(1.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £134,520, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1879, for the Expenses of Her Majesty's Embassies and Missions Abroad.
§ MR. RYLANDS
The hon. Member for Shaftesbury (Mr. Benett-Stanford), who has a Notice on the Paper for the reduction of the amount of Colonel Wellesley's salary, is not in his place; and, although I am not prepared to move the reduction myself, I entirely sympathize with the hon. Gentleman in the opinion that the appointment was one which was open to a considerable amount of objection. But what struck me when the matter was before the House on a recent occasion, was that the hon. Gentleman seemed to consider the appointment of Colonel Wellesley was one of an extraordinary character, and contrary to the rules laid down for the guidance of the Diplomatic Service. No one can notice the conduct of the Foreign Office without coming to the conclusion that the appointment of Colonel Wellesley as Secretary to the Embassy was one of a great number of cases showing that the Foreign Office, in the conduct of the Diplomatic Service, was actuated either by personal favouritism or out of consideration for the influence of aristocratic connections. The effect of this is, that at the present moment the Diplomatic Service itself is in a state of great dissatisfaction; it is costing us more than at any previous period, and I think we have very little to show for the very large amount which is paid for that Department of the Foreign Office. We know very well that the late permanent Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs (Lord Hammond) had the management of the Diplomatic Service for many years, and the system which has been carried on at so much expense and dissatisfaction is a system which received from that gentleman a large amount of support. I may safely say that it was proved by the evidence given before the Committee on the Diplomatic Service, that during his régime every proposal for the reduction of the expenditure was resisted by the permanent Under Secretary, and every proposal for reform was denounced by him. What is the result? Though this system has led to a large increase in the expenditure, and has, in my judgment, also led considerably to the deterioration of the Diplomatic Service, the gentleman who was the head and front of that system was rewarded with a Peerage and a full pension. When those who resist every kind of reform are rewarded with the very highest ho- 1260 nours Her Majesty can give, I am afraid that the great distinction conferred upon the noble Lord, who was formerly Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, is naturally an inducement to those who are in authority to follow exactly in the same lines; and I believe, at the present time, the Foreign Office rules are laid down on the old and bad precedents which have for so many years been regarded as the rule of that Department. It seems to me that the Foreign Office is an Augean stable, which it is almost impossible to cleanse; and so long as it exists in the present state, it will go on increasing the expenditure. We shall have increasing dissatisfaction amongst the members of the Service, and we shall have very unsatisfactory results from this expenditure. Now, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer justifies Colonel Wellesley's appointment by quoting the Report of the Select Committee of 1871. I had something to do with that Committee. It was appointed at my instance, and I took a very active part on that Committee, and I have no doubt that the right hon. Gentleman had the reason put into his mouth by the Foreign Office why Colonel Wellesley should be retained. It is a very peculiar circumstance; but I think that if anyone looks back at the way in which the Foreign Office have dealt with Reports of Select Committees, he will find that such Reports are melted down by a kind of alchemy, under which all recommendations of a reduction in the expenditure of the Diplomatic Service in the public interest are thrown aside as dross, and where any recommendation is made which would justify the least increased expenditure, that is considered the true metal, and it is put into circulation. As an illustration of this, I may refer to the Select Committee on Official Salaries, appointed in 1850. Colonel Wilson Patten (now Lord Winmarleigh) was the Chairman, and he had associated with him a very distinguished number of Members of this House—Lord John Russell, Sir William Moles-worth, Mr. Henley, Mr. Cobden, Mr. Bright, and other gentlemen of great authority. The Committee went into the question of the Diplomatic Service. They made a number of recommendations, which they believed would increase the efficiency of the Service, and 1261 at the same time secure economy in the expenditure. I have taken into consideration what the saving would have been providing these recommendations had been carried out, and find that the saving would have been from £30,000 to £40,000, or even, probably, £50,000 per annum, and the country would have saved, during the 28 years which have since elapsed, over £1,000,000. These recommendations were treated with contempt. A Committee, in 1861, made recommendations reducing the expenditure in some directions and increasing it in others. The latter recommendations only were accepted and carried out by the Foreign Office, but the others were not taken up at all. The right hon. Gentleman quoted the authority of the Committee of 1870–1, as a reason why Lord Salisbury is justified in appointing Colonel Wellesley as Secretary to the Embassy at Vienna. The Committee of 1871 recommended that the mere promotion by seniority should be done away with, and that there should be an opportunity for the Secretary of State, in certain cases, to give appointments without reference to seniority and by way of reward for merit. The Secretary of State was to have this authority and to exercise his selection, while paying proper regard to the claims of those in the Service. That is a material point. They recommended that the mere promotion by seniority, which was certainly acting in a most prejudicial manner in the Service, should be done away with as an absolute rule, and that there should be a right of selection by the Secretary of State for the promotion by merit of those in lower grades, so as to introduce energy and efficiency into the Service. Now, before 1871, the promotion in the under grades in the Diplomatic Service was entirely a matter of seniority, and, no doubt, gentlemen might without any special ability attain the very highest position, without paying any special attention to their duties, and without displaying anything but absolute mediocrity. These gentlemen, if they lived long enough, might rely on reaching the very highest positions in the Diplomatic Service. The Committee found that that system of appointing men of inferior quality to the highest posts simply because they lived long enough was a system which was eating up the Service. They found that men 1262 with ability left the Service, because they became disheartened in consequence of a number of men of no meritorious quality, but who had that valuable quality of longevity in superabundance, keeping them back. Hon. Gentlemen who were on the Committee knew very well that one of the points inquired into arose from the anxiety to remove the block in the Service for want of more rapid promotion. Now, is it to be supposed for a moment that the Committee who wished to remove the block would have sanctioned such an appointment as that recently made by the Government? The Committee recommended the appointment by the Secretary of State only to be used in exceptional cases where the greatest amount of industry and ability had been displayed. The Committee never contemplated the possibility of such an unexampled and incredible circumstance as bringing in an outsider to fill the place of those who were already in the Service. Such a thing never could have entered into the head of anyone. No doubt the Committee had a very strong opinion, with regard to the heads of Missions, that the Government should exercise great latitude in their appointment. I think there was a strong opinion that the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs might appoint a gentleman, for instance, who had risen to great distinction as a statesman in connection with the Government of this country who might not have been in the Diplomatic Service at all. Upon that I have a clear opinion; and I think it has been a most unfortunate circumstance that in past years Governments have felt themselves almost restricted to gentlemen who have been trained up to the Diplomatic Service, and who have got their posts by virtue of seniority. It has been unfortunate that the Government of the day have not felt themselves at liberty to appoint an Ambassador at Vienna or Berlin from some distinguished Colleague of their own, who has sat in this House or in the other House, and who has secured not only the confidence of the Party to which he belongs, but also the general respect and confidence of the British public. But this is a very different case, and has reference only to appointments below the rank of Minister. We have a large body of men who have been trained to the duties of 1263 the position which Colonel Wellesley has taken. There are two or three Secretaries to each Legation. Some of these gentlemen, I have no doubt, have been striving to make themselves a name in the Service in order to procure promotion; and it was the desire of the Committee in 1871 so to reform the Service, that they should infuse into it a new life and a new hope. They wanted to get promotion for those who merited it. Men of dull mediocrity, given up to trivial amusement, and of light character, were to be discountenanced. The Committee wanted the Service to consist of men who, if efficient, should have a chance of promotion; and the State was not to accept a number of men who, whatever they did, were still to have a claim to promotion, whether their conduct was favourable or otherwise. Without casting any reflection on Colonel Wellesley—although he might be admirably suited to his appointment, for I have not the honour of Colonel Wellesley's acquaintance—I think that Lord Salisbury would not have appointed him unless he had certain qualifications; but what I contend for is this—you have got in your Service—I am afraid to say how many, but, I think, something like 20 or 30 first and second Secretaries; and, including third Secretaries, 40 or 50 gentlemen, who might naturally have looked forward to this prize. I say, unless it is a fact that all the first and second Secretaries of Legations, to whom the appointment at Vienna is a promotion—unless it is a fact that they are thoroughly unsuitable—we are striking a serious blow to the Public Service in bringing in a gentleman from the outside to place him in a coveted position over the head of those gentlemen who have been looking forward to the post. You are disparaging the Public Service. Are we to be told that these gentlemen are not fit for the Service? If that is so, we ought to strike out a number of the first and second Secretaries—and I think our establishments are too large—for it appears to me that the only construction you can put on this appointment is, that there is not one of them fit to take the Secretary ship of the Embassy at Vienna. I, certainly, have no intention to say anything that would be personally disrespectful to Colonel Wellesley; but I cannot help looking to the whole of the circumstances surrounding 1264 this appointment. In this House, several years ago, along with the right hon. Member for Tamworth (Sir Robert Peel), I called public attention to the nomination of Colonel Wellesley as Military Attaché at St. Petersburg. I felt at that time it was an appointment open to very serious question, and the reason why I felt so was this—that I believe in the reality of public offices. If they are a sham, then you are drawing money from the public under false pretences. What is a Military Attaché for? He is to represent this country at the head-quarters of a foreign Government, in order that he may keep the country well-advised as to every step taken by that Government; he is to give information of any movement of a military nature; and, in addition, he is to keep his Government apprised fully and thoroughly of the state of the Army of the country to which he is accredited. Is it desirable to send some young man without experience to the head-quarters of a foreign country, in order to give this information to this country? Our objection to the appointment of Colonel Wellesley as Military Attaché was, that he was too young and inexperienced for the post to which he had been appointed, and we urged that there were others who might have been appointed, and who were much more competent for the position. And now we have a repetition of a similar act of patronage in his favour. This gentleman has had great advantages placed in his reach by being appointed to a coveted office, and he has been placed over the heads of a large number of the members of the Diplomatic Service. I cannot help feeling that this appointment would not have been made unless the individual had had some great influence; and this, unfortunately, is not the only matter of the same kind of which we have to complain, in reference to the Foreign Office. You cannot expect for a moment that gentlemen will enter the service of the Foreign Office unless they take with them a certain amount of personal and family influence which would be likely to help them. If the proposal had been made to reduce this Vote, I certainly would have voted with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Shaftesbury (Mr. Benett-Stanford); in fact, if any proposal were made to reduce this Vote, I should be very happy to support it. 1265 I have some hesitation about moving a reduction myself, although I feel that this Vote might be reduced by very much more than the £1,000 which was suggested by the Amendment of the hon. Member for Shaftesbury. I cannot shut my eyes to the fact that just at this moment the House of Commons—or a large majority of the House of Commons—are prepared to support the Government in the extravagance of millions, and that I should have very little chance of saving £5,000 or £10,000. I, therefore, do not intend at the present time to move any reduction; but I protest against the amount of the Vote as extravagant; I protest against the Government ignoring the representations and recommendations of Select Committees in favour of greater economy and better administration; and I protest against the Diplomatic Service of this country being made use of for personal ends and for the purpose of aristocratical promotions.
