Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £20,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March,
1892, as a Grant in Aid of the Cost of Preliminary Surveys for a Railway from the Coast to Lake Victoria Nyanza.
§ (4.20) MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
We have taken tonight pretty nearly two hours in fixing which particular parish should have the honour of the terminus of a new railroad to London. In these circumstances I do not think it is unfair or unreasonable if we demand that there should be full and ample discussion on the matter of this railroad in Africa. The Government were asked to state, last night, the financial position of the British East Africa Chartered Company. They did not do so. I stated facts which I had obtained from the Company itself. I believe a great many Members do not know how a Chartered Company is formed; well, I will tell them. A Petition is presented to the Lords in Council, an advertisement is put in the Gazette, calling upon anyone to state objections, and this, of course, elicits no reply, as nobody takes the Gazette. The Charter is then given, a deed of settlement is drawn up between the Company and the Treasury, and this deed of settlement forms, to all intents and purposes, the Articles of Association for a Limited Company. Therefore the Chartered Company is a Limited Liability Company, with the addition of the halo which arises from the Government having approved of it. But there is an exception. By the Limited Liability Law, a company is obliged to deposit a list of its shareholders every year at Somerset House, and anyone can go there and look over that list of shareholders, and ascertain whether the shares have been transferred or not. In the case of a Chartered Company you cannot do this, because they are not obliged to deposit any list of shareholders. I do not know why an exception has been made in their favour, but there it is. Well, Sir, in May, 1887, a certain number of gentlemen obtained a concession from the Sultan of Zanzibar extending over a length of coast line of 150 miles and about 10 miles in depth. This concession gave them practically absolute sovereignty over this district; power to administer it, to levy taxes, & c. In September, 1888, that is to say 52 a little more than a year afterwards, application was made for a Charter by the Company, and the facts upon which the application was based were these: that this concession had been obtained from the Sultan of Zanzibar; also, that preliminary agreements had been or were being made with the tribes landward of Zanzibar within the sphere of British influence, and that certain gentlemen had subscribed £250,000. Having got a Charter they issued a prospectus and asked for a further sum of £250,000. In connection with this matter the prospectus urges the financial advantages of this Company, and I find this curious clause—It is proposed at once to construct a light railway which, with steamers to be placed on the River Tana and the Victoria Nyanza, will probably draw the trade of the interior for a distance of several hundred miles to the Company's seaports. Coasting steamers will also, if advisable, be provided to develop local traffic between these ports.Therefore, Mr. Courtney, this prospectus was issued as that of a purely commercial and financial company, and the money was asked for on the plea that it was intended to construct a railway out of which, when constructed, a good, deal of money was to be made. I have heard much of the philanthropy of the gentlemen who subscribed the £250,000. Well, in one sense, we are all philanthropists, though we like to unite philanthropy with business. I have no doubt these gentlemen desire to civilise Africa, and to benefit their fellow men, and to a certain extent they were, no doubt, influenced by these general philanthropic views; but, unquestionably, beyond that there was the opinion that while in this, as in all speculative matters, money might be lost, on the other hand a considerable profit might be returned. In fact, if you examine this Deed of Settlement you will see that what I say is borne out. It deals with the large returns to be made, and is the old story of the founders' shares. These were to receive a large share of the profits after 8 per cent. had been paid to the misguided people who provided the £250,000. While I am perfectly ready to believe in the philanthropic objects of those who did invest their money in this Company, I am bound to say, having read all the documents, that I find no 53 philanthropy there, and, that being so, I presume it was a commercial speculation. The main object of these philanthropists was said to be the suppression of slavery, but the Committee will be surprised to hear that only two clauses in the Charter relate to slavery. The first is Clause 10, which provides that—The Company shall to the best of its power discourage and, so far as may be practicable, and as may be consistent with existing Treaties between non-African Powers and Zanzibar, abolish by degrees any system of Slave Trade or domestic servitude in the Company's territories.That is not much. But there is a still more remarkable clause—Clause 26—For the more effectual prevention of the Slave Trade the Company may, notwithstanding anything hereinbefore contained, levy within the territories administered by the Company, other than their Zanzibar territory, a tax on caravans and porters, or carriers carrying merchandise or other goods passing through the Company's territories.Their mode of putting down slavery is, because these men are slaves, to obtain from Her Majesty's Government the right to levy a tax on any unfortunate African laid hold of and used as a carrier. Now, Sir, what has the Company done since 1888? The Secretary of the Company, in writing to me, in reply to my inquiries, says this—They have since then been occupied in exploring and in negotiating Treaties with the Chiefs within the sphere of British influence, which have resulted in placing the whole country from the coast to Uganda under British control. These operations have so occupied the attention of the Company as to have hitherto prevented the Company entering into any trading whatsoever on its own account.All, therefore, the Company has done has been to make Treaties within the sphere, in order to place the whole country from the coast to Uganda under British control. I should like to know whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer accepts that statement that they have placed the whole of the country under British control? We have had statements from Captain Lugard that between Uganda and the coast fierce tribes inhabit the land, including the Masai, who are especially bloodthirsty. According to the statement made by the Board of Directors, the company hopes to bring about excellent things 54 in this territory between Uganda and the coast—By keeping in cheek the marauding and bloodthirsty Masai tribe, who at present lay waste large tracts of land, to the terror of the people.What people?
§ An hon. MEMBER: What is the date of that?
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
June, 1889. We have it from Captain Lugard, and we know perfectly well that these men are there at the present moment; and, in regard to these Treaties, I should like to know whether there has been a Treaty with the Masai. This land belongs to these tribes. They maybe bloodthirsty, they may be savages, or what you like; but you have no right to go into the country and drive off the inhabitants because you are pleased to call them bloodthirsty, and establish yourselves there. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Midlothian asked, "Where are your Treaties and your maps?" The right hon. Gentleman had not seen, or I think he would have quoted, Article III. of the Charter of the East Africa Company. Article III. says—Provided that none of the powers of this our Charter shall be exercised under or in relation to any grant, concession, agreement, or Treaty as aforesaid, until a copy of such grant, concession, agreement, or Treaty, in such form and with such maps or particulars as our Secretary of State approves, and verified as he requires, has been transmitted to him, and he has signified his approval thereof, either absolutely or subject to any conditions or reservations.We have the fact that, unless this Company has not acted up to its Charter, all these Treaties and maps have been submitted to the Foreign Secretary. Why are they not given to us? Why are we not to have these facts? Why are we to grope about in order to get some data to enable us to form a conclusion on this matter? There has been a most deliberate intention on the part of the Government and the East Africa Company to conceal from us the facts that were in their own possession. Where are these Treaties and maps?
