§ Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment [22nd February] to Main 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. Forster.)
§ Question again proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ Debate resumed.625
§ DR. MACNAMARA (Camberwell, N.)
said the charge made on the previous day from the Front Opposition Bench against the Liberal Party was absolutely clear, and quite as offensive as it was clear. The charge was that they had deliberately distorted the facts about Chinese labour for electioneering purposes; that they had climbed into power upon those distorted facts; and that, having climbed into power, they proposed now to abandon those unfortunate coolies to a condition of service which many of them had described as slavery, and all of them had hotly denounced. The charge showed a very poor appreciation of the intelligence of the country. Did hon. Gentlemen opposite really think it was possible that the Liberals could have vamped up, and for two years carried on, a baseless agitation, and then have swept the country as they had with such electoral success upon fraud and misrepresentation? If the right hon. Gentle man the Member for West Birmingham were present he would tell a very different tale as to the possibility of success under such circumstances. The fact was that the Chinese labour agitation was absolutely spontaneous on the part of an outraged people. It began before any one in the House had an opportunity of opening his mouth outside the Chamber; it began when the Ordinance came before Parliament in 1904. It at once became acute, so acute that the Government of the day would not let the House see the Regulations before they were passed. It became so acute that before the Ordinance was discussed or before the Regulations were made public the Government had to give pledges and assurances in order to satisfy the public mind, though the bulk of those pledges had never been carried out. One of the assurances upon which this Ordinance was carried was given by Lord Onslow. Lord Onslow in another place on February 12th, 1904, said—What is proposed is to bring in an experimental batch of 10,000 Chinese coolies.That was to allay public opinion. There were now 50,000 coolies in South Africa, and very shortly there would be 60,000. Then the British workmen got apprehensive and conceived the idea that this was an endeavour to undercut the Kaffirs, but Mr. Lyttelton assured everybody that the coolie would get at least 2s. a day. Without that assurance 626 the Ordinance could not have been passed. What happened to that assurance? They heard on the previous night that the wages were not 60s. a month, but 33s. 6d., not making allowance for numerous fines. Then the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Worcester and the Bishop of Rochester all began to be apprehensive. Would any hon. Gentleman suggest that they were the victims of Radical misrepresentation? They rose in their places in another House and expressed the gravest apprehension of what would arise. They suggested the possibility—he put it no higher—of this Ordinance introducing into the new Colonies the most filthy forms of Oriental vice. Mr. Lyttelton at once gave an assurance that that could not arise because, he said—Manifestly it would be most improper if the coolies should come without their women folk.And that was repeated by Lord Onslow in the other House. What was the sequel? To-day upon the Rand there were 50,000 Chinese men and two women. They would be infernal hypocrites if they allowed those things to continue, and he urged the hon. Gentleman the Undersecretary of State for the Colonies to make a most serious representation to the Government as to the obvious Oriental vices that would go on in the case of men huddled together, and that he would consider gravely this aspect of the case as demanding the early sweeping away of the whole system. This was not a manufactured agitation at all. It was the result of spontaneous feeling in the country, so spontaneous that the Ordinance was only passed in the year 1904 by the most reckless assurances and pledges scattered right and left. And directly that Ordinance was passed, and before the general election—which was much, too much, delayed—was in anybody's mind at all, the members of the late Government went up and down the country apologising for their own enactment and not always with strict regard to accuracy. He recollected the bye-election at Chertsey. Mr. Balfour sent a telegram to the Chertsey electorate in July, 1904, in which he said—All fair-minded men will remember that those labourers who come willingly on the terms offered to them have been introduced into the Transvaal at the express wish of the white population.627 Mr. Lyttelton, in his recent disastrous election campaign, said to the people of Leamington that—The people of the Transvaal themselves passed the Ordinance, and was His Majesty's Government to veto the law?When right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite spoke about distortion, what would they think of statements of that kind? What were the facts? With regard to the passage of the Labour Ordinance, the Legislative Council who passed it consisted of twenty-seven individuals not one of whom was elected, thirteen were paid officials, and fourteen were official nominees. This Ordinance was passed by twenty-two to four, that was to say, thirteen paid officials and nine official nominees. That was the express wish of the people of the Transvaal[...] After that the less they heard of misrepresentation from hon. Members opposite the better. These apologies, repeated every time Tory candidates faced the music, were necessary because of the indignation of the people long before the general election was thought of. What was said at the Hampstead bye-election of 1904? This was the report of the Pall Midi Gazette of October 17th—Mr. Fletcher was mildly interrogated by a few of the malcontents present, but after one or two wordy duels they collapsed before his clear and emphatic replies.That was all right, no doubt, but what did that report from the Pall Mall Gazelle go on to say—What about Chinese labour in South Africa, was one question, and amid cheers Mr. Fletcher said—'I am sincerely sorry that it was necessary to engage Chinese labour, but it was done at the request of the Transvaal Government.That was a gentleman not very sure of his ground when he came before the electorate of Hampstead. He also remembered the bye election at Dulwich in December, 1903. Long before agitation could have possibly arisen what happened there? Placarded all over Dulwich was as follows—Electors of Dulwich, beware if any attempts are made to lead you to believe that Dr. Rutherfoord Harris is favouring the introduction of Chinese labour, remember it is a lie.What did all that mean? It took place long before they had an opportunity of creating any agitation if they had wished to. This was the spontaneous act of an outraged people. It was the result of the 628 spontaneous abhorrence of the country. They thought the great name of Englishmen had been prostituted, the name that the seven seas over had always been synonymous with freedom and fair play. They felt that the great flag floating in the sky, a latter-day covenant to assure to all who came under it liberty and justice, had had put upon it an indelible stain. Those who supported the Government had been told by the hon. Member for Sevenoaks and the right hon. Member for Dover that their criticisms and the course that they had taken had given great offence to the Colonies. That was an extraordinary statement. It was the Ordinance itself which had given the gravest offence to the Colonies. Let them take Australia, where this resolution was passed through both branches of the Federal Legislature—This House records its grave objection to the introduction of Chinese labour into the Transvaal until a referendum of the white population of the Colony has been taken on the subject, or responsible government is granted.He well remembered reading the debate which took place in the Federal House upon this question, and it was taken part in by Mr. Hughes, who had taken up the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Mr. Hughes said this—For my part, speaking as far as I am able on behalf of my constituents, I will never cast a vote for the dispatch of another Australian contingent to take part in a war if such an Ordinance as that now proposed be carried into effect.Mr. Deakin, speaking as Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, said—'We were told at the outbreak of hostilities in South Africa that it was a war for the miners of the Transvaal. If the authorities had gone on to say that it was a war for Chinese miners, what a different aspect it would have worn! Why were we not told of this outcome at the commencement of the struggle? We should then have said, Keep your mines, your cheapness is too dearly purchased. It is not to be bought with blood.And Mr. Reid, now the Prime Minister, but then the Leader of the Opposition, said—The Chinese stimulant to Empire building is peculiarly offensive to Australian sentiment: it lowers the best Imperial Standards to put capitalistic interests before colonising ideals. Slower progress under better auspices is best.Then let them turn to New Zealand.As with Australia so with New Zealand. On January 19th the New Zealand Legislature 629 made urgent representations to the Home Government against its pernicious proposals. The Government of New Zealand foresees grave Perils, racial, social, political and sanitary as bound to follow in the train of this fatal step.He would wind up this series of quotations with one from the right hon. gentleman Mr. Seddon, the Imperialist Premier of New Zealand. That gentleman was not a victim of Radical misrepresentation. Mr. Seddon said—I boldly say that whether the Australian Colonies gave little or much help to South Africa during the Boer war, that help would not have been given if it had been dreamed that its effect would be to enable white labour to be excluded or penalised while Chinese or other Asiatics were to be introduced and encouraged.That was a view he commended to hon. Members opposite. They might say that the people of this country were all fools in the way in which they were misled, but they would hardly extend that compliment to the people of our Colonies. Hon. Members knew as well as he did that opinion in Canada was unanimous against the Ordinance, and the same remark was true of British Columbia, where, as in every other part of the Empire, they were not in favour of it. There was a terrible person named Frank Boland, of whom they had heard in this debate. He had, it appeared, sent home some terrible statements to a very terrible paper called the Morning Leader. From what had been said in that debate it would appear that this Mr. Frank Boland was a liar of the very first water. As to that, what did Lord Selborne say about this man's statements on page 21 of the Blue-book?—It is not denied and indeed I have already informed you that prior to June, 1905, the illegal corporal punishment after trial by the mine authorities was widely resorted to as a disciplinary measure on the mines of the WitwatersrandWhen was the Government going to ask Lord Milner why he permitted flogging? They were entitled to have an answer to that question, and he hoped that they would be informed why Lord Milner permitted it—and it cannot be disputed that where administered it was administered in the manner described in Mr. Boland's letter, i.e., in a manner borrowed from the practice of the Chinese court of justice. I do not defend such proceedings, but I repeat what I have already stated, that I am convinced that they have entirely ceased since Mr. Jamieson's assump- 630 tion of office as superintendent of foreign labour.From that he would say that instead of being abused in this House Mr. Boland ought to receive the thanks of Parliament. With regard to the horizontal beam, which was so hotly denied on the other side, Lord Selborne said—The statements made later on in Mr. Inland'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 the Chinese compound managers reports.But let the House see what happened—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.That was a most cryptic statement, even for a Government Blue-book. As he was not Oriental in his mind, he could not follow it. The despatch proceeded—As to Mr. Boland's statement with regard to the Witwatersrand deep mine, the superintendent of foreign labour has not yet received any reply to the enquiries which he has addressed to the management.That was true in regard to a number of Mr. Boland's allegations. It continued—I hear from him, however, that illegal flogging was carried on in this as in other mines prior to June, 1905. The mine is a large one, employing over 3,000 Chinese, who comprise an unusually large proportion of turbulent characters. It may be incidentally mentioned that the coolies on this particular mine have of their own accord petitioned the superintendent of foreign labour that corporal punishment may be once more resorted to for offences committed by them.He supposed that was true, or should he say officially true? At all events it made a large tax upon his imagination. He would quote another example of the sweet simplicity of the "Heathen Chinee." As great objections were taken to Mr. Boland's statement, he would quote something which he thought ought to find acceptance on the other side of the House. He was sorry to say there were headlines in it, and he was glad, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover was not present, for he had raised the greatest objection to headlines last night. He would say in correction of the right hon. Gentleman that his suggestion that the headlines of the 631 Morning Leader article were set out so as to catch the public eye and not in chronological order was inaccurate. They were set out in the order in which they were received. The headlines he would now read were—Chinese outrages in South Africa. The Chunchuses of the Rand. A record of murder and loot. The Transvaal is fighting its own peculiar yellow peril. For the moment it is a land under the shadow of the Chinese danger. Away in the country districts men manufacture weapons of defence and barricade their houses by night, and women dread to be left alone. They fear the Chunchuses of the Rand. East, West, and North, always Chinese. The matter is serious. Chinese loot a lonely farm and murder the occupant. Chinese raid stores, and kill the proprietors with knives and butchers' cleavers. Chinese fight Kaffirs away on the Veldt and get killed; murdered Chinese are found in out-of-the-way spots; mounted police organise drives against Chinese; mobile columns sweep the country, rounding up Chinese.Then the writer went on to describe the wholesale desertions—How many wanderers are there? No one knows. Official figures report only 524 missing from the mines at a given time, out of a total of 44,000. The un-official world thrusts tongue in cheek, and talks in four figures. Anti-mines newspapers hint at murders never made public. An indignant Chamber of Mines denounces exaggeration, defends Chinese; temporary troubles; agitators; repatriate bad characters; all well. Unofficial world scoffs openly, and hints Chinese not fit for mines, calls for more police, calls for strict compound system. Who is right? I do not know. No one knows.Now he would give a final quotation—Why this leakage from the mines? Did these men know in China that their work lay a thousand odd feet below the surface of the earth, or did they think that the gold mines of the Rand were like the tin mines of the Straits? The Chamber of Mines say they knew. Are they beaten? The Chamber of Mines say they are not. Then why do they desert? No one knows. But by fours and fives, and fifteens and twenties, they wander away across the great uplands, going they know not whither, living they know not how.That was not Mr. Boland or the Morning Leader. It was from the London Daily Mail, of September 25th last, a paper which, of course, never overstated the facts of the case. He had said, and he said now, that the Ordinance was thoroughly vicious and thoroughly bad. He had called it slavery on many a platform in this country, and he called it slavery now, although he had no doubt he should be taken, under escort by the Under-Secretary for the Colonies, to 632 the Clock Tower. The hon. Gentleman was vehement—he thought a little ostentatiously so—the previous day in announcing to the world at large that he did not think it was slavery. But he did call it "a flagrant act of folly and iniquity." It was only a question of terms. The hon. Gentleman had used seven words, and he (Dr. Macnamara) used one, but they came very near to the same result. Liberals had fought against this Ordinance, and they were not hypocrites when they did that. On their hands now was this evil legacy of the mad folly of the late Government, and he felt that this thing must come to an end. There must be no weakening about it. They had to get the Chinese coolies out of South Africa, or, if they remained there, it was their Imperial duty, whilst not interfering in local political matters, to see that they stayed there as free men. What did the Government intend to do? The Under-Secretary had said that they intended to let it peter out by a natural process of exhaustion. He hoped that process would be facilitated by every possible means. The precise means by which it was to peter out were rehearsed by the hon. Gentleman last night, and stated by the Prime Minister in the Albert Hall, and on Tuesday in the debate on the Address. First of all, there was to be no more importations, and so far good; but he wanted to ask the Government if they would institute a strict inquiry as to who were responsible for hustling 16,000 fresh coolies into the Transvaal at the last moment.
