§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN (Birmingham, W.)
I propose to move as an Amendment to leave out the words after "that," and insert—"this House declines to proceed with the Consolidated Fund (No. 1) Bill without an assurance from His Majesty's Government that they will recommend the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire and report on the economic and moral effect of the system of indentured labour at present in operation in the Transvaal." I do not suppose, as at present advised, that it will be necessary to carry that Amendment to a division; but the object of moving it is the convenience of the House in order that the subject under discussion may be clearly defined and not interrupted by other subjects which would be relevant to the Second Reading of the Bill. I do not propose this afternoon to refer again to the old question of our grievance in regard to the misrepresentations which were made on the subject during the general election. The Government have by the mouths of its members acknowledged and regretted the misrepresentations, but have nevertheless largely profited by them. On the other hand, we have suffered, and may perhaps justly feel that it is no use crying over spilt milk. But I think there will be anions Members on both sides of the House a feeling that the present situation of this most important question deserves further attention on the part of the House. We have heard varying—I might almost say inconsistent — expressions of opinion from members of His Majesty's Government, and I cannot help thinking that these declarations must have opened the eyes of many members of the Government to the very serious character of the proposals which they have under consideration. They have discovered in the course of discussions on this subject, in the first place, that the prosperity of the whole of South Africa is concerned, and any action they may take may bring bring about most grievous disaster, and we find also, incidentally at any rate, a great constitutional question of 400 our relations with self-governing colonies brought before the House. The general question of the desirability or otherwise of Chinese labour may be discussed under two heads—there is the economic question and there is the moral question. I do not pretend to decide the relative importance of these two heads, but I deal first with the economic question. I may say that my case, to put it briefly, is that on either of these important branches the House, the country, and the Government have not sufficient information. Now as regards the economic question, it is admitted, it has formed the staple of one the speeches of the Under-Secretary for the Colonies, that the cessation of the system now in operation, and, indeed, as I understand, the cessation at any time, without any alternative being provided, would be productive of most serious consequences. It is admitted that the gold mines are, and must remain, probably for many years, the principal industry of the Transvaal, and as the principal industry of the Transvaal they are the pivot upon which the whole of the prosperity of South Africa depends. I do not think I need emphasise that. The noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies—and if I may venture to say, though I differ from many parts of it—in a remarkably statesmanlike speech on the subject, declared that it was generally agreed that the success of the gold mines was indissolubly connected with the prosperity of South Africa; and I venture to say, and I hope to show, that a great deal more than this prosperity depends on the condition. If the mines are closed, if the richest mines are closed, which we are told is likely to be the case, in the first place many thousands of British workmen will be thrown out of employment, and sent home to increase the number of unemployed, already great, that exists here. But that is not all. If the miners go, British influence goes with them. Now, whatever we may think of the nature of the future Constitution to be granted to the Transvaal, we shall all agree with that great principle laid down by Lord Durham in his celebrated letter, that the foundations of a British self-governing Colony must be laid in British influence—that is to say, that, generally speaking, the country must be governed according to British ideas and not according to the ideas of a foreign nation. The House 401 will see that, if we take from the Transvaal a very large proportion of those who are animated by these British ideas, who are nevertheless not tied to the soil, but may come away if their industry suffers or is lacking in development—that if you allow this to happen you will remove from the Transvaal a large proportion of those on whom we must depend in the future to maintain the British flag, British influence, and British ideas. Again, imports, not to the Transvaal alone, but to South Africa, at the present time are British imports, and, of course, exports from Great Britain supply the needs of the Transvaal and South Africa and give employment to a large number of British subjects at home. Destroy the position and the success of the mines and you destroy the prosperity of one of our best customers and influence unfavourably the condition of the working classes in this country. The exports from the Transvaal are principally, of course, gold and some diamonds, but as regards gold I think all persons acquainted with the subject will tell you that if anything occurs to stop the export it must have a serious effect on the finances of this country, and probably on the finances of the whole world. It is not a question— at least, it is not a question I am taking into consideration—of the profits of mineowners or even of shareholders. I am taking into account the general economic effect of such a change as may follow the cessation of Chinese indentured labour. I think the reduction in the production of the circulating medium that will result from the abandonment of a great number of mines would be of the most serious consequence to the trade of the Empire. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is sanguine as to the results of his coming Budget; but I think he would have little upon which to congratulate himself if there were any serious reduction of these exports. Now, up to the present I do not think I have said anything with which the Government, at all events, will disagree. ["Oh! Oh!"] Well, let the Government speak for themselves. I have not said more, I am confident, than the Government have in substance already said. In the first speech made by the Under-Secretary for the Colonies he brought before the House very much the same arguments as those I have restated in giving reasons why there should be no premature action on the 402 part of the Government, and the position they have defended is that we should look, not merely at the continuance of the present system; that we should allow contracts to be completed which have been entered into with some 16,000 or 20,000 Chinamen for labour in South Africa; that we should in effect give a period variously estimated, but four years at least, and, as we think, an even longer time, during which there would be a gradual abolition, but that no sudden, no violent action for discontinuance should be taken during that period. Now, I submit to the Government that an arrangement of this kind, which is a compromise, is, like a great many compromises, thoroughly unsatisfactory, whatever view is taken. It is unsatisfactory, absolutely unsatisfactory, to the industry concerned. If it should be shown—I do not prejudge the question—if no alternative is offered, that Chinese labour is necessary for the working of the mines to their fullest extent, then what advantage do you confer on the promoters of this industry by holding over their heads this sword of Damocles for four or six years? Is that the way a great industry, the chief industry of a country, can be maintained and developed? I appeal without distinction of party, is there a business man in the House—[Laughter.] The sense of humour in this House is something I have never seen before, and I confess I never knew a great Party so easily amused upon such small occasion. I appeal to men of business and ask them whether they can conceive that any industry can be successfully conducted and properly developed over which there hangs the threat of early extinction? I take an illustration known to all the House—that of sugar refining in this country and the manufacture of sugar refining machinery. Whatever you may think of the Sugar Convention, you must admit that sugar refining in this country and the manufacture of sugar refining machinery were practically destroyed by the uncertainty which prevailed. It was not so much the actual bounty which was given at any time, although that was very serious as a preference, but much more than that was the constant fear that that bounty might be altered to the disadvantage of the trade, and no man in his senses would employ his capital in an industry which was subject to anything of that sort. As it was in the sugar refining industry, so 403 it must necessarily be in the mining industry. It is all very well to suggest, as some have suggested, that the mineowners have stopped their orders for machinery in this country in order to mark their indignation at the conduct of the Government or the House. The mineowners, like other business people, look first to their own interests and their own property, without regard to politics or anything of that sort. It follows that if they have stopped their orders for machinery, or are going to stop their orders, it will not be in order to spite the Government, but it will be because the conditions make it impossible to continue. I urge, and this is one of my claims on the common sense of the House, that, whatever is done in this matter, it should be done quickly, that the policy of the Government should be known to all the world, so that, at all events, those who are immediately and profoundly concerned may be informed upon it and may not remain in any uncertainty, for uncertainty is the very worst thing for trade. [MINISTERIAL cheers.] I again congratulate myself that I may carry with me the majority of the House. I think the Government feel that the fear of action which is to be taken four, sir, eight, or ten years hence hanging over this industry is a very undesirable thing; and, therefore, while they are in favour of an abolition of the existing system, they are good enough to provide it with their idea of a substitute, and they tell us that this disaster, which we say would result from the absence of Chinese labour if there is no other labour to be found, need not be feared, because they know there are substitutes which really, if they only were aware of their own interests, must be more advantageous to the mineowners than the present system. What are those alternatives which have been suggested by the Under-Secretary for the Colonies? In the first place, he takes the view that cheap white labour might be substituted for the yet cheaper Chinese and native labour.
§ THE UNDER - SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. CHURCHILL,) Manchester, N.W.
I never said cheap white labour.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Really that interruption has no force. At any rate, the Under-Secretary knows enough of 404 this matter to know that a higher-priced white labour is, in any circumstances, absolutely impossible. You may have higher-priced white labour for supervision, for the highest class of skilled labour, but nobody has suggested yet that the ordinary unskilled labour, the labour that is now performed by the Chinaman or the native, could be economically possible unless the white labour was to accept, not the same wages —I do not suggest that—but much more moderate wages.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
It is not a question of dividend. In the case of certain mines, the higher priced, the more valuable, the richer mines, there is no doubt that they might at the price of a reduction of the dividend, which already, remember, is included in the price in the market, so that any reduction now would be a great injustice to the present holders, whatever it might be to the original holders. But I grant the hon. Member that, if the House thought it fit to encourage and support a doctrine of that kind, there are certain mines which could well afford to pay a much larger wage by a reduction of dividend. That applies, however, to a very small proportion of the industry. The great proportion of the industry will be at all times a very poorly paying industry. No one can go into the lower grade mines with any expectation whatever that he is going to make his fortune—at all events as a pure investment. I am not talking of transactions on the Stock Exchange, to which are due almost entirely all the large fortunes of which we hear so much, but, treating it as an ordinary, normal industry, it is perfectly clear you can no more expect to make very largo dividends or very large fortunes out of the lower grade mines than you can out of any large competing industry. Therefore, by adopting a policy which would lead to that result, I do not say you would close all the mines, but you would prevent development in the only way in which the trade can be developed in these low grade mines. The House knows that personally I am most favourable to the idea, nothing would please me more than to believe, that white labour at moderate wages could be employed in the place of these Asiatics or of the natives. But I am 405 bound to remember this, that, when you come to discuss the matter with anybody who really knows practically anything about the business, you will find on one side Mr. Creswell, for whom, as I have already said, I have great respect, and, as far as I know, you will not find on the same side any single engineer of eminence. The engineering of the whole of Europe is represented on the Rand. There are, I believe, most distinguished German and French engineers. I know there are some of the finest engineers from the United States of America occupying the highest positions on the Rand, and, of course there are a proportionate number of British engineers, and I say that, as far as I know, there is not a single one of them who agrees with Mr. Creswell. I am not an engineer, and I am not competent to decide between them, although the Under-Secretary is; but, at least, it must be admitted that at present the balance of evidence is against the feasibility of employing white labour of the kind I am now speaking of upon these mines. The other day, the Under-Secretary, as an illustration of the position in which we are, spoke of the Ivanhoe mine in Western Australia, where the work is done entirely by white labour, and where the mine is very successfully managed. But, within the next day or so, the chairman of this mine wrote to say that, although that is true, he does not agree with the Under-Secretary. He does not think the conditions in the Transvaal are at all the same, and does not pretend to believe that the policy of the Ivanhoe mine could be safely pursued in the Transvaal. Surely under these circumstances, unless we think ourselves so wise that we can decide matters of engineering, matters of policy, matters of finance, matters of the most technical character, on our own sole wisdom, we ought to appeal to those who are recognised as scientific experts and witnesses upon the subject, and we should not enter upon what, after all, is a great experiment upon the unproved assertion of the Under-Secretary for the Colonies. The Under-Secretary went on to say that, in his opinion, sufficient effort had not been made by the mineownors to secure native labour. Are not the mineowners likely to know their own business as well as, or better than, the Under-Secretary for the 406 Colonies? There native labour is cheaper. It is not open to the enormous objections which we all feel to Chinese labour. Do you suppose — I put that as an a priori argument—that they would not have employed native labour if they could have had it? [MINISTERIAL cries of "Yes."] There are so many Gentlemen in the present House who know everything. I do not agree. My argument is that if it was better for the mineowners and the industry to have native labour, and if native labour were procurable they might be trusted to have got it. They say that it is not procurable in sufficient quantities, and upon that I have a strong opinion, and I believe that they are right. Where is the native labour to come from? Long ago native labour in our British possessions was exhausted. While I was at the Colonial Office we did our very best, looking forward to the possibility that some demand for extraneous foreign Asiatic labour might be called for to promote the immigration and the importation of native labour. We tried to get it from Nyassaland, and, owing to a famine that caused terrible distress, the Foreign Office gave their assent, and I believe that the mineowners secured 2,000 or 3,000 labourers from that Colony. But there were the strongest protests made from the whites and from our own fellow-subjects in that Colony, who said that they were not prepared to denude the Colony of labour which would ultimately be required for its own development. Another illustration is Rhodesia, where they refused to allow, or to encourage at all events, the emigration of Rhodesian labour in order to supply the mines. In the Portuguese Colony, from which a great part of the native labour comes, they have already refused to grant permission in some parts of their territory, and I am certain that if the Portuguese become more energetic in regard to their Colonial enterprises or allow other nations to become more energetic, and to take a larger part in the industrial development of their own Colony they will, before many years, find that they cannot spare any of their labour for the British mines. Therefore, I am quite convinced that at the present time there is not enough labour, and that in the near future there will be less native labour. It is entirely a mistake to put before this House as a sufficient reason 407 for getting rid of the Chinese that the mineowners have not taken proper steps to secure native labour.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I am much obliged for the interruption of the hon. Member, because it gives me an opportunity of dealing with that point, although it will prolong my speech. It has been said that wages are too low to attract the natives, and that if the mineowners could be persuaded to pay higher wages they would get all the native labour they want. That is exactly the reverse of practical experience on the Rand. The mineowners at present pay the natives a sum altogether beyond any normal expectation of remuneration which the natives had for their labour. It is probably double what the Boers used to pay for agricultural labourers, and the Boers complained most bitterly that the mineowners outbid them and that agriculture was at a standstill because the mineowners got the labour at a price which the Boer farmers could not afford to pay. The House must remember that human nature is not exactly the same in every quarter of the globe, and that when you come to deal with the human nature of natives in places such as we are considering, you find an altogether different order of ideas to deal with. To begin with, a native does not like work. At any rate, the native has not that real love of work which does exist amongst a great number of working men and others in different positions which makes them miserable if they are idle. That is not the case with the native. The native's idea, when he has got money, is to enjoy it. In fact, he would make a most excellent leisured class if you only provided him with the funds. Let me ask if the Under-Secretary for the Colonies has considered this question? We know how strong he is on the subject of morality. I wonder whether he has considered the state of things partly created by our employment of these natives, and does he consider it repugnant to morality? The native's idea of luxury is a wife—not one wife, but a number of wives, according to his means. Now these wives are not only wives, they are something more. But, after all, we tolerate polygamy in a great number of our 408 dependencies, and I do not know why we should complain of it so much in the case of these native districts. But the wives exist in a state of semi-slavery. The more wives a native has, the more people he has to labour for him, and to allow him to enjoy his leisured existence. That is the condition of leisured existence. You cannot have it unless you have people to work for you. [Cheers.] I suppose that hon. Members who cheer do not altogether approve of that as a desirable state of things or a proper condition of social order. At all events, we are dealing with facts as they are. These natives, whatever you may think of them, are born in the belief that it is their right to be idle and to make their wives work for them. The more wages you give them, the more semi-slaves they will obtain. Incidentally, I said just now that the Boers complain of the high wages we pay the natives. I have talked to a good number of Boer farmers, and I do not think there was one who did not make a complaint because they did not get labourers. If you are to make, and I hope some day or other we shall make, the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony more important agricultural countries than they are at present, it can only be done if a sufficiency of labour can be provided; and I do not suppose that anybody suggests that whites should be employed as ordinary agricultural labourers on Boer farms. I do not think the Boers would accept them; they desire to have free access to a large supply of native labour, and if you are going to outbid them and take every native labourer into the mines, it will be a very serious matter. That has to be taken into account in connection with the introduction of foreign labour, which, at all events, relieves to a certain extent the pressure upon native labour. If that were not enough, in the same speech to which I have referred the Under-Secretary for the Colonies suggested that all these threats to a great industry would indirectly operate as a healthy stimulus to the mineowners to seek other alternatives, such as the introduction of labour-saving machinery. I think it is conceivable that labour-saving machinery might be introduced to a greater extent 409 than at present. I am sure the mineowners are quite alive to their own interests, and they would be only too glad to substitute labour-saving machinery for both native and white labour. But up to the present I believe no satisfactory machinery has been invented that will take the place of the natives and others who are employed in getting out the stuff in which the gold is found. In these circumstances I ask the House to come to the conclusion that we are asked to adopt a policy which must be taken to be a great experiment. If that experiment fails the injury we shall do to South Africa will be enormous, and we do not know enough of our own knowledge at the present time to say whether that experiment can succeed or will fail. The suggestions made to us by the Under-Secretary and other people are all hypotheses, and it is not safe to risk the security and prosperity of a great Colony—it is not fair to them, and it is not right in the interests of the Empire, to do this unless we have absolute knowledge. I claim from the Government, on no Party grounds, but on grounds of commonsense and reason, that they should agree to the suggestion which I made at the beginning of the session, that they should send out an expert Commission in which all the world, and British people especially, will have confidence in order to ascertain what are the true facts about these disputed matters. So much for the economic question.
