§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £265, 052, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1902, for the Expenses of His Majesty's Embassies and Missions Abroad, and of the Consular Establishments Abroad and other Expenditure chargeable on the Consular Vote."
§ MR. CHARLES HOBHOUSE (Bristol, E.)
called attention to the work of the commercial attachés and agents. The last time the matter was before the House was in the February of the preceding year, when reassuring information was given as to the intentions of the department in regard to it. Owing to the fact that these commercial attachés were only six in number, and that they were responsible for the whole of Europe, as well as for part of Asia and America, the 1007 districts allotted to them were over-whelmingly large, and they could not possibly exercise any real influence or acquire any real knowledge of the trade of the country to which they were nominally attached. For instance, the commercial attaché for Austria covered Austro-Hungary, Italy, and Greece with a combined population of seventy-five millions and a trade of 260 millions sterling. The attaché for France covered also Switzerland and Belgium, with a population of seventy-eight millions and a trade of 560 millions; while the one in Germany was responsible for Holland, Sweden, and Norway as well, the population being sixty-two millions, and the trade 150 millions. The fact was that all these gentlemen had districts allotted to them which were far too large. Besides, they had other duties to perform. The French commercial attaché was a director of the Suez Canal; the one in Spain was called upon to translate official documents at the Madrid Embassy. The commercial agents had even greater districts to deal with. The one for Russia had a district with a population of 120 millions, and a trade of 1,270 millions, while the United States commercial agent had a district of three million square miles, with a trade of 450 millions. What he wished to press upon the Under Secretary was, that if these gentlemen were to do any good they should be in positions of financial and diplomatic importance. The commercial attachés had a certain diplomatic standing, but the commercial agents had been deliberately refused it. They certainly ought to be men of social and commercial standing. To get the proper class of people to acquire information they must have men of more social and commercial standing than they were able to procure at present. What he would suggest was, that the work of the commercial side and of the diplomatic side of the embassies should not be kept completely separate. Anyone who was conversant with our foreign relations must know that a great deal of the diplomatic work of the country was very closely connected with the trade of the country, and it would be perfectly possible to make the diplomatic and the trade work of the embassies interchangeable, just as in the Indian 1008 Civil Service judicial and administrative work was interchangeable. There was at the present moment in all our universities and other centres of learning a desire to establish commercial education on a larger basis than hitherto. The London University had already created a faculty of economics, with commercial and industrial sides, and lectures were already given on commercial geography and national trade which must have an inspiring effect on the rising generation of traders. He thought it was clear that the rising generation was awakening to the advantages which could be gained from the information put at their disposal by the commercial attachés. There was another point he wished to press, and that was that the dissemination of the information was quite as important as its collection. He suggested that, in conjunction with the Board of Trade, permanent exhibitions of British industry should be established in connection with our embassies, so that foreigners could see at first hand the products of this country. The fact was that trade compepetition was increasing very severely, and that we were fighting not so much for our old supremacy as for our very existence as a commercial nation. Too often merchants in this country would not pay attention to the small particulars on which the trade of foreign countries depended, and he hoped that the Foreign Office would not slacken their endeavours to obtain all possible information in regard to the course of trade in foreign countries.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
thought that something might be done in the development of the consular into the diplomatic service. He agreed with the hon. Gentleman in regard to the great value that attached to reports of foreign trade from our consular and diplomatic agents abroad; but at present the consular trade reports were often quite without value, because the reports never bore any date. [Lord CRANBORNE dissented.] Yes, the date proceeded from the Foreign Office, and there were constant allusions to what happened last year or the year before, but there was no date to show when the report was really written. The suggestions which they contained were generally 1009 childish, such as that we should adopt the metric system and so on, which were not worth printing. His conviction was that British merchants had nothing to learn from the consular reports; at any rate, he had seen nothing in these reports which was likely to teach British merchants anything they did not know already. This Vote travelled over the whole habitable earth—Russia, Turkey, Persia, Germany, France, Spain, etc. His complaint was that, for some reason or other, our diplomatic agents had not been successful in performing their functions. It would not be strictly in order to discuss on that Vote the policy with which they were charged. But he would take the case of our Ambassador to Russia. So little influence had he, that no sooner had the war in South Africa broken out than Russia sent 6,000 men to Kertch. If our Ambassador had performed his duties with complete success, that would not have happened with a friendly country with whom we were on terms of peace. There was a railway now being built right through Persia to the Persian Gulf, and the only result of the action of England in Persia in recent years had been to hand over that country almost completely to Russia. The same was true with regard to the British Ambassador in Turkey, which, however, was partly due to personal causes. There again the whole of Asia Minor was being parcelled out, the northern portion to Russia and the southern to Germany; and the Germans were running a railway to Bagdad and on to the Persian Gulf. All that represented a very serious failure of our diplomatic action, and if it were in order he might trace it to the fountain head. Whatever the cause was, whether it was deficient instruction from home, or deficient pressure abroad, he would not now ask. But he would state that; in spite of the enormous expenditure which the country was asked to provide for diplomatic agents, the influence of England was diminishing in the countries he had mentioned. He would not dwell on the enormous importance that that decreasing influence of England had, but he believed it very seriously imperilled the defence of India. Then, again, it was impossible to avoid a similar conviction nearer home. The British Ambas- 1010 sador to Spain had not been able to preserve the full amity of that country; neither was the British Ambassador to France. That was not due to the Ambassadors themselves, but to imprudent utterances and imprudent action at home. He would ask the noble Lord with regard to the matters he had touched on, very briefly and not at all in proportion to their importance, whether he could give the Committee a reassuring statement as to the position of England in the countries he had named, and the amount of influence that the British ambassadors were able to exercise in Russia, Persia, Turkey, Spain, and France. He hoped the noble Lord would be able to give a satisfactory reply, and that he would also be able to say something with reference to the suggestion as to the interchangeability of a certain portion of the consular service. He should also be glad to know if the noble Lord would consider the value of the consular reports with reference to trade. He was not now speaking of statistics, but as to the manner in which consuls went out of their way to offer advice on questions of trade, which, as a rule, they imperfectly understood. He thought it would be worth while to consider whether the reports should be continued in their present form.
§ MR. TAYLOR (Lancashire, Radcliffe)
said he had long desired to know on what principle British consuls and commercial attachés were appointed. He had himself personal knowledge of consuls in distant countries, and, as most men did who travelled, he found them very courteous and very gentlemanly and very useful for social purposes. But he felt that the commercial attachés and consuls, particularly in the Far East—although he was not speaking from personal experience, but from knowledge derived from several business men—lacked practical business knowledge. It was quite right that British consuls abroad should be able to dispense social advantages to travellerson pleasure bent, but it seemed to him that consuls and commercial attachés who were appointed for commercial purposes ought to be men of commercial training. He had an instance in his mind which showed the complete inefficiency of at least one 1011 consul for the purposes of trade. A friend of his, representing a large commercial house in Bradford, and one of the ablest business men he had ever met, went out to the Far East to open up a trade in Burma, China, and Japan. He went to one of the British consuls in China, and asked him for a list of traders in a particular line of business. The consul handed him a general list of traders, whereupon his friend informed the consul that he was travelling in textiles, and only wanted the houses which dealt in textiles. "Oh," replied the consul, "if you think I am here for the purpose of making business easy for commercial travellers, I am not your man. If you want anything in a general way I shall be glad to help, but if you want anything with reference to a particular business, you will have to go over the way to the German consul, who, I believe, has assorted lists of traders." His friend went to the German consul, and got all the information he desired. That was an absolute fact, and he was afraid it was typical of the way in which British consuls did their business. He should be glad to know whether in appointing a consul any effort was made to secure a man of commercial knowledge and experience, or were men pitchforked into consular positions because of their general ability and respectability, without any regard to their capacity to advise on commercial questions. He was afraid they were losing a great deal of trade abroad owing to the lack of practical knowledge on the part of their commercial attachés and consuls. With reference to the Board of Trade Journal, no doubt it contained a great deal of very useful information, but the statement that English merchants did not send out commercial travellers was repeated over and over again; and also the statement that catalogues were sent out in the English language. That was all very well, but they had had enough of it. What was required was specific information, and he was glad to observe that more of it was now being given. He was also quite sure that the samples which were being sent home would bear fruit by and by. But his main point was that the Government in appointing consuls and commercial attachés should select men not only for their general 1012 capacity, but also, as far as possible, for their commercial training, knowledge, and experience, which were very useful in the important outposts of British trades in which they were stationed.
§ MR. LOUIS SINCLAIR (Essex, Romford)
said he understood that the hon. Member who opened the debate did not move a reduction. He wished to know whether he would now be in order in moving a reduction.
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Viscount CRANBORNE,) Rochester
said it would perhaps be more convenient if he now replied to the general observations which had been addressed to him. He was quite confident that anything he would say would not interfere with the desire of his hon. friend to move a reduction. The observations which had been made to the Committee by the two hon. Gentlemen opposite were mainly devoted to questions of trade and to British agents abroad with reference to trade. He would at once admit that during the short time he had occupied his present position he had been very much impressed with the importance of developing as far as it reasonably could be developed that side of the Foreign Office work which had reference to the collection and distribution of commercial intelligence. He had discussed the matter with his right hon. friend the President of the Board of Trade, and he could assure the Committee that everything that could be done towards the reasonable development of that side of the work of the Foreign Office would be done. He should, however, like to impress on the Committee that it was a new departure. When hon. Gentlemen criticised British agents abroad, because in their judgment they did not give enough time to collection of commercial intelligence, it ought to be remembered that they had not yet had an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the new state of things. The Foreign Office would do its best, but he should be sorry if the Committee or the country thought that the Foreign Office could do a great deal. The success of British trade must depend on the traders themselves. It was the energy of the trader, his enterprise, and his skill in finding out what 1013 was required, that was going to keep English trade in the high position it at present occupied. He confessed he would have a certain feeling of disappointment if it were true—and it was not true—that English traders had nothing to rely upon except the assistance of public officials. However good officials were, they could not do what was required, except to a very small extent. The hon. Gentleman opposite said he did not wish to hear any more in the trade reports about commercial travellers. He should be very sorry to bore the hon. Member, and he would not talk about commercial travellers; but the difference between the way in which British trade was pushed abroad and the way in which foreign trade was pushed was that the foreigners had commercial travellers, whereas English traders practically had not. He was not a trader himself, and, as the Committee would understand, he had only an amateur knowledge of commercial matters; but he was confident that the success of foreign trade turned on the excellence of the commercial travellers who were employed and on the systematic way in which they went to work. Therefore, although the reiteration might be tiresome, he did not think the time was thrown away in pressing in season and out of season the importance of commercial travellers. The hon. Member who initiated the discussion spoke of sample exhibitions. That had been tried by one or two countries, and, as far as he had been able to make out, with some success. The matter was now under consideration, and it might possibly be tried in order to see how it worked. The Board of Trade Journal, as the hon. Member opposite said, was a very useful publication, and the intelligence in it, as far as foreign countries were concerned, was provided by the Foreign Office. The hon. Member opposite spoke of commercial attachés. Although they dated long before his time, he thought that commercial attaches were not originally established with a view to providing that kind of detailed information to which the hon. Member referred. They represented in practice the commercial side of each embassy or legation. The hon. Gentleman knew that an enormous number of despatches had to be written with reference to commercial matters 1014 on which negotiations were in progress in foreign ports, and in respect of which the commercial attachés acted as intermediaries.
§ MR. CHARLES HOBHOUSE
said that it was stated in the House on the 3rd August, 1899, by the right hon. Gentleman the Minister for War, who was then Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, that commercial attaches were not only entitled but directed to correspond with traders with reference to foreign trade.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
said his right hon. friend was very much impressed with the inconvenience with which that side of the work of the Foreign Office was carried on, and he instituted the system of commercial agents, and it was to commercial agents they really had to look for detailed information. His hon. friend the Member for King's Lynn referred to the appointment of consuls in the Crimea. There were a very large number of consuls in the Crimea, and they were paid, and promotion was opened to them. They might, for instance, become consuls-general, which was a very important post. His hon. friend spoke with a certain amount of disdain of the consular reports on trade. Undoubtedly some were very much better than others, and he hoped one of their efforts would be to bring all the consular trade reports up to one high standard. For that purpose it would be necessary to determine a model on which the reports should be framed, and in that way they might arrive at a common form of report which would be useful for all practical purposes.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
said his hon. friend would find the dates inside. He thought it did not matter whether they were inside or outside, but he would look into the matter. His right hon. friend who preceded him in the Foreign Office instituted the experiment of commercial agents, whose duty it would be to collect information for transmission to the Foreign Office, and act as a sort of bureau of information for traders in 1015 England who wanted it. The idea was that any merchant or trader in England who wanted information on any particular topic would be able to receive it, and that a small fee would be charged. The hon. Gentleman spoke of the anxiety of the British trader for information and the reluctance and inefficiency of the Foreign Office to provide it. But he thought it ought to be known that the system instituted by his right hon. friend so far as it had gone was a dead failure. Since the commercial agents had been appointed the Foreign Office had only succeeded in collecting about £20 in fees, and that had regard to the whole area regarding which the commercial agents were supposed to have information. That was to say, that the great demand for information on the part of traders was not valued even at the small fee which was charged. The Foreign Office might provide the information, but they could not drive it down the throat of the English trader. He himself was inclined to think that in most cases the trader did not require information, and that the best commercial houses were able and willing to obtain information for themselves. They trusted to themselves, but the Foreign Office was most anxious to do anything that was wanted. They had offered to supply information, and the offer still remained open, and it was possible that they might be able to make a mitigation in respect even of the small fee at present charged in the hope of making the experiment a success. They earnestly hoped that any hon. Gentleman or any other person who had a suggestion which might be valuable towards helping forward British trade would communicate it to the Foreign Office. His hon. friend the Member for King's Lynn wandered into the wider elements of the diplomatic position of the United Kingdom throughout the world. His hon. friend said that foreign countries did not always act exactly as England desired, and that therefore the British ambassadors were inefficient. His hon. friend knew perfectly well that they were the objects of the greatest jealousy on the part of the Continent, and it was a matter of much surprise to Englishmen why that should be. He could only attribute it, not so much to their own merits, as probably to 1016 the great success which had waited on them in the past, and to the high position they had attained. With recent history ringing in his ears, his hon. friend had strangely misread the influence of the British ambassadors in Russia, Persia, and elsewhere. He did not admit the correctness of his hon. friend's facts with reference to Persia.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
asked if he understood the noble Lord to deny that Russia, on the outbreak of the South African War, marched 6,000 men to Kertch, within thirty-five miles of Herat; that Russia had obtained the right to construct a railway right down to the Persian Gulf; and that Germany had a right to run a railway to the other side of the Gulf
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
said he did not deny that Russia had certain rights in Persia, but he did not admit by any means that they extended to the extent suggested by his hon. friend. Many of those rights dated long before the outbreak of the South African War; but, as his hon. friend had mentioned South Africa, he should like to remind the Committee of one marvellous fact, and that was that, notwithstanding that we had been engaged in a tremendous war, which had put an enormous strain on our resources, we had nevertheless been able, he thought he might say in all parts of the globe, to take as leading a position as we had ever taken. If the Chinese policy of the Government was examined it would be found that, notwithstanding the great stress the country had been undergoing, practically on all the turning points in the Chinese question Great Britain had been able to take the lead. He did not say it in any boasting spirit, but our diplomatic successes were such that in crisis after crisis, not only in China, but elsewhere. the suggestions of this country had been adopted by Europe. That was a matter of gratification, and should convince the Committee that the position of this country abroad was still one of very great respect and importance. If we did not push on as rapidly as some hon. Members desired, it was because we were a business people. Other countries might not adopt the same principle; we did not 1017 criticise them for not doing so, but we were content with our traditional policy which had hitherto been successful. To his mind the more important part of the discussion had been concerned with trade, and everything that could be done to develop that would be done.
§ LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)
said the discussion had followed the accustomed lines, and while some Members had shown a tendency to introduce large questions of foreign policy, others had wished to confine the discussion to the business aspects of the Consular Vote. He agreed with the noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs that on the Diplomatic Vote, and still more on the Consular Vote, it was exceedingly difficult to introduce with public advantage any discussion on important questions of foreign policy. The proper occasion for such discussion was on the Foreign Office Vote. An additional inconvenience of raising questions of foreign policy on the present Vote was that one was always in danger unintentionally of appearing to attack the conduct, wisdom, or foresight of ambassadors, who, from their position, were not able to speak for themselves; while, on the other hand, if their conduct was impugned on the Foreign Office Vote that Office, being really responsible, was able to speak with full authority and without any danger of going outside the limits of the Vote. The remarks of the hon. Member for King's Lynn were an illustration on the point. It would not be possible to enter on the question of the wisdom or foresight of the ambassador at St. Petersburg in regard to the conduct of Russia at the time of the outbreak of the South African War without entering on the whole question of our position abroad and the relation of this country to the general European situation. The question could hardly be adequately discussed without considering, for example, the position of this country in relation to the Triple Alliance and the Dual Alliance, but any reference to the matter would doubtless be at once met by a request from the Chairman for the discussion to be kept within proper limits. The same observation would apply to the remarks of the hon. Member for King's Lynn in regard to our position in 1018 Spain. In regard to Turkey it was, perhaps, easier to say something strictly relevant to the Vote. He had already asked the noble Lord certain questions, more from a business and commercial than a purely political point of view, in regard to the position of Great Britain in the matter of the Asiatic railways, and he understood that certain papers, presumably consular reports, were to be presented, showing what had happened and was likely to happen with regard to the development of railways in Asia Minor, which he ventured to say was one of the most important movements now going on. As far back as 1872, or thereabouts, a Committee, presided over by Sir Stafford Northcote, presented a Report on Asiatic railway communication, and even then, in the opinion of practical politicians, men of business, the very class of men who watched these matters with the greatest interest, there was a great deal to be said for the view that within a measurable distance of time the importance of the route through Asia Minor, the Persian Gulf, to India, would be restored to the march of civilisation through the great mechanical and scientific discoveries connected with railways, telegraphs, and so on. Events had marched even more rapid than Sir Stafford Northcote and his colleagues anticipated, and at the present moment there was an eager competition in the commercial world to get the ultimate control of these railways. He made no charge against the Foreign Office; he had no knowledge. His reason for alluding to the question was that it was one of the greatest importance to this country. If there was one thing more painful than another in regard to the present commercial position of Great Britain—which was admitted to be one of great anxiety—it was the way in which British trade and commerce was gradually being driven out of those countries in which, even within the memory of people now living, it not only had a leading place but almost a monopoly. At one time there were great English commercial houses at Constantinople, but one by one they had died away, and been supplanted very largely by German houses or houses having their centre in Austria and Hungary. He did not believe there was any necessary antagonism between 1019 this country and Germany, but he held that Great Britain ought to be able to command a large share of the trade of that part of the East. The question had been raised as to whether the blame for the loss of trade was to be placed on the consular representatives or on English commercial men themselves, or divided between the two. Without at all desiring to constitute himself a thick and thin champion of the Foreign Office, he thought that for several years past there had been a certain want of appreciation of the efforts which had been made honestly, conscientiously, and steadily, even if not altogether so successfully as might be wished, by the Foreign Office and the Board of Trade to improve trade relations with the commercial world, and to improve the information given in consular reports. As far back as when the right hon. Baronet the Member for Forest of Dean held the office now occupied by the noble Lord, the Foreign Office was extremely active in that direction, and there was no man who commanded the confidence of the commercial classes in England more than did the Gentleman who at the time was head of the commercial side of the Foreign Office—Mr., afterwards Sir William, Kennedy. He was modest and never asserted himself, and, perhaps for that reason, did not obtain, in some quarters, a recognition of the enormous work that he carried out. That work had, he believed, been followed up, and the consular reports now produced, even admitting their defects, showed great progress as compared with those of former times. When the information for which he had previously pressed was obtained he hoped and believed it would be found that the Foreign Office on its commercial side, and the consuls, had not been deficient in either interest or action. The same class of observation applied to the lamentable manner in which British trade had been shouldered out of all those developing countries on the Adriatic and the seas in which Salonica, next to Constantinople, was the most important commercial centre. In by gone days Salonica held a magnificent position as one of the most important centres of commerce and civilisation; and it was certain that in proportion as railway 1020 communications improved in what he might call diplomatic Turkey, trade there would develop, and unless this country, through its consular department, showed much activity in that part of the world the trade would gravitate more and more into the hands of the commercial men of Buda Pesth and elsewhere. Owing to the organisation of the trade and commerce of Germany and Austro-Hungary, British trade had been, comparatively speaking, driven out of these parts. When he was at the Foreign Office he obtained reports from the consular representatives, which even now might be referred to as showing the only means by which this country could fight against the competition of the interests to which he had referred. There was another and an even greater responsibility attached to the Foreign Office. It was admitted that the great weakness of English commercial men abroad was their ignorance of foreign languages, and until that was rectified our trade would suffer in all parts of the world where something besides a knowledge of English was required. He was talking not long ago to an Austrian commercial traveller on the Danube, and he said that it was necessary for a traveller to know seven languages to do business in the countries where he did business. He said that he spoke nine languages. [An HON. MEMBER: "Oh, oh!"] The hon. Member opposite said "Oh, oh!" but if he would inquire into the retail trade abroad, which depended so much upon small profits, he would find that a traveller required to know not only German and French and English, but also Hungarian and all the different dialects and languages, which were spoken by the different peoples who lived along the Danube. He was mentioning this fact, not because he expected that British commercial travellers should know nine languages but simply in order to show the sort of people Englishmen had to compete with. If they sent an English commercial traveller abroad they would find that in most countries he stood at a very great disadvantage when compared with the commercial travellers of other nations. About three years ago a very interesting Blue-book was presented to this House in which answers were given almost from every capital 1021 in Europe upon this subject, and in almost every case the answer came that the English commercial traveller did not possess a thorough knowledge of foreign languages. The remedy for this state of things was closely connected with the organisation of our system of secondary education. Until the same opportunities were given to English commercial men of obtaining instruction in foreign languages as were possessed by the commercial men of Germany, English trade would continue to lose ground.
§ LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE
said he noticed that the hon. Member for King's Lynn shook his head, but had he got any better remedy to offer?
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
With good work and low prices, it does not matter what language you talk. It is purely a question of price.
§ LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE
said those were the considerations which he desired to place before the Committee, and as for the larger questions he wished to raise, he thought they could be discussed with greater advantage upon the Foreign Office Vote.
§ MR. LOUIS SINCLAIR
said he wished to move a reduction of this Vote because, in his opinion, the War Office conducted this business with absolute extravagance, and in many cases the expenditure was useless. They had all listened to the noble Lord's conciliatory remarks with interest, but he did not attach very much weight to them, and he should have preferred some assurance from the Prime Minister that he would give the matter of the inefficiency of the diplomatic and consular services his most serious attention. Although he did not wish to say that they did not require able men as Ministers in foreign countries, he desired to point out that, in his opinion, it was useless to have highly-paid officials in places like Bavaria, Darmstadt, Saxony, and Montenegro. The amount charged in the Estimates for the Minister Resident in Bavaria was £1,500 a year, and £200 for a house; for Darmstadt the amount was £500 for the Secretary of Legation, and £200 for a house; in Montenegro 1022 the Minister Resident received £1,300 and £200 for a house; and in Saxony the Minister Resident was paid £950 and £200 for a house. He thought the Committee would agree with him when he said that those were items of great extravagance. He wished to associate himself with the hon. Member who had laid stress upon the fact that this country ought to have more commercial attachés. In the Estimates he noticed that they had no commercial attaché in the United States.
§ MR. LOUIS SINCLAIR
pointed out that they had commercial attachés in Spain and in Portugal, but they had not got one in Germany. He found that Germany, Denmark, Holland, Sweden, and Norway were grouped together under one commercial attaché. He considered that he had made out his case that Foreign Office affairs were conducted on obsolete, extravagant, and, in many cases, useless methods, and that they ought to be put upon a commercial basis.
The cost of their diplomacy in Darmstadt, Bavaria, and Saxony amounted to some £5,000 a year, while they only paid some £5,000 a year altogether for commercial attachés throughout the world. That was the niggardly sum which they were able to extract from the Foreign Office for this purpose. In his opinion the country suffered immeasurably because of the want of attention and business aptitude on the part of this Department. It was every day becoming more necessary for England to keep pace with foreign nations in those matters. Germany had commercial attachés over here investigating English inventions, and it was absurd for England to rely upon private traders in this matter. With regard to the expenditure in rent upon these commercial attachés, if those attachés were doing their work efficiently they ought not to require a house. They ought to be travelling through all the principal cities making themselves acquainted with the various factories and trades. He agreed with what had been said as to the need on the part of our representatives abroad of a knowledge of foreign languages. Unless our commercial attachés were able to speak 1023 fluently the language of the countries to which they were sent, they could not supply reliable reports. It was imperative that our commercial interests should receive more attention. In South America they had a most inefficient staff, although trade with that part of the world was increasing daily. He had learned for the first time in that debate that they had a kind of commercial agent in the United States, and he wished to know what that commercial agent got.
§ MR. LOUIS SINCLAIR
said that they paid £500 to the commercial agent in America, while in a small State like Bavaria they paid £1,700 for work which was very inefficiently done. He simply wished to draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that it was necessary that their commercial interests abroad should receive more attention, because they had to compete with other nations who were now able to oust them in the various markets of the world. So long as those interests were maintained, and so long as the British Government were alive to the value of those interests, he considered that they would always be able to hold their own in any commercial enterprise which they undertook. If some assurance could be given that useless Ministers would be recalled and proper commercial attachés would be appointed, he thought the nation would be reassured that the prestige of the country which they were fast losing would be upheld.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item A (Salaries) be reduced by £3,550."—(Mr. Louis Sinclair.)
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
I hope my hon. friend will not press this matter, for this reason. I have already recognised that something ought to be done in the Foreign Office in order to develop still further the commercial work which has been undertaken, but Rome was not built in a day. With the great competition which we now see, I do not deny that a new era has been entered upon, and that we require to use our diplomatic channels for the purpose suggested. The information my hon. friend requires, however, is not to be obtained centrally— 1024 that is, by a particular attaché in a particular country. It will be necessary to subdivide to a much greater degree, and a great charge will be entailed on the public revenue. It really lies as much with the House as with the Government to determine what we are to spend on the Consular service. Not long ago the Government were approached on behalf of the chambers of commerce and it was urged that we had not enough consular representatives in the inland towns of France. When, however, the question was asked where new consular appointments were desired, only one town was suggested. Do not let the Committee imagine that I am bringing any charge against the chambers of commerce, but, in the face of an attitude of this kind, it is impossible to feel so strong on this point as my hon. friend who last addressed the Committee.
§ MR. LOUIS SINCLAIR
asked if the noble Lord would say something about the useless Ministers in Bavaria, Darmstadt, Saxony, and Montenegro.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
The gist of my hon. friend's argument was that we ought to have more representatives abroad.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
We want some change by which reliable information can reach us on this question. If the Foreign Office changes its policy, and goes more fully into commercial questions, these legations might serve as centres from which commercial information might be supplied; therefore I think it will be very unwise to destroy these missions.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
I think the hon. Member has been a little too hasty in his criticism. What the Foreign Offices wishes to do is not to restrict and reduce the number of these officers, but to multiply them. Montenegro is an undeveloped country, where it would be most unwise to remove the Minister.
§ MR. LOUIS SINCLAIR
said that after the assurances which had been given by the noble Lord he would ask permission to withdraw his motion.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
said he sympathised with the views expressed by the hon. Member who had just withdrawn his motion, and he hoped something would be done in this direction next year. In former days small German legations were of importance, although their importance had now diminished. There were also justifiable grounds for the attacks which had been made on the Foreign Office with regard to the distribution of the consulates. The particular matter which he desired to bring before the Committee was one which had very often been considered by the Committee in the past, and in bringing it before the Committee upon this occasion he would try and confine himself to new information, without repeating what had been said in previous debates. This Vote contained the salary of the Consul-General at Zanzibar in respect of his general supervision of British consuls in East Africa, and he wished to draw attention to the policy pursued in Zanzibar and along that coast, and to the opinions held by those who more or less represented this country there in regard to the subject of slavery. Some other questions connected with British East Africa, such as the war which the Foreign Office had carried on and the extraordinary finance of the protectorate, would arise more properly on another Vote. He noticed that there was a Vote in aid of the revenues. They had already passed a very large Supplementary Estimate for this purpose at the beginning of the session when they discussed this matter. The Foreign Office had come to this House every year twice for many years past for a Vote upon this item, and for Supplementary Votes for very large amounts.