§ MR. CHURCHILL (Manchester, N.W.)
said the licences were signed by Sir A. Lawley, the Lieutenant-Governor Lord Selborne had stated that he did not know that the licences had been issued, and it was no part of his business to be notified. The officer directly responsible was, of course, the Lieutenant-Governor.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
said he did not wish to press the matter against a public servant who was not there to answer for himself, but he thought that Lord Selborne and Sir A. Lawley should be communicated with. It was the view of many of the supporters of the Government that these additional coolies had been hustled in, and in a way which conflicted with the evident sentiments and intention of the Government of the day. 633 However, there was to be no more importation, and that was so far good. Then there was to be an overhauling of the Ordinance in the interests of humanity. The cost of repatriation was to be paid out of Imperial funds. He would suggest to the Government that they should not build too great hopes on the amount of repatriation. The great bulk of the Chinese coolies who came from North China under this Ordinance were men who, if they went back before their completed term of service, would have a very warm time indeed, and therefore too great hopes should not be built upon repatriation. One thing which the Government ought to do was to cancel the clause providing for, re-enlistment. There was no legal reason why the clause providing for re-enlistment should not be cancelled. There might be the moral reason that the coolies had been got there under that idea, and, if so, it was not for him to break in upon that understanding. But if the Government could reasonably and honourably abrogate the clause providing for re-enlistment they would round off a great effort to clear away a bad legacy left by the late Government. He hoped, therefore, that the point would have the careful consideration of the Government, otherwise six years hence there would be at least 16,000 coolies on the Rand. He for one, not as a mere electioneer, but as a Britisher, would be a very unhappy man if six months hence there were very considerable numbers of Chinese on the Rand. These Chinese had got to go and as soon as possible. The position of the rank and file of the Liberal Party was admirably summed up in a speech by the President of the Board of Education last night. His right hon. friend said—The country, he did not doubt, hated Chinese labour. He hated it. The country was ashamed of Chinese labour, and he was ashamed of it.Then his right hon. friend went on to rehearse what the Government proposed to do, and added a sentence at the close upon which he (Dr. Macnamara) pinned all his hopes. His right hon. friend said—The Government had dealt with this state of things courageously and usefully—no further importation allowed; repatriation permitted; amendments in the Ordinance approved of and ordered, and significant, grave, and, he doubted not, effective language that went to show that these labour conditions were objectionable to the English Government and to the British people, and they could not, and would not, 634 be approved of in time to come under any circumstances whatever.He wanted the Government to live up to those aspirations stated by his right hon. friend. Chinese labour must come to an end, and the sooner the better; but it does not lie in the mouths of hon. Members opposite to complain that the Government cannot in a moment or two make good and redress the ravages which have been made by the mad folly and short-sightedness of the late Ministry.
§ EARL PERCY (Kensington, S.)
I do not propose to intervene for more than a very few minutes in this debate. The Party for which I speak occupies, as the Under-Secretary for the Colonies has reminded us, a much smaller space in this House than it did when he honoured us with his confidence, but it is too early in the life of this Parliament for us to expect among the serried battalions opposite an exhibition of that independence of which the hon. Member opposite has been so ardent an advocate and exponent. All we can do at the present time in regard to this question is to state our case, register our protest, and await a verdict on that protest not in the division Lobbies of the House of Commons, but at the by-elections which will be occurring in the constituencies. Those constituencies, I think, will before very long have realised how grossly their confidence has been abused. The Under-Secretary for the Colonies, who was put up yesterday to perform the eminently Chinese task of saving the Government's face, successfully brushed away the frail foundations upon which this agitation against Chinese labour has been built. The hon. Member for the Mansfield Division told us that this was a House of Commons Amendment, and that nobody would be more sorry than the members of the Opposition to see it carried. In that the hon. Member was entirely mistaken, for it exactly expresses our views. This Amendment is not a censure upon the policy of the Government. On the contrary, so far as the main principle of their policy is concerned, that Chinese labour is not to be prohibited in the Transvaal pending the decision of the legislature of the Transvaal itself, and that when that decision is given, no matter what it may be, it will be respected—I say that that policy though 635 we cannot admit that it is an "intellectual" one, so far as it represents the settled purpose of the Government, and is not a compromise between contending sections of the Cabinet and liable to alteration under pressure from the more ardent but less well-informed among their supporters has our support, and we shall offer the Government all our assistance to enable them to adhere to the decision at which they have arrived. But precisely because we approve of the policy and because it is the policy of the late Government, we deny the right of the present Government to carry it out, or, so far as this question is concerned, to occupy the Ministerial Benches at all. We have been told by the hon. Member for North Camberwell that the late Government had no mandate to introduce Chinese labour. I would like to know what mandate has the present Government got to sanction its continuance? Your whole position is utterly unconstitutional. Before you had been a fortnight in office, before studying the facts, before you had even appealed to the people of this country, Lord Elgin issued his dispatch temporarily suspending the free importation of Chinese labour. You had no mandate for taking any step of the kind. You took it for granted, and observe what followed. You went to the country and obtained an overwhelming majority which, if it meant anything, meant an injunction to you to put a final end to this form of labour in South Africa, and you now come down to the House of Commons and announce that after all you intend to continue it. When you brush away all the ingenuities of the speech of the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, the plain truth comes out that there is only one justification for the decision of the Government, and that is that the facts have been too strong for them. The President of the Board of Education last night reminded us that the evil that men do lives after them; and I think that the present Cabinet is beginning to find that out. Their assertions for many months in the country have made it very difficult for them to pursue the right course. The question whether or not Chinese labour shall continue to be employed is a matter which primarily concerns not this country but South Africa. You cannot interfere with, and dictate to, a British 636 Colony in a matter of this kind, and to put a summary end to the employment of that labour would mean, as the Undersecretary for the Colonies has explained, the ruin of every industry in South Africa. It would mean the ruin not merely of those millionaires of Park Lane who are the object of continuous vituperation on the part of the hon. Member for Northampton and others, but of the thousands of humble persons who have invested their earnings in the country. The grounds on which the Government defend their present policy are the same as those which determined its original adoption by ourselves, but they cannot plead the same justification. Take the first ground. Take the opinion of the Transvaal itself. The hon. Member for North Camberwell says that in consulting the opinion of the Transvaal we consulted the opinion of an Assembly not elective, and therefore not properly representative of the inhabitants of that Colony, ft is quite true that it was not elective, and to that extent may not have been representative, but we did take the opinion of the only authority which could in any sense be called representative which was in existence then, and we sanctioned Chinese labour because we believed from all the avenues of information which were open to us that it had the support and approval of all sections in the Colony, irrespective of race and of creed. Besides we had over and over again announced our determination to give to the Transvaal, at the earliest possible moment, a legislative assembly which would be fully representative, and stated that, whatever the decision arrived at by that assembly might be, by that decision we would be bound.
Now what is the position of the Government in regard to this matter? The Under-Secretary for the Colonies said he did not believe that the employment of Chinese labour was in accordance with the wishes of the majority of the inhabitants of the Transvaal. He told us that on the authority of an anonymous acquaintance whose capacity for estimating the real sentiment of the Colony we have no means of ascertaining. He then proceeded to demonstrate his confidence in the accuracy of the views of that anonymous informant by preaching a sermon to his own supporters below the gangway on the extreme danger of arbitrarily 637 interfering with the genuine desires of the population. He then proceeded to defend the decision of the Government to maintain for a far longer time than would have been necessary had the late Government been in office, a system which, according to his own belief, has not the approval of the majority of the people of the Transvaal, by deferring for at least a year the opportunity they would have had of expressing their real opinions. And finally, in order to illustrate his conviction that the responsible Transvaal legislature when it comes into existence will finally put a veto on the employment of Chinese labour, the Under - Secretary indulged in a number of veiled menaces as to what the British Government might find themselves compelled to do if their anticipations were not realised. What value or what weight does the hon. Gentleman think is likely to be attached by the Transvaal legislature to those menaces? If it arrives at the same decision as its non-representative predecessor, if it decides to continue the employment of Chinese labour, it will be on one ground, and that is that Chinese labour is absolutely necessary to the industries of South Africa. That has always been our contention; but the Under-Secretary for the Colonies, to my great astonishment, alluding to the controversy whether Chinese labour was or was not necessary for the proper development of the industries of South Africa, airily brushed the whole question aside. He said it is not our business. He said it is not in the House of Commons that the question can be thrashed out with advantage. I quite agree with him. It cannot be thrashed out with any advantage to the Party of which he is a member. But what an astounding statement to come from the lips of one who time after time in the session gone by got up and abused His Majesty's late Government because they thought it legitimate to discuss the fiscal question on the platforms of this country, and did not think it necessary to waste night after night, to the detriment of more urgent practical business, in discussing over and over again in this House precisely the same issue which had been already discussed and disposed of in the debate on the Address. But at least the hon. Gentleman has done us this service. He has published a Blue-book which affords 638 the most complete justification in itself for all the assertions that have been made of the absolute necessity for the employment of Chinese labour in the Transvaal. Lord Selborne, in one of these despatches (No. 39) says that unless resort was had to the outrageous expedient of forcing the natives to work the Transvaal would be hopelessly unable to satisfy its elementary requirements for unskilled labour if labourers were not imported from beyond its borders. He describes that as having been long accepted as axiomatic. It was not accepted as axiomatic during the general election. I remember that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Berwick Division told his constituents that in his opinion it would have been far better that the industrial progress and development of the Transvaal should have taken place less rapidly rather than that Chinese labour should be introduced. We have only to turn to the Blue-book to see that the employment of Chinese labour has not resulted in any excessive or abnormal expansion in the mining industry. We find that even at the present time, after the employment of 65,000 Chinese—[Cries of dissent.] Well, that is the number including those who will shortly arrive. After all, this importation of Chinese labour we find that the Witwatersrand gold mines have a less supply of coloured labour than was estimated by a majority of the Transvaal Labour Commission to be necessary for these mines in 1903. We find that now the output of gold per month for the whole of the Transvaal is only £1,799,000, while in 1899—seven years ago—the monthly production was £1,720,000. If Chinese labour had not been employed at all it is quite obvious from these facts that all the industries of the Transvaal at the present moment would have been seriously hampered, and that any progress towards recuperation would have been indefinitely delayed. And what kind of responsibility would His Majesty's late Government have taken upon themselves if, after having conducted a great war—a war which necessarily led to the infliction of a large amount of injury upon the Colony—they had made themselves responsible in the eyes of the whole population for obstructing by their veto the only method by which the ravages of the war might be wiped out and a reasonable development of the material resources of the country secured. Admitting that the 639 labour supply on the spot was not sufficient to provide for the adequate development of the industries of the Transvaal, and that recourse must be had to some external source of supply, what external source of supply other than China has been even suggested in the course of this debate? [An HON. MEMBER: India.] I am coming to that. We find in the Blue-book that almost every part of Africa had been ransacked already to supply the local deficiency. We find in regard to the natives recruited in British Central Africa—the tropical regions of Africa—that the result had been a very heavy mortality in the mines, and before the late Government went out of office Mr. Lyttelton was forced to indicate his belief that it would be necessary to put a stop to further importation from those regions. May I address one question to the Prime Minister, or to anyone else on the Front Bench opposite who takes part in the debate. British Central Africa was until recently administered by the Foreign Office. At the time when I had knowledge of this experiment of recruiting in British Central Africa the facts were as follows. The first batch sent to the mines suffered a high percentage of mortality. We made a strict examination into the cause of that mortality, and we were informed that sufficient care had not been taken to despatch the labourers at a time of year when they would have suffered least from the change of climate. The second batch of natives did not suffer from anything like the same percentage of mortality, and all our information warranted the belief that the experiment might be continued. Something has occurred to show that these anticipations have not been realised. I should like to know from the Government whether they can promise to lay Papers which will give some indication of the reasons which have led to the failure of the experiment, and I should like also to know whether they have definitely decided that recruiting in British Central Africa shall be discontinued. Well, Kaffir labour not being susceptible of any further increase, we had India, as an hon. Member opposite has suggested. He knows very well that the Indian Government will not allow their fellow subjects to be employed in South Africa on the same terms as those on which the Chinese coolies have been 640 introduced. Do the present Government propose to force on the Transvaal conditions which will satisfy the Indian Government? There is no hint of any such determination. [Cries of "Why not" from the MINISTERIAL Benches.] Ask your own Leader. I say, at all events, the fact that they do not intend to force on the Transvaal any such conditions justifies us in excluding India as a possible source of supply. There remains only China. Chinese have been employed, I believe, in the development of the mines of the. Western States of America, employed in Canada, employed for years and years in Singapore, and the Malay Peninsula. Does the hon. Gentleman deny that?
§ THE UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. CHURCHILL,) Manchester, N.W.
In Singapore they go perfectly freely, and live and work under perfectly proper conditions.
§ EARL PERCY
I am afraid that the hon. Member has forgotten that he elaborately explained to the House last night that he did not consider Chinese labour slavery because they were free to go or not as they pleased. I say that Chinese labour has been employed in all these countries without the slightest protest. All that could be urged was that before Chinese labour was employed reasonable conditions should be laid down to ensure that there should be no abuse of authority on the part of the mine-owners. Those conditions we believed we secured effectively by insisting that the contract should be explained to the coolies before leaving China, and after they arrived in South Africa, that they should receive a minimum rate of wages considerably in excess of anything they can earn in their own country, and that at any moment, if they could find the requisite money, they might return to China before the contract expired, and in any case that they must be repatriated at the expense of the employers at the conclusion of their term of engagement. Whether these conditions were or were not adequate for the protection of the Chinese labourers, at all events, we have this remarkable fact that, while we have been engaged in England for many years in a frantic agitation in the interest of the Chinese coolies, not a single word of 641 protest has ever been raised, so far as I know, against the employment of these men or against the treatment of these men in South Africa by the Government at Pekin. The Under-Secretary for the Colonies suggested yesterday that if the Transvaal Legislature decides, a year hence, that the experiment of Chinese labour is to be continued the British Government may find it necessary to render the execution of that decision difficult by indirect influence at Pekin. What a splendid position it will be for a British Government to occupy, that they at the Court of China should represent that a British colony is the only place, and in which British colonists are the only men in whose care the lives and limbs of Chinese subjects will not be secure. I cannot say that I envy the task of the. Foreign Minister who has to make that representation. The truth is that if the objections you have urged to indentured labour be wellfounded, you have no right to sanction the continuance of the experiment. What were the grounds on which you denounced Chinese labour? A good deal has been said in this debate about Chinese slavery, but very little about the competition with British labour which played so large a part in the elections. On every platform it was asserted that the Chinese labourers in South Africa were ousting the British working man. Thousands and thousands of ignorant men in this country believed that British workmen could do, and ought to do, and have done, not only skilled work, but unskilled work side by side with coloured labourers in the mines of South Africa.
§ SIR BRAMPTON GURDON (Norfolk, N.)
The Tory Party at the General Election in 1900 said that there was a splendid field for British working men in South Africa.
§ EARL PERCY
The importation of Chinese labourers has resulted, at least, in an increase of 5,000 British skilled labourers in the mines, not to speak 642 of other industries which are dependent more or less directly on the mining industry. I believe it was stated that when the present Government came into office they would take steps to get rid of the Chinese coolies, and substitute the British working men. We have heard nothing of that in this debate from hon. Gentlemen opposite—the Party of free-traders, forsooth, who have got into power on a protectionist cry. They do not even mention the subject now, except to suggest, as the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies did, that the proper course which the mine-owners ought to take is to adopt labour-saving machinery with the view of dispensing with the necessity of employing any more labour at all.