Now about the moral question. Are the Government themselves agreed about this moral question? We have one Minister saying that this system is slavery, naked and unabashed; another Minister says it is semi-slavery; and another Minister says it has the taint of slavery. The last Minister, to whose opinion the greatest importance should be attached, because he is responsible for the situation in South Africa, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, says he declines all responsibility for these general statements, and deeply regrets that they have ever been made. After all, many hon. Gentlemen opposite feel very strongly upon this subject. Have they made up their minds? May I appeal to them to ask themselves upon what sufficient grounds they have made up their minds, upon what actually 410 acquired knowledge they have come to this decision that it is slavery, naked and unabashed, or semi-slavery, or has the taint of slavery? I ask them, before they rush upon a proceeding which may involve this country in serious consequences, that they will convince themselves that for the opinions they have formed they have already sufficient knowledge, and that they will bear in mind that those whom they follow and support have not made up their minds, because it is perfectly clear from their utterances that they have arrived at different conclusions. Is it unreasonable of me to ask the Government to settle the question once for all? Why cannot they settle their own minds first? South Africa is not so very far away; the people speak the same language and have the same ideal. Why cannot we have evidence taken on the spot by people competent to judge the evidence, who would bring home to us the result of their inquiry, instead of depending upon those instinctive feelings of perfectly honourable but, I would say, perfectly ignorant people? What is the objection? It is not going to delay any important action by a single day. How long will the Commission take? Three months. Say six. Well, you are not going to deal with the thing for six or ten years. How will the Chinamen be benefited, how will morality be benefited by your acting in a sort of paroxysm of morality? Surely your action will be all the more effective, will be justified by the opinion of the civilised world, which is something, if you proceed on actual knowledge. It never will be justified if you act under the suspicion—I will not say that the suspicion is justified—that you are acting in order to cover up your tracks or to find an excuse for the statements you have made before the evidence was produced. We were horrified, and I think every humane man must have been horrified, by the statements which have been made continuously down to the present time of outrages by British subjects abroad upon the Chinese imported into the Transvaal. Well, are you not going to have any inquiry into that? I want to know whether these statements of outrages are true.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Well, Lord Selborne admits certain abuses. There may have been abuses at the commencement of a new system, as there very often are; but Lord Selborne says that they are not continued. But if serious abuses have been alleged ought not we to satisfy ourselves by a more direct inquiry—an inquiry by a Commission would be more impartial than by any one holding the position of High Commissioner—ought not we to have some inquiry to assure us that these outrages ever did exist? Again, what harm can be done? Why are we to leave our fellow-subjects under the general imputation—because, remember, it is not an imputation that here and there some scoundrel or another has misused his temporary powers. I suppose we believe in parental responsibility and affection, and yet we know that the most horrible outrages on children are perpetrated by their own parents in Great Britain. Are we going therefore to condemn the whole civilisation and morality of Great Britain and place a stigma on its name because these outrages take place which everybody condemns? But cannot you place yourselves for one moment in the position of your British fellow-subjects abroad? Do you think that they do not feel these accusations when they are made in this general way, when there is no discrimination? Do you not think that they feel deeply your inability or unwillingness to discriminate between the wickedness of one or two and a general condemnation of the humanity almost of a nation, a nation of the same blood as ourselves? Now, I say again, why am I to be treated almost with contempt by the Prime Minister [cries of "Oh"]—why is it not reasonable to ask, if these outrages have been committed, that they shall be brought home to their authors and that those who have committed them shall, if it be humanly possible, be punished? And, on the other hand, that the nation at large shall, if possible, be relieved from a stigma that is perfectly discreditable? I have tried to think what can be the reason for the refusal of what seems to me to be such a reasonable request. I ask the Prime Minister, 412 will he consider the matter? How are the Government going to suffer if they appoint this Commission, which I hope would be so constituted as to secure universal confidence? Let us take two hypotheses. They will report in one of two ways. If they report that there has been a mistake, that there is no outrage, and that there is absolutely no abuse in connection with the system, then are the Government afraid of the truth? They cannot be afraid of the truth, and if I might submit to their political sense this additional argument I would say, think of what a burden it would relieve them. If the country were convinced upon this impartial authority that they had been misled as to the existence of serious abuses in the Transvaal, then the Government would no longer be committed to a threatened diplomatic intervention in China, or to vetoing a self-governing Colony or to any other of the proceedings to which they apparently have committed themselves. They would then be justified in saying to the House and the country: "This is only an economic question; the question of morality is no longer concerned. We have an economic question to deal with, and that question we are going to leave to the absolutely unfettered discretion of the self-governing Colony we are creating." That is one alternative. I will take the other. Suppose they confirm all the worst anticipations of the gentlemen, who, without hearing the evidence, have come to a conclusion; suppose that, after hearing the evidence, their instinct, their extraordinary keen perception of the wickedness of everybody else but themselves is justified, and it appears that what has been going on is really repugnant to humanity, see how strong the Government will be. Who is there, then, who will deny their right to interfere in those circumstances? They will have all the justification anybody can expect them to obtain. They can take strong steps. They can also have the advantage of the advice of the Commission they appoint, because they may instruct the Commission to report, if they find the state of things there unsatisfactory, their recommendations as to what steps should be taken for reform. It appears to me that from a political standpoint alone there is a very strong 413 argument in favour of adopting this course. But look at the present situation. The Government are all at sea. They do not know in the first place what is the condition of things, and they do not know how they are going to relieve the possible conditions of things. They have shown that in their speeches. Read the speech of the Colonial Secretary in the House of Lords. Read the last speech of the Under-Secretary for the Colonies. Can anyone say that those two speeches are consistent, or even that the Under-Secretary is consistent with himself? Does anyone pretend that his last speech is consistent with his first speech? I take the last utterance of the Under-Secretary, and I ask the House to consider what is the position in which we are placed by our Government in face of a condition of things which they profess to believe is repugnant to morality and a stain on the honour of the British name. This is what they propose, unless I am misrepresenting them, which I will certainly not do if I can avoid it. They propose to postpone any drastic dealing with this subject for the present. They propose to leave it to a new Government to be established in the Transvaal which may not meet for a year or more. Now their first expectation and hope will be that when this Government meets it will be so animated by their own principles of morality that it will take exactly the same view as they do, and thereupon immediately get rid of the unclean thing. But that is a hope, an expectation; it is not a fact. The Under-Secretary himself showed in his last speech that they did not think it was probable. What will be the real opinion of the Transvaal? Though I do not generally predict, I venture to predict that they will not accept the views of the Government. They will not put a stop to Asiatic immigration, although they may alter in some details the Ordinances. [MINISTERIAL cheers.] Yes, but you can do that. You have already done it. You say that you have removed from the Ordinances the principal objections. Very well. I doubt very much whether any alteration made by the Transvaal Government will remove any objection held by the hon. Gentlemen who interrupt, but it may 414 remove the objection to the economic working of the Ordinance. But I doubt whether it will be in the direction of sentimental or humanitarian views. [Cries of "Oh," and "What about the humanity of the Transvaal?"] Pretty defenders of the humanity of the Transvaal on the other side of the House. But as they have put a wrong meaning to what I have just said I will add this. My own conviction is that the members of the new Transvaal Government will think that the precautions already taken for the humane treatment of the Chinese immigrants are sufficient, and therefore such alterations as they may desire to make will be in regard to other matters in the Ordinance. I rest on statements made by the Under-Secretary. He does not think it probable. He has seen something of the Colonial Office, and he knows much more than hon. Members below the gangway. He thinks it very probable that they will not take the extreme view taken by the majority. Then what will he do? He will interfere in China and forbid British Consuls to carry out their part under the Convention. I wonder whether the law officers of the Crown have been consulted. I am not a lawyer, but it seems to me that the Convention of 1894 is an essential part of the Treaty of 1860, and that without the consent of both contracting parties no part of the Convention or of the Treaty can be abrogated or altered at our discretion. Has the hon. Gentleman satisfied himself by communicating with the Chinese Government that they would be glad to abrogate the Treaty of 1860? If he has assured himself of that assent, then I should ask him to produce the Papers in reference to this matter. It does seem to me that the proposal is illegal and a breach of treaty obligation. But, if this course were possible, the intervention of the Consuls is wholly to the advantage of the Chinese immigrants, and it is they who would suffer if the intervention of the Consuls were withdrawn. Even the Government feel that that is weak, but they say, "We have our great reserve. We will veto any legislation of a self-governing Colony which conflicts with our ideas of morality." That is the most serious thing that has yet been opened up in these debates. I see already that hon. Gentlemen 415 are taking warning by the storm of indignation aroused in the Transvaal. It is brewing in the rest of South Africa, and unless the Colonies are very different from what I have found them it will spread to the other self-governing Colonies. They will never tolerate it. Who is that rush in where angels fear to tread? Hon. Gentlemen speak lightly of this; but remember that in the interpretation of your relations with the Colonies depends the continuance of your Empire beyond all question. It is funny to Gentlemen on the back benches on the Ministerial side, but it is a serious thing for everyone else who cares at all for the future of his country and the Empire. This statement by the Under-Secretary is treated by the Colonies as a menace to their liberties. What is it? It is the suggestion of a totally new form of government unknown to the Constitution. We know the Crown colony form of government. We know the different forms of Constitution which have been evolved out of the Crown colony. We know representative government and responsible government. But we have never known in recent years the extension of the right of veto which has been demanded by the Under-Secretary, which is to extend not to what have been understood as Imperial interests, but to questions of morality—questions not of any absolute ascertained principles of morality, but the morality which may be professed by a particular Party in a particular country at a particular time. I will quote your own great authority against you. The Lord Chancellor the other day was criticising the Lyttelton Constitution. He said that that—Apparently was an attempt to make this country act as a kind of Providence to the people of the Transvaal instead of letting them govern themselves.But what is this new Government doing? We are to be a Providence to the Transvaal for the purpose of looking after its morality, forsooth! It is impossible. Have Gentlemen opposite, I wonder, read a report of a letter by Sir Willem Van Hulsteyn, one of the most distinguished Afrikander lawyers in the Transvaal? He is a man who is entitled to have an opinion on a great constitutional question. He points out that 416 Chinese labour does not fall into either of the two categories for which the Imperial veto is reserved by tradition—namely, questions affecting the rights of other British subjects or the relations of the Empire with foreign Powers. He shows the danger to the other self-governing Colonies of the precedent apparently contemplated by His Majesty's Government. He says—If to-day they arrogate the right of rejecting by direct or indirect means our legislation on the subject of indentured labour, they may with equal justice claim the right to-morrow to reject any legislation in the self-governing Colonies which does not suit their notions of right and wrong. Nor would the precedent be less dangerous if it were assumed that a special standard of constitutional usage is to be set up for the particular benefit of the Transvaal. If we are not fit for self-government, then do not give it us. But the home Government have declared officially that we are fit for immediate self-government and that they intend to confer it. Yet at the same time they avow their intention of interference with our purely domestic concerns after self-government has been granted. I ask. What, then, is the status of a self-governing colony?If after full inquiry—for I will not contemplate any action which is not based on full inquiry—you have evidence that satisfies the House and the country that evil practices are going on in the Transvaal, and that it is your business to prevent them, then do not give them self-government until you are certain that these practices will not continue. If you are going to stop it, remember the position. At present the whole question is in your hands. You have Crown colony government of a very limited kind in the Transvaal. It would be very unwise now to interfere with them in a matter of this sort, one of purely domestic concern. But if you think otherwise, deal with the question now while you can, when no constitutional impediment can be raised against you. If to-morrow you say, "Chinese labour must cease," on constitutional grounds no complaint can be made against you. But it is a different thing to postpone your decision until you have created a self-governing colony with a limited liability whose morality you are going to supervise. What is our experience with our Crown colonies and with the greatest of all our dependencies, India? We interfere with India every day on economic questions. 