§ MR. R. N. FOWLER
asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether Mr. Caldwell, who was dismissed from the office of Registrar General of Hong Kong in 1862, is now a sworn interpreter in the local Courts; whether in that or any other capacity he has been employed for the Crown; whether he was accepted by the late Governor as agent for the licences of the gambling monopoly; and whether he was not a proprietor of Coolie barracoons? The charges preferred against Mr. Caldwell having been incidentally mentioned by the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. C. Gilpin), in a re- 1725 cent discussion on the Coolie traffic, he thought it right to give the Under Secretary an opportunity of stating whether they were well-founded. If true, he (Mr. Caldwell) ought to be removed from his appointment; and, if not true, he ought to be fully exonerated. It was further alleged that Mr. Caldwell had taken an active part in establishing gambling houses, and that he at one time received $20,000 a-year from the monopolists. In connection with that part of the subject, he (Mr. R. N. Fowler) must say that he rejoiced at the determination of the Government to suppress these gambling-houses.
§ MR. KNATCHBULL-HUGESSEN
said, that Mr. Caldwell was a person who married a Chinese woman, and had been for many years extensively employed by the Chinese at Hong Kong. Some 12 years ago that gentleman did occupy the position of Registrar General at Hong Kong, and at that time charges were brought against him by Mr. Chisholm Anstey, then Attorney General there. The charges were for the most part disproved, and ended in the discharge, not of Mr. Caldwell, but of Mr. Anstey. Sufficient evidence, however, was brought forward to call for further inquiry into the conduct of Mr. Caldwell. It turned out that he had rendered considerable services to the Government in the detection of piracy, but the story was, that he got his information from a notorious pirate; and the view the Commissioners took was, that Mr. Caldwell's intimacy with this man was of such a character that it was not proper he should be retained in Her Majesty's service, and he was therefore dismissed. All the sworn interpreters in the local Courts, with the exception of one Portuguese, were native Chinese; but some time ago a supernumerary list of interpreters were added, and the Chief Justice, in whose hands these appointments rested, placed Mr. Caldwell's name upon the list. Mr. Caldwell had, however, never acted in that capacity; and, indeed, the fees were so small that, having a great deal of employment from the inhabitants of Hong Kong, he was not likely to take up that business. If his name was still on the list, the Chief Justice alone could remove it, and Chief Justice Small was not a likely person to have allowed anyone to act under him to whom the suspicion of complicity with 1726 slave trading practices attached. He had not been employed by the Crown in any capacity since the period of his dismissal from the service. Years ago he was employed by a large Chinese firm to negotiate with the Government for the monopoly of the gambling-houses; but for a long time a different system had been in vogue, and the licences had been let to the highest tenderer, the tenders having been sent in direct to the Government through the Registrar General, no other person intervening. Barracoons, in the sense in which the word was used at Macao, in connection with the slave trade did not exist at Hong Kong. By law, a person who chartered a ship for the emigration of coolies to the British colonies was bound to provide proper depôts for the emigrants, those places being under the strict surveillance of the Government, and it was possible that Mr. Caldwell might be the proprietor of one of these depôts, though it was very doubtful as no buildings were permanently so used.
§ MR. EASTWICK
said, he was satisfied with the explanation of the hon. Gentleman; but wished injustice to Mr. Chisholm Anstey to remind the House that, although recalled, he afterwards received a letter from the Duke of Newcastle, stating that he had performed a great public service, and thus exonerating him.
§ Original Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put, and agreed to.