§ SIR H. DRUMMOND WOLFF
pointed out that in a case of this kind it was difficult for the Foreign Office to defend itself; because the head of the Department could not, from patriotic and prudential reasons, explain the motives which had actuated him in the course he had taken. He, therefore, thought it was the duty of the House to support the Foreign Secretary, when he took a course in virtue of his Office and on his responsibility as a Minister of the Crown. There was the less reason for asking explanations now, at a time when the Foreign Minister was engaged in negotiations more difficult and delicate than any that had engaged the attention of the Government of this country since the beginning of the century. With regard to Colonel Wellesley's appointment, he must say that when he first heard of it he felt a certain amount of annoyance, because the gentleman had been passed over the heads of several members of the Diplomatic Service; but he understood that the appointment was not made in accordance with the ordinary rules of the Diplomatic Service, but in accordance with Rule 18, which was as follows:—''The Secretary of State reserves to himself the power to recommend to the Queen to name any person, even though not in the Diplomatic Service, for the higher and more responsible posts in it; and, generally, in regard to all pro- 1266 motions whatever in the Diplomatic Service, the Secretary of State will not be restricted by claims founded on seniority or members of the profession from making any such selection as on his own responsibility he may deem right.The promotions of Military and Naval Attachés and Doctors who, though working side by side with diplomatists in the Diplomatic Service, could not be considered diplomatists alone, came within Rule 17, to which the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Rylands) had referred. Rule 18, which he had quoted in extenso, would permit appointments which the hon. Member for Burnley said he should like to see made; while, at the same time, it ran counter to the objections raised by the noble Marquess the Leader of the Opposition to the selection of Lords Beaconsfield and Salisbury as the Representatives of England at the coming Congress. He should deprecate the hoisting of Military and Naval Attachés into high positions in the Service; but when a military man who was not in the Service had displayed great aptitude and ability in circumstances of great delicacy, he thought the Secretary of State was perfectly justified, under Rule 18, in availing himself of that gentleman's services. According to the hon. Member for Burnley's own showing, there could have been no objection to making Colonel Wellesley an Ambassador; and, in fact, he had been performing almost Ambassadorial functions in the course of his communications with the Emperor of Russia at the head-quarters of his Army. With regard to family and aristocratic influence, he thought it was not, and ought not to be helped. Even in America, where there was no aristocracy, there were official families; and it was found that members of those families were better received at European Courts, and performed their duties better, than other Americans who possessed equal culture and ability in other respects. For instance, other things being equal, who could be better fitted for such an appointment than a son of Lord Russell or Lord Clarendon, who from his childhood had heard diplomatic traditions, and had access to every great diplomatist who visited this country? Yet, no one would object to such an appointment on the score of aristocratic connections or family influence. As far as the case of Colonel Wellesley was con- 1267 cerned, he thought no good would arise from continuing the present discussion; and he would simply say that, except under special circumstances, he hoped the appointment would not be erected into a precedent.
§ MR. HAYTER
agreed in thinking that this was not a proper time for renewing a discussion on Colonel Wellesley's appointment. He wished, however, to say that there was a question behind, which had not been touched upon. It had been stated by the Secretary of State for War, in answer to a question put to him in that House, that Colonel Wellesley received no military pay, and that he saw no reason to remove his name from the list of Colonels; but it must be remembered that Colonel Wellesley retained his regimental rank in the Coldstream Guards, and that his time was running on for a pension both in the Army and in the Diplomatic Service. He had been removed from the Duke of Cambridge's staff and placed on the list of full Colonels as an aide-de-camp to the Queen. He thought this unjust to men who were serving in the Coldstream Guards in the Crimea when Colonel Wellesley was a boy, but over whose heads he was now placed by being created a full Colonel in the Army and an aide-de-camp to Her Majesty. He was strongly of opinion that Colonel Wellesley, whether his appointment as Secretary of Embassy at Vienna was justifiable or not, ought now to be called upon to make his election either for the Military or for the Diplomatic Service, and ought not any longer to be allowed to qualify for retiring pensions in both Services, between the advantages of which he might ultimately make his selection.
§ MR. BAILLIE COCHRANE
said, he could not doubt that the Marquess of Salisbury had acted in the spirit of the recommendations of the Committee of 1871 in making this appointment; and in this particular crisis, under the special circumstances of the case, he thought it perfectly right that such an appointment should be made. He should, however, very much regret if a precedent were created for inflicting pain, or even the semblance of injustice, on such a body of gentlemen as belonged to the Diplomatic Profession. He did not think this would be the case. Several Ministers had been appointed who 1268 had never been in the Diplomatic Profession. Sir Henry Bulwer—afterwards Lord Dalling—for instance, was made Secretary of a most important Embassy, though he had never been in the Diplomatic Service; and then there was the case of Mr. Layard, who had only been nominally an Attaché to the Embassy at Constantinople, for the purpose of enabling him the better to conduct certain excavations. The appointment of Colonel Wellesley had been well supported by the House; but he hoped advantage would not be taken of it as a precedent to inflict pain or injustice on the members of the Diplomatic Service.
§ MAJOR O'BEIRNE
expressed his regret that this matter was not pressed to a division. There was no greater farce than Special Confidential Reports as to Military Attachés, and it was upon the faith of one of these that Colonel Wellesley was appointed. When an officer joined the Army, if he were asked what languages he knew, and if he named a score, no steps would be taken to test his knowledge as to those languages.
§ MR. HOPWOOD
said, the appointment was considered "a slap in the face" to the Diplomatic Service. He feared that the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury), in making the appointment, was moved partly by a high opinion of Colonel Wellesley's ability and partly by reasons which he could hardly disregard, but which he might not care to explain. The nation had already thrown open the Military Service of the country to deserving merit; and he hoped that by means of competitive examinations, or some other process, the same thing would be done with the Diplomatic Service also. The Service must not much longer remain simply a source of income for the privileged classes, but must be made what it professed to be—namely, a science, in which the highest ability would attain to the highest rank.
§ MR. COBBOLD
said, he might tell the hon. and learned Member for Stock-port (Mr. Hopwood), who seemed to think that an appointment in the Diplomatic Service was a matter of family connection, that the examination for admission to that Service was not one conducted by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, but by the Civil Service Commissioners. He was not now going 1269 to enter into the general subject, except to say that he should be very happy to give the hon. and learned Member, who did not seem to be very well up in it, all the information respecting that Service, which 22 years' "dangling" at Court had enabled him to acquire. He (Mr. Cobbold) quite agreed with the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Baillie Cochrane) that this appointment should not be made a precedent, and he did not believe that anything of the kind was intended. As his hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) had very properly said, the rule which a former Foreign Secretary laid down had simply been made use of on this occasion by the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Office. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Bath (Mr. Hayter) seemed to have some fear that this officer would be serving for two pensions at the same time. He could relieve his mind to some extent by informing him that Colonel Wellesley would have to serve for 15 years before he could possibly become entitled to a pension of any sort or kind in the Diplomatic Service. He thought the question of this appointment had been thoroughly sifted the other day; and, therefore, he regretted to see on the Paper a Notice that it was to be again brought before them. He could not, however, allow to pass unnoticed some of the remarks which fell from his hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Rylands) in introducing the subject to the Committee. His hon. Friend seemed to think that there was a general discontent prevalent in the Diplomatic Body. He must inform him that he entirely disagreed with him on that point. Of course, there was no body of men who did not talk amongst themselves, and who were not always wanting a little more than what they got; but he could assure the hon. Member that at the time when the Committee, of which he had said he was a Member, sat, he (Mr. Cob-bold), and a great many of his Colleagues, were not altogether content with the then hon. Member for Warrington (Mr. Rylands). The hon. Member considered that the Service was a very expensive one. Well, it was, perhaps, a disadvantage that in England it was not known exactly what the nature of that Service was, except actually at head-quarters. The Committee must remember that 1270 members of the Diplomatic Service had to reside altogether abroad; that it was upon rare occasions that they could get back to their homes; and that they might be sent on Service to any part of the world. He did not think the present was the proper moment for entering further into this subject; and he trusted that the Committee would see the necessity of passing, without much further comment, the Vote.
§ MR. E. JENKINS
said, that as he did not altogether agree with the criticisms which had been offered by hon. Gentlemen around him on this subject, he might, perhaps, be allowed to say a word or two in regard to it He took it that the Diplomatic Service was a peculiar Service, and one in which the selection of the officers by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs was a matter of the greatest importance. Therefore he, for one, should certainly not be prepared to support a proposal that men should be selected for the Diplomatic Service merely by competitive examination. But, on the other hand, the very fact that the responsibility of choice was thrown upon the Government made it all the more necessary, when it appeared that a thing had not been properly done, or that there was any reason to believe that men had been appointed who were not proper men, or that a case of injustice had taken place, that that proceeding should be criticized very severely, and that the Minister should be kept up to the point of responsibility to the country with regard to those appointments. Now, with regard to Colonel Wellesley, he could not help feeling that an injustice had been done to that officer by the criticisms which had been made upon his appointment in that House. It was right that it should be criticized; but, on the other hand, he did not think there was any hon. Member on either side of the House who, having read the papers, and being aware of the services which Colonel Wellesley had discharged to the country—especially in his personal relations with the Russian Government—would not admit that he was perfectly qualified for the post to which he had been appointed. Further, he supposed most of them would be generous enough to admit that if it were possible, without doing injustice to the Diplomatic Service, to give Colonel Wellesley a lift, the 1271 Government would be perfectly justified, in view of his services, in doing so; and, therefore, he hoped that, on both sides of the House, hon. Members would generously abstain from criticizing the appointment from a personal point of view. But there was one thing as to which the criticism of his hon. Friend the Member for Burnley was obviously in point, and it was this—how was it that in the whole of the Diplomatic Service there could be found no man so capable for the post of First Secretary of Embassy at Vienna as a man who had not been in the Diplomatic Service at all? There, certainly, his hon. Friend hit a blot, and a blot which he (Mr. E. Jenkins) dared say the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs would feel to be a real one. They found that, in order to fill this post, it had been considered necessary to take a man who was not in the Service, and put him over the heads of a large number of men who had been in the Service for many years. They were, then, in this dilemma—either an injustice had taken place, or it had not. If an injustice had been done in putting Colonel Wellesley over the heads of abler men, then the Government were to blame for it; but if, on the other hand, no injustice had taken place, then the Diplomatic Service must be in a lamentable condition, and the criticism of his hon. Friend the Member for Burnley must be distinctly to the point. He wished to ask the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he could give the Committee any explanation of the reasons why the Diplomatic Service was so defective and so deficient in talent as to render it necessary to import extraneous talent in order to bring it up to the mark?