Then, I come to the charge of slavery. I do not know that it is necessary to discuss that question at length. The Under-Secretary for the Colonies has repudiated, not only on his own behalf, but expressly on behalf of the Government, the idea that the condition in the Transvaal of the Chinese labourers is one of slavery. To such straits has the Party opposite been reduced that they have taken refuge in a subtle distinction between servile conditions and slavery. I wonder where the hon. Member for Northampton is. [MINISTERIAL cries of "He is here."] Well, that hon. Gentleman delivered a most eloquent and witty speech the other day, in the course of which he compared to the Greek Sophists those who can see some difference between a policy of free imports and a policy of free trade, and to Socrates the Party opposite who can see no distinction at all. It may be some consolation to the modern representatives of the Sophists to remember that, however virtuous and estimable Socrates may have been, his fellow-countrymen found him such a nuisance that before very long they put him to death. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Do you justify that?"] I wonder what Socrates—the man of all others in Greece who never sold the truth to serve the hour—would have said of a Party which used the word "Slavery" in order to get into power, and rather than apologise to those whom they had slandered, took refuge in this 643 wretched, paltry, verbal quibble between slavery and servile conditions! The hon. Member for North Camberwell got up the other day and said that he had used the word "Slavery" on the platform in the country during the election; and asked the front Ministerial Bench why they had not the courage to repeat it here. There are two reasons why his leaders on the Front Bench do not follow his example. The hon. Member is quite honest in still describing the conditions af Chinese labour as slavery. Is he equally logical in holding that the coolie is a slave, and therefore presumably yearning to have the opportunity of getting out of South Africa and returning to his native land, while at the same time he urges His Majesty's Government to cancel the clause in the Ordinance which permits the coolie to re-engage? But there is another reason why the Front Bench opposite does not endorse the charge of slavery. It is because they do not believe it. Lord Ripon said so in the House of Lords the other day. This Cabinet evidently does not recognise the doctrine of collective responsibility. The Foreign Secretary and the Secretary of State for War repudiated the term even during the General Election. Lord Crewe said—Not only is the phrase inaccurate, but the people who have used it knew that it was inaccurate.He said that it is a descriptive term, and apparently the Gentlemen who used it did not mean to do anything wrong. Their only difficulty was the poverty of their language. They could not find words to express their meaning. It must have been painful to the Under Secretary for the Colonies, who went down to Manchester a very short time before the General Election, and held up the present Cabinet to admiration as a galaxy of literary talent, to be; driven last night to describe the oratorical efforts of the President of the Board of Education, the President of the Local Government Board, and the President of the Board of Trade, as "terminological inexactitudes." But the chief offender in this matter is the Prime Minister himself. I do not know whether he still believes that Chinese labour is slavery or that there is a 644 logical distinction between slavery and servile conditions.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
What does the noble Lord mean by asking me if I still believe in the distinction between servile conditions and slavery?
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
Yes. I have spoken of it in two phrases. I have said that it was tainted with slavery and I repeat that. I have said that it had many of the characteristics of slavery, and I repeat that. Beyond that I have never gone.
§ EARL PERCY
I doubt whether the same effect would have been produced in the constituencies if all the Prime Minister's supporters had used the same language. At all events he does not believe that it is slavery; but he does believe that it is tainted with slavery. He does believe that the conditions are servile conditions. And why? His objections do not relate to the outrages which have occurred. Many of the outrages alleged to have been perpetrated on the Chinese labourers on the Rand have been grossly exaggerated. They were reported on the authority of men who had already returned to China, and those persons who made themselves responsible for these accusations, instead of taking the logical step of bringing them under the notice of the authorities, adopted the course of sending them home to newspapers in England in order that Party capital might be made out of them here. In any case effective steps had been taken to prevent a repetition of such I occurrences before the present Government came into office. The right hon. Gentleman has told us why he considers Chinese labour servile labour. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham asked the Prime Minister whether the Chinese labourer was not as free as he was. The Prime Minister said—'Of course he was not. He is confined to the compounds. He is not allowed to engage in business or trade, and not allowed to 645 settle in the country after the termination of his contract.These are the conditions which, in the opinion of the Prime Minister, constitute servile conditions.
§ EARL PERCY
But if these are servile conditions they ought at once to be removed. The right hon. Gentleman had a most remarkable theory of the responsibility of the Imperial Government in this matter. He says that they are not responsible for the employment of Chinese labour.
§ EARL PERCY
At all events the right hon. Gentleman thinks that there is a responsibility resting on the present Government in regard to the employment of the Chinese in the mines. I understand that he draws a distinction between responsibility for the employment of the Chinese labourers and responsibility for the conditions under which they are employed. I disagree with him. He is responsible for the continuance of this experiment until the Transvaal Legislature has an opportunity of expressing their opinion upon it, and that opportunity has been deferred by the action of His Majesty's Government. The Government will be equally responsible, when the Transvaal has expressed its opinions, for advising His Majesty to approve or withhold His sanction from any Ordinance which it may propose. Besides, according to the Under-secretary, none of the conditions which the Prime Minister mentioned on the Address as being the most objectionable are to be altered. The right hon. Gentleman was asked if the Chinese coolies 646 were still to be confined in compounds and he said—Oh, yes; of course, if South Africa will not have them running about, they must be shut up.These Chinese coolies are not to be allowed to engage in any trade or business, and so far from displaying any solicitude that they should remain in the country when they have completed their term of service, the only change the Government are making is to accelerate their return to China. I should like to make one or two remarks with regard to this policy of repatriation. In the first place as to the facts the Prime Minister on the Address and the Under-Secretary yesterday told us that the Imperial Parliament were to be liable for the expenses necessary to send the coolie back to China, but I observe that in his telegram Lord Elgin only suggested that the Imperial Government should be responsible for the balance of expenses which could not be contributed by the coolie himself. I should like to know which is correct. Is the coolie to be repatriated at the sole expense of the Exchequer or is some contribution to be expected from him? So far as the principle of repatriation is concerned, I do not think we need raise much objection to it. On the contrary, I agree with the High Commissioner that it will prove a most valuable test of the truth of the statements which have been made. We shall see how many of these Chinese coolies want to be repatriated. The hon. Member for North Camberwell thinks that the number will be very small, and I imagine the Government share his view, because the Under-Secretary gave as a reason for not cancelling the contracts with the 3,000 coolies who were about to arrive in South Africa, that to do so would involve a very great expense upon the Government. It is, it seems, too great an expense to prevent a coolie from coming from China at all, but the expense of repatriating those Chinese now in South Africa who desire to return to their native country is so small that the British taxpayers are not likely to raise any objection.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
The charges to which this country might be put on 647 repatriation are strictly limited to £17 10s. per man. The charges of compensation to which we might have been put had we refused to allow the contracts already entered into to be carried through would have been of an indefinite character and would very likely have amounted to three or four millions of money.
§ EARL PERCY
I should rather like to see an estimate of the comparative cost of the two experiments, but at all events if any very large proportion of the coolies wish to be repatriated at the expense of the Treasury, the expense, even on the calculation of the hon. Member, would be very considerable indeed.
§ EARL PERCY
Is it really necessary to make this special provision? The hon. Gentleman told us yesterday that it cost £17 10s. per man, and that it would take the Chinese coolie two and a half years to amass the requisite sum. But we learn that no less than 1,900 have managed to accumulate the necessary sum and have returned to China. One difficulty of the Government scheme is that of preventing fraud.
§ EARL PERCY
Misrepresentation. How are you going to ascertain the bona fides of those who wish to emigrate? How are you going to prevent what has already occurred, and ensure that those who go back at the expense of the State do not subsequently come out again? There is another difficulty, and it is that of discriminating between the case of the Chinese coolie and that of the coolie who is recruited from other sources. On what ground are you going to allow the Chinese coolie to be repatriated at the expense of the taxpayers here and to withhold the same privilege from the coolie from British Central Africa? No doubt the greatest practical difficulty has been removed—that of obtaining the consent of the Transvaal Legislature, which, as Lord Selborne says, Would almost certainly be withheld, by charging the 648 expense to the Imperial Exchequer. But I do not think the Government have evaded two other very serious problems. If we turn to page 63 of the Blue-book we find Lord Selborne says—It can hardly be repeated too often that the existing industrial organisation, to say nothing of the existing machinery of Government of the Transvaal, could not be justified if the position of the gold mining industry, at the highest point to which it has hitherto attained, is to be taken as its permanent high-water mark. The existing industrial orgonization and the existing machinery of Government, can only be justified by the anticipation of a steady and reasonable expansion of the industry.That is to say, the existing scale of administrative expenditure in the Transvaal is not justified unless you are going to allow free play to the mining industry to secure the labour which it requires for its development. You will be placed in a very difficult position if the Transvaal Legislature says, "You have seriously diminished our resources, but you insist upon our keeping up a machinery of government which is not warranted by the revenue at our disposal, and under these circumstances we do not think you can legitimately call upon us to at once repay the thirty millions debt which we owe." Then, again, the hon. Gentleman said with regard to the licenses already issued that the Government had plighted their faith, but I submit that the moral obligation of the Government goes further and that, although they had a perfect right on their own responsibility to suspend further recruitment, they have no right to prevent employers from making good the wastage by disease or through desertion in the number of labourers originally sanctioned. That obligation becomes the more strong when you are actually holding out to the coolies an inducement to break their contracts. If what the Government are doing had been done by any private individual I should imagine that he would lay himself open to prosecution for incitement to breach of contract. Two years ago Lord Rosebery gave two pieces of very sensible advice which I am afraid have not been much heeded by the Party opposite. He advised them to make their position clear to the electors of the country on the question of Home Rule. They followed that advice by exhorting one another during 649 the election to say as little as possible about what they intended to do with their majority for fear they might not get a majority at all. They went about saying that Home Rule was a "bogey." ["No!"] I say they did; they went about saying that no real advance could be made in the direction of Home Rule without another appeal to the country. ["No!"] Yes, the Foreign Secretary said so expressly to his constituents.
§ EARL PERCY
I did not intend to pursue that subject, I only wanted to point out one respect in which Lord Rosebery's advice had not been followed. The second piece of advice was that they should clear themselves of the suspicion which prevailed in many parts of the Empire that they were indifferent to its interests. I should never have made that assertion myself, but it has been made by one who has held the high, office of Foreign Minister under a Liberal Government; and I do think it is a great pity that they should have lent colour to such a suspicion by their tactics at the election and the light-hearted manner in which they have interfered with one third of the labour supply of a great colony. Lord Rosebery also made a suggestion with which I am going to identify myself. He recommended them two years ago if they were so fortunate as to come into office to at once appoint a Commission of Inquiry to go out to South Africa and study the facts. I wish to make an earnest appeal to the Government to assent to our request that such a Commission should be appointed. Lord Selborne has expressed himself strongly in favour of such a Commission. He asked for it several months ago. The Prime Minister himself has shown that it is necessary by saying in the debate on the Address that he and his colleagues were woefully in need of information. It would in my opinion have been far better if that Commission had been appointed before Lord Elgin attempted to do what I should have thought his own law officers would have been able to tell him was illegal—before the President of the 650 Board of Trade had gone about the country accusing the late Government of action in connection with signing contracts for which they had no responsibility whatever. But at all events there is every reason why the Government should assent to the appointment of such a Commission now. They have obtained their power by the use of fiction and it is high time they should take means to ascertain the facts upon which alone a judicious use of that power can be based. I say, therefore, from the point of view of their own interests, the appointment of such a Commission is eminently to be desired. Apart from that, I say we have a right to claim it as an act of justice. The responsible advisers of His Majesty's Government have been grossly slandered by statements made in the country, and the honour of British colonists has been impugned. Both have a right to demand that these accusations shall be tested and that the full facts shall be placed before the country so that it may be able to form a judgment. There is an old proverb, "That all is fair in love and war. I do not pose as an expert in regard to the first, but as regards war the theory has long been discarded in the practice of civilised countries. Apparently Party warfare in this country is not yet regulated on the principles of the Hague Convention. We have still to put up with the use—may I so describe them—of methods of barbarism—the poisoning of the wells of truth. But such methods are apt to recoil on the heads of those who resort to them. You have won a great electoral campaign, but in doing so I believe you have inflicted serious damage on the reputation of a great Party, you have materially diminished the power of your Foreign Minister to make effective representations to foreign countries in the interests of subject races whose treatment, in your opinion, is not in accordance with the dictates of humanity, and you have provoked a feeling of resentment and indignation in the hearts of thousands of your own fellow countrymen in the colonies, which, unless you offer them the reasonable reparation I suggest may, in the long run, lose you South Africa.
§ MR. MOND (Chester)
apologised as a new Member for intervening in so important a debate, but explained that he 651 should not have done so had it not been for the remarks which had fallen from the noble Lord who sat down just previous to the adjournment, and who suggested that it was physically impossible for white men to work in the South African mines. A good deal was said during the elections about the possibility of using white labour if the Chinese had been excluded from South Africa, but nothing had been said on the Subject of this debate. He had, to the best of his ability, studied this question, and had sent five of his constituents to South Africa to work in the mines in the Barberton district, where the work upon which they had been engaged was similar in character to that done by the Chinese and the Kaffirs, and which would in fact have been done by Kaffirs had not these men been there to do it. He very readily admitted that it would be absurd to draw a definite deduction from such an experiment as that, but when hon. Members sitting on the Ministerial side of the House had been continually and unjustly and unfairly charged with misrepresentation, it was only fair to ask how many times had hon. Members opposite, both from their places in the House and on platforms outside, asserted that unskilled white labour could not and would not be employed in South Africa. And when he found in the Blue - book the statement that the number of unskilled white men employed in the mines in the Witwatersrand mines upon work which before the War was performed by Kaffirs was 772, he wondered how hon. Members opposite could, over and over again, have repeated the statement that it was physically impossible for white men to do work in South Africa similar to that which white men were doing in every other mining field in the world. That statement had been continually made by hon Gentlemen opposite, and that had as much to do with the elections of hon. Gentlemen opposite as the elections of supporters of the Government. One thing the British working man would always resent was the imputation that ha could not do the work which Chinese coolies could perform. What was the object of these representations? He had men assisting him in his election who had be[...]n in South Africa and who had come 652 home because the Chinese had come into that country, and they told their fellow workmen the real facts. To pretend, as hon. Members did, that those who sat on the Ministerial side of the House could go out among the British electorate and by misrepresentations sweep away the position of hon. Members opposite was an insult to the intelligence of the people. He was sorry Mr. Balfour was not in the House at the present time. Mr. Balfour was cross-examined day by day at East Manchester during the election by the working men of that constituency, not upon academic subjects, but upon the facts of this Ordinance, and they told him what they thought of him. He had turned up the word "slavery" in the Encyclopædia Britannica and had found twenty-five different definitions of "slavery." When hon. Gentlemen opposite said that men could not go willingly into slavery he might remind them that in ancient Germany free men gambled themselves, their wives and families, into slavery. He had asserted that this Ordinance was slavery, whatever hon. Gentlemen might say to him. He must say these philological arguments were unworthy of this Assembly.
