§ MR. MARKHAM (Nottinghamshire, Mansfield)
, in moving to reduce the Vote by £200, said he was well aware that everything uttered in the House of Commons was used in the Cape by the one party or the other for political purposes. He did not wish in any way to intensify the racial struggle now proceeding, but there were times in the lives of men as of nations when criticism of private and urgent affairs was necessary in the public interest. For that reason he had no hesitation in bringing certain facts before the Committee; but he was able to do so only in a partial manner owing to the limited reference and to the fact that the Concessions Commission had not yet reported. That Commission would go down to history as one more of those Commissions appointed by the Colonial Secretary for "whitewashing" purposes, and not in the interests of South Africa.
§ MR. MARKHAM
said he was referring to all of them, but particularly the Concessions Commission. It was a remarkable fact that the Colonial Secretary, not being content with the dissatisfaction 454 caused throughout South Africa by the line taken with regard to another Commission, had on this Commission appointed a representative of Messrs Wernher, Beit, and Co. What interest could he served by appointing on a Commission of three members a, gentleman in the employment of and directly connected with the firm of Messrs. Wernher, Beit and Company? He had no desire to shelter himself behind the privilege attaching to Members of the House, and he was perfectly willing to repeat out of doors, if called upon to do so. the statements he was about to make. It would be within the recollection of the House that it-was only a few years ago that the Colonial Secretary alluded to the party of which he was so distinguished an ornament as a celebrated gang of thieves and swindlers": he (the speaker), however, was going to charge these men with being nothing more nor less than a common gang of thieves and swindlers. To be a celebrated thief or criminal was a matter of certain notoriety, but to be a common thief was a matter which surely would not commend itself to the attention of anyone. The Government had made appointments on these Commissions, and the Committee should judge whether or not they were in the public interest. The gentleman to whom the hon. Member objected in this instance was Mr. Loveday. he had nothing to say personally against Mr. Loveday, nor 455 did he wish to throw any dirt upon him, but as this was the only opportunity he had of attacking the constitution of the Commission, he was obliged to bring Mr. Loveday's name into the matter. Mr. Loveday was a member of the firm of Messrs. Eckstein, otherwise Messrs. Wernher, Beit and Company, who were nothing more nor less than a common gang of thieves and swindlers. [Order, order!] Hon. Members cried "Order, order." He was prepared to stand an action in the law courts before a jury of his countrymen on that statement. He had already in the public press and in his own constituency made that accusation against Messrs. Barnato Brothers, but had not yet received a writ for libel. The fact he desired to bring before the Committee was that the representatives of these men held every position of importance throughout South Africa. Mr. Loveday was a director in the Pretoria Lighting Company, and the hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington on a previous occasion contradicted the statement that he was interested in the concessions.
§ MR. LYTTELTON (Warwick and Leamington)
May I ask what meaning the hon. Member attaches to the word "concessions"?
§ MR. MARKHAM
replied that in a book published by Mr. C. S. Goldman (who was connected directly with the firm of Messrs. Wernher, Beit and Company), it was stated that the Pretoria Lighting Company was a concession.
§ MR. LYTTELTON
said that was not quite an answer to his question. What was the meaning the hon. Gentleman himself attached to the word "concession"? There was a perfectly clear meaning to the word in the Transvaal.
§ MR. MARKHAM
said he was not there to go into the meaning of words, and referred the hon. Member to Johnson's Dictionary. He certainly knew the meaning himself perfectly well. Mr. Loveday was a director of this company, which had a concession from the late Transvaal Government. He was also a director of the Transvaal Consolidated Land and Exploration Company, 456 and a representative of Mr. Beit in that company. This company owned 2,.357,549 acres of land in the Transvaal. Mr. Loveday appeared also as a director of the Eastleigh Mines, Limited, another worthless company, floated many times over. The Committee must quite understand that he did not accuse Mr. Loveday of being a dishonourable man.