§ An hon. MEMBER: You never asked for them.55
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
We ought to have them without asking for them. Either Lord Salisbury has not got them; or if he has got them, it is almost criminal on the part of Lord Salisbury not to have submitted them to the House. Not only have we not had these maps, but we have not got the Report of Captain Lugard. Hon. Gentlemen seem to think this is a private communication of Captain Lugard. That gentleman goes out there, and, being an independent man, of independent judgment, he writes home an honest and full Report. This Report is important in regard to the question whether it is desirable to have a railway there or not; but we are not given the Report, and it is by a mere accident that a gentleman on this side of the House, having got hold of the Report, was able to call attention to it, otherwise we should never have known of its existence. When we are asked to go into partnership with this Company, we want to have openly stated in this House everything that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has obtained from the Company in order that we may form our judgment. We are asked to consent to this thing upon what I must term general, vague clap-trap in regard to missionaries and the Slave Trade. We are abused if we do not consent to this Vote, as if we were opposed to the suppression of the Slave Trade. But when we are asked to vote money for the suppression of the Slave Trade, surely we are entitled to have all the data before us to enable us to form an opinion whether this investment of money will aid in any way in suppressing the Slave Trade, and that we have not got. The Chancellor of the Exchequer falls back on the Brussels Conference. The right hon. Gentleman does not remember that the statement he cited from the Brussels Conference is merely declaratory. It is an expression of opinion—a pious opinion—and it binds no one. Railroads were only one of the means which it was suggested all countries should take in order to suppress the Slave Trade. If you were to have a great net-work of railroads all over Africa you would undoubtedly suppress the Slave Trade, but the question is whether this one 56 particular railroad would do anything to suppress the Slave Trade. And yet we are absolutely told unless we vote a large sum of money for a preliminary survey, we are hypocrites and base persons, swaggering before Europe as philanthropists. I have the greatest doubt and suspicion of anyone who comes forward in this House and begins by telling us he is a philanthropist. I know what has been done in the name of philanthropy; and while I esteem philanthropists, I look upon them with great doubt and suspicion when they want guarantees and subsidies. The data we have before us show that this railroad would be no sort of advantage in the suppression of the Slave Trade. Captain Lugard tells us there is no Slave Trade in Uganda. You have the external Slave Trade and the internal Slave Trade. My hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen has pointed out that this railway would in no sort of way put a stop to the external Slave Trade. I do protest against what has been said by Lord Salisbury and the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, that, by giving the Vote asked for, we should save money, because we should be able to suppress the gunboats that are now on the coast. There was an absolute mala fides in the statement. We should not be able to suppress the gunboats, and I sincerely trust we shall not do so. I should like to know how many European employés of the East Africa Company there are at present in Uganda? Yon have Captain Lugard and six or ten employés of the Company at Uganda civilising the place with the Monarch there, and two or three million inhabitants. And because these six or ten gentlemen are up there, we are told this Company has enlarged the sphere of the Empire so greatly that it is terrible to think that these gentlemen should have to come back unless we built a railroad for them. We talk of a subsidy and guarantee; but do hon. Members think that is all we shall have to pay for the railroad? I will assume the railroad is built, and that we send up troops and drive off these Masai; what will happen afterwards? Captain Lugard says there is nothing to convey by the railroad—there is only a little ivory. It costs £300 per ton to carry goods to the 57 coast at present, and the Under Secretary says if the railroad is made only £3 per ton would be charged. Where are you to get your market if you are to pay £3 for the carriage of a ton of maize or other produce from Uganda to the coast? I should like to quote a passage from an article which appeared in the Times of the 28th September, 1891, and which has been sent to Members, I presume, by the Company itself. It says—Not only is there a large body of converts divided into opposing camps and identified, more or less, with native chiefs and native quarrels, who retain so much of the old Adam that only the tact and firmness of Captain Lugard has hindered them from flying at one another's throats. Besides the animosities engendered by novel ideas and influences among the partially civilised, there is the furious hatred aroused in the neighbouring Mahomedan populations. The same stuff with which the Mahdi invaded Egypt is available in any quantity for a fanatical onslaught upon all who have departed in any degree from the religion or customs of their fathers.I opposed the Suakin Railway, and ultimately Her Majesty's Government gave up making it. I did not want that railway, simply because I knew that if it were constructed we should have to send an army to Khartoum. If we build this railway by going through the country of the bloodthirsty Masai, we shall have to send an army to defend these people from the inroad of a power as strong as that of the Mahdi, and then we shall have to prevent these very remarkable Christians from cutting each other's throats. As a matter of fact, the great mass of the Christians in Uganda are Roman Catholics. Now the Catholics, who are in a majority of the Protestants, are opposed to this railway. It is true there are a number of Protestant missionaries, but I do not believe, whether they are Protestant missionaries or not, it is the mission of the State to spend money or build railroads in order to prevent these Protestant missionaries cutting the throats of the Roman Catholic missionaries, nor is it their business to prevent the Catholic missionaries cutting the throats of the Protestant missionaries. The blood of the saints is the seed of the Church. I respect a missionary, the man who goes among those uncivilised tribes—if it is his view that he will benefit the natives 58 by offering them Christianity—but I do not respect the missionary who is always quarrelling with other missionaries, and in order that he may have his goods sent up clamours for a railway and an army to defend him. The Chancellor of the Exchequer's defence is this: It is true that we do not know whether the railway will be built, but we ought to obtain information on the point. My answer is that you have already had a Report. We were told by the Member for Dover that we were all agreed this survey should be made and we were practically agreed to make the railroad. The Member for Dover can hardly be considered a private Member, as he is the Secretary to the First Lord of the Treasury. I should like to know what the First Lord says to the statement of his Secretary. Is it the opinion of the hon. Gentleman, or are we to believe that, having the privilege of personal intercourse with the First Lord, he assumes this is the view taken by the First Lord? There is only one other point in regard to this, and that is the outrageous conduct of Lord Salisbury. Last Session the Supplementary Estimate was not pressed because it was contentious, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby protested against it being taken. But what did Lord Salisbury do? He did not wait to consult the House. No sooner was the House up than Lord Salisbury commenced an interesting correspondence with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and someone pointed out what a wise man the Chancellor of the Exchequer was because he insisted upon a survey before the railway was made. I would not put that forward as an indication of wisdom. He only did what would be done by the greatest fool. We are presented with the correspondence between Lord Salisbury and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Now I have always considered there is a strong objection to the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary being the same man. It would have been rank rebellion for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to have refused what Lord Salisbury asked. Therefore I may take it this was practically forced upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer. As a diligent guardian of the Public Purse the Chancellor of the Exchequer was opposed to it; 59 besides, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as a gentleman of singular acuteness of mind, must have considered it very improper to induce a company to spend money on a pledge that he would get it from Parliament. I do not know how long the world has existed, but it has existed many thousands of years; no one has yet made a survey, and the place has so far got on very well without it; but we are asked to believe they could not wait another winter. I hope the Committee will seriously consider this matter, and first get an absolute assurance from the First Lord that in no sort of way, directly or indirectly, is there any species of pledge, expectation, or belief founded upon this Vote for the survey, that the railway will be made. Secondly, I would suggest that it would be well and more decent to put off this Vote until we are furnished with this Report of Captain Lugard's and these maps and Treaties which are now in the possession of the Foreign Office. I do not say whether I am for or against this railway. So far as I can judge from the insufficient data possessed, it will be of no advantage in the way of putting down the Slave Trade. I have every desire that the Slave Trade should be put down. But I remembered that this country will only spend a certain sum of money in suppressing the Slave Trade, and I am anxious that all money devoted to the purpose shall be usefully used. Those who come forward in this loose, wild, reckless way without giving details how the money is to be spent, are not the best friends of those who wish to kill the traffic, and hon. Gentlemen opposite have no right to assert that those who object to this railroad are opposed to the putting down of the Slave Trade. When fair and honest proposals are made to suppress the Slave Trade we shall be reminded of the expenditure of £2,000,000 on this railroad. We cannot consent to this Vote. The whole thing is a base and systematic job, and we do not believe it will put down the Slave Trade.
§ (4.55.) SIR J. KENNAWAY (Devon, Honiton)
I shall not follow the hon. Gentleman in ms remarks as to this Company. We have the assurance 60 of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that before this money is handed over, he will take care to satisfy himself that the Company are in a position to fulfil the intentions of the Government. Nor shall I discuss what is the status of the missionaries; but an attack has been made upon men who have gone forth with their lives in their hands and laid down their lives, and have lived in the country for years.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
That is not what I did. I read from an article sent by the Company as to what the missionaries were doing, and that they were only prevented from cutting each others' throats by Captain Lugard. I said I did respect the missionaries who went forth on their own account, but that it was not the business of the State to interfere.
