§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £162,500, be granted to Her Majesty to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1900, for grants in aid of the expenses of the British Protectorates in Uganda and in Central and East Africa."
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE () Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean
In the absence of the Minister in charge of this Vote, I would like to ask the Secretary to the Treasury what course the Government proposes to adopt. I do not know whether they are content to adjourn the Vote: but I shall have to make an attack on the administration of Uganda.
§ Attention called to the fact that forty Members were not present (Lord HUGH CECIL). House counted, and forty Members being found present,
§ * SIR CHAPLES DILKE (continuing)
This is one of the largest Supplementary Votes compared with the original Vote that has ever been put before the House. It is, moreover, impossible to say whether the expenditure concerns matters which have been passed over or expenditure incurred in the present year. The foot-note states that the expenditure was consequent on the disturbed state of the Protectorate of Uganda and neighbouring districts. Now, the recent insurrection of the Soudanese troops was completely suppressed before the beginning of the present financial year, but it is possible that we shall be told that the Vote now before the Committee is expenditure largely on account of that insurrection. When Uganda was occupied we were assured that the sum of £50,000 would represent the probable expenditure per annum in that province, and at a later period it was suggested that in the course of no distant time Uganda would pay its way. The Committee will see from the Vote to what an enormous sum that expenditure has grown. The defence which has been made by the Foreign Office for the large amount asked for Uganda is the plea that the Protectorate had been starved, that is to say that the difficulties of administration had been so great that we have not been able to have a proper Civil Service, and had not been able to pay for a sufficient number of recruits, and that that was the real cause of the insurrection. It was also said that a cause of the insurrection was the small pay of the Soudanese troops on whom we were forced to rely. We are in great difficulty in regard to this Vote being administered by the Foreign Office. The Foreign Office is not really intended to govern provinces of this kind. It cannot do so because it has no trained Civil Service to employ in the Government. We know the shifts to which the Foreign Office have been driven, when they had actually to employ a valet as a governor, although I believe he did make a very good governor. Here is an enormous Supplementary Estimate, signifying, on the face of it, a tremendous amount of waste and muddle in the case 869 of a Department where there is no proper Treasury control. We know that the Prime Minister complained the other day of Treasury control, but in this particular ease the Prime Minister is his own Minister, for he is not only Prime Minister, but Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; but we have not the ordinary constitutional control through the Prime Minister which in another Department we should have. A book has just been published which throws some degree of light on the causes of this expenditure in the Uganda Protectorate by the Foreign Office. Hitherto we have had full reports by Colonel Macdonald as to what took place in Uganda. We have now a statement of the other side of the account as to these same proceedings in the book I have referred to by the late Major Thruston. That officer had the confidence of the Foreign Office while alive, because he was Governor of the whole of the Unyoro province, was afterwards employed in Egypt, and then taken back again to Uganda, where he met his death at the hands of the Soudanese mutineers. Since his death he seems to have lost the confidence of the Foreign Office, because it is now stated that though he was a gallant and estimable gentleman, he was not an officer on whom reliance could be placed. Major Thruston in his book gives a complete account of the whole of the difficulties between Colonel Macdonald and the Soudanese mutineers. We alleged in this House that there were reasons to suppose that the Foreign Office was blameworthy in putting Colonel Macdonald in command of the Soudanese troops. He was an administrator of great ability, but not desirable as a commander of these particular troops. We said that after the previous troubles Colonel Macdonald had with the Soudanese, the Foreign Office was blameworthy in employing him again with these troops. The Foreign Office laid before us Colonel Macdonald's account of the proceedings in Uganda, as his exculpation; we have now the other side by Major Thruston. In spite of the enormous expenditure in Uganda, the Foreign Office now alleges that the administration had been starved; but it was starved in no degree more than in the reduction of pay and the alterations in the conditions of service of the Soudanese troops, which really caused the mutiny. The Foreign Office governs two provinces 870 on either side of an imaginary line—Uganda and British East Africa. In Uganda they pay their Soudanese troops at the rate of four rupees a month, not in money, but in calico goods, and these invariably in arrear; whereas in British East Africa they were paying twenty-six rupees a month for precisely the same service, and these were always paid punctually and in cash. That fact in itself, apart from the breaking of other conditions of service of the Soudanese engaged in Uganda, is enough to account for the troubles which arose. Then the Foreign Office was obliged to appoint officers in command of the Soudanese who were unable to speak any of the dialects, and consequently unable to communicate with their men in any language at all, and who did not know Arabic sufficiently to go beyond the mere words of command. Major Thruston has shown very clearly the extent to which we all were deceived in the matter of the Juba expedition, and we have brought before us, for the first time, the character of our contest with the Soudanese in Unyoro, and for which we are paying with this Vote. He tells us the army consisted exclusively of twenty thousand of the Uganda tribes, who are stated to have served in the expedition simply for the purpose of plunder and paying off old scores. What was the next service on which Major Thruston was employed? He was sent to fetch some 200 Sudanese troops out of a disputed territory, and found that to do so he had to fetch with then) a following of 10,000 people, mostly women and children, and Major Thruston informed the world in his book that 7,000 of these 10,000 people failed to accomplish the march, the great majority dying on the load. The road was marked by the skeletons of men, women, and children.
§ * THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. BRODRICK,) Surrey, Guildford
From what source does the right hon. Baronet quote that statement?
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE
From his book. Major Thruston stated in so many words that, sent out as a British officer under the Foreign Office, the work upon which he found himself employed was that of a Bashi-Bazouk, a raider, and an ivory thief. He so described his work to a general officer, whose name was not 871 expressly given, but whom it was not difficult to identify with a gallant officer who was now serving with great distinction in South Africa, and he quoted that general officer as having said that he would sooner be a slave under the rule of the Khalifa than a negro in one of our spheres of influence. Passing from that topic I must say I do not think that the achievements of the Foreign Office in trying to administer large tracts of Africa are calculated to strengthen the Empire. Are we ever likely to get any return for the enormous expenditure in that direction? The Foreign Office is not organised or equipped for the administration of territory, and the financial muddle shown by the present enormous Supplementary Estimate proves it. I beg to move the reduction of this Vote by £10,000.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item A (Uganda Grant in Aid) be reduced by £10,000."—(Sir Charles Dilke.)
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
deeply regretted that the Foreign Office should have entered upon this adventure, which, as the right hon. Baronet had truly pointed out, was one in which they could not hope to approach the Colonial Office. We had the Colonial Office entering into negotiations with signal want of success; the Foreign Office undertook to administer and even to conquer territories with equal want of success; and he supposed we would have the Minister for Agriculture charged with the conduct of a war one of these days. He contended that the Department had not only cheated the troops, but it had provoked, by the errors of its officers, a mutiny which might have been avoided; while in the choice of its officers it had proved itself to be singularly incompetent to select the men to fill the posts they were intended to occupy. From the beginning it had been a warlike and strategic failure, and this Estimate showed it to be a financial failure. His belief was that the Foreign Office had never considered the character of the work in which it was engaging in Uganda, and he looked with alarm at the now responsibilities which were being assumed by that Department. If we should succeed in finally conquering, pacifying, 872 and developing the country, our responsibilities would be heightened in respect of the maintenance of the country and its people.
§ * MR. JOHN BURNS () Battersea
I trust the Under Secretary of State for the Foreign Office will not accuse me of making an attack on the Foreign Office, but I cannot refrain from making a complaint when we see the brutal way in which these expeditions have been carried out by the officers of the Foreign Office. I believe the Foreign Office made a mistake in beginning the Uganda expedition at all; but having decided to occupy that country they ought to have proceeded in a businesslike and proper way. The Colonial Office was the proper office to have undertaken this matter, simply because they have a number of civil administrators in all parts of the world who are inured to climate, know the natives, and are not bound by the same rules as military men. There is a good man in Sir Harry Johnston, who, under trying and difficult circumstances, has always acted with the tact, patience, and good temper which was not as a rule shown by military officers. Major Thruston in his book discloses a condition of things which proves that the Uganda Administration was a very great mistake in its earlier stages, and conducted with a singular disregard to the condition of the native races. Many of the men appointed to this expedition knew little of the languages or the manners and customs of the people, and could only convey their thoughts to the troops through an interpreter. In that mutiny five hundred were killed or wounded, and the wounded were left behind to die, which means being eaten by lions shortly after the expedition has passed away. I come to the way in which the natives have been treated in the building of the railway. Nearly every day, some months ago, we read in the London papers of coolies engaged in the making of this railway being deprived of the most elementary precautions that ought to have been given to them, the result being that many were devoured by lions. Native labour is cheap, but you have no right needlessly to sacrifice men in the way that has been done in connection with this Uganda railway.
