§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £38,300, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1911, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of His Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies, including a Grant in Aid of certain Expenses connected with Emigration." [NOTE.—£20,000 has been voted on account.]
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Colonel Seely)
It may be of convenience to the Committee if I make a very brief statement with regard to certain points which, I understand, are to be raised in to-day's Debate, and give certain information to the House which I have promised in the course of the last few months. Beginning with the self-governing Dominions, the outstanding feature is, of course, the accomplishment of the Union of South Africa. I think the Committee are in full possession of all the circumstances attending the accomplishment of that great work. I think it is not too much to say that everyone in this House, irrespective of party, wish well to the new Prime Minister of United South Africa, and to his Government, in the very difficult task which will of necessity lie before them. My right hon. Friend the Member for the Forest of Dean (Sir C. Dilke) has been good enough to give me notice that he will raise the question of the natives in South Africa and elsewhere. I will only say again [what I think has been often said in this House, that although there must be difficulties in the path of South African statesmen with regard to this and other matters, yet I hope it will be seen that those difficulties will be less' and that the chances of the natives will be better under the Union than if the Union had never been. And in this connection I can give the Committee some further information with regard to Dinizulu. It is interesting to remember that the very first act of the 957 Union Government, on 31st May, the day of the accomplishment of the Union, was to release Dinizulu from prison and to bring him to Pretoria. Dinizulu unreservedly accepted the proposals made by the Union Government. He is now in Pretoria, and I understand he is accompanied by his uncle and some of his harem, not a great many—there are twenty-one and three attendants. They are to remain in Pretoria for a day or two longer, until suitable accommodation has been provided for them, and they will wait subsequently until the Prime Minister himself has selected a suitable farm where Dinizulu can live. The payment of £500 per year is to be made to him during good behaviour, and I think we may say that in this very difficult matter the Union Government have acted with signal promptitude, and that it is an earnest of the real desire of the Union Government to deal generously and fairly with that great native problem which must always face South African statesmen. I cannot pass from South Africa without saying that it is perhaps fitting, after the conclusion of this great epoch, as it will be regarded always, that Lord Selborne should return to this country having played a great part in accomplishing that work. Before he again takes his part in the political controversies of the day, as I have no doubt he will, one cannot forbear saying that every man in this country and every political party is not likely to forget the loyalty and the zeal with which Lord Selborne worked for this great end.
With regard to the other self-governing Dominions there is nothing really but what is good of Australia and of New Zealand. Australia has had a period of bountiful harvests, and in New Zealand moderately good harvests. With regard to Canada there has been a very real advance in settling certain outstanding questions between Canada and her neighbour the United States, which have vexed politicians and statesmen for a great many years past. Within the past year the Waterways Convention has been signed, and the southern boundary has been delimited, or the agreement for the delimitation has been signed. Both of those matters have given grounds for great concern in the past, and it is most gratifying that a solution has been found for them both. Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Canadian Government have 958 borne testimony to the great services rendered in this matter by Mr. Bryce, our Ambassador in America, and I thought it was right, and the Secretary of State-thought it was only right, that formal acknowledgment should be made of the very exceptional services which have been rendered by Mr. Bryce. I understand that there will be a question raised by a right hon. Gentleman opposite and some of his-Friends with regard to the coming Imperial Conference, and with regard to the constitution of the Colonial Office. I will defer what I have to say on that, therefore, until the conclusion of my remarks. I will only say in regard to the Dominions Department that there has been> considerable interchange of the statesmen of the self-governing Dominions-and of those interested in the Dominions. The visit of Sir Charles Lucas to Australasia and the Pacific will be fresh in the minds of those who take an interest in these matters, and I think that it will be desirable if those visits become a permanent feature of the Colonial Office not only as regards the advantage of having direct contact between officials of the Colonial Office and the statesmen of the self-governing Dominions, but also because it is of such enormous help to have in the Colonial Office people who have been through the different parts of the Dominions of the Crown. From my own experience I can say how enormously it helps and how infinitely better the work is likely to be done with regard, say, to Australia, Canada, and New Zealand if the official has visited the country than if he has never been there. That is not because a man can write a book after he has been a few weeks in the country, but because it makes the thing more actual to him.
We have had visits from Mr. Moore, the Prime Minister of Western Australia, and the Minister of Lands in Victoria in connection with emigration. The hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Lawson) and the hon. Member for Devonport are, I understand, going to raise the question of emigration into the self-governing Dominions, and I will not say anything about it now therefore. I mention it to show that in Australia, at any rate, there is a very real desire to extend emigration from this country into that great country, for no-fewer than two Ministers have come to-this country during the past few months specially with the view to securing that good emigrants should go from this 959 country to develop the great countries in Australia. When we review the past year I think we have got reason to be thankful. There has been one really great achievement which will really never be forgotten, that of the Union of South Africa, and in all other parts of the self-governing Dominions there has been real, steady progress. There is nothing to look back upon either in the relations between this country and the self-governing Dominions or as to what has happened in those Dominions which can give cause for regret. I think we may look forward, if not with confidence, at any rate with hope, to a bright future for the self-governing Dominions.
I now come to the other branch of the Vote, and propose to say a word as to Somaliland. I promised the hon. Member for Montgomery Boroughs (Sir J. D. Rees) at Question-time that I would give the House what information we have, and I shall be very glad to do so. The situation in Somaliland is surprisingly favourable, but whether the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. Dillon) will think it favourable or not I am really puzzled to know. It appears that peace has been restored in that country and that the Mullah's power has been broken.
§ Colonel SEELY
I think the reports of his death are greatly exaggerated. A little more than a year ago—or, as far as we know, January of last year—the Mullah, who is sometimes called "mad," was denounced as a religious impostor and for his cruelties and brutalities to Mahomedans. From that moment the whole situation changed. The Mullah ceased to be a patriot and became a bandit—at any rate, in the eyes of the Mahomedans.
The question then arose what was the best course for His Majesty's Government to pursue. After much deliberation and anxious thought, they decided that it was their duty to return to the principles which had been acted upon by the late Government for a long period of years, namely, to hold the coast and the coast towns, and to leave the interior of Somaliland alone altogether. The Committee will remember that Lord Curzon, in another place, denounced us with some vigour for our action. He told us that the result would be disastrous to British prestige, 960 and that he understood that the friendlies were fleeing to the coast pursued by—
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Vote for Somaliland is the second Vote down for to-day. I think the right hon. Gentleman ought to make his speech on that subject on that Vote.
§ Colonel SEELY
Of course, I bow to your ruling; but my difficulty is that I promised an hon. Member that I would make a statement on the subject. Perhaps with your permission and the permission of the Committee I might make a very brief statement.
§ Sir CHARLES W. DILKE
May I point out with regard to Colonies for which there are Grants-in-Aid, that on previous occasions, although there are Grants-in-Aid on Class 5, some discussion on the general policy concerning all of them has been allowed on the Secretary of State's salary. Otherwise, cotton-growing, for instance, could not be discussed generally, because it affects a particular Protectorate, although it extends to others. I am not suggesting that your ruling is otherwise than in accordance with strict precedent, but I think general questions of policy have been allowed to be discussed.
§ The CHAIRMAN
There is no question about the ruling, of course; it is the ordinary ruling. My difficulty is this. There are hon. Members who wish to raise other questions which are strictly relevant to this Vote. The question is whether, if we extend the area of discussion on this Vote, we are not doing an injustice to them. Naturally, it does not matter to me what hon. Members speak about; that is the reason I mention it. In this particular matter I am willing to be guided by the general wish of the Committee. It is a matter of convenience, as both subjects are under the Colonial Office. But, strictly speaking, Somaliland, Cyprus, and other matters of that kind, for which there are Grants-in-Aid, ought to be discussed on the second Vote, and not on this one.
§ Sir CHARLES DILKE
I mentioned the point with a view to not limiting the discussion on cotton-growing, for instance, which some Members desire to bring forward. There is a Grant-in-Aid for Northern Nigeria, but not for Southern Nigeria, and it would be very difficult to shut them off in water-tight compartments.
§ Colonel SEELY
Would it be in accordance with your wish, Sir, and the general convenience of the Committee, that I should make the briefest reference possible to Somaliland, in order to conclude the survey which I promised, and then pass to matters more strictly relevant?
§ The CHAIRMAN
Unless objection is taken by any hon. Members who wish to raise questions which are strictly relevant to the Vote, I shall not stop the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Sir J. D. REES
Will it be possible to raise on this Vote labour questions in the West Indies and in the African Protectorates?
§ Colonel SEELY
I will pass from the prophecies of evil to what has actually taken place. On 20th March the policy of evacuation was announced in Somaliland by Sir William Manning, the Commissioner specially sent there to carry out the policy—a policy of evacuation only of the three isolated posts in the centre of Somaliland. On 22nd March evacuation was actually begun, and it was completed without any difficulty of any kind except that caused by the extraordinary violence of the weather. A fierce storm did a great deal of damage to the stock of various persons who were on their way down, notably some Catholic missionaries who suffered a great deal of loss. Some compensation has been paid to them, and compensation in other cases is under consideration. On 20th March, the date when evacuation was formally announced, an action took place at Hadegga, a place far beyond any post we have held in recent years. It was erroneously supposed by those who doubt the wisdom of our policy, first, that this was the result of the policy of evacuation, and. secondly, that it was a great defeat of the friendlies. In point of fact, as we now know, it was nothing of the kind. In the first place, it occurred so far from where we have been for many years that it could have no connection with that policy; and, in the second place, it was in the nature of a drawn battle. The total number of rifles lost, so far as we know now. was seventy-five only—that is rifles which we had issued for the friendly tribes to protect themselves with. Since that time there have been three fights between the friendlies and the sup- 962 porters of the Mullah, and in every case the Mullah's men have been defeated with loss, and sometimes with great loss. There was one affair in which nearly all the Dervishes were, I regret to say, killed, and 400 rifles were taken from them. Subsequently there was an attack on a tribe which supported the Mullah, and there, again, the friendlies were entirely successful and captured many rifles. The idea that obtained credence in some quarters that our policy would simply mean handing over to the Mullah the rifles which we had supplied to the friendlies, has proved, so far, to be a complete fallacy. So far from that being the case, the effect of our withdrawing from these isolated posts and of our arming the friendlies has been to put the friendlies, according to Sir William Manning, in a far better position than they have ever been in during recent years. The facts which I have given to the House speak for themselves. Indeed, Sir William Manning is so confident that a period of peace and repose has now come to Somaliland that, in a telegram to us a little time ago, he suggested that he did not require fifty English soldiers whom it was proposed to send—so confident was he that there was no chance of disturbance in that country. Everything in the North-East and North of Africa, as in all parts of Africa, must be uncertain. No wise man will prophesy as to the future; but it is the fact that the situation in Somaliland is now more peaceful than it has been at any time during the last five or six years. We seem to be returning to those happy days when the India Office, under the late Administration, held the coast towns, and left Somaliland to take care of itself, and everything went on in a comparatively placid manner, or, at least, as placidly as things can in the heart of that desert country.
§ Colonel SEELY
I could not say exactly; I think I know, but I would not like to commit myself. Perhaps it would be wise to state precisely that it is a very small force; but the Commissioner, Sir William Manning, is of opinion that, small as it is, there are fifty men too many. We can only hope that Sir William Manning's judgment in this matter may be completely correct. We are fortified in that hope by the undoubted skill he has shown in carrying out the policy of evacuation, and the great justification of 963 many suggestions he has made by the results of the action he has taken.
I do not think there is any other information I can give with regard to Somaliland. The country itself is, if not a desert country, far more nearly approaching a desert than any other country over which we hold sway. We cannot develop it; therefore it is not wise for us to attempt to do so. If we cannot develop it, I am convinced that it is unwise for us to put a few isolated posts in the interior, which do not add in any way to our prestige, but which, on the contrary, I am informed by authorities upon whose judgment I rely, have the effect of diminishing our prestige. There is always a fear that they may be surrounded, because they cannot be self-supporting; and the Somalis themselves, the Abyssinians, and others wonder what on earth we are at, holding these little posts without holding the great area of Somaliland. I think the action taken has been wise. I do not wish to take any special credit to ourselves, for I believe that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, if they had had control of affairs, would have followed the same course. As to whether the time was opportune, it appears that it was, and we can only hope that this desert region may now relapse into that quiet and security from which many persons hope it will never emerge.
§ Colonel SEELY
I replied somewhat flippantly perhaps to the question just now. We have no confirmation of the Mullah's death. We had reports from various sources that the Mullah was dead, but the last telegram we received said that he was making overtures for peace to the friendly tribes. That is all I know. Our latest information tends to show that he is not dead; but there is no doubt that his power is completely broken, at any rate for the time, and, in the judgment of those on the spot who advise us, his power is broken for all time.
Now I pass to other places where we have great territories to develop. I will say first a word on railway construction, as I understand that several hon. Members are interested in that matter. We are not extending our railways at the pace we did some years ago. The only extension of the Uganda Railway is a line from Jinjâ to Kakindu. It is about fifty miles long, and the work will be taken in 964 hand at once. It will cost £160,000, which will be advanced by the Treasury, but the Government are confident that it will prove a really remunerative undertaking. The Baro-Kano Railway, which goes from Southern to Northern Nigeria, is approaching completion. Of the 400 miles, about 250 are already completed, and the earthworks and culverts—which an hon. Member opposite says are being washed away—for the remainder are in a forward state. It is expected that the railway will be completed in one and a quarter or one and a half years from now; it will open up an immense area probably of great mineral wealth, certainly of great agricultural wealth, and it is not unreasonable to hope that in a very short time Northern Nigeria will pay its own way, as Southern Nigeria has done for some time past.
Turning to Southern Nigeria, I will not deal for the moment with the question of the church at Lagos, as it will be more definitely dealt with later on. I will only say that I have a great deal of information as to the very large extent of these grants given in different parts of the Empire. The hon. Member for the Holm-firth Division (Mr. H. J. Wilson) moved for a Return of the places in which we give out of taxes grants for religious purposes, and when that Return is complete, which I hope it will soon be, it will be a surprise to everyone, especially to the right hon. Member opposite (Mr. A. Lyttelton), for when he was in office he said there was very little of this now remaining. I do not quote his exact words. He was, as I and many of us were, under a misapprehension in regard to the total amount, the very large amount, of the subvention for religious purposes to all faiths, Mahomedan, Bhuddist, and others, throughout our Empire. I will not give a full list now, though at a later period of the Debate if I give that list, or at least a summary of it, it will surprise hon. Members. North, south, east, and west, in every part of His Majesty's Dominions, with hardly an exception, we support religious institutions out of the taxes. I trust, therefore, that the question will be considered more in its broad aspect than in regard to this particular case. I only make that suggestion for the convenience of the Committee, for it is part of a very great question indeed, and is of far less importance both in amount and scope than any of the other questions to which I shall draw attention. I will not pass from the question of the Crown Colonies 965 without making a short reference to the work of the different Schools of Tropical Medicine. I have said we can develop part of our estates. I have told the House a little of what we are doing. But after all our only justification in all these countries is that we are doing good to the natives who were there before us. Whether as a consequence of the coming of the white man or not, but certainly coincident with it, there has been a spread of various diseases of an extraordinary and fatal character. The spread of sleeping sickness alone has been one of the most remarkable and one of the most disastrous events in the history of Africa. How many thousands have died we do not know; but that hundreds of thousands have died we do know. Tremendous efforts are being made by many countries—and I think we may claim especially by this country—to combat this great scourge. Sir David Bruce and his wife went into the heart of the district, and spent many months investigating this great scourge of sleeping sickness. Almost everyone in the place where they lived was suffering in some degree from sleeping sickness. When I tell the House that out of hundreds of thousands of cases we do not know for certain of one single case where the man has recovered I think hon. Members will realise to a much greater extent than ever before that those who are trying to combat tropical diseases take their lives in their hands when they go out to this work. Many have worked in this great cause. Some have already died in it. Their names are, alas! already forgotten. But this I will say, that when the history of brave deeds comes to be written the brave deeds that these men are doing in the heart of Africa to combat these insidious and most fatal diseases will not be forgotten, and will perhaps be considered as being a more striking proof of the ability of men to overcome natural fear than almost any other in the annals of 'mankind. From what we know now these diseases, or at any rate the bulk of them, are caused by different kinds of flies. It is probable that others will be found to be caused by flies. It was thought there would be a complete cure by removing the natives from the fly-infected area. For instance, sleeping sickness is caused by the tsetse fly known by the name of Glossina palpalis, and it was thought that if the population could be removed from the shore of the lakes where the tsetse fly lived they could be cured. Unfortunately 966 that has not proved to be entirely the case. Still, we do know a great deal more than we did before about the origin and cause of sleeping sickness. We have checked the mortality to a most remarkable degree.
I would only in conclusion refer to the specific points which the right hon. Gentleman opposite was good enough to tell me he proposed to raise to-day—that is, the question as to how far we have carried out our obligations to reform the Colonial Office and to set up an Imperial secretariat—obligations which were entered into at the time of the last Imperial Conference; and also how far it is desirable to separate the Dominions Department of the Colonial Office from the Crown Colonies Department. With regard to the first point, I can say unhesitatingly we have carried out that which we undertook to carry out—all we undertook to do in Lord Elgin's despatch—to-day I made reference at Question Time to it—all we were entitled to do in view of what was decided at the Conference itself in 1907. With regard to the advisability of splitting the office in half and putting each under a Secretary of State, or of putting one-half under the Prime Minister and leaving the other half under the Secretary of State for the Colonies, I do not think it is desirable for me now to speak. One would only do such a thing if it were found to be imperatively necessary, either because the present plan did not work, or because the self-governing Dominions strenuously asked for it. The Committee will, perhaps, remember that when the right hon. Gentleman opposite was Secretary of State he made a most interesting proposal for an Imperial Council. When we got to the assembly Mr. Deakin, with much eloquence, put forward a proposal not wholly dissimilar. But that proposal was not accepted by the Conference. At that time Sir Wilfred Laurier thought it would not work well, and he opposed iL He was supported in his doubts by General Botha, the then Prime Minister of the Transvaal, and now Prime Minister of United South Africa. We could not, therefore, take a step of this importance to which the self-governing Dominions had not shown a desire to adhere. On the merits of the case, I am far from saying that no reform would be advisable or may become advisable, but I am not at all sure that many of the remedies proposed would ever meet the case or meet the wishes of the self-governing Dominions. One proposal 967 which has been made is that the Dominions Department should be under the Lord President of the Council. That would not satisfy the self-governing Dominions. If any change is made they wish to be under the Prime Minister. If you put the Dominions Department under the Prime Minister how is he to find time to do the work? If he does not find time to do the work will not the Dominions be in a worse position than they are at the present moment? I pass to the other interesting question which has been raised on many occasions by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Clare as to how far the Dominions will ever agree to be represented by any Department which contains the word "Colonial." He will no doubt in the course of this Debate answer the question I frequently put as to what adjective can be substituted for the word "Colonial." I have hinted at a periphrasis, but I cannot find a satisfactory answer. There may be such a word—
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he will kindly say now how we should describe the Conference of 1907? Is it to be called a Colonial or an Imperial Conference 1 I may say, if I am allowed to give my reason, that why I ask is because a very important paper was recently published by the Colonial Office where the Conference is described as a Colonial Conference. In the speech of the right hon. Gentleman to which we have just had the pleasure of listening I find he referred to the Conference as an Imperial Conference. I should like to know which is correct?
§ Colonel SEELY
I should not like to give a ruling. I am not in the position of Mr. Emmott or of Mr. Speaker. But I should say it does not much matter what words are used so long as everybody knows exactly what we mean and so long as we give offence to no one.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
May I remind the right hon. Gentleman that at the conclusion of the Conference of 1907 it was decided by the delegates on that occasion that all future Conferences should be described as "Imperial Conferences"?
§ Colonel SEELY
Yes, Sir, and all through my speech to-day I have described it as an Imperial Conference, but I trust I was too modest to claim infallibility in the matter, like the Government printer. I pass from that question to continue the question as to how far we are forced into making the great change suggested. I 968 am afraid that nothing but the Prime Minister at the head will satisfy the Dominions who wish for a change. I have endeavoured to show that there are difficulties—perhaps not insuperable—in having the Prime Minister as head. Each successive Prime Minister has told us that the amount of work he has to do is almost greater than any man can do. I speak, however, as a biassed witness, because this is the third year I have had the great honour of representing the Colonial Department in this House. I have learned to have a great respect and affection for the Colonial Office. Nevertheless, I think this can be said of foreign nations: They look upon us with interest and sometimes with envy—they envy us the success with which our affairs overseas have been conducted. They constantly point out how easy has been the transition from what we may call the Crown Colony to the self-governing stage in many instances, notably in the instance which is fresh in our memory, that of South Africa. They say that whatever else we are we have had a genius for personal government. During the whole of the time that this great and wonderful fabric has been built up the Colonial Office has had charge of all these affairs. It may be that it has made many mistakes. No doubt it has. But at any rate the result has been not inglorious. I for one say that we must think long, and think carefully, before we pull down the edifice which has stood for so many years now, in the face, sometimes of opprobrium, sometimes of approval, always, I believe, seeking to do its best, and always, I believe, in the long run justified by results.
§ Captain TRYON
I beg to move to reduce Item A (Salaries and Allowances) by £100, in respect of the salary of the Secretary of State.
We all join in the right hon. Gentleman's wish of prosperity to the South African Union, but the Motion which stands in my name refers to an entirely different matter. It refers to the administration of the Colonial Office with regard to the Secretariat, and with regard to the preparations for the forthcoming Colonial Conference. This Secretariat, I need hardly remind the House, was first suggested by the right hon. Gentleman who was then Colonial Secretary, under the Unionist Government. I may mention that he proposed it more than two years before the Conference took place so that the Unionist Government could take action 969 in good time before the Conference. The history of the Secretariat really is concentrated in the Conference which took place in 1907. The appointment and creation of such Secretariat was approved of by the assembled Prime Ministers, and assented to by His Majesty's Government. Therefore it is clear that it is the duty of His Majesty's Government to create such a Secretariat, and to make it effective. Now it is the wrong time to go into the subjects with which it may have to deal, but I need hardly remind the House that its duties are to prepare for the next two Conferences and to secure their permanence and continuity. It has to deal with an immense number of subjects which may come up at a Conference, subjects affecting a number of continents and which have to be dealt with by Great Britain and the Colonies. I would mention some of the subjects the Secretariat may have to deal with in order to show the enormous amount of work that it should be dealing with. It has to deal with questions of judicial appeals, treaty obligations, and the unification of such things as trade marks, trade districts, and company law, and questions of status in different parts of the Empire of barristers, medical men, land surveyors, and questions of tariffs, emigration, and naturalisation. No less than twenty resolutions were passed at the late Colonial Conference, so that obviously there is an enormous field of work for the Secretariat. Yesterday, when a question upon this matter was put to the Under-Secretary, he said that the three gentlemen who are helping the Secretary at the Secretariat are not yet permanently doing work, because there is not enough work for them to do. I cannot help thinking, if there is not enough work for them to do, it is because the Government is not sufficiently active in its preparation for the forthcoming Conference. It appears to me that the enormous amount of work necessary for the Conference is not being carried out, and if it were, these three Secretaries would be all fully employed. I would like to give one example as an instance of the want of proper preparation for the Colonial Conference.
We all remember that before the last Conference the question of the All-Red route was made a great political cry by Liberal newspapers. We heard how, although they were unwilling to take up the question of preference, they were, at 970 all events, going to establish an All-Red route, and a great deal of party capital was made out of that in the country. Now what was the actual preparation of the Liberal Government for the setting up of this All-Red route? The President of the Board of Trade came to the Conference to deal with that matter. The question of the All-Red route is one most intimately affecting the trade and commerce of the country; it is a question of routes involving trade upon the Continent, and involving matters of expense, yet we read in the Blue Book that the President of the Board of Trade, who is now Chancellor of the Exchequer, came to the Colonial Conference to discuss this matter, which obviously was closely connected with the work of the Board of Trade, and stated at the Conference that he had never seen the scheme until the day before.
Are we going to have these things repeated at the next Conference? The Secretariat should be more actively engaged in preparation because it seems to be a most outrageous thing that Ministers who come from Australia and Canada and other places to discuss the All-Red route, should be met by a Minister of the Government here, who had only seen the scheme the night before. I am not bringing this up as a charge against the Chancellor of the Exchequer; I bring it up solely as giving an example of the great need for preparation long before the Conference assembles. I must say I am astonished at an answer given by the Prime Minister upon this subject. He said he thought it would be premature for this country to put forward an agenda for the next Conference. It seems to me, considering the enormous distances and the length of time that despatches would take, and the enormous amount of ground to be covered, it is absolutely necessary we ought to be getting on with the preparation of the agenda. I understand from the Under-Secretary that he is approaching the Colonies in order to know what they have to suggest. Therefore I consider he thinks it their duty to be ready by this time with some suggestions.
§ Colonel SEELY
Not by this time. I do not want the hon. Gentleman to remain under a misapprehension. We do not expect them to reply by this time. In all previous Conferences they did not reply before December, and the Conferences Were not hold until April—that was four months after.
