Lord Elgin in his reply (January 5th) expresses regret that
the numbers stated by the late Superintendent of Foreign Labour as needed to complete the requirements of the mines were ex- ceeded without obtaining Mr. Lyttelton's assent; but adds that in view of the opinion of the Attorney-General of the Transvaal, endorsed by the legal advisers of the Crown, the Government have decided that the licenses already granted must stand, "the responsibility of their being granted being one which must rest entirely with their predecessors, and in which they themselves disclaim any share." The Government are thus resolved that from the date on which they assumed office nothing should be done to add to the number of Chinese under contract for em- ployment in South Africa until the Transvaal, through an elected and really representative Legislature, shall have had opportunity of deciding whether the Ordinance is to remain in force,—a resolve endorsed in advance by Mr. Lyttelton in his letter of November 9th. In these circumstances, we hold that Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman was fully justified in his indignant repudiation of the charges brought against the Government by Mr. Balfour, and embodied in the follow- ing dilemma : if the Government stop the importation of Chinese coolies, they will ruin South Africa; if they do not, they are canting hypocrites. Sir Henry Campbell-Banner- man's handling of the whole question has been marked by dignity and good sense.