§ SIR J. KENNAWAY
The State has never been asked to interfere on their behalf. But for 16 years these missionaries have been in the country, and that is an element which will have weight with the people of this country I can certainly say, as representing the Society which sent them there, and spent over £200,000 in forming what is admitted to be the only Christian State in Africa, that we believe the expenditure has been well made, that we do not regret it, and that we are anxious to extend the work we have done, and we do not ask the protection of the State for it. But this money can only be asked for on the ground of the suppression of the Slave Trade, and I quite agree with the right hon. Member for Midlothian that this ought not to be made a Party question. That is easy to say, but there is a tendency to drift into Party considerations, as was evidenced when the Slave Circular, which embraced the policy of both Parties, was made the medium of a violent Party attack. I heartily endorse the expression of the right hon. Gentleman, and hope that many on that side of the House will vote for this sum. Whatever maybe the feeling in the House, the suppression of the Slave Trade is very dear to people outside, and they will not tolerate these, as some of them are, fanciful objections to whatever is proposed in that direction. As Lord Salisbury said in his speech at the Mansion House:—"What interests 61 the people of this country most is how far we can suppress the Slave Trade in Africa." A hundred years ago we were actively engaged in the Slave Trade, and it was only in 1833 that the Slave Trade was made illegal. The trade was then carried on on the West Coast of Africa, and we spent large sums of money on cruisers to check it, but it was only put an end to 20 years ago. It then broke out on the East Coast, and a Committee of this House, in 1872 considered the question. The result was Sir Bartle Frere's mission to Zanzibar, and a system was adopted which for a time put a serious cheek on the trade. Later on interest in the question revived, and at a great meeting at St. James's Hall, under the presidency of Earl Granville, Cardinal Lavigerie spoke, and a resolution was passed urging the Government to concert with the other Powers in Africa to take measures to stop the trade. Lord Salisbury then wrote a despatch urging that a Conference should be summoned at Brussels, but the time was inopportune. Then came in this House, from one whose name is intimately connected with the Slave Trade, the hon. Member for Poplar (Mr. S. C. Buxton)—who I am sorry is prevented by domestic affliction from being present to support this Motion—a Resolution, which I seconded, and which was unanimously carried, that an Address should be presented to Her Majesty to ask the Signatory Powers to meet in Conference to devise such measures as should be effectual for the suppression of the Slave Trade. Then came the Brussels Conference, which marked a great advance in the public opinion of Europe. That Conference pledged the Signatory Powers to do certain things, and I think these things having been done deliberately should be carried out. The Powers were pledged to put an end to the crime and devastation caused by the Slave Trade, and suggestions were made as to the construction of roads and railways giving easy access to inland waters. It was provided that they might delegate their powers to companies, but that they would be, nevertheless, responsible for the fulfilment of the engagements they contracted. Germany advanced large sums to their company, and subsidised steamboat 62 lines and guaranteed interest on a railway. We all know the liberality of the King of the Belgians, and his subjects also subscribed for a railway and guaranteed the interest on another. Portugal also has established a railway. Great Britain is the only nation which has done nothing at all in regard to the matter beyond the expenditure on the squadron, the sacrifice of life and money in connection with which is a serious consideration. Hon. Gentlemen think a great deal of £20,000, but they think nothing of £200,000 a year. I do not say that the squadron should be put down, but I think there should be some ratio between the stop put to the Slave Trade and that expenditure. Happily, the British East Africa Company has done something to uphold the national honour, and is deserving of the thanks of the country. While they might have remained on the coast and made a great deal of money, they pushed forward to Uganda, so that it should not be left to Germany, and sent forward Captain Lugard. I hope we shall see the despatch, and then we shall find how greatly we have benefited by their action. They cannot, however, carry on the operations unless this railway is made—the cost is so enormous. If it be made, the cost of bringing down to the coast coffee and other valuable goods—for the country is very rich—will be much reduced. If it be not made, the Company will not suffer, but the prestige of this country will. It has been suggested that the Company is practically bankrupt. They have ample means to carry on their operations of the coast, where the Customs Duties already amount to £6,000 a-year, and if other concessions, which I think they have a right to ask, are granted, they will get a good return for their capital outlay. The Company is under no obligation to carry on this work in the interior; that obligation is Imperial, and what they have done has been for the benefit of this country. We are now asked to go forward a very small step. If we were asked to sanction the construction of the railway at once there would be some force in the objections to the Vote, but we are simply asked for this survey, which 63 will give us great information and assist the country generally, by letting us know what the value of the interior districts is, and how far we can go in carrying out the policy of the Brussels Conference. It is true that it is not a slave-trading country, but all the porterage is done by human agency, and, therefore, if the railway were made there would be a large diminution of the Slave Trade. I do not think there is a shadow of doubt that we ought to go forward in this matter; that we are bound in honour to do so. A few years ago we heard a great deal from the right hon. Member for Midlothian to the effect that we ought to act always with the concert of Europe and with the mandate of Europe. The concert of Europe was attained at the Brussels Conference, and the mandate was given. If the right hon. Gentleman were here he would admit that that concert ought not to be thrown over or treated lightly, and that we ought to do anything reasonable and practicable as an earnest of what we would do afterwards when we see it to be safe and prudent and likely to attain the object we have in view—the suppression of the Slave Trade. It is all very well to expect other people to go in and do our work. We obtained our great Empire of India through a Company. There was no question there of putting down a great evil, such as the Slave Trade, and therefore there was no question at the time of the interference of the Government. But here we have a policy to be carried out, a duty to do. I hope we shall, at all events, take this first step, and wait and see how far we can safely follow it up afterwards.
§ (5.15.) SIR LEWIS PELLY (Hackney, N.)
So many allusions have been made to the British East Africa Company that I think some official connected with it should offer a few remarks for the purpose of removing the principal misapprehensions which undoubtedly obtain in various parts of the House. I think there is a confusion of thought concerning the relations of the Government with the Company. I claim for the Company that our origin and our development 64 have been wholly apart from the past policy of the Government. The present policy of the Government resulted in the intervention of Germany in Africa; till that happened nothing was done. When that took place Lord Granville had his attention drawn to it, and he got into communication with the German authorities, went in for delimitation and spheres of influence; Lord Salisbury's Government carried on that policy, and thence came the General Act of Brussels. But supposing the Government had never touched that policy the Company would still have been in existence; and it is still able to go on along the shore lines if it restrains itself from endeavouring to do Imperial work. To my certain knowledge the idea of attempting to suppress the Slave Trade by civilising means in East Africa, rather than by force at sea, was submitted to Government 31 years ago, for I submitted it myself in a despatch dated 17th February, 1862. So much impressed was I with the necessity of that change in policy, that I declined—after, I fear, committing considerable destruction at sea—to go on with the sea policy of force; and I resigned my appointment and returned to India. To my certain knowledge, 16 years ago Sir William Mackinnon spoke to me on this subject. I said it was a good idea, but that the Government would not carry it into practice, and I did not want anything more to do with it. Later on, however, the East Africa Company was formed by certain gentlemen putting down £250,000, and then appealing to the public to see if the public would come forward for purposes of profit, with, I think, another million. Thus a nucleus was formed; and yet it is said that this was not philanthropy. I believe the heart's desire of this country—England, Scotland, and Ireland—is to extend our sphere of trade and root out the Slave Trade everywhere. You may stifle the railway, but that will not ruin the Company, nor will it root out the idea of trade and anti-slavery in this country. Empire never stands still, and empire founded largely on trade least of all. I will now, Sir, proceed to glance at the Brussels Act. It was stated that the Act was only declaratory and bound the signatories 65 to nothing. Article 1 states that the object of this Act is—The construction of roads, and particularly railways connecting the advanced stations with the coast and making easy access to inland waters.Article 4 declares that—The States exercising sovereign powers or protectorates in Africa may in all cases delegate to Companies, provided with charters, all or a portion of the engagements which they assume in virtue of Article 3. They remain, nevertheless, directly responsible for the engagements which they contract by the present Act, and guarantee the execution thereof.Then it is pretended that this only relates to the protectorate, to a ten mile strip along the shore. Does it not? Why then does the Act speak of advanced posts, railways, and steamers on Lake Victoria? It is pretended that a sphere of influence does not commit the Government under the Act. If the sphere of influence had remained a mere paper document it might have been so, but in the course of time Treaties have been concluded in that sphere of influence. I hold in my hand a list of 78 Treaties entered into with various chieftains between the coast line and the Victoria Nyanza, placing districts and tribes under our Protectorate. Now, when you entered into those engagements you accepted all the responsibilities connected with them, and I only ask to be permitted to read one.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
I want to ask the hon. Member if these Papers will be presented, as it is a Rule of the House when Papers are read that they should be presented. Will these Treaties be presented or not?
