HC Deb 22 February 1906 vol 152 cc587-620

Order read, for resuming adjourned debate on Amendment [22nd February] to Question [19th February], "That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, as followeth:—

"Most Gracious Sovereign,

"We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament."—(Mr. Dickinson.)

Which Amendment was— At the end of the Question, to add the words, 'But we humbly regret that Your Majesty's Ministers should have brought the reputation of this country into contempt by describing the employment of Chinese indentured labour as slavery, whilst it is manifest from the tenour of Your Majesty's gracious Speech that they are contemplating no effectual method for bringing it to an end.'"—(Mr. H. W. Forater).

Question again proposed, "That those words be there added."

Debate resumed.


I am sorry I was not in my place when the hon. Member for Sevenoaks animadverted on my unfitness for the post of Minister of Education, on the ground, I presume, for I have heard it alleged before, that during the last general election I made myself the purveyor of slanderous statements on the important question of Chinese labour. If that charge were in any sense true, nobody in this House would be more thoroughly ashamed of himself than I but it is not true, and I think I shall be able to prove that there is no truth whatever in the statement. I was until very lately the chairman of what is called the Liberal Publication Department, and in that character I became and was responsible for whatever the department circulated during the ten or eleven years that I occupied the post. I fully admit my responsibility. But I am not the author of any political leaflet, and very much doubt whether I could write one; the infirmities of my style would probably render that impossible. But as this accusation has been made, I should like to call attention to the sole output of the Liberal Publication Department on this question of Chinese labour. It consists of five leaflets and one picture. The leaflets are of a very simple character. The first begins by asking the following question— Are the Chinese in the Transvaal freemen or serfs? There could be no objection to that question. It then quoted the Bishop of Birmingham, and afterwards the Bishop of Hereford and the Archbishop of Canterbury. I think that even a Minister of Education in a Radical Government may quote from bishops and archbishops without exposing himself to the charge of being a purveyor of scandalous literature. Then Lord Milner was quoted— They come for labour and they can remain for nothing else. and Mr. Seddon— Our fair fame has been tarnished, and we should not be a patty to what was semi-slavery. The Bishop of Hereford (Dr. Percival), said in the House of Lords— Veil it as you will you have in this Ordinance the essence of slavery. It partakes of slavery. The conditions are servile, and you cannot get away from it. Lord Stanmore (lately Governor of several Colonies) said in the same debate— I shall very likely be charged with rhetorical exaggeration in having said that the period of the indentured labourers' stay in the Colony would be one of perpetual imprisonment, but that is no rhetorical exaggeration. The pamphlet proceeds— The Archbishop of Canterbury said in the House of Lords— 'I felt that, if, indeed, the necessity be real, it is one of the most regrettable necessities that have ever arisen in our Colonial history—that it should be found necessary, under the British flag and under Christian civilisation, to arrange for the importation of labour where conditions are laid down that labourers imported shall not be permitted to utilise any exceptional powers they may have, or fulfil the desire to rise above the conditions of the merest drudges, doing the lowest kind of work, whatever their qualifications for some higher kind of labour may be.'—March 4th 1904. Nearly all the above speakers are political supporters of the Government. The truth is that the mine-owners, who control Transvaal affairs, do not believe in liberty. One of them, Mr. Lionel Phillips (a partner in Messrs. Wernher, Beit, & Co., and now Tory candidate for North Paddington) said in a letter to The Times (Februrary 23rd, 1903)— 'Liberty of the subject is a fetish. But is it? Englishmen do hot think so.' That is the first pamphlet.

The second asks— Are the Chinese serfs intended to keep British workmen out of South Africa? Ask Lord Milner. He said—We do not want a white proletariat in this country.—(June 2nd, 1903.) Ask the Transvaal mine-owners themselves. This is what they say— Mr. C. D. Rudd— Could Mr. Kidd replace the 200,000 native workers by 100,000 unskilled whites, they would simply hold the country in the hollow of their hands, and without any disparagement to the British labourer, I must say that I prefer to see the more intellectual section of the community at the helm. Mr. Tarbutt (Chairman of the Village Main Reef Company)— With reference to your trial of white labour for surface work on the mines, I have consulted the Consolidated Goldfields people, and one of our directors has consulted Messrs. Wernher, Beit, & Co. (two of the largest of the gold-mining companies), and the feeling seems to be one of fear that if a large number of white men are employed on the Hand in the position of labourers, the same troubles will arise as are now prevalent in the Australian Colonies, namely, that the combination of the labouring classes will become so strong as to be able more or less to dictate, not only on questions of wages, but also on political questions by the power of their votes when a Representative Government is established.' Then follow quotations from Mr. Hellman, general manager of the East Rand Proprietary Mines, Mr. Schumacher, the Editor of the Johannesburg Star, and the Committee of the Johannesburg Engineers. They say— If our policy is pursued there should be no opening for discontent among the working classes, no opening for the trail of the serpent—the formation of labour unions. The third pamphlet begins with a quotation from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, at Leeds on December 16th, 1903— We are not going to allow the foreign workman, unless he be of a very desirable description, to take the bread out of the mouth of tie British workman. Then come the quotations we had before from Mr. Rudd and Mr. Tarbutt. Then follows the statement which is perfectly accurate— That is the real reason for shutting out British labour. If the gold-fields of Australia and America, where natural difficulties are greater than on the Rand, can be worked by white labour, why cannot those of the Transvaal be? Instead, they are now importing thousands of cheap Chinese. And in order to try to overcome some of the objections of the people of the Transvaal to mixing with them, these Chinese labourers are to be kept almost as slaves. They are not to be allowed to live anywhere except on the premises of their employer. They may never leave those premises except with a ticket-of-leave from their employer (which he can, of course, refuse to give) and in any case they may not be out for more than forty-eight hours. If one of them escapes he may be arrested without a warrant und sentenced to imprisonment. Anyone who 'harbours or conceals' an escaped labourer is also to be fined or imprisoned. And all this under the British flag, which we have always boasted, waved only over free men. The Tory Government has humbly done what the mine-owners wished. It has passed a law to allow this atrocious scheme to be carried out. The Tory majority in the House of Commons has consented to it. But what do you think of what Mr. Seddon calls a system of "semi-slavery'? The fourth reproduces a Tory cartoon. It depicts John Bull, addressing a trader, a farmer, and a skilled workman, and he says— No, the Chinamen is only to do unskilled work in the mines, and he knows it. He can't and won't sneak your business, Mr. Trader, and he can't buy the land that you want, Mr. Farmer, and he can't get your job, Mr. Skilled Workman. Tell all your friends to come out now—the unskilled labour problem is settled. The only comment we make upon that the following letter which Mr. Lyttelton, then Colonial Secretary, directed to be sent to a correspondent—

'Colonial Office, S.W.,

September 5th, 1904.