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE
said there was no separate account for the war, and the money was spent in aid of the revenues of British East Africa. The matter which he proposed to discuss was connected in the minds of many with the general view which they entertained that the 1026 Foreign Office was not a Department which existed for the purpose of governing territories or carrying on wars, and was liable to make mistakes which a Department accustomed to administration would be less likely to make. The best friends of the Office also believed that its energies were distracted from its proper work by the attempt to govern territories. He would now point to certain new facts. A Paper had been circulated that day relating to the Uganda Railway, which contained an observation by the able Indian officer who had been called in to advise the Foreign Office, which went to the root of the whole question, and which raised the subject which he was now raising. He said—The truth, I think, is that more could have been got out of both the Indians and natives of Africa if the officers who were placed over them had been better acquainted with their language and customs.Our employment of persons who were not properly educated to deal with such very difficult districts really lay at the root of the whole question, for we had been forced in Zanzibar and the coast strip to rely largely on former employees of the Sultan of Zanzibar. These Zanzibar gentlemen held views in regard to slavery which were not the views held in this country. Certain correspondence had been presented that session which threw an entirely new light on this question of slavery so far as its defenders were concerned. Statements had been frequently made in the past as to the way in which our hands were tied in East Africa on account of the assurances which were given when the mainland territories of the Sultan were taken over that the religion, laws, and customs of the people would continue to be respected. The defence of the Foreign Office for years had been that promises were given in the name of the Government. Those who were opposed to slavery in East Africa had always pointed out that the Sultan of Zanzibar was bound to this country by long-standing engagements to put down slavery, but in spite of the engagements they had always been told of these promises. The Blue-book recently published contained in a memorandum received in April of last year and laid before the House this year, in which Sir Lloyd Mathews gave his own account of what took place 1027 when the administration of the mainland territories of the Sultan was taken over by the Government from the British East Africa Company. Sir Lloyd Mathews said that Sir Arthur Hardinge asked him to address the people and explain to them the change which was taking place, and tell them that it made no difference to His Highness's subjects; and he informed those present that their religion, laws, and customs would continue to be respected, and that the religion of Islam would remain the religion of the people. That was a very general promise. It was almost exactly in the same terms as had always been made in India when we had occasion to take over a new dominion. In the case of the annexations in India early in the last century, although a promise had been made in similar terms, it had never been held to bind this country with regard to slavery, and it had never prevented this country from applying the ordinary laws to the custom of slavery in India. Sir Lloyd Mathews admitted that slavery was not mentioned. He submitted to the Committee that this memorandum put a wholly new complexion on the promise which they had always been told was given in regard to slavery in British East Africa. Sir Lloyd Mathews did not profess that any allusion was made to slavery on that occasion. All he said was that the people must have understood that slavery was included in the assurance which was given in regard to religion, laws, and customs. He could not hold that what Sir Arthur Hardinge said constituted the pledge which had always been supposed to tie our hands in British East Africa. In the annual report of our representative in German East Africa it was stated that persons who were arrested by the German authorities at Bagamoyo for engaging in the slave traffic earned their livelihood by kidnapping children and selling them in Zanzibar. That official statement went a long way to confirm their views and to corroborate the statement made by an Austrian officer that he had seen slaves sold in Zanzibar. He confessed he did not believe the statement when it was first made.
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE
Last year. He entirely discredited the statement 1028 until he read the report from our own official representative in German East Africa. The opponents of the slave trade had had on their side not only Sir John Kirk, a former representative of this country in British East Africa, but also Colonel Lugard, who in constantly passing through the territory had the opportunity of forming a clear opinion on the subject. There were also unofficial persons like Bishop Tucker, who had told the country that the time had come when the legal recognition of slavery there ought to be got rid of. The right hon. Gentleman urged that the immediate abolition of the legal status of slavery in the coast strip would be perfectly consistent with the general promise which was given to observe the customs of the people, and moved to reduce the Vote, in respect of the salary of the Consul-General in East Africa, by £100.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item P (Consular Salaries) be reduced by £100, in respect of the Salary of the Consul-General in East Africa."—(Sir Charles Dilke.)
§ MR. J. A. PEASE (Essex, Saffron Walden),
in supporting the protest of his right hon. friend, said the reduction of the number of slaves in Zanzibar and Pemba from 100,000 in 1897 to 53,000 to-day was attributable, not to action on the part of our officials, but mainly to a horrible mortality, 30,000 having died within the last three years. Owing to an epidemic of small-pox 20,000 died, and it was admitted that 5,000 had disappeared in some way or another. It was also admitted that of these 5,000 a large number had been kidnapped almost before the eyes of our officials and taken to other countries. They were informed on such authority as they could get—such as Bishop Tucker and Mr. E. J. Martin—that there were upwards of 200,000 slaves on the mainland strip of the Sultan of Zanzibar's territory. There were about 2,000,000 negroes in East Africa proper, and about 4,000,000 negroes in Uganda and neighbouring territory. A large number of these, if not in actual slavery, were, at any rate, in a kind of domestic slavery very near akin to it, and therefore the question was a very important one. He believed the people of this country, if they only realised that the British flag was 1029 flying over an enormous number of slaves in our African Protectorates, would denounce the Government for not taking stronger action than they had. He admitted that the Government had taken action during the last five or six years, but that was attributable to such debates as the present, and to the constant pressure brought to bear on the Government with the view of obtaining the amelioration of the slave population. A decree was passed forbidding the importation of slaves into the island; the slave markets were closed; the exchange of slaves was prohibited; a decree was passed limiting the right of inheritance; a decree was passed declaring that all children born after 1900 should be free; and a decree was passed in 1897 whereby the whole of the slave population in the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba were to be allowed to obtain their freedom if they applied to certain courts. In 1895 the First Lord of the Treasury promised that steps should be taken to abolish slavery on the mainland, and the promise was renewed two years later. But when fulfilment of this promise was pressed for, Lord Curzon said the time was not opportune, owing to wars, and Lord Selborne subsequently said the unsettled state of Uganda prevented it. Then, later, the Foreign Office found an excuse in an undertaking given by Sir Lloyd Mathews at an indaba to the Arabs that their customs should be preserved, and, therefore, according to the instructions of Lord Kimberley, slavery was permitted. He wrote to Lord Kimberley asking definitely whether instructions had been given to permit slavery, and he was informed in reply that the instructions did not deal with slavery. But from that day to this the Foreign Office had not attempted to put the right interpretation upon those instructions, and surely the time had come when something should be done to abolish the system of slavery on the mainland. He recognised fully how loyally our officials had endeavoured to work in East Africa, but they seemed more actuated by a desire to secure the material prosperity of the islands and increase of revenue than by those humanitarian considerations that should have influence in territory under British protection. Now that the slaves could obtain freedom on the islands there was an unpopularity 1030 connected with freedom which deserved the consideration of the Foreign Office. Dr. O'Sullivan-Beare in his report upon the island of Pemba for 1899 said—A very satisfactory feature in connection with the Anti-Slavery Decree is the fact that it has caused the development amongst the Arabs of habits of energy and of self-help, in which they had formerly been so sadly lacking. To me it has been very interesting to note the gradual improvement in their character from many points of view, under the influence of their changed conditions. … The fact that the Pemba Arabs have shaken off, to a great extent, their former habits of sloth and indifference is obvious and indisputable. At first when the terms of the Anti-Slavery Decree had been made known to them they were completely discouraged, and gave ear only to the counsels of despair. They regarded life as intolerable without the ministrations of their slaves in all capacities, and they were utterly unable to grasp the possibilities and advantages of paid labour. Gradually, however, they have plucked up their courage and they are now grappling manfully with the difficulties of their altered circumstances. … Again, it is to be noted that Arabs of good family compete keenly for those situations under Government which are open to them, but the acceptance of which, formerly, would have entailed upon them the loss of that "heshima" (respect) to which Arabs attach so much importance. … The abolition of the legal status of slavery appears to be exerting a beneficial influence already with regard to the birth-rate among the servile population, which formerly was abnormally and suspiciously low. The insufficient diet of the women and the hard labour which they had to perform were doubtless factors which accounted, in part, for the paucity of children amongst a people who are very prolific by nature.Mr. J. P. Last, Zanzibar Government Commissioner, summarised the situation as follows—The freed slave, in fact, becomes an outcast as far as all his past associations and companions are concerned. His former owner will not know him, and his late companions will not recognise him. He has no home, no friends or companions, no one to go to in the time of trouble; he may die of sickness and want, and few there will be to lend a helping hand. The slave freed by law (or the white man, which is the same thing to the native mind) loses nearly all he has of any material advantage to him when he accepts legal freedom, and in place of enjoying these advantages he finds himself almost a pariah and alone in the world.The passing of the decree had been in the main satisfactory, and it only required certain regulations to be passed by the Foreign Office to prevent a system growing up which made freedom unpopular. The conditions among the slave population on the island of Pemba were, he believed, different from those on 1031 the island of Zanzibar. A missionary who had just returned from the island of Pemba informed him that there was no such thing as social ostracism on that island. The regulations of the Foreign Office were really responsible for slavery being a popular institution on the island of Zanzibar. Over and over again they had protested in this House, and experience had proved that free and forced labour never worked well side by side. The one must be taken away from the other. He was sure the people of the British Empire desired to see an entire system of free labour adopted. We ought to put an end to the legal status of slavery, as we did in Algeria, India, and elsewhere. The jails of Zanzibar were filled almost exclusively with vagrants who were formerly slaves, but that was entirely due to the system of compensation set up by the Government. He was not surprised that our African officials were now protesting against the continuation of that system. Sir Lloyd Mathews, in his memorandum, dated 19th January, 1901, described a simple form of verbal contract which he had seen carried out in a large plantation in Zanzibar, by which the labourers paid in work a fair equivalent for their houses, holdings, and care during sickness, and he added—If such can be carried out, the question of compensation will be almost entirely done away with, and plantation labour will become organised and more satisfactory. With local contracts in force we may then estimate the number of labourers we fall short of in the islands. To supplement these I suggest asking Her Majesty's Government to allow us to draw upon the mainland Protectorate, from the Wadigo, Wadruma, Wanyika, Wagiriama, Wakamba, and Wa Teita, from Mombasa, and, if necessary, to make arrangements with the Uganda Protectorate for a supply of labour through Mr. James Martin. Also that having known these tribes intimately in the past, and Mr. Alexander having known them within the past few years, when the time comes and supplementary labour is needed, we may be allowed personally to proceed to the East Coast Protectorate to make our own arrangements with the tribes and Protectorate officials. There is little to ask of the Protectorates in return for the many thousands of porters and soldiers we have supplied the Imperial Company and Her Majesty's Government with for the last twelve years. … If such a scheme was undertaken by one of the Zanzibar firms, or a company, the labourers instead of contracting with the owner of the plantation, would be drafted in gangs by the merchant to wherever they were required, and the merchant would alone 1032 be responsible for their wages and up-keep, he making his own terms for their employment.There was a direct recommendation in Mr. Last's letter of 10th January, 1901, that compensation should be abolished. When he put a question the other day to the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs whether the recommendation would be carried out the noble Lord replied that the matter was one for the Sultan of Zanzibar.
§ MR. J. A. PEASE
said he was quite sure that if a little pressure were put on the Sultan by the Foreign Office he would readily conform to the suggestions emanating from that quarter in connection with this matter. What happened when a slave went into court and obtained freedom? The master got compensation, and the slave left that master to seek work elsewhere.
§ MR. J. A. PEASE
Very frequently. He thought the noble Lord would find, if he perused the Papers again, that there was a passage in which allusion was made to the fact that the slaves, after being freed, endeavoured to find work with somebody else. The very fact that there was a certain amount of social ostracism in the Island of Zanzibar tended to drive the freed slaves from the masters with whom they were accustomed to serve to other masters elsewhere. If we could only put an end to this system by naming a day in advance after which no compensation would be paid, he felt satisfied that advantageous results would follow from that course. Let slavery be abolished absolutely, for gradual emancipation had not proved a satisfactory method of dealing with it. There was a labour difficulty in the islands, but he believed a remedy would be found in giving freedom to all the slave population rather than by carrying out a suggestion from Sir Lloyd Mathews that men should be brought from the mainland, for that would be little better than introducing a system of forced labour. What he asked the Government to do was to meet, as far as they could, the reasonable views which were held by all 1033 humanitarians, no matter to what party they belonged. He asked that something should be done to prevent the continuation of slavery owing to a misinterpretation of the law. He wanted the Government to carry out the recommendations of their consuls with regard to the establishing of farms to promote the cultivation of the soil under the Supervision of skilled and capable men. for the production of coffee, rubber, indigo, etc. The Arabs had very little initiative in regard to new industries, but he hoped efforts would be made in the direction indicated, not only on the island, but on the mainland. He trusted the people of this country, who were agreed as to the wisdom of the extension of the British Empire in East Africa, would supply the necessary means to deal, not only with material prosperity, but the humanitarian side of the problem.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
The question which the Committee are now engaged in discussing is one which appeals to the right feeling of the country. The settled policy of this country is to abolish slavery, not only in our own dominions, but elsewhere; and I should very much regret if any words of mine should lead anyone to believe that the zeal of the Government or their supporters for the abolition of slavery has weakened in any way. But before referring to that matter I should like to say one or two words with reference to the remarks of the right hon. Baronet in criticism of the Foreign Office generally with regard to the Protectorate. It was said that the officers in charge were not fully acquainted with the management of the natives of Africa and those from India. What Department could the right hon. Gentleman suggest that would manage the matter or understand it better?