§ MR. W. LOWTHER
remarked that the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Cob-bold) had stated that it would not be in Colonel Wellesley's power to have a pension until he had served 15 years. He thought the hon. Gentleman was under a mistake in making that statement. If he would look at the regulations of the Service, he would find that if Colonel Wellesley were an Ambassador for a short period, he would be entitled to a pension of a certain amount; or if he were a Minister for another period, he would also be entitled to a pension. In order, however, to obtain a pension as 1272 Secretary of Legation, he must have served 15 years; and then he would not be quite sure of getting it, because it sometimes depended upon the caprice of those who were at the Foreign Office. The hon. Member for Christchurch (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) had put forward a theory relative to hereditary talent. He believed that the sons of great Generals might be very good officers, and that the sons of great diplomatists might be very well qualified to become diplomatists. Well, according to that theory, Colonel Wellesley was singularly lucky, for he had not only military but diplomatic talent, the head of the family being the Duke of Wellington, and his own father being Lord Cowley. The hon. Member had also alluded to the discussion which took place the other day; but he would remind him that that discussion was of a very meagre description, and a very short one, though on that occasion two Cabinet Ministers thought it worth while to stand up to defend the nomination. The hon. Member for Christchurch had further said that MilitaryAttachés, serving by the side of other attachés, performed similar service. He did not think the hon. Member had ever served himself in Legation or Embassy where there was a Military Attaché, and he very much doubted whether the hon. Gentleman knew anything about it. When this question was last discussed, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Secretary of State for War (Colonel Stanley) quoted Lord Cran-brook, and said—
The hon. Member will not be in Order in referring in express terms to what passed during the debate in the House on this subject.
§ MR. W. LOWTHER
would say, then, that they were told that Colonel Wellesley was very well qualified for the post of Military Attaché; but they had never yet been told why he was qualified for the post of Diplomatic Secretary of Embassy. Allusion had been made to the appointment of Mr. Layard, who, it was said, had not previously been in the Diplomatic Profession. To a certain extent he had been in the Diplomatic Profession, because he was attaché at Constantinople, though for what particular duties he did not know. Then, also, from being Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs he was named Minister at Madrid. But nobody ever 1273 called in question the right of the Crown to nominate to the higher post of Minister or Ambassador. He should be the last person in the whole of England to object to the Crown nominating whom it pleased to the higher post of Minister or Ambassador. They were told, on a former occasion, that the Marquess of Salisbury immediately fixed upon Colonel Wellesley as a proper person to fill this post. The noble Marquess must be possessed of a remarkable talent; because, he thought, the noble Marquess was only in Office a very short time when he discovered this great military and diplomatic talent in Colonel Wellesley. But he was not now alluding to that officer's talent. He might make the best soldier or the best diplomatist that ever lived; but he maintained that his appointment was a very great hardship upon the gentlemen in that Service over whose heads he had been placed. Not only had the Marquess of Salisbury shown great talent in discovering the qualifications of Colonel Wellesley, but he also had shown wonderful talent in discovering the inability of all the other gentlemen who were in the Profession. It was talent the most remarkable! He did not wish to detain the Committee any longer. The discussion had gone on quite long enough, he dared say; but, as a former member of the Diplomatic Service, he was inclined to think the members of that Profession would consider that the Government had, in this instance, broken faith with them.
MR. GRANT DUFF
said, they had on the present occasion an advantage which they had not before—namely, the presence of the Representative of the Foreign Office in that House, and he trusted that before the discussion closed the hon. Gentleman would answer the following question. Supposing the Government were anxious to confer some mark of approbation upon Colonel Wellesley, why was it necessary to put him into the Diplomatic Service? Why might he not, having been supposed to have done well as Military Attaché at St. Petersburg, have been sent in a similar capacity to Vienna with some title of honour, with some personal allowance, or other mark of the favour of the Crown? Why was it necessary to put him into a place like that of first Secretary of Embassy—a place, the duties of which were utterly unlike those which he had 1274 been accustomed to exercise—when, in order to do so, it was necessary to pass over, injure the prospects, and hurt the feelings, of a number of the most useful persons in Her Majesty's Service? That was what he wanted to know from his hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. The hon. Member for Christchurch (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) and the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Baillie Cochrane) had misunderstood, to a great extent, the opposition to this appointment. He (Mr. Grant Duff), and many of those who sat about him, thought that Rule 18 was an excellent one, and that the Secretary of State should act most fully and freely under it; but they also were of opinion that so high a power as was conferred upon the Secretary of State by Rule 18 should only be exercised upon great occasions—upon occasions when the Secretary of State, or his Representative, could come down to that House and state the reasons why that high power had been exercised. It was, to a great extent, because he most ardently desired to see that power retained in the hands of the Secretary of State, that he protested now, as he did on a former occasion, against what appeared to him to be an abuse of that power. He could not help thinking that it had been exercised in this instance, partly, from reasons of a private nature, and not wholly from reasons connected with the Public Service.
§ MR. BOURKE
said, he would not have thought it necessary or desirable that he should trouble the Committee by any remarks on the question, had it not been that he was unfortunately absent when it was brought before the House on a previous occasion. He should endeavour, as he went on, to answer the various remarks that had been made by hon. Members on both sides of the House. First, as to Colonel Wellesley's knowledge of the Russian language, the hon. and gallant Member for Leitrim (Major O'Beirne) was entirely in error on that subject. The heads of the Foreign Office were well aware of Colonel Wellesley's proficiency in that language, and of the great energy shown by him in acquiring it. It had also been said that Colonel Wellesley was not proficient in the language of the country to which he was now accredited. That was a remark also wholly 1275 incorrect, and without any foundation. Colonel Wellesley was a German scholar, and perfectly competent, in that respect, to perform the duties which generally devolved upon the Secretaries of Embassy. The hon. and learned Member for Stockport (Mr. Hopwood) had said that the examinations for admission into the Diplomatic Service were of a very slight character. That subject had been before the House on a previous occasion, and he was under a mistake in that respect. He (Mr. Bourke) did not mean to contend that the examinations were of a severe character; but they were, at all events, sufficiently so to test the proficiency of the gentlemen admitted to perform the duties which would devolve on them in the Service. The hon. and learned Member had indulged in some sarcastic remarks upon no qualifications being necessary for that Service, except family or aristocratic connection. He (Mr. Bourke) did not think that any Representative of the Foreign Office would ever put the qualifications necessary for diplomacy upon such a ground. He knew of no Service which required more intellectual qualifications than did the Diplomatic Service. He must say he was not surprised to hear the remarks which had fallen from his hon. Friend the Member for Westmoreland (Mr. W. Lowther), because he was well aware that his hon. Friend had himself passed through a long and distinguished diplomatic career, and it was very natural that he should be some what sceptical as to the expediency of admitting people into the Diplomatic Service, except by the usual method of examination. But he could not help thinking that his hon. Friend, after the habit of many other professional persons, had taken a very limited view of the subject before the House, and that he had rather postponed questions relating to the Public Service to others connected with the Profession of which he was so great an ornament. With respect to the question of pensions, his hon. Friend had, he thought, forgotten that one of the rules was to the effect that no person should be eligible for a pension until he had served 15 years. He did not know that that was a matter of much importance; but, still, the fact was as stated by the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Cobbold). The remarks that had been made by the hon. and gallant Member for Bath (Mr. 1276 Hayter) referred to a military matter, and if he chose to raise that question, he would have an opportunity of doing so when the Army Estimates were brought on. He did not think it would be desirable that he should enter upon the question of pensions given to officers in the Army. So far as precedents were concerned, he could only say that there were numerous precedents for the course which had been taken by his noble Friend the Secretary of State in the present instance. It had been said by one or two hon. Members, and insinuated by a great many others, that the appointment of Colonel Wellesley to the post which he now occupied was a slap in the face to the Diplomatic Body. If he thought that was the case, he would not stand up in that House to defend the act of the Secretary of State, because there was no body of public men, he thought, deserved more the sympathy of the House of Commons than those who were employed in that Service. In the first place, they were very badly paid, and, in the next place, they had enormous responsibilities cast upon them. They had to perform duties of the most onerous nature, as well as to support the character of English gentlemen all over the world. There was no body of Diplomatic servants in the world with whom those of England would not favourably compare. But the House was aware that the Rule which had been read by the hon. Member for Christchurch (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) had received the assent of Parliament; and if that Rule were not to be a dead letter, the Secretary of State was perfectly justified in putting it in force whenever he deemed it desirable in the public interest; and, although he did not think it would be well to act on that Rule in very many instances, he was not at all prepared to excuse or apologize for the appointment of Colonel Wellesley, which had been made for no other reason than for the public good. It was well known that that officer had for the last eight or nine years been engaged in performing the duties of Military Attaché at the Court of St. Petersburg. The Secretary of State had ample means of satisfying himself as to Colonel Wellesley's capabilities and talent. He did not wish, however, to go further into that part of the subject. The present Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs had previously been the Secretary of 1277 State for India, and he then became acquainted with the career of Colonel Wellesley, and with the duties which that officer had performed, and of which the Committee were, no doubt, well aware, inasmuch as Colonel Wellesley's name appeared in the Blue Books. During the whole of that time, the present Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, as a Cabinet Minister, had all these matters brought under his notice. All the duties which Colonel Wellesley had performed were essentially of a diplomatic character. Nobody could deny that. Well, the Marquess of Salisbury, seeing the way in which those duties had been performed, thought it would be desirable to take advantage of the rule which had been laid down by Earl Granville, and to strengthen the Diplomatic Service by introducing into it a gentleman who was not in it already, but who had manifested exceptional talents and an appreciation of the duties of the Diplomatic Service. In acting thus, the Marquess of Salisbury did not break down, but followed, a rule of the Service. It had been alleged that great interest was made to obtain the post of Secretary of Legation at Vienna for Colonel Wellesley. It had also been insinuated that night by the hon. and learned Member for Stockport (Mr. Hopwood), that Colonel Wellesley's appointment was entirely owing to his powerful connections. He was happy to relieve the hon. and learned Member's mind on this point, by informing him that the whole of the acquaintance which the Marquess of Salisbury had had up to this moment with Colonel Wellesley was absolutely and entirely an official acquaintance. The noble Marquess had never seen or spoken to Colonel Wellesley, except on official occasions and on official subjects, though he was bound to say that the noble Marquess had had many opportunities of discussing questions of importance. Nay, he would go further, and say that no human being ever asked the noble Marquess to appoint Colonel Wellesley, and that Colonel Wellesley himself made no application whatsoever. Here he must also beg to remind the Committee that not a single person who had attacked this appointment had been able to utter a word against Colonel Wellesley's fitness for the post; and that being the case, he thought the appointment 1278 could be justified on public grounds. So far from the Marquess of Salisbury being criticized for having made the appointment, he was of opinion that those hon. Gentlemen who professed to have so great a regard for the Public Service, and who said the interest of the Public Service ought to be placed before all other considerations, could be called upon to justify the course taken by the noble Marquess. Under these circumstances, believing, as he did, that the act of the noble Marquess was an act done in the performance of his public duty, and for the benefit of the public, he thought he could with confidence call upon the Committee to support the act on that ground, and on that ground only.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, he did not intend to refer any further to the debate which had been raised concerning the appointment of Colonel Wellesley, but there were some points in this Vote on which he desired explanations. In the first place, he desired to know something as to the principle on which chaplains to Embassies were appointed, and what were the circumstances which necessitated their appointment. It appeared that there were chaplains in Denmark, in Italy, and in Spain. On the other hand, while they had a chaplain in Spain, it had not been found necessary, according to this List, to supply the spiritual wants of their Representative in Portugal. The distinction between Spain and Portugal must surely be a very fine one. Why, again, was it found necessary to supply a chaplain to the Court of Denmark, while at the Court of Sweden their Envoy Extraordinary and Secretary of Legation were left without any spiritual assistance whatever? In Austria they had a chaplain, but none in Bavaria. They had no chaplain either at Paris or Berlin, while, on the other hand, they had chaplains in Greece and Italy. He wanted to know what was the ground of these distinctions? It seemed to him that there was no principle involved in the matter at all, and he fancied that if there was a need for these chaplains, chaplains ought to be granted to all their Embassies in some fair proportion. On the other hand, if there existed no necessity for chaplains in such important centres as the capitals of Germany and France, and in numerous other countries, such as Sweden and Bavaria, he failed to see how there 1279 could be any necessity in continuing the chaplains in the places where they were stationed at present. He would also ask for some information as to why part of the expense of their Diplomatic representation in China was borne by the revenues of India? Under the head of "Legation in China," it was stated that the expense was partly repayable from Indian revenues. In his judgment, their Legation and Diplomatic representation in China were as much a matter of Imperial concern as their representation anywhere else in the world, and he objected to saddling the revenues of India with expenses which properly belonged to the general Diplomatic system of the Empire.