§ Captain TRYON
I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say he telegraphed for some of the replies.
§ Captain TRYON
Well, if the right hon. gentleman telegraphed, I presume the replies are to be sent, otherwise there would be no use sending the telegrams. The whole intention was that the work of the Secretariat should be going on permanently, but we do not achieve permanence by having Secretaries one day doing the work of the Colonial Office and other days concerned with the Conference.
There is also the question about separating the Department dealing with the self-governing Dominions from the Crown Colonies Department at the Colonial Office in a more effective way than at present. We believe this change is desirable in the first place because it was put forward by the Colonial Premiers speaking at the Conference, and was, I believe, to some extent assented to by His Majesty's Government. It seems to me important that this suggestion which the Premiers of the Colonies put forward should meet with due consideration. The mental attitude to be adopted towards our great self-governing Dominions beyond the seas seems to me to be entirely different from that to be adopted with regard to the Crown Colonies.
I should carefully avoid discussing the merits of the Fiscal question, but I do see an argument in connection with it which I think points to the need for greater separation in the two Departments to which I have alluded. We ask that the administration of the Crown Colonies and the self-governing Dominions should be separate on account of the fact that the Crown Colonies are all administered under a system of Free Trade, while the self-governing Colonies are all administered under a system of Colonial Preference. It seems to me that the officials and those working in the Colonial department work under an entirely different system, and do different work in regard to Colonies which are worked on Cobdenite lines and those which work under Colonial Preference. That seems to me to be an argument in favour of separating the Department into two, and I believe it is an argument of importance, because I need hardly remind hon. Gentlemen opposite that Free Trade has never survived the granting of self-government to any Colony.
972 We believe that with good administration and development there are great possibilities from the whole system of Colonial Conferences. We all appreciate the difficulties of dealing with this great question, but you have in the principle of Colonial Conferences something much better than anything suggested as an alternative. You get, in the first place, men at the Conferences, who, by their position as Ministers of self-governing communities, are able to go straight back to their Governments and bring in measures to carry out the resolutions passed at the Conference. You get men empowered to enforce the resolutions of the Conference. You also have safeguards, because those Ministers who attend the Conference are responsible to their own people when they go home, and, therefore, you avoid what would otherwise be a danger, namely, the risk of getting ahead of public opinion in the Colonies in any action you take at the Conference. I think it is most important that when concerted action is taken as a result of the resolutions of the Conference we should in no way get ahead of public opinion in our great Dependencies, and you safeguard that by having Conferences at which Prime Ministers attend. I believe that this question to which I am calling attention is a question of the very highest importance to the whole Empire. I do not think that the Government to-day has any more important problem to deal with, and for this reason.
There are many anxious questions connected with the Government of the Empire, but the problem which seems to be most difficult is the problem of preserving the liberty and self-government of our great Dominions, and at the same time securing the effective co-operation of the great white races of the Empire in its control, management, and development. We believe that from these Conferences it is possible to secure closer co-operation between the great white races of the Empire. We think that the most pressing question of all is to secure closer co-operation between the great self-governing Dominions and ourselves. We hope for the pushing forward at once of the preparations for the next Conference. We are told that the Colonies have been asking for suggestions with regard to the next Conference, and we say that it is also the duty of the Secretariat at this time to be in communication with the Colonies, and to have its agenda made out in advance. Therefore, we urge upon the Government to take the most 973 active steps to prepare for this forthcoming Conference while there is yet time, so that next year there should be no repetition in the administration of a great Empire of the case of a Minister who never saw a great and important scheme until twenty-four hours before he came to the Conference.
§ Mr. ARTHUR LYNCH
I desire to refer to a subject dealt with by the right hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary, and I desire also to touch a note unfortunately becoming rare in this Assembly, and that is the note of true Liberal doctrine, especially in days when the House of Commons is losing touch with itself, and is becoming hypnotised by those spheres in which the Front Benches are now gyrating. I have to differ with the right hon. Gentleman, but I assure him that anything I have to say will have no personal reference to the right hon. Gentleman himself, whose courtesy I always appreciate. It is something about the development of what are called the self-governing Dominions, or, as he would prefer to call them, the self-governing Colonies, a name which ceases to have meaning, and which was never less applicable than at present. I am one of those who have grown up in the history of Australia, and I can say that the history of its gradual transition, or evolution, from a Colony to a self-governing State is quite different from that which the right hon. Gentleman indicated. That history exhibits not so much the power of the British race to govern and at the appropriate moment to grant self-government as the power of that mixed race of Irish, Scotch, and English, for I am glad to say we are all happily united in Australia, to demand self-government and to seize our rights. The history of the Colonial Office is a series of blunders one after another. They resisted the rights and demands of the Colonists until the attitude of the Colonies was such that eventually they were obliged to concede with more or less grace self-government. That, at any rate, is the history of Australia, and I believe of New Zealand, and of the other great Dominions, though I am less entitled to speak of them.
My Amendment is to reduce the salary of the Secretary of State., and I wish I could frame it in such a way as to remove his very office. I do not mean to say to remove his office in respect of the Colonies, but certainly to place it on an entirely different footing in regard to those States which are not Colonies and 974 have no relation to Colonies, and which should not be associated with Colonies—those States which we call Self-Governing Dominions. I hope we have reached such a point that we shall cease to use the word "colony" and even the words "self-governing colony." "Self-government" has now become a misnomer, having an implication of dependence which really does not exist. Australia is Australia, and not a self-governing dependency. I am led to touch on the question of the appointment of Governors for these self-governing States. We have the extra ordinary anomaly that each particular State of Australia has its own Governor, and then we have a sort of Over-Lord of all these Governors. In the old days the Governor was always a nonentity, and that was the best thing which could be said in his favour. In later days some better Governors have been sent out than was the case under the old régime, but even the best are only a poor reflex of our own bad qualities. What are the functions of these Governors? I wonder if even the subtle mind of the hon. Gentleman could define the functions of the Governor of one of the Australian States. I have had an opportunity recently of speaking to many men from Australia, New Zealand, and other self-governing States. They all agree that the one function of a Governor is simply ornamental, and they say this introduces a bad system, setting up a sort of class distinction in these countries which were absolutely free from it by giving to the Governor's House an air of exclusiveness and social—I regret to use the word which follows, but it is the only word applicable; it is so alien to the ideas of Australians that it is alien to my tongue—social snobbishness. That is the result of your system of Governors in Australia. You never send out a man who is in any way really distinguished. You may send out titled men—
§ Mr. LYNCH
Well, I accept the correction of the right hon. Gentleman, and I will avail myself of the example of "Pinafore" by saying you "hardly ever" send out a really distinguished man. Why not send out to Australia men who are distinguished in the only realms and activities which Australians really respect and honour—I mean men distinguished in art, literature, or science, or in the great building and uplifting work of progressive 975 reform, and not insult their intelligence by sending out men whose only distinction is their title? I know these words sound almost shocking, especially in Liberal circles, for lately the atmosphere of the Liberal Member may be indicated thus:—By voting steadily to end the LordsHe hoped to gain the favourable earOf ministers, when framing their rewards.And crown as Lord Inclover his career.They are so hypnotised by the symbols of power, by titles and by forms, that they look to the House of Lords as a sort of haven of rest and the glorious Mecca of their political dreams, and they seem to think we poor Australians must also look up to these titles with the same sort of hypnotised awe and reverence. All Australians I have met tell me that, although they see much to admire and to open their eyes at in this country, the one thing they strongly object to is this side of English life. Englishmen who think by exhibiting all this blazonry of pomps and titles really do not throw dust in the eyes of Australian visitors, but give them impressions very different to what they intended. I notice that in another place one of the Under-Secretaries of another Department coolly proposed that the new holder of the Mediterranean Command should inspect the troops of the Overseas Dominions.
§ Colonel SEELY
The hon. Gentleman perhaps did not read on. "Only the troops of the Overseas Dominions particularly requested."
§ Mr. LYNCH
As a matter of fact, I did read on. If this Gentleman had a true conception of his own office and of Australia, such a misapprehension would never have arisen. It would never have occurred to an Under-Secretary of State to have placed in the body of his speech such a statement without being able to assure the House that he had previously consulted the Heads of those Overseas Dominions and had received their approval to that part of his speech. I believe that also is the way in which it will be read in Australia. I think that part of the Under-Secretary's speech will be greatly resented, and I think the Colonial Office should have displayed more vigilance and have prevented such an ebullition on the part of one of their colleagues. I regard this scheme with reference to the Australian defences as absolutely ridiculous, and a slur on Australians. I feel that they themselves are fully able and 976 competent to defend their own country against any aggression from whatever source, and I believe they are setting about in the proper way to realise this part of their programme. It should never have entered into the mind of an Undersecretary to characterise Australia in this way, nor should one of the officials of this country be sent to inspect the troops of another country, unless an invitation had been spontaneously sent from that country. The men there are of a temperament different to the men who make soldiers here. They have initiative, pluck, and spirit, and much better than the spirit of military routine and training is the common sense they apply to the practical problems as they arise.
The fact of the matter is we have foisted upon Australia a sort of bad system of Imperialism, which is as foreign to their temperament as it ought to be to the sentiments of those brought up in the true Liberal doctrine. We have here a Liberal Government engaged at the present moment in the work of bolstering up and enhancing powers and privileges which are not at all democratic, and which only derive sanction from something which happened in the Dark Ages, and nothing can be more contrary and false to the Australian spirit than the endeavour to introduce into their community a spurious aristocracy, and a feeble copy of that, which, after all, is of no advantage to England itself, and from which the best minds of England, the most resolute, and perhaps really the most patriotic, are endeavouring now to free themselves. I have only touched on this question briefly, but if I fail to find the move of the Colonial Office is in the right direction I will return to it, and with greater impetus, because I feel I will have behind me the whole momentum of public opinion in Australia. I do not know that I am one of those who say, as some Australians do, that there is no particular need for the connection between this country and Australia at all, but I certainly will watch very jealously the terms of that connection, and, rather than that we should have foisted upon us that spurious Imperialism from which some of you are endeavouring to escape, and which it should be part of the programme of the Liberal Government to overthrow, I hope the onward march of Australia, as exemplified by their motto, "Advance, Australia!" will be in a totally different direction, and that they will work out independently their own glorious destiny.
§ 5.0. P.M.
§ Mr. MACKINDER
I wish to return to the subject raised by the hon. Member for Brighton in moving the Motion which stands in his name. I would like to say that in anything he said, and in anything I say, we have not the smallest idea of attacking in any sense the officials of the Colonial Office for any negligence of duty or for any lack of earnestness in the discharge of that which is incumbent upon them. On the contrary I have had occasion to see something at times of the working of the Colonial Office, and I am convinced of the devotion which characterises the discharge of their duties by the officials of the Colonial Office. What we are attacking is not the way in which the officials discharge their duty but the policy which they are asked to carry out. One other point I would like to make of a kindred nature is that we are not attacking the Minister responsible for the Department or because we in any way wish that that condition of Ministerial responsibility which was referred to so frequently in the discussion on this subject in the Imperial Conference, should be neglected. We quite recognise that under the present organisation of the Empire it is essential, as was asserted by Sir Wilfrid Laurier and admitted by Mr. Deakin, that there should be direct Ministerial responsibility somewhere and that the officials of the Secretariat, necessarily, under the present conditions, would have to be responsible to a Minister of the Home Government. But it seems to me that that very fact, the fact that you have been treated as trustee for the Empire in the present state of its organisation, imposes upon you a very serious duty—the duty of carrying out that which was left to you in the spirit in which it was left to you. In the opening speech of the Under-Secretary in this Debate we were told that it was held by the Government that the Colonial Office had carried out all that we undertook to do and all that we were entitled to do. Well, in the first place, I would ask the House to notice the terms of the unanimous resolution that was passed by the Imperial Conference. I quote only the phrases which are pertinent to the point at issue at the present moment. "It is desirable to establish a system by which the several Governments represented shall be kept informed, during the periods between the Conferences, in regard to matters which have been, or may be, the subjects Of discussion." I submit that that phrase, 978 read in connection with many of the speeches made in the Conference Debate, can hardly be intended to indicate a condition of things in which the whole matter has been allowed to go so soundly to sleep that the Secretary of State has to cable, finally, to ask for a reply to the Memorandum which he sent out.
§ Colonel SEELY
I think the hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension. We have done all the things suggested in that resolution. Every conceivable document that could be of interest has been sent to the Dominions and acknowledged by them.
§ Mr. MACKINDER
I am not in the least contesting the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman that every conceivable document of interest has been sent out. I have no doubt that that is the case. But it seems to me, on reading the Debate which took place, and which resulted in this resolution, that something far more than that was intended; that something new was intended—a new organisation in the Empire, although that organisation was committed to your charge and was not, as originally contemplated by Mr. Deakin, an organisation under the joint responsibility of the Prime Ministers of the Empire. I submit there was no change whatever in the spirit of what they asked for except on that single point, and I believe Sir Wilfrid Laurier himself accepted the whole spirit of the institution Mr. Deakin asked for except that he pointed out the necessity for this Ministerial responsibility here at home, and that that was granted on the other side. It would be impossible, without reading the whole Debate, to give an indication of what was intended by that Conference, but there are many who have read that Debate, and I think they will agree with me when I say that what was certainly contemplated was something quite different from the mere continuation, under a new name, of that which had been going on in the Colonial Office before. I venture to suggest that after the series of subjects referred to by the hon. Member for Brighton we have a right to ask whether you have discharged your trust of preparation for this great Conference, in some ways the most important assembly within this Empire; whether you have discharged your trust by imposing upon the Secretary of the Conference what must have been so vitally important a function in recent times as the control of the South African Department. If your Colonial 979 Conference is to be of any value whatever there must be continuous thought on the part of those who are preparing for it, and I fail to see how it is possible for that thought to be given when you have had the Secretary in charge of the Department which is preparing for the Conference himself in charge of that all-important subject of South African Union. What we want in the Imperial Secretariat is not consideration of one part of the Empire, but consideration of the relations of the different parts of the Empire. The former is a totally different attitude of mind, and what the Prime Ministers of the Colonies in the Imperial Conference wanted to get away from was precisely that attitude of mind and to get something new—the concentration of a portion of the staff of the Colonial Office upon the inter-Colonial relations, the inter-Imperial relations, and not upon the difficulties, great as they may be, in any particular portion of the Empire. You may say, "It will suffice if now the attention of this Secretary is diverted from these South African matters to consider the question of the Conference which is to be summoned." My reply to that is this: You had a special Conference, one of those subordinate conferences which were contemplated in the Resolution of the last Conference, to deal with defence matters. That Conference was summoned in an emergency, an emergency due to utterances from the Front Bench opposite. What was the result—some of us think a very considerable result. Why had you that considerable result from that special Conference last summer? It is because you had an Imperial Defence Committee and a General Staff thinking out the whole problem of the defence of the Empire, and when a special problem arose you were ready to fit that special problem into your general conception, and you were ready to call together a Conference which was able to do the work. What we really want, and what was contemplated, is the separation of what I may call the thinking department from the administrative department. Surely, if Martha is cumbered with many things and does those things which are very necessary well, there should be no jealousy if we ask occasionally for Mary. What we say is that just in proportion as your staff in the Dominions Department is doing its routine duties properly and with a whole heart, is it disqualified for the 980 work of the Imperial Staff, for the preparation for a great Conference like that of the Empire? And we say that though, patently, you may be carrying out that which you were asked to carry out, you are not carrying it out in the spirit in which you were asked by the Conference to carry it out, because you are not providing any real Imperial Secretariat capable of discharging the duties properly of an Imperial Staff in regard to civil matters. No doubt the Dominions Department, in the Administrative Department; must, none the less, have the opportunity of being brought into contact with problems it has to administer, and you sent out the head of the Department recently on a great tour in the South.
Martha occasionally, I suppose, may make love, and we have had a most delightful letter giving an account of the whole business recently submitted to this House. But I submit that when an administrative official goes out to breathe the atmosphere of those with whom he is brought into administrative concern, that is not the discharge of that close and constant study of these questions which enabled you to succeed in the case of the Defence Conference last summer, and which was so lacking in the preparation for the last Imperial Conference. I know that the right hon. Gentleman has told us that we ask for something not in accordance with precedent in connection with this Conference. Are we to be bound already by precedent when we have only had four Conferences 1 It seems to me to indicate an altogether wrong attitude of mind with reference to this all-important opportunity. Then we shall be told the Dominions Department has done something for us in giving us that Report of the working of the past year. It was an excellent piece of journalism, but seemed to me something like a supplement to Whitaker's Almanack—excellent no doubt in itself. Sir Charles Lucas discharged most admirably the duty he was called upon to perform, but can it be said that was any real preparation for the Conference? It is possible you may reply that we must not state conclusions from this country—that we are liable to give offence, liable to move too fast. I venture to say we have got to do the thinking of the Empire, to a large extent, here; in the the Dominions overseas they are full of work; they have more work than the men there can possibly do. We know the difficulty they have to spare any of their 981 greater men as High Commissioners to this country to represent them. They are as needful of men as they are of capital for the development of their country. We here have a certain amount of free brain. It is our privilege at this moment to act as trustee for the Empire. Ultimately, no doubt, some federal system will develop, but you have this duty imposed upon you by the last Conference, and you must remember that you have special facilities for performing this duty. How has that performance been carried through? Take a single question to which I submit that any General Staff preparing for this great Conference will have, to devote great and prolonged attention, and in connection with which they would have to be constantly in communication with the Dominions overseas.
I refer to the question of Imperial naturalisation. If you read the discussions that took place at the last Conference you will realise again and again that this question is so difficult and in so nebulous a state that practically no conclusion has been reached, at any rate so far as I know, up to the present moment. Is it possible to exaggerate the importance of this question of Imperial naturalisation? I think you can hardly do so. We have American citizens leaving their own citizenship of the Republic and entering Canada. They ask—Are we citizens of the British Empire? We do not want them to be Canadians only; we want them to be citizens of the great British Empire.
I submit that you are only going to get sound conclusions out of these periodic Conferences if, in the spirit in which it was intended, you have, permanently, men forming a link between the Conferences, preparing for the next Conference, and thinking out, preparing, and finding ways out of the difficulties which may arise—ways not to be dictated to the Dominions beyond the seas, but to be laid before them and to be submitted to their judgment. Instead of saying to them when they come, "Here is a difficulty which we have, perhaps you can help us to solve it," I hold that it is our duty to consider all these great questions and to have suggestions to make. It is in our power to do it, and we have free thought in this country available for the purpose. No one can exaggerate the importance of getting these questions settled, and I say you will lose a very great opportunity if, when the Imperial Conference meets a year hence you have not such a mass of practical 982 material to lay before the Conference as shall lead to some conclusion and some progress being made in this all-important matter of Imperial citizenship.
§ Colonel SEELY
I suppose the hon. Gentleman is aware that at the present moment there is a Committee sitting on. this very subject?
§ Colonel SEELY
It is a representative Committee which is intended to obtain information from every possible source. I assumed that the hon. Gentleman knew of its existence. Indeed it was not until his last few sentences that I had reason to believe he did not know of it.
§ Mr. MACKINDER
Of course, one is led to ask if the gentleman on whom has been saddled the duty of managing South African business during the last two years, though Secretary of the Imperial Conference, has been on this Committee? I rather gather he has not. I would urge that the Secretary of the Imperial Conference, of all people, is the very man who ought to have been a member of a Committee investigating this question of Imperial naturalisation. The very fact that he is not a member shows the looseness of the organisation against which we are protesting. I venture to say, further, that even when we consider these Conferences they have hardly a sufficient representation. You have a United South Africa with a High Commissioner and you have now a High Commissioner also for Australia. These Commissioners are now few, and should be represented in the Secretariat. What we want is precisely what the right hon. Gentleman seems disinclined to give us, and that is a separation of the Department from his Office. All we ask is that he should prepare for such a separation and that he should isolate the Secretariat, so that when the proper time comes it may discharge functions which the Dominions beyond the seas expect. Our democracies think in symbols; they do not reason closely in the style of official documents, and the whole group of democracies is connected by cable. When you are asked 983 to separate the Colonial Department of the Colonial Office from the Dominion Department, you are asked for something that can be understood by the great democracies, and nothing short of the separation of these Departments, openly and obviously, will have the effect which we desire, of bringing a new spirit in, and also commanding confidence among the Dominions over the seas in regard to it. It seems to me that this matter is one the importance of which can hardly be exaggerated. What matters is the spirit in which we approach it. As far as we have been able to gather from replies given by the right hon. Gentleman, and from the speech he has just made, we have had the discharge, in the usual official manner, of the duty which was thrown upon this country by the Colonial Conference. We are now asking for the creation of a new organisation, and obviously we do not ask merely for a rearrangement, of the old. We want something new. The organisation of that something new was committed as an honourable trust to the old country. I submit that the duty thus cast upon this country was to supply a thinking staff, a general staff for civil affairs, which will prevent our drifting into a dangerous position. There are three courses open to you in regard to this matter. You may drift blindly, and that has been the way in our past history. You may drive hard ahead regardless of what you run down, and you may be adequately and carefully and constitutionally equipped with information and take advantage of all opportunities. That is what you are asked to do, and that is what I submit has not been done.
§ Sir CHARLES DILKE
The ruling you, Sir, gave with regard to Somaliland makes it unnecessary, unwise and improper to follow at any length the explanations which were given by the Under-Secretary on that question, and the wisdom of dismissing it, as it has been discussed, either on military Votes or on a special Vote is illustrated by a fact which the Undersecretary will confirm, namely, that Italy is even more concerned in the proceedings of this unquenchable Mullah than we are ourselves. I believe this man with nine lives, who has been killed as often as Osman Digna used to be in the past—indeed, Osman Digna may be still alive—this Man of the Sands—carries on his operations more within the Italian sphere, 984 which he crosses from end to end, than he does upon our frontiers.
The subject which has just been raised has been treated in curiously diverse ways by the Member for West Clare and by the two Members who are responsible for the Motion for the reduction of the Vote, the Members for Brighton (Captain Tryon) and for the Camlachie Division of Glasgow (Mr. Mackinder). It is always a pleasing thing for the Government to find itself exactly half-way between those who censure it upon opposite grounds, and in this case the Under-Secretary finds himself exactly half-way between the hon. Member for West Clare and the other two hon. Members to whom I have referred. It is not for me to take upon myself the unauthorised defence either of the Secretary for War or of Lord Kitchener, to whose policy I have frequently found myself in opposition. But at all events the complaints of the hon. Member from Galway with regard to Lord Kitchener's action in Australia must fall to the ground, seeing that that action was carried out at the request of the Australian Government. I pass on to the criticisms which have been voiced and the dissatisfaction which has been expressed at the proceedings of the Imperial Secretariat in view of the next Imperial Conference. The Member for Brighton did not make a fierce attack, he tried to establish a philosophic, distinction between that portion of the Empire which is pledged to Free Trade and those portions which are Protectionist, and he desired that they should be dealt with by separate Departments, in watertight fashion; but he did not seem to take account of other divisions which naturally arise, and a realisation of those divisions was conspicuously absent from all the speeches which have been delivered. After all, the Empire very largely rests on the adhesion of enormous numbers of millions altogether exceeding in number the white portion of the population, and any exaltation of the Imperial idea which bears in mind only the white population must be destructive of Empire. Therefore the Government cannot be blamed for proceeding cautiously in such matters as these. India cannot, apart from the Government, be represented at this Imperial Conference; it can only be represented, as this country is, by the Government of this country, and it would be a grievous mistake if the Government were to be pushed or rushed into taking-ill-considered decisions in advance. Their better plan is to receive suggestions from 985 the self-governing Dominions, and to weigh them from the point of view of Imperial interests and Imperial rights. It is very dangerous, I think, to accept this view of watertight compartments, and I should look with great misgivings upon a separation of the Empire into India, the Dominions, and the Crown Colonies. It is a very dangerous proposal, and there is no need for it. The problems run over the divisions. The Dominions are not homogeneous, and South Africa is not the same as the others in regard to labour. No South African believes that the labour of that country will be white; and the majority of the population must always be black. The problems present are similar to those in other portions of the Empire, in Crown Colonies, though the Union is a Dominion. There is no such ground for this sharp distinction. The watertight-compartment doctrine reminds one of the two universities of Cairo, which were established one to teach that the sun went round the earth, and the other that the earth went round the sun, and both endowed by the Egyptian State. I think we should take a more general view, instead of asking separate Departments to administer on different principles in questions which are really Imperial, and which should be common to the whole Empire. We can only do our part by putting them before the Ministers of these great countries and endeavouring to get them to see them as we see them, while widening our own views by their experience. The Government was attacked for- not having made up its mind and that of the whole Empire, but it is idle to contend that there are not great bodies of people in Australia and Canada who do not come to the consideration of this question from our point of view. You have to persuade them if you wish them to agree. It was very difficult for Sir Wilfrid Laurier to carry Canada as far as it has gone in the direction of our views, and at the present moment, after what has happened, I think it is very inadvisable to have the appearance of fussing with Australia in regard to this Conference.
