HC Deb 16 February 1883 vol 276 cc178-250

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [10th February]—[See page 98.]

And which Amendment was, To insert at the end of the third paragraph, the words "but this House humbly expresses its opinion that no suffiicent reason has been shown for the employment of British Forces in reconstituting the Government of Egypt and reorganising its affairs under the authority of the Khedive."—(Sir Wilfrid Lawson.)

Question again proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


said, he did not regret the sudden turn which the debate had taken on the previous night, when his hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) moved an Amendment in regard to Egypt, because the noble Marquess who now led the Government (the Marquess of Hartington) had, at an earlier hour, taunted the Opposition with never taking the opportunity of putting their criticism on the policy of the Government in a tangible and definite shape before the House. Before sitting down, he would himself, therefore, move an Amendment on the Amendment of the hon. Member for Carlisle, which he thought would meet with general approval on that (the Opposition) side of the House. During the late Autumn Session the time of the House had been occupied by the Government, and Members sat there, not to control its action, but simply to register its decrees. But were Votes of Censure the only method in which the House was to be allowed to criticize the action of the Government? Was the Government aware that a more inconvenient method of bringing before the House a question had never been devised than a Vote of Censure, for the reason that the majority who supported the Government would not have before them the issue of whether the Government action had been right or wrong in a particular case, but whether they wished to turn out the Government of which they were supporters? Under such circumstances, a division of the House was no fair criterion of its opinion. The Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs appeared to complain that attacks were made upon the Government policy in Egypt from two entirely different points of view—from that of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and from that of the Conservative Party; but what did he expect? The Conservatives had their special complaints; but did the Government really expect the hon. Baronet who moved the Amendment either to acquiesce in their policy, or to agree in the particular criticisms of the Opposition upon that policy? They all knew that the hon. Member for Carlisle was one of the very few remaining persons who professed the Liberal creed as first proclaimed in Mid Lothian in all its purity— Among the faithless, faithful only he. His hon. Friend did not use the arguments put forward at the General Election, merely as engines for turning out the Party in power, to be thrown aside immediately they had served their purpose. His hon. Friend had been accustomed to attack the late Government for ignoring the European Concert; and was it to be expected that he would now approve of the action which had been taken by their successors in spite of the European Concert? Having accused the late Government of sacrificing everything and British interests, was it likely that he would now listen serenely when "British interests" were put forward from the Treasury Bench as the principal ground on which the action of the Government was to be supported? Having used all the commonplaces once dear to Liberal statesmen with regard to rising nationalities, was he now to sit quiet when the Government caught and handed over to Egyptian vengeance the dealer who, whatever he might have represented when he began his course, at the end of it undoubtedly had behind him a vast majority of the Egyptian people? To this opinion about Arabi the Government seemed to be coming round. Formerly they described Arabi's conduct as a "military revolt, the action of an unscrupulous military usurper." Now, in the Speech from the Throne, they took credit to themselves for having put down a "formidable rebellion in Egypt." The difference between those two expressions represented, he should have thought, in the minds of hon. Gentlemen opposite, the whole difference between a man who deserved to be shot as a mutineer and a man who deserved to be canonized as a liberator. Arabi, whom the Government so recently lost no opportunity of denouncing, and whose defence he (Mr. Balfour) was certainly not going to undertake, would, if they had been in Opposition, have been lauded from one end of the country to another as a second Garibaldi by the very people who had sent him into exile. He wondered, not that the hon. Member for Carlisle had moved an Amendment, but that he seemed to find so few supporters among those who, at one time, professed the sentiments which he alone seemed to have the courage to utter. He had never yet found a Liberal who had the hardihood to assert that if the Conservative Government had done in the year 1879 what the Liberal Government had done in 1882, the whole flood of Liberal eloquence would not have been let out against them; and he did not believe that, in the course of the debate, one hon. Member would be found to get up and contradict that statement. If this was merely a question of the morality of the Government, it might be left to them and their consciences. But, unfortunately, their inconsistency had practical consequences, since their former professions, though they did not regulate their policy, occasionally modified both their policy and their speeches. For instance, in the speeches made by Members of the Liberal Party, they had lost no opportunity of insinuating that the late Conservative Government were not only responsible for the establishment of the Dual Control—which was true—but that their action was not defensible in that matter. ["Hear, hear!"] That, however, in spite of the cheers of hon. Gentlemen opposite, was not the official opinion of the Government. They might, it was true, be not unwilling to allow that conclusion to be drawn from what they said; but, at the same time, they were forced to admit—first, that the Dual Control was the only species of Control which could then be established; second, that it had had a most admirable effect upon Egypt—["No, no!"]—he did not say that all the independent Liberal Members thought so, but the Government did; and third, that if it were radically wrong in principle the whole action of the Government subsequent to their taking Office must also have been wrong. That being so, it verged on disingenuousness for the Government to insinuate, and for their followers in the country to assert, that anything wrong done now was simply the result of the previous wrong done by the Conservatives. Again, the recollection of their former professions had produced many ludicrous results, among others that extraordinary terminology by which a war was asserted not to be a war, but to be a "warlike operation." The recollections had, no doubt, been the chief motive that induced the Government to summon a Conference, though they lost no time in ignoring its decision. And, no doubt, these same recollections were inducing the Government to attempt to frame in Egypt something like what, in the eyes of their supporters, might appear to be free institutions—and this though the noble Marquess had himself admitted that at present Egypt was wholly unfit for representative institutions. Another method that the Government had for recommending their course of action to the Party of non-intervention was by saying that they only intended to set up these institutions, and then as soon as possible to bundle out of the country. But the Government had gone to Egypt, and there they must undoubtedly stay. Whatever they might wish now, un- questionably the result of this war would be that Egypt would be-more under the control of Europe than it had ever been before, and that the nation in Europe to whom the control would fall must be England. Far more than before the late war, Egypt would be a dependency of this Empire. The noble Marquess the Leader of the House, in one of his Lancashire speeches, had given them a very full account of the reasons which induced the Government to intervene. The noble Marquess said that intervention in some form or another was necessary; because, acting in reliance on the engagements made by the Egyptian Government, European and British capital had been largely invested in that country. That being so, the Government must have gone to Egypt to protect the British bondholders and capitalists. The consequence of this must be that so long as British subjects held shares and invested capital in that country we should have to continue our protectorate. The noble Marquess had also said that since, in any case, Europe would be represented in Egypt in the person of the financier and capitalist, it was impossible for that country to escape from the influence of European civilization in some form or another; and that, therefore, it was better that this interference should take place in a regular manner by means of an officially-appointed Financial Adviser. If that was to be a ground for our intervention; he should like to know in what Foreign State where our money had been advanced and squandered we should not have to intervene on the same principle. For a Government that came into Office largely on non-intervention principles it was the most astounding, most far-reaching, and most dangerous doctrine of intervention that could well be imagined. Sight hon. Gentlemen on the Front Opposition Bench, who were accused of throwing principle to the wind in their reckless interference in the affairs of Foreign States, he was certain would never, under any conceivable circumstances, have supported a doctrine so wide of application as that of the noble Marquess. As to the Amendment of his hon. Friend, there was a great deal in it in which he was inclined to agree with him; but, at the same time, he had one objection to it which was conclusive. If it were carried, the Government would be obliged to take it as an instruction that they were as quickly as possible to take the troops out of Egypt and leave the country to itself, ["Hear, hear!"] That apparently met the views of some hon. Gentlemen opposite; but it did not meet the views of the Conservative Party, because they believed that the effect would be to leave the people of that country—to use a phrase employed by a distinguished Member of the Government (Mr. Courtney)—"stewing in their own juice." Anarchy would again reign supreme. Some hon. Gentlemen opposite said—"Why not anarchy?" He was not unaware of the fact that some hon. Gentlemen opposite seemed to be rather in favour of anarchy. They had done little to prevent anarchy in Ireland, and he had not the least doubt they would view with satisfaction the prevalence of anarchy in Egypt. That was the reason why he found it impossible to agree with his hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle as to the future; but he entirely agreed with him in his chief criticism of the occurrences of the past. He would propose to amend the hon. Member's Amendment by leaving out all the words after the word "but," and inserting these words— Whilst assuring Her Majesty of our support in such Measures as may he necessary for a satisfactory settlement of the affairs of Egypt, humbly to express our regret that stops were not taken at an earlier period which might have secured such objects as are of importance to this Country, without involving the necessity for military operations. That, he believed, was the view entertained by hon. Gentlemen around him—a view which had been openly stated in the country by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. He did not intend, nor was it necessary, to enter into a long review of the circumstances which preceded the war. It would be sufficient to remind the House that the Government did nothing whatever, month after month, to check the growing power of Arabi—nothing was done to prevent what was at first merely a military revolt, spreading and expanding until it became a great national movement. Had the Egyptians understood from the first that England would not bear with disorder, they would never have braved the forces of this country. They were misled partly by the Mid Lothian speeches, partly by the prolonged negotiations which seemed to lead to nothing, partly by the impotent exhibition of a Fleet riding at Alexandria which did nothing, recalling only too faithfully the recollection of another Naval Demonstration, which had been ordered to do nothing. It was sufficient to remind the House that the Government had had fair warning from their own advisers that the great cause of the Egyptian difficulty was that the Egyptians did not believe in the possibility of war, and that the best way of restoring order was to convince them of their error. Sir Edward Malet, in his despatch of the 23rd of May, declared that the present situation had been brought about by the fact that the people believed that the two Powers would not despatch troops to Egypt. It was the opinion, therefore, of Her Majesty's Diplomatic Agent on the spot that had the Egyptians been convinced that force would be used, if necessary, the military operations would not have taken place, and £4,000,000 or £5,000,000 and many valuable lives would have been saved to the country. The Government congratulated themselves at having got rid of the Dual Control. Doubtless a single Control had advantages; but these advantages were more than counterbalanced by the change which the war had produced in the position of the Khedive. Before the war the Khedive did not depend upon our bayonets for his Throne; he had behind him a party in the State. He was not merely the nominee of Europe; he was a hereditary Ruler, who commanded the loyal support of the people. Now all that was changed. The Government waited until the movement had become a national one, and then intervened; and the result of their delay was that they were now compelled to impose the Khedive upon a reluctant people, and that nothing would now restore the Khedive to the position he held before the War. They had put down one formidable rebellion; they were already threatened with another; and it was evident that directly they removed their troops from the country they would have to use force, or to threaten force, to maintain their present position. The position of the English in Egypt had been made ten times more difficult than it was when the Conservatives handed over to the Government the control of foreign affairs. He did not wish to say one word to embarrass the Government in their future dealings with Egypt. His criticisms applied to their past policy, and in judging the past they were told by the noble Marquess that they had all the materials necessary for coming to a conclusion; and the conclusion to which they were driven was that the Government were profoundly to blame for the way in which they had managed Egyptian affairs, and he rejoiced at the opportunity which had been afforded the House of expressing its opinion on the subject. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving his Amendment.


said, that the Government were now in a hurry to take a vote upon Egypt; but last Session they were always put off with the plea of pending negotiations, and even now they laboured under the difficulty of only just having got Papers. As, however, the hon. Baronet (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) had raised the question, it was well to explain why they could not vote with him, and why they were ready to take up the challenge of the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Hartington) to make good their assertion that the war was unnecessary. They could not vote with the hon. Baronet, because his Amendment implied that at no time during the whole Egyptian crisis was the employment of British troops justifiable; while, on the contrary, they held that, after the June massacres, the use of force became inevitable; They called the war unnecessary, because a wiser policy would have prevented the occurrence of the massacres. The boast of supporters of Her Majesty's Government who went about the country was that the war had been caused by the Dual Control established by the late Government, and he asked whether the Government adopted that statement of the case? The establishment of the Dual Control, he held, was inevitable, and its results were, on the whole, beneficial to Egypt. ["No, no!"] If not, then, was there anything so sacrosanct in the arrangements made for the settlement of Egypt by the late Government that their Successors could not have modified them on their accession to Office if they wished to do so? They must deal with the Egyptian Question as a whole, and begin with the completion of the Canal in 1869. Their position was then revolutionized towards Egypt, and the maintenance of direct communication by the Canal with India became necessary. But they could not hope for the sole control of a Canal made by French money and ability. They were left vis-a-vis to France in this position. They had great geographical interests in the Canal, in consequence of the position of India; whilst the French claimed political interests and the influence fairly due to those who had carried out this great work. At first they could not get on. There were the tonnage disputes, leading to the Constantinople Conference of 1873, which was nearly broken up by the action of France and Russia in interfering in the interests of M. de Lesseps. Then force had to be applied by Egypt at the orders of the Porte to make M. de Lesseps give way. The Porte and Egypt backed them loyally, and the Khedive then invited Mr. Cave to help him to regulate the finances of a country, not a South American Republic, but one whose position as regarded India affected them deeply. The Dual Control was the logical result of the steps commencing with the Missions of Mr. Cave and Mr. Goschen, and its establishment was due to their preference to co-operate with France rather than to rival her—not an unpardonable thing in the eyes of a Government which sacrificed so much during the late negotiations to maintain the French alliance. Had the Dual Control been a failure? He maintained that it had not. Lord Granville had admitted that it had been productive of beneficial results. The decree of September 4, 1879, establishing that Control, laid down a Charter of seven points—the first giving full powers to the French and English Controllers to investigate the accounts; the second, the division of the powers between the Controllers; the third, the limitation of those powers to reporting the result of their investigations to the Egyptian Ministers; the fourth conferring a consultative position on the Controllers in the Ministry; the fifth providing for the periodical publication of their Reports; the sixth providing for their immovability and right to appoint subordinates; and the seventh giving them power, with the approval of the Council of Ministers, to determine the Budget. The trouble arose on the last point, in consequence of the desire of the Chamber of Notables to discuss the Budget. Now, could not that have been settled without a war? He contended that it could, and that it was unfair to condemn an arrangement as had, six-sevenths of which had given satisfaction, and which was admitted to have worked excellently so far as regarded education, the diminution of taxation, and the relief from forced labour. If the Government said they had no business with anything in Egypt except the preservation of the Canal, how could they have insured that except by an arrangement with France and Egypt? They could not build a Gibraltar at each end of the Canal. They had either to stand aside altogether and risk its passage being impeded or take a general interest in Egyptian affairs. He did not join in the attacks sometimes made upon the Government that the war had been undertaken for the bondholders, because he thought no Government, whether Liberal or Conservative, would plunge the country into a war for the sake of the bondholders. He was very glad to hear in the speech of the noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs a revival of the phrase, "British interests." It was gratifying to find that Her Majesty's present Advisers had come round to the opinion that, after all, British interests must be regarded. He could only agree with his hon. Friend the Member for Hertford that their criticism differed from that of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite, for they had not sought at a critical time last Session to embarrass the Government. They could not, however, suppress free criticism or give up the right to call the war unnecessary. He had great pleasure in seconding the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Hertford.

Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment, To leave out from the word "but," to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "whilst assuring Her Majesty of our support in such Measures as may be necessary for a satisfactory settlement of the affairs of Egypt, humbly to express our regret that steps were not taken at an earlier period which might have secured such objects as are of importance to this Country, without involving the necessity for military operations,"—(Mr. Arthur Balfour,) —instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed Amendment."


If those who have opposed this war from the first needed any justification, it is amply supplied by the settlement, or at least one part of the settlement, now proposed by Her Majesty's Government for Egyptian affairs. But I must point out that among those who opposed the war cannot be counted hon. Gentlemen opposite. On the contrary, if I understood their tactics aright, their object was to stimulate and propel Her Majesty's Government into extreme measures. The whole tendency of the speeches delivered at the memorable meeting at "Willis's Rooms was, by bitter taunts about Candahar and the Transvaal, to make it impossible for the Government to retreat without the use of violent means in Egypt, and I greatly fear that those taunts were not without their influence upon the policy of the Government. But those of us who have consistently resisted the war have the satisfaction, if satisfaction could be derived from anything connected with so painful a subject, of finding the Government now proposing to do away utterly with the very institution which they went to war to support and enforce. No one who carefully studies the Papers that have been placed in our hands, in relation to this unhappy business, can fail to be convinced of two things—First, that the Control was wholly established in the interest of the bondholders; and, secondly, that the discontent which arose among the Egyptian people, and found its culminating expression in the protests and acts of Arabi Pasha, was occasioned by the existence and operations of the Control. The Control had practically usurped the government of Egypt. It was at the advent and under the influence of the Control that the land became deluged with that flood of foreign officials which drove nearly all the Natives from every position of authority and distinction in their own country. It was the Control that set itself resolutely to resist the natural desire of the Chamber of Notables to have some share in administering the financial affairs of their country. It was the obstinate persistency of the Control in refusing all concessions, or in accepting any compromise—for several compromises were offered to them by the Chamber, on the matter of the Budget—that rendered war inevitable. Such, at any rate, was the opinion of Sir Edward Malet, who said, in writing home on January 20, 1882— Armed intervention will become a necessity if we adhere to the refusal to allow the Budget to be voted by the Chamber. And they did adhere to their refusal, and war did become inevitable. At that time there was no pretence for saying that the Chamber was acting under military coercion. Nothing could be more emphatic than the declaration on this point of Sultan Pasha, who was the President of the Chamber, and who, speaking to Sir Edward Malet, said that— He denied that the Chamber was acting under any pressure from the military, and affirmed that it was merely expressing the unanimous wish of the country. There cannot be a doubt, in my opinion, that if the Government had then surrendered, or even partially modified, the action of the Control, so as to give to the Egyptian people some semblance of self-government, all the mischief and misery and bloodshed that ensued might have been avoided. These are the words of Sir Edward Malet, writing at that crisis— I think that the Chamber would listen to reason if the Great Powers were to refuse to consent to the transfer of power to the Chamber, but to state that, while otherwise maintaining the status quo, they will guarantee a Constitution compatible with international engagements, and will take steps to come to an agreement on the subject. I think that this is the only way out of a situation which is rapidly leading both us and the Egyptians to extremities. But, unhappily, no heed was paid, so far as I know, to this suggestion of Sir Edward Malet, and matters were suffered to drift into extremities as he had predicted. Let it be remembered that the Control was really imposed upon Egypt by the Conservative Government. This is brought out very clearly in one of Lord Granville's recent despatches to Lord Lyons, containing a recital of the facts relating to the establishment of the last form of the Control. Of course we know that the Khedive was only a puppet—Lord Salisbury's puppet—who had deposed Ismail Pasha and enthroned Tewfik in his place, who had, therefore, to do whatever he was ordered to do. But, puppet as he was, he tried to obtain a milder form of the Control than the one dictated to him. These are the words of Lord Granville— The present Khedive, on his accession, decided to have a purely Native Ministry. The President of the Council, Cherif Pasha, informed the English and French Agents that, if the Governments of England and France would nominate Controllers General under the Decree of November, 1876, the Khedive would also agree to appoint them, but that their powers would be limited to investigation and verification, and that they would not exercise any administrative or executive functions. This looks very much as if the appointment of any Control was not very acceptable to the Khedive and his Government, and that they only "agreed to appoint" at the dictation of others. But Lord Granville continues— The English and French Governments agreed to nominate Controllers-General on these terms, but stipulated that in place of the admistrative authority which was to be withdrawn from them, a great extension should be given to their functions of inspection and supervision; and, further, an undertaking was required that neither Controller should be removed without the consent of his respective Government. Well, this severe form of Control imposed upon Egypt was not less severely administered. I have no wish to say anything disrespectful of the Controllers personally. But undoubtedly they magnified their office to the utmost. They did not do their spiriting gently. They would not abate one ounce of their pound of flesh. To the last they pressed their pretensions with inexorable rigour, and our Government unhappily supported those pretensions, until, as Sir Edward Malet foresaw, war became inevitable. But mark the sequel. When the war is over, after Alexandria had been bombarded, and burnt down, and its inhabitants scattered in destitution and misery to the four winds of Heaven, after some thousands of the Egyptians had been slaughtered, and the whole country thrown into temporary anarchy—when you have succeeded in restoring something like order, what is the first thing you do? Why, you abolish utterly the Control, and that on grounds which go to condemn the whole institution, for the sake of which you went to war. For these are the words of Cherif Pasha, the present Prime Minister of Egypt, which Lord Granville seems to adopt and to endorse— The Egyptian Government submit to the consideration of the Government of Her Majesty the advisability of abandoning an institution, the maintenance of which it is impossible to justify, and which has, as has been shown, no longer any grounds of existence as far as the creditors are concerned. The Government of His Highness have no intention of entering at this moment upon all the inconveniences which result from the existence of the Control; hut they feel hound to call attention to the fact, which is, moreover, well known, that this institution, in consequence of its dual nature, and semi-political character, has produced undeniable abuses of administration, has excited the legitimate susceptibilities of the Egyptians, and has, inconsequence, dangerously impaired the authority of the Government in the eyes of the country. Yet this was the very institution which we championed with our blood and money. My opinion is that the Government stumbled into this war without clearly knowing their own minds. The adopted a policy of menace, which is always a dangerous policy. The explanation given by Lord Derby, their new recruit, is that they did not mean to go to war, but only meant to threaten, and that if France had joined in the threat, there would have been no necessity for war. The very number and variety and conflicting character of the reasons assigned by the Government for the war are a sufficient proof that they really had no clear conception themselves of what they intended. Now, however, they seem to have settled down, as the hon. Gentleman opposite has said, on the phrase that it was to suppress "a formidable rebellion." For myself, I am not frightened by opprobrious epithets applied to those who are struggling for national rights, because I find, in looking back into history, that not a few men who have been stigmatized as rebels have come afterwards to be regarded by many, especially by Liberals, as patriots and heroes. Hampden and Cromwell were rebels, Washington was a rebel, Garibaldi was a rebel. But what kind of rebellion was there in Egypt? Against whom did Arabi Pasha rebel? Not against us, for he owed us no allegiance. Not against the Sultan, whom, when it suits our purpose, we proclaim as the supreme Sovereign of Egypt—for nothing is more certain than that Arabi acted throughout with the connivance, if not at the instigation, of the Sultan. Hardly against the Khedive, since the Khedive recognized him as his Minister, and instructed him to look after the defences of the country, and censured him afterwards for not having done so effectually. I am glad to find that the hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment, as well as hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House, who used to represent Arabi as a mere military adventurer who imposed himself upon the country, have now found their way to the conclusion that he did, after all, represent the national sentiment. It is some satisfaction to me to find that there has been no enthusiasm for this war anywhere Indeed, how could there be, when an Empire of 300,000,000 people was employing all its stupendous power to bully and crush a small nation of 5,000,000? I do not speak of the preposterously extravagant glorification of our small military successes in Egypt. That was enthusiasm not for the war, but for victory, and, unhappily, victory, whether gained in a just or unjust cause, is always popular in this country, and, I am afraid, in all countries. But I believe that a good deal even of that enthusiasm was artificial—worked up for political purposes. But the war itself was not popular, and least of all in the Liberal ranks. There were some 125 Members on this side of the House who abstained from supporting the Vote of money which the Government asked for carrying on the war. Like the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, I look forward to the future with more of apprehension than of hope. We have undertaken very grave responsibilities in Egypt, and I greatly fear that contingencies and complications may yet arise, of so grave a character, as to make the nation bitterly rue that it had over meddled in Egyptian finance. With regard to the Amendment of the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. A. J. Balfour), it is, no doubt, skilfully framed to catch votes from this side. But I cannot accept an Amendment coming from hon. Gentlemen opposite, for I cannot forget that they did all they could to stimulate and force on the war. [No, no!] I say Yes, yes; for I remember perfectly well that when the announcement was made in this House that the bombardment of Alexandria had begun, a ringing cheer ran through those Benches. ["No, no!] Yes; it made too deep and painful an impression upon my mind to admit of my being under a delusion. It was one of the most painful exhibitions I ever witnessed. I can understand a lot of schoolboys breaking into a shout of delight at an explosion of fireworks, but that a body of intelligent Christian men should burst into a cheer of applause when told that a great city of 200,000 inhabitants was being bombarded with shot and shell betrays a state of feeling which I cannot comprehend. And I maintain, as I have maintained throughout, that the origin of the whole mischief was in the constitution of the Control as established by the Conservative Government.


denied the statement of the hon. Member who had just sat down, that those who had attended the meeting at Willis's Booms met there for the purpose of stimulating the Government to strong measures and were all along in favour of strong measures. The hon. Member had given quite a wrong impression of the character of that meeting. It was quite true that the persons assembled at that meeting criticized with a just severity the conduct of an English Administration which permitted subjects of the Queen to be massacred within sight of her flag, and within gunshot of her Fleet, without one finger being raised to help them. They condemned the policy which led to such unhappy results, and contrasted it with the policy of the late Lord Beaconsfield in circumstances of infinitely greater difficulty than any with which the present Administration had had to deal. The policy of the late Government was that of being prepared for war, and of letting the world know that they were prepared for war. That was the best means of preserving peace. He desired to say a few brief words on the criticisms which had been made as to the necessity of the war. Under this Liberal, peace-loving Administration it was exceedingly difficult to know when they were at war. For when Alexandria was bombarded, the House was told, upon the very highest authority, that they were not at war. Supposing the English troops had been landed simultaneously with the bombardment, would that have been an act of war? If it would have been, then he was prepared to admit that, owing to the weak and feeble policy of the Government, and especially of the feeble vapourings of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs for many weeks before these events occurred, some warlike measures had been rendered necessary and inevitable at Alexandria. But if the hon. Gentleman and others referred to the future campaign in Egypt which re- suited in the victory of Tel-el-Kebir and the occupation of Cairo, then he entirely agreed with him that it was an unnecessary campaign, and that by the display of a little more foresight on the part of Her Majesty's Ministers, it might, and should, have been avoided. There were many people amongst those who were the first to land after the bombardment who were of opinion that a few hundred sailors, if they had been landed, would have been able to capture Arabi and his army, and save Alexandria. He would not go that length himself; but there was no doubt in the minds of military authorities that if an adequate military force had been landed in time, the capture of Arabi and his army would have been certain and immediate. The war, in that ease, would have been over almost before it began, and, in all human probability, the city would have been saved from subsequent destruction. Why had that not been done? No Member of the Government had been able to answer that question. It was the merest quibble to pretend that they were prevented by international obligations. International obligations might as well have prevented them from landing an Army at all, or taking possession of the Suez Canal; and there was precisely the-same justification for landing troops at the time of the bombardment as there was for all the subsequent operations of the War. But even supposing that argument to be tenable, what was to prevent the despatch of troops to the place with which the foresight and the statesmanship of Lord Beaconsfield had provided them—the Island of Cyprus, which was only some 30 hours' sail from Alexandria? Was it because the Government were bound by the reckless and foolish speech in which they indulged when in Opposition? It was the present Home Secretary who said that if any English Minister dared to send any considerable number of troops to Cyprus—so pestilential was its climate—he would deserve to be impeached. On his own showing, the right hon. and learned Gentleman deserved impeachment with his Colleagues for arrangements made at the beginning of the operations for Cyprus to be turned into a sanitarium for the English Army. If the Government had listened to, and acted upon, the warnings of its Representatives in Egypt, the war might have been avoided. He would like to say a word on the statement made by the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Hartington), who, in a speech last night, held out the anticipation that the remainder of the troops would be removed from Egypt before six months had elapsed. The noble Marquess did not commit himself to that assertion as a positive statement; but that was the general effect of his speech. He (Mr. Chaplin) ventured to say that a more unhappy and a more ill-timed statement—having regard to all the circumstances of Egypt—was never made by an English Minister in the Imperial Parliament. There were few men of knowledge and experience in Egypt who had the real interest of the people at heart who would not read the statement of the noble Marquess with feelings of utter and blank dismay. He could not, however, but entertain a hope that under the wise and able administration of Lord Dufferin, affairs in Egypt were beginning to assume a more favourable aspect. At the present moment peace and tranquillity existed throughout Egypt, order had been restored, confidence was being gained by all branches of the population, and only two things seemed to be wanting to bring our intervention to a successful issue. The first was that English authority in the country should be maintained and supported by the presence of English troops for a considerable and even an indefinite period; and the second was, that Members of Her Majesty's Government should abstain from making foolish speeches upon every possible occasion with regard to the necessity of withdrawing every English soldier from the country at the very earliest opportunity. If these two conditions were fulfilled, he foresaw the dawn of a brighter and a happier future for the Egyptian people than they could ever have hoped for in the past. It unfortunately, however, appeared that the noble Marquess had been bitten by the same suicidal mania which possessed hon. Members opposite below the Gangway; and he feared that, after his observations of last night, those bright and happy prospects would disappear, and they would be compelled to retain their troops in Egypt for a much longer period than would otherwise have been necessary. The noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs had referred last-night to the important de- spatch which had just been received from Lord Dufferin, and the popular rumour was to the effect that that despatch contained an exhaustive Report by that noble Lord upon every aspect of the Egyptian Question. He should like to know whether that rumour was well founded; and, if so, when it would be placed in the hands of hon. Members? He should also like to ask whether Lord Dufferin shared the views expressed by the noble Marquess, that it was wise and desirable and right that every English soldier should be removed from Egypt within a period of six months from now? If that really were the views and opinions of Lord Dufferin his alarms would to some extent be allayed; and he hoped Her Majesty's Government would see their way to give the House some information on that point with as little delay as possible. For his own part he must confess that he should be afraid that if the noble Marquess, in pursuing the policy which he had announced, succeeded in withdrawing all the English troops from Egypt in so short a period of time he would place the Khedive in a position of great difficulty, and he should have great doubts whether, in the interests of his own safety, the Khedive would not consider it right to remove himself at the same time. He could conceive nothing more disastrous than that the policy announced by the noble Marquess should be carried out. Though on that side of the House they might and should protest, they would be powerless to prevent it; but if they were bent on this suicidal and fatal policy, he would say let them at least be consistent with the promises they had announced, and let the chapter of their blunders and errors be complete. Let them rebuild Alexandria and the, forts which they had bombarded, pay an indemnity to the Egyptian people for the sufferings which they had unjustly caused them, and recall Arabi and reinstate him in his position. If the Government were consistent, and took that course, then they might be prepared to withdraw their troops from Egypt, to meet with ignominy and shame at the hands of the people of this country, and to be regarded with scorn and derision by every civilized nation of Europe.