873 The right hon. Baronet referred to the fact that out of 10,000 men who started on this expedition 7,000 died or were devoured by wild animals. The writer of the book to which I have referred is in the employ of the Government, and at page 182 he says—We had now been eight days out. Food was running short. We were in a foodless country, and a great many of the women and children began to suffer.Further on he says—Eighteen miles in a tropical country is a long march for half-starved women and children and some hundreds never saw the end of it.I complain of want of management and lack of adaptation to local circumstances, when women and children are dragged at the heels of Soudanese troops for eighteen miles, half starved and in this shocking condition. I am not personally blaming the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, but I say it is typical of nearly everything done with regard to Uganda since we entered upon that wild expedition. The blundering which has characterised this expedition with regard to the natives and camp followers has also characterised the treatment of the engineers and drivers and other men taken out from this country. I am one of the small band of men who objected altogether to the initial outlay for Uganda on the ground that the Uganda expedition was a mistake. But having entered upon it the Foreign Office should have shown greater discretion than they have done in the selection of their lines of route and of the officers in charge and the conditions under which the expedition should be proceeded with. We are amply justified by Major Thruston's book in every one of the criticisms we made against Uganda years ago. The Government would be wise if they withdraw those who are out at Uganda to their base as soon as they can. If they are intent upon proceeding they should take every step to avoid the initial mistakes, and the colossal and preventible cruelty imposed on white subordinates, native troops, and all men connected with the expedition. I protest against this expenditure of £162,000 because I believe it is indicative of a mad feeling on the part of the Government to extend its administration to all the wild coiners of the earth. We have to recog- 874 nise this fact, that in foreign expansion we are biting off more than we can chew, swallowing more than we can digest. Having had the pleasure, and experience of knowing in Africa how natives should be treated, and believing the Foreign Office; have not treated them properly, I protest against the incompetence of this expedition. With great pleasure I associate myself with tin; two hon. Members who have spoken, and I beg the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs to go closely and deeply into this question. If he does, he will had he will have to revolutionise the whole method of proceeding in the neighbourhood of Uganda, and accept in the main the suggestions that Sir Harry Johnston, from a practical point of view, will make to him. Above all, I appeal to him to keep the soldier to his proper work, and let all expeditions be conducted by men who have experience of the tropics, who are tactful in their treatment of the natives, and are inured to the climate. It is because the opposite type of men has been selected that I hope the right hon. Baronet will press his motion to a division, and if he does I shall have much pleasure in supporting him in the Lobby.
§ * MR. BRODRICK
The light hon. Gentleman who moved a reduction of this Vote has asked, and I am not surprised that he should ask, for an explanation with regard to the very considerable sum now asked for the additional Grant in Aid for Uganda. All who have addressed the House have assumed that the increased Vote is due to some want of foresight and consideration on the part of the Foreign Office, for which they have severely censured that Department, and from which they have drawn the conclusion that it is quite incapable of dealing with these territories and Estimates. Perhaps I am to blame for not being in my place, but the Vote was called on very hurriedly in consequence of the postponement of other Votes; otherwise I should have at once explained the circumstances under which this additional sum is asked. Almost the whole of this amount is due not to any want of foresight on the part of the Foreign Office, but to the great distance at which we are dealing with these Intimates, and to the circumstance that we had to employ in the mutiny which 875 occurred in Uganda a regiment brought from India. Up to the moment that regiment arrived in Uganda the expenditure had to be provided on Indian revenues, and the Indian Government, till they made up their accounts, were not able to tell us the precise amount due from Uganda on account of this regiment, which came from Bombay, not returning there until four months after the Estimates of the current year were framed. The result was that the Indian Government did not make its claims until a considerable time after we had framed our estimates. This I think is a complete answer to those who consider the Foreign Office were in any way responsible for errors of judgement in the matter. The Indian Government gave us a claim to cover a certain period in regard to stores, passages, railway travelling, points which could not he taken out of the Indian accounts in a hurry. They made claims on us at different times, which, with other Bills drawn on us on the same account, amounted in the course? of the current financial year to nearly £120,000 out of the £147,000 comprising the total estimate now submitted. That in reality is the main substratum of this Vote. There are a few other points, one of which I might mention to the Committee. There is an item on account of transport by railway. That is due not to any tardiness on the part of the India Office, but to a decision for which the right hon. Gentlemen the Secretary of the Treasury is responsible, and in which the Foreign Office concur, namely, that to put matters on a business footing it was desirable that all the traffic on the Uganda Railway should be paid for by and charged on the Protectorate, and reappear as an asset of the Uganda Railway as being part of its earnings. I think tin; Committee will see that that is the only proper system to adopt. When once you begin in any part of the world to carry everything which people choose to send, the amount carried will, of course, largely increase. By this system the Protectorate pay the current rate of charge for everything carried on the railway, and on the other hand, the railway receipts show whatever work they do for the Protectorate. That covers some £20,000, and, without going into smaller items practically covers the whole of the supplementary estimates. I am not going to 876 labour this charge against the Foreign Office of want of foresight, want of financial control, financial collapse, and the other oratorical expressions used by the hon. Member for King's Lynn, but many important points have been raised to which I should like to refer. The real main question we have to consider in regard to finance is the point raised by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean when he referred to a speech of the right hon. Baronet opposite in 1895, in which it was stated that the Treasury estimate of the annual expense of the Uganda Protectorate was £40.000. The right hon. Gentleman states truly that the expenditure on the Uganda Protectorate has been very considerably above that amount. In the first place there is no question whatever that the progress of events precipitated operations in the Uganda Protectorate, as often happens when a barbarous country is taken over. You cannot always confine your operations within the immediate centre or sphere you may choose for yourself. Our experience in Uganda is not unique in that respect. If you look back on our experience in any part of the world where we have taken up the; work of government you will find that at one time or another in the early years of our occupation we have had to expend considerable sums and put ourselves to great trouble in order to conquer or to put on a more civilised basis the country we have taken up. That has been our experience in Asia, Africa, and Canada. It is also our experience in Uganda, and although I am far from saying that at this period of the nineteenth century we can but expect to repeat the errors made on previous occasions, yet I think it is expecting a great deal, considering the condition of Uganda when it was taken over in 1894-95, to suppose that we should be able to establish a peaceable administration in all those vast territories without any difficulties or disturbances. Undoubtedly, two years ago we underwent a very chequered experience. We had, at the same time a revolt on the part of the natives and a mutiny in our own troops. That mutiny was dealt with considerable difficulty at the time owing to the small number of Europeans there;, but so far from deserving the epithets of opprobrium which to-night have been heaped upon the officials I think the conduct of our officers in 877 Uganda under circumstances of exceptional difficulty and danger is highly to be commended. As regards the mutiny, there is no doubt it has caused heavy expenditure, and for the time it shook the whole fabric, but I am glad to say that since I spoke here last year we have had no signs whatever of a recrudescence of those troubles, and so far as I am aware every report we have had looks forward to a very much quieter time in the future than we have had in the past. But surely, in estimating the expenditure to which we have been put in Uganda, we ought to consider with regard to these African Protectorates what has been the experience of other countries in the same regions. I quite admit that £50,000, the sum mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman, has been exceeded, but what has been the total amount we have had to expend, and, on the other hand, what has been the total amount expended