HC Deb 05 December 1878 vol 243 cc85-173

Sir, I rise with the greatest diffidence to move that an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, thanking Her Majesty for Her Most Gracious Speech. I have had the privilege of being a Member of this House but a short time, and I trust that in the few remarks I shall make I shall receive its indulgence, and that any shortcomings on my part may be attributed not to any want of confidence in the cause I advocate, but rather to the inexperience of one who is, for the first time, addressing it.

At first sight it may appear to many hon. Members a matter of great inconvenience to have been summoned to attend a meeting of Parliament at this time; but on further consideration of the questions that are before the country, and the provisions of the law by which Indian Revenues cannot be expended without the sanction of Parliament, I think there is no hon. Member who will not agree with me that Her Majesty's Government had no course open to them but to summon Parliament in this sudden and extraordinary manner.

Since we last met many things have taken place which have caused serious apprehensions that the Treaty of Berlin, which secured peace to Europe, was in danger of being disturbed. I cannot but think that one advantage gained by the meeting of Parliament to-day will be to dispel any such illusion, for there is not the slightest fear that any Power concerned in that Treaty has any intention of not observing its conditions. I trust, Sir, that the House will permit me to say that I think the country owes much to the Commissioners in Turkey, who have done so much to bring about a solution of those problems which at present are in a state of uncertainty there.

Very recently, Sir, another question, which at one time promised to be of a very troublesome character, has been brought, I am thankful to say, to a successful and satisfactory issue. The United States have paid over the sum of money which was adjudged to this country in the Fisheries dispute. I am sure no one doubted for a moment that that money would be paid; and I do hope that this amicable conclusion, of what might have been a serious difficulty, will tend to draw in still closer connection the tie of friendship which I hope, and I am sure will always, exist between the two countries.

Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech refers chiefly to the condition of affairs on the borders of our Indian Empire. With the permission of the House I shall touch but generally on that question, as no doubt it will be amongst many others brought under its notice; but I am happy to think that I can commence at a period on which all parties are agreed. No one can deny that the statesmanlike ability of Lord Mayo, his personal qualities and his natural courtesy, created between himself and the Ameer of Afghanistan, I may say I think, a feeling of good-will—nay, even more, a feeling of friendship. When, at last, we suffered a great loss by Lord Mayo's death, he bequeathed to his successor the same state of good feeling. In the meantime, Sir, a new element had been introduced. The advances of Russia were beginning, and the Ameer applied to Lord North-brook for assurances of protection against that advancing Power. What those assurances were it is unnecessary for me to say. At all events, Lord Northbrook was unable to comply in such a manner as to give complete satisfaction to the Ameer. The Russian advances still continued, and the Ameer became more and more estranged to England, and more willing to enter into negotiations with the advancing Power. Lord Salisbury, at last, thought that the time had come when he should be justified in giving further assurance of protection to the Ameer against foreign invasion, upon condition that our officers were allowed to be present at certain places in his territory, in order that they might thoroughly watch the movements on the Frontier. To this the Ameer declined to agree. The discussion was prolonged indefinitely; and, in the meantime, the Ameer showed a still more unfriendly feeling towards our country. Suddenly, in July of this year, we were startled by hearing that the Ameer had received a Russian Envoy at Cabul. Under these circumstances, the Indian Government felt that the time had come at which they should consider how they would act. They proposed a friendly Mission to Cabul on the part of this country. Of the circumstances which followed the House is well aware; and when, later on, they gave the Ameer—if I may so use the expression—another chance, the House is well acquainted with the manner in which that Ultimatum was treated. Under these circumstances, the Indian Government felt compelled to take those steps which are now to be brought under the consideration of Parliament. We are at the present moment engaged in a war which, I trust, will be short, successful, and decisive; and I can only express a hope, which I am sure you will all feel, that our European soldiers, as well as our Indian troops, will, as they have ever done, do their utmost to show that they are fully qualified to maintain the glory and the power of our Indian Empire.

As regards domestic legislation, I may be excused for saying that it is impossible for me to form any opinion of the work of the coming Session; but I wish I could feel sanguine that anything can be done to alleviate the distress which unfortunately prevails through the greater part of this country. In view of the bad harvests and the depression of trade, I feel that the prospects of a return of prosperity are anything but good. At the same time, hon. Gentlemen will remember that these misfortunes are not confined to our country. They extend all over Europe and America; and as, therefore, there can be no question that they are not the consequence of political causes, I think we must not despair. On former occasions we have had a similar depression of trade; and as bad harvests have been previously met by the skill and energy for which Englishmen have always been renowned, so, I trust, England will again overcome those difficulties as in former days.

I cannot conclude without expressing my most grateful thanks to the House for the kind indulgence which they have shown to me, and I shall conclude by moving— That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, to convey the thanks of this House for Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech: Humbly to thank Her Majesty for the gracious expression of Her regret that She has found it necessary to call for our attendance at an unusual, and, as Her Majesty is pleased to say, probably at an inconvenient time: To express our regret that the hostility manifested towards Her Majesty's Indian Government by the Ameer of Afghanistan, and the manner in which he has repulsed Her Majesty's friendly Mission, has left Her Majesty no alternative but to make a peremptory demand for redress: Humbly to thank Her Majesty for informing us that, in consequence of this demand having been disregarded, Her Majesty has directed an Expedition to be sent into his Territory, and has taken the earliest opportunity of calling us together, and making to us the communication required by Law: To thank Her Majesty for directing that Papers on the subject shall be laid before us: Humbly to express the gratification with which we learn that Her Majesty receives from all Foreign Powers assurances of their friendly feelings, and that Her Majesty has every reason to believe that the arrangements for the pacification of Europe, made by the Treaty of Berlin, will be successfully carried into effect: To thank Her Majesty for having directed the Estimates for the ensuing year to be laid before us in due course: Humbly to assure Her Majesty that, after full deliberation upon the matters which have led Her Majesty to anticipate our usual time of meeting, we shall be prepared, at such date as Her Majesty may determine, to give our careful consideration to such measures for the public benefit as Her Majesty may direct to be submitted to us: Humbly to assure Her Majesty that our best care shall be devoted to the maintenance of the great interests of Her Empire; and that we unite with Her Majesty in praying that the blessing of the Almighty may attend our counsels.


In rising to second the Address, I shall not hesitate to allude to the great subject to which the remarks of my noble Friend the Member for Down (Viscount Castlereagh) have been mainly directed. It must be quite clear that when Parliament is summoned at this unusual and, as Her Majesty is pleased to say, somewhat inconvenient season, there must be some great topic for discussion and settlement by the House, which rightly and necessarily puts the ordinary Business of an ordinary Session entirely in the shade. Sir, that great topic is the question of our North-Western Frontier of India, and the relations of Her Majesty towards the Ameer of Afghanistan, and as being germane to that question. The House will have learned with satisfaction the assurance contained in Her Majesty's gracious Speech that Her Majesty is in friendly relations with all other foreign Powers.

It is a matter, I venture to think, not only for satisfaction, but also for profound thankfulness, that those great subjects which the Berlin Congress was called together to discuss seem to be in a fair way of being brought to a final adjustment, without any break whatever in the friendly relations between the signatory Powers; because it cannot be denied that whether we look to our North-West Frontier in India, or look at home for that revival of trade prosperity, for which so many eyes are anxiously scanning the horizon, much depends on the peaceable and loyal carrying out of the Berlin Treaty. And, Sir, I cannot use the word "trade" without venturing to express the sympathy, which I am sure the House feels, with our fellow-countrymen in Scotland, who have suffered from so severe a financial calamity, and who have borne their suffering so bravely.

Sir, the regret which has been expressed in the Speech from the Throne, that Parliament should have been called together to discuss the war in Afghanistan, is a regret which, so far as the war is concerned, will be shared by every hon. Member of the House, no matter what may be his political opinions. These Frontier Wars, so many of which have been entailed on this country by the necessities of our Indian Empire, are at all times undertakings which this country would fain avoid if she could fairly and reasonably do so: and of Afghan Wars especially, it may be said that our reminiscences certainly are not of such a character as to induce responsible Indian statesmen to rush into them lightly or without a grave sense of responsibility. Therefore it is that we have always found that the chief and most cardinal point in the policy of our Indian statesmen has been the independence and friendship of Afghanistan. But, as has been well pointed out in one of our great centres of commerce and intelligence by the Leader of this House on a recent occasion, that independence and friendship must be real; because what we desire is, that Afghanistan should be for us in Asia that which our forefathers always desired Turkey should be for us in Europe—a buffer between ourselves and the possible aggrandizing propensities of other Powers. That has been a position as favourable for the Ruler of Afghanistan as for this country. It was a position which was always cordially and frankly accepted by Dost Mahomed, and up to 1872 apparently by his less reliable son Shere Ali, with more or less sincerity. I use the word "apparently," because it is very doubtful whether Shore Ali ever forgave this country for the recognition it gave to his rival brothers in 1867. Be that as it may, and without stopping to inquire whether the result of the famous Umballa Conference in 1869 did or did not carry out Shere Ali's wishes, I think we may fairly say that up to the year 1872 the relations of Shere Ali to this country were fairly friendly. Since that date, however, there has been a great change. His friendship has given way to ill-concealed enmity, and his estimate of the comparative power of Russia and England has undergone a complete change—a change not in our favour. What the causes of the change may be, and the amount of responsibility that will have to be borne for it by previous Viceroys and the present Administration, must and will, of course, be discussed at a fitting moment. That moment is certainly not the present; but when that time comes, and strong opinions are expressed, on the one hand that a more resolute and less ambiguous policy in the past would have secured Shere Ali to our interests, and on the other hand opinions are as strongly expressed that a less resolute and a more ambiguous policy now, would have had a similar effect, I am inclined to believe that political circumstances farther North than Cabul, in the one case, had not so far matured as to render a more resolute policy absolutely necessary; and, in the other case, had done so, in so marked a manner and with such great rapidity, that a longer continuance in the rut of ambiguity would have been not only unwise but absolutely impossible; and I, therefore, venture to think that it would better become the Parliament of England frankly and fully to look this side of the question in the face with a view to our future advantage, rather than by useless endeavours to prove opponents wrong and lose our capacity for forming a sound judgment in a mist of political prejudice. At the end of the year 1872 the Seistan boundary arbitration was concluded, and that seems to have left a rankling sense of wrong in the mind of the Ameer, and it was but a few months after that the continued advance of Russia in Central Asia seemed to impress the Ameer with the possible difficulties of his position in regard to that country, and he therefore sent an Envoy to Simla to endeavour to induce Lord Northbrook to enter into an alliance specifically against Russia. I venture to think that the wisdom or unwisdom of the course then adopted depended upon the estimate reasonably to be formed—of the reality of the danger which Shere Ali apprehended. And we must not, in determining that, forget, that only six months before an agreement had been come to between Russia and this country as to the boundaries of Afghanistan, and that so frank, full, and unreserved were the assurances of Russia in this respect, that the English Government seemed to have no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that Shere Ali's reading of the political barometer had been entirely incorrect. The House will remember that when these assurances were given Lord Granville had been told that Afghanistan did not come within the political purview of Russia, that the Emperor considered an extension of territory as a weakness; while as to Cabul, it was admitted that English officers might fairly be found there, and that Russian officers ought not to be found there. But it would seem that Shere Ali was a better judge of the immediate future than either the Russian or English Governments, for within six months of the agreement, Khiva had fallen, and Shere Ali had seen the Russian Frontier and his own drawing nearer and nearer day by day. He seemed to be making up his mind to side with the strongest Power, whether that should be Russian or English; and I cannot help thinking that however favourable a Treaty might at that time have been concluded between his country and ourselves, the well-known character of the Ameer Chief would have rendered it not impossible that the Treaty would have been frankly and fully accepted by him so long as, and no longer than, it tallied with his own interests and squared with his own estimate of the relative power of Russia and England. With regard to this I may venture to quote the opinion given by Lord Lawrence in 1869—that if an invasion of India were imminent, every Afghan, from the Ameer on the Throne to the domestic slave in the household, would join it. In 1875 Lord Northbrook expressed his belief that whenever the day came for Russian influence to be supreme in the Turcoman territory, it would be necessary that more specific assurances should be given to the Ameer that we should have a British Resident at Herat; and at the close of that year Her Majesty's Government had come to the conclusion that the time had arrived. That opinion was not shared in by Lord Northbrook; but subsequent events went far to show that the real question was, not whether the time for more specific assurances had arrived, but whether, in truth, it had not for ever passed away? For what do we find? That when, in obedience to Lord Salisbury's instructions, the Mission of Sir Lewis Pelly was proposed to the Ameer, it was rejected by him, and when, after considerable pressure, the Envoy of the Ameer was sent to Peshawur, it was abundantly clear that the Treaty for which his master was said to have been looking so long no longer had any charms for him, and his whole ingenuity appeared to be directed to the frustration of the objects of the Conference. Old grievances were raked up; much time was wasted by interminable discussions as to the position of the proposed British Residents, although that point was well understood to have been previously agreed to; and, generally, it appeared that no definite conclusions were desired by the Ameer. With regard to those British Residents, I may mention that the question had been fully explained to the Ameer over and over again, and there is evidence to show that he not only understood it, but fully acknowledged the justice of our demands. For it must be quite clear that in any Treaty entered into by us for securing the integrity of Shere Ali's dominions, it would be necessary to us to secure speedy and trustworthy information of what was going on upon the Frontiers, if only to enable us to carry into effect our engagement to prevent conduct on his part provocative of Russian aggression. If we had not done this we should have been placing our responsibility at the mercy of Shere Ali's caprice. The Peshawur Conference went on until the Envoy died, and then Lord Lytton, having information of continued hostility on the part of the Ameer—who was trying to raise a jehad, or religious war, against the English—wisely seized that opportunity to close the Conference. For 12 months nothing more was done, when all British India was, as my noble Friend has said, startled by the intelligence that a Russian Mission had been received at Cabul. Then the question arose as to whether the Government could remain a pacific spectator of that great event? and it was felt that to do so would be practically to hand over the interests of Afghanistan to Russia, in the same way that Bokhara had been handed over to her. I do not know whether, as a simple matter of International Law, it might have been justifiable for Shere Ali to receive a Russian Mission, and to reject an English one; but for our Government to have permitted such conduct would have been contrary to all the dictates of common sense, and would have been an utter disregard of that salus republicœ which we all know is suprema lex. It must be quite clear that even if the British Government could have forgotten the treachery—the base treachery—of Shere Ali, and the gifts which have been so freely lavished upon him by successive Viceroys during a period of eight years—gifts comprising ammunition without end, 12 cannon, 21,000 rifles, and £250,000—for which no sort of return has ever been made, or is ever likely to be made; if they could have forgotten all that, it was absolutely impossible for them, as guardians of British honour in India, to forget the insult offered by the stoppage of a peaceful Mission. I believe there are many of our way of thinking who believe so fully in the ultimate power of our country in India, that they are apt to despise what generally goes by the name of prestige. That is a view with which I cannot sympathize. Prestige, Mr. Speaker, I once heard well described—I think the description emanated from an hon. Member of this House—prestige is credit, and credit, as we all know, is capital. Prestige, in the present case, is the estimate formed in the Native mind of the invincibility of the British power in India. It is that which in the olden times was won for you by the genius of Marquess Wellesley and the great Wellington, and, in more recent years, by Pollock, Nott, Sale, and Havelock. Let us remember how much this prestige has cost to win, and prize it as the talisman of the future. With regard to increase of territory, I ought, perhaps, to say that, in the ordinary acceptation of the word, I believe Great Britain desires no increase of territory either in India or anywhere else; but I may venture to express a hope, with regard, to the future, that in any rectification of Frontier which may take place by arrangement with the Border Tribes—who are independent of Shere Ali to a great extent, be it remembered—or otherwise, that care will be taken to have the mountains on our own side. In that case our responsibility will not only be not increased, but we shall be able, at less cost and at less trouble, to guard our own, which is all that Great Britain desires to do, and with less than which I hope she will never be content.

I thank the House very much for having listened to me so patiently; and I will only venture, in conclusion, to express a hope that, when those feelings of partisan passion which on these subjects seem naturally to arise, and which although we have heard nothing of them in debate to-night may possibly be still in store for us—that when they are hushed, as one day they will be, and the calm gaze of the historian is directed to the Eastern policy of England in 1878, I trust it will be written that without European convulsion, and at the cost of only a short Frontier war, British India was secured from foreign foes, not only in the South-East, amid the fertile valleys of Asia Minor, but also on her North-Western Frontier, in that less hospitable region, which borders on the snows of the Himalayas and the great Hindu-Kush.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That, &c." [See p. 88.]


Sir, the first and most agreeable portion of my task to-night is to congratulate the House and my Friends the noble Lord the Member for Down (Viscount Castlereagh) and the hon. Member for the City of Oxford (Mr. Hall) for the manner in which they have moved and seconded the Address. It is unnecessary for me to say anything respecting the speech which has just been delivered. The hon. Member who has just spoken has on former occasions often taken part in our debates, and all will be prepared to admit the ability he has on those occasions manifested. With regard to the Mover of the Address, although the last Lord Castlereagh who sat in this House was a statesman with whose politics we on this side of the House could not generally agree, I am sure we shall all be disposed to welcome the appearance of the noble Lord who spoke first to-night, and I hope he will rival the distinction which has been acquired by various members of his family.

Certainly the Members who moved and seconded the Address have had before them an easier task than that which has fallen to some of their Predecessors; for Her Majesty's Government have, I must admit, succeeded in compressing the Queen's Speech within shorter limits than those which have marked former documents. Therefore, I suppose, it was not thought necessary for either the Mover or the Seconder of the Address to enter into the consideration of the great variety of those disconnected topics which have frequently somewhat embarrassed Members who had a similar duty to perform. No doubt the haste with which it has boon found necessary to summon Parliament will account for some of the omissions which we may perceive in the Queen's Speech; but there are other omissions for which I do not think that hasty summons furnishes a sufficient excuse.

In the first place, I have noticed with very great surprise that there is no allusion to the Colonies in the Speech. I believe the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies has attended the recent deliberations of the Cabinet, and I believe he is at present in his place, and that he knows how that has come about. I believe and understand, and we are all aware, that events of the gravest character are occurring in one of the Colonies of South Africa; that a war is actually in progress in that Colony which is occasioning much excitement and some measure of alarm there; and that it has been found necessary to send out reinforcements from the mother country. Yet Her Majesty's Government seem to think it so utterly trifling and unimportant a matter that in Her Majesty's Speech it is not even mentioned. I cannot help thinking that such neglect as this is likely to be felt very deeply by the Colonies. It is possible that no measures dealing with the matter are in contemplation by Her Majesty's Government; but a few words of sympathy and encouragement for the difficulties under which the Colony is at present labouring would have been found acceptable, and would not have been thrown away.