Everybody knew what this Amendment meant. It meant that the Party opposite were exceeding sore that they had not won the election. That was the beginning and the end of their complaint. Like a lot of children they came and complained because they had lost. Were there not posters on both sides to which exception could be taken? He asked the hon. and learned Member for the City whether he approved of the posters at the previous election. In his constituency there was a big poster displaying the Commander-in-Chief, Lord Roberts, in full uniform on a horse with a drawn sword, and directing the electors to vote for the Tory candidate who opposed him. There was a similar picture of Lord Kitchener of Khartoum. He would ask the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite whether that was fair electioneering—whether there was any right to drag the names of our great generals and army into electioneering? He did not complain. It was all in a day's work, but it was absurd for the Opposition, who had with them the 653 Peerage and Beerage and all the influences the country could command, to come and present themselves to the House and the country as poor people who had lost an election through posters. Why were they making themselves so cheap in the eyes of the country? It was an endeavour to entrap the young Members on the Government side of the House to vote against their own Leaders at the invitation of right hon. Gentlemen opposite. If he knew who were leaders on the other side, it might be easier to follow them; but he did not know whether they had yet settled their differences amongst themselves. There was one thing he was certain of, and that was that his constituency sent him to the House because he was not a follower of the right hon. Member for West Birmingham, and that they sent him to the House to follow the Prime Minister in the policy he was pursuing. During the election, the Prime Minister did him the honour of speaking for him, and he defined the Chinese policy as free Chinese or none at all. That satisfied his constituents, and he was quite satisfied to leave the settlement of this question to the wise and ripe judgment of his leaders. No man in this country had devoted more time and consideration to this matter, and nothing would make him support the right hon. Gentlemen opposite who brought about the very evil they were now discussing. He was very pleased to see during the election that the right hon. Member for West Birmingham said that he had always disliked Chinese labour, and that if he had remained at the Colonial Office he should never have allowed it to be introduced until the responsible opinion of the Transvaal people had been taken. Why did he not say that a little earlier, and insist on its acceptance by the Unionist Party whom he had made swallow his fiscal programme? They could surely have met him on a little point like that, and then one-half of the objections would have been removed. This Chinese labour had been introduced against the express wish of the larger part of the population, for he did not accept the Chamber of Mines or the mine magnates as representing the people of the colony. Every executive of every union of white labouring men in the Transvaal had from the beginning passed 654 resolutions condemning the introduction of Chinese labour.
§ MR. MOND
said he was not dealing with that. On questions of labour he liked the opinion of labour men. As free church evidence they were given the opinion of a man, who, he found, was one of the largest purveyors of goods to the Rand mines. As regarded Mr. Roland's allegations, it was said, why did he not do this and that? But Mr. Boland was not a judicial authority, or a representative of the Government. He had no authority to inquire into the matter, and, from what he (Mr. Mond) had heard from people who had tried to inquire into this question at Johannesburg, it was an extremely difficult thing to get any information there. When the noble Lord quoted a Blue-book as if it contained inspired words and expected them to accept all Lord Selborne's despatches, which were the mere echo of the Chamber of Mines, he would ask, was that conclusive to those who had spent years trying to find out the truth? One of the most serious accusations against the late Government was that they made themselves the mouthpiece of the Chamber of Mines. Why did they not send out the Royal Commission which they now wanted the present Government to appoint? He would like to put a, question to the hon. Member for Gravesend. Would he go to Canada and advocate there the immigration of a single yellow man? Would he go to Sir Wilfrid Laurier and put that proposition before him? British Columbia excluded yellow men, and sodid Australia and New Zealand. The noble Lord said that we should alienate the support of the Colonies, and by that he meant a hundred thousand people in Johannesburg. But nothing of the kind would happen. These people in Johannesburg were as anxious as anyone here to get rid of the "yellow terror." It was a few people in Park Lane and on the Stock Exchange who might be alienated. The danger was that what had been done would alienate from us the sympathy of our great self-governing colonies. The Unionist Party was fond of shouting on the platform about the Empire, but never 655 for a moment thought of the result of their action.
They talked about posters, but did they ever see worse posters than those of the Tariff Reform League? One showed the Prime Minister welcoming a lot of dirty foreigners, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer warning off British workmen. That was a fine truthful statement of fact, was it not? He wondered whether the right hon. Gentlemen the Member for West Birmingham would take the responsibility for every poster and pamphlet issued by the Tariff Reform League. He had no doubt he would absolutely refuse to do anything so foolish, and very wisely, too. In his constituency there was a poster put up, in which the Prime Minister was depicted as a columbine dressed in a beautiful pair of tights and frills. Was it supposed that if the other Party had won the election the Liberals would have insisted upon an apology for having misled the people of this country into believing that their Leader belonged to the "Follies" of the seaside performers. Did hon. Gentlemen opposite approve of turning into ridicule those who might, for the moment at any rate, be His Majesty's responsible Ministers? Party polities at an election ran high; there had been inaccuracies on both sides, and the sooner they were forgotten and the less said about them the better. If the right hon. Gentlemen opposite at the next election would appoint a Committee consisting of the hon. and learned Member for the City and the hon. Member for East Marylebone and two hon. Members on the Government side to revise all posters and all speeches which were to be made by any Minister, ex-Minister. or other candidates, before delivery, then perhaps they would reach that high classic ideal, which no doubt the hon. Member for Marylebone so heartily desired, in the rough and tumble of elections. But when they were beaten, let them not come to this House and complain. After nearly twenty years of uninterrupted office surely they should not grudge the Liberals a little time on the Government side of the House, and surely the time of this House might be better occupied than in discussing dead 656 issues—the deadest of all issues: election literature. The day after the election no one looked at it on the walls, but wondered why anyone ever put it there. As a matter of fact, he did not believe anyone ever looked at a poster, and he believed they all wasted their money. What people looked at to-day in politics were facts, not posters. The facts were sufficiently apparent to the working men of this country who felt deceived and rightly deceived. If the other side had gone before them frankly and told them what they were going to do, they would have had nothing to say; but they did not do it. They had played with them and deluded them—at any rate, the people thought they had. He did not say the Unionists had done it intentionally; he had never aspersed their personal character. It was the policy that he and his friends had aspersed. And working men of this country felt that they had been deluded, and that the introduction of Chinese labour into South Africa was an intolerable insult to them, their manhood, and the labour of the world, and that the dignity of labour was involved. Hon. Gentlemen opposite had yet a lot to learn about the labour question. It was not that the British working man wanted to go to South Africa for work. The cotton operatives of Lancashire did not want to go and work in the mines, so that their attitude was not due to any feeling of jealousy. But they regarded this form of Chinese labour as absolutely fundamentally opposed to any principle of the Labour Party in this country. He saw a report in the Transvaal Leader of the 26th January regarding some dispute about wages at "Jumper's Deep." The water supply was in consequence cut off from the compound, and the inhabitants were given no food for two days; and, after that, the men naturally consented to work again. Did they call that slavery? Oh, no; that was freedom! Misconceptions existed on this subject. Some hon. Gentlemen on the other side told them that these contracts were made under the Chinese flag, and therefore would be legal, though they were illegal under the British flag. But, on the compounds in China, the Union Jack was hoisted, and it was under that flag that the labour was enlisted. Had Members of the Cabinet ever instituted an inquiry as to how these people 657 were being recruited? From the opinions he had received from private sources it would seem that many of the horrors of the old slave traffic had been revived. He understood that some of the native agents went up country 300 or 400 miles, and by various methods induced a man down to the coasts where it was quite true the terms of the ordinance were then read to him. And if the Chinaman said he did not like it he was told he could go back. But he had no means to go back that distance. And so he unwillingly signed the contract.
§ MR. MOND
said he was informed by people who had been out there and had seen the thing done. He would like to know whether it was a fact that in Hong Kong about two years ago the British police found a manacled man in the streets with his legs broken. They discovered that he came from a house full of manacled men who were waiting to be taken down to a ship to be sent to South Africa. [Cries of "Oh"!] He was told that, not by a member of the Liberal Party, but by a gentleman who resided in China for thirty years. He did not say it was true, but had the late Government ever made any inquiry into it?
§ MR. MOND
said he believed such steps were taken and that the matter stopped there. It was discovered by the British police at Hong Kong, and reported to the British Governor, and put an end to. He would put to the right hon. Gentleman opposite, who was as desirous of the good reputation of the Empire as any one in the House, whether a condition of things which produced matters of that kind in China, and, on the evidence of Lord Selborne, cruelty and flogging in South Africa, was a system they were proud of in the face of the world, of their colonial brothers, and of their American cousins. In 1833 the House of Commons passed a resolution abolishing slavery and voted 658 £15,000,000. In 1835 the Jamaica legislature passed an Ordinance in which they introduced apprenticed labour for seven years, at the end of which the whole system came to an end. What was the Government intending to do? From all he had heard from the speeches on his side they were following the precedent of 1833 in the case of the West Indies. They were not suddenly cutting the Gordian knot, but slowly dissolving it. It was absurd to taunt the Government for not taking more immediate steps. To suddenly take away from the industry a very large number of people would be very unfair, but by gradually taking them away the man of business could accommodate himself to the new conditions. He would point out that in 1898, when there was not a single Chinaman on the Rand, before the disastrous war, those poor miserable people the mine owners paid dividends amounting to £4,800,000. They had as many Kaffirs now as they had then, and they could get many more Kaffirs if they wanted, and if they could not get them they would have to do without them, like other employers of labour in other parts of the world. The persons who were interested in that industry which could, without any Chinese, pay the large dividends he had mentioned, came to this House in forma pauperis to plead to the British nation that unless they were allowed to have 150,000 Chinese coolies in South Africa they must all go into the workhouse. That was carrying it a little too far. He had no quarrel with those gentlemen and did not abuse them. It was their business to make money, but it was the business of this House to govern the Empire. In twenty to sixty years the gold would be exhausted probably in the Transvaal, and that country would then revert to agriculture which had been there for hundreds of years and would be there for hundreds of years to come. Was not the proper policy then to see that the gold mines there, as they had been in Australia end California, were the means of attracting a white population which would spread out from the mines on to the land and enable us truly to hold the Colony we had made such efforts to acquire?
It was the Imperial aspect that had always appealed to him most strongly, 659 and he was prepared even to pay subsidies in order to keep a white population. Why did they not give back that £30,000,000 which this country had no right to accept, and which the Transvaal ought not to be called upon to pay. [An HON. MEMBER: But we have not got it yet.] No, and he did no tthink they ever would get it. This country never had any right to that money, and it was only owing to the persuasive tongue of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, who could always get £30,000,000 out of anybody if he tried, that this money was promised. By a clever manœuvre of the right hon. Gentleman an attempt was being made to inveigle and lure them into the same lobby, and he was glad that that attempt would entirely fail in its object. Upon this occasion hon. Members above and below the gangway, and a great many hon. Members opposite, he was sure, would support their leader, who, after so much effort they had placed in his present proud position in order to cleanse the Augean stable which the late Government had left behind. It seemed to him to be a novel constitutional doctrine that the Ministry of the time were to be bound by whatever a candidate at the election chose to say, or by any poster which a candidate liked to put out, and, if they did not carry out that policy, were to be hurled from power. The time would come when right hon. Gentlemen opposite would again appeal to the country, and he asked them to remember this collective responsibility, and then they would be able to see which was the boa constrictor and which was the rabbit. He should vote against this Amendment.
§ MR. J. WARD (Stoke-on-Trent)
said he desired to place before the House the views of the organised Labour Party on this subject. Working men did not care what description was given to Chinese labour. They considered that when a man was not free from day to day, but was hired for a certain definite time to an employer, and was not free to make any alteration in that arrangement whenever he thought necessary, it was, by whatever name it might be called, slavery. The British Navy was an entirely different thing. Indeed it was odious to compare either branch of the service with Chinese 660 labour as it existed in South Africa. As a man who had worked not only in Britain but in other parts of the Empire and even among the coolies—he meant the Indian coolies—he held there was no work under the sun that the British workman could not do. It was entirely a question of whether or not he could get sufficient wages for it. It was a serious reflection on the British working man to suggest that there was any kind of work he could not do. Even in this country there was work done by Britishers which was very irksome and degrading, and they would like considerably more of it done by other means if it were possible To suggest that it was necessary to take any kind of labour into the mines other than British because Britishers could not do the work was untrue. It might be true that they would want certain regulations. It might be that they would require in the Transvaal a decent Mines Regulation Act. It might be that they would want a hundred and one other things that the British working man generally took with him, such as his trade organisations and such regulations as would enable him to perform the work with decency and comfort. It was really because they wanted these things that objection was taken to their going to South Africa. One felt inclined, even in 1906, to ask, in the words of Southey—Now tell us all about the war,And what they killed each other for.He had listened to the debates for several years from a more elevated position than he occupied to-day. At last he was glad he had an opportunity of stating on the floor his views on this very important question.