§ SIR L. PELLY
I do not know. The right hon. Gentleman should address himself to the Government for an answer to that question. I will read one of them. This is the form of Treaty 4:—Let it be known to all whom it may concern that — has placed himself and all his territories, countries, peoples, and subjects under the protection, rule, and government of the Imperial British East Africa Company, and has ceded to the said Company all his sovereign rights and rights of government over all his territories, countries, peoples, and subjects, and that the said Company 66 have assumed the said rights so ceded to them as aforesaid, and that the said Company hereby grant their protection and the benefit of their rule and government to him, his territories, countries, peoples, and subjects, and hereby authorise him to use the flag of the said Company as a sign of their protection.But that is not all. Having entered into those Treaties, the Company issued a Proclamation, from which I take the following extract:—It has been reported to me that the Wanika and Giriama tribes are now making war upon each other and selling their captives into slavery. These tribes are free people, who have made Treaties with and placed themselves under the jurisdiction of this Company. Notice is therefore hereby given, that the following 13 tribes are all under the protection of this Company. No man, woman, or child belonging to any of these tribes can be held as a slave, and any so held will, on appealing to the Company, be at once liberated, and no compensation whatever can be claimed, or will be paid to the holder of such a person.Now, we have heard a great deal in the course of this Debate about Uganda, and reference has been largely made to the Report of Captain Lugard. There seems to be a certain amount of mystery about that Report. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Midlothian quoted largely from it. I am sorry the right hon. Gentleman is not now in his place, but perhaps the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, who leads the Party in the absence of his chief, would be able to tell the House whether the Report was not given them by one of the Directors, so that there is no desire on the part of the Company to reserve any information. I ask the right hon. Gentleman, is that the case? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Midlothian, spoke a great deal about the terminus to the railway being in Uganda. I venture to point out that the railway is not going to Uganda. It is going to some point on the Eastern shores of the Victoria Nyanza. The Victoria Nyanza is called a lake, but it is a "lake" covering an area of 27,000 square miles, and I think 27,000 square miles of water area might fairly be called a sea. At one point on the North-West is Uganda. It might as well be said that there is an objection to constructing a railway from London to Holyhead for the purpose of supplying Ireland because 67 there happened to be an attempt at revolution in some place like Cork. The cases are parallel. The right hon. Gentleman says, "A map—give us a map." A map has been hanging for a long time in the Tea Room; there is another large map in the office of the East Africa Company, and every concern and almost every office all over London is hung with maps and illustrations of East Africa. The right hon. Gentleman has been walking through London for the last five months, and he must have seen several of them. Some importance has been given to the statements of Captain Lugard with respect to Uganda. Now it must be remembered that Captain Lugard went there soon after a state of civil war, and he submitted in his Report his first impressions. Countries are not usually in a very prosperous condition after civil war, but we have a more recent Report with respect to Uganda, and it tends to show that everything in the country is settling down. In proof of that statement I may quote from the latest Despatch from one of the administrators in Uganda, dated 4th October. This is from Captain Williams, who was a lieutenant of Captain Lugard, and is the present administrator of the Company in Uganda. Captain Williams writes:—Mt. Kampala, Uganda, 4th October, 1891. I am advised by my counsellors of both parties that it will come right, and that if I keep Mengo quiet the rest will follow. There is no doubt that the country is slowly and surely settling down. My personal influence (I trust I may not be considered guilty of foolish self praise) is daily becoming stronger, and no serious matter is decided on without the chiefs of both parties coming to me for counsel and advice. I am prepared to stake my reputation on the success of my work in this country.A good deal has been said about slavery. One hon. Member says there is no slavery in Uganda, and it has been stated that there was no slavery existing in the territories under the British sphere of influence. Let us see. As a matter of fact, there is a colony of slaves at Juba, numbering between 40,000 and 60,000; there is a second colony at Witu of between 5,000 and 6,000, and there is a third colony of between 4,000 and 6,000 at Holodoyo, about 80 miles from Mombasa. I 68 would ask the Committee to listen to an extract from the Report of Mr. Jackson, the first of the Company's officers who went to the Victoria Nyanza:—Leaving"—so and so—"on the 10th, we crossed the river, and entered Kitosh. This is the principal slave and cattle lifting ground of the Swahili and Arab traders. These traders go up to Kavirondi simply for this reason, and because food is cheap. A caravan will go to a place like Mumyas, and stop there for several months, living at the expense of the good-natured and hospitable natives; in the meantime they will have been two or three raids into the Wanipi country between Mumyas and Msala, on the lake, all slaves falling to them as their share, and when their time is up, knowing they have no spare men to carry food, as they have a large stock of ivory buried at Njemps or Kanassia to carry down to the coast, they return to Baringo viâ Kitosh Maragwet, at the foot of Chibehingnani and Elgeyo, stealing all the cattle as food, and kidnapping all the women and children they can. From Machakos we brought up a Kitosh woman who had been taken in a raid by the last Arab caravan, under Abdullabin-Hamis, of Mombasa—the same man who gave me so much trouble in Ukambani. This woman we restored to her own people. We had relied on getting food every day as we went along in Kitosh, to save our breaking into the food we were carrying—a matter of four days out. Directly we approached the first village we found all the doors barricaded, and everyone in a great state of alarm. At the camp just outside the village of the principal chief, Majamja by name, we tried to induce the people to sell us food, but were unable to do so; and the women could not be induced to come into camp. At one village we were told by the headman that his people were really too frightened to come and sell us food, as they had been so harassed and treacherously treated by the Swahilis. Their custom is to profess the greatest friendship for the people, and encourage the women and children to come into camp by giving good prices for their flour. &c., and then, at a given signal, to surround the camp, secure all the women and children, and shoot down any men who may offer resistance.But we have another and I think a very excellent witness as to the existence of slavery in those territories. It is that very well-known paper called Truth. On 23rd January in that paper there appeared an extract from the letter of a correspondent in East Africa, whom the editor described as—A gentleman whose statements may be taken without hesitation, and who has had ample opportunity of learning the truth about the East Africa Company's territories.He says— 69These slaves form the currency with which the Waganda and other tribes pay the Twahili traders for the imported goods. Slaves have been the staple article of exchange.and so forth. I trust that in the few remarks I have offered I have refuted some, at all events, of the mis-statements which have been made upon this subject.
§ (5.43.) SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Derby)
I have listened with great interest to the speech of the hon. Member who has just sat down, and I must certainly say that he is the first person who has offered us any information whatever on the subject we are discussing. The only criticism that I should make on the speech of the hon. Member is that it was too short, and the information was too fragmentary. The documents to which the hon. Member has referred were the very documents which we wanted to see, and which I and those beside me desired to see placed upon the Table of the House. But the hon. Member has not given us the whole of the documents; he has cut them short with a "so forth," and that is not exactly the form—
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
As the hon. Member holds the title deeds of this great Empire he should ascertain how to pronounce the names of its various divisions. The hon. Member has referred to the Report of Captain Williams, made in October last. But it is these documents to which the hon. Member has been referring that we ask for; these are the things we want to know; these are the things the Government ought to have learned from the Company; the Company ought to have given them to the Government, and the Government ought to have communicated them to the House. We are very much obliged, I must at the same time say, to the hon. Member for the information he has given to the Committee. He has spoken in a tone which everybody will appreciate; but I wish to point out to the hon. Member and to the Committee that the matters of which he has given us only a skeleton, are precisely the matters which we want to know, and they are precisely 70 things which hon. Members are entitled absolutely to know before we commit ourselves to a policy the results of which it is impossible for us to foresee. I hope that in what I am about to say I shall in no way depart from the principle—following what my right hon. Friend the Member for Midlothian has stated—that this is not to be treated as a Party question. I hope I shall say nothing to import a spirit of that kind into the discussion. Everybody must feel the force of what was said by the right hon. Gentleman that we are now at the "parting of the ways;" we quite appreciate the importance of the matter, and that it is incumbent on the House to consider fully and carefully what course we are commencing in connection with this