There are, Sir, a few lines devoted to the progress made in the re-organization of European Turkey under the provisions of the Treaty of Berlin. I do not complain that the reference is very short; but I think the House will probably expect to have from Her Majesty's Ministers some further information with regard to the matter. Since the Prorogation of Parliament we all know that one of the provisions of the Treaty has been carried, into effect; but not without very prolonged resistance on the part of the Turkish people or the Government, and a very considerable loss of life and injury to the resources of Austria. We hoard a few weeks ago—as has been mentioned by the hon. Member who has just sat down—that there wore considerable difficulties in the plan of organizing a new Province in Eastern Roumelia. We heard, and it was supposed at that time, that obstacles had been thrown in the way by Russia. I trust, however, from the language at the end of Her Majesty's Speech, that the Government will be able to inform us that this is not the case. At the same time, I believe that these obstacles to the desired organization of the Province are very great, and arise both from the difficulty of framing a Constitution for the Province, and also from the disinclination of its inhabitants to remain under Turkish rule. I trust, Sir, that in these matters we shall have some information from Her Majesty's ^Government; and that they will be able to inform us that it will not be necessary to employ force upon the inhabitants of Eastern Roumelia in order to impose upon them a Government to which they are irrevocably opposed.

I think the hon. Member for Oxford felt the force of the omissions from Her Majesty's Speech when he referred to the existing depression of trade, and that he thought the matter one worthy of mention in Her Majesty's Speech. It is possible—nay, it is probable—that that depression is beyond the power of control of Her Majesty's Government; but are we to gather from the Speech that they have no legislative intentions with the view of endeavouring to improve the existing state of things? I believe it is unexampled in the history of Queen's Speeches that Parliament should be opened without a single indication from the Throne of the subject of domestic legislation during the Session. We are not without precedent in this case. A Conservative Government was in power when Parliament was hastily summoned at an earlier period of the year than the present for the consideration of a very similar subject. Parliament was summoned, in 1867, on account of the war in Abyssinia, in the middle of the month of November; but on that occasion the form of Her Majesty's gracious Speech was the usual form. The subjects of legislation were set forth at length, and the Business intended to be laid before Parliament during the Session was mentioned in the usual manner. I hope, Sir, that Her Majesty's Government will be able to inform us that the remarkable omission to which I have referred arises from the fact that the Government have not yet made up their minds as to the legislation they are about to introduce; or whether, on the other hand, they know what Bills they will bring in, but that they are of such infinitesimal importance that they could not properly require or find a place in Her Majesty's gracious Speech.

I now come, Sir, to the subject which occupies the greater portion of Her Majesty's Speech, and which was the cause of Parliament being summoned at an earlier period than usual. And here I may point out the extraordinary position in which Parliament is placed. It is now but a few months since we were rejoicing at the conclusion of a Treaty—the Treaty of Berlin—and of an arrangement which we were told had given us "peace with honour." Within those few months we find ourselves involved in a war, a war which may be—I trust it will not be, but which may be—an anxious and a prolonged war. Although it is not a formidable war, having regard to the antagonist with whom we are immediately engaged in it, yet we cannot conceal from ourselves that it is a war which may probably bring us further difficulties and complications with a more powerful Empire. Well, Sir, and what are the circumstances under which we are called together? Some time since we were told by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department that a cloud had arisen on the horizon in the East. Well, Sir, that cloud we now find has been in the sight of Her Majesty's Government for the last two years, and yet this House has been in perfect ignorance of its existence; and so far as any official communication to it was concerned, so far as they had information other than that derived from the ordinary sources open to every hon. Member, might have assembled to day and heard in Her Majesty's gracious Speech for the first time that anything had disturbed the tranquillity of our relations in India. It is true that Papers have been laid before us; but with regard to those Papers I think the House has just cause to complain. Three months ago Her Majesty's Government must have been perfectly aware, from the repulse of the Mission, that, whether the matter was amicably settled or not, it should become the subject of discussion in Parliament, and that information should be laid before Parliament. A large portion of those Papers might have been published in the early part of this year; but, though it was known three months since that the Papers must necessarily be presented to Parliament, they were only placed in the hands of hon. Members on Saturday last, and a portion of them only within the last few hours; while other important Papers which bear closely upon the subject, relating to affairs in Central Asia, and which were promised in answer to a Question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke) at the conclusion of last Session, were only presented last Monday. That, in my opinion, is a very serious matter. It is one not merely affecting the convenience of hon. Members, but which may affect the character and the honour of this House. The case of the Government, I presume, is contained in the Papers which He on the Table, and the statement of facts as they have occurred has been given in the Queen's Speech. It may reasonably be contended that it would be the proper course and absolutely necessary for any hon. Member who desired to question the policy, the expediency, or the justice of this war to make himself acquainted at the earliest possible period with the contents of those Papers, and to raise those questions upon the earliest possible opportunity—namely, upon voting the Address to the Crown; but, in my opinion, the conduct of Her Majesty's Government, to which I have referred, has rendered such a course impossible. The Papers are so voluminous, the subject to many of us is so new, it requires such careful consideration, that no hon. Member would be justified in calling the attention of the House to this great question and asking it to pronounce a final opinion on the conduct pursued by Her Majesty's Government until the House had more time than it could possibly get to examine the case of the Government as set forth in those Papers. Sir, as I have suggested, it may probably become necessary, and be the duty of some hon. Member, to call in question the policy and expediency of this war. But before I go further let me say for myself, and, I believe, for those who sit near me, that we have not the slightest intention to oppose in any way any proposition the Government may make for obtaining the necessary Supplies and means for carrying on the war. In my opinion, this war has been entered upon by Her Majesty's Government, a Government—unfortunately as I think—entrusted by Parliament with full powers to enter upon such a course—a Government—unfortunately again, as I think—which has received many proofs of the confidence of the present Parliament, and therefore, as I have stated, fully entitled and empowered to advise the Crown to exercise its Prerogative of declaring war. Under those circumstances, it appears to me that it is due to the safety and honour of our gallant Army—it is due also, I will admit, to the safety and honour of our Empire in India—that a war once entered upon, whether rightly or otherwise, should be conducted with vigour and conducted to a successful end. I may even go further, and say that I think it is now the truest mercy to the Ameer himself and to his people that the war which has been begun should not be allowed to linger, but that it should be brought to a speedy conclusion. For these reasons, Sir, I have no intention whatever to oppose any measure which Her Majesty's Government may think it necessary to bring before the House for the purpose of obtaining means to prosecute the war; and for these reasons I have also the very greatest pleasure in congratulating the House and Her Majesty's Government upon the news which has been received to-day. As this war has been entered upon, it is no doubt satisfactory that it should be prosecuted, as I have said, with vigour; and it is satisfactory, too, to know that so far as the operations have hitherto been conducted, they have been well conceived and admirably executed.

Well, Sir, having said that, I revert to what I said before, and I must acknowledge that the discussions which took place previous to the assembling of Parliament, and the perusal, as fully as I have been able to read them, of the Papers, have raised doubts, and more than doubts—they have given rise to a very strong conviction in my mind—that the conduct and policy of Her Majesty's Government which have led to the outbreak of this war are not capable of justification. I trust, Sir, that we shall not be told that, now that the war has broken out, it is mere waste of time to go back to the origin of the war; that a patriotic Parliament has but one duty to perform—namely, to ignore the past, and simply to support the Government who have undertaken the war. If it were necessary to refer to precedents, I could point to the conduct pursued by the Opposition at the close of the last and the beginning of the present century in the course of the War of Independence with the American Colonies and the Revolutionary War with Prance. With respect to the first case, at all events, I think there is no doubt that the Opposi- tion took a wise and patriotic course in opposing, and continuing to oppose, the Government during that war. With regard to the other there may be more difference of opinion. But I may remind the House that in 1857, in the other House of Parliament, the late Lord Derby, and in this House Mr. Cobden, supported by the present Prime Minister, by the whole Conservative Party, by many hon. Members on both sides of the House, did not think it unpatriotic to pass a Vote of Censure upon Lord Palmerston on account of the war which was in progress at the time. But it is unnecessary to refer to precedent on the subject, for reason points to the same conclusion. Therefore, if the Papers had been placed in the hands of hon. Members at an earlier period, it would have been competent to them not only to discuss and criticise, but, if necessary, to condemn the policy and conduct of Her Majesty's Government. If this policy has culminated in a war without the knowledge of Parliament, it would be strange if that fact should absolve the House from the duty of criticizing the conduct of the Government. I think, indeed, that the very fact of war having broken out would only make the conduct of the Government more worthy of criticism. I have very little doubt that the Government themselves would not feel a complete confidence in the goodness of their case in justification of this war. The unofficial explanations repeatedly put forward by Gentlemen holding official positions—explanations put forward in anticipation of the meeting of Parliament—appear to me to be open to objection and to point to that conclusion. The publication of Lord Cranbrook's despatch of the 19th of November, in anticipation of the publication of the Papers, appears to me to point to the same conclusion, and I must confess that the publication of that despatch appears to me to be open to grave misapprehension and objection. The publication of such a document, reviewing the whole of the long series of events referred to in the long series of Papers, I think could only be justified by giving to it the strictest character of an historical narrative. "Without imputing any intentional partiality to Her Majesty's Government in this matter, I think that it is very difficult for a state- ment of this kind, made by one of a party implicated in these transactions, and who has taken part in them, to be made a strictly historical narrative. Such a statement made in these circumstances is very apt to become, not an impartial historical narrative, but a mere statement of the case upon one side, and accordingly that is what I find to be the character of this despatch; and I contend that, therefore, that document is not calculated to enable Parliament and the country to form a calm and deliberate judgment upon what has occurred. That despatch has been allowed for some weeks to sink into the mind of the country before the statement on the other side could be put forward. No sooner, however, was that despatch put forward than we find its impartiality challenged. I am unwilling to refer to a matter that has already been dealt with at considerable length by those who possess a much fuller knowledge of the subject than I can pretend to have; but I wish not to pass it over altogether unnoticed, because I desire to give the right hon. Gentleman opposite an opportunity of giving the House some explanation with regard to it. I refer to what has taken place with respect to the 9th and 10th paragraphs of Lord Cranbrook's despatch. In those paragraphs extraordinary importance is attached to certain negotiations which took place between Lord Northbrook, the then Governor General of India, and the Envoy of the Ameer. I am not saying that any actual statement is made; but the general impression conveyed by those paragraphs has been challenged by those who were concerned in the transactions referred to. The impression conveyed is that Lord Northbrook, finding that the Ameer of Afghanistan was seriously alarmed at the Russian progress in Central Asia, desired to give to the Ameer certain more extended assurances of support and protection than had hitherto been offered to him by the British Government; and that on his telegraphing to the Home Government for permission to do so, he was told that the then Government did not share the Ameer's apprehensions, and that the result of the telegram in reply was to tie Lord Northbrook's hands and to prevent him from giving the assurances which the Ameer desired to receive, and to put the matter off until a more convenient season. That is the impression which would be conveyed to the mind of any ordinary man on reading the paragraphs of the despatch to which I have referred. What are the facts, however, as they appear in the Papers and in the narrative of Lord Northbrook? The Ameer had not sought the interview with Lord Northbrook in vain. On the contrary, Lord Northbrook had himself desired to communicate with the Ameer, in order to explain what had taken place with regard to the boundaries of Seistan and also the character of the negotiations which had taken place between the British and Russian Governments in reference to the Northern boundaries of Afghanistan. Lord Northbrook found, in the course of his conversation with the Envoy of the Ameer, that there was considerable alarm in the mind of the latter, and he gave him certain assurances which had been given by previous Governors General, and telegraphed to the Home Government for authority to give the Ameer further and more precise assurances on the point. The Government replied to him in a telegram which authorized him to give the further assurance that the British Government would pursue a certain policy with regard to Afghanistan. The result was that Lord Northbrook gave those re-assurances which he, with the advice of his Council, was prepared to give, and refused simply those conditions which were asked for by the Envoy, and which neither he nor his Council had the slightest intention of giving, or thought it was possible that any Government would give. That is a short statement of the difference on this part of the despatch. I do not impute to Lord Cranbrook any intention to convey a false impression; I merely wish to show the difficulty of making a statement of this sort thoroughly impartial. The questions which are involved in the accuracy of the remaining portions of Lord Cranbrook's despatch are of a very much graver and more important character; and on the accuracy, or the want of accuracy, of those statements it contains depends the question whether this war and the policy of Her Majesty's Government are justified or not. The hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hall) has stated substantially, and with great ability, the version of the story conveyed by this despatch. I need hardly go over it again; but perhaps the House will permit me to recapitulate the main points of the case put forward by Her Majesty's Government, as I understand them. When Lord Lytton went out to India as Governor General, he found that the Ameer of Afghanistan was unfriendly to us. He found that proofs of his ill-will and unfriendliness had been accumulating for some time; that he had become more and more estranged from us; and that he had been negotiating with the Government of Russia; and, in fact, he found that all the efforts which had been made, and all the sacrifices which had been incurred, by the British Government had been thrown away; and that instead of having on our North-Western Frontier, as we had hoped, the Ameer as an Ally and as an advanced guard of our Indian Empire against invasion, he was, on the contrary, no Ally at all, but a mere instrument in the hands of possible enemies of this country. That I gather is the correct statement of the representation of the Government as to matters existing between this country and Afghanistan. But the story goes on that Lord Lytton went out with instructions from Her Majesty's Government to correct this state of things. He went out to offer the Ameer an alliance under far more favourable terms than had hitherto been offered by any previous Government. But the sole condition required as preliminary to I the alliance was one of eventual safety to the Ameer himself, as well as for our own protection. It was that our Agents should be permitted to reside in certain parts of Afghanistan. It is further reported that the Ameer was approached in a most conciliatory manner, and that overtures were made in a manner most calculated to insure a favourable reception. Notwithstanding this the negotiation fell through, and the Ameer declined to accede to the condition. After long consultations with Sir Lewis Pelly nothing further remained for the Government than to adopt an absolute vigilant reserve, not, as I understand it, being on bad terms with the Ameer, but simply on terms of vigilance and watchfulness, in the hope that time would enable him to see the advantage of the proposals which we made to him, and the danger he was incurring by rejecting our alliance and holding himself aloof from us. At this point the Russian Mission was despatched to Cabul, where it met with a very ostentatious reception, and Her Majesty's Government thought it necessary that a Mission from India should also be received by the Ameer; but, notwithstanding the fact, as stated, that representations to this effect were made in the most friendly spirit by the Government of India, permission to send a Mission was most positively refused by the Ameer, and when the Mission attempted to approach it was stopped in a most ostentatious manner by a hostile force. That I understand to be the history of these despatches. I admit at once the perfect accuracy of the position, that if the attitude of the Ameer has been correctly described in these Papers, it went a long way towards establishing the painful necessity for the war which has been undertaken. I say "the painful necessity," because, even if it were established, it is difficult to see what useful object we can hope to gain by having undertaken it.

I must say, however, that, on the other hand, there is a very different case set up, and it is contended that that case is supported by a greater weight of authority and of evidence than is contained within the pages of the Blue Book which has been issued by Her Majesty's Government. I, however, have no intention on this occasion to attempt to prove any allegation. I have already said that, in my opinion, the time has not come when the House can with advantage be asked seriously to discuss the bearing of these Papers. I do not wish to argue anything; but having stated what I take to be the opinion of the Government, I wish to show briefly what I understand as the nature of the case which may be set up on the other side in support of the view that Her Majesty's Government were not justified in undertaking the war in which we are now engaged with the Ameer of Cabul. Now, Sir, what is that case? It is this—The view to which [allude is based on the fact that before the departure of Lord Northbrook from India the relations of Her Majesty's Indian Government with the Ameer, though not cordial or altogether satisfactory, presented no element of danger; that the Ameer was thoroughly convinced that he had no danger to apprehend from aggressions upon our part, but that he was very seriously alarmed at possible aggressions on the part of Russia; that he had shown no symptom of rejecting our advice, but had conformed to it in his Frontier relations and in the matter of the Seistan boundary; and that, in fact, the main object of the policy of successive Viceroys from the time of Dost Mahomed had been secured, and there was no occasion to alter it. In fact, he showed that the bad terms were the result of the policy which had been adopted by Lord Canning and his successors—Lord Lawrence and Lord Mayo. Lord Lytton when he arrived was determined to remedy this state of things and was prepared to offer an alliance. The requirement of a preliminary Conference was a proceeding which all the best authorities in India condemned as unwise and dangerous. It prepared the way for the proposed Treaty by a pretext as transparently unwise as it was un-English. Lord Lytton put forward a pretext, in which the Ameer saw only the fulfilment of those schemes for the partition of his country which, although made and discussed here, he was perfectly well acquainted with, and which he at once prepared to resist. He was addressed, before any interview had taken place, in letters which contained threats which were calculated to alarm him, and which did alarm him. These threats were repeated in an interview which was had between the Ameer and our Native Envoy, who conducted the negotiations with considerable skill and ability, and in the course of which the Ameer protested against the conditions sought to be imposed upon him, and appealed to the Treaties which had been concluded with him, and the assurances he had received from various Envoys, as to the position which he was to hold, in relation to political matters affecting his country. At the end of this negotiation a violent letter was written by Lord Lytton for transmission to the Ameer, in which his conduct was denounced, and in which Lord Lytton repudiated the obligation contracted by the British Government towards that of Afghanistan; and, in short, cast off the alliance which had been entered into. The Conference was put an end to by the death of the Envoy; but Lord Lytton concluded the business, and did so on the basis of renouncing our obligations to the Ameer, although he was informed that another Envoy was on the road, and instructed to accept our terms.

I will now point out a singular circumstance in connection with all these events. All the accounts given of the Conferences at Peshawur are reported in one single despatch from the Government in India to the Government at home. These transactions are not, as is usually the case, related in despatches sent at short intervals, while the events were in progress. During the whole, or at least a great part, of that time—a period of 15 months—there appears to have been but this single despatch. Why was that? Is it a fact, as has been surmised, that if the despatches which passed were published they would not point to an unanimous, or nearly unanimous, opinion between the Viceroy and the Home Government; or is it a fact that the high-handed measures of Lord Lytton did not receive the cordial support and concurrence even of his own Government? I certainly think that explanations on this point ought to be received, and that is my sole reason for mentioning it at the present juncture. Then, a year after these events, it was found that a Russian Envoy had arrived at Cabul. Could the Government be surprised at that? Lord Lytton, having repudiated the relations between his Government and that of the Ameer, was it to be wondered at that the Ameer should seek the support of, or throw himself into the arms of, his next most powerful neighbour? I do not deny that Her Majesty's Government were, probably, justified in requiring that the Ameer should receive an Embassy; but it does not seem clear, on the face of the Papers, that the refusal to grant a reception was a positive one, or one couched in such terms as to justify Her Majesty's Government in proceeding by force of arms against the Ameer. It is stated in the despatches that the Ameer strongly complained of the tone of the letters addressed to himself and to his Ministers; but in spite of all these things, there appears to be good reason for believing that the Ameer was perfectly willing to receive the Mission if only it was understood that it came by his permission and was not forced upon him. Notwithstanding that, no delay was granted, and the consequence was the stoppage of the Mission.