by other countries in the same regions? I go back practically to the beginning and take Uganda and British East Africa, two enormous protectorates, covering a vast extent of territory, and with populations the number of which has not vet been ascertained. On those two British protectorates in the last five years, including this present estimate, we have spent about £1,500,000 all told. Then take German East Africa and German Southwest Africa, two protectorates or possessions which are not equal in size to ours, and certainly not in any respect less favourably circumstanced as regards expenditure, and what do we find? The expenditure on those two German Protectorates during the same period, taking only the estimates, for we have no record to which we can refer as to any supplementary sums winch may have been raised, was a little more than £2,600,000, or more than 40 per cent. over ours. If we take the two largest French Protectorates in Africa the French Congo and Senegal we find that even now, when the expenditure is. so to speak, normal, the sum is about £1,670,000. The Italian Government in Erythrea have spent some £5,000,000 in five years. I do not for a moment say that we are not bound to show a better result, but I do say that judged by these figures the expenditure on our protectorates is not an exceptional charge upon the Empire; whatever it is, it is not that bottomless abyss of expenditure about which so much has been 878 said to-night on the assumption that there is no control, and that we know nothing as to how we shall stand in the future. I think too much stress has been laid on that point. If this has been our experience in the past, the hon. Member for King's Lynn says we may expect heavier charges in the future. After the example of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I certainly should not attempt to prophesy with regard to the Estimates for Uganda. But this I can say, that the Estimates for this Protectorate, which will be distributed on Monday next, have been carefully considered by Sir Harry Johnston in connection with the late Deputy-Commissioner, Colonel Ternam. The sum voted for the present year was £250,000, and the present additional Estimates of £147,000. Sir Harry Johnston has gone very carefully into the Estimates, and has come to the conclusion that we may look this year for a reduction of £50,000 on the original Estimate of £250,000 voted last year. That does not represent the whole of Sir Harry Johnston's views. That gentleman left this country last September and arrived in Uganda in November, and has been occupying himself by visiting various outposts in Uganda and forming his own ideas both for the administration and of the future prospects of the country. I am not in a position to lay Sir Harry Johnston's views before the Committee to-night. For those we must expect to wait for some time. We cannot expect a man., however experienced, to arrive on the scene and within a few weeks give us a complete review of the possessions upon which he has been asked to report. But I can say two or three things which. I think, will be of interest and of a reassuring character. In the first place, Sir Harry Johnston appears to be satisfied that, so far from the organisation of government in Uganda being of an unsatisfactory and haphazard character, it has been well planned and well administered, and that great progress has been made. Secondly, although he sees his way to decrease of expenditure, that decrease is not due to there having been an exceptional number of officials: and, moreover, Sir Harry Johnston is sanguine that in a very short time he will be able to show a large increase of revenue. One hon. Member' on the floor of this House has described the country as a 879 desert, but I will compare that with the opinion of Sir Harry Johnston, who is a very cautious observer, and he said he was greatly struck by its producing capacity, as also by the wealth of its flocks, and he was likewise struck by the great progress which had been made in establishing friendly relations with the tribal chiefs, which augurs extremely well not only for our pacific relation with the tribes, but also for the collection of the revenue in the future, and although that is not a subject which I will dwell upon at any length, I will say that Sir H. Johnston was further impressed with the way in which the Uganda Railway has been made and worked. We may, therefore, put aside the idea which had been sedulously advanced before the Committee that the organisation in Uganda is chaos, that there is no future, that our best chance is to clear out of the country, and that the men who have been sent out by the Foreign Office to administer the country have been incompetent for their task. I view with considerable regret—I might say almost with suspicion—the passages which have been quoted from Major Thruston's book, because the statements therein made cannot have been checked by that officer, and can only have been contained in private letters written in confidence. I demur altogether to the suggestion that any guilt or any liability is to be attached to Colonel Macdonald or to any of the officers in his expedition who, in circumstances of great difficulty, did the best they could.
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE
I am sure that both to-night and upon former occasions when we have, had this matter before us, I spoke in the highest terms with regard to the able services and the gallantry of Colonel Macdonald. What I stated was that I simply blamed the Foreign Office for the part they took in putting him in a position of such serious difficulty.
§ * MR. BRODRICK
I confess that I am unable to understand why the circumstances under which a gallant officer lost his life, and under which other gallant officers did their best to rescue him, has been so much criticised. They had to meet a very difficult set of circumstances and they acquitted themselves creditably.
880 The statements of Major Thruston are very strong, and some of them I shall be very glad to investigate, although the time is past when any redress can be undertaken. I think such statements should be made with very great reserve until we see what is to be said on the other side. The main question which has been raised is, whether the Foreign Office ought to administer the affairs of Uganda at all, and the hon. Member opposite said he could not understand on what grounds the Foreign Office attempted to administer protectorates. The reason why the Foreign Office ought to administer these protectorates is that they continually involve questions of foreign affairs. In many instances the boundaries are not yet fixed, and there must be continually difficulties and friction arising which concern the Foreign Office. We have incurred so far considerable expenditure, in Uganda which, from all the information that comes to us, we do not expect will be continued in the future. I do urge upon the House to believe that so far from that expenditure which has been incurred having produced a system of government which is in any way a reproach either to the House or to this country, I believe that the progress made in Uganda is a progress which is quite out of proportion to the time we have been there, and is also exceptional even in comparison with other parts of Africa where the influence of Great Britain has been much longer established. The progress of the Uganda Railway has been a civilising work of the first magnitude. It has been suggested that we have undertaken in Uganda liabilities which will prove an incubus to this country, but I challenge that statement altogether. I believe, that, so far, the object for which these protectorates were first taken up were not merely that they should become civilising mediums, not because there was a mere desire to acquire territory for the process of expansion, but the considerable liabilities attaching to them were undertaken in the pursuance of a definite policy of securing territory which had to do with the head waters of the Nile, which are absolutely necessary for the control of Egypt and the Soudan. I regard it, therefore, not as a question of national advantage, but as a question of Imperial necessity. If we are to hold Egypt and be masters of the Soudan as 881 we are, it is absolutely necessary that the head waters of the Nile should be in the hands of the power which controls those two countries; and we have no intention whatever of giving way in the position we have taken up. Every year it becomes more and more obvious that the life of Egypt is the Nile. [Mr. LABOUCHERE: Oh, oh!] The hon. Member jeers at that statement, but he jeers at every expansion which is made in that direction. He laughed at Uganda, and yet at this very moment and quite recently the process of cutting the sudd on the railway between Uganda and Khartoum is already being carried out
* THE CHAIRMAN
Order, order! I must remind the right hon. Gentleman that the general policy of opening up Uganda is not open to discussion on this Vote. All that is open for discussion is this particular item.
§ * MR. BRODRICK
What has been said, and very strongly said, is that this expenditure has nothing whatever to do with the Empire at large, but I confess that that is not the view of the Government. Throughout the whole of these proceedings the Foreign Office have been guided solely by a desire to hold only that which was necessary to make our occupation effectual. I may remind the Committee that this Supplementary Estimate is, to a large extent, to meet expenditure which took place two years ago, and does not represent the normal expenditure under ordinary circumstances. As I stated when there were very few Members in the House there will be a considerable reduction in the Estimates for the coming year, and that reduction will be associated, we believe, with good government, with improvements, and with a thorough realisation of those objects for which the House originally sanctioned this Vote.
