HC Deb 25 February 1884 vol 284 cc1889-905

, Member for the Borough of Northampton, rose in his place, and asked leave to move the Ad- journment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, viz. the position of the British Army on the Coast of the Bed Sea; but the pleasure of the House not having been signified, Mr. SPEAKER called on those Members who supported the Motion to rise in their places, and not less than Forty Members having accordingly risen in their places,


said, it was only on rare occasions it was desirable that the right of moving the adjournment should be exercised by private Members, and it was perhaps least of all desirable that it should be done in reference to active military operations going on at the time; but, looking at the tone of the public papers and at the position we occupied at Suakin, it seemed expedient that the House should have a clear intimation of what the Government were going to do in that part of the world. The expedition was sent to Suakin purely from motives of humanity; it was understood there was no intention to occupy any part of the Soudan beyond Suakin, and that only temporarily; but it certainly was not understood that, if it were impossible to save the garrisons, there should be an expedition into the interior of the country. When the expedition went out there was a strong feeling that Tokar might be and ought to be relieved; but Tokar had surrendered, and the men whom our forces were sent to relieve had joined those whom our forces went to oppose. There were no other garrisons within striking distance. We had sent an expedition to Trinkitat, which was on a little bay on the coast, where our soldiers were under canvas. The object with which they were sent there was the defence of Suakin. What, then, was the object we had in view in remaining there and in giving discretionary power to the General in command—General Graham? He did not wish to hold the Government or the Prime Minister responsible for the utterances of the public Press; but it could not be disregarded when it was said that it represented the public opinion of the country. It was evident that a strong Jingo feeling was arising in the country. One newspaper—a Liberal paper—The Daily News—referred to a black circle of Zulus surrounding a British square as furnishing a lesson that we ought to apply. It said— When the air cleared there was seen on the grass a black circle around the British square, a circle formed by 1,200 dead Zulus. Ulundi crushed the thought of resistance out of the Zulu mind. An experience of the like sort would convert Osman Digna and the Eastern Soudan from a belief in the Mahdi. He never head a more monstrous suggestion; the policy indicated was that of Zulus rather than of a Christian country; it was nothing but a desire for vengeance; a cry that we should "wash our spears" in the blood of these Arabs. The Times suggested that we should thrash them. The Pall Mall Gazette advised that we should administer a knockdown blow; and he read also that there was a prevalent desire to "hammer" them. It was possible that these suggestions might reach our soldiers; and military men were generally anxious to get into action if they could. He could see nothing in all this but a desire for prestige and military glory by destroying the followers of Osman Digna. Were we at peace or were we at war with him? The mission of General Gordon was applauded because it was supposed it would prevent war. We were supposed to be negotiating with the Mahdi and trying to put an end to the war by leaving the Soudan perfectly independent of the Egyptians; and it must endanger General Gordon's mission if simultaneously with it we allowed these hostile operations to be carried on. He trusted we were but temporarily at Suakin, and did not know why we should remain there. He believed that Suakin was a port of the Soudan; and if it were desirable to bring the Mahdi into contact with civilization, we ought rather to give him a port than deprive him of one. While we were there we must defend ourselves, and sometimes defensive operations required offensive operations; but if we could get the necessary assurances, that should be our only object in defending Suakin. He repudiated entirely the bloodthirsty declarations of the public Press. The noble Lord the Secretary of State for War had said that it was indiscreet to reply to a question as to the discretion vested in General Graham; but surely what was said in the House would not be telegraphed to Osman Digna; there could be no danger of that kind. The House had a right to ask that a telegram should be sent to General Graham to tell him that his mission was limited to the defence of Suakin, and that he was not to carry out the bloodthirsty policy of a part of the Press.


