House Of Commons
Monday, 19th August, 1907.
The House met at a quarter before Three of the Clock.
Questions And Answers Circulated With The Votes
Australian Import Tariff
To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the Report of the Advisory Committee on Commercial Intelligence, showing that the proportion of the Australian import trade which is in the hands of British firms has fallen from 71·3 per cent. in 1891–5 to 58·3 per cent. in 1901–5, while that of foreign countries has risen from 17·1 per cent. to 28 per cent.; whether, by the new Australian tariff, a preference is granted on articles of British produce and manufacture, the annual value of which is estimated at between £1,200,000 and £1,300,000; and whether His Majesty's Government can do anything, consistently with their fiscal policy, to co-operate with the Commonwealth Government in an effort to promote trade between the United Kingdom and Australia.
I have seen the Report referred to. I understand that the Commonwealth Government estimate the value of the preference to be accorded to British goods under their new tariff at about the amount quoted in the Question. I have, however, no copy of the complete tariff, and I am consequently unable to verify the figures or to say whether on the whole conditions in regard to British trade have been improved by the changes of duty. It is the desire of His Majesty's Government to do anything in their power consistently with their policy to promote trade between the United Kingdom and Australia, and I hope that the appointment of commercial agents will do something in this direction.
British Embassy At Tokio—Qualifications Of Medical Officers
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the medical officer to the British Embassy at Tokio is a legally qualified medical practitioner in accordance with the requirements of the Medical Act, 1858.
I must remind the hon. Member that on the 4th June last, in reply to a similar Question, I informed him that I was not prepared to make any statement involving an interpretation of any part of the Medical Acts. I must adhere to what I then said.
Issuing Of Rations To Marines At Devonport
To ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether, in the distribution of the meat rations to the married Marines at Devon-port, he will take steps to secure to the lower ranks of the service their fair proportion of quality as well as quantity; and whether in view of the dissatisfaction which prevails as to the purchase and allocation of the meat, he will reconsider his decision as to granting to the men the sixpence per day in lieu of these rations.
Every possible precaution is taken to secure the issue to all ranks of their fair proportion of ration meat both as regards quality and quantity. No complaints have been made, and the Admiralty have no reason to believe that dissatisfaction prevails. The Deputy Adjutant-General inspected the Division on the 23rd ultimo, and any man with a grievance had an opportunity of complaining, but none did so. It is not desirable, either in the interests of the service or of the men's health, that any change in the present practice of issuing rations in kind should be made.
Payment Of Compensation For Injuries By Glasgow Distress Committee
To ask the Secretary for Scotland if his attention has been directed to the surcharging of the Glasgow Distress Committee with the amount of compensation for injuries sustained by workmen employed by the body in question; and, if so, will he explain why this surcharge has been made, having regard to the fact that other distress committees have paid compensation or insured workmen employed by them.
I may inform my hon. friend that it is not the case that the Glasgow Distress Committee has been surcharged with the amount of compensation for injuries sustained by workmen employed by them. The Auditor, however, has made an interim Report on the payments in question, which is at present under the consideration of the Local Government Board for Scotland.
Evicted Tenants—Delay In Reinstating Arthur Vallely
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he can give any reason for the delay in the reinstating of Arthur Vallely, an evicted tenant on the estate of the late R. J. M'Geough, of county Armagh, the estate having been inspected by the Commissioners and the other evicted tenants on the estate having been reinstated.
The Estates Commissioners inform me that they have received their inspector's report on this case, but have found it necessary to direct the inspector to make further inquiries in the matter.
Drainage Of Ely Militia Barracks
To ask the Secretary of State for War whether the drainage of the Militia barracks at Ely has been condemned by the representatives of the War Office; and whether any and what steps are being taken by the War Office to remedy the defects in the drainage system.
The drainage of these barracks requires reconstruction. The work, however, has not yet been begun until the question of changes of accommodation that may be involved by the operation of the Territorial and Reserve Forces Bill has been settled.
Brazil Coffee Crop
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will place in the Library any Reports he may have regarding the expected coffee crop of Brazil for 1907–8 and 1908–9, upon it is understood a Commission has reported.
We have no special Report on this subject; but His Majesty's Consul-General has reported that the crop for the whole of Brazil for 1907–8 is estimated I at 15,000,000 bags. We have no reliable figures for 1908–9.
Promotion In Durham Post Office
To ask the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that the postmaster of Durham told a deputation of postmen that he had not recommended any of them for promotion because the men in Durham knew each other too well, but that he had no fault to find with the capabilities of the men, and that he had recommended one man for promotion anywhere but in Durham, and that he maintained that a man could not enforce discipline amongst those with whom he had worked and whether, in view of the right hon. Gentleman's statement that he would not countenance the exclusion of well-qualified Durham officers from promotion in their own office, he will look further into this case.
I will make inquiry on the subject of the hon. Member's Question.
Holders Of Irish Guaranteed Land Stock
To ask the Secretary to the Treasury how much of the £11,775,000 Guaranteed Land Stock issued under the Purchase of Land Ireland) Act, 1891, and not acquired for the sinking fund, is held by the public; and what persons or bodies other than the public hold any of the stock.
I do not think that I can usefully add to the information contained in my Answer on 23rd April to the hon. Member for South Roscommon.
Conveyance Of Convicts In Unreserved Railway Carriages
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that convicts and prisoners (the former handcuffed) with their police escorts at present travel in trains in carriages along with other passengers; and whether, out of regard to the feelings of such convicts and prisoners as well as of the ordinary passengers, he can make arrangements for convicts and prisoners and their escorts to travel in special compartments reserved for the purpose.
So sar as convicts and convicted prisoners are concerned, governors of prisoners have instructions, whenever occasion arises for removing them by railway, to apply beforehand for compartments to be reserved, and I have no reason to doubt that as a general rule the railway officials are able to comply with these applications. When prisoners come into police custody it obviously must often be impossible to ask beforehand for a compartment to be reserved, and the officers may be unable to get a compartment reserved on the spur of the moment. This is not a matter with regard to which I have any authority to give general instructions to the police, but I feel confident that police officers having prisoners in custody do their utmost to keep them as far as possible separate from other passengers on the railways.
German Shipbuilding Programme
To ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether all the ships of the German programme of 1906 are now laid down; whether any, and, if so, how many, of the German programme of 1907, consisting of two battleships, one large armoured cruiser, two unarmoured cruisers, and twelve large destroyers, have already been laid down; and whether he will give the dates when each of the vessels were respectively commenced.
Various Reports have appeared in the Press, but the Admiralty have no official information on the subject.
Promotion Of Ridley Clerks
To ask the President of the Board of Education how many Ridley clerks of the Second Division are at present serving in his Department; and how many clerks have been promoted from this class to minor staff posts, staff posts, and higher grade Second Division posts, respectively, therein.
The number of Ridley clerks of the Second Division at present serving under the Board of Education, including those who hold minor staff posts with salaries not exceeding the maximum of the higher grade of the Second Division, is 188. Of these the number promoted to minor staff posts is twenty-five, and higher grade, Second Division, posts one. There is also one Ridley clerk who has been promoted to a staff clerkship above the Second Division.
To ask the President of the Local Government Board whether, in view of the fact that the proportion of promotions to the number of clerks serving in his Department in the case of second class clerks of the Higher Division appointed under the Order in Council 15th August, 1890, is sixteen to twenty-three, and in the case of Ridley clerks of the Second Division is one to 113, he can see his way to remedy the disparity of treatment thus shown.
There have been many promotions since 1890 of clerks in the Second Division serving in this Department. The Ridley clerks are included in that division, and the reason why the promotions have not, except in one instance, been made from amongst them is that there have been senior clerks in the division whose claims had first to be considered. The time for promotions to be made from the Ridley clerks will come in due course.
Duties Of Clerks To Boards Of Guardians
To ask the President of the Local Government Board what are the duties generally of a clerk to a board of guardians; what is his position, powers, and duties so far as the guardians themselves and other officers of the union are concerned; whether by statute, Local Government Board's Orders, or otherwise there is any responsibility cast upon a clerk to supervise or control the affairs of any department the head of which is a directly accounting officer to the guardians and to the district auditor; the date when the Local Government Board's Orders relating to the duties, etc., of officials of boards of guardians now in force were framed; whether the same have been found satisfactory and sufficient; and, if not, when it is proposed to remodel them so as to meet present day requirements.
It is the duty of a clerk to a board of guardians to attend and keep minutes of their meetings, to conduct their correspondence, to prepare estimates of their expenditure, and also any contracts and agreements to be entered into with them. He has to conduct all applications on behalf of the guardians before justices, and, if he is a solicitor, to perform their ordinary legal business. It is his duty to keep the accounts of the guardians, and to examine certain accounts of other officers. He is to communicate to the several officers all orders and directions of the Local Government Board or of the guardians, and, so far as may be, to give the instructions requisite for their execution and to report to the guardians any neglect or failure therein which may come to his knowledge. He must prepare reports and returns, and observe the lawful orders and directions of the guardians applicable to his office, and it is incumbent on him to assist the guardians generally in the administration of the relief of the poor and otherwise in carrying the Poor Law Acts into execution. The chief orders on the subject are the General Consolidated Order of 1847, the Amending Order of 1866, and the Order for Accounts of 1867. These Orders have, speaking generally, been found satisfactory and sufficient. If I find that they need alteration I shall be prepared to amend them.
Precautions Against Introduction Of Tsetse Fly Into Indian Ports
To ask the Secretary of State for India whether the Government India have taken any precautions against the introduction of the tsetse fly from the East Coast of Africa into Indian ports. (Answered by Mr. Secretary Morley.)I have no information on the subject, but will bring it to the notice of the Government of India. Effective precautions might not be easy and may not be required, as Indian cattle are found to resist organisms of the Trypanosoma type similar to those conveyed by the bite of the African tsetse fly.
Irish Poor Law Administration
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he can state what the Government propose to do respecting the Viceregal Report upon the Poor Law administration and treatment of lunatics in Ireland; and whether he is aware that both those questions are regarded as extremely urgent by the majority of Irish county councils, who favour efficiency, economy, and reform.
The great majority of the recommendations of the Viceregal Commission would require legislation to give effect to them. The question of legislation will receive full consideration, but it is one of considerable magnitude and complexity, and I cannot at present make any statement as to when it may. be possible to introduce legislation on the subject. I have already stated that if the local authorities concerned should desire that effect may be given to any particular recommendations which can be carried out under the existing law, the Local Government Board will give prompt and favourable consideration to the matter.
Compensation For Damage For Malicious Injuries In Dublin
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he can furnish a Return showing the amount of compensation for malicious injuries levied off the city of the county of Dublin, and the county of Dublin, during the past financial year; whether, in the majority of cases, the full amount of compensation was covered by insurance; whether the Government contemplate the necessity of amending the Local Government Act, 1898, so as to relieve the ratepayers from this burden; and whether the insurance companies could be compelled to give a contribution in such cases.
During the past financial year the total amount awarded as compensation for malicious injuries was: in the county of the city of Dublin, £48 19s. 7d., and in the county of Dublin, £170 11 s. 5d. There is no precise information as to the number of cases in which the amount of compensation was covered by insurance, but, so far as the information of the police authorities goes, the compensation was not so covered in the majority of cases. I am not at present in a position to promise amending legislation in the matter. In the present state of the law the insurance companies could not be compelled to contribute towards the compensation.
Irish Congested Districts Board—Accounts Of Boats Worked On The Share System
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he will suggest to the Congested Districts Board the advisability of furnishing, at the commencement of the fishing season, to the captain or instructor of each of the Board's boats, which are worked on the share system, a statement showing to date the amounts, respectively, paid up by the crews and still owing to the Board on account of purchase of boat and nets, repairs, etc.
A statement of account for each boat worked on the share system is published annually in the Report of the Congested Districts. Board, and the crews are well aware that they can at any time obtain a statement of account on application. In the circumstances the Board do not think it necessary to adopt the hon. Member's suggestion.
Government Employees—Compensation For Injuries
To ask the Prime Minister whether it is the intention of the Government to introduce a new scheme of compensation in case of injury to or death by accident of any employee in Government establishments, in lieu of the scheme approved by the registrar in. 1905; and, if so, whether sufficient time will be given to those interested to consider the same before it is submitted to the registrar for approval.
It is not intended to introduce a new scheme; but the existing scheme will be submitted to the Registrar of Friendly Societies for re-certification under Section 15 of the Act. No workman will be obliged to enter into a new contract under the scheme if he prefers to abide by the provisions of the Act.
Questions In The House
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty when it is intended to lay down the additional battleship of the "Dreadnought" type which was held in abeyance pending the result of the Hague Conference.
I have nothing to add to the statement made by the Secretary to the Admiralty on Vote 8.
In view of the proposal put forward by Sir E. Fry at the Hague Conference, cannot the construction of this "Dreadnought" be frankly abandoned?
I can only repeat the Answer I have given.
The Home Fleet
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty how many battleships, cruisers, and torpedo craft of the Home Fleet are to be repaired during the remainder of the current financial year.
According to present arrangements two battleships, five cruisers, four fleet auxiliaries, and fifteen torpedo craft, belonging to the Home Fleet, are due for repair during the remainder of the financial year. At the present time, two battleships, four cruisers, two fleet auxiliaries, and thirteen torpedo craft are undergoing repair.
Royal Marines' Rations
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether, with regard to the issue of rations (meat and bread) to the men of the Royal Marines quartered ashore, he will consider the possibility of reverting to the old conditions, under which married men had the option of drawing or not drawing their rations, in the latter case receiving an allowance of 6d. per day in lieu.
The hon. Member would appear to have been misinformed. Under the old system if a married Marine living on shore did not draw his ration of meat in kind, he received no allowance in lieu. It would not, therefore, be in the interests of the men themselves to revert to this system.
Portsmouth Dock Accommodation
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty if the "Bellerophon" had to be undocked at Portsmouth to enable the "Dreadnought" to be docked for new steering gear to be fitted; and if there is only one dock at Portsmouth capable of accommodating ships of this class.
The answer to the first Question is in the negative, and to the second in the affirmative.
