§ MR. FAWCETT
, in rising to call attention to the apportionment of the cost of the War in Afghanistan, and to move—That, in view of the declarations which have been officially made that the Afghan War was undertaken in the joint interests of England and India, this House is of opinion that it is unjust to defray out of the Revenues of India the whole of the expenditure incurred in the renewal of hostilities with Afghanistan,said, be proposed to do so with the utmost brevity and succinctness. If the premisses laid down by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the previous evening, with respect to the expenses of the war, had been correct, the argument of the right hon. Gentleman would have been unanswerable; and had the Afghan War been truly an Indian war, he (Mr. Fawcett), like the right hon. Gentleman, for the sake of maintaining the financial independence of India, so far from bringing forward his Motion, would have been the first to oppose any proposition of the kind. But, as things were, he would be able to show that the premisses of the right hon. Gentleman were in entire contradiction to what had been said on the subject by the most influential Members of his own Government, and also a flat contradiction of his own action last Session. He would trouble the House with very few quotations; but there were some of such extreme significance that he had a right to call upon the Government for an explanation of them. The four Members of the Government to whose utterances he should refer were the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Viceroy of India; and he would be able to show, beyond all possibility of dispute, that, unless their language was to be cast aside as unmeaning, the Afghan War could not 923 be regarded as a purely Indian affair. Now, the Prime Minister, when asked in the other House, had stated that the war was not an entirely Indian war, but was partly undertaken to maintain the influence and character of England in Europe. The Foreign Secretary had again and again said that, in order to understand the policy of the Government, it was necessary for the country and for Parliament to remember that our proceedings in Afghanistan were a part of the great Eastern Question. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, too, after having emphatically declared the importance of maintaining the financial independence of India, had admitted the responsibility of England for some part of the cost of the war by himself proposing a loan of £2,000,000, free of interest. That fact alone, and its association with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was a virtual admission of the legal and equitable responsibility of England for a part of the expense; otherwise, why should the loan have ever been advanced at a time when the credit, of India was not affected, and when it would have been easy to raise the money in England? Of course, if the House had not admitted the responsibility of this country, it would have been better to allow India to raise the money herself. He came next to the opinion of the Viceroy of India, and laid particular stress on his words, because the noble Lord had since completely shifted his ground. Two years ago, when the Afghan policy of the Government was before the House and the country, with a view to its approval, no opportunity was lost in exhibiting the war as an instance of a great Imperial policy; but now, when the bill had to be paid, the operations in Afghanistan were represented as a mere Frontier war. The Viceroy, soon after his arrival in India, in a memorable speech in defence of the policy of the Government, never used a single expression which could justify the conclusion that the war was simply a Frontier war. His words were—I came to India; and just before leaving England for India I had frequent interviews with Lord Salisbury, the then Indian Secretary, and I came out specially instructed to treat the Indian Frontier question as an indivisible part of a great Imperial question, mainly depending for its solution upon the general policy of Her Majesty's Government.924 After that declaration, he (Mr. Fawcett) could not conceive how the Government could ask the House to sanction the proceeding that India should pay the cost of this war on the ground that it was simply an Indian war. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had stated on the previous evening that it would be a misfortune if the Indian Government were allowed to engage in war at the expense of England; and that, no doubt, was true enough. But we should involve India in a similar, or even a worse, misfortune if all the cost of the Afghan campaign were thrown upon her people, for the Government of England were carrying on a war for their own purposes, and to maintain the influence and character of England in Europe, and they threw the expense of that war upon the Indian people, who were not a self-governing people, and who must pay the bill whether it was just or unjust. Regarding the matter merely from the point of view of commercial morality, he would ask hon. Members what would be thought of a man who entrapped his partner in an undertaking of which, while only partly benefiting, he would have to pay the entire cost? The hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. Onslow) seemed, the night before, to be glad that this discussion was about to be raised, because, he said, the Conservative Party would be able to make some political capital out of it, by describing the Liberal Party as wishing to increase the burdens of the English taxpayers by the payment of the whole expenses of the war. Had the hon. Gentleman such a mean and contemptible opinion of the English people as to suppose that any electioneering advantage could be gained by associating the name of his Party with an act as shabby as it was unjust and ungenerous? If so, he wished the hon. Member joy of such an electioneering cry; and if any advantage could be gained by it, he willingly made hon. Gentlemen opposite a present of that advantage. For himself, there was no issue on which he (Mr. Fawcett) would rather fight an election than on the one whether this country should save its pockets at the expense of the poor and helpless people of India on such a pretext; for he could not believe they would gain any popularity by pursuing a course which was unjust, inequitable, and, as he believed he could show, illegal. He 925 knew perfectly well the two arguments which would be used against him. It would be said that the Government of India wished to pay the bill, and that the financial condition of India had lately much improved. But the Government of India need not, in any unrepresented country, necessarily be the Representative of India. It was true the Viceroy and his Council said that India ought to pay the bill; but then-there was this significant fact—that all the unofficial Members of the Council, without a single exception, considered it unjust that India should bear the entire burden. As to the improvement in the financial condition of India, that had nothing to do with the question. Even if her financial condition were worse than it was last year, valuing as he did the financial independence of India, he would say, if India were equitably bound to pay the expenses of the war, she ought not to come to that House for a single shilling. But in what did this improvement consist? Two branches of the Revenue of the most uncertain kind were admitted to have improved. India had obtained £1,900,000 more from the most precarious and fluctuating revenue of opium, and had lost less by £1,000,000 on the exchanges than was expected. Who could predict what the exchanges would be next year? Circumstances might make them more unfavourable. The rate of exchange depended upon the amount of remittances which India had to make to England; £2,000,000 were advanced to India last year; consequently next year, as these £2,000,000 would not be forthcoming, the remittances from India to England would have to be increased to that amount. Therefore, the rate of exchange would be more unfavourable. What was the position of India at present, in consequence of our refusal to make any contribution to the expenses of the Afghan War? Three years ago, certain taxes were imposed on India for a special purpose—that of reducing the Debt incurred on account of famine, and also of enabling public works to be carried out which might be described as famine prevention or relief works. These taxes were burdensome, and the most solemn assurance was given to the Indian people that not a single shilling of them should be devoted to any other purpose but the direct or indirect relief of famine. The 926 Government, however, had appropriated every penny of those taxes imposed for the relief or prevention of famine to the expenses of the Afghan War. They had not reduced by a single sixpence the debts incurred in the famine years; on the contrary, so great were their financial exigencies, they were obliged—and the Viceroy said it was a most unfortunate necessity—to diminish now by £1,000,000, and next year by £2,000,000, the amount to be spent upon those public works, the great securities against famine. They were devoting those taxes to a war which, they said, had been undertaken to maintain the character of England in Europe. Did they think that right? Why, it was not only unjust and inequitable, but illegal, because, by the Government of India Act of 1858—at least that portion of it which dealt with the employment of Indian troops beyond the Frontier—when Indian troops