§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, '"That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MR. BUCHANAN (Aberdeenshire, E.)
I did not intend intervening so early in this debate, but in view of the 886 answer given by the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs to the question I had on the Paper on the subject, I may at once raise the points I wish to lay before the House. It will be in the recollection of hon. Members that a few days ago, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer's resolution upon which this Bill is founded was under discussion, a promise was made by the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs that before the Second Reading of this Bill we should have further information with regard to financial affairs in connection with the railway.* This morning we have had put into our hands a Paper which, however, does not seem to carry much further the information we already possessed. It is not in the ordinary sense an official document, but it is a kind of memorandum of the action of the Government in bringing forward the Bill, and a sort of résumé of the speech which the right hon. Gentleman delivered the other night. A question was put the other evening as to the actual condition of the survey for the remainder of this line, and I do not think the paper issued this morning gives us a very clear answer as to that. I want to know this: Are we to understand that the Foreign Office have now a complete and full working survey of the whole line up to Lake Victoria? On this point the Paper is by no means clear, for while on page 2 it is indicated that they have, we find later on a paragraph to the effect that the authorities have it only up to a certain point, but expect shortly to be in possession of the remainder. I am not relying on my own opinion, for Sir Guilford Molesworth, an authority often quoted in this House, states in this report that there were no surveys in regard to the most important and difficult portion of the line until September, and that detailed estimates had not yet been completed. Again, later on he says—I feel strongly that the Uganda Railway cannot possibly be constructed at the estimated amount.Now this is the opinion of the engineering adviser of the Foreign Office. He goes on to say—I expressed that opinion to Mr. O'Callaghan, the managing director of the board, and he evidently held similar views.I think that is a remarkable statement.* For the debate in Committee on the Financial Resolution, see page 289 of this Volume.887 Here you have your trusted engineer in 1896, at the very time you are presenting an estimate of £3,000,000 to the House of Commons for the construction of the Uganda Railway, entertaining and expressing doubts whether it can possibly be constructed for that amount! Later on he says that as to the ultimate cost and date of the completion of the railway it is premature to form any estimate, as the most difficult portions have not yet been passed. Again, on page 13, he says—It is absolutely impossible to forecast the exact estimate of the amount until we definitely know what route is to be taken "—for the latter part of the line. In my opinion the whole work was undertaken with very little study or knowledge on the part of the Government. An attempt has been made by them to throw the onus of the bungle which has ensued on their predecessors. It is said that this railway was the project of Lord Rosebery's Government. It is perfectly true that a week before Lord Rosebery's Government was defeated the hon. Baronet the Member for Berwick, then Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, stated, on the 13th June, 1895, that the Government intended to construct a railway to Uganda. Within ten days they were defeated in this House, and in August, 1895, the present Government, with Lord Curzon, now Viceroy of India, as their mouthpiece, definitely made a proposal to the House and asked for a preliminary Vote of £20,000 for the construction of the railway. I have never been able to regard the railway as a desirable project, whether undertaken by Lord Rosebery's Government or any other Government, but I certainly do not think it fair for the Under Secretary and other supporters of the Government to seek to lay the blame for the great confusion, for the bad estimates and for the wasteful expenditure of money, on their predecessors. The first estimate of the cost of the railway was £1,800,000, and that was announced when it was stated that the Government were willing to undertake the project. That statement was made by Lord Curzon in the halcyon days of the present Government, when we were told that the advent of Lord Salisbury to the Foreign Office had ensured peace throughout the world, and had caused respect to be paid to the British Government. Things have changed a good deal since.
§ * THE UNDER SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. BRODRICK, Surrey, Guildford)
On the last occasion Lord Curzon spoke on the subject he said the estimates for the railway were necessarily, to a large extent, speculative.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
I believe that statement was made in 1896. The one person who did safeguard himself, so far as my memory serves me, was the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The point I want to make is that in August, 1895, when £20,000 for a preliminary survey was asked for, the Government roughly estimated the cost of the line at £1,800,000. A year later they asked by Bill for £3,000,000, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pressed on the subject by several speakers—and especially by the hon. Member for Louth, who delivered a very trenchant financial criticism on that occasion, followed up by another the other night—admitted that it was impossible for the Government to say that the £3,000,000 would not be exceeded. I should like to point out that the hon. Member for Louth is chairman of one of the many Imperial councils started throughout the country, and therefore he cannot be suspected of any want of sympathy with those extravagant political views at the present time so prevalent under the auspices of the Government. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, as I said, was more cautious than some of the other speakers. He said the estimate had been framed on the recommendations of the Committee of 1892. What has been the course of things since then? The Government themselves, apparently, as years rolled on, began to think that the work was progressing somewhat too slowly, and that the money was going out somewhat too fast, for in the course of the year 1898 they sent Sir Guilford Molesworth out to Africa to inspect the progress of the works, to see whether they could be pushed forward more quickly, and whether it was necessary to spend any more than had been already voted. Hon. Members have had an opportunity of reading his report, and I think they will agree with me that while the staff out there have done their work, in spite of the great difficulties, with considerable zeal, efficiency and diligence, still no one can look upon the undertaking with satisfaction, for there appears to have been a 889 total want of foresight and ordinary precautions in seeing that the means for construction were adequate. Even now the House is not in a position to know whether we are anything like at the end of this expenditure. We have got the line open to mile 362, and the construction has reached a point beyond which lies the most difficult and costly part of the work. There are two enormous escarpments, one nearly 8,000 and the other from 8,000 to 10,000 ft. high, which run across the line of railway at exceedingly steep gradients. We have got to the eastern stop of the first escarpment, but we have not constructed any permanent way down the western slope. Not only have we not constructed any part of the line, but we have not yet got full, complete, and detailed surveys of that which is certainly the most difficult and perhaps the most expensive part of the undertaking. Yet upon these imperfect surveys and this inadequate information we are asked in this Bill to consent to the increase of the Vote to five millions, on the understanding that this sum will be fully sufficient for the full construction of the railway up to Lake Victoria Nyanza. Indeed, I have rather under-stated the case. The original estimate of three millions was to construct a railway not 580, but 670 miles in length, and not merely to do this, but also to build jetties and steamers to run on the Lake for communication with Uganda proper. But in this estimate the cost of the steamers is not included, although that of the jetties is.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
That is the small steamer alluded to by Sir Guilford Moles-worth. It surely is not one of the kind intended for the service to Uganda proper.
§ * THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Sir M. HICKS BEACH, Bristol, W.)
The original Act did not give power to build steamers. One steamer has, however, already been sent there and others will be provided if necessary.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
I at once accept that explanation. I referred to the original estimate, not to the Act. If we are to develop the trade of Uganda 890 some provision must be made to have a fleet of some kind on the Lake. Before I sit down I should like to draw the attention of the House to the financial position in which, as far as I understand it, we are, thanks to the Uganda policy of the Government. When this scheme was first brought before the House in 1890 it was proposed that the Government should be asked to guarantee a certain amount of interest on a loan to be raised by the British East African Company. But that Company soon after ceased to exist. We bought it up and took possession of its territory. Then came the announcement by my hon. friend the Member for the Berwick Division, of the resolution of the Liberal Government in its dying days to embark on the construction of the railway. That proposal was taken up with alacrity by the present Government, who got a Vote first for a preliminary survey, and then of £1,800,000 for the construction of the line. In a few years that sum jumped up to three millions, and now we are asked to vote a further two millions, making five millions in all. We have now no guarantee that this will be sufficient for the purpose. I do not believe it will be. You are asking for a definite sum of money for the construction of a definite public work, and you have not yet got completed detailed estimates and surveys. In thus acting I do not think you are treating fairly either the House or the country. See what this involves in regard to the finances of the country. Early in the session, during a discussion of the affairs of Uganda it was pointed out how steadily the Vote for Uganda had increased in past years. We have no certainty in regard to it. The money voted for the extinction of terminable annuities in 1896 jumped suddenly from £37,000 to £137,000 in consequence of the extra expenditure, and venture to say that before the railway is completed the country will be saddled with a burden of a quarter of a million for a period of from twenty-five to thirty years, merely for this undertaking. Added to this there is the ever growing expenditure upon Uganda itself. This should be a warning to us, and I sincerely hope the lesson will be taken to heart by this and succeeding Governments.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
I do not propose to go into the merits of 891 the Uganda Railway, as to which I have before expressed the opinion that the mistake has been in constructing two ends without a middle. But having commenced, we are bound to proceed with it. I wish, however, to call serious attention to the question of accounts. The Bill is an obnoxious instance of referential and allusive legislation, and without reference to the Act of 1896 it is impossible to understand it. I doubt very much whether the payment of the 1 per cent. to the Crown agents is admissible under it. The Act authorises the expenditure of money for the construction of the railway, but I do not see in it any authorisation for the payment of a commission to public officers like Crown Agents. But my main point is this Clause 2, sub-section 3, of the Act of 1896—which, after all, is the Act we are really discussing to-day—authorises the expenditure of three millions, while the Act before us authorises a further expenditure of two millions for the construction of this railway. But there is a condition imposed, and that is that the accounts are to be audited by the Auditor and Comptroller-General. I have more than once contended that the action of the Treasury is such as to produce not economy but extravagance, and now I will go further and say it creates ignorance of the items of expenditure. There could not be a stronger instance of this than the form in which the Treasury prescribe that the account shall be kept. That form includes eight general heads— administration, survey, land compensation, construction, equipment, plant, un-allotted expenditure, loss by exchange— and another has since been added, depreciation of stores. It is impossible to get a satisfactory audit upon such details. You get lump sums running into millions for some of these items, and how can you expect the Auditor and Comptroller-General to do the audit satisfactorily? Take the first item, administration, put down by the Comptroller of Her Majesty's Exchequer, the Auditor of Public Accounts, at a total of £163,448 up to 31st March, 1899. Who would suspect in that in that £163,448 there was included j "consulting engineer's salary, £500," and "office expenses, £11,963"?