Middlesex Imperial Yeomanry—Case Of A H Smith
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the case of Arnold Hardy Smith, a member of the Middlesex Imperial Yeomanry, who was charged before the King's Heath, Birmingham, magistrates on 14th August with being an absentee; whether he is aware that the man had served in South Africa with Paget's Horse and had attended all the drills and previous trainings of the corps, and that medical certificates were in possession of the commanding officer explaining this absence; that the man was remanded in custody to await an escort, bail being refused; will he state if such action was taken under the penal clauses of the new Territorial Forces Act; and what action, if any, he proposes to take in the matter.
This case is still pending before the Court, and it would not be proper for me to express an opinion upon it. The action was not taken under the Territorial Forces Act, for that Act has not yet come into operation.
Arising out of that Answer may I ask if the penal clause under which this action was taken is not exactly similar to the one contained in the Territorial Forces Act?
I cannot say for certain. I believe action was taken under the Yeomanry Act of 1901.
Cavalry Quartered In Infantry Barracks
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if he can state the number of cases which have occurred during the last thirty years in peace time in which a cavalry regiment has been stationed in infantry barracks or a cavalry regiment has been stationed five miles away from its horses.
Barracks have been re-appropriated from time to time for the various arms of the service, but it has not been deemed necessary to work out in detail the cases that have occurred in the last thirty years.
Will the hon. Gentleman answer the last part of my Question?
No such case has occurred or does occur.
VISCOUNT TURNOUR : Is there not a case to occur?
VISCOUNT TURNOUR : I am under a different impression.
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether any decision has yet been come to as to the future of Piershill Barracks; and whether steps will soon be taken either to render the barracks fit for occupation by a cavalry regiment or else to sell the site.
Piershill Barracks are at present under repair; when these repairs are completed they will be occupied by a brigade of Royal Field Artillery. There is no intention of selling the site.
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if he can state what the cost of upkeep per week of the Piershill Barracks has been during the time that it has been unoccupied.
The cost of upkeep for barrack wardens, labourers, and watchmen is £5 10s. a week. The sum set apart for the repairs amounts to £2,250.
The Scots Greys
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether travelling allowance will be given to the officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys) for their three daily journeys between Tidworth and Bulford. I beg also to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he is yet in a position to state where the officers of the 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys), for whom there is not room in Tidworth Barracks, will be accommodated during the winter.
These two Questions deal with the arrangements that may be necessary for the quartering of the regiment during the forthcoming winter, upon which it would be impossible at present to make any detailed statement.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Secretary of State for War practically stated in the House last week that this regiment was going to have its horses moved to Bulford during the winter?
In the event of the stables at Tidworth not being completed by the commencement of winter the horses will be stabled at Bulford, and if that should be the course adopted officers and non-commissioned officers and men sufficient to look after the horses would be stationed at Bulford.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that these stables have not yet been commenced, if about twenty stakes driven into the ground is excepted? I beg to give notice that in consequence of the hon. Gentleman's extraordinary reply and the intimation of the Secretary of State last week, I shall refer to this matter upon the Third Reading of the Appropriation Bill.
I should like to ask the hon. Member whether his department has received any complaints from the officers of the regiment in reference to this matter?
Has the hon. Gentleman received any complaints from members of the regiment other than the officers?
Post And Telegraph Rates To British Central Africa
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the postage on newspapers in the British Central Africa Protectorate is the same as that of an ordinary half-ounce letter; whether he will take steps to reduce it to half the ordinary rate for newspapers duly registered at the Post Office as newspapers; whether he is aware that the rates charged for telegrams between different stations in the Protectorate are so high as to restrict the use of the telegraph; and will he inquire into the matter in view to reductions being made.
I am aware that the minimum charge for the conveyance of newspapers and letters in the British Central Africa Protectorate is the same; but in the case of newspapers, four ounces are conveyed for a penny; in the case of letters half-ounce is the limit. The officer administering the Government of the Protectorate will be consulted as to the possibility of a reduction in newspaper postage. As regards the second part of my hon. friend's Question, the cost of telegraph messages within the limits of the British Central Africa Protectorate and North-Eastern Rhodesia is 3d. per word with a minimum charge of 2s. 6d. No complaint has reached me that these rates are so high as to restrict the use of the telegraph. My hon. friend is, of course, aware that the telegraph wires are in the hands of a private company, and are not the property of the Government.
Repatriation Of The Chinese Coolies
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can state when the next shipload of Chinese coolies now working in the Transvaal mines will leave South Africa for China; and how many coolies will be repatriated.
MR. CHURCHILL : I will inquire.
Chinese Labour Contracts In The Transvaal
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that Sir George Farrer, leader of the Opposition, thanked the Transvaal Government from his place in Parliament for their decision to allow the Chinese coolies to complete their contract, notwithstanding any provisions to the contrary in the Letters Patent granting the Constitution; whether the conditions of service under which the contracts are to be completed have been laid before the Secretary of State; and whether he can say in what respect the conditions differ from those contained in the Ordinance of 1904.
I would refer the hon. Member to my Answer to the hon. Member for Preston on the 12th instant in which it was stated that no official information as to the details of the recent indentured labour legislation in the Transvaal has yet been received by the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State has no information as to the statement alleged to have been made by Sir George Farrer.
Transvaal Native Administration Bill
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether His Majesty's Government have now received from the Transvaal any reply to their telegraphic inquiry as to the Bill published in an extraordinary Government Gazette of Saturday, 3rd August, abolishing the access of natives to the Courts of Law in respect of decisions administratively taken by which individual natives or whole tribes can be transferred against their will from one district to another, and now said to have been withdrawn.
At the same time may I ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Transvaal Native Administration Bill is withdrawn.
I will reply to this Question and also to that of the hon. Member for Montgomery Boroughs together. The Governor has replied that in the opinion of his Ministers it is quite impossible to give an account of so important and complicated a Bill by telegraph, but that a full Report will be sent by mail. The Governor adds that the objects of the Bill were reasonable and fair, but questions arose out of its drafting which required further consideration, and his Ministers therefore preferred to withdraw the first part of the Bill till next Session. The second part has passed both Houses, but is of course reserved for the signification of His Majesty's pleasure. I understand that the matters in which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean is specially interested are contained in the first part.
The Colonies And The Sugar Convention
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any additional petitions and representations have been received by the Colonial Office from the Australian and other Colonies upon the Sugar Convention since the publication of Cd. 3565.
Twelve more have been received and the hon. Member shall be supplied with a list.
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether representation have been made to him with reference to the hardship upon British traders consequent upon the coming into operation o the new Australian tariff without notice whether the Australian Government have been asked to postpone the operation o the tariff; and, if any such communication has been made, whether he can give the terms of the reply.
The Secretary of State has received representations in the sense indicated by the hon. Member; a telegram has been sent to the Governor General asking him to inform his Ministers that such representations have been made. No reply has yet been received.
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware of the circumstances under which the Hottentot chief Morenga is in the neighbourhood of the German border.
From what took place at an interview with the German Consul-General early in June it appeared possible that Morenga would agree to surrender himself on the terms offered to him. He was warned later that he was not to proceed to German South-west Africa without notice to the German authorities through the Cape Government, and orders were given at the same time, the middle of June, that a watch should be kept on his movements. Morenga succeeded in crossing the frontier on 13th August, with the police in pursuit. The Secretary of State is waiting full information as to the circumstances in which Morenga was able to make good his passage.
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any assurances have been given by His Majesty's Government to the German Government with reference to the Herrero leader, Morenga; and, if so, what is the nature of such assurances.
The German Government were informed on the 9th instant of the communication made by the Government of the Cape of Good Hope to Morenga through the resident magistrate at Upington to the following effect: that the uncertainty of his movements and his presence near the German border were a cause of anxiety and disturbance, that he must immediately select a locality away from the German frontier and approved of by the local authorities at which he was to take up his permanent residence, and that failing compliance he would be deported from the Colony. Unfortunately, since these assurances were given a telegram has been received from the Cape Government reporting that Morenga has eluded the vigilance of the local authorities, and crossed the German frontier on the 13th instant. Immediately on the receipt of the news, the Cape Government telegraphed to the local authorities that asylum could no longer be given to Morenga within British territory. And they have informed the German authorities that every possible assistance will be rendered to them in their endeavours to capture Morenga. A subsequent telegram states that the circumstances connected with the inroad are forming the subject of careful investigation. His Majesty's Government very much regret the trouble and disturbance of the peace which has been caused by the occurrence, and trust that everything in the power of the British authorities will be done to stop the consequences of it.
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any conclusion has been reached with reference to the Newfoundland fisheries question.
The Answer is in the negative. The negotiations are still proceeding, and my right hon. friend is unable at present to give any information beyond that which he has already given in reply to previous Questions on the subject.
The Grant To Jamaica
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer in what way it is proposed to raise the loan of £800,000 to be made to the Government of Jamaica; and whether any part of that sum has yet been advanced.
The proposal of the Government is already before the House in Clause 4 of the Public Works Loans Bill, to which I may refer the hon. Member. No part of the amount has yet been advanced.
The Price Of Coal
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if his attention has been called to a statement of Sir George Livesey, at the meeting of the South Metropolitan Gas Company, to the effect that the abolition of the export duty of 1s. per ton had unduly raised the cost of coal and had increased the foreign demand for it, to the detriment of the industries of this country; and whether, having regard to the price of coal likely to prevail during this coming winter and to the, hardship that this will entail, he will consider the suggestion of Sir George Livesey to impose an export duty of 2s. a ton so as to put some check on excessive export.
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman was aware that the cost of coal at the pit mouth was only 8s. 5¾d. per ton, and that the excessive price which the consumer had to pay was due to the action of the middlemen taking advantage of the excessively cold summer to keep up the winter prices throughout the season.
My attention has been called to the statement referred to, but I do not concur in it. I am not prepared to consider the reimposition of the duty, either at 2s. a ton, or at any other rate.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman concur in the statement that the abolition of the coal duty has tended to increase the price of coal?
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that some of the agents of certain insurance companies encourage working people to take out policies on the lives of others, and that, when the policies mature, the head offices refuse to pay on the ground that the holder of the policy had no assurable interest therein; and whether he will communicate with the insurance companies, pointing out the illegality of such policies, or take other steps to stop the practice.
The Board of Trade have received no complaints on this subject, but if the hon. Member has any definite information that he can furnish they will be glad to consider it. At present they have nothing before them which would lead them to suppose that insurance companies are not fully aware of the illegality of issuing policies on lives in which the insurer has no insurable interest.
Will the Board undertake, if cases in point are sent in, that the Director of Public Prosecutions shall be instructed to move?
Yes, but I have said we have no evidence before us.
MR. J. MACVEAGH : I have sent you dozens of cases.
Freights To Australia
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been drawn to Cd. 3639, the Report upon the conditions and prospects of British trade in Australia, wherein it is stated that something should be done to deal with the problem of freights and to put British and foreign importers to Australia on a more equal footing than is the case at present; whether he is aware that this inequality is to the great detriment of the British importer, and is caused by the shipping ring, who bolster up high freights by a system of rebates; and whether he can give the House an assurance that, failing good effects arising from peaceful persuasion by his Department, he will introduce legislation to break up these shipping rings on similar lines to those adopted by the United States Executive against similar railway and trading combines in America.
The whole question of shipping 'rings' and 'conferences' and the system of deferred rebates is being inquired into by a Royal Commission.
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that Mr. Carruthers, the Premier of New South Wales, speaking with reference to the new Australian tariff, described the preference to Great Britain as a sham; whether he has any information as to the possibility of alteration or reduction in the tariff; and whether, on behalf of Great Britain, he will make representations with this object of view.
I have seen a statement in a newspaper to the effect mentioned. The Board of Trade have no information as to possible alterations in the tariff during its progress through the Commonwealth Legislature. My right hon. friend proposes to defer ally question of representations until the complete tariff has been received and examined.
Industrial Security For Workmen
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he has taken into consideration the fact that railways, docks, canals, and other large public works are placed under his Department by the Notice of Accidents Act of 1894 for the purpose of inquiry into the causes of accidents occurring during their construction; whether he has any intention to appoint inspectors to examine unguarded and dangerous machinery employed upon such works under the existing law, as in the case of factories and workshops, or whether it is the intention of his Department to seek new powers to enable it to give proper industrial security to this large body of workmen.
The provisions of the Act do not include powers to appoint inspectors to examine the machinery employed on works to which the Act applies where no accident has occurred. The question as to further legislation on this matter should be addressed to the Home Secretary.
Joint Stock Companies And Local Government
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he proposes to take any action in the direction of giving to joint stock companies representation on the local bodies, to the rates of which they contribute.
The matter could only be dealt with by legislation, and I am not able to promise to introduce a Bill on the subject.
Does the right hon. Gentleman defend the present position in this behalf?
It is not for me to defend. Hitherto votes have only been given to sentient human beings.
Wales And The Secondary School Regulations
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education whether, under the new regulations for secondary schools for England and Wales, there will be a loss to Wales of £8,625 a year in grants as compared with England; whether, in consideration of the fact that the grant-earning period in Wales is restricted to four, while in England it may extend to eight years, the maximum grant which a Welsh pupil may earn is £17 15s. as against a maximum of £34 by a pupil in England; whether, in fact, under the new regulations, the grant for Welsh intermediate schools, assuming a prospective roll of 15,000 pupils, will be £20,625 less than it would have been had not Wales been put under a separate code; and whether, if such deficiency be established, it will be met out of local rates or by any special grant or subvention.
The Answer to every paragraph of the Question, except the second, is in the negative. With regard to the second paragraph, the implication of hardship arising from the divergency between the maximum grant payable in respect of a Welsh pupil and of an English pupil is due to the suppression, not by the hon. Member, but by those whom he quotes, of the material fact that these grants are not paid to the pupils, but are earned by the schools, and the total amount paid to the schools in respect of all pupils in Wales is the full share which Wales is entitled to receive in proportion to the grants paid to England. I have fully explained that matter both in Answers to Question and in the debate on the Appropriation Bill. In reply to a further Question by Mr. REES,
said the amount paid to a school in respect of some scholars might be more than in respect of others.