§ MR. BENETT-STANFORD
said, that on a former occasion he made a Motion similar to that which now stood on the Paper in his name. The reason why he wished to withdraw his Motion to-night was not because he had altered his own opinion with regard to the appointment of Colonel Wellesley, but because he did not think it would be right to press it after the very large majority which had been recorded in that House against his former Motion. He wished, therefore, to withdraw the Motion which stood in his name.
§ MR. E. JENKINS
desired to make a few remarks with reference to their Embassy at Constantinople. There was a physician appointed with a salary of £300 a-year, who was the British Member of the Board of Health. He should like to receive an explanation respecting the duties of that gentleman. Again, there was a note stating that one of the second Secretaries of Legation was in the receipt of £300 a-year as Superintendent of the Student Dragomans at Constantinople. As there was only one Student Dragoman at Constantinople, he wished to know whether it took £300 a-year to superintend him?
§ MR. BOURKE
explained that there were other Student Dragomans under the Consular Vote. As to the physician, his duties were to attend to the health of the members of the Embassy. The officer of the Board of Health was appointed by the Porte, and had to inquire into many sanitary subjects. Reports from him were sent to the Foreign Office every year, and they found it extremely useful that this Board of Health should exist.
§ MR. RYLANDS
pointed out that while this gentleman received only £300 a-year as physician to the Embassy, he draw a salary of £400 a-year as Medical Member of the Board of Health. The latter salary appeared to be a new one altogether. Was it not a sort of appointment which ought to be paid rather by the Government of the Porte than by the British public?
§ MR. BOURKE
said, the Board had been appointed in conjunction with the other Courts of Europe, it having been thought desirable to have a scientific Board. Since he had been at the Foreign Office, a good deal of correspondence had been carried on with this Board of Health. Its duty was to report upon the state of sanitary affairs, not in Constantinople only, but all over Turkey. The Foreign Office had received from it very valuable Reports on the state of the plague at Bagdad, for example, and they had considered the spread of that disease in conjunction with the other Governments of Europe.
§ MR. E. JENKINS
observed, that there were no Student Dragomans mentioned in the Estimate under the Consular Vote for Turkey.
§ MR. BOURKE,
replying to the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell), said, that if additional chaplains were proposed, the hon. Gentleman would most probably object to fresh appointments being made. The present anomaly could only be removed by appointing fresh chaplains, or by removing those who were already appointed. He could not say whether there was any great distinction between the places which had chaplains and those where there were none. It had not been deemed expedient, however, to remove them from the places where they had been already appointed. A pretty clean sweep of the chaplains was made in the Consular Vote some years ago. The present chaplains were doing useful work, and there was no reason for removing them. At the same time, it was not the intention of the Government to appoint chaplains at other places.
§ MR. WHITWELL
asked for information respecting the item of £700 for 1281 Mr. Baber's special service at Chung King under the Chefoo Convention. Seeing that the amount paid for Diplomatic representation in China was very considerable, it seemed somewhat surprising that an additional sum should be asked for in connection with this Treaty. He should like to know what was the condition of that Treaty at the present time. Perhaps Mr. Baber was to be a permanent employé, as the negotiations had been going on so long.
§ MR. BOURKE
said, Mr. Baber's salary was for a "special service," and that was an answer to his hon. Friend. That gentleman had particular functions to perform in regard to the Chefoo Convention, and he was one of the most prominent members of the Commission. He regretted his inability to announce that that Convention had been already ratified. No doubt difficulties had arisen, but the Government hoped they would be got over in a very short time. The Foreign Office was quite as anxious as his hon. Friend could be that the Chefoo Convention should be carried into effect. He hoped it would be the means of doing a great deal of good.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, the answer of the hon. Gentleman on the subject of the chaplains had been very unsatisfactory. The point of his objection was, that if a chaplain was not wanted in Sweden, for instance, one could not be wanted in Denmark; and that they could very well do without chaplains in Spain, if they were not necessary amid the temptations of Paris and the agitations of Berlin. He intended to move to reduce the Vote for salaries by the aggregate amount of the salaries of the chaplains. It was quite clear that if chaplains were not required in the important centres he had just mentioned, they could not be wanted where they were stationed at present; and if custom were to prevail, it ought to have preserved the Consular chaplaincies which were abolished some years ago. He only moved this reduction as a protest, and he hoped the Government would take into consideration the propriety of not replacing the present incumbents. The hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs had not referred at all to the objection he raised to the Diplomatic representation in China being partly paid for out of Indian revenues. He considered that the 1282 Diplomatic representation in China was distinctly Imperial, and that it ought to be treated on exactly the same footing as the representation in Siam, in Portugal, or any where else. He objected to the revenues of India being subject to any charge which did not relate to Indian internal affairs or Indian policy. He observed that some of the third secretaries received £250 a-year each, while others received only £150. The explanation was that those who received the higher salary did so in consequence of their knowledge of public law. He would suggest that a knowledge of public law ought to be incumbent on every person in the position of third secretary in the Diplomatic Service. If third secretaries did not possess any knowledge of public law, he fancied they ought not to be appointed until they had qualified themselves for the post. In conclusion, he moved to reduce the item of £157,610 for salaries by £1,250, being the aggregate amount paid to the few chaplains who were still so exceptionally retained.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That the Item for Salaries be reduced by the sum of £1,250."—(Mr. O'Donnell.)
§ MR. SAMPSON LLOYD
said, he wished to make one observation in reply to a remark of the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell) as to the reason for chaplains being required in certain cities and not in others. He would draw his attention to the fact that in some places there was more than one English church; but in others there was no English place of worship, except that kept up by the Government chaplain. Without, therefore, the services of the paid chaplains, travellers, as well as persons in residence, would be without a place for public worship.
§ MR. PARNELL
observed, that that might be a reason for the original appointment of these chaplains, but it was no reason for retaining them. What his hon. Friend the Member for Dungarvan wished to know was, whether the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs proposed making any alteration in these matters? It seemed that there were four places where translators were kept at the Embassies. One of these places was in Russia; he imagined there must be an exceptional 1283 difficulty, and that the capacity of Her Majesty's officials was insufficient to enable them to master the Russian language. He should have thought that some of the officials of the Foreign Office might have learned Russian, Spanish, and other languages. Russian was a language which he thought all diplomatists ought to know, though it was, no doubt, one that was difficult to acquire.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (2.) £166,053, to complete the sum for Consular Services.
§ MR. MUNTZ
wished to draw attention to one point. He thought that Vice Consuls were not required in certain towns where there was already a Consul. They were now kept up in some small places; whereas, in others of nearly 100,000 inhabitants, a Consul only was found sufficient. In former times a Vice Consul was wanted because it took from five to eight months, on the death of a Consul, to communicate with this country and appoint a new one; and, in the meantime, the Vice Consul could act. But now, by means of the telegraph and steam vessels, a new Consul could be appointed and despatched almost immediately; and he saw no reason why Vice Consuls, as well as Consuls, should be retained in small places.