said, that upon the occasion of the announcement of the bombardment of Alexandria he had ventured to raise his voice in protest against that act of gross national immorality; but he hardly thought that this was a fitting time in which to intrude this Amendment upon the House. The responsibility for the bombardment of Alexandria was no longer a responsibility of the Government alone, because that act had been sanctioned by the House of Commons and by the country. When the question of the propriety of the bombardment of Alexandria was before the House, Her Majesty's Government had been supported by the majority of the Liberal Party and by the great Party opposite. The Tories, of course, supported the Government, because they said this was Jingo policy, and that the Liberal Government was taking a leaf out of the book of Lord Beaconsfield. In fact, the Government had only been opposed by a very few Members of the Liberal Party, including the right hon. Gentleman the late Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. John Bright). In these circumstances, he could not see what service would be done by bringing forward this Amendment, relating to a policy of the past. What they had now to deal with was the present policy to be pursued in Egypt. The purport of the Amendment was to declare that, in the judgment of the House, our troops should be immediately withdrawn from Egypt. But the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere), who seconded the Amendment, was clearly not in favour of withdrawing our troops at the present time, and he himself thought that as we had gone, rightly or wrongly, there, we should not withdraw until we had established a permanent and just Government. He perfectly agreed with the view of the noble Lord the present Leader of the House of Commons, that in what we were doing in that country at the present time we were acting in the interests, not only of this country, but of those of Egypt itself and of Europe generally. By giving the Egyptian people security of life and property, and by enabling the resources of the country to be developed, we should be adding largely to their happiness and prosperity. He was satisfied that, even if we were to withdraw from that country, some other Power would immediately step in and occupy the place we now did. Thorefore, although we might have committed a crime in bombarding Alexandria, it would be a very great blunder if we were now to leave the country to influences which might prove disastrous. He could not believe that if the Party opposite had been in power during the last year our position in connection with Egyptian affairs would have been any better now than it was in existing circumstances. The same blunders might not have been committed, but there would have been others equally, if not more, objectionable. He should reserve his opinion about the intentions of the Government until they should have been more clearly explained, hoping that any steps which might be taken would be such as to carry out the views which had already been made known.


said, he was surprised that hon. Members should quarrel with the very plain and simple language of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson), and thought they only did so in order, somehow, to obtain a pretext for not accompanying the hon. Baronet into the Lobby. The hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Rylands), who was wont to pose in the House as an independent Member, but to appear in the Lobby as a staunch supporter of the Government, had discovered in the Amendment a meaning which could only have been ascribed to it in order to excuse his support of the Government. To the Amendment of the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. A. J. Balfour) there was one objection—namely, that it might fail to secure the support of the Leader of the Opposition. In the language of the Amendment it was clearly implied that the war in Egypt did, at a certain period, become necessary; but the Leader of the Opposition had stated at Glasgow that the war was an unnecessary war. He hoped, therefore, that his hon. Friend would so modify his Amendment as to secure the united support of Members on the Opposition side of the House. He did not think that the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Richard) was fair in uttering some of the opinions which they had heard, for there were many Members on the Opposition Benches who had consistently denounced the war in Egypt from the very first, and who had strongly protested against the endeavours of the Government to suppress the National movement in that country. He himself had proposed a distinct Vote of Censure upon the Government after the bombardment of Alexandria; but because it came from a Tory source it did not meet with the support of the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil or any of the Radical patriots on the other side of the House.


The Motion was not brought forward. Had it been I should most unhesitatingly have supported it.


said, that if the Prime Minister had been made aware that any considerable section of his own Party desired it, the right hon. Gentleman would have provided the opportunity. From the very first, and down to the present time, the following charges had repeatedly been brought against the Government—namely, that they deliberately set themselves to the work of suppressing the National movement in Egypt, and that they adopted that mode of suppression which their Consular officers had told them would cause a bloody resistance. Those charges had been abundantly proved by the Papers they had before them. In their diplomatic conduct, the Government had acted in the interests of two bodies—the bondholders and the French Government. The President of the Board of Trade, in a speech delivered some time since, had made a misstatement, which was noticed at the time, to the effect that the Government had no information whatever of the birth and growth of the movement in Egypt until it became a military movement, the fact being that it was the action of Her Majesty's Government which made the movement a military one, which drove the Chamber of Notables into the arms of Arabi, and made him the leader of the National Party in Egypt. When the Chamber of Notables first asked for the right to criticize that part of their own Budget which was not subject to international obligations the Government did not receive the demand with absolute hostility, for Lord Granville telegraphed to Sir Edward Malet on Jan. 11, 1882, in the following terms:— The Government do not wish to commit themselves to the total or permanent exclusion of the Chamber of Notables from handling the Budget; hut caution will he required in dealing with the matter, regard Doing had to the pecuniary interests on behalf of which the Government have been acting. The Government, in fact, acted as if they had been the agents of the bondholders, and because the interests of the latter might have been affected they resolved that they would be cautious about the development of the rights of a free people. But they did not stop there. The bondholders only compelled the Government to use caution; the French Government compelled them to withhold from the Egyptian people the rights which they claimed. A few days after the despatch already referred to Lord Lyons reported to M. Gambetta that the Government concurred with him in thinking that the demand of the Chamber of Notables could not be agreed to. In reply, M. Gambetta said that he had already directed the French Representative to insist upon Sherif Pasha absolutely rejecting the demands of the Notables, on the ground that they were inconsistent with international engagements. This Liberal Government, therefore, which came into Office upon the principle of non-intervention, and claimed to be the representative of the most free Parliament and people in the world, at the bidding of the bondholders and the French Government deliberately crushed the free institutions of Egypt. Anyone reading the Papers must come to the conclusion that the rejection of the demands of the Chamber of Notables threw the National Party of Egypt into the arms of Arabi, and rendered some kind of intervention necessary. Having made up their minds to crush the Chamber, and thus render some kind of intervention necessary, Her Majesty's Government then deliberately chose that kind of intervention which they were warned would end in war and bloodshed. On January 20, Sir Edward Malet, having learnt the determination of the Government, wrote to say that armed intervention would be necessary if the refusal to allow the Chamber of Notables to vote the Budget were adhered to, and he added that England could not do otherwise, as the demand of the Chamber was only part of a complete scheme of revolution. Her Majesty's Government were thus warned by their own diplomatic Officer that armed intervention would become necessary if the demands of the Chamber were refused. On February 1, Sir Edward Malet again sent a despatch to Her Majesty's Government, in which he reported an interview with an Egyptian Minister, who told him that a commission from the Porte and the despatch of an armed Turkish Force was the only intervention possible, without risk of serious danger to European residents and considerable bloodshed. Intervention by either England or France would, he said, be inevitably followed by disturbance and bloodshed. Yet, in the face of that warning, Her Majesty's Government deliberately rejected Turkish intervention, and deliberately adopted that particular method of intervention which they were warned would be the cause of bloodshed. The case against the Government was clearly made out. In the first place, long before the National movement became a military movement, they had made up their minds to crush it, and, having done so, they adopted that particular method which they were warned would plunge the country in war. He did not grudge Her Majesty's Government the glory and credit they had for the time gained in this country for their action. They had boasted that the war had been a cheap one, and that it had not cost the country the lives of many of its soldiers and sailors. Did the Government take into account the thousands of Egyptians who lost their lives in that war? He did not believe that they cared a straw for the unhappy country whose defender they professed to be. From the time that the subject of Egypt had been first discussed in the House he had not altered his opinions concerning it. Those opinions were very clearly set forth in the Amendment of the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle, and if he went to a division he should certainly support him.


said, he did not know whether Her Majesty's Government were going to be content to allow the discussion on Egypt to close with the sort of explanation given in the speech of the noble Lord the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs last night; but, like the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst), he should certainly support the Amendment of the hon. Baronet if it went to a division. He was glad that the House had obtained an opportunity for discussing the Egyptian War; the only difficulty was that it came in a way somewhat unexpected and inconvenient. The documents which had been published with regard to Egypt proved, what had always been contended by the Leaders of the Conservative Party, as well as by many of those sitting below the Gangway on the Ministerial side, that the war was wholly unnecessary. In a despatch from Lord Granville, dated November 3, 1882, to Lord Dufferin, with regard to the re-organization of Egypt, he recommended the gradual reduction of the foreign element and the increase in the employment of native Egyptians in all brandies of administration, and the establishment of all institutions favourable to liberty. On November 3, 1882, Lord Granville again drew Lord Dufferin's attention to the importance of the three matters—less employment of Europeans, equal taxation of Foreigners and Natives, and the development of Native institutions. At that moment, under the pretence of the existence of an independent Government in Egypt, England was trying, at great trouble and cost, to do those very things which Arabi and the National Party in Egypt were trying to do when interfered with by France and England. Those three matters were all very strongly put forward by the supporters of the National Party in Egypt. The Papers published with regard to the former condition of Egypt showed that 1,200 Europeans were employed in the Egyptian State service, and that their salaries amounted to £373,000 a-year. It appeared to the Egyptians, as well as to a great many in this country, that the result of the course taken by England and France was to set up a foreign bureaucracy, which naturally offended the people of Egypt. In the fresh Papers published, which he supposed were intended to remove the impression produced by the former ones, it was stated that there were 54,000 persons in the service of the State in Egypt in other than a military capacity. The salaries of those persons amounted to £1,953,000. The table stated that 53,000 of these people were Natives, and 1,000 were Europeans, as if that were an answer to the grievance. It was of importance to see the relative salaries of the Natives and Europeans. He found that the average salary paid to the 53,000 Natives was £31 a-year, while the average salary of the Europeans was £301 a-year. The grievance which was denounced by Arabi Pasha and the National Party, and now by Lord Dufferin, was that all the best posts were occupied by Europeans, to the exclusion of the Natives. He was very glad to find that Lord Dufferin was going to redress that grievance. In carrying on the late war, this country had wasted £4,500,000; and it was remarkable that the country had been committed to that war by a Party acting in violation of their political creed. From the Papers circulated this morning, it appeared that foreigners in Egypt were exempted from three items of taxation—namely, professional taxes, commercial stamp taxes, and house taxes—to the total amount of nearly £500,000. That was a matter which Lord Dufferin was going to set right, and which the Chamber of Notables said was a serious grievance. As to the position of this country, in January, 1882, the Government was then under the domination of the French Government, and showed a strange official incapacity. On the 11th of January Lord Granville was informed by Sir Edward Malet of the wishes of the Chamber of Notables, and on the same day Lord Granville wrote to Lord Lyons, asking what were M. Gambetta's views. Then, in accordance with those views, Lord Granville wrote to Sir Edward Malet that the demand of the Chamber of Notables would be peremptorily refused. This demand was that the Chamber should be entitled to deal with that part of the revenues of Egypt not required for the payment of the interest on the Debt. That they should be permitted to do this was urged by Sir Edward Malet in his letter which reached the Foreign Office on the 18th of January, 1882. The proposal was, however, utterly rejected by the Foreign Office. Then, on the 24th of January, Sir Edward Malet wrote that every question between the Ministry and the Chamber was settled, except the question with regard to the Budget, and that this was the only question then remaining between them. The Chamber being anxious that there should be no excuse for foreign intervention proposed that the question of the Budget should be submitted to the vote, and, in short, every possible concession was made by the leaders of the National Party to induce Her Majesty's Government to consent to the Chamber of Notables having come authority over the revenue which belonged exclusively to them. In March, 1882, a Report of the Expenditure was published, when it was shown that the revenue assigned to the payment of the interest of the Debt was sufficient for the purpose. There was an income of £9,000,000; £4,500,000 was required for payment of the interest on the Debt, and £4,500,000 were absolutely secure. That was admitted. Why should not the Chamber of Notables be allowed to deal with that other part of their revenue? He could find no answer to that question, except that the English Foreign Officer was under the domination of the French Government at that time and would not move a step without the consent of M. Gambetta. The Egyptian Government issued a declaration of their intentions, and one Minister asked why they were not to be allowed to deal with taxes raised from their own people. However, the proposals for a compromise were disregarded. The instructions from France were that no compromise should be accepted. M. Gambetta then fell, and then came a Ministry in Egypt which was, no doubt, dominated by Arabi. But during February and March, the Egyptian Ministry was trying to discover some mode of arrangement with England and France by which it might be at liberty to deal with the Budget. But then appeared a most painful record of the incompetence of the Foreign Office. Only two suggestions were made by the Foreign Office; one was, that there should be an English, a French, and a Turkish General sent into Egypt to re-organize its military system. But, as M. Tissot asked, supposing Egypt did not yield to their representations, what then? There was to be a full stop; for the three Generals had no means at hand of enforcing their views. So things drifted on from January till the 15th of May, when a despatch was issued from the Foreign Office, confessing its inability to do anything. On the 15th of May Lord Granville wrote to Lord Lyons respecting the proposal to send a Fleet to Alexandria. In that amazing despatch of the 15th of May there were also these words— I hare told the French Ambassador that Mr. Gladstone agrees with me in regretting that the other Powers have not been invited to cooperate. Her Majesty's Government think this a mistake. If they thought it a mistake to send an iron-clad fleet to Alexandria, without inviting the other Powers to co-operate, he wondered why they did it, and also why they should have put it on record that they were taking that step in defiance of their own judgment. The despatch, however, went on to say— But as the French Government held absolutely to it, and as they had gone so far to meet the views of Her Majesty's Government, they had concurred in the course taken. There was no trace in the Papers of the French Government having gone so far to meet the views of our Government at all. What was the specific reason why on the 15th of May, the Government believing all the time they were committing a mistake, gave way to France and sent an iron-clad fleet to Alexandria? Directly the Fleet went the result was inevitable. Four times our Government had been warned by their own Representatives that the intervention of England and France must lead to bloodshed. He supposed that it was not consistent with their honour that they should have withdrawn their Fleet from Alexandria, but the Egyptians were clearly within their rights in maintaining their armament of the forts of Alexandria. They had heard a good deal about the glamour of military success, and the way it affected the minds of people. The hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Rylands) declared that he believed that the bombardment of Alexandria was a crime; yet he said he would not vote against the Government which had committed that criminal act; but although they had not changed their views he would trust them to do better in time to come. Again and again the Government had been challenged to give the House an opportunity of discussing Egyptian affairs, but they bad made various excuses. Then the bombardment occurred, and it was said that the Government had taken the responsibility of the acts they were doing, and that they would be ready to answer to Parliament. They said they were now ready to answer to Parliament, because they had the advantage of that military triumph, and the popularity it had brought them. Yet even now, under the guidance of English statesmen, and at the cost to some extent of English money, Lord Dufferin was trying to carry out the re- forms in Egypt which were nearly carried out a year ago, and which would probably have been brought to their completion if England and France had not stepped in to interfere with the development of representative institutions. The Speech from the Throne spoke of the clemency shown by the Khedive to the leaders of the insurrection. There must have been a smile on the face of the Minister who drafted those words. The fact was that since May last the Khedive had been a mere puppet under the authority of this country. For a long time before that date he was a puppet in the hands of England and France, and although those two Powers had parted company, he had at this moment no more individual authority than Lord Spencer in Ireland or Lord Ripon in India. When they had reestablished him with a British General to command his army, and with an English Financial Adviser to control his affairs, it was really a joke to talk of him as an independent Sovereign. Arabi's life had been spared by the pressure from this country. The men who surrounded the Khedive would have been only too glad to put out of the way Arabi, who had been their rival and opponent, and might be so again. Having banished the man who had tried to give representative institutions to his country, and having wasted all that money and human life, our Government were now attempting to bring back the very things which Arabi and the National Party in Egypt had fought for. For himself, he believed that that war was absolutely unnecessary from beginning to end. Every shilling spent in it was worse than wasted, for our people had been familiarized in a feeling of military success by those whom they had trusted to save them from any military adventures which were not of an honourable character. Although they had done wrong in going to war with Egypt, and wrought much mischief, they must now of course maintain their interests there, for they could not abruptly retire, leaving all the chaos they had made behind them. But he deeply regretted that that question was not fairly raised and argued out last Session, when every attempt was made, but to no purpose, to induce the Government to come face to face with their opponents upon it.


