§ £38,366, Supplementary, Diplomatic and Consular Services—
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
asked for some explanation of the Vote. This large sum, so far as he could ascertain from the note to the Estimates, consisted of tonnage dues levied on British ships, and had not been expended. He wished to know why those dues, levied at Constantinople and Smyrna for the maintenance of hospital accommodation for British seamen at those ports, had been allowed to accumulate, and had not been expended; and why such a large sum was required this year for the creation, or improvement, or increase of hospital accommodation at the places named.
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. GEORGE CURZON,) Lancashire, Southport
said, he was not surprised at the Question put by his hon. Friend, for the 1403 Vote was one which required some explanation, considering its large amount compared with last year. The hospitals at Constantinople and Smyrna for British seamen were taken over some years since by the British Government, and from that time the annual cost of their maintenance was met by dues levied on British shipping at the two ports by the Consular authorities there. The money thus derived was devoted to the hospitals, and the balances were carried forward. That system prevailed up to 1870, when a change was introduced. In that year for the first time the dues and the balances were paid into the home Exchequer, and from that time up to 1894 the expenditure on the hospitals appeared annually in the Estimates of the House, and after 1885 had formed a part of the sum taken for the Consular Vote. That system gave rise to much complaint. Mercantile bodies, hon. Members, and other gentlemen connected with shipping, frequently complained of the character and amount of the dues levied, and it accordingly had been decided to revert to the old system of a separate hospital fund, which it was believed would cause less friction. The expenses of the hospitals would, therefore, as originally, be met from the dues levied on our vessels at Constantinople and Smyrna. As to the management of the hospitals, he might inform his hon. Friend that they were administered by separate committees composed of British residents at those two ports. The accounts of the committees were audited every year by the Auditor General and Controller General, and the Committees could not act without the approval of the Secretary of State. His hon. Friend appeared to be surprised at the largeness of the Vote. As he had pointed out, up to 1894 the sum derived from the dues had been paid into the home Exchequer, and in most of those years during which this had been done there had been a balance, which had accumulated in the hands of the Exchequer to a considerable amount—to a sum between £40,000 and £50,000. When the old system was reverted to the home Exchequer was asked to refund that accumulated sum to the hospital management, and it was decided to pay off the amount by instalments. Last year the sum of £6,000 appeared in the Estimates for the purpose, but the Treasury 1404 had since come to the conclusion that it would be well to pay off the remaining balance of the accumulation in a lump sum, and that fact accounted for the largely-increased amount in the Estimates. His hon. Friend desired to know why, under the circumstances, the amount of the dues had not been decreased, seeing that there had been this accumulation of balances. He was glad to be able to inform him that there had been a consistent reduction of the dues since 1871. In 1871 they were reduced at Constantinople from 1½d. to 1d. a ton (not to be paid twice by the same vessel in four months); in 1888 they were reduced from 1d. to ½d. a ton, independent of any time limit; and in 1890 they were reduced 1d. for every three tons register per voyage. At Smyrna the dues in 1885 were reduced from 2d. to 1½d. a ton; and in 1888 from 1½d. to 1¼d.; and there was no intention at present to increase them for the purposes of the hospitals. The only point now was to see that, the dues having been reappropriated to one fund (the hospitals' fund), they were made to subserve the necessities of that fund, and that fund alone. They would be kept as low as was compatible with the efficient maintenance of the hospitals, and certainly beyond the proper maintenance of these hospitals which should benefit British shipping and British trade there was no desire whatever to exact taxation from British shipping. He trusted that he had explained to the Committee the circumstances in which this sum appeared on the Votes, and also the principles under which these dues on British shipping were levied for the maintenance of the hospitals.
§ MR. JOHN BURNS (Battersea)
said that on the financial side of the question he was fairly satisfied with the statement of the right hon. Gentleman. It would be admitted, however, that it was possible for the accounts to tally so far as the audit was concerned, and yet the hospital from the medical, surgical, and sanitary point of view not to be as well managed as it ought to be. What medical, surgical, and sanitary supervision was exercised on behalf of the Government in respect of this particular hospital for which this large sum of money was asked? Did any naval surgeons call there to see our sailors who were suffering from accidents or disease, and 1405 whether the establishment was satisfactorily managed on the medical side?