In reply to your letter of the 2nd inst., I am desired by Mr. Lyttelton to inform you—

(1) That he understands that there has been a considerable diminution in the number of cases of beri-beri among the Chinese in South Africa.

(2) That information as to the prospects of immigrants to South Africa may be obtained from the Emigrants' Information Office, 31, Broadway, Westminster, but that Mr. Lyttelton would certainly not advise anyone to go out without a definite prospect of employment.

Your obedient servant,

(Signed) E. MARSH."

"That is to say, Mr. Lyttelton warned all workmen against going out to South Africa.

'So much for Tory 'truth'!"


And which has just been repudiated by the Under-Secretary for the Colonies.


The Liberal Publication Department could have no cognisance of what the Under-Secretary for the Colonies was going to say a long time afterwards. I might say that in that Department we have what I doubt not is a unique collection of all the Tory pamphlets and cartoons that were published during the khaki election. I should be very sorry to defend myself by pleading that bad example. But I assert that these five leaflets are honest, straightforward, and perfectly justifiable, and their language is neither violent, extravagant, nor exaggerated. Then there was one picture, about which the right hon. Gentleman opposite and I have already had a little controversy. This artistic production was issued, in the first place, long before any Chinamen had arrived on the Rand. It was not a picture describing any state of things which had existed on the Rand. It was simply a picture suggested by the fact that the late Government had consented to a law permitting Chinamen to be imported into the Transvaal, there to work in the mines under conditions described by Mr. Seddon as semi-slavery. It depicts John Bull, or some person, asleep in his chair, and a weird and ghostly form is pointing to three Chinamen [OPPOSITION Cries of "Oh"]—well perhaps there are four Chinamen—proceeding in a melancholy cortége to their work. There is no suggestion of manacles upon them. I am not the artist, and I am bound to say that, until recently, I never saw the thing at all. I therefore bring what the noble-Lord opposite has called an impartial mind to bear on the picture, and I assert most confidently that there is no suggestion of manacles. The picture was issued before the Chinamen had reached the Rand, and therefore before there could be any suggestion that they were wearing manacles at all, and it is in my opinion, a perfectly fair picture. These five leaflets and this single picture were the sole output of the Liberal Publication Department, And I do not hesitate to say that both leaflets and picture are fair controversy, and cannot justify any Member of the House accusing me of having in any way, in my capacity as Chairman of that Department, departed from the traditions and canons of fair controversy. The pamphlets speak for themselves, and so do the pictures. They are marked by that moderation which never was the characteristic of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham. The country, I do not doubt, hate Chinese labour. I hate it. The country is ashamed of Chinese labour, and I am ashamed of it. Unfortunately the Government has to deal with that state of things. "The evil, that men do lives after them, the good is often interred with their bones," although I do not think that those who dig in the grave of the late Administration will find much good there. The Government has dealt with this state of things courageously and usefully—no further importation allowed; repatriation permitted; amendments in the Ordinance approved of and ordered—significant, grave, and I doubt not, effective language that goes to show that these labour conditions are objectionable to the English Government and to the British people, and that they cannot, and will not, be approved of in time to come under any circumstances whatever. The whole purpose of this debate is not to do any good to the Chinaman; it is not in any way to alleviate his condition; but it is to put it to the country that we are hypocrites unless forthwith all the Chinamen now indentured are deported and sent home. That is an issue I am quite content to leave to the common sense of the country.

SIR EDWARD CLARKE (City of London)

said he had not intended to intervene in this debate, nor did he ask the House to listen to him in the discussion of the general question of the employment of Chinese labour. But there was a personal aspect of this question which interested all who sat in this House—the question whether there had been fair and honourable treatment dealt out in the constituencies to the Party to which he had the honour to belong. He had been lone exiled from the House, and he came back to find that the Party to which he belonged was lying under a stigma more shameful than any that had been thrown on an Englsh political Party for a century past. [AN HON. MEMBER: It is true.] He knew that the stigma was undeserved, and that the attack was made upon men who were as jealous for the honour of our people as any of their assailants on the other side of the House. He had not been attacked in his own constituency in regard to Chinese labour, but he had seen these shameful placards in many other constituencies; and he felt indignant, because they had been designed and intended for the purpose of holding a great political Party up to the execration of the people. And what sort of a defence had they from the right hon. Gentleman opposite? He would not get up, and no Minister either in that House or the other House would now get up, and say that this was a system of slavery. It had been explicitly disavowed in another place, it had been implicitly disavowed in this House; and, though there was an echo from the backbenches which repeated the calumnies that had been stated during the late election, there was not a Minister on the Treasury Bench who would get up and say, in the face of the House of Commons, that this was a system of slavery. It was delightful to see the right hon. Gentleman protecting himself behind Bishops and Archbishops.


Do you object to them?


said he was only glad to see indications that his right hon. friend would come under their sway and fatherly and improving counsel. He took quotations from the very advanced Prime Minister of Australia and then reprinted them. It was perfectly fair to reprint quotations from anybody. It was the chief object of the manager of a publications department to do so when his opponents had been guilty of exaggerations. But in the fifth of these pamphlets the word "slavery" was used. When it was challenged the Under-secretary for the Colonies disavowed the expression "slavery" on behalf of the Government, and then the President of the Board of Education said— How could I foresee what the Under-secretary for the Colonies would say?


I said— How could the writer of the pamphlet foresee?


said he was not concerned to distinguish between the writer of the pamphlet and the man who used that writing for political purposes. It was not a question of who made the coin but who uttered it, and at the time of the election this pamphlet was put out by the official organisation of the Liberal Party. Was his right hon. friend the President of the Board of Education justified in saying that he could not foresee what the Under-Secretary for the Colonies would say? His right hon. friend ought to have foreseen that, when the turmoil of the election was over, and these misrepresentations had gained the allegiance of constituencies not well instructed, they would be shown to be absolutely hollow and without foundation. As to the famous cartoon, depicting a row of Chinamen on the Rand, he would with confidence put it into the hands of any man and ask whether it was fair and reasonable to describe it as depicting men proceeding to their work "in a pensive and melancholy attitude." He was quite content to leave that picture and the comment to the judgment of the country. [An HON MEMBER: You have had it.] Yes, they had it at a time when these things were believed to be true. Now that they were known to be gross partisan misrepresentation it was easy enough to say with a tone of cheerful contentment "You have had it." In 1880 he himself gained the vote of a great constituency, which introduced him to public life. Some six weeks later he was rejected by that same constituency, and that was due in great measure because of placards published all over the borough of South-wark, in which there was a representation of a soldier at the triangles being flogged till the blood ran down his back.


