§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ A verbal amendment made (inserting the word "as").
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Monmouthshire, W.)
I wish that the finances of this country required amendment only in respect of the word "as"; because the financial situation will be admitted by everybody, and by no one more than the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to be of the gravest character. We have had a considerable amount of debate on the Finance Bill of this year, and I am not going to trouble the House with figures which are familiar to the House. But there is one figure which may suffice for the purpose—for my purpose, at least—of making the country aware, if it is not already aware, of what the position is. In his Budget speech of this year the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated that the total amount provided by the State last year came to the enormous sum of £198,246,000. We may call that roundly a Budget of £200,000,000. The country is, I believe, familiar with the figures. I only wish that familiarity did not breed contempt. If anybody considers the figures in relation to the present and the future, they must have a sobering effect on the subject of expenditure. The Chancellor of the Exchequer also told us in another important statement that in the last five years, entirely irrespective of the war, the growth of expenditure had been £28,000,000, and the growth of revenue £16,000,000. Anybody who knows anything of finance or of business must be aware that expenditure of that character, as compared with income, either means an intolerable increase of taxation or else financial insolvency. I do not think that even the Chancellor of the Exchequer offers us much expectation that the growth of expenditure, apart from the war, is likely to be less in the future than it has been in the past. People deliberately close their eyes to 700 this state of things—to dangers which are certain. They prefer to live in a fool's paradise upon those matters for which they and those who come after them will have to pay a heavy penalty. I think it was in his Budget speech of last year that the Chancellor of the Exchequer referred to what was the attitude of the public mind on this matter. He said—This is war expenditure; you will get it all out of the Transvaal some day. Never mind the future. Borrow it all now.That was a very accurate description, I think, of the general state of the public mind on the subject of expenditure.
But the most alarming feature, to my mind, in the finances of this country is that, according as the passion for expenditure grows, the passion for not paying for it grows too. The Chancellor of the Exchequer gave us an interesting account of what in former days our ancestors were prepared to do. They, too, had a great war, a war which may be called a war against the world—a war against the supremacy of the Napoleonic régime in Europe. How did their standard compare with ours? They raised £391,000,000 during seventeen years—that is, an average of £23,000,000 a year over that period raised towards the expenditure of that war, and that at a timewhen the country was poor, when the population was small, and when they were willing cheerfully to pay 2s. in the £1 income tax for thirteen years of the war besides indirect taxation of the heaviest kind upon every conceivable article, including the necessaries of life, because they were brave enough to save the country from financial ruin.What do we raise for the purposes of this war? Last year by additional taxation £12,000,000. When the war is over that will be necessary in consequence of the growth of expenditure in peace. Therefore, so far as that taxation is concerned, it has gone as far as it was to be regarded as war expenditure. We are raising this year £11,000,000—that is to say, if the Chancellor of the Exchequer gets the whole money from the coal tax, it is not one half of what this country was willing to raise in the days when the population was not one half, when the people were poor, and when they had not the abounding resources we now possess. That is the measure of the public courage, for I have no doubt the 701 Chancellor of the Exchequer has gone as far as the public spirit of this country will allow him. He dared not go to one half the extent which a century ago the country, with its weaker resources, was willing to do. Oh, yes, we are willing to fight. The fighting courage of our people is undoubted. But what of their financial courage? What has become of the disposition to tax ourselves in order that we may bear our fair share of the burden and not overburden posterity? It was pointed out what we have been willing to pay, but what have we borrowed? We borrowed £67,000,000 last year, and we are to borrow £60,000,000 this year—making together £127,000,000. Incidentally, I would ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer—he has not yet told us—what he estimates his loss on the coal duty at, and how he is going to meet it? Are we to have a Budget with an estimate of deficiency? Is there to be a loan? Are you going to borrow? That will be a novel feature of finance which I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will not introduce. What then is the feature of the present state of finance—what I should call the financial morality of this country? It appears to be this—let us pay as little as possible; and, if we are to pay, then what we are to pay let us throw on the classes who are least able to bear it. Those were not the sentiments which our forefathers acted upon. They had a 2s. income tax, and the right hon. Gentleman tells us they paid it cheerfully.
We are told that the war is just about to be over. We have been told that any day for the last ten months. They talk of peace when there is no peace. But I will assume—it is a strong assumption—that His Majesty's Government are correct in their anticipations of what is going to happen, and I will assume therefore that peace is restored. What will be the position of the British taxpayer when peace is restored? Now, that in large degree will depend on the charges to which the country will be exposed in respect of the administration in South Africa. The right hon. Gentleman concluded his Budget speech by a commentary on Sir David Barbour's Report. He had not at that time the advantage of having seen the Report in extenso, and he said it was not very encouraging. I am afraid that since he has had the 702 advantage of reading it at length his encouragement will not be increased. I am treating this question quite apart from the question of the war. I am treating this as a statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the financial condition of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State when peace is established. For that purpose Sir David Barbour presented a schedule of credit and debit, showing the revenue and expenditure. He has put down the normal expenditure at £2,600,000, as against the estimated expenditure of the late Government of the Transvaal of £4,000,000. To this he adds the interest on the loan of £5,000,000 of £25,000, and a charge for 6,000 constabulary of £1,500,000. That is a total expenditure of £4,332,000, or, in round numbers, £400,000 more than that of President Kruger. Against that Sir David Barbour sets a revenue of £3,340,000, increased by several forms to £3,460,000, which leaves him with an estimated deficit of £865,000. Against this deficit he proposes to raise from the gold mines £550,000, which, it will be observed, leaves him still, on his own showing, with a deficit of £300,000; and he states in his Report that that deficit must be expected for several years after the peace. Indeed, he calculates that this loan of £5,000,000 is to be a loan partly for covering this debt.
Upon that financial statement I have several observations to make. In the first place, he proposes to diminish the Custom duties, because he says they were in favour of the rural as against the mine-owning population. Therefore there is to be an advantage taken from the rural population, whoever they are, and given to the mine-owners. But I observe that in 1896 the Customs yielded £1,355,000, and in 1898, just before the war, only£1,000,000, showing a falling off of 25 per cent. Then Sir David Barbour makes reductions in the expenditure as compared with the expenditure of President Kruger. One of these reductions struck me as very remarkable. We are told that British administration is the greatest civilising influence, and that it is to bring all its blessings to the Transvaal, where they were so long wanted. But I find that one of the principal reductions in the 703 prospective British administration in the Transvaal is a reduction upon education from the sum estimated by President Kruger, which was £267,000; and I suppose it is by the advice of the Committee of Council on Education in this country that Sir David Barbour has reduced the sum to £200,000. That is what the British settler, with a liberal administration, is to do for education in the Transvaal. The amount is reduced by £67,000, or 25 per cent. upon President Kruger's estimate. It is the same with regard to other items. There is, for instance, the item for local police apart from the constabulary. One great complaint was that the place was not properly policed. Yet I see that the expenditure on local police in this country which is as large as France and Spain together, is to be reduced from £352,000 a year to £250,000. Then with regard to railways, which are wanted for the development of the country, the estimate of the late Transvaal Government, of £359,000, is reduced to £25,000. I call that a shabby policy to apply to the development of the colonies which we have acquired in South Africa. Besides these reductions, I observe that by far the greatest items of future expenditure are put absurdly low or are entirely omitted from the calculations of Sir David Barbour. One of the items of expenditure is the interest on the loan of £5,000,000. What is that going to cover? It is going to cover the damage done in Cape Colony and the Transvaal, and, as I understand, in the Orange Free State. Does Sir David Barbour really suppose that £5,000,000 is going to repair the damage which has been done in Cape Colony? He made his estimate three months ago. How many millions of damage have been done since? To say that £5,000,000 is to cover all the mischief which has been done in the two years of this unhappy war—the throwing of the land out of cultivation, the destruction of the whole live stock of the country—seems to me to be a proposal that is hardly reasonable, and one which, if it did not come from so distinguished a source, I should have called absurd. Besides that, it is to cover other miscellaneous charges, and it is to cover the debt. I venture to say that £5,000,000 is a ridiculous sum to allow for such 704 purposes, and if more money is required who is to pay it? Sir David Barbour says the Transvaal cannot do it. Why, of course, if more is wanted, it must come out of the pockets of the British taxpayers. Then I come to the constabulary. We all know that is to be a mounted force which is to secure protection for life and property to the settlers all over the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. Only 6,000 of this constabulary are to be paid for by the Transvaal. Apparently 4,000 are to be incorporated in the British Army, and we shall have to pay for them. Out of the £2,000,000 which is allotted to them the Transvaal has to pay £1,500,000 and we have to pay £500,000. But do you really think that you are going to keep the peace in a country as large as France and Spain together, and in the midst of a hostile and embittered population, with 6,000 mounted constabulary? Why, to keep the peace in London we have to supply 14,000 men. In Ireland the constabulary are nearly 10,000.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
I refer to the rural constabulary, which, I am told, number 10,000 men. Do you really suppose you can plant British settlers in this immense and hostile country and keep the peace with 6,000 men? What distance will each constable be from the other? How will he be within call in that vast territory? Why, the thing is absurd on the face of it. I venture to say that to allow 20,000 men as a police force capable of covering that great country would be a very moderate estimate. I notice that the Secretary for the Colonies smiles. But I speak on the information of a great many persons who, I venture to say with all respect, have a more intimate knowledge of the country than the right hon. Gentleman possesses. I repeat that the thing is absurd. If you have a constabulary force of 20,000 men, that will cost £4,000,000, and as the estimate of Sir David Barbour only provides £1,500,000 for the purpose from the Transvaal, you will have left £2,500,000, which must be found by the British taxpayer. But there is another item 705 which Sir David Barbour has neglected. That is the army of occupation. He strikes out the estimate of £319,000 for President Kruger's army, and he puts nothing in its place for the British Army which is to occupy the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony.
I was conversing the other day with one of the most eminent military authorities in this country, and I said to him, "You will have to have a considerable army of occupation in South Africa." "Oh, not so large as you suppose," he said. "Well," I said, "30,000 men?" "Oh, yes; more than that, of course," said he. I should like to know whether the Government have formed an estimate of the probable cost of the military occupation of these territories. I should be greatly surprised if the Secretary for War were to pledge his opinion that when peace is restored there will be less than an army of 30,000 left in South Africa. Of course, if you are going to nave 30,000 men there you must enlist 30,000 men more to fill up your ordinary military establishment, and I am afraid the difficulties of recruiting will be largely increased. But I am now only on the question of expenditure. Nobody will, I think, put the expenditure on that army of occupation at less than £3,000,000 a year, and probably that is putting it too low. If you require a great deal more money for the constabulary, if you have to get £3,000,000 more for the army of occupation, I would ask you what the addition to the taxation of this country is going to be? Among the undisputed additions to it will be the interest upon £127,000,000 of debt. I do not think the Chancellor of the Exchequer has given us the exact figure of that interest, but as the debt now stands it cannot be less than £3,000,000.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
Very well, rather more than £3,000,000, The amount of the contributions to these colonies which I have mentioned comes to £8,000,000 or £9,000,000 already. Where is it to come from if mot from the British taxpayer? There are other things which have not been looked at, or even glanced at, in the Report of Sir David Barbour. You have 706 a number of prisoners of war. They are to be returned. Where are they to be returned to? In what condition will they find their ancient homes and farms? They are your subjects. When war is over prisoners of war are regarded as men guilty of no offence. They are your subjects, and you must place them in a position where they can live as British subjects ought to live. Who is going to pay the cost of that? What will be the cost of it? I do not know what the number of prisoners now is, but I suppose it is about 40,000 or 50,000. Where is the cost of all this to come from? Not out of any money you can raise in the Transvaal, according to Sir David Barbour. But there is another point. I am not going to enter into the vexed controversy of the intrenched camps, but you have in them 60,000 or 70,000 persons, women and children, and even some men. What are you going to do with them when the war is over and peace is restored? You will either have to send them home or to sustain them yourselves. You cannot pull down the wire fences and turn them out on the veldt. That I am sure is an idea which has never entered the mind of the Government. You will have these 60,000 or 70,000 paupers on your hands, to whom you must give either indoor or outdoor relief. All these things have been kept back from the knowledge of the taxpayers of England, and they are things that ought to be known and dealt with. Against all these charges what is it that Sir David Barbour places? Half a million of money to be contributed by the gold mines. That is the set-off to all these charges. I was extremely glad to hear, at all events, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not assent to Sir David Barbour's estimate on this matter. Sir David Barbour proposes to give by British rule every kind of most valuable advantage to the gold-mining interest, and to allow them to keep those advantages, and only to contribute in the form of a gold tax half a million of money. A more monstrous proposition I never heard. We know very well the exultation of the gold mine-owners at the beginning of the war. One of them, a most accomplished expert, came forward to rejoice his shareholders by saying that British rule and the conquest 707 of the Transvaal and the Rand would be worth £4,000,000 additional profit to the mine-owners. As the war went on the demand for a contribution by the mine-owners became a rather inconvenient calculation, and he corrected his estimate, and put it down at one-half or £2,000,000. But if they are to gain £2,000,000, why are we only to have half a million from them? Take the dynamite concession alone. That was put at upwards of £600,000. That was one of the abuses of which they complained, and it is to be abolished. Why are they to pocket that £600,000? Then they are to have the advantages given to them in the carriage on the railways, and they are to have the custom altered in their favour. Out of all these you very soon make up the £2,000,000 which it is said they are going to gain out of this war, and I do not understand why, as the hon. Member for Cumberland said the other day, as we walk down Park Lane we should consider that the British taxpayer should be called upon to bear all this burden for the advantage of those who made a sufficient profit before the war began. Therefore I have no doubt when the time comes the Chancellor of the Exchequer will very materially alter the claim proposed to be made on the gold-mining interest. Even taken at their own estimate, their contribution should be four times what Sir David Barbour proposed to charge them with. I have said this on Sir David Barbour's balancesheet for the Transvaal. What about the Orange River Colony? I will dispose of that in one sentence. He says that is past praying for, and out of that you will get nothing at all.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. J. CHAMBERLAIN,) Birmingham, W.