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
, in looking at the total amount of dues for last year, pointed out that those dues were greatly in excess of the requirements of the hospital. Practically, more than £38,000 was required in the space of 20 years; so that £2,000 a year had been levied more than was required. He had not ascertained from the right hon. Gentleman, in whose hands would reside in future the power to say what the rates should be, or on whom the obligation would lie to make a reduction of the rates when warranted by the state of the funds.
§ MR. CURZON
said, that the control was primarily in the hands of committees of British residents in those ports, and it was to their interest to see the institutions well and economically managed. He thought that his hon. Friend's criticism as to the excess of dues was not quite fair. From time to time repairs were needed, and the balance fund was required for capital expenditure upon the maintenance of the hospitals. The Secretary of State was primarily responsible for them, and no question could be decided by the committees without reference to the Foreign Office.
§ MR. H. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
Is it not the fact that the greater part of this money has been spent in building a new hospital at Smyrna? That is really how the money went.
§ MR. JOHN BURNS
said he must press his point once more. The right hon. Gentleman had told the Committee that the medical supervision of the hospital at Constantinople was under the charge of a committee of British residents and others; but did he not think that it was compatible with the neglect of the primary object of the hospital—the attendance upon British sailors down with fever or suffering from accident—for the British residents and others to convert the hospital into a convalescent home for the residents at Constantinople at the expense of the men who received serious injuries? Would the right hon. Gentleman promise that the ailments and diseases from which our sailors suffered should be one of the primary objects of this hospital, and that it should not be looked upon as a kind of chapel of-ease for a few British residents?
§ SIR EDWARD GREY (Northumberland, Berwick)
believed it to be perfectly true—he was speaking only from memory—that a few years ago it was determined to build a new hospital, and he hoped that it was finished by this time. The new hospital was very much needed, owing to the unhealthy site of the former building. It was not only necessary to consider the question of the amount of dues, but also the suitableness of the buildings, so that they should be in a thoroughly efficient and satisfactory state.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ £17,000, Supplementary, for sundry Colonial Services—
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said, he had read a speech by the Colonial Secretary before Parliament met, in which the right hon. Gentleman foreshadowed a grandiose scheme to spend a good deal of British money to improve our properties in divers parts of the world. He noticed that the right hon. Gentleman was already carrying out the idea. For example, in this Vote there was a sum of £15,000 as a grant in aid of Dominica. A foot-note said, "this grant is required to meet outstanding liabilities on the current account of the island, which amount to more than £10,000, and to cover the cost of public works urgently required, to the extent of about £5,000." Like the right hon. Gentleman, he took an interest in these properties, but the difference between them was, that while the right hon. Gentleman thought that it would be better to develop them at the expense of British money, he would like to see them bettered, if possible, at the expense of the money of the Colonies themselves. There were a vast number of things in England on which expenditure would be desirable if they could obtain the money. Really, they must limit themselves to the charity which began mid ended at home. When we had no poor among us here, when we had all the public works that were required here, when we found that there were no persons in need of work in this country, then would be the time to go to Dominica and improve the property there, and pay off the debts of the 1407 people. But they had not arrived at that Utopia at home, and until they had he objected to this expenditure. He was no great believer in the West India Islands. So long as slavery existed in the island of Dominica it was wealthy, but since that time it did not appear to be an excellent property. It was about the last place where he should wish to spend British money. No doubt what would happen would be this. Other islands would say: "As you have paid money to better Dominica, the best thing we can do is to incur liability, and you would also pay it off." He moved to reduce the Vote by £15,000.
§ MR. THOMAS LOUGH
said, he found in this Vote that there were two sums asked for. He had no complaint to make about the second sum.
A reduction of the first item has been moved, and therefore a discussion cannot take place on another item.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. J. CHAMBERLAIN,) Birmingham, W.
Where is the word "Revised."
§ MR. LOUGH
At the head of the column, in small type. We get all our information in small type. The Estimate was revised from nothing to £15,000. Why had that been necessary? If the liabilities were outstanding, why could they not be allowed to outstand until the proper Estimates came forward, so that the Committee might be enabled to discuss them with more completeness than at this juncture?
