial Office to ask this House to provide this sum of £70,000? I am not going to enter into the subject of the difficulty of getting money for the Highlands of Scotland, but I am satisfied that if the Secretary for Scotland had asked for £70,000 to do some good work, not for idle chiefs, but for an industrious people, he would have got very little encouragement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer; and yet the Colonial Secretary comes down here and boldly asks us for this £70,000. 467 I protest against this system of providing large stuns of money for a Colony which has no public debt. I beg to move the Motion which stands in my name. I hope, however, the right honourable Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies will give the Committee such information on the point as will afford me an opportunity of withdrawing my Motion.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
My honourable Friend has made some most pertinent remarks, and has asked for certain information, which is undoubtedly required before we can pass the Vote for this money. And I am surprised that the right honourable Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies does nothing but sit there on the Treasury Bench nodding his head and smiling. I would have thought that the right honourable Gentleman would have bounded up to answer the honourable Member for Ross and Cromarty. As it is, the honourable Member's statement appears to me to stand undisputed by the Colonial Secretary. Does the right honourable Gentleman imagine that he can get vast sums of money in Supplementary Estimates from the House without explanation? Perhaps the right honourable Gentleman will get up afterwards and give us a very clear and satisfactory account of this expenditure. The fact is, we are really spending far too much on these African ventures; and all this money is wasted and squandered in a desperate attempt to get a species of bastard Empire within the tropics of Africa. What I understand is, that this money is to be given to the Colony of the Gold Coast, which is actually in funds and has no public debt. If that be the case, the Colony itself ought to pay for its own public works. There is one reason why we should not give any money to the Gold Coast Colony, and that is the mode in which it gets its revenue. Last year the revenue amounted to £237,857, and of this amount it is stated that £162,847 was obtained from the duties on spirits, tobacco, and guns. We may deduct the duties on tobacco and guns, and presume that £150,000 was obtained from the duty on spirits. We are always boasting of our civilising mission in the world. The Colonial 468 Secretary told us lately that we have a mission from Heaven to civilise these tropical countries. And this is how we do it! In 1896 no fewer than 126,000 gallons of spirits were imported into the Cold Coast. In 1897 the amount was increased to 127,000 gallons of spirits, or an increase of 43,000 gallons. They were not even British spirits. I have no particular sympathy with the British distiller. Still, if we go into this poisonous business, we ought to give the benefit of it to the poisoners of this country instead of the poisoners of Germany. It is perfectly monstrous to levy the greatest part of the revenue of the Colony by sending vile spirits to its most unfortunate people, and to call that a mode of civilising them. We are told that we are now going to give freer access to the country, and are going to spend £70,000 in telegraphic communications. The telegraphs will be used, I suppose, to wire that the spirits have arrived, and their price. If the honourable Member for Ross and Cromarty goes to a Division, I will support him. But if the right honourable Gentleman the Colonial Secretary says that we don't want to extend our territory any further, and that we do not consider that we have a right to obtain the best part of our revenue from spirits, I shall be inclined to vote for him. But he tells us, practically, in these Estimates that we are going to increase the revenue from spirits, and therefore I think the House ought to go against the Vote as a protest against the money being spent in telegraphic communications with the Colony. There are many uses for the money in England, and it would be a boon if the poisonous spirits were excluded altogether from the Colony.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. J. CHAMBERLAIN,) Birmingham, W.
The speech of the honourable Member for Northampton seems to me not to be relevant to the Vote, nor does it seem pertinent to the discussion of the number of the troops necessary to preserve order throughout the northern territories of the Gold Coast to raise the whole question of the consumption of spirits in West Africa. There is no intention of putting on the taxpayer of this country a single farthing of the expenditure for telegraphic communications in West Africa. It is only in con- 469 sequence of the forms of the Treasury that we have to put this temporary loan which we have asked for on the Estimates. Every penny of it will be repaid by the Colony. So far as the telegraphic expenditure is concerned, I am informed that it will amount to between £25,000 and £30,000, and not a penny of it will be placed as a charge either for principal or interest, on the taxpayers of this country. The honourable Member for Northampton having referred to the question of the consumption of spirits, might have, I think, recognised the fact that I have taken more trouble since I came into office than anyone else in order to deal with this matter, and to reduce, if possible, the consumption of spirits in these native States. It is always extremely difficult —I do not say it is absolutely impossible—for us to raise our duty upon spirits above the duties which foreign countries continue to levy. If we do so it is said, with some show of reason, that we should lose not only the trade in spirits, but other legitimate trade which goes with the trade in spirits. Therefore, our action in this matter has been determined really, to a large extent, by the action of other Powers. A Conference, however, has been called at Brussels to deal with the question, and the instructions to the British representative set forth that we are prepared to raise the duties to any level to which foreign countries are agreed to go, that we should prefer a high level of duty, and that there is no level of duty which is too high for us. I may say in regard to the special case of the Gold Coast that I have recently authorised an Ordinance by which the duty on spirits is to be raised 1s. per gallon. I have taken the step, unusual as I feel it to be, in spite of the fact that up to the present time the duties of the neighbouring countries have not been altered. Now, I come to the point, to the particular point raised by the honourable Member for Ross and Cromarty, who asked why it was there had been such a large increase in the Vote. I am afraid that owing to my indisposition I did not see the exact words of the Estimate which were put on the Paper. I admit the honourable Gentleman was justified in thinking that as these words stand they seem to imply some blame to the officials of the Gold Coast Territories. It is 470 quite true that the Estimates were incomplete, but the Colonial officials are not to blame. In the circumstances, it was perfectly impossible for them to make a better Estimate or to anticipate what has actually occurred. You must remember what the state of things was a year or two ago. It was this: Our neighbours, both French and German, were rapidly over-running our Hinterland both of the Gold Coast and Lagos. No preparation whatever had been made to meet that, and I think it is very much to be regretted, but not to be wondered at. We had no troops at our disposal, and the chance was that the whole of our territories would be rushed before we had any troops on the spot. The Government, however, did the best they could. We called for a West India regiment, and began to raise, as quickly as we could, a Native regiment. All this took time, but meanwhile the progress of the French expedition particularly was continuing. They were most active and energetic, and we soon found that more considerable operations on our part than we had originally contemplated would be necessary if we were to preserve these territories. And so we had to bring another regiment from the West Indies, and to incur great expense which was not anticipated at the time these Estimates were prepared. Let me point out why these operations are so expensive. The principal town which we occupy at the extreme end of the Yambada territory is about 500 miles from the coast. It takes 36 days to send an officer on leave down to the coast, and the cost of his journey with his necessary luggage and porters is £54. The carriage of goods the same distance costs £135 per ton. It is perfectly evident that as long as that continues the cost of a movable force in that country must be exceedingly great. That large expenditure put upon us is not due in any way to the policy of the Gold Coast Colony, but has been forced upon us for international reasons, and owing to the energetic action of our French and German neighbours. It seems to me, therefore, to be very unfair to put the whole of the cost on the Colony. The Colony undertook the payment of the whole cost of the Ashanti war, and a balance remains, it is true, but it is being rapidly paid off, and before long it will be wholly repaid. In the same way it is 471 my intention that the Colony shall take on its own shoulders and ultimately repay every expenditure intended for the development of these territories. The Committee may think I have been too sanguine in the past, but I am more confident than ever that these Colonies will turn out to be a most valuable possession, and I am acting in that belief. I am placing on the Colony a certain burden in the shape of debt with the fullest confidence that before very long it will be able to repay it. I base that confidence not on the consumption of spirits, but on the general increase of the general trade which is taking place, and which I anticipate will develop to an extraordinary degree as soon as we get railway communication. This railway service has already been commenced for a certain distance. I base my confidence still more upon prospects of the gold industry of the country, which I profess I do not wish to boom at this time, but which, from all the information I have obtained from many different quarters, is going to be a most solid, valuable, and profitable industry in the Gold Coast Colony. I think the House, therefore, need have no fear that this expenditure will recur for any lengthened period of years. And I am quite convinced that it will be recouped, directly or indirectly, before very long. I will just say in passing that my hopes of the trade of the Gold Coast Colony, independent of the gold industry, are greatly confirmed by the improvement which is taking place in the trade of the other West African Colonies. In Sierra Leone, for instance, and Lagos. The improvement is very remarkable in the case of Lagos, where the British imports amount to nearly a million sterling. That is a very considerable increase, and there is every probability that that increase will be continued. I hope I have now explained satisfactorily the difficulty caused by the irregularity in the Estimate, and how that irregularity occurred; and I trust that the honourable Member for Ross and Cromarty will withdraw his Amendment.
