in rising to call attention to recent reports of outrages committed by missionaries on native inhabitants in Africa and elsewhere; and to move—That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying Her Majesty to take measures to prohibit British subjects, not commissioned by Her, from assuming rights of criminal jurisdiction over the natives of uncivilized countries, and perpetrating upon them acts of war; and praying Her further to cause communications to be entered into with the other Great Powers with a view to the protection of uncivilized tribes from acts of violence at the hands of persons not commissioned by the Government to which they owe allegiance,said, that in bringing forward this Amendment he was actuated by no unfriendly spirit towards missionary enter-prize; his motive was, if possible, to remove from that enterprise and the proceedings of travellers a blot which threatened to impede the progress of Christianity among savage tribes, and the march of exploration and research. He intended to be as brief as possible, and to confine his observations to acts committed by missionaries and travellers which constituted crimes against the laws of this country, and which would subject the perpetrators to penalties if they were tried in this country. What made it more necessary to draw attention to the subject was the fact that the missionaries who had done these things did them apparently under the impression that they were doing no harm, and were acting in a manner which was for the advancement of justice and the benefit of missionary enterprise. Now the law upon the subject was very simple. It was laid down in the 24 & 25 Viet. c. 100,s. 9, that whenever a murder or manslaughter was committed in any part of the world, whether under the jurisdiction of Her Majesty or not, upon a person whether a subject of Her Majesty or not, the person committing that murder or manslaughter, or implicated as accessory in it, might be tried in this country under precisely the same laws as if the offence had been committed in this country. Reports had recently reached this country of extraordinary doings on the part of missionaries established at the Blan- 1425 tyre Mission, Central Africa; and they recently formed the subject of a paper by Mr. Andrew Chirnside,. a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. His statements had caused considerable excitement in the country. It was said he had been rather hard upon the missionaries; but he should found his arguments entirely upon the admissions of the missionaries themselves, and upon such admissions he should argue the necessity of some such Resolution as he should submit for the judgment of the House. Mr. Chirnside's statements were to the effect that the Blantyre missionaries had assumed a criminal jurisdiction over the people in whose midst they resided; that on a certain occasion two persons being suspected of murder, in Mr. Chirnside's opinion erroneously, the missionaries held upon them a sort of trial, and they were condemned to death; one, however, escaping, and the other being shot. He need not dwell upon the circumstances which characterized the execution according to Mr. Chirnside. The man was shot upon by a large firing party. This volley did not prove fatal. Another volley was fired which was equally ineffectual, upon which a Native Chief standing by, out of pure compassion, snatched a gun from the hands of a European and blew out the brains of the unfortunate man. These details were denied; but so long as the fact of the execution was admitted they were really beside the question. The second charge made by Mr. Chirnside was that a Native carrier, suspected of having stolen a chest of tea intrusted to his care, was tied to a tree and received 200 lashes with a very heavy whip, and that in consequence of this he died within a very few hours. Mr. Chirnside, in support of his allegations, brought home the whip with which the flogging was accomplished, and certainly it was a most formidable weapon, far exceeding in power and danger any of the numerous "cats" with a sight of which the House had been favoured during the flogging debates of last Session, and that instrument had been deposited with his hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Of course, he did not desire action to be taken upon such ex parte assertions; but subsequently a pamphlet had been published by a Mr. Andrew Riddell in defence of this Mission, and a Report had been made by 1426 the Committee of the Church of Scotland, to which the Blantyre missionaries were responsible, in which a number of admissions were made on behalf of the missionaries. Regarding the execution, that was admitted. According to the statements of the missionaries, contained in letters sent home to this country to the Mission Committee of the Church of Scotland, the facts of the case were these:—A woman was found murdered on the 26th December 1878, and shortly before that event a slave had taken refuge in the Mission. Two men, one of whom was her owner, were supposed to have wished to have revenge on some persons connected with the Mission for having afforded her shelter. According to the statements made in defence of the missionaries, it was supposed they had murdered the woman, and their trial was decided upon.Anxious deliberation was held, and authorities consulted as to the course to be followed, and there was a general concurrence in the conclusion expressed by Dr. Lawes, that wilful murder must be punished by death, and that this was in the circumstances