HC Deb 04 September 1880 vol 256 cc1275-6

asked the Secretary of State for India, If he can give the House any assurance that the "armed coercion" in regard to Eastern affairs, for which he has expressed his earnest hope that no necessity may arise, will not be resorted to by Her Majesty's Government until they have given Parliament an opportunity of expressing its opinion on the matter?


Sir, I am aware that during my absence from this House a Question has been put to my noble Friend near me with reference to the intended action of Her Majesty's Government, virtually based upon the same foundation, the same state of matters, as that to which the Question of my hon. Friend refers. I wish to say that I entirely concur in the discretion and justice of the answer made by my noble Friend; and, moreover, Sir, I hope my hon. Friend will not think it discourteous on my part if the first reply which it is my duty to make to the Question after my return to this House should appear to be of a somewhat stinted character. My hon. Friend is aware of the extreme delicacy of these matters. He is aware of the great, of the undue latitude and significance that are apt to be attached to declarations of the Government which are at all of an abstract character, or which refer to anything beyond the actual situation which has positively arisen. Under these circumstances, I think it my duty to state to my hon. Friend that, while I am sure he will not suspect us of any disposition to travel wide apart from the known views and intentions of Parliament or the convictions of the country, I do not think it right to make any addition to the declaration made on a former occasion by my noble Friend the Secretary of State for India.