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
wished to know why this grant was made specially to Dominica. He had always thought that the island of the West Indian group which most required development was Jamaica. Was it that Dominica had contracted debts, and, like the spendthrift son, come to papa to pay? And what kind of public works were they? Were they works connected with harbours, or roads, or light railways, or what?
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I had always thought that the great objects of 1408 discussion in Supply were, in the first place, to put questions and to discuss the policy of the Government; and, in the second place, to secure economical administration of funds placed at the disposal of Her Majesty; but the hon. Member opposite has discovered a third object, and, as a jurist and grammarian, he wishes to discuss the manner in which the Estimates are put before the House. There is no doubt this is a new Estimate in the sense of being supplementary, and revised as compared with the original Colonial Estimate, and that, as it was not in the original Vote for Dominica, this may be considered as an entirely new Vote, although, as it comes within the expenditure of the year, it has to be placed on the Supplementary Estimates. The hon. Member for Northampton, in raising the question of policy, referred to a speech of mine delivered after the House rose last year, but that speech was only an extension and explanation of a speech I had previously made in the House, when I said I had convinced myself, after careful inquiry, that there were Colonies of the British Crown— and I referred entirely to Crown Colonies as distinguished from the self-governing Colonies—which were in the nature of undeveloped estates, and upon which expenditure of British money might be made with the greatest advantage both to the Colony and to the Empire. [Cheers.] I am perfectly prepared to say that Dominica is one of those cases. But the question hardly arises on the present Vote. What I contemplated, when I made the speech referred to, was the investment of British capital in those undeveloped Colonies with a view to their development, but I did not intend that that investment should be in the nature of an absolute grant. On the contrary, I anticipated, that it would only be made in cases where there was every probability that the investment would be productive and would be repaid. I did not anticipate that is to say, either immediate or ultimate loss to the taxpayer, because by the proposal I shall not be depriving the inhabitants of the British islands of assistance to which they are entitled; I shall be only asking that an investment of our superabundant capital should be made, and I shall only make the proposal if I think the investment will be 1409 profitable. The case of Dominica is altogether an exceptional one It is, I believe, one of the very richest islands in the possession of the Crown in the West Indies in the natural productiveness of the soil; at the same time it is an island in which practically nothing has been done, and to this day the very best Crown land in the island, amounting to about 100,000 acres, is absolutely unproductive because there are no means of communication. Differing in that respect from the French Colonies in the close vicinity of Dominica, we have made no expenditure at all for the development of the resources of the island. What has been the result? As long as slavery prevailed, and sugar plantations were profitable, the island managed to pay its way, but for many years it has been a constant struggle to make revenue and expenditure balance each other, and the struggle has always ended in the expenditure being larger than the revenue. In 1893, the late Sir R. Hamilton was sent out to report on the condition of the island, and he reported as to its natural resources and as to the absolute neglect of those resources up to the present time. He made certain suggestions for raising taxation and for diminishing expenditure, and further submitted that, if anything was to be done which would really set the island upon its legs, it must be by the employment of a considerable sum of money in making communications, without which it was absolutely impossible that the rich lands should be cultivated. Some of the suggestions of Sir R. Hamilton have been carried into effect; but, on the whole he was too sanguine. In the condition of Dominica it was of little use to raise the taxation. We have really almost reached the extreme point to which taxation can be carried under existing circumstances. On the other hand, attempts have been made to diminish the expenditure, and the result has been that expenditure that really ought to have been made on public works has been held over, roads have become useless because bridges have fallen into disrepair, and portions of roads have bee swept away, and the Colony has no money wherewith to repair them. Things have gone form bad to worse, and there existed, in 1895, a deficit of £10,000 as between income and expenditure, which was owing from the island to 1410 the Federal Treasury in Antigua. I instructed one of the Officials of the Colonial Office to go out and investigate on the spot the financial arrangements of Antigua and Dominica and the other islands, and he has made a most interesting and valuable report on the whole subject. He confirms us in the opinion that, as regards this deficit, it is absolutely impossible for the island to pay, and impossible also for the island to raise more money by way of loan. Consequently, the island comes to us in formâ pauperis, and I have asked from the Treasury a grant of £10,000 to clear off the deficit and start it afresh. We have asked, at the same time, for a further grant of £5,000 to carry out works which are absolutely necessary unless the public works of the island are to go into complete disrepair. In the first place, expenditure is necessary to put the hospital into proper condition. That is, in one sense, remunerative expenditure, because, when once made it will