With the full concurrence of the right hon. Member for West Birmingham.


said the Under-Secretary for the Colonies was not quite justified in that interruption, which has nothing to do with the matter. He had never been in the House when there was a debate on flogging in the Army, and had given no vote on the subject at all. While all must earnestly desire to keep elections free from extravagant exaggerations, they would also feel that those who had been sufferers under this latest and worst form of misrepresentation should take the earliest opportunity of protesting that there was no foundation for the slanders, and by that process endeavour to make it possible that hereafter those abominable things should be avoided.

MR. TOULMIN (Lancashire, Bury)

said he was SUTC the House was glad to hear again the voice of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the City of London who had been absent from the House for some time. They would all agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman in wishing for a better tone in our political controversies. He might have had some sympathy with the Members of another great Party five or six years ago when they were subjected to very gross misrepresentation, and on whom a most disgraceful stigma was placed. He was sure, too, that the noble Lord the Member for East Marylebone would not regret that his first speech in this House was in favour of the amenties of public life. He had described the wounds inflicted on his feelings by what he considered unjust accusations, and wondered that hon. Members had not learned better. But was it not possible that some of the exaggeration of which he complained was learned in the sad year 1900. There were others in this House against whom most abominable cartoons were issued. One Member who was actually at the time in South Africa visiting the grave of his son was depicted in a cartoon as pulling down the British Flag and trampling it under foot. Nothing that had been said in this controversy had approached in his opinion the dastardly attacks made on Liberals during the Boer War. What was said by the noble Lord with regard to slavery rather disposed of the remarks made by the hon. Member for Gravesend who gave an extreme definition. The noble Lord pointed out that Roman slaves might hold property and were sometimes rich men. The hon. Member for Gravesend said it was not slavery unless the man was in the absolute power of another with respect to life, liberty and property.


What I said was that the definition of slavery given by my hon. friend the Member for the Abercromby Division of Liverpool was not the definition given in the law lexicons which I quoted.


And did not the hon. Gentleman adopt the definition he quoted? The hon. Member adopted the definition that it was not slavery unless there was absolute power over life, property and liberty. He himself thought that a man who was flogged without due process of law was a slave. In the vulgar tongue the condition of Chinese labour in South Africa was slavery. Personally, he did not use the word "slavery" in the election. He found a mere repetition of the facts was sufficient. They must all have been gratified with the concluding words of the Minister for Education that there would be a time when the system of Chinese labour would come to an end. On the Ministerial side of the House they were taunted with not instantly putting an end to this system. There were several questions on which they must decide before they could come to a correct decision as to what their action at the present moment ought to be. There was the question of the servile condition of this service, the treatment of the coolies, and the great racial problem of their being introduced into South Africa. The question of servile labour was an Imperial and not a local question, and they could not settle it unless they took into consideration what was thought of it by the other great Colonies. Personally, he should like one of the questions submitted to the next Colonial Conference to be the future status of labour under the Imperial flag. That would not be an unworthy subject to discuss at that Conference. On the question of the treatment of the men, the enlightened selfishness of the mine-owners would guard the men against intentional cruelty. But the system was cruel, and bred cruelty. It was suggested on the other side that the Chinese should be bundled back in a body. If the conditions of Chinese labour were so good as described, why deprive the coolies of the advantages they had in wages, which were so much higher than they could get at home? Lord Selborne, in his Despatch of January 20th last said— The sudden withdrawal of a certain proportion of the trade of the country would, as I hold, in the end lead to the reduction of the general business prosperity by the same proportion, though this reduced condition would only be reached through a cruel period of collapse and stagnation of the whole business organisation. When they were warned in that manner by Lord Selborne how could they wonder that the Ministry was most cautious in the methods they adopted to put an end to this system? The deportation of the Chinese at once would mean a policy of panic. It was once said of a famous action," Magnificent, but not war," and in like manner it might be said that such a policy would be magnificent, but it would not be peace. He denied that the mine-owners of the Transvaal had ever the right to ask for special conditions to be made for them for labour. He would say that the system by which the gold was being taken from the Transvaal at present was the worst the ingenuity of man could devise for developing South Africa. It was a system by which Berlin, Paris, and London were interested and not the Transvaal. It was to build palaces in Park Lane, and not farms in a free colony. There was in the Blue-book just published some justification of the charges which had been made as to the treatment of the Chinese and natives. Lord Selborne's Despatch of December 9th to the Colonial Secretary contained an admission of the use of illegal corporal punishment, which had been already read to the House. There was also a statement which showed that the coolies were chained in prison— The statements made in Mr. Boland's letter as to the use of a horizontal beam in the lock-up of the Witwatersrand mine, are also, as you will observe, refuted in the general manager's and Chinese compound manager's reports. The reason why such a beam is placed in the lock-up is, to my mind, satisfactorily explained. If the ringleaders in a riot between coolies were placed in the lock-up, prior to trial, without being fastened to a beam to keep them apart from each other, further fighting and probably bloodshed would ensue. What were the coolies "fastened to a beam" with? It would not be pack-thread. The resources of civilisation in the mines did not go further than chaining men at different sides of a room, instead of having two rooms to prevent their further quarrelling. Then the punishment of the cangue was admitted by Lord Selborne— Mr. Mackarness's letter (to the Westminster Gazette) is accompanied by a reproduction of a photograph of a Chinese coolie being punished by being made to wear what in China is termed the "cangue." I absolutely condemn its use, which is clearly illegal, but, as in the case of flogging, I am quite satisfied that this form of punishment has been wholly discontinued since June last. As to the character of these labourers there was a significant letter from one of the mine managers in which he said— Among the Chinese employed on the mine here are between 200 and 300 hardened criminals, many of them being assassins, who boast of the number of murders they have committed; these fellows require careful watching, as they are constantly in possession of dangerous weapons, as knives, dynamite, etc.; only a week or two ago some coolies exploded a charge of dynamite, luckily a light charge, under Messrs. Ginsberg's store and destroyed a portion of the building. It must be admitted that strong measures are necessary in dealing with such fellows. Who introduced these very undesirable aliens? He believed that if the mineowners had given fair wages, and good treatment, and had had patience there would have been a sufficient number of black labourers provided. Many of the speakers in this debate had spoken as if hon. Members on the Government side of the House wished to deprive the whole of the blacks of their right to labour. He had never heard of any of his hon. friends who took up that position. They recognised that the blacks had as much right to labour in that country as the whites. The records showed that an increasing number of blacks were being employed. He hoped the Government would go on in the prudent way in which they had attacked this problem. It had been left in a way which would tax all their prudence, but personally he had every trust that they would remove immediately the servile taint which was associated with the employment of Chinese in South Africa.

