HC Deb 27 March 1885 vol 296 cc849-957

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Question again proposed, That Her Majesty be authorised to guarantee the payment of an annuity of three hundred and fifteen thousand pounds sterling for the purpose of a loan, to be raised by the Government of Egypt, in pursuance of the Convention signed at London on the eighteenth day of March 1885, between Her Majesty and the Governments of Austria-Hungary, France, Ger- many, Italy, and Russia, with the authority of Turkey; and that provision be made out of the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom, or the growing produce thereof, for the issue of such sums of money from time to time, as may be required, to pay any sums which may at any time be required to fulfil the guarantee of Her Majesty in respect of such annuity, conformably to the tenor of Her Majesty's engagement as specified in the said Convention."—(Mr. Gladstone.)

Amendment again proposed, To leave out from the word "That to the end of the Question, in order to add the words" the proposals for adjusting the finances of Egypt contained in the Convention of March 18th, and the collateral arrangement, indicated in the Papers presented to Parliament, for regulating, without any previous communication to Parliament, the international position of the Suez Canal are unsatisfactory, and do not warrant the agreement into which the Government have provisionally entered,"—(Mr. Thomas Bruce,) —instead thereof.

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


The proposal which is now under the consideration of the Committee has been recommended by Her Majesty's Government rather as a financial than as a political arrangement. We have been warned not to exaggerate the effect of this Agreement. On the one hand, the serious importance of impending bankruptcy in Egypt has been painted to us in the darkest colours; on the other hand, we have been asked to avert that evil, firstly, by consenting to bear the burden of an International Guarantee involving no real liability and no idea international interference; secondly, by undertaking an inquiry by English officials during the next two years into the finances of Egypt—an inquiry of a kind which, I am afraid, has been going on at any time during the past three years; and, thirdly, by agreeing to a proposal for the appointment of an International Commission of Inquiry at the distant date of two years hence, under conditions which Her Majesty's Government have endeavoured to show may be no real undertaking at all. Now, if that be the opinion, or anything like the opinion, which the Prime Minister entertains of the Agreement which is now under the consideration of the Committee, I must say that a good deal which has hitherto seemed to me unac- countable in his Egyptian policy is to some extent explained. We on this side of the House, and a good many hon. Members on the other side also, look upon this Agreement from a different point of view. To us it appears a proposal entering into all the relations which exist between England, Egypt, and the Great Powers of Europe. It seems to be something very like the first step on a course which will, as we believe, inflict incalculable evils both on this country and on Egypt. I should like to address to the Committee, in the first place, a few observations on the purely financial aspect of this question; and I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will undertake to explain certain points, the nature of which I confess do not appear to me at present in any way clear. I think some time ago the Prime Minister stated that, in his opinion, an English guarantee of an Egyptian Loan might properly be part of the price of a really stable and complete arrangement for securing an equilibrium in Egyptian finance. Now, is this arrangement stable or complete? Has it the slightest element of stability about it? Is it merely a postponement for a couple of years of the day of reckoning, which must inevitably come? Is it complete? Why, last year, in the London Conference, Her Majesty's Government insisted on certain concessions by the bondholders as the minimum to be required. Now they have accepted from the bondholders a tax which can in no case fall short by less than £140,000 a-year of the concessions which six months ago they thought were the least that should be obtained. Not only so, but the arrangement with the bondholders is purely conditional. It is conditional on the acceptance by some person or persons not defined, but who may be, of course, an International Tribunal, of the belief that the state of Egyptian finance during the two years to which this concession is to extend has been such as to require that that contribution should be made. I will venture to say that nothing more indefinite than this contribution was ever embodied in a financial agreement. There is no real certainty that it will ever be made at all. More than that, are the provisions of this Agreement complete in themselves so far as they affect finance? Is there anything to show that the probable Revenues of Egypt during the forthcoming two years have been taken into consideration, and the deficits which must almost certainly accrue as they have accrued in past years? I will venture to say that if there be any provisions made within the terms of the Loan for meeting those deficits it is inadequate. It is inadequate on the showing of the Government themselves; for, as far as I can gather from the figures before the Committee, the calculations of Revenue that have now to be accepted are much more akin to those French calculations which were rejected at the Conference in London, than to the moderate estimates which commended themselves to Sir Evelyn Baring and to the English Committee at that Conference, and which were reported upon by the Earl of Northbrook, when Her Majesty's Commissioner in Egypt, as substantially correct. It appears to me that in this arrangement, even as regarded from the financial point of view, Her Majesty's Government are now preparing fresh trouble for Egypt. Is the Revenue of Egypt likely to reach even the estimates which Sir Evelyn Baring has assented to? I should like to read to the Committee a short passage from the fragments of the Earl of Northbrook's Report, which have been presented to the House on this subject. The Earl of Northbrook states his strong opinion that in order to enable Egypt to meet the cost of her administration and the interest on the Debt— It is indispensable she should be set free from the trammels which now hamper the action of the Government, increase the cost of the administration, and diminish the resources of the country. Then he goes on to refer to the difficulty of taxing foreigners equally with the Natives. This is a principle which months ago was conceded by the Great Powers, and which I am quite ready to acknowledge the provisions of the Convention may enable us to put in satisfactory practice. But I will read to the Committee his first and third "incumbrances." He refers to the Constitution of the Administrations of the Daira and Domain Lands and of the Egyptian Railways in the supposed interest of the bondholders, and to Certain provisions of the Law of Liquidation, especially those which debar the Egyptian Government from making fiscal changes in the assigned Provinces and revenues without the consent of the Commissioners of the Caisse."—[Egypt. No. 4 (1885), p. 32.] Now, nothing can exceed the stress which the Earl of Northbrook lays upon the injury done to Egypt, in point of economy and efficiency, by the composition of those Boards of Daira, Domains, and Railways, composed as they are of Representatives of the three nationalities, and by their independence of the Egyptian Government. It may be said that in this Convention the French Government have agreed to discuss this important matter with the English Government, and that it is hoped that some satisfactory conclusion may be arrived at. But in what spirit have the French Government undertaken to enter on this discussion? It may be found in the reply of the French Government to the suggestion of Her Majesty's Government on this matter. The French Government, in their counter proposals to those of Her Majesty's Government sent on January 17, state— As regards the Daira and the Domains, the Government of the Republic does not think it necessary to alter the system at present, as is proposed in the Memorandum of the 29th of November. From the financial point of view, there is no advantage in the Domain Loan being amalgamated with the Preference Debt and the Daira Loan with the Unified Debt. From the administrative point of view, the disadvantages resulting from the comparative independence of the Administrations of the Domains and the Daira are largely compensated for by the guarantees which these Administrations offer."