We must remember that there are many things stated here by men of great authority which are not viewed at first in a friendly fashion by the Australian and "Canadian branches of the Empire. There was a great gathering last week on this question which proclaimed a partnership of nations throughout the Empire. Lord Milner developed a scheme for an Imperial 986 Constitution. It is quite right that these things should be considered among ourselves, but there are in Australia and' Canada a majority of the electorate who view such proposals with doubt and suspicion, and it would have been impossible to have procured that measure of union in our military and naval schemes which has been brought about if we had attempted to drive our suggestions upon the Dominions and Colonies concerned. One of the subjects which has been hinted at as one which ought to be prepared in advance was that of naturalisation; but it is connected in Canada very closely with the problem of that enormous American immigration which is going on, and what says a great Canadian Minister on that subject? He says he prefers that immigration for America to that of Britons. To the Member for Brighton all I can say is that many of us who have done our best to study the question have arrived at an exactly and absolutely opposite impression of what is safe and wise to that which he has himself come. The fact that the Government are taking up with Canada one subject which will bring Canadian Ministers to this country in the course of next month will, however, make consultation possible. I think the appointment of the Commission presided over by Lord Balfour of Burleigh on trade relations between Canada and the West Indies is one of the most remarkably courageous—in fact, over-courageous—departures on the part of the Government of this country that we have ever seen. The naturalisation question which is raised by the hon. Members is one of those which is dangerous in regard to Canada, and it not only raises the problem of immigration, on which the views taken in Canada and Australia are hostile to the views taken in this House and this country, but the question of the standing in the Empire of, for instance, our Indian fellow subjects.
It raises that most painful question which the South Africa Bill forced us to discuss. Take the case of a native of Bombay. According to the view hitherto taken by most of the law courts in South Africa, an Indian Jew from Bombay is treated in one way and an Indian Parsee from the same place in an entirely different fashion. It raises questions of that kind of the most delicate and difficult nature which it is possible to raise, and which bristle with dangers. I never heard a weaker case made out for censure of a Government than with regard to the blame thrown upon the Colonial Office for 987 going too slowly in regard to the programme of the next Imperial Conference. The Under-Secretary said he understood I wanted to deal with the problem of labour in South Africa, but I purposely did not say "South" because of the delicacy of this question when the Union has only just come into existence. Our opinions are known to those in South Africa and theirs are known to us. We have welcomed the Imperial view which the South African Union Government have taken in the matter of Dinizulu, showing a view wider than the view of the single Colony and a desire to conciliate Imperial as well as African interests. Also we note the general interest in this question of Mr. Sauer, the new Minister of Railways in the Cabinet, and we welcome in addition to him Mr. Burton as Minister for Native Affairs. He knows this question "better than anyone here, and he approaches it from the Cape Government point of view as compared with that of the other provinces.
In these circumstances, though no one feels more strongly on it than I do, I should hesitate to bring that question before the attention of the House, owing to It3 delicacy. Africa is our newest field, and we are spending large sums of money upon experiments. The acreage in the protectorates is the largest, and we are setting up new departures in the matter of concessions, land laws, taxation, native reserves, and labour which are all closely connected and tied together. There has been a rapid expansion in some parts of Uganda and British East Africa, and in a far greater degree in the two Nigerias and Gold Coast, under recent pressure, in regard to tropical produce. "Writers on strategical and political geography used to be inclined to tell us that the tropical countries of the world were so vast that there would be a surplus of their products because of the many people competing, but the opposite has been the fact. The progress of electrical science, of motoring, and even of sports, has caused an enormous advance in rubber, cotton is very short of the world's requirements, and cocoa has gone up in price, and in all these matters there is vast financial speculation in the formation of companies which is gravely affecting the whole of the future of these protectorates and the land, labour, and taxation questions connected with them. And these questions are very "delicate. Not only in West Africa but in 988 Uganda and in the whole of East Africa they are connected with the questions affecting the position and rights of those industrious British subjects whom the Government have transported as coolies under terms of engagement, and who form a permanent ingredient of the population of those countries.
I will not attempt to anticipate the argument which may be presented to the House by the hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. O'Grady). But as regards these Protectorates, we have now a Report in three volumes, a most solid and admirable Report, with evidence, of Lord Sanderson's Committee, which not only deals with the Indian coolie question, but which incidentally deals with the whole of these questions that we are raising here to-day, because he and his colleagues could not give an answer to the requests made to them from certain Colonies and certain interests for the addition of Indian labour to the native labour already existing in the district, or that which might be drawn from the immediate neighbourhood, without discussing all those problems with which at this moment we are specially concerned, and the future of the great agricultural industries which I have named and the possibility of their existing on the local labour and the circumstances under which labour from outside might be brought in. I should be the last to attempt to revive the heated party controversies, in which I took no part, about coolie labour in the South African mines, but, of course, the Sanderson Commission has repeated the old doctrine on that subject which was laid down by both political parties in the State, and I think Lord Salisbury's words are the very words which Lord Sanderson has adopted, and which have also been adopted by my right hon. Friend. I will not even mention them for fear of importing any party heat into this discussion. I am anxious that our discussions on these questions should go out to the Dominions and to the world as being virtually unanimous discussions—discussions in which, starting from common and sound principles, we come as far as possible to common and sound ends.
The British Cotton-Growing Association is being aided, rightly, by the Government. There is £10,000 for it on this Vote. There is an engagement for three years of a £10,000 Grant on certain conditions. There is a lot of local assistance, as is shown in the papers circulated this morning and also in Lord Sanderson's 989 Report as regards the Protectorates, incidentally by funds to which we indirectly contribute also. That is to say that Colonies which receive Grants from us are also helping the British Cotton-growing Association, and there is very naturally a great deal of pressure on the Colonial Office and on governors and by governors, and there is some resistance from some commissioners to the means which have been taken rather than to those which are now going to be taken, for the experimental growth of the best kinds of cotton. In certain districts there is resistance to the growth because the people earn by hard labour, by admirable labour, their living by the oils which are the natural product of those districts. It is an attempt to introduce into many districts an artificial and new cultivation, a hard cultivation, in place of the lucrative trade in which the people of the district engage—the working of oils, which is the ordinary work of those Colonies. Of course, I am one of those who have welcomed the attempt to draw cotton from more sources. Long-staple cotton is a highly localised product, and I fail to see in the document which was circulated this morning much ground for hope that that kind of cotton, which is the kind that Lancashire lives upon, is yet certain to be cultivated within the British Dominions except in the West Indies where, of course, success has already been obtained.
§ Sir C. DILKE
I am not going to say the contrary. Nyassaland is a happy exception to the most aggravated forms of the problem which I am presenting to the House. Although situate between Portuguese Nyassaland and the Katanga Province of the Congo, yet British Nyassaland has good labour of its own, and has succeeded in almost all the products that it has attempted to raise. It is not in the position of asking for labour but of protesting against its labour being taken everywhere else. It is in exactly the opposite position. That is why I was omitting it. The reason is not such as might have been suspected. As regards the experimental treatment of cotton throughout Africa, I want to ask my hon. Friend to be quite sure that he is justified in the optimistic view that he takes as regards certain facts which we have brought before him tending to show that there is, at all events, a danger, and that there have in some cases been 990 indications of a danger of departing from principles which are unanimously held in this House. I cannot assert that now forced labour is anywhere being used in connection with the experimental growth of cotton, but that it was in some cases, until stopped, I think there is no doubt, and it is difficult to have certain information as to what may pass upon frontiers where a bad example is presented to us by our neighbours. In Southern Nigeria we adjoin Germany and France and all but adjoin Spain, and we have a Portuguese island, of which bad things are said, right in front of us. The German Colonies have been distinguished by the promptitude with which the German Government, when it has discovered that horrible atrocities have occurred in German Colonies, has stamped upon them and the almost violence with which they have destroyed the careers of the men concerned in those atrocities. The French Government has done well in these matters, but by its own admission1, in the French Congo, which adjoins us, they have fallen under the evil example of the neighbouring Colonies. But we suffer from the same difficulties. We have to face the same ambition, the same desire to accumulate wealth at the expense of anything and anyone and of all principle, and we see every day in the newspapers the advertisements of concessions on a large scale in British Colonies with the names of ex-officials at the head of them and Members of Parliament perhaps. I have not seen them myself, but I have seen in every one which I have read ex-officials, very small officials for the most part, and these my hon. Friend led us to understand at Question-time are at least discouraged. He has not used favourable language with regard to the statements in these prospectuses. They allege in the prospectuses that they are under official seal. They use the word "guarantee," they make statements which will not perhaps bear investigation, and they seem confident that, courts or no courts, they are going to get approval in the long run for their proceedings.
§ Sir J. D. REES
Does the right hon. Baronet say that in these prospectuses ex-officials contemplate the making of profits regardless of principle?
§ Sir C. DILKE
If I mixed the two things together I ought not to have done so. I only state that these prospectuses are suspicious in the highest possible degree. I ought not to have mixed the two 991 things together. It is not my wish to do so-. I do not wish to make any unfair attack on any individual or any company. That is why I did not mention the names of companies, though I have them here. But the prospectuses are not pleasant reading. They tend to show that even in older Colonies, like the Coast strip of the Gold Coast and the old part of Lagos, where labour is high and costly, as it is in the gold mines in the Gold Coast, where labour is drawn even from the far north and from all parts, from Sierra Leone and the other Colonies, large concessions are being obtained from tribal chiefs of lands which these tribal chiefs have not the faintest right to part with. I think that statement was made by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Lyttelton). At all events, it is admitted that the position of the tribal chiefs is like our own position in a larger degree in the Protectorates, namely, that we are trustees for the rights and the physical existence and the food of the people who live in them. Tribal chiefs have no authority except under the old customs of the tribe. They are constitutional Sovereigns, if you can use such a term. They can rule only in these old tribal countries of the West Coast according to the laws and customs of the people, and, of course, everyone who knows these knows that they have no such power to make such concessions as are described in some of these documents.
I am sure my right hon. Friend will look into these matters to prevent any easy going local court deciding that those things are right which seem to us to be wrong, and that he will not be satisfied with a mere formal compliance with the local law. But in the newer countries where we are ourselves directly undertaking responsibilities for labour, as for instance in British East Africa, and in some degree in connection with semi-public works in Nigeria—in those countries where we are taking Governmental responsibility ourselves I hope he will not be too easily satisfied and too optimistic. I will not bore the Committee with mentioning individual cases. I do not want to discuss again the Nigeria Sedition Ordinance. It is very useless to discuss such matters in the House. I will content myself with a general statement, with which I think the right hon. Gentleman will not differ, that there has been additional unrest caused to some extent by the inrush of a larger number of Europeans and of capital, and of pressure upon land, and in some 992 cases, a necessary increase of taxation. It is, of course, our boast that we do not lay down cut and dried principles, and that we get on better than countries which do, but the extent of variation in Colonies is curious, and a perfect maze of land laws of the most opposite description, and labour laws of the most different kinds, and principles-of taxation may be found. The Colonial Office has sometimes opposed and sometimes accepted in different localities, in respect of the same trades and the same agriculture, the principle that taxation should be specially levied upon natives who do not work. The latest doctrine is. that a good form of tax is the hut tax, that there may be a poll tax upon males who do not work, and who do not pay hut tax, and approval has been given, I am sorry to say, that the tax should be removed from those who work for Europeans. You are not dealing with lazy people in West Africa. You are dealing with people who do continuous and heavy work, and whose labour is purchased by the foreign Colonies around us for all the best work they do. You are not dealing with a low form of labour, but you are dealing with the difficulty that they prefer the labour to which they are accustomed to the labour of a new occupation.
I will not trouble the House by quoting the figures showing what has been done, but as there is great interest felt in the House, and especially by the Lancashire Members, as regards cotton- growing, which is a matter of national importance, I think it is well to ask hon. Members to study for themselves the evidence and the Report published in three volumes of Lord Sanderson's Committee. It is full of valuable information on this point.
The increase of unrest, and the unfortunate circumstances as regards Central and East Africa which have been mentioned by my right hon. Friend, and the enormous decline in the population through sleeping sickness are matters which give to Africa the first claim at this moment to all our attention. It is the time of a new departure. It is a time when we have to begin to bring into working order the largest field of territory which has ever at any time been added suddenly to the British Empire. We have added that territory more rapidly than we added India, Australia, and other portions of the Empire. Having added this enormous territory you are spending millions on railways through Northern Nigeria, and through what seemed, until two or three 993 years ago, a hopeless wilderness inhabited by pagans. You are building these railways through the heart of Africa in search of tin, and with the hope of starting cotton-growing. It is a territory where you are bound to give that reasonable treatment to the native population which everyone who knows Africa knows is essential to the future welfare of the country. This is, above all, a case where "Honesty is the best policy." There are Belgian and Portuguese dominions in Africa where great fortunes have been made, tout the parts with which we are now concerned are not going to make men's fortunes in similar fashion, and we must not follow the bad example of those to whom the concessions were given in Congolese or Portuguese territory. Lord Sanderson, in his Report, quotes the view of Sir Hesketh Bell on these problems as they concern the different provinces of Uganda. I do not think that, as regards East Africa and Uganda, we have had such clear information from the Colonial Office lately in connection with the new departure of cotton-growing as, for example, we have had in Nigeria.
In the case of Nigeria we have been happy in finding Commissioners who, on the whole—in spite of the bad character of the climate, and in spite of the fact that not knowing the languages they had great difficulty in the way of administration, as the Germans and the French had in their experience in the territories in which they are interested—have served us with an intelligent appreciation of the work, and who have not shared the fallacies and the prejudices of some of those who were engaged in other regions. The people who come there from Portuguese territory, the Congo, and so forth, and who have not been used to good administration, are not men whose ideas the local commissioners would feel inclined to adopt any more than we would adopt them here. They are people who have to be watched and we must not be too ready to grant ordinances to carry out the wishes of the people whose ideas of administration when dealing with natives are not such as we could approve. Lord Sanderson has made an interesting report, largely based on Sir Hesketh Bell's account of his tour, in which all the terrible facts about the depopulation of the country are stated. I do not wish to speak except in the most respectful terms of Sir Hesketh Bell. I am not making any attack upon him, but even angels may make slips, and the doctrines which he sometimes lays down under hard 994 circumstances are such as this House ought not to approve. Sir Hesketh Bell rather goes out of his way to tell Manchester that there is an enormous territory of a most fertile kind available for cotton growing, and he holds out the bait in such a manner that I should be very much inclined to jump at it, but there are conditions which must not be forgotten. There is an unfortunate desire on the part of some people to adopt means of obtaining cotton which no one in this House will stand up for. I have here a report by the chambers of commerce which I think the House would not approve. It demands concessions on a large scale, apparently with full powers such as have been granted in other territories by other Governments.
I asked the other day in regard to certain concessions, which seemed to be large, in British East Africa and Uganda, and I was told that they were legacies from the Foreign Office of earlier days. A lot of them seem to bear recent dates, and I beg my right hon. Friend to give us all the information he can of anything in the nature of large concessions and to distinguish, what is not always distinguished, between those granted on high lands and low portions of the territory. In some cases you cannot always tell in which country they are, and I am sure there is need for further information on this subject. Sir Hesketh Bell tells us of this vast field, and he names Toro, for instance, in the heart of Africa, as a country where cotton may be grown on an enormous scale. Toro is near the central lakes, and it and other parts have been depopulated. Sir Hesketh Bell says the population is declining at the rate of 20,000 a year. He says also that the field in Uganda is enormous, and that it awaits cultivation for growing cotton. There is a difficulty in the territory in regard to labour. Efforts were made to get labourers in Nyassaland, and it was proposed also to import labour from India. Lord Sanderson, in his report, says it is a good theoretical case, and he recommends that it should be tried on a small and experimental scale under those restrictions which the Under-Secretary laid down in compliance with reforms which the Indian Government asked for. But in his opinion, he points out, it certainly will not pay. Many of those interested in chambers of commerce, and interested in Lancashire, say that however much they want cotton, they do not want to see labour degraded by workers being brought 995 in under unfair conditions because it will not pay to have them brought in under fair conditions.
I also wish to tell my right hon. Friend with all my strength the view which I hold with respect to the contest which has been waged between the Colonial Office and the Foreign Office regarding the preservation of great game. In Toro you will find native reserves, forest reserves, and big game preserves covering an overwhelming portion of the country. In some cases they are overlapping. There are some portions of Toro which are forest reserves and others which are big game preserves, and there are also native reserves, but if you read the Codes you will find that it is impossible for natives to live in these portions and keep to the terms of the law. Everyone becomes an outlaw. I have Sir Hesketh Bell's authority for this statement. The Colonial Office has published a document containing his own words, and this has been done by way of warning to the Foreign Office on this question. I think his statement deserves the support of this Committee. Sir Hesketh Bell says that elephants are being protected to such a degree that they are devastating this promising country, and that they have become even more bold than they were two years ago. He adds:—I came across numbers of flourishing gardens and plantations that had been absolutely wiped out by the herds of elephants that are roaming through the country. The complete destruction worked by these beasts is hardly credible, and the natives are getting desperate.The code of laws makes it impossible for elephants to be killed by the natives, and the forest laws prevent the natives from drawing rubber or cutting trees. Therefore the life of the native, although protected by your laws, although not oppressed by taxation, and although not subject to forced labour, even in the best case, becomes impossible by reason of the laws which are imposed. I wish to impress upon the Colonial Under-Secretary the fact that, given enormous variety in their treatment of these Provinces, and given the impossibility of reconciling the laws of labour and taxation, he must not be too optimistic, and he must not be astonished if his own Friends, who have every confidence in him and his colleagues, continue to worry him on this subject, because I think the facts I have advanced, and which I am prepared to prove, show the need for watchfulness on the part of the Colonial Office.
§ Mr. ALFRED LYTTELTON
I think that the Committee is indebted—and speaking for myself I am deeply indebted—to my hon. Friend for having introduced the subject of the Conference which is approaching and the preparations which ought to be made for it. The Committee ought to understand, in order to ascertain our point of view upon this matter, and in order to understand what the Conference that is approaching really is, what the Conference has been in the past. It is a meeting of Statesmen from all parts of the world, Statesmen who are burdened themselves by very heavy and sometimes by little assisted work in their own country. They are, when they come here, overwhelmed by kindness and by a hospitality which may be called formidable. I believe that the conditions under which our friends from the Dominions overseas-work here are extraordinarily difficult conditions; they have to go to frequent meetings in the day and frequent banquets at night—I do not know which is the more onerous obligation—and then when they have to consider the problem of Empire they have to face an extraordinarily difficult problem; and behind that problem and penetrating into it is the consideration of the different laws, different customs, different climates, different religions of the various Dominions which are under their sway. It is the literal fact, as was stated by the Mover of this Motion, that information and particulars and details with regard to some of these subjects were not at the last Conference supplied to some of these Statesmen until within a few hours of the meeting, and sometimes on the very day itself on which these most difficult problems were to be considered. It is a farce to suppose that you can avail yourself of this great assembly of distinguished men if you do not prepare before they come an agenda of a far more minute and detailed character than has hitherto been attempted. I foresaw the necessity of this more than five years ago, when I wrote on behalf of His Majesty's Government, in April, 1905, despatching a circular to the Dominions in which these considerations were set forth and certain proposals were made.
Those proposals were not adopted, but still we got some way. May I tell the Committee what I had in my mind as to the class of information and the class of work which ought to be done by someone before these great Debates take place? A very interesting account is given in the life of Sir Henry Jenkyns by 997 Sir Courtenay Ilbert of the way in which Sir Henry Jenkyns, who was the Government draftsman, used to prepare information for the Government. He said:—When he was called upon to prepare a Bill on any important subject he would begin by endeavouring to make himself a complete master of the subject in all its bearings. For this purpose he would spare himself no pains in ransacking the contents of statutes, law reports, blue books, volumes of Hansard, and the like. The results would be embodied in an exhaustive memorandum which would describe the existing state of the law, the mode in which, and the sources from which, it had grown up, the authorities by which it was administered, and the difficulties which had occurred in its administration, the attempts which had been made in Parliament and elsewhere to amend it—and so on; and everyone who has seen one of these memoranda would know what an extraordinarily valuable contribution it was for the consideration of the subject in hand. That is a function that should be performed by someone with regard to the subjects which are brought before the Conference. We want somebody to boil down all the material, to digest it, analyse it, tabulate it, and get it into the neatest and most concise form in order that when these very distinguished but very hard-worked men come to consider it they should have all the material which is available in this country and which skill, knowledge and science can get for them, and that they should have it in a form in which they can readily and easily consider it, and consider it in time for the Conference at which they are actually wanted. The proposal which was made on behalf of the late Government, and for which I received the cordial assent of Australia, New Zealand, Cape Colony, and Natal, was that some permanent Commission with no executive authority, with nothing but advisory authority, should meet in the intervals between the assemblies of the Conference, and that there should be submitted to them the subjects which any two parties desire to have ventilated at the Conference, and that they should do what I have described at present when they get all this information in the manner in which I have suggested.
The right hon. Baronet who preceded me, I think justly, remarked that it was not very expedient for the Home Government before our friends came from overseas to make any distinct and defined proposals. I agree with that. I think that any man who wants to carry his point in a small circle of competent men knows what his own mind is, but does not state it too early in the debate. He Waits until he sees an opportune moment, when per- 998 haps some other member of the committee or the conference may have indicated a view which, at any rate, may be described for debating purposes as something like his, and then he will be ready with all the force at his command to put the proposal which he has himself considered and the manner in which he has arrived at it. I will not say that cold water was poured on that proposal by the Government, Lord Elgin, and the late Prime Minister. Tepid water was poured on it,' and Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who came into the Commission saying he had an open mind on the subject, and who, I believe, had His Majesty's Government shown anything like the disposition of its predecessors, would have asented to it, was induced, as I think, into opposing it, and the proposal was lost. Be that as it may, none of us can expect to have our views prevailing to the full extent we desire. What I say resulted from this was the proposal which has been put into force, namely, that a Secretariat should be established, and that it should be under the control of the Colonial Office. I say that being the suggestion which was put forward by Lord Elgin, the suggestion of His Majesty's Government, it became a binding obligation on them not to suffer that Department to fall into nothing, not to show any slackness, but energetically to push forward the proposals for the Conference for submission to the Secretariat, so that the Secretariat might deal with the very numerous subjects of great importance which would have to be discussed. We are asking of the Prime Ministers beyond the seas a very great sacrifice of convenience. We are exacting very heavy labours from them in coming these vast distances to study these problems and confer upon them with us.
The Under-Secretary for the Colonies (Colonel Seely) has, I will not say ridiculed, but he has pooh-poohed a suggestion which my hon. Friend made that the Colonial Office should be divided, and that a separate Department should be charged with the administration of the Crown Colonies and a separate Department charged with the self-governing Dominions. I may remind the Under-Secretary that the suggestion was made in a public speech by the Secretary of State (Lord Crewe), and with all the respect which I feel for him, I do not think the Under-Secretary will think it necessary for me, his political opponent, to support the Secretary of State for the Colonies against 999 his own Under-Secretary. I congratulate my hon. Friend behind me in having for the present the support of the superior officer of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, otherwise he would accept a proposal which was first made and proposed by the Secretary of State for the Colonies himself. With that I think we will leave this topic in good hands. When I say we must realise what sacrifice and labours we exact from the Prime Ministers beyond the seas we ought also to realise with regard to this Conference, and to realise it faithfully, that it is not right to say, to use a good old phrase that the relations between the States of Empire are any longer those between a mother and her children. The States of Empire met in this Conference are in close alliance. They are States unequal in possession, but practically equal in rights. We must remember that the sway of Empire is no longer exclusively in British hands. Under these circumstances it is right that the Conference should be conducted by high ceremony and high courtesy; but unless some such proposal as that which has been made by my hon. Friend is put through and is worked energetically and strenuously from the Colonial Office, not by the officials, as they always work energetically, but by those who inspire and instruct them—unless some such proposal as that is really worked through these great assemblies will fall into uselessness. It is idle to bring men thousands of miles and not tabulate the information on which they depend. The occasion of the Conference should be a clearing house of large ideas. In this way we may cement the alliance of which I have spoken—we may bring the Statesmen of Empire into debate, and therefore we hope into largely permanent unison.
I was deeply disappointed with the answer given by the Prime Minister to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham who sits behind me. He asked that a list should be made of the subjects which were to be submitted to the Conference. I asked that, with the exception of confidential documents, this House might have an opportunity of considering those topics, and also the memoranda and information which were to be laid before the Conference. The Prime Minister would give no promise at all, and I would most earnestly press upon him that it is too high a duty to impose upon the single responsible Executive of this country to give them the 1000 complete command of the topics which are to be discussed at the Conference. Of course, the other Governments have their say, but I maintain—and I shall draw attention to this matter again when opportunity offers, and I am sure my hon. Friends will do so—that this House ought to have an opportunity of having some say in the topics and in the scope of the Conference which is about to take place, in which the nation is profoundly interested, and for which the nation is responsible. I see no reason at all given for the refusal to produce such a list as I have mentioned, except that it was premature.