enable us to do without special accommodation to meet a most terrible disease which sometimes breaks out in the West Indies. Then there is a jetty, which was practically destroyed by a violent hurricane, requiring repair. The lighthouse, also, is in a bad condition, and there are portions of roads on which a small expenditure will be useful to keep communications open. Therefore, we are asking to-day, not a loan for developing the island, but a grant from the Imperial Exchequer to deal with an emergency. It has been asked, why is Dominica chosen for this charitable treatment? There are special claims in Dominica which do not constitute a precedent for any subsequent application. In the first place, after the island was conquered, a very large amount of Crown land was sold, and the proceeds, instead of being applied, as is always the case now, to the advantage of the island, were paid into the English Treasury. That was about 1780, and the sum is variously estimated at from £200,000 to £300,000. The result of that, of course, is that what would have been resources of the island to be applied to its development, have no longer been under the control of the governing authorities. That in itself constitutes a claim for generous treatment. I am sorry to say that the other claim is 1411 one that may fairly be based upon past bad administration. The loans which have been raised in times past for public works carried out in the island were applied in part under advice from this country, and the perusal of Sir Robert Hamilton's report will show that there is no doubt that the funds were not applied to the best advantage for the island, and we are, to a certain extent, responsible for the incapacity of the Administrators appointed by ourselves. It is upon those two grounds that I ask for the present grant. But I should not make a complete statement if I did not say that I propose at a later date to submit to the Treasury proposals for the development of the island which will come under the policy I submitted to the House last Session. ["Hear, hear!"] There are 93,000 acres of Crown land in Dominica which by common consent and by all reports contain some of the very best land to be found in the West Indies, which is suitable to many forms of tropical cultivation, and which could be worked advantageously at this moment, if only there were proper communications. But there are none. You cannot get at these lands by sea; there are no roads; and such a thing as a railway does not exist in the island. If it can be shown that by making communications, even at a considerable expense, these lands can be brought into cultivation, and if it can be shown that there are people willing to take up the land at a fair value when communications are opened, then that will be an investment which I shall be justified in asking the House to sanction. The result will be, in the first place, that Great Britain will lose nothing by making the loan, and, in the second place, the colony will be developed.
The right hon. Gentleman is now going away from the particular item of this Vote, and discussing future policy.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Then all I will say is that at a later day I may have an opportunity of explaining the policy to which the hon. Member is prepared to take exception.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)
said, that this question had occupied a great deal of the late Government's attention, and he 1412 hoped that, after the right hon. Gentleman's explanation, the Amendment would not be persisted in. The sum now asked for was in the nature of a compassionate allowance, and had nothing to do with the policy of development, which would have to be discussed later. He did not, perhaps, go quite as far as the right hon. Gentleman in wishing to spend money on the Crown colonies, but he knew that, in too many cases, such colonies, instead of being encouraged, had been discouraged by Downing-street from developing themselves. Personally he should give a favourable consideration to any proposals brought forward by the right hon. Gentleman, if it could be shown the possibility of loss to the British taxpayer was small and of gain to the colony very great. His experience in respect of Dominica entirely justified the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman. In the past we had robbed the island, and of late we had not administered it well; and, unless something were done by way of a compassionate allowance, the island would sink deeper into the slough and become useless to the Empire. This grant was better than others which had been given Mauritius, Newfoundland, and other colonies, where the money had been spent without productive result. Apart from any larger policy, this grant would enable Dominica to start on a better basis to carry out some of the public works which were necessary to her prosperity, and to be no longer almost a disgrace to the British Crown. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ MR. F. W. FISON (Doncaster)
said, that he had just returned from Dominica, which presented one of the most interesting of the colonial problems to be discussed by the House. The island was one of the richest in the West Indies in productive capacity, and he hoped the Secretary for the Colonies would give Parliament an opportunity of converting it from a disgrace to a credit to British Administration. There were no main roads in Dominica, and the planter on the Windward coast could not get his produce across the island, and, owing to the surf, had often to wait a whole year before he could get it aboard ship. A jetty was also badly wanted. He tried to cross the Island through the primeval forest, but in three 1413 days made only eight miles' progress and back. He reached that large distict of rich Crown lands at present entirely unprofitable. He also came across the traces of an old French road which was in use at the end of the last century. He hoped the Secretary for the Colonies would pursue his policy of developing the undeveloped colonies, (Cheers.)
