§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has received any representations against the Gold Coast Compulsory Labour Ordinance of 1896; and; whether Her Majesty's Government proposes to take steps for the modification of the system of labour sanctioned by that Ordinance.
A representation has been received from the Aborigines Protection Society. If the right hon. Member has seen that representation he has doubtless noticed that, while stigmatizing the labour as a form of slavery, it refers to almost every section of the ordinance except the fifth, which secures to the men payment for their labour at the current rate of wages. The society admit in their letter that, as it was understood to be merely a temporary measure rendered necessary for the supply of carriers for the expedition to Kumassi, and net intended to be otherwise applied, they did not feel justified in objecting to it at the time. It has been extended to the end of the present year in order to meet a similar emergency arising out of recent events in the country north of Kumassi; and Her Majesty's Government see no reason to object to it.
§ * SIR C. DILKE
asked whether he was to understand that the measure was regarded as a temporary one?