were so employed not in an Indian war, the expense should be borne by England. What was our policy towards self-governed Colonies and towards India, not self-governed? In the self-governed Colony of the Cape we had a war for which we were not responsible. Who was to pay for it? It would cost the English people something like £5,000,000. In India, there was a war for which the Indian people were not responsible—a war which grew out of our own policy and action in Europe; and we were going to make the Indian people, who were not self-governed and were not represented, pay every sixpence of the cost. That consideration was a most instructive one, because it brought out in striking relief the character and nature of this proposal of the Government. Whatever might be the fate of the appeal he was making to the House—and he did not think there was much chance of its success—he had reason to know that the policy of the Government with respect to the expenses of the Afghan War did not meet with the approval of their independent supporters outside the House. It was a remarkable fact, a fact which did infinite credit to the English Press, that it was those journals which had most consistently supported the foreign policy of the Government that most persistently asserted it was unjust and ungenerous to make India pay the entire cost of the war. They had taken up that line be- 927 cause they saw clearly that it was absolutely impossible to defend the Afghan policy of the Government and to defend, at the same time, what the Government were doing with regard to its expense. If he were a supporter of the Government and of its Afghan policy, he would be more anxious than he was now to see the Motion he was about to make carried, because he knew no way in which that that policy was more likely to be discredited in the estimation of the English people. He should not, therefore, cease to endeavour to strip the policy of Her Majesty's Government of its Imperial tinsel, and exhibit it in its naked form. "Yes," they said, "we have gone in for a spirited foreign policy; but we are afraid to ask the English people to contribute a single sixpence towards it; all our spirited foreign policy ends in this—that the cost of our policy is not to be borne by England, but be thrown on defenceless India." If he thought about nothing but Party advantage, he would let the Government go on as they were now doing, because nothing would give the Liberal Party a greater advantage. But, in spite of that, he ventured to make one more earnest appeal to the Government, because he knew that any Party advantage which might be gained would be mere dust in the balance compared with the harm certain to be inflicted on our rule in India if we gave the Indian people reason to suppose that we were less solicitous for their welfare because they had no power to influence our decision, or to decide the fate of the Government. He begged, in conclusion, to move the Amendment of which he had given Notice.
§ MR. RATHBONE
said, he rose with great pleasure to second the Resolution of his hon. Friend the Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett), and he would do so notwithstanding the threat that had been uttered in the House during the previous evening—namely, that those who voted for it would soon discover that the people of this country would object to being called upon to pay for the Afghan War. He was sorry to think that any such argument had been used, and he would be still more sorry if it was likely to deter anyone from voting for the Resolution now before the House. In his opinion there was no case in which it could be shown that this country had shirked its responsibility, or had shrunk 928 from any sacrifice which right and justice demanded. Some time since he had been travelling on the Continent, and he there met with a German Professor, who expressed the opinion that if ever England were dragged down from her high position it would be by her Indian Empire, where her responsibilities were so great. That would be the result, unless we treated India fairly and justly; and he (Mr. Rathbone) thought that unless we discharged our responsibilities to India with ability, energy, and self-sacrifice, England would have to suffer. It was because he felt thus strongly on the question that he would not hesitate to vote for the Resolution of his hon. Friend.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "in view of the declarations which have been officially made that the Afghan War was undertaken in the joint interests of England and India, this House is of opinion that it is unjust to defray out of the Revenues of India the whole of the expenditure incurred in the renewal of hostilities with Afghanistan,"—(Mr. Fawcett,)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. ONSLOW
said, he entirely differed from the opinion which the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Rathbone) had quoted; they need not be afraid of England being dragged down by India. The Resolution moved by the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett) spoke of "the Afghan War being undertaken in the joint interests of England and India;" but any war undertaken in India was "in the joint interests of England and India." No war undertaken in that country could properly be described as purely an Indian war. The hon. Member for Hackney had drawn a parallel between what he called a co-partnery between A and B, where A spent a great deal of money, and B refused to pay his share. But there was no analogy, for India was a consenting agent, and could not, therefore, repudiate the cost of the war which had taken place. The hon. Gentleman said the Viceroy had changed his opinion. He (Mr. Onslow) would read an extract from an Indian newspaper, in which the Viceroy had expressed his opinion on this subject in the 929 most states man like manner. Lord Lytton, in replying to a deputation, said—Gentlemen, you have reminded me of the declaration made by my Predecessor, that in all financial questions the true interest of the people of India is the only consideration which the Government of India has to regard. I unreservedly approve and adopt that declaration, and whatever may be the further action of the Government of India on this important question, it will certainly be taken with exclusive reference to what we conscientiously conceive to be the highest, the widest, and the most permanent interests of the people of India. You have stated that the Indian Revenue has been burdened with the cost of the Afghan "War under a recent Resolution of Parliament. I doubt, gentlemen, if there has ever been in modern times a war in which such brilliant and substantial successes have been achieved with so small a sacrifice of men and money, or with such little assistance from the taxpayers. The community is most directly benefited by its results; but, as a matter of fact, the Government of India, in providing for the cost of this just, unavoidable, and hitherto successful war, has been assisted in a spirit of marked liberality by the Government and Parliament of England. It is my conviction, however—and I state it in the belief that it will not be disputed by the wisest, the most far-seeing, and the most patriotic of Her Majesty's Indian subjects—that it would be a disgrace and an inglorious confession of weakness on the part of India to acknowledge that she, an Empire covering a continent and possessing a population of 200,000,000 souls, with a Revenue of more than £50,000,000, and an Army of 200,000 soldiers, cannot avenge an insult, assert; her dignity, secure her frontiers, or maintain her rights by a war against the barbarous prince of a comparatively small and poor country, adjacent to her own territory, without displacing the financial resources and disturbing the military organization of the whole British Empire.The present Government could not be blamed for having neglected Indian affairs; for it was well known that Indian subjects had taken up a great portion of the time of that Parliament, and that was the third time the present discussion had come on. Something had been said of the finances of India; but even after the cost of the war and of the great military lines of railway there was a substantial surplus at the present time. He denied that there had been any reduction in the public works of India; but he believed it would be found that the great military lines of railway would be greatly more beneficial to India, especially in case of famine, than any doubtful irrigation works, which often turned out financial failures. No stronger evidence could be given of the fairness of throwing the expense of the war on India than the testimony of Sir John Strachey and 930 the Viceroy, who had spoken out in such statesmanlike terms. In the case of the Mutiny, the expense was thrown on the Indian finances, and in the case of the first Afghan War, this country bore no part of the expenses. The Afghan War was not a thing of yesterday. It was long foreseen. The evil day, which had been postponed, had come at last; but it had, both in this country and in India, done a vast amount of good. It had welded the Natives of India more firmly to them than before. It had been the means of dissipating altogether the seditious writing in the Indian newspapers; and from all the accounts he had received he would say there never was a time when the people were more contented with British rule. He had great faith in the future of that great country, which, he trusted, would always be ruled by such statesmen as the present Viceroy.