unavoidable in accordance with Divine law.The murderers were captured and tried before a jury composed of Natives, and presided over by a White man of the Mission, Dr. Macklin. That gentleman appeared to have presided over a sort of jury composed of the rest of the staff and the headmen of the Mission. "Then the people clamoured for their death;" but it seemed the missionaries shrank from any responsibility in this direction. However, after the men had been kept in the stocks for a fortnight, according to Mr. Riddell one of them escaped, and it was resolved to execute the other, and he was executed. Then, as to the charge of flogging, that was admitted too. The missionaries admitted that the man who was flogged had died; but not, according to the opinion of the surgeon, in consequence of the flogging, though they stated that in deference to the opinions of the Natives they abstained from making a post-mortem examination. After, however, the 200 lashes which had been administered, it was certainly no wonder that the man had died, and the fact of their having been administered went very far to present a solution of the cause of death. Mr. Chirnside had told them that these proceedings landed the missionaries in a 1427 little war; and that gentleman quoted extracts from a missionary journal concerning various skirmishes, in one of which, two men were killed, and in another of which more lives were lost—Mr. Chirnside said nine. In other reports it was admitted that some skirmishing had occurred, though it was denied that this originated in their attempted jurisdiction. When this matter was before the Committee on Missions, that body sent out a letter pointing out that they could not give their missionaries any criminal jurisdiction over the people among whom they resided, and that such acts were likely to involve them in very serious responsibility. Again, the matter had been debated before the General Assembly, and some speakers had denounced the acts mentioned as unjustifiable, while others had taken a different view. It was because of this that he thought it necessary to bring forward this Motion for; it was, above all things, necessary, to preserve our missionary enterprise abroad, that missionaries should be made aware exactly how far they could go, and not, as was said by one gentleman, allow them to perform their duty with a lash in one hand and a halter in the other. The only excuse urged for the missionaries was that their settlement was not merely a Mission, but a Mission Settlement, and that, according to the laws of the people among whom they resided, they had a sort of territorial jurisdiction; but the illogical nature of this plea was shown by the fact that while, on the one hand, they had assumed territorial jurisdiction, and power of life and death, on the other they had refused to exercise the duties of their territorial jurisdiction when it came to protecting poor savages from the vengeance of their barbarous Chiefs. He need say no more about that matter. But he now came to a question that was far more serious, and he referred to the New Britain Mission, the missionary being Mr. Brown. The Mission was situated in a group of islands not far from Sydney, and the Natives from a neighbouring island set upon four Native missionaries, killed, and ate them. That was followed by certain hostile demonstrations against the missionaries generally. A Chief had taken forcible possession of a missionary's wife, and the Chief who was supposed to have instigated the murder threatened to eat Mr. 1428 Brown, one of the leading missionaries, and Mr. Brown stated that several intimations to that effect had reached him. Mr. Brown, who was in one of the other islands, proceeded to New Britain, and found that some of the missionaries in the settlement were very anxious to avenge themselves, and they were preparing to go on an expedition for the punishment of the cannibals. He, however, thought that would not be desirable, and asked them to take his advice, and act according to his instructions. He was told that the reputed murderers had come to the Mission Station for the purpose of murdering those who were there, and he said—"The story we knew to be true, as some of the teachers saw them outside the place." He found that the teachers were planning an expedition that night; but he felt it would fail, and be attended with loss of life. So he begged them to trust the matter to him, and they did so. He held a council of war, gathered together as many Europeans as he could, and looked among the Natives for allies. One Chief, who was suspected of having murdered a Mr. Jackson, and eaten him, was sought as an ally by Mr. Brown. He spoke of the missionaries who were murdered as being under his protection, and Mr. Brown sought his aid in avenging the missionaries. Mr. Brown told him that he could not allow any cannibalism, as it was not our custom to eat men, and he stated that the Chief looked at him in a way that indicated surprise at their conduct and pity for their folly. He professed himself, however, willing to help Mr. Brown; but, owing to the restriction put on their warfare, they found the Chief was not much to be trusted. An expedition was, however, started, and hostilities ensued. In the first encounter which took place two men were killed, and Mr. Brown said that he subsequently found that these men belonged to a friendly tribe, and paid for them to the satisfaction of the Chief. After killing some 20 or 30 persons, some seemed to think they had had enough of revenge; but that was not the