417 I do not think the Secretary of State will contradict me when I say that if we gave self-government to India tomorrow, one of the first things they would do would be to impose a protective tariff. You do this in the case of Crown colonies. But I do not think the Secretary of State would like to introduce a Bill into this House to institute an inquiry as to whether certain practices in India are entirely consistent with our ideas of morality. Occasionally in the Crown colonies there is more or less evidence of practices, not uncommon in savage tribes and even in civilized countries whose ideas of morality differ from ours, which would not commend themselves to the morality of which we have heard so much. But even in a Crown colony or a dependency the less you say the better. Unless you are willing to incur the greatest danger, you will not inquire too closely whether the ideas of morality in this country—[MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh"]—I challenge you to inquire as to whether the ideas of morality which prevail in this country are exactly the same as the ideas which prevail in many British possessions. It is not our responsibility. Have we not admitted—and think where the admission carries you—that countries under the British flag have a right to their religion unrestricted, and even at times supported by the British Government? Are we not a great Mahomedan Power, and do not we tolerate religions compared with which that of Mahomed is a gospel of mercy, truth, and justice? And you cannot separate morality from religion. If you look after morality you will find you are trenching very closely on the confines of religion. What you already consent to in the case of religion you are obliged to do in the case of a great deal of what is called morality,
In conclusion, I will say that before you carry out your decision, even in respect of the steps which you have taken as a sort of preliminary to a more important interference, had you not better appoint this Commission, had we not better see whether the charges are well-founded? I have already reminded you that you are not risking anything by doing this, except, perhaps, the reversal of some cherished but 418 erroneous conviction. If your views are confirmed you are losing nothing in the way of your ultimate action or time. Will the Government not be wise, then, and grant this Commission? Are they not unjust if they refuse it? Is it not wrong in a great Government which necessarily represents and is responsible for the Empire to allow charges of this kind to be brought and to be circulated and to be believed without any sufficient investigation? I asked the right hon. Gentleman a civil question a short time ago, but I received to the question nothing but a very curt answer. When I first proposed this inquiry at the opening of the Session I thought myself that the tone of the right hon. Gentleman was rather in favour of the inquiry for which I asked. In the interval something had occurred to change his mind. The position at the present moment is one of absolute refusal to an inquiry; but I say that you must desire to have the information so as to give the Government a basis on which they may safely proceed, and thus to avoid the greater part of those tremendous risks which I have endeavoured to bring before the House. I beg to move.
To leave out from the word 'That,' to the end of the Question, and add the words 'this House declines to proceed with the Consolidated Fund (No. 1) Bill without an assurance from His Majesty's Government that they will recommend the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire and report on the economic and moral effects of the system of Indentured Labour at present in operation in the Transvaal.'"—(Mr. Chamberlain.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. CHURCHILL
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham asks us to decline to proceed with the consideration of the Consolidated Fund Bill until we have appointed a Royal Commission to inquire into the moral and economic effects of Chinese labour in South Africa. The right hon. Gentleman has disclosed his Amendment at the last possible minute, and therefore I hope that he will not think I desire to treat it with any disrespect or discourtesy by not giving 419 him as full a reply on this question in all its branches as I should have wished to do to a right hon. Gentleman of his great position in the House. But the right hon. Gentleman in the course of his speech touched on many subjects which, I think, were hardly relevant to the proposal for the appointment of a Royal Commission. I do not intend to enter into a discussion of the technical details of how the labour supply of the Witwatersrand mines may be stimulated or expanded, nor do I think I should profitably detain the House by an examination of those various native customs which the right hon. Gentleman referred to, or by plunging into a somewhat perplexing dissertation on the different classes of morality with which the right hon. Gentleman regaled us towards the close of his remarks. The right hon. Gentleman has drawn for us a dark picture of the situation in South Africa and of the misdeeds of the Government, and of the dangers and disasters which he apprehends may follow from them. What is the right hon. Gentleman's remedy for all this? A Royal Commission. I admire that touching faith in the virtue and efficacy of Royal Commissions which the right hon. Gentleman has been able to preserve through his many years of Parliamentary life. For my part, having seen the utility and efficacy of Royal Commissions appointed under the late Administration, I observe that they were usually appointed with a desire to hang up a subject or to stifle a popular demand by battening it down under a mass of bulky Blue-books. I really think that the right hon. Gentleman before making this demand upon us for a sovereign remedy for all the evils of South Africa should have thought out clearly what is the sort of Royal Commission that he desired. It is, he says, to be a Commission to inquire into the moral and economic aspects of this question. I should have thought that, if it were desired to inquire into the economic aspects of this most complicated and technical question, it would have been probably desirable that the Commission should be appointed to consist principally of mining experts, of people who had great experience of the working of gold mines and also of native labour. But if, on the other hand, we are to inquire into the moral issues which now 420 excite the concern of the right hon. Gentleman, I do not suppose that such a body would be specially well suited, whatever their technical qualifications, to investigate the moral aspects of the question. [An HON. MEMBER: Why not?] Is it then seriously contended that a Commission of mining experts should be appointed in order to investigate questions of morality? I submit that on the face of it the right hon. Gentleman would require, not one Commission, but two Commissions, to inquire into two sets of circumstances which are totally separate. Let me say, first of all, that His Majesty's Government remain of the opinion which was conveyed to the right hon. Gentleman by the Prime Minister, that no useful purpose would be served at this juncture by the appointment of such a Commission or Commissions as he suggests. We do not think that it would allay the anxiety and the uncertainty by which the South African situation is surrounded. We think also that, while the inquiry was being prosecuted, it would be possible that the unrest and disturbance might reach a height greater than will be attained if nothing of the sort is done. Taking first of all the Commission of mining experts, I am bound to say I do not believe that the investigations of such a Commission would alter the general position of this controversy. I do not think that a Commission of mining experts, if they arrived at conclusions favourable to Chinese labour, would appease many of the opponents of Chinese labour in South Africa, nor would they procure the general assent of South Africans to the system. I am quite sure that if such a Commission came to conclusions unfavourable to Chinese labour it would not convince the mine-owners, for it is said that they know their own business better than anyone else; and I am bound to say that I do not think the employers who are able to secure indefinite supplies of cheap labour will ever give them up merely because they are recommended to do so by the report of a Commission. It would be in conflict with the general policy of self-government as declared by the Government to institute such a Commission as this. If it reported before responsible 421 government were given, and if this report were adverse to the system, it would throw the responsibility for immediate action on us. If, on the other hand, it reported after the grant of responsible government—as I should expect it most certainly would—the recommendation would clearly not decide the question. The question of Chinese labour would be fought out in the Transvaal Assembly on Party lines, and it would be certainly decided over the heads of any Commision, and without particular reference to any report which a Commission might make.
Now let me approach the other section of the right hon. Gentleman's speech. Would such a Commission remove the objections which, rightly or wrongly, but with perfect sincerity, are entertained in this country? Let us first of all take the question of outrages to which the right hon. Gentleman referred. Do we stand in need of any more information on this subject? [Cries of "Yes."] We have here in the Blue-book published at the beginning of this session Lord Selborne's account of his investigation of the charges which were made by Mr. Boland. Lord Selborne is clear in saying that these charges were exaggerated; but he is also perfectly clear in showing that there was a considerable foundation for them, and that improper and illegal practices prevailed to a very considerable extent and for a considerable time over a large portion of the Witwatersrand region. Lord Selborne says—Now, it is not denied, and, indeed, I have Already informed you, that prior to June, 1905, illegal corporal punishment, after trial toy the mine authorities, was widely resorted to as a disciplinary measure on the mines of the Witwatersrand; 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 Courts 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 assumption of office as Superintendent of Foreign Labour.And again—Mr. Mackarness's letter is accompanied by a reproduction of a photograph of a Chinese coolie being punished by being made to wear what is termed in China the 'cangue.' Mr. Mackarness's description of this form of punishment is 422 substantially accurate. I absolutely condemn its use, which is clearly illegal; but, as in the case of flogging, I am quite satisfied that this form of punishment has been wholly discontinued since June last.I should have thought that this report, written on the authority of Lord Selborne, the Governor appointed by the late Government, would have satisfied hon. Members opposite. Lord Selborne sat for a long time in the Cabinet with right hon. Gentlemen on the Bench opposite, and certainly no one would be more inclined, more eager, to free any British subject abroad from unwarrantable and unfair charges of this character than Lord Selborne. But with the utmost frankness and candour, and without the slightest exaggeration, Lord Selborne has thought it to be his duty to place on record an admission that such practices prevailed. Although I do not deny that a Commission rummaging about on the Witwatersrand from month to month might accumulate a larger body of evidence, I do not think that it would overthrow the conclusions to which Lord Selborne has come—conclusions which have justified the alterations which the Government have decided to make in the Ordinance, as well as the speeches which have been delivered in condemnation of the system as instituted by the late Government. But would it remove the other and wider objections? I do not think the right hon. Gentleman has ever properly comprehended the objections put forward on this side of the House to the use of Chinese labour. Perhaps some hon. Gentlemen may think that this is one of those unreal objections put forward for the purpose of assailing the political opponents of the Government; yet I should have thought that the spectacle of a white community consisting of no more than 120,000 adult males, proposing to erect itself permanently upon a foundation now of 60,000—I believe it was contemplated that the numbers would be very nearly doubled—imported labourers from the other end of the world, who are restricted to the lowest possible form of employment, who are prohibited from raising themselves by any skill which they may have in their trade, who are forced to live—these 60,000—in a state of unnatural celibacy, who are prohibited from residing, at the conclusion of their contract, in 423 the country which their labours have enriched, I should have thought that that would have been considered by the right hon. Gentleman, with all his wide experience of human nature and life, as a somewhat unsatisfactory footing on which to build a State. That is not an objection which the Report of a Commission on the facts which indeed are not in dispute between us would remove. I have heard it said that the majority of highly educated people do not agree or sympathise with the views of the Liberal Party and of the democracy of this country upon the subject of Chinese labour. Well, Sir, I can quite understand that a man who works with his brain, however hard he works, cannot—unless he has a gift of imagination, the rarest and perhaps the best of all gifts—understand how this alliance, this conjunction between cosmopolitan capital and the immense unmeasured reservoirs of Asiatic cheap labour, how this strange conjunction which the improving civilisation of the world has, I think for the first time, rendered possible—I do not think it is easy, I say, for a man who works with his brain to understand how such a conjunction strikes the man who has nothing to sell but the sweat of his brow. I say the apprehension which is felt by the working masses in this country of such a system, such a conjunction, becoming permanent and extending in the future is well founded, for, if that were the case, it would strike a deadly blow at the under-pillars of European civilisation. That again is an objection which I do not think the Report of a Commission would be likely to remove. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham that uncertainty is bad for trade, and I only wish he had thought of it before. But a Royal Commission, which is his panacea for all evils—he is so fond of them that, when he cannot institute them under the authority of the Government, he institutes a private Commission of his own—would not terminate the uncertainty which prevails; it would only aggravate the uncertainty, because of the greater disturbance, heat, and partisanship which would be developed while it was engaged in its labour. There would still remain the uncertainty of the decision of the Transvaal Government. The right hon. Gentleman takes that for granted. He is quite certain that the Transvaal 424 Assembly will not decide in favour of humanitarian views.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