§ MR. MARKHAM
I did not say he was a member of a firm of thieves and swindlers; I said he was a director of a. company which Messrs. Eckstein, otherwise Wernher, Beit, and Co., controlled. That is a matter of great distinction. Continuing, the hon. Member said that when the Commission arrived at Cape Town it was met by Mr. Van Hulsteyn, the solicitor of Messrs. Wernher, Beit, and Co., who was immediately appointed to represent the Imperial Government at the sittings of the Commission. By some unknown influence Mr. Van Hulsteyn had been occupying a position in Government House, Cape Town, for which he was not paid. He was, however, paid by Messrs. Eckstein. What happened when the Commission arrived at Pretoria? According to the facts supplied to him, many of the concessions belonging to Messrs. Eckstein were not inquired into. The matter of concessions was one of the most important questions in the Transvaal. As he read the reference, the Concessions Commission was limited solely to the concessions given directly by the late Transvaal Government. But the most important concessions in Swaziland, nearly all belonging to Messrs. Eckstein, were not inquired into at all, though they wore registered in the South African Republic, and also approved of before being registered by the late Transvaal Government. Everything of any note in Swaziland had been ceded by concession-mongers to Messrs. Eckstein. The king in that country, and his advisers, became drunkards and dissolute beings, and these concession-mongers went from all parts of Africa to obtain concessions, and yet this Commission had taken absolutely no notice of most of those concessions. There were many matters in connection with South Africa 457 and with this Commission he should like to bring forward, but he would not be in order in so doing. The proceedings of the Commission were, however, reported in a paper called The Friend of the Free State, and therefore he would he in order in referring to what happened at Bloemfontein. On the arrival of the Army at Bloemfontein, the military authorities seized the printing plant of The Friend of the Free State. Shortly afterwards, Messrs. Wernher, Beit and Company obtained control of that paper. No public tenders were called for. and it was the only paper allowed by the authorities to appear in the colony and north of the colony. Why was it Messrs. Eckstein obtained control of that paper? Why was it given to them without any public tenders being called for! It was to their interest to acquire that paper, which they did. He was debarred from dealing with some of these questions, but he wished to say a word or two in this connection. He would read an extract from one of Mr. Eckstein's own papers, which stated —The fact of Mr. Phillip's admission into the firm of Messrs. Wernher, Beit and Co. does not signify his withdrawal from the Hand in addition to his severance from Messrs. H. Eckstein and Co. Messrs. Wernher, Beit and Co. hold a large interest in the Rand through the Eckstein firm, and the change means merely his withdrawal from the 'Corner House' to join the larger firm.If such a charge was made by an hon. Member of this House after due and careful consideration of the facts, were the Government going to persist in this policy of granting concessions and appointments to those who had done so much to bring about this unhappy war in South Africa?.' He believed that it was the wish of all sections in this House that there should be a pure administration in South Africa, but if the Colonial Secretary thought he was a match for Wernher, Beit, and Co. and their associated companies, he was very much mistaken. The right hon. Gentleman might be able to twist words into a form to misrepresent the views of his opponents—
I do not think that expression, applied to the right hon. Gentleman, is one that ought to be used.
§ MR. MARKHAM
said he would withdraw the word "misrepresent,'' and as he was only a novice in Parliament he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would accept his apology. He would only say that the right hon. Gentleman was able to make black white, and white black. He wished to know why this course was persisted in by the Government in spite of the protests they had received from South Africa in regard to the appointments made. Hon. Members opposite might think he had got a crank in his head with regard to those appointments, but if that was their view it was for them to show that the statement was incorrect. He took his stand on the question of principle that the very men who brought about this war, and who had created this corrupt Government in the Transvaal from its commencement, were those men to whom he had referred. These were the innocents "who went out to corrupt Mr. Kruger and his party. Corruption had followed on the methods those financiers adopted. The very future prosperity and happiness of that country depended upon the granting to the people of that equitable form of government against which one word could not be said, and by showing this favouritism they were going a very long way towards bringing this country into perpetual turmoil by appointing men who had not the confidence of the people in South Africa. He did not know whether he should he in order or not. but with the permission of the House he should like to give one example of the kind of roguery which had gone on in South Africa. He held in his hand a document which would send those directors, if they were in this country, into penal servitude for many years.
Does the hon. Member connect this in any way with the Commission? If he can he will he in order, but not otherwise.
§ MR. MARKHAM
said the only way he could bring it in would he to show that Mr. Loveday was a co-director with a gentleman who was connected as a director with this company. This was one of the swindles which the British public had so long suffered under—the Barnato Consolidated Mines. It might 459 interest the British public to know that though the mines had been dealt in to the extent of millions sterling, and represented millions sterling to-day, there was a secret clause in the Articles of Association which gave them, without the public knowing anything about it, 25 per cent. of all the profits the company made. These gentlemen put that Into their pockets.
§ MR. MARKHAM
said he would not pursue that point—except in the law courts, if those firms took him there. Unless they did so, the Government should not appoint any more of these firms' representatives directly or indirectly to any position of trust in South Africa. If the Government were prepared to undertake that, his object would be accomplished. He had no axe to grind; he was acting solely in the public interest.
With regard to the question of the settlement of soldiers on the land, he said there was only one Member of the House who had made attacks on the soldiers of the Empire on anonymous correspondence. That gentleman was the Colonial Secretary. [Oh, oh.] On anonymous correspondence the right hon. Gentleman had charged the soldiers of the Empire with being guilty of little less than murder. Let hon. Members read the book. [Cries of "Quote," and "What book?"] The right hon. Gentleman did not deny the accusation.