opinion of others. Subsequently, the Chief, who had held back, was induced to commence hostilities; and the expedition, which commenced on the 16th of April, went on to May. According to Mr. Brown's statement, many lives were lost, "probably between 50 and 80;" but he went 1429 on to say that the present and future good of thousands would far outbalance that. What he (Dr. Cameron) wished to call attention to was that in this expedition there was a number of men armed with rifles fighting against savages who had no weapons but slings; and a painful circumstance in the case was that several women were killed; although, said Mr. Brown, the Natives did not care about that, for they declared that the women were worse, both as cannibals and in exciting hostilities, than the men. What were Mr. Brown's reasons for taking the punishment of these cannibals into his own hands? The Pacific Islands were under the jurisdiction of Commissioners, and men-of-war were not unfrequently in those seas. Why did not Mr. Brown report the case to Sydney, and wait for the arrival of some man-of-war, in order that the punishment might be inflicted by proper authority? Mr. Brown said that he did not think that desirable, because he did not think the captain would interfere unless he had strict authority to that effect; and, secondly, he said that when men-of-war came upon the scene the most they would do would be to bombard the town. This matter was taken up by the Aborigines Protection Society. They appealed to the Colonial Minister, and a tribunal consisting of Sir Arthur Gordon and the Chief Justice of Fiji was directed to investigate the case. It appeared that the Admiralty had instructed Captain Purvis to proceed to New Britain to make inquiries; and he had drawn up a Report which reached Fiji when Sir Arthur Gordon was there. The Report exonerated Mr. Brown from blame, and declared that his responsibility was shared by the European residents. According, however, to his (Dr. Cameron's) reading of the Act of Parliament, all the persons connected with this transaction were guilty of murder or manslaughter. The trial of Mr. Brown was eventually fixed; but the clay before Sir Arthur Gordon called Mr. Brown to him and said he had read the statements prepared, and that the evidence would not have led him to institute or recommend a criminal prosecution. Sir Arthur Gordon added—I cannot but hope the evidence to be adduced to-morrow may free you from all imputations of criminality, and enable me to continue the investigation that has been interrupted.1430 He hoped the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies would be able to give some explanation of the circumstances which induced one Judge to express an opinion like that without consulting his Colleagues. The result was that the Attorney General of Fiji refused to prosecute, and Mr. Brown was not tried at all. That, he thought, demanded the most careful and dispassionate judicial inquiry. Then, in a letter addressed to The Christian World by the hon. Member for Merthyr (Mr. Richard), some two years ago, that Gentleman remarked that the The Christian World had done itself honour by protesting against the conduct of a missionary in New Guinea who shot the Natives because they would not receive the Gospel at his hands. There must have been some foundation for that, but he left his hon. Friend to give details; therefore, there were three cases in which missionaries had taken upon themselves the right of putting persons to death and commencing a war. Now he came to the second part of his Resolution, which related to similar acts, but not committed by British subjects. Mr. Stanley waged something like a war with some Native tribes in Africa. He did not object to the taking of life in self-defence; but all the instances he had introduced had been instances in which life had been taken, not in self-defence, but in exercise of quasi-judicial or quasi-sovereign functions, against the assumption of which he altogether protested. Mr. Stanley's description of the affair was that he was threatened by a tribe, and was compelled to kill some in self-defence. In fact, there were 14 of the Natives killed and wounded. He had no wish to challenge that; but what he did challenge was what occurred subsequently. Mr. Stanley managed to get clear away from the Natives; but he considered it necessary to go back and wage war upon them, so that it was no longer a question of self-defence. In the second encounter 42 were killed and over 100 were wounded, whilst only two of Mr. Stanley's men suffered from contusions from stones slung at them. Mr. Stanley had no right to do that, and if it were allowed they would be having other travellers waging war upon Native tribes. Lord Derby had been written to on the subject at the time, but had expressed himself unable to interfere, as Mr. Stanley 1431 was not a British subject. Therefore the necessity for the second portion of his Resolution. In conclusion, he thanked the House for its patient hearing, and begged to move the Resolution of which he had given Notice.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying Her Majesty to take measures to prohibit British subjects, not commissioned by Her, from assuming rights of criminal jurisdiction over the natives of uncivilised countries, and perpetrating upon them acts of war; and praying Her further to cause communications to be entered into with the other Great Powers with a view to the protection of uncivilised tribes from acts of violence at the hands of persons not commissioned by the Government to which they owe allegiance,"—(Dr. Cameron,)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. J. A. CAMPBELL