The right hon. Gentleman said that the people of the Transvaal were not able to share our sentimental or humanitarian views. The right hon. Gentleman assumes that the decision of the Transvaal Assembly will be in favour of a continuance of Chinese labour. We are not so certain of that.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
No, on the contrary; the right hon. Gentleman is entirely wrong. I put the two alternatives. The first alternative was that they decided against the continuance of Asiatic labour; then I said, in that case all would go well, and the policy which the Government have adopted would have been vindicated in a complete and convincing form. In the second alternative, I admit I sketched less rosy possibilities, but I expressed no opinion at all, in the second speech I made on this subject, as to which of those alternatives it was more likely that the Transvaal would adopt. In the first speech which I had the honour to address to the House of Commons on this question I distinctly said His Majesty's Government had every hope that the Transvaal Assembly will come to a decision with which His Majesty's Government may find themselves in agreement. But that uncertainty, whatever it is, would not be removed by the appointment of a Commission. Is not Chinese labour in itself rather an element of uncertainty. When I contemplate this great industry, upon which so much of the future of the Transvaal, upon which so much of the economic development of South Africa as a whole depends—when I contemplate that great industry, standing as it does upon a basis of speculative finance, and supplied from day to day by a stream of Chinese labour which is liable to interruption at any moment by the caprice of an Oriental ruler [OPPOSITION cries of "Oh, Oh."], I incline to think that of all the elements of uncertainty which have been introduced into the South African situation the element 425 of Chinese labour is the most disturbing and the most dangerous. No one will dispute for a moment that the gold mines are the mainspring of the modern development of South Africa, and we shall all agree with the right hon. Gentleman in the great importance which he attaches to fostering the development of that industry and not unnecessarily hampering it. But if Chinese labour is of such importance, what a pity it is that the right hon. Gentleman treated it with such levity. Every one knows that in the debate on the Address the right hon. Gentleman attacked the policy of the Government, not on the ground that the Government were going too far in what they were doing against Chinese labour, but he endeavoured to excite censure against the Government on the part of their supporters by representing that they were not going far enough. [OPPOSITION cries of "No."] And he even allowed himself to say that he knew—how he knew I do not investigate—that the mineowners had been consulted on the policy and were perfectly satisfied. Now the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London has come back refreshed with the latest views of the Stock Exchange. [OPPOSITION cries of "Oh."] The right hon. Gentlemen the Member for West Birmingham is now what I believe he once called Lord Hartington, the "late" Leader of the Opposition, and now he has very obligingly entirely changed his position in regard to the policy of the Government upon Chinese labour. Just as before he endeavoured to inflame the feelings of some of the supporters of the Government who take the most extreme views upon this question by representing that they were not going far enough, so now he endeavours to inflame the feelings of the Colonies by representing that some fearful collision between the Colonies and the Mother Country upon the question of self-government is likely to occur. As the right hon. Gentleman has brought this question into the arena of our debates to-day, I must take the opportunity of saying that I do not believe that the course he has adopted in the discussion of the Chinese question has been a wholly patriotic course. The right hon. Gentleman has contracted deep obligations to this country in respect of South Africa. At his bidding, and on the faith of his instincts 426 and foresight as a statesman, and by the force of the appeals he addressed to the House and the country, this nation and the Empire have made unparalleled sacrifices for South Africa. No sooner had the war come to an end, and while all the business of settlement was still upon hand, the right hon. Gentleman got tired of the South African situation, pushed it away from him as a toy which had ceased to amuse, and embarked at once upon another adventure which was as rash and as uncalculated as the first, and the only difference between the two was that, whereas the first enterprise of the right hon. Gentleman has had the effect of nearly ruining South Africa, the second enterprise has had the effect of politically ruining himself. His Majesty's Government are deeply conscious of the anxiety of the South African situation. We are not responsible for the repeated raising of these debates. We know how difficult and complex these questions are, how every word spoken by unpractised speakers is carried to Colonies concerned, and how it is very often represented there in the worst possible light. We know the tremendous ramifications of newspapers which support the right hon. Gentleman and which carry his words also to the Colonies concerned, and we know it is in his power, in Opposition though he be and with however insufficient a following behind him, to cause anxiety and doubt in the Colonies because of the great attention that is paid to everything he says.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
The right hon. Gentleman may still retain some capacity for evil. Therefore, His Majesty's Government do regret the repeated raising of these debates, which are sprung upon us at a moment's notice, and which are pressed with insistence, in the hope, as I believe, that something may be said which will furnish further capital to the right hon. Gentleman and his supporters in the country. The policy of His Majesty's Government in regard to Chinese labour has been laid quite clearly before the House. We have redressed, and we are redressing, those features of the Ordinance which we consider unsatisfactory. We desire to leave the decision of the question to the Transvaal Assembly, which will be formed as 427 soon as reasonably possible, having regard to the most important constitutional issues at stake. It is not proposed by the Government to exercise over the Transvaal, when it is a responsible self-governing Colony, any powers or restraints which are not now exercised, and which have not been frequently used, over every self-governing Colony of the Empire. The right hon. Gentleman told us that the self-governing Colonies would never tolerate the idea of the Imperial Government's being a party to the decision of questions which solely affected themselves. He said that they would never tolerate any interference by us in any action they might take with regard to Chinese labour. It is a curious thing that I was reading the other day in The Times the account of a case which occurred in Western Australia which bears on this very point. It seems that the Legislature of that Colony passed the Factory Bill of 1904, which, I gather, inadvertently received the sanction of Mr. Lyttelton as Colonial Secretary and became law. The Colonial Secretary seems to have imperfectly apprehended the character of the measure. It was an Act for restraining Chinamen, curiously enough, and other Asiatics from working long hours, which would make their competition injurious to white men. A prosecution was instituted under the Act against an employer whose Chinese labourers had worked longer hours than the Act permitted. The employer appealed to the High Court of Western Australia. The case for the appellant was based upon a reference to all these questions of constitutional morality upon Magna Charta, and all these principles of British freedom which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham mistakenly assumes are only honoured and respected in these islands. Mr. Justice Carter, a judge of the High Court of Western Australia, said, in summing upon this case—The discussion which has taken place before us on the constitutional question has been very interesting, and I trust that at some future date this Court may have an opportunity of again hearing the arguments on this question, and of arriving at an opinion; and I trust that when that time does arise, we shall have a bench of at least three judges. I express no opinion, nor do I desire to express my opinion, upon the arguments which have been urged before us, but I will say this, that it seems to me that this Factories Act is the most extraordinary piece of legislation428 —I ask the House to mark this—and I am astonished that objection was not taken to it by the Imperial authorities. Portions of it are apparently adopted from the Queensland and New Zealand Statutes, but apparently the most stringent clauses referring to the Chinese and Asiatic races in Western Australia are original.Here, then, is a judge of the High Court of Western Australia expressing astonishment that the Imperial authorities had not more carefully examined colonial legislation which came to this country for approval. Yet the right hon. Gentleman tries to make out that we propose to embark upon a wholly new procedure in regard to colonial policy. One other quotation I will make. When the right hon. Gentleman was at the Colonial Office in 1897 he himself made a departure upon what he would have us believe is a totally new form of treating responsible self-governing Colonies; and the curious part of it is that the right hon. Gentleman did so upon those very grounds of morality which he now says ought never to be put forward as a cause for Imperial intervention. A Bill was passed by the Newfoundland Legislature which, it appears, would enable the Party in power to exercise very improper influence over the conduct of elections. The right hon. Gentleman, in the course of a letter which he authorised to be sent from the Colonial Office, expressed himself as follows—The effect of the measure would be to enable the political Party, for the time being in power, to employ public funds for the purpose of corruptly securing themselves in office. Mr. Chamberlain hesitates to believe that it is the deliberate wish of Newfoundland electors that the public funds should be so employed, and feels that it would be impossible for him to advise Her Majesty to assent to such a measure in its present shape. He trusts, therefore, that you will take the earliest opportunity of bringing it again before the Legislature with a view to its further consideration and to the introduction of amendments.And this is the new constitutional departure which, it is represented, we intend to make; this is the application of a new system of morals to our colonial policy. I need hardly say to the House of Commons that His Majesty's Government entertain a most sincere respect for those great traditions of self-government which have always been, and will always be, the guard-rails of Liberal colonial policy. We have no intention of going in the slightest degree beyond the powers 429 which we properly possess; and having regard to the immense importance of these issues in South Africa no effort on our part will be neglected to promote the welfare of the great industry concerned, or to prevent any evil collision or deadlock arising between the Imperial Government and the Assembly which is about to be created in the Transvaal.
Now, I have done my best to reply to the points raised by the right hon. Gentleman in the course of his speech. I am sure it is not out of any desire to be discourteous to him that the Prime Minister has refused the Royal Commission. It is only because we think that so far from simplifying the difficulties and allaying the uncertainties it would rather aggravate them, without any compensating advantage that we are unable to accede to his wish. Let me say, in conclusion, that if we desired counsel and guidance in regard to this grave situation in South Africa, it is not to the right hon. Gentleman we should appeal, however great our difficulties might be, for we know that if we have to find some path that will lead us into a happier state of affairs than now prevails in South Africa, it will not be through any assistance we may receive from the patriots and Imperialists who sit on the opposite benches; but it will be in spite of every obstacle that perverted ingenuity, stimulated by resentment of defeat, can suggest to them.
§ SIR GILBERT PARKER (Gravesend)
thought the speech of the Under-Secretary would do little to reassure those people in this country who did not think that the policy which was being pursued by His Majesty's Government at the present time was a wise or a safe one. He did not think the speech of the hon. Gentleman, though more careful in its terms and more vague and uncertain than usual, would do more than to incite a further demonstration against our fellow-countrymen in South Africa by the people in this country who, through sentiment or ignorance, were inclined to take what he might call the anti-colonial or anti-Imperial view. There was no use disguising the fact that there was a considerable body of people in the Liberal Party who did not believe in the Colonies, and they would receive encouragement from the speech of the Under-Secretary. What he had to say came from some knowledge of 430 the country of which the hon. Gentleman had been speaking in such eloquent and rhetorical terms. The hon. Gentleman spoke of founding a State upon servile labour, and said that Oriental labour was an ill basis upon which to build up a State. That was to say that Oriental labour was the whole basis upon which to build up a State in the Transvaal. He would refer the hon. Member when he spoke of 60,000 Chinese in the Transvaal to the 60,000 Orientals in Natal.