§ SIR EDWARD GREY () Northumberland, Berwick
I have a few comments to make upon the speech which we have had from the right hon. Gentleman opposite and on the speeches of those who preceded him in the debate. Really I think we approach this Vote this evening with a desire to hear about the future 882 rather than to dispute about the past. We undoubtedly wish to know what the money has been required for, but we know that there is a, great deal which is unpleasant which is past and beyond recall, and we are anxious to have an assurance that the present condition of Uganda is improving and likely to improve still more. That assurance we have had from the right hon. Gentleman as far as it is possible to give an assurance with regard to the future, and we have had it given on better authority than it is usually possible to give an assurance on in a case of this kind. We have had it on the authority of Sir Harry Johnston, who is now on the spot, and who of all men is perhaps the best fitted to form an impartial estimate of what the future of Uganda is likely to be. It is easy for a man to go to Uganda, and to be favourably impressed by a country which he sees for the first time, but Sir Harry Johnston is a man who has had great experience of many parts of Africa. He has shown he has a special capacity for taking advantage of experience. The judgment he has formed of Uganda, is not that of a man attracted by novelty, but of a man who has a wide range of knowledge by which to judge, and as large a standard by which to compare the possibilities of Uganda as any man could have; and he says that the character of the natives of Uganda stands high as compared with that of the natives in other parts of Africa, and he sees great possibilities in the economic conditions of the country. That is the most favourable estimate that we can expect to have placed before the Committee; it is the most substantial thing we have yet had put before us. Now, there are one or two points on which we seem to be agreed. We are all agreed that there has been a certain amount of financial confusion, the result of which appears in this large Supplementary Estimate. That financial confusion, I have no doubt, has been the result of sudden emergencies in Uganda, which have required sudden expedients to be resorted to. I do not think that the confusion is to be run to earth entirely in the Foreign Office. The confusion is evidently the result of more than one Department having been called into play, and it will, no doubt, not exist in the future, now that the country has been placed under 883 more settled administration. There is another matter of agreement, and that is that we are not going to cavil with the conduct of any of the officers engaged in the mutiny. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean made an interruption just now with the object of saying that that was not his intention. That mutiny was a most trying experience for every officer on the spot. Two lives were sacrificed under most distressing circumstances, but I think that all the officers were in danger. They were all without the possibility of support or relief: they were obliged to deal with a great emergency and a great crisis with no help or resources at their command, and with no hope of having their resources increased. They were scattered in different parts of the country, and each man had to act upon his own initiative and responsibility in dealing with the emergency. It would be impossible to review what was going on while those men were in danger of their lives. They occupied a position which commands our sympathy, and which is absolutely beyond our criticism, and my own feeling on reading the account of the mutiny is that those engaged in it, and those who came through it successfully, deserve the appreciation of the House. But if we go back to the causes of the mutiny, I think there is room for criticism. The causes of the mutiny, no doubt, were the poor and unequal payment of the Soudanese and the fact that the payment was in arrear: and, I believe, above all, the fact that certain companies of the Soudanese were overworked. All that took place before Colonel Macdonald was on the spot. It may be difficult for Members of the Committee to fix definitely the responsibility for the causes which led to the mutiny, but there is a significant omission in Mr. Berkeley's report on the mutiny. That gentleman expressly declines to report as to how it was that certain companies of the Soudanese were overworked; he leaves the reason to be explained by the Foreign Office. It ought to have been within the power of the Foreign Office to have formed a pretty good idea as to what the causes of the mutiny were and as to how far they could have been avoided or not. I trust the Department has been in a position to find a reason in their own minds, though I do not wish to press the right hon. Gentle- 884 man to reopen the question now. We have had some very painful revelations read to us from the book of Major Thruston. I have not read the book, and I am not prepared to say more about what we have heard until I have had an opportunity of reading the book, except to say that I listened to the extracts with the greatest pain. They relate to past events, but even though those events are entirely past, and there may be no chance of their recurring, we cannot hear what is said to have occurred without great distress, but we have to remember that even if such things have occurred in the Uganda Protectorate, the state of that Protectorate has advanced immensely upon what it was when we went there. That is some compensation for the mutiny and for other undesirable things that may have happened under the stress of circumstances. Then, the slave trade has gone, and those who read books such as that of Sir Harry Johnston, and realise what the slave trade means—the calculated, persistent, cold-blooded brutality with which the slave trade was carried on generation after generation—must feel a relief that that has gone, and gone for ever. It is an enormous compensation for the trouble we have had. I pass now to deal more especially with the criticism which culminated in more than criticism—in positive attack—by the hon. Member for King's Lynn on the administration of the Foreign Office. The hon. Member is one with whom I am always anxious to agree, but the hon. Gentleman knows so very much, and he goes so very fast over so many subjects, that it is sometimes a little difficult for those who are less well informed to follow him. The hon. Member has one fixed idea, and that is a rooted disbelief in everything the Foreign Office does, and sometimes it leads him astray. I have heard him express a disbelief in the knowledge of French possessed by Foreign Office officials. That rooted disbelief has led him astray as to the cause of the troubles in Uganda. The Foreign Office should not be considered as an administrative body, but in this debate I have heard the Foreign Office attacked as if it were the only office in the whole world which ever showed any deficiency in administration, and I do not think that is quite fair. Whenever the question of Uganda is raised in the House we are told that Uganda 885 has gone wrong because the Foreign Office is quite incapable of administration, and more than hints are thrown out that had it only been in the hands of the Colonial Office it would have been entirely different.
§ MR. JOHN BURNS
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Baronet, but what I did say was that the Colonial Office had a wider area to select from of men who were acclimatised. I have been to Africa, and I think I know a little more about it than the hon. Gentleman.
§ SIR EDWARD GREY
I was not alluding to anything which my hon. friend had said. I certainly have heard the Colonial Office exalted at the expense of the Foreign Office. The Foreign Office is some what hardly treated in this matter. The Foreign Office, from the necessity of the case, very often has to begin the administration in disturbed and undeveloped parts of Africa. It has to be so because the communications with foreign countries are so frequent, the boundaries are often so uncertain, that the whole thing must be kept for a time in the hands of the Foreign Office. After a time, I admit, when things get settled, it is desirable that the administration should be transferred from the Foreign Office; but do not let us forget that the Foreign Office has continually to bear the heat and burden of the day when administration is to be carried on under most imperfect conditions. While admitting that there is occasion for criticism in the administration of the Foreign Office though I think that Department has done no worse than any other Department would have done in similar circumstances it seems to me the deficiencies of the Foreign Office are not the real cause of the troubles in Uganda. You must take a wider view of the case. A great part of these troubles are inseparable from the conditions which forced this country to take over Uganda at the time we did take it over. I will not enter into the question whether we ought to he in Uganda. I am glad to be precluded by your ruling, Sir, from indulging in any argument with the hon. Member for King's Lynn as to whether it was wise to go to Uganda or not, because that subject is very fertile in argument if it is fertile in nothing else. We are there and we 886 must stay there. What is the cause of the Soudanese mutiny, and the various distressful things that have occurred in Uganda. The cause of these troubles is what has been the cause of so many troubles in South Africa, not only in our own territories. It is simply this—that the competition between European Governments for territories has forced their hands, has forced them to go too far, has compelled them to press on and occupy territories hundreds of miles from the coast before they were really in a position to occupy them effectively. Our hand has been forced. We ought not to have gone to Uganda until the railway was ready to take us there: but the competition was such that it was impossible to do what we ought to have done. Other countries have not more been able to regulate the pace than we have been. But now that the boundaries have been laid down and agreed upon between the different European countries, I trust we may be able to proceed more leisurely and be able to avoid many risks we have had to undertake in the past. The moral of the situation in Uganda is not that we should withdraw—that would mean the plunging of the country into disorder again but it is. first of all, to press on the railway as fast as possible, so that in the ease of trouble arising again we shall be able to bring support to the spot in a short time: and, secondly though perhaps this should come first to choose good men for the administration of the country. Von may have two men equally good soldiers, equally clever; you may have two civilians equally clever, equally good at administration; but one of these two men will have the gift of managing the natives and the other will not. They may be equally good men, but they will not be equally good in the same place. And what we want to make sure of in Uganda is that you may have men on the spot who have the gift of managing the natives and the tribes with whom you may have to deal. It is, of course, impossible without trial to find out who the best men are. But there have been men in Uganda for some time, and the Foreign Office must now be getting some idea as to who are the best men for this purpose. My advice to the Foreign Office is keep the best men in Uganda, put on them greater responsibility, and gradually build up in the country a service headed by 887 men who have shown themselves best fitted for the work. It is on the future that our thoughts are fixed. I am not prepared to refuse to vote this money, because I think the Foreign Office have taken the best steps they could to make things smooth in the future. I understand they are going to press on the railway. I think they have shown they are anxious to choose the best men, and I trust they will retain Sir H. Johnston. "What I believe is necessary for the future is that they should be guided very much by Sir H. Johnston's advice. He not only knows the natives, but is a good judge of the capacity of the white men he deals with. He will be a good adviser with regard to the measures to be adopted, and as to the men who are to be placed in responsible positions. It is because I believe the right stop has been taken in sending out Sir H. Johnston to Uganda, and because I gather from the appreciative way in which the right hon. Gentleman spoke of him that they have sent him there to have the benefit of his advice, that I am not disposed either to raise any contentious questions or to resist the Vote.