MR. HOUSTON (Liverpool, West Toxteth)

said he would have much preferred to move the Amendment to the Address of which he had given notice on this subject, because it raised a plain issue and was free from ambiguity. He was very interested by the speech of the Prime Minister a few nights ago. He was pleased to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that during the recent election he did not indulge in the use of any of the mural literature of which they complained in regard to Chinese labour, but he omitted to mention that he had no contest in the Stirling Burghs. The right hon. Gentleman also informed the House that throughout Scotland that same practice was adopted. He thought it reflected great credit on gentlemen born north of the Tweed that they were economical in this as in other matters. He would point out that the right hon. Gentleman was Prime Minister not only for Scotland but for England as well.—[An HON. MEMBER: And Ireland]—and if he did not know what was going on in England he ought to have done so. He would endeavour to enlighten him on that point. The speech of the Under-secretary was a brilliant coruscation, but it was a plethora of platitudes. That speech contained one or two points of importance. The hon. Member said he did not consider this was a matter of slavery. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister for Education spoke of the "repulsive lies"' issued during the Khaki election. He would beg to remind him of one issued during that election, "the smoking hecatombs of slaughtered babes," of which he was the author.

The Prime Minister ought to be aware that on nearly every Ministerial and Labour platform in the country Chinese slavery was spoken of in no measured terms and in the most extravagant language. It was characterised as slavery introduced into South Africa at the behest and in the self-interest of a group of German Jew-millionaire mine-owners, the privileged and pampered protégés of a corrupt Conservative Government. [An HON. MEMBER on the LABOUR benches: That is exactly the position.] The walls of nearly every constituency in the kingdom were decorated with pictorial and highly coloured posters illustrating the abject and servile condition of these wretched Chinese labourers. In his own division of Liverpool, where he had to fight one of the most intelligent and advanced of the Labour candidates, a man who was up-to date in the matter of advertisements, a procession was introduced through the streets. That procession consisted of abject creatures dressed as Chinese coolies, with pig-tails and all, chained together by the neck, and under the control of a task-master with a lash. This procession was followed by a funeral hearse, with his own coffin inside, and an inscription on a placard "Sexton tolls Houston's knell." But he had not done it yet. [An HON. MEMBER Next time.] No; he would; not do it next time. Following the hearse was a crowd of "Unemployed British workmen "carrying banners on which was inscribed "This was what we fought for in South Africa." Serious Radical newspapers which had never hitherto condescended to indulge in illustrations had pictures of the atrocities of Chinese slavery on the Rand, together with letters from South Africa. Eloquent speakers appeared on every platform and described the condition of these wretched creatures who had been taken from their native homes, and, after a long and tedious voyage, landed in South Africa to be herded in the compounds like slaves, where they toiled under the lash of a cruel task-master, to enable their unscrupulous employers to revel in luxury in palatial homes in Park Lane, and to disport themselves in the most exclusive circles of the most select London society. It was within the memory of old Members that the President of the Board of Trade endeavoured to read in this House a schedule of the shareholders of a certain mine, and the right hon. Gentleman asked:—"Was it for these that we fought in the South African War; was it that these might enjoy their unholy gains, and engage in this inhuman traffic?" He wished he had time to deal with this subject fully so as to enlighten the misguided hon. Gentlemen below the gangway. He remembered in one of his travels meeting with the principal son of Brigham Young, and asking him how it was he managed to proselytise free people to his flock. He could quite understand one sex being drawn thither, but not the other sex. This son of Brigham Young admitted to him that their disciples or recruits were usually of the ignorant class, and he told him that he was opening up a new Jerusalem down in Mexico, and that the first thing he would do would be not to build a church but a theatre. The reason was that he found it best to educate the people through the eye and not through the ear. That was the reason for the processions which he had described going through the streets.

After all their declamations, were right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench going to remain silent now; were they going to allow a continuation of this slavery? [MINISTERIAL C[...]ies of "No."] Was it to be said that what was vile under a Conservative Government was expedient and tolerable under a Liberal Government? The Radical Party was always tolerant and open to receive recruits. He was sure that the Under-secretary for the Colonies would forgive him when he said that the hon. Gentleman thought that the whole intelligence of the Tory Party went over to the other Party when he left it. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Hear, hear."] Yes, but circumstances had altered cases. The Under-Secretary for the Colonies spoke of the immoral contract of the late Government. Did the hon. Gentleman not know, and if he did not there were a sufficient number of eminent lawyers on the other side to tell him, that an immoral contract could be broken at any time? Why had the Government not broken these immoral contracts? It was now said that the Government was going to deal with this matter in a peddling and paltry way; they were going to pay the passages of some Chinese labourers home to China. That was not the way in which a past generation of Englishmen had dealt with slavery in the West Indies. When the West Indian negroes were emancipated, the Government of the day did not put money before honour, or economy before freedom. Right hon. Gentlemen opposite said that they were going to give self-government to the Transvaal and wash their hands of slavery. [Cries of "No, no!"] Yes. He knew it was an unfortunate expression to use, but he would remind hon. Gentlemen opposite that there was a Roman governor 1,900 years ago who yielded to popular clamour, and washed his hands of responsibility. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] He was glad that hon. Gentlemen opposite were amused, but he would remind them that succeeding generations had execrated the memory and the action of that Roman governor, What right had His Majesty's Government to transfer the responsibility for slavery to the Transvaal? It was for them to deal with the matter, and if there was slavery, not a day ought to be allowed to pass before it was abolished. They talked about their huge majority. They were certainly a powerful body, but they appeared to have a feeble and vacillating mind. One section said that this was slavery, and another section said that it was not. One section said, "Leave it alone," and another section said "Get rid of it." A great deal has been heard about the national honour being besmirched, but more things than chickens and curses had a habit of coming home to roost. Promissory notes had to be met. The promissory notes of hon. Gentlemen opposite had matured, and they had to be met with that compound interest of which they had heard so much. If the directors of a new company invited subscriptions from the public and issued a prospectus, and if that prospectus contained anything misleading, or contained misrepresentation, the law decreed that the money should be returned to the shareholders. Hon. Gentlemen opposite were in the position of having captured votes and secured office on the strength of misrepresentation, and therefore it was their duty to go back to their shareholders and to return their votes by resignation. [Ironical laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite might laugh in their strength, but he ventured to prophesy that they would be dismissed from office at no distant time.