§ Mr. LYTTELTON
For that was the only reason; I do not think it a very good one, though, at any rate, it gives a hope that the refusal may hereafter be reversed. I do not think it is premature to at least give some of these topics, in order that full consideration may be given to them by other people than His Majesty's Government or the Colonial Office. I have said all I need say with regard to the Conference. There is one other topic I must bring before the House. It is to my mind a very serious matter indeed, as affecting the position of the Governors of our self-governing Colonies, and the relation of the Colonial Office to them. In order that there may be no possible misapprehension about what I am going to say, I desire to guard myself by subscribing once more to the doctrine which I have often announced in this House—namely, that the Imperial Government makes no claim whatever to interfere in the internal affairs of self-governing Dominions, or to veto any measure affecting their local or internal affairs, even if that measure be entirely repugnant to their views, provided it is passed according to law. I invite the serious attention of the House to these facts that I am about to narrate. In April, 1910, there was held the last meeting of the Transvaal Parliament, and the last act of the Transvaal Government was to introduce and pass, I think unanimous, through the Lower House, a resolution to the effect that the Session which was then about to be closed was an "ordinary Session. That does not sound very serious, but its significance will be appreciated at once by hon. Members when I mention that the Act regulating the payment of Members prescribed that the payment for Members during an ordinary Session should be the sum of £300 for the Session, and that where it 1001 was not an ordinary Session the scale of payment should be £10, plus £2 for every day's sitting. The Session with respect to which this resolution was passed was not an ordinary Session as denned by the Act, and it was one therefore as to which the lower payment and not the higher applied. The Session was for sixteen days, and the payment therefore to each member was £42. If it had been an ordinary Session that sum would have been multiplied by a little more than seven—£300 as against £42. They are not my opinions, but the opinions of the High Court of Justice in the Transvaal, the Supreme Court, which I am about to read. The Chief Justice, in giving judgment on this point under consideration, quoted the Act of Parliament—Ordinary Session shall mean the Session of Parliament at which the estimates of expenditure for the ordinary administrative service of the financial year are considered.That has already taken place. The Chief Justice goes on to say:—The Session at which the main estimates of the financial year are considered is therefore the ordinary Session, and there can be only one ordinary Session in every financial year. Every other Session is extraordinary, whether Supplementary Estimates happen to be passed in the course of it or not. This Session was described as an extraordinary Session in the proclamation by which Members were called to attend, and in my judgment that description was an accurate description, and. that being so. a resolution of the House of Assembly declaring that it should be considered as an ordinary Session for the purposes of the Act can have no legal effect whatever.Nevertheless, the resolution was passed with a result which I have described. Thereupon General Smuts, the Colonial Secretary, intimated to the Upper House of the Transvaal that the resolution so passed in the Lower House should go forward in the Upper House as an unopposed motion. They said they would not object to its going forward in that form, but certain Members declared their intention of resisting it on its merits. Thereupon the resolution, so far as the Upper House was concerned, was abandoned. Parliament was prorogued, and cheques were immediately signed and sent to the Members of both Houses for £300, though authorised only by the resolution of one House. This was contrary also to the provisions of another Act of Parliament—the Audit and Exchequer Act—which provided machinery very much such as ours, by which payments cannot be made out from the Treasury to the Paymaster's Department by the Accounting Officer unless those payments are authorised by the Appropriation Act or by special warrant—countersigned by the Auditor-General—of the Governor. That 1002 special warrant of the Governor, as I need hardly point out, is only legally granted on emergency and on occasions when Parliament is not sitting. After the cheques for £300 had been signed, and some of them had been received by Members, the Government submitted to the Deputy- Governor, acting for Lord Selborne, a special warrant to be signed, authorising those payments. The Deputy-Governor most properly refused to sign, pointing to the decision of the High Court in regard to the illegality of the payment. The position may be put very shortly. The case was argued before the Supreme Court of three Judges. On 6th May the judgment was given declaring those payments to be illegal, and the resolution—of course it could not be contended otherwise—was utterly invalid. On 11th May a petition was presented to the Governor to consider the judgment and not to sign the warrant, but the same Deputy-Governor (General Hadfield), who had refused to sign the warrant, pointing to the decision of the court of law against the legality of the payments, now signed the special warrant. I am not doing anything more than I think I am justified in doing in stating these facts. I do not want to be unfair to the Deputy-Governor, who had been there only a few weeks. He must have referred this matter to the Colonial Office, and received directions from the Colonial Office to do that which was absolutely contrary to the law as declared by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Colony in which he was the representative of the King. I make no comment whatever on the facts, which I have narrated with perfect fidelity to the House, because it is not the business of anybody standing here to comment on the conduct of a self-governing Administration. They may have reasons for those payments, but I make no comment upon what they did.
The comment I ask the House to make is a comment of the severest condemnation of the Colonial Office for having authorised their Deputy-Governor, the representative of the King, to become a partner in a definitely declared breach of the law. I say they advised him, contrary to the judgment of the High Court, in violation of two Acts of Parliament of the Colonies, to sign this warrant in breach of the law, They do not merely bring into contempt the office of the Governor by such conduct as that, but they bring their own Acts into contempt. By the Constitution under 1003 which was given to the Transvaal representative and responsible Government the office of Governor was established, and he was specifically directed not to make concessions, and to act in accordance with the law. Let me read what we always used to consider the classical authority on the duties of Governors of self-governing Dominions with regard to the administration of the law. So far as policy is concerned, as I have said before, the Governor is bound to take the advice of his Ministers. But when the law is broken, when an attempt is made to set aside the Constitution, to ignore one House of Parliament, to issue a warrant for payment against the taxpayer for which there is no legal authority whatever, then is the occasion on which the Governor must act, and must act courageously and promptly, and certainly not become a participator in the illegality which has been committed. That was put so far back as the year 1865 by Mr. Card-well in a well-known despatch. He said:—I look with extreme apprehension on a state of things in which the Governor of a British Colony is engaged in collecting money by mere force from persons from whom the Supreme Court has declared that it was not due … difficulties were not to be removed by irregular acts of power. Anarchy, indeed, may ultimately result from continued opposition between two constitutional authorities, each obstinately insisting on its extreme rights. But anarchy has come already when the executive Governor, entrusted with power for the maintenance of public order and the protection of private rights, uses that power for the purpose of illegally setting aside the authority of one branch of the Legislature, of overruling the decisions of the Supreme Court, and of depriving the subject, even for a time, of that which the court has decided to be his.You have to read here, instead of the word "Governor," the words "Colonial Office." The Colonial Office here are the parties that are guilty of this breach of the Constitution. The Governor, a military man of distinction and an admirable administrator, had only been appointed a few weeks. His own natural instincts led him to do that which was right, namely, to suspend his signature until the court had decided, and to see which way they did decide. The court did decide that the signature should never be appended, for that was the effect of it, yet the Colonial Office directed him to sign. The result is, I say, that they brought into contempt the office of the representative of the Crown in that Colony, and they have made that portion of the Constitution which they gave to that Colony relating to the Governor a dead letter. This matter demands explanation, though I cannot foresee, of course, what it will be. If 1004 the Governors of the self-governing Dominions are to be told on the authority of the Department which appoints them that in those Dominions they are to act contrary to the law as declared by the courts of the country itself, then I say that no self-respecting man will hold this honourable position.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir Rufus Isaacs)
With reference to many of the points made by the right hon. Gentleman I do not propose to say anything, because my right hon. Friend the Under-Secretary for the Colonies will deal with those later. I rise at once to deal with the point last made by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lyttelton) in reference to the Secretary of State for the Colonies in the matter to which he has alluded. Let me say, before I proceed further, that the right hon. Gentleman was kind enough to give notice that he intended to make this attack, so that we were enabled to have accurate details. I do not propose to travel over the ground so far as it relates to the events upon which the criticism has been erected. There is no doubt as to what happened. It is, perhaps, just a little important to bear in mind what the situation was, and that on 28th April, which was the last day of the Session, of the "extraordinary Session" within the meaning of the Act of Parliament, which had been called, this Resolution was passed. The Resolution was as follows:—That although the present Session of Parliament was convened as an extraordinary Session, yet in view of the duration of the Session and the fact that it has. with the exception of the election of Senators, been occupied by the ordinary legislative business, including the passing of the Supplementary Estimates; and in view of the fact that this was not such an extraordinary Session as was contemplated when Act No. 12 of 1907 was passed, this House resolves that the present be considered an ordinary Session for the purposes of the said Act.Let the House appreciate the position. The native representatives of the Legislative Assembly passed the Resolution, notwithstanding the fact that they did not come within the strict words of the Act of Parliament, that the particular Session, in view more especially of what is stated in the Resolution, should nevertheless be treated as if it had been an ordinary Session. In that case payment would be made to the members of the Legislative Assembly and to the Council in the same way as if an ordinary Session of the Legislative Assembly had taken place. The right hon. Gentleman is perfectly right in saying that the Resolution was not passed by the Legislative Council. The Session came to an end on that day, the 28th April, 1005 and it becomes very necessary to consider what is the legal position when there is no longer a Parliament in Session, and when the Governor is requested to issue special warrants, as he is empowered to do, under the Act of 1907, in order that the money should be paid. I cannot help thinking that the fallacy of the arguments put forward to this House by the right hon. Gentleman, with the strong condemnation which he poured forth on the Secretary of State for the Colonies, arises entirely from this, that he has not given strict attention to the definition clauses in the Act of Parliament with which we are dealing.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I have read the judgment, and I think I am speaking correctly when I say that the right hon. Gentleman referred to only one part of it, and that another part of the judgment he did not refer to, and it is far more important. It was said that in the judgment the Supreme Court laid it down and decided that this was an illegal act, and that in contravention of that the Governor had nevertheless acted. I am going to submit to this House, not only did the Governor not act illegally in what he did, but that he acted in strict compliance with the statute, that he did what he was bound to do, and that if he had acted otherwise he would have been acting wrongly, and that the obligation that was placed on him was one it was incumbent on him to perform, and which he would have failed in his duty if he had not performed. With reference to the judgment of the Supreme Court, I attribute very great importance to the greater part of the judgment to which the right hon. Gentleman in no way referred. That was the part where the Judges said they came to the conclusion that it was illegal, no doubt, to attempt to act on a Resolution which was passed by the one House without the assent of the other House, and then they went on to say that this was not a matter with which the Courts could deal at all, and that it was entirely a matter for Parliament, and that the applicants were quite wrong in coming to the Courts of Justice, and that their remedy was, as the Act provides, to go to the next Session of Parliament. If there is not a Session of the Transvaal Parliament, there is now one of the Union Parliaments in which the Acts come up for consideration and have to be determined by that Parliament.
1006 When the House considers what the position o£ the Governor was I do think it must come to the conclusion that in the advice which was given to him there was nothing which in the slightest degree merited what I cannot help thinking were the exaggerated observations of the right hon. Gentleman in his references to the Secretary of State. What happened with reference to it was this: The term "Governor" is used in two capacities in the Act of Parliament. It is a confusion between the two capacities that has led my right hon. Friend into the fallacy which, I think, underlies all his observations. There is the Governor who acts as an officer administering the affairs of the Colony. There is also the Governor who acts in Council as defined by letters patent in the Constitution which was granted. As the Governor-in-Council the Governor is denned as an officer administering the government of the colony, acting by and with the advice and consent of the Executive Council. I think I have quoted the exact words, but at any rate I am quite sure that there is no substantial difference between the words I have stated and as they appear in the Act of Parliament. In order that there shall be no question about this let me point out further that the Act of 1907 under which the special warrant is issued was passed for the purpose of enabling the Governor, defined as in Council, to provide moneys which have not been authorised by law. It is expressly for that purpose it is given under the Acts.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
It is not necessary to have this power if they have passed into law. I agree with the qualification which has been made that there must be necessity, that is to say, you must have first of all necessity for the money being issued, and, secondly, you must have that there has been no authorisation by law of the issue of this money. When these two things coincide then the Governor has to issue his special warrant for the issuing of this money.
Let me add further what seems to me of great importance, that every M. act done by the Governor under these circumstances has to come before the next Parliament. As one would expect, the Act of Parliament provides that special warrants must not be issued for any extravagant amount. The total sum cannot be more than £200,000, and under any circumstances the 1007 matter must come before the next Parliament. The Act which empowers that to be done says: "If it shall appear to the Governor necessary in the public interest …" I think the right hon. Gentleman has taken the view that the word "Governor" there means the Governor in person, and not the Governor in Council. That is the whole of the fallacy, because the term "Governor" is defined in a Clause in the particular Statute with which we are dealing as meaning "the officer for the time being administering the Government of this Colony, acting by and with the consent of the Executive Council thereof." Therefore the House will observe that when the Governor issues a special warrant under these circumstances, he must act by and with the advice and consent of the Ministers. If they advise that this money is required, is it to be contended that the Governor, notwithstanding that he must act with the advice and consent of the Ministers, is to refuse to issue a warrant, although the responsible Ministers have asserted that it is for the public interest, that they are responsible for the advice which they give, and that the Governor is in this respect—I am not saying in all respects—but in this respect, and for the purpose we are now considering, acting in a Ministerial capacity? The whole point of this Statute is to provide, first of all, that the Ministers shall take the responsibility of saying that it is in the public interest, and then, if the money has not been authorised by law, they may come to the Governor, and upon their advice he issues a special warrant. I would really ask the House whether it is seriously contended that, in dealing with finance, when the elected representatives in the Legislative Assembly have come to the conclusion that this money is required, and given advice to the Governor that he shall issue a special warrant, he should refuse to act in accordance with that advice, notwithstanding that in this respect he is acting in the exact words of the Statute, not as the Governor in the ordinary sense, but as the Governor in Council? There is no one familiar with Colonial administration who will fail to realise the important distinction to be drawn between what a Governor does and what the Governor in Council does.
The right hon. Gentleman quite correctly says, according to the view of the 1008 Government, that no blame was attributable to General Hadfield, with which the House, and certainly the Government, would quite agree. General Hadfield acted on the advice of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and, of course, the Secretary of State takes full responsibility for that action. He does not desire in any way, and I am sure the House would not desire, that any blame should be attributed under any circumstances to General Hadfield for having followed the advice given to him from home. But the Secretary of State was confronted with this position. The Ministers who were responsible had given the advice that this money was required. The Governor then had to act by their advice, and asks what he shall do under the circumstances. Mark that the Supreme Court had determined that this was a matter for Parliament and not for the courts. The Secretary of-State considers the position, takes advice with regard to it, and conies to the conclusion that the proper course is for the Governor, acting under this Statute and in this respect, to do what the Ministers of the Colony advise him to do, provided that there is a written assurance give by the Ministers that it is their opinion that the money is required, and that it must be found in the public interest. Thereupon, that written assurance having been given, and not until it had been given by the Ministers, the Governor did what he was bound to do under the circumstances. The whole point of the controversy, and of the attack of the right hon. Gentleman, resolves itself into this: Was the Secretary of State for the Colonies right in the view which he took, that under these circumstances the Governor had no option, when he had the advice and consent of the Ministers, but to do what was required? I do not want to repeat what I have said, tout I must ask the House to bear in mind the important distinction which is to be drawn between the Governor acting on his own responsibility and the Governor acting in Council in the circumstances to which I have referred. The term "Governor" may be used at one moment in relation to the Governor representing the Crown in acts which he may have to perform independent entirely of the Ministers; but in other respects, and in this particular respect, he has to act according to the advice and with the consent of his Ministers.
It is said that the Governor was asked to ratify an illegal Act. Therein, again, lurks a fallacy. It is not an illegal Act. 1009 The Governor was not asked to ratify the resolution; he was asked to issue a special warrant upon the advice of the Ministers when the House was not in Session. If the House had been in Session when this matter came before the Governor he would rightly have said, "This is not a case calling for the issue of my special warrant; I am not entitled to issue it, because the Section provides that it is only when the House is not in Session that I can do so." The Session had come to an end on 28th April, and it was only after that that the Governor issued his warrant. The Supreme Court declared that the matter was not legal in so far as the resolution was passed by one House and not two; but certainly I do not think the Supreme Court would have declared in any way that the action of the Governor was illegal. What the Act of Parliament says at the end of the very Section with which we are dealing is that this matter must come before Parliament in the very next Session, and that is what will have to happen in this case. The gravamen of the case made against the Secretary of State, which is that he acted illegally in the advice which he gave to General Hadfield, is, I submit, according to the view I have expressed, quite wrong, because under the Act, as far as I am able to judge of the Section, a distinction being drawn between the acts of the Governor in one capacity and his acts in another capacity, he had no option in this case but to do what he did. He was not doing an illegal act, but an act which he was bound to perform when once he had the advice of the responsible Ministers. Under these circumstances, I submit that there is really no foundation for the grave charges which the right hon. Gentleman has made against the Secretary of State.
The constitutional doctrine laid down by the Solicitor-General is a very peculiar one, and it throws a singular light on all the precautions put into the Constitution framed by right hon. Gentlemen opposite in 1907 with regard to the payment of money out of the Exchequer. They framed a Constitution; the High Court says that that Constitution has been broken. That is practically the judgment of the High Court.
I understand that on two points at least a grave illegality was committed. In the first place, the lower 1010 House voted themselves a salary, which they had no legal right to do without the assent of the other House. In the second place, they issued the cheques, and asked the Deputy-Governor to use his exceptional authority at a time when the House was sitting.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The resolution was passed on 28th April, and the Session came to an end on 28th April.
Cheques were drawn, I understand, while the House was, undoubtedly, still in Session. The Ministers heard that this singular transaction might be commented upon in the Upper Chamber. They thereupon, after having drawn the cheques, as I understand, prorogued Parliament, so that the Upper Chamber should be deprived of in this case the not wholly useless power of commenting upon the proceedings of the Lower Chamber. They then go to the Governor and say, "The House is not sitting any longer. It was sitting at two o'clock, but it is not sitting now. We require you, acting ministerially, to sign cheques to meet a great public emergency, as, unfortunately, the Legislature which could have authorised all this has come prematurely to an end." This is constitutional law as interpreted by the Law Officers of the Crown, and these are the duties which any gentleman appointed to the high office of Governor of a Colony is expected ministerially to perform. It is evident that that is not the interpretation which General Hadfield put upon his duty. He did not grasp when he went to the Transvaal the full scope of constitutional and ministerial government as understood by the Colonial Office at home. Therefore, he, poor man, was weak-minded enough to commit himself to the absurd proposition that he would like to know from a court of law whether the signature which he was going to authorise to the cheques was a legal signature or not. He actually, so far misunderstood his plain, obvious duty that he had the audacity to suggest that the highest tribunal in the country should be asked whether this very singular transaction—everybody will admit that it was singular—was not merely singular, but legal or illegal. The court said in the most explicit terms that it was illegal. The unhappy officer, unfortunately not brought up on the true milk of constitutional and representative government, applies to the Government at home, thinking that they, who were the authors of the Constitution and responsible for the 1011 general frame work under which he was acting, would take the view that this transaction, at once so singular and so illegal, was not one which he would be expected to authorise. He is disappointed. Probably he would be disappointed. A court of law settled that the course was illegal and unconstitutional. Consequently, from a strictly legal point of view, the matter stands in the same position as if no resolution had been passed at all. It is clear that the payment of Members on the face of it was in contravention of the Act of 1907. This is the point. I must say it is difficult for me to see how money could be withdrawn from the Exchequer account to make these payments without further transgressing the terms of the Audit Act (No. 40), 1907, because it could never be withdrawn under cover of these laws unless the Governor was able to come to the conclusion that this special payment, beyond the amount fixed by law, was necessary in the public interest. The court plainly held that the Governor had to persuade himself—granting that the contention of the hon. and learned Gentleman is right and that the House had been prorogued just in time to prevent it being in Session at a critical moment—granting that the court clearly held that the Governor had to convince himself that this special and exceptional claim was in the public interest—it seems to me that if that is the course which the Colonial Office are going to compel—which the gentlemen at home are going to compel Governors to take in these critical situations, you are expanding a view of what the sphere of Ministerial responsibility is to a most extraordinary length. I quite agree that the Governor himself should act with the advice of his Ministers. Is he to do everything that his Ministers tell him, irrespective of law? Is he to hang a man who has not been tried if Ministers take that view?
§ Colonel SEELY
The law says the Governor must act as Governor-in-Council on the advice of his Ministers. No other possible advice could have been given, seeing that the Governor was acting as Governor-in-Council in accordance with this Audit Act. As Governor-in-Council he could only act on the advice of his Ministers; he could not act otherwise.
Do I understand the right hon. Gentleman to lay down the proposition that within a few days of the highest court in the land saying that a course is illegal that course is to be taken by the Governor if his Ministers think it right for him to do so?
That is a very curious constitutional doctrine. It was certainly never contemplated by any other authorities. It was certainly not contemplated by Lord Cardwell in the passage that my right hon. Friend has just read to the House.
After having heard the passage read by my right hon. Friend, does the hon. and learned Gentleman really say that were he consulting Lord Cardwell now as to his views of administration in the self-governing Colonies, he would say that it was the duty of the Colonial Office to say that the Governor should break the declared law, a law declared by the Colonial Office itself 1 The right hon. Gentleman says that an adequate remedy is provided by the fact that this transaction must be brought up before the Transvaal Legislature, or some other Legislature at its next Session. The Transvaal Parliament, I presume, will never meet again.
Yes, before the new Parliament. When it does come up for Debate there I can at all events conjecture that none of the Gentlemen who have been fortunate enough to receive the £300, instead of £40, will be asked to return to the Exchequer, to the taxpayer of the Transvaal, the money which they had thus constitutionally received, in accordance with the view of the Colonial Office at home! I must say that in the whole history of constitutional government, so far as I know it, a more singular transaction has never taken place. There has never been a more interesting example of financial management by a single Chamber, or one which throws a more curious light upon the view which His Majesty's Government take of the duties they propose to throw upon the Colonial Governors they send out to these great Dominions.
§ Colonel SEELY
I only rise to correct two misapprehensions under which the Committee might be left after having listened to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman opposite. The first point is that he says: "Assuming that your view of the law be right, nevertheless it is still the fault of His Majesty's Government, because they passed the Audit and Exchequer Act, under which this action was taken." Well, that is not true. This Act was passed by the Transvaal Parliament. If we are going to review all the different Acts of the different self- governing Colonies, to call in question the conduct of Members, and also call in question the Acts of Parliament they have passed, I do not think the great Imperial party which raises these points will do much to cement the Empire. The second point is that the right hon. Gentleman does not see, or will not see, or cannot see—I do not know which—the point so plainly put by my hon. and learned Friend. I think the question is not whether we approve of this Act, or whether we find it inconvenient in this country. There is a good deal to be said on that point, I admit. But that is not the point. The question is: Were we bound to give the advice we did? We were bound to give it, for this simple reason: The Governor was bound to act in accordance with this Act. If you turn to the Act itself you will find that whether he is acting as Governor and exercising independent judgment, or as Governor-in-Council—the whole being one word—he must act as he did. In the Definition Clause it is stated clearly that the Governor, for the purposes of this Act, is Governor-General-in-Council, and not only should but must act in accordance with the wishes and intentions of his Ministers.
§ Colonel SEELY
"By and with." If that advice be tendered, action must be taken. It is a perfectly clear constitutional point. I must say we were all glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman make such a humorous speech, but on a strict point of law I do submit to the Committee that he—I cannot put it in more homely language than this—"has not a leg to stand upon." Can he ever have read this Act? I do not believe he has. I think he will admit that, or he would not have made the speech he did. I cannot put it in clearer language than that of the Statute. That, I think, the right hon. Gentleman will admit, and I now hand it over to him.
§ Mr. STEEL-MAITLAND
There are one or two reflections I would like to offer on some of the remarks which have fallen from the Under-Secretary and the Solicitor-General with regard to the action of the Transvaal Government. There are really two points. In the first place I would ask whether any breach of the law was committed at all, and, in the second, place, whether there was any breach of the law by the Governor acting by or with the advice of the members of the Council? So far as one can gather from the Solicitor-General, it is very doubtful if there has been any breach of the law committed by anybody whatsoever.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I did not say that. On the contrary, I pointed out that the court had said that the action was illegal. That I do not think anybody could doubt. The passing of the resolution by one House without the other made that resolution an illegal resolution. That is what the court said. I never disputed that.