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE
said in the case of all the other Departments they had trained civil servants who spoke the language of the people.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
No doubt that was the case, but what experience had the Colonial Office of a question of this kind? Does the right hon. Gentleman think that the Colonial Office would be better qualified to deal with Zanzibar than the Foreign Office? Zanzibar is a happy hunting ground in the diplo- 1034 matic business, but in my opinion no arrangement could be more unsuitable than that it should be in the hands of the India Office or the Colonial Office. I firmly believe that the Foreign Office is better qualified than any other to deal with Zanzibar. But I have risen to deal with the question of slavery. The hon. Member quoted a passage from a consul's report in which it was stated that the writer had heard that certain natives whom he met gained their livelihood by selling children in Zanzibar. I need not say how absolutely contrary this is not only to our sentiment but to the express law which governs Zanzibar and our Protectorate. If such a thing exists it ought to be put down with the strongest hand. I confess I do not believe it. I do not call in question the good faith of the consul, much less that of the right hon. Baronet, but I cannot help thinking that this rumour has little foundation. Wherever we have authority the slave trade is put down absolutely. I cannot believe that our officers could not have heard of such a gross, flagrant violation of every rule made for the government of that dependency. Where we have power there is no slavery—no buying and selling—and large sums are spent annually in putting down the traffic in slaves. We are as convinced as the hon. Member that slavery is as bad for the master as for the slave, and perhaps worse. The existence of slavery produces idleness, sloth, and cruelty, and a whole crop of vice. I do not say that the freed slave is always happy. Let us in this Committee speak the truth to one another. The freed slave, I repeat, is not always happy. On the contrary, there is evidence in the Blue-book to show that the position of a freed slave is in many respects not so happy as when he was still in slavery. As a slave he had a master on whom he could rely, and who had obligations thrown upon him. In saying that I do not mean that I am in favour of slavery—on the contrary; still it is important that the Committee should recollect that we are dealing with a subtle and complex problem. What, then, are the limiting conditions of this very subtle problem? In the first place, slavery must be abolished. That must be the groundwork of the policy of any Government; but we must beware of 1035 undue precipitancy in carrying out what is essentially a good policy. As a matter of fact, the evidence from the Blue-books shows that in many cases the slave does not want to be freed. It would not be very respectful on my part to criticise former Acts of this House, but if anyone were to read the Papers he would see the great difficulties under which the pressure of the House of Commons has sometimes put the British Administration. At one time, for instance, the courts of Zanzibar and Pemba insisted that when a slave applied for his freedom he must show that he had some means of subsistence before he got it. A great "row" was made in the House, and the Government sent peremptory orders that the practice was no longer to obtain. What was the result? The number of convictions for petty offences at once nearly doubled themselves; prostitution increased greatly in Zanzibar, and in Pemba nearly every unmarried native woman had become a prostitute. That is according to the statement of Mr. Cave. The Government do not propose to go back on their decision; but these facts show the dangers of precipitancy; for prostitution is an infinitely worse evil than slavery. The right hon. Baronet made light of the promise which has been given; but His Majesty's Government cannot make light of any promise made by this country, whether to British working-men or to slave-owners. That promise must be kept. The words of Lord Kimberley's despatch are clear.You may take steps, on taking over the administration, to make it clear that, as regards religion, law, and the Sultan's sovereignty, no difference is made by the change.Slavery is part of the Mohammedan religion; and the impression which those words produced on Sir A. Hardinge and Sir Lloyd Mathews was that slavery was included in them; and the latter officer declared that "all ancient customs would be allowed to continue." Whatever Lord Kimberley may have intended, the point is that on the strength of his language his subordinates entered into certain engagements when we undertook to administer the Protectorates. The Government cannot go back upon that promise. But it must not be imagined that this slavery is the odious thing generally understood. No slave trade is allowed. No one is born a slave; and 1036 no one can inherit slaves except in the direct line. So that, at the very worst, slavery is a dying and disappearing thing. But that is not all. The great vice of slavery consists in the uncontrolled power of one man over another, and in the awful cruelty and immorality which follow. But on the mainland, if any owner is cruel to his slave, he is brought before the courts and severely punished, and not only the slave in question but all his fellow-slaves are set free. The whole effort and tendency of British administration is to abolish slavery; and in Mombasa it has actually disappeared, because it is incompatible with British government. The Government do not say that they must go no further. On the contrary, we believe that slavery must be abolished in all its details: but the change must be gradually brought about, and there must be an intervening period. Do those who accuse the Government of meanness and want of energy in this matter reflect on what the Government have done in building the Uganda Railway? No accusation of meanness or want of energy can be brought against the Government when it is recognised what sums of money they have expended, and what energy they have displayed in making the Uganda Railway. The Government both in expenditure and effort have done a great work in civilising that part of Africa, and especially in abolishing slavery. They will complete the work they have commenced, and I earnestly hope the Committee will have confidence in British Ministers and officials.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Poplar, Tower Hamlets)
said he had listened with profound disappointment to the speech of the noble Lord. He had hoped that when changes were made in the Ministry they would have had a new broom, sweeping better than the old. Nobody desired to say anything against Sir Arthur Hardinge as an official, but it was quite clear that his sympathy was not with the freeing of the slaves—that was seen from his despatches. He had listened with great care to what fell from the right hon. Gentleman, and he himself had taken part in many debates in the House, but he had never heard the principle, which he thought was held by every Englishman, that slavery should 1037 not exist under the British flag damned with such faint praise as it had been by the noble Lord. He had used every argument that could be urged by Foreign Office officials in favour, first, of doing nothing; secondly, of going slowly; and, thirdly, of letting the matter rest whenever possible. The noble Lord and the Foreign Office had done, of late, little or nothing in favour of freeing slaves in the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba. It was obvious from the Blue-books on this subject that the officials on the spot were imbued with the feeling that the question of slavery was of no great moment in England, and that to raise it made their administration more difficult. You could not make an omelette without breaking eggs, and slaves could not be freed without trouble and expense. The Foreign Office had always, as a Department, lagged behind public opinion in regard to the freedom of slaves. It had always seen a lion in the path, and it had always been anxious to delay, or to deal with this matter with caution, and to avoid the "precipitancy" which the noble Lord so much dislikes—that had always been its attitude. In the case of Zanzibar and Pemba the noble Lord seemed to think they might rest satisfied with the present conditions of slow progress, because year by year so many slaves received their freedom, but out of 100,000 slaves—
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
said if they took the figures of the noble Lord, out of 50,000 slaves the Committee would hardly credit the fact that the number of slaves manumitted since the law came into force was only 12,000.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
said the slaves he spoke of had been freed by process of law. Others had been freed in other ways.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
contended that during the six years that the decree 1038 had been in force only a small proportion of the slaves in Zanzibar and Pemba had received their freedom. He was anxious to deal with this matter with patience, and they were certainly not so impatient as the Colonial Secretary was in 1894, when he said that the Liberal Government had done nothing at all in this matter. But, even if the question was not to be dealt with wholesale, the Government had done little to carry out the pledges given and the promises made by the present Colonial Secretary five or six years ago. He would not again refer to the islands, because there the gradual freeing of the slaves was going on, though very slowly. But on the mainland practically all that had been done during the last ten years of British control was that children born during that time should be free and the slaves of those dying without children should also be free. The Government should take some practical step in regard to this matter; but their idea was to do nothing at all, but to let the matter drift With regard to the expansion of the Uganda Railway as a method of enabling slaves to obtain freedom, the base of the railway ran ten miles by the coast, through territory in which slavery was practically recognised under the British flag. Year after year the Government had made excuses for delay. Last year they fell back on what they considered was an absolute bar to progress—that in 1895, Lord Kimberley—then Foreign Minister—through the mouth of his representatives gave a pledge in regard to slavery to which this country must adhere. But this was an after-thought. It was introduced to give the Government a further excuse for doing nothing, because if that promise was given at all, it was given in 1895. It was given by Lord Kimberley, but before it was ratified the Liberal Government had resigned and Lord Salisbury was Prime Minister; and Lord Salisbury had the conduct of this matter in 1895. But in 1897 the present Leader of the House gave as complete and emphatic a pledge in regard to this matter as any Minister could do. He said the Government earnestly desired to carry out on the mainland of the East Coast Protectorate what they were carrying out on the islands. That was to say, he gave a pledge that in a short time slavery should be abolished on the mainland as 1039 in the islands. The Government, he thought, owed the Committee some explanation in regard to this matter. It must be obvious, he felt sure, that no British Minister could have intended for one moment to give a pledge, in a territory over which they were to have full control, that for all future time slavery was to exist under the British Crown.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
said that if Lord Kimberley did not give that pledge, what was the object of the noble Lord the Under Secretary saying that "he gave a pledge and we must stick to it"? That Lord Kimberley never intended to give such a pledge was evidenced by Sir Lloyd Mathews himself—the local agent by whose words they were supposed to be bound—who had declared that all he said was in regard to law and religion, and that he did not say anything with regard to the question of slavery. That was not a pledge, he submitted, which should bind the House in regard to this matter. But, even if the pledge existed, there was an alternative—to compensate the owners, and so to get rid of slavery. And, rather than that slavery should exist under the British flag, he should be prepared, even under present financial difficulties, to pay any matter of compensation, within reasonable limits, that might be necessary in order to get rid of this curse to society. It was idle to suggest that the Sultan of Zanzibar was a difficulty or stumbling block in this matter, because when two years ago it was desired to promulgate the law of 1889 to which the Sultan objected, as he thought it would make his position more difficult, the British Government promulgated the law over his head. The Government, if they were really earnest in this matter, ought to have come down to the House and made some proposal in regard to it. He did not desire to make this matter a party question, but he could not help expressing his profound regret at the tone of the speech of the noble Lord. He had hoped that the noble Lord might have broken through the traditions of the Foreign Office in this matter, and he still hoped that when he had been longer in the office he so worthily filled they might 1040 be able to welcome him as a convert to the principle of the immediate and rapid emancipation of the slaves, both on the islands and on the mainland, and that he would remove a grave scandal from the British name.
§ MR. THOMAS BAYLEY (Derbyshire, Chesterfield)
said that it was perfectly plain from the letters in the Blue-book issued upon this subject that slavery was largely due to the absence of men-of-war in these waters. He would like to know why those men-of-war were removed; they were the police of these seas, and money had been voted by the country to retain them there, and they had no business to be removed. In his opinion a census should be taken of all the inhabitants of these islands, both those who were free and those who were not, showing what privileges each person had. It would not be an expensive thing to do, and a great deal of useful information would be thereby obtained with regard to slavery in the islands. The Committee had not heard in this debate quite so much from the noble Lord as from his predecessors in the office which he held as to what the Mohammedan feeling was with regard to slavery. It was an extraordinary fact that a similar State with a native government—the State of Egypt—was far in advance of the Foreign Office with regard to this matter. Egypt, with the assistance of the Mohammedans, had abolished slavery. They had a small corps of armed men whose duty it was to suppress what little slavery there was, and he would like to know why nothing of a corresponding nature was being done in this part of Africa. The Government were not spending a penny in the suppression of slavery, and they were very far behind public opinion in this matter with regard to what was going on in these two islands. If Lord Cromer was in the position of Foreign Secretary for three days they would see an entirely different view taken of the slave trade in Zanzibar and Pemba. All right-minded Mohammedans were against it, and if the noble Lord inquired of Lord Cromer with regard to this matter he would find that their opinion was in favour of England going further than it was going to-day, and that we were holding back when we ought to be leading the way to liberty.
§ MR O'SHEE (Waterford, W.)