§ SIR EARDLEY WILMOT
said, that on that Vote he would take the opportunity of calling the attention of the Committee to a matter which had at his instance come under the notice of the House two years ago. It would, perhaps, be recollected that he had presented a Petition, very numerously signed, from the British residents at Boulogne-sur-Mer, which, on being submitted to the Speaker, could not be received, as mingled with the British signatures were those of many of the principal French inhabitants of the town, who cordially joined in the prayer of the Petition. The document was subsequently referred to a Select Committee for the consideration of precedents, of which Committee his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Spencer Walpole) was chairman, and he himself (Sir Eardley Wilmot) was a Member. 1284 The Committee was unanimously of opinion that the Petition could not be entertained; and the subject-matter of it had therefore not undergone discussion until the time at which he spoke. The facts of the case were these. For many years Boulogne had been represented by a Consul; but when the late Mr. Hamilton resigned, and received the honour of knighthood after his long and useful Consular services, the Consulate was abolished, and the office was reduced to a Vice Consulate, with a smaller salary. Unfortunately, at the very time when the Government took this step, Boulogne had been, and was thon, making rapid strides in trade and commercial importance, inasmuch that the exports and imports now exceeded those of Bordeaux, and Boulogne had become the third commercial seaport in France, after Havre de Grace and Marseilles. A very large and capacious dock had been lately constructed, called the Quai Napoleon, and this was now filled with trading vessels from every part of the world. Other countries—as, for example, Germany, Italy, Belgium, and Holland—were represented in Boulogne by Consuls, while England thought her dignity sufficiently maintained by a Vice Consul. That official had various duties to perform; in cases of wreck upon the coast he had frequently to travel many miles to the scene of the disaster, and to find money for the sailors, and he was constantly being referred to for the purpose of settling disputes in commercial matters, between his own countrymen and foreigners. In addition to this, the Consul at Boulogne had always been expected to dispense hospitalities occasionally to the municipality of the town; but with the small salary now doled out to the English Vice Consul, it was quite impossible he could do what was done by the Consuls of other nations. He (Sir Eardley Wilmot) could not help using what might be considered a strong expression, but which was justified by the circumstances of the case—that the conduct of the Government had been very shabby in the way they had treated this important French town; and he appealed to his hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Bourke) to reconsider the matter, and remedy what he must say was felt by all the inhabitants 1285 of Boulogne to be a great injustice to the British official and a disparagement to their town and nation.
§ MR. RYLANDS
said, it was a most extraordinary doctrine to lay down, that they were to pay salaries out of proportion to the duties performed by Consuls, merely out of consideration for the dignity of France. He hoped that respect for the dignity of France would not be shown in such a manner. With regard to the Consular Service, he thought it was a service in which we did not compare favourably with the service of other mercantile nations, and we had a great many appointments which might be reduced, and many might be abolished entirely; and it would be competent for some mercantile house to take the Vice Consulate where there was little business to be done in the interests of Great Britain. In the case of Boulogne, he believed that the Foreign Office acted upon the suggestion made by the Consular Committee. That Committee recommended the abolition of a great number of Consulates in France and other places, where the position was out of all proportion to the business carried on and the interest this country had in the trade. If the House would look to page 363, they would find that the Vice Consul at Boulogne received £250 a-year, and an allowance of £150 for a house, making £400 a-year, while the total amount of fees received by Government amounted to only £105. When the hon. and learned Member told the House of the great amount of business done at Boulogne, he should have looked at the small amount of fees, for that very fairly represented the amount of business done. It surely did not furnish a reason for Government going back from a change so recently made in the service. He thought they were perfectly well served by a Vice Consul, and if the office became vacant, the Government would have no difficulty in filling it up without any increase of salary.
§ MR. BAILLIE COCHRANE
observed, that the Committee had certainly recommended the reduction of various Consulates to Vice Consulates. But it was important that in many places, and particularly in the East, able men, with competent salaries, should be appointed to discharge Consular duties. In Phillippopolis, for instance, there was only a Vice Consul at £250 a-year, and 1286 yet, that was one of the places where it was most desirable that the interests of this country should be well represented. It should not be forgotten that the position of a Consul in the East was one of much more importance than elsewhere. In his opinion, it would be desirable that the first opportunity should be taken by the Government of going through the Consular Service, and seeing if they could not reasonably increase the salaries of the Consuls, so as to get good men and have the work properly performed. In particular, it was necessary that the Foreign Office should see that the Consuls and Vice Consuls in the East were properly paid, and properly represented English interests.
§ MR. DODSON
said, that some years ago there used to be a considerable number of Consuls in different parts of Europe, and in some places in North America, who were kept at inland places. He was glad to see that an alteration had been made, and that the offices had been partially abolished, although they had not entirely disappeared. There were one or two remaining to which he wished to draw the attention of the Government. He was not speaking of inland towns in such countries as Turkey, where, under certain circumstances, it was necessary that British subjects should have the protection of a resident from their own country. He was speaking of civilized countries in Europe and America; and in those places he apprehended that the position of Consul was only required at seaport towns where vessels came. He observed that there were still Consuls at Brussels and at Paris; the Consul at Paris being paid £100 a-year. What necessity there was for a Consul at Paris, where there was an Embassy, he could not see; and he could not think that this gentleman had much to do, because he noted that he also held the appointments of librarian and registrar at the Embassy. At Brussels there was a Vice Consul, who received £100 a-year; but why he was required at Brussels was not apparent. If travellers wished for information, they could apply to the Embassy. What reason there could be for keeping Vice Consuls at some inland places, and not at others, he could not tell.
§ SIR EARDLEY WILMOT,
in reply to the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Rylands), said, his hon. Friend 1287 had made a great flourish of trumpets about the taxpayer, and about the small receipts from Boulogue, and had referred him to the Estimates. Well, in looking at the Estimates, he found a similar charge, even on a much larger scale, might be made against French ports which were now represented by a Consul, and where the salary of the official who represented England was very much higher. He (Sir Eardley Wilmot) instanced Brest, Cherbourg, Havre, Bordeaux, and Marseilles (giving the figures), at all of which places the annual receipts were comparatively insignificant, in one even less than the receipts at Boulogne. The fact was, that the receipts were no criterion whatever of the work done, for they represented balances after all the necessary expenses and outlay and money advanced by the Consuls had been deducted. His hon. Friend, therefore, could build no just arguments on the figures he had quoted.
§ MR. WHITWELL
hoped that the salaries of Consuls would not be increased where the work was now efficiently done. So far from places in the East having been neglected, the salaries of the Consuls and Vice Consuls there had already been increased. Although there was only one Vice Consul at Phillippopolis there was another at Beyrout, not far off. The hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Baillie Cochrane) was mistaken in supposing that the Foreign Office had neglected its duties and had not obtained efficient men at the salaries paid. Let them take the cases of the Student Dragomans, for which there was an item in the Vote of £1,900. It was well known that great advantage had been derived from the student interpreters in China; and as the item for the Student Dragomans was in the Vote, the Committee would be glad to hear whether the students now being instructed were English, Armenians, Greeks or others; and also what language, whether Arabic or Turkish, they were learning, and whether it was contemplated to place these dragomans, when thoroughly instructed, in some of the larger places in Asiatic Turkey?
§ MR. D. JENKINS
said, that everybody felt that it was time that the Consular establishments in Turkey in Europe should be inquired into. It was monstrous to see the number of officials kept 1288 up there; and it was not wonderful that mischief should be done when so many people were employed. £700 a-year was paid to the physician of the Embassy, and in addition to that there was the hospital establishment. It was worth while to consider whether the superintendent of the hospital could not be utilized for the purpose of attending the Embassy, and thus save £400 or £500 a-year to the country. He also wished to call attention to the Consul at Réunion. He knew that he was originally appointed to look after the coolies; but as his services were no longer required for that purpose, he should like to know whether the Government would continue the office?
§ MR. BOURKE
said, with regard to the observations that had been made as to the Student Dragomans, the late Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (the Earl of Derby) had announced his intention to institute such a class of interpreters. An examination had been held for the appointments, and certain gentlemen had been chosen, some of whom had already gone to Constantinople. The other dragomans, to whom reference had been made, were mentioned in a former Vote, and stood on quite a different footing to the new ones. With respect to the office of resident physician at Constantinople, he might inform the Committee that the post had already been abolished, and would not appear in the Estimates for the ensuing year. With regard to the general observations that had been offered on the Vote, he might say that the Government would make all the reductions they possibly could in the Consular Service. There was no reason for laying down general rules as to the appointment of Consuls or Vice Consuls at particular places; but the Government would deal with each case on its peculiar circumstances. With regard to the observation of the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Muntz) as to the Consul and Vice Consul in South America, no doubt these Consuls cost money; at the same time he could not hold out any hope of reducing this cost, because while the commercial classes of this country derived great advantage from the Consular Services in South America, and so long as they did not object, it would be necessary to maintain these posts.
§ MR. BOURKE
imagined that they were Englishmen. He had not received any information to the contrary.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
would ask the attention of the Committee to the item for Borneo. The Consul at Borneo received a salary of £300 a-year, and £250 for a house. He was also Governor of Labuan. On looking to the amount of fees received on behalf of the Government in 1876–7, he found that the Consul in that place received no fees whatever. Therefore, he received £300 a-year salary and £250 for a probably non-existent house, and he got a further salary as Governor of Labuan, where he probably had a house also. If he was not mistaken, the Consul at New Caledonia got £700 a-year, and if the Government could give some information about the duties of that gentleman, and those of the Consul at Borneo, he should feel obliged. With regard to the Consul at Réunion, who had£l,000 a-year salary and office expenses, he had received recently an account written by a French traveller, who gave a deplorable account of the condition of the native subjects in that place. He should feel obliged if he could be directed to the recent Report of the Consul at Réunion on the coolie emigration in that settlement. He would also particularly ask to know something about the Consul Generalship at Borneo. He believed there was an intention to extend operations in that direction, because considerable portions of Borneo had been granted by the legislative rulers to a British trading company. He did not know whether that trading company was likely to lapse into secession to the Crown.
§ MR. BOURKE
said, that the Company referred to had no official connection with the Government, and the Government had no official information as to what the Company was. With regard to the Consul General, he had the same duties as were performed by Consuls in other parts of the world. He had to look after persons who came to trade in Borneo, of whom there was a considerable number. It was desirable that the Governor of Labuan should also be Consul of Borneo in order to save expense. With regard to New Caledonia, the Government did receive valuable 1290 Reports from that place on various subjects connected with the Island. The Consul of New Caledonia was appointed a few years ago when the cession of Fiji was made. He was glad the hon. Member had called attention to the subject, and he could assure him that if they had any opportunity of cancelling an appointment that should be done.
§ Vote agreed, to.
