25 MARCH 1882, Page 2

Mr. Gorst brought up the question of the North Borneo

Company on Friday week ; but the debate, though bright and interesting, was not very instructive. There was little new to be said. The real feeling and first argument of the Tories was that they were glad the present Government had taken to an- nexation; but then, that led logically to supporting the Govern- ment, which they did not wish to do. The answer to them was, of course, Mr. Gladstone's,—that he had never been such a doctrinaire as to oppose annexation when just and expedient, which is perfectly true, but leaves the extension of the Empire an open question. The argument of the Liberals who oppose the grant of the charter was that it increased the responsibili- ties of the country, without the country's consent; and to this the answer was that it did not, that Englishmen would settle and conquer, and that they must be protected, and that such charters, therefore, if given after settlement, rather restricted than increased their power of action. That is true in one sense, for the settlers are no longer independent ; but it is not true in another, for they, when controlled, have behind them the irresisti- ble power of the British Government. They know that perfectly well, and therefore they seek charters. The division went, of course, with the Government ; but a feeling of dissatisfaction remains, which will lead, we think, not to the abandonment of of Borneo, but to much more rigid control over the Company. That is necessary, if only because the Government upon one point have been extremely negligent. They have not insisted that slavery should cease, or at least be ignored by all Courts, as a defence for blows or refusal of wages. That ought to be done at once, before " interests " have time to grow. It is per- fectly monstrous for the British Government to worry the Khedive for not abolishing domestic slavery, when it is allowing praedial slavery, a far more cruel thing, among its own subjects.