Sir, I shall not detain the House at any great length; but it appears to me the reasonings of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down (Mr. Onslow) are pervaded by a spirit of optimism which would enable him to express the liveliest satisfaction at, and find proofs of the greatest prosperity in, any serious circumstances, however menacing and however disagreeable. The hon. Member says that the analogy drawn by my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett) under the figures A and B has no application at all, because he, B, was not a consenting party. That is the spirit of optimism carried to extravagance, when a Gentleman of great intelligence, like the hon. Member, can stand up in this House and say, that in his deliberate judgment, the people of India have consented to the Afghan War through the official documents of the Viceroy of India. If that be so, it appears to me that to make such a statement as that the judgment of the Viceroy is a sufficient expression of that of the people of India, is an expression of paradox really surprising, and such as is rarely heard among us.
§ MR. ONSLOW
I spoke of the whole Government of India—the supreme Government, not merely of the Viceroy.
Well, take the Government of India, though I do not see how the hon Gentleman mends his case, or how it can matter one fig whether it was the Viceroy alone, or the Viceroy together with various important officers 931 dependent upon him, and named and appointed by him. But the hon. Gentleman entirely omitted to notice the observation of my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, that the unofficial Members of the Viceroy's Council, who, in the feeblest possible degree, but yet in some degree, exhibit the representative elements, are not parties consenting to the policy of the Viceroy. The hon. Gentleman said the people of India were most happy and contented—[Mr. ONSLOW: Hear, hear.]—God forbid that I should suppose that the grave errors, and, I am afraid, something worse than errors, of the past two or three years have wiped from the minds of the people of India the recollection of many years—one might almost say generations—of enlightenment and steady effort to promote their happiness and prosperity. But here, again, is it possible to conceive a more strange method of proof than the hon. Gentleman has adopted? He says that the people of India and the Government have been welded more closely together, and he proves it by showing that in the Native Press there has been no expression of dissent. I have no doubt about the integrity of his mind; but he must surely remember that an Act has been passed which places the Native Press as much at the mercy of the Viceroy as the Russian Press is at the mercy of the Czar, and that, under the circumstances, the Native Press becomes useless for the purpose of expressing Native feeling. It surely requires great logical gallantry to find in the silence of the Native Press that they have been welded to us more than ever, and that the great work of securing their happiness and contentment has been promoted by the withdrawal of all the liberties which have been peacefully enjoyed by them under a series of great statesmen. The hon. Gentleman thinks that this attack of ours on an established Mohammedan country is a mode of confirming our Empire over the hearts and affections of the Mohammedans of the East. That is not a subject I wish to pursue in this House; but I am compelled to record my strong dissent from the doctrine of the hon. Member, who here, again, seems to me to enjoy powers of optimism in such a degree that he can transform into arguments, for his own purposes, all the circumstances of the case which ought to suggest conclusions 932 diametrically the opposite. The hon. Member is greatly satisfied with the exceedingly solid and substantial surplus of the Revenues of the Government of India. We are all greatly pleased that the Government of India should so far be relieved from the presence of its immediate embarrassments; but, without taking a desponding view of the subject, I marvel at the sanguine temperament of a Gentleman who, upon looking at the excess which has come to our Revenue from opium, is able to describe that as solid and substantial. Money is money, and its solidity is the same from whatever source it is derived, and whatever odour it may unfortunately have gathered. But with regard to the future, I say that the whole nature of our opium revenue ought to be a perpetual warning and caution to us. The Indian Revenue never can be solid and substantial so long as it is largely dependent on the opium revenue. Again, the hon. Member omitted to say how much of this solidity and substance was contributed by the Famine Fund of £1,500,000, which was expressly raised for a particular purpose, and now totally diverted from that puprose. Yet, according to the declarations made by the Indian officials themselves when the Famine Fund was raised, it is no part of the surplus at all, except as a matter of account. Unless our eyes deceived us in all we read of those formal official declarations of the highest official authorities in India, this was money which was to be entirely set apart from all ordinary purposes of the Government. It is now absorbed into those ordinary purposes, if, indeed, the extraordinary proposals which the Viceroy, supported By the Government at home, has been engaged in, can be called ordinary proposals. But the whole separate and special character of that fund, which was established by official declarations, repeated and reiterated—I will not say usque ad nauseum, but certainly usque ad satietatum—is done away with, and the money is absorbed. The provision for Famine is nowhere, but it still figures in the Budget as part of the solid and substantial surplus. In my opinion, my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney has made good his case; but whether he will press his Resolution I do not know. There is a certain amount of unreality about the debates 933 of men over whom the sword of Damocles is hanging, not only because of the fears they may entertain, but because of their multitudinous engagements. That is one of the great objections, and one of the great inconveniences, of all Dissolutions of Parliament which take place in the middle of the Session, and one of the great objections to the peculiar and unprecedented mode of bringing about a Dissolution which has been adopted on the present occasion. Still, I think it fair and right to say that, in my opinion, my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney has completely made good his case. His case, as I understand it, has not received one shred of answer. Subtle arguments have been used, which go to the extent that every war that is ever made in India must be considered to be in some sense in the interests of India. But that is not the question. A distinction has been drawn historically, and by Members of the present Government, between wars of a local character and wars of an Imperial character; and in the speech of the Prime Minister, the speech of Lord Salisbury, and the speech of the Viceroy of India, and, I think, my hon. Friend said, in a speech by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, this Afghan War has been distinctively recognized as partaking of the character of an Imperial war. I suppose if the Zulu War had been carried on by Indian troops, and at the expense of India, the right hon. Gentleman would have said—"It is all right, because India has an especial interest in all the concerns of the Empire." That distinction has been laid down by Members of Her Majesty's Government. This war has been described as one which possesses features which give to it the character of an Imperial War. Under these circumstances, my hon. Friend says that England, recognizing the fact, and recognizing the total incapacity of the people of India to bear the expense, ought not to charge the expense of the war on India. He has put it moderately, and he says, in effect, we ought not to charge the entire expenses of the war on Indian Revenue. It may be said in answer to that, that we have not charged the entire cost of the war on India, in consequence of the small contribution which was made by the Government last year of £2,000,000 without interest. But I think not merely a small sum like that, but what my right hon. Friend the Chan- 934 cellor of the Exchequer would call a solid and substantial sum ought to be borne by this country at the very least. Nor can we tell what disastrous pressure this war will put on Indian finance, and you have not the smallest idea where it will end, what its cost will be, or how it will bear. We have a very remarkable declaration' about delays in rendering accounts from India, and in