(3.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £31,634, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1879, in aid of Colonial Local Revenue, and for the Salaries and Allowances of Governors, &c., and for other Expenses in certain Colonies.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, that on that Vote he desired to raise a question of an important character having especial reference to the salaries of the Commissioners in South Africa. The Governor had £2,000 a-year as salary from the Colonial authorities, and had £1,500 derived from pension under the Crown. It seemed to him that the Government ought to have brought that question forward in a substantial form that would have enabled them to review the proceedings in South Africa for some time past; and he thought the Members of that House had a legitimate grievance against the Government for bringing on this Vote somewhat out of the way and without Notice. Had the Vote been brought on in regular order, instead of being taken as a Vote in Class III., after Votes in Classes I. and IV., the Committee would have been able to discuss the matter and might have been able to clear up some of the causes of the revolt, and information might have been given that would be interesting to the Committee on the affairs of South Africa, the crisis through which that country was passing, and whether our Governors had employed the best means for diminishing the area of the disturbance. Before they came to that, he would ask two general questions with regard to the grant in aid of the local revenue of the Falkland Islands? He would also ask what was the nature of the grant of £1,400 for clergy in Canada, and Nova Scotia, and North America? Canada and Nova Scotia were self-governed, 1291 and arrangements were made for the payment of their clergy. Why, then, should that House be asked to contribute to Missionary Societies, and to societies for the propagation of the Gospel? Certainly, it appeared to him that this was a matter that required explanation. With regard to the Falkland Islands, he found the grant in aid of local revenue amounted to £2,974. If he was not mistaken, the whole population of the Falkland Islands was only about 800 or 900, and he wanted to know why they required this grant in aid of local revenue?
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
said, that with regard to the Vote for the clergy in North America, these were life pensions to persons who had been in the service of the Government, he believed, as old Army chaplains for duties done years ago. The Vote was gradually, year by year, becoming less and less. In 1876 the Vote amounted to £1,976. The hon. Member would see that a considerably lower sum was asked in the present year. Parliament had made these grants for good reason; but, in due time, they would cease altogether. The Vote for the Falkland Islands was, no doubt, considerable; but, if they looked at the character of the Falkland Islands, it would be seen that it was important to this country to maintain them as naval harbours between Australia, America, and England. Therefore, as the population was small, and the revenue could not be large, it was necessary to supplement the local revenue by a further sum. It was thought probable that in future years the grant would be considerably diminished. Sheep-farming was extending in the Island; the duties on tobacco and spirits had been raised; and it was quite expected that the House would be asked for a smaller Vote next year.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
hoped that on the item relating to South Africa, the Government would not object to a brief discussion. If he had had Notice of the Vote, he should probably have brought on a Resolution on the Question that the Speaker do leave the Chair; but, on the present occasion, he could not go into the matter with anything like the fulness that he should have done under other circumstances. Still, he might state some of his reasons for objecting to this item. In the first instance, it 1292 appeared that the Chief Governor of South Africa and of Griqualand West, was exceedingly well remunerated with nearly £6,000 per annum from the Colonial Revenues, in addition to a personal allowance of £1,500 a-year as a distinguished pensioner of the Indian Government. That would be £7,500; and he did not see why there should be a grant of £2,000 given to him when the Colonists had already provided a munificent grant for their Governor-in-Chief. Besides that, he had to object to the manner, as far as he had been able to observe, in which Her Majesty's High Commissioner for South Africa had discharged the functions for which it was proposed to remunerate him. He believed he was not exaggerating the case when he said that Sir Bartle Frere hardly adopted a policy suitable for South Africa. He was practically sent to South Africa to carry out the Federation scheme of Her Majesty's Government, and to press that by all legitimate means upon the Colony and the Colonial body of the Legislature, and he thought it would not be denied that when this small revolution broke out in Griqualand, the course Sir Bartle Frere distinctly took to promote the area of the disturbances which they had to deplore at the present moment was injudicious. When the revolt broke out in Griqualand, Sir Bartle Frere issued an Ordinance for general confiscation in the hope of entirely suppressing the revolt. One consequence in Griqualand was, that the refugees from the consficated land flowed over the border into lands communicating with their own. Sir Bartle Frere seemed to have taken no means to restrict the military commanders in the measures they took to carry out this policy of confiscation. It would be admitted that one of the main weapons used by Sir Bartle Frere against the insurgent tribes consisted of the absolute destruction of and the razing to the ground of habitations all throughout the country. It was not the burning of a hut here or a hut there, not the isolated destruction of only one place or another place, according to the necessities of warfare, but all over the country arose the flames from burning huts. The Kaffir villages were systematically burnt down. When no one remained in the village but the women and children, they were driven out of their huts with 1293 all the barbarities that savage tribes were wont to use towards their hereditary enemies, so that the non-combatant element of the Kaffir population suffered even more than the combatant Kaffirs. There might be a certain amount of justification for this course of conduct if it had been crowned with success. They found that Sir Bartle Frere pursued in the burning down of these Kaffir villages a course similar to that pursued in Ireland in the 16th century under Elizabeth, and later in the 17th century by Cromwell. Sir Bartle Frere made the country a waste. The necessary results of these operations was the death from starvation of a large portion of the Native women and children. The camps were often crowded by poor refugee women, whose stock had been driven off by the Forces carrying out the policy of Sir Bartle Frere. He would refer to the policy of Sir Bartle Frere in carrying off the stock and cattle immediately; but he must repeat that to such an extent were the camps of the Colonial Forces crowded by starving women and children that an order was issued expelling these poor starving people from the British camp. That spoke volumes for the result of the operations carried out by Sir Bartle Frere. With regard to stock lifting or cattle lifting, in every page almost of the Blue Book they found an account of a brush with the Kaffirs—so many Kaffirs killed, so many hundred of cattle carried off, so many sheep, a whole country cleared of cattle, and villages burned down in various places. In all this there was proof of the unchecked ardour of the troops, not so much the Regular troops, as of the unchecked ardour of our auxiliaries, which was such that the seizures of cattle were so great that the lands over the frontier were black with them. There was one case in particular which struck him. An attack was made on Kaffirs who were passing through the frontier to friendly territory. The frontier was black with the masses of cattle, and very naively was this described in the despatch in the Blue Book, when it was said that the Kaffir cattle were not easily distinguishable from the others. In the Colonial papers it was admitted that the seizure of stock belonging to friendly tribes was a mistake. He was afraid that no check was put upon the Forces operating 1294 against the Kaffirs. It might readily be assumed that all the black men were enemies, and in thus following them up, the tribes were punished that gave them refuge. In that way those tribes were driven in immense numbers to the other tribes to take part in the revolt against us. At the present moment it was not merely a revolt. Who could say to what extent it might reach? Such was the unquestionable and unquestioned authority exercised by the chiefs, that the defection of a chief necessarily involved the defection of his tribesmen. Her Majesty's Government, therefore, ought to have proceeded with the greatest care and consideration in making war upon men who went to war against us with a blind belief and loyalty which to them was a religion. The policy of Sir Bartle Frere had not been of that character; but he was sorry to say there had been too little discrimination of that kind exhibited. At a trial not long ago at King Williamstown, out of some 60 prisoners of war—rebels, if they pleased; but, after all, the tie of loyalty which could bind these men to our rule ought not to be scrutinized too exactly, and he, therefore, thought he was justified in speaking of what were called "the rebel prisoners" as to all intents and purposes prisoners of war—he found that out of some 50 or 60 of these prisoners brought up at King Williamstown, more than 40 of them were sentenced to periods of penal servitude ranging as high as eight years, and going down to two and three years, and that very few indeed were released. He was of opinion that it was unfair to apply to these persons the laws of sedition and treason, and that it was impolitic to treat the Kaffir prisoners of war captured in the battle-field as persons liable to be tried, and tried with all the formalities of the Penal Code, and sentenced to penal servitude for merely obeying the commands of their chiefs—commands which were all the more welcome to them because their animosity to our rule and their sympathy with the tribes already in revolt had been fomented by the sweeping measures of confiscation and conflagration adopted by Sir Bartle Frere. In mentioning Sir Bartle Frere he had no desire for a moment to raise the slightest question as to the personal humanity of that gentleman; but many 1295 men of high personal humanity became, through circumstances, types of the greatest tyrants the world had ever witnessed. There was another question to which he desired to call the attention of the Committee, and he approached it not only with reluctance, but with a certain amount of disbelief. He had not observed, in any despatch, that the Kaffir prisoners of war, or the Kaffir wounded, left on the field, were receiving any attention whatever. Again, if they were to impress the Native tribes—untutored barbarians—with respect not only for our power but our civilization, he thought they would do that better by treating them according to the dictates of our higher civilization, rather than by descending to their level, and meting out to them the savage rules of savage warfare. With regard to even untried prisoners of war, he was afraid that the policy of the Government in South Africa had not been such as to diminish the feeling of intense animosity which had already spread so widely among the Native populations against our rule. He assured the Committee that he was compressing his observations within the smallest possible compass, even at the risk of doing considerable injury to his cause by omitting essential facts; but he was afraid there was so much impatience at the discussion of questions of this character, that he felt bound to have a certain regard to that feeling. With regard to the question of punishment of prisoners of war under the sedition and treason-felony laws, he found from The Cape Argus of the 4th April that at King Williamstown five prisoners were sentenced to eight years' hard labour, 40 prisoners were sentenced to seven years' hard labour, one to six years, five to five years, one to three years; so that there were some 50 prisoners captured in the battle-field and tried as rebels by such a refinement of legal process as sentenced Nuncomar long ago to death on the gibbet when it was found inconvenient to apply the strict letter of the English law in order to get rid of an opponent to the Governor General of India. He thought the precedent of the execution of Nuncomar by the strict British law ought not to be repeated at this date, in the 19th century, and that Kaffir prisoners of war ought not to be tried as mere rebels, and ought not to be punished by penal servitude. 1296 With regard to the treatment of these prisoners of war, he found there was a perfectly unanimous expression of horror among the leading and rival journals in South Africa. The Cape Argus spoke of the untried prisoners of war in the following terms:—The story of the Black Hole in Calcutta is being repeated in King Williamstown in the Cape Colony. We had heard of these horrors before, but could not believe things were so bad as they are represented in a telegram published in Tuesday's Standard and Mail. It appears that 262 persons are confined in an iron building 102 feet long by 12 wide. The height is not given, and therefore we cannot get at the cubic space allowed to each prisoner, but the square measurement is only about 4½ feet for each, person. It is impossible for these creatures to lie down, and, to add to their misery, they are half starved. Thus, with foul air, insufficient food, and limited space, they are subjected to tortures equal to those of the Inquisition. A number of the prisoners are mere boys, from 11 to 18 years old, and one is a little fellow only six. Yet this is a Christian country, and there are a number of clergymen in King Williamstown. Be it remembered also that the persons tortured in this brutal fashion are awaiting trial—but they are only niggers.Then the editor of The Cape Mercury, having his attention attracted to the matter by the horrible reports which had gone forth, actually visited the prisons, and he says—He found 262 adult Kaffirs cooped up and crammed together within the walls of three little iron sheds. Each of these sheds he found to be 34 feet long, 12 feet broad, and about 10 feet in height. In each of these low and narrow sheds about 90 men were huddled together. They were never allowed to go out for a single moment on any occasion whatever, or at any time, by night or day. For the 700 cubic feet of air which are necessary for the healthy condition of a human being, each of these wretched prisoners, in a climate of sweltering heat, had but 46 cubic feet—15 men had to live on one man's proper allowance of air. The gaolers asserted that each prisoner got a pound of porridge twice a-day; but the visitors ascertained that on the previous day, a Sunday, only one meal had been given, and while they were actually on the spot, about 2 P. M. on Monday—the prisoners not having broken their fast for 24 hours—two dishes or tubs of porridge, containing some 40 lbs.