did not rise to offer any opposition to the hon. Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron), for he entirely concurred in the Amendment that had been proposed. The Resolution, however, was founded upon reports of outrages; and he wished to make a few remarks in reference to one of the Missions mentioned by the hon. Member. He would ask the House not to form a judgment in regard to the charges of cruelty and injustice that had been brought against the missionaries until those charges had been thoroughly inquired into. On an early day this Session, in reply to a Question of his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, the hon. Baronet the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs mentioned that the attention of his Department had been called to the report of cruelties and outrages in connection with the Blantyre Mission, and that an inquiry had been instituted by Her Majesty's Consul at Mozambique. That inquiry was now going on, and he had further to say that the Church which sent out the Mission—the Church of Scotland—had instituted an investigation on her own behalf, in order that the truth of the matter might be ascertained. The Church of Scotland was sending out a special Commissioner to inquire into the whole circumstances of the Mission, and 1432 the charges that had been made against the missionaries. The Commissioner, he might mention, was the Rev. Dr. Rankin, of Muthill, a highly esteemed parish minister, a man of ability and good sense, who enjoyed the full confidence of his Church. He was accompanied by a layman, who went out at his own charges, who also had the confidence of his Church, and who had instructions to take up the Commission in the event of Dr. Rankin by any accident being prevented from finishing the work. These gentlemen would act in conjunction with Consul O'Neill, so that the House and the country had every assurance that there would be a thorough and impartial inquiry. The Motion, however, as his hon. Friend was careful to say, proceeded not upon the charges of Mr. Chirnside, as if these were established, but upon admissions made by the Church itself, or by its missionaries. Now, he granted that, without reference to charges of cruelty and injustice, there was enough to justify some such Motion as this. There was enough to justify some prohibition of private subjects of the Queen, whether missionaries or not, from assuming criminal jurisdiction in uncivilized countries. But, while the facts which were admitted justified this Amendment, he held that they were by no means so compromising as would be supposed from the speech of his hon. Friend, in which he thought the charges in Mr. Chirnside's pamphlet had, to some extent, been assumed to be true. He was unwilling to enter into particulars; but, as the House had heard of the execution which took place at Blantyre in the spring of last year as an act of very questionable justice, even if those who were responsible for it had a right to exercise jurisdiction, it was only right to say that there was another view to be taken of it, and until they had the result of the inquiry now in progress before them, it would be hardly fair of them to take the worst view of the matter. According to the accounts received by the Committee at home, the missionaries were thoroughly satisfied as to the sufficiency of the evidence against the two men, one of whom was executed. As to the execution itself, the Committee had the assurance of the missionaries that there was no cruelty in the mode of execution. Then, as to the flogging, the Committee were now making inquiry. Dr. Macklin 1433 had stated to the Committee that he saw the poor man who died, whose case had been referred to, and that blood had not been drawn, and there were only slight scratches on his back. Such was the doctor's testimony. Dr. Macklin also stated that during the time he was at Blantyre—some three years—there were only six cases of flogging, and only two of them were serious. He had been present on every occasion except the last, in which case he had only seen the man afterwards. He also stated that the instrument of punishment was light, except that used on the first occasion, in 1877, when the flogging had not been administered by any of the Blantyre missionaries. All these matters, however, were now under inquiry, and the House would do well to suspend its judgment until the inquiry was completed. The missionaries were wrong, however, in assuming jurisdiction at all; and when the Committee in the spring of last year received information that an execution had taken place, they at once recorded their sense of deepest distress that the missionaries had thought it necessary to take into their own hands the power of life and death. The Committee made further inquiries during last year, receiving what information they could from the missionaries; and the whole of their inquiries satisfied them that the missionaries had felt constrained to carry out the execution because of what was represented to them as to their jurisdiction in consequence of being in possession of the land, and having villages under their care. The Committee did not hesitate to state plainly to the missionaries that they could not recognize any such jurisdiction. Their words were—We beg to point out to you that, whatever may be the technical tenure by which we hold the land at Blantyre, we wish to regard our occupation