Who said that the Tory Party had not a leader?


said that no one knew the hon. Member better than he did and he took his remark good naturedly. He wished he had been able to move his own Amendment regretting that no immediate steps were to be taken for the abolition of Chinese labour, because he would have been able to make it perfectly clear that no Conservative could have voted for it without stultifying himself. In the same way, no one who had describell Chinese labour as slavery could have voted against it without stultifying himself; and then he would have attained his object. He knew what the result of the division would be, and what an appeal to the packed jury of the Government Benches would result in, but in due time they would appeal to a higher court than the House of Commons, to the court of appeal of public opinion, and he had no doubt that the final verdict would be to the effect that those who described Chinese labour as slavery, and yet would not deal with it, were a set of political humbugs.

MR. SHACKLETOX (Lancashire, Clitheroe)

said that early in the evening they had had a very interesting speech from the Minister for Education, and one passage of it was of importance to the Labour Members, who were anxious to know its real meaning. What he wanted to ask the Prime Minister was whether the new Transvaal constitution would prohibit indentured labour of any kind. This was a most important question to the Labour Members, who were all pledged to put an end to the abuse. He asked if the Chinese labourers would be permitted to reindenture themselves at the expiration of present contracts.

MR. MARKHAM (Nottinghamshire, Mansfield)

thought it was very unfortunate in the interests of South Africa, that this debate had taken place. A good deal of harm might be done by it. He had no interest in South Africa mines, but he had been out there and had seen for himself the necessity of introducing alien labour, if the mines were to be worked profitably. He wished to condemn strongly the recruiting of Kaffir labourers from Portuguese Africa who were driven by the recruiters, and who, when they came from tropical and sub-tropical countries, died on the high Rand from pneumonia. Last session he pointed out to Mr. Lyttelton the advisability of inserting a clause to allow the Chinaman to return home by paying his own passage, and a clause to that effect was inserted at his request, and already some 300 Chinese had availed themselves of that right and had returned to their own homes. Now the Government was going to give the right to any Chinese who might have been deceived to return to their own country at the expense of the State, and that would go far to meet the justice of the case. He would not now argue the merits or demerits of Chinese labour, but he wished to say that there was not a single mining engineer in this country or in South Africa, who had had any knowledge at all of mining affairs, who would say that it was possible to work the mines entirely without coloured labour. It was impossible to work the mines with white labour, but he would not argue that point. [An HON. MEMBER Why not?] Because it would take him at least a couple of hours to develop his argument. This was a question which could not be effectively dealt with upon the floor of the House of Commons, because it was one of the most difficult questions connected with mining. He believed that the Government were aware of all the difficulties, and he asked them to place their confidence in this matter in the man who had led them to victory. He wished to point out that all labour in South Africa to-day was servile labour. All coloured labour was servile, and no Kaffir could hold property or land in the Transvaal. Those were the conditions which had always prevailed even under the Boer Government. But be that as it might, those servile conditions were repugnant to the people of this country, who had been brought up under civilised conditions. It should be remembered, however, that in this question of labour in the mines they were dealing not with civilised people, but with savages, and matters must be regulated and determined accordingly. He had always advocated the principle of equal rights for all civilised men, but they had first to bring the savage into a state of civilisation, and then he was as much entitled to a vote as any white man and should enjoy the same rights and privileges. He urged the House to deal carefully with this question, and not make it more difficult for the Government of South Africa to deal with. The problem had been made more difficult by the war, which was wrong, and he hoped they would not repeat that mistake by any action they might take now. A good deal had been said about the cartoons which had been issued in regard to Chinese labour, but he would remind hon. Gentlemen opposite that, at a former election, they issued placards representing little Englanders shooting Englishmen from behind a wall, and that was far worse than any cartoon which had been put forward at the recent election, although he agreed that those ought not to have been issued. But that was not the question for them today. Perhaps on this question he had made more sacrifices than any one else in the House. He had used language upon this subject which he ought not to have used, but he could not forget that the war in South Africa was a capitalistic war. Knowing how difficult the question was, he urged the House not to place the Transvaal itself in the extremely difficult position which would inevitably arise if they attempted to lay dow then conditions which the people of that country must finally adopt. No representative institutions had ever been granted to any British colony except by Act of Parliament. Was the Prime Minister going to follow out this precedent in South Africa? The state of South Africa to-day was probably worse and more serious than at any time before the war, and they had to deal now with a condition of affairs of very great gravity. Therefore it was necessary that whatever constitution was going to be granted it should be done at the earliest possible moment. He had advocated in the House, time after time, the granting of responsible government to South Africa, under which they would have the administration of their own affairs. If such a government had been established years ago they would not have been faced to-day with the Chinese labour question. He intended to vote for the Government, not because he did not believe in Chinese labour, but because what was said on the Treasury Bench and what was said on the hustings were not the same thing. [OPPOSITION cheers.] The present Lord Chancellor had said that he should always protest in the strongest possible manner against the servile conditions attached to Chinese labour in South Africa. He had always contended that if a Chinaman came into South Africa at all he should come in free, and he did not think that any Liberal could say that a Chinaman was not entitled to come in if he came in as a free man. He trusted that the hands of the Government would not be forced upon this question.