He said nothing of the kind. He said it could not immediately contribute to the cost of the war.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
I do not care to deal with a flat contradiction 708 of that kind; but let us see what it comes to.It will be obvious from what has just been said that a surplus of so much as £250,000 a year cannot be expected in the Orange River Colony in the years immediately following the war, and that the surplus is not likely for a considerable period to exceed £150,000. Nor does the calculation I have just made provide for the cost of the South African Constabulary who may be employed in this colony.Then he goes on—If we assume that the cost of 2,000 of the South African Constabulary is chargeable against the Orange River Colony, the amount payable by it will be £500,000 yearly, the cost per annum of each man being taken at £250. If the cost of only 1,200 of the constabulary is charged against the colony, the total amount payable will be £300,000. As the surplus of ordinary revenue over ordinary expenditure is unlikely to exceed £150,000 and only a deficit, or a small surplus, can be expected for some two or three years, the Orange River Colony will for some time be unable to meet the cost of ordinary administration plus its share of the expenditure on the South African Constabulary.I do not say whether Sir David Barbour is right or wrong. This is what he said; and when I have quoted the substance of it, why am I to be contradicted and compelled to lengthen my speech by reading the whole paragraph?The Orange River Colony will be for some time unable to meet the cost of the ordinary administration plus its share of the expenditure on the South African Constabulary, and it appears impossible to charge against it, either immediately or at a future time, any sum, however small, as its contribution towards the cost of the war.I do not see what advantage the Colonial Secretary has gained by compelling me to read these words. If he thinks they contradict what I said I do not agree with him.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
Then there is the question of special assets. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not compel me to read all that is said about them, because it would take a very long time. I will state generally the impressions produced on my mind by the Report. Sir David Barbour puts these assets down under four heads—Government securities, which are a very uncertain asset. Some have placed it very high and some have placed it very low, but 709 Sir David Barbour is not disposed to place it very high. Then come State lands. He does not attribute very great value to them. The only asset to which he is disposed to attribute considerable value—and I think this is not an unfair statement of his view—is the mineral rights, which will require a long time to develop. Now I believe there is one other asset, which has been referred to in another document, the Concessions Report, which I must mention, and that was the proposed confiscation of the ordinary shares in the Netherlands Railway Company. I was astonished when I saw that proposal, and I confess I was greatly relieved when I read the moderate language used by Lord Lansdowne the other day in the House of Lords, for a proposal more likely to bring upon you international complications I cannot conceive. I will say no more upon it at this moment than to say that if the Government propose to realise any such asset as that to be obtained by the confiscation of the ordinary shares in this company, most of which are held in foreign countries, it is an asset which I decline to take into account. You will have to add a great sum for additional constabulary; you will have to add a sum of not less than £3,000,000 for the army of occupation, and you will certainly have to add more than £3,000,000 to the interest on the debt. And I should hope that you will be capable of rising to the level of President Kruger on the subject of the inhabitants of the new colonies. In developing these new acquisitions you will not need to stint the railways, and I hope that in other matters you will show yourselves no less liberal administrators than the Governments which you have overthrown and defeated. The normal expenditure is put a great deal too low in Sir David Barbour's Report. I think he has excluded from his consideration items which must reach many millions. But besides that you have to provide for the future of your prisoners of war, say £40,000 or £50,000; for the inhabitants of the refugee camps, £60,000 or £70,000; you will have to find for them, as British subjects, homes worthy of them to occupy.
But these, after all, are small items. They only deal with a few millions here and there, but a policy 710 has been propounded by the Government of what is called the settlement of immigrants in the Transvaal, and we have had a Report on this subject. I do not know how it is, but the Government seem to have got into the habit of dealing with measures which they ask the House and the country to accept in an ironical spirit, and I cannot help thinking that the author of that Report, with the cynicism of another of his colleagues, desired to make the project as ridiculous as it could be. Let us examine the conditions upon which that settlement is proposed. Some people are alarmed at the hon. Gentleman the Member for South Tyrone asking for £100,000,000 for a land settlement in Ireland. But £100,000,000 would be a drop in the ocean compared to the sum which will be required to carry out this settlement. When the question of this Report first came up, the Colonial Secretary told us that he did not know whether it would be produced or not. If that was seriously meant, I think it would have been much better if he had adhered to his original idea that it should not be produced. This Report begins by saying—There is reason to fear lest the vast expenditure of blood and treasure which has marked the war may be absolutely wasted unless some strenuous effort to redress the balance is made and to create a British preponderance in both colonies.It is the old ascendency theory—to establish a British preponderance against the Dutch population. This is the avowed object of the settlement. We are to have it all over the country. In the mining districts it will not he wanted, because the gold is so attractive that it always draws to itself—what shall I say?—well, not the choicest of mankind. Those districts will be able to take care of themselves, and they will become a sort of heaven upon earth. But the object is to establish a British preponderance all over this country, which is as big as France and Spain Well, that is a large order. I do not think that even the Member for South Tyrone has ever dreamt of anything of that extent. But in order to make this settlement you must first get your land, and then you must get your settlers. I should like to call attention to the methods by which it is proposed to get the land. 711 First of all, the Government land is set aside because it is inferior. Then the land companies, unfortunately, decline to sell at a low price, and so we cannot get land from them. Then you may purchase land from individuals; but that is regarded as discouraging, as I do not know the individuals who have a tendency to speculate in land, and who will sell it at a lower price than they gave for it. It is only the best land that is to be acquired, for the Report says that there is no use in settling except upon the best land. And one of the methods of doing the thing is to buy up the mortgages. Of course, many of these farmers—I daresay most of them are prisoners—have had mortgages. They have, no doubt, not been able to pay the interest on the mortgages, and I think it is extremely probable that, if you choose to take this course, you may evict the greater part of the population. But is that the policy? When I was speaking the other day upon this subject, and endeavouring to obtain the views of the Government upon it, I said that of all things the most dangerous in a peace following upon a war was a policy of confiscation. The right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary rebuked me. He said it was a most scandalous suggestion on my part that land should be obtained by confiscation after the war, and that such an idea would never have entered the brain of anybody who was not desirous of dealing with the matter in a party spirit.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
The right hon. Gentleman rebukes people so often that he forgets when he does rebuke. But I paid him the compliment of remembering his denunciation of me for suggesting even the possibility of confiscation. I am sorry if he has repented of his abhorrence of confiscation. But the paragraph dealing with this plan of settlement does not dismiss confiscation. It says:—Until a definite decision has been received from the Executive Government as to whether any land will in fact be available as the result of confiscation following upon the events of the war. … It is obvious, however, that, should such land become available, it will in all probability be specially suited for the purposes of settlement, as farms obtained from this source are likely to be in localities already 712 proved to be suitable for agriculture or pasture and capable of yielding a return to the owner.That is the form which would be the most successful in obtaining appropriate land, and the Commission are waiting until a definite decision has been received from the Executive Government as to whether they intend to adopt that policy. Now, whatever the right hon. Gentleman has said, or has not said, upon past occasions, I will ask him to-day to declare whether the policy of confiscation after the war is the policy of His Majesty's Government; because, if it is, I tell him you will never have peace in those territories. No statesman has ever thought, I will not say in your own territories, which these are, but even in the territories of an enemy, of pursuing a policy of confiscation, which means eternal hatred and unending war. You cannot say this is a statement of a partisan. It is the statement of your own Commission which you sent out, and they say that they are waiting for a final decision on the part of the Government as to whether their land policy is to be a policy of confiscation. But that is not all. When you have got the land, either by confiscation or by any other method, the settlers are to be "capitalised"—that is the phrase—"to such an extent as will enable them to equip their farms and face the drawback of bad seasons." This was to be at the cost of the British taxpayers. Suppose you were to capitalise the tenant-farmers of this country at the cost of the British taxpayer, to such an extent as will enable them to equip their farms and face the drawbacks of bad seasons! I do not see the hon. Member for the Chelmsford Division of Essex present; but would even he suggest that? Having got this purchased or confiscated land all over a territory as large as France and Spain, you have to look out for settlers. Who are they going to be? We are told in the Report that "the great majority who applied had no previous experience in farming, and had no desire to become farmers." These are the men who are to be capitalised against bad seasons. They were almost all military men, but the Report is not favourable to a military settlement. Only 531 men who are of a suitable character have applied. I do not know whether those 713 applications still stand good. But we are told that more men would apply if the proposals of the Government were sufficiently favorable to attract them. I think the British taxpayer has some interest in knowing what the proposals of the Government are which will be sufficient to attract more men. These settlers, then, are to be men of some capital, which is to be added to by the capitalization by the British taxpayer; and in order to add a sufficient inducement to them to carry their capital with them, we are told that they are to be grouped in the centre of districts which have been, or still are, disaffected. Of course it would be dangerous position. They cannot live alone, but they are to be grouped and put under the protection of a constable at intervals of fifty or sixty miles. Then as a tempting offer it is suggested there shall be an advance of £150 each made to them, and it is an open question whether this should not be regarded as a gift. A very nice proposal ! In order to be certain that you will attract these men, who are not farmers and do not desire to be farmers, a description of their prospects if they do undertake farming is given in the Report—We cannot close our eyes to the fact that these soldiers, under any scheme of settlement, will have great difficulties to contend with. The conditions under which agriculture and stock raising are conducted in South Africa are very peculiar; the seasons are uncertain; the recurrence of droughts often causes serious disaster; and the injury inflicted by locusts and the various pests and diseases which, in South Africa, afflict almost every living thing, make the occupation of a farmer an exceedingly precarious one, and even those who have been longest in the country often find themselves unable to escape ruin, owing to one or other of the above causes.What we have to ask is, what is the Government going to do with this Report; are they going to make the offer? They have made some offers, for they have had applications made. I say they are behaving most unfairly to the men out there and the men here, who have been deluded into making applications, if the Government have not got the suitable land. I was talking to two very distinguished Canadians the other day, and to my questions on the subject they said—We had an idea at one time that some of our people would like to stay there, but we find now that they have returned that 714 there is on disposition on their part to go back.Now I can conceive that, without going there, from the description put forward, they might have come to that conclusion. But the Government are bound to say whether they are or are not going to embark on this extraordinary land speculation; Whether they are going to offer terms to induce settlers to go or stay there. When they state that, I will venture to suggest that when we are complaining at home of rural districts becoming depopulated, if we are going to spend millions upon millions, we might as well do something for our own farming industry. In endeavoring to make a hostile settlement on the principle of ascendancy in order to overthrow another population, the time will come when you will find that inquiries will be made whether these millions that are to be spent in South Africa may not be equally well spent to the advantage of the people at home, and whether, when you are obliged to put taxation, and I admit the necessity, on the poorer classes at home, the money raised had better be devoted to objects more valuable in our rural districts than in this land speculation in a hostile country. The last resource and consolation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is in the future development of the mines; the country, it is said, is rich in mineral wealth, it has produced a great amount of gold, and will produce a great deal more. That expectation is founded, I think, on a disregard of facts that lie at the very bottom of gold mining and mining industry in any country. There may be plenty of gold there, nobody knows how much, but the question is how will you get the gold?
The whole fabric rests on the question of labor. Now it is perfectly notorious that long before the war the labor question was urgent. The mines could not get the required labor then, and mine owners complained that the late Transvaal Government would not coerce the natives into mine labor. White labor, as was stated in Sir David Barbour's Report, has steadily diminished, for whites and blacks do not labor together, though the white man may be overseer when the black man is laborer. Black labor is not available 715 to the required extent; there are many of the natives who have an insuperable antipathy to working below ground, though they will work above; and up to the time of the war the supply of labor came only, or mainly, from certain tribes in Portuguese territory, from Mozambique, and elsewhere; and the labor thus obtained was paid for by what is there an adequate wage, though it would be too low for white men. But so scarce was labor that the low grade ores could not be worked, and even the high grade mines found the price of labor too high, and determined to reduce it by a third. But the mine owners knew this could not be done unless they were given power of control over the natives to compel them to work at lower wages, whether they chose to do so or not. The history is told in the records of the Industrial Commission of 1897, when the mine owners went to Mr. Kruger's Government and demanded legislation to give them control over the native races, and the Pass law, Exceptionally harsh and severe, was passed. In our West India colonies we do not pretend to coerce the natives into labor, and we have a code for immigrants who are brought in as coolies, and, I believe, at the instance of the East India Government, this was made a most humane code, and it protects the interests of those men, their hours of labor, and their wages; but that is not the Pass law of South Africa; it is very different. It controls not only the contracts for labor, but the persons of the natives, and their presence in the district without a pass is made a penal offence, originally punishable by a fine of £5, a large amount for a native to pay, with two months' imprisonment. By the courtesy of the Colonial Secretary, I have seen the latest version of the Pass law, which, at the instance of the mine owners, the late Transvaal Government made much more severe, the fine being increased to £10, with imprisonment with hard labor for three months, and twenty-five lashes. Well, I say it is intolerable to contemplate the introduction of any system of that kind. The continual complaints of the mine owners were that the treatment of the natives by the Transvaal Government was too mild. Those who have had the impression that the Boer Government was harsh 716 in this respect will, if they read the evidence given before the Jobber Commission, come to a different conclusion. Here is an extract from the evidence of one of the witnesses, Mr. Hay, the President of the Chamber of Mines—We are all agreed that the natives are too highly paid, and one reason that the native are not willing to work is that they cannot be compelled to work, especially in the Transvaal. I think it is desirable to have forced labor.That is the tone of the whole thing; there is the demand, there is the policy upon which the Pass law is founded. Another witness says—The desire for comfort, the ambition for social distinction requiring luxurious display is absolutely unknown. The native is in comfort if he lives in the sunshine, and there is no necessity to pay him in coin … he has a natural aversion to work.Well, most men share that feeling. I am myself open to the indictment. Then the witness goes on to say that the natives take advantage of the competition that arises in the labor market from the demand being in excess of the supply, and I believe the laboring classes of this country are apt to do much the same.The final method of reducing Kaffir pay, the witness continues, "rests with the Government. It has the power to create laws that wilt compel every able-bodied Kaffir to perform a given amount of work.
§ MR. SPEAKER
I would remind the right hon. Gentleman that a discussion of the labor laws in South Africa is scarcely relevant to the Third Reading, of the Finance Bill.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
I do not wish, Sir, to go too far; but this bears closely on the question whether or not an increased gold production is going to cure all the evils that have been spoken of. I have endeavored to show that the expected development of the mineral resources of the country wilt not take place for a considerable time, at all events. My argument is this—that the idea that the gold industry is likely to be largely increased is limited absolutely by the insufficient supply of men. I was endeavoring to show that the idea is entirely unfounded, and that upon the evidence of the gold mining people themselves they cannot develop this industry as they desire to do unless they get forced labor. That is really my proposition. In this connection I should 717 like to ask for an explanation from the right hon. Gentleman as to a matter which attracted a good deal of attention at the time, as showing how this want of labour is operating now in restraining the development of the gold mines, especially in Rhodesia. It was an incident which happened when they were obliged to endeavor to import labor from Abyssinia, and, as soon as the labourers arrived there, they were informed that they would have to work in chains in the mines. They refused to land, the overseer called in the Portuguese police, there was a skirmish, men were killed, and a large part of the crew jumped into the sea. I venture to say that in view of such a result we must come to a clear understanding as to what is to be the character of the labour supply in that country. On that depends entirely the question of the further development of the gold industry. The Colonial Secretary has been kind enough, at my request, to supply me with the Pass law, the humane provisions in the West Indies, and the proclamation issued by the High Commissioner affecting all the questions as to the administration of the penalties of the Pass law now in operation. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will lay those documents on the Table. I will not pursue that matter, because I am happy to say the Commission of the late Government of the Transvaal would not recognize any measure which would be equivalent to forced labor, and would not recommend the imposition of a higher tax on capital. I trust that that is the position which the Government will take in this matter.