—[Ibid., p. 100.] It has always been the case throughout those negotiations; the French Government have had in view the guarantees of the bondholders, and not the promotion of economy and efficiency in the Government of Egypt. Can we believe that it will be really possible for Her Majesty's Government with an International Commission of Inquiry hanging over their heads, upon this important question, to arrive at an understanding with the French Government, in the next two years, the satisfactory settlement of which is described by the Earl of Northbrook himself as indispensable for the safety of Egypt? It seems to me that on these points which I have touched, and viewed as a merely financial arrangement, this Agreement cannot be considered satisfactory; but it is infinitely more important as regarded from the political point of view. Last night the noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in the course of a very able speech, referred to the arrangement, which the Committee is now asked to sanction, as being in the nature of a "compromise." With the exception that some concession, the extent of which I have already described, has been obtained from the bondholders, and that the institution of an International Commission of Inquiry has been postponed for two years, I will venture to say that this arrangement is not a compromise, but a complete surrender on the part of Her Majesty's Government. It bears the most wonderful resemblance to a certain proposal, which appears from the Protocols of the Conferences to have been made by the French Government as long ago as the 24th of July last. In that proposal I find a suggestion that there should be a provisional Egyptian Budget for two years; that at the end of that time the Powers should examine the Budget for 1887; that there should be a preliminary English inquiry on finance; and that there should be a joint guarantee. That was the occasion on which the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in reply to these proposals, gave in his memorable answer to the Conference, when he said, on the part of his Colleagues, as well as of himself, that Her Majesty's Government could not expect or ask Parliament to agree to a joint guarantee. The noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs last night attempted to explain that answer away. He suggested, in the first place, that it had not been accurately reported. Well, when we remember the care with which all these Protocols are framed, that they are submitted to the persons whose speeches they report before they are confirmed, I think it would almost be sufficient to justify me in characterizing the suggestion of the noble Lord as one that is absolutely unworthy of himself. But, more than that, my right hon. Friend the Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Bourke) pointed out at once to the noble Lord that it is impossible there could have been any such mistake in this case, because the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer formed part of a written Memorandum laid before the Conference, and, therefore, represented the actual words that were used. When this suggestion was put aside, the noble Lord tried another one. He seemed to suggest that the Chancellor of the Exchequer might have changed his mind since the date at which he expressed the opinion that I hare quoted, and on this account alone—that now some concession has been exacted from the bondholders. Well, but that does not agree with the view which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has himself expressed. Why-does the right hon. Gentleman now agree to the joint guarantee? He told the House the other day that the Anglo-French Convention of 1855 was a purely financial arrangement, which gave the guarantors no right to interfere in Turkey, and that, in his mind, this Convention was precisely like it, and therefore gave no ground for International interference. Now, it has been already pointed out more than once in the course of this debate how completely the circumstances of the Anglo-French Convention of 1855 differ from those of the Convention into which we are now asked to enter—how all the relations of the contracting Powers to the country which requires the loan are absolutely unique in this case as compared with any of those loans or guarantees that were dwelt upon at such length by the Prime Minister yesterday. I should like, Sir, very much to know how long Her Majesty's Government retained the opinion that was expressed on this matter by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Conference last July. When this proposal of a joint guarantee was renewed in January, did Her Majesty's Government make any attempt to resist it? Has there been any correspondence between the Powers on this subject? And, if so, why has not a single passage of the Correspondence been presented to Parliament? They could have resisted it if they had chosen, and successfully resisted it, because when the same proposal was made to the Conference it was withdrawn by France on the objection of Her Majesty's Government; and even now, in the course of the later negotiations, it will be clear to anyone who reads the Papers that, in the first place, Italy by no means anticipated that Her Majesty's Government would accept the joint guarantee, and would have been quite prepared to aid them in resisting it; in the second place, that Russia was not prepared to enter into it to the fullest extent; and, in the third place, Austria-Hungary declared that if any single Power did not join she would not join either. Therefore, it is perfectly clear that if Her Majesty's Government had retained their objections to the joint guarantee, they could have successfully resisted it. What is the real truth of the matter? They did not care to try. And why did they not care to try? Because, in the words of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, they thought that no claim of International interference had been brought forward, and so there was no occasion to refer to it. I should like to argue this point very shortly. What is the idea of the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the subject? Why, does he think that these Foreign Powers would have incurred the liability for this joint guarantee, unless it be to enable them to gain some fresh right of interference in Egypt? Can they have done it for the benefit of Egypt? Why, it is impossible, because the sole interest of Egypt in the matter is that the loan should be raised as cheaply as it can be, and it could be raised more cheaply under our sole guarantee than in any other way. Could they have done it for the benefit of this country? Is it likely that these Foreign Powers would try to save the liability of the British taxpayer in regard to Egypt? But even if it was, there was no reason for them to attempt to do so, because the Prime Minister has shown that, owing to the peculiar nature of the guarantee, it imposes no real liability on the guarantors at all. There is no reason shown for the action of France or the other Powers in requiring this joint guarantee unless it be to secure some fresh right of interference in Egypt. It does secure them that right of interference, and why? Because their present right is limited by the Law of Liquidation, and the Law of Liquidation relates simply to those bondholders who happen to be subjects of those Powers. But it is one thing for those Foreign Powers to have the right of interference on behalf of their subjects who are bondholders, and it is quite another thing for them to have the right which springs from the fact that they have entered into a joint State guarantee of this kind. But the noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs seemed to have some inkling of this matter in his speech last night. He told the Committee that the reason for this joint guarantee was a natural desire on the part of all the Powers not to be left out of the arrangements that were being made. Did the noble Lord ever ask himself what is the meaning of that natural desire? Did he ever think that its meaning was explained by the history of the last 12 months? The Committee will remember the extraordinary differences of opinion that arose between the English and French Governments in reference to the interpretation of the provisions of the Anglo-French Agreement, that gave extended powers to the Caisse. Her Majesty's Government took one view on that matter, and M. Ferry took quite another. According to the French idea, that was no mere affair of accounts. The agreement was one that gave to the Caisse powers of disallowance and surcharge, powers of superintendence, practically, over the finances of Egypt; and, according to the words used by M. Ferry himself, the Caisse, under the new arrangement, would have nearly all the Powers of the old Dual Control, except th*e right of sitting at Cabinet Councils in Egypt. What then followed? What was the ultimatum presented by France to the London Conference? It was described by Her Majesty's Government themselves as a scheme that conferred on the Commission of the Caisse the mastery over the government and affairs of Egypt. Will the noble Lord tell me that that shows only a desire to interfere on the part of a single Power? I refer him to the words