MR. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)

said the hon. Member who had just sat down had asked that this should not be made a Party question. He thought he was asking this rather late in the day, because if there was one thing more than another that was made a Party question at the recent election it was the question of the continuance of Chinese labour in South Africa. The hon. Member for the Mansfield Division had urged the Government to be strong in their attitude upon this subject. The hon. Member had been courageous throughout this controversy, for he had stood alone for years championing the cause of Chinese labour, and he was the only Member of the Liberal Party who did not vote in favour of the Motion condemning the action of the late Government upon this question. But he asked the Government to be cautious and look somewhat suspiciously upon advice given by an hon. Member who throughout had been a champion of the cause of Chinese labour. He wished to join in the hearty welcome which had been given to the hon. Member for the City of London upon his return to this House to take part in their debates. Although they differed from him in politics they welcomed him as one of the brightest ornaments of the Conservative Party. The hon. Member had spoken up gallantly and bravely for his colleagues, but how did the Conservative Party treat him a few years ago when he ventured to take a view of his own with regard to the great war of which they were now discussing the result? He remembered the hon. Member's appealing to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham to use greater statesmanship in the carrying on of the negotiations, and he stated that if greater statesmanship had been employed the war might have been avoided. For saying that he was drummed out of the Conservative Party, and therefore he admired him to night for the loyalty he had displayed in defending those who had so severely condemned him in the past. This Amendment condemned the action of the Government throughout the constituencies, and implied that they ought to take action at once in harmony with the declaration of the country and repatriate the Chinamen from South Africa. Chinese labour was one of the two great questions upon which the country gave a verdict at the recent election. The first issue was protection versus free trade, and the second was whether Chinese labour should be allowed to continue. The first question had been definitely settled, and the country was now anxious to know what the policy of the Government was going to be in regard to this very important question of Chinese labour. They approached this question to-night from a somewhat different standpoint from that of those who had Drought forward this Amendment, the object of which was simply to harass the Government. The supporters of the Government approached the question with confidence and an intense desire that they should do their best to settle what they all recognised to be a very difficult question, and in the hope that they would be able to carry out their pledges with the least possible delay. The speech of the Under-secretary for the Colonies was a very able performance, for he had to deal with a very delicate task, and he had had to express the views of the Government upon a very delicate question. The hon. Member seemed to him to have emphasised to too great an extent the fact that the Government repudiated the suggestion that any slavery existed in South Africa. He did not think that he used the phrase himself, but one of the issues which he placed before his constituency was that of the continuance of Chinese labour. Did slavery exist in South Africa? He wished to say emphatically that in his humble opinion slavery did exist at the present time in South Africa. In the first place, the Chinese were brought over practically imprisoned. They were landed and taken to the mines as prisoners, and they were kept in compounds and could not leave without the special permission of their employers. If a Chinaman was found in the public streets he was liable to arrest and he could be bought and sold [OPPOSITION cries of "No, no."] He could be transferred from one group of mines to another without his consent. ["No, no."] The value of a Chinaman now had greatly increased, and he could be bought and sold so far as his labour was concerned. He was liable to arrest for being in the public streets, he had no opportunity of having a free trial for any offence he might be charged with, and those were conditions of slavery. A Chinaman could not belong to a trade union, he was kept practically a prisoner, with no free will of his own, and it was impossible for him to become a citizen; and if that was not slavery he did not know what slavery was. He could be flogged in the mine without any pretence of a trial. If there was one thing more certain than another it was that the electorate of this country had made up its mind that Chinese labour in South Africa was not to continue, and he wished to know whether that was going to be the policy of the Government. He fully appreciated the modifications in the Ordinance which had been alluded to, but they could be made either a dead letter or a means of sending every Chinamen back to China. He hoped the Government would be careful to adopt a policy which would tend to the peace of South Africa. The present state of things in South Africa was largely due to the fact that things were so unsettled and people did not know where they were. Were they going to hear from the Prime Minister that the whole situation was to be changed? They should not look at this question merely from a paltry Party point of view, but from an Imperial standpoint, and try to settle things permanently. Whatever the policy was to be they should be told clearly and without any doubt. He understood that it would be possible for a Chinaman under the new policy to remain in South Africa at least six years. He confessed that he did not like the prospect of going back to his constituency six years hence and informing them that, notwithstanding their large majority, they were unable to put an end to Chinese labour in South Africa. He did not for a moment believe that that was the desire of the Government, and he hoped it was not, because personally he—and he was sure many on that side of the House—hoped and believed the Government had a programme to carry out, and they were going to enact measures for the welfare of the great masses of the people as a whole, and they did not wish the Government to adopt any policy that would in any sense weaken the confidence that the great masses of the people had in them. Therefore he desired this question to be settled with the least possible delay. The circumstances under which the Ordinance was given were peculiar and exceptional. A Government which had not the confidence of the country was responsible for it. Every colony protested against it, and it had not the support of the great mass of the people in South Africa. If ever there was a case in which a contract ought to be broken it was this. Why should not the Government take the responsibility themselves of getting the Chinamen out of South Africa? This was a matter which ought not to be left to the colony itself when it received self-government. This country was responsible for the introduction of Chinese labour. It was brought in under peculiar conditions. This country had spent £250,000,000 in South Africa and 25,000 lives had been sacrificed. The voice of this country had a right to be heard in the settlement of South Africa. Now it had to wait, as he understood, for self-government in the colony. There was to be no settlement of this matter until it had been thrashed out under the new constitution to be created. [Cries of "No."] Well, let Ministers say. He contended that there was to be no permanent settlement of this matter until the constitution to be created in the Transvaal had been heard upon it, and the people had expressed their opinion through that constitution. If they took the responsibility of sending back the Chinese all would be well. But suppose the new authority should be in favour of continuing the employment of the Chinese in South Africa, were the Government going to take the responsibility of that? He hoped sincerely they were not. He suggested that the way to give effect to what he believed to be the general policy of the Party in this matter was to insert a clause in the Transvaal Constitution which could leave no doubt whatever what would happen. There was an almost similar case with regard to California, where the question of Chinese labour was raised, and it was considered to be in the best interests of the State that that labour should not be continued. A clause was, therefore, inserted in the new constitution forever prohibiting Asiatic coolieism in the State and declaring that all contracts for such labour would be void. He appealed to His Majesty's Government to make their action as permanent as possible, and, above all, to let this country and South Africa know what the policy was to be. He did not suggest that all the Chinamen should be at once taken back—in one way that would be extremely difficult—but, in the first place, would it not be advisable to insert such a clause in the constitution, or to name an appointed day when Chinamen should cease to live in South Africa? The mine-owners would then be able to make the necessary arrangements. The Under-Secretary that night had pleaded on behalf on the investor. Well, he thought the investor in this matter had a very poor chance indeed; the great magnates of the mining houses took good care of that. The mining magnates made more money when markets went down than when they went up, and therefore the small investor had a very poor chance indeed in their hands; therefore he did not think they need consider him very much in the matter. The country had had full warning that there was a possibility of a Liberal Government coming in to deal with this subject. He was grateful for the step that had been taken by the Government, but he hoped they would go a little further and name a day on which this matter would come into operation, thus giving the House reason to believe—as he should believe until he heard to the contrary—that the Government were anxious to carry out what certainly was the expressed will of the electorate.