I have now briefly stated the arguments which may be put forward on the opposite side, and I think it puts the matter in a very different light. It is, therefore, for the House to decide as to the view and the statement of facts which is most entitled to support and credence. What opinion can the House pronounce, except that the Governor General and the Government never had any serious intention in these negotiations with Shere Ali; because we heard nothing then about a "scientific Frontier" or "irresponsible frivolity"—the words of truth and justice were much more heard. Was it not, then, reasonable to infer that the account which I have just given, and which shows that the Government was in search of a scientific Frontier, indicates that the Government did not object to find a pretext for a quarrel with the Ameer? If that is not the explanation, I should like to hear what explanation can be given. If their object was to cultivate friendly relations with the Ameer, and to secure in him a friendly Ally instead of a sullen enemy, I must say they have mismanaged the negotiations as negotiations never before were mismanaged.

I know what is said on another view of this question, and I know that it is said this is not a matter which merely concerns Great Britain and a small Frontier State; that we cannot leave out the great question of the advance of Russia in Asia. I can assure the House that I am by no means indifferent to the gravity of the considerations involved in that question. No Government—no Party—in this country has been indifferent to these considerations. There is no despatch which is more remarkable than one of the earliest written by the Government of Sir John Lawrence—the greatest advocate of what is called "masterly inactivity"—in which the attention of the Government of 1867 is directed to the advance of Russia in Central Asia. In that despatch the Government of Sir John Lawrence pointed out what was the character and what the inevitable course of that advance, and they prophesied with remarkable accuracy the extent to which Russian progress would extend. There is one despatch in this Book which is still more remarkable. It is the answer given by the Government of the day—by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, who was Se- cretary of State for India—and the expressions are so remarkable that I shall ask the House to allow me to read them. They are the only extracts I intend to read. The extract to which I refer states that— Upon this point [the question of the progress of Russia in Central Asia], Her Majesty's Government see no reason for any uneasiness or for any jealousy. The conquests which Russia has made, and apparently is still making in Central Asia, appear to them to be the natural result of the circumstances in which she finds herself placed, and to afford no ground whatever for representations indicative of suspicion or alarm on the part of this country. Friendly communications have at various times passed between the two Governments on the subject, and should an opportunity offer Her Majesty's Government will avail themselves of it for the purpose of obviating any possible danger of misunderstanding either with respect to the proceedings of Russia, or to those of England. This is all that it appears necessary or desirable to do."—[Afghanistan, No. 1, pp. 25–6.] [An hon. MEMBER: What is the date?] I said 1867. I have pointed out that the Government was informed of the inevitable progress which would be forced upon Russia, and the extent to which Russia would be forced in a few years to extend her dominions. I am not imputing any blame to the Government of the day; but I say there is no excuse for imputing to the late Government, or to any other Government, that they were indifferent to the movements of Russia. I am perfectly willing to admit the possible danger and the certain inconvenience to our external and internal relations with India, with the power of Russia bordering on the Frontiers of India. I am perfectly willing to admit this; but it does not follow that that danger is disposed of by rushing into hasty or ill-considered measures in the way of extending our Frontiers. Certainly, the effect of an advance on our part will not be to retard, but rather to accelerate the danger which will ensue when our Frontiers are coterminous with those of another European Power. It is not an infallible remedy against an apprehended danger; and we may hasten the danger, if we take the initiative and advance to meet Russia. The policy of all former Governments has been to deal with Russia direct in this question—to hold Russia responsible for what she was doing in Asia—and not the intermediary States which are coming within her influence. That has been the policy of former Governments. It has also always been our policy to provide that, when Russia approached towards India, she should find other States well affected to us, anxious to maintain their own independence—States jealous of the danger of Russian advance. That, however, has not been the policy of the present Government; for we find that it holds, not Russia responsible for what it is doing in Asia, but it holds the unfortunate State of Afghanistan responsible for it—a country which will not be rendered jealous by the Russian advance, which will not be actuated by feelings of amity towards us, but which will be forced to fall into the arms of Russia. Before I sit down I have only to refer again to the condition of complete ignorance in which Parliament has been kept; and I think we have something more to complain of than the neglect that information has not been communicated to us. It has been withheld from us. In the Session of 1877 the attention of the Government was called by the Duke of Argyll to this subject of the North-West Frontier of India, and in reply to the Question Lord Salisbury replied as follows:— Now, we have not tried to force an Envoy upon the Ameer at Cabul—we have not suggested Sir Lewis pelly as an Envoy to Cabul. …. Our relations with the Ameer of Cabul have undergone no material change since last year. I do not believe that he is worse disposed towards us than hitherto, or that his feelings are in any way more embittered towards the British Government. … If it is necessary to re-open the Conference it will be done under better auspices. … There is no ground for any of the apprehensions to which the noble Duke has referred, or for suspicions which are too absurd to be seriously entertained. … But there is no reason for any apprehension of any change of policy, or of disturbance in our Indian Empire."—[3 Hansard, ccxxxiv. 1835–6.] I am not going to controvert any of those statements. I have no doubt that proof may be brought forward for the verbal accuracy of every word that has been stated; but what I want to bring before the House is the general impressions and inferences of that statement, and what it seems to sanction, judged by what has taken place at Peshawur. Who will imagine for a moment, after hearing that speech, that an interview had taken place between the Envoy of the Ameer of Afghanistan and the Representative of the British Government? There was a similar attempt to obtain information from the noble Lord the Member for Middlesex (Lord George Hamilton). In the debate on the 9th of August, 1877, the noble Lord said— He hoped that the frank exchange of opinion which had undoubtedly passed between Sir Lewis Pelly and the Ameer's Envoy had removed previous misconception, and would lead to a restoration of those friendly terms which had formerly existed."—[3 Hansard, ccxxxvi. 707.] I need not refer to the further declarations of Lord Salisbury, nor to a speech made by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, giving a warm adherence to what is called the old policy, and saying he would be no party to any change in it. Again, Sir, precautions should be taken by the Government to relieve this House up to the present moment of a serious responsibility. The responsibility is not shared in the slightest degree by Parliament at present. It will be shared in a few days no doubt; but, in my opinion, that does not relieve the House in the slightest degree. On the contrary, it is still more incumbent on this House to examine the policy which has led to this. I do not intend to take up the attention of the House any further. It will, no doubt, be anxious to hear from the Ministers what information the Government has to give, and to hear such explanations which may have some influence on the judgment of the House as to the objects of the war; and I do not think any explanation on that point can avert, or ought to relieve, the responsibility of asserting a judgment which, the House ought to form on the previous conduct and policy of the Government which led to the outbreak of the present war.


I purposely rise, notwithstanding the Chancellor of the Exchequer has risen, for a reason which will be obvious. I do not propose to enter at all, on the present occasion, into what I conceive to be controversial matter. My noble Friend has made the observations that he thinks necessary, and I have no wish to make any addition to those observations. He has given us a distinct intimation that, on a future occasion, a Motion will be made which will open up fully the whole question of the merits of the policy which has led to the present war, and the merits of the war itself. That being be, I feel under no obligation to touch the matter at present; but, that being so, I take it likewise to be quite clear that nothing shall be said or done in the Address which shall have the effect of committing us to any opinions expressed. I am going to point out what I think an unfortunate error, an error which I do not think anybody in the least degree to blame for, but it is an error which has probably arisen from the haste of preparation; and I know that sentences sometimes assume a form and colour, in fact, which is far from the intention of those who phrased them. It is almost habitual with us not to pay a very close attention to these Addresses when they are read, and I am very far from blaming the noble Lord and the hon. Gentlemen who have so well discharged their duties to-night; yet, at the same time, it is a matter of grave consideration for those whose minds do not happen to be in the same attitude, that we should not be called upon to express an opinion on the hostility of the Ameer's policy, and the manner in which he has repulsed Her Majesty's Mission, leaving Her Majesty no alternative but war. [Cheers.] I do not question that sentiment on the present occasion; but is it the meaning of the hon. Gentleman who so gallantly cheers me that I am to be called upon to vote that? That is the obvious meaning of his cheer, if it has any meaning; but, in truth, I do not believe it has any meaning. I do not think it will be necessary to postpone discussion on the Address for this reason, as doubtless Her Majesty's Government will see fit to make some verbal Amendment, which will have the desired effect. I reserve myself entirely for a future occasion, when we shall be enabled to open up the merits of the question. I am anxious to make one observation merely in the manner of question. It would be of great advantage to the House if Her Majesty's Government could on one or two points enlarge the information given us on this subject. My noble Friend has referred to points apparently omitted—one a reference to the distress in the country, and the other a reference to the war at the Cape. The point I want information upon is this—It is stated in Her Gracious Majesty's Speech from the Throne that Her Majesty contemplates with confidence the execution of the requisitions of the Treaty of Berlin. There is one point among those requisitions with regard to which it does not appear that any progress has been made, so far as the public are informed. I mean the question relating to the Greek Frontier. I have heard various rumours of efforts made by other Powers, and of efforts made by Her Majesty's Government, in this direction. I am quite sure it is a matter on which the country feels a lively interest; and if Her Majesty's Government are in possession of, and can give the House any information on the subject, I think it will be received with thankfulness. There is another omission which I think is rather remarkable, considering that in the Speech at the close of the last Session there was a very full paragraph on what is called the Anglo-Turkish Convention, and the purposes are very distinctly described. It is singular that this matter does not re-appear in any form in the Speech which has now been delivered. I will not say that sufficient time has elapsed for the execution of reforms in Asiatic Turkey; but five months have elapsed since that Instrument was executed between the Sultan and Her Majesty: and I do think that, after all that has been said upon this subject and considering the obligations under which the Turks have been to England, some progress ought to have been made by the Porte in, at all events, initiating reform. If Her Majesty's Government can give the House any information with regard to reforms in Turkey, I am sure it will be received with great thankfulness. There is only one other subject to which I will refer. Notice has been given on the part of Her Majesty's Government that a Resolution will be moved on Monday next that the charges of this war shall be borne out of Indian funds. For my own part, I concur in what has been stated by my noble Friend. I do not think the House, in the position in which it is placed, is in a condition to refuse the Supplies necessary for carrying on the war; but the very fact of its not being in a position to exercise a judgment on that subject must be a very important element in the general discussion as to the mode in which the House came to be placed in that position. But with regard to the particular question relating to the charges of the war, we are, I submit, free to exercise a discretion upon it. In that discretion is involved a vital principle altogether apart from any desire to withhold the means necessary for defraying the engagements into which the Crown has entered. I hope, then, that accurate information as to the probable charges of this undertaking will be given, and that the explanations regarding them will be full and explicit. It will be remembered that on the occasion of the Abyssinian War, 11 years ago, we felt under very serious difficulty. What was stated by the Government in relation to that war was supposed to be the outside cost of that war, and no more at that time was said upon the subject. When, however, Parliament was dissolved and the new Parliament had met, the amount of the charge on being examined into was found to be about double that which had been stated to the House by the Government. I am sure that Her Majesty's Government will be anxious to avoid any error of this kind with respect to the present war charges. I trust that when the explanations in respect to them will be made that they will be given with as much accuracy as possible; and that it will be perfectly understood that upon all questions relating to the proposals of the Government the House shall retain an unlimited discretion.


Sir, I will endeavour, in the observations with which it will be my duty to trouble the House at the present time, to follow the example which has been so well set by the noble Lord (the Marquess of Hartington), and not import into our discussion to-night anything that can be advanced of a controversial character before this matter is finally parted with by Parliament. I feel that the noble Lord and my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich, in abstaining on the present occasion from importing the premature discussion of questions which will by-and-by have to be fully considered and discussed with the debate on the Address, have exercised a wise and convenient discretion. I wish, I may add, at the outset to dispose of one or two points which may be considered of a formal character, and with respect to which we can all agree. In the first place, with reference to what has been said by both of those who have spoken from the opposite Bench as to the manner in which the Address has been moved and seconded. I am sure what has fallen from them will be in consonance with the feelings of the whole House. My noble Friend (Viscount Castlereagh), in his first essay in public speaking in this House, has, I think, broken the ice in a manner which leads us to hope that we shall often meet him in the field of debate, and that he will sustain the honoured name he bears. As to my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Hall), he has well maintained to-night the reputation which he had previously already established. I am, at all events, quite sure, that whoever is to blame—if, indeed, there be anybody to blame—for the incorrectness of expression which has been noticed in the Address, it cannot be either the Mover or the Seconder. The Address has been prepared in the usual manner, and there is no doubt that the thoroughly well-understood habit of this House is that it should be so drawn as not to raise any question of controversy in the moving of the Address. It is obviously for our convenience that the Address should be as positively neutral as it can be, and that we should simply confine ourselves to thanking Her Majesty for the information which She has been good enough to communicate to us. The intention with which the present Address was framed was certainly to do that and no more; but it may, no doubt, be a question among very acute critics whether the particular phraseology employed may not fairly be held to go a little further. Nobody will for a moment suppose that there was any desire to do so, and I would venture, Sir, to leave the matter in your hands. If you should be of opinion that the expressions to which exception has been taken could be improved by a slight verbal Amendment, there would, I believe, be no difficulty in getting the correction made. I suppose the Motion might be withdrawn, and renewed in a more proper form.

Now, there is another point on which I wish to say a few words. The noble Lord opposite (the Marquess of Hartington) has remarked that the Speech is one of unprecedented brevity, which is perfectly true; and he has, I think, gone so far as to say that there is no precedent for any Royal Speech at the commencement of a Session, however suddenly that Session might have begun, in which some reference was not made to measures of domestic legislation. I do not think, however, that the noble Lord is quite accurate in that observation. It is quite true that in the case to which he referred—the meeting of Parliament in 1867—domestic measures were alluded to in the Royal Speech; but there is an earlier instance when Parliament was called together, in 1854, with reference to the question of the Crimean War, in which no allusion to domestic measures was made, more specifically than on the present occasion. Her Majesty's Government, after fully considering the advice they should give Her Majesty on the subject, thought it would be more convenient that on this occasion the attention of Parliament should be directed exclusively to; the subject which had caused our early and unusual meeting, and that we should reserve for our more regular meeting at the usual time of the year a statement of the Business with which we proposed that Parliament should occupy itself; and, though such a course may not be in accordance with all the precedents which have been referred to, I think it would be more convenient to the House, that when the attention of Parliament is to be directed to questions of domestic legislation, that should be done after full and careful consideration, and that all reference to measures of the kind may be well omitted on such an occasion as the present. For the same reason we have avoided referring to other subjects to which it is usual to refer in the Speech from the Throne. The question we had to consider was, shall we have the Queen's Speech directed exclusively to the subject which brought us together, or shall it be made to deal with matters of a more general character? and we decided to advise Her Majesty to direct the Speech exclusively to one point, there seeming to be no reason why we should go into other questions.

In reference to the various points on which particular questions have been raised, undoubtedly, in the first place, the position of affairs in South Africa is not free from some anxiety. At the end of last Session Parliament was informed that the war in Cape Colony was over, but that there was still cause for anxiety in other parts of South Africa. Since that time, I am sorry to say, the cause of anxiety has increased rather than diminished; and, in compliance with the request of Sir Bartle Frere and Lord Chelmsford, it has been thought advisable to reinforce our troops in the Zulu territory. But the last advice, dated October 19, says—"There is no war, and we still hope that war may be avoided." Our object has been to send out troops to impress the Zulus with the strength of this country; we hope that there may be no actual collision, and that the relations between us may be improved. "We are asked as to the position of the question of Greece. Well, with regard to that, I may say that at the present moment a rectification of the Frontier, as recommended in the Treaty of Berlin by the Six Powers, has certainly not as yet been made. But negotiations are in progress, and we hope a satisfactory settlement may be arrived at. I am not now, however, in a position to go into detail upon that question.

With respect to reforms in that interesting part of the Turkish dominions—the Island of Crete—I believe that the reforms there have been practically arranged, and that a Firman, giving satisfaction to all parties in the Island, is at this moment on the point of being issued.

As to reforms in Asia Minor, these have formed the subject of serious communications between Her Majesty's Government and the Porte, and at the present moment we may say the progress is satisfactory, though the negotiations are still going on; and I am not at this moment in a position to lay the Papers on the subject on the Table of the House. They will, however, be produced as soon as possible. I forget whether there was any other point which my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich mentioned particularly.

With regard to Cyprus, I hope we may before long be in a position to lay the Papers on the Table; and I wish to say with reference to Cyprus in connection with some observations which I made a month or two ago which seem to have been misunderstood—that we have had very careful estimates prepared, and that so far as those estimates go we are very much encouraged to hope that the revenue of the Island will more than cover the expenditure, exclusive of those matters which belong to the military arrangements. At present that is such a serious exception, that lam not able to go into the question; but the House may be sure it is a matter that engages our attention, and we do not think it is at all probable that Cyprus will be the burden upon us that some persons have supposed. With regard to the expenditure generally, so far as we are able to make any estimate of it, including, of course, military expenditure, the information which I have received from the spending departments encourages me to hope that at the end of the year we shall be able to show that the estimates of the year have not been exceeded. I am sorry I cannot give a thoroughly satisfactory report of some branches of the Revenue; but the course of the Revenue for the last month has been of a character more encouraging than we have recently found it to be: but I do not wish to forecast that about which I am really in the dark.