said, that the reason why the proceedings against Arabi were stopped was not because of the clemency of the Khedive, but because otherwise revelations would have been made in the highest degree inconvenient to the occupants of the Treasury Bench. He failed to see that British troops in Egypt were being withdrawn as expeditiously as a full consideration of the circumstances would permit. If Shakespeare were asked to give a summary description of the declarations of Her Majesty's Government with regard to Egypt during the past 12 months, he would emphatically declare that they supplied a first-class instance of the "lie circumstantial;" nor would Pascal have had need to consult musty, fusty tomes and Jesuitic literature for illustrations of crooked morality; but, as he (Mr. O'Donnell) was a moderate-spoken Member of Parliament, he was bound only to regard these assurances and declarations as a practical illustration of Liberal and humanitarian political morality. He believed that there was no intention whatever on the part of the Government to withdraw their troops from Egypt; but if they were withdrawn they would soon be replaced by another contingent of the British Force. The action in this matter taken by the Government would be a source of permanent weakness in the policy of the whole Empire. The position taken up at the Danubian Conference by the Representatives of this country was due to the same cause. Blood and treasure had been wasted in former years, in order to prevent the triumphant march of the Russian legions to the Mediterranean, yet now, owing to the Egyptian policy of the Government, the command of the mouths of the Danube was to be handed over to the Government of St. Petersburg. At the present time Her Majesty's Government was sacrificing in the Danubian Conference the most fundamental rights and privileges of the liberated Provinces of Turkey to the greed of the Russian and Austrian Empires. The Government had gone into the Danubian Conference because the}' were compelled to buy the consent of Austria and. Russia to the policy of sham and dishonesty which had been pursued in Egypt. The bloodshed of Tel-el-Kebir, the crime committed at Alexandria, would be paid by this Empire through many a year of foreign complication, and, perhaps, of national misfortune. In short, the foreign policy of Her Majesty's Government had tied the country to the chariot wheels of all the Great Continental Powers. Their oppression of the Egyptian people, their pitiful juggle with their puppet Khedive—a juggle which deceived no man—and their violation of popular and national rights had tied Her Majesty's Government to the policy of the natural enemies of their county; and that policy would, at no distant date, cause England to remember the sacrifice she made when she condoned the political crime committed by the most hypocritical Government that ever sat on the Treasury Bench.


said, he deprecated anything like an appearance of divided counsels on a question of foreign policy, and did not intend to say anything that would hamper the Government in their future dealing with Egypt. He regretted that the Liberal Party had not pursued the same course with respect to their opponents. The object for which the present Premier, when out of Office, worked was to undermine the influence of the late Lord Beacons-field; and so far was that carried that, not content with imputing the basest motives to him, the Liberal Leaders went the length of slandering the General in the field, and of imputing to General Roberts, and the officers serving under him, cruelties which they never committed. Far be it from the present Opposition to imitate such tactics. He was prepared to support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. A. J. Balfour), which dealt only with the past, and could not in any way embarrass the Ministry in the measures necessary to be taken for the future government of Egypt. The real reason for the late campaign was nothing else but a desire to regain a little of the popularity which they had lost. It was necessary for that purpose that the Government should go to war; and therefore they selected their opponent on the same principle as Mr. Winkle, who chose the smallest boy in the crowd, and made an onslaught on him. The simplest plan for the Government to adopt was merely to say that they intended to take the Suez Canal, and to let the Egyptians govern themselves as they pleased. The Government sent our ves- sels to Alexandria only with instructions to shell the forts, and with instructions not to land any troops. It was clear that some very few hundred troops would have saved Alexandria, and he could not see why it was not done. At the present moment there was nothing unpatriotic in saying that if only one-tenth part of the vigour which was shown by the Government when they were in Opposition had been shown in their policy now all these events might have been avoided. They had learnt from Lord Beaconsfield the utility of Cyprus; they had learnt from him the utility of bringing troops from India; but they had not learnt to make use of that decision and vigour of which he had set them so good an example. As for the war itself, it came at a time most propitious for the Government, which was at that time disgraced by the immunity enjoyed by crime in Ireland, and by the compact which Government itself had made with it. Abroad, too, Russian aggression had been met by the retreat from Candahar, and the disgrace of Majuba Hill had not been retrieved. But for the Egyptian War coming at the time it did, the Procedure Resolutions would not have been passed. The Government had been successful in their conduct of the campaign; but they had not settled the principles on which they were going to govern Egypt. It was ridiculous to talk about giving Constitutional government to a people like the Egyptians, who were totally unfit for it. They were a weak people, and required to be ruled by the strong hand of a tyrant—using the term, of course, in its old Greek and historical sense. In his opinion, it would be well to tell the Egyptian Government and the Egyptian people that we meant to hold the Canal for ourselves, as it was necessary for our communications with India. He was not condemning the whole conduct of the Government in relation to the war; but what he did condemn was that during many anxious months last year, when Question after Question was addressed to him on the subject, the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs was much more hopeful in the answers he gave than the circumstances warranted. In his opinion, the war was got up, to a certain extent, for the purpose of rehabilitating the character of the Government before the country; and the Government owed whatever little good character they had left to the ability shown by Lord Wolseley in Egypt. The war had been a perfect godsend to the Government, and by its means they hoped to struggle through another Session or so.


said, that hon. Members of the nationality to which he belonged would be wanting in their duty if they did not take a share in the protest that had been made against the policy of the Government in regard to Egypt, outraging, as it did, the principle of nationality. Various arguments had been urged in favour of the action of the Government; but he had not heard or read one which stood the test of examination. The first argument was that Arabi Pasha participated in the assassinations and incendiarism that took place in Alexandria; but Arabi Pasha had been put on his trial, and it was now conceded on all hands, and by the Representatives of the Government in Egypt, that the charges brought against him in regard to those crimes had broken down. The responsibility of those crimes rested, in his opinion, on those who provoked the state of things that led to them, and he could not acquit the Conservative Party of a share of the odium that attached to the Government for their action in this matter. The second argument advanced by the Government in favour of their policy was the necessity of insuring the safety of the Suez Canal as our great highway to India. But, on that point, he challenged the hon. Baronet who introduced the Amendment to show that a particle of evidence had been adduced in favour of the statement that the safety of the Suez Canal had ever been threatened, either on the part of Arabi Pasha or of the Egyptian people. Whatever else had been proved against Arabi Pasha, the charge that he endeavoured to damage the Canal had not been sustained. It was a peculiar fact, too, that when the present Government were in Opposition no argument was put forward more positively by them than that the Suez Canal would practically be of little account if this country were involved in war; and, therefore, the argument that this war was necessary for the protection of the Canal had been falsified by facts and by the statements of Members of the Government themselves. At the present moment, the Government professed to be endeavour- ing to introduce representative institutions into Egypt, and they said that the people would, by means of those institutions, obtain control over the finances. But it was because they had claimed to have some control over the finances of the country that Arabi Pasha and his friends had been condemned; and yet the Government now put forward, as necessary for the welfare of the Egyptian people, those very demands which Arabi was condemned for making, so that the failures of Arabi Pasha had been more profitable or advantageous to him than had the success of the English Government been to them. With regard to the effect of the policy of the Government on other nations, he might point out, for instance, that up to the time of this war Prance was a close friend and an intimate ally of this country; but it would be no exaggeration to say that, at the present moment, she hated us as much as she did Germany, and thus the old feeling of friendliness between the two countries had altogether disappeared. In any future complications, therefore, this country would no longer be able to count on the friendship of Prance. It had been preached as a sound doctrine by Liberal speakers, and especially by Radical speakers when in Opposition, that every addition now made to the Empire would be a great danger. The universal doctrines of the Liberal Party, especially when in Opposition, were non-intervention in foreign affairs—he was going to say justice to Ireland, but he would omit that now—and the non-increase of the national responsibility. These doctrines had been grossly violated by the conduct of the Government in Egypt, and they had now one country the more which, though on the surface it might appear to add to their strength, did, in reality, add to their weakness. They had estranged Prance, and rendered themselves subject to Russia, Austria, and Germany, for everyone knew that the German or the Russian Chancellery, combined with Turkey, could have defeated every attempt of theirs. Such a combination was a permanent danger to their supremacy in Egypt. The hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. A. J. Bafour), in a speech, the more effective from its moderation, said that when they? went to Egypt the Khedive might not have been a very popular Sovereign, but he was at least an established Sovereign; his authority had received no shock, and, if not popular, he was not hated by his subjects. Would the President of the Local Government Board deny the statement that the Khedive was now as unpopular a Ruler as any in the world? At the time the Khedive was about to return to Cairo relying on the British arms, an old Egyptian was heard to sum up the whole situation in very terse language, saying—"The Khedive is coming back, but he brings his nurse along with him." If the Khedive after Tel-el-Kebir had gone into the streets of Cairo he would have been torn in pieces by the populace. But had Arabi done so, without a single soldier, he would have been received with enthusiasm. If there had been a plébiscite in Egypt, did anyone doubt who would be chosen Ruler. Arabi, who lived in the hearts of the people, but whom they had driven into exile, or their miserable puppet the Khedive? Was it thus that they carried out the principles of Constitutional Sovereignty? He supposed they would lay down the general rule that Sovereignty was based upon consent—in this case the consent of foreign bayonets. And all that had been done by the Liberal Party, and by the Prime Minister, who, when in Opposition, was the greatest, the most eloquent, he would almost say the most inspired, apostle of popular liberties. And that had been done too by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir Charles W. Dilke), a Radical of the Radicals. He would not turn to what the right hon. Gentleman had called "his scatter-brain period," but would remind him of words he had used, which were quoted last night, to the effect that the wretched fellaheen had been once beaten to exact grinding taxes in the name of their Rulers; they were now beaten by the same officers to exact grinding taxes in the name of Mr. Goschen. He was sorry that that Radical patriot, the right hon. Member for Ripon, was not in his place that he might hear the scathing and honest denunciation which his conduct in Egypt had elicited from the right hon. Gentleman on the Treasury Bench. When this country placed its policy under the dictation and control of financiers, it was then that the basis was laid of all the evils that had ensued. He was sorry the Prime Minister was not there, that he might remind him of one of the most impressive scenes he had ever witnessed in that House. He remembered, on a Motion made by the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Richard), how the right hon. Gentleman, with all that impressiveness of voice and of manner, by which he could electrify the House, said—"What right have we to call upon other nations to disarm when our own hands are red with innocent blood?" He had heard the argument used, that this war in Egypt had improved the position of the Government in the country. There was not a time when the people of this country could not be excited to some foreign enterprise, especially if it was of a buccaneering character. There was not a time when they could not make the people of this country hate Russia, Cetewayo, or Arabi, though they might afterwards applaud them. The hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. G. Russell) had said that the Egyptian War had improved the Prime Minister's position with the timid and respectable, who, oddly enough, were usually the most bellicose, and had made him for the moment popular with the London mob. It was, indeed, singular that a Minister whose windows had not long ago been broken by a London mob should now be felicitated by the very men who so recently hated him and his policy. Surely a Nemesis would attend a success which had been gained only by debauching the principles of the Liberal Party. The Opposition to the late Government, whatever its faults might have been, had at any rate endeavoured to moralize the foreign policy of the country; but its Leaders, now that they were in Office, made aggression and bloody wars the backbone of their Party. If anything was certain, it was that with the peace-loving Radicals on one side, and the glory-loving Conservatives on the other, the Government would find it hard to justify its action, and would inevitably give its supporters and the country the impression that it had deserted and abandoned its old principles.