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said, that if the hon. Member had gone to other parts of the West Indies and Central America he would have found millions of acres of excellent land where there were no main roads. The produce was carried by mules along bridle-paths. The absence of roads did not prevent cultivation. The reason was that in the summer months these districts were infested with yellow fever. If the land in Dominica was so rich, why did no one take it up? There must be some special reason. He did not know how other Members fared, but it happened to him once a week that he received a letter from some person in some part of England saying that his grandfather, who had lived early in the century, had done something and had been robbed by the Government; and asking him to bring the case before Parliament in order that the money might be returned with compound interest. He always threw such letters into the waste-paper basket, and he thought the Colonial Secretary would have done better had he followed a similar course in regard to the dismal moans of the islanders of Dominica. The right hon. Gentleman said that we ought to give this £15,000 because in some mysterious way our ancestors had robbed the ancestors of the islanders of £200,000 in the last century. Then if we were to be just we should give the Dominicans £200,000. The right hon. Gentleman also said that loans which had been borrowed by the island had been frittered away by our Governors. But if we were to make ourselves responsible for the maladministration of money made by our Governors of colonies we would never hear the end of our liabilities. Surely if the island was such a wonderful place as had been described by the Colonial Secretary it ought to be able to find £500 per annum to pay the interest on this money, if it were advanced to them by way of loan. Remember the Dominicans were not poor people. They 1414 were planters who wanted to get rich by the labour of others. The House was often asked to spend money on public works in aid of the unemployed in this country, and had refused. But in this case the money was to be taken away from the people of this country and spent on wealthy, idle, lazy planters. [Cries of "Oh, oh!" and laughter.] He knew them well—he had lived amongst them, and they were lazy, lounging, drunken planters of the West India islands. He protested against such expenditure. His hon. Friend the Member for Poplar had said he was in favour of this Vote. He was not astonished. He had never voted for a single Estimate his hon. Friend had brought forward. His hon. Friend argued that he had voted money under similar circumstances for Newfoundland. Well, he (Mr. Labouchere) had protested against the Vote for Newfoundland, and he would continue to protest against wasting public money on such enterprises.
§ MR. T. H. COCHRANE (Ayrshire, N.)
was sure that as the Vote was necessary for the prosperity of the island the Committee would assent to it. The statement of his hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster that it took him three days to make a progress of eight miles showed the necessity which existed for opening up the interior of the island. It was intended to turn Rossa, the principal town of the island into a municipality.
§ MR. COCHRANE
said, the idea was to clear off the deficit of the island, and then start Rossa afresh as a municipality when it would be responsible for its own debts.
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)
pointed out that this money would have to come out of the pockets of the people, and the question was whether in the present condition of this country, it was wise to spend money for a purpose so remote? The hon. Member explained that it was intended to start the colony afresh. He should be glad if the debts of his constituency of Forest of Dean were wiped out and it were allowed to start afresh. It was said there were 93,000 acres of Government land in Dominica. In his constituency there were 23,000 acres of Government land which were involved 1415 in a similar manner, and he thought he could make out a stronger case for a grant to the Forest of Dean than a grant for Dominica. They had enormous taxes and rates in the Forest, which was entirely the property of the Crown—amounting to 6s. in the pound—and he thought it would be a hard case to ask the poor of a constituency of that kind to contribute towards an expenditure for an object in which this country's interest was so remote. Therefore, if the grant were asked because it would be an advantage to Dominica he would return a negative. But apart from that consideration, there was the question of honour. There might have been circumstances in the past treatment of the colony which called for the expenditure of this money. He had listened carefully to the evidence on that ground; and on the whole, he did not think it a sufficiently strong case to warrant a Vote of money for which they would have no return. He would, therefore, support the Amendment.
§ CAPTAIN BETHELL (York, E. K, Holderness)
said, the question that the expenditure of the money would not be an advantage to this country was not so certain as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean assumed. If the island were developed and its trade increased there would be immediate advantage to the workers of this country. It was said that the money would be better spent amongst the poor of the Kingdom. He doubted whether such a policy would be wise. He believed the working classes of this country were more assisted by the development of the trade of the Colonies than by any unwise direct expenditure amongst themselves. He, therefore, supported the grant in the well founded hope that the development of Dominica would tend to the advantage of the working classes of this country.