§ MR. BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)
I viewed this enormous expenditure with some alarm. It is a very large expenditure for such a small Colony. But I am bound to say, 472 after having heard what the right honourable Gentleman has said in support of the proposal he has made to this Committee, that this particular Vote is. not an unreasonable one. I understand the right honourable Gentleman practically admits that the bulk of this expenditure was due to the international difficulties which, unfortunately, we had got into with the French nation as to the boundaries of the northern territories of Gold Coast Colony. If we were to maintain our position at all in connection with the Gold Coast and Lagos, if we were not to allow ourselves to be squeezed out of the Hinterland of these Colonies, it was essential that the Imperial Government and the Colonial Government should take action in the matter. No doubt, £100,000 seems to be a considerable amount, but as the right honourable Gentleman has explained, many of the troops and the officers had to be sent up country, and the cost of their transport was very heavy, and could scarcely have been conducted on a more economic basis. I understand from what the right honourable Gentleman has said that a considerable amount of the expenditure will ultimately be borne by the Colony itself. I do not think, therefore, that under these circumstances this particular Vote is an unreasonable one. I was glad to hear what the right honourable Gentleman said in regard to the future of the Gold Coast, Lagos, and of the Niger Territory. We have not had the opportunity of judging completely the possibilities as regards these three Colonies until now; but I consider that there is a considerable future before them, more esepcially the Gold Coast, when the railway shall have been completed. There is little doubt that that Colony will be able, not only to pay its way in the future as it has done in the past, but that it will form a very valuable asset of the British Empire. The right honourable Gentleman has made it clear that in regard to the Gold Coast there is no intention of developing that Colony at the expense of the British taxpayer. In regard to the question of railways, telegraphs, and other items, these will be of great advantage to the trade of the Colony and of the mother country, and the whole expense of them will be borne ultimately by the Colony itself. This particular item appears to me to 473 be one on a totally different basis from the other Votes we discussed this evening. It is founded on a policy which has largely actuated our relations with our Colonies, namely, that they should be as far as possible self-supporting. Under the circumstances explained by the right honourable Gentleman, I shall support this Vote. I should like to say, if the right honourable Gentleman will allow me to do so, that I cordially congratulate him upon the steps he has taken in regard to the question of the spirit duties on the West Coast of Africa. It has been recognised that the right honourable Gentleman has done a great deal by his action there, and by endeavouring to call together the Conference at Brussels, to diminish the evils of the drink traffic referred to. I shall be glad of any information as to the likelihood of the dale being fixed for the Brussels Conference. If active steps are being taken to bring about that Conference, it will give the greatest satisfaction to all of us.
§ *SIR C. DILKE
So far as the charge is explained by the necessity of sending for another West Indian regiment, the right honourable Gentleman will have my support, but I wish to say a word or two on the subject of a separate Colonial army if it is relevant to the present Vote.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES
I think my right honourable Friend will find it more convenient to discuss the question referred to in connection with the more important Vote which will appear on the general Estimates of the year. In answer to the honourable Gentleman opposite, I may be allowed to say that the Vote for a Native force is not entirely a new Vote, but rather takes the place of a different expenditure. Hitherto, what has happened is this. Wherever there has been a disturbance, whether it was at Sierra Leone, or the Gold Coast, or at Lagos, we have had to make a demand at once on the West India Regiment. Now the West India Regiment is an extremely admirable fighting force; at the same time, it is an extremely expensive force. Although they are men of colour, the climate does not seem to agree with them very well, and they require attendance in the 474 shape of porters, transport, stores, and so forth, which make them very much more expensive than the Native regiments would be which we propose to substitute for them. Of course, as soon as the Native regiments are finally established, I hope we shall never again see a West Indian regiment in a West African colony. Of course, that will probably lead to a reduction in the cost of the West India Regiment, and this saving will compensate for any increase in the Colonial Vote.
§ *SIR C. DILKE
The right honourable Gentleman has alluded to the West African Regiment apart from the West African frontier force. I think it would be desirable to give the House some information in the form of a Return—I do not say to-day—as to the new departure which has been taken in this matter Everyone will agree that there must be a force of armed police under the Colonial Office; but a regimental force which goes through regimental drill ought to be under the control of the War Office, so as to ensure unity of command. It will, no doubt, be very difficult to draw an exact line between a Native military police force and the force it would be necessary to employ regimen-tally in time of war. Hitherto, there has been great clashing of the various authorities, the troops under the War Office and the troops under the Colonial Office and Foreign Office being employed together. The Under Secretary for War told us the other day that 21,000 Foreign Office and Colonial Office troops are now being employed in Africa at a cost of a million a year, and as the expenditure is becoming larger and larger, the matter is one as to which we ought to have full information. I will not press the point further, but would ask the right honourable Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies to take some steps to keep us fully informed in the matter.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES
I can give the information at once. We intend to have two battalions of the West African frontier force, amounting together to 2,600 men. It is further intended to have one battalion of something under 1,000 men for the Gold Coast. Their permanent headquarters will be on the Gold Coast, 475 and on the Niger, respectively, but, if necessary, I hope it will be quite possible to make these forces interchangeable, so that they may be used for a common purpose.
§ *SIR C. DILKE
That does not exceed what we were told last year. What we were beginning to get alarmed at was the very large sum mentioned by the Under Secretary of State for War, namely, one million a year.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOB THE COLONIES
As this Colonial force gets into working order, which it is doing very rapidly indeed, I hope the constabulary or police will become more and more a civil force. We shall then reduce its numbers, and use it simply as a police force for the preservation of order.