§ Mr. STEEL-MAITLAND
I quite accept that from the Solicitor-General, but there was another question of the breach of law which I think he did dispute: Whether, as a matter of fact, the determination of the Bond before the Governor's answer had been received constituted a further breach of that Act? There was another point with regard to the action of the Governor-in-Council—leaving for a moment the act to which the Under-Secretary for the Colonies has referred. There is this to be said, that the action which they authorised is, apart from legality, strictly contrary to their own standing instructions which they give to Governors when they send them out to the self-governing Dominions. If I may read their own standing Instruction to the Governors it is:—That he is ordered to carry out his administration—I now quote the words:—in accordance with the law of the Colony.I think it can hardly be argued that the whole of this piece of administration is in accordance with the law of the Colony. If it was not an illegal act on the part of the Members of the Transvaal Parliament, how was it that certain Members of the Upper House who objected to the payment of this money—and, by the way, may I mention that the reason why there was no opposition was that it had been intended to submit this resolution to the Members of the Upper House, but, knowing that it would be opposed on its merits, those concerned discreetly decided not to do so, but 1015 passed it through the Lower House, not bringing it before the Upper House. When certain Members in the Upper House received their cheques for £300, they returned them to the Clerk of the Council, and asked for payment of the sum which was legally due to them. Where upon their cheques for £300 were with drawn—
§ Mr. STEEL-MAITLAND
I think if my hon. Friend would take the trouble to obtain the South African papers he would be perfectly able to see what he wants, or if he put a question to the Undersecretary he will obtain the information of which he is desirous. In the meantime, I am sure he will accept it from me that there were three or four Members of the Upper Chamber who did not wish to participate in this payment of Members authorised by the popularly elected Members of the Lower House, and sent back their cheques, asking for what they were legally entitled to receive. They received in return cheques for £30. I can hardly conceive, by any stretch of the imagination, that this could be considered carrying on the administration in accordance with the law of the Colony. I would only say a brief word on the subject, which has been urged by hon. Friends behind me and by the right hon. Gentleman in front of me, with regard to the Colonial Conference. It was said against my hon. Friends that they were trying to press the Undersecretary for the Colonies or the Government into bringing forward measures in advance of Colonial opinion. That objection was urged by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean (Sir Charles Dilke). That is an absolute travesty of the whole position taken up by my two hon. Friends. I only refer to this subject, and perhaps my only justification in taking up the time of the Committee with it as contrasted with all the other exhaustive points gone into by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean, is that this subject is dealt with now because it has got to be settled for the next four years. The Imperial Conference will in all probability be held next year, and this is the last occasion, unless perhaps the Prime Minister relents, that we shall have an opportunity of discussing it or getting further information, and the last opportunity of dealing with what the right hon. Gentleman the Mem- 1016 ber for St. George's, Hanover Square (Mr. Lyttelton), has said is one of the most important Conferences and one of the most important factors in the whole of our Imperial administration. The points to which my hon. Friends alluded were not new points to be forced by the Government upon the Conference against their their inclinations or in advance of their sentiments. What my hon. Friends desired was simply and solely to have some assurance that the administration for which the Under-Secretary is responsible is carrying out to the best of its ability the actual conclusions and wishes which were unanimously agreed to by the Prime Ministers at the last Colonial Conference That is not anticipating the wish of the Dominions in any way; it is carrying out wishes to which they have given unanimous expression.
I heard in the answer given by the Under-Secretary for the Colonies that a Committee had been appointed, and was sitting upon the question of naturalisation. If I may say so with all deference this is not the time in which this Committee should be sitting upon that question. The last Imperial Conference we held three years ago, and it is time that the Committee had already finished its sitting.
§ Colonel SEELY
I am very sorry if I misled the Committee. What the hon. Gentleman mentions has been done. The Committee has sat, and concluded its sittings, and forwarded its recommendations.
§ Mr. STEEL-MAITLAND
We are exceedingly grateful to hear in regard to that subject that the Report has been made, and has, we trust, been submitted for consideration. I am sure I am expressing the wish of many Members when I say we do not wish for a single instant to take up an attitude of saying that the right hon. Gentleman is an unprofitable servant because he has done that which he owed. We are quite grateful to him and his colleagues for the lowering of the rates with regard to letters and printed matter to Canada also for the matter of the naturalisation if it has been thoroughly gone into, but I submit to the Committee it is very difficult to make sure upon the information that has been vouchsafed to us how far the work of this Secretariat, upon which an immense importance was laid by the members of the last Imperial Conference, really exists as an operative fact or is really a matter of paper reports and paper documents.
1017 Anyone who is acquainted with the working of a Department is perfectly well able to recognise that an organisation may be really effective, may be working hard, or it may be one differing only from the organisation which has gone before it. Similarly the work done may be thoroughly reliable work, and we gratefully recognise that in the matter of naturalisation it has, or it is easy to recognise that a Report may be issued which is not worth the paper on which it is written. I do not insinuate that this last has been the case, but we wish for some better assurance from the Under-Secretary that the various matters that were at the heart of the last Imperial Conference, and upon which they wished action to be taken, have really been dealt with by the Imperial Secretariat. Naturalisation, which was one instance alluded to, is one of considerable importance. Then, again, there was the whole question of trade marks and patents. So far as I could ascertain from the Chancellor the other day, nothing whatever has been done in regard to the question of double Income Tax. Nothing has been done with regard to the whole question, and a very difficult one, capable of adjustment, of the professional status of various British subjects in various parts of the Dominions—barristers, solicitors, as well as land surveyors and the like—the whole matter of trade statistics by which it was pertinently conceded at the Imperial Conference by a representative of the Dominions as precisely some of the work which the Secretariat should do, and we cannot help having some suspicion—it may be quite unfounded at this stage—that the work has been going on continuously during these three years, getting these subjects ready and preparing, perhaps, other subjects which His Majesty's Government may think it opportune to raise, such as the admission of some of our Colonial fellow subjects on more practical terms to our great Imperial services, it may be the Indian Civil Service.
Will the Under-Secretary for the Colonies tell us frankly, or will he have the information circulated in a document if this information is prepared? It is no use in the world that a Colonial or a Dominion Minister overburdened with all the work of the government of his own Dominion should come over here at great sacrifice of his own time to debate subjects on which the memoranda has only been handed to him at the last moment. The "whole object of the Secretariat as desired 1018 by the Prime Ministers themselves was to be continually at work in getting these subjects ready and digested in the interval between the Conferences, and we have a right to demand a full statement from the Under-Secretary on the subject. It is most significant that the right hon. Gentleman has never alluded to these subjects on the two previous occasions when he had the opportunity of doing so on Colonial Office questions, and when there is silence on his part on the constitution of the Secretariat there is, perhaps, some reason for further inquiry into the matter. Our wish for information is justified by reason of the constitution of the Secretariat itself. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean was perfectly right when he said that the proposal for a Council was not accepted by the whole of the self-governing Dominions, but they asked as a substitute for it that a Secretariat (should be a body containing Colonial members and a Body responsible directly to the body of Prime Ministers of this country and the Dominions. That was what they asked for when they gave up the idea of a permanent Council. Soon afterwards, in response to the statement that official control was needed, it was conceded by them that the. Secretariat should be placed under the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and that he was to be responsible.
Then there came about some ambiguity as to the question of responsibility, and the Prime Minister or the other Minister in charge of the Secretariat was going to be responsible not to the body of Colonial Premiers, but to the Parliament of the United Kingdom; and, lastly, came the statement that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom had too much work, and it was given over to the Colonial Secretary, so throughout the whole you get a declension right away from the wish and attitude of mind of the whole of the Colonial Premiers down to where we are at the present moment. The whole attitude of mind of the Colonial Premiers was something different from that which materialises in the present Imperial Secretariat. The whole attitude of mind of the Colonial Premiers was that all the nations composing the Empire should be considered as co-ordinate, and that the Secretariat should be responsible to those nations disproportionate in amount but co-ordinate in status. I hope I may be corrected if I say that the view of the Colonial Office has been entirely different from that which was in the minds of the Colonial Premiers 1019 as to whom the Secretariat was to be responsible to. The whole attitude of the Colonial Office as administered by the right hon. Gentleman has been to regard the United Kingdom as one body and the Colonies—perhaps in this respect he would not like to put it explicitly—as some external appendage and the Secretariat as a mere addendum in the rise of the Colonial Office. I do not wish to say anything offensive, but the whole language of the Conference is a proof of the same view. The fact that the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was then President of the Board of Trade, did not wish that the Secretariat should consider a matter affecting Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, but should regard them as outside the country, is another view of what I may without offence call a purely parochial view of the Secretariat. For these reasons we press for a full account of the actual papers prepared. Some subjects may come up between now and the Conference, and may have to be regarded as additions, but we should have a list of the subjects that are provisionally to form part of the next agenda, and if the Prime Minister could see his way to granting the fullest information, and could give us an opportunity of discussing the subject in the light of the information before us, it will be bound to have an effect upon the Imperial Conference itself.
§ Mr. O'GRADY
I rise with a desire to speak of what to me, at any rate, seems a very important matter—the position of the British Indians in the Transvaal. I know it is a very difficult and delicate matter, particularly at this juncture, in view of the fact that we now have an independent Parliament in actual operation in the Transvaal, but I still feel, in spite of that fact, that this House ought to concern itself with it. I know it has been said on previous occasions that now the Transvaal has self-government we ought not to interfere, and that they have a perfect right to carry the law they have carried against the British Indians, but I venture to submit there is a claim from the Imperial point of view which considerably outweighs any claim the Transvaal may have in this matter. We ought not to overlook the fact that these laws against our fellow subjects in the Transvaal are having considerable effect in India itself Very much of the unrest in India arises from the fact that the Imperial 1020 Government has not done its duty with regard to the Indians in the Transvaal.
In 1907 Mr. Cox, the late Member for Preston, and I, ventured to bring this matter before Parliament, and I am glad to say we were supported in all quarters of the House. I think, if it were possible to go to a Division to-night, we should still receive the same kind of support. I think the case is so strong for representation to be made by the Imperial Government to the Transvaal Government that a mere statement of the facts would achieve some good. The position of the British Indians I now the Transvaal is a self-governing colony, is considerably worse than it was before the war, and, as far as I can gather, as the days go on the treatment they are receiving certainly gets worse and worse. Prior to the war the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain), whose absence I am sure we all deeply regret, on many occasions intervened in this matter, and I think, as the result of his interventions, that some of the old vicious laws were practically thrown out of gear. They certainly became inoperative. The Act of 1885, for instance, required every Asiatic entering the Transvaal to pay £3 and take out a receipt therefor. It deprived Asiatics of any right to hold landed property save in locations, confined their residence to such locations, and disqualified them from becoming burghers. This was accepted by the Imperial Government of the time under a misapprehension. There were only about thirty Indians resident in the Transvaal, but it was never put in force by the late Boer Government. The treatment they received at that time clearly shows that the intervention of the British Government has some direct effect, because the law was inoperative. Even at a later date Lord Lansdowne declared:—Among the many misdeeds of the Transvaal Republic, I do not know of anything that fills me with more indignation than this treatment of the Indians.When I point out that all the vicious points of the old Act of 1885 are at present in operation, I think the House will agree that the position is very peculiar and ought to receive attention from this House.
The Indians of the Transvaal in my judgment have been misled upon two or three occasions with regard to these Acts. They were advised, I think, by Lord Milner in 1904 that all they had to do was to register themselves voluntarily, and they would be entitled to come and to go or to stay and would not have to be registered 1021 further. As a matter of fact, Acts carried since that advice was given compel them to register. They were again promised by General Smuts, the present Colonial Secretary, that if they voluntarily registered they would possibly be given certain amending Acts which would possibly be more favourable to them. They did, and later General Smuts amended the old Emigration and Asiatic Act, but he so amended it, unfortunately, as to make the position of the Indians considerably worse than it was under the compromise outlined by Lord Milner. One of the Noble Lords in the other House who takes an interest in this matter declared that the action of the Indians, in their passive resistance movement, was not breaking the law at all. It is very interesting to note that the Indians, as a protest against these breaches of the compromise, and against the subsequent conduct of both Mr. Duncan and General Smuts, had a mass meeting, and burned 2,500 of these certificates. Any policeman in any of the towns in the Transvaal can arrest these men and ask them for their certificates and take them to gaol. Although they may be born and domiciled in the Transvaal they apparently get no justice. After they have been in gaol a certain time the Governor, I think, has power to deport them. They are put on board the train, and taken over the border into Portuguese territory. They are told they will then be free men, but at the first stopping place the Portuguese authorities board the train and ship them to India, and, once arrested by the Portuguese authorities, there is absolutely no right of appeal. I venture to submit that that is nothing more nor less than mere trickery.
This is a very delicate and difficult subject, and I feel very strongly upon it, but I do not want to say too much to-night. I believe a better feeling prevails at the present moment—at least among many prominent men in the Transvaal. I believe General Botha and General Smuts are prepared to do what they can, and I am hopeful something will be done along the same lines as was done in the case of Dinizulu. I am perfectly sure that if the Transvaal Government "would confer with Mr. Ghandi and the leaders of the British Indians some compromise would be effected which would give the Indians greater freedom and liberty than they possess at the present moment. I know the question of the colour bar will come up, but these men ought not to have the colour bar put up against them in so stringent a fashion. It 1022 ought not to be overlooked that they are civilised men. I do not want to say anything in disparagement of the natives, but the British Indians must be looked upon from a different point of view than the natives. The Indians are classed with the natives for certain purposes. For instance, they are classed as natives for the purpose of keeping them from the vote, but they are not classed as natives in other respects. The native can own land. but the British Indian cannot. I submit when men are deprived of economic and social rights of that character they are-perfectly entitled to ask themselves what, is the real value of British citizenship.
They are large rate-payers in the various towns, but the colour bar is up against them. They cannot ride in the trams that they own and possess, and I believe they are not entitled even to go on to the sidewalks. They are excluded from many of the trades in the Transvaal. They have to trade in locations. Of course, it is perfectly true they can own property in that particular district. There are laws which, in my judgment, totally restrict any emigration from India. It is perfectly true-the law allows six per annum to come in, but that was conceded on the ground that, they wanted their own medical attendants. Practically emigration from India is totally prohibited. Every child from eight years and, of course, every man has to be registered by taking out certificates. I want to know whether we can consider them to be free men, or whether, as British citizens, they are treated justly even although they are under the autonomous rule of the Transvaal. Taking all these things into consideration, I think something might be done by the Colonial Office to rectify the present state of affairs. They are the most docile and the most loyal of subjects under the British Crown. They are sober, industrious, and abstemious in their habits, and I believe they are people of the strictest business integrity. They are the best of citizens from all possible points of view, and this is the way they are treated in one of our self-governing Colonies. Prior to the war there were only 13,000 of them in the Transvaal, but after the wholesale deportations that have taken place, there are at present only about 5,000 of them remaining. The treatment of some of them in the gaols has come under my observation. I personally know some whose health has been permanently undermined by the way in which they have been treated—cultured 1023 men, refined men—and all because they have the courage of their convictions and purpose vindicating their right on every possible occasion. With regard to the men who are sent out of the country, I admit I do not know much about Indian social life; but I have read very considerably on the matter, and I think I am right in saying that the love of family is as strong, if not stronger, among the Indians than among very many of the white population. A large number of those men who have been deported have left behind them fathers and mothers who are dependent upon the sons, those sons having been deported for vindicating their claim as British citizens. The poverty that has followed as a result of that has positively decimated the families left behind, whilst there are hundreds of business men who have been involved in absolute financial ruin. Treatment of that character ought to be taken into consideration by the Imperial Government, and representations made. What do we see when we compare the British Indians with some of the white population—the scum of Southern Europe? Many of them have indulged in practices in Europe that would scarcely bear the light of day, but those men, because of their white skin, are entitled to go into the Transvaal and become British citizens and receive all the privileges involved in that, whilst the British Indians, who, in my judgment, are far superior in point of intellect, in business ability, and, if I may say so, in loyalty to the Crown than the white men to whom I have referred, have to endure not only social and civic wrongs, but have to endure, because they have become passive resisters, what is to them, compared with white men, positive tortures in the prisons. I believe that if the leaders of the British Indians could be allowed to meet General Smuts, good would come of it. They know that all the laws of which they complain cannot be revoked; they know the racial prejudice that exists, and I am sure they would not ask too much, but if they were allowed, for instance, to voluntarily register, if many of the restraints were removed with regard to travelling in tramcars and trains, if they were allowed to own land, if the restrictions with regard to trading in locations were somewhat loosened—if these things were done I think the British Indians would be perfectly satisfied, at least for the time being, knowing full well that as time went on the white 1024 population of the Transvaal, because of the representations made by the Imperial Government, would have their views broadened, and would admit these men into all the rights and privileges that British citizenship would involve. Perhaps I have spoken rather strongly on this matter, but I feel very keenly. I have followed it for a number of years. I know the feelings of the Colonial Secretary and of the Under-Secretary, and I think I also know something of the views of General Botha and General Smuts on this matter. It is the unseen power that exists in the Transvaal that I think ought to be counter acted. It may be said that there are some economic questions; it may be said of myself, for instance, "You are expressing opinions contrary to the opinions held by the white working man of the Transvaal." I believe the white working men of the Transvaal have been absolutely misled in this matter. I think the Under-Secretary will agree with me that with so very few British Indians engaged in trade—
§ The CHAIRMAN
The only way in which the hon. Gentleman can really raise this matter is by pointing out what the Colonial Office can do. He is complaining of a good deal that goes on in the Transvaal in order, I presume, to point out in what way the Colonial Office could interfere, but he is now discussing it without making any practical application, and that is not in order, because we have no control, and all we can do is to make representations.
§ Mr. O'GRADY
Perhaps I was travelling somewhat wide of the mark. I will confine myself to the point that representations might be made to the Colonial Government, and that is the whole purpose of my intervention. I do trust that those representations will be made as soon as possible, because I feel certain there is a growing opinion in the Transvaal itself in favour of the better treatment of these subjects. If the Conference I suggest could be brought about, I personally should be extremely thankful, and I am sure the Indians would be more than thankful and grateful to the Government.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
With the indulgence of the Committee I propose to call attention to a matter of urgent Imperial and national importance, that of emigration. And here let me say I do not use the word "Imperial" in its ordinary sense in contradistinction to Colonial, but in its wider and more far-reaching sense, 1025 that of Empire. Both the advocates and opponents of emigration are apt to lose sight of the Imperial side of the question, and yet, perhaps, it is the most important side, seeing that it goes to the root of our very existence as an Empire. When people talk of Imperial defence they seem entirely to forget that Australia is practically an empty continent. For what are four millions of persons scattered over an area of three million square miles? At the most they work out to about one and a third to each square mile, and for defence purposes you may take off the one, because the figures include women and children. Even in the last twenty years, years of the highest civilisation in Australia, the population has only increased a million. No wonder Mr. Roosevelt has warned the Australians to beware of an empty north. Although I have no authority to say so, I should not be surprised to hear that Lord Kitchener had repeated the same warning. How is it possible for such a handful of persons to defend so great a continent? Then take Canada. There you have an area of some 3,750,000 square miles with a population of a little more than seven millions, averaging about two persons to the square mile, that also including men, women and children. It is true that during the last twenty years the population of Canada has increased by two and a quarter millions, more than double that of Australia, but what is that when you come to consider the area? Moreover, is that population British born? Does it not consist to a great extent of foreigners of all nationalities?
We know the Canadians are among the most loyal subjects of the Crown, and I have no doubt that these immigrants, coming as they do from foreign countries into a country which is so much superior to the countries they have left, become, in course of time, loyal subjects like the other Canadians. But I submit that when it comes to a question of war you cannot expect these foreign people to have the same patriotic feelings as British immigrants. In the United Kingdom we have a population of 45,000,000, and an area of a little over 121,000 square miles, giving 370 persons to the square mile. Moreover, in the last twenty years the population of the British Isles has increased by seven millions. You have a system of Imperial defence. It is just as important to have an Imperial system of emigration. You have a Standing Committee of Imperial Defence. I 1026 submit that it is quite as important to have a Standing Committee dealing with the question of Imperial emigration. Australia may be quite willing to fight for her own land, but whether her fighters are many or few will be a point of immense importance in any conflict. And an unarmed nation invites disaster. The full cradle and the full emigration ship are even more necessary to Australia's future security than the trained soldier and the vessel of war. Every effort should be made to increase a population that is now dangerously inadequate to satisfy the imperious demands of safety. If I might be allowed to refer for a moment to a statement made in the Commonwealth House of Representatives by Mr. Groom, I shall be able to prove to the Committee that these opinions are supported by Ministers in Australia itself. When moving the Second Reading of the Northern Territory Bill, providing for the transfer of that territory to the Commonwealth, Mr. Groom explained that the area to be transferred under the Bill was equal to France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy together. Port Darwin was nearer to Hong Kong than to Sydney, and while the Northern Territory remained unpeopled it was a perpetual menace to Australia. The military authorities and Lord Northcote, formerly Governor-General of the Commonwealth, had all strongly urged its effective occupation. That is the opinion of one of the Ministers of the Commonwealth of Australia. Then, as regards development, we have no right, I submit to the Committee, to assume possession of vast territories, and to leave them undeveloped. Surely it behaves the Motherland to help the Colonies to develop themselves, not with a population from foreign countries, but with a population British-born.
I should like to refer for a moment to the Australian methods of getting emigrants. It is only within the last three or four years that the Australian States have inaugurated immigration policies of their own. Apparently they do not work hand in hand in every case with the policy laid down by Mr. Deakin, the late Prime Minister of Australia, and in this country some of the Agents-General do not work altogether in concert with the emigration societies. To judge from the Australian Press, Australian immigration is not at the present moment quite what Australia requires. Let me give you a quotation from the Australian "Star," a democratic evening 1027 paper, which very much corresponds with a paper with a similar title in this country. This paper says:—If we are to completely perform our Imperial duty we must also radically alter our immigration system.…Scores of thousands of sturdy Britishers are out of work and are eager to embrace the opportunities which this great unpeopled country offers. And yet we are doing nothing for them. They should certainly be our first consideration, and until the supply of suitable colonising material in the old country is exhausted the foreign element should be left alone. We can have these people for the asking, and still we hesitate. We can assist Great Britain and ourselves at the same time by providing homes for our kinsmen in this land of empty spaces, and yet we do not move. This is not the sort of patriotism to consolidate and strengthen the Empire, to secure the prosperous co-operation of its people in the industries of peace and to ensure unchallengeable might in the arts of war. Let us be patriots in deed as well as in word, and let our patriotism be of a practical sort, besides which all other forms are a mere sham.That is the opinion of democratic Australia. I commend it to the notice of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway on the benches opposite, so that they may compare it with the opinions which they themselves have formed on the question. Here is another extract from the Australian press, representing the views of another portion of the people of Australia:—When we want money we turn to the old country, but when we want labour we never allow our eyes to range beyond the shores of Australia. This grand country is as short of people as a boarding-house pudding is of plums; and yet we stick to the dog-in-the-manger policy of keeping the people of our blood away from that which is beyond our own appetite. Australia is a much too fertile and far too valuable a country to be permitted to keep going for any further length of time with a mere handful of people. It is for Australians to say right now whether we shall admit some of Britain's surplus workers, or whether we shall wait for foreign hordes to force themselves in with the sword. And the privilege of choosing may at any moment be denied to us.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Mr. Whitley)
The hon. Gentleman appears to be reading extracts with regard to matters for which the Under-Secretary for the Colonies has no responsibility.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
I am reading the extracts because I want to show to the Under-Secretary of State that it is his duty to institute an Imperial system of emigration, and that that must be done in correspondence with the Colonies. There must be more co-operation between the Imperial Government and the Colonial Governments, and in order to prove my point I must give the views not only of the Australian people but also those of the Canadian people, and must contrast them with the views of His Majesty's Government; unless I do that the Committee cannot possibly form any conclusion as to whether what I say is correct.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
But if the hon. Member is going to read extracts at length it will not afford other hon. Members an opportunity of speaking. I think he must confine himself to what Ministers here are responsible for.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
With due respect to you, Sir, I will pass that by. I propose now to discuss the question of the Canadian restrictions. This, too, is a matter of great importance to this country, especially as I think I can prove that those restrictions conflict with legislation passed here. The Canadian restrictions at the present moment are of two kinds. First of all there is an Order in Council which was passed in March last which makes it a primary condition of an emigrant entering Canada that he should possess on landing $25 for each member of his family of eighteen years of age and upwards, and half that sum for each member of the family between the ages of five and eighteen. There are certain exemptions to which I will call attention now. But I wish to deal with these financial restrictions later, and to show their effect upon a certain class of persons who would form eminently useful emigrants; men who are eager to enter Canada but are prevented by the regulations from doing so. There is a demand in British Columbia for coal miners, and I have been told by the Agent-General for British Columbia of a case where a family eminently adaptable for coal mining applied to be accepted, but were refused in consequence of these financial restrictions. It was the case of a miner whose wife was ready to go out as a cook. The man had able-bodied sons, also miners, and daughters who could keep house for their father in the absence of the mother. This man applied for permission to emigrate to British Columbia, but as things stand he would, under the restrictions, have required a sum of £100 to enable him to transport himself and family, and, although he belonged to the very class of emigrant which Canada is anxious to obtain, he was debarred from going by reason of the financial restrictions. Then there is the case of the Canadian manufacturers' Association, who have sent a resolution to the Dominion Government pointing out it is hardly fair to make certain arrangements with regard to persons willing to work on the land and not to give the same exemption to persons who were going to earn their living in other walks of life. I take it I shall not be permitted to read these Canadian extracts?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
What we have to discuss is something done or left undone by the Colonial Office.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
And that is what I am desirous of doing, and I crave the indulgence of the House. It is a very important subject, and I wish to put my points before the Committee in order to show upon what I am basing my conclusions- Let me pass to the new regulation. I brought this matter to the notice of the Under-Secretary for the Colonies a little while ago, and I told him that without warning of any kind, and when the preparations for the year's emigration were well advanced, the Assistant Superintendent of Emigration issued a circular from the London office which practically nullified a great deal of the work that had been done by the emigration societies. In that circular we were told that consent could only be given to persons suitable for, willing to accept, and to whom positions for farm work had been guaranteed, no matter whether they have money or are going to friends and relations or not. That is what we call the new regulation, and I have no doubt hon. Members have seen a great deal of comment upon it in the Press. There has been an Emigration Conference, held not very long ago, when it was brought up and considered, and the Under-Secretary for the Colonies informed me that he was going to consider the question himself.