I now come to a subject which has formed the principal topic of discussion this evening; and I, in the first place, want to assure the noble Lord opposite that I greatly regret that there should have been any delay in the presentation of the Papers which have been laid on the Table of the House. I do not know that there is any blame to be attached to anyone for that delay. The selection of Papers, which are contained in a large mass of correspondence, and which had to be looked over for a series of years, has unavoidably taken up a good deal of time; and when it is necessary, as it has been on this occasion, to consult persons who are affected by the publication of the Papers, a further delay takes place. We did not, till a very recent period, anticipate that it would be necessary to call Parliament together, or to make any appeal to it on this subject. We fully believed—and I think had very good ground for believing—that the necessity which has arisen would not arise. We were fully impressed with the belief—which was also the belief of Lord Lytton—that the Mission we proposed to send to the Ameer at Cabul would be received, and that this unfortunate necessity would not occur. When it did occur, we lost no time in taking the necessary steps for advising Her Majesty to call Parliament together, and in setting about the preparation of the Papers which have been laid before Parliament. The noble Lord complains that while this preparation of Papers was going on, the Government took a step in advance by publishing separately a particular despatch of Viscount Cranbrook, summing up the case of the Government, and explaining to the country the views of the Government on the situation of affairs; and the noble Lord intimates that by so doing we were producing an unfair impression, and taking a course which we had no right to take—laying our own case before the country before there was an opportunity of the whole of the Papers being in the hands of the public at large. I can assure the noble Lord there was no intention in the publication of that despatch to endeavour unfairly to prejudice the public mind. We knew the subject was one which, to a great extent, the public were unacquainted with. We knew it was very desirable their attention should be drawn as speedily as possible to the outline of the case, which we endeavoured to present as fairly as it could be done, and which I venture to think we did present fairly. I am not disposed to admit there is a shadow of reason to impute to us anything in the nature of distortion or suppression, or any unfair dealing with the statements we made in that despatch. But there must be, in an account of transactions extending over so many years, and in which so many Governments have been concerned, and so many distinguished persons have taken an active part, and which were of themselves difficult and complicated transactions—there must be many occasions on which different views will prevail, and on which those who are interested will desire to state their case in a different way from that in which it would appear to the Government of the day. And I cannot but think that some advantages have arisen from the publication—premature, if you like to call it—of the despatch of Viscount Cranbrook, because it has given the opportunity to those who are interested in the matter to lay hold of the points to which they wish to draw attention, and to give the answers which they had thought themselves entitled and bound to give. I am told that no opportunity of an answer was given. I really think that is an extraordinary view for anyone to take who considers what has taken place, and what controversy has arisen since the publication of that despatch. If such controversy could go on when no oppor- tunity of an answer was given, what would have gone on if an opportunity had been given I cannot conceive. After all, the despatch only anticipated the publication of all the Papers and the meeting of Parliament, by a very short period; and I must say that it gives very fair notice of the particular points on which explanation may be desired, while its result has been to assist the elucidation of the whole subject. The noble Lord goes on to make a much more serious charge. He imputes that we have introduced into that despatch a paragraph which, according to his view, misrepresented—and almost wilfully misrepresented—the conduct of our Predecessors at an important stage of these transactions. I quite agree with the noble Lord that the relations between statesmen sitting on different sides of the House, and who represent different Parties in the country, ought to be maintained upon a footing of perfect honour and confidence in respect of the representations they make of the conduct of their opponents. We may differ—and we do differ—very widely upon questions of policy; we may—and do—differ very widely upon matters of the greatest importance; and we may express our opinions—and it is well we should do so—with freedom and vigour; yet anything like an unfair representation of the conduct of an opponent is a matter which undoubtedly ought to be visited with most severe censure. But I can only say that having read and re-read the paragraph in question, and having examined and re-examined the correspondence on which that paragraph is founded, I can see no reason whatever for regretting or questioning the language of the paragraph in Lord Cranbrook's despatch. There ought to be no mistake about this despatch. Undoubtedly it was written, and it is signed by Lord Cranbrook; but it is also true that the despatch, before it was finally sent out, was submitted to the whole of the Cabinet, and that we are all responsible for the statements in that despatch—at all events, for the general character of the despatch. With regard to this paragraph 9, I think an undue amount of importance has been given to it in this respect: the noble Lord seems to imagine—as others have seemed to imagine—that our great object throughout this despatch, and espe- cially this part of it, was to throw the blame of what has occurred on our Predecessors in 1873. Undoubtedly there is reason to doubt whether the conduct that was pursued in 1873 had the best results. Whether it was not, on the whole, open to the charge—I will not say charge, but to question—whether it was the proper policy to be adopted. But the great object that we had in writing the despatch, and in setting out this history, was not so much to throw blame on this Government or on that Government, but to show what the progress of events had been, and how matters had come into the state in which we found them when we were obliged to act a short time ago. But with respect to this particular paragraph, the substance and purport of it was that in 1873 certain communications were opened between Lord Northbrook and his Government in India and the Ameer of Afghanistan; that those communications led to an unsatisfactory result; and we attributed—undoubtedly it was a fair inference from the paragraph—that result, in a large measure at all events, to Her Majesty's Government at home. The paragraph certainly gives the impression that it was our belief that the Government at home had overruled Lord Northbrook in India. Lord Northbrook has since said that is not a true statement of the case. Of course, we know nothing of what may have been in the minds of Lord Northbrook or the Government, and we are bound to accept that statement. But allow me to say that if you read the different telegrams which passed between the Cabinet at home and the Government of India the suggestion which is contained in that paragraph is, at least, not an unnatural suggestion. I am sorry to trouble the House with extracts; but the challenge has been made, and it is on a point as to which it is desirable we should not submit to have it said that we are dealing unfairly with our opponents. I must therefore read some portion of this Correspondence. The matter begins in this way—There is a telegram from the Viceroy at Simla to the Secretary of State in London, dated June 27, 1873, and in that we read— We think it for interests of peace that Russia should know our relations with Afghanistan, and we say in paragraph 18: 'Although we have abstained from entering into any Treaty engagement to support the Ameer by British troops in the event of Afghanistan being attacked from without, yet the complete independence of Afghanistan is so important to the interests of British India that the Government of India could not look upon an attack upon Afghanistan with indifference. So long as the Ameer continues as he has hitherto done in accordance with our advice in his relations with his neighbours, he would naturally look for material assistance from us; and circumstances might occur under which we should consider it incumbent upon us to recommend Her Majesty's Government to render him such assistance.' I propose to inform Cabul Envoy of sense of this paragraph."—[Afghanistan, No. 1, pp. 102–3.] What is the answer he receives to that telegram? It is one which certainly appears in the nature of throwing cold water on the proposal. It is dated July 1, from the Secretary of State in London to the Viceroy at Simla— I do not object to the general sense of the paragraph, which you quote as a communication to Russia from the Foreign Office, but great caution is necessary in assuring Ameer of material assistance which may raise undue and unfounded expectation. He already shows symptoms of claiming more than we may wish to give."—[Ibid. p. 108.] That is rather holding back than otherwise, and to a certain extent qualifying the intention of the Viceroy. A short time afterwards, on the 24th of July, after communications had been opened with the Ameer, the Viceroy telegraphs— Ameer of Cabul alarmed at Russian progress, dissatisfied with general assurance, and anxious to know definitely how far he may rely on our help if invaded. I propose assuring him that if he unreservedly accepts and acts on our advice in all external relations we will help him with money, arms, and troops, if necessary, to expel unprovoked invasion. We to be the judge of the necessity."—[Ibid.] To which Her Majesty's Government at home reply— Cabinet thinks you should inform Ameer that we do not at all share his alarm, and consider there is no cause for it: but you may assure him we shall maintain our settled policy in favour of Afghanistan, if he abides by our advice in external affairs."—[Ibid.] I do not deny that those telegrams may have been perfectly well understood between the Secretary of State and the Viceroy to mean that they were entirely in accord as to what they were to do; but certainly the impression of anyone reading the Papers would be that the Ameer was dissatisfied with that indefinite understanding known by the name of "our settled policy;" that the Viceroy had been anxious to say something more definite; and that the language of the Cabinet at home had been rather to throw cold water upon that, and to suggest that the Cabinet did not at all share the alarm of the Ameer. If we turn to Lord Cranbrook's despatch, what do we find in the 9th paragraph? Finding that the object of the Ameer was to ascertain definitely how far he might rely on the help of the British Government if his territories were threatened by Russia, Lord North-brook's Government was prepared to assure him that, under certain conditions, the Government of India would assist him to repel unprovoked aggression. But Her Majesty's Government at home did not share his Highness's apprehension"— That is perfectly true— and the Viceroy ultimately informed the Ameer that the discussion of the question would be best postponed to a more convenient season."—[Ibid. p. 262.] Just so. What was the effect which this communication produced upon the Ameer?


You have not read what was said to the Ameer. [Mr. GLADSTONE: Hear, hear!]


Here it is, at page 114 of the Correspondence. The Envoy observed that at the previous interview His Excellency had said that if, in the event of any aggression from without, British influence were invoked and failed by negotiation to effect a satisfactory settlement, it was probable that the British Government would in that case afford the Ruler of Afghanistan material assistance in repelling an invader. His Excellency had also said that such assistance would of course be conditional on the Ameer following the advice of the British Government, and having himself abstained from aggression. Now the Ameer, in expectation of the assistance of the British Government, had up to the present time followed the advice of the Viceroy as regards abstinence from aggression, and in the event of assistance being given would continue to follow that policy. He goes on to point out that we did not give him sufficient re-assurance. Then the Viceroy made this peculiar communication to him— The Viceroy replied that the British Government did not share the Ameer's apprehensions, but that as already mentioned, in the previous conversation, it would be the duty of the Ameer, in case of any actual or threatened aggression, to refer the question to the British Government, who would endeavour by negotiation and by every means in their power to settle the matter and avert hostilities. It was not intended, by insisting on such previous reference to the British Government, to restrict or interfere with the power of the Ameer as an independent Ruler to take such steps as might be necessary to repel any aggression on his territories; but such reference was a preliminary and essential condition of the British Government assisting him." [Mr. GOSCHEN: Go on.] "In such event should these endeavours of the British Government to bring about an amicable settlement prove fruitless, the British Government are prepared to assure the Ameer that they will afford him assistance in the shape of arms and money, and will also in case of necessity aid him with troops. The Viceroy thought the Ameer should hold this assurance to be sufficient. The Envoy then pressed that the contingency of an act of aggression on the part of Russia should be expressly mentioned in the letter. He was answered that this suggestion could not be adopted, for the British Government were not prepared to admit the possibility of such a contingency occurring. Now, let me conclude this part of the story by referring to the answer which the Ameer gives, at page 119— All that has been written regarding the northern boundary I have fully understood, and I offer up my grateful thanks to the Almighty that peace and tranquillity have, praise be to God, been established in all States in perpetuity, and that doubts and disputes have on every side been removed; and that such security has been established in all countries that no aggressions will take place, nor will any Power raise discussions or disputes with another within the dominions of that Power; and that the use of inimical expressions has been discontinued in diplomatic correspondence, and that peace and tranquillity have been secured to the whole world. Then he goes on and says, in effect—"Under all these circumstances, why was it necessary to hold all these conversations?" I have intervened so far with these quotations from the Correspondence because of the challenge of the noble Lord opposite. I do not for one moment dispute that Lord Northbrook acted entirely in accordance with his own judgment in what he said, and that it was not in consequence of a communication from the Cabinet, although a suggestion appeared to have come from the Cabinet. But it was impossible in reading these despatches not to remember that when Lord Mayo, in his former dealings with the Ameer in 1869, made certain communications to the Ameer, he was taken to task by the Secretary of State of that same Government, and he had to explain and satisfy them that he had not gone too far in what he had said, which, being of a more definite character, had been quite satisfactory, as we know, to the Ameer. I cannot help thinking that a sort of assurance might have been given by Lord Northbrook, if he had been left as free as Lord Mayo was, to say in what form assistance would be given, and to explain under what circumstances it would be given. There was just that sort of restriction which might be represented by the difference between drinking a glass of champagne fresh out of the bottle and drinking it after it had been allowed to stand for a while. I have no doubt that the effect of all the qualifications insisted upon by Lord Northbrook was to produce upon the mind of the Ameer a wholly different impression from that which would have been produced by more definite assurances. I do not find fault with the Government of that day for what they did. They were placed in great difficulty. The British Government has, throughout its dealings with Afghanistan, been placed in a position which was necessarily difficult and, complicated. All I have to point out is, that the attempt to deal with Afghanistan in the way in which we have for many years attempted to deal with it has led to misunderstanding and difficulties; and I cannot doubt that many of those difficulties have been occasioned by errors of judgment, though perfectly honest and honourable. But we are going, by-and-bye, to have a more solemn and serious debate on this question, and it will be the duty of the Under Secretary of State for India, when he states the case and makes a proposal to the House, to take a more general view of our relations from time to time with Afghanistan than I have now done. But the noble Lord has brought another charge of a much more serious character against the Government. He threw out the suggestion that Her Majesty's Government and the Viceroy of India have been guilty of a deliberate intention to pick a quarrel with the Ameer. Now, that is about the most serious charge that could be made. Pick a quarrel which is to bring about a war in which, whatever may be our successes, we must suffer considerably, and in which we must, under any circumstances, inflict great suffering! To bring about a quarrel for the purpose of attaining some object which we do not like to avow is one of the most serious charges that can be made against the Government. It is with the very deepest regret we find ourselves involved in a war at all. It is with the greatest possible reluctance that we have been brought by the force of circumstances to the position in which we find ourselves; and with all our admiration for the gallantry of our troops and for the military operations which have, so far, been conducted, we yet hope that the war will be of very short duration. But with all these qualifications, it cannot but be a matter of most serious regret that we should be forced into such a position; and to say that the Government and the Viceroy have deliberately brought about that state of things, and deliberately picked a quarrel, is to make a very serious charge indeed against the Government. I utterly and entirely deny the charge of the noble Lord. I need not now go through what the case of the Government really is in this matter, because the noble Lord opposite has done it for us. In the most complete and lucid way he stated what he understood to be the case of the Government, and he stated it with the most perfect accuracy. It was, and it always has been, our desire to live upon terms of friendship and to maintain good relations with the Ameer of Afghanistan. Our great object, and the object of all successive Governments, has been but one. We have never desired to enlarge our territories or to annex fresh soil, and certainly not such a country as Afghanistan; but what we have felt it our duty to provide for as well as we could was the security of India. Let me remind the House that it is a question not of ambition, or prestige, or covetousness, or anything of that kind. We are under obligations to those hundreds of millions of subjects who are under our charge in India to procure for them such tranquillity and opportunities for the development of the country as it may be possible for us to do. Whatever difficulties there may be lying in our way, the general effect of the British rule in India, I think, has been to produce happiness among its people, and if our rule were overturned it could not fail to occasion the most serious mischief. The Government has been desirous to prevent this injury, and to maintain the confidence of the Native population in the British rule. Our power in India rests upon two bases—justice and strength, and it is absolutely impossible you can maintain security unless you are known to be strong. What is the quarter from which danger has been apprehended? It is the North-West, and it has been the object of successive Viceroys in every possible way to prevent and obviate danger from that quarter. We have endeavoured to do that for a long series of years, by keeping up, as far as possible, friendly relations with Afghanistan, and preventing others from interposing there. I do not propose to go into that question further; but I say that that is the object we have sought to attain throughout. Opinions I have formerly expressed have been referred to. Well, Sir, I hold those opinions as strongly as ever I did. I desire now, as ever, to abstain from the taking of an unnecessary step; but when we saw that a Russian Mission was received at Cabul at a time when an English Mission was refused—and refused on two grounds—one, that they could not receive any Mission at all; the other, that if they received an English they must receive a Russian Mission—it was absolutely impossible, if we were to have regard to the question of our security, for us to remain inactive. The noble Lord and the right hon. Gentleman have intimated that, perhaps, we ought to have gone to Russia; and the noble Lord assumes and implies that we did not. Well, but we did. We made inquiries at St. Petersburg as to what the Mission was. And what was the answer we received? It was, that the Mission was sent under circumstances now happily passed away. A friendly character was given to the Mission. But does the noble Lord suppose that we could stop the danger that was going on in that part of the world by communications with St. Petersburg? Does he not know that there is this real difficulty—that the Government of Russia is often ignorant of what is going on in the neighbourhood of Afghanistan and in Central Asia, or is powerless to prevent or control the proceedings of its officers. It was necessary for us to take some step to secure our proper position in Central Asia. We acted upon that principle, and we sent a Mission with every precaution that could suggest itself to us, so that it might be received in a friendly manner. It was a Mission at the head of which was an officer well known to the Ameer—a friend of the Ameer's—and whose views were of the most pacific character. It was sent with every circumstance of care and caution, that it might not interfere with the mourning then going on in the Ameer's Court. How was it met? It was met with hostile interruption upon territory which did not belong to the Ameer, for it was in a Pass which belongs to tribes more or less independent of the Ameer, but upon whom he put pressure, under threats of punishment, to refuse acquiescence to our passage, after they had assisted the Mission to come in a friendly way towards the Pass. Under these circumstances, what alternative had we? I venture to say that when the case is fully stated, and the judgment of the House is asked upon it, it will be very difficult, indeed, to show that the course taken by Her Majesty's Government was not forced upon us, or was one which we could have avoided without serious danger to British interests or the interests of the people of India. Well, Sir, something has been said as to the probable extent and limits of this war. It is impossible at this moment, when military operations are going on, to speak with confidence on such matters. Our object is clear. It is not aggrandisement; it is not annexation of large Provinces or the extension of our territory; but it is the security of our Frontier. How that security is to be obtained is a matter on which very serious attention must be bestowed. I hope and trust, from all we hear and read, that this calamitous struggle will be of short duration. I hope and trust that the arrangements which will be made may be such as to give confidence, and secure for us that Frontier which we have hitherto been unable to secure. This, at all events, I am able to say—that it is a struggle which has been forced upon us by the conviction that it was our duty to the people of England, and to the people of India more particularly, that we should not allow the dangerous state of things to which I have referred to continue; that we ought to make clear that which has hitherto been a matter of suspicion; that we should ascertain what were the feelings towards us of the Ameer; that we should take steps to vindicate our honour, which is essential as part of our strength in India; and also that we should take steps to secure that which is the great object at which we have always aimed, and still aim—namely, the security of our Indian Frontier.