§ MR. BUXTON
Will the right honourable Gentleman say whether the Colony will contribute something to the expense of the new force?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES
I am ready to give every information. By way of illustration, I will take the case of Lagos. We have in the Hinterland there the new West African frontier force, 2,600 strong That force, we hope, will be quite sufficient for preserving order for preventing slave raiding, for stopping war between the tribes—all operations of a military character which, up to this time, have always been more or less undertaken by the constabulary. If in future those duties are undertaken by the West African force, the constabulary will not be required for the purpose, and we shall then reduce their numbers, and, as I say, make them more of a civil character. I see no reason why the same thing should not take place on the Cold Coast. For some years to come, it is clear that a considerable proportion, if not the whole, of this cost must be laid on Imperial revenue, because it is the result, I will not say of the Imperial policy, but of Imperial Government. I do not call it Imperial policy, because it was not our policy. Our policy was to allow these Hinterlands a much slower development. We have been forced into the position of taking up that policy, and having taken it up, we have. 476 of course, to carry it on. But if we had had our way—if our hands had not been forced by other Powers—there is no doubt it would have been a considerable time before it would have been necessary to take up the development of the Hinterland; but it is my conviction—I do not pledge myself as to the exact period—that before very long, not only the whole of the Gold Coast force, but the whole of the West African frontier force will be paid for by the West African Colony ut of local resources.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
The right honourable Gentleman has expressed the opinion that the loan is likely to be repaid. I venture to say that there is no evidence before us of any such financial probability. The right honourable Gentleman suggests that gold may be found in the country, and that this may produce a great deal of money. Well, I imagine the climate there is so extremely bad that, even if the gold were found, it would be very doubtful whether, as it could not be carried into another world, it would benefit anybody. There is no evidence of any kind, apart from the sanguine mind of the right honourable Gentleman, to warrant any confidence that this loan is likely to be repaid, or even the interest upon it met-We have already had considerable experience of the granting of loans to the West Indies. We are perpetually asked to give doles and grants and loans to the Indians, and we know perfectly well what a curse our Colonial possessions often are in this matter. The right honourable Gentleman has drawn a glowing picture of the future of these Colonies. For my part, I prefer to rely upon facts, and take existing facts as they stand. I am perfectly certain that if. the loan had to be advanced on the guarantee of the Colony alone, you would not find any business man ready to make if. Theright honourable Gentleman quoted Lagos, and said that all these gold Colonies are likely to increase in value. I hold in my hand the last Report with which we are favoured, the annual Report for 1897. And what do I find? Not only have the exports fallen off, but the imports have fallen off during the year to the amount of £131.000. Surely, in the face of these figures, it cannot be said that Lagos is thriving and extending—it has fallen back. Then the right honourable Gentleman said that he pro- 477 posed to deal with the liquor question by raising the duty upon imported spirits. This will not reduce the amount of liquor consumed. The natives may, perhaps, do a little more work to get their liquor, but liquor they will have so long as you are prepared to provide it. It seems to me that it would be infinitely more reasonable to propose at the Brussels Conference that no liquor should be imported into any of these African Colonies.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
Order, order! I do not think the honourable Member is justified in discussing the liquor question at this stage.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
It appears that a portion of this money is to be expended on the army which is to be raised in these Colonies. I believe it to be a doubtful policy to embody an army of negroes in order to employ them against other savages. Lord Chatham, in referring to our use of Red Indians in America, described them as "the hell hounds of savage war," and I am certainly inclined to agree with the description in this case because these black troops cannot be kept under control. In the event of any difficulties occurring, the force will have to be strengthened by the use of British troops. You cannot absolutely depend upon these men, because at any time they may turn against you. The right honourable Gentleman tells us that he hopes the
§ time will come when the Colony will pay for the troops itself. It is not likely that such a time will ever come. The right honourable Gentleman proposes, in addition to the huge increase in the Army and Navy, to augment the burden on the British taxpayer by increasing the Colonial army by 2,600 men, in order to extend our territories in the interior of Africa. Now, Sir, I am opposed to the extension of territory in the interior of Africa. I think the less we have to do with the interior of Africa the better, and I should be exceedingly glad to see any other nation snap up what remains of the interior of Africa, and so fortify and defend it that we should be prevented from going further in acquiring possession in the interior of that God-forsaken country Under these circumstances, I should certainly divide the House upon the Vote.
That Item B. £70,000, for the Gold Coast (Grant in Aid of Northern Territories), be omitted from the proposed Vote."—(Mr. Weir.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 49; Noes, 226.—(Division List No. 38.)481
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N.E.)||Fenwick, Charles||Price, Robert John|
|Allen, W. (Newe.-under-Lyme)||Jacoby, James Alfred||Randell, David|
|Allison, Robert Andrew||Kilbride, Denis||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Ambrose, Robert (Mayo, W.)||Lambert, George||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cumbrlnd.)||Souttar, Robinson|
|Bainbridge, Emerson||Leng, Sir John||Stanhope, Hon. Philip J|
|Burns, John||Lewis, John Herbert||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Caldwell, James||Macaleese, Daniel||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Cameron, Sir Charles (Glasgow)||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Cameron, Robert (Durham)||M ' Ghee, Richard||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Channing, Francis Allston||M'Kenna, Reginald||Williams, John Carvell (Notts.)|
|Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.)||Maddison, Fred.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Crilly, Daniel||Moore, Arthur (Londonderry)|
|Curran, Thomas B. (Donegal)||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Dillon, John||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Mr. Weir and Mr.|
|Donelan, Captain A.||O' Kelly, James||Labouchere.|
|Duckworth, James||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Lowles, John|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Dunn, Sir William||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Allhusen, Augustus Henry Eden||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Lubbock, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Lucas-Shadwell, William|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Fardell, Sir T. George||Macartney, W. G. Ellison|
|Ascroft, Robert||Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J.(Man.)||Maclure, Sir John William|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Finch, George H.||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||M'Arthur, Wiliam (Cornwall)|
|Baillie, James E. B. (Inverness)||Firbank, Joseph Thomas||M'Calmont, H. L. B. (Cambs.)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manc'r)||Fisher, William Hayes||M'Ewan, William|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W.(Leeds)||Fison, Frederick William||M'Hugh, E. (Armagh, S.)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||M'Killop, James|
|Barry, Rt Hn A. H. Smith-(Hunts)||Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.||Malcolm, Ian|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor)||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Flower, Ernest||Marks, Henry Hananel|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Folkestone, Viscount||Middlemore, John Throgmorton|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Milner, Sir Frederick George|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M.H.(Bristol)||Fry, Lewis||Monk, Charles James|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Garfit, William||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Gibbs, Hn A. G. H.(Cty. of Lond.||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)|
|Bethell, Commander||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||More, Robt Jasper (Shropsh.)|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Gilliat, John Saunders||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)|
|Bill, Charles||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Morgan, W. Pritchard (Merthyr)|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldor||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptf 'd)|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn)||Goschen, Rt Hn G.J.(St. G'rge's)||Moulton, John Fletcher|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Mount, William George|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Green, Walford D. (Wednesbury||Myers, William Henry|