consequence of those delays, we do not know what we are spending, and small figures are presented to us while large figures are being prepared for us. The first Afghan War has been referred to as a precedent. I did not suppose anyone knew or had any idea in regard to the first Afghan War what the excuse was, and the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Onslow) seems unfortunate in respect of his speech on that point. He says—"Do not call on the people of England to pay for this war, because they did not pay for the first Afghan War." But you must remember that the first Afghan War, although at first appearance a military success, came to be an object of as universal condemnation, and I might say almost of universal detestation, by the whole of the people of this country, as any war which has at any time stained our hands or the pages of our history. At the time the late Mr. Roebuck endeavoured to persuade the House of Commons to censure the Ministry under whom the war was made after it had gone out of Office; and it was only with the greatest difficulty, and through the wise and patriotic exertions of the late Sir Robert Peel, that that Vote of Censure was kept off. I hope that, whatever the precedents which are quoted in this matter, we shall hear no more of the precedent of the first Afghan War, with regard to which everyone of us must be inclined to say that whatever was done in the war was a very wise and good precedent for not doing the same thing now. With reference to this expenditure, I am surprised to hear, in what purports to be a report of a speech of the Governor General of India, this statement—That the Government always distinctly repudiated any notion of treating the proceeds of new taxes as a separate fund.It is, perhaps, not very convenient that the policy of the Viceroy should be defended and set forth in speeches, and if it was done in that way, I think it 935 would be convenient that we should have those speeches from authentic quarters. But that speech contains some comments which I wish to allude to. The Viceroy speaks in his speech of an allegation, which he describes as "Mr. Gladstone's last allegation," "that the Indian Government had deliberately falsified its military accounts to conceal the real cause of the Afghan War." To this the Viceroy seems to reply. I will only detain the House with a brief explanation of what really took place. It never was my allegation. I never alleged what is here imputed to me, because I never knew it. What I did was that I simply mentioned it as the allegation of others, as being given to me with such presumption and an appearance of truth that I thought it right to give it public mention in order that, if incorrect, it might be contradicted. I am afraid this is an evidence that the Viceroy in this, as in former instances, has commented on documents which he has never read. I am quite sure he is wholly incapable of deliberate misrepresentation, as a man not only of distinction, but of honour; but I have noticed the most extraordinary discrepancies between official documents which were in our hands, and the Viceroy's account of them; and I have no doubt that this must have been owing to his having received a description of the documents second-hand. The allegation which has been circulated here, and which is a very serious one, is an allegation which can be perfectly well-disposed of. As to the accuracy or inaccuracy of it, the Government will be able to give us the means of fairly judging. It was to the effect that the smallness of the figures of the war charge was owing to the fact that a very large amount of material had been withdrawn from stores in England and India, and had not been replaced. Now, I think that when allegations of this kind are made, it is well that they should be answered. I hope the allegations will be entirely answered, for, when they come into circulation, if not founded on fact, they should be at once contradicted. Therefore, out of respect to the Viceroy, I think it right to make this explanation. As regards the substance of the Motion, I cordially embrace the doctrine of my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney. There is not a constituency in the country before 936 which I would not be prepared to stand, if it were the poorest and most distressed in the land, if it were composed of a body of men to all of whom every addition of a farthing for taxes was a sensible burden, and before them I would be glad to stand, and plead that when we have made in India a war, which our own Government have described as in part an Imperial war, we ought not for a moment to shrink from the responsibily of assuming at least a portion of the cost of that war, in correspondence with that declaration, instead of making use of the law and argument of force, which is the only law and the only argument which we possess, or apply, to place the whole of this burden on the shoulders of the people of India.
said, that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had touched upon every subject of dispute in that House during the last three years with regard to India, concluding with a reference to a controversy between himself and the Viceroy. If he (Mr. Balfour) rightly understood the complaint of the right hon. Gentleman against the Viceroy, it consisted in this—that the Viceroy had quoted a certain assertion, and described it as "Mr. Gladstone's last allegation." The right hon. Gentleman considered that to be an incorrect statement, because he had not made the allegation himself. But if the Viceroy had said—"The last allegation to which Mr. Gladstone has given wide publicity," he would have been distinctly accurate. The right hon. Gentleman, therefore, in his (Mr. Balfour's) opinion, had not so much to complain of as he seemed to think. The distinction was really nothing like so material as the right hon. Gentleman appeared to suppose; for if the allegation was not his own, he had lent the weight of his great name to give wide currency to it. With regard to the question raised by the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett), he was glad to think that it was not introduced as a Party question. He was always sorry when Indian matters were treated as Party questions; and, of course, it would be particularly disastrous so to treat them on the eve of a General Election. The hon. Member for Hackney had told the House that there was not a constituency in England which would not think that the Govern- 937 ment were doing wrong in connection with the Afghan War. His hon. Friend thought, therefore, that the Government, in pursuing their present course, were doing something which would injure them with the country; and he (Mr. Balfour) might, therefore, defend the policy of the Government without laying himself open to being told that whatever he might say was with a view to the forthcoming Election. The hon. Member for Hackney, when he contended that the expense of the Afghan War, being an Imperial matter, ought to be borne in part by England, must be prepared to admit that all expenditure incurred by England for Imperial purposes should also be borne in part by India; and, once that principle accepted, a vast number of difficulties would arise. It would simply be impossible to apportion exactly the liability of the two countries in matters which affected each, such as, for instance, the strengthening of England's military defences. The expense of bringing the Indian troops to Malta, which was to fall upon the English Exchequer, would, according to the hon. Member for Hackney's contention, clearly have been in part a charge upon India. Again, there was the case of the Royal Navy. India, if a separate country, would unquestionably require a Fleet of her own; yet nothing, or very little, was charged to her in respect of the Navy maintained by England. With regard to the Motion of the hon. Member for Hackney, it was beyond dispute that the Afghan War was a war for the purpose of strengthening India apart from her connection with England. It was undertaken immediately in consequence of the insult offered to the Indian Government, and among the more profound causes that led to that war was undoubtedly the necessity of defending the North-West Frontier of India. If India had belonged to an independent Monarch—for instance, had the Great Mogul himself happened to be the Ruler of India—it would have been necessary for him to have entered into that war precisely as the Indian Government had done, and for precisely the same objects. There was no doubt, therefore, that Her Majesty's Government were following out a right line of policy in throwing the whole of the cost upon the Indian finances, and for these reasons he could not but give 938 the Government in this matter his cordial support.