used by the Foreign Secretary. When Russia applied to be represented on the Commission of the Caisse, what was Earl Granville's answer? He said that this request could only be made for political reasons. I should like very much to hear from some Member of Her Majesty's Government some reason for the belief which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has expressed that no claim of International interference in this matter has been brought forward. I think I have proved not merely that such claims have been made, but that they have been pressed to the utmost extent during the past 12 months by the Powers that have made them. I should like to be told in what way the French proposals that were rejected by Her Majesty's Government at the Conference last summer were more objectionable than those which they have agreed to under this Convention? The Prime Minister last night said a good deal about the postponement of the International inquiry. Well, we know very well how strongly Earl Granville, on the part of Her Majesty's Government, objected to the immediate institution of such an inquiry. I want to know why is the institution of such an inquiry at the end of two years less objectionable than at the present moment? In some respects it may be even more objectionable, because it keeps everything in hot water during all that time; it prevents anybody supporting you in reforms; it debars you from bringing about any settlement of Egyptian affairs, simply because everybody knows that you have agreed at the end of two years to the institution of a tribunal which may practically oust you from your position in Egypt. It cannot be contended that the inquiry is merely financial in its nature; Earl Granville himself has contradicted that. He said to the Conference that there was hardly any question, political or administrative, which might not be considered as indirectly connected with finance. I was surprised to hear the Prime Minister state yesterday that there was nothing in this Convention that recognized the right of interference. Why, Sir, what are the terms in which this Commission of Inquiry was referred to? The Governments agree to institute a general inquiry by Representatives of the Powers into the financial resources of Egypt, with power to suggest the adoption of such measures as may appear to be suitable to insure in the future a fresh distribution of the resources of that country. I say that this proposal was justly characterized yesterday by the hon. Member for Portsmouth (Mr. Bruce) as a practical supersession of the Government of Egypt. The noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs dwelt upon the way in which the Egyptian Government were already hampered by the powers of the Caisse. That was a remarkable argument to bring before the Committee in support of a proposal for giving to a Commission of Inquiry powers infinitely greater than were ever possessed by the Caisse. What I fear is, that the joint guarantee, combined with this proposal for an International inquiry into Egyptian finance, is the first step in a course which must certainly lead to the internationalization of Egypt. Now, is that a result which Her Majesty's Government can contemplate with satisfaction? Why, we know very well from the speech of the Prime Minister yesterday that it is the last thing they desire. Is it a result that anybody can desire who sees the effects of the intrigues of the Powers in that unhappy country during the last half century? Is it a policy which can be completely executed? I think not, because, although the Government may neutralize the influence of England in Egypt, they cannot induce any other Power to share with us the burden of defending it, of maintaining law and order in it, and of raising those revenues with which the bondholders have to be satisfied. The Prime Minister put the matter very euphemistically yesterday when he said that nobody grudges us the performance of our duty in Egypt. The fact is nobody will lift a little finger to help us. All that the Foreign Powers have done hitherto has been to reap the fruits of our labours, so far as those fruits were necessary for their own purposes; and to interfere whenever our labours threatened to come to the point at which they might confer good government or prosperity upon the unfortunate country itself. Now, it seems to me that it is impossible for us to give up these duties which we have undertaken 'with reference to Egypt. Our interests compel us to perform them, because our interests are different in kind and greater in extent than the interests of any other Power. Then, if that be so, surely it should follow that we are also justified in claiming powers and rights in Egypt greater than are possessed by any foreign nation. I have often thought during the past three years that the Government have attempted to hold power in Egypt and avoid responsibility. They now seem to be aiming at responsibility without power. What are they doing in the Soudan? They are about to enter on a fresh stage of a bloody and hateful war—a war the main purpose of which, and possibly the only purpose and justification, is the safety of Egypt; and yet at this very moment they are of their own free will taking the first step in the surrender of their power for good in Egypt itself. I do not know what may be the military reasons of the Campaign which we are pursuing in the Soudan; but I am confident of this—that by such a policy as seems to be embodied in this Convention, the Government are destroying their political reasons for that Campaign, inasmuch as they are taking the first step in the surrender not only of the fruits of their sacrifices of men and money which has been made to such an extent during the past three years, but also of all those fresh sacrifices which the Government are every day calling on the country to incur, into the hands of the Committee representing Foreign Powers in Egypt. I am quite aware that some hon. Members, in the vote they will give to-night, will not be guided solely by their opinions on the merits of this Convention. If it were so, the proposals of the Government would be rejected by a very large majority. We have heard over and over again already—and I have no doubt we shall hear to-night—speeches from Members on the Ministerial side of the House who, from one point of view or another, have denounced this Convention, and yet who are going to vote for it. Now, we have heard a good deal of what happened as to the Convention of 1855. I should like to refer to a certain part of those proceedings, which appears to me to have very considerable significance. Considerable opposition was offered in this House to the terms of that Convention. The opposition came not merely from the Conservative Party, but from those who sat on the same side of the House as Lord Palmerston, who was then Prime Minister. There was a division of great importance upon the Convention. Lord Palmerston's Government was saved from defeat, and I have no doubt also from resignation, by an infinitesimal majority. But what was the composition of the minority? It included not merely the bulk of the Conservative Party of that time, but the present Prime Minister, with many of those able Colleagues who then acted with him in political life; and, more than that, it included certain hon. Mem- bers below the Gangway, such, as Mr. Cobden, Mr. Miall, and the senior right hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. John Bright), who at that day were independent Radicals indeed. Where is that independence now? In those days men gave their votes as they thought. Now, it seems to me the fashion to throw over your opinions in order to keep your Party in Office. I should like to read to the House the appeal which the present Prime Minister made to it with regard to this vote upon the Anglo-French Convention— The terms of the Convention contemplate the exercise of free discretion on the part of the House of Commons; and as they leave you the exercise of that free discretion, they leave you charged with a full responsibility."