said that it seemed to him absurd not to grant freedom to a slave except he was able to show that if he were free he could procure a domicile apart from that which he had as a slave, and also that he should have to show a means of subsistence. The essence of slavery was that the slave had no means except those of his master. It was one of the extraordinary instances of British administration in Zanzibar and Pemba that the slave should have to show that these two things were in his possession before he could succeed in getting his manumission. The most extraordinary part of the noble Lord's speech was that in which he relied in a great measure, for freeing the slaves in these regions of East Africa, upon the making of the Uganda Railway. Already something like £5,000,000 had been spent upon that great and ghastly failure, and no good had been done. If that sum had been devoted directly to the freeing of slaves, he had no doubt whatever that it would have immediately freed the 50,000 slaves which existed in these islands. If the noble Lord instead of attempting to cure slavery by a railway—the only result of which was to enable German merchants to send up inferior and poisonous spirits to these unfortunate people—had expended the money directly towards the freeing of the slaves, the best results might have been obtained. The noble Lord had said that the vice of slavery existed in the uncontrolled power of one man over another, which promoted cruelty and immorality, and he pointed out that where a case of cruelty was brought before
§ the courts, at once as a punishment all the slaves of that man who had been guilty of cruelty were set free. Such a penalty as that would undoubtedly tend to bring about the evils to which the noble Lord referred. It was absurd that for a case of cruelty to one slave such a penalty should be enforced, when no attempt was made in any way by the enforcement of the law to bring about the freedom of the slaves of the neighbour of the man whose slaves had teen freed. He thought the speech of the noble Lord had been characterised by the hon. Member for Poplar, who showed that the Government had tried first to do nothing at all, and secondly to. delay as long as possible doing anything. He did not think it was fair that the officials who administered the law out there should have blame cast upon them. The difficulty was that provision had to be made for the slaves, and if that had to be done the British Government would have to be prepared to put their hands into their pockets and find the money to pay a certain sum for each slave freed, that would be sufficient to carry out the promise which was supposed to have been given that the right of property in slaves was recognised, and if in addition something was given to the slaves themselves in order that they might obtain a domicile, he thought the Government would be spending their money far more wisely than in prosecuting this ghastly failure of the Uganda Railway.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 90; Noes, 132. (Division List No. 343.)1043
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Boulnois, Edmund||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry|
|Aird, Sir John||Brassey, Albert||Cohen, Benjamin Louis|
|Balcarres, Lord||Buxton Sydney Charles||Colville, John|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Caldwell, James||Cripps, Charles Alfred|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Dunn, Sir William|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Kimber, Henry||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Lambert, George||Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Macartney,Rt.Hn.W.G.Ellison||Strachey, Edward|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Milton, Viscount||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S.W.)||More, Robt. Jasp. (Shropshire)||Ure, Alexander|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Morton,ArthurH.A.(Deptford||Welby,Lt.-Col.A.C.E.(Taunton|
|Heath,ArthurHoward(Hanley||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Heath,James(Staffords,N.W.)||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Renshaw, Charles Bine||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Charles Douglas and Mr. Hozier.|
|Joicey, Sir James||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Kemp, George||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Dewar,T.R.(T'rH'mlets,S.Geo||Kennedy, Patrick James|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Kinloch, Sir J. George Smyth|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Dimsdale, Sir Joseph Cockfield||Knowles, Lees|
|Anstruther, H. T.||Donelan, Captain A.||Labouchere, Henry|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Doogan, P. C.||Law, Andrew Bonar|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Dorington, Sir John Edward||Lawson, John Grant|
|Asher, Alexander||Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Layland-Barratt, Francis|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Duffy, William J.||Leamy, Edmund|
|Austin, Sir John||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Lee,ArthurH.(Hants,Fareham|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Elibank, Master of||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Emmott, Alfred||Long,Col.CharlesW.(Evesham)|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Long,Rt.Hn.Walter(Bristol, S.|
|Balfour,RtHnGerald W. (Leeds||Evans, Sir Francis H (Maidstone||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Fardell, Sir T. George||Lough, Thomas|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Lowther, Rt. Hon. James (Kent)|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Ffrench, Peter||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Field, William||Lundon, W.|
|Bell, Richard||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Bignold, Arthur||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Maconochie, A. W.|
|Bill, Charles||Flavin, Michael Joseph||M'Cann, James|
|Boland, John||Flower, Ernest||M'Dermott, Patrick|
|Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex)||Flynn, James Christopher||M'Kenna, Reginald|
|Brown, Alexander H. (Shropsh.||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)|
|Cameron, Robert||Gilhooly, James||Mansfield, Horace Rendall|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasg'w||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Mitchell, William|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'rH'ml'ts||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon||Mooney, John J.|
|Carew, James Laurence||Greene, Sir EW (B'rySEdmunds||Morgan, David J. (Walthamstow|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.||Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm.||Morton, Edw. J.C. (Devonport)|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Harrington, Timothy||Mount, William Arthur|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Murphy, John|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Hayden, John Patrick||Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Newdigate, Francis Alexander|
|Chapman, Edward||Healy, Timothy Michael||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Heaton, John Henniker||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
|Coddington, Sir William||Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary, Mid|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Horner, Frederick William||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Crean, Eugene||Horniman, Frederick John||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Crombie, John William||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Hoult, Joseph||O'Dowd, John|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Howard, John (Kent, Favers'm)||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Cullinan, J.||Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham)||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.|
|Cust, Henry John C.||Johnston, William (Belfast)||O'Malley, William|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles]||Jones, David Brynmor (Swans'a||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||O'Shee, James John|
|Delany, William||Joyce, Michael||Palmer, Sir Chas. M. (Durham|
|Dewar, JohnA.(Inverness-sh.)||Kay-Shuttleworth,RtHn.SirU||Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington|
|Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Russell, T. W.||Tully, Jasper|
|Percy, Earl||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Valentia, Viscount|
|Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert||Wallace, Robert|
|Power, Patrick Joseph||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)||Walrond,Rt.Hn.Sir William H.|
|Purvis, Robert||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Pym, C. Guy||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel||Wason, Eugene Clackmannan|
|Randles, John S.||Shipman, Dr. John G.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Sinclair,CaptJohn(Forfarshire||Weir, James Galloway|
|Ratcliff, R. F.||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||White, Luke (Yorks, E. R.)|
|Rea, Russell||Smith, H. C (North'mb. Tynesi'e||Whiteley, Geo. (York. W. R.)|
|Reddy, M.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Redmond, John E. (Waterford||Spear, John Ward||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Redmond, William (Clare)||Spenecer,Rt.Hn.C.R(Northants||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Reid, James (Greenock)||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Rickett, J. Compton||Sullivan, Donal||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh., N.|
|Ridley,Hon.M.W.(Stalybridge||Taylor, Theodore Cooke||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Ridley,S.Forde(Bethnal Green)||Tennant, Harold John||Young, Samuel|
|Rigg, Richard||Thomas, Able (Carmarthen, E.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)||Thompson,DrEC(Monaghan N||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Cameron Corbett and Sir John Stirling-Maxwell|
|Roe, Sir Thomas||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Ropner, Colonel Robert||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.||Donelan, Captain A.||Kinloch, Sir John George S.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Doogan, P. C.||Leamy, Edmund|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Duffy, William J.||Lundon, W.|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.|
|Bell, Richard||Evans, S. T. (Glamorgan)||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Boland, John||Fenwick, Charles||M'Dermott, Patrick|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Ffrench, Peter||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Field, William||Mansfield, Horace Rendall|
|Burns, John||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Mooney, John J.|
|Buxton, Sidney Charles||Flynn, James Christopher||Murphy, John|
|Caldwell, James||Gilhooly, James||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Newnes, Sir George|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Griffith, Ellis J.||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Harrington, Timothy||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipp'r' ry, Mid|
|Colville, John||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Crean, Eugene||Horniman, Frederick John||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Cullinan, J.||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Joyce, Michael||O'Donnell, John (Mayo. S.)|
|Delany, William||Kennedy, Patrick James||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|O'Dowd, John||Redmond, J. E. (Waterford)||Weir, James Galloway|
|O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Redmond, William (Clare)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|O'Kelly, J. (Roscommon, N.)||Rickett, J. Compton||White, Patrick (Meath, N.)|
|O'Malley, William||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)|
|O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|O'Shee, James John||Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarsh.)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Partington, Oswald||Sullivan, Donal||Young, Samuel|
|Power, Patrick Joseph||Taylor, Theodore Cooke||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Charles Dilke and Mr. Joseph A. Pease.|
|Rea, Russell||Tully, Jasper|
|Reddy, M.||Wallace, Robert|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.|
|Allhusen, Augustus Henry E.||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Fisher, Wm. Hayes||Mount, William Arthur|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Fitzroy, Hon. Edw. Algernon||Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Foster, Philip S. (Warwick S W.||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath|
|Bain, Col. James Robert||Gardner, Ernest||Newdigate, Francis Alex.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds||Goschen, Hon. Geo. Joachim||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B.||Gretton, John||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Guthrie, Walter Murray||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Bigwood, James||Hamilton, Rt Hn Ld. G. (Midd'x||Purvis, Robert|
|Bill, Charles||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Pym, C. Guy|
|Bond, Edward||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Randles, John S.|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Rasch, Maj. Frederic Carne|
|Bousfield, Wm. Robert||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hn. St. John||Heath, Arthur H. (Hanley)||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Bull, William James||Heath, James (Staffs., N. W.)||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Hermon-Hodge, Robt. Trotter||Renwick, George|
|Butcher, John George||Hope, J. F (Sheffield, Brightside||Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green|
|Cavendish. V. C. W (Derbyshire||Hoult, Joseph||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Robinson, Brooke|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Chamberlain J. Austen (Worc'r||Keswick, William||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alex.|
|Charrington, Spencer||Knowles, Lees||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Laurie, Lieut. General||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Law, Andrew Bonar||Spear, John Ward|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Lawson, John Grant||Stauley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Colston, Chas. E. H. Athole||Lee, A. H. (Hants, Fareham)||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Long, Rt Hn Walter (Bristol, S.)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Lowe, Francis William||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsm'th)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Macdona, John Cumming||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Maconochie, A. W.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Majendie, James A. H.||Wason, John C. (Orkney)|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Malcolm, Ian||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Manners, Lord Cecil||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Moon, Edward Robt. Pacy||Younger, William|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Morgan, David J. (Walthamst.|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Morrell, George Herbert|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)
wished to impress upon the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the desirability of obtaining fuller consular reports with regard to the commercial aspects of Borneo. The island, which was capable of great developments, was very rich in timber, tobacco, and coal, and something like a hundred miles of railway would shortly be finished. One of the bays afforded the finest anchorage in the world for ships of war, and might be 1044 made an important coaling station. An illustration of a system to which he had before objected was afforded by this Vote. The consul at Borneo received a salary of £400, but the altogether disproportionate amount of £200 was added for office expenses. Further, under the heading of Brazil, the consul received £800 as salary, and £200 were given as a "personal allowance." What was the meaning of that? If the official was worth £1,000 a year he should be paid that sum as salary. The system of making personal allowances was a bad 1045 one, and should be discontinued. The same thing occurred with regard to the consul at Para, and as a protest against the practice he moved to reduce the Vote by £200.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
said he was aware of the hon. Member's interest in Borneo, because a few days previously he had asked a question with regard to a railway extension there. He could assure him that he had the greatest desire to promote the commercial interests of this country, and would, if necessary, use the diplomatic and consular service to that end. With the greatest pleasure, therefore, he would undertake to consider the possibilities of Borneo and our consular relations with that island, with a view to its commercial development. As to the hon. Member's criticism of the office allowances, he thought the amount in this case was neither excessive nor unprecedented. He thought if the hon. Member glanced down he would see it was not altogether surprising, because if it was looked into carefully it would be found that there would be one clerk and sometimes more, and a clerk could not be got for nothing even in Borneo. The hon. Member criticised the £200 a year personal allowance for the consul at Para. This personal allowance was really made in the interests of economy. It was made to a gentleman whose services the Foreign Office were anxious to retain, but who was entitled, because he had held a place at the salary which he now enjoys previously, to a higher salary than is actually proposed. The question, therefore, which the Foreign Office had to consider was whether they should raise the general salary of the post, and in many cases such a proceeding would be not only a pity but most uneconomical, or whether in this particular case they should make a personal allowance, which was not only in the interests of economy but also in the interests of the taxpayer, because the salary of the office was retained at the old figure, and in that way a permanent and undue burden was not put upon the taxpayer.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said that it was impossible to explain more clearly than the noble Lord had done the principle upon which the Foreign Office acted in this matter. The principle was to give a man £1,000 a year in order to maintain 1046 a doctrine that he ought to have £800 a year the extra £200 was given as a special personal allowance, and would be left out on another occasion. He hoped that the hon. Member would be satisfied with that explanation.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said that if the hon. Member proposed to withdraw the Amendment he had nothing further to say, but if the explanation of the noble Lord was not satisfactory he wished to dwell upon it a little.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid)
thought the noble Lord had given a very imaginary view of the way in which this man got his £200. He did not gather from the noble Lord what the real reason was, because the noble Lord had only said that there were cases where it might be advisable to give an extra £200. That was not the sort of answer the Committee expected from a Minister of the Crown; they wanted the particulars of this special case.
§ MR. WEIR
said he regretted that time had been wasted by the hon. Member for King's Lynn in trying to fight the battle of the noble Lord. He had desired to rise directly the noble Lord sat down, in order to say that he accepted the explanation, although he did not consider that it was a satisfactory method of conducting business. That being so, he begged leave to withdraw his Amendment.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
May I call your attention, Sir, to the fact that there are not forty Members present?
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
I have recently satisfied myself that forty Members are within the precincts of the House. With regard to the Amendment of the hon. Member, as I did not put the hon. Member's motion formally, I shall now put the original question.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £210, 049, be granted to His Majesty, to complete 1047 the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1902, for Grants-in-aid of the Expenses of the British Protectorates in Uganda and in Central and East Africa, and under the Uganda Railway Act, 1896 and 1900"
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE
said he was always one of those who were glad to get on to these Votes, because, under the present rule, it was to the advantage of the Committee generally, and independent Members in particular, that they should have an opportunity of discussing the most interesting Votes in Committee. Three out of the four items contained in this Vote were Foreign Office cripples, and made very large demands upon the public purse, and for reasons which would not bear very strict investigation those demands were increasing. Central Africa had very little history; it was a very small protectorate which had only recently been extended to large districts around it. He was afraid that in those large districts troubles would eventually arise, but they had not yet arisen. The other three were especial cripples of the Foreign Office. The Votes for Uganda, East Africa, and the Uganda Railway made enormous demands upon the public purse which were increasing. On this occasion he proposed to call attention to the first of these three items, the Vote for Uganda, and the reason for the reduction he proposed to move in respect of that item was because, although the Foreign Office had had in their possession for a considerable time the full Report of their Special Commissioner, Sir H. Johnston, they had not yet presented it to the House. On that Report alone could this special Vote for Uganda be defended, but all that they had seen was Sir H. Johnston's short preliminary Report made in July of last year. The Foreign Office could have had no difficulties with their printers, who were established in the basement of their own building, and were entirely under their control, and the Committee ought to have all the information before them before this Vote was asked for. It could not be said of Uganda, as was said in the case of the Niger Coast Protectorate, that Parliament gave no grants-in-aid, and that 1048 therefore we need not refer to it because it paid its own expenses, for from our first connection with Uganda we had always given grants-in-aid. Sir Harry Johnston declared Uganda to be very unhealthy in many parts, and he pointed to the enormous decrease in the population of the territory, which of itself was a severe reproach upon Foreign Office administration, which he said was due to civil war, invasion, and famine, which latter had recently caused from 4,000 to 6,000 deaths. In South Africa, under British rule, the population had largely increased. In Sir Harry Johnston's opinion the country ought to provide £165,000 by taxation, but he was doubtful whether more than £15,000 or £20,000 would be got. But the general drawback to the development of Uganda was a much larger one. The market for tropical produce was very limited as compared with the enormous areas of the countries from which it was derived. If tropical produce was only saleable at such prices that we were unable to make it pay in the case of the West Indies, it seemed to him that we should never make it pay in countries which had to rely on land carriage for enormous distances. It was out of the question to speak of leaving Uganda, but those who knew the country said that the British East African administration was crippling the administration of Uganda, and they were in favour of the amalgamation of the two Protectorates. He had one practical suggestion to make Men who had seen most of the country during the last two years were of opinion that a kind of war was going on between the two Foreign Office Protectorates, and he himself believed that the best thing they could now do was to secure the strongest and ablest man whose services they could command, and send him out to govern Uganda and British East Africa, abolishing the nominal frontier between the two Protectorates. It seemed to him that in the long run the upper country must be under the same control as the coast line, and he thought the time had come to have effect given to that. He begged to move the reduction of the Vote by £100.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item A (Uganda, Grant-in-Aid) be reduced by £100."—(Sir Charles Dilke.)1049
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said he thought the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean was perfectly justified in what he had said about the Vote being brought on without any information being available to the Committee. He himself could not understand why that particular Vote should have been put down, as it could very well have been postponed until the Report had been issued. He was bound to say that unless the noble Lord gave some more satisfactory reason as to why the Report was so long in his hands—in fact, he was not sure it was not at that moment under his eye—he should feel in honour bound to vote with the right hon. Baronet. The Committee was entitled to a certain amount of respect, and it was not treating it with respect to withhold such a Report. He had two other reasons for opposing the Vote. He had always been an enemy of the Vote, on whichever side of the House he sat. In the first place, he objected to putting on the Foreign Office, which was organised for negotiation and had to discharge the fine network of duties connected with it, the entirely different work of administration. Conquest administration and railway administration were all bound up in Uganda, and he did not know why it came under the Foreign Office at all. He thought that even the Foreign Office was not capable of discharging all the duties of the State. He believed the Foreign Office performed its proper duties—negotiations, protocols, treaties, conventions and such like—with a certain amount of ability, and there had been even Foreign Office successes of a most remarkable kind once or twice in a century; but there had never been a Foreign Office success in the work of administration, for which it was never intended. He expected that one of the things the noble Lord proposed would be that the Foreign Office should be relieved of work that did not properly belong to it, and he had some hope that the noble Lord would announce in his reply that that was the last occasion on which the Foreign Office would be responsible for the affairs of Uganda, and that they would be handed over to a department less capable of negotiation but more capable of administration. He had another objection to the Vote. The Vote was a grant- 1050 in-aid given for a specific purpose. It amounted to £172,000, but if any portion of it was not expended for that purpose it was not to be returned. He really thought that was the most modest announcement which even the Foreign Office had ever made to the House of Commons. It took a sum, not a small, sum, for a specific purpose, and it then said that if it were not all expended a farthing of it would not be returned. That was in itself a very serious financial objection to the Vote. He maintained that any portion of a grant-in-aid which was not expended for the purpose for which it was voted should be returned to the Exchequer. Accordingly he had the greatest possible objection to passing the Vote in its proper form. He hoped the noble Lord would be able to give some satisfactory explanation with reference to the absence of the Report, without which they could not possibly discuss the Vote, and without some explanation as to the action of the Foreign Office in asking for a sum of £172,000, and reserving to itself the right to expend it or not expend it, he should be compelled to oppose the Vote.