COLONEL LEGGE (St. George's, Hanover Square)

said he desired to read a few extracts from election addresses and speeches of members of the Government in support of the contention that some of them had described the employment of Chinese indentured labour as slavery. The Prime Minister, in his election address, said— South Africa has been reduced to a condition in which loss of property, nay, even ruin, can only be avoided by the use of servile labour imported in unlimited quantities from China. There was, in the first place, some exaggeration in that statement. The Chinese were not being imported into South Africa in unlimited quantities. British South Africa consisted of seven different Colonies and Protectorates, and they occupied an area of about 1,500,000 square miles. In only one of these was Chinese labour being introduced, namely, the Transvaal, which covered only an area of 111,000 square miles, And they were not being introduced in every part of the Transvaal. They were being introduced in only a small part of that colony—the mining district. And they were not being introduced in unlimited quantities because their number was limited by the requirements of the mines. Therefore he was justified in saying there was some exaggeration in the statement of the Prime Minister in his election address. The right hon. Gentleman had used the words "servile labour," Now, servile labour was slave labour. It was no use mincing matters and using a Latin word instead of an English one. He would next turn to the President of the Local Government Board, who said— South Africa is over-officered, over-governed, costly, dominated by a sordid unpatriotic section of speculating slave-owners. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say— I am against slavery, coolie, indentured or contract coloured labour under the British flag. The Prime Minister had stated, in doubtful Latin, that slavery existed in South Africa, and the President of the Local Government Board made the same statement in undeniable English. He now came to the President of the Board of Education, who in a speech at Bristol said— With regard to the repatriation of the Chinese from South Africa, that he thought all who wanted to return home should be sent back, but to break a three years' contract would mean damages which he was afraid the Chancellor of the Exchequer would not be able to contemplate with equanimity, nor would, he thought, the people of this country who were looking for the abatement of taxes. Apparently the President of the Board of Education was in favour of repatriating the Chinese at once, but evidently thought the Chancellor of the Exchequer was afraid of the expense. When it was considered that this country spent £20,000,000 to free the slaves in the West Indies, it was an aspersion on the people of this country to say that they would not be prepared to pay for the liberation of slaves in South Africa. Then, there was the President of the Board of Trade, who said— He was told that poor Chinamen in South Africa did not work half so well cha[...]ned in compounds as they did at home. They never had been chained in compounds. They undoubtedly lived in compounds. He himself had lived in a compound for the best part of ten years; there was no hardship about it. The President of the Board of Trade was asked at one of his meetings what would happen supposing the Transvaal to declare in favour of retaining Chinese labour. The right hon. Gentleman replied— I am reminded of a reply of Abraham Lincoln, who said, 'I never cross the Fox River until I come to it,' He would point out, that so strongly die Abraham Lincoln oppose slavery in the United States that he prosecuted sanguinary war against his own countrymen in order to suppress it. Would the right hon. Gentleman do as much, because if not the parallel between the President of the Board of Trade and the President of the United States was somewhat incomplete? Then the Chancellor of the Exchequer said in one of his speeches, on December 12th— It was thought necessary that the China men should be segregated and secluded—that a kind of ring fence should be erected around them, and within that ling fence all their movements should be made. Now, gentlemen, that is a state of things which some people have called slivery. I have never used the term myself, hut I must say, if you ask me whether it more resembles a state of slavery or of freedom, I have little difficulty in answering the question. With characteristic caution the right hon. Gentleman did not proceed to answer the Question. These statements he had quoted bore very strongly on the Amendment before the House. Some of the members of the Ministry had definitely stated that Chinese labour was slavery, and others had hinted or suggested that it was slavery. All he could say was that if it were slavery it should be abolished at any cost or any sacrifice, and if it were not slavery, then those Ministers and their followers who had so described it had been guilty of grossly misleading the people of this country.

MR. BELLOC (Salford, S.)

said the Members of this House were not only met, he took it, to legislate in their collective wisdom, but also to speak for the men who had sent them there. He was tinder a pledge, and there were many other Members who, though they might not be under a definite pledge, as he was, were nevertheless under an implicit pledge to say what he wished to say that night. The pledge he was under was that when he entered the House of Commons, if this question should arise, he would suggest—and a private Member with no knowledge even of the customs of the House could do no more than suggest—that Chinese labour in South Africa should be put an end to, and that the cost of putting it to an end should fall upon those men whom all England hated from the bottom of the heart—those men to whom this country owed the loss of its military prestige, those men who had captured the Press and who talked of themselves as Britishers yet would not allow an Englishman to express a free opinion in this country. He earnestly asked first, that a date should be fixed within three months, during which the first batch at least of the Chinamen should leave South Africa; secondly, that the rate of their full repatriation should be fixed within the same delay, and thirdly, that the cost should fall upon those men on whom it should deservedly fall.

MR. BRIDGEMAN (Shropshire, Oswestry)

said he did not rise because he was bound, as was the previous speaker, by any inconvenient pledge to his constituents, but because, in the first place, he was one of a very few Members in the House who had to fight two elections in which the Chinese question had arisen; in the second place, because he was not able to follow the different definitions of slavery or servile labour; and, thirdly, because he felt it was his duty to protest on the first possible opportunity against the abominable practice which had been [...]arried on in the last election, and at the bye-elections immediately before, of attempting not only to vilify political opponents, but to vilify people who were 6,000 miles away, and had no opportunity of defending themselves against the statements circulated for political purposes which not only had not been proved, but to prove which no attempt had been made. Chinese labour had been described as slavery, as semi-slavery, as servile labour, and as serfdom. The Member for the Kirkcaldy Burghs had mentioned certain items in the Transvaal Ordinance which in his opinion made it an Ordinance of slavery, but none of those items were going to be altered by the present Government. Those hon. Gentlemen who were returned on the ground that they were going to put down slavery which now existed under the Transvaal Ordinance, if they were going to support the views of the present Government, owed some apology to the people whom they had traduced during the election.