§ SIR GILBERT PARKER
asked what that had to do with it. The hon. Member for the Abercromby Division of Liverpool was a little too swift in his interruption. In Natal the prosperity of the Colony had been built up by black labour—native Kaffir labour, Zulu labour, and Indian labour. Did the hon. Member challenge the civilisation of Natal and the condition of its industries from either a moral or political point of view? Did they find in Natal any demonstration that the citizenship here was alone of that high standard which the hon. Gentleman represented so well in this country amongst his fellow-citizens? If we pursued that line of argument to its logical conclusion we should also have to rule Queensland out, because the civilisation of Queensland was built up by native and imported Polynesian labour. The hon. Member had spoken of the civilisation of the Transvaal being built up at the caprice of Oriental rulers. Such a phrase might have been expected from the pen of a clever journalist, but not from the mouth of the Minister to whom they looked to allay the anxiety now felt in the Transvaal as to what course the Government were going to take — an anxiety which his right hon. friend the Member for West Birmingham well understood. The Royal Commission had been refused on two grounds; one, that it would be necessary to send out a combination of mining experts in order to appreciate their judgment. The hon. Gentleman repudiated the idea that those mining experts would have any authority to inquire into the moral aspects of the question, so that if a Royal Commission were to be sent out, the hon. Gentleman, he supposed, would choose 431 for that purpose a deputation of the prevention of profanity league or some kindred association housed in Exeter Hall. He supposed the hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary expected the Unionist Party and the Colonies to take his words seriously, and unfortunately his position was such that they were obliged to take them as the serious words of the Government. But when the hon. Gentleman presented to the House the reasons why a Royal Commission should not be sent to South Africa, he could not possibly think that all those who sat with the hon. Gentleman on the Government Benches were in accord with him, or that they would offer the same reasons for its refusal. The hon. Gentleman appeared to have the idea that the mining industry of the Transvaal could be carried on by white labour, and he had made some statement recently as to the comparative cost of production. But did the hon. Gentleman seriously think they could get cheap white labour in the mines there, and preserve the mining industry in the condition of prosperity in which it now was? Had the hon. Gentleman read the experience of Mr. Creswell, who showed that when 8s., 9s., and 10s. a week was paid for cheap white labour on the Village Reef mine, the wages paid to white skilled labour had to be reduced in order to pay such sums to the white unskilled labour? White unskilled labour could not live on 8s. and 9s. a day. The cost of bare living in the Transvaal was £16 a month. The experiment of cheap white labour in the Transvaal has been tried and had proved a failure, and if it were tried elsewhere the result would be the same. In order to insure that there should be 300 men always in the Village Main Reef mine a thousand were passed through Mr. Cresswell's hands in the course of six months. And the hon. Gentleman knew perfectly well that his expression of opinion with regard to cheap white labour was only meant to cover a difficult point in his political experience. These difficult points would become much more difficult if the kind of statements which the hon. Gentleman had made concerning the veto—made with more restraint to-day, he noticed—continued to be made. The instances the hon. Gentleman gave of his right hon. friend's so - called interference were ludicrous in the extreme. To 432 give advice to the Transvaal on a matter not of great consequence to that colony was practical, but any interference with the judgment of the people of the colony would be disastrous. Let them presume that the Government of the Transvaal passed a Chinese Ordinance securing to the colony a continuance of Chinese labour, a thing which they believed to be absolutely necessary to preserve not only the gold industry, but every other industry in South Africa in order to give it its present condition of prosperity, and let them presume that by a veto of this Government they were prevented from carrying out that Ordinance. Did the hon. Member for the Abercromby Division think these people were of a different sort of make from ourselves, and that they would act differently from ourselves in the same position? Did the hon. Gentleman realise that these men, who represented the interests, industrial and commercial, in the Transvaal, were men of our own race, who had the same independence of thought, and who, if we in one way or another interfered in these affairs would resent in set terms any interference on our part to hamper or destroy the product of their own industry? He did not think there was any one who had any interest at all in the Transvaal who was not aware that in the Transvaal at the present time there was a most alarming state of uncertainty as to the action the Government would take. As the right hon. Member for West Birmingham had pointed out, uncertainty was bad for trade. He was not one of those who would willingly cripple the efforts of the Government in settling the Chinese difficulty, if they were only going to alter certain minor conditions of the Ordinances. He thought they could bear a good deal of recrimination if the alterations to be made made the conditions more oppressive so far as the mineowners were concerned and more lenient so far as the Chinese were concerned. To that they did not take exception. What they did take exception to was that the Government, instead of leaving this matter to the Transvaal to settle under responsible self-government, were going to say to the Transvaal that if they did something not in accordance with the ideas of the Imperial Government in this matter proper restraint would be placed upon them. That could only mean one thing, which 433 was "proper restraint," as interpreted by the hon. Gentlemen opposite—the Imperial veto. The speech which the hon. Gentleman had made to-day would, he ventured to say, be received in the Transvaal with the same doubt, with the same criticisms, and with the same indignation which his previous speeches had evoked. The hon. Gentleman would find that he had only stimulated the determination of the Transvaal to have their own way. The mining industry, he thought, was not quite understood in this House. It was the one great industry of the country, of the whole of South Africa; it was not, as some supposed, a speculative industry. Any one who had been on the reefs and had seen the amount of machinery at work there—most of which was made in England—could never again look at the Transvaal mining industry as a speculative industry engineered by people from Park Lane bent on meeting great fortunes. It was true that some fortunes had been made, but they were made before the Chinese came in and were made out of the use of native labour. The mines were the real basis upon which the future development of the country must rest, and to interfere with their prosperity would be to interfere with the progress of the Transvaal as a whole. It was important in this connection to bear in mind that prosperity was the cement which would be most efficacious in binding together Boer and Briton in South Africa.
§ MR. CAWLEY (Lancashire, Prestwich)
said the hon. Member who had just spoken seemed to imagine that South Africa could be made prosperous and contented only by the aid of Chinese labour. Most Ministerialists were of exactly the opposite opinion. A great British Colony could not be built up by the aid of Chinese labour. If the money spent in recruiting Chinese labour and building compounds had been used for cheapening living in South Africa, we should have found respectable white working men settling in the colony. When they saw capitalists on one side and Chinamen on the other, whose only object was to work the mines out and then leave the country altogether, did anyone think a market would be created for British goods? A quarter of the 434 number of labourers, if white, with their wives and families out in South Africa, would make a far better market for British goods than the Chinese did. The Leader of the Opposition, in a speech he made recently, gave his audience to understand that South Africa would be ruined if the mines had not Chinese labour. He supposed the right hon. Gentleman was not aware that in 1898 the mines in South Africa paid nearly £5,000,000 in dividends without a single Chinaman being employed. How, then, could he say that South Africa would be ruined if there was not Chinese labour in the mines? More than that, from 1897 to 1898 the output of gold in South Africa increased by nearly 1,000,000 ounces. In fact, the output of gold since Chinese labour had been imported had not increased in so great a ratio as it did without Chinese on the Band. The Leader of the Opposition had quoted the opinion of newspapers in favour of Chinese labour, but such papers as the Leader and the Star of Johannesburg were notoriously under the influence of the mineowners. It was not the opinion of the Transvaal. If hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side wanted the opinion of the Transvaal, why did they not have a plebiscite taken before the Chinese Labour Ordinance was passed? The Ordinance had been the greatest curse a British Government had ever foisted on a British Colony, and it would never create a real British Colony and one that would help the mother country by taking her goods. If the policy of indentured labour were continued, as soon as the mines were worked out—and, according to the great authorities, the output of gold would begin to diminish in about twenty-five years—the chances were that Johannesburg would eventually become derelict, and the Transvaal would revert to the Boers. If we were to have a prosperous British Colony in South Africa the mining industry must be principally worked with white labour. He believed this could be done, because if they had Kaffir labour they could employ white labour as well. They could not have a white man and a black man digging in the same hole, but they could have different sets of workers. There were thousands of white labourers who would be only too glad to go to the Transvaal if they could make a living 435 wage. That living wage could be paid and yet the mines could make good dividends. Fortunes in South Africa had not been made out of the gold-mining industry at all, but in the floating of mines. All the Park Lane money had not come from the working of the mines, but out of the pockets of the British public. Men got hold of a certain number of claims for which they paid perhaps £250,000, and in addition had £250,000 of working capital. They immediately put the mine on the British market at, say, £800,000. They did not issue a prospectus, but perhaps offered the shares at £4. The British public subscribed about £3,000,000, and that was where the money came from. Yet they were told they must have Chinese labour to pay dividends on these enormous capitals. It would be infinitely better for South Africa if there were a lot of white men there earning good wages, than to have Chinamen employed and that the dividends should be sent to Park Lane, Germany, and France, where he believed the greater portion of them went. He was a shareholder in South African mines before the war, and was still, and his opinion was that if they had not had a single Chinaman on the Band they would be better off than they were to-day. The shares were worth more before the Chinamen went there. If the Chinamen had done any good the value of the shares would have appreciated. Therefore in every way possible, so far as he could see, the Chinamen were a very bad thing for South Africa and for this country. What we had to contemplate was this: if these mineowners were to have their own way, they would have 250,000 Chinamen in the mines, and he did not think anyone in the House would contemplate with equanimity such a vast preponderance of yellow men over the small white population. It had been seen that the Kaffirs were not quite so contented as people had been led to think, and if there was any such thing as a Kaffir rising and there were 250,000 Chinamen in the compounds, he did not think it would be a very happy state of affairs for the white population in the Transvaal.
§ MR. BOULTON (Huntingdonshire, Ramsey)
said that in his view it would not be a dangerous thing on the part of His 436 Majesty's Government to veto any legislation that the new Government might pass, if that legislation were similar to the Ordinance of the late Government. Nor did he think that our great Colonies would for a moment resent the action of His Majesty's Government in vetoing any such legislation, because our great Colonies were absolutely agreed that they did not approve of the action of the late Government in introducing Chinese labour into South Africa. There was the unanimous protest of the great Australian Colonies as expressed in the Commonwealth Parliament against the introduction of Chinese labour, and there was the same thing in New Zealand. Canada thought it was inadvisable under the circumstances to interfere, but the opinion of Canada from one end to the other was against the Chinese being brought into any of the great Colonies of the Empire. If the suggested veto were exercised under the circumstances he believed it would have the support of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and in that case he failed to see how it could be a menace to the Empire. As to the question of precedent, those who had studied the constitutions of the colonies and their relation with the mother country knew it was a fact that the Imperial Parliament had a right of veto, and had exercised it with regard to Australia and Canada, though, of course, it had never been exercised unless a Colony had passed something which was ultra vires. Surely, if the Transvaal Government were to pass an act of the legislature which authorised the practice of slavery, or anything which was akin to slavery, His Majesty's Government would be justified in exercising that veto. There were many reasons why personally he would much sooner His Majesty's Government, when they gave a constitution to the Tranvaal, inserted—as had been done in the case of California—an express provision prohibiting actual slavery, or anything partaking of the nature of slavery. If that was done then it would be for the courts of law to decide what was, and what was not slavery and His Majesty's Government would not then be obliged to exercise the veto. He himself, knowing something of the great Colonies, did not believe that the Transvaal, if the new constitution was based on popular representation, would do anything to introduce into the Colony 437 anything partaking of the nature of slavery, but if they did His Majesty's Government would be entitled to exercise the veto upon it, and in doing that he believed they would have the support of all the self-governing Colonies in the Empire.
§ MR. NIELD (Middlesex, Ealing)
said he had heard laudations of the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister by a certain section of the Press in this country who had been his good friends during the election, and to whom the right hon. Gentleman had expressed his deep sense of his obligation—a section for which he had the most profound contempt, and especially the section which emanated from Stonecutter Street and issued in the morning the Morning Leader and in the evening The Star. It was the Morning Leader which was the source of that cartoon which it delighted to describe as the "famous poster," that pictorial falsehood which dealt with Chinese labour and called it "slavery," but which he (the speaker) designated the "infamous poster." Yet the Party opposite professed themselves perfectly satisfied with it, notwithstanding the fact that right hon. Gentlemen were juggling and playing with the word "slavery," and betraying a strange want of unanimity as to what the condition of the Chinese in the Transvaal really was. Even the last speaker had repeated as an accepted fact that slavery did exist, while the leaders preferred to use such phrases as "ingredients of slavery," and "taint of slavery." For British Ministers to be driven into a corner and to discriminate so finely as to what prevailed in the Transvaal was a sorry spectacle for this great Empire. When the Government declined to give effect to the suggestion which had been made from time to time that they should appoint a Commission of inquiry to ascertain what were the true facts, the only inference which he as a lawyer practising in the courts could draw was that they were afraid to submit the circumstances to an impartial tribunal lest it should be found that the verdict would be against the methods they had used, and on the strength of which they had sailed into power. An hon. Member opposite who talked with an air of authority about South Africa and its problems had been obliged to admit that he spoke from other 438 than the point of view of practical experience, since he had never been there. It was this kind of assumed knowledge on the part of politicians of which he (the speaker) complained. Hon. Members condemned persons and systems of which they had no personal knowledge, and in the face of the recorded experience of those who, by long residence and practical acquaintance, were entitled to speak with authority. References were sometimes made in the South African debates to the magnates who lived in Park Lane, but he did not see why they should be subjected to obloquy by hon. Members, some of whom did not live far from that place. The truth was, and it had been told over and over again, that mining shares were held not merely by persons directly interested in mining operations, but by the great volume of the British investing public, and the effect of these charges of slavery was to hurt a great number of innocent persons who had invested their money with the best expectation that they would have the ordinary reward for their investment. They were all familiar with the argument about the Colony of New Zealand. In that Colony the question of slavery in connection with the employment of the Chinese in the South African mines never entered into their calculations. It was purely a question of the white man as against, the coloured man, and, therefore, they had not considered it from the moral or the economic point of view. Australia for the same reason determined that whatever came she would not have a coloured population. [An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear."] An hon. Gentleman said "Hear, hear." Did he know that in the northern part of that great Colony there were mines of very great wealth which could only be worked by coolie labour? Because of the policy of preventing any but white men from working, these mines must remain in a virgin condition merely to keep up a fetish which was economically wrong and absurd.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare, E.)
Will the hon. Gentleman be good enough to say what the mines are that can be worked only by coolie labour in Australia?