I think we ought to examine what is likely to be the position of this country in regard to taxation when peace is made, the charges that are likely to come upon us, and whether the high taxation we have reached is anything like the highwater mark that is likely to be reached. The country has been greatly—I will not use the word deceived, Because I do not believe it was the intention to deceive, but the Government have been deluded from the first, and the country has been led, step by step, to think the position was going to be very different to what it is. These are questions of the war, but we have to consider also whether we are under any delusion as to the condition in which things will be when peace is 718 declared. In my opinion, as far as I can see, any chance of any contribution to the debt is out of the question. As far as I can calculate, on the information furnished to us in these Reports, we are in the presence of charges which will greatly increase the taxation which has been levied. In conclusion, I should like, on behalf of hon. Gentlemen who sit on this side of the House as well as on that, to pay my tribute to the manner in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has conducted his arduous task. He has shown patience and a spirit of conciliation in the discharge of duties which I am quite sure were not congenial to him, and he has discharged them in a way which, I am certain, commanded the respect of all. He has learnt the great lesson that if you want to get on with your business you should conciliate, and he has gone through it all without any violent attacks against his opponents. [A NATIONALIST MEMBER: No closure.] Although we differ, and probably shall continue to differ, from him on matters, of importance, at the same time he has conducted what is one of the principal duties in the House of Commons in a manner which has earned our approbation.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I should Like to say to the right hon. Gentleman at the outset that, in interrupting him as I did in one portion of his speech, I had not the slightest intention of offering a contradiction to any personal statement which he made. I thought, and I still think, that he had misapprehended the views of Sir David Barbour. I am sure he will believe me that no personal discourtesy was intended to him. I have listened to the speech which he has delivered with great interest, but I confess I have been totally unable to see how three-fourths, I might say nine-tenths, of that speech could possibly be made relevant to a discussion on the Third Reading of the Finance Bill. The tone of the speech was one of undiluted pessimism, and I cannot understand how the right hon. Gentleman, holding the views he has expressed to-day, can come to the conclusion at which he has arrived, because I assume that he is going to vote for the Third Reading of this Bill. [Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT nodded assent.] He 719 has exaggerated a very discouraging feature in the situation, he has refused to admit even a glimpse of sunshine on the landscape, he has told us that the situation is alarming, that it is of the greatest gravity, that we are living in a fool's paradise, and then the right hon. Gentleman is going to vote to spend more money not to improve the situation but to make it worse. The fact is the right hon. Gentleman and some of his friends are now, and always have been throughout this war, in an illogical situation. We know what their opinions are about the war, they have not concealed them, and we know that the holding of those opinions must prejudice their views on every point in the situation, every question as it arises is prejudiced in their minds by their view that the war is unjust, unnecessary, and disastrous. Quite so, but why do not they vote against the war? I was reading this morning in the paper a very interesting letter of a late colleague of the right hon. Gentleman, and he puts the question so clearly and lucidly that I cannot do better than adopt his words. He says—Morally, either the war is just or unjust; either the methods are uncivilised or legitimate. If the war be unjust and its methods uncivilised, our Government and our nation are criminal and the war should be stopped at any cost.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
Excuse me, this is the Finance Bill—[Ministerial cries of "Oh, oh "]—and, financially, when money is spent I vote for paying the money.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
That will not save the right hon. Gentleman. He votes the Estimates before the money is spent, he votes the supplies now. Of course, the House has got to vote for the payment. But he has put himself in this illogical position, that while he is opposed to the war, and believes it to be morally unjust, he has, nevertheless, throughout been willing, for some inscrutable reason or another which he alone can explain, to vote supplies to carry on the war. I know the right hon. Gentleman thinks he is the true successor in this matter of Mr. Bright, but let me remind him that Mr. Bright never did what he is doing. When Mr. Bright opposed the Crimean War and the Egyptian War, as, indeed, he opposed all wars, he did not vote for supplies for 720 those wars, and until the right hon. Gentleman puts himself in a logical position I confess that I attach very much less importance to his criticisms on the details than I should otherwise do. I have said the greater part of the speech appears to me to be irrelevant to the Third Reading of this Bill. The first part, no doubt, was relevant, and what the right hon. Gentleman did in that portion was to compare the expenditure and the taxation now with the expenditure and the taxation under Pitt in the great Continental war, and he drew a conclusion very unfavorable to the present generation, and abused the people of this country for having and not paying. I believe that accusation to be absolutely uncalled for, unfair, unjust, and contrary to the facts. He gave us a very insufficient and incomplete account of what happened during the Continental war. He told us that the people at that time paid 391 millions. Yes, but the war cost over 1,000 millions, and they borrowed some 600 millions; he forgot to mention that. And what they did was to raise taxation to twenty-three millions a year against a war which cost over 1,000 millions. What do we do? We are raising at the present moment twenty-five millions a year of additional taxation. [Opposition cries of "No."] I have the authority of the Chancellor of the Exchequer for saying that the additional taxation put on in the last two years amounts to over twenty-four millions a year. [A MEMBER on the Opposition benches: Not war expenditure.] But it is war expenditure, put on in consequence of the war, and that twenty-four millions a year has to be contrasted with the estimated cost of the war. There, of course, we are dealing to a certain extent with hypothesis; but all I would say is, if every penny of the money for which the Government have asked authority to borrow, as well as all the ordinary income contributed to this purpose, were taken, the whole cost would be 172 millions. Therefore we are raising twenty-five millions a year as against 172 millions, whereas in Pitt's time it was twenty-three millions a year against over 1,000 millions.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
The Chancellor of the Exchequer had not 721 put the cost of the war at that figure; he put it at 153 millions. The statement made in reference to Pitt's dealing with the War was read textually from the Chancellor of the Exchequer's speech.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
The Chancellor of the Exchequer did not refer to the borrowing, and the right hon. Gentleman got up and interrupted him in order to point out, as he said, that I had contradicted the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I have not done so in any single thing that he has said. The comparison which the right hon. Gentleman tries to draw is absolutely incomplete and inadequate. Besides the difference in the comparative amounts there is another fact which the right hon. Gentleman did not take into consideration. The Continental war was a war of which no end could be anticipated. It lasted over seventeen years, and at no time during that period was it possible to make any kind of hopeful anticipation as to its termination, and, notwithstanding that, there was no extra provision made by taxation. We are in a war as to which, whatever view you may take of the exact period when the state of war will come to an end, no one doubts that it cannot last very long. Taking the most extravagant view any reasonable man can take, it will not approach the period of the great Continental war. Having regard to the fact that during two years of that war no preparation was made by taxation, whereas we have begun from the first to make preparation, I do not think we come at all badly out of the comparison. The right hon. Gentleman also declared that we were throwing taxation upon those least able to bear it, and indicated that, in his opinion, in Mr. Pitt's time taxation was thrown almost entirely on the richer class. That is entirely contrary to history, and there never was a time when the pressure of indirect taxation was so great on the working classes as during that war, and on that point also we compare favorably with the example which he holds out for our edification.
I do not complain in the least of the criticisms of the right hon. Gentleman on the three Reports on the finances of the Transvaal which the Government have presented to the House; but there is a certain amount of inconvenience in dealing with these matters at the present 722 time. The Government, having regard to the complexity and difficulty of the situation, are anxious, of course, to get the best information on the various points which arise, and with that view have appointed three commissions, and may appoint more. But these Reports are mainly for the information of the Government, and we have presented them in order that Parliament may be in the same position as the Government in forming a conclusion. But the right hon. Gentleman, forgetting that at present, at any rate, their only value is as the representation of the views of those who wrote them, discusses them as if they were the accepted views of the Government. As regards Sir D. Barbour's Report, we have said that as far as general principles are concerned we are in accordance with him. As regards the Report of Mr. Arnold-Forster, we have expressed no opinion at all; neither have we expressed any opinion of the many details dealt with in the Concessions Report. The right hon. Gentleman says he wants our opinion. Yes, I daresay he does; but we are not going to be hurried either by him or by anybody else. This is not a matter which can be settled off-hand. He admits the difficulties of the situation, and perhaps he sees more difficulties in it than we do At all events, without full opportunity of examining the question further, without full consultation with Lord Milner and other experts in the particular matters referred, to, the Government refuse absolutely to declare what their policy may be. As soon as we have had the advantage of that examination and consultation we shall be, no doubt, quite prepared to submit our policy to the House and the country. Therefore, in dealing with Sir D. Barbour's Report, it must be understood that, although I shall to a certain extent defend his Report against the Right hon. Gentleman, I am not to be supposed to be committing the Government to back up any of its details. The right hon. Gentleman admits that Sir D. Barbour is one of our greatest existing financial authorities, and that the Government did well in selecting him to advise them; that he is a man who has a right to speak upon this question, and to whose opinions very favorable consideration should be given. But while the right hon. Gentleman 723 accepts Sir D. Barbour's authority when it is in the slightest degree discouraging, he refuses to refer to it at all where its view is more hopeful. Sir D. Barbour has adopted a most moderate view of the situation. Sir D. Barbour's conclusion—being anxious not to take too roseate a view, and having treated the whole subject in that spirit—is that we may wisely put a sum of fifty-five millions on the Transvaal, and that in the course of a few years the interest and sinking fund upon that sum may be found probably out of the surplus revenues of the Transvaal. So it is not fair to quote Sir D. Barbour as supporting the pessimistic views of the right hon. Gentleman, because Sir D. Barbour's final Report is entirely against them. The Tight hon. Gentleman says Sir D. Barbour proposes to reduce the Customs against the rural population. I find nothing of that sort in the Report. He quoted Sir D. Barbour as having said that education might be reduced by.£67,000.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
I have taken care not to make any statement which I did not think justified. Sir D. Barbour's Report says the tariff in some respects unduly favors the rural population.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I must say, with all respect, that the right hon. Gentleman does not understand what he reads. The way in which the tariff affects the rural population too favorably is, as we all know, that under the late Government Boers living in the outlying districts were favored in the tariff. Articles were taxed which were consumed by the mining population, and articles consumed by the Boer population were left untaxed. But I do not think that in the Report there is any suggestion that articles now untaxed and used by the Boer population should be taxed. Therefore, as against the Boer population—this is my point—Sir D. Barbour does not make any suggestion that it would be putting them in a less favorable position than at present. They would be in a less favorable position, Comparatively, because he proposes to relieve the town population, and he does so by relieving the mining population and not by imposing taxes on the agricultural popu- 724 lation. The right hon. Gentleman hardly did justice to Sir D. Barbour, because he stated the facts with regard to the reduction of expenditure, and did not give the full amount given by Sir D. Barbour. For instance, in regard to education, Sir D. Barbour says it is likely that this expenditure may increase in future years. But I understand that it may not exceed £200,000. After a great war like this it is likely that expenditure may be less than it will hereafter, but there is not the slightest suggestion in Sir David Barbour's Report that he had it in his mind to stint education when the money can be economically and profitably spent upon it. The right hon. Gentleman says that Sir D. Barbour proposes to reduce the cost of police, and that that is an absurd thing. But Sir D. Barbour says that the bulk of the police expenditure is incurred in connection with Johannesburg, the Rand, and Pretoria. He anticipates that when municipalities have been set up in all these places a proportion of the cost, if not the whole cost, of the local and municipal police may be borne out of the municipal rate. Lastly, he speaks about the reduction of expenditure upon the railways. Our policy in South Africa is a policy of development, and included in that is a large extension of railways. The expenditure in building railways is capital expenditure, and that will come out of loans, and not out of the ordinary normal expenditure of the country. On the contrary, we have every reason to believe from the experience of the past that with an extension of the railways will come a large extension of income, and the sooner we can get some of these railways built the better we shall be pleased. We are not in the least afraid to incur loans for what will be remunerative expenditure. If the right hon. Gentleman believes that railways in the Transvaal will be a failing concern and an un remunerative expense to the taxpayers of this country, we differ from him in toto.
The right hon. Gentleman then went on to say that the loan which Sir D. Barbour speaks of is insufficient for its purpose. I should be very sorry to pledge myself to the amount of the loans to be raised for remunerative purposes, but there are certain purposes not remunerative, which will be a permanent 725 charge upon the country. The right hon. Gentleman says that gigantic sums will be laid on the Orange Free State and on the Transvaal under this scheme. I cannot tell the amounts, because the returns have not come in. But the total claims from Natal amount to £700,000, and from the Cape to £800,000—i.e,, £1,500,000 altogether. That may be increased, but I do not anticipate the large sum which the right hon. Gentleman took into account. The right hon. Gentleman complains of the cost of the constabulary and Army occupation. The two things may be treated together. The right hon. Gentleman supposes that when the war is over there will be a state of bitterness and active hostility which will last generations. It is open to him to put down any sum he likes as the cost of protective forces which will have to be maintained in the country. On the other hand, it is equally open to me to take a much more sanguine view. I believe that the Boers, when they recognize that they have been beaten, and are settled in peaceful occupation and situated, as they will be, in the midst of a growing British population—that there is not the slightest fear of any such feeling remaining as]will require us to keep in the Transvaal or the Orange Free State any considerable force of men. Let me quote one fact which for me has a most hopeful significance, and that is that in the protected districts, which are so completely in our occupation that we are able to give some protection to the settlers within them; the Boers themselves, the very men who a short time ago were fighting against us, have in certain numbers—I do not know exactly what they are; they cannot be very considerable at present—but they have in their respective districts taken up arms to defend their property against those who they say are neither more nor less than brigands—that is, their own countrymen who are carrying on a hopeless struggle to the ruin of private property. If they will do that now, when there are three important leaders in the field, may we not hope that the same spirit will lead them to settle down peacefully later, and that the will not require a large army of occupation or a numerous police to keep them in order? My own belief is that we shall have to begin to calculate on this force of 6,000 men. The other 4,000 men to 726 whom the right hon. Gentleman referred are at present a military force, and at the end of the war they will disappear. The 6,000 men will remain until such a time as the Government find themselves able to dispense with them. That time, in my opinion, will be very much earlier than the right hon. Gentleman supposes. Having dealt with these imaginary expenses, the right hon. Gentleman went on to speak of the receipts. He began by complaining that Sir David Barbour proposed only a tax of £500,000 on the gold mines; and he seems to think, as many people think, that the gold mines and the gold speculators are precisely the same thing. I do not think that that is the case. A very large portion of the fortunes which have excited so much observation have been made not by mining, but by speculating in mines, and it is not by taxing the mines that you will catch those fortunes. But Sir David Barbour's statement as to the taxation on mines is put most unfairly by the right hon. Gentleman. What Sir David Barbour proposes is an additional taxation of £500,000; but where does the right hon. Gentleman suppose that the other £3,800,000 comes from? It is perfectly well known that the vast proportion of this taxation falls indirectly on the mining industry—on those actually working the mines—and the total taxation placed on the mines is not to be estimated by the £500,000 now proposed to be added to it. Of the total amount of the taxation in the Transvaal a very small proportion will in any circumstances ever fall on the rural population. Unless you propose a direct land tax, which would be perhaps confiscatory, you cannot expect to get much from the agricultural classes. But the exact amount to be derived from the gold mines is one of those questions which is yet to be decided. Everybody on both sides would like to get as much as he possibly can, without injuring the industry. But we must not injure the industry, because it is the only industry at the present time. I believe that other important industries will spring up. There can be no doubt that there is an enormous coalfield which might be worked with advantage; there are mines of tin and copper; and we cannot put a limit to the possible riches of the soil. But at present it is the gold-mining industry on which we must 727 rely, and nothing would be more foolish than to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs by putting undue restrictions on the industry.