§ COMMANDER BETHELL () Yorkshire, E. R., Holderness
I should hardly have thought so much could have been done in the time to completely overthrow the slave trade in this part of the world. I am happy to think Uganda has been taken over, and in spite of a great many difficulties (such as the insurrection) a great result has been achieved. Persons who have studied Africa could hardly have supposed that a place like Uganda, teeming with people in a more or less advanced stage of savagery, could be taken over without insurrections occurring. They always do occur; they did in Burma and elsewhere. We may congratulate ourselves on the success which has been achieved. I remind the Committee that the very advantage to which my right hon. friend alluded that this place controlled the headquarters of the Nile—was not at first alleged as a reason for taking Uganda. That, of course, came into prominence later on when the Egyptian policy was developed. The hon. Baronet opposite said just now that as a matter of fact we ought not to have taken Uganda when we did, but ought to have waited until 888 the railway was there to take us to it. We should have waited a very long time.
§ SIR EDWARD GREY
I did not mean that we were wrong in taking Uganda when we did take it, the facts being as they were; but I deplored the necessity of having had to push on so rapidly.
§ COMMANDER BETHELL
That is what I understood the hon. Baronet to mean, but if Uganda had not been taken when it was, we should never have had the railway, or achieved the good results we have achieved. Criticisms have been passed on the administration of the Foreign Office, but I do not believe it matters much whether the administration is in the hands of the Foreign Office or the Colonial Office. I agree that the wise policy is to find a good strong independent man with moderate views, who is not afraid of responsibility, and entrust him with full powers of administration. If the Foreign Office or the Colonial Office perpetually interferes with the administrator's judgment in small matters, the administration is bound to come to grief. I think the right steps have been taken in Uganda. So far as we know, Sir II. Johnston has been most successful in other parts of Africa, and we hope his labours will be rewarded with success in Uganda also. The heavy expenditure which the occupation of Uganda has caused is to be regretted, but it was almost certain to occur sooner or later. One hopes if will not recur, and I do not see why it should. So much has been done to pacify the country that there is hope that with a proper system of administration we shall be able to secure this important territory from further trouble.
§ MR. BUCHANAN () Aberdeenshire, E.
We have had from the right hon. Gentleman and the hon. Baronet a strong testimony in favour of the present good administration of Uganda. With everything said by these two hon. Gentlemen about Sir H. Johnston I cordially agree. I would only put in this caveat Sir H. Johnston, after all, has only been in Uganda three months. The Foreign Office may have received certain communications from Sir H. Johnston.
889 but no communication has been made to tin's House, nor, so far as I know, made public with regard to Sir H. Johnston's action since he reached Uganda. There is no public expression of his opinion as to the condition or prospects of Uganda. Nothing has been laid before the House that I am aware of with regard to the condition of things in Uganda subsequent to the report published by Major Macdonald after his return to this country. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the statement he made with regard to Sir H. Johnston's opinion of the condition and prospects of Uganda is based on official communications received since Sir H. Johnston arrived there.
§ * MR. BRODRICK
Sir H. Johnston has written despatches containing certain personal impressions, but they do not represent his mature opinion, and I think we ought to have his mature opinion before we publish his report.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
I entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman. I hope we may rely upon it that when Sir H. Johnston does send home his report it will be submitted to the House in a Parliamentary Paper, and that it will confirm all the favourable anticipations held out to us by the right hon. Gentleman and the hon. Baronet who has just spoken. I take it most of us will agree that now we are in Uganda we must stay there. But the cost of our occupation of the country is increasing, and there is no prospect of it decreasing. There is nothing in the Supplementary Estimates' to show that the greater part of the £147,000 is for the use of the Indian regiment, and it is desirable that in the notes to the Supplementary Estimates we should get fuller and more accurate information. In 1896 or 1897 it was stated by the Secretary of State for India that the British Government would bear all the expense of the Indian regiment that was being sent to Uganda. Now it appears that nearly three years have elapsed before the Indian Government has been paid for the expense of this regiment. Which side is to blame for the great delay in this payment? I gather from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman that he was inclined to blame the Indian Government for not presenting the account. If that is so it is contrary to 890 past experience. I am inclined to think the Foreign Office has caused the delay. The Under Secretary has given us the cost of the Uganda Protectorate, and compared it with what foreign Governments are spending in their African possessions. But the right hon. Gentleman did not include in his figures the expenditure on the railway, which was something like £3,000,000'. Surely this is the omission of the most important item in any estimate of what Uganda is costing us. Our expense in connection with Uganda is increasing year after year, and in geometrical progression, and I complain that we have got this Vote in the worst form for anything: like financial control. This year we started with a Vote of £250,000, and now we have a Supplementary Vote of £147,000. I say that is thoroughly bad finance, and the explanation of the Under Secretary makes it worse. We have had a difficulty in obtaining a balance sheet of Uganda. These accounts are audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General, and the last account we have is contained in their report for 1895-6. The Auditor General has told us he had since that time got the account for 1896-7. Surely the Foreign Office ought to put some pressure on the authorities to induce them to render the accounts of the Protectorate at an earlier date than they do at present. It is extremely difficult to make out with any accuracy estimates for the future when you have not got the accounts for a more recent period than three or four years back. If the Foreign Office insisted on having the accounts rendered more quickly we should probably have fewer of these very huge Supplementary Estimates than we have at present.