said, that not a single speaker had defended the policy of the Government, though the debate had been carried on from all quarters, and by representatives of every section of the House. The conduct of the Government had been arraigned in the most direct manner by the Amendment of the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. A. J. Balfour); but an Amendment to an Amendment on the Address, especially when important Papers were promised, was not a very convenient way of raising the question. Before the House came to an ultimate decision on the subject, it would be absolutely necessary to be in possession of Papers giving a full account of the trial of Arabi Pasha, with the record of the evidence produced against him. These Papers had, as he had said, been promised by his noble Friend; but the House had not received them, and the Papers presented to it that day gave no clue to the evidence brought forward at the trial, which he believed was unequalled for its extraordinary and farcical character in the annals of judicial proceedings. He should think it his duty to press for that information, because he felt that it was absolutely necessary in order to form a judgment upon not only the present and past, but also upon the future of Egypt. The Opposition had been taunted with not having brought forward a Vote of Censure last Session; but never was a taunt made with so little to justify it. Every Member of the House knew perfectly well that over and over again last year the Opposition had pressed for information and Papers, as well as for a day upon which to discuss the subject of Egypt, and had as often been refused both documents and days for discussion. Negotiations were going on, said the Government, and when the Conference was being held, it was not only necessary to have no discussion, but all information on matters of the utmost importance was denied by the Under Secretary. It was, therefore, hopeless to bring forward a Vote of Censure at that time. Then, when the Vote of Credit was taken the Opposition was appealed to by Her Majesty's Government, the right hon. Member for Ripon (Mr. Goschen), and other influential Members not to disturb the unanimity of the Treasury Bench, and not to give foreign nations the idea that the Vote did not receive the undivided support of the House. On that occasion, consequently, the Opposition showed, what he hoped the Conservative Opposition would always show, that it had patriotism enough not to oppose the Vote at a critical moment, although it guarded itself against endorsing the policy that had led to it. He need not repeat his reasons for thinking the war unnecessary. Many arguments had already been advanced on that point; but he might record his conviction that, considering the known facts of the case, the Government, had they taken the most obvious steps, might have avoided the war altogether. If the Blue Books issued prior to the war were examined from end to end, it would be found that they did not contain one single proposal from Her Majesty's Government to the French Government that any inquiry should be made into the alleged grievances of what was called the National Party in Egypt, and they seemed to have committed themselves to the idea of the French Government that those people were mere military adventurers and rebels. His firm conviction was that if an inquiry had been made the prestige of the two Governments would have averted war. He also thought that Her Majesty's Government were to be blamed for exciting the feelings of the Porte against their proceedings in Egypt. He was most anxious about the present and the future, and said, without the slightest hesitation, that in the Papers they had seen since the date of the Vote of Credit fresh evidence was given which afforded good reason to ask for further information, and also to suspect that the country had been entirely and totally misled as to the true causes of the war. The two great proximate causes of the war were the massacre of the 11th of June and the arming of the forts. With regard to the massacre Arabi had been put on his trial, and not only had he not been found guilty, but our own Officer had said that there was no evidence to put him on his trial at all. It was in evidence that the officer who was commander at Alexandria was moving about the streets at the time of the massacre, and took no steps to stop it. This man was now in the Khedive's Ministry. The evidence had proved, not only that Arabi was innocent, but that those were guilty who had been accusing him. We had been told that Arabi was guilty of these massacres, and that that was one of the reasons why we went to war with him. Nothing stirred the mind of the people of this country so much as the fact that we were told by the Government that Arabi was guilty of the mas- sacres. It was this which, for his own part, accounted for nothing being said in opposition to the course taken against Arabi. He believed at the time, upon the evidence produced by the Government, that they were justified in regarding Arabi as one of the causes of the massacres. The other cause of the war was the arming of the forts. We were led to believe that Arabi alone carried out the arming of the forts. But we now found that the Khedive himself presided at the three Councils which decided upon the arming of the forts and refused the ultimatum of Admiral Seymour. There was another piece of evidence which was new to us, and that was the proclamation of the Khedive. No doubt, at one time, he was not a free agent; but what did he do when he was a free agent, when Arabi had gone away from Alexandria? He dismissed Arabi, and what was the ground [on which he did so? He dismissed him by proclamation which stated that he did not offer sufficient resistance to the British Fleet during the bombardment. We had not the smallest idea of these things at the time of the debate on the Vote of Credit. The Government could not have known them because it could not be assumed that they would mislead the House and the country. These things being so, the whole theory of the war, upon which we were endeavouring to reconstitute the Government of Egypt, was wrong, and the mistake would have to be acknowledged before the Government of Egypt could be placed on a stable foundation. There were two or three Reports he was anxious the Government should produce. He did not want to adopt an attitude of hostility to the Government; he understood the great difficulties involved in the re-settlement of Egypt; but these were difficulties which were not new. Over and over again when the late Government was in Office it was suggested to them by Foreign Powers that it was desirable that we should take Egypt. The late Government investigated all the questions involved, and they saw that anything like the annexation of Egypt by England must entail on this country extraordinary difficulties. These were not new questions, therefore, and he was perfectly prepared to give to the Government any humble support in endeavouring to get them out of the difficulties they were in. [Ironical cheers.] He did not suppose anyone would assert that the Government had not great difficulties before them. He agreed with the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Rylands) that it was impossible for any Englishman to suppose for a moment that we could leave Egypt at present; and we had it on the highest authority in "another place" that there was no intention to do so. Indeed, it would be most cruel to the Egyptian people that we should do so. We had swept away the Government which had existed, and there was nothing but the British power between Egypt and anarchy on the one hand, and foreign intervention on the other. It was idle to suppose that if we went away foreign Powers would not step in; and if they did they would build up their position on the ruins of our prestige, and on the mistakes we had made. He was most anxious that the Government should state what they thought of the part Arabi played as to the massacre and the arming of the forts. If they found the record of his trial showed that he was not guilty of those crimes, which really led us to war, then they must make a total change and reverse the policy they were pursuing. Some of the despatches from Lord Dufferin dwelt upon the difficulties of the situation; but if pressure were not put unduly upon that noble Lord, he would give wise advice to the Government. It was perfectly certain from the despatches that he had no faith in the possibility of forming a Constitutional Government out of the elements which now existed in Egypt; and he warned the Government, if they attempted to do anything of the kind, and then left the Egyptian people to do the best they could, or, to use a phrase which had now become classical, to "stew in their own juice"—they would have to undo the work they were now doing, and embark upon a far more difficult enterprize than that now before them. He hoped that before long there would be an opportunity of discussing the questions he had foreshadowed, and he hoped the Papers he had mentioned would be presented, because it was impossible to form a just opinion unless we knew all the particulars of the trial of Arabi.


said, the complaint was sometimes made that the debates on foreign affairs were confined to the two Front Benches; but the complaint could not be made that night. He had waited for someone on the Front Bench opposite to give an indication of the line that would be taken by the Chiefs of the Opposition with regard to the two Amendments before the House. The Leader of the Opposition spoke upon the Motion for the adjournment of the debate on Thursday night, but he gave no indication of the course he meant to take. Therefore, it was naturally expected that early to-day some hint would be given of the course the Chiefs of the Opposition would adopt. At last they had been addressed by a speaker of great weight on the Front Opposition Bench; but the right hon. Gentleman had not told the House what course the Opposition would take with regard to the Amendments. He had not stated whether they would say "Aye," or "No," or walk out of the House. He had never known so odd a debate. This was a debate in which almost all the speakers who supported the same Amendment had differed as to the grounds on which they supported it. For example, there was a disagreement between the Mover and the Seconder of each of the two Amendments. There would, probably, be a disagreement between occupants of the Front Opposition Bench; there would be a difference between father and son; and there had certainly been a difference of opinion among the Fourth Party, reduced as it was by the absence of one of its Members at Rome. In these circumstances, it was the duty of Her Majesty's Government to wait, before addressing the House, for some observations from right hon. Gentlemen opposite. His right hon. Friend (Mr. Bourke), in the course of his remarks, did not throw much light on the subject of the Amendment before the House, but told them that they ought to have answered the speech of his hon. Friend the Member for Hertford (Mr. A. J. Balfour). Presently he would make some attempt to answer that speech; but one reason why the Government did not think it necessary to answer his hon. Friend immediately was that his own Seconder answered a considerable portion of his remarks. His right hon. Friend had called attention in a very prominent manner in portions of his speech to the fact that the Khedive presided over a Council at which certain measures against the English Fleet were ordered by the Egyptian Government. It was known at the time—not only through Government despatches, but through the ordinary sources of information—that such was the case. It was known that the Khedive was acting under compulsion, and that he was presiding nominally over the councils of men with whose proceedings he entirely disagreed. Indeed, the right hon. Gentleman himself answered that portion of his remarks by stating that the Khedive was not at that moment a free agent. The right hon. Gentleman had asked the Government to give information as to Arabi Pasha. With regard to the proclamation, he thought the Government had expressed their opinion that it was rather a foolish one. At the same time, it could not be considered as having been issued against this country, inasmuch as those who issued it were surrounded by British troops, and it was hardly likely that they would have issued a proclamation which was directed against England. His right hon. Friend had asked for further information with regard to Arabi's trial. Well, they had communicated to the House that morning as full information as, in the opinion of Lord Dufferin, could be given at the present moment. With regard to the communication of Papers, perhaps he might be allowed to refer to a remark of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin), who spoke from the Front Bench opposite—a rather unusual place for him. The hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire asked the Government to immediately produce the despatch from Lord Dufferin which had been received by Her Majesty's Government. That despatch had only been one day in the possession of the Government, and as it consisted of 278 closely-written pages, a considerable number of days must elapse before it could be even printed for the consideration of Her Majesty's Government. Consequently, he could not make any statement in regard to it to-night. Before he came to the speech of the Mover of the Amendment now before the House and to a consideration of the terms of the other Amendment, he wished to refer to something which fell from the hon. Member for the Borough of Galway (Mr. T. P. O'Connor). The hon. Member quoted the speeches he had made in the House on this subject, and asserted that he (Sir Charles W. Dilke) expressed indignation at the proceedings of his right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon (Mr. Goschen) in Egypt. This was an absolute misapprehension, and he must give the statement a most emphatic contradiction. His indignation was entirely directed against the Government of the late Khedive. The speech quoted was a speech from an entirely philanthropic point of view, and expressed his belief that the late Government were, by the institution of the Control, rendering themselves too much responsible for the manner of the administration of Egypt by the late Khedive. The hon. and learned Member for Plymouth (Mr. E. Clarke) and his right hon. Friend the Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Bourke) had both stated that Her Majesty's Government had refused, in the past, opportunities for the discussion of this subject. But the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth was present during the debates on the Vote of Credit, and he must remember that for days the House was engaged in the discussion of almost the whole of the points connected with this subject, with the exception of those new ones which had been raised to-night by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. In the course of that debate words were used with regard to the military character of the rebellion in Egypt, and with regard to Arabi being a military adventurer, which aroused the indignation of the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth. [Mr. BOURKE: Hear, hear!] He was astonished to hear that his right hon. Friend appeared to agree with the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth. [Mr. BOURKE: We were misled.] He hoped the Government were not misled. The words "military adventurer" occurred in the speeches of both the Leaders of the Opposition, in that House and in the House of Lords. The Friends of the right hon. Gentleman used the phrase a considerable time before it was used in the debate to which reference had been made. It was at the meeting in Willis's Rooms, before the debate on the Vote of Credit, that that phrase was applied to Arabi by the Leaders of the Opposition in both Houses of Parliament. The hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) had made a state- ment which was entirely outside the scope of many of the speeches that had been delivered that evening. But the hon. Member had only repeated military arguments which were brought forward over and over again in the debate on the Vote of Credit, and which were answered by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, then Secretary of State for War. He should not venture, in the presence of his right hon. Friend, to deal with what he said as to the use of Cyprus, except to observe that Her Majesty's Government did make use of the Island for a small force. There were difficulties, however, which would prevent Cyprus being used for military operations. Cyprus was without a harbour. There was, indeed, a kind of natural harbour at Famagosta; but it would be impossible to land large bodies of men there on account of the deadly climate of that town. Still, it was an entire misapprehension to suppose that the Government did not attempt to make any use of Cyprus in the Egyptian Expedition. The hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire dealt in this way with what he might call ancient history. They had heard a great deal of ancient history that evening. The hon. and learned Member for Plymouth went back further, and attacked the Government for the laches they had committed in regard to the original sending of the troops to Alexandria. The hon. Member made a statement which showed that he did not know very much of the working of the system of government conducted by Gentlemen who belonged to the two great political Parties in the State. The hon. Member attacked Lord Granville for saying, "Mr. Gladstone agrees with me," and then going on to say, "The opinion of Her Majesty's Government" was so and so. One of the most delicate duties of a Secretary of State, or of any other Minister of high position, was to decide what were the questions in regard to which he might assume the consent of the Government and speak by himself for the Government; and what, on the other hand, were the questions as to which he ought to get the assent of the whole Cabinet. But in matters of detail, which required to be dealt with day by day, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, after consulting the Prime Minister, might fairly think himself justified in speaking of the opinion of Her Majesty's Govern- ment. Then the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth attacked the Government for having sent ships to Alexandria in connection with France, although they had said they thought it was a mistake that the other Powers were not invited to co-operate in the Expedition. They thought it would be undoubtedly better if they could have obtained the assistance of other Powers; but, at the same time, they had given their reasons for going to Alexandria with France without asking the consent of the other Powers. The hon. and learned Member said he could find nothing in the Papers to show that the French did give way to us on so large a question, and that we ought to give way to France on a smaller one. Did the hon. and learned Member not remember that for months France had been refusing absolutely to assent to the principle of Turkish intervention in Egypt, and that just before the date of which he spoke the French entirely changed their policy and consented to such intervention? Another matter of ancient history had been brought before the House in several speeches to-night. The hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. A. J. Balfour) had spoken of the Dual Control, and had attacked the independent Members of the Liberal Party for going about the country and attributing all that had occurred in Egypt to the institution of the Dual Control. How could Her Majesty's Government prevent independent Members from taking that line? [Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL: I do not acquit the Government.] The Government did not want to be acquitted. The Government were quite prepared to endorse the views taken by those Members of the Liberal Party for reasons which had previously been laid before the House. There were two Dual Controls—the original Dual Control of Lord Derby, and the second, which was established by Lord Salisbury. The Dual Control which had been unanimously condemned by Liberal speakers was the second Control. That distinction was clearly pointed out by the Prime Minister. ["No!"] His right hon. Friend in his speech on the subject, began by quoting the speech which he himself (Sir Charles W. Dilke) had made, and expressed approval of it. The first question was, whether the first Control was a political Control? He asserted that in 1876 it was not, because the Government were not concerned in it. In 1879 the Egyptian Government was deprived of the power of dismissing the Controllers, and the Government brought foreign intervention into the heart of Egypt, and established what was in the strongest sense a political Control. That could be proved by the dates. If the hon. Member was as well acquainted with what had taken place under the late Government as he was with what had recently occurred, he would know that Lord Derby refused over and over again in the strongest terms to create a political Control. Lord Derby refused repeatedly to appoint a Controller. He had always insisted that the Controller should be dismissible by the Government of Egypt. He was over and over again applied to by the French Government to appoint a Controller, but always refused. He thought the Government was entirely justified in quoting Lord Derby with regard to the earlier Control, and Lord Salisbury in regard to the later form of the Control. His hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Richard) bad said that the doing away with the Control was the matter upon which we had gone to war. He could not allow that statement to pass without notice, for fear it should be supposed that he agreed in that view. He could not admit that the weakening of the Control was the cause of our going to war. The Prime Minister had given a list of reasons for the war, and the Control formed a very small element in those reasons. His hon. Friend the Member for Hertford (Mr. A. J. Balfour) had said that we went to Egypt to protect British capitalists, and quoted his noble Friend the present Leader of of the House as having admitted as much in his speech at Darwen. His noble Friend would remember that speech better than he did, and as his noble Friend would probably speak, he would leave him to deal with it. But he was perfectly certain that his noble Friend said nothing of the kind, and had merely mentioned the matter in an incidental way, and not as the cause of the war. He agreed with his hon. Friend that if the ease were as he said that his noble Friend had stated it, we should be perpetually at war. He wished his hon. Friend had read the whole of his noble Friend's speech to the House. If he had done so he would have come to a different conclusion. He was sorry to make further references to the speech of his hon. Friend the Member for Hertford in his absence, but he was obliged to make one or two remarks upon it. His hon. Friend had made the same attack on the Government which had been made in "another place" by the Leader of the Opposition. His hon. Friend said that the Government were too late in their action; but it ought to be remembered that if they had acted sooner there would have been risk of serious European complications, or even of European war. His hon. Friend should remember the absolute necessity of taking the other Powers with us in everything we did. That subject was fully discussed in the previous debate, and he did not know that anything more could be said now than had boon said then. This country now stood in a different position from that in which it would have stood if it had in the first instance resorted to the arbitrament of force. Then, his hon. Friend the Member for Hertford attacked the Government for having broken down the authority of the Khedive; but if that authority had been broken down, it was done by the mode of the action the late Government adopted in removing the late Khedive. On account of the manner of that action of the late Government a military revolt became only a question of months or years. It was absolutely certain that a military revolt would come some day. Several Members had spoken of a National Party in terms almost as strong as those of the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth (Mr. E. Clarke). The Government had never denied that there was a National Party in Egypt, and national demands. It was said that the Government had changed its opinion on the subject. He had never changed his opinion. But Arabi Pasha had never represented the National Party. The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Richard) had referred to great names in connection with Arabi; he had spoken of Cromwell and Hampden and Washington and Garibaldi. He did not desire to speak ill of a man who had passed away from national politics as Arabi had done. But, whatever might be urged against Garibaldi, it must be remembered that, after he had conquered the Two Sicilies, he did not make himself King of Italy, as he possibly might have done, and he did not even make himself Governor of the Two Sicilies. There was no such absence of selfish motives in Arabi and his Colonels. It was inappropriate for anyone holding the high opinion of Cromwell, Hampden, and Washington which was entertained by his hon. Friend, to couple with their names the name of Arabi Pasha. All that was aimed at in the military rebellions was promotion and pay for the Army. In February, 1881, Arabi demanded the dismissal of certain men from office, and an increase of pay to the Army, and nothing else. In the second rising the object put forward was an increase of the Army and increase of pay; and the result was a considerable increase of the Army and of the pay. In the third rising the object aimed at was an increase in the number of officers and in the pay of the men. The fact was that the authorized representatives of the National Party, of which he admitted the existence, were perpetually in conflict with Arabi and the Colonels. The Military Party and the National Party never acted together. Man for man, Cherif was a more authorized representative of the National Party than Arabi, as had been pointed out by The Quarterly Review, which, he believed, had some distant connection with the Party to which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bourke) belonged.