§ MR. J. G. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)
supported the Amendment. Why should they spend money on a remote island in which it took three days to travel eight miles. The Secretary of the Colonies knew the Highlands of Scotland. ["Hear, hear!"] The right hon. Gentleman knew that there were many parts of the Highlands where there were absolutely no roads and that the people had nevertheless to pay 1416 road rates. With money at its present low rate, there would be no difficulty in getting an ample supply to make roads in Dominica through private enterprise. Why should this country sink £15,000 when the money could be laid out more profitably in the encouragement of working people in the healthy climate of our own island?
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 72; Noes, 250.—(Division List, No. 22.)
SIR E. ASHMEAD BARTLETT
asked the right hon. Gentleman, the Colonial Secretary, whether the Vote included the journey of Sir Hercules Robinson.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
said, it did not. It was caused by the extraordinary number of changes in the Governments. No fewer than five Governments went out of office.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ £20,975, Supplementary, British East Africa—
§ MR. REGINALD McKENNA (Monmouth, N.)
called attention to the Vote because there was something which he thought needed explanation. It was composed of two items, and he confessed he did not know why they were lumped together. The cost of the Administration was a very distinct matter from the cost of the acquisition of the Mackinnon Road. In acquiring the property of the British East Africa Company, the original view of this Government was that the Mackinnon Road formed part of the assets which should be taken over by this country for the payment of £200,000. The Government later saw reason to change their view, and did not include it in the then stipulated price. Fresh negotiations were entered into and the Government increased the price by £50,000 which ought to have covered the Mackinnon Road. The reason given for the road not being covered by the original price was by no means satisfactory. It was said that the road was built by Sir William Mackinnon and leased to the British East Africa Company at a peppercorn rent, the company undertaking to bear the cost of the maintenance of the road. Under these 1417 circumstances the late Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs came to the conclusion that the road was not the property of the company, but of the executors of Sir Win. Mackinnon, but he could not understand why a beneficial lease on a peppercorn rent should not be considered a valuable asset of the company. The Foreign Office at that time did not think it proper to include it as an asset covered by the £200,000 and it was excluded. Under the increased price of £50,000, making £250,000 in all, there was no express exclusion of this road, and it would appear that the road was included and handed over to the Government with the rest of the assets of the company. If it were not so handed over it would surely have been a remarkable thing that a bare road should have been left in the hands of the executors while the British Government took over the whole of the rest of the property. He thought they ought to have some statement from the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs as to the exact price paid for the road and as to why the beneficial lease which the British East Africa Company had in this road on a peppercorn rent was sacrificed when the company's property was taken over.
§ MR. CURZON
said, that the British East Africa Company spent upon this road, in the first place, a sum of 5,000 rupees. They were not able to expend any more money upon it and Sir William Mackinnon, out of his own pocket, continued the construction of the road. When he died, this road passed to his executors. When the Administration was taken over last year, the Government at first thought of leasing the road from the executors, but, as the Committee would remember, in August last, the announcement was made of the immediate commencement of the railway. From that time the situation changed. It was found that the Uganda Railway would cross and recross the road at quite a number of places for the first 90 miles of its course, and it was feared that difficulties might arise in connection with plots of land adjoining the road. For these reasons it was decided by the Railway Committee who were managing the Uganda Railway that it would be desirable to substitute for the idea of leasing the road from the executors the pur- 1418 chase of it from them. The only question to be determined was the price to be paid. A very careful calculation, based on the actual expenditure which Sir Wm. Mackinnon had incurred, was made, and it was decided that a fair price for the acquisition of the road would be a sum of 61,000 rupees, or £3,400. That was the amount demanded in this Estimate, which would be required to complete the purchase.
§ SIR C. DILKE
thought his hon. Friend had elicited from the right hon. Gentleman a very interesting explanation, which would relieve them from the necessity of taking any steps with regard to the Vote, except to agree to it. He would, however, like some information as to the rest of this Vote for the Administration of the country.