§ * MR. JOHN BURNS
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Forest of Dean has quoted from that excellent book by Major Thruston. I have refreshed my memory by a reperusal of the official reports of Colonel Macdonald on the whole Uganda programme, and if the right hon. Gentleman reads these reports again he will find that Colonel Macdonald confirms Major Thruston on every score in regard to administration, finance, and the selection of officers for service in Uganda. We were told that our criticism in regard to finance was not justified, but we find that the cost of the admini- 891 stration had demanded 70 per cent. higher than the original Estimate. As to administration, the hon. Member for the Berwick Division said that the locomotive and railway department is in good order; but I find, in searching these reports, that it is in a shocking condition. Good management is always shown in the health of the employees; hut I discover that the death rate among the native and coloured officers employed on the Uganda Railway, which was fifty-one in 1896, mounted up to 168 in 1898, not including twenty-eight natives who had been devoured by lions. The Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs was under the impression when I directed his attention to the brutal way in which the natives were treated—
§ * MR. JOHN BURNS
Well, I shall leave the lions in charge of the Under-Secretary till another occasion. On nearly every page of these official reports we find evidence that the administration is defective. There were very few medical stores, the medical dressings were deficient, and the ulcerated legs of the poor workmen got worse and worse. I hold that of the white men who have died in Uganda 90 per cent. of the deaths were due to the fact that the large majority were fresh military men from outside Africa, and not acclimatised civilians who had been rendered immune to tropical diseases. The medical staff requires reorganising, and the sooner the better. The hon. Baronet the Member for the Berwick Division agrees with every criticism of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Forest of Dean as to the financial confusion, the causes of the mutiny-—insufficient payment and arrears of pay and to the Soudanese being brutally overworked, so that nearly 7,000 had succumbed to over-work and disease or had been returned to their base. The right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for Foreign Affair's talks about all these difficulties being more or less inevitable, and that the progress of events rendered certain operations necessary. I do not believe these were inevitable. The right hon. Gentleman has not realised that there was not proper dis- 892 crimination in the selection of officers for this special work in Uganda. What is wanted for that work is not military fresh from the parade grounds of Chelsea, but civilians of judicial instinct and engineering talent. I venture to say, as one of the pioneers of the Niger, that you had more men killed or died in one year in Uganda than in the whole of the Niger territory for fifty years, because the soldier was relatively unknown on the Niger. In the Uganda you have put square men in round holes, and round men in square holes. There is no scope in Uganda for men from Chelsea barracks, whereas the Niger was singularly free from native troubles and revolt because the administration was entrusted to engineers, and men with some knowledge of law, who had managed that district with wonderful skill and ability. The right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary should not talk so irresponsibly to men who have been in Africa, and compare Uganda with the German administration in the Cameroons. Why, there are 600 troops in the Cameroons to look after two white civilians! Yon cannot compare that mode of colonising with the British. Then the right hon. Gentleman referred to the French administration in Madagascar-. We do not want, and I hope never will have, an administration like that which involved France in its colonial troubles. French and German colonial administrations are based entirely on absolute military rule which we ought never to sanction, as is proved by the experience and the testimony of men like Sir Henry Johnson, Livingstone, Moffat, and every one who knows Africa from Morocco down to the Cape. What we want as administrators are civilians, patient, long suffering, kind, but firm men who know the habits and idiosyncrasies and customs of the natives, and who will not resort to the military methods which has characterised the Uganda administration from beginning to end. It is because I have had some little experience that I want to make my country aware of the evils of military administration. If you get a specially good soldier who has administrative instincts promote him, but do not take as administrators guardsmen and other officers from their garrisons whose chief business, as evidenced by Macdonald's reports, seems to be writing glowing reports about each other's capacity and ability. I am all for civilians 893 for administrators, and it is because you selected the wrong men that you are now spending in Uganda half a million instead of £50,000 a year.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE () Northampton
I was somewhat surprised when I heard the Under Secretary say that he had read and re-read my speeches on Uganda, and still more surprised to hear that he read them with greater pleasure every time. But The right hon. Gentleman does not appear to have understood or to have profited by them, ft' he had care fully read, marked, learned, and inwardly digested them, he would have seen that I had continuously and carefully pro tested against any annexation of Uganda, and I did so on the ground that it would cost us a very huge sum of money and would never bring us in any equivalent. I do so still on the ground that it is impossible to hope that even agricultural Englishmen would colonise that country. You have in Uganda at the present moment domestic slavery, and you do not dare to protest against it. You have there a lazy race, who are perfectly content with the mere necessaries of life, and will never exert themselves unless under the prompting of the stick. If there had been gold in Uganda, I have no doubt many Englishmen would have gone there, and we would have more progress. The only thing I rejoice at is that there is no gold there. The estimate was made by my right hon. friend the Under Secretary that Uganda would cost £50,000 a year, and he anticipated that in a short time it would be a paying Protectorate. Well, taking the Estimates of the year, and this Supplementary Estimate, we now find it costs about £400,000, and remember, that there is not a single word about the cost of the railway. How did the right hon. Gentleman justify that? He said that the German East African Colony cost more, and that the Italian colony of Erythrea cost more. But the Italians have come back to their senses, seeing that Erythrea was never likely to bring them in anything, and they have practically evacuated it. What is the excuse for the expense of £400,000 for administration, and a million and a half for the railway? The right hon. Gentleman referred to the progress of events 894 which precipitated operations. What were these operations? These were, that directly we got one portion of the country we immediately began to lust after and to take another, and I have no doubt that in future that would go on, as the appetite increases with what it feeds on. The right hon. Gentleman says: "We have reduced the country to civilisation"; just think of it, for one whole year there has been absolutely no revolt! Well, for that year we have spent £400,000, and it is very probable that we shall have a revolt soon and have to spend another £400,000. I want to know, and this is a very practical question, what, in the name of goodness, do you expect to get out of Uganda'? Will you get any sort of quid pro quto? I do not believe you will ever get real compensation. Sir Henry Johnson arrived in Uganda in the month of October, and he had been only two months there when he came to the conclusion that the administration was perfect and could not be made better. But we have had similar assurances from some who have been longer there than two months. Each year we have been told that in some early future a great trade would spring up. I remember I pointed out that Uganda would never be an outlet for British goods, at the time when the House of Commons was fed with assurances to the contrary. We were told that the Ugandese would take our manufactures, because they had already developed an enormous taste for beautiful little books—tracts, I suppose and for opera glasses, and for white donkeys, though how on earth we were to send them white donkeys I cannot understand. The right hon. Gentleman said that because we had Egypt we ought to have the Soudan, and because we had the Soudan we ought to have Uganda, in order that we might cut the sudd on the Nile. We are told what a wonderful administration this is in Uganda. But how many administrators have we there? Have we a hundred even? How in the name of wonder are we to talk of a country being well administered when its inhabitants number millions, and its administrators under a hundred? It is perfectly monstrous. I hope we shall evacuate Uganda some of these days. My right hon. friend the Member for the Forest of Dean complained that Uganda was under the Foreign Office and not under the Colonial Office. Sir, I thank 895 God it is not under the Colonial Office. If it had been, and if some Hebrew gentleman had settled there, and called himself a Uitlander or a helot, we should have found ourselves engaged in war with France, Belgium, and Germany, which all happen to have possessions in
|Allison, Robert Andrew||Hammond, John (Carlow)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Hayden, John Patrick||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Billson, Alfred||Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Hogan, James Francis||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs)|
|Burns, John||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Burt, Thomas||Kilbride, Denis||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Caldwell, James||Labouchere, Henry||Weir, James Galloway|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Crilly, Daniel||Leng, Sir John||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Lloyd-George, David||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Dillon, John||Lough, Thomas||Woods, Samuel|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lyell, Sir Leonard||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Doogan, P. C.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Engledew, Charles John||Maddison, Fred.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Charles Dilke and Mr. Buchanan.|
|Farrell, James P. (Cavan, W.)||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand|
|Fenwick, Charles||Molloy, Bernard Charles|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Gurdon, Sir William Brampton||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)|
|Arnold, Alfred||Digby, Jn. K. D. Winglield||Gull, Sir Cameron|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord George|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Dorington, Sir John Edward||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert W.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r)||Doughty, George||Hanson, Sir Reginald|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Hare, Thomas Leigh|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Hazell, Walter|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Duckworth, James||Heath, James|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Hedderwick, Thomas Chas. H.|
|Bethell, Commander||Fellowes, Hon. Ail wyn Edward||Helder, Augustus|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Eergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Man.)||Henderson, Alexander|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||Hickman, Sir Alfred|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Finch, George H.||Hoare, Ed. Brodie (Hampstead)|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Hobhouse, Henry|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Fisher, William Hayes||Holland, William Henry|
|Carlile, William Walter||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Horniman, Frederick John|
|Carmichael, Sir T. D. Gibson||Flower, Ernest||Howell, William Tudor|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Hozier, Hon. James H. Cecil|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||Jackson, Rt. Hon. Wm. Lawies|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r)||Galloway, William Johnson||Jenkins, Sir John Jones|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Garfit, William||Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez Ed.|
|Charrington, Spencer||Gedge, Sydney||Johnstone, Edward (Sussex)|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Joicey, Sir James|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||Kearley, Hudson E.|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbt. J.||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H.|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas, Ready||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Keswick, William|
|Cook, Fred Lucas (Lambeth)||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Kimber, Henry|
|Cooke, C. W. Radcline (Heref'd)||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Lafone, Alfred|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasg.)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Lawrence Sir E. Durning (Corn)|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Goschen, Rt Hn. GJ (StGeorge's)||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)|
|Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Lea, Sir Thos. (Londonderry)|
|Curzon, Viscount||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accringtoh)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Gretton, John||Llewelyn, Sir Dillw'n (Swan'a)|
|Denny, Colonel||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.|
§ that part of Africa. Although I cannot agree with my right hon. friend in that part of his speech, I will vote with him.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 51; Noes, 187. (Division List No, 35.)897
|Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Plunkett, Rt. Hon. H. Curzon||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Pollock, Harry Frederick||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Lucas-Shadwell, William||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Tomlinson, Wm Edw. Murray|
|Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Purvis, Robert||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Macdona, John dimming||Rankin, Sir James||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Rentoul, James Alexander||Webster, Sir Richard E.|
|M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Richardson, Sir Thos. Hartlep'l||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E. (Taunton)|
|M'Killop, James||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Martin, Richard Biddulph||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir Matt. W.||Welby, Sir CharlesG. E. (Notts.)|
|Middlemore, J. Throgmorton||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon|
|Milbank, Sir Powlett Chas John||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset)|
|Milward, Colonel Victor||Robson, William Snowdon||Williams, J. Powell (Birm.)|
|Monckton, Edward Philip||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|More, R. Jasper (Shropshire)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Morgan, Hon. F. (Monmouthsh.)||Rutherford, John||Wilson, Frederick W. (Norfolk)|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Ryder, John Herbert Dudley||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh., N.)|
|Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Seely, Charles Hilton||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Murray, Rt Hn AGraham (Bute)||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Wyndham, George|
|Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Smith, James P. (Lanarks.)||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Nussey, Thomas Willans||Stanley, E. J. (Somerset)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Strachey, Edward|
|Pease, J, A. (Northnmberl'nd)||Strauss, Arthur|
|Phillpotts, Captain Arthur||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Pierpoint, Robert||Sutherland, Sir Thomas|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ SIR BRAMPTON GURDON () Norfolk, N.