matter. In the first place, I should like to make an observation as to what our position as a civilized nation is with reference to these territories. It has been stated that we came under certain obligations by this Act of the Conference of Brussels in respect to the territories which were under British influence. But such a matter could in no way come within the purview of the Conference of Brussels. That Conference had no relation whatever, nor could it have, to this territory or this railway; but, as a matter of fact, as the hon. Member for Aberdeen pointed out the other night, the Conference of Brussels related only to questions concerning Sovereignty and Protectorate. The hon. Member for Dover said this was mere quibbling, and that a sphere of influence might be in the same position. We all know that a sphere of influence is absolutely different in all its character and in all its consequences either from Sovereignty or from a Protectorate. The men who drew up the Act of the Conference of Brussels—I do not blame the hon. Member for Dover—but they, at least, were diplomats, knowing something of the principles of International Law, and they were not the men to make such a blunder as to include spheres of influence in a document of that nature. They were defining what people ought to do under circumstances where they had the right and where they had the means of doing it, and therefore they imposed those duties upon men who had a Sovereignty 71 and who had a Protectorate. But the sphere of influence gives you no power to do—no right to do—this thing. A sphere of influence confers no right, no authority over the people; a sphere of influence confers no right or authority over the land of any kind. Here is an Act for the prevention and punishment of offences committed by British subjects in a foreign territory—an Act passed in the tune of Lord Palmerston's Government, when the relations of this country to foreign nations and uncivilised nations seem to have been a good deal better understood than they are understood at the Foreign Office at the present day. It provides for the prevention and punishment of crimes and outrages likely to be committed by British subjects within that territory, not being within the jurisdiction of any civilised Government. Now, mark that. The Statute provides for the establishment of Magistrates in order to punish Her Majesty's subjects within the jurisdiction, and continues—Nothing herein or in any such commission or commissions contained shall extend, or be construed to extend, or invest Her Majesty with any claim or title whatsoever, dominion or sovereignty, over any such territory as aforesaid, or to derogate from the rights of the tribe or people inhabiting such territory or the Chief or ruler of any such territory or dominion.You have no authority, you have no right whatever, within those lands which are not under your sovereignty or protectorate, except such as in any particular spot may have been given you by Treaty with any particular Chief. That is what a sphere of influence is. That the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Foreign Office should have so totally misapprehended this matter as to conceive that a sphere of influence should be confounded with protectorate or sovereignty is a thing which I confess fills me with astonishment. Now, mark what is the consequence of this. Every act of force you commit against a native within a sphere of influence is an unlawful assault; every acre of land you take is a robbery; every native you kill is a murder, because you have no right and no authority against these men. That is the result of the question of a sphere of influence. Now, I come to another point, and that is—What is this 72 territory within the sphere of influence which you propose to open up by this railway? Now, that is exactly what the Government ought to have told us, and what they have not told us. I admit that the hon. Member who has just sat down was quite frank about the Company. He made no concealment. There was no pretence about private and confidential communications. This Report of Captain Lugard was sent to me by one of the Company last July. Well, I said—I have sufficient Parliamentary experience of railways, and my answer is that if you proposed to achieve such a work as that in any Parliamentary Committee that ever sat, the Preamble of the Bill would be thrown out.And that is the fact with reference to this Report of Captain Lugard. Well, now, what is his Report? I want to call the attention of the House to certain parts of his Report. The early part of the Report gives an account of his traversing the territory between Mombasa and the Lake; and a very miserable territory it must be, part of it! I do not think that can be disputed. There is some good land, and some very, very miserable land. There are some good spots, of course, round Mombasa. But what right have you to that territory? The other night the Chancellor of the Exchequer said we had Treaties with them all. He did not know the name of the country, he said; he could not pronounce the name—and surely I may be excused when even officials of the company cannot do so; and I want to know how far that is correct, and how far it is true that we have any rights at all there? We are told by Captain Lugard that through a considerable part of this territory—and that the most dangerous part of this territory—you have no Treaty at all; because the men there are so hostile to the Masai that they have not only made no Treaty, but under no circumstances will they make any Treaty with you. But, then, the object of this railway is to go to Uganda. ("No, no!") Yes; but not a word did the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs say to contradict it. He opened his case, if I may use a professional term, by showing that the whole object of the railway was to go to the "pearl of 73 Africa—Uganda." He described Uganda as an Arcadia to which British colonists were to go. You stated the other night that Uganda was the "pearl of Africa." It is quite true that the railway, as we all know, does not actually terminate in Uganda; but Uganda is the objective to which the railway is to move. Everybody knows that Uganda is the headquarters of the Company, and that the Company operates in that direction, and the object of the railway is to go to Uganda, though it goes to the Lake too. The first part of Captain Lugard's Report shows one thing which is very important. Captain Lugard's Report shows that he had the greatest difficulty to go there at all, because he could not get porters, and when he got porters they deserted. What are you going to do with porters who desert you? Are you going to flog them, or shoot them, as was unfortunately done in your dealings with Tippoo Tib, just because these men were slaves? When these men were overworked you flogged them; when they deserted you, you shot them. Is that the course you are going to take in the case of this railway? Is that the course this railway is to take? I say that any man who will read this Report of Captain Lugard will see with what difficulty, even with a handful of men, he got to Uganda at all; and he will see how impossible it is that this railway should ever be made except by forced labour. That is the first observation I make upon this Report, Well, then he gets to Uganda with great difficulty, having first—there is not a word of all this in the speech of the Under Secretary. You would suppose, to hear the Under Secretary, that it was like driving from here to Hyde Park, going from Mombasa up to Uganda, instead of its being an expedition of the greatest difficulty, and to a great extent the greatest danger;—then when he got to Uganda—the headquarters of the Company—Captain Lugard went there for the purpose of making a Treaty. We hear a great deal of these Treaties, as one hon. Member said. How are these Treaties obtained? Read Captain Lugard's Report for an account of the Treaty with the King at Uganda, whose name 74 I find it difficult to pronounce—I am not ashamed of this, for the gentleman who is a Director of the Company finds himself a difficulty in pronouncing it. But he goes up and he wants a Treaty from the King of Uganda. Now, mind, that is the keystone of your whole position. That is your title to be there as I understand it—so far as we have got any information at all—your title at Uganda to do anything at all depends upon your Treaty with this King; and this Treaty is forced upon this man. He does not voluntarily enter into the Treaty at all; and this is the way in which the Company obtains it, according to Captain Lugard himself:—A warm discussion arose on many points; then the chiefs were for signing, but the King held back and giggled and fooled; he demanded time. I replied by rapping the table and, speaking loudly, said he must sign now. I threatened to leave the next day if he did not, and possibly to go to his enemies, the Wa Nyoro. I pointed out to him that he had lost the southern half of his kingdom to the Germans by his previous delay, and that he would lose yet more if he delayed now. He was, I think, scared at my manner, and trembled very visibly, and was on the point of signing, when a rabble with guns, which crowded the door-way, threatened to shoot the first man who signed, shouting that they were selling their country.These men knew perfectly well that the object of the Treaty was to sign away the lands that belonged to them. This is the way this Treaty was made:—So far as I know," Captain Lugard continues, "these belonged to neither party. I thought it a ruse of the King at the time, but I am now inclined to believe it was genuine. They began by cocking their guns and putting in cartridges. I had increased my Soudanese escort to 20 men, and they were drawn up on one side with bayonets. Seeing that an immediate signature was hopeless, I said that to-morrow being Christmas Day, we would not act upon it, but that on the day following I must have his reply.This is a Christian, I believe, but of the Catholic persuasion, and therefore he is not favourably viewed by the Protestant party, or the Anti-Catholic party.On Christmas Day there was much excitement and discussion, and a fight seemed imminent; but late at night I heard that the Catholic Chiefs had agreed to sign, and that the King would do so too.The House will know when they read this Report what goes on in 75 Uganda; in this Christian colony there is something like the Thirty Years' War in France.On Christmas Day, the 26th," continues Captain Lugard, "the whole burza came into the camp. In explanation of the course of action I