§ MR. MARKHAM
said that on the 1st August, 1879—[Cries of "Oh, oh !"] If the right hon. Gentleman the Colonia Secretary made a statement which was wrong then, it was just as wrong to make that statement in 1900. In that speech the right hon. Gentleman did attack the soldiers of the Empire. Upon that date he moved—That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty praying Her Majesty to appoint 460 a Royal Commission to inquire on the spot into the policy which had led to these and other wars in South Africa, and which has resulted in large annexations of territory and increase of responsibility, in spite of repeated protest from successive British Governments.That was the motion made by the Colonial Secretary, and in his speech in support of that motion he quoted the case of the chief named Macomo, who had been declared to be a rebel, and against whom an expedition had been sent. Upon that occasion the right hon. Gentleman said—No attempt was made by the Colonial authorities to reassure the chief (Macomo) or to settle the quarrel amicably, but a large armed force of 1,200 men, consisting of soldiers, free lancers, Fingoes, and others, went at night, burnt all his huts, shot down his people right and left, and carried oft women and children to gaol.The right hon. Gentleman further characterised the acts of the expedition as bloody, brutal, foul, barbarous murder, and further declared that "it was high time that the right name should be applied to an action which almost made a man ashamed to be an Englishman."†
This matter does not seem to be at all relevant. I invite the hon. Gentleman to address himself to the Vote before the Committee.
§ MR. MARKHAM
said he did not wish to trespass further on the indulgence of the House, but if the Government persisted in this policy they would bring about incalculable harm to South Africa, and they would only be serving the interest of a clique, and not the higher and better interests of the people. [No, no.] If he was proved to be wrong in his statements he was prepared to pay, and pay substantially. He now contented himself by moving the reduction of the Vote by £200.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Item. Class 5. Vote 3, be reduced by £200, in respect of the Transvaal Concessions and Land Settlement Commissions."—(Mr. Markham.)
†The speech of Mr. Chamberlain referred to (1st August, 1879) is reported in The Parliamentary Debates [Third Series, Vol. ccxlviii., page 1853]
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I have listened to the hon. Member's speech with feelings of absolute despair of being able to comprehend the workings of the hon. Gentleman's mind. I hoped that I should come across some reason which would bear some distant reference to the Vote for the two Commissions, upon which Members of the House served, appointed to obtain information with reference to certain matters of considerable importance in South Africa. I learn from the speech of the hon. Gentleman that he views my proceedings and my character with much asperity.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Well, that again is not itself a conclusive argument against the composition of these Commissions. Then I learn from the hon. Gentleman—and this was a fact which he stated over and over and over again—that he was prepared to face a jury of his countrymen and to repeat outside the House certain statements which he made inside the House. That is very interesting, although it is a kind of bravery which I do not put very high. It must, I think, be rather painful to the House that the privileges of the House should be taken advantage of in order to use such extremely violent and strong language with regard to persons who cannot defend themselves.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. Gentleman would. I think, have done better if, instead of saying in this House, as a preliminary of the campaign which he apparently is going to conduct, that Messrs. Eckstein, Wernher, Beit and Co. were common thieves and swindlers, and that Messrs. Barnato and Company—I do not know the names of these companies, but I understood him. to say that the firm of Barnato Brothers or the Barnato Consolidated Mine were also common thieves and swindlers—if, before saying that in this House, he had written it outside the House. We should then have known what all this professed anxiety to meet in the law courts meant; but to say 462 it in this House and afterwards outside is a very small foundation upon which to found a suit for libel. If the hon. Gentleman has these opinions, let him by all means put them in writing outside the House and let him challenge those persons to prosecute. But, granted for the sake of argument that the charges are true, what on earth has that to do with these two Commissions—the Commission for inquiring into certain concessions granted by the Transvaal Government and the Commission to inquire into the possibility of settling upon the land in South Africa British subjects? The last words of the hon. Gentleman were that when he had been summoned before a jury of his countrymen, and come off with flying colours, then he hoped that we should not persist in a policy which was ruining South Africa. How on earth is the appointment of these Commissions going to ruin South Africa? There is absolutely no relevance whatever between the speech of the hon. Gentleman and the motion before the Committee. Now, really the one pin's point upon which his argument is based is his statement that as regards one of the Commissions we have appointed a gentleman to whom he takes exception, because, he says, he was indirectly or directly connected with a firm which was connected with Wernher, Beit and Company.