said, that although he rose to second the Motion pro formâ, he must by no means be supposed to agree with the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken in the opinions he had expressed. But the conduct of Her Majesty's Government had been such that the House could not have the slightest confidence that they were taking any measures whatever to maintain the honour of the country or to protect the lives of those committed to their charge in the Soudan. There was reason to believe that the Government was not prepared to enunciate their policy, because the Cabinet was once more divided as to the course of action to be pursued. On the 6th of February the Prime Minister stated that the Government did not feel called upon to adopt any measures with respect to the defeat of General Baker and the safety of the garrisons, and the protection of General Gordon; but shortly afterwards a force was despatched. The House now had a" right to know whether the Commander of the Forces at Suakin had been sent there on a mission similar to that of General Roberts's in the Transvaal, merely to be recalled by the next steamer. The Soudan had been threatened by a rebellous movement, and the House wanted to know whether Her Majesty's Government thoroughly realized the position, and intended to do anything with regard to Kassala and other places. A great revolt threatened the North-Eastern part of Africa, and the Government had prevented the Sovereign of the country from defending his territory, while, at the same time, they paralyzed the arm of England which they were professing to use. The Agent of the Government had proclaimed the continuance of the Slave Trade at Khartoum, and the Mahdi to be Sultan of Kordofan. At the same time, the Government declined to say whether they intended to take any steps to protect Suakin from the fate of the garrisons which had already fallen. It was stated that the only way in which Osman Digma could be cheeked and the movement prevented from spreading was by prompt and efficient action on the part of Her Majesty's Forces; but still the Government went drifting on. The House had a right to know whether they realized the critical position in which they stood with, regard to affairs in the Soudan, and whether they intended to withdraw their forces before a decisive blow had been struck against that rebellion, for which Her Majesty's Government were mainly responsible. The Prime Minister had referred to the opinions of the civilized world; but if he had studied the organs of public opinion in Germany, Prance, Austria, and other Continental countries he would find them strong in their condemnation of Her Majesty's Government, instead of expressing approval of their policy. He did not in the least blame General Gordon for what he was doing, but only Her Majesty's Ministers. General Gordon had been sent out against his will to undertake an almost impossible task, for which he had no inclination; and in order to carry out his instructions he had been obliged to take a step which was a disgrace to the nation and to the Government—namely, to proclaim the Slave Trade. He hoped the Government would be able to satisfy the anxiety of the country upon this subject, and to state that they had at last seen their way to adopting a definite policy with regard to the state of the Soudan and the suppression of the Slave Trade. Until they were prepared to do that he could only describe their policy as one of vaccillation and inconsistency—consistent only in imbecility, and uniform only in want of courage.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—(Mr. Labouchere.)


said, he had never had any hesitation in either speaking or voting against the Government when they were wrong; but he would be no party to needlessly harassing them in a time of difficulty and trial. He had not, therefore, stood up when his hon. Friend the Member for Northampton moved the adjournment, as he was substantially satisfied with the answer that the noble Lord had given to a Question put at an earlier part of the evening. The House of Commons had a right to demand from the Ministry a full and explicit statement of their policy; but that he thought they had got during the long debate which closed last Tuesday. He assumed that the Cabinet were carrying out the views that they then expounded. But, while Parliament had a right to ask for a statement of policy, they were not warranted in asking for information as to military enterprizes which were in the course of being carried out. The House of Commons could not conduct a war. No Legislative Assembly could do it. The French Convention tried and the Amrican Congress tried, but they both failed; and this House would fail too, if it made the attempt. He passed no judgment in favour of the policy of the Government—certainly, he did not endorse it. It had been supported, however, by a substantial majority; the Government had the confidence of the House; and it was a simple act of fairness to allow them to enforce that policy in a way that in their discretion appeared best. They were a deliberative, not an Executive Body. When the Executive asked for payment for the campaign they were engaged in, then would be a fitting opportunity to criticize their proceedings and to censure them; but to do so at that moment was not desirable. He quite allowed the force of what his hon. Friend had said. The Government were in an embarrassing position, and it was difficult to reconcile their action in one part of the Soudan with their action in another. In the East they were fighting, and in the West they were at peace. He was as anxious as his hon. Friend for information; but he so fully recognized their responsibilities and the difficulties of the situation, that unless the Ministers themselves were ready voluntarily to give a statement of their operations, he was not prepared to press them at such a time and under such circumstances.