|Burt, Thomas||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Gull, Sir Cameron||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Haldane, Richard Burdon||Northcote, Hn. Sir H. Stafford|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord Georg||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Harwood, George||Perks, Robert William|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Wor.)||Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale-||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Heath, James||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Clough, Walter Owen||Heaton, John Henniker||Plunkett, Rt. Hn. Horace Curzon|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Hedderwick, Thos. Chas. H||Powell, Sir Francis Sharpe|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Helder, Augustus||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Cohen, Benamin Louis||Hill, Sir Edwd. Stock (Bristol)||Purvis, Robert|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Holland, Wm. H. (York. W.R.||Reid, Sir Robert Threshie|
|Colville, John||Howard, Joseph||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Howell, William Tudor||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Crombie, John William||Johnston William (Belfast)||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham)|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Jones, David Brynmor (S'nsea)||Ryder, John Herbert Dudley|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Kemp, George||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Currie, Sir Donald||Kenyon, James||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Curzon, Viscount||Kimber, Henry||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Kinloch, Sir John Geo. Smyth||Sidebottom, William (Derbysh.)|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Knowles, Lees||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Davenport, W. Bromley-||Lafone, Alfred||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan)||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Spencer, Ernest|
|Denny, Colonel||Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn)||Spicer, Albert|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Lea, Sir Thomas (Londonderry)||Stanley, Edward Jas.(Somerset)|
|Donkin, Richard Sim||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Stanley, Henry M. (Lambeth)|
|Doughty, George||Leighton, Stanley||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (L'pool)||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Doxford, William Theodore||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Drucker, A.||Lorne, Marquess of||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Talbot, Rt Hn G.J.(Oxf'd Univ.)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)||Wyyill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Tennant, Harold John||Warner, Thomas Courtney T.||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Thorburn, Walter||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Thornton; Percy M.||Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Tritton, Charles Ernest||Williams, Jos. Powell-(Birm.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Valentia, Viscount||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R, (Bath)||Sir William Walrond and|
|Wallace, Robert (Edinburgh)||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Wallace, Robert (Perth)||Wyndham, George|
|Walton, John Lawson (Leeds, S.)||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
§ MR. BUXTON
I wish to ask the right honourable Gentleman a question respecting the Report of the Commission for Sierra Leone. I should like to know when he expects to have that Report, or whether he has already received it, and, if so, when he will have it printed and placed in our hands? I do not propose at the present moment to go into the question of the Hut Tax, or of the rising which took place in Sierra Leone, or rather the causes which created that rising, because that is a matter which has been referred to the Commissioner, and we cannot deal with it until we have his Report before us. But I want to ask the right honourable Gentleman a question as to what recently occurred. When we last discussed this question—it was in the course of the Debate my honourable Friend the Member for Mayo raised on the question of Adjournment—we understood from the right honourable Gentleman in the first place, that the operations which had taken place had been suspended, that, in the second place, a Royal Commission would be appointed to inquire into the matter, and in the third place, that with regard to the Hut Tax, he would maintain an open mind for the time. Not so very long after, we saw in the newspapers that there had been further operations in the same directions and in regard to the same matter, against the chief called Bey Burai, which seem to have been successful in his capture. What I want to ask the right honourable Gentleman is: What caused this suddenly renewed activity in military operations, when we understood that the question of further military operations was to stand over until after the Report of the Royal Commission had been received, and the right honourable Gentleman was in a position to judge whether or not he intended to retain the Hut Tax, which was the alleged cause—I do not say it was the real cause—of the troubles?
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
Order, order! I do not think it would be in order to discuss those questions in connection with this Vote. All that can be discussed is the policy of the inquiry.
§ MR. BUXTON
Well, Mr. Ellis, I will ask the right honourable Gentleman this question when we get to the general Colonial Vote, because as regards the Commission itself and the cost of it, I have no objection to it, because we were all very glad that the right honourable Gentleman was sending out such an admirable Commission to make inquiries into this matter.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOB THE COLONIES
I think the honourable Gentleman cannot have seen my replies to Questions on the same subject. My first reply was to the effect that I had now received the official Report. It will be printed and distributed very shortly.
§ *SIR C. DILKE
I wish to ask the right honourable Gentleman a question as to the Newfoundland shore. I wish to know whether, pending the reception of the Commissioner's Report, the instructions which have been sent in previous years to Naval officers in regard to what should be done pending the settlement of this shore question have been sent as usual before the fishery, which begins in May. The right honourable Gentleman knows the extremely difficult question that has arisen. The right honourable Gentleman has admitted, year after year, that the action of the Naval officers is beyond all law in fixing the price of bait on the shore—fixing a different price for purchasers according to their nationality. I want to know whether the ordinary instructions—
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
I also wish to ask a question of the right honourable Gentleman with reference to the Newfoundland shore, and the Royal Commission which has been sent out. I shall not refer to the actual state of facts in Newfoundland, and the action of the Naval officers there, which the right honourable Baronet has already referred to. No doubt the Newfoundlanders are difficult to handle. What I wish to say is this: The right honourable Gentleman, of course, in negotiating with France with regard to this question is obliged to act through the Foreign Office, and, therefore, he cannot himself, no doubt, give me a direct reply as to the present state of the negotiations with France. Well, am assured that in the months of December and January last the French Government were thoroughly prepared to entertain any reasonable proposals in this matter. I hope to get from the right honourable Gentleman an assurance that that opportunity was taken advantage of by the Foreign Office, and that negotiations were then opened and are now proceeding. If that be so, I am perfectly certain that a proper settlement may be looked for. If it be not so, then I am afraid that neither this Commission nor anything else will enable us to win the ground that has been lost.
§ LORD E. FITZMAURICE (Wilts, Cricklade)
I wish to ask the right honourable Gentleman if the terms of reference to this Royal Commission have already been communicated to the House—I think not—and if not, whether they will shortly be communicated, because naturally it is a matter of very great interest to the Committee and the House to know precisely what it is that this Royal Commission is inquiring into, and what it is going to report upon. I always myself regretted that certain very important documents dating from the last century, bearing upon this question, had not been put before the House: and, possibly, if this Royal Commission is inquiring into the whole matter it will be a good opportunity of so doing. It is quite true that Lord Salisbury's very full dispatch —a very important, and, if I may say so, in its way a most complete dispatch —is to be found in the Blue Book of, I think, five years ago. It summarises all 484 these very interesting and important documents; but as this is really a matter depending upon the interpretation of documents of the year 1783, I always thought these discussions both in Parliament and outside Parliament have been conducted at considerable disadvantage, owing to the public not being in possession of the actual facts. When I was at the Foreign Office I took a very active part in the examination of these papers, and I have always contended, both in this House and elsewhere, in answer to the point that the French raise upon this question, that the more the documents are examined the stronger will be our case. Now, if this Royal Commission is going to be the means of communicating to the House and the public at large this information, all I can say is that I think Her Majesty's Government will have earned the gratitude of this House and of the country. But at this moment we really do not know what this Royal Commission has been doing, or what it was proposed to do. I do not want to trespass upon your ruling, Sir, in any way. If the right honourable Gentleman can give us any information, or can communicate what the terms of reference to the Royal Commission are, I think the Committee will be glad to have it.
§ MR. BUXTON
Do I understand, Sir, that in regard to the new item of payment of this Royal Commission which is to inquire into a specific matter, we are not entitled to discuss the policy of the appointment of that Commission? We cannot, of course, discuss that without discussing the situation which led to the appointment of that Commission. Do I understand that we are excluded from discussing anything in regard to the position of Newfoundland arising on this item?