§ MR. CURZON
said, that taking the £34,000 for the road, they had a sum of about £17,500 left. Of that £14,780 was the cost of Administration, including the military operations to which he had made some reference that afternoon in reply to a Question by the right hon. Baronet, and £2,820 was the payment to the Sultan of Zanzibar for his troops engaged in the course of those operations on the mainland.
§ MR. T. R. BUCHANAN (Aberdeenshire, E.)
said, he did not wish to anticipate the answer of the Secretary of State for India to a Question which he had on the Paper for Monday, but he ventured to suggest to the House that the charge for the Indian troops engaged in those operations should be borne by the Imperial Government and not by the Indian Exchequer.
§ MR. CURZON
said, he would not anticipate the luxury which would be enjoyed by his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for India on Monday. He might mention that in the neighbourhood of Mombasa there was a large number of native chiefs, members of an Arab aristocracy, who were continually fighting with each other. They commenced these acts of rebellion against the Sultan of Zanzibar before the British East Africa Company came into existence. For a time after that, they were fairly quiet, but during the past year they had renewed their activity, and their internecine warfare. Owing to the difficulty of composing the quarrels by those responsible for the Administration of 1419 the country, an Indian regiment had been sent over to Mombasa to put an end to the disturbances which interfered with the progress of the Administration. They hoped at a very early date to secure the pacification of the Arabs in that part of the country.
§ SIR C. DILKE
expressed the opinion that the Foreign Office was absolutely unfitted to hold the control of territories of this kind where military operations were constantly carried on. No one could have a higher opinion of the Foreign Office than he had, but he did not regard it as the proper Department for work of this kind. Cyprus was too heavy a burden upon it and now it was charged with these enormous territories in Africa. He believed it would certainly lead to a muddle, and to an increass instead of a diminution of wars so long as the Foreign Office was charged with interests different to those for which it was created.
§ MR. W. F. LAWRENCE (Liverpool, Abercromby)
desired to say a word or two as to the way in which this district had been managed during the few months since which it had been taken over by the British Government as compared with its management under the much maligned British East Africa Company. They now heard that troops were on their way to Mombasa. When the company were administering the territory they paid the principal native chief to keep him quiet. He submitted that if the simple process of paying modest sums had been continued until civilisation was more advanced they should not have lost the valuable lives they had lost in that district and a lot of good money would not have been wasted. There had been much said about the mismanagement of the Chartered Company, but he thought that having regard to what they heard of the British East Africa Company and what they heard from Zanzibar now, there was reason to think that the district was more carefully, more sympathetically, and more economically managed by the company than it was by the present or by the late Government. Speaking of the unhappy company which had now gone into the shades of history, he considered that its Members were entitled to some praise for the excellent manner in which they handled the affairs of the vast ter- 1420 ritory they controlled for over four years, and which was in striking contrast to its management since it had come under the Administration of the British Government.
§ CAPTAIN BETHELL
asked whether judicious methods had been entirely abandoned by the Foreign Office. They had had a good lesson in British Administration in Central Africa under Sir Henry Johnston; that Administration had proved a success both in regard to military operations and in its civil government. Sir Henry Johnston was living there in the middle of the territory he had to administer. In operations of that character, being military operations, it was of immense importance to have the military authority in touch with the persons over whom he had to rule. He considered that if in the East African territory a similar course had been taken as that adopted by the appointment of Sir Henry Johnston in Central Africa, it would have been better and more conducive to the interests of all concerned.
§ MR. CURZON
(who was imperfectly heard) was understood to agree with the hon. Member for the Abercromby Division that the British East Africa Company had been unfairly attacked. His hon. Friend the Member for Holderness, asked why a similar course was not adopted in the case of British East Africa to that taken in the territory administered by Sir Henry Johnston. The situation they had to deal with just after they took over the country did not at present permit of it, and in consequence of one of the principal chiefs rebelling against the new Administration, they had to take certain measures which would otherwise not have been necessary. The Government were by no means anxious to pursue military operations. It was not with pleasure they did so. They wanted to pacify the district, and their one desire was to be freed from the necessity of such operations and to aid in the peaceful development of these countries. He looked forward himself to the time when these large possessions would be in a state of contentment and tranquillity, and when they might be able to appoint an Imperial officer specially to look after them.
§ Vote agreed to.1421
§ £18,725, Treasury Chest—agreed to.