said, it was not his intention to enter into the struggle which had been going on between the two front Benches with regard to the merits of the Afghan Question in the past—struggles which would probably be resumed at an early day. He rose for the purpose of asking for the presentation to the House of information which it was absolutely necessary should be placed in the hands of hon. Members. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had spoken with an air of injured innocence as to charges which had been made by the noble Lord (the Marquess of Hartington) with respect to the Government; but the right hon. Gentleman must be aware of the tone which had been taken out-of-doors by some of his supporters, and also in the Press, as to Members of former Governments, and the charge which had been made to the effect that the present war was traceable to their policy and conduct. It was impossible that they could sit down quietly under such accusations, or not take the first possible opportunity of putting themselves right before the country. The right hon. Gentleman had stated that inquiries as to the character of the Russian Mission had been made at St. Petersburg, and that the Government had received assurances of a satisfactory nature; but the Papers showed that no satisfactory assurances had been received, and that the despatch which was sent to St. Petersburg immediately after the rising of Parliament required the withdrawal of the Mission, and was little short of an ultimatum. The despatches of the late Government and their Viceroy had been criticized; but it would be seen that the present Government held almost the same language as their Predecessors. The House was told in 1875 that if confidential Papers could be produced, it would be seen that the relations between this country and Russia were harmonious, and yet at that time all the acts now complained of had taken place, and they all remembered the speech of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, in which he said that he felt no alarm at the advance of Russia; that there was room enough in Asia for England and Russia. The noble Lord spoke on that occasion with General Kaufmann's letter in his pocket. These were matters he would not then go further into, as he had merely risen to ask for further Papers which it was absolutely necessary they should have before they could give an opinion upon this war. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had not explained the delay in the production of the Central Asian Papers, which had been promised within a few days after the 15th of August, but had been kept back to the last moment before the meeting of Parliament, although they were essential to the understanding of these questions. Was it consistent with the ordinary observances of the House that, having actually laid Papers on the Table of the House in August last, under the title of "Central Asia, No 1," there should be delivered to hon. Members on Saturday last as part of the same Papers despatches three months later in date? But several Papers of the most vital importance had not been given to hon. Members at all. Surely Lord Lytton's Proclamation of War ought to be laid on the Table. Lord Lytton had been made to say in it that the Ameer had "openly and assiduously attempted, both by words and deeds, to incite war against the British Empire in India." There was not, as far as he knew, any evidence in support of this statement; and he should certainly like to know why a document containing it was not laid before the House, in order that it might be compared with the milder allegation of the hon. Member who had seconded the Address, that there was an "ill-concealed enmity" between the Ameer of Afghanistan and the Government of the Queen. Next, then, came the four letters written by the Commissioner at Peshawur, and referred to by the Ameer. These letters also should be before them. Perhaps they might serve the Ameer's view, and if they did they ought to be known here. They had, he understood, been published in India. The Instructions upon which Sir Neville Chamberlain would have acted had he reached Cabul would be a document in which the House would find the Government policy very clearly laid down. The Government might refuse to present these Instructions to the House; and, if so, hon. Members could account for the refusal in their own way. He threw on the Government the responsibility of assenting or refusing to assent to their publication. At page 170 of the Afghan Papers, paragraph 34, there would be found an extraordinary statement alleged to be made by the Representative of the Ameer. That man was one of the ablest diplomatists in his service, yet he was represented in these Papers as saying that since his own absence from the Cabul Durbar His Highness had fallen under mischievous influences, which he himself deplored and condemned. He found nothing in the Papers to explain that statement, and he was inclined to think there was some mistake in the translation from the Persian, for he could not understand how so able and astute a man could make such an admission. If it was true, they ought to know what the mischievous influences were, and if it was not it ought to be rectified. Then at page 180 some extracts from a conversation at Simla with our British Native Agent at Cabul were given. Extracts were generally unsatisfactory; and it was almost always possible to make an extract report the very contrary of the tenour of the document or report from which it was taken. Sir Charles Wingfield, a great Indian authority, had represented Shere Ali as saying that the chief reason for his estrangement from the Indian Government was the fact of his having read in Sir Henry Rawlinson's works that the policy that was being pursued by the British Government towards Afghanistan was a policy of annexation. Was he right in believing that that part of the conversation omitted in the extracts was the part in which the Ameer's Agent said that? He came now to matters outside the Afghanistan Question. In the Speech there was a paragraph about the Treaty of Berlin. The noble Lord who moved the Address said that one result of the meeting of Parliament would be that no Power would check the carrying out of the Treaty; and the hon. Member who seconded it said, further, that on the carrying out of the Treaty of Berlin would depend the revival of trade. In that he quite agreed with the hon. Member; but he was greatly mistaken if he supposed the Treaty of Berlin was going to be carried out very soon. He had no doubt that the Russian troops would retire by the stipulated time; but it would be still a very long step indeed to the final execution of the Treaty, and they might expect a formidable insurrection in Southern Bulgaria before that result would be consummated. We had been committed to certain engagements with Turkey. Were we ready to be a party to compelling the South Bulgarians to accept a Government, even when they opposed it by revolt? He would remind the noble Lord who moved the Address that his great Predecessor in the title constantly refused to impose by force upon a people a form of Government against which they maintained any reasonable sort of objection. Lord Castlereagh, who was so unpopular in consequence of the violence of his repressive principles with regard to a portion of this country, never would have gone so far as to impose by force upon foreigners a form of Government they did not like. This led him to ask for Papers on this subject. There had been a great many Papers in connection with the carrying out of the Treaty of Berlin, and surely there were many of those Papers which might be produced without the least inconvenience, such as the German Circular to the Powers in August, and their answers, the German Circular to Turkey, the French despatches recommending Turkey to carry out the suggestions of the Congress with regard to Greece. Would the Government present the past Papers with regard to Greece, the Greek Circulars of August last and our reply, and the French Circular of the 22nd October, to which we only replied on the 21st November, after every other Power had answered it? There were Papers published during the Recess with regard to the negotiations between this country, France, and Egypt. They were complete as far as they went; but they made no mention of previous communications. It was well known, however, that the Government went out of its way to make communications to the French Government respecting Egypt; and there was one in which they said that, under no circumstances, would they take any steps for the annexation of Egypt. He did not know whether there were any more Papers on this subject. The present Government seemed inclined to give Parliament a vast mass of information on subjects which were not so material, and to keep them in the dark with regard to important matters essential to the understanding of our position. With respect to Egypt, he would make this remark. Lord Salisbury alluded in his despatch to the Correspondence between the English, French, and Austrian Governments with respect to the Tripartite Treaty; but M. Waddington went further in his reply to Lord Salisbury, and spoke about the clandestine Convention between ourselves and Turkey, and mentioned that France and Austria refused to act under the provisions of the Tripartite Treaty. That meant that they had been asked to act together with England in maintaining the integrity of the Ottoman Empire, and had refused. He wanted to know when that proposal was made to France and Austria? This was of great importance, because they had been told very early in the Eastern troubles by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs that the Tripartite Treaty must be looked upon as virtually dead, and it seemed to him that after that statement was made France and Austria were invited to intervene by force to maintain the integrity of the Ottoman Empire. He also wanted to know what was the present situation with regard to Merv? The Government had attached very great importance indeed to the possession of Merv by Russia; and he should like to know whether there was any information to disprove the very serious rumours which were afloat on this question? More information was also needed with regard to Cyprus, previous questions in reference to that subject having been answered in an un-candid way in that House. The very question as to jurisdiction and sovereignty, which had been pooh-poohed last Session by the Solicitor General as highly speculative, had arisen in regard to the trial of an American before a Court presided over by a Turkish cadi, and at which the assessor was an Englishman. A conviction for digging up antiquities was obtained under a Turkish statute, and the antiquities were confiscated. The point was raised whether the Court was a Turkish or an English one; the defendant maintaining that if it was an English Court he should be tried by English law, and that if it was a Turkish Court he ought to be tried by the Consul. The Consul had been appealed to, and, as the American Government did not pass over these matters quietly, there had no doubt been some communications with the Government. Information was thus needed not only with regard to the health of Cyprus—which, he feared, from the reports of to-day, was a serious question, for a diminution of the troops quartered there had been found necessary—but also with regard to the grave question of jurisdiction and future sovereignty. Parliament, unless otherwise informed, must treat as idle rumours stories as to a new secret Convention handing over Cyprus entirely to us; but it was important that in any new arrangement between England and Turkey Parliament should not leave these matters in the unsatisfactory position in which they now stood.


I only rise to trespass on the attention of the House for two or three minutes in consequence of what has just fallen from the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea. I am very far from complaining of any remarks of his. On my part, and on the part of the Government, I may state that we are always ready to give every Paper to the Members of this House which they ask for, provided it can be given with due regard to the public interests. It is very difficult to know what are the Papers which shall be presented to Parliament. After the Government have done all their duty in a matter, certain parts of a question, or certain other questions, may occur to hon. Members of this House, and therefore all the Papers required are not always produced at first. I can only say that all the Papers he may want with respect to the Foreign Office, if he would only give me Notice of them, I will do my best to produce to the House, and it will not be on any small or narrow ground that they will be refused. With regard to one or two remarks which were hardly worthy of the position the hon. Baronet holds in this House, and with regard to "extracts" which he thought were occasionally garbled and not produced by the Government with a very good intention——


I did not allude to the present Government; I was referring to something that occurred some years ago.


Then I have nothing more to say upon that point. I am very glad, indeed, to have elicited that expression from the hon. Baronet. There is another question upon which the hon. Baronet did say something, and upon which I am anxious to say a few words myself. I certainly did at the end of last Session use the words which he has attributed to me, and have never denied them for one moment, either in public or in private conversation, and those words were that the Central Asian Papers would be produced "in a few days." The fact of the matter is this—when I answered that Question I consulted those whom it was my duty to consult; and having satisfied myself that the Papers should be, and could be, produced within that period, I used the words "a few days" advisedly. The Vacation then began, and the preparation of those Papers did not cease, because the preparation of them was confided to one of the ablest and most industrious public servants we have, and he went on with the task. But events soon occurred which made it perfectly clear that the Papers which we intended to present, and which we thought would be sufficient at that time, would be inadequate, with regard to Central Asia. It was therefore determined that a very much larger series of Papers should be presented, and therefore an examination of the Central Asian documents for the last 13 years had to be undertaken. The Register for the last six years contains 15,000 documents; therefore, the examination of the Papers for 13 years was no light task. I, during the Recess, reminded the Office on several occasions of the promise I had given, and I also heard on several occasions of the subject from the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett). I have throughout done my best to have the Papers produced; but they were delayed, in the first instance, owing to the press of business, and, in the next place, owing to the great mass which had to be examined. All I need add is, that we were as anxious as any hon. Member could be that they should be presented, and that the statement that they would be produced "in a few days" was made by me in perfectly good faith. I hope this explanation will be sufficient for the House and for the hon. Baronet; and, at the same time, I think I may say that no great difficulty or inconvenience has been caused by the Papers not being produced. With regard to one expression used by the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea, "that the Papers had been kept back," I must say the Papers were not kept back for one moment; but, on the contrary, we have done our best to get them forward; so, as to having any intention to keep them back, such an intention has not existed for one moment. The hon. Baronet has already made a statement with regard to the Berlin Treaty; but I may say that we have no reason to suppose that any Power in Europe has any intention of not carrying out that Treaty; and I am sure the hon. Baronet will attach importance to what has been said by M. Waddington on the subject. M. Waddington, at a dinner which was given a few weeks ago in his honour, said, with regard to the Berlin Treaty and the work which has been accomplished by the French Plenipotentiaries— They have inaugurated peace; they have constantly supported the great principles on which our modern society rests. They have maintained the honour and dignity of France, and they have brought back for her from Berlin the esteem and respect of Europe. The work of the Congress has been, and is still, the object of attacks as passionate as they are unjust. The moment for judging it as a whole has not yet arrived, and can arrive only when it has been completely carried out. The Treaty of Berlin is a work of compromise and equilibrium, whereby the Powers, while taking account of accomplished facts, have sought, as far as was possible, to conciliate a host of conflicting pretensions, claims, and resistances. I regard it as an equitable and comparatively durable solution of the Eastern Question; but on one condition—that' it shall be completely and loyally carried out in all its stipulations, without exception, to ensure which result the French Government will devote all its efforts. The Prefect has spoken of apaisement. It is a word I always hear with pleasure; but there is one I like still better—it is peace. We have at Berlin secured you peace abroad. May it soon be equally profound at home, and take root in the heart and mind of every Frenchman who loves his country. I give the health of the President of the Republic, the highest personification of French Fatherland. That was the sentiment by which Her Majesty's Government were animated in carrying out the Treaty of Berlin, and I wish to state that they are entirely in accord with the French Government on the subject. With regard to Greece, the hon. Baronet has already been informed by my right hon. Friend, that it would be impossible to present the Papers with respect to that country at this moment. The negotiations are going on, and I can say they are favourable to the sentiments of Her Majesty's Government. As to the document to which the hon. Baronet has alluded on the subject of the Tripartite Treaty, I am not sure whether it is of any great importance now whether it is shown or whether it is not that Her Majesty's Government have asked the other Powers to join in communications on the subject. It is extremely unlikely, because unnecessary; and I do not think for one moment that the idea was entertained by Her Majesty's Government of asking the other Powers. With regard to the Central Asian Papers connected with the execution of the Berlin Treaty, if the hon. Baronet will kindly give me a list of the particular Papers which he wishes to have produced, and repeat his Question on Monday, I will then be prepared to give him an answer.


took this opportunity to ask for a little more information, especially on the point which was more particularly before them—the war with Afghanistan. Before that, he must state that although his hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea asked for a great many Papers on a great many subjects, he yet gave good reasons for every question. He had been met very fairly by the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; but there was one Paper which his hon. Friend would find it extremely difficult to include in the list which he had been invited to give in, because it was not actually a despatch, but a statement of M. Waddington. He (Mr. W. E. Forster) had only one more remark to make with regard to the general question, and that was as to the state of the negotiations, or the conditions to which this country and the Government stood committed with regard to Bulgaria and Eastern Roumelia. There appeared to be a feeling abroad that the English power might be used to prevent the people of Bulgaria being a united Commonwealth. Now, he would not enter into the question of the expediency of dividing Bulgaria; but he knew there was nothing that a large part of the population would look upon with more distaste than the use of the English power to put down such a union as that of the two Bulgarias. He entirely supported his hon. Friend in saying he trusted the Govern- ment were not in any way committing the country without giving information, so that the House might form a judgment as to the ground on which they did so. His hon. Friend had anticipated him in two or three questions he was going to ask with regard to Papers that had been given to the House upon this country's position in Afghanistan. In the first place, he alluded to the Proclamation of War. He supposed that would be given. [Mr. E. STANHOPE: Yes, it is given to-night.] His hon. Friend had alluded to the terms of that Proclamation. He understood it went back for some time past, and supposed it referred to those acts which were alluded to in that part of Lord Lytton's despatch which appeared in page 170; but he did not think his hon. Friend quite described the full weight of the ground upon which the House might fairly ask for a little more information. At page 170 an account was given by Lord Lytton of the Peshawur Conference. In paragraph 33 of that despatch Sir Lewis Pelly is reported to have demanded from the Envoy an explanation of the reported hostility of the Ameer's conduct. The Envoy is stated to have replied that the reports which had reached us of the Ameer's utterances were much exaggerated, and he feared His Highness had fallen under influences which he must condemn. In the enclosures there were most detailed memoranda of all the interviews between Sir Lewis Pelly and the Minister of the Ameer, and yet there was no mention of this demand, or of the answer thereto. The question he (Mr. W. E. Forster) wished to ask was whether there was not some such allusion; and, if there was not, upon what Lord Lytton founded his statement in the 33rd and 34th paragraphs, that there was a demand for explanation, and that the Envoy gave it? He could not find in the detailed account either the demand or the explanation. One other Paper he should like to ask for, which was not of great importance; but he thought they should have the letter from Captain Grey, alluded to in the Memorandum by Dr. Bellew, in page 195. This letter he wanted produced; because, though he could not put his hand on the statement, he knew it was in the despatches, that one reason why the Indian Government believed the Ameer was hostile was that he thought this Minister was prejudiced against him. With respect to the letters referred to in the despatch which Lord Cranbrook called the evasive letter, perhaps they were not in England. [Mr. E. STANHOPE: Yes, they are.] Then, again, the Nawab Gholam Hussein Khan was sent to sound the Ameer as to whether he would receive Sir Neville Chamberlain, and the practice was in Indian matters for a gentleman sent on a mission to make a Report. If he did make a Report, and if it was in England, would it be produced? If it was not, would the Government telegraph for it? He could not help thinking that the Report would throw a great deal of light upon the Ameer's conduct. The only other request for additional information which he would make referred to a different matter. The policy with regard to the admission of British Residents in Afghanistan had been admitted on all sides to have been changed by Lord Salisbury, who wrote on the 22nd of January to Lord Northbrook, and again on the 19th of November, in a tone which undoubtedly denoted a great change of policy. The question he was going to ask was, whether there were any opinions given by any Members of the Indian Council in England on the matter, and whether they would be produced? He could not think that there was anything in any of these Papers which the Government would refuse to give to the House. He had only one other remark to make, and it was with reference to the question as between the present Government and the Government he had had the honour of being connected with. It might be thought unseemly that there should be bickerings between two front Benches, between the present Ministers and the late Ministers, with regard to their past conduct when the country was in a difficult position, and when they were engaged in so very important a matter; yet the Opposition could not, with a due regard to their own honour, allow charges to be made against them without making some reply. He only wished, very briefly, just to state what the country, generally speaking, understood by Lord Cranbrook's despatch. They understood, first, that Lord North-brook and the Government did not agree as to the treatment of the Ameer; that, in consequence of that disagreement, Lord Northbrook informed the Ameer that the discussion as to his reception of a Resident had better be postponed to a more convenient season, and that the result was that no assurances were given to the Ameer. He was confident that it was the impression of the country that the Ameer wanted assurances against Russia; that Lord Northbrook was prepared to give these assurances; and that it was owing to the action of the Home Government that they were not given. Now, the facts were these—that Lord Northbrook proceeded to give certain assurances containing the word "probable," and that it was in consequence of a telegram he received from the Home Government that he missed out the word "probable," and gave to his assurances a stronger character. The question of the assurances was not postponed. On the contrary, in the Blue Book there are positive statements made by Lord Salisbury and Lord Lytton, that assurances were given against aggression. He thought they had some right to complain of the right hon. Gentleman dwelling upon the refusal of Lord Northbrook to insert in his communication to the Ameer a distinct reference to a possible aggression on the part of Russia; because they had every reason to believe that for two years, at least, thereafter the right hon. Gentleman and his Colleagues would have taken up precisely the same ground. Lord Northbrook was given to understand by the Government that the policy of their Predecessors was approved.