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that Wales would not be satisfied with any but the most-favoured nation treatment?
[No Answer was returned.]
On behalf of the hon. Member for the Barkston Ash Division of Yorkshire, I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education whether, seeing that on 17th April, 1907, the Board of Education, at the suggestion of the local education authority, inquired whether the manager of the Garforth parochial school would agree to the reorganisation of the school, by which the scholars above standard two were to be transferred to the provided schools, and that the Board, after receiving the reply of the managers informed the local education authority on 3rd June, 1907, that the Board saw no adequate reason for requiring the reorganisation of the school in view of this opposition, but required certain improvements in the premises, which the managers have declared themselves ready to carry out, and that on 12th July, 1907, the Board of Education wrote reversing this decision, he will say whether the Board founds this interference with the functions of the managers upon Section 7, Subsection 3, of the Act of 1902, which section relates solely to questions regarding the maintenance of schools; and whether the Board has had regard to Section 12 of that Act, which requires the consent of managers to the grouping of schools.
No, Sir, one of the two schools being a provided and the other a voluntary school no question of grouping them under one body of managers could arise under Section 12 which deals only with grouping two or more schools of the same type. In the case referred to, the total number of children attending the voluntary school was in excess of that which could properly be accommodated in it, and thus some children had to be excluded. It therefore became necessary to settle which of the children, the older or the younger, could best be excluded. A question on this point arose between the managers and the local education authority, and in view of the nature of the alternative accommodation that was available elsewhere the Board of Education decided that it was better on educational grounds that the older children should be excluded rather than the younger, and therefore held that the reorganisation of the voluntary school from a mixed department and an infant department into a school with a junior mixed department and an infant department must take place.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there was an alteration made in the decision of the Board between 3rd June and 12th July? He has given no explanation as to that.
I have not been asked for one.
It is in the Question. Can the right hon. Gentleman explain why the Board absolutely reversed their decision between those dates, and as a result took steps to interfere with the manifest rights of the managers as to re-grouping?
I must ask for notice.
It is in the Question, and the right hon. Gentleman apparently declines to answer.
The right hon. Gentleman has asked for notice.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the school is so overcrowded that there is less than nine feet space in the mixed department and eight feet in the infants' department, and that in addition the sanitary arrangements are very bad?
Notice should be given of that.
Low Valley School
On behalf of the hon. Member for the Barkston Ash Division of Yorkshire, I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education whether he will lay upon the Table of the House the recent correspondence between the managers of the Roman Catholic school at Low Valley, the local education authority, and the Board of Education.
This correspondence has now proceeded for some years and I do not think any advantage would be gained by laying the whole or any part of it upon the Table of the House.
Are we to have no opportunity of seeing the correspondence and of knowing its nature?
In the frequent debates in this House on the subject I have noticed that hon. Members who challenge my action have been fully apprised of all the circumstances.
I have seen the documents on one side. Will the right hon. Gentleman show me the documents for his point of view?
All the material documents in this case have been read or quoted sufficiently in the course of the various debates, and it would be most undesirable in the interests of economy to publish a correspondence of that kind.
Is the plea of economy set up in order to provide salaries for the officials of the new Education Department?
MR. RAWLINSON( Cambridge University) : Can hon. Members interested in this matter have a copy taken at their own expense?
Then I give notice on behalf of my hon. friend that I shall ask to be allowed to have a copy at my own expense.
The Building Grant
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education whether it is proposed to apply any part of the grant of £100,000 for the building of new public elementary schools towards the enlargement of existing schools, as stated in Paragraph 2 of the Regulations recently issued; and, if so, what is the authority for such use of the grant.
Yes, Sir, in cases where under Subsection 2 of Section 8 of the Education Act, 1902, a proposed "enlargement" amounts "to the provision of a new school," a building grant would be payable in accordance with the conditions of the Regulations, under the same authority as other cases of building grants under those Regulations, viz., the Appropriation Act.
Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been called to the wording of the Regulation which says quite generally that the grant may be paid in respect of the acquisition of the sites, or re-erection, or building, or enlargement of a school?
That must be construed together with the Act of 1906, and confined to those cases in which enlargement amounted to the provision of a new school.
Would it not apply in cases where there are alternative schools?
The mere existence of alternative schools would not quite satisfy the case, as one school may be already full.
Periodical Measurement Of School Children
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education whether having regard to the fact that Clause 10 of the Education (Administrative Provisions) Act will enable local authorities to institute a system of periodical measurement of the children in attendance at public elementary schools, he will arrange, with a view to securing uniformity of method among local authorities desirous of availing themselves of the powers conferred by the Act, that instructions should be issued by the Board as to the best means of taking such measurements; and whether he will arrange that the data obtained should be duly tabulated at the offices of the medical bureau of the Board for information and reference.
One of the duties to be undertaken by the Board of Education in connection with Clause 10 of the Bill referred to, when it has become an Act, will be the careful collating, tabulating, summarising, and publishing of the most important results obtained from the medical inspection carried out by local authorities in the public elementary schools in their respective areas. I am considering in what way this duty may most effectively be carried out, but I think it would be highly inadvisable to make any decision in regard to it until I have had the advantage of the medical advice which it will be necessary for the Board to become possessed of, when the Bill has become law.
Having regard to the newness of the departure and the importance of the issues arising out of the medical inspection of children, will the House have an opportunity of considering the instructions to be given to the medical bureau?
No, Sir; before any instructions are issued by the Board they must receive the advice of the medical officer who will be appointed, and until I have heard his advice I cannot say what the subsequent steps will be.
Merionethshire Schools Dispute
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education if he has received official notification that the managers of any non-provided schools in Merionethshire, and, if so, which, have paid to the teachers in those schools the salaries earned by them up to the 30th June last; whether the managers of these schools have applied to the Board for repayment; and what action is being taken by the Board.
The managers of four voluntary schools, the names of which I will send to the noble Lord, have informed the Board that they have paid the teachers' salaries and have applied for repayment. The Board have asked the local authority whether the salaries have been correctly stated in the claims.
Are we to understand that in the event of the local authority replying that that is so, the Board of Education will pay the salaries?
I will then consider whether it is expedient.
How long is the consideration likely to last?
I think I shall probably come to a conclusion very quickly.
Has the right hon. Gentleman not decided yet that it is expedient that managers should be paid the salaries when due?
If the right hon. Gentleman will apply his mind to reading the clause he will find it enacts that the Board of Education may pay the salaries if they think it expedient. Therefore, I am bound to consider the expediency in each case as it arises.
I beg to ask the First Commissioner of Works whether any change is proposed in the present condition of Constitution Hill by way of widening or otherwise; if so, what that change is; upon what considerations of advice it has been suggested; and when it is proposed to be carried out.
The present road on Constitution Hill is being widened according to the plan exhibited in the tea room of the House. This widening is part of the policy of providing for the traffic which is anticipated when the opening of the Mall into Charing Cross is completed. the work is now in hand and the money required was voted by the House early in the year.
Will any of the Green Park be taken away?
The railings will be moved back slightly in order to widen the road.
What paving will be used?
Wood paving throughout.
Retired Pay Commutation Fees
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury what was the amount received as fees for the commutation of retired pay during the last financial year; what rate of interest does this represent on the capital sum allowed; why is this charge made; and to what purpose is the amount so received applied.
The amount of fees received in respect of the commutation of Army retired pay during the financial year ended 31st March, 1907, was £347 6s. 10d. This represents about 3 per cent. on the capital sum allowed. The charge is made to meet the cost of the service rendered to the applicants. The money is appropriated in aid of the Vote for the National Debt Office.
Register House, Edinburgh—Clerks' Gratuities
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that by minute, dated 14th September, 1893, the Board of Treasury sanctioned gratuities to engrossing clerks in the Register House, Edinburgh, calculated at the rate of £120 a year, or on the average earnings of three years immediately preceding retirement; that this minute was communicated to the clerks, and has formed the basis of their employment to this date; and that gratuities to all clerks retiring between 1893 and May, 1906, were calculated and paid on the basis of £120 or the average earnings, whichever were greater; whether he is also aware that Mr. Alexander Fisher retired in May, 1906, after thirty-two years' service, and with a certificate from the head of his department that he had been a most exemplary clerk, and had kept up during his long period of service the best standard of character, and that his gratuity was calculated at the rate of the average of three years' earnings, although, owing to infirmity, he was unable to earn £120 in any one year; and whether there was any reason for departing from the terms of the minute and the established practice since 1893 in Mr. Fisher's case.
The Treasury have no power to award gratuities calculated on an amount in excess of the average earnings of the engrossing clerks during the last three years of their service. The sum of £120 was named in the minute of September, 1893, as representing the average earnings of an engrossing clerk during a daily attendance of seven hours; but if this minimum is not reached the gratuity can only be calculated on the average actually earned.
I beg to ask Mr. Attorney-General whether his attention has been directed to the Limerick competitions which are going on in so many journals; whether these competitions are substantially the same as the missing word competitions, which were found to be illegal; whether he is aware that these competitions are encouraging the spirit of gambling among great masses of the people; and whether he proposes to take any steps to test the legality of these competitions.
This question has been considered both by the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Chief Commissioner of Police, and I understand that they have come to this conclusion, that the practice does not fall within the law for the suppression of lotteries, inasmuch as a "Limerick" involves the exercise of some skill in the art of completing a rhyming verse or couplet. In this respect they differ from "missing word" competitions which involved the mere element of chance. I think the subject is one which needs fuller consideration, and I will take care that it receives it.
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise the magnitude of this evil; and does he know that during last week one newspaper alone divided £2,200, which works out at over 80,000 coupons at 6d. each; and is there not the best reason to believe that only a very small fraction of these coupons are examined? In this case, will the right hon. Gentleman say whether it is not right to defend innocent readers?
That is an entirely different question. Whether the competitions are properly administered or not may be a matter for inquiry. I have had representations made to me by several journalists that their readers greatly enjoy these competitions as an exercise of skill, and that they would be deprived of what they regard as a recreation if these competitions were suppressed. As to the suggestion that there is some fraud, if the hon. Gentleman will bring before me some facts they will be examined. If what the hon. Gentleman says is right, a case for investigation does arise.
Does it not require as great skill to "spot" the winner of a horse race as to compose doggerel rhyme? [No Answer was returned.]
Glasgow Distress Committee
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board if his attention has been directed to the surcharging of the Glasgow Distress Committee with the amount of compensation for injuries sustained by workmen employed by the body in question; and, if so, will he explain why this surcharge has been made, having regard to the fact that other Distress Committees have paid compensation or insured workmen employed by them.
I may inform my hon. friend that it is not the case that the Glasgow Distress Committee has been surcharged with the amount of compensation for injuries sustained by workmen employed by them. The auditor, however, has made an interim Report on the payments in question, which is at present under the consideration of the Local Government Board for Scotland.
Scottish Emigrants To Canada
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether his attention has been directed to the fact that complaints have been made by many Scottish emigrants to Canada that the promises of employment and wages upon which they were induced to emigrate have not been fulfilled; and whether he proposes to take any steps, by prosecution or otherwise, to put a stop to these fraudulent practices on the part of emigration agencies in Scotland.
Complaints of the nature indicated by my hon. friend have recently been brought to my notice and they are being made the subject of careful investigation. The results, so far, are not such as to justify proceedings. I think it right, however, to say publicly that there can be little doubt that the practice alleged, viz., of inducing emigration by fraudulent pretences would, if established, bring the offenders within the criminal law and make them liable to severe penalties under the Merchant Shipping Act of 1906.
was understood to ask if there was not plenty of employment at standard rates of wages for desirable men in England and Scotland.
said he could say nothing as to that.
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the man Smith, recently sentenced by Mr. Justice Darling to penal servitude for life for the attempted murder of one Guerin, is identical with the person who, in May last, pleaded guilty before Mr. Wallace, K.C., to burglary, and who was then discharged upon his own recognisances in consequence of a written communication handed by him to Mr. Wallace; and, if so, whether the nature of such communication has been disclosed to the Home Office.
The Answer to the first paragraph of the Question is in the affirmative. I am informed by Mr. Wallace that there was nothing special in the written communication handed to him by the prisoner, but that it was of the same character as the appeals made by almost all prisoners.
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the desirability of requesting Chairmen of Sessions and Judges of Assize to forward to the Home Office after sentence any unpublished documents which may have had importance attached to them with regard to the sentence?
I have no power to do that.
Dublin Corporation Surcharges
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the auditor of the Local Government Board has surcharged members of the Dublin Corporation in respect of irregularities in the accounts; whether he can state the amount surcharged; and what steps will be taken to enforce payment.
The auditor has made several surcharges in respect of the accounts of the Corporation of Dublin. The total amount surcharged is £4,322. Under the provisions of the statute it is the duty of the auditor to take steps for the recovery of the amounts surcharged if no appeal is lodged within the statutory period.
Is it not the fact that most of the surcharges—especially one equal in amount to all the rest—have been made on purely technical grounds?
I do not know.
Parliamentary Bill Procedure
I beg to ask the Prime Minister whether, in order to economise the time and spare the efforts of this House, he will consider the desirability of deferring the Committee and subsequent stages of Bills that have passed their Second Reading in this House until such measures have received a Second Reading in the House of Lords.
This would be a great revolution in our proceedings, as it would involve dovetailing the proceedings of the two Houses. I see the point which my hon. friend makes, but I am not equal to the task of putting it into effect.
Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Bill
Reported, with Amendments, from the Standing Committee on Scottish Bills.
Report to lie upon the Table, and to be printed [No. 319.]
Minutes of the Proceedings of the Standing Committee to be printed. [No. 319.]
Bill, as amended (by the Standing Committee) to be taken into consideration To-morrow, and to be printed. [Bill 329.]
Transvaal Loan (Guarantee) Bill
Order for Second Reading read.