§ * MR. BRODRICK
I must ask the hon. Member to remember that this cost 892 of administration is for five years, which makes it only about £2,750 per annum.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
Very well; but what office is it for which we are paying £2,750 a year? I always understood that this great work was to be conducted gratuitously by distinguished persons in the Foreign Office, and by one paid expert, the managing director. What on earth is this £11,963 paid for; and what sort of account is it which puts this sum down without telling us what it is for? It is clear that it cannot be the Crown Office, because it is stated that the 1 per cent. paid to them covers all the cost of their services, and of the engineers. I am engaged in showing the absolute inadequacy of the accounts as presented to the Comptroller and Auditor-General by direction of the Treasury, for we cannot conceive the nature of the accounts from the way they have been disclosed. But that is not all. This lump sum of £163,448 also contains a most mysterious item of 1 per cent. paid to the Crown agents. If the House looks at the recent and more generous Paper presented by the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, it will be seen that the remuneration of the Crown agents covers all expenses, including, I presume, office expenses. One per cent. to these great and distinguished officers of the Queen! The right hon. Gentleman tells us that this 1 per cent. is paid on all stores ordered by them. If the House will turn to page 9 of this Paper they will see that the total expenditure on stores and plant, including freight—do they get 1 per cent. also on freight? I may take it that they do— amounts to £2,102,000. Before I leave this question of 1 per cent. commission, I must say that this is the introduction of an entirely novel item into the public accounts of this kingdom. I go further: it is a most mischievous introduction. I go beyond that, and say it is a direct invitation to Her Majesty's servants to adopt an extraordinarily vicious system. It is a direct incitement to them to increase their purchases, and a direct incitement to adopt a system of getting a commission not from one side only, but from both. I do not suppose that the Crown agents have fallen into that temptation, but this system of paying commission to any public servant is a direct incitement to them to 893 adopt the principles and the morals of those whom the commission system has ruined throughout the financial experience of the country. It is said that this commission of 1 per cent. is on all stores ordered by them; and we are told that there has been £2,102,000 expended; but about five minutes ago we were also told that the commission was to be on £3,132,000.
§ * MR. BRODRICK
Pardon me. My hon. friend is wrong in his addition as well as in his logic. The commission is paid on the stores as ordered at the rate of 1 per cent., but the total amount passing through the Agent-General's book is £3,132,000, and the commission actually paid amounts to about ½ per cent. on that sum
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
But have they received all their commission? Am I not right in saying that there are a good many thousand pounds due to them for commission?
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
Then, I am still more unable to comprehend the answer given a few minutes ago. I distinctly understood that the amount expended by the Crown agents was not the two millions on the paper, but £3,132,000.
§ * MR. BRODRICK
My hon. friend does not understand my answer. The total expenditure passed through their accounts by the Crown agents was £3,132,000, and commission was eligible on that portion which represented the stores and trade orders, or about one-half.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
I do understand my right hon. friend, but I think my right hon. friend misunderstands himself a little. He first of all says that the Crown agents are entitled to 1 per cent. commission on all stores ordered by them. These amount to £2,102,000. And now he says that only a million and a half was ordered by them, and that the total expenditure passed through their accounts was £3,132,000. Are they to have commission on the labour of the Indian coolies? The right hon. Gentleman says, "Not at all. They are only to 894 have 1 per cent. on the locomotives, rolling stock, and rails; and the commission instead of being 1 per cent. on the total amount passed through their accounts, is only ½ per cent. on that amount." My impression is that this £15,801 commission is a most improper payment, and that it is not by any means the whole of the commission that the Crown agents will receive before the railway is ended. I am sure that, when the matter is investigated closely, it will be found that I was right, and the right hon. Gentleman wrong. Then there is the fourth item, "Construction of railway," a heading under which the whole undertaking might have been included. The amount under "construction" is £1,113,000 up to 31st March, 1899. What an item to give the Comptroller to audit! What security have we for seeing that the enormous sum of money voted by this House is properly applied and spent when you fling at the Auditor-General an item like this—"£1,113,000 for construction"? That is all; there are no details. Now, take another item— "Loss on exchange, £131,694." Well, that, of course, is a loss which is capable of being calculated; but what an item not to have been foreseen. Surely, the Government did know that if there was anything more certain than another it was the fall in value of the silver rupee; but so far as I can see they made no provision for any loss under that head. I myself have very serious doubts as to whether an Act which voted £3,000,000 for the purpose of the construction of a railway can be held to authorise the expenditure of £131,000, not for the construction of the railway, but to remedy a want of financial foresight on the part of Her Majesty's Government. The rupee was altered in value, and it is one of the arguments of the Foreign Office that the rupee has varied so much in value that the loss on exchange is larger than it should have been. I am calling attention to the enormous character of these items and their undetailed character. The last item I wish to refer to is one of £290,708 upto 31st March, 1899, for—what does the House think? For unallocated expenditure. The whole purpose of the audit is to allocate the expenditure, and to see that it is properly allocated and appropriated —and how can an amount like this be allocated? Here you have an expenditure which is as it were in the air, and which 895 cannot be allocated. I think I have said enough to show that the form of the account adopted by the Treasury is an extremely unsatisfactory form for so large an account as this. It was for that purpose that I rose, and I rose to call attention to it in this instance, because it obtains in other cases. We had enormous lump sums submitted to us for the purchase of land on Salisbury Plain and elsewhere for rifle ranges, and so on. This is the system which obtains in the Treasury —a Department that is always interfering and restricting other Departments, as I think very often unnecessarily, and in a way that does not lend to economy. In cases like this there is power given to the Treasury and the Treasury alone, and I charge that Department with the constant habit of rendering their accounts in such a form as to secure no proper knowledge of the expenditure but ignorance of it, and I point to this as an instance of it. The auditor cannot audit it, the controller cannot control it, and this Committee through its ignorance is unable to deal with it. I say this Bill ought not to be passed in its present form. I say the words that I have quoted ought to be omitted, and that the proper form should be "in the form required by the Comptroller and Auditor-General. An auditor is useless if he cannot have some voice in the form of accounts. If the Treasury say, "Here are your accounts, this is the form which we choose, and you must do the best you can with them," it is out of the auditor's power. No doubt he can take the advice of the Treasury if he likes, but if it is to be a mere formal matter it should be on the authority of the Comptroller and Auditor-General. This is one of the many instances where I think the power should be taken from the Treasury and given to the Comptroller and Auditor-General, who is an officer of this House, without whom not a penny can be paid away, who draws all the one of and to whom the House looks for an explanation of the expenditure and its allocation.