§ *SIR C. DILKE
On the same point of order, Sir, I wish to make clear the matter as to which I was asking information from the right honourable Gentleman. The Commission is to "inquire into the state of matters on the Treaty Shore." Now, Sir, a very dangerous state of things on the Treaty Shore has been caused by the action of the naval officers there, under orders communicated by the Admiralty, and of which the Colonial Office arc aware. We do not know what the Commission has been doing, but we imagine that it has been 485 inquiring all along the Treaty Shore into these grievances of the population in regard to the action of the Naval officers ordered from here, and I should imagine that we should be in order in asking a Question upon that.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
As to the causes which may have led to the appointment of the Commission, I think it would be open to make inquiries, but as to the present state of the negotiations with France in regard to this matter, or as to the policy of this country in attempting to settle the matter, I do not think it can be raised. The policy of the appointment of the Commission, of course, is open to discussion.
§ SIR C. DILKE
The questions I was desirous of putting were exactly within the limits of your ruling, Sir. The evidence that has been taken upon and along the Treaty Shore has been as to the relations between the naval officers and the population caused by the French rights. That question is one which has been pressed year after year upon the attention of the Colonial Secretary in this House. In May each year, when the fishing begins, certain regulations are made affecting the sale of bait, and a different rate of price is fixed for the French fishermen and fishermen of other nationalities, for which the Colonial Secretary has stated there is no legal authority. Sir, those regulations are probably being issued now for the present year. I want to know whether the action of the Commission, and of the Government in appointing the Commission which is to consider this matter, has led to any difference in the instructions given to the naval officers upon this point.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES
In reply to the right honourable Baronet, I must say that I do not agree with his views as to the character and effect of the regulations on the French shore. I do not agree at all that they are in any way the cause of the troubles on that shore. I think it will be shown that they are perfectly satisfactory, and, on the whole, working extremely well. In answer to the question whether there is any alteration now proposed in the regulations, I have to 486 say that no alteration is proposed in consequence of the appointment of the Commission. We are waiting for the Report of the Commission, and when we get that Report, and are able to found our conclusions upon it, we shall consider what other regulations it may be advisable to make, and issue them in the usual way. The Commission has practically completed its work, the Report is in type, and it will be in the hands of Members very shortly. Of course, if the noble Lord opposite is unwilling to wait for that, and desires to see the terms of reference beforehand, I shall be glad to assist him, but I imagine that he will be satisfied, as the Report certainly will not be long delayed.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
drew attention to a Vote for the Dreadnought Hospital, in connection with a new school which it was proposed to found for the study of tropical diseases. He did not desire to oppose the Vote, but he thought the Committee would be glad if the right honourable Gentleman would give them some information upon it.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES
I attach the very greatest importance to this Vote, and I am glad the honourable Member does not propose to oppose it. Of course, it is well known that all these Colonies, and especially the West African Colonies, are subject to peculiar diseases of a most distressing and often very dangerous character. I do not know anything which has given more pain and anxiety to me in connection with my tenure at the Colonial Office than the constant reports of deaths of very promising officers in consequence of these diseases. I have endeavoured to see what can be done to make this state of things better, I am not at all hopeless about it, because it is very interesting to observe that the same sort of thing was said of other Colonies which now are, at all events, very fairly healthy. For instance, exactly the same tiling happened at the time of our first occupation of Calcutta, and the description given of Calcutta in the early days might be almost word for word the description which I should be inclined to give now to some of the worst of our West African stations. In the same way 487 Hong Kong was called "The White Man's Grave," and Lord Grey, I think, expressed regret that it had ever been taken over, although he felt that under the circumstances, as we had occupied it so long, it was impossible to give it up. In fact, the view taken in these discussions about Colonies like Calcutta and Hong Kong was very much the same view that the honourable Member for Northampton now takes, from very inaccurate information, in regard to the West African Colonies. I hope, in fact, to do for our West African Colonies very much the same as has been done for Calcutta and Hong Kong. Without being able to say that we are going to make a sanitorium of places of this kind, we at least hope we may reduce the unnecessary mortality which I believe goes on in consequence of preventable causes. Now these preventable causes are numerous, and all of them have had the most careful attention. One cause is insufficient and improper nursing, and the remedy, I am happy to say, now being undertaken by a private association called the Colonial Nursing Association, which is sending out to all these Colonies trained European nurses to attend cases which require their attention. Then a second difficulty has been the difficulty of finding doctors who were acquainted beforehand with these peculiar diseases; the diseases themselves are very peculiar, and it has been almost impossible to give clinical instruction to doctors who were going out to the Coast in these particular diseases. It has been suggested to me by the very able and well-known medical gentleman who is the Colonial Office adviser in all these cases, Dr. Manson, that we should establish a graduates' class, and that just in the same way as we have a School of Musketry at Hythe, to which military men are sent for a month's or a couple of months' training before they go to these foreign stations, so we should have a school of tropical medicine somewhere established in this country, to which all the doctors who are sent out to these tropical countries could go for two months' tuition before leaving, and in which they could receive clinical and practical instruction in the cure of these particular diseases. Dr. Manson considers that the Dreadnought Hospital is the best place for dealing with these matters, because so many sailors go there who come home from the Colonies suf- 488 fering from these diseases, and there are more opportunities for efficient study provided there than at any other hospital. We have considered very carefully the alternative advantages of Netley and Haslar, and we think it would be very much better to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the Dreadnought Hospital, and accordingly arrangements have been made for erecting the necessary buildings for the accommodation of the doctors who will go through this probationary course, and we hope also in a short time to give accommodation for nurses, who equally require a similar training. That will cost a considerable sum annually, and a considerable sum for the first expenditure. That sum will be provided, partly by private subscription in this country, partly by contributions from the. Colonies, and partly by this small grant—for it is really a small grant—which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been good enough to give me for the purpose. I would like to say that up to the time we made this proposal, I do not think it had been made by anybody else, but the moment it was made there was some disturbance in the minds of the medical officers connected with different institutions, who all thought that their institutions ought to have been selected, or might have been selected, instead of the one actually selected. But I believe that we have satisfied these gentlemen, so far, at all events, as we have seen their complaints, by assuring them that in such cases, for instance, as King's Hospital or the Liverpool School, or other places at which special training in tropical diseases is given, we will give a preference in the selection of officers for these Colonies; but we do not intend to give up the further security that after the gentlemen have been selected they shall undergo this probationary course of two months at Dreadnought Hospital before they leave. I hope this proposal will satisfy the House.