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Which is connected with Eckstein—it is one further off than I thought—which is connected with Wernher, Beit and Company, who he is going to prove are swindlers when they summon him before a jury of his countrymen. It is upon that he has based this tremendous indictment of the South African policy of the Government —it is upon the connection of one member of the Transvaal Concessions Commission. The hon. Gentleman makes it another point of grievance against the Government that the reference to the Commission was not wide enough and did not cover the concessions in Swaziland. That is perfectly true, because a great number of those concessions go back some time and have nothing whatever to do with the immediate point we wish information upon, 463 which is the value of the concessions given by the Transvaal Government; and up to the present time we have not assumed any authority in Swaziland. We have not annexed Swaziland. But, as no doubt the question of the future of Swaziland will shortly become one of importance, the hon. Gentleman may take it from me that the concessions in Swaziland will also have to be inquired into.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I do not know whether they will be inquired into by the same people; but I am certain they could not be inquired into by people more qualified than the particular Commission that was asked to examine into the limited question of the value and legality of the concessions which have been granted by the Transvaal. The concessions we have in view were known to all Members of the House. There were complaints made before the war by Uitlanders and others. It was said, for instance, that the dynamite concession was an illegal concession. That was alleged by a committee which was appointed by the Transvaal Government to inquire into the Transvaal concessions. The dynamite concession was perhaps one of the most important concessions. There was the concession to the Netherlands Railway Company, another concession which required inquiry. There was the concession to the Selati Railway Company, which has boon the subject of inquiry in Belgium; and there were scores of concessions forming monopolies the legality of which it was desired to inquire into. It was desired also to inquire into the bona fides of persons who held shares in these concessions, and how far, even if the concession itself was void from some illegality, it would be equitable to respect the rights of persons who might have become shareholders in the concessions in a perfectly fair and legitimate manner. That was the object of this Commission; and the House will see that it is one of the very greatest importance to us, and that it is to the interest of the Government that every concession that is illegal should be exposed, because if it is illegallyand wrongfully granted it may be possible for us 464 to dispute it, and, of course, the funds which will thereby fall to the credit of the Transvaal Colony will be of the greatest advantage in the future administration of the State.
We appointed to that Commission, in the first place, as chairman, my hon. and learned friend the Member for Warwick. The hon. Member for the Mansfield Division, in a sort of universal condemnation of every body concerned, found a supposed connection between Mr. Loveday and Wernher, Beit, and Company. Does the hon. Member attach any portion of his condemnation to the hon. Member for Warwick? My hon. friend requires no defence from me in this House. The second member of the Commission was a valued and valuable member of the Colonial Service, Mr. Ashmore, who had been the Treasurer in Cyprus, a man of most undoubted integrity, of special ability, and of special capacity to deal with the kind of financial subjects which were likely to be brought before the Commission. Is anything said against him, or his honour, or capacity? I am here to defend him. When we had appointed those two gentlemen here, we asked Sir Alfred Milner to nominate someone of authority, of capacity, of local knowledge, who could be adjoined to those two gentlemen and who could assist in the inquiry which we were about to make; and it was in consequence of that that Mr. Loveday was suggested and appointed. I know of nothing, and I challenge the hon, Member, instead of making these very vague accusations, to give something more of a definite shape —I challenge the hon. Gentleman to produce, in this House or out of it, anything which is to the discredit of Mr. Loveday. At all events, I know nothing of that kind. Sir Alfred Milner knows nothing of that sort. As far as we know, he is an honourable man, who is entitled to the position we gave him. Is really every man in the world to be considered as dishonourable, to be spoken of in company with persons who are described as common thieves and swindlers, because, forsooth, he happens to be, or to have been at one time or another, connected with some South African speculation, or with some of those engaged in South African speculation? I think that on 465 a previous occasion I heard the hon. Gentleman say that, although he had sold his shares, he had been at one time interested in South African speculation. No one is going; to blame him for that; but surely, if that is the case, he must have been in this indirect way connected with some of these firms.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I accept the hon. Gentleman's statement. If so, he must have been connected with other capitalist firms.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Pardon me; the hon. Gentleman does not understand. I understood him to say, and upon that I am basing my observations and argument, that he had been at one time a shareholder in some of these South African speculations and mines.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
If the hon. Gentleman has been at any time a co-shareholder with any of these capitalists, either with Wernher, Beit and Company, or Eckstein or Barnato, or any other of these gentlemen, he is open to precisely the same charge he is bringing against Mr. Loveday. As far as I know, as far as any information which is in my possession goes, the connection, if there was any connection, between Mr. Loveday and these firms was no more direct than such a connection as I have supposed to exist, on his own statement, between the hon. Gentleman and the company of which he was a shareholder.