—(3 Hansard, [139] 1232–3.) Will he repeat those words now? And, if he were to do so, would hon. Members behind him act upon them? It may be a great evil to overthrow a Government. Probably few men in this House are less anxious than I am to turn the Government out of Office; but there would be a greater evil than the overthrow of the Government, and that would be if this House should lose its independence of action upon these great questions, and should deprive itself of all practical usefulness in the conduct of public affairs. Hon. Members may think—though I do not say that the argument has been put into words—that we are not free in the vote we are about to give, because of the opinions and action of Foreign Powers. I was very gratified to hear the statement made by the Prime Minister last night, when he said that in this matter— The interests and views of the Powers are one, and they are cordially united with us in the desire to ascertain and rectify the condition of Egyptian finance. That was a delightful picture which I had not anticipated from my previous perusal of the Blue Books. It had occurred to me, when reading the Papers which have been laid on the Table, that the Prime Minister, who, when in Opposition, made it a cardinal point of his policy to promote the Concert of Europe in Eastern affairs, had on this occasion promoted, no doubt, a Concert of Europe, but a Conceit of Europe against his own country. I read with humiliation, I admit, those passages in which Earl Granville plaintively bleated out his com- plaints of delay on the part of Foreign Powers in the consideration of the proposals of Her Majesty's Government, when, all the time, these very Powers were discussing and settling among themselves a question of vital importance to English interests, without even the knowledge of the English Government. It was not pleasant to see how futile was the remonstrance which Earl Granville made against the institution of this International inquiry—futile because it had been previously agreed to—and now, even the place of the meeting of the Conference on the Suez Canal was settled by the Powers behind his back. I confess all this gave me an impression of the isolation of this country which is painful indeed. But such ideas must be quite baseless; for we know, from the speech of the noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, that this Convention is the favourite child of Her Majesty's Government. The noble Lord spoke of it as the dawning of a better day for the future of Egypt. If that is so, and if the Government have adopted it because they like it, we are certainly free in our consideration of it. Then, what is there in the Convention which necessitates its acceptance? They repeat the original argument that immediate action is necessary because Egypt is bankrupt, and that something awful will happen in the month of April unless the House of Commons endorses the action of Her Majesty's Government. The absurdity of such a suggestion was yesterday exposed by the hon. Member for Portsmouth (Mr. Bruce), the Chairman of the Ottoman Bank, the highest authority in the House, and perhaps in the country, on the subject. He pointed out how obvious it was that those bankers, who from time to time had advanced as much money as the Egyptian Government required pending those negotiations, would be perfectly ready to make similar advances pending the consideration of this matter in the English Parliament. Then we are told that the financial situation is bad and must be remedied. Of course it is bad; of course it must be remedied. But the question before the Committee is, whether Her Majesty's Government have chosen the best way to remedy it? The noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs asked us last night—"What good we should get by rejecting this Convention?" I will tell him. We should maintain the influence of England in Egypt. Again, the noble Lord asked—"How would the rejection of the Convention benefit the Fellaheen?" Again, I will tell him, because the maintenance of English influence in Egypt is the only hope the Fellaheen have of obtaining a good and just government. The noble Lord told us that its rejection would not injure the bondholders. I have no sympathy with the bondholders; but I say no policy could be more foolish for this country than to attempt to injure the legal interests of the bondholders. The noble Lord went on to say—"If you reject this Convention, what will happen?" I will tell him again. Parliament will maintain—I may say will recover—freedom of action in Egyptian affairs which Her Majesty's Government have bartered away for a mess of pottage. And I think it would use that freedom in a wiser way than their boasted freedom of action at the close of the Conference has been used by Her Majesty's Government. They seem to me to have been led by a nervous apprehension of financial liability to set up afresh those claims to foreign interference in Egypt which had practically fallen into abeyance, and to have obtained nothing in return except this conditional contribution from the bondholders. To my mind it would be infinitely better for us to have taken the whole responsibility of guaranteeing this loan, which the Prime Minister has conclusively shown could impose no real burden upon the taxpayers of this country. It would even have been better, if it had been necessary, to have given to the bondholders all that they are legally entitled to in the way of interest under the Law of Liquidation, than to agree to conditions which will destroy our power for good in Egypt; which will sacrifice English interests, which will prevent—or, at any rate, indefinitely defer—the establishment of good government and prosperity in that unfortunate country, and which, from the complications almost certain to follow the institution of a Commission of International Inquiry, may, too possibly, land us in a European war. I know there are difficulties in our way. I do not underrate them; but, to my mind, all those difficulties are the outcome of the incapacity and irresolution which have characterized the conduct of Her Majesty's Government. The difficulties will continue and increase until that policy is changed. They will not be removed by the acceptance of this Convention; but its rejection would, at least, save this country from the first step in a path of incalculable danger and disaster to Egypt and to the Empire.


The right hon. Baronet commenced his speech by saying that he and the Party he represents approach this subject from a totally different standpoint from that occupied by Her Majesty's Government. I think the speech to which we have just listened is a sufficient proof of the truth of what he said; although I am not quite certain whether he himself has appreciated the most important point of divergence between the two sides of the House. In the course of his own speech, and of the debate which took place yesterday, that difference has been completely disclosed; and it shows in Gentlemen opposite a totally different view of the spirit and temper in which nations ought to enter into such negotiations as those in which we have been engaged. Her Majesty's Government thought that they had claims to make upon other Powers, which those Powers were legally entitled to refuse; and, therefore, they considered that the subject of negotiation was a matter for the courteous and considerate interchange of opinion, and probable also for mutual concessions. But if I understand the language on the other side, the right hon. Gentleman maintains that we ought to have made demands, and insisted upon their acceptance—["Oh!"]—that our first proposition should have been an ultimatum from which we would abate nothing, not even one jot, in consideration of the claims and rights of the Powers with whom we treated. ["Oh, oh !"] I see hon. Gentlemen opposite do not like to have their own views presented to them in that way; but I have provided myself with some extracts from the speeches which they have delivered, and which justify me in what I have said. The hon. Member for Portsmouth (Mr. Bruce) referred at some length to what he called the exceptional position of this country; and he based upon that exceptional position the argument that by our sacrifices we were entitled to ignore the rights of other Powers, and to sot aside the Law of Liquidation, which he describes as the supersession of the Egyptian Government. Now, we have been told that we have humiliated the country—[Opposition cheers]—that we have ignored British interests, and considered only the interests of Foreign Powers. Yes; and it appears that our crime consists in this—that we have not violently abrogated the solemn obligations which you yourselves were the persons to contract. It is to you we owe the Law of Liquidation, a damnosa hereditas; and yet you now complain because we did not, under circumstances of greater difficulty than when you consented to the law, violently abrogate it. The hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. Onslow) went further. He said that after the first shot we fired at Alexandria we ought to have known that Egypt should be ours. The hon. Member for West Gloucestershire (Mr. Ackers), who made a speech in some portions unintentionally humorous, said it was our duty as a Government to say, with all the sense of duty that power gives, that it was our intention to do what we thought fit—that is to say, to ignore the rights of other Powers. I want to know whether the right hon. Gentleman who spoke last accepts the views put forward on the part of his Party? The right hon. Gentleman himself went nearly as far. He said that we should be justified in "exacting"—that was the word he used with reference to our negotiations with the Great Powers—rights greater than those which any other Power possessed. All I say to that is that I think a very great change will come over our foreign relations for the future if they are to be conducted in this style. Put it is not in this case alone that we are asked to do so. We are blamed because we are willing to