I certainly do not think it would be desirable that I should attempt to follow the hon. Member for Eye (Mr. Ash-mead-Bartlett) into the general question of the policy of Her Majesty's Government in the Soudan, which was discussed at considerable length a short time ago, and upon which the House then pronounced a very decided opinion. In reply to what has fallen from the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere), I think he greatly underrates the possibility of mischief which might be caused, or the serious harm and embarrassment which might be caused to our Commanders in the Soudan by any indiscreet or unnecessary indications of the intention of the Government in this House. My hon. Friend must be aware that the telegraph is open from this country to Suakin, and there cannot be the slightest doubt that Osman Digna and the other Chiefs of the Arabs in the neighbourhood of Suakin have accurate and complete knowledge as to everything which goes on. Anything which is said here or at Cairo is reported direct to Suakin; and so far as it may be of any use, it comes to the ears of those with whom it may be necessary shortly to come into conflict. My hon. Friend says he does not know why we have undertaken the defence of the Red Sea Ports; but I can only say that that is a part of the policy of the Government which has been declared, and which is understood by the country, and which also formed part of the policy which was approved by the House by its vote of Tuesday night. If the Government are to undertake and have undertaken, and have the approval of Parliament and the country in undertaking, the defence of the Red Sea Ports, I think my hon. Friend himself must admit that the duty the Government have assumed does not by any means confine them to the defence of Suakin, within the limits of the fortifications of the place. It appears that a large body—a victorious body—of Arab tribes are within a short distance of the place, and we know that one of the leaders has announced his intention, not only of attacking Suakin, but of sweeping the British Forces into the Red Sea. Under these circumstances, it is, of course, evident that it may be necessary for the Commander of the British Force which is now on the shores of the Red Sea not to wait till he is attacked in Suakin. It may be necessary, absolutely as a defensive measure, to take the offensive and move against the hostile army of Osman. My hon. Friend has said that he does not wish to hold us responsible for anything written in the newspapers, some extracts of which he read. What reason has he to assume, from anything that has fallen from Her Majesty's Government, that they are disposed now, or are likely to be disposed at any future time, to undertake any such enterprizes as those he quoted from the newspapers. I think when my hon. Friend has some further information that the Government intend to adopt measures of that kind it will be time enough for him to call upon us to repudiate any such intention or design. We are not at present in possession of full information. We expect very shortly to receive fuller information from the General as to the state of affairs by which he is surrounded. Until that information is received the Government themselves cannot make up their minds what further instructions will be sent to the General. But it may not be desirable, oven when these instructions have been sent, to communicate them to the House. All I can say is, that the instructions, he far, were in the first instance directed to the relief of the garrison of Tokar; and in the next to take such measures as were necessary to secure the safety of Suakin. Those instructions may, or may not, have to be enlarged; but at present I think it would be extremely undesirable that I should give to the House any further in formation than that which I was able to give a short time ago.


thought it very remarkable that on the last evening on which Mr. Speaker presided over the deliberations of the House, and when every Member was expressing his regret at parting with him, he should be called upon to put a Motion for Adjournment which he had so often described to the House as irregular and inconvenient. But he thought that Mr. Speaker would be inclined to agree that of all the Motions for Adjournment none was perhaps more justified than the present one, made as it was under the most rigid restriction and brought about by the unbroken silence which Her Majesty's Government on almost every occasion chose to preserve when asked to state their policy to the House. The only means of eliciting the policy of the Government was by taking advantage of the Forms of the House and raising what might be called an irregular debate. Was it not now a critical moment? They had a force in the Red Sea, ill-provided with the accessories of a military force—a force without Artillery, without Cavalry, and without commissariat or transport, and the House did not at the present moment know what it was intended to do with that ill-provided force. Her Majesty's Government had stated that they had sent a force for the relief of Tokar, and if they had not made that statement they would not have obtained a majority in that House against the Vote of Censure. Now, what were the Prime Minister's words, because he thought it was of the last importance that when the Government obtained a Vote of Confidence by stating a certain policy, they should be forced to adhere to that policy? Or, if they did not adhere to that policy a few days after that Vote of Confidence, their vacillation and inconsistency should be pointed out. The Prime Minister stated at the end of his remarkable speech in the course of the Egyptian debate that the Government were in communication with General Gordon in reference to the relief of Tokar, and that General Gordon did not disapprove the efforts being made to relieve Tokar. He said— We have acted, therefore, without hesitation on our undivided responsibility