The right hon. Gentleman dealt next with the labor question, and he told us that the mining industry was entirely dependent on forced labor. These statements, to my mind, are of the rashest character. Of course, if it be true that the mining industry is absolutely dependent on forced labor, and that the British Parliament, as I admit, will not agree to introduce a system of forced labor, how can the right hon. Gentleman consistently propose that we should put a greater taxation on the mines? Because, if that be true, you cannot get anything like even the present taxation out of them. You cannot get anything at all out of them if they stop. I refer to this not as a serious argument, but to show how carelessly the right hon. Gentleman brings forward every possible argument he can invent to show that the situation is hopeless. The next point is the case of the Orange River Colony. I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that the Orange River Colony was hopelessly insolvent. He explained that Sir David Barbour had said that for some time it would not be able to pay its way if in its expenses were included a sum of £300,000 a year for the constabulary. But that is a totally different thing from saying of a considerable State that it is hopelessly insolvent. The statement is perfectly absurd. I said at the time the right hon. Gentleman did not know everything. I meant that he could not know of the returns which are in my possession. From those returns it appears that in the first year there is a surplus in the Orange River Colony in spite of the fact that the war is still going on. The results have been most satisfactory and surprising; and there can be very little doubt that in a short time there will be a considerable surplus. At present it is only a small surplus. What the colony will have to pay for the constabulary depends on how large a force is employed there. A very much smaller force will be required there from the first than in the Transvaal; and from all the information which I can obtain it is probable that the settlement will take place there before it is finally accomplished in 728 the Transvaal; and very likely the expenditure for this local constabulary will be much smaller than was originally anticipated. But although the colony cannot be expected to make a large contribution to the cost of the war, yet it may easily be expected to pay its way, including whatever portion of the constabulary we may think right to put upon its shoulders. The right hon. Gentleman spoke slightingly of the assets of these States. We do not know what future discovery may give us in the Orange River Colony, but at present it must be admitted that there do not seem to be any mineral resources on which we can count; and we do not expect, therefore, anything more than the ordinary development of a successful agricultural country. But in the Transvaal we have the railways. The right hon. Gentleman referred to a suggestion which he said had been made for the confiscation of the property of the ordinary shareholders. I do not wish to dispute the accuracy of anything he has stated in this respect, but I do not remember that that was actually suggested in the Report of the Concessions Committee. But what was suggested was that we should not pay one farthing of compensation for the shares which were in the possession of the Transvaal Government when the war broke out. That is a very different suggestion from the suggestion that we should deal in the same drastic manner with shares which may have been purchased by bona fide holders long before the war was anticipated. But whatever view may be taken as to the expropriation of the Netherlands Railway, we have no doubt a very valuable asset in the increasing value of the railway, and for the sake of argument it does not matter whether that increase is given to revenue, or whether it is devoted to the reduction of fares, which will improve the industries of the country. Then we come to new mines. As to gold, there is not the slightest doubt that there is an enormous amount of gold which has not yet been worked. A great deal of that is low-grade ore; and it is certain that if by any means we can make it profitable to work ore of a lower grade than hitherto the industry will be enormously developed, out of all proportion to the amount of gold that will be won. People do not want 729 an enormous profit to work these mines, if the profit is certain, and if these mines can be worked to produce 2 or 3 dwts. a ton, we can expect an influx of British labor which will give a demand for all sorts of goods, and the Revenue will in crease proportionately.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
No, the right hon. Gentleman has truly said that British or white labor will not work in the mines, but a great deal of British labor was employed in connection with the mines, and it is that labor I speak of. But I come back to the labor question. I am not going to be responsible for the quotations in which the right hon. Gentleman delights from gentlemen who are interested in the mines. Those gentlemen express their opinions. The right hon. Gentleman quoted an American gentleman who had said that he thought the British Government ought to employ forced labor. That was Mr. Hay.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
But it is absurd to suppose that the British Government is to be ruled in its course by what was said by a gentleman at a mine meeting.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
The right hon. Gentleman misunderstood me. This was not a mine meeting. This was a demand made by the mining interest upon the late Government of the Transvaal as to placing labor under their control.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
The right hon. Gentleman, or the persons to whom he alludes, may make demands, but it does not follow that the demands will be satisfied. My opinion is that, at all events, a great number of those who are engaged in the mining industry take a much more liberal view of the labor question than the particular gentleman referred to. A great difficulty in connection with this question was that the natives who were willing to work in the mines, when they returned after their term of service, were brutally ill-treated and robbed on their way back to their 730 homes. That was one of the greatest objections which was taken by the mining industry in the time of the late Government, and, further, it is represented to me that a great deal of the labor which did come was ruined by the abominable system under which the liquor law was administered. There was not much to be said against the Transvaal law in regard to the supply of liquor, but the administration was notoriously corrupt, and there is no doubt the workpeople were induced to drink and were useless for the purposes of labor during a great portion of their time. Those are two advantages which I hope we shall give to the mining industry when we settle the Transvaal, and to which I do not believe even the right hon. Gentleman will take exception. But when he goes on to say that under the Pass law there would be a system of forced labor in the Rand I think he has entirely mistaken the circumstances. He compares it with the West Indies. He says that in the West Indies we do not compel the natives to work. Quite true; but what happens in the West Indies is this—that, inasmuch as some native Indians will not work, and inasmuch as there are not enough to do the work, we import every year thousands of coolies in order to do that work. The greatest precautions are taken by the Indian Government to see that every coolie knows exactly what it is he is going to do, and to see afterwards, when he gets to the place, that the conditions are fulfilled and his health cared for, and arrangements made at the end of his term of service to repatriate him in his own country. That system has worked admirably, and the general result of their treatment is that a very large proportion of the coolies never return, but, after having completed their contract time, are glad enough to settle in the West Indies, where they are one of the most valuable sections of the community. The right hon. Gentleman will understand that when a comparison is made between the coolies who come from India under contract and the Portuguese laborers, or the laborers from Bechuanaland or elsewhere, that the latter also come to serve in the mines for a certain period under contract.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Yes, under contract; and the Transvaal Government, and any Government that may succeed to it, will have to see that ordinary legislation shall exist there as in the West Indies to secure that those men who have entered into such contract shall fulfill their contract, and that then they shall be free to go back or not as they like. Under the late Transvaal Government the system was undoubtedly a severe one. The punishment for breaking a contract under the Pass law was three months imprisonment or twenty-five lashes, or a fine of £10. I do not think the fine was an unfair penalty at all, because probably the cost to the person who imported the native would be much more than the amount of the fine. But, as regards the infliction of lashes, I do not yield to the right hon. Gentleman or to anyone in my dislike to the punishment of flogging; and since I have been in my present office I have done—I do not want to boast—more than anyone else has ever done to lessen and diminish materially the extent of that punishment in all our colonies.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
In connection with that, I have given instructions, and now receive annual reports from every one of the Crown colonies of the amount of flogging inflicted in the preceding year, and the cause for which it has been awarded. I hope that will be some assurance to the right hon. Gentleman that, as far as punishment involving physical torture is concerned, I certainly shall look into it very carefully. Only one thing I ask. I ask in regard to this, and to everything else connected with the legislation of the late Transvaal, for time and patience. We cannot in a moment change the whole system under which the country has been worked for a good many years and introduce an entirely new system of our own. But every part of the legislation of the Transvaal will be reviewed, and where we find it to be not in accordance with our views as to what is proper, humane, and just, the House may rest assured we shall take steps to have it altered.
In conclusion, let me admit at once 732 that I think that any attempt now to discuss the details of the financial future of the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony is premature. We must first obtain a normal situation. That is clear. We must be able to say that the state of war is at an end. When we have had a year's rest after that period, then I think we shall be able to make a very good estimate of the future. The right hon. Gentleman is, in regard to all these matters, an inveterate pessimist; I am perhaps, an inveterate optimist; but, on the whole, when I look back to recent history and matters in which both the right hon. Gentleman and myself have been concerned, and in regard to which we both made estimates, I cannot but think that I have turned out the truer prophet. I remember that the right hon. Gentleman took precisely similar views in regard to the occupation of Egypt. He pointed out that Egypt was bankrupt, that it would be a great expense to the British Government and the British taxpayer, that it could never pay its way; and, in fact, as he knows perfectly well, the Government of which he was a member and I also was a member took so low a view of the situation at that time that we asked the Powers to consent to a reduction of interest on the debt. The Powers were wiser than the then British Government, because the Powers refused. And what has been the result? The population of Egypt between 1882 and 1897 increased from 6,800,000 to 9,700,000; the exports increased from £11,000,000 to £15,000,000, and the revenue increased from £8,500,000 to £11,500,000, and is still going up. And it must be remembered that, while there has been this increase in the revenue, at the same time there has been a great reduction of taxation, and if the reforms which have cost money had not been made the revenue would have been still larger. What ground is there for despair under these circumstances? There is ground for patience. Because, remember, this improvement in the condition of things in Egypt did not show itself I all at once. We had to wait for a certain number of years. It was not until 1889 that the great improvement began to show itself; but after we had seven years in which to put the business of Egypt straight the revenue has gone up by eaps and bounds and the prosperity 733 of Egypt at the same time. Why is it under these circumstances we cannot take a sanguine view of the future of the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony? I might give another illustration—that of Cape Colony, where in thirty years the population has trebled and the revenue increased tenfold. In these circumstances I am of opinion that we are very unwise to cast ridicule upon the possibilities of the future. If the right hon. Gentleman really believes what he says, he ought to advise us not to put any charge whatever upon the Transvaal for the cost of the war. It is because we believe in this great development which is certain, in our opinion, to come, though not for a few years, that we are anxious at once to fix a sum which we think would be a fair contribution from the industries of the Transvaal towards the cost of the war. An hon. friend of mine suggested the other day that we should take all the surplus revenues of the Transvaal, and not fix any sum. I think he was under the impression that if we did that we should get much more than the fifty-five millions Sir D. Barbour talks of. But that would be an objectionable policy. It could only be pursued by those who were determined to maintain permanently the Crown Colony system. You cannot maintain such an arrangement with a self-governing State. You would not have a self-governing colony paying the whole of its surplus revenue to the mother country, but you may have a self-governing colony which is ready to take over whatever remains of a debt as a legal obligation of the colony. In my opinion all this talk about the loss we shall incur and about the burden on the taxpayers is beside the real question. I do not believe the people of this country entered into this business as a question of balance between profit and loss. I believe it is absolutely true that we did not go to war for territory or for gold; and if we did we should have been very foolish if we supposed it would have been a profitable transaction. The people of this country supported the Government not because they thought they were going to make a profit out of the war, but because they thought the honour and interests of the country were threatened, because they thought that on the issue of the war depended our dominion 734 in South Africa and the unity of the Empire of which South Africa is a part.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS (Flint Boroughs)
said he wished to make brief reference to a tax which bore very hardly on a large and important class of taxpayers—the income tax. During the last three or four years that tax had increased enormously, both as regarded the amount of poundage and the product. In 1897–8 it only produced £17,250,000, whereas three years later it had risen to the astounding total of £33,800,000. It must be a source of considerable satisfaction to any Chancellor of the Exchequer to be able to get such a gigantic sum from a single tax. But his object in now referring to it was to show that while there had been such an enormous increase in the last few years, the scale of graduation which had hitherto existed had not been altered, although clearly it ought to have been very considerably changed in favour of the smaller income tax payers, a class which deserved the sympathy of the House, seeing that the tax had been raised from 8d. to 14d., while the rate of exemption remained unaltered. What was the practical effect of leaving things in their present position? He had endeavoured to make a careful calculation of the various classes of income—including everything except the estate duty—and he found that an income of £80 a year, which might be regarded as the average working class income, was taxed to the extent of 5.7 per cent. The man with an income of £200 was taxed at 5 per cent., the one with £500 paid 8.1 per cent., while the income of £5,000 or £50,000 paid only 9.3 per cent. These figures were subject to some alteration by reason of the estate duty, but he doubted if the difference represented more than 1½ per cent. The question was whether it was just that the percentage of taxation on the income of £500 should be about 8 per cent., while on the income of £50,000 or even £100,000 it should only be at the most 2½ per cent. above that ratio. The Chancellor of the Exchequer on a former occasion practically admitted that if the income tax was to be maintained at its present high level some change would be necessary, in order that the poorer class of income tax payers might 735 be relieved at the expense of those who enjoyed larger incomes, but he very properly declined to pledge himself to any definite policy. The thanks, however, of a large number of persons were due to him for the promise he had made to consider the matter, with a view to the Budget of next year. The principle was so thoroughly just that he would be surprised to hear anyone question it. Lord Goschen, when he established the estate duty, said he thought it would be generally recognised that men with considerable fortunes paid less in proportion to their aggregate income. That disparity had now been remedied to a certain extent. Let them, however, compare the present product of the estate duty with what it was a few years ago. In 1897–98 it produced eleven millions. Last year it realised fourteen millions, yet in the same time the product of the income tax had gone up from seventeen millions to thirty-four millions. A further readjustment of the income tax was therefore necessary. They had been told that the imposition of a graduated income tax was impossible, that the difficulties in the way were too great for administrative purposes, but he would remind the right hon. Gentleman that such a principle had been found possible of application in other countries. There surely would be no difficulty in extending the present system of exemptions and partial exemptions by way of abatements, and it would be just as easy in that way to graduate the income tax up to £1,000 or £2,000 a year as it was now to graduate it up to £700 a year. Whether it should be done through the income tax, the estate duty, or the inhabited house duty was a matter for the consideration of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Never before had the holder of that office been able to raise taxation so easily. The House had granted supplies for the war and for the Civil Service with a lavish hand—too lavish perhaps in some directions. The country to which he belonged had made but one small request of the right hon. Gentleman that year. It had asked to be treated with justice in the matter of the museum grants. The right hon. Gentleman had not refused, but he had postponed the grant of that measure of justice to the Principality of Wales, and he earnestly appealed to him to quickly and 736 favourably decide the matter. He begged to join in the encomiums passed on the right hon. Gentleman with regard to the way in which the Finance Bill had been carried through. It was a piece of marvellous parliamentary management, and while they disagreed, and would continue to disagree, with the right hon. Gentleman on many matters, everyone would concur in saying that never had a Finance Bill been carried through with less friction, having regard to the contentious issues involved, or with better good temper on both sides.
§ MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
In the course of these debates a great many hon. Gentlemen have advocated and urged upon the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer a considerable increase in the income tax. The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has not quite advocated that, but he has advocated a larger amount of exemption at the lower end of the scale. It is, no doubt, an attractive thing to advocate that a certain section should be relieved of taxation, especially when that section is a large and influential one, but in my judgment the exemptions from income tax have reached as far as they can, and it would be a dangerous thing to continue them. Looking at the exemptions, which are gradually increasing from year to year, and considering that at the present time we have exemptions extending up to incomes of £700 a year, I think we have gone as far as we can in considering those at the bottom of the scale. The great bulk of those who oppose the Government in this Budget are those who urge, instead of the coal and the sugar duties, a larger increase in the income tax. With regard to that I think it is an altogether mistaken idea, which is in the minds of those who advocate this, that the rich people are those who contribute most of the income tax; the smaller people are those who provide the larger amount of this tax. Many years ago I myself urged that there should be increased exemptions on small incomes, but since I advocated that measure the great Act of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire, establishing the death duties, has enormously altered the whole incidence of this taxation. That seems to me to be a most important item for consideration.
737 The only alteration which could be made in the income tax now, if any alteration be possible, would be an alteration in the scale in the direction of differentiating industrial incomes from spontaneous incomes, that is to say, incomes which are earned from various forms of industry, and incomes which are derived from securities. But inasmuch as that would involve a great and wide reaching alteration in the whole system, I do not wonder that the right hon. Gentleman is always putting off the evil day. The death duties established by the right hon. Member for West Monmouthshire have, however, gone a long way towards carrying out that idea. That was a very important alteration, and one which has affected this question very largely, and we ought to remember that in any consideration we give to it. Some people do not think what an enormous number of persons there are at the bottom of the scale helping to pay the income tax. Under schedule D I find there are only 973 persons who have an income of £10,000 a year, whereas there are 373,000 persons whose incomes are only £1,000 a year. That shows that the persons who pay the income tax are not only the rich; and those who advocate an increase in the income tax under the idea that it is only contributed to by the rich would, if that were carried out, place a very heavy burden upon those at the bottom of the scale, who we all think should be considered as far as possible.
So far as the general system of income tax and death duties is concerned, I desire to acknowledge that I agree that the rich man who is making a large income should be comparatively heavily taxed. The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down says that the rich man pays 9 per cent., which is not a light taxation, but considering the amount of income, I should not myself object if I had to pay such an amount, I should be glad to have the income upon the condition that I should pay that tax. In the case of a man who by his own energy makes a fortune, he after all is a man who helps to make the country prosperous, and if while he is doing that he makes his fortune and pays his full share of taxation upon it, I do not think anyone can say the system of taxation is unfair or unreasonable. But when a man leaves this world, 738 a different state of affairs altogether comes in. During his lifetime he has been making a large fortune, and has been taxed 9 per cent., but if he leaves a million of money his successors are treated very differently. First of all, out of the million £80,000 is taken away for death duties. So that supposing his successor enjoys the remnant of the million for twenty years, which is a very fair estimate, that figure works out that he pays a tax of 3s. 2d. in the £ over and above and ordinary income tax. I do not think that that is unfair, and I should be very glad to receive a million upon those terms. The point I am making is that it cannot be said if the death duty upon a million works out at an annual sum of 3s. 2d. in the £ that the rich man is not taxed much more highly than the small man. The death duties have made our taxation immensely fairer than it was before the Act was passed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire. To the descendant of the next heir of this man the same rule applies. He pays £69,000 in death duties, and those figures work out to show that he pays 2s. 11d. in the £ over the ordinary income tax, and so on. So that so long as that million lasts, there is a tax upon that special income, which to a great extent does away with the injustice of industrial incomes paying as much income tax as spontaneous incomes.
In considering the income tax we are bound to consider it in conjunction with the death duties, and we must acknowledge, that under the present system we have managed to hit the rich man fairly well, and I am quite satisfied with that. If we look into the future we find that half this million comes to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in half a dozen generations. If the time should ever come when the property of this country decreased considerably, it would be found that the revenue from these sources would greatly decrease, and sink to an infinitesimally small sum. The death duties are only the result of prosperity, which shows that those who are making these millions do establish great prosperity, and tend to make the country what it is. But in going into the matter of the death duties in conjunction with 739 income tax, we must remember also that at the other end of the death duties scale there is a considerable amount of hardship. Take the case of a man who dies, leaving, let us say, insurances to the amount of £1,100; the Chancellor of the Exchequer comes along and takes £44, and if those figures are calculated we find that the successor pays 1s. 4d. in the £ in addition to the ordinary income tax on the small income that this amount brings in. Therefore, in considering the possibilities of increasing the income tax and the death duties, we must be very careful that the scheme adopted does not inflict a great hardship upon those at the bottom of the scale. I do not wish to delay the House, although the subject of the Budget is one upon which I should like to speak at some length, but I must say one thing, because so many Members on the other side have spoken of the income tax as if it were a tax upon the rich alone. The real tax for the rich is the death duties, and we must not imagine that the income tax can be increased to an indefinite extent. The first tax to be reduced should be the income tax, for the simple reason that so many thousands of people would benefit, for although the death duties, as I have said, somewhat equalise this taxation, we must remember those at the bottom of the scale, and the great hardship inflicted upon them.
§ SIR ROBERT REID (Dumfries Burghs)
I wish to say something in regard to the subject opened by my right hon. friend the Member for West Monmouthshire, to whom I think a very inadequate reply was given by the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman reproached my right hon. friend for being illogical, and accused him of being a pessimist. Well, I think we have had quite enough of optimism from the time we were told that this war was to cost less than £11,000,000 sterling down to the present time. Is it not true that we have been going through the session in a sort of fools' paradise? We have now had revealed to us, bit by bit, the true condition of affairs in South Africa, the many optimistic predictions have been falsified, and I think it is desirable to try, as far as we can, to dispel whatever illusions there may be in the public mind upon this subject. We have most scanty informa- 740 tion from South Africa; we are under a censorship which ought to be confined strictly to military matters, and we have to make out as well as we can from the materials provided what is the true position that this country occupies.
The right hon. Member for West Monmouthshire told us we should not get back any part of the capital that we are spending on this war from the Transvaal. I do not know if the Chancellor of the Exchequer will express any disbelief in the correctness of that proposition, but I do not think that the Colonial Secretary will express any such opinion. The right hon. Gentleman referred to Sir David Barbour, who expressed the belief that £50,000,000 would be recovered; but Sir David Barbour has not bound himself to that, he is far too wise a man. I do not think anything will be found in Sir David Barbour's Report which guarantees that we shall get that amount or anything at all from the Transvaal, and it is important that we should know that; and that we should know that this war is being carried on at our own expense, and will be carried on irretrievably and incontestibly at our expense. No real answer has been given to the statement of my right hon. friend. Sir David estimates that we shall have to supplement very greatly for the next two or three years the revenues of the two South African colonies out of the exchequer of this country, in order to repair the devastation and the destruction of farms. With regard to the Orange Colony, what Sir David Barbour says has already been quoted at length by my right hon friend the Member for West Monmouthshire. With regard to the Transvaal, the Report is a little complicated, but it comes to this. Taking the revenue at £3,467,000 and the expenditure at £4,332,000, there is a deficit of £865,000. Against this unsatisfactory deficit Sir David points out that as the country quiets down there may be a decrease in the cost of the constabulary; that there may be some saving in respect of the Netherlands Railway Company; that the tax on the net profits of the gold mines may be raised from 5 to 10 per cent.; and finally that a steady growth of revenue may be anticipated as the result of improved administration and the general increase of prosperity of the country. But the outcome of the Report is, beyond 741 dispute, that this country will not be able to look to the Transvaal or the Orange River Colony to provide anything towards the cost of the war, and that, in addition, we shall have to pay out of our own pocket the cost of whatever standing army may be necessary in order to keep the colonies under control. The right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary will not attempt to dispute that.
My right hon. friend placed the standing army at the moderate figure of 30,000; many people might think that excessive, and I earnestly hope that the symptoms of the friendly feeling in the Orange River Colony to which the right hon. Gentleman referred will increase—there are certain signs of it apart from the few colonists who are now taking up arms to prevent themselves from being harried by brigands—and re-establish at an early period good will and tranquillity, so that everyone may settle down. We all earnestly hope for that. The crucial point that we shall have to decide is whether a very large standing army will have to be kept in South Africa or not. Some hon. Gentlemen have consistently argued that we should adopt methods of government such as would be likely to conciliate the population; was not there a little want of generosity displayed in using such expressions as have been used to those who advocated those methods of government?
There were other less important questions to which reference was made by my right hon. friend which have not been altogether satisfactorily replied to by the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary. One in particular is worthy of mention. In the Report of the Committee which went out to South Africa on the subject of the Transvaal concessions, the Committee recommends, as I read it, that the ordinary shares of the Netherlands Railway shall be taken possession of by the Government, and that no compensation shall be made to the shareholders in regard to those shares, except to those who held these shares before the commencement of the war. Now I think I am right in saying that nearly 13,000—almost all—the shares of the railway were in the name of the Transvaal Government. During the course of the war they were alienated to the German Boers in Berlin, who gave large value for them, and they 742 are now represented by French and German shareholders, whose interests are being guarded by the Governments of their respective countries. According to all international usage, when one nation conquers another it respects private property, and if it takes possession of it, it pays compensation. It is beyond question that the Netherlands Railway went far beyond its functions, and gave very great assistance to the Transvaal in carrying on the war with Great Britain, and I think it would be right to penalise the shareholders for having sanctioned such steps, and that they should not be allowed to hold their shares. But, while acknowledging liability in this respect, I think very grave consideration should be given to the subject before the shares are confiscated without compensation.
The next matter, which I also feel strongly about, and to which my right hon. friend referred, is the projected land settlement in South Africa, as pointed out in the Report of the Commission sent out by the Government to inquire into this matter. That Committee advocated two plans, one to confiscate outright, and the other to buy up the mortgages and foreclose upon them for settlement in the future. The right hon. Gentleman has not expressed in the smallest degree any proposition in favour of either of these suggestions. I hope we may hear from him or the Chancellor of the Exchequer his views as to the advisability of dispossessing these people. After all, when we are depriving these two States of their independence, it is a strong thing to insist on confiscation of this kind. What a stimulus and incentive will it not be to their inhabitants to go on fighting to the last, if they believe that their land and farms, which are all they have in the world, are to be confiscated or obtained by means of foreclosing their mortgages. Many farms in the Transvaal are mortgaged up to 50 per cent. of their full value. During the war the interest falling due on the mortgages has not been paid, and the provisions for forfeiture have come into operation. Many of the farms are held by moneylenders who, no doubt, are anxious to obtain the land for themselves. The Boers and Free Staters are our fellow-subjects, and if 743 we want to live on peaceful terms with them in the future we must not permit unsettled people to be in the occupation of their land when it is all they have. I hope some measure will be introduced to prevent the mere fact of money due on mortgage remaining unpaid being a ground for foreclosure and forfeiting the land. I hope there will be some statement from the Government which will relieve the minds of those who desire a lasting peace in the conquered countries from the apprehension that we are face to face with an upheaval and disturbance of a character which will make it certain that we shall not have lasting peace in South Africa.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I am sorry to say the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman escaped me in replying. I had intended to deal with this matter but I forgot to do so. I may say at once that the Government have not in contemplation anything of the wholesale character described by the hon. and learned gentleman. I agree with him that any scheme either for confiscation of land or the wholesale purchase of mortgages, or turning out the owners to obtain the land, would be most inexpedient. It has never been contemplated by us, nor do we think that anything of the kind would be necessary, even if we decided to carry out certain of the recommendations of the Land Concessions Commission. We believe there will be plenty of land of various descriptions in the country which properly changes hands and which we may purchase if we desire, and which probably, under reasonable conditions, we could get at a fair value. I do not think, therefore, that any kind of drastic or revolutionary proceeding, such as the hon. and learned gentleman fears, and which I should deprecate, is necessary.
§ SIR ROBERT REID
I cannot but express the gratification with which I have heard the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary. I will only remark that the observations made in the Report did certainly point in the direction I indicated, and it will be a source of much gratification that the right hon. Gentleman has no idea of wholesale confiscation. I do not wish to criticise the statement which I have heard with so much satisfaction, but if the right hon. Gentle- 744 man will consider the question he will, I believe, see that no confiscation is necessary, and I hope provision will be made that no man's land shall be confiscated.
There is only one other matter to which I wish to refer, and it is this—my right hon. friend the Member for West Monmouthshire made a criticism in regard to the small proportion which taxation bears as compared with the increase of debt with regard to the cost of the war. The right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary took a different view, and compared the Napoleonic war with this war. Surely that comparison cannot substantiate the view of the Government. The Napoleonic war extended over thirty-two years, and cost nearly 400 millions to the taxpayer and 600 millions imposed on the National Debt. In respect of the South African war we have paid to this date 23 millions out of taxation and 127 millions have been placed on the Debt.
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
More than twelve millions were raised last year, and this year it is estimated that between twenty-four and twenty-five millions will be raised by additional taxation. But we have paid considerable sums towards the war out of ordinary taxation.