of it only as a necessary instrument in our work of Christianizing the people.Again—Your position must be understood as excluding the power and jurisdiction known as civil government. We have no right to give, and you have no right to receive from us, any jurisdiction whatever over the lives, persons, or property of the Natives who live round about you. We cannot make you civil magistrates over any portion of Africa, even though we may possess property therein.These events happened in the beginning 1434 of last year. The Committee had never heard before of any floggings. After these events, peace and quietness reigned for some time. The collision with Natives to which his hon. Friend referred had no connection whatever with the execution in February. It was thus mentioned in a Special Report to last General Assembly—Towards the end of September came another misfortune. A neighbouring Chief waylaid our carriers, and stole their goods. On a demand for restitution, a hostile attack ensued, when our people were obliged to defend themselves by force, and one man was killed.There did not seem to have been anything deserving the name of war with the Natives. He thought they must all sympathize with missionaries in uncivilized countries. They were subjected to difficulties and trials which people in comfort at home could little understand. They must sympathize with them, and be ready to take the most favourable view of what they did; but their sympathy must not blind them to the fact that to assume criminal jurisdiction was a wrong thing. No secret, therefore, must be made of their determination that no claim of this kind could be recognized. At the same time, we must remember that the missionaries had not themselves sought this jurisdiction; it had been pressed upon them by the Natives around them; their fault was in allowing themselves to be persuaded into taking it. But he would simply add that the missionaries were not the only parties to blame. He could not but think that the Mission Committee at home, of which he was himself a member, must take some share of the responsibility. If there was danger that the missionaries might be drawn into assuming jurisdiction, they ought to have been specially cautioned on the subject. It was easy for them to be wise after the event; but the Mission Committee must be prepared to take blame to themselves for not having anticipated such difficulties as had arisen.
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
said, that whatever they might think of the Amendment which the hon. Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) had put on the Paper, they must all admit that that subject was one which had been very properly brought before the House, and that it had been introduced in a speech of admirable tone and temper. The hon. 1435 Member had, however, made a mistake in his statement of the law, inasmuch as he appeared to assume that almost the only Act bearing on the question was 24 & 25 Vict. In truth, there were several other statutes, and we already-possessed considerable—he might say-ample—powers for dealing with British subjects out of the jurisdiction of civilized Powers. Besides this Act of 24 & 25 Vict., under which we could try any subject for murder and manslaughter when the offender could be brought to trial in the United Kingdom, there, were also Acts under which they could try an offender even if he had not been brought to trial in the United Kingdom. Even if he was caught in foreign parts, there was power of trial by commission to Colonial Courts under an Act of George III.; but the Act to which he would specially direct attention was the Act of 1878. Under the operation of the Jurisdiction Act of 1878 there was power to issue an Order in Council for the legal exercise of British jurisdiction over British subjects. This was a very unusual power, and it was one which up to the present time had not been exercised. The Act had only just come into force; but it was an Act which could be put into force, and might be exercised. Under that Act they could claim jurisdiction even over British subjects in parts of Central Africa which were not subject to any regular Government. Now, what were the special powers as regards Africa which affected the circumstances in this case? It was a fact not generally known that for criminal purposes the jurisdiction of the Cape Colony extended northwards vastly beyond the boundaries of the Colony itself up to 25 degrees of south latitude. But the Blantyre station was considerably to the north of that limit. But the Act of 1878 said that Her Majesty should have power and jurisdiction over her subjects who might for the time being be residing in, or resorting to, countries or places out of her Dominions. That power might almost be described as enormous; and the real question for them to consider was, not whether they possessed sufficient powers, but whether in a particular case they would run the risk of putting them in force. And when he spoke of legally raising and putting these powers in force, of course the House would understand exactly what 1436 he meant. He had been asked the other day by an hon. Member whether it was the intention of the Government to appoint a Consul General in the heart of Africa for the purpose of exercising jurisdiction, and he replied that there was a very great danger in making appointments of that kind. If a Native Chief should carry off a British Consul, who could hardly be environed with a sufficient guard in the heart of Africa to resist the capture by a Chief