for a purpose which implies no departure from our policy in regard to the reconquest of the Soudan, but with a view of rendering a small service to humanity which I am quite sure the House and the country will approve. He (Lord Randolph Churchill) entreated the House to observe that the relief of Tokar was the only object for which that expedition was sent out. No other object was stated to the House, and the expedition had no other purpose than the relief of Tokar. The Government on the strength of that expedition obtained a Vote of Confidence. Tokar had surrendered. He had remarked in the course of the debate that the expedition was too late, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), with his usual politeness, flatly contradicted him and said—" No; it is not too late." He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would acknowledge—what he had done several times before—that he was wrong, and that he (Lord Randolph Churchill) was right. What he desired to know from the Government now that Tokar had surrendered was why they were leaving that ill-provided force in a dangerous position on the coast of the Bed Sea. He challenged the noble Marquess to say whether instructions had not been sent to General Graham to advance against Osman Digna. There could be no doubt, he believed, that the announcement which appeared in the newspapers that morning that instruc- tions had been sent to General Graham to attack Osman Digna was an authorized communication. ["No, no!"] He asked hon. Gentlemen to wait until that statement was directly contradicted by the Government. He should be extremely surprised if they gave a direct contradiction to that announcement. Why had the Government given a discretionary power to General Graham to attack Osman Digna in his present position? What purpose could they possibly have in view in slaughtering the forces of Osman Digna? Her Majesty's Government had made over the Soudan to Osman Digna. The Prime Minister perfectly gloated in the prospect the other night of these tribes wandering about their ancestral homes in ancestral happiness. And he now prepared to give them this happiness by sending a military force of 4,000 men in order to decimate these half-naked savages. Not only had they made over the Soudan to Osman Digna, not only had the Government commissioned General Gordon to make terms with the master of Osman Digna, the Mahdi, but they were instructing their General to make war and slaughter the army of the man with whom they were endeavouring to make peace. How did the Government reconcile the facts that Osman was to be slaughtered and the Mahdi was to be rewarded? It was idle for the noble Lord (the Marquess of Hartington) to shelter himself under the pretext that it would be inconvenient to tell the House what arrangements had been made. The pretext that had been put forward by the noble Lord as the reason for this step meant that Osman Digna had a correspondent at Suakin; that the correspondent at Suakin had a correspondent in London, who was able to expend an enormous sum of money in telegraphing out to the correspondent at Suakin, who in his turn would send to Osman Digna in the desert, the speech of the noble Lord. The noble Marquess treated Suakim as if it were a capital of Europe with an enterprizing Press. [The Marquess of HARTINGTON: Hear, hear!] The noble Lord cheered that; of course, he (the Marquess of Hartington) made the statement on his own responsibility. He had heard many surprising statements from the noble Marquess; but none had more surprised him than the statement that there were people at Suakin who had the funds, resources, and intelligence to have immediately telegraphed to them every pearl that dropped from his lips to be sent on to Osman Digna. This was the idle and frivolous pretext by which the Government endeavoured to lull their Radical supporters into a false security, and kept back information from the House. But if it were necessary to defend Suakin, what, in Heaven's name, was General Graham doing at Trinkitat? To defend Suakin he ought to be there. All he could say was, that the policy of the Government with respect to Suakin seemed likely to be as successful as their policy with respect to Sinkat and Tokar. They would all be glad to know whether the noble Marquess could state, on his authority as Minister of War, that reinforcements were to be sent to General Graham, and that he was tolerably secure, though he was without Artillery and Cavalry, and two transports sent to assist him were on the rocks. He could not at all understand the policy of the Government—[Ironical, Ministerial cheers]—nor did he think that the hon. Members who cheered him understood it either. This matter was in itself sufficient to justify the Motion for Adjournment. The Government had sent an expedition for the relief of Tokar, and it was too late. Why did it not come back? Was it because the Government wanted to get something for their money, and that something human blood? Her Majesty's Government was no longer a Government of peace at any price; it was a Government of blood at any price. They had been too late to save the garrison of Sinkat from massacre, or that of Tokar from surrender; but, coûte que coûte, they would have the blood of Osman Digna. It was because the noble Lord dared not state to the House the instructions that had been given to General Graham that he had taken refuge in the idle and frivolous pretext previously referred to; and the Government hoped, before they were called upon in debate to vindicate their policy in this matter, that General Graham might have succeeded in taking the blood of Osman Digna; and it was thus that gunpowder and glory were to cover the vacillation and inconsistency of the Liberal Government. He was sure that the country and the House would demand further explanations, and, until those explanations were forthcoming, the Government would be suspected of almost any crime.