§ MR. NIELD
said he was always ready to give information. He should have 439 thought that it was information which the hon. Gentleman himself possessed. There were mines on the north coast which, owing to conditions of temperature, could not be worked by British-born subjects. Rather than admit coolie or Kaffir labour the colony allowed these mines to go unworked and unproductive. He ventured to think that the restriction put by California on the introduction of Chinese labour had arisen from a totally different reason. There had been plenty of Chinamen allowed to enter San Francisco in the past. He did not think he was very far wrong in stating that the condition of San Francisco to-day was very largely due to the industry of Chinamen. Having utilised the Chinaman for their purpose, they saw what the late Mr. Gladstone said of him, that the Chinaman was much more sinned against than sinning, and that he was disliked for his virtues and not his vices. The Chinaman was capable of exercising great frugality and of laying by more of this world's goods than his American competitor. That was the reason why America had prohibited Chinese labour. [An HON. MEMBER: Since 1879.] He took 1879 as a comparatively modern date. It was about that time that a great labour movement took place, and the people of America saw the necessity for some sort of protection. After all was said and done, if the Chinese were only allowed to go to the Transvaal unfettered and without being obliged to work under special conditions, he thought it would be found that industry generally in the Transvaal would be very much more developed. He had heard it suggested in this House that the Chinese were such a terrible people, that unless they were kept under restrictions partaking of slavery, or tainted with slavery, it was impossible for them to be properly controlled, and that the countryside would be laid waste by their depredations. A return was presented to the late Parliament showing the number of outrages alleged to have been committed by Chinamen who had escaped from the compounds. Hon. Members on the other side had held up their hands in pious horror at these crimes, although they were numerically comparatively small. But would hon. Members believe that those crimes were nothing to arouse any alarm on the part of 440 the population of this country? Being a lawyer, he attended the assizes, and he could tell hon. Members that he was shocked when he first made the acquaintance of the assize calendar for the county of Durham. The calendars of crime in some of the northern counties of this country would, he ventured to think, compare with the offences stated to have been committed by the Chinese in South Africa, and not altogether unfavourably to the latter. He thought the time had come when they should clear their minds of cant altogether. Let them face the facts boldly. Let them admit that the conditions under which Chinamen were brought to the Transvaal were such as to compel them to prescribe these regulations, but do not let them say that they had to enforce these because of the inherent immorality or violence of Chinamen. It was done in order to keep faith with the Colonies of Australia and New Zealand and at the same time to meet a great and pressing emergency in South Africa. He was perfectly certain that the mineowners would not have dreamt of introducing Chinese labour by choice. They had been compelled to do so by necessity, and they had incurred enormous cost in providing compounds for the men. He thought it would be more in accordance with the traditions of the Radical Party if the Government were to agree to the appointment of the Commission of Inquiry which had now been asked. This was the second time in the history of the great Liberal Party that they had refused to examine into the facts in a businesslike and thorough war, but had jumped to conclusions prompted by expediency, and in order to make Party capital for electoral purposes. They did this also in connection with the great fiscal controversy, and prevented an independent and non Party examination, preferring rather to go to the country on representations which were not founded on fact. He trusted that the Government would no longer resist the appeal for an impartial tribunal which would clear the honourable escutcheon of this country from the foul stains that had been thrown upon it.
§ MR. SEDDON (Lancaster, Newton)
said that he was one of those Members returned at the last general election, who as a candidate spoke from the hustings 441 of the conditions under which the Chinese indentured coolies worked in the Transvaal as conditions of slavery and contrary to all his ideas of British freedom. And not all the dialectical skill of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition Benches or the "terminological inexactitudes" on the Ministerial side had altered his opinion. He believed he could speak for all the Labour Members and for the largo majority of the working people of this country, in saying that they looked upon the introduction of Chinese coolies into South Africa as not only a flagrant breach of promises made by the late Government, but a breach of those institutions which were held dear by every Britisher. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham seemed to have had quite a passion for Commissions of late, and in asking for a new Royal Commission he referred to people in South Africa speaking the same language as ourselves. It might be true that some of these gentlemen had learned, as a linguistic feat, some words of the English language. But this was not a question of language, but a question of sympathy with British instincts. He asked whether the Member who spoke from the corner block at Johannesburg, who looked upon this House as an annexe of the Stock Exchange, and a hutch of guinea-pigs, represented the sentiments of the people of this country. Mr. Percy Talbot, who spoke for a big Rand firm with foreign names, had said that the natural fear on the Rand was that with the introduction of white unskilled labour there the same troubles would arise in South Africa as had prevailed in Australia, that by their combinations and trade unions they would be able to dictate the rate of wages and by their votes the policy of the country. That was the open and unabashed contention of the Rand mine-owners. He asked the right hon. Member for West Birmingham who were the experts he would send out on this proposed Royal Commission to South Africa, and who were the people who spoke with authority in South Africa? On the Labour Commission of 1897 in South Africa there were two Labour representatives, and those gentlemen declared in their minority Report that there was a sufficiency of coloured labour, so far as the natives of South Africa were concerned, and that there was no neces- 442 sity for the introduction of Chinese coolie labour. After that a great demonstration was held in Johannesburg, at which 5,000 white men were present, to protest against the intention of the Government to introduce Chinese indentured labour into the Colony. The hon. Member for Gravesend had brought a photo into the House from that reliable authority—the Daily Graphic—and had made light of the demonstration which took place in December last. The information of the hon. Member had evidently come from different sources from his own. In the early part of this year he received from Mr. Woods, Secretary to the Trade Council in Johannesburg, a type-written description of that meeting. Mr. Woods declared that it was necessary for his council to go to the expense of the type-written report because they could not trust the Press in South Africa, which was under the heel of the capitalists on the Rand. The hon. Member for Gravesend brought this photograph to belie that meeting as to its size. He was there to say, on the authority of Britishers in South Africa, who were just as anxious as Gentlemen on the Opposition side of the House to bring about peace and prosperity in South Africa, that the Chinaman was not wanted, and that with the native the Britisher could do all that was required in the gold mines of South Africa. He would like to ask right hon. Gentlemen, including the right hon. Member for West Birmingham, who seemed to be briefed for the Corner House in Johannesburg, this question— they heard a lot about the mortality in the mines of South Africa, but had the same conditions been applied to the gold mines of South Africa as were applied to the coal mines of this country? He was told on reliable authority that if the same precautions and regulations were in operation in the South African gold mines as were in operation in the coal mines of this country, the death rate would go down considerably and make it much more easy for white men to work the gold mines. When he was listening to the right hon. Member for West Birmingham he had in his mind one feature of all the debates that had taken place in this House. Either it was a question of cheap labour, or labour under decent conditions. If he remembered rightly, when the Factory Laws were being passed, Gentlemen stood up in this House 443 and declared that it would be against the interests of the industry if they did anything to interfere with the morality of the men who were running the factories at the time. The argument was as old as the hills:—"Cheap labour is increasing." What for? He remembered the great price that had been paid for the subjection of South Africa, and he remembered who had suffered most. Hon. Members talked about the financiers and investors who were suffering in South Africa. But what about the Britisher? Many of them had shed their blood there. What about the working-classes of this country, who were taxed up to the teeth and whose scanty hoards had had to pay for this war? If there was any sacrifice made, it was by those who could ill afford it—the working-classes of this country. They ought to have some voice in deciding the future policy of South Africa. What was the result? The democracy of this country believed that the introduction of Chinese coolies into South Africa was slavery. They asked the Government to get rid of it at once, if possible, and failing that, they said:— "Get rid of it as soon as you can." He believed that an assurance had been given by the Under-Secretary for the Colonies that Chinese indentured labour in South Africa would finish some time —would finish eventually.
§ MR. SEDDON
said he could not take the Loader of the Opposition as the interpreter of the Under-Secretary. If the Under-Secretary had not given the assurance, hon. Members below the gangway believed he had, and if he desired—perhaps he did not—their co-operation in the settlement of this question he would give them the assurance at once. They understood that the Government were determined that Chinese indentured labour should finish in South Africa. He hoped he was interpreting the intention of the Government rightly. If not, then he thought there was trouble ahead for somebody. He wanted to say, in conclusion, that he sympathised with those expressions that had been made on both sides of the House that this was a very serious question. He, along with a good number outside this House, 444 felt that the war was wrong when it was undertaken. When it was being waged they were assured by right hon. Gentlemen now on the Opposition side of the House that it was a war for equal rights for all white men. Where was the right of the white now? He had a letter in his pocket which arrived from Cape Town only yesterday morning from a Britisher, which told him that there were thousands of white men walking the streets of Cape Town to-day. Many of them helped to bring about the overthrow of the two free Republics in South Africa. That was their return for their loyalty. He would remind hon. Members on both sides that there were higher claims than those of the Stock Exchange. These people had made sacrifices for the people of the British Empire, and he asked the right hon. Gentleman to consider the questions of the development of South Africa not on the lines of indentured Chinese labour, but on lines by means of which he could alleviate the misery of white men who were now walking the streets without employment and in a starving condition.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The hon. Gentleman is under the impression not only that has the Under-Secretary for the Colonies made a clear declaration of the policy of the Government, but that the declaration is to the effect that Eastern labour is in a short time, or at all events before long, to come to an end. He is, I think, mistaken in both particulars. The Under-Secretary has never pledged either the Colonial Office or the Government to terminate yellow indentured labour in South Africa.
§ MR. BALFOUR
I do not know what line of escape the hon. Gentleman has got, or whether the Government contemplate that there should be yellow labour admitted not under existing conditions. Whether that is desirable or not I leave the hon. Gentleman who preceded me to consider.
§ MR. SEDDON
I am sorry to intervene, but I wish to make it perfectly clear that so far as the Party with which I am connected is concerned we have no race war. It is not against the Chinaman 445 as a Chinaman, but the conditions under which he is permitted to land in South Africa, that we are opposed to.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I thought that the view of the hon. Gentleman was similar to the view expressed earlier in the debate by the hon. Member for Preston, which was to the effect that if yellow or oriental labour was not introduced into South Africa, the white man would have a chance there, that their would be cottages springing up there in which white men would live with their wives and families, that they would go to South Africa in large numbers and carry the principles of British liberty with them, and that you would find that unskilled labour in South Africa would be British labour and not unskilled labour from Central Africa or the Far East. That, I understand, however, is not the view of the hon. Gentleman. He does not in the least object to the unlimited importation and unrestricted competition of oriental labour with British labour in the Transvaal, but he objects to the limitations which have been placed upon the indefinite introduction of the coolie from the East into all branches of industry. He only objects to the limitation of Chinese labour; he does not object to Chinese labour without limitations. That is a view which is perfectly arguable, but those who hold it cannot hold at the same time that their ideal is to see South Africa a country in which the unskilled as well as the skilled labour is carried on by Europeans and especially by men of British birth. The two things cannot exist together; that is certain. It is equally certain that the limitations to which the hon. Gentleman objects are in favour of the competiton of British and European work, and so far from being contrary to the ideal which some gentlemen on that side of the House desire, they are in favour of it. I have corrected one error that the hon. Gentleman has made with regard to the Under-Secretary when I informed him that the Under-Secretary has given no such pledge. I will go further and say, so far as I understand the Under-Secretary's varying utterances, not only has he not promised to carry out that policy, but there is no particular or single policy he has promised to carry out. He has promised to carry out two or three policies, and they not consis- 446 tent one with another. I was surprised to hear him repudiate the view which he quite distinctly expressed in the House to at the Transvaal Government when they had obtained independence would probably exercise that independence in introducing Chinese labour. My right hon. friend the Member for West Birmingham was perfectly accurate. I heard the Under-Secretary's speech, and this brief extract from The Times exactly accords with my recollection. Possibly the hon. Member did not say precisely what he meant, but these are the words he did use—What chance was there of the Transvaal proposals being acceptable when put forward? He felt bound to say the chance was not a good one.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