pursued, I must explain that in my opinion Mwanga was a coward and an irresolute bully, with whom it would be better to show a firm, strong hand, and he would accord the position which one took of oneself.This is the spirit in which this Treaty was forced on the unfortunate King.This estimate proved correct, and I was troubled by no impertinent questions regarding the number of men and guns I had brought. At the first interview he seemed greatly relieved and pleased at my tone; for while acting in a somewhat high-handed way, I was careful to be excessively polite in the matter.And the Treaty was signed; and then you will not be surprised to learn after that that the first thing the King did was to take and repudiate a Treaty which he had made under these circumstances. And so it is reported by Captain Lugard. And then Captain Lugard gives an imperfect account of this Treaty, which, after all, is the Charter of your rights at Uganda. He says—I have succeeded in securing the registration of arms with some difficulty, and the abolition of the Slave Trade was readily agreed to, being practically non-existent now.That is the opinion of Captain Lugard. There were isolated caravans found, one of which Captain Lugard met himself. I daresay there are few points in Africa where that is not the case; but where it is asserted that this is a slave-trading territory, the only information we have on the subject is that Captain Lugard had no difficulty whatever in securing the abolition of the Slave Trade, because it was practically non-existent. Then he goes on to describe what happened to this ornamental Treaty—Taking a lesson also probably from the fact that Dr. Peters, in spite of his show of scarlet and gold lace, &c., had been disowned by his Government, and his Treaty disavowed, they inserted in the codicil to their Treaty that if a greater man than I myself should arrive they would make a new Treaty.This is the information, private and confidential, sent to Her Majesty's Government by the Agent of this Company on the subject of the actual condition of things at Uganda, and of what is going on there:— 76No sooner had the Treaty been signed than the King began to repent his act, and sent a paper for me to sign, stating that all the States therein named should be subject to Uganda, together with other stipulations of a vague nature. I declined to sign it, but made many explanations.…. Consequently, to the present day (4th January), I have managed to avoid another interview, and hope to do so until I have the Treaty safely on its way to the coast.And then, having signed this Treaty—which is to give you control of Uganda itself, the valuable document upon which your authority rests—this is what Captain Lugard says:—The heathen and the lawless party, and the King and his party, I knew to be against me. The Catholics were not well disposed, and the Protestants were bitterly disappointed that I had not espoused their side, and had treated them exactly as I did the Catholics.That is Captain Lugard's description of the actual condition of things in Uganda. Then he says—and this is his position after he has signed this Treaty, and after he has established these firm and friendly relations—Such is the position of affairs on this date, and you will perceive that the position I occupy is full of great difficulty. The constant worry and anxiety is most harassing.… Meanwhile, my expedition will be reduced to starvation, and I may have to evacuate the country, in which case the Protestants will follow; as the Catholics cannot hold their own alone against the Mahommedans, the country will be left to anarchy.… I therefore await the arrival of the promised re-inforcements with anxiety, and I shall doubtless find means to hold out till they come.That is his position after signing a Treaty with the King. Then he proceeds to say—Above all, a force is needed strong enough to overawe both parties and the King.… A force of some 500 drilled men at least will be required to keep Uganda under control until the country is quieted, after which they will be further required towards Unyoro, and against the Mahdi, &c. It is, moreover, imperative that more officials should be sent up without delay. I would recommend the appointment of a Resident (who will have to be a very capable man with both tact and decision) with an assistant and a clerk, also an officer to undertake formation of an army, registration of arms, &c.; and at least two others for service in outlying districts.Now, Sir, that is the condition of Uganda, and what is the Uganda which is known by all these factions. "The Pearl of Africa," says the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
Very well, I will tell you what their own agent said about Uganda. The Company's agent said this—As regards the value of Uganda to the Company, I hold the opinion which seems to me to be shared alike by the English and French missionaries, the Germans, and Messrs. Jackson and Gedge, that Uganda, per se, has been much over-rated. At present there appears to be few or no products suitable for exportation except ivory, and that almost entirely comes from the Tributary States. Nor can the country, I understand, supply much labour for the construction of outside works. The recent wars have decimated the population, and at present, and for a long time hence, the labour must remain a monopoly of the King and chiefs.In a word, therefore, you are not going to get labour in, and you are not going to get exports from, Uganda. Now, let me read a little further—Uganda, however, as a road to the territories lying towards Albert Nyanza must always remain an important acquisition, and if the country can repay some part of the money expended on it the outlay will not be wasted. The people of Busoga, are at least as intelligent. I think, as the Waganda. The King informed me that Usoga was the 'cooking pot of Uganda,' without which his country could not exist. It is not divided up into factions or spoilt by the veneer of civilisation which has been the bane of Uganda.Therefore, Sir, this pearl of Africa is only valuable as a road to somewhere else. And let me call the attention of the Committee to the remarkable sentence in which he suggests that yon should leave the pearl of Africa and go to a place not divided into factions or spoilt by the veneer of civilisation which has been the bane of Uganda. This is the result of three years' work on the part of the East Africa Company. Their own agent says it has brought to Uganda the veneer of civilisation which has been its bane. He suggests that you should remove from there. Why? On account of the infinite and inevitable danger with which the whole of this territory is menaced, and which will require military operations of the most tremendous magnitude to defend or support it. On this point he says—I have no means whatever of estimating the strength of parties in the country, but I have heard it said that there are about 3,600 guns, on what basis of calculation I am not 78 aware. The Arabs, I was told by an Arab prisoner here, number about 200, but the Waganda Mahommedans, I am informed, muster some 2,000 guns and a very large body of spearmen.And what is the conclusion at which Captain Lugard, after his examination of the condition of things, arrived, an I what is it he recommends to his Company? Here is what he says is absolutely necessary if you are to hold Uganda at all, and you are going to make this railway to get to Uganda—A line of frontier forts with an organised system of defence I look upon as a necessity sooner or later against the wave of Mahommedan fanaticism and power from the north, which is encroaching further and further south, and must some time come into collision with the influences of European civilisation, which, happily for Africa, are spreading inwards from the south, east, and west. When the two waves meet, Islam from the north British influence from the south and east, it will be of vital importance, not only to the territorial interests of the Company, but to the cause of civilisation and Christianity, that the Company be found ready to meet force with force, complete and organised in itself, up to its furthest frontier.Since then Captain Lugard has had to fight. Then, Sir, he goes on to say—Within the limits of this frontier would be enclosed a vast territory, the development of which will tax the resources of the Company to the uttermost; and meanwhile the battle can be fought out between the rival sects of the Mahdi and Sennoussi, and an opportunity may then offer for an advantageous advance, when the forces of Islam are divided against themselves. Doubtless the directors are in possession of more accurate information than it is possible for me to obtain here. I may, however, mention that I was informed by Dr. Shulhmann of the report that the forces of Sennoussi are slowly advancing southwards, sweeping all before them.Then on the North you have the Mahdists who drove Emin from Wadelei, and the followers of Sennoussi another Mahommedan race, who are sweeping all before them. This is what Captain Lugard says:—They are hostile to the Mahdists, and are still more antagonistic than the latter to the white men and Christians. This information I have from Emin Pasha. Their organisation and equipment is wonderful, and they have enormous stores of ammunition, breechloading rifles, cannon, and steamers.… In view of these contingencies it will be necessary to send up several pieces of artillery (say 2-pounder Hotchkiss or Nordenfelt) capable of commanding the passages of the Nile and an extensive area of lake shore, and of sinking any craft or steamer.Sir, that is the terminus of this railway.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
Now we are getting information by degrees from the Company. The Foreign Office opened this as the case of a railway to Uganda.
MR. J. W. LOWTHER
I beg the light hon. Gentleman's pardon. I never did anything of the sort. I said it was proposed that the railway should go from Mombasa on the coast to the eastern border of the lake, and that then it would be possible to place steamers on the lake that would not only reach Uganda but the rich territories co-terminous with it.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
I heard the whole of the speech of the hon. Gentleman, and I read it again this morning. He held out as a recommendation of his enterprise that it led to the suppression of slavery in Uganda, which he described as a most fertile region, and a most desirable place for colonisation. Let us get rid of Uganda at all events. I take it that Uganda is repudiated.