I am anxious to know from him what steps he has taken, and in what direction he is moving, because the new regulation conflicts in many respects with the spirit and the letter of the Order in Council. To that Order in Council certain exemptions were made, by which a certain class of emigrants were able to proceed to Canada on payment of $25, but this regulation says that those persons shall no longer proceed to the Dominion, and, if they do go there, they will be refused entry. I should like to ask the Under-Secretary whether he considers this restriction to be in accordance with the goodwill existing between the Colonial Government and the Imperial Government? Only the other day an actual instance of a family not "being able to proceed to Canada was cited 1030 by the secretary of the Emigration Section of the Unemployed Body, and here I would point out that the very family which was refused by the Superintendent of Emigration because the transportation expenses were defrayed out of public funds, have since been accepted, the money being provided by some generous and public-spirited individual. Therefore what is acceptable to the Dominion official when done by one person is not acceptable if it is done by a society. By this new regulation skilled mechanics and artisans who may wish to take up their trades in the Dominion are debarred should they accept financial assistance in the way I have mentioned. Could there be anything less in keeping with the Imperial idea upon which so much stress has been laid by the statesmen of Canada?
I wish to ask the Under-Secretary of State what steps it is proposed to take in order to bring home to the Dominion of Canada the apparent hardships which are imposed upon the working men of this country by a regulation of this kind. It not only stops this particular class of working men going to Canada, but it prevents women joining their husbands there if they are not working on a farm. It prevents any women going anywhere to Canada unless a relative is working on a farm, and prevents a brother from joining a brother unless he is so working. All these questions are questions which the Under-Secretary to the Colonies should consider very carefully, and should make certain representations with regard to them to the Governments concerned. Not very long ago I pointed out to the Under-Secretary to the Colonies that this new regulation conflicted with the legislation of this country. I pointed out that it conflicted with the Poor Law, with the Local Government Act, with the Unemployed Workmen Act, and with the Labour Exchanges Act, and I received this reply: "The Emigration Regulations of the Canadian Government are not in conflict with the Acts of the Imperial Parliament referred to." I then asked the Undersecretary for the Colonies if he would refer to the Sections of the Act of Parliament, and if he would read them out to the House. That was not considered possible at the moment, and, therefore, with the Committee's indulgence, I will proceed to show them how this regulation does conflict with the Acts to which I have referred.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
I bow to your decision, but it is exceedingly difficult to bring home to the Committee the point to which I am coming if all the premises are ruled out of Order. But, of course, I must bow to your decision, and I pass to another point, namely, that of the consideration of emigration from the standpoint of this country. We often hear it said that it is an advantage to emigrate the in efficients, but it is a disadvantage to emigrate skilled, robust and industrious men so long as they have occupation found for them here. But can occupation be found here for them all? I venture to think not. Scores of persons, industrial workers, are to-day traversing the streets of this city and work cannot be found for them. We are told again, after all, you must not emigrate the best people from this country, that is a very wrong thing to do, but I submit when you have seen, as I have, four or five hundred persons applying for one situation as porter at about twenty shillings a week, that it puts a different complexion on the matter. If you go and talk to these people and look at them as I have done, you will find that they are very good and useful citizens, and they may be considered to be some of our best, but how can 400 or 500 persons all obtain one position, and that being impossible, why not allow some portion of those persons who cannot find employment in this country to be emigrated to the Colonies where employment awaits them? I am sorry the Postmaster-General is not in his place, because I especially wanted to refer to something which he had said. He told us, or he told the Committee on which he sat, that "unemployment is almost invariably a temporary misfortune, and a temporary evil demands temporary relief."
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I have told the hon. Member several times now that these matters are not in Order upon the Colonial Vote, and if he proceeds he must confine himself strictly to matters of Colonial administration.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
I must bow to your decision again. I was endeavouring to explain to the Committee the absolute necessity for an Imperial system of emigration.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I am afraid that comes on the Local Government Board Vote, and not on this Vote.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
Is it in older for me to refer to any arguments, which deal with unemployment? Can I make reference to what some other reformers say?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I am afraid the hon. Member has forgotten what the occasion is. Let me remind him. There is one day in the year on which the House can discuss the work of the Colonial Office, and hon. Members are restricted to that, and I must ask the hon. Member to confine himself during the time he occupies the attention of the Committee strictly to the points for which the Colonial Office is responsible.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
I find it exceedingly difficult to proceed with my statement, because I find that everything I say seems to be ruled out of order. I want to refer to the emigration cost of the Central Unemployed Body of London. Can I refer to that?
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
The House has listened with great interest to the speech on emigration by the hon. Member (Sir C. Kinloch-Cooke). At the same time, I think, that, as the hon. Member is such a constant reader of "The Times," he must remember that over and over again "The Times" correspondent in Australia has made quite clear the real way in which Australia will draw emigrants from this country, namely, by proceeding with the policy which the present Government there advocates so strongly of putting a good big round tax on land values. One subject has come up to-day which I was very sorry to hear made public, the question of the illegal vote given by the Transvaal House of Assembly a few months ago. I think it is very disgraceful that we should wash our dirty linen in public, and I feel that conduct of that sort in the Transvaal Parliament reflects not only upon South Africa, but upon the whole of the British Empire. I am also sorry that an interruption that I made in the speech of the hon. Member (Mr. Steel-Maitland) was misunderstood. I yield to no one in dislike of the methods employed by the Transvaal Parliament in paying themselves salaries to which they were not properly entitled, but I think, as there were certain 1033 well-known Members in the Upper Chamber of the Transvaal Parliament who were not guilty of that somewhat dishonourable trick, when the account of this Debate is sent out to South Africa the names of those who were not a party to that manœuvre should be sent out as well as the well deserved censure which this Debate in the House will convey to the Legislature of the Transvaal. I have many friends in that Upper House and I should be extremely sorry to think that any of them had been guilty of conduct which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lyttelton) laid bare to-day. I hope before this Debate closes we may have from the Under-Secretary the names of the people who ought not to be censured and the names of those who ought to be praised- for standing up against the prevailing lax morality displayed in that Legislature. I am confident that it was only because the responsibility to their constituents was ceasing, and because, after all, there is a different class of men elected to those Parliaments from the class that is elected in this country, and different from the class which would be elected to the new House in South Africa, that such a thing could possibly have arisen, and I am quite certain that the public opinion of the Transvaal, just as much as public opinion here, will censure what occurred.
During the last four years I have raised over and over again the question of land tenure in our Crown Colonies, and it seems to me that at present it is particularly urgent that the Colonial Office should adopt a consistent attitude towards the question of the tenure of land in our various Crown Colonies. It is particularly important at the present time because the rubber boom that has been going on has led to the granting of a great number of concessions in our Crown Colonies and unfortunately concession hunters have been able to acquire from the local chiefs in many cases valuable and extensive areas of land to which they now pose as having a satisfactory title to obtain subscriptions from the British public. I have one of the particulars here. It is the Mamia River Rubber Estates. They claim to have obtained this property:—The property extends for about two miles on either side of the Mamia and Ashire streams, covering an area of about 16H square miles, and is held by virtue of an option for a lease for ninety-nine years, granted by the local chief in conformity with the Official Ordinances of the Government of the Gold Coast Colony.It happens that in the Gold Coast Colony we have adopted the principle of assuming that the chiefs of the tribal 1034 stools, as they call them there, are the local land owners. Therefore these chiefs, are able to alienate, just as the King of Swaziland alienated all the land of that tribe, to any speculator who comes along and likes to give him a bottle of whisky. The chief is considered to own the land. The only restriction on his alienating the land to any non-native who comes along is the case of areas of over 5,000 acres that the Secretary of State here holds. That is the practice in the Gold Coast, and it has led already to the alienation of a large part of what is really the property of the natives, the land of their own country, to non-native European speculators, either in rubber or in oil, or I dare say, in some cases, cotton. So much for the Gold Coast. That is, perhaps, the worst example of our Colonial system. Then you go to Sierra Leone, and you find there, too, that the natives are supposed to own the land and have the power of alienation. It is rather better in Uganda, where the Governor himself exercises strict supervision over any alienation of the land by natives to whites. In all these cases the natives themselves are supposed to own the land—that is to say, the chief of the tribe is put in the position in law of the English landlord. I think that, which is rather an old-fashioned Colonial idea, is absolutely wrong, and I think the Colonial Office should do what it can to bring up these old-fashioned Colonies to the more modern conception of landed property. In the more modern Colonies we have, immediately after annexation or protection is extended to them, the new theory that the whole of the land of the Colony becomes the property of the State, to be held by the State in the interests of the inhabitants of the country. You see that, for instance, in British East Africa. You see it in a part of Uganda; you see it in Southern Nigeria, and more particularly in Northern Nigeria.
In all these Colonies, and in the Federated Malay States, and the Falkland Islands, generally speaking, the more modern assumption has been that the land of every Crown Colony belongs to the Crown and not to some local black chief. So far that is thoroughly satisfactory, and in accordance with what would, of course, now be the views of every party in the House. But unfortunately, owing to the exigencies of making your revenue meet your expenditure, the Governors of our Crown Colonies have got into that habit of alienating these Grown lands and 1035 selling the freehold, in many cases, as rapidly as possible, and actually taking the money raised in this way and including it in the annual revenue of the Colonies. You will see that particularly in the case of the Falkland Islands, where they sold £60,000 worth of land in the last five years, and you will see it in the case of the Federated Malay States, where last year alone they sold or alienated outright 260,000 acres, consisting very largely of tin mining land, thus throwing away the whole of the future of these countries in order to obtain revenue. The total amount of land sold in the Federated Malay States in the last few years amounted in value to £1,343,000. All over you will find the Governors assuming that this is what they are intended to do by the Colonial Office. You will find excuses in their Reports that the land sales in one year are not so large as in previous years, as if it were the policy of the Colonial Office to get rid of the land as fast as possible.
I think it is about time that the Government made quite clear they do not wish the Crown estates to be alienated in perpetuity any longer in our Crown Colonies. It is perfectly feasible to make leases of the Crown estates for a period of twenty-one or thirty-three years, the leases to be renewable so long as the rent for the land under the renewed lease is revisable. That is the principle which was introduced in British East Africa, and I am sorry to say that the Government is now considering, or, at any rate, strong recommendations have been made to them to reconsider, this policy with the view to giving freehold instead of leasehold. I think that is a step backwards, and I hope the Government will not give any countenance to such a reactionary measure as the granting of freehold and the permanent alienation of Crown property, instead of putting the leasehold system on a sound and workable basis, as is perfectly capable of being done. It is the magical influence which ownership of property has which induces people to buy land. Unfortunately in some Colonies it induces people to buy large tracts of land, like the squatters in Australia, and simply to act as dogs in a manger and prevent other settlers from making a living in the Colonies.
I come now to our latest Colony, and I should like the House to understand and appreciate the new departure that has 1036 taken place in the system of land tenure, and its value for the whole Empire. In Northern Nigeria, our latest Colony, the land was immediately declared by Sir Frederick Lugard to be Crown property, and after a certain amount of negotiation—
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I was coming to that. I want to say in the interest of the natives it is absolutely essential that you should not allow the chiefs to alienate the. land of their tribes by assuming it to be their property. In the second place, when the Government of Northern Nigeria is attacked by the Anti-Slavery League, and Mr. Morel, for taking to a certain extent to what the late King Leopold did in the Congo, they are not only unjustly attacking the system in Northern Nigeria, but they are attacking the system which will enable the natives to resist for all time forced labour at the hands of white people. Sir Frederick Lugard maintained the principle that none of the land of Northern Nigeria was to be alienated to whites on any consideration whatever without the approval of the natives so that he prevented in that way in the earlier years a rush of white speculators to grab the land in Northern Nigeria.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
No, I do not assume that every white man is a robber; but I am particularly anxious that the natives of these countries should not be used for the purpose of making dividends for speculative financiers in Europe. Having been in the country for some time, Colonel Girouard arranged that the taxes of the country, which were complicated and insufficient, should be put on a new basis. Having first of all got all the land recognised by the natives of the country as being Crown property, he established as his single tax the rent from the land in Nigeria. That has not, of course, been put into operation yet over the whole of that country, but I want the House to understand what has been done in one district. Practically speaking, the revenue in the township of Karno is now simply derived from a single tax. The whole of the taxation is raised simply and solely from rent on land, and the 1037 whole system is welcomed by the natives of the country. They welcome it, because for the first time they know exactly what they have to pay, and because they can no longer be squeezed by the headmen who used to make a good thing out of the taxes which were imposed. The rent ranges from Is. 6d. per acre to £3 per acre, according to the position of the land and the purpose for which it is used. Everybody knows on what grade he comes. The whole of the taxation in that country is collected regularly through this land tax, and it gives every satisfaction to the natives of the country. Of course, it will be some little time before it is extended to the whole of Nigeria. What happens in the Province to which I have referred? Labour is not easy to get, because the demand for it on their own farms makes it scarce. One of the great complaints of people who want labour is that they have to pay 6d. per day for labourers, although a penny per day can keep alive a man and his family. That may be a bad thing for people who want to build railways cheaply. Wages are high, and there is no forced labour in that country. The conditions in Northern Nigeria ought to encourage people like Mr. Morel and the Anti-Slavery League. The people are contented, they have enough to eat, and they have excellent protection, and I can only say that if the whole of our Colonies, as regards natives, were run on lines similar to those in Northern Nigeria, the better it would be for the whole of the black population of our Empire.
This leads me up to the next point. Northern Nigeria being the most successful of our Colonies of the present day, I cannot imagine why the Colonial Office did not take an early opportunity of combining Northern and Southern Nigeria in one. It is simply ridiculous that on one side of a straight line you have administration by Northern Nigerian officials, and on the other side of a line running through the country of the one tribe you have the administration of Southern Nigeria. It becomes worse when you remember that in Northern Nigeria the land is taxed and that in Southern Nigeria the people are not paying any taxes at all. They are levied entirely on import duties. The result is that there are complications in administration, differences in programme, differences in ideas, and differences in taxation and land tenure existing between Northern and Southern Nigeria, and all 1038 of them based on no real difference of principle whatever. It is perfectly possible to amalgamate those two colonies tomorrow, and I do hope that as soon as the ideal Governor- General comes along we shall have him put in charge of Northern and Southern Nigeria, with your railway policy, your policy of education and everything being run on the same lines. Northern Nigeria is saddled with a line 150 miles long that will never pay. In Southern Nigeria you are educating the natives, you are making them civilised beings, postboys, and clerks in stores. Northern Nigeria does not touch education at all. Nothing but difficulty and complications can result from having in one country two entirely different systems. Human nature being what it is, each of the Governors of these countries will want to show that its system is the best and differs as radically as possible from the system of the other country. I therefore think this is eminently a case for centralisation with one homogeneous railway policy and one homogeneous policy of land tenure and taxation, and it would really be a feather in the cap of the Undersecretary of State for the Colonies if he should graft upon Southern Nigeria the excellent system of Northern Nigeria and combine the two places in one of her biggest colonies in Africa.
The whole of the Land Question of the Colonies may be summed up, therefore, in those words. First of all we ought to do away entirely with the idea that local chiefs are landlords, are people who are entitled to dispose of their land to non-natives. That affect? other Colonies, particularly the. Gold Coast, Sierra Leone, and also parts of Lagos. Then, also, we should recognise that all the land not belonging to the chiefs belong to the Crown, in trust for the natives, and that as it is held in trust for the natives, the Crown has no right, to give a freehold title in the land to non-natives. It has a right to expect the land to be developed by non-natives; it has the right to ask for the co-operation of whites in developing the country. But it should not give them a freehold title. It should give them a leasehold title. Unfortunately, in the Federated Malay States, more than half the country has been given away already. In other Colonies, and even there as regards the remainder of the area, it is possible still to lay down a new policy 1039 to prevent the whole of the country being given away. The leasehold system should be for twenty-one or thirty- three years, with a right to renewal at a rate based upon the economic rent of the land—that is to say, the land value, as apart from all buildings and improvements upon it. That is the system adopted in Northern Nigeria. Lastly, I think we should consider whether a system which is so successful in Northern Nigeria could not also be applied to the other Colonies on the West Coast of Africa. Of course, one knows how conservative these different places are; how difficult it is to alter local customs and native customs. But still, now that you have got such an excellent body of administrators in that northern Colony, and as they will go out as possible Governors to other Colonies later on, I think it would be possible from the Colonial Office to spread this system which has been so successful in our newest Colonies, even to the older ones, where things have not gone so well.
§ Mr. ASHLEY
I desire to draw the attention of the Committee and the Undersecretary to another portion of the British Empire, the Island of Cyprus. I understand from information received and from what I read in the papers, that the condition of the Island of Cyprus is not at all a satisfactory one, and is not at all one which reflects credit upon our administration. We as a nation, in the past have been almost invariably successful in our Colonial ventures and in the management of our foreign Dominions, but I am afraid that, in the case of Cyprus, we have been almost a signal failure. A month or two ago there was an absolute deadlock in the Legislative Council there. The Council consists of eighteen members, six nominated and twelve elected, three by Mahomedan electors and nine by non-Mahomedan. The twelve elected members took a very strong step, which I hope the Under - Secretary will be able in his answer to show me was not justified, because it was undoubtedly a very strong step. They refused to vote the Address and paralysed all legislative activities. They sent the following memorial to the Commissioners:—Your Excellency's silence as to the considerable surplus balances, and as to their disposal in accordance with the just and frequently expressed claims of the elected representativas, has made a painful impression on us; whilst we are truly amazed at the absolutely unexpected announcement that the annual payment to the island from the Imperial Treasury has been reduced 1040 to £40,000 for the coming year, instead of being considerably increased and made permanent, as there was good ground for expecting, in view of the necessities of the country, and after the assurances of the right hon. W. Churchill, now one of His Majesty's principal Secretaries of State. This last matter is of such paramount importance that it is incumbent on us to refrain from further reply to your Excellency's opening speech, and to bring forward forthwith a special resolution on the subject.During the last sixteen or twenty years, since we have had control of the island, we have given a Grant in Aid from the Imperial funds, and in the ten years succeeding 1896 the Grant rose from £13,000 to £33,000. In 1907 it was £50,000, and in 1908 it was £50,000. I think the inhabitants of Cyprus, seeing that in these two years £50,000 had been granted, were justified in expecting, especially as the island was going through a severe economic crisis, that they would receive £50,000, and it is because the Government are only giving them £40,000 that, T understand, the present difficulty has arisen. The whole situation is a complicated one. Though we are giving a Grant in Aid to Cyprus, yet the surplus revenue during the last five years in that island has averaged from £60,000 to £100,000. It may very well be said therefore: "Is it possible that a Grant in Aid can really be required with a surplus of £60,000?" To find the reason one must go back a little to see how we got possession of Cyprus. Cyprus was conceded to us in 1878 by Turkey, and we were to be allowed to retain it as long as Russia retains Kars and Batoum. 'We also undertook to protect the Asiatic possessions of Turkey as long as we retained Cyprus. There was, however, a fly in the ointment—there is the great drawback to the possession of this island, namely, that we have to pay Turkey a tribute of £93,000 a year and 4,000,000 okes of salt. I should like to know what that payment of okes of salt really means. At any rate, this fact explains to the Committee why a surplus of £60,000 is turned into a deficit of £60,000. Here we have an island which in ancient times was admittedly one of the most fertile on the earth. It was cultivated by the ancient nations; many battles were fought to gain possession of it; yet, though it has been in our possession for thirty years and more, it certainly has not progressed.
We went there claiming to give justice, freedom and prosperity. If we look across the sea to Egypt we there see a country which was subject to misrule similar to that from which Cyprus suffered before we went there, yet, in exactly the same period of time, Egypt has become one of 1041 the most fertile and most commercially prosperous nations that exist at the present time. It is perfectly true that the forests of Cyprus having been cut down so largely has affected the island, and it is also true that no steps were taken to diminish a great plague of locusts. What have we done for afforestation? We have stopped the cutting down of the forests, but have we done anything to put the climate back to what it was in ancient times? It was the cutting down of the forests which caused the lack of rainfall and severe droughts. I hope that the subject of Cyprus, which is an important part of our Dominions, will receive consideration. We went there claiming to give liberty and prosperity, and I do not think we have quite carried out our promises. I would like to know what is going to be done to fulfil the undertakings given in 1878. To come to another part of the Empire, I wish to know what is proposed to be done with the Report of the Mauritius Commission which went out at considerable expense to inquire into the condition of that island. Its administration admittedly was unsatisfactory, and often expenditure very much exceeded income. The Colonial Office have had the benefit of the inquiries made by this extremely able Commission, who have issued a voluminous Report in three Blue Books, in one of which they have made two or three very important recommendations. I should like to know whether the Colonial Office are going to take steps, big steps, even reactionary steps some hon. Members may think, but still I think necessary steps, to deprive elective Members of seats on the Executive Council. I would also ask the hon. Gentleman whether he is going to sanction the proposals as to taxation and the very strict and necessary economy they recommend. It would be a waste of money to send out distinguished public servants at the public expense for three or four months, if you do not act on their recommendations.
§ Sir GEORGE WHITE
I rise to support the reduction of the Vote for entirely different reasons from those which were given by the Mover and supporters. Indeed it was somewhat difficult to ascertain what the ground of complaint against the Government was that these hon. Members attempted to voice, and during the somewhat lengthy address of the right hon Member (Mr. Lyttelton) there was the same difficulty. It was true he read a homily to the Government on courtesy 1042 and good behaviour in the coming Conference, but, until the last few minutes of his address, he brought no charge whatever, so far as I could understand, against the Government. I am about to make a complaint of a very concrete nature, and also to voice a strong remonstrance against what I consider to be very retrograde action on the part of the Government in regard to the payment of a chaplain and the contribution, a considerable contribution, to the building of an Episcopal Church in Lagos. I feel quite sure that in making this remonstrance I have the support of a very large number of Members of this House, and I am equally sure when all the facts come before the public generally there will be a great expression of surprise that such actions; is I have to complain of should come from the Liberal Government, part of whose principles, at any rate, are supposed to be based on the ground of not only civil but religious equality. The self-governing Colonies have all along taken care to keep free of the complications that are brought about by a State Church, and consequently they have set an example, as I think, to the Government, who have attempted, in the action of which I complain, in a Crown Colony to establish one form of religion at the expense of a vast number of the inhabitants, who have a variety of religions, and a very small minority of them profess the religion for which this church is to be built and endowed.
I think the Government have, in a some what flagrant manner, if I may be allowed to use a strong expression—I feel strongly about it—outraged the principles of true religious liberty in this matter. This is a very remarkable case. The right hon. Member (Mr. Lyttelton), who filled the position of Colonial Secretary previous to this Government's coming into office, had this same demand made during his tenure of office, which he resisted, and in resisting this demand or request he said that it would be going contrary to the practice of the Colonial Office to do what was asked. I had the misfortune to be away from the House when my right hon Friend made his opening statement. I am told he stated that the practice which has taken place in Lagos existed in large numbers of Crown Colonies and appertained to almost all forms of religion. But it was quite evident whatever might have been the practice that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for St. George's felt that that 1043 practice had been discountenanced of late, and that therefore he did not see his way to accede to that request. If that be so, and this Government have resumed in any sense, or countenanced the resumption of this practice, I think we have grave reason of complaint against them. The answer of the late Colonial Secretary, the right hon. Member for St. George's, set this question at rest for at least two years. On the accession to office of Lord Elgin the request was resumed, and he referred the applicants to the answer which had been given by his predecessor in office. It was therefore left for the present Colonial Secretary to succumb to the pertinacity and blandishments of the Governor in regard to this matter.