I think it will be clear from the context that the question I asked was what chance was there of proposals being acceptable when put forward, assuming they were put forward.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I do not know whether that greatly helps the hon. Gentleman. His Government propose to give self-government to the Colony. Three things may happen. The Colony may put forward no proposal at all, they may put forward proposals which are acceptable, or they may put forward proposals which are not acceptable. That they will put forward no proposal at all I think is in the highest degree improbable. Of the other two alternatives, the hon. Gentleman clearly laid it down in his speech that the probability was in favour of the proposals not being acceptable when and if put forward—he says it appears in the context, and I am prepared to take his exegesis of his own oration. If and when these proposals are put forward, in the opinion of the hon. Gentleman and the Government the chance of their being acceptable is not a good one. I am bound to say that these words justify all the forebodings which those who know most about the feeling which our Colonies have with regard to this question of the Government interfering with the Colonies possessing self-government—put forward. The hon. Gentleman who spoke last but one, and professed to have great knowledge of the Colonies, was confident that none of the Colonies would raise the smallest protest if this country interfered to put down slavery. Yes, sir; but I myself think 447 the Colonies would probably say "It is for each of us to judge what is or is not slavery. We do not hand over our own moral judgment to the Mother Country; we claim that as part of the rights of Englishmen to whom self-government has been given." Although it may be that the inhabitants of Canada, of New Zealand, and of Australia may think the Government of the self-governing Transvaal has made a great mistake, but I am perfectly confident they will say they are the judges, they and they alone, of their own action, and however much either Great Britain or the other Colonies may differ from them, it is a deliberate invasion of the traditions of this country that we should attempt to impose upon them our own ideas of precisely how they should conduct matters which are intimately bound up with their own welfare, I had almost said their own existence. I do not want to treat this matter with unnecessary controversy, and I do not want to go back to the past. I support my right hon. friend in pressing for this inquiry, not in order to justify us as against hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite with regard to what occurred at the General Election. Each of us probably will remain of the same opinion as to the justice or injustice of the attacks made upon us. I am looking forward to the future, and it is in order that the future may carry with it as little difficulty, as little misfortune, and as little peril to the Empire as possible, that I earnestly urge the Government to accede to our request. I venture to think the whole course of this debate has been really in favour of the inquiry suggested, and that the speeches of those who have nominally supported the Government have been really as much in favour of an inquiry as any speeches made on this side. For instance, the hon. Gentleman who has just at down said—I am unregenerate; I hold to the case which I held to at the General Election. I used strong language about the existence of a system which I regard as slavery. I have not changed that opinion.The hon. Gentleman I am perfectly certain honestly holds the views which he has expressed to the House, but I also am unregenerate, and I also hold the view which I expressed at the General Election. I certainly honestly came 448 to the conclusion that the introduction of Chinese labour was in the interests of South Africa and the Transvaal, and was absolutely necessary. As between myself and the hon. Gentleman, I am perfectly prepared to lot the matter sloop—at all events I do not wish to revive it at this moment. But as regards the future, I think the hon. Gentleman will agree with me that two men, both presumably intelligent, honest, and anxious to know exactly what is the condition of affairs in South Africa, ought to agree upon providing some machinery which should, if not decide the question between them, at all events give them facts which they can both accept. I, like the hon. Member, spoke strongly at the elections. I believe myself, as he believes himself, to have adequate grounds for the views which I put forward. To appoint this committee is, I think, the best policy in the interests of South Africa. I considered—and I am sure the hon. Gentleman will accept my statement—I considered only the situation in the Transvaal. I certainly honestly came to the conclusion that in the interest of South Africa and of the Transvaal this was an absolutely necessary measure. I need not trouble my head about gold magnates and the other extraneous considerations which have been dragged into this debate. I may have been mistaken. I will go this length with the House. It seemed to me that my case was so very clear that I had the very greatest difficulty sometimes in believing that those who took the opposite view were not, even unknown to themselves, violently swayed and prejudiced by those natural passions to which we are all, perhaps, unduly subject in moments of great political conflict. I acknowledge now that I have come to the conclusion that the belief which the hon. Gentleman and others have expressed to - day does represent a very genuine, real, and deep-rooted conviction in large classes of the community. I accept that, and I hope they will accept the statement which I make with equal certitude, that the policy of the Government was in no sense swayed—it may have been mistaken, or foolish, or unnecessary —by any consideration whatever except the good of a colony which at the time was under our control. When 449 you have two sets of genuine and honest opinions brought into such sharp contrast, and when those opinions turn on matters of fact, is it not the common-sense thing to have an inquiry by which, those matters of fact can be ascertained? Consider the speech that was made by, I think, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Prestwich. The hon. Gentleman drew a picture of South Africa as he would wish to see it —and I frankly admit that the South Africa that he wishes to see is the South Africa that I myself would very much desire to see. He says, "Why cannot you have South Africa covered with well-built cottages, with the cost of living lowered to a point which will make the wages of the white man remunerative to the white man? Why cannot you have the unskilled labourers here emigrating to another part of the Empire, enjoying prosperity and bringing with them their wives and families, and becoming the ancestors of a race English in speech, English in blood, English in sentiment—a plant, which shall spread to yet another portion of the world, a community not merely of the well-to-do, or the middle-class or the skilled artisan, but of every class, forming the majority of the population?" That is an admirable picture if only it could be carried out. And whether it can be carried out or not surely does depend upon a matter of fact which can be determined by adequate inquiry, and that is whether or not what is admitted on all hands to be, for the present, the great industry of the country, can be carried on except with the help of unskilled labour, remunerated at lower rates than those which Englishmen either could, or would, or ought to accept. That surely is a question of fact, and that is a question on which I do seriously think that the necessity for some certitude is greatly increased now that we know what, at all events, is one of the Government policies upon this matter. One of their policies is to allow the Transvaal Government to make its proposals, and then quarrel with its proposals if they do not like them. It is a serious enough matter for us to quarrel with or over-ride a self-governing colony, but to do that upon imperfect information, to do that with no adequate knowledge of what the real facts of the case are, to do that with the hon. Gentleman who spoke last, saying, with conviction, "I believe one set of opinions," 450 and with another hon. Gentleman, say myself, saying with equal conviction and consistency, "I believe another set of opinions," without an appeal to a tribunal, the value of which, whether we accept it or not, both are prepared to recognise— is it not really ignoring the dangers and difficulties of the future to refuse now to carry out an inquiry which would give this House and any Government that was in power that knowledge without which it is really impossible to deal with the complicated and difficult question we have to deal with? By all means, if you wish, exclude any inquiry into the past. Assume, if you wish, that everything said about the abuse of the system under the late Government was true. If you do not want to inquire into that, let it alone. But, at all events, see what is going on now; see whether the system as it is now worked does really deserve or not the attacks which the hon. Gentleman is at present prepared to make upon it; see whether it is or is not the best possible form in which the unskilled labour necessary to the community may be introduced. I think every one who heard the Under-Secretary for the Colonies will admit that, at all events, he was very much put to it to find a reason for not giving an inquiry. He complained of the shortness of notice which my right hon. friend had given of his Amendment, and I presume that was the reason why he spent most of his speech in a personal attack upon my right hon. friend. That, I am aware, is a form of debate which requires no preparation on the part of the hon. Gentleman, or on the part of many of those who sit near him. That is a beverage which is always on tap. But, when he left that familiar field, what had be say to against this inquiry? "Oh," he said, "Commissions. We know what you mean by Commissions. Commissions are always expedients for deferring any action." That is a thing which Oppositions are very fond of saying against governments, but I have never heard it said by a Government against an Opposition. These Gentleman cannot get accustomed to their places. The time will come when they will learn to put off he garb of Opposition which they wore with so much grace for so many years, and to accustom themselves both o the power and to the courtesy which ought to accompany power, when 451 they are put in the possession of a following of 500—or is it 600—faithful henchmen. Surely the Under-Secretary was peculiarly unfortunate in this particular line of defence, because, if I remember, the great programme of the Liberal Government now in power which is slowly unfolding and unwinding itself before our eyes began with the promise of a Commission on canals. And, unless I am greatly mistaken, another Commission was promised last night to look into Trinity College, another Commission has been promised to look into sea-coast erosion, and a fourth Commission has been appointed to look into coal mine accidents. And there is a Commission to look into Post Office matters. That is five. Five Commissions in five weeks is not bad. And I am bound to say that when the hon. Gentleman, trading upon his ancient experience in another position, talked of the iniquities of Commissions, it showed surely a very small appreciation of the labours of other departments of governmental activity, and a very small relative appreciation of the importance of the subjects to be inquired into. I do not wish to undervalue sea erosion. I certainly do not wish to undervalue Trinity College, and even canals have my sincere respect. But I would ask the House whether any of the five subjects, even including the Post Office, are of so great importance, as this great issue which has divided, and is dividing, honest and honourable men in this House and out of this House, and on the true knowledge of which so much must depend in the future conduct of what all admit is a very difficult situation? The Government may think, they certainly have said, that the object of the Opposition in regard to South African policy is simply to embarrass them. I can assure them that that is not the case. We feel very strongly upon certain aspects of the question; but this Motion of my right hon. friend might be considered surely as outside the area of bitter Party controversy. It refers only to the facts, it refers only to the future. We ask really to know under what conditions it is possible to carry on indentured labour, or, at all events, under what conditions it is now being carried on, and what kind of labour is necessary to deal with the mines. On that last subject, which is a vital one, not to the mineowners, but to the Transvaal, there seems to be a 452 most extraordinary confusion of ideas in the minds of some hon. Members. It does not in the least matter for our purpose what was the original cost to the mineowner, or whether he has unduly watered his capital; whether he has or has not deluded the public, whether the shareholders have or have not been defrauded or deprived of their money. What is of importance, from the point of view of the Transvaal, to know is what constant production will enable the great industry to flourish; and by flourishing I do not mean paying big dividends: I mean paying working expenses with a reasonable profit. Call the capital what you like, you must pay for the working expenses of the mine, you must pay a fair interest on capital, else you will have no development, and you must pay, I suppose, a reasonable commercial interest. Estimate it at that. Put Park Lane and everything else out of your mind, or keep Park Lane for the country. But in discussing what is necessary for the Transvaal, the prosperity or the adversity, the wickedness or the virtue of the capitalist or the small investor —these things are of comparatively small importance. What is of importance is to know the conditions under which the industry can be carried on. That is a different question, and it is a question on which I believe expert opinion could give valuable information. I believe the hon. Gentleman who last spoke and myself would have much to learn from such an inquiry. I did my host to find out. The sources from which I obtained the views I hold may possibly not have been wholly trustworthy. Then appoint a trustworthy authority. Give me a chance. I used the best opinions at my disposal; but appoint a Commission to show whether I am wrong. I cannot understand on what grounds the Government refuse this. My right hon. friend the Member for West Birmingham pointed out with unanswerable force that some of the objections which may be urged against some Commissions—namely, that they delay the settlement of a question which might be settled without a Commission— do not apply in this case. Not an hour's delay will be caused in the settlement of this great problem if you consent to our demands. Why do you refuse us? Is it the mere insolence of overgrown strength? Is it because you know yourselves to be so overwhelmingly strong in 453 numbers that even a most respectful request is to be met with this kind of unargued opposition? Not the semblance of an argument has been advanced against the proposal. Very good speeches have been made against the Opposition, speeches of which I have nothing to complain. They were attacks upon us and upon the mine-owners: they were a repetition of the kind of speech with which we have all been familiar for the last few months; but none of them have been arguments against the inquiry. The hon. Member for Prestwich advanced no argument against it; nor did the hon. Gentleman who followed him on that side. As for the Under-Secretary, those who heard his speech heard a great deal of discussion of the general question, a great deal of abuse of my right hon. friend, a considerable unintentional perversion of his own previous utterances, and a general attack on Commissions; but against this Commission, against the request which we respectfully urge, not one thing that could be called an argument. We have no power to make our appeal effective. If argument is useless we have nothing else to show. I venture to say that argument we have put forward; and if now you express your intention of deliberately refusing information to this House upon subjects upon which the House is honestly but deeply divided, and if that refusal is going to carry with it, as I fear it may, ill consequences in the future, the responsibility must at all events rest upon the Government which has thus, as I think, made a great and unjustifiable misuse of its Parliamentary majority.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
The right hon. Gentleman complains of an unargued refusal which has been given to this proposal, and he makes this allegation after having listened to the speech of my hon. friend the Under-Secretary for the Colonies, which was a prolonged argument. I will repeat now briefly some of the arguments which my hon. friend used. But I am left greatly in doubt as to what the object of the two right hon. Gentlemen is. The right hon. Member for West Birmingham claims an inquiry in order that the culprits may be found and brought to punishment if misdeeds have been committed. The Leader of the Opposition, on the other hand, said, "Oh, we have nothing to do with the past."