Several serious questions are raised by this Motion. The responsibilities of the Mother Country towards her Colonies are already generously discharged; and the financial obligations of the State seem now rather to require scrutiny and definition than extension. The amount of the loan is not inconsiderable. The depreciation of shares in South Africa, though partial, and as I hope, temporary, has doubtless had its effect upon the money market, which can scarcely have been more forbidding than at the present time. The House is bound to examine the purposes for which the loan is required, to test the security on which it stands and to call for precedents to authorise, and for reasons to justify, the policy of affording a guarantee to a self-governing colony, and to this one in particular. There is no need to exaggerate the effect of this loan on the national credit A great many worthy people are prone to attribute all the evils that come under their observation to any particular cause or effect to which from time to time they may have expressed their dislike. I notice this is particularly true of persons engaged in financial operations not wholly devoid of a speculative character. We are informed that the decline in high-class securities which now is unhappily general from America to Germany, and from Great Britain to Japan, is largely if not entirely due to the revolutionary proposals of the Scottish Land Bill, and that, of course, there can be no revival or recovery in British credit while the pernicious and evil shadow of the Transvaal Loan hangs over the money market. To such lugubrious and pernicious absurdities we ought to apply the corrective of a wholesome proportion. The year 1906 was a year of adverse circumstances so far as the money market was concerned. The amount of new capital created in the United Kingdom exceeded 100 millions sterling and the amount of actual cash subscribed exceeded £80,000,000 sterling. It is quite true that an ill-timed issue, even of so comparatively small a sum as £5,000,000, might exercise, at the present time, a disturbing effect upon the market, an effect out of all proportion to the sum involved, but the Government have taken great care in framing this Bill to prevent any such contingency arising by an arrangement in the measure which enables small temporary advances to be made from time to time, pending satisfactory market conditions for the flotation of the whole of the loan. I venture to submit to the House that it is very easy to over-estimate, if these precautions are properly observed, the effects upon British credit of such an issue as will be sanctioned by this Bill. At the beginning of this year the Crown Agents of the Colonies were able to float a loan equal in amount to this one without causing even a ripple upon the political and financial waters which are now a great deal troubled. That is one consideration to be borne in mind: the proportion of this loan to the operations of the British money market. Then there is another. I observe notices down upon the Paper for the rejection of this Bill. No doubt it is very convenient for right hon. Gentlemen to come forward as the champions of public thrift and warn us against the disadvantages of engaging British treasure in South African enterprise; but when we look back upon the past we can find occasions when vast sums of national treasure were expended in South Africa on enterprises, to put it mildly, which were far less beneficial than those contemplated by this Bill. I do not speak of the war, which was necessary to secure British territory from invasion, nor do I speak of the expenses necessary to procure the acquiescence of the Boer people in the annexation of their country. I confine myself entirely to the expenditure which took place after the Middleburg negotiations, in which the Boer leaders and generals were willing to come in upon the basis of the annexation of the republics. For seventeen months after peace could have been obtained on perfectly satisfactory and honourable terms the war was protracted at the enormous cost of £78,000,000 of war expenditure, to say nothing of the £29,000,000 which immediately followed the cessation of operations, simply and solely in the hope of being able to say that an unconditional surrender had been extorted from the Boers. I do, not wish unduly to dwell upon controversial matters, but I would ask those who pose as severe economists to bear in mind the standard to which their observations might be referred when they warn us against the disadvantages of engaging British treasure in South African projects. Whatever view may be taken of the consequences of this loan to the money market and British credit generally, whether that view be high or low, it does not rest with us to determine whether the Transvaal are to issue the loan or not. When General Botha came over here he did not ask whether the Transvaal Government might be allowed to issue the loan, but informed us that it was their intention to do so, and simply asked us to afford them the guarantee in order that they might obtain the money on the best possible terms. Our decision, important though it was, was a closely circumscribed decision. Every self-governing colony enjoys and exercises the right to borrow, when and where and upon what terms it thinks fit and its credit allows. By the easily satisfied requirements of the Act of 1900 such borrowing by any responsible self-governing colony automatically obtains admission upon the list of British trust securities. Whether the Act of 1900, for which right hon. Gentlemen opposite were responsible, was not altogether too widespread and sweeping in its terms, and whether, that being so, the consequences have not resulted to the detriment of British gilt. edged securities, are questions I do not wish to enter into. I am content with the plain solid fact, and I submit it to the House as the first salient proposition in the argument I will endeavour to apply: that our decision in this matter was limited to giving a British guarantee, and that the Transvaal Government if they wish to do so can place their loan upon the market without any reference to the British Government; so that the evil effects upon the national credit, whether real or imaginary, and all the strain upon the money market caused by the restriction of capital, would have resulted no matter what action we might take. Indeed, these effects might have been aggravated if the Transvaal Government had been left to its own resources. What could have been more injurious to British credit and more disturbing to money market operations than anything in the nature of a struggle between the Transvaal Government endeavouring to obtain its money on very high and unsatisfactory terms, and certain powerful and hostile financial influences endeavouring to prevent them from getting it? I ask the House to recognise the two general principles which are before us. The first is the modest proportion of this loan in reference to the scale of operations of the British money market; and the second, the closely defined and restricted limits in which our decision to record the guarantee is operative. The House will require precedents to justify the giving of the loan to a self-governing colony. Such precedents are numerous, ample, respectable and exact. I will recite to the House six of them which justify this loan. In 1857 a loan was granted to New Zealand of £500,000, described as for the payment of debts and for the purchase of native land. On the 3rd of May, in 1866, another loan was guaranteed to the New Zealand Government of £500,000 for the New Zealand War, for immigration and for other purposes. In 1870 a further loan of £1,000,000 was guaranteed to New Zealand for the construction of roads, bridges, and other communications, and for the introduction of settlers. This was challenged in the House of Lords, and defended by Lord Granville, who said it was a wholly exceptional case, and tended to afford employment and useful work for the natives who had been friendly during the war. La 1867 a loan was guaranteed for Canada of £3,000,000 for the construction of a railway connecting Quebec and Halifax,. and in 1869 a loan of £300,000 at 4 per cent, interest was guaranteed to the Canadian Government for the purchase of Rupert's Land from the Hudson Bay Company. Mr. Gladstone, in the debate on that loan, condemned the practice of giving loans to self-governing Colonies. They should not be given, he said, for any merely local or temporary object, and could only be justified on the broad grounds of Imperial policy. In 1873, a third loan to Canada empowered the Treasury to guarantee £3,600,000 as regards both principal and interest for the construction of the Pacific Railway, and for the improvement and construction of the Canadian Canal. It was attacked in the House of Commons because it was said that this particular guarantee was a bribe in regard to the Washington Treaty. The House will notice that this last loan resulted in greater benefit to Canada than the expenditure of almost any similar sum by the Dominion. These loans have nearly always been given by the Imperial Government in cases where there has been disturbance caused by war or as a concomitant of some constitutional settlement which the Mother Country approved and desired to make permanent. In some of these cases one of these conditions has been present, and in others both; but in none of them were both the conditions present in such a strong and overwhelming degree as they are in the case of the Transvaal Loan Bill. If I were to speak further of the numerous precedents, all of which justify the measure now before the House, I should refer to the guarantee of £35,000,000 given by the then Prime Minister and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, to enable the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony to recover from the consequences of the war. Of course, I know I shall be told that they were Crown Colonies then. Yes, Sir, but in view of the fact that self-government had been promised, and its advent was admittedly only a matter of a few years, in view also of the fact that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham said that they were only technically Crown Colonies, and he intended to treat them as self-governing Colonies, and in view also of the fact that the services of this loan of £35,000,000 will have to be discharged during the larger portion of its currency by a local responsible, self-governing Parliament. I think the distinction is, after all, only a distinction in form, though a great deal might be made out of it for controversial purposes. The main fact stands out solidly that these right hon. Gentlemen guaranteed to the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony a loan of £35,000,000 to enable them to recover from the devastation of a terrible war, and to enable them to revive their agriculture, re-house their people, and construct and acquire their railways and public works, relying for repayment upon the good sense and integrity of the community, and that we to-day now propose to guarantee a further loan of £5,000,000 in the same confidence for the same objects exactly. When the resolution of the various bodies in Johannesburg was passed, asking for a guarantee of that loan, the amount specified was actually the amount of the £35,000,000, plus this £5,000,000, viz., £40,000,000. That was their estimate of the credit needs of their country. So much is this loan which we put forward to-day a continuation of the policy of that £35,000,000, so much is it the indisputable lineal successor of that loan, that some of the purposes for which this £5,000,000 is to be allocated are not merely similar, but actually identical with the purposes set out in the schedule of the Loan Bill passed by this House in 1903. Let us look at its objects. I would desire to justify them to the House in their general aspects only, because although the full account of the heads and sub-heads upon which the expenditure is to be met by loan capital is substantially correct, and has been tendered to us in the strictestbona fides by the Transvaal Government, the loan will not be wanted all at once, but will be raised from time to time. It is possible that some transferences and re-allocations between the different sub-heads will be necessary. In general, the allocation to which the Transvaal Government are precisely bound is the allocation of the schedule which divides the loan into two parts. Let us look at these two parts. First of all there is the Land Bank, for which £2,500,000 is to be provided. Although there is a steady consolidation of agricultural well-being, not only in the Transvaal and Orange River Colony, but throughout the whole of South Africa, the ravages of the war are far from being effaced in the two Colonies. When Lord Selborne toured through some of the more outlying portions of the Transvaal, he was much concerned at the very severe privations which once prosperous farmers, who had in many cases been possessed of valuable landed property, were suffering under. Some were found living in lean-to shelters against the walls of their ruined farms, and in some of the districts in the low veldt, I am credibly informed, almost the only food which some of the white population have to eat are the mealies which form the staple diet of the Kaffirs. The Land Bank is one of the means by which the agricultural position will be improved and assisted. When ordinary commercial banks lend money on mortgage they charge at a high rate of interest in South Africa, and reserve the right of fore-closure within three months. The effect of this Land Bank is two-fold. It accords to the farmers who possess good security and valuable property, reasonable rates for any money borrowed, and these farmers are assured that there will not be any sudden fore-closure, but the principal will be lent for a regular number of years, during which they will be able to make it fructify and pay. The idea of this Land Bank emanated from Lord Selborne, who appointed a Committee to inquire into the matter. That Committee reported very strongly in favour of the scheme and recommended that £5,000,000, not £2,500,000 should be devoted to the purpose. The Committee made many elaborate and detailed recommendations for the working of this scheme, so as to safeguard the interests of the State against those who would avail themselves of the advantages of it, and their recommendations have been embodied in the Bill of the Transvaal Government. The measure has been drawn up with the greatest elaboration by the Transvaal Government and it contains no fewer than sixty-five sections. No advance can be made upon the security of freehold or quit rent land which exceeds two-thirds of the fair agricultural or pastoral land value. No advance also, can be made upon any lease held for less than ninety-nine years. The bank is given full power of mortgage over all land upon which money is to be advanced, and the interest on the loan is to be at 5 per cent. so that the House will see that the sum will not only defray interest upon the capital involved, but will also provide an additional sum for the sinking fund and for the management of the Land Bank. I trust the House will consider this a worthy and suitable purpose. Everyone knows, after all, that the day will come when the gold mines in South Africa will be exhausted. Many of us think that it is an essential function of the gold mines to set on foot and establish other industries which in the near future will become more and more supplementary to it, and which will replace the gold industry when it has passed away. That is recognised on both sides of the House as being an important object, and I am quite sure it will be for the good of the Transvaal as a whole if the magnificence and splendour to which the great wealth of the gold mines gives rise stand upon the secure foundation of a healthy rural life, and the widespread standard of comfort and wellbeing of those who do not participate in the exciting and hectic industry of the pursuit of gold. The second part of the schedule is more varied, and contains several subheads, all of which deserve the attention of the House. The House will remember what the Inter-colonial Council was. It was a joint board established by Lord Milner to deal with the common affairs of the two Colonies. It derives its revenue from the whole of the railway returns; on the other hand the Inter-colonial Council has to defray the charge on the existing debt, the whole cost of the constabulary, and has to administer the whole guarantee loan programme of railway construction and other public works. If any deficiency arises in the Council's budget it is made up as to seven-ninths by the Transvaal and as to two-ninths by the Orange River Colony. After the treaty of Vereeniging, the Army transport waggons and stores which were in the hands of the military authorities were taken over by Lord Milner at a valuation of £2,000,000 and sold on credit to the Boers to enable them to start their farms again. This is called a repatriation debt. Farmers always complained of the prices at which these stores were sold. It is recognised on all hands that it was a period of unusual and abnormal prices. They were in desperate straits and they had no choice but to accept. They had always asked that the repayment of this debt should be postponed and that the charge with which they are saddled should be re-valued. The Crown Colony Government has already re-valued, I should remind the House, the land, stock, and implements, which were acquired by the British settlers, on this express ground of the abnormal prices; and in the same way the £258,000 which were advanced to civil servants to enable them to build houses for themselves has also been reduced on the petition of those gentlemen because of the very high prices for labour and material which prevailed in the country at the time they were call upon to build houses. It was long foreseen that a similar process of revaluing and reduction would have to be applied to the repatriation debt. The first instalment of £1,000,000 of the repatriation debt was due this year. If the Crown Colony Government had remained in power, whether under this Government or that of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, I am sure I am right in. saying that no attempt would have been made to collect these debts harshly, because nothing would have been more likely to cause devastation and disaster in the country districts. It has long been recognised that substantial reductions and abatements, and an extension of time, would have to be allowed on this head. That produced a very serious consequence. When the new Government came in they, of course, held those views more strongly even than their predecessors, and one of their first acts was to grant a postponement in the payment of those debts until next year. Meanwhile they were intending to examine the whole question, but the money obtainable from the repatriation debts which had already been created by the Inter-colonial Council was part of the assets which the Inter-colonial Council had counted on to develop its railway and public works programme. Consequently when the postponement was agreed upon the Inter-colonial Council became insolvent. It was nearly £700,000 short of the debt for the definite undertakings to which it was committed, and it could not finance any longer its railway policy or the other obligations which it had contracted. The new Transvaal. Government proposed to take over the repatriation debts for what they were worth, to collect them at their leisure and discretion and to meet the liabilities of the Inter-colonial Council from the proceeds of the new loan. Among its liabilities is an item of £85,000 for land settlement—that is to say, the settlement of British settlers who had been planted in the Transvaal. The House will realise that this sum of £85,000 is absolutely necessary for the Land Board which has been set up if it is to continue in existence. The House will remember that the Land Board administers the whole assets of the land settlement, amounting to £1,300,000 which has been advanced to 700 settlers who had been planted on the soil in order to secure to those settlers sympathetic administration, and in order, to use a phrase which has already been employed, to place a screen between the mortgagor and the mortgagee. The whole of the administration of land settlement was vested for a period of five years in a nominated Board independent of the Colonial Government. General Botha's Government was not attracted by this arrangement. They thought it was a waste of money. They thought it was a derogation from complete self-governing powers, and they were inclined, I think quite mistakenly, to regard it as an imputation on their fair dealing towards their fellow-subjects in the Transvaal. We were far from denying the force of some of their objections to the Land Board, but in order to allay the anxiety which I think was then quite genuine on that side of the House, and in the hope of carrying the right hon. Gentleman with us as far as possible in what we desired to make a national rather than a Party settlement in South Africa, we inserted in the Letters Patent provisions which enabled the whole question of land settlement to be handed over to a separate and outside Board. The insolvency of the Inter-colonial Council, however, placed that arrangement at the mercy of the Transvaal Government. Nothing would have been easier, if they wished to starve out the Land Board which had been created against their wishes, than for them to have delayed or resisted the financing of the Inter-colonial Council, but with complete self-restraint and strict