* MR. BRYNMOR JONES (Swansea District)
Unlike the hon. Member for King's Lynn, I do not think that the original project of this railway was an impolitic one. I entirely approve of the policy that is really involved in the development of these areas over which we 896 have acquired influence and a controlling power. I remember that when in the last year of the recent Parliament the Government became aware of the necessity of developing Uganda and of making this railway from Mombassa to Victoria Nyanza, a change of Government took place, and my complaint is not against the general policy of the present Government in this matter, but of the mismanagement by the Foreign Office of this very important undertaking. I understand that the course that was taken by the present Government under the advice of responsible engineers amounted to a new departure. As I understand it, instead of inviting tenders from contractors or private persons for the making of the line, as one would have expected them to do, the Foreign Office determined to carry out this engineering undertaking themselves, and to appoint a Committee presided over by one of the clerks of the Foreign Office, to carry out this great work. I will not presume at this moment to express an opinion upon the general question involved as to the wisdom of that decision, but I am able to say that in this instance, at any rate, the system of carrying out a matter of this kind by a Committee of one of the public offices has been a complete failure. That is my proposition I am in favour of making this railway and in favour of giving the £2,000,000 for which the Government is asking, but I say the transaction has been carried on in an un business like way, and before the House gives the money which is required it ought to insist upon having a searching inquiry in regard to what has taken place and into the real plans that have been formed by those who are advising the Government in this matter. I am not going over the whole ground covered by the speech of my hon. friend behind me, nor shall I go into the details which have been commented upon by the hon. Member for King's Lynn, but I should like to make one or two general statements upon the whole subject. When I found the new demand made by the Government for this railway I asked myself what similar railway there was in the world with which I could compare it, and what it cost; and the railway I fixed upon was one now playing so conspicuous a part in the new plan of campaign in the present war—the railway from Beira 897 to Umtali and on to Fort Salisbury. I asked the contractors who made that railway what it cost, and they kindly informed me that the actual cost per mile of the line from Beira to Umtali was £5,900. But there was an alteration of the gauge after many miles of the line had been laid, otherwise the cost would have been about £4,800 per mile. The cost of the line from Umtali to Salisbury was about £4,700 per mile. Now, what we are being asked to vote for this railway is £8,505 per mile. This railway, running up from the coast to Victoria Nyanza, passes through a country practically similar to that to which I have referred. I see the right hon. Gentleman shakes his head. As I have not been there I must rely on the opinion of those who have. Mombasa is four degrees south of the Equator, Beira fourteen degrees, and the general conditions of the road in Mombassa region are the same as those at Beira. We are now asked to vote about two and a half times as much as the original estimate. The original estimate was £3,409 per mile, and we are now asked to vote £8,505 per mile Now I should like the right hon. Gentleman to tell the House who. informed the Foreign Office that this railway could be made for £3,409 per mile. Whoever the engineer may have been, everyone must admit that he made a grave miscalculation, and ill the matter was not being discussed here, but was the subject of an ordinary arbitration, he would have to admit that himself to the examining counsel. The document I have here is really an elaborate excuse on the part of the Foreign Office Committee for their utter failure to carry out this undertaking to a satisfactory conclusion. Let us examine this a little further. The railway from Beira to Umtali was 220 miles in length, and from Beira to Salisbury 392 miles, the whole of which is what is called a fever country, that is to say, a country where it is difficult for a European to live, and which even greatly affects the conditions of native labour. That railway was commenced in 1892 and finished in 1896, but during that time eighteen months were wasted, the work being stopped owing to the financial difficulties of the promoters of the company, this undertaking being one of a private character. Therefore the 220 miles of railway were made in two and a half years. If that 898 time is compared with the time taken by the Government for the first 220 miles of the Uganda, Railway, I say it compares unfavourably for the latter. Take the question of labour, which is necessarily a most important one. Here again I have to apologise to the House almost for going into details, but it seems to me necessary on these questions if we are to have useful discussions. We do not know what kind of Committee the Bill is going to. I understand that the Government has been employing 16,000 labourers on this Uganda Railway. It may be that that is quite justifiable, and that it has been economical, but I can only express my astonishment at the figures. I am told by the contractors who carried out the Beira and Salisbury Railway that the average number employed by them was 3,000 native labourers, and that the average number of white employees was one to ten of the natives. Why 16,000 labourers? What system has been adopted in carrying on this railway? The right hon. Gentleman told the House the other day, and it is repeated in this paper, with reference to the Indian imported labour, that it cost Is. 2d. per head per day. I am not complaining of the amount paid to these persons. I dare say that they were quits worth the money paid to them, because I find that on the Beira and Salisbury Railway the natives received £2 per head per month, plus board or necessary food. This comes to £42 a year, and, working it out, it comes approximately to Is. 11d. or 2s. per day. What is the difference? j The natives employed on one railway have done their work. The 3,000 have been compelled to work, but the 16,000 men employed by the Foreign Office have not been doing the work quickly and skilfully. That is really the logical consequence that follows from these figures. Reference has been made, too, in this paper to casualties. I quite agree that in considering the cost of work in a tropical country like this we must make great allowances for the difficulties arising not only from want of water and circumstances of that kind, but also for the casualties necessarily occurring. Here the figures supplied to us are somewhat extraordinary. On the railway to which I have referred the casualties—accidents on the line in the ordinary sense of our term—were practically nil. I am told that a few accidents, no doubt, did take 899 place on this railway, the contractors having no proper equipment for maintaining order, clearing the country of wild game, or conducting military operations. There were a good many accidents of another kind—those from big game and snakes. I am told that 10 per cent. of the employees were injured by accidents of that character. In this case there was a medical establishment equipped for dealing with accidents. I have got a good many other interesting and important details which I could state if I were in some other place instead of this House speaking in a Second Heading debate. I am perfectly certain that the Foreign Office Committee have mismanaged the whole business. They have had every advantage on their side. I say the railway ought to have been made rather more cheaply than railways of this kind are made by other persons. That has not been the case. I will not delay the House further. I am willing to vote for this money if indeed it is really necessary, but I am inclined to think from inquiry that the transfer of this matter from the incompetent hands of the Foreign Office to really businesslike engineers and contractors might result in a great saving of money; and therefore I move that this bill be read a second time this day six months.
To leave out the word 'now,' and at the end of the Question to add the words 'upon this day six months.'" — (Mr. Brynmor Jones.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
I did not intend to intervene in this debate at so early a stage. I confess 1 look upon this question from a totally different point of view from that of the last speaker who has addressed the House, although I rise in support of his motion. The hon. Member who has just spoken declared that he was in favour of the policy of this railway, and the general policy which it represents of developing those vast new countries which have been taken over as Protectorates by the British Government, and that the 900 only ground on which he is prepared to oppose this Bill, and the only ground on which he makes the motion he has just made, is that he finds fault with the system of building railways by the Foreign Office, or any public office. He says that in the present instance that has been a total failure, I have no doubt he is perfectly right in that view. That is an argument which 1 have no intention of following. I object, and have always objected, to the construction of this railway on totally different grounds. I object to it because it is one of the first steps in a policy which in my judgment has already brought enormous evil results to this country, and which if persevered in will produce far worse results, and I object to it because it has been defended by arguments which, if they are to have weight in this House, will absolutely and inevitably carry us into other undertakings of a similar character to an extent to which there is really no limit. I object to the argument that we should build this new railway to Uganda because we are bound to develop those regions taken up as Protectorates. If you accept that position, of course there is no conceivable argument which could be adduced against a proposal to extend this system of railway from Mombasa, by a network over the country to the Upper Valley of the Nile, through countries which are more remote and more fertile, and more likely to lead to trade, and which are more cut off from civilisation than even Uganda. I say that the policy of carrying on this railway would inevitably land this country into boundless expenditure, both in the making of railways and in the military outlay associated with the undertakings. I object to it on another ground. I object to it on the ground that it is part and parcel of that policy of Imperialism which has supporters on both sides of the House, and which is leading us very rapidly as regards the Government of the country, quite apart from questions of expense, to a condition of things which I think very few of us contemplated when it was started. What occurred the other day? We were informed of the latest development of Imperialism. We were told by the Prime Minister that the power of this country had passed into the hands of the military generals, and that the Ministers were to be free from criticism, because they really had no more to do with that. 901 That may be treated as a joke, but to my mind it is mores than a joke, because it is the expression of a spirit which is growing steadily and rapidly in thin country, and which, if allowed to go much further, would reduce the proceedings of this House to an absolute farce, because we should be called upon to do nothing but vote increases to the rapidly growing expenditure of this country. When I am told that the construction of this railway was proposed by a Liberal Government, and that both sides of the House are responsible for the policy, that does not influence my vote in the slightest degree. When I came into this House first there was a strong party below the gangway, and, no matter whether their own party were in power or not, they felt it to be their highest duty to watch the interests of the taxpayers of this country. They examined every proposal with the view to retrenchment and the keeping down of the taxation of the country. That party appears to have absolutely disappeared from the House, and now the wildest schemes are proposed, by which two, three, four or five millions are added to the expenditure of the country, and no man thinks of standing up in the House and saying a word for the unfortunate taxpayer. It has come to this; that a man is looked upon as an unpatriotic individual if he dares to suggest a doubt even on these debatable subjects whether the expenditure of this country is not being outrageously affected in these wild schemes. I do not take that view. I cannot for a moment think otherwise than that it is a cause for great regret that the Radical party in this House, which stood up for moderate taxation, and resisted all schemes which promised to add enormously to the burdens of the country, have almost entirely disappeared. For my part, so strongly do I object to this scheme, and question the general policy, that I should rather support the proposal that the five million sovereigns should be thrown into Lake Victoria Nyanza than spent to complete this railway, holding as I do that this railway is only the pioneer of various other schemes of the same kind. Turning for a moment to one or two questions which have been raised in the course of this debate, I wish, in the first place, to direct the attention of the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to the question of labour. That is a point which was discussed to some extent in 902 the previous debate, and with regard to which the right hon. Gentleman promised to give us further information. This is a very curious state of affairs. Those who made the original estimate admit that they have been deceived in every single circumstance on which they based that estimate, and in none more than in their calculation as to the supply of labour. They calculated—I do not know on what ground—that they could obtain a plentiful supply of native labour at 4d. a day, and that that supply could be supplemented by skilled Indian labour at Is. a day. But when it came to the trial the native labour almost totally failed, and they were obliged to import Indian labour, skilled and unskilled, which cost not Is., but Is. 2d. all round. I am not complaining of that, as it is a very moderate rate, but what I want to know is, on what grounds did the makers of the original estimate expect to get native labour at 4d. a day, when in South Africa it costs something like 2s. a day? It is stated that the natives had a great dislike to working at a distance from their homes, and that even the pressure of famine had not brought more than 2,000 natives at any time to the works, while their stay at all times was fitful and uncertain. I should like to know if any experiment was made as to what the effect would be of offering higher wages and food. I can hardly imagine that, with a terrible famine raging in this region, as there has been for more than a year, the offer of fairly good wages and food would have failed to bring labourers. It does not follow that because native labour could not be obtained at 4d. a day, it could not be obtained if a more reasonable offer— say, 6d., 8d., or l0d.