From the beginning the organised workmen of the country had declared that the war was not for the franchise, nor for any of the things ostensibly put forward to justify the country engaging in it, but was really a wage-and-labour question. As early as December, 1899, the whole of the trades union leaders of the country, and others favourable to their views, decided to put forward a statement on the subject, and he desired to quote from it, because at that time it was impossible to get a clear statement of 661 what the war was for. In that leaflet the Labour leaders said—You will naturally exclaim that there must be some real object for the war. Yes; there was. It is a war waged by capitalists with the object of obtaining greater profits through cheap labour.Was that untrue? There was no answer. The leaflet proceeded—A meeting of the Consolidated Goldfields Mining Company of South Africa was held at the Cannon Street Hotel on November 14th, 1899.That was only a few days or weeks after the war had begun. They could get an idea from this what it was that those who engineered the war were really driving at. The following statement appeared in the Financial News of November 21st, 1899—Lord Harris, the chairman, said that upon the working of the mines, with a capital of £2,147,000, the profit for the year had been £1,006,000.This enormous profit did not seem to satisfy them. They wanted more, and they meant to have it. Mr. Hammond, an engineer of the company, made this remarkable statement:—With a good Government there should be an abundance of labour, and with an abundance of labour there would be no difficulty in cutting down wages.He asked them candidly, and especially those on his side of the House, was that not almost positive proof that those gentlemen most implicated in South African finance knew what they were aiming at. Then a Mr. D. Rudd, a director, said that if they could only get one half of the natives to work three months of the year, it would work wonders, and they should try some cogent form of inducement to compel them to work, by taxation, or in some other way, and make them contribute their quota to the good of the community. He had never heard that Mr. Rudd was particularly fond of work himself, but he would not follow up that argument any further. Mr. Cecil Rhodes, as long ago as 1894, made a speech in which he said that if they could make these people work, they would reduce the rates of labour in the country. That was exactly their contention, namely that Chinese labour was not introduced because white labour or Kaffirs could not, under proper conditions, do the work, or even because there was not a sufficient 662 number of Kaffirs. There were other quotations he could read dealing with that point, showing that this was not a question of the scarcity of labour, but merely a question of reducing the pay of the men, and increasing the profits of the company. He knew that some of his friends dubbed him a Little Englander, but in reply to that he would say that he had done for his country what some of them had not had the courage to do; he had risked his life for the Empire, and he thought there would be less talk about Little Englanders if those gentlemen who applied that term to him would do the same. Did they imagine for one moment that the mothers of England, when they saw their sons off to the war in those dark years of 1899 and 1900, thought they were sending them to leave their bones in that country in order to support and maintain and introduce a policy such as they were defending to-day in this House? He was positive that they thought nothing of the kind. The flag had been introduced into this election. Well, he had marched under the British flag, but he had given instructions to his election agents that that flag was not to be used in his election, because he looked upon the flag as an emblem of the unity and character of the nation, and it did not belong to any one section. What they wanted on this occasion was for the House to take a sensible view, if it could. He made that observation because the Resolution was drafted in such a way that whilst everyone against slavery could support the first part of it, it was difficult for the moment, in view of the position of the Government in the matter, to support the second part of the Amendment. Therefore, he should oppose in every shape and form the first part of the Amendment, and he should go into the lobby in support of the Government which the country had placed in power by such an overwhelming majority, composed of the different sections of democratic thought, to put an end to this business at the first available opportunity. That was the position, as near as he could judge, of the Labour Party. They did not wish to hamper the Administration, but they wished the Government to understand that they did not agree to this business of Chinese labour being handed on ad infinitum. They would give the 663 Administration a chance of dealing with it, but he hoped that before this Parliament came to an end Chinese labour would no longer be part of the policy of the British Empire.
§ MR. DUNN (Cornwall, Camborne)
said he was quite sure that hon. Members of the House would pardon the audacity of a new Member, and not only did he ask for their pardon, but he also asked for their forbearance. It was always difficult for a new Member to speak in august Assembly, but it was even more difficult when that new Member had to follow a Gentleman so well versed and eloquent as the hon. Member who had just addressed the House. He should not have spoken on this occasion had it not been for a speech delivered yesterday by the hon. and learned Member for the City of London. He came to this House and told them that there was one place in this England of ours, one constituency, where the whole facts of Chinese labour were known, and that that constituency was the City of London. He was prepared to concede to the hon. and learned Member that upon this question he spoke with due authority as representing the capitalists and the financial interests of persons who knew the truth about this Chinese Labour Ordinance. There was another constituency not, perhaps, so important, but it was in the Far West, and it was a constituency that likewise knew something about Chinese labour. Whilst listening to this debate, he had wished that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Croydon could only have spoken in the Camborne constituency instead of in this House. If this building were empty, and it were possible to bring the men here, he could fill it with electors of his mining division who were workers in the Transvaal mines. After that, he would have no difficulty at all in filling the building a second time, for no less than 1,400 men who were electors in his constituency were working in the mines of the Transvaal at the present time. But that did not end the connection of his constituency with this question. There were in the Camborne Division men who had returned from the Transvaal, and who knew perfectly well the whole of the facts connected with Chinese labour 664 there. The hon. and learned Member for the City of London had stated that those financial gentlemen who were electors in his constituency, knowing everything about the position, voted for him, and did so because they knew he was in favour of the Chinese Labour Ordinance.
§ SIR EDWARD CLARKE
I did not say that. What I said was that it was scarcely mentioned in the course of my election campaign.
§ SIR EDWARD CLARKE
Those statements are perfectly correct, but I do not think that they returned me in consequence of my views upon any particular subject.
§ MR. DUNN
said if the hon. Member had any doubt as to his election he had no doubt himself as to why he was returned for Camborne. He put in his election address that he was strenuously opposed to Chinese labour on the Rand, and he was returned by a majority of two to one. Every Saturday night there was spent in the town of Camborne mere money which was earned in the Rand mines than was earned in any other way. Therefore, he thought he was justified in saying, with a certain amount of authority, that his constituents knew something about this Chinese Ordinance. What did the miners themselves say about this matter? He had had the privilege of speaking to many hundreds of them during the last few months, and they did not try to draw any nice distinctions between servile labour and slavery. If they had been asked for a definition he did not think they would have been able to give it, but they had told him that Chinese labour had been introduced into the mines under remarkable circumstances and subjected to extraordinary conditions. He did therefore think it was unfortunate that they should be engaged in the House of Commons discussing such fine distinctions. Surely it was 665 bad even if they had approached the line of demarcation. They might even have crossed it, but whether that was so or not, they were certainly too near to it to be pleasant.
Surely a slave might be well treated, well clothed, and well fed, and yet remain a slave. A man might be badly treated, and starved almost, and yet be practically a free man. Probably the best way to see where the line came was to observe how the system affected third persons. He dared say there might be hon. Members in this House who read about twelve months ago a paragraph in the Press dealing with what was going on, not in South Africa, but in another Colony, namely, Hong Kong. From that paragraph it seemed that some Chinamen were enlisting to work in South Africa, and that a countryman was asking them not to do it. He told his comrades that it would be unwise of them to enlist. That man was taken before a magistrate in the Colony. He was not fined, nor was he sent to prison, but he was told that he must not do it again. They had heard a great deal about the enlistment being a perfectly voluntary act. An hon. Member who took part in the debate yesterday stated that there were men engaged in the mines who had committed a large number of murders. He wondered under what conditions these men enlisted. They knew that the Chinese official had peculiar methods. He wondered whether the choice was given to those men to leave the country or to suffer a peculiar and unsatisfactory Chinese execution. Hon. Members on the Ministerial side of the House had been challenged to prophesy how many coolies would return to China under the concession His Majesty's Ministers were making. He wondered how many dare return. The great objection of the working miner to this ordinance arose from the fact that they had never yet got a satisfactory answer to the question, Why have Chinese been introduced? He knew they were told that there was a shortage of black labour, but how did that shortage arise? They had heard something with regard to the Commission. They knew how the Commission was formed, and that after taking evidence they recommended that it was necessary 666 in their opinion that Chinese should be introduced to the Rand. The constitution of that Commission was well known. It was also well known that there were three classes of witnesses who wore called, or might have been called before the Commission. One class of witnesses so called were the mine magnates themselves and their officials. Another class of witnesses called before the Commission were the representatives of the native races, every one of whom declared that in his opinion it was not necessary to introduce Chinese labour, because if proper methods were taken there would be plenty of black labour. But there was a class not called to give evidence, and that class were the working men of the trade unions. There were trade unions even in South Africa, but not one official of any trade union in South Africa was asked to give evidence before the Commission[...]r give an opinion on the point. Was it any wonder, having regard to the composition of the Commission, and having regard to the kind of evidence which was called, that there was the recommendation to which he referred. Had they forgotten a meeting held at Cape Town at a time when our soldiers were busily engaged in fighting battles in the Transvaal? The mining magnates at that conference dealt with the question of skilled labour, and expressed a desire to do away with machine rock drilling. He would say that there might be difficulty in the whites doing the whole of the unskilled labour in the mines, but they did know that many thousands of whites at the time the Ordinance was passed were doing unskilled labour. With regard to skilled labour it was felt that Chinamen had been introduced practically for the purpose of doing that labour. He knew that hon. Members would say that conditions were laid down which would prevent their doing skilled labour, but at the present moment certain work which had always been regarded as skilled work was being done by these Chinese coolies on the Rand. One of the chief kinds of work in which white labour was employed was the working of the drilling machines, and the mine owners had determined to reduce machine drills in the mines. He had before him a speech 667 which was delivered only twelve months ago by the chairman of a Rand gold mine. In that speech it was stated that when the Chinese had become thoroughly efficient it was the intention of the management to resort more and more to hand drilling. Then, again, later in the speech it was stated that the introduction of Chinese labour had been good for white labour, good for black labour, and good for the gold industry. Those were very important words, and he thought that if they read carefully the speeches which had been delivered from time to time by mine managers and mine directors they would see that the great object in introducing Chinese coolies on the Rand was to oust the skilled white labourers, and finally to make the coolies do the skilled work. The Kaffir would always be a hewer of wood and a drawer of water, but the Chinaman was a very different man. The Chinaman was a skilled mechanic; that was why he was wanted in South Africa, and unless something was done to put an end to this they would surely find that the Chinaman who was to-day, he admitted, for the most part doing unskilled work, would shortly be employed at skilled work.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. ASQUITH, Fife, E.)
I should feel myself very well content to leave the case presented to the House on behalf of His Majesty's Government as it was left in the most able and admirable speech of the Under-Secretary for the Colonies yesterday. But as I find that some amount of misapprehension still appears to prevail in some quarters as to the real intentions and policy of the Government, I think it right at this stage of the debate to trespass for a few moments on the attention of the House, in order to restate our position in language which I hope will be free from any possibility either of ambiguity or misconstruction. I shall not re-embark upon, because I confess I am not much moved by, a controversy, which seems to me largely a verbal one, as to whether the term "slavery"—a term which this Amendment quite untruly declares has been applied by His Majesty's Ministers—is or is not the most accurate and appropriate description of what has been going on in the Trans- 668 vaal. So far as I am personally concerned, I told my constituents, both before and at the time of the general election, that I have never applied the term in that connection, profoundly and unconquerably opposed as I have been and am to the whole of this most unhappy experiment. But it is not a question of language. The noble Lord the Member for South Kensington, earlier this afternoon made merry over the distinction between slavery and servile conditions. Unfortunately in this world you cannot classify everything into two categories—it would be much more convenient if you could—the one black and the other white. Has the noble Lord ever heard, in the course of his researches into South African history, of the Convention of 1881, under which we established our relations with the South African Republic, to which we had then regranted its independence? If he has forgotten them, let me remind him of the words of one of the articles—No slavery, or apprenticeship partaking of the nature of slavery, will be tolerated in the Transvaal State.That language was repeated again in the Convention of 1884; and I ask here once more a question which I remember I put from the opposite Bench in the earliest debate which we had on this subject. Supposing under the régime of Mr. Kruger this system of Chinese labour, carried on under the conditions prescribed and sanctioned by this Ordinance, had been sanctioned, do you suppose that Lord Milner or the right hon. Gentleman who was then Secretary for the Colonies would not have been put forward to remonstrate with him on the ground that whether slavery or not, "a system of apprenticeship partaking of the nature of slavery" had in violation of his obligations been introduced into South Africa? The noble Lord is very particular about the use of language; let me put him a question in turn. Wculd he describe this as free labour?
§ MR. ASQUITH
He would. Then I venture to think that his courage is better than his English, or else—for this is another possible explanation—that 669 he understands the term "freedom' in a sense totally different from that in which it is understood by the bulk of his fellow-countrymen. But, Sir, as have said, this is not a question of language, but a question of substance; and what we are concerned with is not by what particular epithet the state of things established under the Ordinance can be most accurately described, but whether it can be defended as it stands, and upon its merits, and if not, what is the best means of setting it right. Now, it is surprising to find that the great movement of public opinion and public feeling, the reality and volume of which no one who has been through the recent election can dispute, is still attributed, by some hon. Gentlemen opposite, at any rate, either to a manipulated agitation in which credulity and mendacity are supposed to have played equal parts, or to ignorance and to false sentiment. Now I am not going into the question at length, but I should like to put the case in the baldest possible way in which it strikes the average Englishman. What was it that you did when you established this Ordinance in South Africa? Into a country which has, Heaven knows, already had more than its share of racial problems and difficulties, you introduced, in haste and without any adequate ascertainment of the authentic opinion of the people, the members of yet another race. And how were they to come there? They were to come there not as inhabitants, not, I might almost say, even as inmates of the country. They were to come there as the temporary instruments of this industrial development, segregated from the rest of the community, not allowed to possess any domestic life of their own, cut off from the social and the other interests of their neighbours, without hope—whatever ingenuity, diligence, enterprise, and character any man among them might contribute to the work in which he was engaged—without hope of ever becoming the owner of property, or, in the country which he was enriching, finding a permanent home, and with the prospect, when their indentures came to an end and they had served their purpose, of being compulsorily sent back to the place from which they came. Now, is there any 670 feature in that picture which is either false or exaggerated? I believe there is not, and so were we not justified—we who in the beginning opposed the whole of this experiment and opposed it strenuously throughout, and who mean to bring it to an end—
§ MR. ASQUITH
Perhaps the noble Lord will restrain his impatience for a few minutes Were we not justified in pointing out from the first that, however honestly and however humanely it might be conducted, it was inevitably accompanied by the gravest risks of abuse? There were risks in two distinct directions. First of all in the process of recruitment—for however carefully that process was conducted, how could you discriminate in a rough-and-ready manner between good and bad characters, and still more, how could you ensure that the bulk of these men would really understand the nature of the work in which they were to be engaged, and the conditions under which it was to be carried on? And next, as regards their methods of treatment and the like, after they were landed and housed together in these compounds. I bring no charge—I do not think any of my hon. friends do—of callousness or of cruelty against the general body of our fellow-subjects in the Transvaal, whether they be our own kith and kin or from whatever race or tribe or country they derive their origin. I have always thought myself that a man might engage in the industry of gold mining perfectly legitimately—from the point of view of the Chancellor of the Exchequer most usefully and indispensably—and might engage in that industry without leaving behind him either his heart or his conscience. But what we have said is this: A system of this kind, whatever be the good faith and the feelings of humanity with which it was intended to be worked, was inevitably subject to the gravest possible dangers and abuses. I am not going again into the questions, which have been much touched upon in these debates, of illegal punishments, which it is now admitted—unknown, I hope, to the authorities in the Transvaal, unknown certainly to the Secretary of State in this country—were 671 practised in several of these mines. But I was very much struck by a passage I saw in one of the despatches, in a letter from a mine manager in whose mine some of these practices had prevailed. He said—I have got here 100 convicted criminals, not a few of them professional assassins, who have been shipped over from China to take part in the exploitation of gold in the Transvaal.He certainly was in a very difficult position, and I am not sure, myself, if imaginatively one can try to put oneself into the position of a man subjected to these punishments—I do not suppose the Chinaman, to do him justice, felt any grievous sense of outrage. But there you see the radical vice of the whole thing. If you import in this way wholesale for these purposes and under these conditions alien labour, you import with it the danger, the probability, I will say the certainty, of barbaric punishments which are abhorrent to the traditions and the convictions of the British people. That was the state of things—I do not think I am exaggerating—with which the present Government found themselves confronted when they came into office. What were they to do? It is quite clear, I think, to anybody of reasonable intelligence and experience that they could not simply take a wet sponge and wipe the whole thing off the slate in a moment. I remember that when the very first debate we had on this subject took place, now three years ago, an Amendment to the Address was moved by my hon. friend the present Undersecretary for Home Affairs, a very wise Amendment, in which he asked the then House of Commons to say that this experiment should not be tried until the people of the Transvaal had had an opportunity of pronouncing their opinions upon it. I remember pointing out on that occasion that the worst of taking a step of this kind was that, once you had taken it, in a large measure, and for a long time to come, it must be irretraceable. And so I believe there is no one who thinks, or has ever encouraged the country to think at the time of the election, that these coolies could be compulsorily deported en masse. [Cries of "Oh."] "Well, who has?