*: Sir, a reference has been made by the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down (Mr. W. E. Forster) to some "acts of hostility" supposed to have been committed by the Ameer of Afghanistan against the English nation. No such acts could have been committed prior to the conclusion of the Peshawur Conferences in the month of May of last year; for Lord Lytton and the Indian Council wrote, in their despatch of May 10— We see no reason to anticipate any act of aggression on the part of the present Ameer, or on our own part any cause of interference with His Highness. Our relations with him are still such as we commonly maintain with the Chiefs of neighbouring and friendly countries."—[Afghanistan, No. 1, p. 172.] Sir Lewis Pelly, moreover, on March 15, 1877, summed up the conclusions of the Conference in a Paper for the Ameer's Envoy, and said— The British Government harbours no hostile designs against Afghanistan. … The Afghan people may rest fully assured that so long as they are not excited by their Ruler, or others, to acts of aggression upon the territories or friends of the British Government, no British soldier will ever be permitted to enter Afghanistan uninvited. … The Ameer … need be under no apprehension whatever of any hostile action on the part of the British Government."—[Ibid. p. 220.] The supposed casus belli is simply and solely the refusal to receive, at the date named by Lord Lytton, an armed British Embassy of 1,000 strong. It is worth while to trace the causes of that refusal; for there is a patent and distinct chain of causes and effect, which brought about that refusal and the war. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has just accounted for the lateness of the production of the Papers—just a week before this time—and the short notice which was given for the assembling of Parliament—little more than a week—by saying that the Government had not at all expected a war; and that as soon as they saw that war was inevitable, they determined upon calling Parliament together. I was glad to hear that assertion; for it is as much as denying that the war was intentionally brought about, and a casus belli invented to serve a particular purpose. That, indeed, would be a crime too awful in its conception, and too heinous in its perpetration, for anyone calmly to contemplate. But if this be not true, then the Government may be accused of want of prescience in not foreseeing the war of which they had been warned by the Indian Council, and of blindness in not detecting a very manifest chain of causes and effect. At the time of our Afghan reverses, in 1842, a policy towards Afghanistan was inaugurated. That policy was to cultivate and maintain, by every means in our power, the goodwill and friendship of the Ameer, and, as a part of that policy, not to force upon him the location of European Envoys on his territory. That policy was perfected by Lord Canning; it was carried out by Lord Lawrence; it was endorsed and practised by Lard Mayo; and not repudiated by Lord Northbrook. During all that time, for 30 years, there has been an Indian Envoy at the Court of Cabul; but no British Envoy was forced upon the Ameer. That policy was successful. On June 7, 1875, the Indian Government wrote, in a despatch to Lord Salisbury— If we have formed a correct judgment of the sentiments of the Ameer towards the British Government, the main objects of the policy which was advocated by Lord Canning … are secured."—[Ibid. p. 134.] Lord Salisbury, however, comes to the India Office in 1874, and he soon determines to change the policy which had been maintained by so many successive Governments, and advocated by all who were acquainted with India, and which had been successful; he determined to change it, and adopt an opposite policy. He wrote a high-handed despatch, commanding a change of policy. The Indian Council replied by a dignified, but strong protest, warning him of the dangers which he was incurring. Lord Salisbury's despatch was written on January 22, 1875. The Indian protest was written on June 7th. On November 19th, Lord Salisbury sent a still more peremptory order, directing the appointment of a British Envoy. Again, Lord Northbrook and his Council remonstrated, protesting in strong and unmistakable terms— We deprecate, as involving serious danger to the peace of Afghanistan and to the interests of the British Empire in India, the execution, under present circumstances, of the instructions conveyed in your Lordship's Despatch."—[Ibid. p. 155.] This was met by Lord Salisbury, and overriden, by a most peremptory order to carry out the opposite policy without a moment's delay. There is then a hiatus in the Blue Book. But we know that Lord Northbrook came home before his time, and that Lord Lytton was appointed. Lord Lytton had conferences with Lord Salisbury and the Russian Ambassador, Count Schouvaloff, and went to India to carry out the new policy. There was a new Council and a new Viceroy; and they wrote home in May, 1877, that the information concerning these conferences with the Russian Ambassador "influenced their considerations," and then they proceeded to affirm many things which they had a short time before most stoutly denied, in order to vindicate or at least exculpate the change of policy. Thus was the settled and time-honoured policy of 30 years reversed, and no information is laid before the House of the grounds which "influenced" and brought about that change. We know not how or by what arguments that sudden volte-face, before the Russian Ambassador, was produced. It is now for the House to look at the results, not unpredicted and unwarned, and to judge of that change of policy. A policy approved and maintained by Parliament, by successive Administrations and Viceroys, has been suddenly and secretly altered, and Parliament knows not the reasons which induced the alteration. Unless the House of Commons is to be no more than a debating society, it must judge the acts of the Ministry, and hold them responsible for a change in a declared policy that Parliament had approved. The country expects the House to do this. Yet the information which alone can enable the House to arrive at this judgment, has not been laid before the House; and we are called together because the wilful change of policy has immediately resulted in a war, just as we were forewarned that it would. The fact I believe to be this—Lord Salisbury never apprehended the old policy, because of a most pernicious fallacy in his mind; and he initiated the new policy as a direct outcome of that fallacy. He could not understand the former policy, which has been termed "masterly inactivity," because he has no conception of any influence except brute force. He, for the same reason, disbelieved in the possibility of any Russian influence being exerted in Afghanistan or India, and told us to study "maps on a large scale," and see how far off India is from Russia; and he jeered at Russian power being felt in India, saying that you might just as well expect a Russian Army to march on the Cape of Good Hope. As he misjudged the former policy, so too when he found that Russian influence had become paramount at Cabul, he had no other idea of establishing English influence, except by brute force. Yet, "opinion is stronger than armies." That disbelief in anything except brute force is the grave error in Lord Salisbury's mind, which has proved fatal to our influence in the East, and has thrown Afghanistan into the arms of Russia, and given Russian policy full scope in Europe. He has, as I will presently show, been playing Russia's game, in fighting the Ameer, and causing us to assume the character of aggressors, while Russia is enabled to appear as a protector. Lord Napier, in his able Memorandum on this question (at page 225 of the Papers)—a Memorandum penned on the very day of the signature of the Schouvaloff-Salisbury capitulation—May 30—says—"We have managed the Ameer badly. … the Afghans look upon us as a weak and treacherous people." That is very true; and all our recent acts and words have, I will show, tended to increase that distrust in the Ameer's mind. It will be found, by the Papers, that the Ameer reiterated frequently his profound distrust of the Russians. That feeling pervades, indeed, the whole of Central Asia. Thus we read in Sir Donald McLeod's Memorandum (page 47)— All the information I have been enabled to obtain on the subject leads me to believe that there exists, throughout Central Asia, in the minds of all the most influential and best informed of its populations, a wide spread feeling of distrust and dislike of the Russians, as an aggressive and unscrupulous Power, who have brought their co-religionists (Mahommedans) to ruin and humiliation, in almost all quarters where their dominion has been established. That was written in 1868, before the events of the late war, the Berlin Treaty, and the Secret Agreement; or the same would have been also said of us. Another example of this feeling is given in the Ameer's letter of May 5, 1873 (page 110), in which he says— It cannot be concealed that it is impossible for the Russians to remain always firm in their negotiations. For instance, they could not remain firm in their engagements about the Crimea even for a short period. My anxiety which I feel on account of the Russians will never be removed unless the British Government adorns the Afghan Government with great assistance in money and ammunitions of war for the troops, and unless great aid is given for the construction of strong forts throughout the Northern Afghan Border. And further, if an emergency arises from the Afghan Government to oppose the Russians, such opposition cannot take place without the co-operation of the disciplined troops of the British Government. … Time has approached very near, when the Russians, after taking possession of Urganj and Merve Shajehan, will make communications for exercising some influence in my kingdom. That was the state of feeling throughout Russia. They knew the Russians to be false, faithless, and robbers of territory by fraud and force. They recognized the fact that the Russian political prin- ciple is—Destruction in order to annex. What should have been our line of conduct? We should have been careful to dissociate ourselves entirely from the Russians, and separated ourselves entirely from their proceedings. What was our line of conduct? On Gortchakoffs suggestion we did the very reverse. We set to work thoroughly to re-assure the Ameer (as we learn from page 211 and many other places). We told the Ameer that there is no danger from Russia; no precautions need be taken against Russia; Russia will never invade him, nor interfere in his territory; there is not the slightest reason to fear Russia. Lord Salisbury expatiated upon this theme in his speech about "large scale maps," and "Cape of Good Hope" re-assurance. Doubtless, that speech was read in Cabul, and the incredulous Afghans learned that we English considered that the inspection of a large map was enough to convince any sane man that the Russians could never reach Afghanistan, and that no apprehensions need be entertained of a Russian advance in Central Asia. But, at the same time, we were urging the Ameer to receive a British Envoy at Cabul, and English officers on his Northern Frontier. "I really cannot be answerable for their lives (reiterated the Ameer), my people have an ineradicable hatred to Europeans." Yet we continued to urge it vehemently. "Why then should you want to send Envoys and officers?" asked he. "Merely out of kindness; in order to protect your territory." "From whom?" "From Russian aggression." "That is but a pretext (thought he). You tell me not to fear Russian aggression, and yet you want to send Envoys and officers to protect me against Russian aggression. I suspect that you would send them to undermine my independence, so that you may make me a mere Indian Prince, or openly annex my territory." That was a very natural conclusion for him to arrive at, and that was the conclusion which he arrived at. Colonel Taylor, the British Commissioner at Umbeyla, wrote these words with regard to British officers in Afghanistan— As a body, the Afghans do distrust us, and the re-appearance of fair faces in the streets of Cabul would not be popular, as they would be regarded as the forerunners of occupation."—[Ibid. p. 58.] That was a very natural conclusion in regard to the real object in the urgency of British demands to send British. Envoys. The occupation of Quetta strengthened that suspicion. "It would be a very good step," said the Indian Government, "provided you could get the Ameer to concur in it; but not otherwise, as it would raise his suspicions." Look at the position of Quetta on the map; at the mouth of the Bolan Pass; excellent to bar an advance of the Russians; but no one fears an advance of the Russians; we are all thoroughly re-assured on that point. The only other use of it is, as a basis from which to effect a coup de main on Candahar, and then on Guzni, and then on Cabul. That was the next step to sow distrust, and to make the Ameer suspect our intentions. So that, as we re-assured the Ameer against all fears concerning Russia, as Prince Gortchakoff persuaded us to do, we were, in fact, causing him to distrust our own good intentions. Not content with this, the suggestion is quietly rumoured (as we find from the despatch of the Indian Government of May 10th, 1877) that the Ameer was "assumed to be dependent" on Great Britain. We are further told (page 166)— Prince Gortchakoff had not been slow to fix upon us all the responsibilities of such a position. … It is the British Government which the Government of Russia would endeavour to hold responsible for the conduct of the Ameer. He had not only, then, been led, by our own words and acts, to mistrust us, and to suspect us; but he was induced to associate us in the same enterprize with the Russians, and we had so far succeeded that he was already regarded as a mere dependent of Great Britain. What was the effect on the Ameer? At the Peshawur Conferences, on May 19th, 1877, we find the Envoy saying significantly—You talk of danger? But danger is of two kinds, external and internal. Against all external danger you have re-assured me; you say there is none. There is then only a danger from within; and that is the very thing which I fear that your Envoys would cause. The mischief seemed, then, to have been already done; and it was worked by our own hands. Yet we were not content. We allowed ourselves to be inveigled into going further in our mischievous re-assurance. The Envoy at the Peshawur Conferences was a cunning man. He bethought him of a delicate test. "You wish me to accept your British Envoys, to guard me against Russia, because the advance of Russia is so rapid in Central Asia? (thought he.) I will see whether you are sincere." He therefore said to Sir Lewis Pelly (page 114)—"The Turkomans, across the Oxus, are much afraid of the Russian Army which is approaching; and they have sent to the Ameer for help against the advancing Russians; but what do you, Sir Lewis Pelly, advise?" "Oh!" said Sir Lewis, "the Turkomans are a set of robbers; do not help them; leave them to the Russians." "Oh no! (thought the Envoy), you seem very much to concur in the Russian plans of aggression; perhaps you belong to the same gang, and are a mere pal of theirs." That was a suspicion. Was it a just suspicion? Of course, it was more than a suspicion. For the Peshawur Conference was closed in February, 1877; while on January 28, 1876, the Indian Government wrote, in their despatch, concerning— The assurances given to the Ameer, that a good understanding exists between England and Russia on Central Asian affairs."—[Ibid. p. 154.] Then England and Russia had already come to an understanding, not only as to what should be done with Afghanistan, but also respecting all the Khanates of Central Asia! The booty was already divided beforehand! That was one way of "re-assuring" the Ameer, who had already begun to think that Afghanistan had been placed between the upper and nether millstone! Again, the Viceroy and Sir Lewis Pelly used a threat to the Envoy at Peshawur—a threat which flew like an arrow, to wound beyond its mark. On October 10, 1876 (page 183) they said— Our only interest in maintaining the independence of Afghanistan is to provide for the security of our own Frontier, But the moment we cease to regard Afghanistan as a friendly and firmly allied State, what is there to prevent us from providing for the security of our Frontier by an understanding with Russia, which might have the effect of wiping Afghanistan out of the map altogether? If the Ameer does not desire to come to a speedy understanding with us, Russia does; and she desires it at his expense. Just as I thought! said the Ameer to himself; they have been plotting together for my destruction; and if I cannot be persuaded to admit the "internal danger," they will tear me in pieces by force; better to trust to the God of Battles and of Justice, and die sword in hand. Lord Napier, in his Memorandum written on the Schouvaloff-Salisbury capitulation day, says— Does not the example of Turkey, with her tributary States stirred into rebellion by emissaries from Russian societies, show the mischief which Russia might work in India?"—[Ibid. p. 225.] That the Ameer had been thinking much on this subject is proved by the fact that his Envoy spread out a map, and asked Dr. Bellew (on February 7, 1877) to point to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Servia and Bulgaria, and Circassia; and asked— How it was that the nations of Europe (and notably Great Britain) permitted Russia to send her soldiers to fight in the Servian ranks whilst the Russian Ambassador remained at Constantinople."—[Ibid. p. 202.] Doubtless he asked, also, why we interfered to save Servia, who had been guilty of the "most outrageous and wicked war" (as the Prime Minister said on September 21, 1876), and to prevent Turkey from crushing Servia, and even from taking securities against a repetition of the offence. He perhaps asked why we had been content with telling Russia that it was a breach of Treaties and of International Law to invade Turkey; while we did not fulfil our obligations under those Treaties, and defend the integrity and independence of the Ottoman Empire. Dr. Bellew states that he asked about Circassia—Circassia, whose independence we had recognised—Circassia, the great bulwark that prevented the advance of Russia into Central Asia, the first fortress of India (as was well remarked by Sir Henry Rawlinson, and by others in these Afghan Papers). And we allowed Russia to take Circassia and menace India! Yet that was of little use to Russia; for the Caucasus, even although Russian, was yet impassable; and Poti, to the south, was marshy, and malarious, and with three miles of shoal water between it and the sea; and so we gave Russia the only good harbour on the coast—Batoum—and enabled her to turn the Caucasus and land her troops to menace Persia and India. So the Envoy saw how that by our perfidious advice to Turkey we had weakened her hands—the Head of all Islam—and by our treacherous acts at Berlin we had given away her fortresses and harbours, and by our secret agreements, we had partitioned her Empire. Nay more; his suspicions were confirmed when he read the Premier's speech on the 28th July— One of the results of my attending the Congress of Berlin has been to prove, what I always suspected, to be an absolute fact, that this horrible, devastating war, which has just terminated, would not have taken place if England had spoken with the necessary firmness. Was not all this enough to make the Ameer say: "Russia and England seem to be pulling together; they are in the same boat; while there is this difference between them—Russia is the stronger, and England is afraid; besides England deserts her allies in the hour of need; it is better for me at once to propitiate the Russians." These were the Envoy's words, as reported by Sir Lewis Pelly (page 181)— The Russians broke Treaties at pleasure, wore very pushing in their policy, and feared no one. The recent political history of Europe showed that the English were unable to compel the Russians to adhere to Treaties, and were equally impotent to arrest Russian aggressions. That, then, was the Ameer's suspicion of our real intent in forcing British Envoys upon him; and that was the estimation in which he held us. In his eyes, we seemed to be plotting with his enemy, while pretending to be his friend; we appeared to be insidiously forcing Envoys upon him, in order to break up his independence; we were afraid to fight in fulfilment of our Treaty obligations; we connived at violations of law; we approached him with character gone and honours tarnished. And that was the time which Lord Salisbury chose for making his haughty demands (page 159)— Her Majesty's Government…must have, for their own Agents, undisputed access to its Frontier positions (of Afghanistan).… They must he entitled to expect becoming attention to their friendly counsels; and the Ameer must be made to understand that, subject to all—


observed that the Ameer had never seen the despatch from which the noble Lord was quoting.


He may have heard of the despatch of February 28, 1876, before the Peshawur Conference at the end of the year. Such things are easily done in India. I am, however, no longer speaking of the effect on the Ameer's mind; I have passed from that to the acts of the Government—


said, that the document referred to was a confidential and private despatch, containing instructions intended for the Viceroy. The Government thought it ought to be now published for the information of the House.