§ MR. BUXTON
I am glad the honourable Member for Caithness does not object in any way to this Vote. I am bound to say, as far as I am concerned, I think it is the best item of the whole of the Supplementary Estimate we are dealing with this afternoon. The right honourable Gentleman based his arguments on the ground of humanity and mortality, and I think every Member of 489 the Committee entirely agrees with the right honourable Gentleman. But I want to place it also on the ground of efficiency and economy, because one of the greatest difficulties which exist in the way of our administration of our tropical Colonies is, that our officers, unfortunately, are compelled to spend a very large proportion of their time at home on leave, and home on leave in a very large number of cases because of some small illness they have contracted abroad, but for which they have been unable to be treated in the Colony. They have to come home, and they get out of touch with their Colony, and in a very large number of cases I believe their absence from their post might be prevented. I only hope that the right honourable Gentleman will be able to receive the assistance from voluntary sources which he has alluded to, and also the valued assistance of the different institutions of the medical profession to which he has alluded.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
The right honourable Gentleman has said something about my inaccuracy. I do not quite know how the right honourable Gentleman has managed to drag me in. I can only hope that he will not himself—
THE SECRETARY OP STATE FOR THE COLONIES
The honourable Gentleman said that he did not believe that my views about the future prosperity of the Gold Coast were correct, because everybody who went out there died.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
I only spoke in general terms. I can assure the right honourable Gentleman that a great many do die. I can only say that I hope that the right honourable Gentleman will not carry his views as to the salubrity of this charming region so far as to go there himself, because the right honourable Gentleman, if he came back, would not come back so healthy as when he went. I am going to read an extract—it is not a question of my inaccuracy or accuracy—as to the climates of these places, to show that all endeavours have already been made that are possible by doctors, and without success. This is from the Report of the Niger Coast Protectorate— 490The total number of cases treated was 1078"—which means that every European was treated by the doctor about six times a year.The deaths amounted to 15, a death rate of 72 per 1,000 of the population. Fifty-eight Europeans were invalided, this being a percentage of 281 per 1,000. Although every effort was made throughout the Protectorate by medical authorities during the year in the direction of sanitation generally, and by using every means which experience teaches are necessary for preserving the lives of Europeans in a climate like this, the above figures are not at all encouraging. The acting principal medical officer in his report calls special attention to the unhealthiness of Suppel.Now, there is no Colonial station in the district better situated than is this place. It is situated on high ground, 50 miles from the river, the water being clear and fresh. The death rate for the year amounted to 226 per 1000, and the number of cases of men invalided amounted to the extraordinary proportion of 1509 to the 1000 European inhabitants. In this station, with a population of 13 white inhabitants, no fewer than 133 cases were treated, showing that each European had been in the doctor's hands 10 times a year.The acting principal medical officer remarks that the unhealthiness of Suppel demonstrates the fact that the most swampy regions are not always the most fever -stricken.Then this acting principal medical officer goes on to suggest—Whereas young men are now sent out for three years, they had better in future be only sent out for eighteen months, because no young man can possibly stand the climate without his constitution being thoroughly destroyed, if he remains there more than eighteen months.I hope the right honourable Gentleman will find that his views as to improving the sanitary conditions of the tropical Colonies will work out right, but I confess, looking at the facts as they are, that I very much doubt whether his hopes will be justified by the event.
§ DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)
I should like to add one word of congratulation to the right honourable Gentleman upon this new departure he has made in starting a school of tropical medicine. I am not 491 so hopeless as is the honourable Member for Northampton about the possibility of, if not stamping out altogether, at all events diminishing, these diseases which are so little understood now by the ordinary doctor, and for the study of which so very insufficient arrangements are now made in our general hospitals. I think the arrangement with regard to the Dreadnought Hospital for study there of these tropical diseases by men who are going out to tropical countries can only lead to good results, and I congratulate the right honourable Gentleman on having had the opportunity of calling to his counsel such a very able medical man as Dr. Manson, whose connection with the study of these diseases is well known. I hope this new departure will be the means of saving life, and be the means of carrying out the views of my honourable Friend, which lead him to believe that these tropical countries may be made to be much better adapted to Europeans than they are now. The only means by which it is to be done is to instruct young medical men as to the incidence of these particular diseases, so that they may be, so to speak, immune from these tropical diseases. I am sure the right honourable Gentleman has done a good thing for medical men and has done a good thing for medicine as well. Might I ask the right honourable Gentleman if this Vote is to be an annual one?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES
I forgot to say that among other things which we are doing in the same direction is inquiring into the cause and cure of malaria. I have been in communication with the Royal Society, and the Royal Society has made a grant, which the Government propose to supplement. A Commission has been appointed by the Royal Society to examine into the question of the cause and cure of malaria. That Commission will visit Egypt in order to study the experiments that are being made there, and it will then go to India. They will afterwards in all probability go to Nyassaland, where they will have a permanent station, to make examinations on that 492 spot, and they will finally wind up in West Africa.
GENERAL, RUSSELL (Cheltenham)
As one of the few honourable Members who have experience of the Gold Coast, I desire to modify the statements of the honourable Gentleman the Member for Northampton. I am alive myself, and I must congratulate the right honourable Gentleman the Colonial Secretary on this new departure. After my return from East India I suffered greatly from West African fever, or malaria, and, although I found the medical officers over there were acquainted with malaria, scarcely a doctor in London knew anything about it. I had a very great deal of difficulty in finding any medical officer in this country with any knowledge of the subject. Only those military doctors who had been out in the country knew. I may say I consulted the most celebrated physicians in London, and I might also say that a fellow-officer of mine has had a similar experience. I think the step that has been taken by the right honourable Gentleman is an admirable one, and I am only surprised that it has never been adopted before this. I hope the House will join me in congratulating the right honourable Gentleman.
§ DR. CLARK
I have got all the information that I was desirous of obtaining, but, before the Vote is given, I think a Paper should be circulated, giving us all the information required. You cannot get the special material you want at the Colonial Office, because all you get there are the chronic cases, the serious cases are duplicated; and in ordinary schools, under ordinary circumstances, they ought to pay attention to the special class. It is also very desirable that civil surgeons should go out and should have special facilities, as the military surgeons have. The only doubt in my mind is whether you ought not to have it altogether—whether it, would not be worth while to pay a definite sum to inquire into it? This is a very small sum, and the experiment can be tried, and then by-and-bye we can have a permanent Estimate. But before it comes before us permanently we must have all the information. This question affects the Army, Navy, and Civil 493 Service, and I think that we ought to have a proper method of inquiring into it. I am afraid that the money will be frittered away by there being two or three men doing the same thing. However, I congratulate the right honourable Gentleman upon this departure.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
Let me suggest that some of these Gentlemen may be sent to Jamaica, which is so little visited, but which is so beautifully situated for this purpose. Jamaica is the very hotbed of yellow fever, and I think that medical science would obtain more knowledge there than elsewhere. The support that the honourable Gentleman the Member for Northampton has given to this Vote is most remarkable, and there can be no greater reason than that suggested by him for introducing such institutions as is proposed. The honourable Member for Cheltenham has also said that medical men are not well instructed in this disease. Where should they learn it if not at Jamaica? We all remember the old sailors' rhyme, "The bight of Benin, the bight of Benin, few come out, the many go in"; and I certainly do think that this extremely small sum is the only sum in the Estimates which will be well spent. I see a small sum is destined for the Royal Society, and the right honourable Gentleman is going to do for an extremely small sum of money a work which, I venture to say, will be associated with his name and office so long as hospitals and fever exist.