Will the right hon. Gentleman give any evidence?


Of the connection of himself with The Quarterly Review?


Of the connection of Cherif Pasha and the National Party.


said, that it was Cherif Pasha who made the first suggestions for the representation of the Egyptian people in an elective Senate. With regard to the relations existing between Arabi Pasha and the Colonels, he would call attention to the numerous disputes which took place between them and the Chamber of Notables. The Military Party, when they wished to obtain the protection of the national name, summoned the Chamber of Notables. That Chamber at first refused to meet, and then the Military Party threatened its members with violence. They called upon them to sign a decree deposing the Khedive, ordering those who were in favour of the proposal to rise in their places, very much as hon. Members might be called upon under their New Rules of Procedure to rise. But there was a sanction attached to the order not possessed by the Speaker of the House, for the Members were told that in case they refused their heads would be cut off. The Chamber, however, were not to be intimidated by violence, and it was immensely to their credit that they were not. Out of the 160 Members who were present, only eight took part with the Colonels, and those, in all probability, really favoured the Military Party. The same views with regard to Arabi's pretensions to be considered as leader of a National Party were advanced both by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition in that House and the noble Marquess the Leader of the Opposition in the other. There was no evidence of the support of the Military Party by the people at large, for the people were apathetic and did not readily respond to such an invitation. The Amendment of the hon. Member for Hertford covered the whole ground of the policy of the Government; but, as he read the original Amendment, it referred rather to the present and to the future than to the ancient history of the question; it related mainly to the keeping of English troops in Egypt for the future. In every step which the Government took there they followed the advice of Lord Dufferin. Some time ago his Lordship recommended the immediate reduction of the British force in Egypt from 13,000 or 14,000 men to 6,000, and that suggestion was now being carried out. With regard to the present and to the future, they had been told that the Powers had not gone with them. His noble Friend the Under Secretary of State last night had informed the House what was the attitude of Foreign Powers towards them, and since that time he had learnt the views of one more Power on that subject. Germany, Austria, Italy, and Russia had expressed their general approval, and they had no reason to suppose the Government of Turkey was hostile to the course they had taken. [Mr. BOURKE: Does that apply to the Suez Canal?] Yes. Generally speaking, the Powers were favourable to their views; only in small matters of detail had objections been raised. The Government of France, it was true, had made no reply; but he had no doubt that was due to the present position of the Government there. The main part of the attack made upon them with regard to the future was not made to-night, but last night; to-night the debate was chiefly confined to the ancient history of the subject. The noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill) declared that the principles enunciated in Lord Granville's despatch of November 4, 1881, had been completely repudiated; that whereas it had then been laid down that Her Majesty's Government desired no partizan Ministry in Egypt founded upon the influence of a foreign Diplomatic Agent, those principles had been denied by his noble Friend the Secretary of State for War. Her Majesty's Government had not departed from the principle laid down in the quoted despatoh. In the debate in Committee on the Vote of Credit the same passage from that despatch was cited; and on July 25 he himself had said that England desired no partizan Ministry in Egypt. Those were the opinions of Her Majesty's Government at that date, and he went on to say that he wished to make that statement in the clearest terms. In answer to the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson), who asserted that they were sending troops to Egypt in support of a partizan Ministry, he said— We are doing nothing of the kind. So completely is the reverse of that statement true that we have actually recognized within the last few days the Ministry in which Arahi Pasha was formerly the Minister of War. … We are now in actual relations with that Ministry, which certainly cannot be called a partizan Ministry of our creation."—(3 Hansard, [272] 1717.) He was not aware that that position was challenged, and, having regard for the altered circumstances, the statement might be repeated that their policy still proved that they desired no partizan Ministry in Egypt. In his speech from which he had quoted he traced the history of the Control, and showed how under the late Government it became political instead of financial. He pointed out how, through it, the late Government "did most absolutely and distinctly interfere in the internal and political affairs of Egypt." With regard to the future, they had every interest, not only from the Egyptian and philanthropic point of view, but from the English, point of view, in desiring to develop Egyptian institutions, and they had made great efforts in that direction. He would only quote one instance. They had taken steps to do away with that exemption from taxation previously enjoyed by foreigners, and they also desired that the tenure of office held by foreigners should depend upon the Egyptian Government. The hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere), however much he might doubt their good sense, had no grounds for considering that they desired to cover their position with fair words. Although the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) and the hon. Member for Northampton might doubt the motives of the Government, complete confidence was shown by the Governments of Foreign Powers as to the disinterestedness of their policy and the sincerity of their propositions. The Government of this country was bound to prevent anarchy in Egypt, because that condition of affairs would mean the blockade and possible destruction of the Suez Canal. Before Her Majesty's Government entered upon the war the Conservative Party had agreed, according to the statements of their spokesmen at Willis's Rooms, on the existence of anarchy and on the duty cast upon the Government of protecting our great highway. But after having secured it, the Government's chief obligation was to promote the well-being of the Egyptian people, and that they were doing; so Arabi himself admitted. There was no question of annexation. Our troops were being withdrawn rapidly, but it was necessary to take the precautions mentioned in the Queen's Speech in order that we might leave peace and order behind us in Egypt as well as liberty. The Government had done nothing to violate the promises that had been given to the House, and intended to fulfil the undertakings into which they had entered.


said, that he must complain that the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke) was somewhat ungenerous, though less ingenious than usual. He had only made a semblance of dealing with the difficulties of the case against him, and he had confused facts and dates in a way so utterly hopeless that it was impossible to unravel them. He challenged the right hon. Gentleman to give them the date when the Chamber of Notables was placed under undue pressure by Arabi Pasha and the Army. That date was at a considerably advanced period of the spring, because it was after that crisis had been going on for five months uninterruptedly that the moderate, but important, demands of the National Party had been contemptuously refused by Her Majesty's Government. The demand of the Chamber of Notables and of Arabi Pasha were three-fold; first, they demanded a representative Chamber; secondly, they demanded the dismissal of Riaz Pasha; and the third demand was that the Army should be reduced to 18,000 men; and yet the right hon. Gentleman put the last of these demands as the only one made by the Egyptian people. That was an instance of the gross inaccuracy of the right hon. Gentleman—an inaccuracy which he (Mr. Ashmead-Bartlett) thought had never been equalled by any Minister in that House. He contended that the demands of the Egyptian Government had been just and moderate, and asked to be informed why were these moderate and just demands refused consideration by a Liberal Ministry, presided over by the orator of Mid Lothian? Because the Representatives of the English Government in Egypt told the Government that if they were granted they would ultimately involve the abolishment of the Control, and in order to maintain that Control—if they liked a Control established by Lord Salisbury, and not by Lord Derby—they drove the National Party to despair, and thus produced the war. Many of the other statements made by the right hon. Gentleman were equally unfair. The right hon. Gentleman made it a charge against the Opposition that they had described Arabi as a military adventurer; but why was Arabi so termed by the Opposition? Because the right hon. Gentleman himself had told the House that there was strong evidence connecting Arabi with the Alexandrian massacres. And yet, after describing him in that way, the right hon. Gentleman had been a party to the scheme by which Arabi had been let off. The right hon. Gentleman had also laid much stress on the fact that they had exhausted every means of coming to a decision before going to war. What did that mean? It meant that the Government had no policy whatever, and, after drifting about, were compelled to go back upon independent and isolated British action. The right hon. Gentleman asserted that we could rely upon receiving the support of other Powers; but he should be chary about placing implicit confidence in the right hon. Gentleman's assurances in the absence of fresh evidence. The were told the same sort of thing from September, 1881, down to July, 1882; but when they came to examine the Blue Books they found that on every single point almost all the Powers were opposed to the Government. Regarding the alleged difference of policy between Lord Derby and Lord Salisbury, he would observe that the statement was without proof; but, at all events, if the new form of Control which the right hon. Gentleman said Lord Salisbury had introduced had done so much mischief, why did not the present Government modify it soon after their entrance into Office? The right hon. Gentleman asserted that the power to abolish the Control was wanting. Let the right hon. Gentleman read the despatches of Lord Granville written the other day, in which that noble Lord stated that the Khedive had full authority to abolish the Control if he should desire to do so. Those despatches effectually disposed of the assumption that the Control as established by Lord Salisbury was immovable. What was the key-note to the policy of the Government?—for it was impossible to understand the question without looking at it. The key-note of their policy was probably one of the strangest that any Ministry had ever set before themselves. It had not been British interests, for they were ashamed to defend them. It was not the ancient traditions of the Foreign Office, for they had been violated and set aside; it was not motives of peace, because they had broken the peace; it was not the balance of power, because they had found it established, and they had completely destroyed it. The key-note of their policy had been the avowed and open desire to reverse the policy of their Predecessors, the late Government, in every single particular. ["Hear, hear!"] He accepted and understood the cheers of the hon. Member for Wycombe, as adding his seal, for what it was worth, to the fact that the key-note of the Government policy had been the spirit of faction. The Ministry found England strong, with the alliance of Germany and Austria, and with the friendship of Turkey, and the peace of Europe secure. They reversed that by insulting Austria and affronting Germany—["Oh, oh!"]—they had intrigued against Austria and Germany, and endeavoured to establish a counter-combination in Europe with free Italy, Republican France, and despotic Russia, and as a result they had set the controlling Power of Europe against them. They had met with nothing but confusion and embarrassment, until they found themselves separated by the force of circumstances from Prance, and obliged to act alone. Since that time the German Powers had been less hostile and the German Press had been more favourable. Lord Beaconsfield sought the alliance of Germany and Austria, and the friendship of Turkey, but, at the same time, succeeded in keeping upon perfectly good terms with France. How did the present Government now stand with regard to France? The Ministry were now at daggers drawn with their French ally of 12 months ago, for whom they sacrificed so much, and from whom they had gained so little? What had become of the "perfect accord" between the two Powers which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chelsea stated in this House on the 15th of May last was "prepared for all eventualities?" It had gone the way of every other formal statement which the right hon. Gentleman made with so much sang-froid while he was at the Foreign Office. A French journal rightly described our policy in Egypt as "at once violent and underhand" towards the Ottoman Government. The Ministerial policy had undergone more phases than it was easy to count. At first, our Goverment, acting under the dictation of France, chased the envoys of the Sovereign of Egypt out of that dependency, and affronted him in every possible way, by scorning his advice, by sending Joint Notes and an ultimatum to his vassal without his consent or knowledge, and, finally, by bombarding his principal seaport against his protest and entreaties. At other times they begged him to send a Commissioner, a general, a ship of war, a proclamation against the rebels, an army. All the humours of a spoilt child—at one time pettish and defiant, at another coaxing and penitent—were displayed by the British Cabinet towards the Sultan and Government of the Ottoman Empire. There was neither dignity, nor consistency, nor justice in the treatment Turkey received. Right hon. Gentlemen opposite expected the Porte atone moment to endure with complaisance, and even pleasure, the grossest insult that could be offered to an independent Power, and, at the next, to be ready with grateful humility to lend its diplomacy, its armies, and its sovereign influence to every varying phase of their policy. As to France, for which Her Majesty's Government had sacrificed so much, the utterances in the French Chamber showed that the French Government was thoroughly dissatisfied with their policy. One piece of good fortune the Government had, indeed, enjoyed, and that was the internal impotence of France at this moment; but immediately that France obtained a strong Government, Her Majesty's Government would find themselves confronted by open hostility from France, probably backed up by the hostility of Turkey. Every effort had been made by the Government to offend Turkey. The Ottoman Empire was the Sovereign Power in Egypt, and yet the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney), addressing his constituents recently, declared that the policy of the Government was to separate Egypt from Turkey, allowing the Egyptians to "stew in their own juice," and that the authority of the Sultan in Egypt was broken down and at an end. He (Mr. Ashmead-Bartlett) maintained that the Government had no right to prate about international engagements in the Royal Speech and allow a Minister to make such a disgraceful statement.