§ MR. CHARLES HOBHOUSE
said it was grossly unfair that this Vote should be taken at a period of the financial year when Members of the House of Commons were obviously unable to discuss it. One solitary piece of consolation in connection with the Vote which appeared to have escaped the notice of hon. Gentlemen opposite was that there was a decrease of £32,000 for the current year. With that exception it was the most unsatisfactory Vote yet presented to be House. Being deprived of information from the sources from which they were entitled to get it, they were thrown back on sources of information which could not be altogether satisfactory, such as past reports and newspaper and magazine articles. He gathered that, so far from encouraging free settlements in Uganda the practice prevailed, whether it was to obtain revenue or to check the too abundant influx of population he could not tell, of making a charge of £10 per acre for the land placed at the disposal of settlers. If that was the practice he could not conceive any source of revenue more objectionable in itself, or more productive of delaying the prosperity of this particular 1051 place. It appeared that the country had not been thoroughly and accurately surveyed. The inconveniences and disasters which had been experienced in the South African War had arisen through the absence of proper surveys of the territories, which ought to have been made years ago. We might at no far distant date find ourselves engaged in war without proper surveys of the territory referred to in this Vote. It was quite certain that some portions of Uganda were suitable for the growth of cereals and the same kinds of food which we could boast of in this country. He hoped that the money which many Members of the House granted very reluctantly to the Government for Uganda would be employed, not so much in punitive expeditions, but in increasing the natural products of the soil which would, at however distant a date, give some return.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
said he was quite ready to apologise to the Committee for the absence of the Reports, but the suspicions which were entertained in that matter by many hon. and right hon. Gentlemen were entirely unfounded. He assured the Committee that every attempt had been made to have the Report of Sir Harry Johnston ready in time; but he had not seen the Report, and the Secretary of State had not seen it. The Report had been presented about a week ago, but it had not been considered. It was regarded as a matter of great importance, even by the Foreign Office itself, and he did not think that the House of Commons would charge him with keeping it back. He did not deny that there was great inconvenience in discussing the Uganda Vote without that Report, but he could assure the Committee that there was no malign intention on his part to withhold the information. It was not true to say that the Department was without knowledge on this subject. The gentleman who was at the head of this Department in the Foreign Office had recently himself been to the Protectorate in order to study the question on the spot. He had also visited Somaliland, and he had placed at their disposal all the information he had collected. He, therefore, thought the criticism was unfortunate at the present moment, when they had in this country 1052 Sir Harry Johnston himself, who had special knowledge of the South African question. The state of things in Uganda was, on the whole, he thought, very hopeful, and, so far as one could judge at an early stage, very satisfactory. Did the Committee realise how early it was? Did they imagine that after eight years existence they could speak of it with absolute confidence as to the future? But, as far as matters stood, the revenue of the year just closed was far higher than it was expected to be. The expenditure was gradually decreasing. The revenue for 1901 was £66,000. That was a very trifling sum when contrasted with the figures dealt with in the British Empire, but it was, he believed, the small beginning of what would be a great empire. They were only asking £174,000 this year, as against £200,000 last year. The right hon. Baronet who criticised the operations in Uganda had said that the famines and so forth were very discreditable to the Foreign Office, but it should be remembered that effective control over Uganda had not yet been established, and that during the period when these famines and other disasters occurred the control of the administration was even less effective than it was at the present moment. The right hon. Baronet had declared that it was an unhealthy place.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
said a map of the country had been prepared on which the unhealthy parts were left white and the other districts were coloured different shades according as in Sir Harry Johnston's opinion they were more or less healthy. He found that about one-third of Uganda might be classed as very unhealthy, but there were many places where the climate resembled that of Scotland. There was a good deal of damp and mistiness, but, on the whole, healthy. Of course, not all the country was so high and healthy as that of which he had spoken; there was every variety of climate and produce. The list of productions included wheat, barley, oats, rice, potatoes, tomatoes, tobacco, grapes, coffee; rubber was abundant, splendid timber, fit for many purposes, the sugar cane thrived, oranges, lemons, mangoes, 1053 and many varieties of English vegetables; it was a good horse country, and the wild ass was indigenous.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
said there was everything man could desire in the vegetable and animal kingdoms. On the whole, Sir Harry Johnston gave a most encouraging account of the progress of Uganda in civilisation. He spoke of the great work the Anglican and Roman Catholic missionaries had done there, but, he added, it was not to be imagined that the nations of Uganda had none of the old Adam in their disposition since they accepted Christianity. Among the native population there was a thirst for information; men, women, and children learned to read, and several chiefs used typewriters. While Uganda was only under partial control it was not altogether safe to allow an influx of white settlers, but that period was rapidly passing away; and in the near future facilities for land settlement would be afforded to a much greater extent than hitherto. Punitive expeditions, of course, were to be deplored, both because of the lamentable loss of life and the check to administrative progress. They could not be avoided, and, with a view to their being conducted with more economy, the force in Uganda would be increased and organised in imitation of what had been done by the Colonial Office in West Africa. There was every reason to believe from the reports received that the duty we had inherited of governing and civilising great dependencies in various parts of the world would be beneficently exercised in the development of this great area in Africa.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
said the desire was that the Home Office Vote should be taken that day, but it was delayed because the report of the inspector was not ready. In regard to the Vote they were now discussing, they were in the same position, the necessary information not having been supplied to members. This was another instance of the extraordinary way in which the business of the House had been mismanaged and muddled this session. Votes fixed for certain days were post- 1054 poned, and other Votes were unexpectedly taken. He was not blaming the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, because he was not responsible for the arrangement of the business of the House. The information of the noble Lord was three years old. The policy of the Foreign Office in administering Uganda had been a policy of war and muddle—war against different tribes and muddle in administration. He certainly imagined that the punitive expeditions had been sent out by the Foreign Office because there had been some outrages, but it seemed that the Foreign Office had taken a leaf out of the book of the Colonial Secretary and had encouraged wars and had enjoyed them, and had considered them a feather in their cap, although they had cost such an enormous amount of expenditure of money to this country.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
The wars have not been wantonly undertaken. It is perfectly possible that, by discretion on the part of our representatives, the causes which render the punitive expeditions necessary may be avoided in future.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
said that he hoped that in these punitive expeditions in future they would have more experienced officers, and indeed that such punitive expeditions would not be rendered necessary at all. He was glad to hear the noble Lord say that the Government did not intend to enter into these punitive expeditions except where they were necessary. The noble Lord thought that they would be able to manage affairs with tact, patience, and discretion, and he was very glad to hear that the Foreign Office was going to carry out a different policy in the future, and that they were going to reduce these punitive expeditions. He knew that if there was any one who hated war, it was Sir Harry Johnston, and he was very glad to hear his views in regard to Uganda. Something had been said in regard to Uganda being like Scotland, and they hoped that there was some likelihood that, with the development of trade and industries in that country, some of the money they had muddled away over the Uganda Railway would result in 1055 some profit, and that they would be able to pluck a plum from the pie. He, however, recollected that Sir H. Johnston, in his Report, stated that the negroes were too lazy to do any work, that they were entirely naked, and that they did not want to be covered by our cloths. He was afraid, therefore, that the noble Lord was taking a too sanguine view of the future of Uganda. The total amount of the expenditure on Uganda was £65,000, and the revenue was only £15,000, and nothing had been said to show that this country should be under the control of the Foreign Office rather than that of the Colonial Office. The fact of the matter was that the Foreign office had spent something like seven millions sterling on Uganda, and that only eleven Europeans were settled in that vast territory. He would rather see it in the charge of the Colonial Office than of the Foreign Office if that was the rate at which the country was to be colonised. As to the question of the control over expenditure, it seemed to him that if ever there was any national expenditure which required full Treasury cantrol, it was this administrative expenditure of the Foreign Office. He ventured to say that no member of the House had any idea of the control of that expenditure. He was one of those who was prepared for any legitimate expenditure for the extension of the Empire, but he maintained that the expenditure in regard to Uganda and East Africa generally was not the sort of expenditure which attracted those who wished to see the country placed on a business footing.
§ MR. WILLIAM JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)
congratulated the noble Lord on the progress he had made in dealing with foreign affairs. The Opposition had been from the very first opposed to the taking over Uganda, to the making of the railway, and to any expenditure in developing the resources of that country. He was sorry that Sir Henry M. Stanley, who might be said to have discovered that country, was not now in the House, because he might have been able to show what a marvel had been achieved in extending civilisation in that country within the last ten years. The Report of Sir Harry Johnston showed what a development of the human race had 1056 taken place in that part of Africa. He did not often intervene in the debates of the House, and he trusted that he would be pardoned for saying these few words. He felt very strongly that in adding Uganda to the British Empire the nation had done good service to that territory, and had done something worthy of the British name and had added honour to the British flag.
§ MR. LAMBERT (Devonshire, South Molton)
said that the hon. Gentleman who spoke last was slightly inaccurate as to who had discovered Uganda. He rather thought that it was Adam, and not Sir Henry Stanley, that had discovered that country. They had been told by the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs that Uganda was a great cattle country, that it bred splendid horses and wild asses, that the air was very much like that of Scotland, and that some of the native chiefs employed typewriters; but he wondered whether these native chiefs used in their type-writing English or Ugandese? He must say that the remarks of his noble friend below him had thrown a considerable douche of cold water on the prospects of Uganda, especially when it was mentioned that the only European settlers were eleven Germans. He very much doubted whether this country would ever receive any real return for the expenditure of five millions on the Uganda Railway. He wished to express his appreciation of the manner in which the noble Lord had dealt with the matter. They had all enjoyed the noble Lord's speech, and he sincerely hoped that Uganda would turn out as well as the noble Lord expected it would do.
§ MR. O'MARA (Kilkenny, S.)
said that millions of money had been wasted on Uganda, and the reports received in regard to the prospects there were far from encouraging. He did not think that the expenditure on Uganda would be ever reproductive, and therefore he would vote for the reduction of that expenditure. The way the House had been kept in the dark in regard to the expenditure in Uganda was a scandal, and he doubted very much whether that country would ever repay any part of the money spent upon it. The money spent on Uganda was spent for the 1057 purpose of starting punitive expeditions, and not for starting settlements of Englishmen on the soil. He objected to this policy of supplementing the black nations by white people who were quite unsuited to take their place. Just imagine, there were only eleven Europeans in the country where we were spending five millions of pounds sterling! The noble Lord said that some five natives chiefs were using typewriters, but that was at the rate of a million of pounds apiece. The levity with which the noble Lord addressed himself to the question of the typewriters used by the native chiefs showed in what a careless way he regarded the public expenditure. He did not suppose that this country would ever expect to get more from Uganda than a few tusks of ivory. He thought that the £5,000,000 spent on the Uganda Railway might have been better spent in relieving the poor of Ireland than in trying to develop a swamp for eleven Europeans, including two Germans.
§ MR. MANSFIELD (Lincolnshire, Spalding)
said that the hon. Member for King's Lynn adopted many roles, but shone most conspicuously as a critic of the Government. He acted in this capacity so often, and with such success that he expected some day to find him sitting on the Opposition side. His case to-night was that the Foreign Office, by its traditions and habits, were unfit to administer a great province like Uganda, and the work ought to be relegated to a department whose forte was not so much diplomacy as administration. The noble Lord had answered this charge, and in doing so had completely proved the case. He told the Committee that Sir Harry Johnston's Report had been at the Foreign Office for a week, but that the Foreign Secretary had not seen it, and he himself had not seen it, and it was only on that day, when he saw a question on the Paper, that he had hurried it off to the printer. Surely this instance was enough to prove that the wheels of the Foreign Office moved too slowly, and they were unfit for the bustle of an administrative work. The noble Lord had deprecated criticism, because Sir Harry Johnston was in this country. It was to be hoped that when he called at the Foreign Office 1058 he would be treated with greater respect than his Report had been, and not kept waiting there a whole week before he received any attention at all. If the Foreign Office are to continue to administer Uganda, then something must be done to rouse the Foreign Office. He had been deeply interested in the Report read by the noble Lord as to the products of Uganda. They had heard of wild asses and orchids—sometimes they were associated—and they had heard of various useful and ornamental things which delighted the heart and nostrils of man. But what struck him most was to hear that the people of Uganda had a great thirst for education. He wondered whether a way might not here be found out of the difficulty we were in by sending Education Bill No. 2 to them. He was sure they would appreciate it much more than the people of this country do, and it would be a very happy way out of the difficulty. The Government does not know what to do with it; the country does not want it; and if we could make the Ugandese a present of it it might be very helpful to everyone.