§ EARL PERCY
The hon. Member for South Salford, who spoke last night, said 672 that he gave a pledge to his constituents to that effect.
§ MR. ASQUITH
Well, of course, I cannot charge myself on the point, not having been present when my hon. friend spoke; but I can say for myself, having been almost as much as any Member through the length and breadth of the country at the time of the election, and having spoken on platform after platform with many of my hon. friends, that I never heard a suggestion, or the faintest shadow of a suggestion, that it would be possible at once en masse to deport these coolies. He who says that we, the Liberal Party, deceived the electors into that belief requires to substantiate his words [Cheers]. I wonder whether hon. Gentlemen who gave that faint cheer a few moments ago have ever read the history of the dealings of this country and this Parliament with West Indian slavery. That was admitted slavery. There was no question or dispute about it in any quarter. And what happened? When the great Reformed Parliament met in 1833, full of enthusiasm after the Act of 1832, the first really popular assembly that had met within these walls for the best part of a couple of hundred years, one of the first tasks to which it addressed itself was the emancipation of the slaves in the West Indies. I suppose you would agree that Mr. Stanley, afterwards Lord Derby, Mr. Wilberforce, and Mr. Buxton were perhaps as keen and as sincere in their abhorrence of slavery and in their desire to put an end to it as even the framers of this Amendment. Well, what was the legislation of that Parliament, the carefully considered legislation of men who were as keenly desirous as any man on these benches that any reproach of this sort should be removed? They enacted that for a period of seven years these slaves, released in name at least from the status of slavery, were to continue as compulsory apprentices to their masters, giving three-fourths of their time and labour to those who had formerly been their owners; so anxious, and rightly anxious, were they that when an institution of this kind, 673 good or bad, has become mixed up with the whole social and industrial life of the community, you should not, in your anxiety and legitimate eagerness to put an end to it at the earliest possible moment, inflict unmerited and unnecessary suffering on those who were affected by it. The great precedent in our history in dealing with such a matter is impossible here, and I dismiss it at once. We must show patience, and walk warily and cautiously in this matter. Does any one suppose for a moment that in pursuance of our pledges we are under obligation at once to open the doors of all these compounds in South Africa and let every Chinaman loose over the veldt to run all over South Africa?
§ MR. ASQUITH
No, I do not believe that any one thinks that. If we had done that, there is not the slightest doubt that we should have been rightly accused of establishing a reign of terror amongst our fellow subjects. Therefore, dismissing that as entirely out of the question—and it has never been suggested or even hinted at by any responsible spokesman in the Liberal Party—what are we to do as practical men, anxious to remove the dangers, and at the same time anxious not to plunge a great community into industrial and social chaos? For convenience I will divide the policy that we have announced into two heads.
First of all, I will state what we propose to do before responsible government is fully granted and while we ourselves remain directly responsible for the administration of the Transvaal. Next, I will state what we propose to do if, and when, responsible government is granted. As regards the first period, I do not think there is any misunderstanding in any quarter of the House as to what the policy of the Government is. In the first place, no new licenses are to be issued. At this point I will not go into detailed argument or recrimination on the question of those 16,000 new licences so mysteriously applied for just at the very moment when the then Secretary of State for the Colonies was suggesting to the representative of the 674 King in South Africa that it was desirable that the importations should voluntarily cease. As to existing contracts, we are not constitutionally, legally, or morally able to disturb them, but we have resolved that, as long as we are responsible, no additional licences shall be issued for the importation of a single coolie. In the next place, we are going to carry out, whether by Regulation or by Order in Council docs not matter, those Amendments of the more rigorous and indefensible clauses in the Ordinance so clearly indicated by the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies last night—amendments which will remove some of the more flagrant and noxious elements in the system hitherto existing. In the third place, so anxious are we that, while our responsibility lasts, it shall not be possible for any one to say that a single coolie is being kept in South Africa against his will, that we are prepared to find, from Imperial funds if necessary—though when the suggestion was first made I myself made a wry face—the money to enable the coolie to pay the cost of his passage out and back so as to free himself from a contract which was not what he expected. [An HON. MEMBER: How much will that cost?] How can any one estimate the cost at present? When I know I will tell the hon. Member. It is the principle with which we are at present concerned. There is nobody in this House so anxious as I am to save every halfpenny of money for the State; but I feel that, inasmuch as the responsibility for this Ordinance rests, not upon the Transvaal, who were never consulted about it, but upon the Imperial Parliament and the Imperial Government, whatever expenditure is necessary for the purpose of removing this taint of compulsion from these coolies ought to be met, not out of Colonial, but out of Imperial funds.
Now I come to the question of what is to happen when responsible government is granted. As to that, there appears to be a certain amount—I will not say of misunderstanding, but of doubt, which let me try to remove. When the Transvaal receives responsible government it is our intention that it should have responsible government in the fullest and most complete sense of 675 the term. Therefore, the question which, in the opinion of His Majesty's Government, ought clearly to remain within the competence of the Transvaal Assembly will be whether or not they care to retain Chinese labour in South Africa. Do not let the House misunderstand me. I say Chinese labour. It will be for the colonists themselves to determine whether or not they will allow yellow men to go on labouring in their midst, either in the mines, on farms, or exercising any trade in any way. That is a matter which is a purely economic question, and every self-governing British Colony is perfectly entitled to say whether it will have yellow labour. If the colonists should say, "We will not have yellow men here," why should the Imperial Government interfere? It is purely a matter for them, and for nobody outside. The Transvaal Legislature must, however, have the fullest and most complete power of expressing a free and unfettered judgment upon the question. But supposing they should come to the conclusion that they will allow Chinese labourers to work in compounds within the Colony, then arises the question what are to be the conditions. A question was asked of the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies yesterday as to what is called "re-enlistment." The answer he gave was—The earliest contracts will not expire before May, 1907, by which date the Transvaal will have become a self governing Colony. In these circumstances His Majesty's Government, while reserving to themselves entire freedom of action upon the general question of the conditions under which Chinese labour is carried on, do not propose to cancel the provision of the Ordinance referred to.The House will see that the answer is perfectly consistent with what I am going to say. We think that the new Transvaal Goverment should, in the first instance, have an opportunity of submitting its proposal upon this subject; but for that purpose it is quite essential that it should not inherit, from the state of things which now exists, the present Ordinance. If they did inherit that Ordinance, that Ordinance would be part of the law of the land; and therefore, unless something were done to annul it or repeal it or amend it, all its powers, including this power of "re-enlisting" or detaining under the conditions of 676 that Ordinance, the coolies now out there, would automatically remain in force. We do not think that that would be right. I am not indicating for the moment what the precise method of procedure will be. That is a legal question. I could indicate three or four ways, but I do not wish at this moment to commit the Government precisely to any definite method. I am only saying what the Government mean to do and what they will carry out by one way or another—that is, to secure that the new Legislature of the Transvaal, unembarrassed and unfettered by this Ordinance, shall itself and by legislative action of its own, submit a scheme, whatever it may be, for the future dealing with Chinese labour in that Colony.
But that is not all. This is a matter in which the credit and responsibility of the Imperial Parliament are concerned. Therefore I go a step further. I say on behalf of His Majesty's Government that, while we should not think it desirable but, on the contrary, we should think it impolitic, and in some respects disrespectful, to insert in the Constitution for the new Colony any disabling condition which would even seem to suggest that we expected it to take a decision contrary to what we ourselves believe to be right and just, yet, under the power which is reserved in the Constitution of every self-governing Colony to submit all legislation of that Colony, in such cases as the Governor thinks fit, to the Royal consideration and assent, we should have the right, and we should exercise it, of dealing with legislation on this subject put forward on behalf of the Colony. What is more, I think we should make it part of the instructions given to the Governor of the new Colony that any measure dealing with labour of this kind should be expressly reserved for the consideration and assent of the Imperial Government. I will fortify myself by reading a short passage—I am sure hon. Gentlemen opposite will listen to it with great respect—from the despatch of Mr. Lyttelton to Sir Arthur Lawley, transmitting the letters patent of the Order in Council providing for the constitutional changes in the Transvaal, dated 31st March last 677 year. Mr. Lyttelton, in that despatch, uses these words—His Majesty's Government have been unable, having regard to the terms of peace signed in 1902, to make provision for the representation of any of His Majesty's coloured subjects. As a protection, however, of the interests of those sections of the population which are not directly represented in the Legislature, the Governor will, as now, be required by his instructions to reserve any Bill whereby persons not of European birth or descent may be subjected to any disability or restriction to which persons of European birth are not also subjected.Similar instructions, the House may be sure, will be given to the Governor by His Majesty's present Government.
So, how does the matter stand? The Transvaal Government will have absolute power to determine the economic question whether or not they will have Chinamen labouring in the country. Not inheriting the Ordinance, they will be required, if they so determine, to frame legislation of their own as to the conditions under which such labour should be carried on. That legislation will, not only by the inherent power invested in the Crown in the case of colonial Constitutions, but by express instructions given to the Governor, be reserved for the consideration of His Majesty's Government at home. Let me add that, though I do not anticipate any such contingency arising, if such a contingency did arise, so long as we on this Bench are responsible for the conduct of affairs, any legislation corresponding to that of this Ordinance and inconsistent with our best British traditions would unquestionably be vetoed by the Government on behalf of the Crown. The right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite have been so long out of Opposition that perhaps it would not be fair to criticise with severity their first attempt after so many years to draw up an Amendment. Otherwise I should say that this Amendment was a singularly clumsy production. In vain is the net spread in the sight of so many clear-sighted birds. I feel perfectly confident, after the statement which my hon. friend made yesterday, and which I have endeavoured to supplement and amplify to-day, that this House of Commons by an overwhelming majority will declare that it was the duty of His Majesty's 678 Government to do everything in their power, in view of the assurances which they and their supporters had given to the country, to set this matter right. The steps which they have taken as regards both the immediate and more remote future are the only steps which could be really effectual for the purpose without inflicting grievous and unnecessary hardship on innocent persons and upon the interests of a great and loyal community.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN (Birmingham, W.)