said, he must remind the hon. Member that the expression was un-Parliamentary.


said, he would withdraw the word disgraceful and substitute unstatesmanlike. He must, however, adhere to his opinion, that such a statement was very ill-advised. He contended that the Government had no consistent policy. They had no conception of the danger in Egypt. Although warned by the Sultan, by the Press, and by the European residents, in Egypt, they drifted along until they got into war. They were "everything by turns, and nothing long." First they based their policy upon the alliance with France and determined upon joint political action with France—a very different thing from joint financial action. For months they lingered on in hopes of that being carried through. The result of their subserviency to France had been that they not only had completely failed to carry out their action with France, but had almost come to blows with her. With respect to Turkey, Her Majesty's Government first joined France in chasing the envoys of the Sultan from Cairo. After that they begged the Sultan to assist them, they begged for every kind of assistance, although they had sent in a joint ultimatum Note with France without his sanction. It had been said that the Turkish Government were in complicity with Arabi; but of this there was no proof, and it was, moreover, most unlikely, seeing that the movement was a National one. On the contrary, the Sultan himself warned Lord Dufferin of the probable result of the movement. The Government had destroyed that National movement and its leader, and slain some thousands of the unfortunate Egyptian people, and now the Government posed as the defenders of the people—the most ridiculous assumption any Ministry had ever made. There was a fourth point in which the Government had reversed its policy. They used to hear a good deal about that chimera, invented to please the popular ear, which was called the Concert of Europe. The Government first tried joint action with France, but this collapsed. Then they had a Conference at Constantinople, and gave it, as it was said, a slap in the face by declaring war on their own account. The Government never had, in fact, a definite policy. If Admiral Sir Beauchamp Seymour had not made up his mind, the Government would never have made up theirs. If the war was not undertaken for British interests, what was it undertaken for? But the Government were ashamed to say it was undertaken for the purpose of protecting British political, commercial, and financial interests, and so they said they intervened to stop anarchy. But the anarchy was caused by themselves. If there ever was a war made in cold blood for the selfish interests of this country it was this Egyptian War. He was not, however, attacking it on that ground. The Government were guilty of the grossest inconsistency in making war, and the war itself was both unnecessary and unjustifiable. It was practically impossible for him to enter into details on that occasion, with a view to show the period when, and the manner in which, the war might have been avoided. The war, he asserted, however, might easily have been avoided, and when they said the war was unjustifiable, they spoke of the Egyptian War as a whole. He would not say that in July, 1882, war could certainly have been avoided; but with moderate sagacity and foresight on the part of the Government between September, 1881, and June, 1882, war might have been avoided. It was no answer to their impeachment of the Egyptian policy of the Government to say to the Conservative Party, as had been frequently said—"Oh, you are equally responsible, because you supported the Vote of Credit in August last, and you urged that British interests in Egypt should be safeguarded." The statement of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board, that this Hotse was to forgive the Government for the mistakes of the past because in the future they might bring the troubles in Egypt to a satisfactory conclusion, was a demand upon the patience and forbearance of the Opposition which they could not acknowledge. There were moments and crises when, no matter how desperate and how unpardonable had been the faults of a Ministry, or how culpable they were for the impending war, a patriotic Opposition was bound to give its silent support to those measures which the Government, acting with their superior knowledge of the public necessity and of the national safety, declared solemnly before the Parliament and the country to be essential. The Opposition, in face of national peril and of foreign enemies, might feel bound to restrain its indignation and to smother its criticism till the peril had been met and averted. It reserved, however, its natural right, and, indeed, its national duty. The Opposition criticized freely and severely the faults which led to the crisis that the Government declared to require such exceptional measures to cope with. The blunders of the Government had been so incredible, that he had felt it his duty, on patriotic grounds, to refrain from expressing all he felt concerning them. There was a striking analogy between the policy of the Government in Egypt and in Ireland. ["Oh, oh!"] The Egyptian War and the Coercion Bills for Ireland were good instances of what he meant. Both in Egypt and Ireland the Government had neglected their duties, and in both countries they fostered rebellion until they could only remedy it by a resort to extreme measures of force which the Conservatives had always deprecated, and which they would never have had reason to employ, because they would have avoided the necessity. In neither instance were they justified in asking the Opposition to approve of their policy. After looking at all the various other causes of the Egyptian War, there was still one more—namely, the gross and persistent injustice with which Her Majesty's Ministers had treated the Ottoman Porte; and he would conclude by again declaring that he held the Government responsible for a war which, but for their own grievous blunders, would have been wholly unnecessary.


said, he must confess him self somewhat puzzled by that part of the opening statement of the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. A. J. Balfour) in which the hon. Gentleman said—"We think it necessary to move this Amendment." He was at a loss to know whom the hon. Member meant by "we." It could not be the Conservative Party, because some of them had repudiated his proposal, and it had also been repudiated by one of the Fourth Party. In fact, it was childish, and unworthy of the serious consideration of this side of the House. The hon. Member for Hertford had accused hon. Gentlemen on the Ministerial side of refusing to support British interests. For himself, he (Sir George Campbell) denied that allegation. He was much in favour of supporting British interests as long as they could do so with tolerable honesty; but he objected to that intervention in Egypt, because he believed it was opposed to British interests, and that the complication, the difficulty, and the expense in which it would involve us would far outweigh any advantage that would be secured by our going there. Again, even where British interests existed, he was adverse to seeking to forward them by violence, injustice, and immorality. He did not think the Amendment of the hon. Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) went far enough, and that was his greatest objection to it. He did not suppose, after what they had heard from the Government, that the British troops would remain long in Egypt; but he was afraid that when they went away they would leave behind something like a Protectorate, and even more than a Protectorate—namely, an administration practically British. He knew of nothing in their interference with the Native States of India which equalled the interference they were about to exercise in Egypt. He had been surprised at the statement of the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Hartington), that Her Majesty's Government had not appointed Sir Auckland Colvin as Financial Commissioner in. Egypt; for, although that might be true technically, they had imposed on the Khedive obligations under which he was to accept a European Financial Adviser for a period of 10 years. Sir Auckland Colvin was a servant of the Indian Government, and had been recommended for that post. Sir Evelyn Wood had been appointed to command the Egyptian Army; and English officers were to drill, instruct, and exercise all superior functions over that Army, and the result would be that they would have in that country what would be as completely a British contingent as, and more so than, any contingent furnished by any Native State in India, and commanded by English officers. Besides that, they would leave a whole host of British officials, who would remain in Egypt, all which, it seemed to him, would amount to a very complete Protectorate, and he could not imagine when they should get rid of the obligations which that would involve. He understood that Her Majesty's Government undertook not only to introduce a civilized, stable, and permanent Government in Egypt, such as would give security and peace to the people, but also one which would punctually pay the debt incurred by the Khedives of that country. It seemed to him, however, that if they were to stay in Egypt until they had achieved all that, they might stay there until Doomsday. It might not be possible to withdraw their troops until some kind of Government had been established, but he had a great objection to any form of English Government being established. He did not wish the Egyptian people to "stew in their own juice;" but it must be remembered that they were Orientals, and we must be prepared to accept a Government which was not perfect according to our ideas. They might, perhaps, be allowed to simmer in their own juice. We ought, in this matter, to follow more closely the course we took in Afghanistan, and, having set up a tolerable Government in Egypt, we ought to get out of the country as soon as we could. He should be sorry to see anything like a British Administration continuing in that country 10 years, or it might be half-a-century. He thought the Amendment of the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle would be better if it included the words "British civil and military officers," so that the Resolution might express the opinion that British civil and military officers ought to be removed from Egypt at a very early date.


Sir, it is not my intention to trouble the House at any length upon the discussion of the questions which have been so ably debated to-night, as I stated last night that it did not appear to me that the present was the most suitable occasion for raising a general debate with regard to the conduct of the Government in Egypt. On the contrary, I believe we shall have many opportunities—more than we perhaps shall desire—for discussing that policy. It is my firm conviction that, whatever may be said and decided now at the beginning of the Session, there will be more than one occasion in the course of the present Session, and I fear for more than one year to come, on which we shall find questions connected with this Egyptian settlement coming up, and coming, perhaps, in unpleasant forms before the House. I should have been well content to allow the matter to stand on the footing on which I left it after the few words which I said last night; but the course taken by the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) is one that compels me to reconsider my course, and to look forward as to what will be the effect of the vote which we shall have to give one way or the other on, his Motion. I ask myself, and wish to ask the House, what is the real effect and construction of the proposal brought before us by the hon. Member? Sir, we know that we cannot, in these matters, altogether separate the wording of a particular Resolution from the known opinions, sentiments, character, and views of those by whom it is proposed; and we must feel that when a proposal of this sort comes from a Gentleman who has taken so leading and prominent part in advocating particular views as the hon. Baronet, who has been so honourably distinguished by consistent opposition to the policy of the Government, we cannot but see what the effect will be of giving a vote in support of it. I may say, in connection with the point, that my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle has, on many occasions, taunted me for not having submitted to the House some Resolution declaring that the late war was unnecessary and, therefore, unjustifiable, and has intimated that it was his wish that such a Motion should be made that he might have the opportunity of supporting that declaration. Although I have never shrunk in the least degree from declaring my opinion in this House and out of it with respect to the character of that war, yet, as far as the suggestion of the hon. Baronet is concerned, I have always felt that although that support might be given in words, yet, in spirit and in substance, it would not be a real and beneficial support such as should arise from a concurrence of opinion. Neither do I think it would be of any advantage, or a right course to follow, to endeavour to catch the votes of the hon. Baronet and his Friends, looking to the views which those hon. Gentlemen have expressed, by words which would have a different meaning in his mouth and in mine. I feel the same with regard to the Amendment which lie has brought forward on the present occasion. Let me call the attention of the House to the nature of the Amendment. In the Address it is proposed— Humbly to thank Her Majesty for informing us that the reconstitution of the Government of Egypt and the reorganisation of its affairs under the authority of the Khedive have in part been accomplished and will continue to receive Her Majesty's earnest attention. Upon that, the hon. Baronet proposes to add an Amendment directed against the employment of British troops in Egypt. I can only regard that Amendment as it has been regarded by one or two speakers, as referring to the present and prospective conduct of the Government in Egypt and not to past transactions. The Amendment is to the effect that the House expresses its hopes that the affairs of Egypt will not be reorganized by the employment of British troops. I cannot conceive a more dangerous or mischievous course than that. It would be to entirely weaken the hands of the Government; and not only that, but it would place a false construction upon the policy of this country, and give the signal for anarchy and confusion in Egypt. Therefore it is that I am not prepared to vote for, but, on the contrary, am quite determined to vote against, the Resolution proposed by the hon. Baronet. I cannot, however, help feeling that, in supporting the Government against the hon. Baronet, I might be giving the impression that I approve and concur in the policy of the Government with regard to Egypt; and I am, therefore, thankful to have an opportunity given me by the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Hertford (Mr. A. J. Balfour) to put clearly upon record, as far as I myself am concerned, and I believe also as far as most of us on this side of the House are concerned, my dissent from that policy, and more especially my opinion with respect to what I consider to have been the blunders and errors which have been committed by Her Majesty's Government, in consequence of which we have been led into a war which might and could have been avoided, having at the same time a due regard to British interests. Now, these are the words of my hon. Friend the Member for Hertford— Whilst assuring Her Majesty of our support in such Measures as may be necessary for a satisfactory settlement of the affairs of Egypt, humbly to express our regret that steps were not taken at an earlier period which might have secured such objects as are of importance to this Country, without involving the necessity for military operations. I am convinced now, as I have been all along, that with greater wisdom, caution, resolution, and consistency on the part of the Government in the later months of 1881 and the earlier months of 1882, they might have attained every desirable object that this country had an interest in as regards the affairs of Egypt with- out resorting to bloodshed or violence of any kind, and in such a manner as to escape the sad necessity of last year. We have a right, without being inconsistent, to say that we condemn the conduct of the Government as being deficient in wisdom and foresight at that time, although we felt it necessary to support their action after affairs had taken a certain course. We could not deal with these matters as they were going on, because we were kept in the dark with regard to them, inasmuch as negotiations were then going on, and there was much that the Government could not lay before us. We were always stopped, when we made inquiries, by an assurance that negotiations were going on between ourselves and our French neighbours, and we were given most distinctly to understand, and we did believe, that the result of those negotiations was the most cordial co-operation between ourselves and the French Government with regard to the Egyptian Question, and that some way or another—we did not care how—the difficulties which were constantly cropping up with regard to that question would be got over without any warlike operations. I believe, myself, that the Government had the same opinion at the time; but when we come to see the course which they pursued, how they vacillated from time to time, how they missed opportunities which they will never have again, one really wonders at their blindness. The fact is, that from the beginning of these transactions to the end their policy was one which I will venture to describe as one of dawdling. I believe that even among the Ministry themselves the idea was entertained that the best way of dealing with matters of this sort was to dawdle, and to let the difficulties settle themselves. By that means they relieved themselves of many of the difficulties they had to face. In my opinion, however, such a policy was an erroneous one, and has had most unfortunate results. As to the conditions in which we were placed, I think it is really unnecessary for me to take any further notice of the statement which some supporters of Her Majesty's Government have not been ashamed to make, that many of the difficulties of the Ministry have arisen and have been inherited from the conduct of their Predecessors and from the Dual Control established by my noble Friend (the Marquess of Salisbury)—they are so meagre, that I do not think that it is necessary that I should notice them, because I cannot think that Gentlemen of experience in the position of Her Majesty's Ministry would think that such an assertion was worthy of being supported by argument. In the first place, those who make such assertions must take a most narrow view of the circumstances of the case, and, in point of fact, it is not a correct view to say that it was the Dual Control which produced and led to these difficulties. But, even supposing that it did, I do not see how those who make that assertion can answer the observation of the hon. Member for Eye (Mr. Ashmead-Bartlett), that when Her Majesty's Government had a perfect opportunity for dealing with the matter, without any reference to what had been done by Lord Beaconsfield's Government, during the two years they were in Office before the difficulties in question arose, they entirely failed to do so. It must be remembered that the Government were not in the position of being the slaves of their Predecessors; they had obtained the administration of affairs by denouncing the policy of their Predecessors, and it was to be expected that they would reverse and alter rather than follow the policy of the late Government. Seeing that they did not do so, it leads me to believe that they were not disposed to condemn, but rather that they might be taken to have admitted that that policy was a right one, and was one which they were prepared to adopt and follow. Consequently, what we have a right to say is, that the policy which we carried out during several years, under much greater difficulties than any the present Government have had to contend with, was most successful. We are also entitled to say that, having inherited such a policy, they so mismanaged it as to produce exactly opposite results to those their Predecessors in Office had in view. That policy was directed to the maintenance and protection of the interests of this country, to the welfare of Egypt, and to the moderating and rendering impossible, Be far as we could, conditions and differences that might lead to war with other European Powers, or with the Egyptians themselves. The difficulty which led to the deposition of the late Khedive was a far greater one than that raised by the conduct of Arabi Pasha, which raised questions of very great magnitude. On the other hand, we have been told over and over again that Arabi Pasha was a mere military adventurer, and that the movement he initiated must not be regarded as a national one in any sense. If that was the case, why did not the Government, with the powers and advantages which they possessed, stamp out and extinguish the movement at the beginning, without allowing it to attain the proportions that it did? They had then the advantage of the system of Control which was in force, and which had been adopted under an agreement with the Rulers of the country, and which had been in operation for some time with a fair prospect of success. The Government had the advantage also of the assistance, which might be claimed at the proper time, of the exercise of the authority of the Suzerain Power; and they had the further advantage of their own cordial alliance with the Government of France, and that they had never done anything in the way of war or violence which might set any portion of the people against them. The people of Egypt knew us then, for the most part, as those who reduced the severity of the existing system, and had introduced great improvements. A great deal of that has now been sacrificed by them, owing to the course they have pursued, and cannot be restored; and you have now to meet that still greater difficulty—you have to act with a Ruler practically set up by yourselves, no longer having that same prestige, and without that cordial alliance with France in the matter which, if properly used, would have been of the greatest value; and you have made your own influence supreme. We say that there has been great mismanagement in this matter. You have been too hasty on one occasion, and on another occasion you have been too slow; and the end has been that you have now landed us in a confusion which speaks for itself. It is all very well for the Government to say—"We can bend our course this way or that," and that we must judge you by the result you have produced. ["Hear, hear!"] Does the right hon. Gentleman mean that results produced by warlike operations are results which the Government, in their calmer moments, are satisfied with producing? If so, I should like to ask hon. Gentlemen in that other quarter of the House below the Gangway on the other side of the House who cheer—" Do they hold that opinion? Do they think that has been an example of brilliant success on the part of their trusted Loader?" They may say that if they are called upon to give any vote that might be embarrassing to their Leaders they decline to do so, because they have confidence in them after all. I can understand such an opinion as that on the part of all hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway on the other side of the House. I venture most confidently, however, to ask those hon. Gentlemen, do they, in their hearts, believe that in this whole matter of the Egyptian policy of the Government, allowing for all the difficulties and circumstances—do they conceive that the result is such a brilliant success? If they do, and if they are thoroughly well satisfied with it, I can only say that I think they are more changed than I thought they were. I do not know that I need go into any discussion upon this subject at the present time. We put in our protest, and we think that it is our privilege to do so; and with regard to the future, we shall watch with anxiety to see what the course of the Government may be. We know very well that they have a difficult task before them; but do not let hon. Members be led away by any of these sophisms and shallow sentiments that we have heard, for we hear very grand sentiments, which are not at all supported by the actions of their followers. I hope, however, that is not the case on the present occasion. I hope that with regard to this policy the Government will devote their attention more anxiously to the problem which is before them; and I venture to say the}' will find that they have embroiled themselves in very considerable difficulties, and that they will need the whole of their skill and wisdom to extricate themselves.