—that is, less than half a pound for each of the famished creatures—were laid on the floor of the shed, and the gaolers who brought them in immediately disappeared and locked the door. The agonized prisoners, knowing well they would get no more food until next day, begged the gaolers to apportion their scanty supply amongst them, but their piteous appeal was heard with silent scorn, and the consequence must have been either that the stronger prisoners robbed the weaker ones of their food, or that the porridge was measured out in full shares as far as it went, and that most of the starving crowd had 1297 not a mouthful given them to allay the gnawing pangs of ravenous hunger. As with food, so it was with water; a couple of buckets were handed in, and those who were able helped themselves, leaving those who were not to feel the horrors of parching thirst as well as of suffocation and of famine.These were statements made by the most respectable authorities—men interested in suppressing the Kaffir outbreak; men of property and capital, men who had a stake in the country; but who, nevertheless, felt that that severity and heartlessness were not the best means of recommending the British rule to untutored barbarians. Evidence of that kind deserved, he thought, the very serious attention of the Government. The right hon. Baronet (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) had before now rebuked him, with what the right hon. Gentleman, no doubt, considered a just severity, for bringing these questions before the House; but he (Mr. O'Donnell) thought that much more harm would be done to the Government, to the fame of the right hon. Baronet's administration of the Colonies, and to the future of our rule in South Africa, if there were to be a strict silence observed with regard to matters of this kind, than even if an Irish Member occupied a short space of time in Committee by bringing such cases under the notice of Her Majesty's Government. It was quite clear that if they summed up now the acknowledged points in Sir Bartle Frere's policy—of course, he must be made responsible for that which was done under his authority while in possession of his present trust—if they summed up those acknowledged points, they came to a total of severity applied to the tribes in South Africa which could not have been materially exceeded by the most severe measures of repression used recently in the East of Europe. They had confiscated the tribe lands and burnt down the Native villages wholesale. They had seen helpless women and children driven in flocks into the British camps for want of food; and although British humanity, in the first instance, relieved them, still the necessities of warfare compelled them to drive those women and children out into the devastated open. They had not only suspected, but convicted every tribe through which the refugee Galekas forced their way and confiscated their cattle. One after another they had driven the Na- 1298 tive tribes into insurrection. They had brought up prisoners of war to be tried before English Courts who never knew anything of English process and knew nothing of the English language—men who had been accustomed to revere the ordinances of their Chiefs as something semi-divine. They had sentenced them to terms of penal servitude of six or eight years—terms as severe as could be meted out to ungrateful Irishmen, insensible to the charms of the form of administration adopted by Her Majesty's Government in Ireland. They had seen the Native prisoners before trial cooped up without food, air, or water, without the slightest regard for the most ordinary decencies of life; and he asked whether the occurrence of such things, or the reports of the happening of such things spreading abroad through tribe after tribe of the Native population, were not calculated not only singularly to diminish the credit of British Christianity, but singularly also to diminish the confidence of the Native tribes in the justice and humanity and the civilization of our rule? He could not but feel that Sir Bartle Frere was the official who was directly responsible for the doing of these things. He did not like to use the word "atrocities," or to say anything unnecessarily severe; but he laid the facts before the Committee as they were; and he ventured to think that the Committee might very easily employ its time much worse than by placing on record some expression of opinion against our policy in South Africa, which had not only been so severe, but whose severity had been so inefficacious. In conclusion, he moved to omit from the item under the head of South Africa, the sum of £2,000, payable to Her Majesty's High Commissioner in South Africa.
wished to point out to the hon. Member that a certain portion of the Vote had been already taken on account. It would be better, therefore, to propose to reduce the Vote by a certain sum.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That the Item of £2,000, for the Salary of Her Majesty's High Commissioner for South Africa, be reduced lay the sum of £1,200."—(Mr. O'Donnell.)
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
There is no item in the whole of this Vote in regard to which I less expected a reduction to be moved than this item of £2,000 for the salary of Sir Bartle Frere. The total amount of his salary may appear to be considerable, considering the payments made by the Cape Colony towards it; but I venture to say that no money is better spent; for during the past year, among all our Governors of Colonies not one has been placed in so difficult a position, and has performed the duties of his position with greater ability and greater humanity, than Sir Bartle Frere. The hon. Member for Dungarvan has alluded to a previous occasion when he brought this subject under the notice of the House. I am bound to say that I had not the least expectation that he would take the opportunity of a Vote of this kind to enter into a discussion of the whole policy of Sir Bartle Frere in reference to the Cape. I do not propose to follow him now into the discussion of that policy. But he took exception to the view I expressed—that it is not fair or right that such statements as he then made should be made, without proof of the accuracy of the charges preferred. The hon. Member has made charges again to-night without, as far as I know, any shadow of truth. He has spoken of the absolute destruction of every habitation in the Native country in which the war has been waged. No doubt, habitations have been destroyed in the course of these operations. Native habitations and other habitations must necessarily be destroyed in war; but that there has been anything like the indiscriminate destruction of which he spoke I absolutely deny. He spoke further of illtreatment of Native women and children; but he did not bring any proof whatever of his assertions. No doubt, Native women may have suffered from hunger. But what have they done? They have come continually to the camps of the European or Colonial or Native Forces, and they have received provisions at their hands. I do not believe that any war was ever waged in which the women and children of an enemy were treated with greater humanity than they have been treated with on this occasion by all engaged in the war. In fact, the women of the rebellious Natives crowded into our camps to such an extent that, as the hon. Mem- 1300 ber said, it was found by General Sir Arthur Cunningham absolutely necessary to prohibit their admission. It was found that the women were sent in by the men of the tribes in order to act as spies on the movement of our troops; or, in some cases, to convey to the men in arms against our Forces the provisions given to them for their own relief. Under these circumstances it is hardly to be wondered at that, in his own defence, the General commanding our Forces deemed it necessary to put a stop to such proceedings. But I may add that when I noticed, now some weeks ago, a paragraph in a London newspaper referring to the issue of this order, I wrote to Sir Bartle Frere to request information on the subject, and to ask if he could state to me under what circumstances that order had been issued, I have received from him a despatch in reply, stating fully the circumstances which I have just briefly recapitulated to the Committee, which will shortly be laid on the Table of the House. The hon. Member has read at great length paragraphs from Cape newspapers with reference to the treatment of prisoners of war. I had no Notice that it was his intention to make these statements. Had I known it, I would have referred to Sir Bartle Frere's despatches to see if any mention was made of the statements in these paragraphs. But I cannot have any doubt whatever that as these statements were made in the Colony, Sir Bartle Frere made it his first business to inquire into them, and that he either found them inaccurate, or if accurate that he has taken measures to prevent their recurrence. The hon. Member objects to the trial of the prisoners of war with all the formalities of English law. Would he desire that they should be tried by a drum-head court martial? If there is one thing in regard to which Sir Bartle Frere has taken more pains than another during the course of the war, it is to insure that prisoners taken in arms should have a fair and legal trial. It certainly does not appear to me to be a very severe punishment for prisoners taken in arms against the Government of the country to be sentenced to various terms of imprisonment in expiation of that offence. I do not think there is any other point to which the hon. Member alluded which demands a reply from me, except one, and that is a 1301 complaint that large herds of cattle have been captured by our Forces in the war. Almost as soon as I assumed my present Office I took the opportunity, when writing to Sir Bartle Frere, to call his particular attention to this point which I had no doubt had not escaped him; and to impress upon him, what I am sure he will take every pains to secure—namely, that no operation should be undertaken merely for the capture of cattle, but that cattle should only be captured when, as often happens in the Native wars, it is necessary to do so in order to secure the only wealth of the Native tribes, and thus really in the cause of humanity to put as soon as possible an end to the war. I think I have now dealt with all the points to which the hon. Member has called attention. I will not, therefore, weary the Committee by further dilating on the subject; but I shall be prepared to discuss it at a future time whenever it may be raised.
§ MR. PARNELL
hoped the right hon. Gentleman would give some opportunity for discussing the subject. It would be recollected that when he (Mr. Parnell) asked a Question early in the Session, with reference to the war now going on in South Africa, and requested that the Government would afford an opportunity for the discussion of the subject, the right hon. Gentleman said he did not intend to afford any special opportunity, but that such opportunity would be afforded when the Vote came on for consideration. Now it appeared to him, whether another opportunity was to be afforded or not, that this was really the only time when a discussion could be raised in a practical way. The only legitimate occasion for a discussion on the question of policy of the Administration of the Government in relation to South Africa, and more especially in regard to the acts of the Governor who was charged with carrying out that policy, was upon the Vote for the expenses incurred in connection with South Africa. Upon what occasion, he asked, could they more properly do so? He had always heard it said that it was one of the most valuable privileges of the English Constitution, that an opportunity should be afforded when money was being voted for raising a discussion as to the propriety of the expenditure. The right hon. Gentleman said this was 1302 not a proper time for raising the discussion. He differed entirely from the view of the right hon. Gentleman, and thought there could not be a more favourable opportunity. He did not think the horrible matters which had been referred to by his hon. Friend the Member for Dungarvan should be passed over in silence; but he was of opinion that the shameful deeds now being done in the name of English power and English authority in South Africa, should receive the direct condemnation of the House of Commons. He thought great credit was due to his hon. Friend for not having entered into the arrangement which the right hon. Gentleman desired him to make. And if no one but the Irish Members ventured to raise this question, some little good would be done by telling Her Majesty's Government how they regarded the course which was being pursued in South Africa. His hon. Friend the Member for Dungarvan had described, in all its horrors, the way in which that war was being carried on; and all he (Mr. Parnell) could say was that the general policy of the Government in South Africa seemed to have been carried out by our agents in an atrocious and savage manner. What was the policy of the Government with regard to the Colonists? It gave them extensive military power, and so incited them to assume an overbearing attitude to the tribes with whom they were brought into contact. ["Order, order!"]