who happened to be very powerful, they would be probably committed to a military expedition, which would involve great cost and great danger to the troops, in order to release our representative. Therefore, they must be very careful how they attempted to acquire jurisdiction in places where they could have no sufficient force. In the Pacific, where this country possessed, by naval means, far greater power than it could have in the heart of Africa, very large special powers had been given to the High Commissioner, Sir Arthur Gordon, who was Governor of Fiji, and in many cases the High Commissioner had been able to exercise great influence in the direction which the hon. Member for Glasgow would desire. The hon. Member's Amendment began with a preamble referring to the reports of recent outrages alleged to have been committed by missionaries; but out of the three instances which his hon. Friend had laid before the House, one did not concern the missionaries at all. From reading the Notice of his Amendment, he had thought his hon. Friend was going to deal almost exclusively with the case of the Blantyre Mission. But his hon. Friend had gone on to speak of the New Britain case, and also of the case of Mr. Stanley, as to which there was no allusion whatever in the Motion. The Stanley case was one in which missionaries were not concerned, and had that case been adverted to specially by Resolution, great difficulty might have been experienced in defending the exercise of jurisdiction which there occurred. As he had already pointed out, however, that case did not come within the preamble of the present Resolution, and it was certainly not his intention to go into it, or attempt to offer any defence or justification of the circumstances concerned with it. As to the two cases in which missionaries were concerned, the Blantyre case came under 1437 the cognizance of the Foreign Office. The New Britain case did not. It had been dealt with by the Admiralty, and was under the Colonial Office. With regard to the Blantyre case, that seemed a bad case, so far as the circumstances were known; but he did not think it was necessary to go into this matter at length, because it was one which, as the hon. Member for the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen (Mr. J. A. Campbell) had shown to the House, was actually under investigation at the present time. The hon. Gentleman, in the very temperate observations which he had made on the matter, also admitted that the investigation was being conducted by those who were not strongly hostile to the missionaries. There was one point on which some of the defenders of the action of the missionaries differed from others, and that was as to the question of jurisdiction. He had heard a defence of the Blantyre Mission to the effect that the missionaries did not claim jurisdiction, that they had placed a Native Chief on the juries, and that they sheltered themselves by the Chief's jurisdiction. There was no desire on the part of the Foreign Office to be a party to any exercise of jurisdiction by Europeans in this indirect manner. But at first sight he was bound to say there did appear to be a case deserving in the highest degree of careful investigation, and the only reason why he declined to enter into details and deal with it was that the acts which had been committed were the subject of investigation at the present time. The foreign Mission, as the hon. Member for the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen had told them, had sent out some gentlemen to inquire into the affair, and Her Majesty's Consul at Mozambique had been instructed not only to assist them, but to proceed to the spot and join in the investigation. It would be an impartial investigation, and Her Majesty's Consul would endeavour to arrive at the truth. With regard to the New Britain case, he believed some sort of approval was given to the conduct of the missionaries by the late Board of Admiralty; so he supposed something was to be said for them. It did not come within the Department with which he was connected, and it was impossible for him to give the House any informal tion on that subject. The third case 1438 had nothing at all to do with missionaries; although he could not help coming to the conclusion that the case might on some future occasion usefully form the subject of a debate in the House. He did not, however, think the case should be debated now, because the friends of Mr. Stanley in that House would not have been really informed by the terms of the Notice of his hon. Friend that it was intended to bring the subject before the House that evening. The hon. Member for the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen stated that, on the whole, he concurred in the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron). He (Sir Charles W. Dilke) could not concur in the actual terms of the Amendment, though he wished it to be understood that he gave his entire support to the doctrines which had been enunciated, that being not only his own view individually, but the view of those who were responsible for the administration of the Foreign Office. It had been the desire of the Foreign Office not only to discourage, but, as far as possible, to actually prevent, the exercise of jurisdiction by British subjects over whom they had no control. The exercise of such a jurisdiction was not only calculated to lead to acts of which they disapproved, but to involve the country in serious complications; and such a thing must be discouraged, and, as far as