— were made. Another point is this: I find in the Report that Sir Guilford.Moles worth states—as was pretty generally known— that the Victoria Nyanza Lake is practically unsurveyed, and that the only knowledge in existence comes from the accounts which have been given by various travellers. The proposal adopted by the Government is to bring the railway down to Ugowe Bay, but I do not find it stated in any of these Papers whether an accurate survey has been made of that bay, or whether that bay will be available for the use of fairly-sized mail-boats. I want to know whether, when this railway is made 903 at an expense of,£6,000,000 at the very least, we, shall be told that a large sum of money is required to deepen and fit this bay for the boats, and to turn it into a port. As far as I can gather, there is no information as to the condition of the lake between this point and Port Florence, which is, I believe, intended to be the other termination of this line of steamers. Therefore, this railway, costly as it has been, is to have a blind termination. We have no information as to what will be the result of the railway, or whether when it reaches the lake there will be a real port there, or whether we shall be called upon to vote another enormous sum of money to dredge the bay, make a channel for the steamers, and construct proper docks and jetties. The original recommendation in regard to this railway was that it should be made on the cheapest possible plan at an estimated cost of £1,500,000, and that if, after three or four years, in the results justified a further expenditure the railway could be turned into a permanent line of the nature now being constructed. But there was another alternative, which was that the railway should be constructed as far as the point at which the country became less deadly for transport animals, and that then the railway should stop, a good road be constructed to the lake, and steamers put on, if the bay could be made fit at a reason- able cost. It was suggested that this system of transport should work for some years until we had ascertained whether; there was likely to be any proper paying traffic between Uganda and the coast, That appears to me to be a rational proposal, and one which is enormously sup- ported by the figures as to traffic given in this paper. What do those figures amount to? Frankly they show that, practically speaking, there is no traffic whatever coming down from Uganda. The whole traffic goes from the coast to the interior, and is composed of goods and stores connected with the railway of the British garrison. When we are told that there has been a great and enormous increase in the traffic returns, it is perfectly plain that that increase is due solely to the increase of the British garrison in Uganda. What I maintain is that if it were not for the wild and insane spirit of expenditure which has taken possession of the House of Commons and the Government, the natural, reasonable, and only rational 904 course for any body of men who believed in this policy would be to stop the rail-way at the point now reached, construct the road to the lake, put steamers on the lake, and see whether the trade would develop. If it did develop in the next five years the Government would be perfectly certain of obtaining the money to continue the railway, while if there was no trade that gave any prospect of paying even working expenses, it would be proof positive that the scheme was a failure and ought not to be carried any further. For these reasons I most heartily support the Amendment which has been moved.
§ MR. WALLACE (Perth)
I have supported the Government in regard to this Bill, and I can scarcely conceive it possible that any hon. Member would suggest that at this late period the Government should abandon the construction of the railway. This railway has been authorised by a great majority of the House, and I believe by a great majority of both parties. No less than.£3,000,000 has been spent upon it, and two-thirds of the railway is under construction; and the suggestion that that money and labour should be thrown away by abandoning the railway is one which, I am sure, will not commend itself to any sensible person here. That being the position, and as we now feel compelled to carry out the construction of the railway and make it one of our national possessions, I cannot see the advantage of endeavouring as far as possible to depreciate the value of the railway at the present time. I admit at once that probably a very considerable amount of the money which has been spent upon the railway has been wasted, though I am not sufficient of an expert to express any positive opinion upon the subject. But I do not expect a Department which has no commercial experience, and has not, therefore, the economic knowledge necessary for the task it has undertaken, to carry out such an undertaking in the cheapest form possible. For myself, I say at once that I should have preferred that the construction of this railway at the beginning had been handed over to one of those public contractors who are so successfully executing public works in other countries and for ourselves. If this had been done I think the result would have probably been much more satisfactory. I do not, however, think that 905 that is an important matter with which we should deal in connection with the Second Reading of this Bill. The question is whether or not we are pre- pared to vote the necessary money for the completion of the railway. I do not think that it can really be suggested that we ever entered upon the construction of this railway as a commercial speculation, and I do not think anyone ever suggested that we should, derive considerable profit commercially from it or that the taxation of this country was likely in any degree to be reduced by any interest we might have in it. As I understand it, this railway was intended for an entirely different purpose. This railway was originally constructed for the purpose of strengthening and consolidating our position in East Africa, and especially in the neighbourhood of the lakes. I understand also that it was constructed with the object of putting an end to the strife, disorder, and destruction that were prevailing amongst the tribes in that neighbourhood, in order to introduce civilisation into those very remote regions, and give them the benefit of a civilised and well ordered government. Above all, I believe the idea which inspired many of us in this House in connection with our support of this railway was that it would enable us more successfully than hitherto to combat the inhuman traffic in flesh and blood, and to put an end to the slavery which we have striven to put down by other means, and in which we have not been absolutely successful. I should have thought that there were other things to be considered in this matter quite apart from all questions of profit. It seems to me that there are some people who can never value anything unless it can be entered as an item in a balance-sheet, and who only consider everything from the point of view of pounds, shillings, and pence, whereas to many of us the attainment of the objects to which I have referred, should they result from the construction of this railway, would make us feel that we have been thoroughly rewarded for the support we have given to the Government in connection with this matter. I cannot say whether the full results we are hoping for will be attained or not, but I am quite sure that some beneficial results must come from the consolidation of British power in the neighbourhood, and from the tribes understanding that we 906 have come there to permanently settle and not to eventually withdraw from the country. It is because I believe that such results will be attained that I so cordially thank the Government for pressing forward this matter.
§ * MR. BRODRICK
I venture to congratulate the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down on having recalled to the House some of the broader issues which are involved, and were originally discussed, in the construction of the Uganda Railway. Although the House is fully aware that the Government entered upon that construction with the view not of any purely commercial interests, but also with political objects, I will not follow the hon. Gentleman's remarks upon that aspect of the subject at any length, because I have no desire to attempt to shirk the charges or criticisms which have been levelied against the Government by diverting opinion from that channel into the more important and broader channel to which the hon. Member for Perth so admirably referred. I should like to say one word or two in reply to what has fallen from the hon. Member for East Mayo, who, of course, is an out-and-out opponent of. the Uganda Railway from various standpoints. He suggested that, even if the railway was to be built, we might have placed it in the hands of a large contractor, and saved ourselves from a great deal of labour, and the Foreign Office from undertaking a task for which they were wholly unfitted, and in which they had completely failed. I think both those criticisms should be met. It is very easy to make a proposal—to hand over a railway going through 500 or 600 miles of country, which was not under any civilised government at the time of starting, and was to pass through a variety of tribes who were to a large extent hostile, to be carried on in a climate particularly unfavourable to Europeans, causing great difficulty in guarding the railway, which could hardly be undertaken by any temporary police the con- tractor might be able to establish. But you must add to these considerations the fact, which was too much forgotten, but which was perfectly well known to Members of the House when they discussed the question four or five years ago, that no adequate survey had been or could be made of the country through which the railway was to pass—and in view of all this I ask 907 the House to consider what was the possibility of getting any contractor, who would be without any political interest to push him forward, to undertake a task which was at once so doubtful, and possibly, even probably, so unremunerative. The only occasion on which such an attempt has been made was in connection with the Suakin Railway in 1884 or 1885, which a firm of contractors undertook, on very exceptional terms, to construct. I am speaking from memory, but I think the only terms on which they would undertake it were a percentage on any money which they found themselves obliged to spend, and had any firm of contractors undertaken this railway on similar terms the House would not have been able to have any control over it whatever. But in the case of the Suakin Railway the matter had to be abandoned. Admitting, then, that it was necessary for the Government to undertake the business, what is the foundation of the contention of the hon. Member for East Aberdeen shire and others that the attempt to carry it out by the Government has been—I think he described it as—a muddle and hopeless failure? I perfectly admit that the additional sums we are asking for are large j ones, but the real essence of the increase of cost is to compare it with the cost of other railways. The hon. Member for Swansea attempted such a comparison, and he made out a case which he thought justified him in moving the rejection of the Bill. The House listened to the hon. Member's speech with interest. But I would point out that there is nothing more easy than to prove your case up to the hilt by means of a comparison between two things which are, in their essence, unlike. He instanced the case of the Beira Railway. But the country which had to be traversed was unlike the country to be traversed by the Uganda Railway; the condition as regards the tribes was different, the condition as regards the soil was different, and, as I well know, the equipment of that railway is wholly different to that given by the Government to the Uganda Railway. And when all those questions come to be compared, with a number of others which I cannot enter into here, of course it is possible to discover that, in that particular case, all the other things being unlike, the cost of the railway has been less than that of the Uganda Railway. But if the hon. Member had 908 extended his researches a little further and made a comparison between the cost of the Congo Railway and the Uganda Railway — a comparison which would have been more apposite and which could have been followed out with much greater completeness—he would have found that the Congo Railway cost, though I am speaking from memory, over £10,000 a mile, although it was to be done under infinitely more favourable circumstances, both as to the comparative quietude of the country and to the means of obtaining labour, than those under which the Uganda Railway has been carried on. Therefore, when you are considering whether the Foreign Office has done well or badly in this matter, it is necessary to deal with a comparison of things which are like. My hon. friend the Member for King's Lynn has gone much more into detail, and has endeavoured to grapple with certain points in which he thinks there has been some considerable leakage of money. It is to be observed that in the course of this discussion not one single point has been mentioned, or even suggested, in which the Government have lost money or paid more money than they ought to have paid for work which has been carried out. Although the accounts have been gone through, item by item, by the Comptroller and Auditor-General and examined, I believe, by the Public Accounts Committee, we have not had put before us a single case which it has been necessary for cither the Auditor-General or the Public Accounts Committee to bring before Parliament.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
May I remind the right hon. Gentleman that those items are so immense and that there is no detail? If he will say that full details will be furnished to the Comptroller and Auditor-General and to the Public Accounts Committee, then all that I have said, or most of it, falls to the ground.