said, he must point out to the hon. Member that the observations of the hon. Member for Dungarvan were pertinent to the matter under discussion, in so far as they called in question the conduct of the present Governor; but the hon. Member would not be in Order in entering into a general review of the policy of the Home Government.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, he had assumed that the Governor of South Africa was carrying out the policy of the Home Government, and he failed to see how he could criticize the acts of that Governor if he did not describe the policy he was carrying out. He would not further enter, however, upon the point, though he submitted that he was within his right in alluding to the manner in which Sir Bartle Frere was carrying out the 1303 directions of the Home Government, assuming, as he did, that those directions had been given. He had no wish to do anything more than that. The cause of this war was a very simple one. The lands of these tribes of Kaffirs were confiscated and given to the Fingoes, a less warlike tribe, who were unable to keep what they had so obtained. If that had been all, so much mischief would not have been done. But the Kaffirs were driven, back into territories in which they found it almost impossible to subsist, they attacked the Fingoes, the Colonists came to the aid of the Fingoes, and Her Majesty's Government sent out troops to the assistance of the Colonists, and so the matter went on until England had on hand this little war, which had now become a large one, and would have, no one could tell, what end. He submitted that this was a most pernicious policy, and that the Governors of the Cape Colony, and especially Sir Bartle Frere, would do far better if they encouraged a policy of conciliation in dealings between the Colonists and the Kaffirs, and tried to smooth over difficulties instead of pressing these Natives unjustly and confiscating their land. If such a policy were followed, they would very soon have a far different feeling shown at Cape Colony to that which now prevailed there. He did not wish to go into that point at any length, because it involved the general policy of the Home Government in dealing with the Colonists; but he did think it was a great mistake that people who were not able to defend themselves, like these Colonists, should be so much encouraged by the Home Government in their measures against their Kaffir neighbours. His hon. Friend (Mr. O'Donnell) did not grumble because some of the Natives were tried by ordinary Courts and not by drum-head court martial. At the same time, to judge by the precedents of the last Kaffir war, they would have got off much better if they had been so tried. In 1850 or 1852, instead of trying the Hottentots by the ordinary laws of the land for sedition, and sentencing, on conviction, to long periods of penal servitude, they were then tried by drum-head court martial, and sentenced to the nominal Punishment of one year with hard labour. Consequently, judging by precedent, if the Kaffirs had been tried by 1304 drum-head court martial, they would have come off a great deal better than they had done when submitted to the jurisdiction of the ordinary Courts. But the point which he especially rose to urge was, that it was an anomaly to try men by laws which they did not understand, and which really could have no application to the merits of the case. The Kaffirs were tried for sedition, which they all knew very well was an offence by one inhabitant of a country against the other inhabitants of it. Now, could the Kaffirs be called inhabitants of the Cape Colony in the sense in which the word was ordinarily used. It was an absurdity to try Kaffirs by laws and Courts meant for a very much higher state of civilization. It must be manifest that the conduct of the authorities, if not unjustifiable, was certainly absurd. As to the statement of the right hon. Baronet, that the Native women were sent into the English camp by thousands to act as spies—[Sir MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH: I did not say so.] He (Mr. Parnell) understood the right hon. Baronet to say they were sent in by thousands. He afterwards said they acted as spies, and as no limitation was placed on the number, he concluded the right hon. Baronet to mean that they were all sent in as spies. But if, on the contrary, only a few acted as spies, was that any justification for turning these thousands of women and children into the wilderness to starve, who, by the right hon. Baronet's own statement, had come into the camp because they had been deprived by the British Forces of all means of subsistence. Their cattle were their only wealth, and when these were driven off by the British Forces, they were forced to go by thousands to the English camp. Yet, in face of the knowledge that in the wilderness they had no means of subsistence, they were driven out there to starve. His hon. Friend (Mr. O'Donnell) had very truly likened the proceedings of the English Forces in Cape Colony to the proceedings of the English Forces in Ireland in the time of Elizabeth. Then, it was also the policy of the Government to deprive the people of their means of subsistence, and they died of starvation by millions. There, in Cape Colony, the same principle was carried out. The country was deliberately devastated, the means of subsistence was deliberately removed, and when 1305 the women and children came starving into the camp, they were deliberately, and as a matter of policy, turned out again to die.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, the right hon. Baronet had declared that his statements were not confirmed. In reply to his challenge he would show they were. He spoke of the remarkable tendency shown by the Forces to confound the property of the revolutionary and non-revolutionary Forces. On the 9th of November, 1877, Captain Elliot wrote that the hills and valleys were black with cattle, and that it would be idle to suppose that they all belonged to the peaceful Natives. The captured stock, he observed also, was divided on very unfair principles among the auxiliary forces. Again, as to the perils that non-combatants ran, he found Robert T. Rorke, of the Native Contingent, reporting on November 13, 1877, that on his way a number of Native women rushed out from among the bushes and fled. "Luckily I had my Fingoes sufficiently well in hand to prevent any firing." He opened the pages at random; but this gave an indication of the utterly destitute condition of these women huddling under bushes, liable to be startled and shot at by our Native auxiliaries. It was quite clear that such measures must be the reverse of consolatory to the Kaffirs. He would only quote one more instance of the sort of war that this had been. Charles B. Griffith, commanding the Colonial Forces, who had since received the Cross of St. Michael and St. George from the hands of Sir Bartle Frere, wrote, on November 29, 1877, that a tribe had been sufficiently punished; for they had been driven from their country, had lost 700 men, and had lost besides upwards of 13,000 head of cattle, besides horses, sheep, and goats, of which very large numbers fell into his hands. He noticed this because it was evident that a policy of extreme severity had been introduced into Africa, and had not succeeded in stamping out the insurrection; but, on the contrary, had extended its area. This same Commander Griffith in the same letter spoke of burning Native villages and huts as signals to the Forces moving in co-operation with him, and of their burning villages also in response. If he had time he could give the right hon. Baronet abundant evidence that he 1306 did not exaggerate one word when he said that the villages were burnt down, so that they might no longer give cover to the population, who consisted, in the majority of cases, of women and children, the men having taken refuge in the bush. He maintained that this was a terrible war, and that it would have been far better to have tried a little kindness. As to the punishment of prisoners of war, he made no objection to the men being tried by ordinary legal process; but he did object to the savage penalties for ordinary sedition being enforced against Kaffir prisoners knowing little of our authority, and owing little to our rule. Fifty or 100 years hence, that might be done; but at present these Kaffirs were independent tribes, and every maxim of policy, as well as of humanity, should suggest some other treatment than trying them as ordinary culprits, and sending them to penal servitude for six or eight years. The English policy was severe, and it had been a failure, and no reference to the humane disposition and the private character of Sir Bartle Frere would be any justification for letting the Vote pass without a protest. He had no doubt he was an admirably disposed man, but he was responsible for his subordinates; and as he (Mr. O'Donnell) could not get at his subordinates, he must direct his speech against his policy.
§ SIR HENRY HAVELOCK
said, he did not desire to enter upon the very large and broad question of the policy of the Government in South Africa at the present time; but he did rise to say a word or two in defence of one of the most estimable and praiseworthy public servants this country possessed, who was not there to speak on behalf of himself, and against whom charges had been brought without any such intimation having been given as would have enabled the Government to vindicate his policy and the conduct he was pursuing. He had had the honour of the personal acquaintance of Sir Bartle Frere for very many years; he had watched his career in many distinguished positions with satisfaction, from the time when he was serving as an officer under the Indian Government until he received his present appointment as Governor of a Colony; and in the name of those who sat on his own side of the 1307 House, and in order that it might not be supposed that they sympathized with these charges, he protested against the manner in which these attacks, to which no proper answer could be given, had been made. If it were intended that his conduct should be impugned, he maintained that the more honourable course of proceeding would have been to have given Notice, and then he had no doubt Her Majesty's Government could have met these charges seriatim, and explained them one after another. If there were one man more than another among our public servants distinguished for peculiar and characteristic humanity, for especial talent in dealing with and conciliating these Native races, and for the peculiar consideration always evinced for those who came under his rule, it was Sir Bartle Frere. There was, indeed, no man against whom charges of this kind could be brought with less justification. Only a few years ago, it would be in the recollection of the Committee, that Sir Bartle Frere was employed in carrying through one of the greatest and most successful works of humanity ever attempted—that of putting an end to the slave trade of Zanzibar. He entered upon that work with all his heart, for the work suited his character, and he was successful. He had had some experience of Colonial wars—perhaps more than the two hon. Members who had just spoken. In New Zealand he had served under circumstances somewhat similar to those now existing at the Cape, and he knew then that there was not a single point as to the conduct of that war which could not have been explained and justified in the fullest detail on investigation. He trusted that Her Majesty's Government would be able to give even a more elaborate defence than had now been given to a public servant, who had been assailed at a time when there were no opportunities for vindicating his character.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, if the hon. and gallant Member had been present during the whole of the debate, he would have heard his explanation. He could not give Notice of his objection, because the Votes were taken in such an erratic way that they did not know 24 hours beforehand which particular Votes were coming on. As to the general character of the policy of the Government, he 1308 objected to that a long while ago. Lastly, he might remind the hon. and gallant Member that his defence of the personal character of Sir Bartle Frere was entirely beside the question. He was the chief; he was responsible for his subordinates—for such men as Griffith and Allen, and all the others engaged—and it was absurd trifling to bring up a question of his private character. It was absurd to try and cover these cruelties behind the excellent and humane character of Sir Bartle Frere. He admitted that he was all his most intimate friends declared him to be, and yet that did not free him from responsibility for the acts of his subordinates. Indeed, he carefully guarded himself against making a personal attack on Sir Bartle Frere, and would speak as highly of his private character as any hon. Gentleman or right hon. Gentleman. But here they had a great responsible official; a war against Natives conducted with a severity unsurpassed in any other country; in spite of that severity, the war was increasing; and, even though an insignificant Irish Member, he contended he was entitled to call attention to the facts of the case.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (4.) £2,129, to complete the sum for the Orange River Territory and St. Helena (Non-Effective Charges).
§ (5.) £1,220, to complete the sum for the Suez Canal (British Directors).
§ (6.) £5,742, to complete the sum for the Suppression of the Slave Trade.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
asked, why a moiety of this should be charged on the Indian Revenue, when it was an extra-Indian expense?
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
said, before 1871 it was all charged to India; but in that year the then Secretary of State for India (the Duke of Argyll) examined into the matter, and the result was that since that time one-half had been paid by the Imperial Government.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (7.) £10,547, to complete the sum for the Tonnage Bounties, &c., and Liberated African Department.