§ MR. LAING
said, he differed from the hon. Gentleman who had last spoken (Mr. A. J. Balfour), in his speculative assertion that the Great Mogul, if he had been Ruler of India, would have been forced to enter into hostilities in the same way as had been now done. He (Mr. Laing) thought, if an independent Monarch had been concerned in the matter, he would never have gone to war at all. If they were to go into speculation at all, the safest assertion to make would be that the Indian Government would never have undertaken the war of its own motion. But he, for one, would advise hon. Members to abstain from speculation, and to confine the discussion to the real issue, the question of finance, which was the more prosaic issue before them. If the financial condition of India had been flourishing, if the pressure of taxation had been light, and the Revenue ample, this question would not have been seriously raised; but if the finances were in a condition of distress, if the pressure of taxation was heavily felt, and if that pressure and the sense of injustice which it caused constituted a source of danger to their Indian Empire, he thought that both justice and policy might require that England should contribute a considerable portion of the cost of what had been admitted by the Prime Minister to have been in the main a war undertaken for Imperial and European objects. Her Majesty's Government showed, by the tone which they took last year, and their action in advancing a loan of £2,000,000 without interest, and which there was very little expectation would ever be repaid, that they were not indisposed to relieve India of some portion of the cost; and if the proposal to assist India was now resisted by them, it was due very much to the favourable change supposed to have taken place in Indian finances. The hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. Onslow) had said that India could now well afford to pay for the war, and suggested that it would not do to place the cost on the English taxpayers on the eve of a General Election. It became, therefore, of essential moment to investigate how far it was correct that the finances of India were in such a flourishing condition that it was a matter of little moment to the Indian taxpayer whether the whole 939 burden of this war was thrown upon him or not. In speeches of high authority there had been an attempt to represent the finances of India as being in a flourishing condition, and any assertions to the contrary were described as a device of Party opponents, got up for electioneering purposes. As regarded the improvement in the financial position of India, no one could rejoice more than he. At the same time, it was right to analyze the causes of it, and see if they were of temporary or a permanent nature. By far the largest increase was due to the opium trade, it being said that in the course of three months, the opium revenue had improved by £1,500,000. Now, he had had some experience of this opium revenue, and was responsible for two Budgets at a period of great anxiety. The general feeling then was that the opium traffic was extremely precarious, and he had to investigate the subject. He now ventured to say that there were only two ways in which the great excess could be obtained. Instead of increasing the supply of opium, they might increase their revenue by diminishing the supply, because, in that case, they would have less to pay for the manufacture, and would force up the price in China to a very high rate. It was one of the cardinal points in Indian finance to keep the opium revenue as steady as possible, and by no means, he ventured to say, could a surplus of £2,000,000 be obtained from that source in the course of seven or eight months without trenching on the expectations of the future, and raising a very strong presumption that in the next year, or the year after, there would be a corresponding diminution to an equal, if not to a larger amount. As regarded silver, too, the difference in the rates of exchange, by which it was hoped £1,000,000 would be realized, was a matter of extremely precarious calculation; while it should be borne in mind that during the present year, there had been no exceptionally heavy famine expenditure in India. The sources of improvement in the Revenue, therefore, which he had indicated, although they were productive of many gratifying results, in the present instance were not such as could fairly be relied on to continue. The fact was that the condition of Indian finance did not really depend so much on those temporary sources of 940 income as on the mode in which the expenditure on what were known as productive works was dealt with, and seeing the deficit in the case of works of irrigation and the State railways, on which a sum of over £24,000,000 had been expended within the 10 years ending in 1878, it was clear that Budgets were framed by making a charge on capital, which was by no means a difficult operation, and one quite easy to conceal. In fact, the accounts from India were arranged as if for the express purpose of confusion, and he defied anyone who was not an expert, and who did not devote a great deal of time to them, to get at the truth. He wished also to point out that the time at which the Afghan War was commenced was one of great tension and difficulty in Indian finance, which could be restored to a sound footing only by means of fresh taxation, or by having recourse to measures of economy. Into the question of the policy of that war he had no desire to enter. He would merely refer to the fact that, in accordance with the statements of the Prime Minister, it had been undertaken for objects which, in the main, were Imperial and English objects, in the pursuit of which in Europe it had come to pass that Russia had been induced to consider the expediency of seeking to inflict a blow through their possessions in the East. He wanted to know what would be the permanent expenditure entailed on India by any possible policy which the Government might intend to carry out in Afghanistan? He did not doubt for a moment that they had the power to effect the military occupation of a portion of Afghanistan; but what he did doubt was the ability of the people of India to support the taxation that would be necessary to pay for such an occupation. Even if they retired within the Scientific Frontier of the Treaty of Gundamuck, the increase of the expenditure was estimated at £1,000,000 a-year; and if they occupied Candahar and other points, it was impossible to say what the expenditure would be. Those burdens were great, and they had yet to be felt. Such a policy was dangerous to India, and the Hindoos would be forced to the conviction that they were being unfairly treated. Having regard to the conditions of their Indian Empire, was it wise and politic that burdens of this 941 nature should be put on the backs of the Indian taxpayers, or accumulated by adding year by year to the debt, while nothing at all, or, at all events, only a paltry sum, was paid by England towards defraying the expense of a war by which this country had benefited the most, because, by the confession of the Prime Minister, it had thereby regained its ascendency in the Councils of Europe? If that policy were persisted in, the day would come when the Government would have to choose between financial bankruptcy in India, or to bring the British taxpayer in some form or other to the rescue. He regarded India as the greatest monument of the best qualities of the English race that had ever been raised, and it was for that reason that he wished to do nothing to endanger it.