§ SIR ROBERT REID
I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon. I intended to refer to the additional taxation. I was under the impression that twelve millions were required for an increase in the ordinary expenditure of the country.
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
Of course, the taxation imposed during the Continental war went to the ordinary administration of the country as well as to the cost of the war. The two matters must be considered together in arriving at a conclusion as to how much expenditure should be met out of taxation and how much by loan.
§ SIR ROBERT REID
Of course, to a certain extent there would be additional expenditure, and also additional sources of income, but both my right hon. friend and the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary attempted to isolate this matter. But however that may be, my contention is that we have paid £24,000,000 out of income, and we have added £127,000,000 to the Debt. My point is this—that this additional taxation 745 is very small in comparison to the addition to the National Debt. If we will have a war, or pursue a course of policy which is likely to lead to a war, it is necessary that we should ourselves bear the great burden of taxation, and not put it on the backs of those who are to come after us. That is doubly necessary when, as now, the affairs of the country are controlled by the great mass of the people, who have no leisure to study Blue-books, to enter into detailed accounts, or to consider for themselves on their own responsibility the great and difficult problems attending the government of a vast Empire such as this. There is at all times too much disposition to glorify war, to treat it as a thing which inures to the advantage, honour, and credit of the country, instead of looking upon it, as I do myself, as an indescribable calamity, although it may at times be necessary. Under these circumstances, it is necessary that the people should see that they themselves will have to bear the burden of the war. If, as the Colonial Secretary says, they are willing to do it, do not let us be weak, and, above all, do not let us yield to the temptation to cast the burden on posterity in order to escape the unpopularity of taxation.
§ MR. WINSTON CHURCHILL (Oldham)
We have listened to a speech of the hon. Member for Dumfries which is very encouraging by reason of its moderation, and which shows, I think, that the South African question has, in this House at least, entered upon a more satisfactory phase. But, in spite of the moderation of the hon. Member, I cannot but think he was a little inclined to take a gloomy view of our financial position and of the situation generally. Our financial position depends on two entirely different sets of circumstances. First of all, there is the annual peace expenditure, which I, for one, cannot view without feelings of considerable alarm. But quite apart from that, there is the cost of the war. It is the war expenditure which has altered our financial position and reduced our credit from its former to its present condition. Therefore, we come by this as by many other roads during this session to the effect of the war upon the national expenditure. I have supported this war from the beginning. Before there was more than a small cloud on the horizon 746 I ventured to urge, in my obscure manner, vigorous intervention in South Africa. Having supported the war from the beginning, if ever there should come a day, which I very much doubt, when those who have been concerned in—I will not say responsible for—the war and in the events immediately leading up to the war are involved in unpopularity, it will be an unpopularity in which many of us on this side of the House will not be unprepared to share. If the expenditure on the war is such a serious matter, it is a subject of considerable congratulation that at present the issue is perfectly plain. Nothing could be clearer than the issue which has recently been presented by the publication of the Blue-book setting forth the intentions and designs of the leaders of the Boer armies still in the field. They are fighting for their independence. That is abundantly clear from those despatches. That is the irreducible minimum. I was always struck in South Africa with the great importance which political questions play in this struggle. It is a question of which flag is to wave over this part of the earth, and considerations of material prosperity, civil liberty, and constitutional rights are swept away by the South African population in order to decide whether the Vierkleur or the Union Jack, and all the racial significance which attaches to those emblems, should be predominant in South Africa. The Boers know quite clearly that they are going to get responsible government at some time or other after the war. They know what goes on in Natal and Cape Colony; they are not unfamiliar with our colonial methods; but they do not care about that. They want independence, and nothing short of it. If we agreed—and this is where the financial aspect comes in—to give them back their independence, the war would come to an end to-morrow, and the expenditure would stop. We have only to pull down the flag at Pretoria and not a shot more will be fired, not another soldier killed, and not another pound required to be voted by this House. Not only that, but the army could come home, and the questions of settlement of which hon. Members have spoken this afternoon would be taken off our hands and handed over to another party altogether. But I take it that there is no 747 party in this House which is seriously disposed to advocate the abandonment of the proclamations of annexation which have been made. We are all agreed on that. [Several NATIONALIST MEMBERS: No, no.] All but hon. Members from Ireland. They, however, are perpetually telling us that they do not wish to associate themselves in the hopes and fears of this Empire; therefore I do not see why we should pay any exaggerated attention to their opinions on subjects which they avow do not greatly concern them. What is of great importance is that this House as a whole is thoroughly agreed upon the principal features of the policy that has led to all this expenditure which everyone deplores.
But hon. Members opposite have indeed advocated a somewhat curious policy. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, I believe, hopes to check the expenditure and to bring the war to an end at an early date by combining the policy of swords with that of olive branches. That is an extraordinary policy, and I quite agree with the right hon. Gentleman that the party opposite is the only party in the State who could carry it out, for it is the only party which has in itself all the elements which make for peace and for war. I suppose that if under the leadership of the right hon. Gentleman this difficult South African question was to be attacked, the hon. Baronet the Member for Berwick and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife would advance with the sword, and doubtless deal a very shrewd blow for the Empire. Then, no sooner had the blow been struck, than the hon. Member for Northampton and the hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs would rush in flourishing the olive branch. I know my right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer rather resents the intrusion of this thorny subject of the war into the sober discussions of his Budget. Indeed, the war has not only prolonged the passage of his Budget, but considerably disorganised his finance. We have offered to the Boers the most generous terms—terms considered to be generous even by countries which have not agreed with us in the reasons that prompted us in this matter—but those terms have been rejected. We do not 748 wish to crush these people, to make them grovel, or to inflict hard terms upon them, but there are two essentials which we must secure regardless of expenditure and, to a certain extent, of the effect upon the finances of the country. All that we can do should be directed to obtaining those two essentials conditions—annexation, in the first place, and, secondly, a free hand to pick the countries out of the pit of ruin into which they have been plunged by the necessary events of the war. I hope the Government will never waver on this second point. I can understand the men who say, "Give back the republics to the Boers; we think it a crime to destroy nationality;" I can understand them, but I do not agree with them. [Opposition cheers.] Yes, but hon. Gentleman opposite cannot say that. Oh no; they have committed themselves to the policy of annexation; they have committed themselves to destroy the nationality. But I cannot understand the men who say, "Enforce the annexation; bring the republics under the British flag," and at the same time, or nearly at the same time, urge that under the conditions of peace they should be given the representative government which you much more than they admire. Before we can give representative government to the Boers, we shall have to wait until the population of the country resumes its normal level, and until the Boers have something to lose again. We have got to wait until the railways are running and the mines are working, until the farms have been rebuilt, and the country is no longer disturbed by bands of men who are still inflamed by most furious passions. We have had a speech from the Colonial Secretary which I think has given considerable encouragement to Members not only on this side of the House, and from that speech it appears that the situation in South Africa is gradually but steadily clearing. We have heard a great deal about the ruin and hatred that will follow this war, and the difficulties and troubles we shall encounter when it is over. The future always looks menacing but I think we shall make a mistake if we magnify the difficulties with which we shall be confronted. Now is the worst time. There will never be anything so bad as while the war is 749 going on. Although the period of discontent and disorder after the war may be longer than the war itself, nevertheless once the actual fighting is over the situation will steadily get better and better. Therefore I disagree with the pessimism of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire, and if I do not entirely share the inveterate optimism of the Colonial Secretary, at any rate I cannot help feeling very hopeful about the time which is to come after the war is over.
The Colonial Secretary has reminded us of the work of British government in Egypt—how twenty years ago Egypt was distracted and torn, and in just as great a condition of disorder as are the Boer Republics to-day. In Egypt we had a disadvantage which I trust we shall never have in the settlement in South Africa; we never had a free hand. At every turn, step, and stage we were hampered by international interference and foreign control, by mixed tribunals, and by the Caisse de la Dette. It was this interference of outside Powers, who had no interest in the work of reconstruction, but who had a legal locus standi, which put obstacles in the way of administration and delayed the work of regeneration in Egypt. I earnestly hope we shall not tie our hands in South Africa by making it necessary for those who are charged with the difficult business of restoring the prosperity of that country to explain every act of administration or whatever they may propose to the satisfaction of a legislative assembly still bitterly smarting under actual military operations. We have the administrative capacity, which I think no other country has, to retrieve the disorder and disasters which have taken place in South Africa, and if we have the men the money is on the spot. The recuperative power of the Transvaal, daubed and smeared all over with gold, is enormous. Consider for one moment the soothing effect upon a population not much bigger than that of one of our towns of £20,000,000 a year rising in gold alone to the surface of the ground to enrich the land and the people. ["Oh, oh!"] It is quite true that some of it percolates to Park Lane. I do not perhaps agree with the hon. Member for the Eskdale Division as to the architectural elegance of the results in Park Lane, but I quite 750 agree with the hon. Member for Northampton that this wealth should be employed in building farms in South Africa rather than mansions in Park Lane. I think we are all agreed on that, and the Colonial Secretary has said we are all agreed that we should take from the gold mining industry as much as we can without either impairing the industry or alienating the population. But while I agree with the hon. Member for the Eskdale Division that Sir D. Barbour's Report by no means accurately estimates the taxable capacity of the mining industry, and earnestly hope more money may be got out of it in the course of the next few years, when it is under British administration, yet I do not agree that we in this country should try to secure a large share of the money in payment of the cost of the war. I hope we shall deal with this question in no ungenerous spirit. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth has talked about a shabby British policy. That is just what I hope we shall avoid in South Africa. War never pays its dividends in cash on the money it costs. We have sunk in South Africa an immense sum for which this generation will probably not receive an appreciable return in actual money value. I do not mind that. This war was never a financial speculation. ["Oh, oh!"]; it was never a piratical enterprise. We have had before us from first to last a national and imperial duty. We have spent not only money, but what is far more precious—healthy and gallant life, against which it would be an insult to balance any sum of money, however vast. There is only one return you can get for that, and I wish I had it in my power to make it the keynote of the South African settlement. Let us finish this job in style. We can do it if we wish, and it is well worth doing. It is about the only thing in South Africa that is really worth doing. It is in contented colonies and prosperous populations that this country will find its only reward for all the sacrifices it has made, and an answer final, complete, and convincing, to all our enemies, whether they be abroad or nearer home.
§ MR. ALFRED DAVIES (Carmarthen Boroughs)
This is my maiden speech, and remembering, as I do, that in this House, Pitt, Fox, Burke, Palmerston, 751 Peel, Disraeli, Gladstone, John Bright, and my personal friend Henry Richards, delivered their orations, I tremble at having to addres this assembly. I would much have preferred to address an empty House, and to speak only to you, Mr. Speaker. But the fates have ruled otherwise, and I can assure you it is a great ordeal to address you for the first time. I feel very much as if I were about to shoot Niagara. But I must make an allusion or two to the Colonial Secretary. In speaking of Sir D. Barbour's Report I think he made one or two mistakes. If I am wrong, I am sure he will correct me. He said that of the £3,341,000, the gold-mining companies would indirectly pay the greater part. I should like to know some day whether they paid the £1,100,000 customs duties, or Post Office £135,000, or telegraph returns £84,000, or the profit on the Netherlands Railway, £375,000, There are other items to which I might refer, and, if the right hon. Gentleman does not give me an answer, I will ask a question on these points. He also said that new war taxes had been imposed to the extent of £25,000,000 annually. I take it that the new war taxes imposed last year were to the extent of £12,000,000, and this year also they amount to £12,000,000, so I presume he made a mistake in saying "annually." If I am wrong, doubtless he will correct me.
I am greatly troubled about this Budget. £187,000,000 is demanded from us, or, without the war expenditure in Africa and China, £130,000,000. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has been patient, and courteous, and so far he has piloted this Bill through Parliament very successfully. But at the same time he appears to me to be something of a prodigal. He spoke for economy, but he practises prodigality. He objects to some of these terrible expenses: then why does he not follow the example of Lord Randolph Churchill and resign? If ever there was a prodigal who wandered from the house of economy and wasted the money of the nation in riotous living, it is the Chancellor of the Exchequer. If he has repented, let him say so, and we will gladly kill the fatted calf. In looking through this terrible Budget I find that the great increase of expenditure is in connection with the 752 Navy and the Army. John Bright wrote a very straight letter in 1879, in which he said that if Parliament would keep out of foreign broils, if it would conduct the Government of the country at an expense of £60,000,000 instead of £80,000,000 in the year, if it would devote its time and labour to questions of home interests rather than to those which involved the sacrifice of the blood and treasure of the people in remote lands, he might have hoped indeed that Parliament would serve the nation in times of depression, and we should find that such times of suffering would visit us more rarely. I wish hon. Members opposite would take that letter to heart. £60,000,000, said John Bright, but the Government are now spending that sum on the Army and Navy alone. Do hon. Members remember that in 1895 the Budget of the Liberal Government came to only £96,000,000, and that only £18,000,000 was spent on the Army, and, I think, £18,000,000 on the Navy? I am not a pro-Boer, neither am I a Little Englander. Does the Colonial Secretary agree to that? If he does, why did he write a letter to my constituents telling them not to vote for me, because if they did it would be a vote for the Pro-Boer and Little Englander party? Perhaps he will tell me one day when we are discussing this subject.
At the election I pledged myself to support the Government in every way in securing an efficient Navy. I am like Richard Cobden in that respect, for he said that he would spend £100,000,000 in order to maintain the supremacy of the Navy. Our existence as an Empire depends on the Navy. In time of war if we lost the command of the sea we should be starved into submission. It is most important that we should have a Navy to compete with any other two powers. The Government want £30,000,000 for the Navy. I have looked into the statistics, and I find that Russia, France, and Germany, combined spend about £26,000,000 on their navies. It is important that we should spend sufficient on our Navy, but what is more important is that we should have to control the Navy men with practical brain power. What do we find? When we commenced this war, 753 the powers at the Admiralty were at fault with regard to transports; they did not act in a business-like way. You may spend as much money as you like, but if you do not have capable men at the head of affairs it is waste. I have been in a perplexed state of mind for some time as to the efficiency of the Navy. We found the Army most inefficient. What proof have we that the Navy is efficient? If we unfortunately should be at war, what proof have we that our men-of-war would not be shattered by the guns of the enemy, that our boilers would be in good condition, our coal supply ample, and our guns up-to-date? The Government has failed us in connection with the War Department. No one can deny there was a complete failure at the beginning of the war. We have been told that we are to have an inquiry, but the First Lord of the Treasury, whenever I ask him a question about it, gets cross with me. I have never yet heard what is to be done with those incapable beings who mismanaged the war in its early stages. Are they to be cashiered? Or are they to have titles conferred on them? What is to be done with them? I feel that we ought to carry on the affairs of the State in a business-like way. I would give anything for an efficient Navy, but I will not vote money unless I am assured that the Government will spend it wisely. Then £30,000,000 also is wanted for the Army. I am opposed to this, and have voted against it at every opportunity. Why do you want this money? To make England a military Power. What does that mean? That if we have a quarrel with an adjoining nation you will fire off your guns at once. You are more likely to go to war if you make England a military nation than you otherwise would be. The army expenditure of Russia is £30,000,000; of Germany, £32,000,000; of France, £27,000,000. You are endeavouring to make England a military nation as great as, or greater than, any of those Powers. The nation does not want to be a military Power. The whole nation—man, woman and child—is prepared to fight in a righteous cause, and in the old days women did fight. I will tell you what you can do. You ask for six army corps. You can reduce that six at once to three if you satisfy Ireland.