Mr. Speaker, Sir, I took up so much of the time of the House last evening in relation to this subject, that I shall only now trouble you for a brief period with the remarks which I may have to make. There are, however, one or two observations which can be properly offered upon the speech which has been made by the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down (Sir Stafford Northcote), and on the position which matters have assumed on this occasion. We have always been well aware both of the public and of the patriotic spirit of self-sacrifice which distinguishes the right hon. Gentleman and the Opposition. I may oven say, in relation to this matter, the right hon. Gentleman, in the statement he has just made, has given the most splendid instance of it to be found, I think, on record. He has told us that he has long been of opinion, and is still of opinion, and that he has never shrunk from declaring it, that the war that took place in Egypt was an unnecessary and therefore an unjustifiable war. "But," he says, "if I am asked why I do not put that opinion in the form of a Resolution, that is quite a different thing. I could not do that, because I was perfectly well aware that the hon. Member for Carlisle and his Friends would have voted with me, and would have attached a very different meaning to any Resolution which I might have framed from that which I attached to it myself." Therefore, Sir, although the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends have for months been cherishing that burning opinion of the unjustifiable and therefore wicked character of this war, nothing would have induced them to submit that opinion to the judgment of the House, because, forsooth, they would have been supported by some hon. Members who would have attached a different meaning to the Resolution. All I can say is that I admire the patriotism and public spirit of the right hon. Gentleman; and I only trust that the noble sentiments and principles which have actuated his conduct and that of his Friends in relation to this matter will continue to actuate him, and that he will never, on any account, or on any subject whatever, be induced to submit any Resolution to the House which will not be supported by Members who will agree with every detail of it. The right hon. Gentleman says he could not vote for the Amendment which has been moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson), because it would weaken the hands of the Government in the difficult task in which they are now engaged in Egypt. But, Sir, while I am indebted to the right hon. Gentleman for that consideration which he has shown to the Govern- ment in that matter, I must point out to him that the Resolution he is going to support would weaken the hands of the Government to the extent that if the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. A. J. Balfour) is carried, I am afraid it would render it impossible for them to continue to conduct the affairs of the country at all. Therefore the Resolution would also weaken the hands of the Government in carrying on the task with which they are charged in Egypt. But, no doubt, the right hon. Gentleman having challenged the judgment of the House on this subject, is prepared to take the settlement of the Egyptian affairs into his own hands. The right hon. Gentleman says that, although he would prefer a more convenient opportunity, yet, as the subject has been raised, he finds it necessary to place clearly on record the sense which he and his Friends entertain of the many and serious blunders which have been committed by the Government in the course of the transactions referred to. Now, I want to point out to the House the extraordinary position which the Opposition has taken up in regard to this matter. The right hon. Gentleman made early in the debate last night any observations it seemed fit to him to make on the question of Egypt; if he did not do so, all I can say is, he had the opportunity of doing so if he wished. He has had all the information that it has been in our power to give relating to our past transactions with Egypt. He knows, and has known for months, all that can be known of the policy of the Government and of the negotiations that have been engaged in from stage to stage, and yet he deliberately elects to take no action on this occasion, which he does not think a fitting or convenient one, to put into a definite form the opinion which he holds as to the unjustifiable character of the war that has been concluded. But, Sir, when a Motion is made from that side of the House condemning, as it is intended to condemn—although it does not do it in very clear terms—the employment of the troops of Her Majesty in support of the Khedive, then the right hon. Gentleman, notwithstanding his opinion that this is not a fitting opportunity to challenge the conduct of the Government, thinks it necessary to follow at the heels of the hon. Member for Hertford, and to support an Amend- ment which he has moved expressing, in vague and general terms, some dissatisfaction with the conduct of the Government in these transactions. The right hon. Gentleman talks of putting clearly on record the sense of the Opposition of the blunders of the Government. What does this Motion place clearly on record? What does this Resolution mean?— While assuring Her Majesty of our support in such Measures as may tie necessary for a satisfactory settlement of affairs in Egypt, humbly to express our regret that steps were not taken at an earlier period which might have secured such objects as are of importance to this country without involving the necessity for military operations. I want to know what steps, and at what period? No one in this country is ignorant now of the various stages of these transactions. They are definite and well marked. When or where was it that other steps might have been taken which might have secured the objects we had in view? I will enumerate the distinct stages of these transactions. There was the Joint Note; there were the overtures of M. Gambetta in regard to joint action; there was the despatch of the Fleet; there was the demand for the dismissal of Arabi Pasha; there was the proposal to the European Powers for the assembly of a Conference; there was the assembly of a Conference, and the efforts made at the Conference to induce the Powers to call upon Turkey to send a force to suppress Arabi Pasha. There was the destruction of the forts of Alexandria—which the Opposition, in their desire to support Her Majesty's Government, choose to call the "bombardment" of the town of Alexandria; and there was the despatch of the expedition in July. Now, in what particular, or in which of the stages of these transactions, ought the Government to have done that which the right hon. Gentleman tells us we should have done? What is the meaning of a vague Resolution like this, telling us that steps were not taken which might have been taken? The right hon. Gentleman is so proud of one attack he made upon us on a former occasion, that he thinks it worth while to repeat it tonight. He thinks he has absolutely condemned, pulverized—smashed, I suppose—the policy of Her Majesty's Government when he says, as he has done several times, that it is a policy of "dawdling." But the right hon. Gentleman, or some of his Friends, should have told us at what particular period this dawdling occurred. He tells us that sometimes we were too rash, and sometimes too slow; but he does not condescend to tell us at what particular moment we were too slow or too rash. He tells us that we missed great opportunities—that there were moments when we might have supported Arabi Pasha, but that, instead of doing this, we relied entirely on Tewfik Pasha and his influence in the country. If my recollection serves me aright, the bearing of all the questions put across the Table by hon. Gentlemen opposite was—"Will you promise, under all circumstances, to support Tewfik?"


I did not say anything against Tewfik.


The right hon. Gentleman says he did not say anything against Tewfik. At any rate, he called him a "creature." I do not know whether he considers that is saying anything against him.


I am sure the noble Marquess does not wish to misrepresent me. What I said was, that before these operations took place Tewfik was in an independent position and ought to have been supported by us, and might have been supported by us with certain advantage; but since he has been set up again by our arms he has occupied a different position. I never said a word about Arabi Pasha.


I agree with the right hon. Gentleman. I do not wish to misrepresent him; and I think it possible I may have done so, because, to tell the truth, I found it very difficult to carry away any definite impression of what he meant. I understood the right hon. Gentleman to follow the line of argument of those who were of opinion that there was a period in these transactions when we might have supported Arabi Pasha, and a period at which we might have supported Tewfik more effectually. The hon. Gentleman the Mover of this Amendment—the hon. Member for Hertford—only thought it worth while to allege one point, where he considered we might have taken earlier action. He quoted from the Blue Book part of the despatch of Sir Edward Malet of May 23, in which that official stated that the situation which existed at the time in Egypt had been brought about by the Ministers and the people persisting in the belief that the two Powers would not despatch troops to that country. The extract the hon. Member read did not, I think, include the passage in which Sir Edward Malet said— I am still of opinion that if the Sultan declares himself, and if it is known that troops are ready to be despatched, we may succeed without the necessity for landing them. Well, that was the policy Her Majesty's Government were at that time pursuing. They were doing everything in their power to induce the Powers of Europe to request Turkey to adopt the policy of despatching a force to Europe for the restoration of the Khedive's authority, exactly in the manner recommended by Sir Edward Malet. There was nothing in the despatch of Sir Edward Malet to show that France and England jointly, or England solely, would accomplish the objects for which the war was subsequently undertaken. But a little earlier than that time we had the support of the Opposition, or, at all events, of a part of it. On the 15th of May Lord Granville, in the House of Lords, announced what had been done, and the circumstances under which the Fleet had been ordered to Alexandria. The Marquess of Salisbury rose immediately afterwards and said he had no exception to take to the statement of policy made by Lord Granville, and he went on to say that he trusted with the noble Lord that the use of the sword would not be necessary, but could only be averted by the knowledge that the sword was there. The noble Marquess went on to say that it was very necessary it should be known what sword it should be; that, in his opinion, the best sword to use would be that of Turkey; and that, under any circumstances, the worst sword would be the sword of France. We were, therefore, adopting at that time the very policy recommended by the Marquess of Salisbury. We were doing everything we could to enlist in our cause the sword of Turkey. But I do not think I need follow any further the course of this debate. It is very easy for hon. Members on a Motion such as this to wander here and there over several volumes of Blue Books, to pick out here and there a despatch, and to enforce, by means of extracts from that despatch, their favourite doctrine and their favourite case against the Government; but I submit that the Government can hardly be called on to give a reply to vague, rambling, and desultory accusations, such as we have heard to-night. Place before the House some Amendment which will call in question the policy of the Government, on some particular point or points—tell us where we acted rashly, and when we were too Blow, and then we will endeavour to meet you; but we cannot—it is impossible to—follow a variety of speeches in which extracts are taken out of Blue Books ranging from January to May, and when a variety of separate transactions are mixed up together in an incongruous debate. The right hon. Gentleman asks us whether we are satisfied with the result achieved. No doubt, we regret, and all the country regrets, that it was necessary for us to draw the sword at all; but we do think that, having been compelled to draw it, as we think in defence of the interests of this country, and to fulfil engagements for which we are not altogether responsible, the result that has been achieved has been a satisfactory one, and that it has been achieved as rapidly and with as little sacrifice of life and of money as could have reasonably been expected; and if the right hon. Gentleman is inclined now to disparage our success, and the result that has been accomplished, I should like to ask him what was the result he and his Friends anticipated when, on the 30th June, they went to Willis's Booms, not to attack or denounce the Government, as they informed their audience, but to guide, and, if possible, stimulate the policy of the Government? What was the result they looked forward to on that occasion, and did they, when "stimulating" and "guiding" the Government, expect that any more satisfactory result would be arrived at than has been achieved? I will not detain the House any longer; but I must congratulate the Opposition on the brilliant result they have accomplished after months of consideration and denunciation of the Government. I congratulate them upon their partial adhesion to the policy of the hon. Member for Carlisle, and upon the manly, straightforward, and clear Amendment upon which they are going to chal- lenge the policy of Her Majesty's Government.


(who rose amid great interruption), said, he did not propose to stand between the House and a Division. He only wished to ask for an explanation of one phrase used by the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Hartington), which explanation, no doubt, the noble Marquess would be able to afford the House. The noble Marquess said that on May 15 the Government were doing all they could to enlist the sword of Turkey. Well, he (Baron Henry de Worms) referred to the despatch of Lord Granville to Lord Dufferin, dated "Foreign Office, May 15th, 1882," and he found in it the following paragraph:— In order not to complicate the situation it is important that the Turkish Government should abstain from all intervention and interference in Egypt. How was that to be explained?


The despatch I referred to was dated May 23rd. I have not had time to refer to the other. The hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. A. J. Balfour) spoke of the despatch of May 23rd, as showing that Sir Edward Malet had given us at that time a warning. I said that at that time the Government were endeavouring to co-operate with Turkey. It was about that time—I cannot exactly state the time—when the co-operation of the French Government had at length been secured, and definite proposals had been made to the Porte.

Question put, and negatived.

Question put, That the words 'whilst assuring Her Majesty of our support in such Measures as may be necessary for a satisfactory settlement of the affairs of Egypt, humbly to express our regret that steps were not taken at an earlier period which might have secured such objects as are of importance to this Country, without involving the necessity for military operations,' be there added.

The House divided:—Ayes 144; Noes 179: Majority 35.—(Div. List, No. 2.)

Main Question again proposed.

Motion made, and Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned,"—(Sir Walter B. Barttelot,)—put, and agreed to.

Debate adjourned till Monday next.

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