I shall trouble the House with a brief recapitulation of the facts, as they have come to light by degrees, upon which I base the charge which I am making against the Colonial Office. I believe that Lagos has been a Crown Colony for 50 years. It is only in the last very few years that an attempt has been felt to be necessary to endow any church out of the funds of the Colony. It appears that this arose when the Church Missionary Society retired from its work there to take up similar work in the interior. It did not leave Lagos for any reason, we gather, except that it felt that its followers were sufficiently strong to maintain their own form of worship by their own voluntary contributions. But unhappily the Governor, and I suppose the Bishop, felt less confident in the adherents to the Episcopal faith in Lagos than the Church Missionary Society felt, for they immediately began to apply to the Colonial Office to appropriate some of the funds of the Colony for the purpose. This application, in the first instance, was for the modest sum of £100 per year. But I would ask the Committee to note how these demands grow as time proceeds. Although the Governor asked for that modest sum, the Bishop, who happened to be in England at the time, with the wisdom generally appertaining to such gentlemen, thought he could make an impression if he called at the Colonial Office and presented his case. His demand was for £300. As I gather, the Colonial Secretary, whilst not absolutely denying any help to him, really took up the line that if the Legislative Council were prepared to vote in favour of some sum being given, then he might consider it. On 29th November, 1905, this question 1044 was placed before the Legislative Council, and, on the vote, was lost toy five against three. That settled the question for the following two years. Lord Elgin became Colonial Secretary, and, as I have already stated, his answer to the request was that he must refer them to the answer already given by his predecessor in office. It was requested that a chaplain should be appointed, and that he should have a Colonial Church under the direct control of the Colonial Government. It is almost like an attempt to take over a branch of the Church Missionary Society, and possibly my right hon. Friend, if he succeeds, may be able to run a great Church Missionary Society under the œgis of the Colonial Office. By this time the demand, which started at £100, has now risen to £400 as salary, advancing by £20 per year to £500, with a sum of £80 per annum for duty pay, whatever that may be. So that in the short space of three or four years a demand beginning at £100 has risen to £580 per year. Lord Elgin refused that demand, and now Lord Crewe occupies the position of Colonial Secretary. With a pertinacity and courage, I would say worthy of a better cause, an application is made afresh to the new Colonial Secretary, and in July, 1909, this same proposition is put before the Legislative Council. On this occasion it appears that the Legislative Council supported this request. It is said, and though I cannot vouch for the absolute facts, I believe it is substantially accurate that this Council was called at extremeely short notice, that a protest was made against the shortness of the notice, because all the unofficial Members could not have been consulted, and that that was the real reason why on this occasion the question was supported by the action of the Legislative Council. The Government declined to allow any discussion in the matter, and said that all this question had been settled long ago.
Then comes up a fresh demand altogether—a demand for moneys towards the building of a church which is set out to cost £10,000, of which £5,000 is to be covered by subscriptions, and £5,000 to be taken from the funds of the Crown Colony. To this demand the present Colonial Secretary yielded, and, according to reports in the papers, the Governor rejoiced that at length he had succeeded in overcoming the objections raised by several Secretaries of State. That is a brief resume of the position, for all of which there are vouchers to show that the statement is 1045 correct. I am afraid that my right hon. Friend will tell us that a chaplain has been appointed, and the salary for the chaplain fixed, and that, therefore, it is impossible to stop that appointment, and if we learn correctly, by to-day or to-morrow the building of this church is to commence, and £1,500 is to be appropriated by the Colonial Office towards the £5,000, which is to be applied for this purpose from those funds, I shall be able to show that this outlay—even if it could be defended on principle, and that is the ground on which my objection is based, that it is altogether unnecesary.
It appears to me an extraordinary proceeding on the part of a Liberal Government. I know that my right hon. Friend, with his generous nature, would be quite willing to meet the claims of religious equality, as he regards them, by assisting to build not only an Episcopal Church, but a Baptist conventicle if good reason could be shown why that should be done. But that is not what we understand by religious equality. Possibly if he were of a more sanguinary nature he might think that if I were placed at one stake and the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University (Lord H. Cecil) at another it would be an exemplification of religious equality; but it would be very difficult for him to show that to put a bad principle into practice in two forms is likely to bring forth as the result of a good principle. We regard a grant of public funds to any place of worship or for any person to officiate in a place of worship is contrary to the principles of religious equality? believe it is the fact that the statement of my right hon. Friend as to the general system which he assures us has existed in Crown Colonies has come as a surprise to him. I am sure it is a surprise to the Prime Minister, as also I believe is the action in regard to Lagos. I think, therefore, we ought to know what is to be the future action of the Government in this matter. The only justification I can find offered for this action is that in consequence of the climate the Europeans who go to this district do not stay long enough to get sufficient interest in the religious services to be induced to subscribe anything for the maintenance of religious worship. If that is the best justification that can be offered I think it is a most inadequate one. That there is no lack even of Episcopal places of worship those who know the circumstances will fully agree. The whole European population, 1046 I am informed, is only about 400, and of those 400 the Church of England has only a minority. I cannot vouch for the figure, but I have seen it stated that the communicants number about four. Apart from the principle, upon which I lay the greatest stress, can there be any justification for building a church costing £10,000 for this small body of Europeans, many of whom worship at other places and have ample provision made for them? It is notorious that the native population are against this attempt to take from their funds money either to endow the building itself or to provide a salary for the chaplain. I cannot believe that a great and noble society like the Church Missionary Society can support a movement of this sort by which Mahomedans, people of no religion, and all varieties of population, are compelled to contribute out of their funds for the maintenance of a place of worship in which are taught doctrines entirely opposed to their own beliefs. It seems to me extremely late in the day to resuscitate or to maintain a principle which is growing less and less in favour in all civilised countries. To attempt to justify this outlay on the ground that a similar outlay is made for other religious bodies is no justification whatever. Public funds ought not to be contributed for the benefit of one body of religionists. As the Church Missionary Society itself demonstrates, the more Christian people rely upon their own voluntary efforts for the maintenance of their religious work, the more successful is that work likely to be. It is not sufficient to tell us that this practice has obtained in times past. When the application was first made it was said to be contrary to the growing practice of the Colonial Office. Is a Liberal Government going to take a retrograde course in a Crown Colony upon a principle in which we believe religious equality is bound up? I hope that, as far as it can be done without injustice, the Colonial Office will take the most energetic steps to stop what we regard as a great injustice.
§ Mr. C. S. GOLDMAN
As the Committee is well aware, the question of emigration formed the subject of considerable deliberation at the last Imperial Conference. A resolution was then passed in favour of emigration, and suggesting that the Colonial Office should be asked to assist the sending out of useful and healthy emigrants. The question may have been very important at that time, but it is far more important that the Colonial 1047 Office should interest itself in the subject to-day, in view of the changed circumstances of the last four years. Emigration has considerably increased. This year there is practically a boom in emigration. There is an increase in the case of Canada of over 50 per cent, as compared with last year; while the emigration to Australia is twice as large as it then was. The pressure on the shipping industry is such that many of the ships find themselves overcrowded, and the opinion is expressed in many quarters that the conditions are positively dangerous to safety. There is such overcrowding amongst steerage passengers that insanitary conditions result. These circumstances have come under the consideration of the Royal Colonial Institute. An important conference was held recently, at which all the leading public and private bodies concerned in emigration matters were represented, and the following resolution was passed:—This Conference respectfully suggests to His Majesty's Government the desirability of holding, as soon as possible, in accordance with the resolution of the Imperial Conference of 1907, a subsidiary Conference to consider the subject of emigration from the United Kingdom to the British Dominions overseas.It would be very interesting and important if the House could be informed of the intention of the Colonial Office in the matter. I do not know if it will be convenient for the Under-Secretary to make any communication as to whether it falls within the scope of the Colonial Office to deal with a matter of this character, and to call such a Conference. It might be to the detriment of the Empire as a whole, while an advantage to Canada, to give certain classes of emigrants freedom of admission to Canada, while forbidding other classes to go there unrestrictedly. The effect of this might conceivably be that you are holding up in this country a number of men who are auxiliary to this very class of productive energy and skilled labour which is leaving the country. If you deprive them of this economic centre you will find yourselves set back with a mass of unskilled men—clerks in particular—that the other Colonies will not take, and so you will increase the already very difficult problem of unemployment in this country. Another point which, no doubt, would be discussed at the Conference would be that all those public bodies who are engaged in emigration work would place their views before such Conference to show the direction in which they are working. The effect might be that the 1048 representatives of the various Dominions, who were present on that occasion, would agree to give a subvention to those who are engaged in this excellent work of emigration to our Colonies. There are several other points which I would like to dwell upon, but the chief point is to ascertain, if it be possible, from the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies if he can give us any indication as to whether such a Conference as I have mentioned is likely to be called.
I desire to speak on behalf of those parts of our Dominions where many of the inhabitants are not able, or in a position, to speak for themselves. Unlike some of the hon. Gentlemen who have spoken, I am not going to complain that these Dominions have got too much power, and that they are doing things which call for our interference. On the contrary, what I am going to urge is that we ought at the earliest possible moment to give them more power. I want to draw attention to the Committee that has been sitting on Emigration from India to the Crown Colonies and Protectorates, to make one or two remarks in regard to it, and to draw one or two deductions there-from. In the first place, I want to draw the attention of the Committee to the composition of that particular Committee, and see how far it was likely to be a benefit to this country, and to India, and how far it was likely to be of good to the countries where these people desire to enter as immigrants. It did strike me as Toeing very peculiar indeed that the Committee, which was called together to discuss and consider in all its wide bearings a question which was in reality a labour question, should not have upon it one solitary labour member. I find that on the Committee some form of wealth, or privilege, or officialdom was represented, but not one single representative was there in the interests of labour to look at these questions from a labour point of view, which, after all, is a distinct point of view. I want at the same time to guard against any misconception. I am not suggesting that any one of the gentlemen who constituted that Committee did not do his duty from his own standpoint, and from what his conception of what his duty was. I know personally that however unbiassed or unprejudiced I myself have tried to be, I am always conscious that I have a bias in certain directions. What is true of me is true, I presume, of the members of that Committee. We 1049 cannot, try how we will, divest ourselves of that particular bias which happens to be in our composition, and which works according to our walk and circumstance in life. Therefore I believe that this Committee would have been greatly strengthened had it had on it even one labour member, who would have looked at this question from our particular standpoint.
I am not at all surprised at the conclusion of this Committee. I am not going so far as to say that had it been differently constituted it would have come to a different conclusion. I do suggest that some other points of view might have been forthcoming, and some little influence at least exercised upon some of the evidence. Another thing which struck me quite forcibly was not only the composition of tin Committee, but the witnesses called before it. Here, again, were the same phenomena to be found, that wealth in all its stages was represented, so was officialdom, and so was religion by its ministers. Except in four instances, there was no man called from this particular standpoint either from the labour movement at home, or from the native Creole standpoint, or even that of the East Indians themselves. All the rest of the witnesses were representative of the planters' interest, or at least of the various degrees of officialdom. One of the four to which I refer was Mr. Alfred Richards, president of the Working Men's Association of Trinidad. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Montgomery Boroughs volunteers the information that Mr. Richards represented 260 members. He probably knows better than Mr. Richards himself. He assured the Committee that he represented 1,000 members. There was also the Hon. C. P. David, a Creole Member of the Legislature of Trinidad; Mr. George FitzPatrick, who was sent over to especially represent East Indians; and our late colleague, Mr. Sum-merbell. When we look a little more closely at the habit of mind of some of these men one marvels that they even gave the credit to the Creoles that they did. For instance, I have a quotation here taken from the report of the evidence of Sir Nevile Lubbock, late chairman of the West Indian Commission. He had been asked a question by the chairman of the Committee as to whether he thought the influence of the indentured system upon the East Indians was good and had any result on the formation of character, and made the man technically a better worker. He replied that "Undoubtedly I look upon the 1050 indenturing of the coolie very much as in this country we should the sending of a, boy to Eton." I do not know whether he meant that as a joke, but it reminds me very forcibly of a Yankee who kept bees. He did not want to take the honey from the bees, but at last he squared his conscience sufficiently to do it, declaring that if he did not take the honey in the autumn the bees would be out of work and have nothing to do. That appears to have been the attitude of most of the witnesses towards the labourers that I am afraid many of them treat so badly. I say that advisedly. It is because of the very composition of that Committee that no evidence of that appears in it. I want to call attention to a newspaper report, and, first of all, I should like to say that in no part of the House will it be accepted with more recognition that newspaper reports ought to be examined very carefully before being accepted than on the Labour Benches, but obviously the most cautious and suspicious of us sometimes find something in our capitalist Press that ought to be believed, and this is one of them. I have a report here from a Trinidad paper.
I am not quite sure. I think it is the "Mirror." The report is: that of a very enthusiastic meeting held in the Albany Hall, San Fernando. One of the most remarkable facts of that meeting is that it lasted five hours, which would go to show that it must have been dealing with some question that appealed to the imagination of those present; whether they exaggerated their case at the meeting is another matter. Everyone, however, will agree that the fact that the meeting was called is evidence in itself that something was wrong Mr. Richards' evidence at the Committee seems to have been altogether discredited. I must admit that Mr. Richards' evidence was rather contradictory in parts, but when I recognise the heckling and cross-examination he was subjected to, coupled with the fact that he was ill when giving evidence, I am not surprised he-was contradictory. But some parts of his evidence supports the evidence of Mr. FitzPatrick, who was sent out specially by the West Indians to put their point of view. The evidence of Mr. Richards and Mr. FitzPatrick and the Hon. C. P. David were all discredited because they suggested things which, according to the 1051 planter's evidence, did not take place. I suppose, if I were a planter, I would take a planter's view, but if I were a West Indian I would take a different view. I will only read a short extract from the newspaper:—Have you ever sat down and tried to realise the number of really destitute Indians who are scattered over this rich and beautiful land, the privations and sufferings they are enduring day after day?These are the words of Dr. Guiseppi, an Indian doctor, who was holding this meeting in order to provide homes for distressed Indians—the very class of Indian that the Report says do not exist in all Trinidad, Jamaica, or British Guiana or any part of the West Indies. Notwithstanding this, we find that a meeting is held in order to provide homes for them and to that meeting a scheme was outlined which was to cost £12,750, and of that sum they got over 700 dollars at that particular meeting. One other matter I asked the right hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary the other day, had he received from British Guiana a memorial from the teachers, and he replied that he had not. I have now that circular in my hand, and I should like to draw the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to it. Briefly stated, the position is this: Some time ago in 1904 the new code was issued regulating the amount of support to be given to primary schools, and it works out something like this: Whatever a particular school earns it is not allowed because of the insufficiency of the Grant made to receive the amount earned, and in addition the schoolteachers themselves have to sacrifice part of their salaries in order to make up the Grant. At least, that is the information I have received, and I should like that the right hon. Gentleman should give us some information on this matter and that he should, if possible, stimulate education in British Guiana. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will not be averse to doing what he can in this matter.
This Debate. has at least shown one or two things, and one of the things I am most anxious to point out is the contention of Mr. Fitzpatrick on behalf of his fellow East Indians. He presses strongly for an inquiry into the condition of the coolies upon the estates. For my part I must say that, reading carefully through at least three-parts of the Report and quite one-third of the Minutes of evidence, and also a quantity of the papers submitted on evidence, I have come to the conclusion that the Report was a coloured 1052 one, because it was based upon one-sided evidence, and I believe further inquiry is necessary so that the real conditions of the Indians may be brought forward.
§ Mr. G. A. LLOYD
I have listened with considerable interest to the speeches made on a variety of subjects, and I have been very much struck with the speeches on either side of the House, which show very clearly two schools of thought with regard to many Imperial subjects. On the opposite side of the House we see a negative attitude displayed, hon. Members travelling from one part of the world to another generally finding fault with various details or some particulars of government in a Crown Colony. We on this side of the House have taken up a different line, and tried to impress the Government that what we want is some co-ordination of idea and constructive aim with regard to Colonial policy. That, I think was the whole object of the speech of my hon. Friend who opened the Debate this afternoon, when he expressed some clear ideas with regard to the Colonial Conference and the necessity for its preparation. And in continuation of our school of thought upon that subject I want to draw attention not with a view to criticism, but rather with the object of eliciting some information from the right hon. Gentleman with regard to the Civil Services in the Crown Colonies.
That is a subject not very often discussed, and it is difficult of discussion for the particular reason that the moment it is discussed any views brought forward are very liable to be considered as strictures upon or criticisms of the Civil servants in Crown Colonies. I wish to make it quite clear that is not my object. I want rather to call attention to the extremely loose system under which different Civil Service Colonial examinations are carried on at the present moment. We have got an example in India worthy of our imitation. We know that the Indian Civil Service examination has contributed very largely to the success with which India has been governed. We have seen there a very high standard of efficiency maintained, because the Civil Service of India is unparallelled in the world. We know its cost, but we also know its value; but directly you get to Africa you find a different state of things prevailing. It is true that we must except Egypt and the Soudan, where there is established a separate examination and where, I believe, the 1053 results will be entirely satisfactory. As far as I understand it, there is no regular examination and no Colonial service proper, except in so far as all the officials are centralised under the direction of the Colonial Office. I will ask the Under-Secretary whether it is not time that the whole question of the Colonial Service should be thought out anew from a different standpoint. I know the many difficulties there are, but there have been attempts at the federation of certain services. There has been one with regard to agriculture in the West Indies. What cogent reason is there why the Civil Service of the various islands in the West Indies should not be federated and a West Indian service established? I know the feelings between the islands are very strong, historically and in many other ways, but the mere possibility of having one federated service in the West Indies and of allowing the officials to travel within the scope of that service would improve the service itself and give a much broader view to the officials responsible for the administration of the islands. Again, the question of the fusion of Northern and Southern Nigeria has been discussed. I know there are grave difficulties in the way which cannot possibly disappear for some time, but I would put in a plea as to whether it is not time to consider how far the services of Southern and Northern Nigeria could not be fused. Then there are Uganda and British East Africa. Although practically the officials are in the same service, yet technically they are in different services. What is there to prevent a fusion of those services? After all, the larger the service the wider its scope, and the greater the number of appointments it offers the more attractive it is to the people you wish to get in it—the young men who really wish to make a career in the service in which they enter. It would be interesting to the House if the Under-Secretary could refresh our memories to-night and tell us what is the examination in the Colonial Office. Is it merely a remnant of ancient patronage that exists? What is the standard with regard to languages, and with what view and aim are the candidates chosen? If you wish to get highly specialised men for the development of one Colony in a scientific way where do you apply? I daresay, if you wanted a highly technical man for agriculture, you might apply to Kew Gardens. There seems to me to be no regular system. I know there have recently been 1054 many examples of how much more highly specialised and carefully trained the officials are in German East Africa for the work they are called upon to do. I make no reflection whatever upon the Colonial Office, but I believe if you studied your service and federated in various quarters of the globe, and attempted to produce an examination, something of the same character that the Civil Service Commissioners have instituted for the other services under their control, you would do a great deal to improve the service and get a better class of men than you do to-day. There are also the questions of pay and pensions, which come equally under the same heading. They are very serious questions. They were raised with regard to East Africa only two years ago in connection with certain matters which arose there, but I am not aware that anything has been done.. It seems to me that those servants of the Crown who are working arduously in our Crown Colonies should have just as good an opening as those who work for the Crown in India. They should, if possible, have as good pay and as good pensions. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman will for a moment deny that the situation to-day is very different under Crown Colony Government for officials who enter the service than it is for officials in India and in other parts of the world.
I would now like to touch upon a very well-worn and much-debated subject in this House. It is a very urgent matter, and one in regard to which the Government is responsible for having done nothing to meet. I refer to the question of East African shipping. I know it has been brought up in this House for three or four years, but each year the need for attention being paid to the subject becomes more acute. After having listened to the supporters of the Government and heard their views on Colonial administration and on the Imperial problem, it is rather difficult for me to understand whether on the whole the views of the Government with regard to British East Africa and other Colonies are in favour of really developing those Colonies. I have no doubt the right hon. Gentleman would answer that he wishes to develop East Africa as rapidly and as quickly as he can.
§ Mr. LLOYD
I believe that so long as we do not unduly hurry, it is our duty, as long as we are in that country, to develop it and to produce all the goods and products the country has in its power to give. I cannot see any reason for your being there at all unless you are going to develop it, add to its productions, and civilise its people. Our view is that you should develop the Crown Colonies, and I think it will be a matter of interest that the Government take another view. I think it is very difficult to justify their policy and their large expenditure on railways in British East Africa if they do not wish to develop those Colonies. The Government for some time past have had representations made from their officials in East Africa, they have had many representations made on both sides of the House, and they have had findings of Royal Commissions with regard to establishing a direct service from British East Africa over to England. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to tell us his view with regard to this matter of shipping. What are his objections to providing the service so urgently demanded, not only by the settlers but by his own officials in that country who have made regular and steady representations in favour of the establishment of that service? Does he see any reason why he should develop land transport and not sea transport? Here again is a case where we can point out to the Government great lack of co-ordination in ideas and aims. What do they mean by spending and subsidising the country very heavily by Grants-in-Aid, and by railway expenditure if they are not going to carry that through to the end and see that the products they are subsidising find their proper market? I do not know if the right hon. Gentleman has seen certain figures in regard to the neglect and its results. I do not accuse this Government of causing the grievance, but it did not become an acute grievance until this Government came into office. That is just the difference. The subject was in embryo some five or six years ago, but since the right hon. Gentleman has been at the Colonial Office there is no doubt whatever that vehement representations 1056 have been made, and he has ignored them. Does he think that the figures I will give are really satisfactory to British trade? In 1903 the value of raw products exported to the United Kingdom from British East Africa was £59,000, and to foreign countries £19,000. In 1907, after four years of the benefit of the right hon. Gentleman's rule at the Colonial Office, the figures were as follows:—To the United Kingdom, raw materials, £58,000; to foreign countries £315,000. That seems to me a very serious situation. You are spending very large sums of money, as I think rightly, on your railway there, but that can only be justified if you bring your products to British markets and not to foreign markets. The fact is that these goods are being forced artificially into channels which they would not otherwise follow owing to the action of the German Government and their subsidies. No vague utterances about trade following its normal channels will suffice here. It is not following its normal channel; it has been forced into artificial channels, and it is high time the Government did something. The natural channel would be to Great Britain. I imagine the Government, if they were asked, would say they were strongly against monopolies, but if that be the case why do not they attempt to break down the monopolies that exist? What do their own Consuls and officials say? The Consular Official Report, 1907–8, says:—Altogether the German East African Line owns an absolute monopoly.I would ask, Is your dislike of monopolies only active when it is a British monopoly, and latent when it is a foreign one? It is a pertinent question. You have a monopoly there. What are you going to do to break it down 1 Otherwise these valuable raw materials, which we need badly for our industry, must continue flowing in the same channel to foreign countries. The reply the right hon. Gentleman would probably give is that he could not get the money from the Treasury; that it is too expensive, and that he does not see his way to spend the necessary amount to subsidise British trade. But, again, I would refer him to his own officials on the matter. The Government Report says, "It is impossible to believe that the German service is anything but remunerative as far as the East African section is concerned. It is a rare occurrence for a vessel of this line to arrive at or leave East African ports without a heavy cargo and a full complement of passengers. It can only be assumed, and there seems 1057 ample ground for assuming, that the section of the line which consume the profits of the East Coast section are those between Europe and the Cape by the West Coast." Where the Germans can make profits out of their steamers surely we can equally make profits. The mere fact that they have not declared profits sometimes is no proof of the case at all. There have been many instances where the German lines that have subsidies have regularly kept back profits for a number of years and have not shown them, but where ships are arriving and leaving full of cargo and passengers, and taking away all the trade that should go in a British channel, I think it is reasonable to assume there is need of some assistance for our traders to fight against that iniquitous system of rebates which is telling so heavily against us. There is reason to believe our shipping could do just as well as foreign shipping. There is still another point which I believe sticks somewhat in the conscience of the Government, and which might, again, be urged in excuse, and that is the orthodoxy of the proceeding with regard to subsidies. I would appeal to them to put away all doctrinaire prejudices with regard to this question in East Africa from their minds. Cannot they treat the matter as one of infant industry and thereby absolutely assuage any qualms of conscience they may have? If you have the right to spend upon the infant products of British East Africa so large a sum as you do now, surely you have a right equally to spend a certain amount, and spend it coherently with your whole trade, by a system of subsidy, by a dovetailed and sane system of subsidy of land and sea freights. A few days ago I read some of the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman made two years ago on this very subject, in which he declaimed the fact that the shipping trade is of no importance to East Africa. I then pointed out to him a matter he seemed to forget, namely, that shipping is not only an avenue to trade of a country but actually part of the country's trade itself. If you concede practically all the shipping of East Africa to a foreign Government you are conceding a large, share of the trade of East Africa itself. It is all one trade. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to look at the matter from that point of view, and to hold out some hope to us that we may see some step taken with regard to this important matter before very long. I anticipate that the right hon. Gentleman will reply that it is really much better that our 1058 trade should go with German steamers. I would like to anticipate his reply, and remind him that his own officials have said that there is every reason to believe the German line are charging us rates far too high, far above a reasonable margin of profit. Quite apart from the high freights that have been imposed, what the British traders in East Africa complain of so bitterly now is that they have no direct line whereby their goods can go without breaking bulk for a British port. Transhipment at Hamburg is made as onerous and difficult for British ships as possible. It is all part of the policy to make British exports to British ports difficult. I would like also the right hon. Gentleman to tell us a little, more clearly than he has done the nature of the arrangements with the Union Castle Line. I know he has come to an arrangement which is utterly unsatisfactory from the point of view of direct service. I think, if he were to ask the Union Castle Line themselves, they would not deny the following view. I asked recently, If the German line could send a service of steamers right round the Cape alternate ways once every three weeks, why should not a British line do the same thing? The reply was this: If the Union Castle Line attempted to interfere with the German East Africa Line in their sphere of influence in East Africa, they would, by means of their rebate system, so operate their shippers in the Cape and elsewhere that they would not ship by English lines. They would not dare to take such a step. There we have the terrorism of the German rebate system acting effectively on this big line. That alone is sufficient excuse for my having raised this subject. Here is a case in which one of the most important shipping companies in the whole world does not dare extend its services a few hundred miles north. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give us a more satisfactory reply.