MR. MAC IVER
, wished to congratulate his hon. Friend the Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett) upon his speech, which differed entirely from the electioneering character of that which had fallen from other right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite. The fact that the House was upon the eve of a General Election had made no difference whatever so far as his hon. Friend (Mr. Fawcett) was concerned. Considering that the present debate was based upon the question as to who should bear the expense of the troubles in Afghanistan, it would have been more satisfactory if the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, who so warmly supported the Resolution before the House, had told the House what was the real policy and intention of the Liberal Party if, unfortunately for the country, they got a majority in the new Parliament. It was clear to everyone that, from one point of view, the Afghan War was a local question; and, from another point of view, it was an Imperial question. The Afghan War was not a new trouble, but was one which arose out of an old sore, and should therefore be treated as one which affected that part of the dominions which it really concerned, and which should bear the expense of the trouble. If trouble was to arise nearer home, as, for instance, in the Mediterranean with reference to Malta, Gibraltar, or Cyprus, no one would think of asking India to pay. Nor ought Great Britain now to pay for this Afghan business. The expense should be justly borne, with due reference to the circumstances and the scene of the oc- 942 currence. In such a case as the present, therefore, he was of opinion that the House should not agree to the Motion of the hon. Member for Hackney. The real question was, whether the British taxpayer should be called upon to bear the expenses of the present war, and he had arrived at the conclusion that he should not.
§ SIR EDWARD COLEBROOKE
said, that when the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett) proposed two years ago that the whole of the burden of the war should be borne by the finances of England, he (Sir Edward Colebrooke) did not follow him in that proposition, but now circumstances were altered. Last year the Government considered the finances of India required some aid, and on that occasion he considered the Government acted most inadequately in merely allowing to India the interest on a small loan of money. This was a question, he thought, which might be considered one in which the English taxpayer might act generously in the matter, as well as justly towards the people of India. It was not a common war, and they did not look merely to the Frontier of India; they looked to something beyond—to Central Asia, and even the Bosphorus itself. The causes which led to the war wore of the kind entailed by orders from homo, in defiance of the repeated remonstrances of those who were responsible for the Government of India; and, therefore, they were justified in urging the Government to take some step in order to meet the case justly. They might call it the policy of Her Majesty's Government as regarded Afghanistan; but, if so, it had broken down almost from the very beginning, because the affairs of India were continually changing. The former Afghan War cost about £2,000,000 or £3,000,000 a-year; but that was a war undertaken with very much smaller resources than they had at present. The present war was one, as far as they could judge, that required an enormous Force, such a Force that they never had in India before—that was, employed beyond their Frontier; and the cost of that, if it were continued, must amount to from £3,000,000 to £4,000,000 sterling a-year. The cost of maintaining such a Force must be of a very serious character, and if it was carried on for many years the resources of India must 943 break down in the struggle. Those were grounds, he considered, why some more consideration should be given by the people of England. He would add, further, that the reason why they should make that special proposal was that he, for his part, should regard it with great favour, because, if carried out, it would make the people of England share somewhat in the responsibility, and put the Government of this country under some control or responsibility. They might well weigh the course on which they were engaged, and if they did, they would find that a war of that kind was not a war which they could play upon a chess-board, or have the luxury of reading the reports of the success of their arms; but one in which they were deeply interested, and in which a false step would lead to a heavy burden being thrown upon the country. For these and other reasons he had stated, he should cordially join with the hon. Member for Hackney.
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
said, that the discussion had wandered over a wide field, though the issue to be decided was, in reality, extremely simple. It was, in the first place, ought India justly to bear the whole expense of the renewed hostilities in Afghanistan? and secondly, if so, could she bear it? Now, the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett) seemed to make rather light of the latter point, for he had said that the question of her ability to pay had nothing at all to do with the matter; but that could hardly be contended by hon. Members opposite in face of the fact that on many occasions last year they had said the matter would be decided by her simple inability to contribute, and that that was the very reason why the war should not have been undertaken. The first point, however, was, whether India ought to contribute? That subject, as well as the origin of the war, had been discussed on more than one occasion, and he recollected that the hon. Member for the Elgin Burghs (Mr. Grant Duff), who then held the office which he (Mr. E. Stanhope) now filled, speaking with justly-merited authority, had said that if they were to strike the balance between England and India, he was persuaded that India ought to pay not less, but more than she did at present. The hon. Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock), also, had pointed out that the interest of England was the 944 preservation of her road to India, and that for that object she had made great sacrifices, in relation to the general Eastern Question, and had, after all, paid more than her fair share of the total cost of what had been undertaken. Again, the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell) had put the matter in an amusing way, in observing that he should prefer the expense to be borne by India rather than Kirkcaldy. On the occasion when those speeches were made, the House had come to the conclusion that the proposals of the Government were satisfactory, and had decided that the contribution made by England was entirely adequate to the purpose. Now, if the former war was really a Frontier war, what was the House to say of the renewed hostilities? What was their origin? They were due simply and solely to the foul massacre of an Envoy sent by the Government of India to reside in a bordering country, just as they sent Representatives to other States upon their Frontier, and on that account alone they were compelled to invade and capture the city of Cabul. It was impossible to deny that those renewed hostilities bore the general character of a Frontier war; indeed, he had always regarded them as differing only in degree from other Frontier wars. In dealing with the expenses of that war the Government had had the advice and opinion of the Viceroy and of the whole Executive Government in India, all of whom had come to the conclusion that though it was right in the first campaign to ask the assistance of England, because of the great difficulty occasioned to Indian finance by the fall in the value of silver, it was unnecessary now for England to contribute a single shilling. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, however, pooh-poohed that view of the case, and asked how it could be supposed that the Viceroy and his Council, in any true sense of the word, represented the people of India. He (Mr. E. Stanhope) would ask the House how far that argument should be pressed? He could, however, say that if the Indian people were to be taxed only by their own Representatives and as far as they liked, the probability was that England would have to pay the entire expense of their government. But the right hon. Gentleman did not go 945 on to give the House the advantage of his opinion as to the financial principles which should guide them. He deeply regretted that one who, like his right hon. Friend, was thoroughly capable of treating those financial principles, should not have thought it necessary to deal with them on this occasion. But what were those principles? In the first place, that it was eminently desirable in all possible circumstances that India should bear its own burdens, and not add to the burdens of this country. For what did the opposite policy involve? First of all, the position of India would be lessened in the eyes of the world, if it were to be supposed that for a Frontier war against barbarous enemies she was obliged to come to England for assistance. It would also encourage a tendency to engage easily in war, and in connection with those two evils, he could not imagine anything more dangerous, or more likely to make the people of England dissatisfied with their relations with India, than that India was to be a financial burden on this country. His second principle was this—that the main guarantee for economical administration in India was, that India should pay her own way. Once take away that guarantee, once let it be supposed that any enterprize it might suit the Indian Government to undertake, was to be paid for by England, and all security for economy in Indian administration was at an end. Where a single false step might precipitate them into a costly war, nothing was more important than that they should be guided by financial considerations of the strictest order in dealing with India, not allowing any considerations of the willingness of England to make unlimited contributions to Indian wars to influence the public opinion of that country. Nothing could be more dangerous than that India should suppose she had no need to act with prudence, as, whatever she might do, England would pay. Then it only remained to be considered whether India could pay. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite treated that matter somewhat lightly now, but during the course of the past year there had been statements of a very contrary character. He had heard a great deal about financial confusion; hon. Gentlemen pointed to the loan for which he asked power last year, and said it was financial bankruptcy. And here he was bound to 946 express surprise that the hon. Member for Hackney, who generally spoke with great fairness in these matters, did not take some opportunity of congratulating the Government on the improved condition of Indian finance.