I wish to say at once that, while most certainly I have not allowed myself in any way to be influenced by what is called the capitalist element of South Africa—I do not know these gentlemen, I hardly know one of them even by sight; it did not happen to me in 466 my way of business to come into any communication with them; they do not come to me upon these matters, and I doubt whether there is any man in this House who really knows less of them than I do—but, while I am not going to allow myself to be influenced by them in the policy which I shall recommend to my colleagues or which the Government will adopt, on the other hand. I do say that I am not going to be precluded from using in any position in South Africa or in this country any man who happens to have been at some time or other connected with some capitalist or another in South Africa. If I were to make such a self-denying ordinance as that, to begin with, I should be cutting myself out from all possibility of gaining the assistance for the Empire in what may still be a very difficult task of the men of the greatest capacity, the greatest energy, and the greatest zeal, and, I need not say, the greatest public spirit, in South Africa. One cannot make such a general statement as that. If the hon. Member knows anything which is really to the discredit of any person who has been appointed either by me or by Sir Alfred Milner, cither to a Commission in this country or to any post in the administration in South Africa, and if he will bring that knowledge before me, I will promise him to have the closest investigation made into the matter; and, if I find his statement to be true, most certainly such person shall be dismissed from that position. But I will not consider it to be a charge that a man has been connected with one of these large firms in South Africa, with whom probably everybody in South Africa has been connected— I will not allow that to be considered a fatal charge which prevents his being employed in any position.
Another charge has been brought against Mr. Loveday by the hon. Gentleman which might be considered by some to be even more serious— namely, that he was a burgher, a Boer, and was actually fighting a short time ago against the British forces. That has not prevented me from appointing him in the belief that he was the best man, and the man most capable of giving the requisite information in this case. But I think this is a clear proof that it was not our friends we were trying to advan- 467 tage in the matter, and that we were seeking from, in fact, the whole populations of South Africa the best men we could find. The hon. Gentleman, who sees Wernher, Beit and Company everywhere, made an allusion to a paper which he says was purchased by Messrs. Eckstein or controlled by Messrs. Eckstein.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I accept the word—a paper that was acquired by them. What on earth has that to do with these Commissions, and why should not Messrs. Eckstein acquire a paper if they desire to do so? What business is it of ours who acquires a paper? There are some papers that I would not buy at any price, but if I did buy them I should not think it was the business of this House to complain. I again call the attention of the House to the enormity of the charges which have been brought by the hon. Gentleman, and the extreme slenderness of the base upon which these charges rest All I say is that, so far as I know, there is not a single word in the statement of the hon. Gentleman against the personal character of any of the five men who have been appointed on these two Commissions. If the hon. Gentleman has a different opinion. I call upon him for facts, and not mere statements and indirect insinuations which other people have brought, and of whom I know nothing.
§ MR. MARKHAM
The right hon. Gentleman has made white appear black, and black white, as I said he would do. [HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!] What I say is, that when the Army appeared at Bloemfontein Messrs. Eckstein suddenly appeared as proprietors of the paper, and that no public tenders had been called for it.
§ MR. MALCOLM (Suffolk, Stow-market)
I rise to a point of order. I ask whether this subject is relevant to the motion before the Committee,
§ MR. MARKHAM
The right hon. Gentleman has referred to my position 468 as being a shareholder, and with the permission of the Committee I would like to point out that, being in business myself, and not having passed from the stage of being a business man to that of a diplomatist like the right hon. Gentleman—[Cries of "Order, order !"]—a shareholder is not in the same position as a man who is an alternate director, acting as the representative of Messrs. Eckstein. [HON. MEMBERS: Yes.] Well, if they do, I am sorry for their business capabilities.
§ *MR. LYTTELTON
I certainly do not think it necessary to defend myself against the charge of being a capitalist. [Cries of "There was no charge."] I rise simply for the purpose of saying two or three words with regard to my friend Mr. Loveday, with whom I have been associated for four months, whom I believe to be one of the best and most honourable of men, and whom I know to be absolutely incapable of anything but the most straightforward and honourable action in public, affairs. The hon. Member interpolated a statement that he did not wish to make any charge against Mr. Loveday. His words were that he did not wish to throw dirt at Mr. Loveday. Then what was his object in making that speech? Does he suggest that Mr. Loveday is improperly under the influence of Messrs. Eckstein? [Cries from the Government Benches of "Answer."]
§ *MR. LYTTELTON
Does the hon. Member intend, or does he not intend, to convey to the Committee that Mr. Loveday was under the improper influence of Messrs. Eckstein? If he does not intend to convey that to the Committee, then his observations were irrelevant and impertinent. But if the hon. Member has not the courage to say in this House whether he intends to make that charge, but shelters himself behind one of those generalities, unfortunately too common nowadays, of desiring "not to throw dirt," then I must suppose that the hon. Member was neither irrelevant nor impertinent, but that he was merely inaccurate, and that he did make a charge, and that the purport of his words was in truth and 469 in fact that Mr. Loveday was under the improper influence of Messrs. Eckstein. Let me examine that. It is perfectly true that Mr. Loveday was a director of the Electric Lighting Company of Pretoria. Is everybody who is a director of a company in which another person has an interest under the improper influence of that person? I think not. But I have better evidence in regard to this matter in favour of Mr. Loveday than that. Mr. Loveday was a director of the Pretoria Water Company, in which Messrs. Eckstein had a large interest. The question of the validity of that concession came up long before the Commission got to South Africa—I think it was in 1898—and Mr. Loveday, notwithstanding that he was supposed by the hon. Gentleman, in his ignorance, to be under the influence of Messrs. Eckstein, was the prime mover in the Volksraad of the Transvaal in procuring the cancellation of the concession. The hon. Gentleman opposite bows his head, so that he knew that.