§ Mr. THEODORE TAYLOR
I want to give the Under-Secretary full credit for having wiped the British good name free from one blot and that is the Government carrying on of opium dens in Hong Kong and the Straits Settlements. But I wish the Government to go much further than they have done. They have only taken the first step. I noticed that in a Hong Kong newspaper which has been virulent in its defence of the opium traffic it was said that the shutting down of dens will not help to eradicate the use of opium. I think 1059 that is absurd. Of course, we know that the shutting up of opium dens, or, for the matter of that, of public-houses, does not eradicate the evil, but it tends to diminish it. I am anxious to know whether the Colonial Office really means business in carrying out its declared policy of putting down opium smoking? Fifteen months ago the Shanghai Commission recommended that the Government should take measures for the actual suppression of opium smoking. We do not ask for an immediate putting a stop to it, but we do ask that in our own Colonies the same policy shall be pursued that has been followed with success in Formosa and by t the United States in the Philippines, and I with our own concurrence in the Transvaal, namely, the policy of registering existing smokers and refusing to register any more. It is a reasonable, practicable and humane policy to fix a time after which opium smoking should be pronounced to be against public policy throughout the whole British Colonies. I am sorry the local Government of Hong Kong have not gone so far as to be in line with that conclusion, and that they have not taken the management of the sale of opium under these conditions. The total amount they now receive is £128,000 a year. That is not a small sum for them, but it continues the traffic only in another form, and it is high time that we ought to take some more practical steps than we do in Hong Kong to stop it. As regards the Straits Settlements, something is being done, but yet the farming system is being carried out in the Northern Province, and the Government monopoly only extends to the Southern States. I see Sir John Anderson in his address on the Straits Budget in January said that they wished to stop the opium traffic, and the morphia injection must also be stopped; and every opponent of this opium smoking habit recognises that this movement has become one not merely for the suppression of the opium traffic in China, but for control by the civilised Governments of the world of the use of all dangerous drugs, not only opium but other drugs, such as morphia and cocaine. It has to be done, and it must be done; that was declared by the Conference a year ago. Sir John Anderson also said that the movement in the Straits had led to the progressive diminution in the consumption of opium, and would continue to do so whatever the Government would do. That is a good sign, and I am sure we ought to assist 1060 them by making illegal opium smoking. I am sorry that nothing has been done in Ceylon, but perhaps I may ask the Under-Secretary what is taking place there. Opium taking was introduced under our rule, and it is a very bad thing for the people. The receipts from opium licenses in rupees in the Western Province of Ceylon were 50 per cent, more for the first six months of this year than they were a year ago, and I hope the Under-Secretary will give us some assurance that some steps for the stoppage of it are going to be put into immediate execution.
§ Colonel SEELY
I am sorry to intervene before the hon. Member for Tower Hamlets (Mr. Lawson) has had an opportunity of making his remarks, because on the question of emigration he speaks with a great deal of knowledge quite divorced from party politics, but time is now so short that, if I am to deal in the briefest manner with the fourteen subjects which have been dealt with to-night, I must now address the Committee. In reply to my hon. Friend who spoke last I would say that the Government remain exactly of the same opinion in regard to the opium question as when I addressed this House on the matter, and hon. Members will remember that on that occasion the right hon. Gentleman opposite, speaking on behalf of his party, said that the Government could have done no less than they did, so that this is an agreed policy in regard to opium, and v. e must look forward with confidence to a continuity of that policy. With regard to Hong Kong, all the opium divans are now closed—every one. We are obliged now to provide compensation, part of which comes out of the funds of this country, but I think those who have been so much opposed to this traffic will not grudge this small sum which is necessary to put an end to a traffic of which they so greatly disapprove. With regard to Ceylon, we are doing everything we can to check the use of the drug and also the use of opium and morphia and of derivatives of morphia, for we realise fully—we have had a recent Report on the subject—that many of these derivatives are as injurious, especially when taken subcutaneously, as the smoking or eating of opium itself.
I had better reply at once to the hon. Member (Mr. Lloyd), who in a very interesting speech, parts of which were of a very non-contentious nature, also touched upon a most highly contentious subject, the question of how far you should develop 1061 the Dominions of the Crown by means of subsidies. With regard to the question of the Civil Service, it is quite true that the Colonial Service, so far as West Africa and most of the West Indies are concerned, is not the subject of examination as are the Indian Civil Service, and most branches of the Civil Service, and the Army and the Navy and other similar services in this country. It is the exception. But when the hon. Gentleman supposes that the method is irregular he is in error. The system is quite complete, but it does not proceed by competitive examination. Of course in the Straits Settlements and some of our Eastern Colonies, such as Ceylon, we have competitive examination, but with that exception there is not competitive examination as there is for the Army and almost all other branches of the Civil Service. I should be the last man to say that competitive examination did not provide good men. The results in the Indian Civil Service preclude one from saying that. After all, competitive examination does get for you the man who not only has book learning but in a special degree industry, and application and determination. Otherwise you cannot get through that strenuous affair a Civil Service examination. But there is something to be said for the method which obtains in the Colonial Office. There are a great number of people who cannot get into the Indian Civil Service because they are not good enough at book learning but who nevertheless have peculiar faculties for dealing with subject races, and I absolutely join issue with the hon. Gentleman opposite who says if you compare our Civil Service in East Africa with the German Civil Service in East Africa, and I presume he means elsewhere, it is to the disadvantage of this country.
§ Colonel SEELY
I took the hon. Gentleman's words down. No doubt that is what he meant to say, and in fact he dwelt upon the German Civil Service being more highly trained. They may be more highly trained in certain technical matters, but they are not so successful in winning the confidence and goodwill of the native population. I do not wish to say one word against the German people, but, if you are to make comparisons, our officials have shown a singular capacity for winning the goodwill of the native population 1062 under their control, which compares favourably with that of any other nation, and most certainly with the German nation, who are somewhat new to these services.
With regard to shipping and development I am impenitent, and I know I speak here the opinion of the Government. We do not regard it as our bounden duty to develop these territories as rapidly as possible. Our first duty must be to develop them on sound lines in the interests primarily of the aboriginal population. That may sound a strong doctrine, but it is our policy. Our only justification for being there is not to develop those countries rapidly, so as to make the shareholders of companies or other persons rich more quickly, though we do not in the least wish to send them away. The first question, if you are to talk of what comes first, is to see that they are developed on sound lines and for the benefit of the natives. That is why I interrupted the hon. Gentleman.
With regard to the less important matter of shipping subsidies, I repeat the statement that we are not in favour of shipping subsidies, and do not give them, except for postal and strategic reasons. But, "Oh," says the hon. Gentleman, "see what a dreadful thing has happened. In 1903 there was £59,000 worth of exports to this country, but only £19,000 to foreign countries, whereas in 1907, when the Colonies had not the advantage of Lord Crewe and myself, and, for that matter of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Lyttelton) as well, the total exports to this country amounted to £58,000, and the exports to foreign countries amounted to £315,000." I do not pretend to accept these figures as being in every respect accurate, because I happen to know that there are various deductions to be made from them, but, assuming them to be accurate, what does this mean? It means that East Africa has captured the foreign market. What more does the hon. Gentleman want? I would ask him to consider how satisfactory the figures are. Can it possibly be that this is under a Free Trade system? It seems to me strange and almost incredible that this country should have captured the foreign market. In all seriousness, I do not think a case has been made out for giving the high subsidy to East Africa which would be necessary in order to run a regular line of steamships. We do not give subsidies except for postal and strategic reasons, and there are in this case no postal and 1063 strategic reasons which render it necessary to run a regular service from this country to East Africa and back through the Suez Canal at the regular and frequent intervals which the hon. Gentleman desires. He says that foreign shipping has crushed the life out of our trade in East Africa. Of the steamships of the world more than half belong to this little country. Of the shipping that passes through the Suez Canal an enormous proportion is British shipping, and it is a proportion which the hon. Gentleman may be surprised to know shows an increase.
§ Colonel SEELY
I am sorry I did not come to the hon. Gentleman's point more quickly. What I wish to point out is that if it be a fact that more than half of the steamships of the world belong to Great Britain, and that there is an increase in the proportion of British ships passing through the Suez Canal, it is very likely that there will be a service provided between this country and East Africa before we are many years older. It is a curious circumstance that East Africa happens to miss the trade routes. The shipping has to go through that very expensive door the Suez Canal, and when it gets beyond it, it meets on. the one hand the Union Castle liners coming from the South, and on the other hand it meets the shipping from India, and China. Therefore East Africa will always be a difficult problem for the shipowner.
The next point with regard to Indian immigration was raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Pointer). He called in question the Committee which was presided over by Lord Sanderson. I do not think it is open to the objections which he stated. I read the whole of the Report through last night, and I was struck by its fairness, and I must say that when I looked at the names I thought they were quite representative names on that Committee. It is quite true that it might have been better to have representatives of all parties, not only in this House, but outside. But if the Committee had been extended in that way, that would have involved not only special representatives of the Labour party and of the Irish party in this House, but you must have had representatives of employers and workmen in India and the Colonies themselves. 1064 We considered that question and thought it must be an unwieldy Committee if we made it of that kind; but the Report itself does seem to me to justify criticism being made of an indentured labour system. It throws light upon the whole system, condemns it a good deal, and gives a modified approval to a good deal of it; and to say that the Report whitewashes the system seems to me to be extraordinarily wide of the truth. I am glad to think that this question does not now excite the controversy that it did, but I cannot help saying that I read with some interest, at an early hour this morning, the fact that this Committee relies for a decision on the question on which we fought a very stout fight some years ago, not as we used to rely in those days upon Herbert Spencer, but on the late Lord Salisbury. Three times, on pages 3, 8, and 13, Lord Salisbury is quoted as being the enemy of all forms of indentured migration which do not permit the man to settle in the country and occupy a position not inferior to any other of His Majesty's subjects. I do not think it would be fair for me now to raise any controversial subject. I only say that to assure my hon. Friend that if he reads the whole Report there is a great deal to satisfy his point of view, though, no doubt, there is something also to satisfy the hon. Gentleman opposite.
My hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle- under- Lyme (Mr. Wedgwood) raised particular points about land tenure in West Africa. He need not be afraid that the Secretary of State is going to recede from the attitude he took up in this matter with regard to the system he proposed as being a good system. It will be carried into effect. Every effort, of course, will be made to make the system work well, but that we will in any way depart from the principle laid down he need have no fear whatever. I now come to what is with perhaps one exception—the question raised by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Lyttelton)—the most important question of all, and that is the question raised by the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean (Sir C. Dilke) with regard to the general status of natives throughout the British Empire, and especially the danger there may be that in trying to develop the country and introduce new forms of culture, for instance cotton-growing, you may find a native who prefers to stick to the old method and will not adopt your plan, and that, therefore, a system of forced labour may 1065 be introduced. If there were any chance of that I need not say we should not do it. The idea that you should abandon a great principle, that you should condone forced labour in order to give cheap cotton to Lancashire is indeed a horrible thought. But I can assure my right hon. Friend that it is not the case. If there ever was any fear of it there certainly is none now. I have satisfied myself that in all parts where cotton is grown it is grown by absolutely free labour; and with regard to the very important, though subsidiary, point of remuneration received for the growth of cotton as compared with the growing of indigenous products all the information I have been able to obtain tends to show that where cotton-growing has been introduced, as, for instance, in Uganda, the population is far better off than it was before. The decrease of the population is, of course, due to the sleeping sickness. We welcome the criticism of my right hon. Friend, who has devoted his life to these questions; but I think in regard to the growth of cotton he may rely upon it that there will be no reduction of wages. I can promise him that we will keep a most vigilant eye on this and on kindred matters. And here, again, I speak, I think, on behalf of both sides of the House when I say that any new improvement, any great development, any new system of irrigation, or agriculture shall not result in harm, but so far as we can ensure it shall inure to their benefit. The next point raised was by my hon. Friend the Member for Clare (Mr. Arthur Lynch) as regards the system of government of Australia. I think his strictures on that system were not just. Men like Sir William MacGregor are distinguished not at all by their titles or honours, and small matters of that kind, but by services which ought to commend themselves even to the severe mind of the hon. Member. As the hon. Member is not in his place I will not pursue the subject further. I must not run any risk of leaving out the important question of the church at Lagos, referred to by my hon. Friend Sir George White. Frankly, I want to have this out with my hon. Friend. I am perfectly certain that if he had been in my place at the Colonial Office he would have sanctioned the action of which he complains. The allegation is that we have adopted a system which had fallen into disuse, and that we are not entitled to do it. I will first deal with 1066 that point.‥ Now here, my hon. Friend will see is a list of places where we have subsidised various religious denominations. I shall read only a few of them, and he will see that you cannot govern these people in accordance with the views of this House except in so far as you impose those views in the interests of morality and justice. This system has grown up, and it has been continued from day to day. In Ceylon the Church of England and the Presbyterian Church were till recently established. The disestablishment of the Presbyterian Church is now completed. The disestablishment of the Church of England is in progress, but not yet completed.
§ Colonel SEELY
I purposely put it in that way, thinking I would meet with a response from my hon. Friend. At present the Government pays 2,520 rupees a year in salaries, and 750 rupees as Grant in Aid towards the maintenance of a clergyman—I do not mean a Church of England clergyman—at Badulla. Schools of various religious denominations receive Government Grants in Aid. Buddhist priests are exempted from compulsory labour on the road or a tax levied in default of labour. A free grant of land has recently been made to the Buddhists for a college. In the Seychelles the Church of England and the Church of Rome are established, the Anglican chaplain and the Roman Catholic bishop being paid and pensioned by the Government. The total ecclesiastical funds there are: 3,750 rupees to the Church of England and 9,750 rupees to the Church of Rome. In Hong Kong Grants are made to a total of about 3,700 dollars. During the last twenty-five years the Government has subscribed out of the taxes to fifty various religious bodies for churches, cemeteries, schools, rescue homes, and so forth. The bodies so favoured include Wesleyan Church, Church of England, Church of Some, Sikhs and Hindus, Mahomedans, Chinese, Buddhists, Jews, and German Protestants. All over the whole circuit of the British Empire this is going on. In the Straits Settlements, Mauritius, in the African Colonies, and in the West Indies huge sums are expended—£10,000 in one place, £20,000 in another, and so on. This is the catalogue of crime I present to my hon. Friend. That being so, the argument that we have done a new or novel thing falls to the ground.
§ Sir G, WHITE
I did not put it in that form. I based my statement upon the statement of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Lyttelton) in his reply to the deputation that waited upon him to get this money.
§ Colonel SEELY
I said in my opening statement, at which I know my hon. Friend could not be present, that I would enlighten the right hon. Gentleman and that he was quite in error in what he was saying, as I have shown by this Return. I can only add that an hon. Member has moved for a Return, and this is only an advance copy and it is nothing like a full list of all we do in the way of endowment. Therefore I submit that, in spite of the right hon. Gentleman's smooth words, that no new thing is being done. The question is, Why should we agree to a continuation of it although we are opposed to concurrent endowment? There is the denominational question of favouring the Church of England as against other bodies and the objection of the natives. Those two are quite distinct, and I can satisfy my hon. Friend on the first point. He will see from this list that it is no new doctrine of ours. We are absolutely embarked on it. The Noble Lord opposite is the first to denounce us, but the hon. Gentleman is our friend in this matter, because we are strictly undenominational. We support all denominations in common, and we frequently support undenominational religions. In this case we are strictly undenominational. All we were told was that they were satisfied with the Church of England man because he happened to represent the largest single denomination. If it be found that they want another man, or another denomination, certainly he will receive the same support. [An HON. MEMBER: "Shame!"] I do not think the hon. Member will say "Shame" when I have done. Why is it necesary to have anyone at all? The authorities come to me and they say that the Church Missionary Society have decided that they had converted all the natives and all the white people whom they had any chance of converting. They therefore decided that they must remove their clergyman. The Governor has, I fear I must confess, no special devotion to any particular sect. The Governor inquired what was to be done in the event of people falling sick or dying. Before this clergyman was appointed a considerable number of persons were at death's door; they wished for the ministrations of 1068 a clergyman; but they ultimately died, and were buried without being able to obtain the ministrations of a white clergyman, and they were buried by a black clergyman. We ought, I know, to regard all men as brothers, and not to mind, even in the supreme hours of our life, whether a man is black or white. But in point of fact, people do not look at it in that way; and if my hon. Friend had been in my place when this had been put to him, I know full well he would have given the answer I did. If it be true that men are dying, asking for the ministrations of some white clergyman of their faith, and are unable to obtain them, then, if there is any precedent at all, we must do what we have done. I doubt whether my hon. Friend, if he accepts all I have said—and I ask him to accept it, as it is the literal truth—will not somewhat modify his view. If you say on the whole question that you ought not to have a system of concurrent endowment, even then I would treat this case as exceptional on the facts put before me. But it is not exceptional. It is well-nigh universal throughout the British Empire. That we approve of it, I do not say. We do not. We watch it, and when we see a chance to get rid of it without trouble, we do so. We have disestablished a church in Ceylon, and we are just about to disestablish another; and when we find we can proceed on that principle we will do so, so far as we can get the people of the place to agree. But they do not agree; they do not take our view. If you attempted to do it in the Mauritius or Seychelles, you would have a riot, and troops would have to be sent. I doubt whether it is wise to attempt to put an end to concurrent endowments everywhere at the grave risk of the troubles that would ensue. I quite agree with my hon. Friend that the system is not a good one; but, in view of the enormous sums that are paid, and the length of time it has gone on, without pro test from one hon. Member sitting behind me, I think it would be unwise suddenly to drop the system.
I have told my hon. Friend that when the question of this chaplain comes up for review, as it will do soon, the House shall have a full opportunity of discussing the matter. I gladly promise that. With regard to the church, it may be said that the natives do not get adequate advantage from what is paid out of the taxes. On that I have two criticisms to make: In the first place, that the natives will not be excluded from the church, but will in fact use it; and, in the second place, that a 1069 vast sum of money is spent out of the taxes for the natives for purposes from which the whites get no advantage whatever. Take, for instance, education. Last year in Lagos a school was completed at & cost of £8,000, which no white man will ever enter. Putting aside the denominational issue, you cannot say that it is unjust that a church of this kind should be put up. We have done it in pursuance of a regular policy, because there was no other church available, and we were told that, unless we did this, there would be no white clergyman available when white men came to die. Little time, I am sorry to say, is left for the important matters raised by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite. The specific question put to me by the hon. Gentleman the Member for East Birmingham was: Whether I would tell the House what has been done with regard to the Colonial Conference, what steps have been taken, what proposals put forward? Yes, we will tell the House at the first possible moment, but as the Conference will not assemble for another year it is not likely that all can be ready now. I can promise the right hon. Gentleman that we will do, and I assure him that we have done, everything possible to carry out the wishes of the last Conference. Here is a document which is marked "Confidential," though there is nothing really very confidential in it. It shows in detail all that the Conference proposed, and the steps which have been taken. I will send a copy of it to the hon. Gentleman or any hon. Gentlemen, The report shows that all the matters raised at the Conference have been fully discussed here so far as they could be disused. As to the naturalisation question, it has been thrashed out so far as it could be by the Committee as recommended by the; Conference, and the results have been
§ communicated to the Colonies. With regard to the agenda for the next Conference, we must await the replies from the: self-governing Dominions. They could not be expected to come just yet. On the occasion of the last Conference the summons was issued in April, 1907. The three Dominions sent in their proposals in December of the previous year, 1906. We sent out our replies to them immediately afterwards, in the January, so that if we are to follow that precedent now we cannot expect to get the proposals from the Dominions for at least another eight or nine months. But we do want to get the1 thing further forward; we are not going to be so late, and we must try to get what we can from the Dominions. We ourselves will not be behind. As to the matter of the Imperial Secretariat, I must say we differ from hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite in thinking there is any necessity that we should spur on the self-governing Dominions to raise further points, or that we should interfere in any way. We believe that the Conference to be of the least value should be perfectly free and untrammelled. If we once attempt either by means of the Imperial Secretariat, or in any other way, to say what should or should not be discussed, or if we should ask this House to decide that, there lies a great danger. 'With regard to the question put by the hon. Gentleman the Member for East Leeds (Mr. O'Grady), I can only say that that matter is still the subject of correspondence, but I will forward him a copy of what has passed so far, if he likes.
§ Question put, "That item A (Salaries and Allowances) be reduced by £100 in respect of the salary of the Secretary of State."—[Captain Tryon.]
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 102; Noes, 147.1071
|Division No. 83.]||AYES.||[11.2 p.m.|
|Anson, sir William Reynell||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.)||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Arbuthnot, Gerald A.||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Greene, Walter Raymond|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Clive, Percy Archer||Gretton, John|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Coates, Major Edward F.||Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward|
|Attenborough, Walter Annis||Courthope, George Loyd||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Hambro, Angus Valdemar|
|Baker, Sir Randoll L. (Dorset, N.)||Craik, Sir Henry||Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Harris, F. L. (Tower Hamlets, Stepney)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Duke, Henry Edward||Henderson, Major Harold (Berkshire)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Fell, Arthur||Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Fleming, Valentine||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)|
|Beckett, Hon. William Gervase||Forster, Henry William||Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S.W.)||Knott, James|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Lawson, Hon. Harry|
|Butcher, John George (York)||Gibbs, George Abraham||Llewelyn, Venables|
|Calley, Colonel Thomas C. P.||Gilmour, Captain John||Lloyd, George Ambrose|
|Cator, John||Goldman, Charles Sydney||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droltwich)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Goldsmith, Frank||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han, S.)|
|Cave, George||Gordon, John||Mackinder, Halford J.|
|Macmaster, Donald||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Magnus, Sir Philip||Peto, Basil Edward||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Martin, Joseph||Pollock, Ernest Murray||Thomson, W. Mitchell (Down, H.)|
|Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Quilter, William Eley C.||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Rankin, Sir James||Tobin, Alfred Aspinal|
|Mitchell, William Foot||Rawson, Col. Richard H.||Tryon, Capt. George Clement|
|Morpeth, Viscount||Rolleston, Sir John||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Morrison, Captain James A.||Rothschild, Lionel de||White, Major G. D. (Lanes., Southport)|
|Newdegate, F. A.||Sanderson, Lancelot||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude|
|Newton, Harry Kottingham||Stanier, Beville||Wood, John Stalybridge|
|Nield, Herbert||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)||Worthington-Evans, L. (Colchester)|
|Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Steel-Maitland, A. D.||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Stewart, Gershom (Ches., Wirral)|
|Paget, Almeric Hugh||Sykes, Alan John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Sir A,|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)||Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia,|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||France, Gerald Ashburner||Pointer, Joseph|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Gibson, Sir James Puckering||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Agnew, George William||Gill, Alfred Henry||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Glanville, Harold James||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Goddaro, Sir Daniel Ford||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Greenwood, Granville George||Radford, George Heynes|
|Barclay, Sir Thomas||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Rainy, Adam Rolland|
|Barnes, George N.||Hancock, John George||Raphael, Herbert Henry|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick)||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvill)||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Barton, William||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.)||Haworth, Arthur A.||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Higham, John Sharp||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Black, Arthur W.||Hogan, Michael||Richards, Thomas|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Brigg, Sir John||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Illingworth, Percy H.||Robinson, Sidney|
|Bryce, John Annan||Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Buxton, C. R. (Devon, Mid)||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Byles, William Pollard||Jowett, Frederick William||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Joyce, Michael||Shackleton, David James|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lanes., Haywood)||Keating, Matthew||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Chancellor, Henry George||King, Joseph (Somerset, North)||Soares, Ernest Joseph|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Lambert, George||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N.W.)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Lehmann, Rudolf C.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Lewis, John Herbert||Taylor, T. C. (Radcliffe)|
|Clough, William||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Toulmin, George|
|Clynes, John R.||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Verney, Frederick William|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Walters, John Tudor|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Mallet, Charles Edward||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Menzles, Sir Walter||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Cowan, William Henry||Middlebrook, William||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Molteno, Percy Alport||Waterlow, David Sydney|
|Crossley, Sir William J.||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eiflon)||Murray, Capt. Hon. Arthur C.||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Muspratt, Max||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Dawes, James Arthur||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Devlin, Joseph||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Dewer, Sir J. A. (Inverness-shire)||Nuttall, Harry||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Dillon, John||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||O'Grady, James||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Wilson, T. F. (Lanark, N.E.)|
|Edwards, Enoch||Parker, James (Halifax)||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Elverston, Harold||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Master|
|Fenwick, Charles||Pirie, Duncan V.||of Elibank and Sir J. M. Fuller.|
Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ And, it being after Eleven of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Resolution to be reported to-morrow (Thursday); Committee to sit again to-morrow.
§ ADJOURNMENT.—Resolved, "That this House do now adjourn."—[Master of Elibank.]
§ Adjourned accordingly at Eleven minutes after Eleven o'clock.