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! We are now on the Finance Bill, and the hon. Member, having discussed the organisation of the Army and the Navy, is not, I hope, going on to Home Rule.
§ MR. ALFRED DAVIES
If in order, I was going to say that if the Government redressed the grievances of Wales and made the people of London contented by having them properly housed, they would have a united nation, which would rise as one man if the country was attacked or the Empire threatened. Am I in order, Sir? (Laughter.) I hope the House will be serious, as I represent the stately town of Carmarthen and the important business town of Llanelly. I want now to refer to the taxation. It is necessary to have war taxation, but what I complain of is that the greater portion of it is put on the working classes. You put 2d. on tea, 1s. on beer, 6d. on spirits, something else on tobacco, 4s. 2d. on sugar, and 1s. on exported coal—all of which affect the working classes. Why do you tax the working classes so heavily? They are prepared to pay their fair share, but they ought not to be made to pay more. If there was a working man in the Cabinet to take up their cause there would never be such taxes imposed. About one-half of the £2,000,000, which sum Mr. Chancellor stated would be raised by the export duty on coal, will fall on Wales. What has Wales done? When Wales asks for special legislation you turn a deaf ear. Why do you not disregard her now? According to her population Wales should pay only about £80,000 of this tax. At the last General Election Wales was the only bright Liberal spot. All went to the bad except Wales. I wonder whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer thought he would pay them out? I think he is too high-minded for that, but I hope he will give some explanation.
We must look at this Budget in a broad light. A Budget of £187,000,000 means danger ahead. The country cannot stand it. But the First Lord of the Treasury is master of all on that side of the House. He hotly uses the closure, and by depriving private Members of their Parliamentary rights is rapidly reducing them to the condition of the "Pedarii" of the ancient Roman Senate. He has only to bring forward 755 a measure, and they all say "amen" to it. I hope he will consider whether it is right to go on burdening the country to the extent of £187,000,000. Party government is all very well, but it may be carried to too great an extreme. Party government may ruin an empire and destroy a nation, and, in conclusion, I would ask the House to remember the words of a great man—that party is the madness of many for the gain of a few.
§ MR. KEIR HARDIE (Merthyr Tydvil)
I desire to refer to the speech of the hon. Member for Oldham, and especially to that part in which he so clearly defined the Boer position. The hon. Gentleman pointed out that nothing short of the restoration of their independence would satisfy the Boers, and then he asserted that the proclamation taking away that independence was accepted by all Members on this side of the House, with the exception of those representing Irish constituencies. I would like to put myself right on that matter. I have seen no reason whatever to change the opinion I have expressed here and elsewhere that the taking away of independence from the Boers is an act of injustice which has no sanction in the usages governing warfare, and, speaking for myself and for those for whom I am entitled to speak, I say that that is a thing which I neither approve nor accept. The Colonial Secretary, as an illustration of the good time coming for South Africa as the result of British rule, quoted Egypt. I was careful to notice that he made no reference whatever to India. British rule has had time to develop fully in India, with most disastrous results to the natives of that unhappy country. In South Africa we are not dealing with a coloured population. The fellaheen of Egypt may be dragooned and drilled into order in the interests of British bondholders, but the Boer of South Africa is of a different type, and will require vastly different treatment. The hon. Member for Oldham spoke of "finishing the war in style." It is being finished in style, but it is a style which makes every man who loves the honour of his country feel ashamed. War upon men is, in all conscience, bad enough; but war upon women and children by means of concentration camps and similar methods is an outrage of which 756 no civilised nation in these days should be guilty.
But I rose particularly to call attention to the labour aspect of the settlement that we anticipate in South Africa. The right hon. Gentleman for West Monmouthshire quoted the opinions of certain officials of gold-mining companies in the Transvaal as showing what the labouring people of the Transvaal might expect when the war is at an end. The Colonial Secretary in reply said that the Government was not necessarily bound to accept the opinions of those mine owners or their officials. I was delighted to learn from that that at length there is some prospect of a change in this matter. So far as outsiders have been able to judge, not only in the negotiations which preceded the war, but in the conduct of the campaign itself, the Government has seemed to exist simply to carry out the will of the mine owners in the Transvaal, coupled with the wishes of the wreckers of education at home. If we are to have a change for the better, it will require to be on different lines from those outlined by the Colonial Secretary in his statement this afternoon. He informed us that one result of the development of the mining industry in the Transvaal would be an increased demand for labour, both coloured and white. Judging from the analogy whish exists in connection with the diamond mines at Kimberley, which system it is intended to reproduce in connection with the gold-mining industry in the Transvaal, we may reasonably expect that instead of an increased demand for white labour, there will be a decreased demand. Since the consolidation at Kimberley the white population has dwindled to little more than half its previous dimensions. Not only this, but wages in Kimberley have been reduced by one-third under the consolidation of the companies which took place there. The wages of white men have been reduced, and the system now introduced is tantamount to slavery. I was interested to hear that the mine owners of the Transvaal are not going to depend upon the native labour as a supply for the mines. No more significant statement has been made in this House than that admission. The natives living 757 near the mines refuse at any cost to go to work in those mines. A supply of labour must be found. It is said that white men will not agree to work there. That is not true. The real trouble is that the men who own the mines refuse to pay proper wages.
The policy of the mine owners, apparently sanctioned by the Government, is to go to West Africa, hundreds and thousands of miles away from the mines, and by means of a contract with some West African chieftain induce coloured men to come and take the place of those who refuse to work on the spot. Imagine the conditions under which this contract is to be made. An agent of the mine owners goes over to West Africa, and tells any type of fairy tale to the chief of the tribe in order to get him to sign a contract that so many hundreds of his people shall be supplied. They are taken across the country and when they are landed at the mines they find that the actual conditions are entirely different to the conditions held out to them, and if they dare to hold up one finger against those conditions they are liable to be lashed, fined £10, and sent to prison for three months.
Consider what has happened already in respect to the supply of this West African labour. A shipload of these natives the other day, when they found out the conditions under which they would have to work, refused to leave the ship when they got to the port of disembarkation. Soldiers were called in to shoot them down. Some were killed on the spot, and others leaped into the ocean, preferring death by drowning to the kind of life to which they were being sent. It is now being proposed, apparently with the sanction of the Government, to supply the mines of the Transvaal with coloured labour. Is the honour of the country going to be saved by encouraging this kind of slavery? What is the need for it? Simply that men living in Park Lane, some of whom are unable to speak the English tongue, may grow rich. Two or three mine owners have dictated the policy of the Government, and they are now dictating the policy of the settlement. Not one of the officials recently appointed has been appointed without having been recommended by the mine owners. I should like some assurance in regard to the 758 wages that are to be paid to coloured men in connection with the Transvaal mines. Before the war the coloured people working in the mines were being paid wages varying from £3 to £3 12s. per month. Since the annexation of the Transvaal and the partial resumption of work in the mines the wages paid to the coloured people are only one-half those which formerly obtained under the corrupt Transvaal Government. This is a most serious matter. This is being done with the sanction and concurrence and assistance of the representatives of this country in South Africa. I think we have a right to ask by what authority the Commander-in-Chief made it a condition—
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! That does not arise upon the question before the House, although it may be a proper subject to discuss at another time.
§ MR. KEIR HARDIE
I understood that upon this Bill we were free to discuss everything relating to the war.
§ MR. SPEAKER
No, not everything connected with the war, but only those matters connected with this Finance Bill.
§ MR. KEIR HARDIE
I understood that part of the expense now being voted is to meet the cost of civil administration of the Transvaal. And my remarks were intended to have a bearing upon that part of the question.
§ MR. KEIR HARDIE
I will conclude by once again reasserting the belief that this war will not end, and should not end, until the proclamation of the annexation has been withdrawn. That proclamation now lies at the root of all our difficulties. From my point of view there never was the slightest justification for the war being entered upon. But the war having been entered upon, it is a blunder amounting almost to a crime to make its continuance imperative by the proclamation annexing these two republics. There can be no settlement in South Africa until that proclamation has been withdrawn and its evil effects undone. Neither side of this House has the settlement of this question in its 759 hands. It is the Boers themselves who have to decide whether annexation is to become an accomplished fact. We are now familiar with the fact that annexation, disguise it as you may, will not be accepted by the Boer population in South Africa. What is the alternative? Either to withdraw the proclamation or continue to sacrifice 200 or 300 lives per week. The money expended in connection with this war does not appeal to me in the slightest degree. The loss of life, terrible as it may be, would not appeal to me if those lives were being lost in a righteous cause. But it is terrible to think that our brothers and our sons are sacrificing their lives in South Africa in a cause which, instead of bringing honour to this country, is bringing dishonour, because of the policy we are carrying out. And all this is being done to enable certain men to become richer than they otherwise would but for this war. We are able now to look somewhat calmly upon this expenditure, but the time is near at hand when this expenditure of £100,000,000 a year will be a serious matter for our trade and commerce. There is not a business man who does not know that we are rapidly hastening to a crisis in trade compared with which all former crises will pall. When that time comes this nation will find that the expenditure which is now being piled up will hang as a millstone round our necks, and will tend to add to the gloom and the distress which depression in trade never fails to bring along with it. It has been said that this war is approved of by the working classes, but I venture to say that six months hence thousands and tens of thousands of those same working men will be vainly begging "a brother of the earth to give them leave to toil." They will then realise what Imperialism means.
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
I shall not attempt to reply to the peculiar opinions which the hon. Member for Merthyr has just expressed, or to the random charges he has made in reference to almost every question connected with the Transvaal.
§ MR. KEIR HARDIE
I have made no random charges. I am prepared to substantiate every statement I have made.
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
I think the value of the charges made by the hon. 760 Member may best be gauged by the statement he made that British rule in India had been a grave disaster to that country. I shall not waste the time of the House in replying to such charges as that. The hon. Member for Oldham charged me with resenting the intrusion of matters connected with the war into this debate. I have no right to resent their intrusion, for I know too well, and no one knows better, how grave are the financial difficulties which South African affairs have caused; but this I will say—that I think the debate has been somewhat remarkable for a debate on the Third Reading of a Finance Bill. This discussion of matters connected with the war is apt to generate a heat in this House to which even the discussion on the coal duty cannot be compared. We have had, I am bound to say, a more peaceful discussion than I have known in the course of the present session upon the war, but I cannot think that it has been very relevant to the Bill now before the House. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth, followed by the hon. and learned Member for Dumfries, went at length into anticipations of the future of the Transvaal, of the financial conditions which might obtain there, and of the burdens which those conditions might cast on this country. I do not deny the importance of those considerations, but how they can be connected with the Budget of the present year is a matter which I confess I hardly understand.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
The right hon. Gentleman dealt with that matter at considerable length in his Budget speech.
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
That was done in consequence of the promise which I made to the House that I would make some statement upon the chance of obtaining some repayment from the Transvaal of the sums we had borrowed for the war, which is a matter not directly connected with the Finance Bill. I made that statement, and the right hon. Gentleman has read passages from it to prove his own contention that the prospects of such repayment are not probable, but I did not connect it with this Bill, I do not say that in any degree as attempting to blame the right hon. Gentleman or the hon. and learned Member for Dumfries. All I would say is that their 761 observations have been amply replied to by my right hon. friend the Colonial Secretary, with whose views, as expressed to-day, I entirely associate myself.
In regard to the Budget itself, there has been a singular absence of criticism. The hon. Member for Flintshire and my hon. friend the Member for North Islington made some observations on the subject of the income tax. The hon. Member for Flint referred to a point in which he has taken a great interest—namely, the effect of the income tax on the poorer class of income-tax payers—and my hon. friend the Member for North Islington showed, I think plainly, what I attempted to show to the House the other day, that it was not fair, in talking of the income tax, to speak of it as a tax that was only paid by the wealthier classes of the population, but that the income tax is very largely paid by persons of very moderate means, to whom an increase in the tax is a very serious matter. The hon. Member for Flint, I believe, stated that I had made a promise on this subject, which certainly I do not remember. I think he stated that I had promised, in the course of next year, to propose to Parliament some alteration in the amount of taxation under the income tax on the smaller incomes as compared with the larger ones. I made no such promise. What I did say was that if an income tax of 1s. 2d. in the £ became part of our permanent taxation, then, undoubtedly, the question would have to be considered of its incidence upon the poorer class of income-tax payers, and that I did not think that any alleviation to them could be obtained by any change in the system of our income tax, but that it ought to be sought rather by some compensatory taxation upon the wealthier classes of quite another kind. There is one criticism which has been made on the Budget by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth, and enforced by the hon. and learned Member for Dumfries, and that is that we have cast our burdens on posterity, and have laid practically none on the present generation. Anyone who has sat, as I have had to sit, and listened to the objections from the other side of the House to the taxation which we have imposed, will be astounded at that contention. The sugar duty was objected to over and over again by the bulk of 762 hon. Members opposite as a duty that imposed a very serious and injurious burden on the poor; while as to the coal duty, we know very well how that was denounced as likely to close many mines and ruin the miners, and reduce the mining districts to such a condition as they had never known in the history of this country. And yet I am told that, having proposed this taxation, I am casting all the burdens of the war, and of the increase in the ordinary expenditure of the country, on posterity, and have not the courage to face the taxation of the present generation. With that exception, I do not think that there has been a single criticism of the Budget in the course of this debate. I know perfectly well that that is not due to the fact that every hon. Member approves of the proposals in the Budget, but rather to the fact that hon. Members believe that the Budget, in itself, has already been sufficiently discussed. I think they feel—and some of them have expressed that view very kindly, that I have endeavoured as far as I could, consistently with the necessity imposed on me as Chancellor of the Exchequer, to obtain a considerable amount of new taxation, to meet their objections—that, as a whole, the Budget as it now stands in the Bill which I ask the House to read a third time is less objectionable than it was in the shape in which it was introduced to the House. I have only, in conclusion—
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
The right hon. Gentleman has not said what he proposes to do in regard to the deficit on the coal duty.