observance of all the engagements into which they have entered as part of a great constitutional settlement, which they have accepted, they have come forward and without making any difficulty undertaken to finance the Inter-colonial Council in respect of land settlement from the proceeds of this loan, and in the meanwhile, pending the loan being raised, to supply them with money from month to month in order that the Board may be set up and continued. The right hon. Gentleman is going into the lobby this evening to vote against the granting of this guarantee, and if he were to succeed in his purpose—and no one ought to give a vote unless he takes the responsibility for the consequences that will follow on its success—if he were to succeed in this purpose, the first of the incidental consequences of his action would be that the whole of this money which would be available for the Land Board would be absolutely deflected, the Board would rapidly become bankrupt and break down, and all those elaborate arrangements which we were told by hon. Gentlemen opposite were so vital for the independence and the well-being of British settlers in the country would come to an end. I am anxious that the House should consider the reproductive character of the expenditure under the new loan. The sum of £600,000 represents definite commitments of the Inter-colonial Council for expenditure on railways, public works, and land settlement. I could give the House the sub-heads, but I am sure they will not wish me to state them in detail. The sum of £1,050,000 represents additional railway construction which is to be undertaken. The Delagoa Bay Railway represents £600,000, and some other railway projects and improvements. £200,000 represents the Klerksdorp Line, and £250,000 is set down for the Belfast and Lydenburg Railway which was projected by the old Government. It was agreed to by the late Government of this country. The sum of £100,000 represents expenditure on public buildings, and that is not wholly unreproductive, because the Transvaal is at present paying £48,000 in rent for buildings which they occupy. Irrigation is represented by a sum of £400,000, and the possible results of that expenditure we have seen proved by the highly remunerative results in Egypt. £300,000 represents agricultural development and land settlement, and £2,500,000 represents the capital value of land which, as it will let at a higher rate than that of the interest at which the money is borrowed in the market, will constitute no further charge on the Colony. It may be said that these objects no doubt are very reasonable in themselves, but what is the security we shall have for the loan? The security for the loan will be the whole of the revenue and the assets of the Transvaal—all the State may draw from the gold mines which last year, under the blighting hand of a Radical Government at home, yielded the respectable total of £25,000,000 sterling, or something like 125 times the sum necessary to defray the service of the new debt; all the resources which the Transvaal may derive from diamond mines, which produced £600,000 in 1905–6, and which are an entirely new feature of Transvaal economy. Of that sum the Government share amounts to not less than £360,000, and is estimated this year to aggregate something like £400,000. The debt will be secured further on anything which the Government may draw from the valuable deposits of coal and iron with which the country is studded, and, of course, on the whole of the rail ways, upwards of 2,500 miles long, which are owned, manned, and controlled by the State. The existing debt of the Transvaal, excluding the £800,000 to which I have already referred, is £35,000,000, of which the Orange River Colony is charged with a certain proportion. What that proportion is I cannot say authoritatively. For the purpose of this discussion, though in no wise prejudicing any decision that may be afterwards arrived at on the merits of the whole question, I will take nine millions as being the proportion of the loan which appertains to the Orange River Colony, that is to say, that the special debt of the Transvaal is £26,000,000, to which there will be added £5,000,000 for the new debt, so that it will be £31,000,000 altogether, or £24 7s. per head of the population of the country, taking black and white together. It would be a great mistake to compare this debt with, for instance, our own National Debt because our National Debt in the United Kingdom represents one thing, and one thing only. It represents gunpowder—a commodity which, although it may give some satisfaction at the moment of discharge, rarely leaves behind it any wealth-producing apparatus. But the Transvaal debt can more fittingly be compared with the debts of our great Colonies, where an enormous proportion is represented by very valuable State assets in the shape of public works, railways, and other things of definite revenue-producing character. if we take the Transvaal debt as it will stand when the £5,000,000 loan has been added to it, it will be seen that upwards of £20,000,000 is reproductive expenditure, leaving £10,624,000 of what I call deadweight debt, or per head of the population, black and white together, £8 1s. 8d. If whites only are considered, the deadweight debt will be £35 7s. 8d. per head. I submit to the House that with its unique assets and possessions that is not an undue burden for the Transvaal to bear. I submit to the House that there will be no difficulty whatever in meeting the interest and the sinking fund charges on the debt. I say that for the purpose of establishing security. The interest charges on this debt are, of course, placed on the revenue of the Transvaal, and they rank next to the £35,000,000 debt. But as this £35,000,000 is maintained by the Inter-colonial Council out of railway revenue, upon which it is the first charge by Order in Council, it is not unfair to say that this new £5,000,000 should constitute a first charge on the revenue of the Transvaal outside railway revenues. This revenue, outside railway revenue, is nearly £4,500,000 in the present year. A full statement of the Transvaal Budget has been laid before the House in Papers recently presented. In 1907–8 the revenue of the Transvaal is estimated at £4,469,000, and the expenditure at £4,520,000, or a deficit estimated at £51,000. It will be observed, first of all, that the estimates of revenue have been framed on the most conservative basis, and that the estimate of expenditure contains items of extraordinary expenditure not included in the Budget of previous years. That is without taking into account any reduction in the establishment which may be effected. There are two facts more important than these, which have to be mentioned. First of all, it has to be borne in mind that the Transvaal has a credit balance of £957,000, out of Which it is proposed to draw £67,000 this year, for the purpose of meeting extraordinary expenditure; and in the second place, retrenchments are being enforced throughout the Civil Service in the Transvaal. I should like to say a word on this latter subject. There is no need to criticise the scale on which Lord Milner initiated the Transvaal Civil Service. It was natural and desirable that those who were responsible in any measure for the war should have wished as quickly as possible to repair its injuries and wounds. I quite understand that after the great strain of the war, that wish was father to the thought that a good time would come. Lord Selborne has published a despatch in which he expressed appreciation of the work of the Transvaal Civil Servants. I am bound to say that since I have known more of the Government of the Transvaal, I believe that that appreciation has been thoroughly deserved. But when all these considerations have been stated, no one can doubt that the Transvaal establishment was vastly in excess of what is needed for carrying on the work of government, and considerably in excess of the resources and the state of development of the country. Before the change of Government occurred, a Commission was appointed to consider what retrenchments could be made in the Civil Service, and it is on the recommendations of that Commission that the Transvaal Government are now proceeding. More than that, Lord Milner engaged Mr. Marris, a man of great distinction in India, and thoroughly acquainted with all the machinery of goverment; and Mr. Marris came to the Transvaal to carry out the recommendations of the Commission. Mr. Marris has been retained by General Botha, and it is by his guidance and instrumentality that the retrenchments are being carried out. I have no doubt that these will involve hardships, but the Government will of course do what they can, without committing themselves, to relieve these cases of hardships from time to time, so far as it is allowable, through the Colonial Office. Well, there will be considerable saving—how much I cannot say—from these retrenchments. But there is a second item on which money will be saved in the current year as well as in future years. I mean by the reduction of constabulary, which is a direct result of the grant of self-government. It is quite evident that police arrangements which are necessary to hold a country down by force of arms and to maintain a non-representative Government in arbitrary authority are wholly different in character and extent from those which are required merely to preserve law and order among a people who are consenting parties to the form of government under which they live. A similar reduction is no doubt to be anticipated in the Orange River Colony. At present the constabulary in the two Colonies numbers 3,000 men, and the cost is £266 per annum per man, that is to say the charge on the two Colonies is £798,500 a year. The constabulary in the Transvaal numbers 2,000 men, and it is proposed to reduce them by 1,100, leaving 900 men who are to be re-organised with the existing Transvaal Police. They will be quite sufficient for the maintenance of internal security and peace. The saving which will result, will amount to £250,000 a year, or considerably more than is needed for the whole of the interest and sinking fund of the extra debt of £5,000,000 we are now proposing. I think there can be no doubt whatever of the ability of the Transvaal to pay the interest of this new debt. Now, from whom has the opposition to this new loan, both at home and in South Africa come? Who are those who are now going about saying that this loan will crush the Transvaal? They are the very people who were prepared to impose upon a nominated Government, without the consent of the taxpayers of that country, the obligation of a loan, not of £5,000,000, but of £30,000,000, which was not to fructify in the Colony itself, and become reproductive there, but which was to be sent across the seas and paid into the British Treasury. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham told us that he could "entertain and recommend to the House of Commons a sanguine expectation of the ability of the Transvaal to meet the liabilities involved." These liabilities are £35,000,000 Loan, and the additional payment of £30,000,000 to the British Exchequer. And the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham laid on the Table of the House of Commons in 1903 a table, in which he precisely stated the amount he would recover from the Transvaal. "In the year 1903–4, the first instalment of the £30,000,000 Transvaal War Contribution Loan is to be raised, involving a charge at (say) 4 per cent. of £400,000, and reducing the surplus from £900,000 to £500,000. In 1904–5, a second instalment will be raised, reducing the surplus to £100,000. In 1905–6, the third instalment will be raised, involving a deficit of £300,000, if there is no increase of revenue. But Lord Milner estimates an increase in the three years of £600,000 in general revenue, which would leave a surplus of £300,000, after paying the interest on both loans." But that is not all. The very commercial and mining, houses in the Transvaal, who have to some extent shown opposition to the present loan, not only signed a guarantee for the repayment of the first £10,000,00 of the £30,000,000, but they were quit prepared to impose on the Colony a total burden of £65,000,000, or according to their calculation, of £70,000,000. The right hon. Gentleman who was Secretary of State for the Colonies a little while ago made efforts to obtain the first £10,000,000 of the £30,000,000 loan. He will, no doubt, now say that it might have been quite possible to have got all this money back if he had been allowed to have his way about his beautiful Chinese. But when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham submitted his statement to the House of Commons, there was no mention of Chinese; there was nothing like a bargain that the mine-owners were to have Chinese if they became guarantors for the issues of the first £10,000,000 of the loan. I have always understood that it would have been very improper if any suggestion of that kind had been made. I believe as a matter of fact that there was absolutely no suggestion that the Chinese entered into their calculation when they were prepared to place so vast a burden upon the Transvaal. I have endeavoured to submit to the House some of the arguments in support of this loan under the three principal heads—its purpose, its security, and the precedents for it. But, there are one or two observations of a general kind which I wish to make before I sit down. In the first place, what is the connection between the loan guarantee of the Imperial Government and the repatriation of the Chinese which is now in progress? We have heard a great deal about a bargain and about a bribe, and I think language has been used in that respect not at all complimentary to the Government of a responsible Colony. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite must realise one plain fact, and that is, that so far as the present Government are concerned we want to get rid of the Chinese, and we mean to get rid of them. That is the basis on which we start out to argue this question. The Transvaal Government and Parliament, newly elected, agree with us. They want to get rid of the Chinese, they mean to get rid of them, and they have declared that their policy is repatriation at the expiration of the indentures. Now I submit to the House that that is a matter of obvious common sense and simplicity. The Transvaal Government desire to raise a loan; they say that they are forced to raise a loan, and if they had not the British Government to fall back upon, they would have had to go cap in hand to Sir P. FitzPatrick, Sir Julius Wernher, Messrs. Albu and other defenders of the "gilt-edged Union Jack," who are so powerful and prominent in South Africa. And then these gentlemen would have been able to say "We will support your loan and enable you to get your money in the market, provided that you allow us to obtain the labour which we desire and which in our opinion is most profitable for the mines." If that situation had arisen it would have compromised the whole independence of the new Government. There was nothing underhand in the matter. Our desire was that they should be free and choose for themselves in the matter, and that their position should be one in which they could rid South Africa for ever of this detestable expedient. We should have been simpletons to allow the new Transvaal Government to be placed in absolute dependence on the very men with whom it is not only a matter of commercial interest but of political passion to procure the labour of the Chinese. I am well aware that the whole prosperity of the Transvaal is dependent very largely upon the prosperity of the gold industry. I do not know whether the interests and prospects of that industry are served by the extraordinary pessimism which is so freely indulged in by some persons who talk about it. But the conditions are by no means dark at the present time. The number of natives who are going into the mines is greater than ever before known, and greater than can be employed. All recruiting from the Cape has actually been stopped, because at the present time there is no means of accommodating the men from that source. In the meantime the Cape Government are arranging with the Transvaal Government for the much better regulation of the supply of natives from Cape Colony, and similar arrangements have been discussed with the Colony of Natal. I understand also that improvements in the machinery by which the mines are worked are steadily being introduced, and I understand that the new Gordon drills which have lately been invented, and which are now being tried, are calculated still further to relieve the pressure and to limit any shortage of natives. Therefore, I would say that a great future on a solid industrial basis lies before the mines of the Witwatersrand. But something is needed besides labour. So speculative an industry requires public esteem and the confidence of investors, and so long as the mineowners employ Chinese labour it will be a threatened industry, standing upon a basis which is going to be broken up, and the sooner they realise that fact the better it will be for them. The right hon. Gentleman has placed a Motion on the Paper which is equivalent to the rejection of this Bill. I am sorry to see it there, and I think the right hon. Gentleman has undertaken a some what ungracious task. I regret very much that so amiable a politician should have been cast for the part of "devil's advocate." Now that the country is definitely committed to the new arrangements which have been made, I had hoped that the line of cleavage in this House would not have followed purely party lines. At least in a matter so delicate as this, involving the fortunes of the new Government in its early days, and its relations with the British Government, I should have thought the official Opposition would have been content to accept somewhat of the guidance of those who bear the responsibility. After all, we still have a task of the utmost anxiety in South Africa. The great transference of power has taken place. We have transferred the power in South Africa from the basis of force to the basis of concession. The new Transvaal Government when it came into power was not a Government from the members of which we received any assurance. We received no assurance and asked for none, but with that Government we have had to do a mass of complicated business—questions of labour, native rights, the position of our Indian fellow-subjects, finance, military security, all questions on which disagreement might easily arise if there was not between us goodwill and mutual confidence, arising from the fact that the British Government are resolved to do their best to help the Colony and the Colony is resolved loyally to accept in the fullest possible spirit the constitutional arrangement which the British Goverment have made on their behalf. Is it to be wondered at that we should wish to make the people of the Transvaal feel that the British people can render services as well as bring about disaster, and that after the estrangement of the past we can co-operate in the re-building of South Africa? That is the broad Imperial policy which underlies the introduction of this Bill. We have had great difficulties, but we have a great deal to be thankful for. What can more raise the prestige of British statecraft than the anouncement of the gift of the great diamond which is to be made by the Transvaal to the King? That is a wonderful event. It has nothing to do with the loan, but it has a great deal to do with the relations between the British and Boer peoples. It will probably be remembered for hundreds of years after a great deal of the legislation on which we are engaged has been forgotten. The granting of the guarantee at this time no doubt involves a sacrifice; but compared with the tremendous issues in South Africa, with all the millions we have spent and all the risks we have run, it represents scarcely more than the harbour charges on some great ship coming safely into port after a stormy voyage. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
I do not intend to follow the right hon. Gentleman in what he said in regard to his last topic, in which he made, I think, an unfortunate reference. That subject may be left to the admirable sense and tact which his Majesty always displays in affairs affecting his subjects. The right hon. Gentleman has spoken as if this matter presents little difficulty, as if there was ample precedent for it, and it was dictated by obvious expediency. In every case which the right hon. Gentleman has cited as a precedent there were actual subjects of value which were obtained for the loan. The loan itself in two cases was only half a million, in another case one million, and in two other cases three millions. The objects to which these loans were devoted were the purchase of great territories and the foundation of great trunk lines. What analogy can there be between those cases and a case such as this, where the Colony has a deficit, where it has an enormous indebtedness to us, and where there has already been—I am not saying it is the fault of the Colony—a very considerable failure to honour obligations? The right hon. Gentleman has considered it relevant to the discussion to mention the so-called extravagance of the late Government with reference to the war. It is less than decent in the right hon. Gentleman, with Members on each side of him like the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Attorney-General, who cordially approved of the war, to refer to the matter as if it has any relevance to this state of things. The right hon Gentleman himself was a supporter of the war.