§ *MR. LAWRENCE (Liverpool, Abercromby)
I emphatically object to the statement of the honourable Gentleman who has just sat down that Jamaica is the very best place for the study of yellow fever. Three years ago I became acquainted with the House Surgeon at Kingston Hospital, who told me that for 16 years he had not seen one case of yellow fever, excepting in one instance, when four or five people were hit by it. It is a calumny upon the climate of Jamaica to have such a statement made upon the floor of this House. I have heard that in days gone by the climate of the West Indies was thought to be equally as unhealthy as that of the West Coast of Africa, and therefore I believe that what has happened there, 494 where there has been so much improvement, will happen here, and that the time will come when the Colonial Secretary will rind his statements correct. I would only say, before I sit down, that I regret that the city of Liverpool, which has a large interest—which is concerned with at least half of the trade of the West Coast of Africa—is not to have the benefit of such a grant as this. The trade of the West Coast is handled by Liverpool, and the city of Liverpool did hope that the Government would see its way to have a school situated in the heart of that important trade centre. I trust that the Tight honourable Gentleman will give the matter his consideration, and, even if on this occasion he does not see fit to vote a sum to Liverpool to assist in the study of these diseases, that on a future occasion, as the matter becomes more important, it may be thought proper, on the part of the Government, that if there should be two hospitals in this country for the study of this very important disease, one shall be at Liverpool. I did not rise specially to touch on this matter of hospitals for tropical diseases, but rather to allude to the other Votes, which I understand the House is now prepared to consider. I do not wish to stand in the way of those who wish to continue the discussion upon the hospitals, but I was under the impression that no other honourable Member was willing to deal with that subject. I rose really to ask the right honourable Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he can tell us what is the principle on which the Vote of the special subsidies in the matter of the hurricane is going to be expended; whether the right honourable Gentleman himself has given instructions as to how they ought to be expended in the Colonies: why it is that the island of St. Lucia does not figure in the list; and why has St. Vincent, which has been hardest hit, the lowest grant, and the island of Barbados the largest? There is one other matter which I should like to allude to. Since the matter of the West Indies was-discussed in this House last Session, one of the most terrible hurricanes of the century has passed over the islands. That hurricane has thrown a great deal of light upon the question as to how these islands should be dealt with in future, especially by the Home Govern- 495 ment. The Royal Commission dealt specially with this question, and strongly recommended the cultivation of sugar.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
Order, order! The question does not arise on this Vote. The honourable Member must confine himself strictly to items arising out of this Vote.
§ *MR. LAWRENCE
What I desire to point out is, that under this hurricane, which is an abstract lesson as to the way in which these West Indian questions should be treated, we have learnt, as all the reports of the island showed, that where the hurricane completely destroyed the fruit trees root and branch, when it came across the fields of sugar, they, after having been for a fortnight laid flat, rose up, and there was still a crop to be reaped. I venture to remind the House of one single consideration, that whereas the Royal Commission laid great store on fruit cultivation we have this hurricane to show that if the inhabitants had put their trust in the cultivation of fruit they would have suffered more than they did through continuing to cultivate sugar. In order to inform the House how frequent these hurricanes are, I hold in my hand a list of the hurricanes which have visited the island of Jamaica, which is not, I might state, in the direct line of hurricanes. During the last century there were no less than 11 hurricanes, and during the present century there have been 14 hurricanes, up to the present year, which have actually hit the island. There were six or eight other hurricanes which visited the neighbourhood, and although this island is not in the line of hurricanes, as I said before, it is a very risky district in which to grow fruit. It seems to me that this is a very important matter, and these hurricanes supply us with a good deal of information, because they show us how the Mother Country is to treat its West Indian Colonies. And if it does that, it will not altogether have been an unmitigated evil. We shall have learned a lesson from these hurricanes, which will thus have made for the good of the people out there; but if we do not learn that lesson we shall spend our money in vain.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
It appears to me that if the honourable Gentleman who has just spoken was going into the question of the West Indies he might go a little further than he has done, showing that in his view they ought not to build houses in the West Indies, but that they ought to put them in the grant, on the ground that not only fruit trees were destroyed but houses as well. Now, my honourable Friend the Member for Islington intended to bring in an Amendment upon the question of Barbados, but, unfortunately, he is not at present in the House. He asked me last evening if I could bring it on for him, and I consented to do so. Now, my honourable Friend collected a vast amount of information, which he was to give to me yesterday, and which I, having mastered, was to give to the House; and I am sure that the House will share my regret that my honourable Friend the Member for Islington has forgotten to provide me with that information, and he is not here to give it himself. Now, I doubt whether these grants are altogether useful. There was in 1897 a grant of £160,000 for the West Indies, and in 1898 a further large grant was made for the same purpose. I am, of course, quite aware that these amounts had been expended through the Colonial Audits. These grants, no doubt, have been added to by private subscriptions. When the last disaster occurred we had a fund started by the Mansion House. That fund produced £50,000, and there is no evidence that that was not sufficient to meet the immediate distress in those islands. Sir, it strikes me very forcibly that the damage, as is generally the case, was very greatly exaggerated in the newspapers. Whenever we hear of any disaster taking place in Barbados, we are always told that 10,000 houses are destroyed, and 100,000 people are rendered homeless, and, in point of fact, that everything is destroyed. Now, if you heard in England of 10,000 houses being destroyed by a hurricane you would stand aghast. But the honourable Gentleman who has just sat down will bear me out when I say that the houses in Barbados are simply bamboo huts.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
I can only say that my honourable Friend the Member for Islington saw in the papers that the houses destroyed were 10,000. But perhaps my honourable Friend the Member for Islington reads newspapers of a more sensational character than the honourable Gentleman opposite. No doubt a great deal of injury has been done, but it is only of a temporary character, because these huts which have been destroyed can be built again for £1 or £2, and when we talk of people being rendered homeless I have myself been homeless in the sense of sometimes sleeping under a tree, when I slept just as well as I could have done in a house. What I should like to know from the Colonial Secretary is whether this money is to be expended solely for the necessities of the poor people. Take the Mansion House Fund of £50,000. That will provide 50,000 persons with 5 shillings a week for four weeks, by which time the immediate distress of the people would be over, because by that time they would get their bananas and other foods to grow up, and the £50,000 could hardly be exhausted during that time in buying food; but it is well observed in the newspapers that the property in the island of St. Vincent, property of the Church of England, was destroyed to the extent of something like £213,000. It is also observed that the loss to the Wesleyan community for injuries to their chapels is £6,000, while the Roman Catholic Church will not repair their churches for less than £3,000. Now, of course, the great body of the people of the islands had a very good claim for the immediate relief of their necessities, but I doubt whether the West Indies have a right to claim that we should make them a going concern in consequence of the loss which they have sustained by the hurricane. I should like to know whether any of this money is to be expended on the property of the religious communities or upon the planters' sugar houses. I saw myself in the papers that the sugar industry had been destroyed, that the industry had been so damaged that they had no means to carry on their business. Now, we have trouble enough in England. Take the case of Essex, which, as we know, has some of the best wheat-growing land in the country, but it has depreciated till 498 the land in Essex is now absolutely worthless; but it is never suggested that we should compensate the labourer, the tenant, or the owner of the land in Essex; and it seems to me that when any planter has a sugar house, or any religious community has a church or a chapel, that they ought to insure it. Now, the honourable Gentleman who has just sat down said that there were 13 hurricanes in Jamaica during the last few years. My honourable Friend the Member for Islington has apparantly gone very much more deeply into this subject, because he says that during the last 300 years there have been 355 hurricanes passing over the country, which is an average of one and a half hurricanes in each year. But in any case there is no doubt that hurricanes are of frequent occurrence there during August and September, and anybody who lives in the West Indies and puts up his sugar factories must accept the fact that if he does not insure them he runs a great risk of being injured by any hurricane which comes along. Might I ask the right honourable Gentleman to give a full explanation to the Committee of the mode in which the money was expended, how much has been expended, and how much remains, because I see a note that the amount shall be paid over as a whole, and no part remaining unpaid after the 31st of March shall be paid. The West Indies have got over the effect of their hurricane now. Nobody is now being starved because of the hurricane, or are without houses. £50,000 was, I think, enough to give food and necessaries of life to the people who were suffering from the climate. That does not seem to be the case here; in view of the cases that I have seen in the newspapers as to the Wesleyan, the Church of England, and the Roman Catholic communities. The view that I take of the Estimates is that all the money has not been expended, and that it is being kept for a nest egg. I will not move my Amendment now because the right honourable Gentleman proposes, I believe, to give an explanation of what has occurred. If that explanation, however, is not satisfactory I reserve to myself the right to move an Amendment.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES
I do not think that the House of Commons will envy the honourable Gentleman in the task he has taken over from the honourable Member for Islington. After all it is not a very gracious matter to make bad jokes about a calamity which is the greatest national calamity that has happened in the West India Islands within our recollection. Hurricanes are, according to the honourable Gentleman, common in the West Indies, and he stated that there had been 355 hurricanes in 300 years. That may be so, but there has not been a great hurricane such as that which has recently taken place, which has caused so much calamity since 1831. On that occasion Lord Althorpe came down to the House —apparently the country was not so rich then as it is now—and proposed a grant of £100,000, in addition to a loan of one million sterling. Curiously enough I find, on looking through the Debate that took place upon that occasion, that he was warmly supported in his proposal by Mr. Labouchere. The honourable Member makes light of the sufferings of these poor people on this recent occasion. and he does so on the ground that he has seen statements in the newspapers which are greatly exaggerated. Well, that is not an uncommon thing, for statements in newspapers are often exaggerated. But we have made this proposal not upon the statements in the newspapers, but upon the Official Reports which we have received ourselves from the governors and officials on the spot. Now let me read what is said by one who was, at all events, an impartial witness, in the person of the captain of Her Majesty's ship "Intrepid." who was there at the time. This officer states that—The whole islands, including St. Vincent had the appearance of having been fired through, and utter desolation prevailed everywhere. There was hardly a green spot where before all was verdant and beautiful to look upon. Towns and villages, viewed from the sea had the appearance of having, been bombarded. In St. Vincent 200 lives were lost, and out of a total population of 41,000, some 20,000 were shelterless and without the means of subsistence, and three-fourths of the population were only kept from starvation by receiving daily rations. In Barbados, 112 persons lost their lives, and the total loss to property was £283,000. The number of labourers' houses destroyed was 11,426, and the number damaged 4,984.500 In addition to this damage, Government public works, and State-aided schools suffered enormously. To meet that damage we have asked—in addition to the private subscriptions, which amount to something like £15,000, raised by the Mansion House Fund—for a free grant of £40,000 for Barbados, a free grant of £2,000 for St. Vincent, and for a loan in each of these islands of £50,000. The grants from the Mansion House Fund, which were very early distributed, were given entirely in the shape of relief, and the free grants which we ask for now have been expended to cover the expenses of relief, to assist the people in re-housing themselves, and in repairs to public works, because we have to consider, in the condition in which these islands are now placed, the question of restoring these public works, some of which have been destroyed. I must confess that I think this demand is an extremely moderate one, and it has been made after the most careful consideration and conference with Governor Hay, and upon the written reports which we have received from the islands. Certainly there is no idea of making a nest-egg, and the whole of this money will be required and will be spent for the benefit of the population. I do not know why the honourable Gentleman introduced this tale about Wesleyan chapels and churches, for there is not, and never has been, the slightest intention of making grants out of the public funds for the repair of those institutions, no matter to what denomination they belong. No doubt these people have suffered seriously, but we have not made any grants towards the repair of their property, and the honourable Gentleman has no ground for suggesting that any grants will be made for this purpose. My honourable Friend asked why a grant was not made to St. Lucia. Well, in the first place, the damage there was not so great, and we had reason to believe that the grant was not so necessary in that district, although we have taken care that St. Lucia has had a liberal contribution from the Mansion House Fund. St. Lucia is not quite in the same position as the other islands, because, owing to the arrangement made by the Admiralty, it is now a naval station, and enjoys a larger measure of prosperity. With regard to what my honourable Friend said in reference to the sugar-cane industry 501 as contrasted with fruit, I think he is inclined to argue against the Report of the Royal Commission, hut it seems to me that there is room for both. I have no desire to see the destruction of the sugar industry, and I am perfectly convinced that any such violent change as the honourable Gentleman behind me has suggested would be disastrous to the interests of the West Indies. On the other hand, I cordially agree myself with the recommendations of the Commissioners that we should endeavour to aid other industries, so that those Islands might not be dependent upon the one industry of sugar. I hope that the House will think that I have made out a case for this moderate grant in what I have said, and I am quite sure that the benevolence which has been already anticipated by some of our Colonies, such as Canada, Natal, Lagos, Mauritius, and the Straits Settlements, will be thoroughly appreciated.
§ MR. BUXTON
I only need to trouble the Committee with a very few words upon this Vote, because it is totally different, and is not affected except indirectly by what we have already voted, or what the right honourable Gentleman may offer to do in the future. This is simply a Vote to give—as we have frequently given—the Government of the day funds to meet the damage which has occurred, and which has caused such disastrous results that if relief were not given there would have been such distress that perhaps starvation would have taken place in a large number of cases, and the Government have come down and asked us to assist in relieving that distress. Therefore, this is purely a matter of relief. The right, honourable Gentleman has explained that every sixpence of this grant will go to the relief of those unfortunate people in Barbadoes and St. Vincent, and this money has not teen asked for with the motives which seem to have actuated the honourable Member for Northampton that we were going to a great expenditure to benefit the sugar industry, for the repair of religious institutions, or any other way. That is as far as I understand the right honourable Gentleman. Therefore, I shall give a cordial support to this Vote, and I trust that the right honourable Gentleman will do all that is 502 possible to relieve this great distress which has occurred in the West Indian Islands.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
I understand from what the right honourable Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies has stated that nothing out of this grant is to go to any of these religious sects to which I have referred. My honourable Friend who has just spoken said he understood that nothing was to go to assist the sugar industry.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES
What I meant was that in this grant we are asking for nothing in connection with the policy of assisting the sugar industries, for which we have had Votes already and for which we may have other Votes. I do not say that this grant may not indirectly benefit the sugar industry, because it will assist the natives in a large number of cases to carry on their industry.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
My honourable Friend and I agree that the right honourable Gentleman does not wish this money to be spent in assisting the owners of sugar industries, although they may have suffered loss, but he wants the money to be spent upon the direct and absolute necessities of the poor inhabitants of the country. Do I understand from the right honourable Gentleman's statement that that is so?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES
All grants that are made are expected to assist the sugar industry. I do not think, however, that any part of the free grant will be given to assist directly the sugar industry, for a large portion, if not the whole, of the loans will be devoted to that express purpose. The object of this grant is to enable those estates which have been temporarily thrown out of cultivation to resume cultivation, and in that way this assistance will be of the greatest possible advantage to the population.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES
Perhaps I have given the honourable Gentleman more infor- 503 mation than I should have done. It is a large question, and I would rather argue it when the Estimates for the year come on. This is only a preliminary to the carrying out of that scheme.
§ Vote agreed to.