COLONEL WILLIAMS (Dorsetshire, W.)
said the remarks of the hon. Member for South Kilkenny had only shown his ignorance of the condition of things in Uganda. No doubt upon the borders, where they got into the Congo Free State, the tribes were very debased, but that was not so with regard to the whole of the Protectorate. It had been said that there were not more than seven or eight Europeans in the whole of Uganda—seven or eight settlers. Of course there was no means of arriving at what number of settlers there were, but considering that there were thirty or forty European missionaries in Uganda, of whom a good many were ladies and laymen, and that there were a considerable number of French priests of the Roman Catholic faith—
§ MR. O'MARA
said that he had quoted from the same Report as the noble Lord had quoted from; they were then speaking of trade, and the noble Lord had given rather a sanguine view of the country; and he had pointed out that Sir Harry Johnston had said that there were only eleven European settlers—traders.
said the hon. Member spoke of the light way with which the subject had been treated by the noble Lord. The Committee would, perhaps, allow him to say that Uganda had a very great future before it. It was inhabited by a tribe which was the most intelligent in Central Africa—a tribe who had such a high state of civilisation of their own that the Commissioner had intrusted to them a large part of the administration of the country. They were a people who took naturally to learning, and who not only educated themselves as far as they could, but had a great desire to spread that education amongst their neighbours. He believed if we could only get hold of this people by following up the efforts that had been made by missionary societies during the last ten years, we should establish in Uganda a state of things which would be of the greatest advantage to the Empire. It had been stated that the Protectorate was nothing but a swamp. It was nothing of the kind. A great part of the country, so far from being a swamp, lay at an altitude in which Europeans could live and work, and if there were now only a few settlers the reason was that the cost of transport to the coast was so great. When the railway was finished, in connection with which mistakes had no doubt been made, it would bring down to the coast a large mass of produce which would be extremely valuable, and would make the province a real outlet for our surplus population, and be another Cape Colony in its credit to England.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare, E.)
said he should not have intervened in this discussion but for the remarks of the last speaker, who had charged his hon. friend the Member for South Kilkenny with a certain amount of ignorance. There were some points, however, upon which the Irish could not be accused of ignorance. They knew that millions were being spent out there without any return, whilst at home they found the greatest difficulty in getting a few pounds to promote any useful purpose, and that they were always called upon to pay their share of this useless expenditure. There was no ignorance on those points, and he considered that the protest of the hon. 1060 Member for South Kilkenny was amply justified.
said he did not suggest that the hon. Member did not know all about Ireland he suggested he was ignorant of Uganda.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
contended that so long as Ireland was called upon to pay her share of this expenditure Irish Members were justified in protesting against it. He was surprised that the hon. Member for South Belfast should have approved of this expenditure, because the hon. Gentleman, although he did not agree with Nationalist Members, must be aware that while Ireland required so much to be done to develop her resources it was so very difficult to obtain any assistance from the Government for that purpose, and that being so it was most unjust to ask Ireland to contribute so much from the Irish point of view. If the Government were so anxious to develop Uganda and spread civilisation and education in that Protectorate, they were quite entitled to do so, but they should do it at their own expense; though the people in Ireland were benighted enough to believe that the people in Uganda would be very much better off if left to themselves. They believed that the pursuance of the policy of the Government must result in the future, as it had done in the past, in the shedding of blood and the greatest injustice to the people. England could not expect everybody on the face of the globe to accept the British ideas of civilisation, and he believed that if left to themselves these people would be infinitely better off than if they were dragooned into accepting the British system of civilisation. But if England persisted they must pay for it. Irish Members protested because they would not go back to their own constituencies and admit that while they were unable to obtain money to develop Ireland they were obliged to vote large sums to develop Uganda. The whole expenditure on Uganda was worse than useless. Millions were being expended on a railway from nowhere to nowhere, which would never make any return for the enormous sums spent upon it, and yet these grants were made when money was wanted so badly at home. He was 1061 astonished at the action taken by those who claimed for themselves that they were the representatives of the democracy of this country. If ever there was a case in which the Liberal party ought to come down and oppose at every stage, it was this Vote. Yet, although they were voting a £200,000 grant for Uganda there was not a single protest from any Member of the Liberal party. Some of them, he believed, were dining out somewhere. If they would give up these new-fangled ideas of dining out, and would come down to their places and protest against such expenditure as this, the country would be better pleased. The speech of the noble Lord had reminded him very much of the speech of an auctioneer who wished to dispose to advantage of an undesirable property, and had discoursed upon all the advantages that he could possibly find in it. He was also reminded by that speech of a lady in one of Dickens's novels named Mrs. Jelly by, who neglected her home, her children, and her own work in order that she might apply herself with all her heart and soul to raising up the natives of the district of Borrioboola-Gha, in Africa. That was what the Government were doing; they were neglecting all their duties at home, and the whole energies of the Foreign Office and Colonial were directed, not to the interests of the British people, but to the inhabitants of this Borrioboola-Gha—Uganda. He was reminded of another creation of Charles Dickens's by the speech of the noble Lord. He was reminded of the interesting gentleman who induced Martin Chuzzlewit and Mark Tapley to go to the City of Eden, a city which "offered large opportunities for young men of energy." He ventured to say that anybody who was deluded by the promises held out by the noble Lord with reference to Uganda would have the same awakening with regard to that country which Martin Chuzzlewit and Mark Tapley had with regard to Eden when they set foot in that city. This matter was being treated as if it were only a small matter, but as a matter of fact it was a very serious one, involving an annual expenditure of something like £200,000 by way of grants in aid and of £5,000,000 sterling for a railway which up to the present had given no return whatever for the money already expended. 1062 These Protectorates were the very things which weakened the British Empire. The British Empire was wide enough as it was, and it would be infinitely better if the Government concentrated their attention upon developing and defending and looking after territories which were naturally theirs and inhabited by white people in every quarter of the globe, than pursuing their present policy with regard to Uganda, which involved the expenditure of millions of money upon a country unsuitable in climate for Europeans, and upon a people unsuited to British civilisation. He protested against such wasteful and wanton expenditure.
§ MR. WEIR
said that no one would charge the noble Lord with lack of courage with regard to this matter. He had performed a feat the like of which had never been witnessed during the last ten years. The noble Lord had come down and spoken for forty minutes with an old Report in his hand. Why was not the Committee supplied with the Commissioners' last Report? Why did not he give Sir Harry Johnston the opportunity of sitting in the Distinguished Strangers' Gallery to listen to the debate raised upon his Report? The proper thing to do would be to withdraw Item A from discussion altogether until the Report of Sir Harry Johnston is in the hands of the Committee. It is unfair to the Committee that business should be conducted in this manner. He objected to nearly £200,000 going to Uganda when he could not get even a little money to provide a suitable steamer for the Stornoway mail service. The noble Lord had drawn a picture of a brilliant future for Uganda. He had said that it would be great and prosperous, and that we should do a large trade. The right hon. Baronet who had moved the reduction had informed the Committee that the population was diminishing. Under those circumstances would the noble Lord make some inquiries, and see whether that statement was correct, because he could only assume that if it were so the Germans were pouring their poisonous gin, rum, and whisky into the country. The noble Lord drew a charming picture, and likened the country to that of Scotland, but he would point out that the mountains of Scotland did not produce 1063 wild asses. It was said that the protectorates would be opened up to trade in manufactured goods; but if the people went about in the state of Adam and Eve before the fall, what goods would they purchase? He did not see how the magnificent trade which was spoken of was to be opened up. The noble Lord said that wheat and barley and oats would be obtained from the country, but as long as they allowed poisonous drink from Germany to be imported, the wheat, the barley, and the oats would be exchanged for drink. He hoped the system of education would be conducted differently from what it was in some parts of the Highlands of Scotland. Imagine a Uganda child being sent to a school to be taught English without anyone to interpret the meaning of it? That was the policy which was undertaken by the Government in many parts, including, he might mention, Malta. He would appeal to the First Lord of the Treasury to remember the home of his childhood—
§ MR. WEIR
said his contention was that the large sum of money which was being expended might be used to better advantage in Scotland or Ireland. It was a wicked thing to sink £5,000,000 in Uganda. The noble Lord put forward an old Report in order to throw dust in the eyes of the Committee. It was unfair and unjust to ask the poor crofters and fishermen he represented to pay their quota of the enormous sum expended year after year by the Government, who would not take the advice of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the matter of economy.
MR. J. W. WILSON (Worcestershire, N.)
said he could not help thinking that while they had had many amusing speeches during the evening they had had very little help or criticism with regard to the future of Uganda, for which this country was responsible. From what they had heard during the last five or six years, he believed there was a great future for Uganda, and especially for the railway. But the whole subject had been a great bone of contention 1064 between parties in the House. It was not confined to the party now in power; it went back to the time when the party opposite were in power; and the same criticisms that they had heard during the evening were then employed. With reference to the detestable form of slavery which all Englishmen felt was a disgrace in any British possession, he had heard many discussions on the subject during the short time he had been in the House. But he must say that successive Under Secretaries for Foreign Affairs had not impressed many hon. Members with the administrative power that they had brought to bear on it. The question of slavery had been already discussed, and many hon. Members thought that they had had a very unsatisfactory answer from the noble Lord. His short experience showed him that whether a Liberal or a Conservative happened to be in charge of these great Protectorates, it did not seem to rest with the Minister but with the Department, and he felt it was time that the administration of these great possessions should be taken from the Foreign Office, which was a diplomatic office, having plenty to do with European and other complications, and put under the Colonial Office. They had had much to convince them in the administration of the Colonial Office that affairs could not be managed worse and would be managed very much better by an office and staff accustomed to administration, rather than by an office and staff that did not seem to be able to get hold of the executive power of administration that was required. That was the conclusion he had derived from the history of the last ten years. The subject had always been a bone of contention between the two parties in the House, and he felt that the reply of the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs was a further illustration of that. He hoped, however, that a change would be brought about before long.
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE
said that unless some hon. Member desired to divide on the Vote he did not intend to press the motion to a division. He appealed to hon. Members to have a division at once if they desired it, in order that the discussion might be directed to the next item.
§ MR. O'MARA
said that his statement that the net result of all the expenditure under the Vote had been that eleven traders had settled in Uganda had been challenged. An hon. Gentleman opposite had stated that there were also from thirty to forty missionaries in the country—but would they be regarded as a financial asset? Sir Henry Colville, in his very interesting book on Uganda, stated that the missionaries were partly Roman Catholic and partly Protestant, that the inhabitants were equally divided between the sects, and that they spent their time in fighting each other, with the result that Uganda was no better than Belfast on the 12th of July. The missionaries were not a financial asset, and the only result of the expenditure was the settling down of eleven traders. That result, in his opinion, did not justify the expenditure.