I was never a supporter of the policy of unconditional surrender.
May I say without offence to the right hon. Gentleman that other persons more important than he and now sitting by him were supporters of it?
It is unnecessary to drag me into this matter. I certainly never supported what was described by the right hon. Gentleman as the undue prolongation of the war.
I gladly accept that exceedingly legal qualification. The hon. and learned Gentleman is a hearty supporter of £2,000,000 of that expenditure, and if that is so the only relevant argument that can be formed upon it is that the Government should be abundantly cautious of involving the credit of the country further. The latter portion of the right hon. Gentleman's speech was devoted to explaining and justifying the purposes of the loan. Nobody on the Opposition side will traverse the contention that the purposes for which this loan is to be spent are useful purposes, and especially that of land settlement. I do not suppose there is a Colony in the whole Empire in which an expenditure of £5,000,000 could not be well justified, and I do not think there is a single Colony which would not be glad to have it. The point, however, is not whether the money can be profitably spent in the Transvaal; the point is whether there is a justification for at this moment imposing this burden on the credit of the Imperial Government, and, more material still, whether it is right to facilitate and encourage expenditure to enable another £200,000 a year to be placed on the shoulders of the Transvaal taxpayer at a time when the financial condition of the Colony is not at all prosperous. While the right hon. Gentleman has purported to put the facts before the House, I complain that he has not put before us the Budget statement of the Colonial Treasurer. Great sacrifices have been asked and great sacrifices have been incurred by the British population in the Transvaal. They have loyally made the sacrifices asked of them, and they have at least the right to demand in this matter scrupulous impartiality on the part of His Majesty's Government in their dealings with them and their Dutch fellow-subjects. They have a right to work out together with the Dutch their own salvation, which should not be affected by any undue interference by His Majesty's Government. I ask the House to bear in mind certain cardinal points whilst considering the policy of this loan. Does it conform to these principles? Is it prudent, considering the interests of the Colony as a whole, for them to borrow a large sum more at the present time? Is it fair to the taxpayer of this country that their contingent liability should be increased in order to facilitate the operation? Is the policy of the loan now being carried out with ordinary and reasonable prudence and in conformity with the proclaimed intentions and policy of His Majesty's Government and with the aspirations of their own followers? These are the tests I ask the House to consider. On a previous occasion I informed the House of the warning given both by high financial authorities in the Transvaal against any further borrowing in the existing financial condition of the country and by the deplorable state of the revenue. It is not necessary to quote the cases which come from the general estimates of Mr. Hichens, a former Colonial Treasurer, and the recent Budget statement of the Colonial Treasurer bore out that statement more conspicuously still. I complain that the right hon. Gentleman has not placed before us the information we are entitled to have. According to that statement, the revenue of the Transvaal is falling all round; railways have produced £600,000 below the estimate; the expenditure has exceeded the revenue by £97,000; public works have been stopped, railway works stopped; the depression is becoming deeper and deeper; and there is little hope of providing means for its removal, while the Estimate for 1907–8 shows an antici- pated deficit of £91,000. Looking at the point of view of the Transvaal alone, there are circumstances which even the most reckless financier would regard, and say that the times were inappropriate for the raising of further money. The right hon. Gentleman said, ingenuously enough, that General Botha was going to raise this loan in any event. Of course, General Botha was perfectly right to say so to the right hon. Gentleman, but how would General Botha have been able to face his taxpayers if for a purpose such as this he was going to place a loan on the market at a time when, without the guarantee of the Imperial Government, he could not have raised it at less than 5½ or 6 per cent.? This Government of free traders, totally opposed to the unanimous wishes of the Colonies for Colonial preference, are artificially to disturb the conditions this of country and to prefer the Transvaal in these circumstances before all the self-governing Colonies. What possible reason is there for witholding from the Cape or Natal the remarkable accommodation which the Imperial Goverment is giving to the Transvaal? Does it show justice or impartiality to the minority in the Colony? That minority, which is mainly an urban and a British population, raises 85 per cent. or even more of the whole taxation of the country, and upon that urban population is going to be placed the main burden of that which will inure almost entirely to the advantage of the rural population. I was, I believe, the first man in this country who urged that the Dutch should be treated with the utmost generosity. But a great deal of water has passed under the bridges since then. The British taxpayer has provided a great deal for the Boer population. We guaranteed the 35 millions loan to the Transvaal in consideration of their paying 30 millions as a War contribution. The 30 millions are gone, but the saving to the Transvaal by the guarantee of the 35 millions was at least £350,000 a year. The whole of that sum is in the pockets of the Transvaal taxpayers at the present moment. In these circumstances are they entitled to special consideration above all other Colonies, and to have another five millions added to the 35 millions already guaranteed? We have also to consider our own case—the circumstances of the loan market in this country at the time this loan is guaranteed. There were qualifications, some weeks afterwards, of this promise to guarantee £5,000,000, but at the time the pledge was given it was given without any qualifications whatever; it was publicly announced in this House.
And interest, too. I do not know what guaranteeing a loan "in principle" is. However, the right hon. Gentleman is entitled to any qualification he pleases.
was understood to say that the terms were not stated at the time the loan of £5,000,000 was guaranteed in principle.
The right hon. Gentleman has given me an answer, and contradicted what I said. I said a moment ago that His Majesty's Government in this House unqualifiedly promised the guarantee of £5,000,000. That is a fact. That was understood by everybody. It had a disastrous effect on the price of Consols the moment it was made. It had so disastrous an effect upon the market that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, some weeks afterwards, by which time much mischief had been caused, stated what apparently was not known to the Government—in such reckless and hot haste had this been done—that the loan need not be issued for some considerable time, and only in small amounts. At this very moment the Transvaal Chancellor of the Exchequer does not know to what purpose he is going to apply a great part of the loan, and has declined to pledge himself in regard to the matter. At a time when we had almost unprecedented depreciation in gilt-edged securities—I need not pause to argue what was the cause of that depreciation—you made this statement, unnecessarily, as it afterwards was proved, that £5,000,000 was about to be guaranteed. You did not attempt to assuage the fears created by that statement until weeks afterwards, and then, after the mischief and inconvenience had been caused, the right hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary for the Colonies comes down and states that the promise to guarantee this loan was only "in principle." That is very poor consolation for the people who have lost money—not speculators or mineowners, but those investors in these securities who are above all entitled to be considered. I think I may summarise the situation in this way. When this guarantee was promised, we had, from the Colonial point of view, a vast debt upon the Colony already. We had, first, £35,000,000. And that was not all. As the right hon. Gentleman ought to have known, we had a municipal loan of £8,000,000 to Johannesburg, which is, of course, a burden upon the community. We have £35,000,000 plus £8,000,000, plus £2,000,000, in respect of loans to the Boers for repatriation; and, finally, His Majesty's Government, who profess to encourage economy and thrift, in regard to this little community of 300,000 white inhabitants, who have already got a debt of £50,000,000 upon them, are actually facilitating and encouraging further obligations to the extent of £5,000,000, representing a charge of at least £50,000 or £60,000 a year. Concurrently with that, we have in this country a state of things into the origin of which I do not pause to inquire. A condition of things has arisen in which Consols are lower than they have been for many, many years. [An HON. MEMBER: Their natural price.] They had been made lower still by the operation of His Majesty's Government in connection with this loan. Consols fell on the announcement that you were going to guarantee this loan, and I challenge any contradiction on that subject. That has been done to the great prejudice of a great many people who are as perfectly entitled to consideration as anybody else in this country. While I admit that the amount of £5,000,000 would be a trifle as regarded ourselves, yet at the time the loan was guaranteed it caused grave inconvenience; and I say that nothing should have induced the Chancellor of the Exchequer or any sensible man in dealing with these matters to have given such a promise at that time, unless he considered that there was some urgent and immediate necessity for it. But there is not a single statement forthcoming on the part even of the professed advocates of this loan to show that it is at the present moment an absolute necessity. It is really of no use beating about the bush on the matter. The right hon. Gentleman has admitted what everyone knew to be the true reason of the issue. The right hon. Gentleman had been perfectly frank; he said that it was necessary for the Government to get rid of the Chinese.
said he had never stated that it was necessary for the Government to get rid of the Chinese, but that the Government meant to get rid of the Chinese.
I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on his interruption. If the Government mean to do a thing, and say that they mean it, I suppose that it is necessary for them to do it. The right hon. Gentleman said on a previous occasion that no bargain was made, but I challenged that statement at the time, and told the right hon. Gentleman that very different interpretations were applied by different people to the word "bargain." The right hon. Gentleman might be right in repudiating the word "bargain," but, as I said on a previous occasion, no bargain is required in these matters. The Government wanted, and, indeed, found it to be necessary, to enlist the Transvaal Government on their side and to induce them to say whether they wished to get rid of the Chinese.
They said it long before.
As distinguished from those pledges which they gave over and over again in and after the general election, their policy was repatriation and replacement. That was a very awkward policy for His Majesty's Government to deal with, because I expect they knew that although, owing to the stoppage of other works in South Africa and the universal depression there was an unusual flow of native labour, the moment prosperity approached in however small a degree, this supply of native labour would run down and react very much the old level. It was very necessary for the Government, therefore to get that statement and get apparent advocacy upon the part of the Transvaal Government. Why do I say that? Because all other methods had failed. They tried to intimidate the Chinese by telling them that they were slaves; but the Chinese would not believe it. Having tried terror and intimidation, and strong language, however mendacious about repatriation, they tried another plan. They tried cajolery and coaxing, and the Chinese also resisted coaxing and cajolery; they would neither be intimidated nor bribed. Never were there people so obstinately enamoured of their fetters. The right hon. Gentleman received a despatch from the Governor of the Colony in respect of 350 Chinese admitted owing to some slip of an official, and the Governor stated that he was advised by his officials there that if they attempted to send these men back again, though they knew the conditions of the service upon which they were about to enter, there would be a dangerous riot. The matter was becoming extremely awkward for His Majesty's Government, because their followers were not content with the lamentable and ridiculous exhibition on the part of their leaders, and they were pressing them in a formidable manner. A member of the Labour Party threatened to move the adjournment, and the hon. Member for Newbury expressed his deep displeasure. The Government noted these awkward symptoms. They had tried every other means of getting the poor Chinese to move. They still had not the courage to take the consequences of their own language. They did not say to the country, "We must make good the loss to the Transvaal if these men are moved. Please pay the bill." They like to be astride of both horses at once; to tell the taxpayers that everything they say is true, and that at the same time all their rash assertions will cost nothing. General Botha desires a guarantee for his loan. His Majesty's Government wish the Boers to be made to say the contrary of what they said at the election—that the Chinese should be at once repatriated. Both these desires were concurrently gratified: but there was no bargain. It is not an undesigned coincidence, however. The Under-Secretary has taken in nobody. Let him place these circumstances before any impartial tribunal in the world, and let it judge as to whether the cause has not been followed by the effect.
Read General Botha's speeches.
