HC Deb 13 December 1900 vol 88 cc692-3

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to the Report on Sierra Leone for the year 1899, which shows a reduction in the exports of palm oil, rice, and rubber, and to the fact that Sir Frederick Cardew sums up the position of the country by stating that since 1895 a gradual decrease in the export trade is apparent; and whether, seeing that the cost of the frontier police for 1899 amounted to £25,672, whereas the total revenue obtained from the hut tax was only £19,364, and that an additional expenditure was required to recoup the Imperial Government for the cost of military expeditions, he would consider the desirability of abolishing the hut tax and adopting a more conciliatory attitude towards the native population.


(1) I have examined the Report in question. It shows a reduction in the exports mentioned, but in the total of exports it shows a marked increase in 1899 over 1898, and if the words cited by the hon. Member be read with the rest of the paragraph in which they stand it will be seen that they are not intended to summarise the result of the tables as a gradual decrease since 1895. (2) The figures given as to the cost of frontier police and the revenue from the house tax for 1899 are correct; but the Governor has recently reported that the tax for 1900 has already realised more than the estimate of £25,000, and that it has been collected without trouble or any feeling of soreness. I have no reason to think that anything but a conciliatory attitude has been adopted towards the native population.