§ MR. BALFOUR
Oh, no, the right hon. Gentleman has misunderstood me. I should like an inquiry covering the past, present, and future. I thought right hon. Gentlemen opposite had an objection to going into matters which were historical, and I said in deference to their view, "By all means leave that out, if you like." But I should personally prefer an inquiry into the whole.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
The right hon. Gentleman in his speech did not give us much indication of deference to our view. He was emphatic on the subject that we should turn to the future and leave the past. Therefore, we are in the old dilemma—the old dilemma in which Castor says one thing, and Pollux says another. One right hon. Gentleman said, "Get it out of the area of bitter controversy; we have nothing to do with the past"; the other right hon. Gentleman wishes to inquire into the past. Sir, what are you to inquire into that you have not got already? If evidence is required of misdeeds and abuses under this system, you have abundant evidence in your own Blue-books. And it stands in the nature of things that there should be those abuses, because an unnatural system such as this necessarily leads to abuses. The right hon. Member for West Birmingham the other, day on another subject used a phrase which was very much to the point. We were talking of flogging in the Navy, and he said he had often had to deal with cases of flogging when he was in charge of a great Department, and he added," The difficulty is that you cannot depend upon your instruments." That is the case here above most other instances. Let this be distinctly understood. We have no quarrel with the Transvaal people or even with the leading-men in the Tranvaal. We have no quarrel even with the working of the system—at least, that is not the main point. What we have a quarrel with are the Ordinances which prescribe certain conditions for the Chinese coolie which we believe to be contrary to the best traditions and the purest conscience and the highest views of the British people. No Royal Commission that you can appoint can tell us whether we are right or wrong. That is the feeling of the great majority of the British people. In this, surely, they are entirely within their proper sphere, because, as I have said, these Ordinances 455 were passed by the late House of Commons, and at the instigation of the late Government. It is we who passed the Ordinances, and therefore we are responsible. Those of us who voted against them, or protested against them, of course have a slighter responsibility; but still we cannot altogether hold ourselves free, and that is what we complain of. We dislike having fastened upon a British colony certain Ordinances prescribing conditions of labour which we believe—I will repeat the phrase that I have often used—partake of the nature of slavery. But I think it is time we ceased to make any more to do about the particular phrase to be used. The other day the noble Lord the Member for Marylebone said that what the people of this country objected to was popular slavery, not technical slavery. It may not be technical slavery, but in the popular sense and the popular acceptation of the word it is slavery. I can tell the right hon. Gentleman that the people of this country are not going to stand anything of that sort of system in any country for which they have any responsibility. As to the question of the admission of Chinese to labour in the Colonies for the purposes of free labour, that I regard as a domestic matter in which we are not entitled to interfere. But if that involves—as I know I should not be candid if I did not admit that in South Africa it does involve—the imposition upon them of conditions which we think degrading to the human race, and certain to produce the evil results which in some cases have followed—then, if we find that, we shall have nothing to do with those conditions, and we will endeavour to bring them to an end as soon as possible. That is a perfectly plain and straightforward and intelligible position. My hon. friend the Under - Secretary asked, in stirring language, whether this unnatural labour was the sort of basis upon which to build a new and prosperous community. If its prosperity depended upon that, what sort of fate would be likely to be in store for that community? I do not like, even in the shortest way, referring to one condition of which we hear little, but which is really an important factor in the matter, but my hon. friend alluded to it when he said that these men were forced to live in compounds in enforced celibacy. We know how we insisted, in the early stages of this matter, upon 456 ample provision being made for wives and children going with them; we know what promises were made; and we know how completely that intention has been thwarted, either by the want of will on the part of the authorities, or the want of disposition on the part of the men themselves. In either case you have created a state of things which is perfectly appalling. And that is the condition of labour on which the prosperity of these great mines is to depend, and on which you are to build up, forsooth, a great buttress to the pride of the British Empire. The people of this country really do not half understand what is going on. If they once realised it there would be short work made of it, and even of all those pecuniary interests which we have been endeavouring to guard as far as we can. Yes, we have guarded them by what we have done. We have given time when the natural impulse would have been to give no time; and we have said that the future policy with regard to Chinese free labour is to be left to the community under the new constitution, though the present conditions must at all costs be brought to an end. The right hon. Member for West Birmingham, both to-day and on a previous occasion, made a great point of this interference with a self-governing Colony. He said he would only interfere where it was a matter of Imperial interest. Is this not a matter of Imperial interest? The right hon. Gentleman repeatedly taunted my friends with being guided by sentiment and morality. Yes, Sir, the British people have always been guided by sentiment and morality, and it is that fact largely which gives them their power and standing in the world. Are we to understand that that is to be given up, and a new policy is to be opened for this country? The right hon. Gentleman says you cannot interfere when you give self-government to a Colony. Here is what the late Colonial Secretary wrote when he was addressing Lord Selborne and sending out his proposal, not for full responsible, but for representative government—His Majesty's Government have been unable, having regard to the terms of peace signed in 1902, to make provision for any of his Majesty's coloured subjects. As a protection for the interests of these sections of the population which are not directly represented in the Legislature, the Governor will, as now, be required by his instruction to reserve any Bill 457 whatever whereby persons not of European birth or descent may be subjected to any disability or restriction to which persons of European blood and descent are not subjected.That is the instruction given to the Governor with regard to a representative system of government. It equally applies, mutatis mutandis, to a responsible government. You cannot wash your hands of your responsibility altogether. Self-government means that communities are set up which have full powers of representation. But have the Kaffirs and the Chinese those powers? No, Sir, they have no means of making representations. They have no status. That is why an Imperial officer is placed in charge of natives even in a Colony like Natal; and that is why those powers must be always preserved, that we may see that these men who are in stata pupillari are treated with ordinary justice and consideration. That is the plain policy of the Government. I do not see anything dark about it; and in those circumstances, what good would a Royal Commission do? It would have to inquire into two things—into the economic value of Chinese labour and into the moral aspect of it. As my hon. friend the Under-Secretary pointed out, how could the same men be competent to inquire into the two things? [CRIES of "Why not?"] Engineers and experts would be required to inquire into the technical part of the question; and moral experts or men accustomed to consider the interests of morality would be required
§ to inquire into the moral part of the question. The two things are inconsistent. No, Sir, on that we can judge for ourselves; and although the economic question is an interesting one, yet the inquiry would take a long time and would probably not be finished until responsible government was established in the country. I think it would be an unnecessary thing to enter upon that inquiry; but I can well imagine that the right hon. Member for Birmingham is anxious for it. Did he not tell the people of this country that they were engaged in a miners' war? Did he not promise, not only equal rights to all white men, but especially proclaim that it was a miners' war on which the miners' prospects of occupation and livelihood depended? I can imagine how it would be an interesting thing for him to inquire how it is that none of his prophecies have been fulfilled. He and his friends are now wondering whether or not the Chinese should be admitted in larger numbers still or whether it would be possible to ransack the country to find a few unemployed Kaffirs. It may be interesting for him to inquire into that question; but it is one that we at least can well leave to the Government of the Transvaal itself.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 378; Noes, 110. (Division List No. 22.)463
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Beaumont. W. C. B. (Hexham)||Buckmaster, Stanley O.|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Beck, A. Cecil||Burke, E. Haviland-|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Bell, Richards||Burns, Rt. Hon. John|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C.||Bellairs, Carlyon||Burnyeat, J. D. W.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Belloc, Hiliare Joseph Peter R.||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Alden, Percy||Benn, John Williams (Devonpt||Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Chas.|
|Allen, A Acland (Christchurch)||Benn, W.(T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo.||Byles, William Pollard|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Bennett, E. N.||Cairns, Thomas|
|Ambrose, Robert||Berridge, T. H. D.||Caldwell, James|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Bertram, Julius||Cameron, Robert|
|Astbury, John Meir||Bethell, J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Billson, Alfred||Carr-Gomm, H. W.|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Black, Arthur W.(Bedfordshre||Cawley, Frederick|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Boland, John||Channing, Francis Allston|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Bolton, T. D. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Cheetham, John Frederick|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Boulton, A. C. F. (Ramsey)||Churchill, Winston Spencer|
|Barnard, E. B.||Branch, James||Clancy, John Joseph|
|Barnes, G. N.||Brigg, John||Clough, W.|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Bright, J. A.||Clynes, J. R.|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Coats, Sir T. Glen (Renfrew, W.)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Bryce, J. A. (Inverness Burghs)||Cobbelb, Felix Thornley|
|Beaumont, Hubert (Eastbourne||Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Cogan, Denis J.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Hammond, John||MacVeigh, Chas. (Donegal, E.)|
|Collins, Sir W. J. (S. Pancras W.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis||M'Callum, John M.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil||M'Crae, George|
|Cooper, G. J.||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Wore'r)||M'Kean, John|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Hart-Davies, T.||M'Kenna, Reginald|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst.||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||M'Killop, W.|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)|
|Cory, Clifford John||Haworth, Arthur A.||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Haydon, John Patrick||M'Micking, Major G.|
|Cowan, W. H.||Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Maddison, Frederick|
|Cox, Harold||Hazleton, Richard||Mallet, Charles E.|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Hedges, A. Paget||Manfield, Harry (Northants)|
|Crean, Eugene||Helme, Norval Watson||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston|
|Cremer, William Randal||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Marnham, F. J.|
|Crombie, John William||Henderson, J.M.(Aberdeen, W.)||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)|
|Crosfield, A. H.||Herbert, Colonel Ivor (Mon., S.||Massie, J.|
|Crossley, William J.||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Higham, John Sharp||Meagher, Michael|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||Hobart, Sir Robert||Meehan, Patrick, A.|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Menzies, Walter|
|Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Hodge, John||Molteno, Percy Alfred|
|Delany, William||Hogan, Michael||Mond, A.|
|Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway||Holden, E. Hopkinson||Money, L. G. Chiozza|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Holland, Sir William Henry||Montagu, E. S.|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||Hooper, A. G.||Mooney, J. J.|
|Dickinson, W. H.(St. Pancras, N||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Hope, W. Bateman(Somerset, N||Morley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Horniman, Emslie John||Moss, Samuel|
|Dillon, John||Horridge, Thomas Gardner||Murnaghan, George|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Hudson, Walter||Murphy, John|
|Duckworth, James||Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Myer, Horatio|
|Duffy, William J.||Hyde, Clarendon||Newnes, F. (Notts. Bassetlaw)|
|Duncan, C.(Barrow-in-Furness||Idris, T. H. W.||Nicholls, George|
|Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Illingworth, Percy H.||Nicholson, Chas. N. (Doncast'r|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Nolan, Joseph|
|Dunne, Major E. M. (Walsall)||Jardine, Sir J.||Norman, Henry|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Jenkins, J.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Edwards, Frank (Radnor)||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Nuttall, Harry|
|Elibank, Master of||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid|
|Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Erskine, David C.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshre||O'Brien, William (Cork)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Jowett, F. W.||O'Connor. James (Wicklow, W.)|
|Eve, Harry Trelawney||Kearley, Hudson, E.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Faber, G. H. (Boston)||Kekewich, Sir George||O'Dowd, John|
|Fenwick, Charles||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Grady, J.|
|Ferens, T. R.||Kilbride, Denis||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Ffreneh, Peter||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N|
|Findlay, Alexander||Kitson, Sir James||O'Malley, William|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Laidlaw, Robert||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||O'Shee, James John|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Lambert, George||Palmer, Sir Charles Mark|
|Fowler, Rt, Hon. Sir Henry||Lamont, Norman||Partington, Oswald|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||Law, Hugh Alexander||Paul, Herbert|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||Lay land-Barratt, Francis||Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)|
|Gilhooly, James||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton)|
|Gill, A. H.||Lehmann, R. C.||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)|
|Ginnell, L.||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich||Pickorsgill, Edward Hare|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||Levy, Maurice||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Glover, Thomas||Lewis, John Herbert||Pollard, Dr.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Gooch, George Peabody||Lough, Thomas||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Lundon, W.||Price, Robert John (Norfolk, E.|
|Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Lupton, Arnold||Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Lutterell, Hugh Courtenay||Radford, G. H.|
|Grove, Archibald||Lyell, Charles Henry||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Lynch, H. B.||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Gulland, John W.||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Reddy, M.|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Hall, Frederick||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Rees, J. D.|
|Halpin, J.||Mac Veagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th||Silcock, Thomas Ball||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mptn||Simon, John Allesbrook||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Richardson, A.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Rickett, J. Compton||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Ridsdale, E. A.||Snowden, P.||Watt, H. Anderson|
|Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Soares, Ernest J.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Spicer, Albert||Weir, James Galloway|
|Robertson, Rt. Hn. E. (Dundee)||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph(Chesh.)||Whitbread, Howard|
|Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Robertson, Sir G Scott (Bradf'rd||Strachey, Sir Edward||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Robinson, S.||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Sullivan, Donal||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Roche, Augustine (Cork)||Sutherland, J. E.||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Roe, Sir Thomas||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Rose, Charles Day||Taylor, Theodore C.(Radcliffe)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Rowlands, J.||Tennant, E. P. (Salisbury)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Runciman, Walter||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)||Williamson A.(Elgin and Nairn|
|Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||Tomkinson, James||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Torrance, A. M.||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Scarisbrick, T. T. L.||Toulmin, George||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Schwann, Chas. E. (Manchester)||Verney, F. W.||Wodehouse, Lord(Norfolk, Mid)|
|Scott, A.H.(Ashton under Lyne||Villiers, Ernest Amherst||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Sears, J. E.||Vivian, Henry||Woodhouse, Sir JT (Huddersf'd|
|Seaverns, J. H.||Wadsworth, J.||Young, Samuel|
|Seddon, J.||Wallace, Robert||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Seely, Major J. B.||Walters, John Tudor|
|Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)||Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)||Mr. George Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.|
|Sheehan, Daniel Daniel||Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent|
|Sheehy, David||Ward, W. Dudley (Southam'n|
|Shipman, Dr. John G.||Wardle, George J.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Cross, Alexander||Liddell, Henry|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O.||Dalrymple, Viscount||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham|
|Ashley, W. W.||Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin. S.|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Balcarres, Lord||Du Cros, Harvey||Lowe, Sir Francis William|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Duncan, Robert(Lanark, Govan||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A.J. (CityLond.)||Faber, George Denison (York)||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Fardell, Sir T. George||Marks, Harry Hananel (Kent)|
|Baring, Hon. Guy (Winchester)||Fell, Arthur||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Nield, Herbert|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Fletcher, J. S.||Parker, Sir Gilbert(Gravesend)|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East)||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Percy, Earl|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Gordon, Sir W. Evans(T'r Ham||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Hambro, Charles Eric||Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hamilton, Marquess of||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Harrison-Broadley, Col. H. B.||Rawlinson, John Frederick P.|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Helmsley, Viscount||Renton, Major Leslie|
|Campbell, J. H. M.(Dublin Univ.||Hervey, F. W. F (Bury S. Edm'ds.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Hill, Henry Staveley (Staff'sh.)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hills, J. W.||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Cave, George||Hornby, Sir William Henry||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Cavendish, Rt Hn. Victor C. W.||Houston, Robert Paterson||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hunt, Rowland||Smith, F. E.(Liverpool, Walton|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Kenyon-Slaney, Rt. Hn. Col. W.||Starkey, John R.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.||Keswick, William||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Coates, E. Feetham (Lewisham||Kimber, Sir Henry||Talbot, Rt. Hn J. G. (Oxf'd Univ|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Turnour, Viscount|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Craig, Chas. Curtis (Antrim, S.||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants., Farehm||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Willoughby de Eresby, Lord||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Lord Balcarres.|
|Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm||Younger, George|
Bill read a second time, and committed for To-morrow.