§ MR. BURDETT-COUTTS
May I explain. I have never suggested that Uganda is to be rejected or excluded. The effect of my interruption was that the railway was a railway to the Lakes as a great collecting point, and that Uganda was a mere trifle to them.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
I am coming to the final recommendation of Captain Lugard. He says the final Treaty with the King—and, mark you, there are two Sovereigns there: There is the King of Uganda, with whom you have made a Treaty, and there is the King of Unyoro, with whom you have not only not made a Treaty, but whom you have been fighting. Of this latter Captain Lugard says that he is undoubtedly antagonistic to the British, and feared and hated them; that he is doing, and will do, all in his power to thwart the Company's Resident Agent, and that, therefore, there appeared almost a deadlock which might at any moment lead to war unless the force at the command of the Resident were so powerful as to command obedience to his decisions. Now, here come the 80 practical recommendations of Captain Lugard—of whom, by his Reports and from his actions, I have formed the very highest opinion of his integrity, his intelligence, his industry, and his courage. This is what he says:—In this difficulty it has occurred to me that it may possibly be better to transfer the centre of European control and administration to a new position, around which would spring up law and order.Now, Sir, if that is not advice to abandon Uganda I do not know what is; but that is the Report sent to my friend and to myself to prove that it would be a good thing to make this railway. It did not have that effect on my mind. There has been another Report since then, but it has not been sent to us. It is confidential between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Company, and the only conclusion I can draw is that the second Report is a good deal worse than the first. If better, we should have had it. But though that Report is private and confidential to this House, it is not so to the Times. In the Times a week ago there appeared three columns of, I will not say garbled, but of most favourable, extracts from that Report. Now, in that Report of 2nd August, last year, the following statement occurs:—Then on the borders of the country was the large and well-armed body of expelled Mahomedans, watching their opportunity to rush in and take possession of the divided house; and outside all was the hostile and powerful country of Unyoro, where King Kabba Rega was the bitter enemy both of Uganda and of the English.That was the situation on the borders of Uganda.Fortunately, in the end of January Captain Lugard was joined by Captain Williams with reinforcements, and additional rifles and ammunition also arrived.Then a number of warlike operations are described which seem to have been thought necessary, but these details I will not read. But, Sir, we have heard a great deal about the missionaries and about the admirable services they have rendered to peace and order and Christianity. This is what Captain Lugard says about the missionaries:—Mr. Stokes, formerly a missionary in Uganda, who had given up that vocation to marry a native wife and become a trader, turned up shortly after the above episode. He 81 had abundant supplies of powder and goods at the south shore of the lake, some of them sent to Captain Lugard by the Company. Mr. Stokes had shown himself somewhat indifferent to British interests and to the interests of humanity. He had joined the Germans, and had shown no scruples in importing large quantities of powder and guns, though he knew well these would be used in slave-raiding, and, probably enough, against his own countrymen. Captain Lugard, however, succeeded in convincing Mr. Stokes that he ought to deliver over his powder and guns and other goods to the British garrison, and not to the natives; of course he would be paid for them. But when he left Uganda his good resolutions faded, and he sent word back from the south shore of the lake that he declined to deliver over his ammunition to Captain Lugard. The latter points out the vast mischief done by the free importation of ammunition and guns into Central Africa. There are many tons of powder stored by the native chiefs in the countries around the lake, and in Uganda and the neighbouring countries there are thousands of rifles.So much for what the ex-missionary has done there. Then there is another remarkable piece of diplomacy. The King appears to be a Christian of the Catholic persuasion, and it was thought his son and heir was too much under Catholic influences. Here is what Captain Lugard says:—The King is subject to the Catholic influence, and with every disposition to make allowances it is evident that their loyalty to the British suzerainty is not above suspicion. The heir to the Throne, a boy, is at present being trained in seclusion by the Catholic missionaries, and it is a matter for serious consideration whether, in the interests of the country and of British supremacy, he should not be taken out of his present position and educated under English supervision at the coast.So, because you do not approve of the religious opinions of the King of Uganda you are going to take the Heir to the Throne and kidnap him and make a good Protestant of him down at the coast. To complete the picture of the happy condition of Uganda, it is also reported by Captain Lugard that Emin Pasha, for whom money and lives were sacrificed, in order to rescue him when he did not want to be rescued, has gone into this country, and has a most powerful and warlike influence against you there. This is the condition of things in a place which was opened out as a kind of Arcadia the other night by the Government, they knowing perfectly well of this condition of things, and allowing the House to believe 82 that the matter could be easily disposed of. On the argument of economy it is said if you make a railway you will not want troops and forts. This railway can only be made by men with Winchester repeating rifles in their hands. The Report of Captain Lugard shows that you cannot make a telegraph system in that country because the tribes carry off the wire. If you have this railway made it is quite obvious you must have platelayers with rifles every 100 yards along the line, and not only when you make it, but to prevent it being pulled up. You say it is to rival the Slave Traders—you talk of it as if you were going to run them off the line like a rival omnibus. You will do nothing of the kind. If you did, why they would pull up a quarter-mile of your railway every week, simply because you are interfering with a trade in which they have an enormous interest, and which they are determined to protect. I will assume that the Slave Trade exists, though it is extremely doubtful. In my opinion, the making of this line will tend a great deal more to promote Slavery than it will do to destroy it. The greatest proof of that is given by a letter written by the agent of the Society for putting down the Slave Trade. He pointed out that whenever you attempt to get what is called free labour it is always practical slavery. If you want the letter you will find it in the Times on 1st. March We know perfectly well that when Stanley wanted porters he went to Tippoo Tib. It is said that this is going to afford a field for English colonisation. What title are you going to give to your colony? Where are you going to get your title from? In my opinion, the argument is entirely impossible to maintain, even though it is defended on the ground of missionary enterprise. The missionaries in the past have done great works of their own. That was when they went in old days with their lives in their hands. Men like Livingstone did not bring conquering armies and Hotchkiss and Nordenfeldt guns with them. It was not in such a way that Christianity won its way into those countries. In my opinion, missionaries will never have less influence 83 amongst heathen people than when they go as the camp followers of filibustering armies. Well, we ask as to the financial condition of the Company. You have told us nothing. I do not know whether you know anything about it. In old days, when England gave Charters to a company like the East India Company, it did not subsidise an insolvent company—it received sums of millions from the East India Company for the Charters that it renewed. This seems to me the most extraordinary transaction that you are embarking in. Who is going to carry out this survey? It is the Company. You say you appoint an engineer, but the whole of the expedition is to be managed by the Company, and if they engage in such horrors as those which almost obliterate the memory of the Stanley Expedition, who is to be responsible? It is the money of the English people voted by the House of Commons, but it is not by the Government of England. What I venture to say is this: that in this matter of immense importance, involving such tremendous consequences, in this parting of the ways, Her Majesty's Government have not behaved fairly to the House of Commons or to the country. The proper course would have been the course adopted in old days of the Charters of the India Company, namely, to appoint a great Committee of this House, to have laid before it all information, and to have said, "These are our objects, our methods, our means, our views." That was the way in which Governments before have dealt with the House of Commons. They did not attempt to smuggle through a Vote of this kind. They did not commit the House and the country in the Recess to expenditure of this kind before it knew it. That was not the manner in which great questions of this description have hitherto been dealt with by English Governments. Sir, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said—I was glad to hear it—and it was, in fact, a repudiation of the wild doctrines of hon. Members below them—that this is a small matter, that it involves nothing else except a survey, and that everything else is open. I take note of that statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He does 84 not mean to be committed by this Vote to anything beyond this survey, on which money has been spent or partly spent. Well, Sir, that, of course, is a very considerable relief. I am glad that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made that declaration. If the question had presented itself in another form, we might have moved for a Committee of this House to inquire into the whole matter. On the form of the Vote we cannot make a Motion of this kind. We must take the matter as it is, not as a Party matter, but as a small matter of paying for this survey. My right hon. Friend the Member for Midlothian has disclaimed responsibility for the ulterior consequences in this matter. The responsibility for those consequences must rest with Her Majesty's Government. It cannot rest with us. It cannot rest with the House of Commons, because neither to us nor to the House of Commons have the Government vouchsafed that information that would justify us in affirming or in negativing this Vote.