He should like to ask what was the difference between slavery and labour under servile conditions? The hon. Member for Liverpool had defined a slave as being a man who was not entitled to hold property. According to the statement made by the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies the reason why the Transvaal Ordinance was so inferior to that in force, in British Guiana was that the Chinese were not allowed to remain in South Africa whilst indentured labourers in British Guiana could remain. He should have thought that compelling a person to come into your service and not allowing him to leave it was slavery. He was now told that slavery meant allowing a man to come into your service if he liked and compelling him to go at the end of a certain time. He wished to call attention to an instance given in the Blue-book of the sort of way in which people had been got at in South Africa on this question. On page 2 there ap- peared a letter from Mr. F. C. Boland to the Morning Leader bringing specific charges against the managers of two South African mines. Those charges were published with illustrations, and circulated throughout many of the constituencies in England at the last election. They were published without any effort being made to ascertain their truth. If they were correct why did Mr. Boland allow such things to go on whilst he was corresponding with the newspapers, instead of at once going to the superintendent of foreign labour and making a complaint to him of the improper treatment of the Chinese labourers which was alleged to be going on? On page 21 of the Blue-book they would find in an interview with the superintendent of foreign labour that Mr. Boland gave him to understand that his business as a journalist was not so much to bring cases of outrages to the notice of the proper authorities as to manufacture from them sensational articles for publication in the Press. Practically all Mr. Boland's assertions were denied and found to be untrue as soon as inquiry was instituted. It was shown that only two petitions had been handed in from the coolies; one of them was in favour of the resumption of corporal punishment because they preferred it to the punishment which had been substituted for it, and the other petition stated that they were being treated well and were in fact receiving the same treatment as parents meted out to their children. That did not prove the truth of the charges made in Mr. Boland's articles. One of the complaints of the coolies was that they were made to do military drill which was not provided for in the Ordinance, and the drill was immediately stopped. In the Blue-book it transpired that a good deal of Mr. Boland's statements were derived from a dissatisfied compound manager, Mr. Pless, who had quarrelled with his employer, and who had announced his intention of making it hot for the mineowners. To do this, Mr. Pless took a Chinaman to his own house, tied him up and left him from 7 o'clock one night until 11 o'clock next morning, and at the end of that time, after various minor tortures he photographed the Chinaman, with the alleged purpose of publishing a book to illustrate slave-driving on the Rand. The hon. and gallant Member for the Abercromby Division of Liverpool said on the question of bringing the criminals to justice, that the principal criminals sat on the front Opposition Bench, and the chief amongst them was the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham.


I do not wish to go back upon my statement, but in the sense of the right hon. Gentleman being a criminal I withdrew the word at the time.


asked where were the criminals sitting who were responsible for the torture of that poor Chinaman who was taken to Mr. Pless's house and tortured and then photographed for electioneering purposes? Hon. Members opposite were familiar with the laws of supply and demand, and he wanted to know where the demand for such photographs as these came from; these would not have been supplied if there had not been a demand for them.


said if blackguards were employed by the Labour Importation Agency it was possible that ruffianly things would be done.


could not accept that as an explanation, for why, if there was a blackguard in the case, was he not prosecuted?


Telegrams have been despatched to ascertain whether it is possible to frame charges against Mr. Pless. Even in China he might not be beyond British jurisdiction; and if a charge could be made against him it was possible that the truth might be elicited at a judicial inquiry.


That leads to another question. I should like to know when that telegram was sent.


Long before the hon. Gentleman made his Speech.


said that answer showed the telegram had only just been sent. He compared the anxiety of the Government, acting on Mr. Boland's discredited letter, to obtain information against the gentlemen connected with the Witwatersrand Deep Mine with their action against Mr. Pless, in whose case they took no action until after the election.


said that perhaps the hon. Member would allow him to try to answer this question. Lord Selborne was engaged in considering whether Mr. Boland's allegations disclosed a case for prosecution against the people incriminated, and he reported on 10th January that no prosecution had been instituted. Until they knew that Lord Selborne considered Mr. Boland's allegations did not justify a prosecution, it was obvious they could not consider whether they should take steps against Mr. Boland himself. As soon as the Government knew that Mr. Boland's charges not sufficiently well established they were proceeded to take the steps which the hon. Member suggested they had taken tardily, to proceed against Mr. Pless.


said he was talking about proceedings against Mr. Pless and not Mr. Boland. His point was that the Government had telegraphed out in a hurry to find some ground for prosecuting the Witwatersrand Mine people, but had delayed to take steps against Pless. He contended that the Government were unnecessarily in a hurry to prosecute the mineowners without affidavits, but they were unnecessarily slow in proceeding against those who had made these false charges when they had got an affidavit in support of the prosecution. Some steps had now been taken after the election to bring Mr. Pless to justice. The evidence given in the Blue-book had been mainly given by people who had since gone to China, and therefore they could not be cross-examined. [AN HON. MEMBER: "What about Whittaker Wright."] And now with regard to the monstrous behaviour, on evidence unsubstantiated and unproved, such as this, of accusing people 6,000 miles away of the vilest practices which they would all condemn and then using such accusations for the purpose of getting into Parliament. It was a revelation to him to hear the hon. Member for Northampton accusing, without venturing to specify the names, people in South Africa of engineering a policy in the interests of bloodthirsty money grabbers. Who were they? ["Germans."] They were, he said, mostly of foreign extraction. Were there no gentlemen of foreign extraction sitting on the Ministerial side? Was that any detriment to their merits? ["No."] Why did the hon. Member opposite come here and bring an accusation of that kind?

MR. PAUL (Northampton)

said he made the accusation because he believed it, and he was thankful as an Englishman to think that they were mostly foreigners and did not disgrace the name of Englishmen.


The hon. Member said they were without honour, but let him mention their names. [OPPOSITION cries of "Name, name."] He further said they were men without conscience, and without God. [Renewed cries of, "Name."], It was quite a revelation to him as a new Member to hear hon. Members accusing nameless people in this reckless fashion. The hon. Member had attacked men 6,000 miles away who could not defend themselves in that House. Plucky, was it not? That was like an Englishman and not like a foreigner. He had intervened because he felt it his duty to protest against conduct such as that. The people of the Transvaal were a British community, and they were just as fond of liberty as the people in this country, and they were just as deserving of fairplay from politicians. He believed politics would be best conducted under that system of charity which thought no evil, which did not rejoice in iniquity, but which did rejoice in the truth.

Motion made, and Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned." (Dr. Mocnamara.)

Put, and agreed to.

Debate to be resumed to-morrow.

Ordered, That the Committee of Public Accounts do consist of fifteen members.

The Committee was accordingly nominated of, Mr. Ashton, Mr. Blake, Mr. Brigg, Mr. Victor Cavendish, Mr. Channing, Mr. Cameron Corbett, Sir Thomas Esmonde, Mr. Goddard, Mr. Holden, Mr. Leif Jones, Mr. M'Kenna, Mr. Lonsdale, Mr. M'Crae, Mr. Snowdon, and Colonel Williams.

Ordered, That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers, and records.

Ordered, That Five be the quorum. (Mr. George Whiteley.)

Adjourned at one minute after Twelve o'clock.