did not think that the somewhat violent style of address of the noble Lord (Lord Randolph Churchill) was likely to forward the object they had in view. He urged the Government to do something to prevent even a suspicion that the charge of seeking blood which the noble Lord made against them had any foundation in fact. He thought the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) had done well in calling attention to this matter, and he could not agree with the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. J. Cowen) that this was not the time to ask for information. If the House must not speak then, when were they to interfere? In a time when there was a period of danger, and when there was a chance of committing a great wrong, that was, in his opinion, the chance for the House to speak out. He wanted the Government to say they were not to undertake offensive operations against Osman Digna, and the whole object of those who supported the Motion for Adjournment would be satisfied, and the country would be satisfied too. He and some of his Friends supported the policy of the Government on the Vote of Censure solely on the ground that they were going to render a small service to humanity. What service to humanity were they going to perform now? He did not think it was any service to humanity to attack Osman Digna and kill several thousands of his men. He supported this expedition in the service of humanity with very great reluctance, because he thought a set of greater scoundrels than the Egyptian Rulers of the Soudan did not exist. Now all was changed. There was nobody to rescue, and if fighting was to be done, it was to be carried on for the sake of fighting, and to that he utterly and entirely objected. General Gordon himself declared that war was simply organized murder, and if our troops were sent to take the offensive against these people whom we were without reason calling rebels, it would not only be organized murder, but it would be deliberate and wanton murder. It was time somebody spoke out after what they read that morning in the London Press—and the Liberal Press was the worst of all. It made one shudder to read articles crying out for slaughter and blood for the prestige of this country. The Daily News led the way. He had not read The Pall Mall Gazette, but dared say it was quite as bad. He asked the Government not to give way to the disgusting clamour raised in the Press, but to trust to the humane and Christian feeling of the people of this country, which would bear them to a triumphant issue.


Sir, I wish to give my hon. Friend an assurance which will, I think, be satisfactory to him. That assurance will also embrace part of the speech of the hon. Member for Eye (Mr. Ashmead-Bartlett), but I am not quite sure that it will be equally satisfactory to him. That assurance is, that neither by the London Press nor by the Foreign Press shall we be guided in the advice we give to the Crown, but that we shall be guided by our own sense of duty, acting under our constant knowledge of our full and absolute responsibility in this matter. A conclusive reason for putting a negative upon this Motion as the only way the House has of expressing any disapproval of the Motion is that which has been stated by the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. J. Cowen), that is to say, it is impossible for this House to conduct a military operation. The only effect of its interference is likely to be inconvenience, or even more serious mischief in one direction or the other; but what it has to do is to keep a tight hand on the Government, and call it to account for its acts whenever it deems them to require its notice or its censure, but that to effect a substitution of this House for the Executive is really a course that can end in nothing but mischief. I do not wish to add a word to the statement of my noble Friend (the Marquess of Hartington)—that is to say, as regards the debate or conversation at the point which it had reached; but the speech of the noble Lord opposite (Lord Randolph Churchill) requires from me a very brief notice. The noble Lord closed that speech with an accusation against the Government, which I must call an odious and loathsome accusation. It seems to be the daily food of the noble Lord to conceive and frame these accusations. They are congenial to his appetite and to his taste, and I will not attempt to deprive him of the peculiar enjoyment which he appears to draw from that sort of occupation. Nor will I go one more syllable beyond what was stated by my noble Friend in the expression of any feeling I may have with regard to the justice of the accusation. If the noble Lord, as I am bound to believe, and I do believe, is actuated by a desire to prevent guilty blood-shedding, then I can only say he deserves great credit for entertaining that desire, and I should not wish to be too minute and critical in examining the means which he may use for obtaining so laudable an object. I need not have noticed that if that had been the only matter in the speech of the noble Lord; but there was another point which he put with distinctness, and which has been taken up by the hon. Baronet (Sir Wilfrid Law-son) who spoke last. The noble Lord's point was to quote words of mine which appeared to be given with very great accuracy. He said I described the relief of Tokar as the first and only object for which the expedition was sent from Egypt to Suakin. Undoubtedly I did so describe it. But the House was perfectly aware when I used that language that the defence of Suakin we were already committed to, and when I spoke of the relief of the garrison of Tokar, I meant that that was an additional object, and a special object, for which this expedition was intended. Now I am not going to discuss the ground on which we had thought it our duty to