concede to other nations something of what they demand on questions that have arisen—for instance, with reference to the French Expedition in Madagascar, and to the French War in China; we are told that we have humbled ourselves by yielding to the demands of Prince Bismarck, and there are Gentlemen who wash that we should send an ultimatum to Russia on the question of Afghanistan. I want to know whether Gentlemen opposite, who have some experience of Office and of official responsibility, approve of this policy; and whether they think it would be wise—I do not say whether it would be right—for us to oppose an obstinate resistance to the claims of other Powers—each in turn—upon points on which the Powers are most sensitive, and to defy and insult collective Europe in this matter of Egypt? If that be so, to vary a well-known expression, I will only say Vest magnifique, mais c'est la gverrc. [Laughter from the Opposition.] I hope the House will mark the spirit in which that remark is greeted. That is the spirit in which Gentlemen and right hon. Gentlemen opposite desire that our relations with Foreign Powers should be carried on, and I am very glad to bring out this, because, after all, our whole discussion must turn upon that. If we are entitled in our negotiations with other Powers to say that we intend to have this or that, and that we will take no denial, then I admit that our negotiation is a failure, because we have never represented that we have got all that we desire. We have represented it as a bargain, in which we have conceded something, and have been met by reciprocal concessions on the other side. I would ask the Committee to consider what alternative is before them? We have some right to complain of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. I know it is customary to say that an Opposition is not called upon to formulate a policy—that a physician is not called upon to prescribe until he is asked. But in discussing this Convention, the Committee are not in possession of all the facts until the views of the Opposition are made known. We cannot stand where we are. Something must be done. If you do not like what we have done, you are bound to tell us what we ought to have done, or what you would have done if you occupied our seats. The right hon. Gentleman, however, has not given us the least indication as to what he would do in our place. He turned with some asperity to my hon. Friends behind me, and accused them of voting against their convictions, in order to keep the Government in Office. I might as well accuse the right hon. Gentleman of concealing his convictions in order to gain Office. In the absence of any explanation of his real views, I put it to the Committee that there are practically only two alternatives to the course which we have pursued. The first is, that we should guarantee the Egyptian Debt, and practically annex Egypt. Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that alternative? Is that the policy which he would substitute for that which we put before the House? I admit that there is something to be said for such a policy. It would be vigorous enough even to please the hon. Member for Eye. [Mr. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT: No.] Well, I am very sorry if I have done the hon. Member an injustice. But there would be something to be said for such a policy. A proposition of that kind would relieve us at once from immediate financial embarrassment in Egypt. With English credit to support Egypt in such circumstances, there would be no reason to call upon the bondholders to make any sacrifice. Thus we should conciliate the bondholder, and the bondholder is a very important person. He is a person who must be conciliated; he has a great deal of influence, if not in the Councils of this country, at all events in the Councils of Europe, and his silence or assent might materially affect our negotiations. The hon. Member for South Northumberland (Mr. Grey) told us yesterday that he believed that some such proposal would be approved by 99 out of 100 Englishmen if the matter were placed before them fairly; and I believe that he proposes to devote the next two years of his life to convincing his constituency of the desirability of this step. I tell my hon. Friend candidly that I do not think that two years will be too long a time to devote to that purpose. I am afraid that he will have even more difficulty than he has already experienced in his endeavour to convince the public in connection with another matter.


What I said was that 99 out of 100 persons would be prepared to incur a small money sacrifice rather than see established in Egypt a Multiple Control.


I think my hon. Friend said much more than that. It is all very well to talk about a small money sacrifice; but if my hon. Friend knows that it would only be a small sacrifice, he knows a good deal more than the financiers, who have considered the question. The hon. Member talked about faking the advice of Prince Bismarck, and of leasing Egypt from Turkey. That is the policy of the advantage of which the hon. Member is going to persuade his constituents; but I believe that the people are opposed to it, and that they are prepared to repudiate any Government who should become responsible for the annexation of Egypt. But I go further. Supposing my hon. Friend convinces this country, are the difficulties of the case at an end? No; for we have other countries to convince. Then my hon. Friend talked about taking a lease from the Sultan; but is the Sultan willing to grant a lease? Up to the present time we have not found him at all practicable in connection with questions affecting his relations with Egypt. But even supposing we overcame the reluctance of the Sultan, how are we to overcome the objection of other Powers? Prince Bismarck might make no objection; but the Government of France would object; and if it did not carry its objection to such a pitch as to make it a casus belli, a bitter, rankling feeling would, at any rate, be generated between the two countries, ready to break out at the first convenient opportunity. I hold that any such scheme as that to which I have been referring would not only be inexpedient, but almost impracticable. The only other alternative that I can see is to allow Egypt to go into bankruptcy, and that alternative will, perhaps, commend itself to a different class of mind, such as that possessed by the hon. Members for Kirkcaldy and Northampton (Sir George Campbell and Mr. Labou-chere). Under such circumstances, the bondholders would suffer for their imprudent investments, and very few persons would sympathize with them in their suffering. But if the country went into bankruptcy, just consider what would happen. Either the cost of administration must fall into arrear, and the whole country get into a state of anarchy, or if we hold, as we well may, that the cost of the Government was a first charge on the Revenue, then the payment of the bondholders must be stopped, the Law of Liquidation must be broken, and in that case it is perfectly certain that the various Governments acting on behalf of their subjects would move the Caisse to proceed in the International Tribunals against the Members of the Government of Egypt who had counselled or allowed this to occur. We know what the results of such an appeal would be. Execution would issue against the property of the persons forming the Government of Egypt, and that execution would be operative unless the Government of England were to step in and say that it should not be; unless, in other words, we were to declare in a high-handed manner that we should not allow the judgment of the Court and the provisions of Treaties to be observed. In that case, we should be in absolute conflict with the whole of Europe; there would not be one of the Powers that would not have a clear casus belli against this country. ["Oh!"] We should have broken International obligations and repudiated Treaties, and every Power which is a party to those Treaties would have a casus belli against us. It is quite conceivable that the Powers of Europe might combine and address an instant demand to us, asking that we should either allow the judgment of the Court to be operative, and the debts due to their nationalists to be paid, or that we should stand out of the way and evacuate Egypt. In that event, we should either have to evacute Egypt, coerced by and at the demand of Foreign Powers, and with the knowledge that our place would be immediately taken by one or other of them, and that the interests which it had hitherto been our policy to guard would be dependent for the future upon their goodwill and pleasure, or we should find ourselves opposed to a united Europe. If such a step should ever become necessary, it ought not to be contemplated by any sensible or reasonable Government until every other peaceable means of avoiding it has been exhausted. Under these circumstances we are brought back to the third alternative, that which we have adopted, that of entering into an agreement with Powers who are entitled to