But has this further pledging of the credit of the country been effected with ordinary prudence, and with regard first to the legitimate rights of the Civil Service in the Transvaal? The Government were taking to this Colony some of the greatest boons that could have been given. The generosity was unprecedented in the history of the Empire. The Government had a position of immense strength for the purposes of bargaining. They might legitimately have required that the whole of that £500,000 should be definitely appropriated to our land settlers. They might have made provision for the relief of the hardship, which is admitted, to the civil servants, many of whom were attracted to South Africa by the belief that there was to be a longer stage of representative government, and had in result lost everything in the Transvaal, and many openings in this country. Surely when His Majesty's Government were going to place in the pockets of the Transvaal something like £10,000,000, it would have been legitimate to see that some consideration was given to the sufferings of the civil servants. I was glad to hear the tardy reparation made by the right hon. Gentleman to the Civil Service. It was not very long ago that, in the very speech in which he cast vituperation on Lord Milner, the right hon. Gentleman spoke of the Civil Service in the Transvaal—many of whose members have worked harder than any one in the House of Commons for the restoration of the country—as "a costly and not too efficient nominated and imported bureaucracy." The apology of the right hon. Gentleman is in much the same terms as that which he has given to-day, that the right hon. Gentleman knows more now of Sir Hamilton Goold-Adams and his staff than he did then.
I invite the right hon. Gentleman to quote any passage in which I cast vituperation on Lord Milner. As to my having used the expression "costly, not too efficient, nominated and imported bureaucracy" of the Civil Service, I withdrew the words "not too efficient," but it was certainly a bureaucracy, and it was also nominated and costly.
The speech of the right hon. Gentleman in December, 1906, was accepted as a disparagement of the work of the Civil Service. But the point is that, with all their power for bargaining, by reason of the boons they have given to the Transvaal, His Majesty's Government have done nothing for the civil servants, and magistrate after magistrate is being reduced—curiously, too, these men are of British birth. While the Government professes its desire to serve the Transvaal, there is no reason why it should have omitted any regard for the Transvaal Civil Service, now suffering grievous hardship. Time after time when I was at the Colonial Office, I was addressed in strong terms by hon. Gentlemen below the gangway as to the condition of the natives and British Indians. Warnings of what was the opinion of the Transvaal Government in respect of the natives were perfectly plain. General Botha, not many years ago, gave before a Royal Commission his opinions as to native labour policy in South Africa. His policy is to break up native locations and reserves, and by taxation to bring the natives into the mines. I have always agreed that there-is a balance of advantage in favour of native over Chinese labour, though many of the evils alleged against the employment of Chinese reproduce themselves in a more extreme form in the employment of natives. There is this lamentable difference—that the natives die off much more quickly. But what are His Majesty s-Government now doing by the removal of the Chinese? They are placing a tremendous temptation on everyone concerned in the revenue of the Transvaal to take for the mines natives who are physically unfit for the work. What means have you taken to safeguard the natives against that tremendous temptation, more serious when you consider it in connection with what General Botha said on oath before a Royal Commission? The Transvaal Government have only been in session for two or three months. What has been their admitted attitude to the natives in that short time? So soon as self-government was given them, and so soon as the guarantee of the loan was promised in this reckless and foolhardy way, then General Botha, feeling the necessity of the revenue to be derived from the mines, and feeling the necessity of replacing the Chinese whom he has promised to the Government to get rid of, saw at once the necessity of attracting natives into the mines, who, but for that attraction would not come, and in defiance of the opinion of the whole of South Africa and the Transvaal, itself vitally interested in getting natives to work in the mines, proposed a Liquor Bill to permit the sale of liquor to natives in the mines—a proposition which was so scouted by the entire public opinion of the country, and by a large proportion of the Government's majority here, that he was obliged to withdraw it. That Bill had been totally withdrawn. That shows what the attitude of the Government of the Transvaal is in regard to the subject, and how easily and naturally they yielded to this temptation. I will only mention that they attempted, or designed, to lure the natives into the mines by the temptation of liquor. There is another proposal which I will not specify, but which was equally scandalous. I expect, it was to deprive the natives of redress in the Civil Courts. After having lured them into the mines, they were to be deprived of the right to seek a civil remedy. I say that with regard to this matter with strict reserve, I have not seen the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman's account of it was not very lucid, and I desire it to be understood that I reserve comment on that until I have actually seen the Bill. There is only one other topic to which I will refer. There is the case of the British Indians. The warning was even plainer in regard to that. In my humble way I endeavoured to persuade, and successfully, the Transvaal against a course which was pressed upon me unanimously at the time I was in office. The Government had that warning before them. The Government had many other warnings since that it was inevitable that a similar attempt, but probably of a much more drastic kind, would be tried by the present Transvaal Government. It was inevitable that it would be tried. The very things which the Government and their supporters when they sat in opposition denounced us for day by day, namely, not permitting people to hold land, the special law about passes, the special law of identification marks and badges of slavery which were repeatedly flung into our face, this Government submitted to. They allowed the passing of such legislation in regard to British Indians without a murmur. Nobody knows better than I do the enormous difficulties of meeting opinion in South Africa upon this question, and I will go so far as to say that I doubt whether it would have been wise on the part of His Majesty's Government, once they decided to give self-government,to provoke another internecine conflict on this question, but I do say with all the earnestness in my power that it was criminal negligence on the part of His Majesty's Government to enter into this undertaking without getting some terms for those people. They now sit paralysed before the Transvaal Government. They have no means of redress. Everybody who understands this question knows that they dare not provoke a conflict with a unanimous Colony on such a subject as this. Their opportunity was before. In such reckless haste were the Government to get these declarations from General Botha about the Chinese that they actually surrendered the whole claim they had upon the Colony for the £30,000,000, the whole claim they had for the £350,000 which they gave to them, in return for the precipitate advance of the cause of self-government—the whole of this splendid negotiating power they threw away without lifting a finger in respect of these subjects which it was manifest they would have the greatest difficulty in dealing with, once that Government had acceded to power. I am sorry that such a course should have been taken. Everybody interested in any way in British credit must be aware that that which would not ordinarily have been a strain upon it, has been so at this particular moment. I think it is most deplorable, it is disastrous, that this exercise of British credit should have been made at this time when the Colony ought not to have had another sixpence put upon its debt. That opportunity, now, unhappily, is passed, and I believe there is for ever gone all opportunity of properly adjusting the relations between this Government and the Colony, as to the natives and as to British Indians in the Transvaal. I beg to move.
"To leave out the word 'now' and at the end of the Question to add the words 'upon this day three months.'"—(Mr. Lyttelton.)
Question proposed, "That the word stand part of the Question."
If I follow the right hon. Gentleman I hope I shall be able to keep rather more closely to the question actually before us than he has found himself in a position to do. Two-thirds of the right hon. Gentleman's speech have consisted of a thinly-veiled attack on the grant of self-government to the Transvaal, and an attack, certainly not veiled at all, on the policy which has been pursued by the responsible Ministers of that self-governing colony since they came into office. He suggests, though he does not actually declare, that something in the nature of a corrupt bargain—there is no other word to describe it—that is the sense in which it has been understood by some of the right hon. Gentlemen's supporters, that something in the nature of a corrupt bargain has been entered into between His Majesty's Government on the one side—
I did not say so.
I am saying what is suggested and what is understood by hon. Gentlemen behind him—that something in the nature of a corrupt bargain was entered into between His Majesty's Government on the one side and the Government of this self-governing colony on the other, whereby, in consideration of our guaranteeing this loan, they have agreed to abandon the Chinese policy which they had previously adopted, and to substitute for it a Chinese policy more in accordance with the wishes and opinions of His Majesty's Government. That is the sense in which it is understood. No such bargain ever took place. There is not the shadow of a foundation for it. General Botha, I assert here, in the face of this House and of the country, is as free to-day to propound any Chinese policy he likes in the Legislature of the Transvaal as he was before the negotiations for this loan were ever entered into. Is that plain? I hope it is. The right hon. Gentleman, having suggested, first of all, the existence of this corrupt bargain, next attacked the Transvaal Government in regard to its native policy. He describes one Bill, which was introduced and since withdrawn, as scandalous, and another Bill, which he admits he has not seen, as, hypothetically, equally, if not more scandalous. Is there any other self-governing Colony in the Empire in regard to the proceedings of the Ministry of which a responsible statesman here would allow himself to use such language? I am not going—it is no part of my business, though I enter a protest against such language being used—to defend the policy of the Transvaal when we have given them self-government. We gave it with the intention that they should exercise it, and in the belief that they are capable of exercising it; but we have carefully reserved in the Constitution powers to the Imperial Government, which they would not hesitatate to exercise in fit and proper cases, over certain classes of legislation in which the interests of particular sections of the community are specially concerned. The real question before us is the merits of the Bill; but let me, before I deal with what I conceive to be the actual point, just note, in order that I may respectfully brush it aside, the argument of the right hon. gentleman which was relevant to the question. He told us, or he suggested, that this loan was a form, and a very invidious form, of colonial preference, because we were discriminating in our treatment of the Transvaal in a manner favourable to them, and giving them in the shape of this guarantee a boon which we did not propose to give to any other of our self-governing colonies.
There is no case for giving.
I am dealing first with the question of preference. The argument of the right hon. Gentleman is one which, I would point out, does not receive a shred of suppport from any self-governing colony in the Empire. So far as I know, and so far as the Government know, not a single responsible statesman in any one of our self-governing colonies has sent to us one word of protest or remonstrance or even of criticism. But they are supposed to be smarting under a sense of having been very badly treated through one of their fellow colonies receiving this preferential treatment.
made an interruption which was not heard in the gallery.
I saw something in the papers about the Premier of South Australia—[OPPOSITION laughter]—Will hon. Gentlemen do me the courtesy of waiting till I have finished my sentence?—I saw the statement in the papers, but I believe that what he said was not favourably received by those to whom he said it. I was careful to say that no communication has reached His Majesty's Government from any responsible statesman throughout the Empire in protest, or even in criticism, of this loan. The truth is, I believe, that the self-governing colonies regard the matter entirely from the same point of view as we do, that the guarantee of this loan was an inevitable, though, no doubt, an unforeseen consequence of the war in which they played so conspicuous and honourable a part, and a necessary incident of the completion of a settlement based, as it is, on the free and full grant of self-government—a settlement which, as we know by the language used by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, has been ratified by the practically unanimous sentiment of all the self-governing communities of the Empire. I pass from that, nor will I enlarge on the question of whether there are or are not precedents which precisely meet the case. The Under-Secretary has quoted a number of cases in which loans have been granted in the past to self-governing Colonies. [An HON. MEMBER: None for thirty years.] What does that matter? Suppose there was no precedent at all? I say it would be quite necessary to create one. But we have the best precedent possible, as my right hon. friend has pointed out, in this very case, for less than five years ago a guaranteed loan of £35,000,000 was advanced to this very colony. True, it was then a Crown Colony. It was not technically in the samestatus as it is now, and there were for the time at any rate means of enforcing your security if occasion should arise, but the loan was granted to a Crown Colony which was about to enter, in the course of a few years, upon the full stage of representative self-government. Therefore, if the late Government looked forward to the future, as they were obliged to do, they were practically then guaranteeing the credit of a self-governing colony. But the real question is, first, as to the necessity, and next as to the security. Of course, in my character as Chancellor of the Exchequer a proposal of this kind wasprima facie an unwelcome proposal. I do not want to see any extension of the direct or of the contingent liabilities of this country, still less a resort either by the Imperial Government, or, so far as we have any influence in the matter, by any of our Colonies or Dependencies, in the present condition of the money market, to further loans. Therefore I naturally scrutinised this proposal with considerable jealousy. But how does the matter stand? We have heard from the right hon. Gentleman a very pessimistic account, to put it mildly, of the present financial position of the Transvaal. I may say that, if that account were in all respects justified by the actual facts, it would be perfectly clear that if the Transvaal were to borrow at all it could only borrow upon an Imperial guarantee, and therefore,pro tanto, all the arguments which were used to show the precarious or unsatisfactory condition of the Transvaal finances would go in the direction of supporting our proposal. But I must say that these arguments came with a singular ill-grace from right hon. Gentlemen opposite. As my right hon. friend reminded us, it is only four years since they came down here and obtained the assent of Parliament to a guarantee of a £35,000,000 loan, because it was part and parcel of a transaction the other element in which was a promise on the part of the Transvaal to raise a loan of £30,000,000 which would have involved, for sinking fund and interest, at the very lowest an annual charge of £1,200,000; and we were solemnly assured with an enormous parade of figures that the credit of the Transvaal was amply sufficient to stand that transaction, and that there was not the least fear that we should be called upon to make good our guarantee. To-day we are told from the very same authority—though it is true my right hon. friend opposite was not then the Colonial Secretary—that for us to guarantee only the interest of a loan of £5,000,000 is seriously to imperil the future of British credit, or, at any rate, to expose us to the serious risk of having to make good a loss. In all the annals of miscalculation there have been more unfulfilled promises in this matter of Transvaal finance than have ever been made before. I am not going to join the ranks of the prophets and expose myself to a similar refutation in the future. But extravagant as was the forecast which assumed, four years ago, that the Transvaal could add to its liability for the £35,000,000 loan another liability of £30,000,000, I cannot help thinking that there is a similar extravagance in some of the pessimistic estimates which are now offered. It Is quite true that upon the estimates for the current year, 1907–8, the Budget of the Transvaal shows a deficit of £51,000. But I must say for myself that, having examined those accounts with considerable care, I entirely agree with what my right hon. friend the Under-Secretary said, that the Treasurer of the Transvaal, in the first place, has taken a conservative view of the prospects of his revenue, and, in the next place, has made no allowance for retrenchments of expenditure which are obvious, which are easily effected, which we know are in contemplation, and some of which are in course of actual execution. Let me make one general observation in regard to the apparent falling off in recent years of the revenue of the Transvaal. Very largely it is due—to the extent of, at any rate, £1,000,000—to the reduction in railway rates, a reduction made in 1903, and the effect of which was very largely under-estimated by Lord Milner and those who advised him. I do not say that rates can go back to their old level—I do not think there is the least chance of it, and the only hope of making that good to any extent is by an increase of traffic. But I mention that as accounting, to some extent, for what would otherwise be unaccountable miscalculation. And then, again—and this is a more hopeful and more important consideration—there is a considerable cash balance of nearly £1,000,000 in the Treasury of the Transvaal, which, although it cannot be represented as liquid assets—a good deal was lent out in various ways to local bodies and to others—yet stands as a good debt, as part of the assets of the community, and to some extent—perhaps a considerable extent—could be made available in case of need. Further than that, it is to be observed—and this is, I think, one of the best features of Transvaal finance—that the Transvaal has during the last few years constructed and developed out of revenue a great many works which in almost all British Colonies are provided out of capital. A good deal of railway construction, agricultural development work, and public buildings have been provided for in that way. I find from the accounts that no less than £3,392,000 was expended in respect of such works up to 30th June, 1906, towards which sum only £520,000 was appropriated from loan money; and even after meeting these special charges, the accumulated balances of revenue over expenditure amounted on that date to no less than £1,325,000. Then, again, although the main sources of taxation—the Customs revenue, the profit and other taxes upon mining, the native taxes, and the receipts from railways—are probably not capable of (at least it would not be wise to anticipate any) very large development in the near future—though I see the Treasurer does anticipate a substantial increase of railway receipts—there are other sources of revenue which are clearly open to him in case of need. Take the Estate Duty. That duty is 1 per cent., and without going into any extravagant estimates, there would be obviously a considerable field there for the further development of revenue. And I think I am correctly informed that there is no transfer duty of any kind in the Transvaal, or, at least, it is merely nominal. [A MEMBER on the OPPOSITION BENCHES: Yes, 4 per cent.]. I am not speaking of the transfer of land, but of the transfer duty upon stocks and share transfers such as we have in this country. There, again, in a community of that kind there would seem to be a relatively fruitful field for the further development of taxation. But it is from the other side of the account undoubtedly, the direction of the retrenchment of expenditure, that the Transvaal Government may well look forward to a better financial position than it has to-day. Allusion has been made to the reduction in the Civil Service. Far be it from me to say one word in the way of disparagement or criticism of gentlemen, many of them men of great ability, who have been devoting their services to the Government of the Transvaal during the last five years. But they went there knowing perfectly well what were the contingencies to which their service was exposed. Nobody can say that they have been badly paid; on the contrary, the scale of salaries in the Transvaal has been substantially higher than in almost any other country; and nobody can possibly contend that any consideration of justice, still less of honour, was involved in retaining gentlemen of this kind, however able, in numbers which were excessive, at salaries which are beyond what the country can afford to pay, and simply for the sake of enabling them to work out what they thought were the prospects of their own future. There can be no question about it. It is, I believe, the unanimous opinion of the Commission appointed, not by General Botha's Government, but by the Government of the Transvaal when a Crown Colony, that a reduction should be made, and it is being carried out under the superintendence of a very able Anglo-Indian official, who may be relied upon to see that whatever reductions are made are not beyond the necessities of the case. A second and not less important matter is that of the Constabulary. I do not wish to say anything as to the lines on which that force was originally framed. No one can doubt that, man for man, it is the most expensive force now in existence in the world; £266 per man is the cost of keeping up that Constabulary, and it is a drain upon the combined resources of the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony to the extent of considerably over £750,000 a year. Now that we have passed to the stage of responsible Government there can be no justification whatever for keeping up a force on that scale and at that expense, and I do not doubt that the immediate reductions will be considerable and that revenue which will be set free by the curtailment of this extravagant form of expenditure——
Not for some time.