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
The right hon. Gentleman asks me what I am going to do with what he is pleased to call the deficit upon the coal duty. I think it is a little hard to speak of a reduction of the tax as a deficit. I assented to that reduction after hearing the views of those who were interested in the trade as to the effect of the duty as originally proposed, and it was accepted as a great concession by hon. Members. Therefore I do not think "deficit" is quite the proper term to apply to it. In the course of the present year what I have done will deprive me of something like £750,000 of revenue, and possibly rather more. I cannot at present say how much, because one does not know how the exemption 763 of existing contracts will finally work out. But, of course, the bulk of that will not be a loss to the revenue of future years. The yield of the tax this year will be less by that amount than I had calculated. But I do not propose to the House any taxation to take the place of that loss. I have taken powers in the Loan Bill to borrow, as the House is aware, some £19,000,000 more than the Estimates laid on the Table of the House require, and the loss from the coal duty will be made up out of the margin of the loan.
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
The effect will be that there will be less raised by taxation and more by borrowing than I had anticipated. I should just like to say that I demur to the figures of the hon. and learned Member for Dumfries. He tried to make out that all the taxation that had gone to the war was £12,500,000. The £12,500,000 put on last year was also put on this year. In the second place, he says we shall want this £12,500,000 for the ordinary expenditure this year, and that consequently we shall only take for the war the sum of £12,500,000. That is an unfair representation of the facts. The facts are, as I stated to the House at an earlier period of these discussions, that during the period over which the war has lasted we shall have provided from the Revenue as received in the two past years and as estimated this year something like £45,000,000 in all towards the cost of the war. I entirely differ from hon. Members who argue that the only taxation which should be counted as applicable to the war is the new taxation which I have proposed. We had a surplus of more than £9,000,000 the year before last, which went to the war, and that came as much out of the pockets of the taxpayers as any new taxation will do. I have only, in conclusion, to express my thanks to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth, and to other hon. Members who have been good enough to speak far too flatteringly of my conduct of this Bill. I have, on my part, to thank the House on both sides for the manner in which my proposals, which I know are full of difficulties, which I know are open to criticism, and which I know are opposed by 764 strong and well-organised interests, have been discussed in this House. We have been able, thanks, I think, to fair dealing by all hon. Members in the matter, to pass the Finance Bill so far without recourse to the closure. I confess that, to me, is a very great satisfaction and I hope I may ask hon. Members now to conclude the debate on the Bill and give it the Third Reading.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare, E.)
I am not disposed to offer any opposition to the suggestion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he should be allowed without the application of the closure to obtain the Third Reading of this Bill. I am bound to say that I think there are other hon. Gentlemen on these benches who consider it their duty to protest against this Bill, and I do not think the discussion ought to be closured. I do not think that it is an unreasonable thing that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should have to listen to some extent to the opinions of the Irish Members on this matter. This afternoon there has not been a single voice raised from Ireland with regard to this Bill. Speeches have been delivered by English and Scotch Members, and I think it would be an extraordinary thing if a division were taken without at least one voice being raised as a protest from Ireland against the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I regard the whole of the Budget proposals with mixed feelings of indignation and pleasure. As an Irish Member I am indignant that the Irish people should be called upon to pay a single sixpence towords the increased taxation proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The whole of this expenditure has been brought about by the policy of the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary who spoke this afternoon, and however the English and the Scotch people may regard the war policy of the Colonial Secretary, I defy anybody to deny that from one end of Ireland to the other that policy is hated, and detested, and loathed, and it has been protested against by the Irish people and their representatives in this House from the very moment when war was declared.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
The hon. Member opposite has interrupted me in 765 order to say that Belfast approves of this war policy. I venture to say that if the people of Belfast, and even the Orangemen, were canvassed as to their opinion of the policy of the Colonial Secretary their opinion would be found to be absolutely against it. Whatever regard the people of Belfast may have for Lord Salisbury and other members of the Cabinet—and the people of Belfast are the most narrow-minded and the most bigoted in the country—they have got nothing but the utmost contempt for the policy of the Colonial Secretary.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
Almost one-half of the representatives of the north of Ireland are sitting on these benches, and they have consistently spoken against the war. There are a certain number of people in the north of Ireland who have more or less supported the war, but as the hon. Member for South Belfast has intervened with what is practically a challenge to me, I make this statement, that when volunteers were called for amongst the men of the Irish regiments of Militia it was, unfortunately, the men from the south, the west, and the east of Ireland who volunteered for active service. There was not a single Militia regiment from the province of Ulster which volunteered to go to the front.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
There may have been a single exception to that rule, but I say without fear of contradiction that my statement is perfectly accurate, and that the people in the North who are so fond of the Colonial Secretary confined their demonstrations to the streets of Belfast, and took good care not to go to the front where there was a chance of getting shot. It is absurd for the hon. Member for Belfast to interrupt me when I say that the Irish people are against this war. I speak of the overwhelming majority of the Irish people, and I say without fear of contradiction that the policy of the Colonial Secretary all through this war is hated and condemned by the Irish people. It is a monstrous thing, and one of the most outrageously unjust things which Ireland has ever suffered, that 766 at the end of practically two years the Irish people should be called upon to consent to the continuance of the proposals of the Chancellor of the Exchequer which have been necessitated by the war policy of the Colonial Secretary, and the carrying on of a bloody campaign in South Africa. At every stage of the proposals made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer I myself have made a protest. I protested at the very first against this war, and I heartily and thoroughly agree with the statement made by the hon. Member for Merthyr that there never can be any hope of an end to this increased taxation or any chance of a final settlement in any part of South Africa until the preposterous claim to include the Transvaal and Orange Free State in the British Empire is abandoned once and for all, and until those two countries are allowed to be governed as was provided by our conventions with them. The Colonial Secretary, in the feeble reply he made to the speech of the right hon. Member for West Monmouthshire, tried to ride off on a side issue by drawing a parallel between Egypt and the Transvaal and Orange Free State. The Colonial Secretary said that when the occupation of Egypt was first decided upon it was predicted that it would result in a great loss of money and prestige to the people of this country, and he quoted papers to show that the revenue and the population of Egypt since the British occupation had increased. While the Colonial Secretary was bragging about this I, as an Irish Member, could not help thinking that, whatever was the effect of British rule in Egypt, in Ireland under British rule the population has decreased, and year after year the taxation had gone up. I ask any hon. member in this House if he considers it is a straightforward thing for a man in the position of the Colonial Secretary to endeavour to lead the people in this country to believe that after the lapse of time there will ever be in the Transvaal or the Orange Free State the same state of things which at present prevails in Egypt. The circumstances are totally different. I admit that in Egypt the population has increased and the finances are in a better condition, but I say that there is absolutely no parallel between the case of Egypt and that of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State, unless you abandon this wretched and miserable 767 attempt to govern the people against their will. Unless you do this you will have for this and for many generations to come Chancellors of the Exchequer coming down to this House, as the present Chancellor comes down, and making proposals of this kind to the poople of this country to support British rule in South Africa. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire said that the Government were not acting honestly in this matter, and that almost the total cost of the war was being raised by means of loans. The Government dare not go to the British people and ask them to provide the £60,000,000 which they are asking for in the Loan Bill. You are deceiving the people as to what this war is really costing, and when they thoroughly understand the burden which has been placed upon them, I venture to say that the Colonial Secretary and all his actions in connection with this war will be condemned and detested by British people as much as he is now condemned and detested by the Irish people, and that is saying a good deal. I remember when the Colonial Secretary made his first speech after the declaration of this war nearly two years ago. He made his usual remarks about the people of this country being in favour of the war, and he predicted that it would cost very little and that it would soon be over, and he concluded his speech by quoting some poetry. I notice that latterly he has been dropping into poetry again. In my opinion poetry is the last refuge of an orator who has nothing else to say
§ upon a subject. The right hon. Gentleman called upon the God of Battles to declare that this war was a just war, but how have your arms fared in South Africa? You have in the field fifty men to one against these brave farmers, and still to-day they are holding you at bay. [An HON. MEMBER: Where? and laughter.] I notice some hon. Members are laughing, but the military men opposite who have returned from South Africa are not laughing. With all your immense army and the resources of the largest empire the world has ever seen, you are still unable to beat these people down. This is because the God of Battles, to whom the Colonial Secretary appealed, is on the side of these people. The God of Battles is stronger and more powerful than this empire, and while I protest against the expense of this war from an Irish point of view, I am glad that the British people are being made to pay for the greatest crime that was ever perpetrated in the name of England or of the British people. As this is the last occasion upon which we shall have an opportunity of speaking before this Bill becomes law, I wish to declare from my place in this Honse that I believe that the Boer Republic will be free and enjoy independent self-government in the near future when the masses of the people of this country will curse the very name of the Colonial Secretary.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 291; Noes, 121. (Division List No. 339.)771
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Beckett, Ernest William||Cautley, Henry Strother|
|Aird, Sir John||Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope.||Bignold, Arthur||Cawley, Frederick|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Bigwood, James||Cayzer, Sir Charles William|
|Arrol, Sir William||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Bond, Edward||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Boulnois, Edmund||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex||Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn)||Chapman, Edward|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Brassey, Albert||Charrington, Spencer|
|Balcarres, Lord||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Churchill, Winston Spencer|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Brown, Alexander H.(Shropsh.||Coddington, Sir William|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Bull, William James||Coghill, Douglas Harry|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. Gerald W. (Leeds||Bullard, Sir Harry||Cohen, Benjamin Louis|
|Balfour, Maj K. R. (Christchurch||Burdett-Coutts, W.||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Butcher, John George||Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Buxton, Sydney Charles||Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasgow||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Hornby, Sir William Henry||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Horner, Frederick William||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Horniman, Frederick John||Penn, John|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Hoult, Joseph||Percy, Earl|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Howard, John (Kent, F'versh'm||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Cust, Henry John C.||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Pilkington, Lieut.-Col. Richard|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Jebb, Richard Claverhouse||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Davies, Sir H. D. (Chatham)||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Dewar, T. R. (T'r H'ml'ts, S. Geo.||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Purvis, Robert|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Kearley, Hudson E.||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred D.||Kemp, George||Randles, John S.|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh)||Rankin, Sir James|
|Doughty, George||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Kinloch, Sir John George S.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Kitson, Sir James||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Knowles, Lees||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Dunn, Sir William||Lawson, John Grant||Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Stalybridge|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Lecky, Rt. Hn. Wm. Edw. H.||Ridley, S. F. (Bethnal Green)|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir William H.||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Elibank, Master of||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Robinson, Brooke|
|Evans, Sir F. H. (Maidstone)||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Leveson-Gower, Fred. N. S.||Round, James|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Russell, T. W.|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hon. Sir J. (M'nc'r)||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Finch, George H.||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lowe, Francis William||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. Edw. J.|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lowther, C. (Cumb. Eskdale)||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Seely, Capt. J. E. B. (Isle of Wight|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Flower, Ernest||Macartney, Rt. Hn. W. G. E.||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew|
|Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S. W.||Macdona, John Cumming||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||Maconochie, A. W.||Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand|
|Galloway, William Johnson||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Spencer, Ernest (W. Bromwich|
|Gardner, Ernest||M'Calmont, Col. H. B. L. (Cambs.||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H. (City of Lond.||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'r H'mlets||Malcolm, Ian||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||Mather, William||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Maxwell, W. J. H (Dumfriesshire||Stroyan, John|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Strutt, Hon. Charesl Hedley|
|Greene, Sir E. W. (B'ry S. Edm'nds||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Greene, Henry D.(Shrewsbury)||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Grenfell, William Henry||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Gretton, John||Montagu, Hon J. Scott (Hants.)||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Groves, James Grimble||More, Robert J. (Shropshire)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Gunter, Sir Robert||Morrell, George Herbert||Wallace, Robert|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Hain, Edward||Morrison, James Archibald||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (L'donderry)||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Mount, William Arthur||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Webb, Colonel William George|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E. (Taunton|
|Heath, Arthur Howard (Han,ey||Myers, William Henry||Whiteley, H. (Ashton und. Lyne|
|Heath, James (Staffords. N. W.||Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Helder, Augustus||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Williams, Rt. Hn. J. Powell-(Birm|
|Henderson, Alexander||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Higginbottom, S. W.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Wilson, A. Stanley(York, E. R.)|
|Hoare, Edw. Brodie (Hampstead||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk, Mid.)|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)||Parkes, Ebenezer||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.||Partington, Oswald||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Paulton, James Mellor||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)|
|Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)||Wrightson, Sir Thomas||Younger, William|
|Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)||Wylie, Alexander||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Allen, Charles P.(Glouc., Stroud||Flynn, James Christopher||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Furness, Sir Christopher||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Gilhooly, James||O'Dowd, John|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Grant, Corrie||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Bell, Richard||Griffith, Ellis J.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon N|
|Blake, Edward||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||O'Malley, William|
|Boland, John||Harrington, Timothy||O'Mara, James|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Brigg, John||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||O'Shee, James John|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Palmer, Sir Charles M. (Durham|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh)||Holland, William Henry||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Jones, David Brynmor (Swans'a||Price, Robert John|
|Burns, John||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Reddy, M.|
|Burt, Thomas||Joyce, Michael||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Caine, William Sproston||Kennedy, Patrick James||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Caldwell, James||Labouchere, Henry||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Cameron, Robert||Lambert, George||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Carew, James Laurence||Leamy, Edmund||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Levy, Maurice||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Lloyd-George, David||Sullivan, Donal|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Lough, Thomas||Tomkinson, James|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lundon, W.||Tully, Jasper|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Crean, Eugene||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||White, Patrick (Meath, N.)|
|Crombie, John William||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Whiteley, Geo. (York, W. R.)|
|Cullinan, J.||M'Kenna, Reginald||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Mooney, John J.||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan)||Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Delany, William||Murphy, John||Wilson, Chas. Henry (Hull, W.)|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Wilson, Henry, J. (York, W. R.)|
|Dillon, John||Newnes, Sir George||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Nolan, Col. J. P. (Galway, N.)||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Huddersf'd|
|Doogan, P. C.||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Young, Samuel|
|Duffy, William J.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Emmott, Alfred||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary, Mid||TELLERS FOR THE NOES— Mr. D. A. Thomas and Mr. Taylor.|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Fenwick, Charles||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)|
Bill read the third time, and passed.