expressed his anxiety to obtain some information as to the statement which appeared in The Times of February 13th that a force of 800 Yaos had been sent to Mauritius without proper uniform and equipment. He desired to know who was responsible for sending these savages to a civilised community like Mauritius, with which they had nothing in common. They were sent there without their wives, with the inevitable result that after a time a mutiny broke out, and they raided a village and outraged the women. Had they now been sent back to Africa? Because, if they were interned in the quarantine settlement, it seemed a savage punishment for men who, in their condition, were only obeying the dictates of nature. The Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture of Central Africa had urged him to bring forward the necessity of railway construction in that region. This was not the time, with a war going on which would cost perhaps fifty millions, to ask for a, small grant; but he urged that the 898 Government should give careful attention to the whole subject, so that labourers might not be enticed away.
§ * MR. WEIR () ROSS and Cromarty
I beg In move the reduction of the Vote by £100. Our troops are still armed with the Snider rifle, whereas in the adjoining territories of other countries the troops are armed with magazine rifles. I should like to know if any portion of this £4,500 is to be expended in buying proper rifles for our troops. I should also like to know what amount is to be expended on the railway survey, and for what railway. There is a sum of £12,000 for the hut tax, which is an increase of £1,000 on the previous year. I want to know how this hut tax is paid. Is it paid in calico or labour. If in labour, how many day labour per head? I hope the right hon. Gentleman will furnish this information. I would prefer to have get it in the form of an answer to a question, but the right hon. Gentleman's answers were so unsatisfactory that I told him I should be obliged to raise the matter on the Estimates, and this is the first opportunity I have had. I beg to move, Sir.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item B (British Central Africa, Grant in Aid) be reduced by £100."—(Mr. Weir.)
§ MR. BUCHANAN
The report which the hon. Gentleman has quoted states that British Central Africa is suffering from the want of railways, and there is no doubt about it that that want is a great impediment in the way of development. I gather, from an answer which the right hon. Gentleman gave to a question the other day, that the railway for the survey of which a sum of money is now asked has been abandoned. Then about the troops. In the report of the officer in charge of the Protectorate, he tells us that the Native forces were to be increased from six to eight companies, and that these extra companies are to do duty, not in British Central Africa, but in North Eastern Rhodesia. North-Eastern Rhodesia is under the control of the British South Africa Company, and there seems to be some sort of an arrangement or contract between the Central Africa Protectorate and the British South Africa Company with reference to the garrisoning of North-Eastern Rhodesia, about which this House has not had complete information. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will be able to enlighten us as to the relations, both as to administrative and military matters, existing between the British Central Africa Protectorate and the British South Africa Company.
§ * MR. BRODRICK
I do not quite understand why the hon. Gentleman has moved the reduction of this Vote, because I thought when he asked a question the other day about the armament of these troops that he was thoroughly satisfied with the answer.
§ * MR. BRODRICK
I notice the hon. Gentleman has also addressed a question to the Colonial Office, and I can assure him that the representatives of the Colonial 900 Office, the War Office, and the Foreign Office are all ready to give him satisfactory answers. I do not know why he should suggest that the troops are not sufficiently well armed for Native troops; Native troops are not always given the magazine rifle at once, and these troops are armed quite adequately for the duties they have to discharge. The hon. Member for North Norfolk asked a question about the battalions which were sent out of Central Africa. I believe I would not be in order in discussing the question of the battalions which were sent to Mauritius, but I may be allowed to say that as long as these troops served under the Foreign Office I heard no complaint whatever of them. I believe that the War Office and the Colonial Office are prepared to reply on this question when the proper time comes.
§ * MR. BRODRICK
They are going back to Africa. I may be allowed to say that I do not think that the circumstances which have caused their withdrawal from Mauritius prevent them being thoroughly efficient troops elsewhere. With regard to the railway, I should hesitate to answer at any length on that subject. At the present time the Committee would not expect the Government to provide funds for a railway in Central Africa. I am not saying that the railway is not necessary and desirable, but the demands on the Exchequer at the present moment are so great that it is desirable to keep expenditure as far as possible within moderate limits.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
If there is to be no railway—and I quite understand the impossibility of obtaining money for making a railway now—why go to the expanse of making a railway survey? I would wish to know how much of this £4,500 it is proposed to spend on that survey?
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
Then are we to understand that we have got to spend £600 in making a survey for a railway when it is impossible to make the railway at the present time?
§ * MR. BRODRICK
My hon. friend will not dispute the proposition that if we make the survey the lands will not run away.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
It is not a question of the lands running away, but of the railway running at all. I understand from the right hon. Gentleman that there are circumstanees which at present make it impossible to build a railway.
§ * MR. BRODRICK
Yes, circumstanees of the moment which make it undesirable to apply to the Government for money.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
Is it considered proper, then, to vote money for a survey while the railway itself must, depend on the future?
§ MR. DILLON () Mayo, E.
I wish to say just a word or two on the question of sending out these savage troops to Mauritius. It seems to me there is one aspect of that question which is in order on this Vote. Surely the administrators of British Central Africa must be responsible for sending those troops out of British Central Africa, and it appears to me most monstrous that savage troops should be sent into civilised parts of the Empire, inhabited by comparatively civilised races. I did not gather from the answer of the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs that he appeared to be 902 impressed with the gravity of this action. For all we know these gentle Houssas may next be despatched to garrison the Transvaal. If they are good enough to garrison the Mauritius, why not the Transvaal? This is a most important subject. It is part and parcel of a greater and wider subject against which some of us have protested again and again in this House and that is the increase—the most dangerous and mischievous increase—of this system of taking great hordes of savages and arming them with deadly weapons. If we are to understand that the Government are not only determined to persist in taking these large forces of savages anil training them as soldiers, but also in transferring them from their native country to other countries, then I say we are face to face with a development—one of the most mischievous and one of the most disastrous—ever entered on in pursuance of this Imperial expansion idea. I read myself in The Times, which is certainly a paper which one would expect not to exaggerate in matters of this kind—of what occurred in Mauritius. These gentlemen are in the habit of having five or six wives. [An HON. MEMBER: And more.) I make no complaint of that. That is the proper, ordinary custom of their country, but they were transferred to Mauritius without any women at all, and the natural result was that a short time after their arrival they broke out of barracks, set their officers at defiance, out raged women and generally played havoc. The Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs treats this in a most gay and festive manner, as if it were rather amusing and funny, and not in the least to be ashamed of. I was not surprised to read in the report to which I have referred that the proceedings of these savages caused the most intense indignation in Mauritius. They are now transferred back to Africa, but we have heard nothing from the Under Secretary that would indicate that the Foreign Office or the administration of British Central Africa were impressed with the idea that this experiment: was a failure and one not to be repeated. We have no security that these or similar troops may not be transferred to the Transvaal or the Orange Free State or 903 other parts of Her Majesty's dominions where troops are necessary. I certainly shall vote with my hon. friend as a protest against this practice.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL () Donegal, S.