§ *MR. LYTTELTON
What does the Committee think of the candour of the hon. Member who comes to this House and accuses Mr. Loveday, who was doing honourable service in the Transvaal long before the hon. Member was ever heard of—
§ *MR. LYTTELTON
There was a concession. What does the House think of the candour of the hon. Member making such a charge against an honourable man as that he is under the improper influence of Messrs. Eckstein, and not disclosing to the House the fact, which he knows, that Mr. Loveday's exertions were devoted to procuring the cancellation of the concession in which Messrs. Eckstein were primarily interested? I speak with no warmth about myself. I can well afford to pass by the observations of the hon. Gentleman. I am satisfied that no such charges as have been made against this Commission, over which I have the honour to pre- 470 side, would have been made except by a new Member, and I grant to the hon. Gentleman the indulgence for which he so repeatedly craved, and which is always extended to new Members for having done so.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland Division)
said he understood this Vote referred to the mission of the hon. Member for West Belfast to South Africa. It was somewhat remarkable that the Committee should be asked to vote money for a Commission before any Report had been presented by it, or any statement made by the hon. Gentleman who was a member of it. He had seen no Report, public or private, as to what the hon. Member for West Belfast had done in South Africa. He understood the hon. Gentleman took some evidence, but none of that evidence was before the House, and it seemed to him very extraordinary that in these circumstances they should be asked to vote this money. He was entitled to express surprise because this was a question on which, as an Irishman, he felt very strongly. He understood that the object of the hon. Gentleman was to promote something of the nature of what was called in the history of Ireland "the plantation of Ulster"—the plantation of the land of the Boers by people from this country. He did not know how far he would be entitled to discuss the merits of such a, policy on this Vote, but he might say that, if there was any tragic page in the history of Ireland which was stained with war, bloodshed, and fury more than another, it was the record of the confiscation of the lands of the original inhabitants and the plantation of them by people of another race and religion. He pressed upon the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary not to make the task of the settlement of the Transvaal and the Orange River Colonies more difficult by introducing into them a people of foreign origin or by adopting a policy of confiscation and spoliation. He had not been in South Africa himself, but he had spoken to many gentlemen who had been there, and he was informed that the portion of country over which the hon. Member for West Belfast had conducted his investigations 471 was not eminently suited for the settlement of men of a new race. The life there must be pastoral, and any men that we could send out from this country would find it absolutely intolerable. Therefore he called upon the right hon. Gentleman to utter a warning to the many thousands of people in this country who were contemplating going to these new States, that they would not find in the pastoral districts a favourable sphere for their energies or the investment of their capital.
§ SIR J. FERGUSSON (Manchester, N.E.)
, on a point of order, said that an Amendment had already been moved on this Vote, and it did not seem to him to be a very convenient course to begin debate on a new subject until that Amendment had been disposed of.
If the right hon. Gentleman will look at the Paper he will find on page 4 that the Section begins "O.—Transvaal Concessions and Land Settlement Commissions." What has fallen from the hon. Gentleman is pertinent to that section, and therefore it can be raised on the Amendment before the Committee.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I can satisfy the hon. Member in a very few sentences. In the first place, I express surprise at his surprise that the Vote appears in this form before the Report of the Commission has been issued. It is a most common occurrence, when the work of a Commission extends over a considerable period, that a Vote should be taken for their expenses, and that is the case here.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. Gentleman cannot discuss his particular point now. We are not considering the policy of the Commission—that will come on at a later date. In a case of this kind we sent out a Commission of Inquiry, and we shall have to consider whether the evidence and Report shall be published. Of course, they will be published if we proceed upon them; 472 but the matter must be considered along with Sir Alfred Milner. I think it may relieve the mind of the hon. Member if I say that there is no intention on the part of the Government to repeat the experiment of "the plantation of Ulster," whatever we may do.
§ SIR JOHN BRUNNER (Cheshire, Northwich)
said that he understood some one had procured the concession from the Transvaal Government for the supply of water and gas to Pretoria, and he wanted to know who was in possession of that concession now.
§ SIR JOHN BRUNNER
I always endeavour to keep in order. We all know that when a concession is given, it is merely handed over to another party at a big profit. What I want to know is, who is in possession now of the waterworks concession.