Then, I think, Sir, that the next poetical effusion, which Lord Lytton writes, should be entitled—"The Sorrows of a Viceroy;" for it appears that he must submit to receiving despatches couched in language which no gentleman would address to his butler. Yet Sir Lewis Pelly, taking his cue from his superior, seems almost to have capped it. For, on February 15, 1877 (page 210), he told the Ameer's Envoy that the British Government would— Strengthen the Frontier of British India without further reference to the Ameer.… The Viceroy will take such measures as he may deem wise and lawful for strengthening the Frontier of British India, and providing for the safety and repose of that Empire; and this without communication with the Ameer. Nothing, then, can be more manifest than this chain of causes and effect; nothing more clear than that the words and acts of the Government have led straight up to war, and that those acts and words were such as to make the Ameer conclude that England was perfidious and secretly hostile to him, and that his safest course was to cement a timely friendship with Russia. This effect had been foreseen, but not by the British Government. It was foreseen that British policy would throw Afghanistan into the arms of Russia, and that the consequent war was playing the game of Russia and securing her aims. The Indian Government, in their despatch of June 7, 1875 (page 133), said— If we are correct in believing that the refusal (to receive British Envoys) would not show the intentions of the Ameer to be disloyal, it would afford no sufficient justification for a change of policy which might throw Afghanistan into the arms of Russia upon the first favourable opportunity. We may also observe that the re- fusal would weaken the hands of Her Majesty's Government in any future negotiations with Russia when questions might he raised as to the real value of British influence in Afghanistan. Sir Richard Temple went further, and, in his Memorandum (page 69), he states the conclusions to which we had arrived— If we engage ourselves in Afghanistan, Russia will find us in the hour of trial impoverished and embarrassed. If we keep out of Afghanistan, Russia will find us in the hour of trial strong, rich, and prosperous in India. If she really wishes us ill she must naturally desire that we may be so infatuated as to pursue the former course. But it is for us to avoid the course which our enemies, if we have any, would desire us to follow. So much for the expediency of this war; and now as to its justice. Either Lord Salisbury intended war, or he did not. If he intended to force on a war (which he has done, whether intentionally or not), then the war is unjust, and a grievous crime. If he did not, then by over-riding the Indian Government, in his pride and petulance, and despising its earnest warnings, he has committed a very grave error. They closed their despatch of January 28th, 1876, with a most solemn warning on a matter "of such grave importance," and "deprecated" the demand to send British Envoys "as involving serious danger to the peace of Afghanistan." Was it just to make such a demand? It was a violation of pledges and assurances repeatedly given by the British Government to the Government of Afghanistan, as will be seen on pages 89, 94, and 95. The Indian Government themselves assert in the above-mentioned despatch that— The proposal to establish British Agents in Afghanistan is, as we pointed out in our Despatch of the 7th of June, a departure from the understanding arrived at between Lord Mayo and the Ameer at the Umballa Conferences of 1869."—[Ibid, p. 151.] At the end of the Conference at Peshawur last year, after the demand had been rejected, the Ameer was assured that there was no cause of quarrel or ground of hostility between England and Afghanistan, as you will see on page 172, where we have the statement to this effect deliberately written by the Indian Government; and on page 220, where there is Sir Lewis Pelly's own assurance. Yet the Conference was prematurely closed on the death of the Ameer's Envoy, although the Ameer desired to prolong it, and had despatched another Envoy with instructions to accede to the British demands. The cause of war, if any, was therefore of a later date. The Indian Government (page 247) state it to be the Ameer's refusal to receive the English Mission, which was armed, and 1,000 strong. Yet he did not refuse; he merely wished to delay it, as he was mourning for his favourite son; and also he did not wish to accede to the peremptory demand to admit it. on a specified day; because he said it would "disgrace him in the eyes of his people." But he intimated that he would receive it later. Yet our pretended cause of war is his refusal to receive our Mission. Be it so. Would that be a just cause of war? Sir Neville Chamberlain evidently thought that the refusal would not be a sufficient cause of war; for he telegraphed to the Viceroy on September 21 (page 236)—"Shall I make … Faiz Mahomed … fire upon us?" and on being forbidden to do so, he telegraphed (page 244) that he would consider a refusal to let the Mission pass "the same as if we had been fired on." It is clear that such a refusal, even if absolute, would not give a cause of war. If an acquaintance whom I did not care to see were to call on me, and I told my servant to say—"Not at home," would he have a right to burst into my house, and enter my room and fire a revolver at me? On October 6, the Ameer wrote a letter of expostulation to the Viceroy, saying (page 252)—"I am astonished and dismayed by this letter, written threateningly to a well-intentioned friend;" then he pleads his "great trouble,"—the loss of his favourite son, and complains of the "harsh and breathless haste" in sending the Mission. This letter, Lord Lytton came to regard as "a direct challenge" (page 253). On October 30, Lord Salisbury telegraphed the Ultimatum which was to be sent to the Ameer, where the cause of war was thus stated (page 254)—"You did not hesitate to instruct your authorities on the Frontier to repel the Mission by force." Yet it was expressly stated by Major Cavagnari, Sir Neville Chamberlain, and others, that the Commander of Ali Musjid explained that, having received no orders from the Ameer, it would be his duty to oppose by force the forcible entrance of the Mission. It seems to me that there has been no cause of war; and that Lord Lytton, in order to make one, trumped up a false tale about a threat to shoot down Major Cavagnari and his suite—a tale utterly repugnant to Major Cavagnari's own account of the affair. Yet war is either the highest and most solemn judicial act, to procure reparation or to defend a right; or else it is the greatest and most heinous of crimes. One murder is bad enough; yet an unjust war is murder—murder multiplied by thousands. If the Cabinet has made an unjust war, then on them rests the guilt. But if a majority of the House endorses and adopts that action, then the fault is with them; and unless the nation protests, the nation is involved in the crime. For my part, I enter my humble and feeble protest against that which I sincerely believe to be a crime.


believed the war to be an error financially, politically, and in a military point of view; and his main reason for this belief was that it was based on a violation of Treaty obligations in reference to the new claim for the admission of British officers as Envoys, in violation of the condition for non-interference with the affairs of Afghanistan, as entered into between Her Majesty's Government and Dost Mahomed in 1855. He also questioned very much if they had any right to occupy Quetta without the consent of the Ameer. No doubt, the Treaty with the Khan of Khan of 1854 did give that right of occupation; but the two prior Treaties of 1839 and 1841 made the Khelat and Shawl territories subordinate to the Ruler of Afghanistan; and he hoped they would hear something from the Secretary of State which would set their minds at rest on those points. As to the Khyber Pass and the Afridis, the rights of Dost Mahomed in that direction were acknowledged by Sir John Lawrence, and he did not see how they could be disputed now. The hon. and gallant Gentleman referred to the 1868 Memorandum of Sir Henry Rawlinson which, he said, was reported to have been circulated in India, and was known to several English officers there; and he drew attention to what was common rumour—namely, that a copy of it had fallen into the hands of the Ameer and said that it was, in all likelihood, after he pursued its contents, so hostile to him, that his conduct towards England changed. At all events, the work published by Sir Henry Rawlinson in 1874, known as England and Russia in the East, advocated the occupation not only of Quetta, but of Candahar and Herat, and it was very likely a translation of this part might have been made for the Ameer by the Russians. He would remind the House that the policy of noninterference with Afghanistan had been initiated by a Tory Government at the time of our disasters. When our Army was withdrawn in 1842, Lord Ellen-borough, with the advice of the Duke of Wellington, by public Proclamation abandoned Afghanistan for ever. That was the resolution arrived at by the Tory Government, aided by the advice of a most experienced commander, who said that, though we might invade Afghanistan, the difficulty lay in coming back again from that country. He hoped that they would have an estimate given as to the probable cost of the war, and trusted that it would be a more accurate one than that given at the commencement of the Abyssinian War. To hold Afghanistan, he maintained they would require to keep at least 15,000 European and 35,000 Native troops, in all 50,000 European and Asiatic troops, in the country. The cost of these, with the many military charges, could not be less than £4,000,000. It would be a fatal policy to cast this enormous charge on the present embarrassed finances of India.


said, that the Queen's Speech was one of the most meagre ever delivered in that House. It did not contain one matter connected with the affairs of England, Scotland, or Ireland. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had spoken as if it were a usual thing to omit such matters from the Queen's Speech to a Parliament specially summoned; but in 1867, when Parliament was called together in November on a question of at least as much magnitude, he found that in the Speech from the Throne there were many important questions affecting the three countries of the United Kingdom. Fenianism in Ireland was referred to, and it was stated that it was intended that there should be repressive laws with regard to it. It was also stated that Reform Bill Scotland land and Ireland would be introduced; that a Commission would be issued to settle the boundaries of existing boroughs in England; that Bills with regard to bribery and corruption at elections, to public schools and general education, and to consolidate the Acts relating to the Mercantile Marine would be brought in. Parliament was called together in 1857 in consequence of a monetary crisis of great severity, and because India was then in rebellion—a more important reason for calling Parliament together than the question of Afghanistan. Was there on that occasion no reference in the Queen's Speech to local matters of importance? On the contrary, the Speech said that the attention of Parliament would be called to the law to regulate the representation of the people in Parliament, and that there would be introduced Bills to amend the law relating to real property and to amend several branches of the Criminal Law. The Government on that occasion indicated to the House of Commons what measures would be brought in, after, of course, the period of adjournment, but no such thing was done now. The late Lord Derby in February, 1858, when Parliament met, and when, in the House of Lords, the adjournment of the House was moved at an early period of the evening, said he conceived that was a course of proceeding most unusual, and that he was quite surprised the Government had made no statement of their general policy, and of the measures which they intended to introduce into the House after the adjournment. The present Government had made no such statement either; and very likely when the House met in February they would still make no announcement of their policy. In 1847, on the 18th of November, when Parliament was called together in consequence of the state of trade, and a commercial crisis owing to the failure of several banks, and the condition of trade in America, and also because of the famine in Ireland, the Government indicated the measures which they intended to introduce. That was an occasion when they may have avoided giving to the country a statement of what their policy was. But they said in the Queen's Speech that they should introduce a Bill to regulate navigation, and that a Commission would be appointed to report on the best means of improving the health of the Metropolis. An Amend- ment was moved and seconded in consequence of there being no measure for the amelioration of the condition of Ireland, upon which an assurance was given by the Chief Secretary for Ireland as to Bills which the Government intended to introduce after the adjournment. Well, was the Chief Secretary for Ireland in his place to-night to tell them if the Government meant to do anything for Ireland. There had been three bad seasons—that of this year having been the worst that had occurred since 1847—and was no measure to be introduced for the amelioration of the condition of that country? Had they been promised a University Bill? Had they been told their Grand Jury Laws were to be amended? Had they been told there was to be a Land Bill? They had been told nothing of the kind. Why, there might be a Dissolution of Parliament before the right hon. Gentleman would have an opportunity in February of stating what measures he intended to introduce. The House might not meet after the adjournment until there had been a General Election; and it was very convenient for the Government not to make any declaration of their intentions either with regard to England, Scotland, or Ireland. He should not be at all surprised to hear of a Dissolution of Parliament before February; and, therefore, the Government were acting very wisely. They had come to a wise conclusion in saying—"Oh, we will just go before Parliament on this Afghan Question, with which we will amuse them before we meet again. We will dissolve Parliament, and in the meantime we will not tell them what we will do." The Government could not be charged with having promised to do this or that, and with not having done it, and with having thereby incurred opposition. Whether that was the object of the omission or not, the omission might be very convenient. Irish Members had come 600 miles at an unusual period of the year to hear what Her Majesty would say with respect to the affairs of Ireland and the people of Ireland, and then not hearing one word on the subject was a proceeding which, at all events, merited the condemnation of Irish Members.


hoped the hon. Member who had just sat down (Mr. M'Carthy Downing) would excuse him if he did not refer to the subject which the hon. Member had mentioned, but addressed himself at once to the subject with which he was connected, and to which most of the remarks that evening had been directed. The Government had been asked to give some additional Papers. He had laid on the Table that night some additional Papers with reference to the relations between this country and Afghanistan. First, there were some Papers relating to Mr. M'Nabb, which had been left out by inadvertence as referring in great part to other subjects, and to the omission of which he was glad that attention had been called. Secondly, there was the Proclamation, in justification of which, against a statement that had been made by several hon. Members, he wished to say that it certainly was the case that at the very time the negotiations were going on between Sir Lewis Pelly and the Envoy of the Ameer, the Ameer was preaching a religious war against us. Thirdly, there were four letters, or rather one letter, written to an official of the Ameer, three copies being sent to other officials. There was a fifth letter, which was addressed to our Agent at Cabul, and that letter was opened by the Ameer. The following was the text of the Commissioner of Peshawur's letter, dated September 7, to Mustaufi:— After compliments, I write this friendly letter to inform you that the 16th or 17th of September has been fixed for the departure of a Mission of high rank from the British Government to Cabul, and that the Mission will start whether Nawab Gholam Hussein shall or shall not by that time have had the honour of waiting on His Highness the Ameer. The object for which Mission is deputed is friendly, and the refusal of free passage to it, or interruption or injury to its friendly progress, will be regarded as act of hostility. I am to explain that the Mission will not in any case enter capital of Cabul before expiry of the month Ramazan. In conclusion, may you keep well."—[Afghanistan, No. 2, p. 21.] With regard to the Papers asked for by the hon. and gallant Member for Kincardine and others, he was quite sure the House would understand that until he (Mr. E. Stanhope) consulted his noble Friend he could not say whether those Papers could be given. Some of them, he believed, were not in the possession of the India Office; whilst some that were asked for were obviously impossible to be produced. For instance, the noble Lord the Member for Westmeath (Lord Robert Montagu) suggested that they should publish some opinions which the Viceroy had expressed in his Council.


explained that he referred to a report of a Conference between Lord Lytton, with his Council, and the Russian Ambassador.


replied, that there was no report of such a Conference. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) had asked whether the Government would lay on the Table any opinion which had been expressed by a Member of Council adverse to the course which had been adopted? He would have to look into that matter. He doubted whether any such opinion had been expressed in the form of a Minute. With regard to the Papers actually presented to Parliament, he must say that any attempt to withhold Papers which could with propriety be produced would subject them to suspicions which they were most anxious to avoid; and he supposed that in no Papers had the secrets of diplomatic intercourse been so fully given to the world. The hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke) had accused the Government of having struck out a passage containing an allegation by the Ameer in which the name of Sir Henry Rawlinson was mentioned; but the despatch to which he alluded contained no reference whatever to Sir Henry Rawlinson, or any statement of his. Then there was another charge made by the hon. Baronet with reference to a conversation, of which, he believed, there was no report at all, but of which, at any rate, no report was sent home. He came next to one or two of the speeches which had been addressed to the House in the course of the discussion that evening. He was sure the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite (General Sir George Balfour) would not expect him to follow him at any length into the observations which he had made; but he was bound to say that if anyone had broken a Treaty it was Shere Ali, because he had bound himself to be the friend of our friends and the enemy of our enemies. The hon. and gallant Gentleman went on to say that we had no right to occupy Quetta. Now, this was a question which would, he supposed, have to be gone into hereafter; but he would say at once that we had an absolute Treaty right to occupy Quetta; that we had done so to the advantage of the Ameer; and that the Ameer had since expressed his satisfaction at the result of the occupation upon the trade of Southern Afghanistan. He wished next to make one or two observations on the curious and discursive speech which the House had heard from the noble Lord the Member for Westmeath. The noble Lord jumped about from one thing to another, asking for explanations and pointing out contradictions, till no one knew what Government it was of which he was speaking; and he should really not venture to follow him through the very curious account of the transactions which he had given, if he were not anxious at once to point out that some of the propositions which the noble Lord had laid down could not for a moment be sustained. It was, in his opinion, unpardonable in the noble Lord to have accused the Viceroy of India of having trumped up a false statement. The noble Lord went on to say that we had attempted to impose Resident Agents on the Ameer contrary to our express promise. Now, he (Mr. E. Stanhope) would venture to say that no such promise had ever been given; and when it was suggested that such a promise had been made by Lord Mayo, he could only reply that no mention of the subject had been made by Lord Mayo in his communications with the Ameer. If hon. Members would look at the paragraph of Lord Mayo's despatch in which the subject was mentioned, they would find that it was described as a boon desired by the Ameer himself. As to the statement of Lord Cranbrook, in the famous 9th paragraph of his despatch, of which so much complaint was made by right hon. Gentlemen opposite, he must express his surprise that they were content to rest a complete change of policy on the authority of a single telegram. Having reversed, by means of a telegram, the whole of our Indian policy as regarded the Ameer, they were satisfied to allow it to remain on the authority of that telegram, and in not one single despatch did the Duke of Argyll think fit to place on record an explanation of his views. Let him examine for a moment what the words of that telegram were. The Ameer was to be assured that we were to maintain our "settled policy" in favour of Afghanistan, if he would only consent to abide by our advice in external affairs. Well, when a settled policy was spoken of, he presumed what was meant was the policy which was settled at the time of Lord Lawrence and Lord Mayo. But what happened? Lord Northbrook met the Envoy of the Ameer, and gave him further assurances of a somewhat vague character. The Envoy was then kept waiting for six weeks, and during that time there were further conversations; and when the Ameer at last asked for definite pledges against encroachment by Russia, and that it should be put in the writing from the Viceroy to the Ameer, instead of any satisfactory assurances having been given, Lord Northbrook, in a letter dated the 6th of September, informed him that, in his opinion, the question was of such importance that the discussion of it should be postponed to a "more suitable opportunity." In his despatch of January 28, 1876, Lord Northbrook had said that nothing short of full promises of protection would be satisfactory to the Ameer; and that, consequently, in the Viceroy's letter, the question had been deliberately reserved for future consideration. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) had called attention to a paragraph in the Address to which he had some objection, and he thought it very desirable there should be some change in the wording of it. He (Mr. E. Stanhope) would ask leave of the House to propose an Amendment of certain words of the Address, which he thought would entirely meet the views of everyone. He would ask, in the third paragraph, to omit the words "to express our regret," and to substitute the words "humbly to thank Her Majesty for informing us."

Amendment proposed, In paragraph 3, line 1, to leave out the words "To express our regret," in order to insert the words "Humbly to thank Her Majesty for informing us,"—(Mr. Edward Stanhope,) —instead thereof.

Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question," put, and negatived.

Words inserted.