I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman a question. I have not asked him one this session. I want to ask him who is responsible for sending these armed savages to Mauritius. Is it not the Foreign Office? Then I want to know why Mauritius has become such a victim of conspiracy. Sir Graham Bower was sent there, and now these savages are sent there also, and the first thing they do is to make a pandemonium of the country. The Under Secretary states that those troops have now been removed, and that they have done nothing to impair their efficiency as British soldiers in the maintenance of the British flag and the glory of the British Empire. Indeed, they contrast favourably with Mr. Cecil Rhodes. All the Under Secretary said was that these savages having broken loose, burnt houses, outraged women, and conducted them selves generally as British soldiers con ducted themselves a century ago in Ireland; they were now to be sent back to their own country, to maintain the British Empire. I never heard such a sinister avowal. I do not think I could find in all Lord Salisbury's speeches even six passages to equal it. Will the right hon. Gentleman explain who sent these savages to Mauritius? Had the Colonial Secretary anything to do with it?
§ * MR. BRODRICK
The troops were sent by the authority of the Government, but as I am precluded by the Chairman from giving an explanation of what occurred, I cannot go into the matter now. I said nothing about upholding the honour and glory of the British Empire. I said that nothing had occurred to impair the efficiency of those troops for the work they would have to do in Africa. With regard to the, general question it is desirable that we should have a number of native troops in these Protectorates, not necessarily for employment elsewhere, and so far in every other case that has been a success.
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE
I do not understand why we are discussing this 904 question on this Vote; but we are now placed in the most unfortunate position of having had a partial discussion on it. I do not know why the right hon. Gentleman did not rise to order when the matter was first mentioned; but the discussion has been allowed to go on, and it would be very difficult for some of us to avoid voting for the reduction, because we feel very strongly on this matter. I will try to bring the matter to a point. I should like to ask, as the right hon. Gentleman has undertaken to some extent the defence of this policy, whether the Foreign Office was consulted by the War Office in this matter. If they were, I will vote with the hon. Member who moved the reduction, although he moved it on a different ground, because a greater mistake of policy than sending these troops into a French-speaking colony I cannot conceive.
§ MR. DILLON
Might I ask the right hon. Gentleman to kindly reply to my question—namely, whether he approves of the policy of transferring these troops from Protectorates to civilised colonies?
§ * MR. BRODRICK
With reference to the point raised by the right hon. Baronet when the hon. Member opposite went outside the Vote, I did not like to arrogate to myself the function of the Chairman. The right hon. Baronet's first speech was, in my opinion, very much out of order, but I did not call him to order upon it, and I think his latest question is absolutely outside the Vote. If I replied to him f should have to go outside the Vote also.
* THE CHAIRMAN
As some question has arisen as regards the respective functions of the Chair and Ministers, I may state that it is perfectly impossible without the assistance of Ministers for the Chairman to know whether a. particular matter is or is not in order. The heading of the Vote under discussion is, British Central Africa. Grant in aid to meet cost of re-arming troops, railway survey, etc.," and the only person who can know what "etc." means is the Minister in charge. If the Minister in charge of the Vote docs not rise to a point of order, and does hot say that the subject matter 905 of the discussion is not included in the Vote, it is impossible for me to intervene.
§ SIR EDWARD GREY
This obviously is a question which must be discussed some time or another, but I must say it did not appear to me that it could have been raised on this Vote. In order that the Committee may have a clear under standing, would it not be possible for someone on the Treasury bench to let us know under what Vote the discussion on this matter can take place?
§ MR. DILLON
I did not suggest that the Foreign Office should be held responsible for the conduct of these troops in Mauritius, but what seems to be absolutely clear is that the Foreign Office, as being responsible for the administration of British Central Africa, must be responsible for permitting these troops to go out of Central Africa, and what we wish to know is whether the Foreign Office approves of the policy of allowing these savage regiments to be. transferred as an ordinary administrative matter from their own country into the midst of civilised communities.
* THE CHAIRMAN
The question which the Member for East Mayo has just suggested is not really within this Vote at all. The policy of allowing certain troops to be sent out of Central Africa does not come within the Vote; all that is included in the Vote, as far as I am able to judge, is a grant in aid to meet the cost of the re-arming of certain troops. If the re-arming of these troops was carried out for the purpose of sending them to Mauritius then the discussion might be within the Vote; but I understand—I have received no help in the matter that the re-arming does not refer to these particular troops.
§ * MR. BRODRICK
The proper time to discuss this matter would be on the War Office Estimates, which are about to be laid on the Table of the House.
§ CAPTAIN SINCLAIR () Forfarshire
The Foreign Office report states that in January, 1899, in accordance with tele- 906 graphic instructions, "the formation of two battalions for service out of the country was commenced." The report then goes on to say that the two battalions from British Central Africa were expected to embark for two years service in Mauritius in June next. That evidently refers to the battalions we are now discussing. I understand, however, that the policy of the Foreign Office in this matter cannot be now discussed.
* THE CHAIRMAN
I am perfectly clear it cannot be discussed on this Vote, which refers to another matter. So far as I am able to judge from the facts which have come before us, I think the discussion would arise on the War Office Vote.
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE
I only wish to know whether the Foreign Office was responsible, or whether it was mixed up with the War Office or the administration on the spot.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON () Tower Hamlets, Poplar
I think we are entitled to an answer from the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs. The right hon. Baronet wished to know whether the Foreign Office was in any degree, great or small, responsible for sending these troops to Mauritius. We have not had a clear answer to that yet.
§ * MR. BRODRICK
After what the Chairman has said I cannot be expected to go into a question which I am unable to go into fully. It has been ruled by the Chairman that the question of the policy of the War Office cannot be discussed. I am perfectly ready to explain the policy on which the Foreign Office acted.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
I would ask the Under Secretary for War whether the War Office is entirely responsible for sending these troops to Mauritius.
§ SIR BRAMPTON GURDON
I was very anxious to bring this question for- 907 ward at the earliest possible moment in order to obtain the immediate release of these men from an unjust and cruel position.
§ MR. MADDISON () Sheffield, Brightside
I am very sorry the right hon. Gentleman has not answered the very pertinent question of fact put by the light hon. Baronet. He has not attempted to answer it, but has sheltered himself behind the authority of the Chair. But the Chairman has allowed the question to be put, and therefore he will allow an answer to be given.
* THE CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member will see that I cannot stop a question being put, because I cannot know whether it is in order or not until it is put.
§ MR. MADDISON
All I can say is that it is a very unsatisfactory state of affairs that we are not able to get from the representative of the Foreign Office an answer to a question not ruled out of order. The refusal of the right hon. Gentleman to answer the question confirms the worst fears of many of us with respect to these Protectorates. I wish that the account which has been given by my hon. friend of the manner in which this wretched corps was turned loose in Mauritius—
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. WYNDHAM,) Dover
I told the hon. Gentleman the other day that these troops are not armed with Snider rifles.
§ * MR. WEIR
The hon. Gentleman evidently docs not know anything about it. In the consular report for the year 1898-9 issued by the Foreign Office in August, 1899, the officer in command of the armed forces of the British Central Africa Protectorate says—The force is at present armed with the Snider rifle, with the exception of the last party of Sikhs, who brought with them Martini-Henrys ft is to be hoped that shortly the whole of the troops will be re-armed with the Martini-Metford rifles.It being midnight, the Chairman left the Chair to make his report to the House.
§ Resolutions to be reported to-morrow.
§ Committee also report progress; to sit again to-morrow.
§ House adjourned at three minutes after Twelve of the clock.