rights similar to ours. If the Government were justified in entering into negotiations with the Powers for the purpose of making a bargain, then what the Committee have now to do is to look at the bargain as business men, reasonably and impartially, and to consider, not merely whether it gives us everything that we could possibly desire, but whether, on the whole, it affords us substantial advantages, and whether it is the best that we could have expected under the circum- stances. It is in that light that I propose to count up our gains and losses in this matter, and to examine what ground there is for the exaggerated language in which the so-called surrender of the Government has been described. We have made concessions; but other Governments have made sacrifices at least equal in importance. That has been especially the case with the Government of France; and we are bound to acknowledge and reciprocate their concessions in a similar spirit. The right hon. Gentleman referred to one or two points in his detailed criticisms of the Agreement which I should like to allude to in the outset. He said that there was no provision for deficits which had accrued, and which might accrue, before the expiration of two years. But there is connected with the loan of £9,000,000 a provision which covers not only the whole of the deficits which have accrued, but also the deficit expected to accrue in 1885. Although the deficits for 1886 and 1887 are not specifically provided for in the loan, yet power is taken to make a loan of £1,000,000 by the Government of Egypt to meet them, which sum, I suppose, would provide for anything we have the slightest reason to suppose could possibly accrue in the shape of deficits. It was also complained that there was no provision made for the reform of the Daira and Domains, on which the Earl of North-brook laid such stress in his Report. It is quite true that is not the subject of the present Convention; but we are much more sanguine than right hon. Gentlemen opposite, because we believe that if this Convention goes on we shall be met fairly by the Caisse in reference to those important matters. Now, I will just ask the House to follow me while I point out the concessions we have made. They may all be measured by the difference between this Convention, as it stands, and the first proposals made to the London Conference in July, 1884. In the first place, they consist in the general guarantee for the loan which has been substituted for the single guarantee of Great Britain. I shall return to that directly, though I only mention it in passing now. Of the same kind is the assent of Great Britain to the inquiry which is to be conducted at the end of two years if, unfortunately, the deficit should continue so long. Well, all I can say of that is that we have never contemplated a permanent settlement of Egyptian finance, or permanent sacrifices to be imposed upon the bondholders. We have always thought that the difficulty in which Egypt has been placed was essentially temporary, and that if Egypt had time she would probably be able out of her own resources to pay off the whole of her liabilities, and therefore we have never thought of making a permanent arrangement, though we have never resisted the proposals made to us that if further sacrifices were required from the bondholders, the Government who represented them should be entitled to make a further financial inquiry, such as has already taken place. Then, the third point was that the cost of the Army of Occupation had been reduced from the estimated sum, £300,000, which was asked in 1884, to £200,000, the estimated sum under the present Convention. And let me say this, although it has not attracted so much attention from hon. Gentlemen opposite, by far the greatest concession we have made is that we have accepted a sacrifice of 5 per cent on the interest on the loan in place of a sacrifice of one-half of the dividend, which would have amounted on the average to something like 11 per cent, which we asked in the first instance. That is a great sacrifice which we have had to make in behalf of the unfortunate taxpayers of Egypt, because of the influence which the bondholders have been able to exert in these negotiations. These are the whole of the concessions we have made—there are four of them. I have endeavoured to state them frankly, and I admit them to be concessions. But now, let me ask the Committee to look at the concessions that have been made to us, which are more numerous and quite as important as any that we have made. In the first place, we have got what I consider to be a very great concession—we have got the principle of the taxation of the bondholders conceded. At first, the French maintained the argument that there was no deficit at all; that the Revenues of Egypt could produce £600,000 a-year more than we had estimated; and that there was no ground whatever for asking for any sacrifice to be imposed on the bondholders. They still maintain that Egypt was solvent; but in deference to the pressure put upon them by us they have yielded and made this concession, and agree to a taxation of 5 per cent. I wonder that hon. Gentlemen opposite, who represented every concession made by this country to anybody else as humiliation and degradation, who blush whenever we give up anything in fair negotiation—I wonder what they would think if the French Parliament were to treat this concession in the same way, and say that M. Ferry and his Government were disgraced by their conduct in weakly yielding, and that they had been coerced by the pressure which Great Britain had put upon them. Well, then, the second point that has been admitted, to which I have not heard a single reference in this debate, is that the Great Powers have agreed to the equal taxation of foreigners. That is a concession of the very utmost importance. I should think that of all the iniquities under which Egypt has had to suffer in consequence of past International interference, there is none greater than that which has allowed foreigners to escape all taxation, while the poorest of the Fellaheen had to pay. Then, in the third place, although we have agreed to diminish the estimated cost of the Army of Occupation, the French have altered their Estimate from £120,000 to £200,000, and have met us half-way in the matter. Of course, it is a matter of an Estimate; and I am bound to say that if the Forces of Egypt returned to their normal condition, I see no reason whatever why £200,000 should not be accounted sufficient for the Army of Occupation. Another concession is in regard to the Suez Canal. In the first instance, the French demanded that the deduction from the interest of the Suez Canal should be 1 per cent. Now, we receive 5 per cent interest on the Suez Canal, 3½ per cent of which we regarded as interest, and 1½ percent as Sinking Fund. The French demanded that the Sinking Fund should be suspended; but, as a matter of fact, they have reduced their demand to ½ per cent. And that is the whole of the sacrifice England has been asked to make with regard to the matter of the Suez Canal. Then, another point, which is of some importance, is with regard to the new loan of £9,000,000. The French, in the first instance, required that the loan should be issued for £6,000,000 only, and that there should be no Sinking Fund; hut, under the present arrangement, the sum allotted for the service of the new loan is sufficient to provide for a Sinking Fund which will provide for the total extinction of the loan, in what, at all events in the history of nations, is a reasonable time. Then, again, the Powers proposed that Egypt should be called upon to pay interest upon the indemnities for the Alexandria disturbances; but that proposal was never supported by the French Government, and had been withdrawn by the Powers, and does not appear in the Convention. And, lastly, a matter of very great importance, the French and the Powers have agreed to substitute an inquiry at the end of two years, if the deficit should continue, for—what they asked for in the first instance—an immediate inquiry. The right hon. Gentleman opposite actually declared that an inquiry at the end of two years was worse than an inquiry at the present moment. But an inquiry now would take away from us all freedom of action whatsoever; and for such an inquiry to have gone on while we were supreme in the occupation of Egypt would, undoubtedly, have had the effect of weakening our influence in the Egyptian Government and that of the Englishmen who are now advising and, to some extent, controlling it. But at the end of two years a period will have elapsed during which we shall have had an opportunity of doing what we can to restore Egyptian finance to a proper position; and I confess I think this concession is one of the most important of those obtained in the course of these negotiations. Again, the Powers have not only condoned the illegality committed when the Sinking Fund was suspended by the Earl of Northbrook's advice, but they have actually legalized the suspension of the Sinking Fund