possible, prevented by all who had to do with the direction of Colonial affairs. If the Resolution of his hon. Friend merely expressed the disapprobation—he might say the extreme disapprobation—with which Her Majesty's Government viewed the exercise of irregular jurisdiction by British subjects in uncivilized parts of the world, he should give his cordial assent to the Resolution. But the Resolution did more than that. In the second part of the Resolution, by which his hon. Friend expressed his wish that there should be a communication with other Great Powers with the view of protecting uncivilized tribes; but his hon. Friend had not brought forward a sufficient number of cases, or sufficiently strong cases, in which foreign Powers would be likely to interfere. Except Mr. Stanley, he knew of no foreigner who had been mentioned in this matter; and Mr. Stanley was not a subject of any of what were usually called the Great Powers, 1439 but of America. He (Sir Charles W. Dilke) had no reason to think that the Great Powers of Europe would be likely to take up the matter unless such a case was brought forward as would show that serious complications were likely to arise. The great majority of travellers in uncivilized parts of the world, and something like the majority of missionaries, were British subjects; and that was a remarkable fact, as showing the enterprise and spirit of their countrymen; and the question was, therefore, one which peculiarly concerned this country, and in regard to which they were not likely to obtain much assistance from other States. As regarded British subjects, we possessed ample power. No man could desire stronger power than was given by the Acts which were passed a few years ago; and the question now was, when and how far those powers should be exercised by the Government. There might be great difficulties in certain cases as to putting those powers into force; but those powers were not asked for for nothing. They were not mere menaces—they were intended to be used on sufficient occasion and after careful investigation; and the Government were determined not only to discourage, but, when it could be safely done, to actually prevent, the irregular exercise of jurisdiction by British subjects in any portion of the world.
§ MR. R. N. FOWLER
said, he could not conceive that they could have a stronger case for adopting the important Resolution now before the House than the proceedings of Mr. Stanley referred to by the hon. Member opposite. The Aborigines' Protection Society memorialized the Government on that subject when Lord Derby was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Lord Derby, after very fully considering the subject, said it was impossible for him to take any direct action in the matter, inasmuch as Mr. Stanley, not being a British subject, he had no authority over him. He thought there could be no doubt that Lord Granville would have taken the same view of the matter. The course which the Foreign Office took showed the great necessity of the Resolution, because it showed the importance of there being some communication between the Great Powers of the world, and that they should act in concert in endeavouring to put an end to 1440 such atrocities as those alluded to in the speech of the hon. Gentleman opposite. Mr. Stanley, it should be remembered, took upon himself to carry on this war by hoisting the British and the American flag. Lord Derby said Mr. Stanley had no authority to put up the British flag. It seemed that he felt it was necessary to enter into communication with the United States upon the subject. He thought that justified the Motion brought before the House by his hon. Friend. In conclusion, he thanked his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow for bringing this subject forward, and he hoped a gain would result to the cause of humanity.
MR. GRANT DUFF
said, he would not have risen on the present occasion, after the able explanation of the law given by his hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs had it not been for the appeals made to him by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron). The hon. Member was entirely correct in assuming that the Island of New Britain did fall within the jurisdiction to which he referred—namely, within the jurisdiction of the Commissionership of Sir Arthur Gordon. He believed that the creation of that High Commissionership resulted from precisely the same feeling which had dictated the Amendment which had been put upon the Paper by his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow. That High Commissionership was called into existence because there was a very strong feeling that British subjects could not be permitted to make use of their superior strength to commit wrong in the Pacific Islands. That being so, the attention of the late Secretary of State for the Colonies was called to this affair, and he directed Sir Arthur Gordon when he was in London to look into the matter; and he, of course, as soon as he returned, endeavoured to carry out his instructions as soon as possible, but he was prevented from doing so. Of course, Sir Arthur Gordon was dependent, to a great extent, upon the Admiralty; and he applied to the Commodore of the Australian station to give him a vessel to go to the Duke of York's Island, in order that he might investigate the matter. Unfortunately, however, at that time the Commodore of the station did not see his way to provide him with a vessel, which caused considerable delay. Meanwhile the whole question was in- 1441 