12 MAY 1923, Page 14


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,—There is, of course, " another side " to a good deal of your article upon the above subject. There are, however, two features upon which I trust you will allow comment. You say, quite rightly, that

" when the Uganda railway was being built, however, large numbers of Indians were imported and those who remain are the nucleus of the Indian Colony to-day."

This raises a question of national honour omitted from your article. When coolie labour for the Dependencies was

demanded by the settlers, those who had fought slavery were anxious that no taint of it should be attached to Indian coolie labour. Lord Salisbury, then at the head of the India Office, shared this anxiety, and in order to safeguard the situation the " indispensable condition " was laid down by agreement with the India and Colonial Offices that, if a Dependency ask for coolie labour,

" the Colonial laws and their administration will be such that Indian settlers who have completed the terms of service to which they agreed, as the return for the expense of bringing them to the Colonies, will be in all respects free men, with privileges no whit inferior to those of any other class of Her Majesty's subjects resident in the Colonies."

If you can tell some of us how this very definite undertaking can be repudiated, in honour, we should, I am sure, be exceed- ingly grateful.

May I express appreciation of your support for native rights ; if any conditional franchise is incorporated in the Kenya Constitution it should be open to the natives. I understand that the Indian delegation is prepared to welcome this, and that the white settlers who declare that they are only acting in defence of the native are resolutely opposed to any reasonable educational and property franchise for the

[Lord Salisbury evidently referred to ordinary civic rights. There was no question then of an Elective Assembly, and Lord Salisbury would have been the first to object to Indians controlling the Colony.—En. Spectator.]