I am told that at no very distant date a saving of something like £250,000 a year is anticipated. Let me point out that so far as the present year is concerned the additional charge imposed under this Bill upon the taxpayers of the Transvaal cannot be more than £40,000, because we have arranged with the Government of the Transvaal that they shall not raise during the present year more than £1,000,000 out of the loan of £5,000,000. Even assuming that the loan has to be raised at the rate of interest of 4 per cent., I have overstated the amount, because the financial year in the Transvaal ends in June, and we are now in August. I demur to the account given by the right hon. Gentleman of the manner in which this guarantee was originally announced. I never said it was going to be raised in a lump sum or at any one time. My right hon. friend, in using the words "in principle," which the right hon. Gentleman rather scoffed at, thought he was guarding himself equally against any such interpretation. Certainly I never suggested, and knowing the condition of things in the money market here, I was not likely to suggest, that the whole of the amount should be cast upon the money market at the present time. I do not think the injurous effect upon the price of Consols can be attributed to anything I have said. The fall in Consols is due to causes of a more far-reaching and widespread character than this little loan.
I did not say the whole fall.
It is quite true that a rise took place when I announced this year that the whole sum was not going to be raised. I will make the right hon. Gentleman a present of that. I think I have shown there has been sufficiently careful scrutiny of the finances of the Transvaal, and that at any rate at present or in the immediate future there is an ample and sufficient sum to guard the British taxpayer against any danger of being called upon to make good the guarantee under this Act. I must say one or two words upon the necessity of the purposes for which this loan is to be provided. As my right hon. friend has explained, they are twofold. In the first place, as regards the Land Bank, the proposal comes to us with the very highest authority. It originated with Lord Selborne. Lord Selborne pressed it upon us time after time with arguments which seemed to me to be irresistible in their force. The original capital suggested was £5,000,000. That has been reduced to £2,500,000; and, as I understand the proposal, it is not to be assumed that £2,500,000 is going to be advanced all at once. Nothing of the sort. But there is to be power ultimately to advance £2,500,000; the process is to be experimental and tentative. My right hon. friend has put before the House one consideration of the greatest importance. It is that you should do all you can by legitimate means, without imposing an excessive or unnecessary burden upon any particular interest in that country, to multiply industries in the Transvaal. What needs development more than anything else is the agricultural industry. Irrigation, the stamping out of cattle disease and other diseases of animals, the provision of reasonable means of borrowing on the security of the land itself, are the means which, according to all authorities acquainted with the details of the matter, afford the best scope for establishing a really independent agricultural interest in the Transvaal. As to the other purposes of the loan, I cannot consent to the view which seems to be taken by the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, that these are things which can be brushed aside or at any rate postponed. Let us look at what they are; they are contained in the second category. First, they are purposes which may be said to be the leavings of the £35,000,000 loan. They are purposes which ought to have been provided for by that loan, but that loan has fallen short, and therefore these purposes cannot at present be fully met. That is true as regards the very important item of £85,000 to go to the purposes of land settlement; it is true also to the extent of at least £500,000, in regard to what are called the railway and other commitments of the Inter-colonial Council, who are already engaged in carrying them out, but as to which the funds have fallen short. To stop these things, or to stop the railways and other works when they are half or three-quarters completed, is the worst form of economy; it would involve the waste of the money that has been already spent upon them. As regards the other categories to which the balance will be applied, it is also to be devoted to railway extension and acquisition. It is admitted that the purchase of the Fourteen Streams railway is vital to the well-being of the Colony, and the improvement of the railway to Delagoa Bay is of very great importance to the commercial interest. The balance will go to irrigation and other works. At the risk of wearying the House with dry details, I have gone through these various points in order to show that, so far from this loan being recklessly assented to by us, we have carefully scrutinised every item of the programme, and we have satisfied ourselves that the expenditure is neces- sary, and that there is ample security for repayment in the existing financial condition of the Transvaal to prevent loss falling upon the British taxpayers. It is in that belief that we have brought forward the Bill for which we now ask the sanction of Parliament. I looked at it in the first instance from the point of view of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in raising such objections as seemed to me,from my point of view, to be proper. But I must add this. The Government found it their duty to look at the matter, and they did look at it, and I ask the House to look at it, from the point of view in which financial considerations—although by no means to be disregarded—necessarily assume a subordinate position. We commend this proposal to the House on the grounds both of justice and of policy. I say it is an act of justice because the loan of —35,000,000 is exhausted, although many of its purposes are not completely attained. Land settlement and railway construction are left unfinished, and we shall not be able to carry out the intentions of Parliament,. and still less shall we be doing justice to the interests that we have created in relation to this matter, unless we provide the means for completing them. But is is more than a mere act of justice; it is an act of policy. We are witnessing in the Transvaal the early and, in some respects, the most trying days of what I do not hesitate to describe as one of the greatest experiments ever made in the history of the world. You have there a people who less than six years ago were in arms against us, as regards a considerable number of them. We have granted to them in the freest and fullest sense complete liberty to manage their own affairs. That is one of the most arduous tasks which any community so situated has ever been called upon to discharge. But I believe we shall be ill-carrying out the ends of our policy, I believe we shall not be meeting the expectations and wishes of the great majority of our fellow-countrymen here at home, if we do not do everything in our power, not only to encourage but to aid our new fellow-citizens to perform that task, confident as we are that they will perform it and bring it to an end without finding any difficulty whatsoever in reconciling patriotic reverence for the best traditions of their own past with grateful and devoted loyalty to the British Crown.
said the right hon. Gentleman began by saying that some of the remarks which his right hon. friend had made were irrelevant to the topic under discussion. But if that was so he sincerely trusted that what he said would not be more relevant than those of his right hon. friend which were, he thought, extremely to the point. So far as the present generation was concerned this proposal to guarantee a loan to a self-governing Colony was absolutely new. The loan of £35,000,000 was guaranteed immediately after the War, when the Transvaal was a Crown. Colony. It was true there was an intention ultimately to make it a self-governing Colony, but the time for that change depended upon many considerations, one of which was that the Colony must be self-supporting. The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies had told the House that Mr. Gladstone was in favour of this principle in 1869, and had quoted some words of that statesman, but he had done so apparently on the assumption that nobody else would read the report of those proceedings. As a matter of fact, the last time a Bill of this kind was carried it met with disapproval from every section of the House. It was strongly opposed by Sir Stafford North-cote. It was opposed in principle by Mr. Gladstone, who said it was a vicious principle, which had already received just condemnation within the walls of Parliament. Mr. Gladstone added that the Bill for which he was responsible was to put an end to this vicious system once and for all. It was left for this Government, whose Chancellor of the Exchequer before the election made a special feature of purity and sanity of finance, a Government who claimed to be the successors of Mr. Gladstone, to revive this vicious principle which he tried to end and which but for them would have been finally ended. But they did not need to go to Mr. Gladstone for precedents. At the time that Bill was in this House it was opposed by the House of Commons. It was opposed among others by one who was now a distinguished Member of the House. The words were not very strong, but they expressed the whole position very clearly and therefore he proposed to quote them. That Gentleman then said we should then look at those loans as things we might some day be called upon to take up; that they injured our trade; that we should look upon them as reducing our own credit, as an individual would look upon a bill he was asked to back; that when a Colony asked to be assisted to borrow on better terms than they could command out of their own resources it was likely to lead to extravagance in the Colony, and that if we lent the Colonies our credit they in return should bear part of our debt. Those were the views of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean. They were true then, and if the House would permit him he would endeavour to show how far they were true now. The first point he would take up was that they injured our trade. It was obvious that they must injure our trade to some extent, and he had never listened to anything which seemed so far from the subject as the statement of the right hon. Gentleman about new issues and the rest of it and the increase of capital in this country. The time when the issue of a loan was announced had a great deal to do with the effect upon our trade. Anybody knew that at a time like the present while our markets were disorganised the announcement of an issue of £5,000,000 would have a far greater effect than the announcement of a sum of £50,000,000 under more favourable circumstances. It had injured our credit. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said it had not, but the right hon. Gentleman at a luncheon in the City a short time ago, did a thing which was not wise; he prophesied what he did not know. He said that Consols had touched bottom.
That was the opinion of great financial authorities and I shared it, but what I was very careful to do was to say that it was not to be taken as an indication that I knew anything as to the course of the market.
said he did not appreciate the subtle distinction. The right hon. Gentleman prophesied without knowing. Everyone knew what had happened since to Consols. They knew how much they had fallen, and the right hon. Gentleman seemed to make it a matter of glorification that they had not only fallen at the time when this loan was announced, but that they had continued to fall since. But the right hon. Gentleman's conviction was a reasonable one. It might be taken at the time to be the fact that Consols had touched bottom but for one thing which was fatal, namely, the existence of the Government of which the right hon. Gentleman was a member. The next point in the speech of the right hon. Member for the Forest of Dean to which he had referred was that when we gave our credit we should get something in return. Here we were giving a great preference to one particular Colony. The House would notice that the Chancellor of the Exchequer seemed to think it could not be a preference because other Colonies did not complain. A great Colony like Canada would be slow indeed to complain about any action of His Majesty's Government which did not concern Canada. Nevertheless it was a great preference. It meant £50,000 a year to the Transvaal and probably more. It was generous, no doubt, but it was a kind of generosity not uncommon and not very commendable. It was generosity at the expense of other people, not only at the expense of Great Britain but of other self-governing Colonies which desired to borrow money but which had not the inestimable advantage of being the particular pet of His Majesty's Government. The next point of the right hon. Baronet was that it engendered extravagance in the Colony. The present Government of that Colony had many virtues, but certainly among them could not be counted that of rigid economy in anything which affected either themselves or their friends. The salary paid to their Agent-General in London was unusually large, and another point, which did not involve a large sum of money but which was the best possible test of the economy of the Colony, was that the Ministers had allotted to themselves salaries which wore far in excess of those allocated in other self-governing Colonies. Another point to which he would not have referred but for the fact that it was touched upon by the Under-Secretary, was the suggestion of the Transvaal to present the Sovereign with a Crown jewel. It was a kindly thought and did great credit to the hearts of the Colony, but it did not say much for their heads. Did anybody suggest that it was a proper thing when a Colony was not able to meet its expenditure out of its own resources to make a present out of borrowed money, however desirable the present might be. He might be of a suspicious mind but it seemed to him that there was a great deal of stage management about this matter. It was to him most suspicious that a thing which might have been announced at any time during the last few months should have been announced only a few days before this debate. He was not sure, but he would imagine that the right hon. Gentleman had something to do with this admirable stage effect.
said the statement was devoid of the slightest shadow of foundation.
said then he had only given the right hon. Gentleman credit which he did not deserve. [Cries. of "Withdraw."] There was nothing offensive in what he had said.