Main Question, as amended, proposed.


said, before the debate closed, he thought some further reference should be made to the very pointed remarks by his noble Friend the Member for the Radnor Boroughs (the Marquess of Hartington) with reference to the discrepancies in the despatch, as to which remark had been made, and as to which no explanation had been given either by the Chancellor of the Exchequer or by the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. He thought it was absolutely due to the House that some such explanation should be given before the debate closed, for there were discrepancies on which comment might be made on another occasion. It was absolutely necessary to elucidate the problem why, when a great change of policy had occurred, it had been subsequently contradicted in Parliament, as had been done by Lord Salisbury. In the last despatch it was very distinctly stated that a change in the policy towards Afghanistan was deliberately made by the Government some time ago, and steps were taken in connection with that change of policy. Lord Salisbury had made a statement in the House of Lords as to the continuance of the former policy; and yet when his noble Friend (the Marquess of Hartington) had read this despatch the Chancellor of the Exchequer made no answer to it. [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER said that arose from an oversight.] He had no idea of impugning the truth, veracity, or honour of the Foreign Secretary or any Member of the Government; but when hon. Members read in a despatch statements which they knew were not accurate, they were perfectly entitled to speak of them in language which was warranted by the despatch itself. He considered that the discrepancies he had referred to were worthy of grievous censure, and that the explanations which had been up to this point given by Members of Her Majesty's Government were not satisfactory explanations, and also that the charges made against them were well founded, and had not been disproved. The House would remember the manner in which that despatch had been published and received, and the very singular argument they had heard from the right hon. Gentleman that evening, that the very incompleteness of the despatch would be advantageous to those it impugned if it only notified certain points of attack and defence. That despatch had been published in a very unusual way in the newspapers, a week before the Papers were issued. It was a carefully arranged statement for a particular Party purpose; but the grounds on which it was based were not made public, so that the Government deliberately kept back from their opponents the defence from an attack which would have been impossible if the Papers had been issued in the usual way. When the whole question came to be discussed next week it would be seen what were the real facts, and we could then enter more fully into the matter. Notwithstanding the repudiation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he contended that paragraph 9 of Lord Cranbrook's despatch conveyed a most unfair inference. That paragraph, too, had been said to be not a principal part of the despatch, but only part of a long narrative; yet it was remarkable that every person in the country who spoke or wrote on the subject had immediately fixed on that 9th paragraph. He was willing to believe that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his Colleagues were as simple as they professed to be; but they were the only Members of their Party who were so simple. Besides, the 9th paragraph of the despatch was the foundation of almost all that followed. The whole argument of the central part of that despatch was that a wrong policy had been adopted at a certain time; that to that error all the mischief the despatch described was due; and that, therefore, an opposite policy was wise. It was noteworthy that there were only two statements in the whole despatch for which the authority was given, and both of these were in the 9th paragraph. It should, therefore, have been preeminently accurate, as when published no one could verify the quotations. Yet what happened? The quoted telegram consisted actually of an opinion and an instruction. The opinion was quoted in the paragraph; but the course which the Viceroy was instructed to pursue was not stated. And what the Viceroy said he had done was omitted, the only part quoted being his account of what neither he nor anyone else could have done. This was the real basis of the charge of unfairness which had been brought against the Government. He would give the House an illustration of what he meant in the shape of a narrative of a similar kind. Suppose it were proposed to give an account of the events connected with the last Administration, and suppose it were stated that the late Government at the time of the General Election deemed it desirable to disestablish the Irish Church, and suppose the narrative then went on to say—"but Her Majesty's Opposition did not share the sentiments of the Government, and the Opposition ultimately succeeded in themselves becoming the Government." That would be exactly a parallel case to this objectionable paragraph in Lord Cranbrook's despatch. All the statements contained in such an imaginary narrative as he had described were perfectly true, but it was not the whole truth, and a similar suppression stamped this despatch with the character which was now universally ascribed to it. The hon. Gentleman who had last spoken had made a most ingenious defence of the omission in paragraph 9; but he placed it upon a ground that appeared to him (Mr. Childers) untenable. He had endeavoured to draw a line between "the settled policy" of the Governments of Lord Mayo and Lord Northbrook and the assurances which Lord Northbrook wished to give in 1873. For that there was not a shadow of foundation. He could prove this by the statements of the Government itself, for the despatch was not the only account that had been given of these assurances. With regard to the assurances of material assistance offered by Lord Northbrook to the Ameer in 1873, if the House would refer to the statements to the Ameer at the Peshawur Conference, and even to Lord Lytton's despatch narrating that negotiation, it would be seen that the present Government considered that those assurances had been of the amplest character; and it was not until the last despatch of Lord Cranbrook was compiled, that it was thought essential to throw blame on the late Government. The fact was that the Ameer wanted more unconditional and absolute assurances than any Government whatever had been prepared to concede to him. In a discussion in the other House, in 1874, Lord Derby, speaking with express reference to those negotiations of 1873, declared in the most emphatic manner, on the part of the present Government, that the assurances which the Ameer was seeking to obtain, and the condition which he was seeking to attach to them, were such as it would be improper for the British Government to assent to. He could not, therefore, accept the explanation which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had given as to the accuracy and fairness of that despatch. When the right hon. Gentleman said that despatch was the act of the Government and not that of an individual Minister, it was quite unnecessary to apologise for any strong language about it, which absurdly enough had been attempted to be called a personal attack on Lord Cranbrook; but it was necessary promptly to unmask its grossly and unfairly inaccurate character, and, that inaccuracy had now been conclusively shown in the course of the debate.


Sir, I shall endeavour to follow the example of my hon. Friend the Member for Cork (Mr. M'Carthy Downing), and give expression to the feeling I entertain regarding this Address. My hon. Friend quoted several instances to show that the practice of submitting a Speech which contains no reference to local legislation is very unusual; and he complained that the claims put forward on behalf of the Irish people had been completely ignored. In my opinion, when we have been summoned here from different parts, we ought, at all events, to have been informed of the intentions of the Government respecting our own country, in the condition of which we are far more interested than in the successful policy of the Government in Afghanistan. Although I am opposed to the foreign policy of the present Government, I have not taken part in the Party quarrels or divisions in this House; and I do not intend to take part with the Liberal Party in any division which may be called for on foreign policy, being convinced, as I am, that, as between the two Parties, it is six of one and half-a-dozen of the other. What has this debate been this evening? Not such as to enlighten us as to the right and wrong of the war, but simply an attempt on the part of the Government to vindicate their policy, and an attempt on the part of the Opposition to show that something they did on a certain occasion is not deserving of the censure which has been cast upon it. Neither Her Majesty's Government on the one hand nor the Opposition on the other have endeavoured to show that the policy of either of them is one that will recommend itself to liberty-loving men, or to those who profess to be actuated by Christian principles. Ireland is often regarded as an integral portion of the Empire; but my first duty as an Irish Nationalist is to assert the distinct nationality of Ireland. And why? Because, in ordinary times, Ireland is shut out from the observation of Europe, and her aspirations are judged by the caricatures given in the English Press. It is, therefore, when questions of an international character are before the House, that it becomes the duty of Irishmen to stand forward before Europe and declare that their first consideration is the nationality of their own country. The Union between Ireland and England is only a Union in name. It is not a union of hearts. It is the result of the blackest crime ever perpetrated by one nation against another—the destruction of the Irish Parliament. And the Imperialism of Lord Beaconsfield in 1878 ought to be as odious to the Irish people—certainly, it was as destructive to liberty—as the Imperialism of Pitt in 1798. It has the same object in view—English aggrandisement; it adopts the same means of reaching its object—corruption and violence; it proceeds from the same arrogant, liberty-hating Tory Party, and marches forward to the same dishonoured victory over the bodies of brave patriots fallen in defence of their native land. I have read all that has been written and spoken recently by English statesmen of both Parties on the subject of the Afghan War, and I am bound to say that a good deal of what they have said of each other is substantiated by the official Correspondence which has been placed in our hands. The accusations they have levelled at each other are well sustained in the official Papers; and as an Irishman I have the greatest pity for England, whose politicians are plunged in such violent dissensions that they seem determined to fight each other like the Kilkenny cats, until there is nothing left but their tails. We Irish are so often lectured on the sin of disunion that we would be justified in preaching a sermon on the beauty of Christianity for the benefit of Indian Viceroys and ex-Viceroys, and English Ministers and ex-Ministers; but it requires too large a stock of English hypocrisy and self-complacency to succeed in such a task. I object to the Address in answer to the Royal Speech, because it is the duty, Sir, of the Representatives of the people to demand the redress of grievances before granting Supplies. I, for one, shall exhaust all the Forms of the House in refusing the Supplies for this wicked war. In the name of my constituents I denounce it as a base and cowardly aggression on an independent State. I shall vote against the Address, because I condemn and abhor the brutal policy which has been pursued towards the Afghan nation. I shall vote against the Address, because the Government has turned a deaf ear to the cries for justice which have been repeatedly raised on behalf of the Irish people in this House. Ireland repudiates from her heart and soul this blood-stained Imperialism, which tramples on the rights of nations; and though I care not who may betray her honour, by associating her fair name with the unhallowed policy of the Government in this unholy war, I assert that her sympathies are now, as they have ever been, on the side of struggling freemen in every oppressed land.


said, that the curtain fell last Session upon Her Majesty's Ministers placing on the back of John Bull Asia Minor. Now they were going to place there Asia Major too. The policy of Her Majesty's Government seemed to him to be one of universal annexation and war with smaller Powers, with those who might be weak enough to be safely bullied, in order that their territories might be added to that already overgrown Empire. The state of home affairs in England and Ireland was far more serious and far more worthy of a winter Session than this Afghan business, or any of these aggressive wars of Her Majesty's Ministers. What was the condition of Ireland at that moment? In a commercial and industrial point of view her condition was eminently worthy the attention of Her Majesty's Government; yet it was at that moment, when trade was depressed, and finances paralysed, that they came forward and prevented the revival of public confidence by creating gloomy apprehensions of further financial burdens and additional wars. They must lay at the doors of Her Majesty's Government the guilt and blame of whatever financial disaster might occur in Ireland from that broken confidence which could only he restored by a policy of peace. They had fondly hoped that after the Berlin Treaty and the return of the Prime Minister from that capital, there would be an end to the torture and suspense to which they had been accustomed for the past two years, but they had been mistaken. Every interest in the country was groaning under the present condition of affairs, for they could not tell from day to day what policy would be brought forth by that Ministry of surprises. Indeed, next week might see the Government spring upon them another war, and that at a time when great numbers of the people of England—in Staffordshire and elsewhere—were suffering from absolute starvation. He should have thought there would have been some reference in the Queen's Speech to the distress from which the people were at present suffering. Grave evils were at the doors of their manufacturers, and that was the moment selected by the Government for a military promenade with a Mission that would not, perhaps, be characterized truly in our day, but which 20 years hence England would blush to name. It was an unjust and aggressive war; and no greater crime that he knew of could be charged to a public Ministry than that of making war on an uncivilized community with an unjust cause. No nation should draw the sword lightly. What were the grounds for the war? The Prime Minister said that we wanted a,"scientific Frontier;" and although that had not been avowed by Ministers to-night, he would rather believe Lord Beaconsfield's statement at the Guildhall than some of the reasons which had been advanced in that House. No. That was good for the Guildhall, but it would not do for the Houses of Parliament. They spoke of an "expedition." But what was an "expedition?" It might be scientific or geographical. They euphemistically called the war an "expedition" because they were ashamed to give it its proper name. The Indian Secretary, in his final despatch, was far more anxious to convict the Opposition than to convict the Ameer of wrong. Why had these voluminous despatches been withheld and then flung upon us in a mass, while public opinion in England had been misled by inspired telegrams from India? The object clearly had been to fan the war flame. Else, why were the Government dumb while the newspapers commented on the false telegram about the alleged insult? The Ministers put into the Royal lips a version of the story of the wolf and the lamb. The object of the Viceroy had been to pick a quarrel with the Ameer: on the same pretences on which they had gone to Afghanistan they might go to the North Pole. As for the despatch which had been issued by Lord Cranbrook to hocus the people, it was a Party document manifesting much more anxiety to show that the Liberal Party were wrong than that the Ameer deserved punishment. It was of a piece with the false telegrams sent from Simla with the tacit connivance of the Government officials to arouse the war feeling in this country. It was one of those tricks of political life which were unbecoming the dignity of Cabinet Ministers. He considered the Ameer came out of this quarrel with credit, whilst it was greatly to the reproach of Her Majesty's Government. They wanted to fasten a quarrel upon him in order to put Residents in his towns. He had previously known that Residents were spies, who would undermine his power, and he got a promise from an English Viceroy that no Residents should be put in his territory, and now that promise was sought to be evaded. Russia gave them an undertaking and now she was violating it. Let them settle with Russia; but she was strong and the Ameer was weak. Was that a policy worthy of Great Britain, when they wished to make the Indians pay for their "scientific Frontier?" Just as they struck the Ameer rather than Russia, because he was weak and Russia was strong, so they taxed the Indians rather than the English, because the former were unrepresented in Parliament, and had no one to take their part. They were plunging India into bankruptcy; but for a country which had felt the march of Great Britain's wonderful civilization his voice at least should be raised, and his vote given to whoever in that House made a struggle against that unjust war, and against the imposition of additional taxation on people who were not represented; and he believed he might say that the voice and vote and the best will of Ireland would be given with a protest against a public wrong, and to defend those who could not speak for themselves.


said, he regretted that no answer had been given by the Government to the remarks which had been made as to the omission of any reference to Ireland. He regretted that there were not more Irish Members present; but he hoped that they would be there before the end of the Session to protest against the total omission of Irish affairs from the Queen's Speech. It might be said that England and Scotland were also omitted; but he objected to the total omission of home affairs. He might be told that the whole interests of the country were entirely with the war; but he thought there were many grievances in Ireland—the Land Question, for instance—which most of them would say ought to be settled before any foreign war was considered. When they saw the tremendous slap in the face the Ministry were giving Russia by that war, they could not say in what they were involved for, or that the war in Afghanistan would not be followed by war with Russia. Then, again, there was not a word in the Queen's Speech about the Irish University, and he was afraid the Government would not do anything on the Land Question. If the Ministry would give something moderate in that direction, they would be satisfied. He would allow that the Government had done some good last year; if they would give them the University, it would be something more. The absence of any reference to Irish affairs left the Members in a most painful position in facing their constituents. In face of a war, he considered that a country which elected its Members freely had a very great superiority over the country which could not elect its Members freely. There was a vast number of persons in England who were not represented; but, as a matter of fact, England could elect its Members more freely than Ireland. At present the householders in Ireland were not represented in that House; and he did think it most unfair that they should be pledged to a war, and plunged into it without having some vote in the matter. He thought that they ought to have some declaration by the Government to a franchise equal in Ireland as in Eng- land before they were committed to a war. He was sorry there was not a large number of Irish Members present; but he thought that the expression of the regret of the Members who were there would, perhaps, be the means of bringing over a good many more, so that if no satisfactory statement was forthcoming from the Government they might try their strength.


thought the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. O'Connor Power) very inconsistent, for while condemning the course of Her Majesty's Government, he announced his intention of not voting against them. This was not a matter simply between Her Majesty's Government and the Opposition. These were questions in which they were all deeply interested; and he could, not understand how hon. Members could use expressions which touched the very verge of the usage of Parliament, and then declare that they were not going to vote. He had also referred to South Africa; but the fact was that this country had spent its money and its blood there, because it honestly believed it was necessary to protect the lives and property of Englishmen. It might be an error of judgment; but he thoroughly believed that there was nothing to be ashamed of in our conduct there. We were, in fact, making heavy sacrifices, believing that we were doing our duty. The hon. and learned Member for Louth (Mr. Sullivan) had condemned our previous dealings with the Ameer, and he (Sir John Lubbock) was previously of somewhat the same opinion himself; but he was bound to say that upon reading the Papers he had altered his views. In 1855 the Ameer made a stringent Treaty with us, and yet after receiving a friendly Mission from Russia, when we wished to send one, he refused to accept it; and again, after he had had ample time to consider the matter he treated all communications with contempt. In this and other matters it seemed to him that we had just cause of complaint, and he (Sir John Lubbock) thought that the Ameer brought this war upon himself. Whether the war was politic was quite another question, upon which he should probably quite agree with the hon. Member. He could not keep from expressing his astonishment when last Session Her Majesty's Government came down with large Supplementary Estimates and pro- posed, not to meet them manfully by extra taxation at the moment, but to distribute the payment over a period of years. But at that very moment they knew that this Afghan War was looming in the immediate future. ["No, no!"] Hon. Members said "No;" but he did not think that anybody could read those Papers without coming to the conclusion that Her Majesty's Government had determined at the time that the Ameer should receive an Envoy, and that the Ameer had also made up his mind that he would not do so. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had brought in a Bill to establish a new Sinking Fund; but he did not act up to his own principles, and borrowed money with one hand while he was repaying it with the other. After making every allowance, he thought this state of affairs most unsatisfactory; and he could not help feeling that it was much to be regretted that Her Majesty's Government should have rushed into this war, and that they should have departed from the old policy of the Indian Government.


said, he also had to complain of there being no reference to Ireland in the Speech, and considered Imperial England held towards Ireland a somewhat similar position to that held by Imperial Borne towards the subject-provinces in the old days. He must say, however, that there had been times when England, did not treat her in that way, and those were periods when England was entering into a great war, and when English resources were strained to the uttermost to maintain her position. At that time Ireland was loyal to the core, and gave 100,000 volunteers. The result was that when the war was at an end they had a great English Minister—Pitt—deliberately striking them down. While the blood of Ireland was shed on every field to maintain English splendour, how did they find Ireland treated during the famine? With supreme indifference. There was a time in the Crimean War in which the English Government were obliged to consider Ireland; and in regard to that war there was no higher praise given by English officers to anyone than that they gave to the Irish soldiers. They had always been told during a war that it was not the time to make applications; but he would be false to his own position if he said that the Irish people felt any interest in the struggle now being entered upon. The English enjoyed the blessings of a free Government, and there was not an Englishman who did not feel that he was defended by the Government; but an Irishman had not the same feelings. Irish people might regret the loss of life, and the Irish were compelled by the force of English laws to take part in what was undoubtedly an unjust war; but, beyond that, they could not take any further interest in this struggle. This Session, which had been called to discuss the fate of Afghanistan, would be better used for discussing the questions relating to Ireland. They thought they were entering upon a very little war; but they could not disguise from themselves that it might turn into a very large one. They thought they were only waging war with Afghanistan; but it might be possible that our real enemy—Russia—would not act towards Afghanistan the same part that England acted towards Turkey. Therefore, it was the first duty of every English patriot to see that the claims put forward by Irish Representatives should receive the measure of respect to which they were entitled, and by so doing Englishmen would be doing a higher duty than by providing for war with Afghanistan.


said, the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down (Mr. O'Clery) had used, perhaps inadvertently, an expression which he thought ought not to go uncorrected. The hon. Gentleman had spoken of Russia as an enemy of this country. He must point out that the Queen's Speech assured them that Her Majesty was now in friendly relations with all the great Powers of Europe—Russia included, of course. He had heard other expressions from hon. Members on that side of the House as to the injustice, and almost the cruelty, of this war, which unfortunately existed in Afghanistan; but as it had been generally understood that the debate on the justice or injustice of the war was to take place, not on that night, but on an early opportunity, he hoped hon. Gentlemen would withhold those strong epithets until the question had been fully debated. The hon. Member for Cork (Mr. M'Carthy Downing) had complained that there was no reference to Ireland in the Queen's Speech. If legislation for England or Scotland had been mentioned in the Speech, while no notice was given to Ireland, then the latter country might have thought itself neglected. But at the beginning of an Autumn Session, called for a specific purpose, he thought it sufficient in the Queen's Speech only to state generally that measures would be laid before Parliament in the ensuing Session. There was the precedent of 1854, in the case of the Crimean War, for the course which had been followed in the present instance, and he thought in the matter of precedents they were pretty evenly balanced. When Irish Members spoke of that as a grievance, he hoped they would remember that the last measure which the Government had passed for Ireland was one of peace, goodwill, and, he believed, of justice. That being the last message of the Government to Ireland, he hoped that they would acknowledge, and do the Government the justice of believing, that they might have other measures to introduce for that country equally beneficial. A general statement would be made to Parliament, immediately after it re-assembled, of the measures which the Government intended to bring forward; and when their list of measures was produced the Irish Members might rely upon it that their country would not be overlooked.


explained that his use of the expression had been misunderstood. What he meant to infer was that it was against Russia that they had to defend themselves in the East, rather than Afghanistan.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Committee appointed, "to draw up an Address to be presented to Her Majesty upon the said Resolution: "—Viscount CASTLEREAGH, Mr. HALL, Mr. CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER, Mr. Secretary CROSS, Mr. Secretary STANLEY, Mr. WWILLIAM HENRY SMITH "Viscount SANDON, Sir HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON, Mr. ATTORNEY GENERAL, Mr. EDWARD STANHOPE, Mr. BOURKE, Sir WILLIAM HART DYKE, and Mr. WINN, or any Three of them:—To withdraw immediately:—Queen's Speech referred.

House adjourned at half after Twelve o'clock.