for a term of years. Now, I ask whether, after we have received all these concessions, it is fair to say that we are humiliated by the concessions we have made, where, as a matter of fact, we have got at least as much as we have given? Now, Sir, I come to a very important point. It is said—"You may have obtained advantages by this Agreement, but you have purchased them too dearly, because you have re-established or extended the right of International inter- ference and International control." Now, I cannot help thinking that in the whole argument of the Opposition in this matter there is a fallacy, or, at all events, an omission, which vitiates its importance. Hon. Members opposite argued as if we had tabula rasa to deal with; as if Egypt were a free and independent country, and that we had deliberately established some right of interference by foreigners. As a matter of fact, Egypt is the creature of International interference. International rights of interference exist at the present time, and always have existed. They have given rise to the Law of Liquidation, and to International Tribunals, and they are the origin and foundation of all the troubles in which we find ourselves, and of all the proceedings which we are now asking the House to sanction. It is absurd for the Opposition to leave out of sight the position in which we find ourselves, and to treat these so-called International rights as if they were altogether a new creation. I should like to call the attention of the House to the way in which this matter is regarded abroad. I notice a letter in The Times from its Correspondent at Vienna, in which he says— The Powers having always considered their right of interference as incontestable deem it superfluous to deduce a now title as to that right from the collective guarantee which they have assumed for the Egyptian loan. Again and again this right of interference has been exercised by the Powers. I might refer to the events which led to the Law of Liquidation, when Prince Bismarck, in order to protect the rights of German bondholders, interfered on their behalf, and made an instrument of the Egyptian Courts for this purpose. I should also like to point out another instance of the exercise of this right of interference which is more germane; because it may be said that things are now very different from what they were when Prince Bismarck interfered in the above instance, owing to the sacrifices we have made, and to the English occupation of Egypt at the present time. The interference to which I am going to allude took place the other day, and during the present occupation of Egypt by British troops. The Earl of North-brook found it necessary to advise the suspension of the Sinking Fund. The Egyptian Exchequer would otherwise have been bankrupt, and there was not time to consult the Powers. We know from their own statements that the necessity of that step was admitted by all the Powers; yet when the Earl of North-brook took that step all the Powers protested; International relations at once became strained. The Courts were appealed to, and a judgment was obtained, which would probably have led to further grave complications if the matter had not been disposed of by the present settlement. Under these circumstances, it would be absurd and idle to deny that the right and pretext of interference on the part of the Great Powers existed long before this Convention was entered into. It is said, why do the Powers ask that they may be allowed to join in this guarantee, if it does not give them a right of interference, which we know some of them have desired? But I would ask what authority is there for saying that the Great Powers of Europe had any desire for this collective guarantee? On the contrary, it appears that the Great Powers, with one exception, were absolutely indifferent on the matter. The right hon. Baronet opposite has, indeed, made that a ground of complaint against us. He says that if we had held out France would have been alone, and that the other Great Powers may be dismissed from the argument; and he says that this is a concession to Prance, and to France alone, that we have made. The right hon. Gentleman says we might have successfully resisted the demands of France. Perhaps we might; but we did not think that it was of sufficient importance to resist this concession to France. We found that France attached the utmost importance to this matter, and that, having regard to the fact of its special connection with Egypt in the past, this was to some extent a matter of amour propre, and that she desired to have her position with regard to Egypt recognized. Therefore we made the concession frankly, and we made it because we thought it was not of the slightest importance, and did not in the slightest degree increase the right of interference which France or any other Power previously possessed. I will only call attention to the fact that while in the absence of any agreement the right of interference in the financial concerns of Egypt might arise to-morrow if there was a failure to pay the last farthing due to the creditors of Egypt, the right of interference under this Agreement does not arise unless there is a failure to pay £300,000 annually out of a Revenue of £9,000,000. It is evident, therefore, that the right of interference is almost illusory. It is impossible to suppose that a Revenue of £9,000,000 can be so much reduced as not to be able to meet a first charge of £300,000. It has been said that an inquiry is to take place two years hence. But that inquiry is only to be held if we fail to find £200,000 additional out of the Revenue of £9,000,000. But if we have good luck we certainly ought to be able to find that surplus of £200,000. In that event no demand for an inquiry will hold good. If, however, all the resources should fail, and there should be at the end of two years a further deficit, and consequently a further demand upon the bondholders, even then all we have admitted is the principle that an inquiry of some kind should be held—an inquiry such as has been held again and again into the state of Egyptian finances, similar to the inquiry which preceded the Law of Liquidation—an inquiry solely into the financial situation, such as took place in 1876, 1879, and which accompanied the London Conference the other day. I would like to sum up the case as I venture to put it before the House on the part of the Government. First, I say that this Agreement presents considerable, substantial, and important advantages to the Egyptian taxpayers and to the Egyptian Government. In the second place, I say that it relieves the English Government from present embarrassment; that it gives us a breathing space of two years, in which to look about us, and in which to carry out much-needed financial reforms; that the concessions we have admittedly made to the susceptibilities, if you like to call them such, or to the rights and demands of the other Powers, have been fully and more than balanced by the concessions the other Powers have made to us. I say we have not created any new right of interference; that we have not established any new title to political or financial control; and I say, lastly, that the Agreement that we present to the House is the best that could have been obtained by any diplomatic representa- tions, and without the risk of breaking with all the Powers of Europe. I have pointed out that the only alternative was the bankruptcy of Egypt, or the assumption of enormous liabilities upon the English taxpayers; and I have endeavoured to show that both those alternatives would have involved us in the gravest complications, and this at a time when, as all hon. Members must feel, it is certainly not desirable to multiply causes of offence to the other Great Powers of Europe. Now, what is the policy of the Opposition? Have they any policy at all? Will they disclose it now, even at the last moment, and tell us what it is they propose? The only indication I have had from the Front Bench opposite on this point is contained in the speech of the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson) delivered at Darlington on Wednesday, and reported in The Times of yesterday, in the course of which he said— One would expect that the Ministers of England would unflinchingly insist on the patent and mandatory part of England's position and influence in Egypt. If these words have any meaning—if they are not mere empty and vain bluster, as is much of the language used by hon. Gentlemen opposite—they mean that we are to disregard International rights; that Treaties are to be broken by us; that Europe is to be defied; and that the standard of action of this country is to be measured by its own convenience and its own interests. That is a policy unworthy of a great nation which desires to obtain respect, and which would be respected in proportion as it regards the just rights of others. I believe it is a policy that the House of Commons will reject; and I am quite convinced that it is a policy which the great majority of the nation will absolutely repudiate.