§ * MR. BRODRICK
My hon. friend astonishes me. His knowledge of these matters is intimate, and he is perfectly aware that the Comptroller and Auditor-General sees all the vouchers and audits every account. He has got officers out there examining the vouchers in detail as they come in, and he makes his report on those and not on the eight or nine items which are presented in the mass to Parliament. He sees every single 909 voucher, and the hon. Member has the opportunity of examining them before the Public Accounts Committee.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
The right hon. Gentleman is entirely mistaken. The Report of the Auditor-General is before us, and it is made on the eight or nine items before us.
§ * MR. BRODRICK
My hon. friend has also complained that there are not sufficient items in the account. But does he really suppose that in a matter of railway construction in Africa we ought to be able to lay before Parliament from year to year the vouchers of everything purchased and for every sum paid for labour? My hon. friend also referred to one or two other matters, from which I think he has drawn quite false conclusions. He complains of the expenses attached to the office of the consulting engineer of the railway. I was astonished that my hon. friend should have spent so much time over that point, and? apologise to the House for entering into such a comparatively small matter. Does my hon. friend think that in the case of a work involving the expenditure of three millions sterling the consulting engineer here in London, with the enormous responsibilities which rest upon him in a matter of such magnitude, is over paid by a payment of,£500 a year to himself and,£3,000 a year for actually vouched office expenses and the employment of clerks and other persons? My hon. friend knows perfectly well that if an engineer were employed entirely on one work his remuneration would be £4,000 or £5,000 or more. My hon. friend also made a point with respect to the Crown agents which seemed to attract some attention from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton, who has great experience of Treasury control. The Crown agents are not paid by salary or vote of this House. They are officials under the authority of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, who perform certain services in this country for the Crown colonies, and are paid a definite amount out of sums realised by commission, in accordance with the work they perform.
§ * SIR M. HICKS BEACH
Perhaps I may be allowed to explain. The whole expenditure of the Crown agents' office is provided for by commission on the work they do for the colonies, as my light hon. friend has just stated. That forms a lump sum each year. Out of that sum salaries are paid to the Crown agents for themselves and their clerks on a scale fixed by the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
SIR H. CAMPBELLBANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
I think we should explore this matter a little. Although we are all familiar with the work of the Crown agents, we never come to close quarters with them. According to the Colonial Office List, which I suppose is authentic, Crown agents for the colonies act as commercial and financial agents in this country for such of the colonies whose Governments do not possess agents in this country. It says, "They are remunerated with fixed salaries and are appointed by the Secretary of State for Colonies, who exorcises a general supervision and control over their work."
§ * SIR M. HICKS BEACH
That is exactly what I said. Their salaries are fixed by the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
; I understood the Under Secretary to have said they are paid by commission.
§ * SIR M. HICKS BEACH
The suggestion of the hon. Member for King's Lynn was that the Crown agents were charging for the work a high rate of commission which they put into their pockets. That is not so. They are paid by salaries fixed by the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and those salaries are provided by commission charged under the authority of the Secretary of State for the Colonies for the work they do.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
I never suggested that the commission went directly into their pockets. What I said was that they got commissions.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
Pardon me: I did not say that. I said that a system which involved the payment of public functionaries by commission on the purchases they made was calculated to tempt them into the pursuance of a course under which commercial agents are often tempted—that is, to receive commissions also from the other side.
§ * MR. BRODRICK
My hon. friend might be right if the commission went direct to the pocket of the Crown agents. The salaries are fixed by the Secretary of State for the Colonies. But the really important point to consider is whether the charge made to the public for their services is excessive. This commission is paid for transacting the whole financial business of the committee, and keeping the accounts of the railway; for the acceptance and payment of all bills drawn by the chief engineer; for the making of all contracts and for the supervision of all contracts; for the chartering of steamers and the conveyance of stores. All that involves an immense mass of business, and to have the whole of it covered by £3,000 a year is by no means an excessive charge. My hon. friend also spoke about the loss on the rate of exchange. I can assure him this is a mere book entry, and not one single penny is lost to the Treasury by that charge. But the question of real importance raised to-day is are the working expenses of the railway greatly in excess of the traffic the railway has to carry? Remember we are working under the greatest possible difficulties. The traffic, until the railway arrives at the point it is intended to reach, must be mainly one way; and again, you cannot work the traffic economically when you are at the same time constructing the line. But bearing all this in mind, whether you look to the receipts of the railway or whether you look to the working expenses, you will find that they are satisfactory. The receipts of the railway, without taking into consideration construction, amount already to over £60,000 a year, and we expect when the railway is finished they will amount to over £120,000. And taking the working expenses, which were originally estimated for with the idea of one train per week—taking them at one train per day, each way, it is estimated they will be more than covered by the traffic 912 receipts at the present rate, and we have every reason to believe that the present traffic receipts will be considerably in creased. It it perfectly true that we nave to meet the interest on something like £5,000,000. That is about £150,000 a year and the cost of the working of the railway will be the loss of that £150,000, less any extra sum we may receive from traffic. I do not think that sum need intimidate us from pursuing this project. Let me also say that we have no reason whatever to believe that the sum now asked for will be insufficient to complete the railway. On the contrary, we have spent 60 per cent. of the money, but we have done much more than 60 per cent. of the work. In the matter of locomotives we have got the whole number we require. In regard to sleepers, we have got them for 155 out of the remaining 221 miles. Therefore, so far as we know, having the surveys, which are for the whole distance of the same character as those which would be laid before a Parliamentary Committee, and which for 50 miles ahead of the main escarpment are of a character suitable to be placed in the hands of the contractor, we may reasonably believe that we know the extent of our liabilities. If anything, we have erred on the side of taking a margin, as will be seen by the sum set apart for contingencies. Let me say in conclusion that, although we have started in a most difficult business, in which the Estimates, as was stated to the House by Lord Curzon, were bound to be more or less of a doubtful character, and although we have to carry on the work in Africa under great difficulties, there has been no confusion in the accounts, there has been no expenditure on work which had to be done over again, and there has been no lack of foresight, except that it was impossible to estimate what the ultimate and final cost would be. For these reasons I ask the House to pass the Second Reading of this Bill, and I am confident that we shall see the railway carried through satisfactorily.