I entirely agree with the prediction which has just been made by the right hon. Gentleman. I have no doubt he is right when he says this Amendment will be rejected by an overwhelming majority. Although he is kind enough to commiserate us on our greenness in the work of opposition, I may tell him that, when we put down this Amendment, we were not so green as to suppose that many hon. Gentlemen who have been returned to support the Government would be distracted from their allegiance. We put the Amendment down in order that we might have a full discussion and explanation of all that is connected with this most interesting subject; and I think it will be recognised on all sides that the debate has fully justified us in that proceeding. It has elicited many interesting speeches, but I, who have listened to almost all of them, venture to say that none was more needed than the very admirable speech, both in tone and temper, which was delivered by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Stoke. He dealt with only one branch of the subject, but he dealt with it effectively, and nobody else has placed that point of view so clearly before us. He, speaking as he says, on behalf, at all events of a considerable body, of organised labour in this country, brushes aside the question of slavery, and he says that what interests them is the whole question of the introduction of cheap labour. There is no doubt a great deal to be said on that matter, and I, for one, am inclined to think that a good number of the votes—it is impossible to say what proportion—were undoubtedly given during the election upon this question—were given, not induced by the posters and pamphlets of 679 which we have heard so much, but by sympathy with the view that this was the first step or, at all events, a very important step for introducing cheap competition with British labour. Of course, those who assented to this proposal did so informed, or it may be misinformed, by the great bulk of public opinion in the Transvaal, to the effect that the particular labour which the Chinaman was to supply could not be—he did not mean physically—well and properly performed by British workmen; that, in fact, to introduce such labour into a country where there was a large coloured population would be to degrade the standard of labour. That is an honest opinion expressed by a large number of persons in the Transvaal and no doubt accepted by His Majesty's late Government. Was that a right opinion? Were they misinformed? When I was in the country I had a long conversation with Mr. Creswell, who was the author of a very serious attempt to secure the introduction of a cheaper kind of white labour in place of the black labour, and although that experiment was said, I think by almost everybody connected with the mines, to have been a failure, I am well aware that Mr. Creswell himself, for whom I have the greatest respect—I concur with all that was said of him by the Under-Secretary for the Colonies—still retains his old opinion; and that, therefore, the question may be said to be one which is not decided. The people in South Africa, and especially the working classes and shop-keeping classes, sent deputations to me in every colony, and in almost every important town, to protest against the introduction of coloured labour at all, whether under indenture or ordinance, or anything else, except in connection with this particular question of the mines. They wished for stringent legislation to prevent this alien coloured immigration; and although they made great complaints against the people who came over, yet in a frank and friendly way they admitted that what they objected to was the competition of men who could live more, cheaply than themselves. I said I was with them. I thought it was a strong order to say that indis- 680 criminate immigration should be allowed whether from China or India, either of which countries could pour in a population counted by scores of millions which, might altogether overwhelm the other population. Although I made representations as to the necessary moderation which must be observed, and the pains which must be taken not gratuitously to give offence to our Indian fellow subjects, yet I really had a great deal of sympathy with them on the matter; and it will be remembered that in this particular case of Chinese labour imported for the mines, the great reason and object of the clauses in the Ordinance to which His Majesty's Government take exception was to prevent Chinamen who were brought over with the idea that they should do work which no white man could do going beyond that and interfering with white labour. The hon. Member for Chester, who in the early part of the afternoon made a humorous speech, referred to something which he alleged I had said during the election to the effect that I was not favourable to Chinese immigration. I do not take any substantial objection to that, although I do not think I ever used those words. Then he said, "Why did you not say so during the period of the last Government?" If he had been in the House then he would have known I had said so; I said so in South Africa, and I reported to the last House what I had said in South Africa. I met the mine managers, a great number of whom are not British, but have come from the free and democratic country of the United States. They came to me to represent that it was becoming urgent that Chinese labour should be introduced, and that without it the development of the mines would be stopped, and that the consequences, so well described by the Under-Secretary yesterday as the result of stopping this labour, would follow from not introducing it. I told them plainly how many objections I felt to this introduction of coloured labour, and above all of Chinese labour. I myself would not have taken anything like the same objection if it had been a question of the introduction of our Indian fellow-subjects. But I pointed out the objections to them, and I told them at that time 681 that I hoped they would exhaust every means in their power to secure labour from other sources, and give every possible encouragement to that experiment and see that it was fairly tried, and that, even when they had done that, as long as I remained at the Colonial Office, I would never consent to the introduction of Chinese labour unless I were persuaded that it was the express desire of the people of the Transvaal—I meant the whole of the white population of the Transvaal. I make that explanation to show that so long as the question is only an economic one we can argue it with the greatest good temper and good humour, and that every excuse may be made for differing views. I do not hold it myself proved that Chinese labour is desirable in the mines of the Transvaal. I think that it may be necessary—I should certainly hold that that was not disproved—but, on the other hand, I say a perfectly reasonable man, bringing honesty and intelligence to bear on the subject, may very fairly take the other view, and if that had been the only question at the general election we should not have come down here with the Amendment now proposed. I venture to follow the right hon. Gentleman, although I am bound to say I think his observations are not really relevant to the Amendment. Just let me remind the House what we ask—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 tenor of Your Majesty's gracious Speech that they are contemplating no effectual method for bringing it to an end.That is really the point we have to discuss. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, I may note in passing, said that no Minister had so described it—
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I beg pardon. I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that no responsible Minister or no Cabinet Minister had described this system as slavery.
§ MR. ASQUITH
"His Majesty's Ministers" when used in an Amend- 682 ment to the Address means the Government collectively. I said his Majesty's Ministers.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I think I may be excused for misunderstanding the right hon. Gentleman. Of course His Majesty's Ministers, if they are to speak with a single voice, must speak by some public document given in their name. I do not think that is the intention of this Amendment; but certainly I am under the impression that certain Ministers did describe it as slavery, both during the election and afterwards. Then this matter being before the people at the general election was universally stated; posters and other documents were circulated throughout the length and breadth of the land in which the late Government and its supporters were accused of introducing slavery. The hon. Member for Kirkcaldy Burghs last night said most frankly and fairly that this was one of the two great Party cries at the last election, and not only was this the indictment against us, but we were at the election found guilty upon that indictment, and we were punished on that indictment; and when some one made that statement before I heard some hon. Members say that we were rightly punished. Scores of our friends, and perhaps more than that, lost their seats upon this great Party cry, upon this indictment; and we intend by this Amendment to say that the verdict was obtained under false pretences. The Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke very lightly of verbal distinctions. I do not call it a mere verbal distinction to say that an Ordinance is or is not slavery. Everybody in the country knows perfectly well what is meant by the accusation of reintroducing slavery. I do not wonder that those who believed in that accusation, or were persuaded to believe in it, treated it as a very serious affair, and they punished us, as I said—and I agree rightly, if the accusation is true. Now I say it is not a verbal matter of which we complain. I have here a book widely circulated during the election, which I have only seen since, and which contains a very full statement of those cartoons which have been reproduced here, and a great number of statements published about the treatment 683 of the Chinese. It is an accusation of the introduction of slavery in the most brutal form. It is published anonymously; but from internal evidence I think it is pretty clear that it was written either by Mr. Boland, who was the gentleman mentioned in the Blue-book as having said that it was his profession to find or make sensational statements, or by a man whom I should unhesitatingly describe as a great scoundrel—that is Mr. Pless, who confessedly hung up and tortured a Chinaman for a whole night in order that he might photograph him next morning for a book he was writing. Things of that sort are not worthy of attention; and I should not have noticed this book for anything in the book itself, but it has a preface written by the Rev. Dr. Clifford, who, as is very well known, is a most eminent dissenting minister, and whose authority and good faith must be recognised in a House which I am told consists in so large a proportion of Nonconformists. Now what impression was produced on Dr. Clifford's mind, and what impression in regard to this matter did he seek to produce on the minds of those whom he influenced? Dr. Clifford said—This is an authentic story of one of the foulest tragedies in our British annals.Is that true? [Some MINISTERIAL cries of "Yes."] The answer is rather feeble.It is another blood-stained page in the history of the inhumanity of man to man, it is a blight upon our Empire and, chiefest of all, it is inevitably and overwhelmingly immoral.He says—It is a wanton iniquity, it is not freedom.and he goes on to say—It is shuffling of the meanest kind to say that it is not slavery.And then he says—It must go.There we are all agreed; assume the premisses, if it be all that Dr. Clifford says it is, and many Gentlemen in 684 this House by their cheers show that they think it is, it must go. Yes, but it is not going. Now remember it is "the meanest shuffling" to say that this system is not slavery, but we were accused of introducing and supporting and approving slavery. That is the gravamen of the charge against us. Well, how did the Under-Secretary for the Colonies begin his speech yesterday? He said—The conditions do not, in the opinion of His Majesty's Governmentit is the whole Government now—constitute a state of slavery.What do they constitute? To call it slavery is "a terminological inexactitude." That is English as she is wrote at the Colonial Office. Eleven syllables, many of them of Latin or Greek derivation, when one good English word, a Saxon word of a single syllable, would do! But it is quite sufficient. Although I do not expect, and never have expected, that they will show themselves in the lobbies this afternoon, yet it cannot be denied that there are two Parties on this question in the majority—in the Government and amongst their followers. There is the Party, for instance, who allowed these statements, these accusations brought against us, to be made wholesale. [An HON. MEMBER: They could not help it.] You are too hasty in your interruption—those who allowed these statements to be made in the country without any correction or any contradiction knowing them to be untrue. Why could not His Majesty's Government have called them then, during the election, "a terminological inexactitude"? No. They knew these statements to be untrue, and they profited by them. Then there is a much larger number, I believe, a majority of the great majority opposite, who believe those statements to be true, who still believe them to be true, and who promised their constituents to abolish the state of things 685 of which they naturally complained. They promised to do all in their power—some went beyond that—but it is sufficient for my purpose to say that they promised to do all in their power to put a stop to this discreditable state of things, to put a stop to "one of the, foulest tragedies in our British annals." Yesterday, all those gentlemen sat dumb, except when they interrupted, but none of them, with, perhaps, one exception, got up to say that "this is not what we expected from our Government." I can argue, I must argue, by the necessities of the case [MINISTERIAL laughter]—I do not see the point of that interruption—if I am to make out my case, I must necessarily argue upon the two hypotheses which seem to exist in the minds of the majority opposite, the first hypothesis being that this statement is untrue, and the second that it is true. In the first place, supposing it is not true, and that this is an Ordinance the worst conditions of which we were told by the Under-Secretary yesterday, are not necessarily indefensible, but, taken cumulatively, do constitute a bad standard. Then all I can say is that those who take that view acquit us of the crime with which they charged us during the election. Nobody ever pretended that the Ordinance was necessarily perfect, and could not be improved and amended, but there is all the difference in the world between an amendment of the Ordinance and the institution of the crime of slavery in a British colony. In that case, all that we could be charged with was, at the worst, an administrative error. That does not constitute the gist of our complaint to-day. Does any one mean to tell me that the speech delivered by the Under-Secretary yesterday, or the speech delivered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to-day, would have gained seats? [Cries of "Certainly."] They would not have gained a single vote.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
said the words he used in his speech were, almost word for word, those he used in his election at Manchester.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
And what you said under those circumstances in the election at Manchester did not gain you any votes. What did gain the hon. Gentleman votes was the production of these posters and placards, and the parading of every street in his constituency by a gang of men dressed as Chinamen, and accompanied by some agent got up as a slave-driver.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
The incident owes nothing to my imagination. I sympathised with the Under-Secretary because he had to make that speech yesterday. He had, in effect, to tell his followers that they had all been on the wrong line, that they had all been misinformed, that the charge they had made was only an inexactitude. And, naturally enough, I can conceive that, when he was preparing the speech, he was in some difficulty. I can imagine that he would have said to himself, "It is not a very palatable dose for my supporters, but, perhaps, I can season it with some carefully prepared and elaborate epigrams upon the Member for West Birmingham. They have nothing whatever to do with this question, but they always go down, and, if I can only put in enough of them, they will very likely take the rest, which is not nearly so pleasant." Assuming his view to be correct, and to be the view of the majority of the House of Commons, then I have no complaint, no substantial complaint, to make of the proposed action of the Government. What is it they are going to do? They have told us, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer 687 has been pleased to remind us, that they are not going to have any sudden change. The Chancellor of the Exchequer reminded us of the action taken in 1833 with regard to slavery, and that it took seven years to put down that slavery, and he said that seven years would be quite a reasonable time in which to put down "the foulest tragedy" in our annals. I say from their point of view it is not a tragedy. It is nothing but an inaccurate and unsatisfactory deed of agreement which can be put right by some trumpery amendment. Then, again, he tells us that colonial opinion must be consulted. That is the only additional information which has been given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to-day. The Undersecretary said that colonial opinion was to be consulted, and that, if colonial opinion was in favour of the continuance of the existing state of things, though he did not wish to be questioned about methods, he thought there was some mysterious way in which he could operate on the Dowager-Empress of China.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I know a good deal about the powers of the Colonial Office, but I really do not think they are sufficient to prevent Chinamen from going to the Transvaal unless there is an ordinance and legislation to prevent them in the Transvaal itself. But, says the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the first time, before we proceed to this policy we are going to veto Transvaal legislation. We will warn them beforehand at the same time that, while we trust them absolutely and are convinced that they will follow the humane desires which we have expressed, we have a rod in pickle for them, and that the veto of the Crown shall be exercised upon a matter which, ex hypothesi, is the most important matter that will, in the early years, 688 come before them, Are they content, when they say that, and when at the present moment the British flag is stained with the horrors of slavery, to rest themselves upon a possible exercise of the veto upon legislation desired by a self-governing colony?
Then, as I have said, they are going to make some Amendments which are so trumpery, so unimportant, that they are not worth a moment's consideration, and, lastly, they have got their great card. And what is it? They are going to encourage the Chinese to take a holiday at the expense of the British taxpayers. This idea of repatriation seems to me to be perfectly ridiculous. I wonder whether they have read their own Blue-book. Here is a despatch from Lord Selborne. He says—The total number of Chinese labourers who have been repatriated for one cause or another since importation of Chinese began is 1,956.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I daresay a certain proportion, but only a very small proportion, were repatriated at their own expense.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I will accept the figure. If, then, 150 Chinamen, at their own expense, were able to get back to China, I doubt whether it is necessary to come upon the taxes in order to afford the means for bringing back a greater number. Here, however, is another important statement in the same despatch—Of these, 1,233 have tried to re-engage at Chingwangtao, and have been prevented there; 222 have tried to re engage at Chifu, and have been prevented there. Of the balance of 500, a number, estimated at 100, have succeeded in making their way back to the Rand. This leaves only 400 unaccounted for, and these 400 include all who may have died after repatriation or have been in such a state of health as to make it useless for them to attempt to re-engage689 So that, of the 60,000 Chinese on the Rand, of whom you profess to believe that they have been deceived in order to get them there, less than 2,000 have gone back before their time, and of that number more than half made every effort to get back to the Rand again. The policy of the Government—and, again, I say, from their point of view, I see no objection—is to allow this system, which they think is slavery, to peter out. We are to have this novel idea—we are to have freedom on the instalment system. When hon. Gentlemen opposite speak of "magnates" they always appear to think of some persons who are not creditable acquaintances, and who live in palaces, mostly in Park Lane. But when this change is to be made, whom do the Government consult? I am assured that the terms of this alteration were submitted to the magnates before they were submitted to the House of Commons.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
When the hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary quoted an anonymous gentleman yesterday and was asked for the name, he refused to give it, and you approved. For the same reason I refuse to give the name. Now I will go on—
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
Do I understand that the right hon. Gentleman makes the explicit statement that the details of the policy which the Government have, through the Undersecretary and through the Chancellor of the Exchequer, explained to the House were first submitted to some unknown person or persons called "magnates" living more or less in Park Lane?
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
I quote the words of the right hon. Gentleman—magnates living more or less in Park Lane. I may say at once that to my knowledge there is not a word of truth in it. I think we are entitled to ask the right hon. Gentleman not so much for the particular names concerned, but what is his authority for a statement which has not the slightest foundation in truth.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I shall be happy to make further inquiries. My statement is, of course, not that every single thing that has been said was communicated in writing to anybody. That is not my statement. But substantially they were made aware of the principal reforms or alterations intended by the Government, and I am also informed that they were quite content.
§ MR. BYLES (Salford, N)
On a point of order, Sir, may I ask whether, when a Member of this House makes a direct charge against any other Member, and the Member accused says there is not a word of truth in the charge, the ordinary rules and customs of the House do not require the hon. Member who made the charge to withdraw it?
§ MR. SPEAKER
I do not understand that there was any charge either direct or indirect made against any Member of this House.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
again rose, but was prevented from speaking by loud Ministerial cries of "Withdraw."