§ MR. LYTTELTON
Exclusive powers were granted to concessionaires in 1897, and the Committee of the Volksraad cancelled these exclusive powers in 1898. The suggestion of the Committee of the Volksraad was that a valuation of the concession to the waterworks company should be made, and that the power of supplying water to Pretoria should be entrusted to the municipality.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
asked whether it would not be in order, in discussing the recommendations of the Commission for settling soldiers in the Transvaal, to discuss the policy of appointing that Commission at all.
Certainly anything as to the appointment and personnel of the Commission would be in order.
§ MR. DALY (Monaghan, S.)
said that it seemed to him that £7,800 was a very large sum for the Committee to vote without any statement being made with regard to it, and he was not inclined to allow the Vote to pass without opposition. He could not see that much trouble would arise if this matter was postponed until the details were before the House, and he thought that, if it was desired that the wheels of Parliament should revolve more freely, the Government would be well advised to postpone this Vote until such time as the details were available. If the Vote was allowed to pass on this occasion, the Committee would have no further opportunity of discussing the matter, therefore their only opportunity was to inquire now closely into the way in which the money had been spent. The statement which had been made with regard to this matter had been satisfactory to nobody. He, personally, had never before heard so laboured a statement. He had been absolutely amazed at the crudeness of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, who had asked the House to pass this Vote without giving any explanation whatever. The point the House desired to know was what the concessions were. The right hon. Gentleman surely did not think the House was so simple as to pass this amount of money without knowing what the concessions were in Part 2, which had reference to the possibility of settling soldiers in South Africa. He did not approve of large sums like this being voted upon such meagre information as had been given to the House. If the right hon. Gentleman saw his way to explain this matter fully, it might be possible to get the Vote through, but in the absence of any explanation he did not think hon. Members would be justified in passing the Vote, and he should certainly oppose it.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
said the Committee was very often called upon to vote money for Commissions and matters of that kind before the Reports of the Commissions were published. But with regard to other Commissions, half the evidence had usually been published, either in the newspapers or in the House; whereas in this case they had no informa- 474 tion, either in the papers or otherwise. The question he wished to put was whether any evidence had been taken by the Commission, and if so, when it was likely to be printed, and whether it was complete. If it was, it was quite time that the Report should have been published. He had great doubts as to the wisdom of the policy of appointing this Commission at all. It would only exasperate the Boers, and lead them to protract the war to the utmost. All sorts of reports had been circulated among them, and on the top of all these was this Commission appointed to consider whether we could not settle troops in South Africa. Before we could give the farms to our troops somebody would have to be expatriated, and he could only condemn the unwisdom of appointing a Commission which would give the Boers the idea that our object in prosecuting this war was not to give equal rights to all, but to obtain not only the gold mines but the country as well. Hon. Members had probably, like himself, read articles which distinctly recommended that, the Boers having now practically become rebels, their farms should be forfeited and given to the Yeomanry. If there was anything calculated to keep the Boers in arms it was such a thing as this. If they were under the impression that their farms would be taken away and given to the English troops, he ventured to say that even a nation of arrant cowards would fight to the last kopje before they would give in. The appointment of the Commission was one of those foolish things which had been done first of all to lead to the war, and afterwards to prolong and embitter it. As the result of this policy there, no doubt, would be the idea in the minds of the Boers that there would be a Cromwellian settlement all over the country. If that was so, it would be the result of the official acts of this country. Ho believed the right hon. Gentleman was fully convinced of the unwisdom of his act, although, no doubt, when he entered upon it he thought the Boer war was over, and now the Commission had come over and had said that the whole thing was impossible He was perfectly convinced that this Commission would cost not only the amount of the Vote—£7,800—but millions of money, as it would make the 475 Boers fight to the last. There was no one more responsible for prolonging the war than the right hon. Gentleman himself. He (Mr. Lloyd-George) should support the motion for reduction.
§ MR. J.CHAMBERLAIN moved, "That the Question be now put." At the same moment MR. MARKHAM rose.
§ MR. MARKHAM
Yes, Sir. The hon. Member, continuing, said that he had no desire to make an attack on the hon. and learned Member for Warwick.
§ MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN (Kilkenny)
I wish to ask you, Sir, whether, the closure having been moved and accepted, the hon. Member is entitled to withdraw his motion.