provide for the defence of Suakin. That is an important question of policy. It was important with reference to the obligations under which we lay to persons interested in Suakin, British subjects having a distinct claim upon our protection in a place where the lawful Government of the place was totally unable to afford such protection. But it is also, I may say, a question of very great importance with regard, perhaps, to the peace of the Eastern world and the extinction of the Soudan rebellion—certainly and undoubtedly a place of great importance, and the tenure of which is of great importance with respect to the extinction of the Slave Trade, properly so called. Those, however, are matters on which I do not propose to enter. My only object is to remind my hon. Friend and the noble Lord, that the defence of Suakin was a purpose which we had announced to enter into our policy before any ques- tion about the relief of Tokar had arisen. I With respect to what the defence of Suakin may require, that, of course, is a matter upon which the development of circumstances might throw further light, and what is required for the defence of Suakin would manifestly be very much dependent upon the forces that might be in its neighbourhood, and the intention of the leader of those forces. On that matter, I think my noble Friend has given all the information that it is possible for us to give. The noble Lord (Lord Randolph Churchill) endeavours to do that which the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. J. Cowen) has warned the House not to do. He asks about the security of General Graham. He asks about the sufficiency of his force, complains that it is not sufficiently provided; and, in fact, is endeavouring in his place in this House to perform all the most important and critical duties of the War Minister of the Crown. My noble Friend and his Colleagues are perfectly aware of their responsibility in these matters, and to allege and plead that responsibility is the only answer they can make to the noble Lord at this time. My noble Friend has referred to the defence of Suakin, and he has in answer to a Question acquainted the House that at the present time the principal object to which General Graham's attention will now be directed will be the safety of Suakin, which appears to be threatened by the tribes. And my noble Friend has frankly said that the defence of the place may involve the undertaking of some operation, which, in its form may be offensive, but which, at the same time, may in perfect good faith and in the strictest reality, be a defensive operation to ensure the safety of the place. Upon that declaration of my noble Friend I wish to stand. If it were true that we had used any language sustaining the doctrine of vindictive operations—if it were true that we had given any colour for suspicion in that direction, such as the noble Lord has now cast upon us—then I grant there might be some reason for pressure; but no such language on our part has been used. For my part, though I will go into no detail, I repudiate the charge. It is not sustained by any act or words of ours. Under those circumstances, I think the Government can say nothing except what has been said by my noble Friend. I should probably not have risen, except to point out that when I spoke of Tokar as the only object of the expedition, I knew that the House was aware that the defence of Suakin was an essential part of our policy in the present circumstances; and to the expression of these few words I cannot but add the hope that the House may think that, on the whole, there is no sufficient cause for continuing the discussion on a matter on which we had an exceedingly long debate upon a recent occasion.


There is no doubt that of all the various classes of questions the most difficult are those which concern the relations between this House and the Executive Government in time of war or when hostilities are being carried on. I therefore agree with the doctrine that has been laid down by the right hon. Gentleman, and by others, that this House cannot carry on a war, and must be very careful how it in any way interferes with the details of military operations. What this House has a right and is bound to do is to satisfy itself as to the policy under which military operations may be undertaken and conducted, and I think it is impossible to say that the events which have taken place within the last few days—or which have become known to us within the last few days—have not, so far, changed the situation in Egypt as much to affect the amount of the knowledge that we have of the intentions of the Government and of the views with which those intentions are to be carried out. I do not see that it would be right at present to press the Government for further information than that which was given in the speeches of the noble Lord and the right hon. Gentleman; but I must say that, before very long, it will become the duty of this House to press for much fuller and clearer explanations than those which have been given to us. It is not a question whether our forces at Suakin are or are not sufficient, or whether movements are or are not to be made in a certain direction. These are all questions that are more of a military than of a political character; but, in order that we may make ourselves properly responsible for this policy, we shall be bound to require further explanations than those which we have received. The proper time for these explanations will be when we are asked to vote the money for these operations. I think the House will very soon be in a position to come to a vote on that subject, and I hope that the noble Lord will be able to tell us how soon we may expect that that Vote will be before us, and when we shall have the opportunity of raising a discussion upon it.

Question put, and negatived.