§ MR. FAWCETT
said, he was sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman; but he wished to say that he distinctly said, and he believed it would be in the recollection of the House, that he much rejoiced to find that the finances of India had improved.
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
said, that, of course he accepted the hon. Gentleman's statement, though even now he gave no credit to the Government in the matter. His right hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Gladstone), though he seemed very anxious it should not be supposed that he expressed any opinion on the subject, certainly did say in one of his speeches in Scotland, that there was a widespread belief, to which he desired to give circulation, that the charge on account of the Afghan War had not been made known; and he went on to say he believed only a little had been put forward and that a great deal remained behind, and he expressed the general belief that the full cost of the war had not been stated. Now he (Mr. E. Stanhope), on the part of the Government of India, gave that statement an unqualified denial. They had put forward, as honestly as any Government could, every item of expenditure that could possibly be included in this war. He would like to give an instance of the way in which every indirect item had been included in the cost. In the course of the operations on the Frontier a large number of the transport animals had died or been killed. In consequence of that loss the cost of the Post Office all over India had been increased, and that charge had been included in the cost of the war. There was another point upon which the right hon. Member for Greenwich appeared to lay great stress, because he had called attention to it three times—twice in the country, and a third time in the House. The right hon. Gentleman said that the cost of warlike stores had considerably diminished, and he suggested, therefore, that the Government had drawn upon those stores in consequence of the fighting in Afghanistan, and that those stores were now very much reduced. Now, after a careful inquiry, this was the result. 947 The saving of £290,000 on ordnance supplies was a real one. It was, however, due to the fact that their expenditure under this head in 1877–8 and previous years was unusually large, owing to the large supplies then made of Martini-Henri arms for European troops, Sniders for Native troops, and ordnance for siege batteries. These supplies having been pretty well brought up to their proper complement, the expenditure had naturally fallen off. That was a complete answer to what had been said. He came now to the general position of the finances of India, and would endeavour shortly to show how they stood. In the financial year 1879–80 they expended a good deal, and anticipated a small deficit; but they now expected a small surplus after all the cost of the war and the Frontier railways during the year had been defrayed. Partly by the economies which they had pledged themselves to introduce, and partly by a real improvement in the Revenue, they were better off than they expected during the present year by £4,500,000. Coming now to 1880–1, not only did they expect to be able to pay the whole cost necessary for the war in Afghanistan, and to complete the system of Frontier railways, but to fulfil every single Famine pledge they had ever made, and yet have a surplus of £119,000. More than that, they had not been compelled to make any call whatever upon the power of borrowing they acquired last year, and they had not borrowed a single shilling of the £5,000,000. Further, the Government of India hoped during the current year in India not to have to borrow anything in that country. And now for a word or two upon the details which had been mentioned in the course of the debate. With regard to the exchanges, why should it be assumed, as it had been by the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett), that they were going to be specially unfavourable next year? The indications were in the opposite direction, and there was every reason to suppose that it would not be so. Trade showed a considerable improvement, the harvest had been good, and the indications generally did not justify a despondent view; though, in the face of the enormous amount of remittances they had to make, he would not say positively they should be able to realize all that they expected. But he 948 firmly believed the estimate was a fair one. He now came to the question of Famine insurance. Some very strong statements had been made on that subject by the hon. Member for Hackney and the right hon. Member for Greenwich. They said very broadly and boldly that the Government of India had broken all their Famine pledges; that they had raised by Famine taxation a certain amount of money; and that they were not going to redeem the pledges they had given. He would like to give a public and emphatic contradiction to that statement. It was a statement which had been made before the facts of the Indian Budget had reached this country; and he complained bitterly that such utterances should be so recklessly made. The hon. Gentleman and the right hon. Gentleman knew very well that the Viceroy of India had given to what had been stated a positive denial. The Viceroy said that every pledge given about Famine was going to be fulfilled in the coming financial year. He ventured to say it was very hard such statements should be made in the face of the distinct contradiction of the Viceroy; and, therefore, he would say in the strongest possible way, that the Government of India declared those statements were unfounded. Again, it had been, alleged that they had reduced the public works in India to an undue extent; but why had they been so reduced? Simply, in consequence of the policy first proposed by Her Majesty's Government, urged upon them by the hon. Member for Hackney himself, adopted by a Committee of the House of Commons of which the hon. Gentleman was a distinguished Member, and finally sanctioned by the House in accepting the general proposals of the Government. Therefore, it was, in his opinion, very hard upon the Government, that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen in that House, and the noble Lord opposite in particular (the Marquess of Hartington), who ought to be jealous of maintaining continuous policy in regard to India in finance, should, solely for the purpose of an electioneering address, think it necessary to depart from the policy they adopted last year; and, moreover, that they should be telling the people of this country that these public works in India had been improperly reduced for the purpose of getting a balance over expendi- 949 ture, when they themselves had approved and ratified what had been done. With regard to opium, they had undoubtedly gained a great deal by the sales last year; but the amount of opium sold did not exceed that which had been advertised for sale 12 months previously, while in the coming year the estimates of the amount to be sold was considerably reduced, and he hoped the estimates would be fully realized. The hon. Member for Orkney (Mr. Laing) called attention to the increase of the Debt of India. He (Mr. E. Stanhope) took some pains to analyze that Debt last year, and the result was that it could be indisputably shown that, although the Debt had increased, the annual charge for that Debt had been annually decreasing. That was a fact which the House ought to bear in mind. It could not be denied by any candid or fair critic of the Indian Government that the statement recently put forth as to the finances of India was satisfactory; and he hoped it would be realized. At the same time, nobody standing in the position which he occupied could hesitate to express the anxiety which every Minister connected with India must feel on one or two points. They must always contemplate the enormous remittances which had to be made from India to England with serious thoughts; but it must not be supposed the Government was not alive to the danger. He was fully sensitive to the dangers which had been successfully surmounted in the past, and which they hoped to avoid in the future. In conclusion, he trusted that the House would reject the proposal of the hon. Member for Hackney, and assent to that of the Government.