§ SIR EDWARD GREY (Northumberland, Berwick)
A phrase occasionally has been used in this debate as to "the policy of the railway"; and the larger question arose at the beginning of the debate as to how far the Government had endeavoured to hold their predecessors responsible for making the railway. Well, I admit, of course, entirely that the 913 last Liberal Government was absolutely responsible for committing itself and committing the House of Commons and the country to the making of a railway. Of course, there may be all the difference in the world between "a railway" and any particular railway which is under discussion. Therefore let it be carefully understood that we hold ourselves in regard to Uganda as responsible for "a railway," but with regard to the method by which that railway was to be made, and with regard to the cost of the management in the making of it, we have no responsibility at all. I think, however, "the policy of the railway" is an ambiguous phrase, and is really not the proper phrase. There is really no policy of a railway. The question of policy is a much larger one than the making of a railway. The question of policy is a question of staying in Uganda or not. If Uganda is to be held it could not be held permanently without a railway, and the question of policy would take us far beyond the railway. Therefore let us start this debate from the point that the railway is an absolute necessity—unless we are to discuss the whole question of Uganda over again, which I do not think is desired by the House. But if we start from the point that the railway is a necessity, we then have to consider whether this railway which the Government have chosen to make is the proper kind of railway, and whether it-has been economically made. In so far as the Government have decided from time to time to make changes in the character of the railway, and have proposed to give it more ballast, to make more substantial bridges, and to make it a more substantial affair, I have no criticism whatever to offer. Everybody must realise that sooner or later it had to be made a permanent railway, and I do not think the House will find fault with the fact that the Government have decided that from the beginning it should be a permanent and not a temporary affair. But the estimates have greatly exceeded —even allowing for these changes in the nature of the railway—that which the Government laid publicly before the House. I regret very much that that has been so, and on broad grounds. The hon. Member for Northampton has always in all these African affairs been a pessimist, although, I admit, a very cheerful pessimist. Well—I make him a present of 914 the admission—some of the things which he urged in the days when the question of Uganda was under discussion will enable him to point a moral in the course of the present debate. I would go further, and say that I very much regret that the Government, by their original estimates of the railway as compared with their present estimate, which we have now before us, have provided so much opportunity for pointing morals of that kind. The House undoubtedly has been pained not by the actual amount so much as by the surprise that it has been called upon to vote such a large amount. If this had been the actual amount originally put before the House I do not think it would have been felt to be half so alarming as it is at the present time. I have a little moral I should like to point if the House will allow me. It extends not only to Her Majesty's Government, but to many other governments as well. The amount of money which we are now called upon unexpectedly to vote comes in part from having had to proceed much too fast in the occupation of Africa in past years. The various European countries by their rivalry pressed each other forward. They occupied in haste, and now they find they have to repent at leisure. That is a moral that we have had brought home to us to-day; but it is a moral which is also being brought home to other countries, and I trust that where rivalry exists, in East Africa or elsewhere, we may be able in the future to agree together a little better than in the past. They will bear in mind the moral we have before us, and they and we should regulate the pace more steadily in the future. 1 do not complain that we have taken part in a scramble—I think we could not stand aside—but the result is undoubtedly this, that we now find ourselves in a very expensive stage. The initial expense of occupation, if it is done hurriedly, is much less than the expense of consolidation afterwards; and it is just at the stage of consolidation that we have arrived, and that is the most expensive stage. Therefore, lot us bear in mind that, if the money seems to us very large, it is the most expensive stage—that of making the capital expenditure before it is possible to make a careful estimate of what the return is likely to be. But, admitting that there was bound to be a great deal of expense incurred in the pace at which affairs had proceeded in Africa, 915 that made it all the more necessary that, the Government should have put before us most careful estimates, so as to make the surprise as little as possible. I think in the case of this railway that the vote of money in the past years was taken in the dark. Not only that, but the Government has been in the dark, too. The question we have to ask is whether we are sure we are really in the light now. We know that in personal affairs when an individual has become involved in unexpected financial liabilities it is generally | exceedingly difficult to get him to disclose the whole of his liabilities. Well, this railway has boon in financial difficulties, and if we could be quite sure that we had the whole amount of these financial liabilities disclosed, I think we should feel much less apprehension about supporting the Government in the Bill which is now before the House. I welcome, therefore, what the right hon. Gentleman opposite has told us with regard to the complete-ness of the surveys which have been made respecting the work which has still to be done. But there is still the Mau escarpment to be got over, which is, I believe, the most difficult part of the work. We should have liked to be sure that these increased difficulties with regard to some of the parts of the line which remain have been amply allowed for. But I do think we may console ourselves a little if we consider that to the Government themselves it seems to have been a matter of painful surprise that they had to bring this largely-increased estimate before the House, and that they have not done so without making very careful inquiry into the expenses which still remain to be incurred. We may take that comfort, at any rate. I must say, as to the estimate of what still remains to be done, that we cannot feel confidence that it is a perfect estimate, but it is being made with considerably more care and knowledge than the original estimates which were put before us. The original estimates have turned out to be entirely misleading, and that, I think, is the real grievance we have against the Government. I am glad to think that the charge of having wasted the money which has already been spent is not one which on the evidence before us can be pressed home. Sir Guilford Molesworth's Report, which is very explicit as to the original estimates having been misleading, brings no charge of mismanagement or 916 waste in the actual doing of the work. He says —Taking the system as a whole (comprising commissariat, accounts, transport, traffic, landing stores, repairing and erecting shops, medical and hospital arrangements, and the numerous other details which go to make up the complex organisation of this railway), it is characterised by the utmost method and careful consideration of detail.I hope that will be borne out to the end, but that does not relieve the Government of some responsibility in having failed to impress on the House originally how very speculative the estimates were. What wore we told about the first survey? We were told in 1896 that the hon. Member for Northampton had described this railway as if it were a happy-go-lucky affair which the Government had taken in hand with no idea of where it was going to, what route was going to be adopted, and what estimates and surveys ought to have been made. What is the fact? In 1892 Major Macdonald executed a survey, of which a Report was laid before this House. It was a reconnaissance survey, executed with unusual care, and it confirmed the independent observations made by engineers of the highest character beforehand, and it has been confirmed by the observations of those who have been there since. But it was not, in the nature of the case, a detailed survey, and Lord Curzon said that therefore a margin had to be taken with regard to Major Macdonald's figures. The other day the right hon. Gentleman who succeeded Lord Curzon at the Foreign Office, said that over 580 miles of the distance to be traversed practically no survey had been made.
§ * MR. BRODRICK
The hon. Gentleman misunderstood me, or I have been misreported. I said it was very difficult to estimate for a railway going through a country for more than 580 miles, for a considerable portion of which no survey had been made. I certainly did not suggest that the whole railway had not been surveyed.
§ SIR EDWARD GREY
I accept the interpretation of the right hon. Gentleman. Really the point I was making is this. We now know what the survey did amount to, and it is not that the hon. Gentleman opposite is putting any construction on the value of the original survey that I dispute at all, What I 917 complain of is that when we were first asked to vote these two millions the matter ought not to have been put before as in quite such rosy colours. There are one or two points which strike one in regard to carrying out the work. We have had the position of the Crown Agents cleared up, but I am not quite sure I understand it altogether yet. I understand that they have fixed salaries, but varying incomes. The salary is fixed by the Secretary of State for the Colonies, but is it a permanent salary fixed for year after year irrespective of the work done?
§ * SIR M. HICKS BEACH
I believe the salary is just as much fixed as the salary of any official paid by this House.
§ * SIR. M. HICKS BEACH
It is paid out of the fund derived from payments made by the colonies for work done. The scale of payment made by the Crown colonies for their work is rather more than the Crown Agents charge for this railway work.