§ SIR FRANCIS EVANS (Maidstone)
said he deprecated anything that had been said against the Uganda Protectorates. His business was connected with the East Coast of Africa, and he wished to say that he upheld in every particular all that had been done by the Government to develop that country. There was an enormous country stretching away from Mombasa to the lakes, and England would be foolish in the extreme if she allowed the chance of developing it to escape her. There was not a step taken in connection with the Uganda Railway or the development of the Protectorates that he was not in hearty sympathy with. It was his business to know something of the country and its coast, and he was sorry to have heard remarks deprecating the small expenditure that had been incurred. [An HON. MEMBER: Seven millions!] What was seven millions? Why, the interest was only £150,000 a year. What was that compared with the great wealth that lay behind the coast? They who were only too anxious to run along that coast and benefit by the trade coming down to it, would say that England would be most foolish indeed if she had abandoned that great country. There had never been a wiser policy followed by any Government than the policy of expending money on the Uganda Railway. He knew very well that fault had been found 1066 with that expenditure, which, however, was as nothing compared with the revenue that would be derived from the country. He hoped that nothing more would be said against the action of the Government. When the Government were at fault no one was more ready than he was to oppose them, but when they were right, when they were pursuing a wise policy and doing the best they could for the Empire they ought to be supported. He did not agree with the Government in all things, but he agreed with them in reference to Uganda. Let them go on as they were going and the Empire would receive much greater benefit than could be measured by the amount of the expenditure.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
said that the speech of the hon. Gentleman compelled him to say a few words by way of rejoinder. The hon. Gentleman from his point of view might be perfectly right and perhaps, as he had forecasted, great benefit would result to England from that expenditure. But why should his poor constituents in Clare be asked to embark a single shilling in the enterprise. The hon. Gentleman said, after all, what was £150,000? From the English point of view that might be all very well, but his constituents were not in a position to talk in that lordly way. Let them develop the Empire and build railways in every hole and corner in Africa and make markets, but let them not in the name of common fairness and honesty ask the poverty stricken people of Ireland, who found it hard enough to make both ends meet, to bear part of the expenditure. After all, Ireland never expected to get the slightest return for the expenditure. He did not object to the hon. Gentleman's wealthy, magnificent point of view, but it was quite different with the people of Ireland, who were hard put to it to keep body and soul together. If England wanted to pursue that policy, let her pay the expense herself, and not be mean enough to ask Ireland to bear a share of it.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 77; Noes, 169. (Division List No. 344.)1069
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork,N.E.)||Gilhooly, James||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Glouc., Stroud||Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Dowd, John|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Harrington, Timothy||O'Malley, William|
|Bell, Richard||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Mara, James|
|Boland, John||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||O'Shee, James John|
|Caldwell, James||Horniman, Frederick John||Partington, Oswald|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Rea, Russell|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Joyce, Michael||Reddy, M.|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Kennedy, Patrick James||Redmond, John E. (Waterford|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||Leamy, Edmund||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Crean, Eugene||Lundon, W.||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Cullinan, J.||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||M'Cann, James||Sullivan, Donal|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Taylor, Theodore Cooke|
|Delany, William||Mooney, John J.||Tomkinson, James|
|Dilke, Sir Charles||Murphy, John||Tully, Jasper|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Doogan, P. C.||Newnes, Sir George||White, Luke (Yorks, E. R.)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid||Young, Samuel|
|Ffrench, Peter||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Field, William||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES— Mr. William Redmond and Mr. Power.|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Dalkeith, Earl of||Howard, John (Kent, Faversh.)|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Allhusen, Augustus Henry E.||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Dorington, Sir John Edward||Knowles, Lees|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Duke, Henry Edward||Law, Andrew Bonar|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)|
|Bain, Col. James Robert||Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.||Lawson, John Grant|
|Balcarres, Lord||Elibank, Master of||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants., Fareham|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manc'r)||Evans, Sir Francis H. (Maidstone||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. Gerald W. (Leeds)||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Fergusson,Rt.Hn.SirJ.(Manch'r||Long,Col.CharlesW.(Evesham)|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.)|
|Beach,Rt.Hn.SirM.H.(Bristol)||Finch, George H.||Lowe, Francis William|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)|
|Bignold, Arthur||Fisher, William Hayes||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth|
|Bigwood, James||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S. W.||Maconochie, A. W.|
|Brassey, Albert||Gardner, Ernest||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'rH' mlets||M'Calmont, Col. H. L. B. (Cambs.|
|Bull, William James||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Majendie, James A. H.|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Malcolm, Ian|
|Butcher, John George||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriesshire|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Greene, Sir E. W. (B'rySEdm'nds||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Grenfell, William Henry||Molesworth, Sir Lewis|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Gretton, John||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Griffith, Ellis J.||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Chamberlain,Rt.Hon.J.(Birm.||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||More,Robt.Jasper(Shropshire)|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Guthrie, Walter Murray||Morgan, David J. (Walthamst'w|
|Charrington, Spencer||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord G. (Midd'x||Morgan,Hn.Fred.(Monm'thsh.|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Hamilton, Marq. Of (L'donderry||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Mount, William Arthur|
|Colville, John||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley||Newdigate, Francis Alexander|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, N.)||Heath,James(Staffords.,N.W.)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Helder, Augustus||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Henderson, Alexander||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Hope,J.F.(Sheffield,Brightside||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Hoult, Joseph||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Purvis, Robert||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Wason,JohnCathcart(Orkney|
|Pym, C. Guy||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Randles, John S.||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-un.-Lyne|
|Rankin, Sir James||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset|
|Ratcliff, R. F.||Seton-Karr, Henry||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Reid, James (Greenock)||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Renshaw, Charles Bine||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Renwick, George||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Rickett, J. Compton||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Ridley,Hon.M.W.(Stalybridge)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Ridley,S.Forde(Bethnal Green)||Spear, John Ward||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Ritchie,Rt.Hn.Chas.Thomson||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Round, James||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Russell, T. W.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Rutherford, John||Valentia, Viscount|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE
said the most conspicuous example of the failure of Foreign Office finance and administration was afforded by the British East Africa Protectorate. Every year since that territory came under the control of the Foreign Office there had been two Votes brought in, and very often the supplementary had been larger than the original Vote. In 1900, when a large Supplementary Vote was asked for, the present Secretary of State for War promised a substantial reduction this year, but notwithstanding that assurance the Committee were asked to pass a Supplementary Vote of a larger amount than the normal estimate. The usual explanation of the excess had been given, namely, that it was the result of a war. The Foreign Office so managed its affairs in British East Africa, as well as in Uganda, that it was constantly engaged in wars. In the Papers supplied to the Committee, the Foreign Office pointed out how absolutely worthless the northern portion of this territory was, and as a reason for the continuance of the war in the present case, it was stated on page 48, that—some show of military force should be maintained in Jubaland, since we have spent so much money and trouble upon it, in order to impress upon the Somalia the fact that we are not retiring from it.That was the best reason the Foreign Office was able to give. He was not, and had never pretended to be, an economist; he believed in a large expenditure—an expenditure even larger than that incurred at present— but he did not believe that any and every expenditure was justifiable. In the present state of the national finances 1070 they must surely choose between that which was essential to the country and that which was not. The gross waste that had taken place in British East Africa, and the gigantic expenditure now being incurred without the Foreign Office officials out there even professing that they would be able to show any return for the money, was absolutely deplorable, and contrary to the highest interests of the country. The hon. Member for Maidstone, in an impassioned speech, had spoken with peculiar knowledge, and perhaps peculiar interest, in reference to this question. The Uganda Railway spent between 103 and 104 rupees a ton on British coal, perhaps carried by the hon. Member, who, with his great fleet of ships parading the coast of Africa, was, of course, in favour of the annexation of the whole. The hon. Member naturally did not pick and choose his parts of Africa, but the Committee ought to do so, and to see some chance of obtaining a return for the money expended. The case of British East Africa was an example of the extraordinary rashness with which this country had rushed into territorial annexations—which he would be the first to welcome if he thought they added to the strength of the Empire, but which he deplored and regretted when they added to our responsibilities without conferring any benefit upon us. He moved to reduce he Vote by £100.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed "That Item C (British East Africa, Grant-in-Aid) be reduced by £100."—(Sir Charles Dilke.)
§ SIR FRANCIS EVANS
said he recognised the extensive knowledge possessed by the right hon. Baronet of many 1071 subjects concerning all parts of the world, but he had betrayed a lack of knowledge in his references to himself. He did not carry the coal used in Uganda, and therefore the bias which had been suggested did not exist. It was said that it had cost £7,000,000 to build the railway from Mombasa to the lakes. He maintained, and he believed that future years would bear out the statement, that there had never been a wiser expenditure on the part of this country in any new and unopened country in the world. He was not a political supporter of the Colonial Secretary, but in his opinion the right hon. Gentleman had never taken a wiser step than when, in the face of much opposition, he pushed forward the Uganda Railway. It was quite true that for many a mile it passed through a desert, and would gather no particular trade along its line of route; but once it touched the take district, and got, so to speak, into the main channel of the inner line in East Africa, it would touch a great trade, to the great benefit of this country. It was not necessary to enter into details on that point; it was rather for the right hon. Gentleman himself to defend his own schemes.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. J. CHAMBERLAIN,) Birmingham, W.
I am very much obliged to the hon. Gentleman for all the kind things he is saying about me, but I am afraid he is saying them under a misapprehension. This is a matter which concerns the Foreign Office, not the Colonial Office, and any praise there may be must be given to that Department.
§ SIR FRANCIS EVANS
said reference had been made to the question of slavery and the small amount of attention paid to it by the Government. His father, with whom he worked for many years, was president of the Emancipation Society of this country, and the Government would find nobody more hostile than himself if it attempted to do anything that would perpetuate slavery in any part of the world.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
Order, order! I must remind the hon. Member that the question of slavery has already been discussed and disposed of on the previous Vote.
§ SIR FRANCIS EVANS
said he desired to make only one point, and that was that there was no greater emancipator than a railway. He hoped the Foreign Office would continue and finish the railway in spite of any possible opposition. As to £7,000,000 having been spent, that represented only about £170,000 or £175,000 a year, and a very small amount of business on the Uganda Railway would meet every shilling of it.
§ MR. CHARLES HOBHOUSE
desired to emphasise the remarks of the right hon. Baronet as to the absolute worthlessness of this particular place. In the Blue-book just published it was stated by the local Commissioner that Jubaland was absolutely worthless, that it contained neither natural nor artificial wealth, that it was the most desolate wilderness he ever met with, and that no officer in his force would care to take upon himself the garrisoning of the country. Sir Charles Elliott, the official superior of the local Commissioner, stated that the country was not worth the money expended on it, and that it consisted chiefly of scrub and sandy desert. Surely that was not a country that even the most ardent Imperialist or Jingo would desire, at the risk of the lives of British officers, to add to the Empire. If to maintain this worthless country it was unavoidable that there should be British officers there, he hoped the policy foreshadowed in the last pages of the Report would be carried out, and the British posts withdrawn to the coasts, where, at all events, an adequate force could be kept.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
said the criticism of the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean had been singularly unfair. The right hon. Gentleman must have been aware that the Supplementary Estimate was rendered necessary by an expenditure which was unavoidable. When a British official was murdered, it was absolutely necessary to vindicate the authority of the British Government, and the sanctity which ought to attach to the lives of its officials in these barbarous regions. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman the present Secretary of State for War had expressed the hope that there would be no more Supplementary Estimates, but he could not have foreseen the possibility of one 1073 of our officials being killed, and the consequent necessity for a punitive expedition. It was singularly unfair to ignore the explanation he himself had given a short time ago, and to regard it as a mere pretext to enable the Foreign Office to come down with a Supplementary Estimate. That was a senseless form of criticism to come from one who was so well qualified as the right hon. Baronet to offer reasoned criticism.
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE
pointed out that for six years the Foreign Office had annually brought in Supplementary Estimates, a thing which no other Department had ever done.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
said it was a great mistake to regard the whole of East Africa as being of the character of Jubaland. Large parts of the country were very fertile, and it was hoped they would be remunerative. As to the particular districts which apparently were not fertile, the Foreign Office had read and appreciated the criticisms made by its own officials on the spot. It had to be remembered, however, that many countries that we had occupied had at first appeared to be of little value, but had afterwards proved to be of great value. For the present, the Government intended to develop the more valuable portions of the country before spending more than they could help on the less valuable parts, and that he thought was a very business-like method of procedure. In these circumstances, all the Government intended to do in Jubaland was not to send officials flying on vague missions into the interior, but to hold the posts near the coast which we at present occupied, with a view to developing, at a future date, Jubaland, and especially the hinter-
§ land, which was not a desert, but very valuable. He did not agree with the right hon. Baronet's criticisms of Foreign Office administration. The right hon. Gentleman might usefully study the work of the German Protectorate. The Germans were making a very gallant attempt at a difficult task, and they had been fairly successful, but they were not more successful than we were; on the contrary, they were less successful. If the amount of money we had spent in East Africa was compared with the amount spent by the Germans, it would be found, he thought, from an investigation of the Estimates he was submitting to the House that we were going to make a very much better thing of it than the Germans. As to the Uganda railway, notwithstanding all the criticisms that had been passed upon it, it had in point of fact been made, for by the end of the year it was hoped it would be completed so as to run through trains. The cost of the railway per mile was not much more than the amount the Germans proposed to spend on their railway, and, in view of the enormous physical difficulties of the country that had to be crossed by our railway, he thought it would be admitted that ours was the cheaper of the two. He therefore could not admit that the administration of the Foreign Office was open to the criticism which had been directed against it. In his view we should show an immense want of confidence in our own powers, besides throwing away the money we had spent, if we did not go on to earn that reward for our exertions which he thought we deserved.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 75; Noes, 154. (Division List No. 345.)1075
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.||Cullinan, J.||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.|
|Allen, C. P. (Glouc., Stroud)||Delany, William||Horniman, Frederick John|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Dewar, John A. (Inverness sh.||Jones, William Carnarvonsh.|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Donelan, Captain A.||Joyce, Michael|
|Bell, Richard||Doogan, P. C.||Kennedy, Patrick James|
|Boland, John||Elibank, Master of||Lambert, George|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Layland-Barratt, Francis|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Ffrench, Peter||Leamy, Edmund|
|Caldwell, James||Field, William||Lundon, W.|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Flavin, Michael Joseph||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Flynn, James Christopher||Mansfield, Horace Rendall|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Gilhooly, James||Mooney, John J.|
|Colville, John||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Murphy, John|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Harrington, Timothy||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||Hayden, John Patrick||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)|
|Crean, Eugene||Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale-||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||O'Shee, James John||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|O'Brien, J. P. (Tipperary, N.)||Partington, Oswald||Sullivan, Donal|
|O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)||Power, Patrick Joseph||Tomkinson, James|
|O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Rea, Russell||Tully, Jasper|
|O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Reddy, M.||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|O'Dowd, John||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Redmond, William (Clare)||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|O'Malley, William||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Charles Dilke and Mr. Charles Hobhouse.|
|O'Mara, James||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt Sir Alex. F.||Fisher, William Hayes||Morgan, David J. (Walthamst' w|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Morgan, Hn. Fred (Monm'thsh)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S. W.||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Allhusen, Augustus Henry E.||Gardner, Ernest||Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'rH'mlets||Mount, William Arthur|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Newdigate, Francis Alexander|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Balcarres, Lord||Greene, Sir EW (B'ryS Edm'nds||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Grenfell, William Henry||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. Gerald W. (Leeds||Gretton, John||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Griffith, Ellis J.||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Purvis, Robert|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Guthrie, Walter Murray||Pym, C. Guy|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord G. (Mid'x||Randles, John S.|
|Bignold, Arthur||Hamilton, Marqof (L'nd'nderry||Rankin, Sir James|
|Bond, Edward||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Brassey, Albert||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Renwick, George|
|Bull, William James||Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley||Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Stalybridge|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Heath, James (Staffords, N. W.)||Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green)|
|Butcher, John George||Helder, Augustus||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Henderson, Alexander||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter||Round, James|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Russell, T. W.|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Hoult, Joseph||Rutherford, John|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.||Howard, John (Kent, F'versh'm||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Charrington, Spencer||Knowles, Lees||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Law, Andrew Bonar||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Lawson, John Grant||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Spear, John Ward|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Lowe, Francis William||Valentia, Viscount|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Wason, J. Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Macdona, John Cumming||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Maconochie, A. W.||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Hart||M'Calmont, Col. H. L. B. (Cambs.||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Evans, Sir F. H. (Maidstone)||Majendie, James A. H.||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.)|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Finch, George H.||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ Objection being taken to further proceeding, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.1076
§ Resolution to be reported upon Monday next; Committee also report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.
§ Adjourned at ten minutes after Twelve of the clock, till Monday next.