§ MR. MARKHAM
said that it was his last wish to cast any reflections, either directly or indirectly, upon the conduct of the hon. Member for Warwick. With regard to Mr. Loveday, ho did not accuse him nor make any charge whatsoever against him. With the permission of the Committee, therefore, ho would withdraw his Amendment. [Nationalist cries of "No, no."] Then he might be permitted to say that, so far as he was concerned, in case it should be taken as casting an imputation upon the conduct of the hon. Member for Warwick, he should take no part in the division.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 195; Noes, 93. (Division List No. 72.)477
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Fitzroy; Hon. Edward A.|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Foster, Sir M. (London Univ.)|
|Allhusen, Augustus H. Eden||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.||Garfit, William|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Chamberlain, J Austen (Worc'r||Godson, Sir Augustus Fred.|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Chapman, Edward||Gordon, Hn J. E. (Elgin&Nairn)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Churchill, Winston Spencer||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Clare, Octavius Leigh||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Arrol, Sir William||Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Greene, Sir E W (B'rySEdm'nds|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Colston, Charles E. H. Athole||Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)|
|Austin, Sir John||Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs.)|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow||Greville, Hon. Ronald|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Cox, Irwin E. Bainbridge||Groves, James Grimble|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cranborne, Viscount||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Ham, Edward|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Hambro, Charles Eric|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G. (Mid'x|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nderry|
|Beach, Rt Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Davies, Sir H. D. (Chatham)||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robt. W.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Dewar, T. R. (T'rH'ml'ts,S.Geo.||Harris, F. L. (Tynemouth)|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Dickson, Charles Scott||Harwood, (George|
|Bignold, Arthur||Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.|
|Bigwood, James||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Haslett, Sir James Horner|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Dimsdale, Sir Joseph C.||Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley|
|Bond, Edward||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Heath, James (Staffords, N. W.|
|Brassey, Albert||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Helder, Augustus|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Higginbottom, S. W.|
|Brookfield, Col. Montagu||Duke, Henry Edward||Hoare, Edw Brodie (Hampstead|
|Brown, Geo. M. (Edinburgh)||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Hogg, Lindsay|
|Bull, William James||Faber, George Denison||Hope, J F. (Sheffield, Brightside|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Hoult, Joseph|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Finch, George H.||Howard, Capt J (Kent, Faversh.|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Hutton, John (Yorks, N.R.)||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford||Smith, James Parker(Lanarks.|
|Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute||Spear, John Ward|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath.||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop.||Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Stock, James Henry|
|Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Laurie, Lieut-General||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Stroyan, John|
|Law, Andrew Bonar||Parkes, Ebenezer||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Lawson, John Grant||Partington, Oswald||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Pemberton, John S. G.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.||Pierpoint, Robert||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Lowe, Francis William||Pretyman, Ernest George||Valentia, Viscount|
|Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Vincent, Cl. Sir C. E. H(Sheffield|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Purvis, Robert||Walker, Col. Wm. Hall|
|Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Randles, John S.||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Rankin, Sir James||Wason, John C. (Orkney)|
|Maconochie, A. W.||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Webb, Colonel William George|
|M'Arthur, Charles (Liverp'l)||Reid, James (Greenock)||Welby, Lt. Col. A.C.E. (Tauntn|
|M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire||Renshaw, Charles Bine||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u-Lyne|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Rentoul, James Alexander||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Maxwell, W.J. H. (Dumfriessh.||Renwick, George||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Milward, Colonel Victor||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H.(Yorks.)|
|Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Saunderson, Rt Hn. Col. Edw. J.||Wolff, Gustay Wilhelm|
|More, Root. Jasper (Shropshire||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Morgan, David J. (Walthamst.||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Morgan, Hn. Fred, (Monm'thsh.||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Skewes-Cox, Thomas||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Morrison, James Archibald||Smith, HC (North'um. Tynes'de|
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. F.)||Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Grant, Corrie||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Hammond, John||O'Dowd, John|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N.)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||O'Malley, William|
|Bell, Richard||Holland, William Henry||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Boyle, James||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Reddy, M.|
|Brigs, John||Jones, William (Carnarvons.)||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Jordan, Jeremiah||Rigg, Richard|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Joyce, Michael||Roche, John|
|Burt, Thomas||Kennedy, Patrick James||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Came, William Sproston||Kitson, Sir James||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Caldwell, James||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Sullivan, Donal|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Leamy, Edmund||Taylor, Theodore Cooke|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Leng, Sir John||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Levy, Maurice||Thomas, J. A. Glam., Gower|
|Crean, Eugene||Lewis, John Herbert||Thompson, E. C. (Monaghan, N.|
|Daly, James||Lloyd-George, David||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Lough, Thomas||Tully, Jasper|
|Doogan, P. C.||Lundon, W.||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan|
|Dully, William J.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Duncan, James H.||M'Dermott, Patrick||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Dunn, Sir William||M'Kenna, Reginald||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Emmott, Alfred||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devonport)||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Moss, Samuel||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Murphy, J.||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Captain Donelan and Mr. Patrick O'Brien.|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)|
§ Question, "That the Item, Class 5, Vote 3, be reduced by £200, in respect of the Transvaal Concessions and Land Settlement Commissions," put accordingly, and negatived.478
§ Original Question again proposed.