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I should not have called it a charge. The statement which I made was based on information. I am not certain that it is true. It is now denied by the right hon. Gentleman and, of course, I accept his statement, so far as he is concerned. But suppose it were true—the statement that these gentlemen were consulted or conferred with—it would not be a charge.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
The Undersecretary told us that the object of our Amendment was to urge upon the Government more drastic methods than they themselves would be inclined to adopt. That is not the object of this Amendment. We put this Amendment down as a test of sincerity. You have assented to the charges which have been made against us, and were made against us by the preface from which I have quoted. Are you satisfied with the excuses the Government have given you for not proceeding to do away with what you consider to be slavery and a foul blot on the Empire? If you are satisfied, all I can say is that we shall present our case to the country. We shall say that you made these charges, you professed to believe them, and you did nothing to secure any remedy for that state of things. Can you stop this system at once? [MINISTERIAL cries of "No."] Yes you can. [MINISTERIAL cries of "How?"] You can repatriate the whole as you repatriate some. The reasons given for not repatriating the whole are, to my mind, very weak reasons. One reason is that you will have to pay compensation it is a question of expense. Very well, but there is a question of morality. We do not think there is any necessity 692 for taking any drastic measures, and the Government do not believe it is slavery; I say that the excuse of expense is a paltry one, and those who do believe it is slavery cannot accept these reasons for not doing what they say ought to be done.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Then they say, "We are bound by the action of our predecessors." The Under-Secretary for the Colonies gave us as an illustration the Agricultural Rates Act. Yes, it is an illustration of precisely the sort of thing. What happened in the case of the Agricultural Rates Act? When it was first produced the Government were accused of every iniquity. It was said to be gross corruption, and bribery of the landlords, not a very popular class, of this country, and that accusation was continued for a year or two. But the moment the Party opposite came within sight of power they allowed it to be known that they would not withdraw this dole and bribe, and it has been publicly announced since that it is to be continued for the present. Then we were told by the Under-Secretary that there would be economic calamity in the Transvaal, the finances of the country would be dislocated. He actually threatened us in tragic tones with famine in Johannesburg, and he shuddered at the consequences which might accrue to investors in mining securities. That is all right, I dare say. But you should have thought of all this before. If you knew that for these reasons it would be impossible for you to take any immediate steps, if you were to wait seven years, or, it may be, a greater number of years before doing anything in the matter, at least you ought to have allowed the people whom you have deluded to know what was your intention. The hon. Member spoke about humanitarian and moral reasons, and rather sneered at us and claimed a monopoly of virtue for himself 693 and for the Party with whom he works. He made broad his phylacteries, and thanked Heaven he was not as other men. We care as much for humanity and morality as the other side. What we complain of is that you used your humanity and your morality in order to get seats, and, when you have succeeded, then you neglect those considerations altogether. Then the hon. Gentleman says he explained the intellectual considerations on which the Government have acted, but we do not understand them; I admit he is right in the latter part of the statement. I certainly do not understand such intellectual considerations as these. During this election you allowed us to be accused of "the foulest tragedy of modern times." Now you are content that it should be regarded as a contract every article of which may be defended separately. If you are content to accept an explanation of that kind, then I tell you there is no tragedy, but there is a contemptible farce. You have allowed these statements to be circulated abroad. Not merely have we been held up to our own countrymen, but our country and our countrymen have been held up to the world as guilty of the most im-
§ moral and inhuman offences. I do not envy the task of the British Ambassador when he goes to a conference on Congo atrocities. I say that by these statements, whether they be true or not, we have placed our country in a bad position [Cries of "You have"] to speak of the inhumanity of others. I want to know whether they are true or not. You do not prove them by asserting them from these Benches or from those. You can only prove them to be true by an inquiry. Now, as I sit down, I repeat my appeal for an inquiry. I ask for a judicial inquiry. It is asked for on behalf of those whom you have calumniated in this country; it is asked for by and on behalf of our fellow-subjects in the Transvaal whom you have slandered there; it is asked for by Lord Selborne, your own Governor ["No, no"] and on behalf of the official classes whom you have traduced. If you refuse to give it, it is because you are afraid off the result.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 91; Noes, 416. (Division List No. 2.)697
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Craik, Sir Henry||Liddell, Henry|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Cross, Alexander||Lock wood, RtHonLt.Col.A.R.|
|Arnold-Forster, RtHnHugo O.||Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Balcarres, Lord||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lowe, Sir Francis William|
|Baring, Hon. Guy (Winchester)||Duncan, Robert (Lanark Govan||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Beach, HnMichaelHughHicks||Faber, George Denison (York)||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Marks, Harry Hananel (Kent)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Fletcher, J. S.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Forster, Henry William||Meysey-Thompson, Major E.C.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East)||Nield, Herbert|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Gordon, Sir W Evans-(T'rHam.||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hambro, Charles Eric||PeaseHerbertPike (Darlington|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Hamilton, Marquess of||Percy, Earl|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hardy, Laurence(Kent Ashford||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Cave, George||Helmsley, Viscount||Rawlinson, John Frederick P.|
|Cavendish, Rt.Hn.Victor C.W.||Hervey, F. WF (Bury S. Edm'ds||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hill Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Cecil, Lord Joicey (Stamford)||Hills, J. W.||Rothschild, HonLionelWalter.|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.||Houston, Robert Paterson||Sandys, Lieut.-Col.ThosMyles|
|Chamberlain, Rt.Hn.J.(Birm.||Hunt, Rowland||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Clarke, Rt. Hn Sir E (CityLond.||Kennaway, Rt.Hn.SirJohn H.||Saunderson, Rt.Hn.Col.Edw. J|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H.A.E.||Kenyon-Slaney RtHonCol. W.||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||King, SirHenrySeymour (Hull)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Courthorpe, G. Loyd||Lambton, Hon. FrederickWm.||Stanley, Hn.Arthur Ormskirk|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E)||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Starkey, John R.|
|Stone, Sir Benjamin||Vincent, Col. C. E. (Howard)||Wortley,Rt. Hon.C.B.Stuart-|
|Talbot, Rt.Hn.J.G (Oxf'd Univ.||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Thomson, W. M. (Lanark, N. W.||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)||TELLEES FOR THE AYES,—Sir|
|Thornton, Percy M.||Williamson, G.H. (Worcester)||Alexander Acland. Hood|
|Tuke, Sir John Batty||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord||and Viscount Valentia.|
|Turnour, Viscount||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Cawley, Frederick||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Channing, Francis Allston||Fowler, Rt.Hon.Sir Henry|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Cheetham, John Frederick||Fullerton, Hugh|
|Adkins, W. Ryland||Cherry, R. R.||Gardner, Col. A (Herefordsh.S.)|
|Agnew, George William||Churchill, Winston Spencer||Gibb, James (Harrow)|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Clancy, John Joseph||Gillholly, James|
|Allen, Charles P. (Gloucester)||Clarke, C. Goddard (Peckham)||Gill, A. H.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Cleland, J. W.||Ginnell, L.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Clough, W.||Gladstone, Rt. Hn Herbert John|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Glendinning, R. G.|
|Astbury, John Meir||Cogan, Denis J.||Glover, Thomas|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury K.)||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Goddard, Daniel Ford|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Collins, Sir Wm. J (SPancras, W||Gooch, George Peabody|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Grant, Corrie|
|Barker, John||Cooper, G. J.||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)|
|Barlow, John E. (Somerset)||Corbett, CH (Sussex, EGrinst'd||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Griffith, Ellis J.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Guest, Hon Ivor Churchill|
|Barnes, G. N.||Cox, Harold||Gulland, John W.|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton|
|Barry, E. (Cork, N.)||Crean, Eugene||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.|
|Beale, W. P.||Cremer, William Randal||Halpin, J.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Crombie, John William||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis|
|Beaumont, W. C. B. (Hexham)||Crooks, William||Hardie, JKeir(MerthyrTydvil)|
|Beck, A. G.||Crossley, William J.||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)|
|Bell, Richard||Cullinan, J.||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Dalmeny, Lord||Harmsworth, RL.(Caithn'ss'sh|
|Belloc, Hiliare Joseph Peter R.||Dalziel, James Henry||Harrington Timothy|
|Benn, John Williams (Devonp'rt||Davies, M Vaughan- (Cardigan||Hart-Davis, T.|
|Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Bennett, E. N.||Davis, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Delany, William||Hazel, Dr. A. E.|
|Bertram, Julius||Devlin, Charles Ramsey (Galw'y||Hedges, A. Paget|
|Bethell, J.H. (Essex, Romford)||Devlin, Joseph (Belfast, West)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Henderson, J. M (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Billson, Alfred||Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||Henry, Charles Solomon|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Dickinson, W.H. (St. Pancras N||Herbert, Col. Ivor (Mon., S.)|
|Black, Arthur W (Bedfordshire||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Herbert T. Arnold (Wycombe)|
|Blake, Edward||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Higham, John Sharp|
|Boland, John||Dillon, John||Hobart, Sir Robert|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Donelan, Captain A.||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.|
|Boulton, A. C. F. (Ramsey)||Duckworth, James||Hodge, John|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Duffy, William J.||Hogan, Michael|
|Brace, William||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Holden, E. Hopkinson|
|Branch, James||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Brigg, John||Dunne, Major E. M. (Walsall)||Hooper, A. G.|
|Bright, J. A.||Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Brocklehurst, W. D.||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Hudson, Walter|
|Brooke, Stopford||Edwards, Frank (Radnor)||Hutton, Alfred Eddison|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Elibank, Master of||Hyde, Clarendon|
|Bryce, J. A. (InvernessBurghs)||Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Idris, T. H. W.|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Erskine, David C.||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Essex, B. W.||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Evans, Samuel T.||Jackson, R. S.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Eve, Harry Trelawney||Jacoby, James Alfred|
|Burnyeat, J. D. W.||Everett, R. Lacey||Jardine, Sir J.|
|Bart, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Faber, G. H. (Boston)||Jenkins, J.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hn Sydney Charles||Farrell, James Patrick||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Fenwick, Charles||Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea|
|Cairns, Thomas||Ferens, T. R.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire|
|Caldwell, James||Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Jordon, Jeremiah|
|Cameron, Robert||Ffrench, Peter||Jowett, F. W.|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Field, William||Joyce, Michael|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Kearley, Hudson E.|
|Causton, Rt. Hn Richard Knight||Flynn, James Christopher||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Kilbride, Denis||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Kincaid-Smith, Captain||O'Doherty, Philip||Smyth, Thomas (Leitrim, S.)|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Snowden, P.|
|Kitson, Sir James||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Soames, Arthur Wellesly|
|Laidlaw, Robert||O'Dowd, John||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Lamb, Edmond B. (Leominster)||O'Grady, J.||Spicer, Albert|
|Lamb, Earnest H. (Rochester)||O'Hare, Patrick||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Lambert, George||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Steadman, W. C.|
|Layland-Barratt, Francis||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E)||O'Malley, William||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Lehmann, R. C.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Partington, Oswald||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Levy, Maurice||Paul, Herbert||Stuart, James (Sunderland)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Paulton, James Mellor||Sullivan, Donal|
|Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)||Summerbell, T.|
|Lough, Thomas||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Lundon, W.||Pearson, Sir Weetman D.||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Lupton, Arnold||Perks, Robert William||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Shampton]||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Lynch, H. B.||Philipps, J. Wynford (Pembroke||Tennant, E. P. (Salisbury)|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Tennant, H. J (Berwickshire)|
|Macdonald, J.M. (Falkirk B'ghs||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Mackarness, Frederick C.||Pirie, Duncan, V.||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Pollard, Dr.||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Price, C.E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Thompson,J.W.H. (S'merset, E|
|Macpherson, J. T.||Price, Robert John (Norfolk, K.)||Tomkinson, James|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)||Torrance, A. M.|
|M'Arthur, William||Radford, G. H.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|M'Callum, John M.||Rainy, A. Rolland||Ure, Alexander|
|M'Crae, George||Raphael, Herbert H.||Verney, F. W.|
|M'Kean, John||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Villiers, Ernest Amherst|
|M'Kenna, Reginald||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro')||Vivian, Henry|
|M'Killop, W.||Reddy, M.||Waldron, Laurence Ambrose|
|M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Redmond, William (Clare)||Wallace, Robert|
|M'Micking, Major G.||Rees, J. D.||Walsh, Stephen|
|Madison, Frederick||Renton, Major Leslie||Walters, John Tudor|
|Manfield, Harry, (Northants)||Richards, Thomas (W.Monm'th||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)||Richards, T.F. (Wolverh'mpt'n)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Richardson, A.||Ward, W.Dudley (S'thampton)|
|Marks, G.Croydon (Launceston||Rickett, J. Compton||Wardle, George J.|
|Marnham, F. J.||Ridsdale, E. A.||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Robarts, Hon. T.C.A. (Bodmin)||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Massie, J.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Watt, H. Anderson|
|Meehan, Patrick A.||Robertson, Rt. Hn. E. (Dundee)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Menzies, Walter||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Micklem, Nathaniel||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Br'dford||White, J.D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Molteno, Percy Alfred||Robinson, S.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Mond, A.||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Money, L. G. Chiozza-||Roche, Augustine (Cork)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Montagu, E. S.||Roche, John (Galway, East)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Mooney, J. J.||Roe, Sir Thomas||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Rose, Charles Day||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Rowlands, J.||Williams, W. L. (Carmarthen)|
|Morley, Right Hon. John||Runciman, Walter||Williamson, A. (Elgin & Nairn)|
|Morrell, Philip||Russell, T. W.||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Mort n, Alpheus Cleophas||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Wilson, C. H. W. (Hull, W.)|
|Moss, Samuel||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Murnaghan, George||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesborough)|
|Murphy, John||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.|
|Myer, Horatio||Schwann, Charles D. (Hyde)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Napier, T. B.||Schwann, C.E. (Manch'ster, N.||Winfrey, R.|
|Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Sears, J. E||Wodehouse, Lord (NorfolkMid)|
|Nicholson, Charles N (D'ncaster||Seaverns, J. H.||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Nolan, Joseph||Seddon, J.||Woodhouse, Sir J.T (Huddersf'd|
|Norman, Henry||Seely, Major J. B.||Young, Samuel|
|Norton, Captain Cecil William||Shackleton, David James||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Nussey, Thomas Willans||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T.(Hawick B.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Nuttall, Harry||Sheehan, Daviel Daniel||Mr. (George Whiteley and|
|O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid||Sheehy, David||Mr. J. A. Pease.|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|O'Brien, William (Cork)||Simon, John Allsebrook|
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ Debate arising.
§ And, it being after half-past Five of the clock, the Debate stood adjourned.
§ Debate to be resumed upon Monday next.