quired into by Captain Purvis, acting under the Admiralty. It was no part of his (Mr. Grant Duff's) duty to defend the proceedings of Mr. Brown, but it was only fair to say that the report of Captain Purvis to the Admiralty after the inquiry instituted by him was very favourable to Mr. Brown's conduct. Captain Purvis came to the conclusion that the act of Mr. Brown was an act committed in legitimate self-defence. A document which had reached the Admiralty fully confirmed that view. It was the report of a German officer to the German Admiralty in relation to some other proceedings, and it was decidedly favourable to Mr. Brown. The contradictory opinions that had been expressed made it difficult to arrive at a correct view of the situation from a distance; but it would seem that in the opinions of impartial persons' on the spot, as well as in the opinion of our own Admiralty, there was a great deal more to be said for Mr. Brown than was to be said against him. Shortly afterwards, Mr. Brown came to Levuka and told Sir Arthur Gordon that he was ready and willing to submit his proceedings to a full investigation. Sir Arthur Gordon, while holding that it was impossible to inquire into such a matter at a distance from the place where the events occurred, would probably so far have gone into it as to have enabled Mr. Brown to state his case, if the Chief Judicial Commissioner, without any concert with Sir Arthur Gordon, had not directed the commencement of criminal proceedings against Mr. Brown. The continuance of the inquiry before Sir Arthur Gordon would have been manifestly improper; and he, therefore, informed Mr. Brown that, while proceedings before the Chief Judicial Commissioner were pending, he felt it necessary to adjourn the further prosecution of his own inquiry, adding that, whatever opinion he might entertain of the judiciousness of Mr. Brown's action, he felt bound to inform him that no evidence had been laid before him which appeared to render the prosecution of a criminal charge against Mr. Brown necessary. Sir Arthur Gordon also wrote a letter to the Chief Judicial Commissioner, in which he communicated to that officer an opinion similar to that which he had expressed to Mr. Brown. Partly in consequence of this letter, and partly, if not, as might be presumed, chiefly, 1442 because there was really no informant or prosecutor in the case, the charge against Mr. Brown was dismissed when it came on for hearing before Mr. Gorrie, and Mr. Brown immediately afterwards sailed on his return to Duke of York's Island. Most of the witnesses had since left the locality; and even if it were possible to do so, it did not appear that any useful purpose would be served by re-opening the inquiry.
§ MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY
said, the House owed the hon Member for Glasgow a debt of gratitude for raising this question. It had been stated by the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Sir Charles W. Dilke) that the Government were determined, as far as they could, to prevent missionaries or other persons from exercising illegitimate authority over the Natives with whom they might come in contact. He hoped the Government would make it understood that the matter was not to end by their merely making that statement, and expressing that opinion, but they would enforce what they had stated, Very serious difficulties had arisen because former Governments had not made it known that they were determined to enforce such a view. There was a tendency on the part of missionaries in foreign countries to interfere with the political and territorial affairs of the countries in which they were stationed; and he could not help thinking that if Her Majesty's Government, in conjunction with the other Powers, could put an end to this state of things, they would do a large amount of good. There could, he thought, be no doubt that the work of missionaries in the making of con-verts would be helped forward by their not taking part in any political operations in the countries to which they were sent for very different purposes.
§ SIR HARRY VERNEY
thought it necessary that where the Government gave any sanction or approval to the establishment of British subjects in any part of the world, and especially in uncivilized parts, there should be, if possible, some means of protecting and controlling them, and preventing them being guilty of actions which bring disgrace on their country.
§ MAJOR NOLAN
wished to explain to the House that he had had some private conversation with Mr. Stanley with reference to his African Expedition, and 1443 that that gentleman had expressed his great disappointment that no one had come forward to defend him against the accusation brought against him. The fact was that Mr. Stanley had been in continued danger of his life while travelling down the river. The Natives had been very threatening in their attitude towards him, and the act of which complaint had been made was described by Mr. Stanley as a single event constituting his defence during his journey through the country. Had that gentleman not acted pluckily as he did, the probability was that he would never have returned from the heart of Africa to give an account of his Mission to discover the sources of the Congo. He did not believe Mr. Stanley would commit any wanton outrage.
said, that, after the satisfactory statement of the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, he would ask the leave of the House to withdraw his Motion.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.