§ MR. FAWCETT
said, that considering the question had been decided before, and that there would be an opportunity of deciding the principle involved in a new Parliament, he would not take the responsibility of asking the House to divide; he considered it would be unfair on both sides, and, therefore, when the proper time came he should ask leave to withdraw his Amendment.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, that, in his opinion, his hon. Friend had taken a wise course in not pressing his Motion, though if he had gone to a division, he (Mr. W. E. Forster) should have felt bound to go with him. He must confess that he heard the exceedingly 950 able speech of the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for India with some surprise, as he understood him to give as one reason why India should pay the whole of the expense, that the war, as he described it, was a purely Frontier war. They had heard several different descriptions of that war from various Members of the Government. When speaking of a spirited and Imperial policy, the war was then called an Imperial war; but when it came to the question of payment, it was called a Frontier war. It was quite true that the Empire of India must defend itself. The fact that England was the Ruler of India did not excuse the Indian people from paying for their own defence; but his opinion of the Afghan War was, that if it had not happened to be the case that the Indian people were subjected to the Indian Government, and that that Government chose to maintain a certain European policy, there never would have been the war, and, consequently, it was not at all to their credit to put the whole expense on India. When the Under Secretary of State for India told them of the flourishing condition of India, he would remind him of his own argument, and ask the House to await the arrival of the Budget before coming to any conclusions on the question. Referring to the Indian finances, he said it would be an immense convenience to all who took an interest in the Indian question, if an effort was made to make Indian finances clear to any Englishman who wished to study them. He had personal reason for making that statement. The Viceroy of India thought fit to take notice of some remarks he (Mr. W. E. Forster) had made at Leeds, and commented strongly upon them; but he must state that his attack was not upon the Viceroy, it was upon the increase of taxation in India. His statement was merely an exact statement of the last statistical Return, and when he found out he was misled, he took the earliest opportunity of correcting it. He thought the Government ought to do one of two things—either not to give a comparison in the annual Return, or else give one that was intelligible and correct. He reminded the House that no country had been subjected to more terrible calamities than India; and with that fact staring them in the face, it was difficult to 951 believe in the prosperity of India, or that she could bear much increased taxation. He only hoped the hon. Gentleman's promises about the Famine Fund would be kept. He believed that the war would add enormously to the permanent burdens of India, and that, as he did not believe the Afghan War was an Indian war, England ought to bear part of the expense.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
said, that, unlike the right hon. Gentleman who had just spoken (Mr. W. E. Forster), he could not have supported the hon. Member for Hackney had he gone to a division. He thought the expense of this war should be borne by India, if India could pay. That, however, was the question. He would not go into the whole question of the policy of the war, but he believed the war had been, and would be, a very expensive one. It seemed to him that the Governor General of India had not contradicted the assertions that had been made respecting the establishment of a Famine Fund; but the fact remained that no Famine Fund had been established, nor anything in the nature of one. What had really happened was that there was a considerable surplus of ordinary Revenue, and that had been absorbed in the Afghan War. Now, he was quite willing that India should bear that expense; but he must remind the House that the serious part of the Afghan War was, that it was not over, and that very heavy burdens were involved in the future, with the contingency that the finances could not always be so prosperous as in the present year. He must express very strongly his feeling that these expenses were likely to be permanent. If they attempted to conquer the whole country, then he was quite sure the expenses in which they would be involved would not be £2,000,000 or £3,000,000 a-year, but would perhaps be £8,000,000 or £10,000,000. In that case a very heavy burden in connection with it might, in the future, fall upon this country; and, notwithstanding his unwillingness to put the burden upon his constituents, he felt that the time might come when it might be necessary that they should put their hands in their pockets to pay for the expenses of that war. He most heartily and sincerely wished they could get out of the country of Afghanistan; and he believed if 952 they had the courage, or he might call it the audacity, to march out of the country as they did in 1842, and to stay out, it would be even now the best; but he was afraid that Her Majesty's Government had not the courage. One thing was made clear by the events of last year, and that was, if they did not march out they must abandon their half measures, which they called their scientific Frontier; and if they were to stay in the country at all, they must hold the commanding points, and that could not be done at a less cost than £2,000,000 or £3,000,000 a-year or more. He was afraid they were embarking in a course which must cost a large expenditure, which would be far beyond the means of India, and therefore, in future, must fall upon this country.
§ SIR DAVID WEDDERBURN
said, that as he took a certain amount of interest in Indian affairs, he received a number of vernacular newspapers, which he found very interesting reading; and he found the articles in those papers went to show that that Afghan War was not a war for India, but a war in which Great Britain was, doubtless, equally interested, and they held that the expenses should be divided between the two countries. For his part, he thought their claim was a fair one, and if his hon. Friend (Mr. Fawcett) had gone to a division, he should have had pleasure in supporting him. But his hon. Friend, before leaving the House, had requested him to ask leave of the House to withdraw his Motion, for reasons that he had assigned in his place.
§ MR. SPEAKER
pointed out, that the Amendment could not be withdrawn, except on the proposal of the Mover or Seconder in person, or by leave of the House.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Main Question put.
§ Resolutions read a second time, and agreed to.