§ SIR EDWARD GREY
Anyhow, one thing has been brought clearly out in this discussion, and that is, that the 1 per cent. does not go straight into the packets of the Crown agents. I assume that the salary, which is fixed by the Secretary of State, can be varied from time to time in proportion to the amount of the work these gentleman are called upon to do. That being so, I propose to leave their position, because I think that the position of the Crown agents is one that only comes incidentally into the question of the railway. But what does come directly into the question of the railway is whether, apart from the question of survey in the original estimates originally presented to the House, more could not have been foreseen of the expenditure at first. Take the question of labour. It was estimated that half the labour was to be obtained on the spot. I should have thought that the general experience of entirely undeveloped countries would have gone to throw very great doubt upon that estimate from the beginning. In the uncivilised parts of Africa all free labour is an acquired habit. Slave labour of every kind exists, but then we have agreed to put an end to the slave trade and to slave labour. Free labour is an acquired habit, and that habit obviously has not been 918 acquired in the remote districts through which this railway has to pass. I think, therefore, that the insufficiency of the estimates with respect to labour might have been foreseen. Then with regard to the rise in the price of iron, I admit that rise might not have been foreseen, but then I think that the rule in estimating the cost of a railway is that contracts should be entered into for the amount of iron required. That would have been done if the usual practice which any contractor would have followed had been adopted, and if it had been done some of this extra expense would have been saved. Then with regard to water, it is very unfortunate that some of the water on the route should have turned out unfit for use in locomotives, but I should have thought that those concerned in making the survey would have analysed the water before they made a report that it was available for the purposes of locomotive service. On these grounds, I think that some disappointment might have been saved to the House if greater care had been taken in making these calculations. We have been asked to take a, lesson from this Department. What is the lesson? I always speak with great affection of the Foreign Office, and I would point out that Colonial Office control is not much better than Foreign Office control. I think that, as far as the Foreign Office is concerned, the charge ought not to be brought against the Foreign Office, but the complaint which may be brought forward is a general one. It may well be asked how far it is advisable to make railways under Government control. Let the charge be made a general one. In this case I admit it would be extremely difficult to transfer to a contractor the rest of the work to be done. We are dependent on coolie labour, and the Indian Government never permits Indian labour to be employed outside India except on certain guaranteed conditions, and I doubt whether it would be possible for any contractor to satisfy the Indian Government as to the conditions in which Indian labour would be employed. It would be much easier for the British Government to satisfy the Indian Government on that point. I think the lesson to be drawn is this. That we must be careful, in the work of developing all these parts of Africa, not to discourage people by making too small estimates beforehand. If public opinion once feels that Governments may not 919 be disclosing the whole liabilities for work undertaken by them, you will have great apprehension created in the public mind, and you will have a return to that state of things which led a Committee to report in 1865 as regards large districts of Africa that we had better renounce all views upon them in the future. I should regret very much if that view gained on the public mind; but we have to remember that a good deal of expenditure has to be faced in the future in connection with the development of spheres of influence in Africa, for which we have become responsible. I believe the country is anxious at the present moment that as fast as possible the development and real occupation of these spheres of influence should be proceeded with, and the lesson to be borne in mind is this, that the expense which may have to be incurred from time to time before much return can be expected always appears doubly bad if it has been under-estimated in the first instance.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
My hon. friend said that he regretted that I had been invariably right in everything in regard to this question. I regret it too, for it is no pleasure to me to see an extra two millions expended on this railway. My hon. friend said he did not regret the two millions, but he regretted the surprise that had come upon him because he was not told at the commencement that this extra two millions would be required. At any rate, I am free from that. I would suggest to my hon. friend that whenever he occupies a responsible position in this House, which I am sure he must do on some future occasion, and I have the honour of being a Member of the House, he will be good enough to listen to the criticisms—not my criticisms, but those of the Gentlemen on that bench opposite. These Gentlemen are always too sanguine in these matters. They come down with cut and dry estimates, and then the House invariably finds that they have to spend a great deal more. We poor pariahs down here do not pretend to be equal with the Brahmins on the front bench opposite, but we know that whenever the Gentlemen on that bench add two and two together they invariably make three of it for the benefit of the House. My hon. friend disclaimed, to a certain extent, all responsibility for the making of this railway. 920 He might have gone a great deal further than that. He might have disdained entire responsibility. The Vote for this railway was obtained on utterly false pretences. We were asked to vote for a light railway. This is not a light railway to Uganda; it is a heavy railway, and it is not going to Uganda. If when we wore asked to agree to a Vote of £20,000 in order to recognise the principle of a light railway to Uganda, we had been told that it was to be a permanent railroad, and that it was not going to Uganda, we should not have granted that Vote. I do think we have a right to protest that, without the approval of this House, this railway has by degrees been changed in its ultimate destination, and also changed from a light railway costing £3,400 per mile to a heavy railway costing £8,700 per mile. We all know in this country what is the difference between a light and a heavy railway. I never yet heard that after a Bill for a light railway had been agreed to in this House any Government should take upon itself the responsibility of altering the character and destination of such railway. Then, when the right hon. the Under Secretary was making the best defence he could, he did not tell the House that this railway, although it has increased so enormously in cost, is to be 105 miles shorter than that we were asked originally to vote for. The railway we voted for was to go to Uganda; this railway goes to Florence Bay, 100 miles from Uganda, and very close to the German frontier. We shall have to pay for that railway, and the Germans will profit very much more by it than we do ourselves. Has the right hon. Gentleman forgotten the fact of the great additional expenditure required after the railway is taken to Florence Bay? There must be piers, and these will form part and parcel of the cost of connecting Uganda with the sea-coast. There is another great difficuly in the way. I understand that all round the lake, for a distance of three or four miles, the country is so pestiferous that people cannot live there; and therefore you will have great loss of life not only amongst the people compelled to work and reside at the lakeside, but also amongst the people passing through. The right hon. Gentleman boasted that there was one steamer already on the lake. He also said that there was to be one train a week. Possibly the traffic of the one train a week 921 will he sufficient for the one steamer; hut if you are going to have a large traffic you must have large piers and large harbours. Really I was much amused when I read on Saturday the pleas which the poor Foreign Office has put forward for the mistakes made. I asked whether any such preposterous follies have ever before been urged as an excuse for the errors of a reconnaissance survey. I take one, that is in regard to the bridges. We were told that the bridges were too short and not strong enough, because the survey was made in summer, and that— what any child in a charity school knows —a great deal more water comes down in winter than in summer. I have not been in Uganda, and I have not been connected with railways, but I would have thought that in Africa, as in most other places in this world, there is more water in the rivers in winter than in summer. The right hon. Gentleman boasts that no money has been wasted or squandered. Nobody has said that anybody has put money in his pocket, but I say that money has been wasted by almost criminal folly. For instance, a large part of this railway and the bridges were swept away by floods after they were built. Now, railways and bridges are not built to be swept away, and if with our public money some intelligent officials at the Foreign Office build railways and bridges to be swept away shortly afterwards, that is a waste of public money. I cannot gather whether we had a proper survey or not. The right hon. Gentleman said that he had a survey upon which he could get a contract to-morrow, but he will pardon me if I say I do not think that that is so. The committee of the Foreign Office are dogmatising as to what this railroad is to cost, and they profess to be certain that it will not cost more; and the moral my right hon. friend the Member for the Berwick Division drew was that the Foreign Office knew exactly what it would cost, and were so exceedingly afraid of exceeding that amount that they would be careful that it would not cost more.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
I thought that was one of the morals drawn by my hon. friend; but, however that may be, when the Under Secretary of State comes down and says that the railroad will cost five 922 millions, how can he possibly say it will cost only that amount? I made prophecy on prophecy when we were asked for three millions. I said this undertaking would cost more. The right hon. Gentlemen the Under Secretary jeered at me and called me a false prophet year after year, and now I prophesy again, having shown that I was a true and reliable prophet in the past, and I say the railroad will cost a very great deal more than five millions. I hope, after it has been shown that my prophecy was true, nobody will express surprise, though they may express regret, at the amount they will be asked to provide. In going into Committee the other night, the right hon. Gentleman said that the health of the coolies employed was very good, but we find from the report now issued that out of the 16,700 coolies employed 450 had died, and l,583 are in hospital. That cannot be called very good health when 2,000 out of 16,000 are either dead or invalids. Where is the good of this railway? Where is the custom to come from? I do not know whether you are going to make the Cape to Cairo Railway. It may be that you are, and that this is to be a feeder to that railway; but if that is so can anybody imagine anything more foolish than to build the Cape to Cairo railroad at one gauge and this railway at another. Anybody would tell you that it is only reasonable to make in our possessions in South Africa railroads of the same gauge. I do not know what this railroad is to be. We are told it is to be a heavy road, yet I find that the locomotives they propose to use only cost £1,900 each. The price of locomotives in this country is nearly £5,000.
§ * MR. ALLAN (Gateshead)
May I remind the hon. Gentleman that the loco motives to be used on this line are tank locomotives having no tender, and the line is only a 3-feet gauge, consequently the engines are light, and the cost is low.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
We have been told it is to be a heavy or a permanent railroad, and now we are told by a celebrated engineer that it is to be a light 923 railroad. We are in the clouds as regards this railroad. Now, I do not know much about Crown agents except that they exist; hut we have ascertained from the Chancellor of the Exchequer the fact that the Crown agent is paid by a commission of 1 per cent. on what he does, and it depends upon himself what he earns. He is not paid by the British taxpayer, hut by the colony which he represents. What colony does this Crown agent represent? Uganda is not a colony. Why in this case did not the Government go to the director of contracts? He has a staff to look after and make every contract for the Government. What was the reason for going to this Crown agent; to spend £1,500 more than was necessary? There is another question—were these contracts put out to public tender?
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
Some of them were and some of them were not, but they all ought to have been. Nor is it proved that when this railway is completed there will be any material traffic for it, and if we are not going to profit by it it is useless to spend more money on it. Having reached the mountains, instead of continuing the railway, a metal road should be laid down. We could then see what traffic there was likely to he, and if it was found that the speculation was a sound one we could continue the railway. It is absurd to suppose that the Foreign Office know much about railways. We might as well send traffic managers as diplomatists to foreign countries. I am opposed to all this railroad making in South Africa. Talk of spheres of interest! I would rather see the money spent on spheres of population in England. If we make this railroad, let us do it on sound business principles, which it is abundantly clear we are not doing at present.