§ (7.30.) THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN,) St. George's, Hanover Square
Mr. Courtney, I do not know that I ever remember hearing a more remarkable termination to a speech than that which has just been made. According to the right hon. Gentleman we are embarking on a policy which is not going to diminish the Slave Trade, but which is going to promote the Slave Trade. According to him, this is part of an arrangement in which filibusters are going to lead the way for missionaries, and after that description, and after the conception that he has given us of the state of things in Uganda, and of the objects in view generally, the right hon. Gentleman ends up by saying that the railway, if it should be made, is a small matter.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
No; the right hon. Gentleman himself said it was a small matter, and asked whether it was worth while taking the opinion of the House upon it. I think this is to be regretted extremely. I hope there are hon. Gentlemen who will insist on taking the opinion of the House. We want to know to what extent we have support in this House with regard to 85 the general policy. We want to know how many Members will endorse the speech which has fallen from the right hon. Gentleman. That speech, I think, was full from the very beginning to the end of a dread of that enterprise which has characterised English effort in Africa. According to him, if he had responsibility, the first thing to be done would be to write a despatch to the German Foreign Minister to say that our country had been entirely in the wrong, that it is Emin Pasha or Dr. Peters who ought to open up these tracts of African territory, to which I understand English enterprise has put in some claim.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
Yes, "British" certainly, because there is no part of Britain which takes so much interest in this enterprise as Scotland. The most distinguished names amongst the names of missionaries are Scottish. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Midlothian I suppose knows that the chairman of his own committee in Midlothian—who is a strong Radical and a great personal adherent of the right hon. Gentleman himself—wrote to a meeting which was held in support of this survey expressing his entire adhesion to our views. I think the right hon. Gentleman's position will fail to get any support in North Britain for the policy which has been shadowed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby. There is very little time at my disposal, but there are three or four points which I think I can deal with. The right hon. Gentleman treats the matter as if the idea of a railway was some monstrous conception that had lately been borne in upon a portion of the British public, or upon Her Majesty's Government. Does he not know that the Government of which he was a Member had cognisance of the fact that a railway might possibly be contemplated? The right hon. Gentleman perhaps has forgotten that Lord Granville wrote with regard to this very point. There is a despatch from Lord Granville in which he speaks of the construction of a railway. He writes to our Ambassador at Berlin— 86I should wish your Excellency, while speaking in this sense to the Chancellor, to inform him that a scheme has been started in this country, under which, if it is realised, the efforts of German enterprise may be supported indirectly by British enterprise. You will explain that some prominent capitalists have originated a plan for a British settlement in the country between the coast and the Lakes, which are the sources of the White Nile, and for its connection with the coast by a railway. In order to obtain a fair security for their outlay, they propose to endeavour to procure concessions from the Sultan of a comprehensive character.What a different tone there is in these words to that which has marked the statement of the right hon. Gentleman! There is encouragement to British enterprise. There is no scoffing at the railway. I presume the right hon. Gentleman and his friends had got some information upon the subject, or they would not have been likely to mention such a fact in their negotiations with the Germans as that British enterprise intended to connect the lakes with the coast. So much for the novelty of the idea. The main point of the right hon. Gentleman's argument, I think, rested on the description by Captain Lugard of the state of things in Uganda. He treated the matter from this point of view, and, I think, so did the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Midlothian—as if Captain Lugard's Report was the foundation upon which those who were in favour of the construction of a railway had formed their views. Supposing that; we had officially laid that Report upon the Table, then the right hon. Gentleman would have said, "This is the evidence you put before a Committee of the House of Commons to examine into the question of a railway, to see whether you can pass the Preamble." But we do not rest upon the Report of Captain Lugard. That is the essence of our case. The Report of Captain Lugard contains much valuable information, but he is not the only traveller who has passed over there, nor is he the latest traveller. I believe that during the last year the constant passing of the caravans of the East African Company from the coast to the Lakes has already produced a marked effect upon the pacification of the country generally. Now, here, I hope without any offence, I must find fault with the 87 spirit of the right hon. Gentleman's speech. He has spoken as if this Company had designs upon the lands of the tribes it passes over—as if it were a kind of plundering company at best.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
I said one of the great objects was that it should promote colonisation—the settlement of British settlers.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
Quite so; but there are two ways of getting land. One is by taking it, and the other is by paying for it. There is the great merit of the East Africa Company, by which they have already rendered great service to civilisation. They have introduced the custom of paying for eveything on liberal terms wherever they pass. That is why their caravans have passed safely over certain tracks where formerly travellers used to be attacked. The right hon. Member for Midlothian made a point of Dr. Peters' Expedition.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
I did not make a point of that. I made a point of the judgment given by Sir G. Molesworth, which refers to Dr. Peters' Expedition.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
Well then, I shall make the same observation with regard to Sir Guildford Molesworth's judgment. Dr. Peters, it is known, had rough methods, which created great hostility; but the East Africa Company have from the beginning followed the policy which they have inherited from those Scotsmen who have been engaged in missionary enterprise, and who have taken so much part in the organisation of this country. That policy has already produced such discipline in the country that large numbers of porters are able to pass now over places where before it was impossible for them to travel in safety. Many of the dangers pointed out are already in the way of being remedied. Another point raised is that the Slave Trade does not exist in these regions. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby has unintentionally misled the House by his use of the word Uganda. Uganda used in a special sense applies to the territory lying north of the lake, but it is otherwise used for a large territory extending along both sides of the lake. Whether the Slave Trade exists in Mengo, the capital of Uganda, or not, 88 is a separate question; but on the map which was officially laid before the Brussels Conference, the various slave routes are marked out, and three of those routes are marked on that map as passing through the territory of the Imperial Company. The hon. Member for Aberdeen (Mr. Bryce) has said there are no slave caravan routes through the British sphere, but I have seen maps showing that there are these caravan routes, and that throughout the territory all round Lake Victoria Nyanza are clustered numerous spots where slave raiding mainly exists. In fact, in the country on both sides of Lake Nyanza are places whence the slave hunters derive their best profits. They carry on the traffic in slaves partly, no doubt, through the German sphere; but if we stop the trade at its source—if we have a steamer on the lake—we have the means in our hands to do a great deal of good. The fact that the Slave Trade does exist on both sides of the Victoria Nyanza was recognised at the Brussels Conference in the most distinct manner. The last point, and an important point, raised by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Midlothian (Mr. Gladstone) and also by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir W. Harcourt), as to the position in which we shall be placed by means of this survey, is one with regard to our action in uncivilised countries. It would seem, from the right hon. Gentlemen's speeches, that there never has been an armed survey in any part of the world. Why, every caravan in Africa travels with arms and is accompanied by armed men, and yet it is suggested that it is wrong to have an armed survey because that would give the surveying party the appearance of belligerents. But they must be protected by armed men. Their object is not to take away the land from the natives. The natives suffer under the harrowing of Bedouins—for that is what the Masai tribes really are—and no doubt all the native tribes along the line of railway will be most grateful for the comparative safety introduced. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby does not recognise that—he does not seem to think that the mere building 89 of a railway and the presence of civilised men will be protection to vast numbers of the native tribes along the route. It is suggested that the surveying party may act unjustly towards the natives. Well, in that respect the East African Company have a blameless record. No case has ever been shown where they have acted with precipitancy in such matters, but if this were so the right hon. Gentleman may know that in 1889 an Order in Council was passed for dealing with this class of cases and giving power to establish Commissioners having jurisdiction to try crimes committed in those countries.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
I am not, aware, but I do know that all preparations have been made. I assure the right hon. Gentleman I do not mention this in a controversial spirit, and I hope it will give him some satisfaction in regard to this matter.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
Certainly not. All Orders in Council are published, as the right hon. Gentleman is aware. Special precautions have been taken in these later times in dealing with these semi-civilised countries. Now I hope we have shown that we had no wish to take the House by surprise, and I trust the Division will show on which side the sympathy of the House is.
§ Mr. A. J. BALFOUR rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put," but the CHAIRMAN withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ Debate resumed.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
There are still one or two points requiring explanation why it is that this private Company, which thought the occupation of these East African lands such a good investment, should not carry out the pledges upon which the Charter was obtained; why they now ask for £20,000 to make a survey, though they have their Charter, and though they have privileges and concessions from the Sultan of Zanzibar. I hoped that 90 the hon. Member for Westminster (Mr. Burdett-Coutts), who, I understand, is a Director and Shareholder in the Company, would have given us some of the information asked for.
§ DR. CLARK
I hope on Monday the hon. Member will have his opportunity. I thoroughly sympathise with the object the Government have in view, and I may point out how the object may be carried out effectually. Water carriage must be availed of if we want to develop the trade of Africa in a cheap and economical manner.
§ (6.50.) Mr. A. J. BALFOUR rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ (6.53.) The Committee divided:—Ayes 206; Noes 126.—(Div. List, No. 21.)
Question put accordingly.
That a sum, not exceeding £20,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1892, as a Grant in Aid of the Cost of Preliminary Surveys for a Railway from the Coast to Lake Victoria Nyanza.
§ MR. MORTON (Peterborough)
(speaking from his seat with head covered): I desire to ask your ruling, Mr. Courtney, whether a Director of the Chartered Company may vote in this Division?
§ MR. MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
(speaking seated with head covered): Is it a question for the Speaker to decide whether or not an hon. Gentleman, having a special pecuniary interest in a company, can vote in a Division in which the interest of that company is concerned?
§ THE CHAIRMAN
It is no part of the functions of the Chairman of the Committee to decide that question.
§ (7.5.) The Committee divided:—Ayes 211; Noes 113.—(Div. List, No. 22.)
§ It being after Seven of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his report to the House at Nine of the clock.