§ * MR. ALLAN
I would like to say a few words again on this Bill, and I think I shall be able to give the House some idea of this undertaking as it stands at present. The first survey of the line made by Major Macdonald was a recon-naissance survey. The result of such a survey was a very incomplete report. Sir Harry John stone was sent out to report, and when he gave us his report in 1893 there was an estimate made upon an 924 utterly unworthy survey. In 1895 the matter came before the Committee, and it then became evident that the survey of Major Macdonald was an absolute farce. The result of that has been the confusion in which the Foreign Office now finds itself to-day. No one could make an estimate, because the survey was not made and the country was not explored. Then it was that we were told that the cost of the railway would, instead of £3,000 a mile, be nearer £8,000 a mile; and, looking at the maps and measuring escarpments, I have come to the conclusion that the total cost of the railroad will be a great deal more than the amount we are asked for to-night. After the survey was made and the accounts reached England in the November, the Committee say they were for the first time in possession of the necessary data for a complete estimate; but we find a contradiction there, because the plans were not prepared, and it was impossible to make an estimate without plans. I have come to the conclusion, therefore, that this mode of engineering means nothing but expense. They find they cannot got water for their engines, except of a very dangerous character, and they have got to erect condensing apparatus, and this item alone, unless they can sink artesian wells en route, will be an enormous expense. Then in the figures given for completing the line there is no account whatever for steamers to ply the lake. We know well enough that if we have a railroad up to the lake we must have jetties, piers, and steamers, and I want to know how many steamers the light hon. Gentleman proposes to put upon the lake. Does this estimate provide for the steamers on the lake or not? [A pause. Does this estimate provide for those steamers? [A pause.] Well, I think the House ought to be put in possession of this information before they are asked to vote this money. I can say nothing about the stupid policy of making a 3 ft. gauge line, but I think the House ought to be put in possession of all the information, and therefore I come back to the hard fact of business. Does this estimate cover the steamers? Does it cover the expense of erecting plant for the condensation of water? The plans have not been properly prepared. How can there possibly be an estimate? All these facts ought to he before the House, because there will be 925 more money asked for for this railroad. I approved of the policy, and always supported the making of the railroad, but I think it is the duty of the Government to come down and give us the facts, and not to come for a million now and a million then. Such a course only shows that the work is not properly done, and is not carried out with the skill and enterprise generally credited to British engineers.
§ SIR. H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
The hon. Member has moved an Amendment which is equivalent to the rejection of the Bill. I cannot vote for that Amendment. The mover of the Amendment, in a telling and forcible speech, showed up the mismanagement in the construction of the railway, and the unfortunate results that followed. Other hon. Members have pointed out the excess of expenditure there has been in the case, and what a mistake it was to entrust the construction of the railway to the sort of authority in charge of it. The right hon. Gentleman who speaks for the Foreign Office has not been able to meet the criticisms made, and has committed the mistake of proving too much on his own side. To listen to him one might have believed that if ever there was a cheaply and carefully constructed railway it was this. Hut the speeches made have abundantly shown the errors that have been committed. It was said that there had been a great rise in the price of materials during the construction of the railway. But I have been informed that no contractor for the construction of a railway thinks of doing anything less than immediately providing himself, at the price he had used for the basis of his contract, with all the material required, and then he could snap his fingers at changes in the market. If the price went down he was covered by his contract: if the price went up it did not matter. The question is, can anything be done now to change the method of constructing the line? It has not a very hopeful look. I do not think the contractor can with advantage be brought in at this stage. If there were no other reason there is this— which seems fatal to any such course— that the Government have employed 10,000 or 12,000 natives of India whom the contractor would not be allowed to use under the authority of the Indian Government, and whom he 926 would not wish to use if allowed. For many reasons it is obvious that we must go on with the work we have been proceeding with hitherto. One matter which has come up in the course of this debate, subsidiary, perhaps, to the general question, but yet one of great interest, and one which I venture to commend to the investigating talent of the hon. Member for King's Lynn, is the position and authority of the Crown agents. We still do not understand their position. Money is paid out in commissions. They receive commissions on stores. Do the salaries exhaust the whole amount of these commissions? If the amount of the commissions is not equal to the salary then I suppose the Crown agent could go on purchasing materials in order to make up commission enough. At all events, there are mysteries about this particular branch of the public service which I think disserve a little investigation on the part of the House. I would at once say that, to my mind, nothing could be more likely to lead to maladministration, or careless administration, than that there should be a matter of such great public interest entrusted to an amphibious department of this sort, over which Parliament has no control, and the Government of this country has no control; and, indeed, it is hard to say, out of the multifarious clients or masters who have to deal with it, whether anyone has much control over it or not. That is a side issue which goes a good deal to throw light upon the present position of affairs. In these circumstances I cannot support the motion, which, if carried, would mean the rejection of the Bill. I have voted for the previous motion in Committee, and although my hon. friend beside me has proved that the late Government had no direct responsibility for this railway, or even for fixing the kind of railway, or any particulars of the railway, still, putting aside the responsibilities of Governments altogether, and treating it from the point of view of the responsibility of the House of Commons, this is not the time when we can go back, in my judgment, from what we have already committed ourselves to. We cannot change our system of construction with any advantage even if we could possibly do so, and therefore I will not support the motion of my hon. friend, which was moved by him, as he explained at the time, rather as a moans of empha- 927 sizing his strong opinion on the mismanagement, than from any hostility to the railway or the policy of the railway, of both of which he expressed his entire approval.
§ Question put.
§ The Home divided—Ayes, 226; Noes, 53. (Division List No. 111.)929
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Doxford, Sir William T.||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Carrie|
|Arnold, Alfred||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Look wood, Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Asher, Alexander||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Liverp'l)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Emmott, Alfred||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Baillie, James E. B. (Inverness)||Faber, George Denison||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E.||Lowe, Francis William|
|Baker, Sir John||Fen wick, Charles||Lyell, Sir Leonard|
|Balcarres, Lord||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r)||Maclean, James Mackenzie|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A.J. (Manch'r)||Finch, George H.||M'Killop, James|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Mather, William|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Fisher, William Hayes||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Fitztmaurice, Lord Edmond||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor)||Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.||Monckton, Edward Philip|
|Beach, Rt. Hon. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Monk, Charles James|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Fletcher, Sir Henry||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Flower, Ernest||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)|
|Bethell, Commander||Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford)|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Foster, Sir W. (Derby Co.)||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.|
|Billson, Alfred||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Muntz, Philip A.|
|Blakiston.-Houston, John||Fry, Lewis||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute)|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Garfit, William||Myers, William Henry|
|Bolitho, Thomas Bedford||Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||Newdigate, Francis Alexander|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn)||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Oldroyd, Mark|
|Brassey, Albert||Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J. (St. George's)||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Gourley, Sir Edw. Temperley||Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Gull, Sir Cameron||Penn, John|
|Burt, Thomas||Gunter, Colonel||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Butcher, John George||Haldane, Richard Burdon||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord George||Pilkington, R. (Lancs, Newton)|
|Caldwell, James||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert W.||Pilkington, Sir G. A. (Lancs, S. W.)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Hanson, Sir Reginald||Platt- Higgins, Frederick|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Hardy, Laurence||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Haslett, Sir James Homer||Purvis, Robert|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Hazell, Walter||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, E.)||Heath, James||Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Helder, Augustus||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.)||Henderson, Alexander||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter||Round, James|
|Charrington, Spencer||Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Chelsea, Viscount||Hobhouse, Henry||Runciman, Walter|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Houston, R. P.||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Howard, Joseph||Rutherford, John|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hughes, Colonel Edwin||Savory, Sir Joseph|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles R.||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez E.||Seely, Charles Hilton|
|Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Joicey, Sir James||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D.||Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt. Hn. Sir U.||Sidebottom, Wm. (Derbyshire)|
|Cox, Irwin Edw. Bainbridge||Kearley, Hudson E.||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Cross, Herbert S. (Bolton)||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J.H.||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Cruddas, William Donaldson||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Smith, A. H. (Christchurch)|
|Curzon, Viscount||Kinloch, Sir John Geo. Smyth||Smith, J. Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Kitson, Sir James||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan)||Knowles, Lees||Stanley, E. James (Somerset)|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Lafone, Alfred||Stanley, Sir H. M. (Lambeth)|
|Donkin, Richard Sim.||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Stewart, Sir M. M'Taggart|
|Doughty, George||Lawrence, Sir E. Darning-(Corn)||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Strachey, Edward||Warr, Augustus Frederick||Woodhouse, Sir. J. T. (Huddersf'd)|
|Strauss,' Arthur||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E. (Taunt'n)||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.)||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd||Wrightson, Thomas|
|Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Thorburn, Sir Walter||Whitmore, Charles Algernon||Wyndham, George|
|Thornton, Percy M.||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Williams, J. Powell- (Birm.)||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Tritton, Charles Ernest||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord||Younger, William|
|Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)||Willox, Sir John Archibald||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Wallace, Robert||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Walton, John Lawson (Leeds, S.)||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Horniman, Frederick John||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Jacoby, James Alfred||Richardson, J. (Durham, S. E.)|
|Birrell, Augustine||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Wake, Edward||Labouchere, Henry||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Boardhurst, Henry||Leng, Sir John||Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfar.)|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Lloyd-George, David||Souttar, Robinson|
|Burns, John||Lough, Thomas||Steadman, William Charles|
|Cameron, Sir Charles (Glasgow)||Macaleese, Daniel||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||MacDonnell, Dr. M. A. (Q. s. C.)||Thomas, Alf. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Courtney, Rt. Hon Leonard H.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Daly, James||M'Dermott, Patrick||Wason, Eugene|
|Dewar, Arthur||M'Ghee, Richard||Wilson, Henry J.(York, W.R.)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||M'Kenna, Reginald||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Dillon, John||Maddison, Fred.||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Woods, Samuel|
|Doogan, P. C.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||Pickard, Benjamin||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Brynmor Jones and Mr. Buchanan.|
|Gurdon, Sir William R.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Price, Robert John|
§ Main Question put, and agreed to; Bill read a second time, and committed for Thursday.