said, that they had again been told that all their misfortunes were due to the Dual Control. That Dual Control continued for a considerable time after the present Government came into Office, and received the approval of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer and other Members of the Government. He thought it came strangely from the right hon. Gentleman, at the present moment, to take to the Government the credit of having done away with this Dual Control, which he said was so prejudicial to Egypt, and yet in the same breath to tell the Committee that it was to be to the advantage of the country to establish a Multiple Control. The right hon. Gentleman had given the Committee a variation of a quotation—"C'est magni-fique, mais c'est la guerre;" but he commended to the consideration of the right hon. Gentleman another rendering of the phrase—"Ce West pas magnifique, main c'est la guerre." He thought this quotation was more suited to the policy which, the Government was adopting; because if anything was calculated to bring about war it was the cowardly policy of concession of which the right hon. Gentleman was a distinguished advocate. He would go a step further, and say to the right hon. Gentleman that the policy he now advocated was one of giving up everything without receiving anything adequate in exchange for the concessions made. The policy of the Government was to receive nothing, but to give away that which was intrusted to their keeping. It was a reversal of Prince Bismarck's motto—"Do ut des;" the policy of Her Majesty's Government was—"Do ut capias." It appeared that the House of Commons was to be jockeyed into accepting an Agreement which the common sense of the country repudiated. The right hon. Gentleman had told the Committee that their position in Egypt was the same as that of the other Powers. That was a point on which he joined issue with the right hon. Gentleman; That argument underlay the whole fallacy, the whole absurdity, and he might say the whole imbecility of the Government policy. Their position was unique with regard to Egypt. Their interest in Egypt was different from that of any other Power; but this was what Her Majesty's Government would not recognize. The interest which they had in Egypt had always been paramount, inasmuch as it was necessary for England, if she was to hold India, that she should command the high road to India. Napoleon I. had said that "the Power that commands Egypt commands India." What was said by Napoleon I. was equally true now. He could not, therefore, conceive why dust should be thrown not only in the eyes of the House of Commons, but in the eyes of the people, by making them believe that it was simply a question of bankruptcy or non-bankruptcy in Egypt; and that all the Powers being equally interested with England, and England being equally interested with them, they were bound to carry out this Agreement for fear of offending them. Why did the Conference break up last year? At the time of the Conference the Chancellor of the Exchequer said—" We could not expect or ask Parliament to agree to a joint guarantee." That statement was made on the 24th of July last; and he asked the Committee to consider how very materially the opinion of Her Majesty's Ministers seemed to have changed since that utterance had been made. Earl Granville, when he explained away the failure of the Conference, said— There was hardly any question, political or administrative, which might not be considered as indirectly connected with finance. How could that statement be reconciled with the statement made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer now? The Chancellor of the Exchequer stated the other day that the Government— Did not think it necessary to introduce into the Declaration or the Convention any reference to a claim which had not been put forward, and for which we did not conceive that any occasion had been given. He wanted to know why the Committee were told at one moment that they were not, on any consideration, to offend the susceptibilities of the Powers, while at another Earl Granville did not hesitate to break up the Conference? Then the Committee were told that there was not the slightest idea on the part of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that a joint guarantee was intended; but that they were to be guided entirely by the point which the Powers had taken in signing the Convention of 1855. The Government explained the failure of the Conference on the ground that they could not consent to arrangements which would give the European Powers a mastery over the Caisse and affairs in Egypt. The courage of the Government had been gradually oozing out at their fingers ever since they plucked up the little show of spirit exhibited by Earl Granville at the Conference. They appeared then to have blustered, and now they had become afraid of their bluster. The President of the Board of Trade now admitted that England was supreme in the control of Egypt, while the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that they would not admit any interference of the Powers in Egypt. What conclusion was to be drawn from such diverse views on the part of the Government? He thought the conclusion to be drawn was that the Government did not themselves believe in the Convention which they asked the Committee to agree to. For the Government to come to the House of Commons and to say that because £1,500,000 was wanting therefore they were to hand over the control of Egypt to the Great Powers was an insult to the common sense of the country. Was it not a fact that the reason why the Government were so anxious for this International Control was that they wished to shift again the responsibility from their own shoulders to the shoulders of other countries? They did not feel themselves strong enough to accept the burden, therefore they wished to put it on the shoulders of Europe. Supposing this Convention to be signed, England would have but one voice out of several in the direction of af-airs. If the Powers should say that their interests were equal with our own, even then the position would be fraught with the greatest danger. He maintained, however, that none of the Powers had the same interest in Egypt as this country had. He asked the Committee to say whether, admitting the question of the bankruptcy of Egypt to be imminent, that bankruptcy could not be averted at small cost by the action of England? The argument used by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer in defending the Convention on the ground of the precedent set in the case of the Anglo-French Loan to Turkey in 1855 had been completely refuted by anticipation in the speech made by his own Colleague the present Prime Minister in regard to that very Turkish Loan. The present Prime Minister, answering the then Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir George Lewis) in 1855, who had said— You can only call on the Turkish Government to fulfil its obligations, and, if they omit or refuse to fulfil them, there is, unhappily, only one ultima ratio to which independent nations can have recourse; and that, I grant, is of very imperfect value for the purpose of enforcing a guarantee; and that— Mr. Pitt did not go to war with Austria to compel her to fulfil her pecuniary obligations to this country; spoke thus— My right hon. Friend has entered at great length into a discussion of the Sardinian and Greek Loans, and into a history of the proceedings which led to the present Treaty…But when he comes to my argument as to the terms of the Convention, he passes that over in a few words, which show that he is entirely in the dark as to its purport…To my mind, the financial questions are utterly trivial and unimportant as compared with the political questions involved in this matter.… But observe, that you are now forming a partnership between England and France—a partnership, first, as to expenditure, and, secondly, as to re-imbursement. I want to know, under these circumstances, what law is to regulate the relations of the parties to that partnership? My right hon. Friend has not attempted to answer any of these questions. If I understood him correctly, he said that there was no right on the part of the Powers guaranteeing the loan on behalf of Turkey to occupy her territory in the event of her failing to make her payments. I would like to know what my right hon. Friend means by that doctrine? You have assigned to the British Government a portion of the revenues of Egypt and part of the Customs duty of Syria and Smyrna as a security. How, for instance, will your power over the Customs of Smyrna affect the rights of the Turkish Government? Will the Turkish Government have the right to abolish or revise the Customs' duties at Smyrna, or will it not? That is a point which I should like to hear explained by my right hon. Friend. Does be mean to assert that, if Turkey does not fulfil her engagement, the guaranteeing Powers are to have no right of occupation?"—(3 Mansard, [139] 1474–80.) That was the language held by the pro-sent Prime Minister when criticizing the guarantee for the Turkish Loan of 1855; and now this Convention being proposed by the Government of which that right hon. Gentleman was the head, he (Baron do Worms) could not help thinking that there was an extremely dangerous ambiguity about that Instrument. He asked by what right did the Government now ask the House of Commons to approve a compact by which England would be giving away all her rights over Egypt to a Multiple in place of a Dual Control; and that, too, at a moment when Egypt, at all times important to us, was doubly important to our vital interests? One of the signatories of that Convention was Russia. He hoped that a struggle between that Power and England might yet be averted; but they ought to be careful not to give to Russia an authority over Egypt which it way essential that she should not have. The Committee at such a time surely ought, without distinction of Party, to refuse to sanction an Agreement which would hand over to such a Power any control over the highway to their Eastern Dominions. Those were considerations of the very gravest character, and no answer whatever was given to them by the speech of the President of the Board of Trade.


said, that as far as the Motion and the Amendment before the House were concerned the speech delivered by the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. T. C. Bruce) possessed the great merit of considerable vagueness. He (Mr. Sutherland) imagined that hon. Members had formed the same judgment of that speech as he had, which was that it had not, in any way, met the admirable reasoning contained in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain). There was no doubt whatever that the Motion and the Amendment before the Committee were of very great importance; and he confessed that he listened with the utmost interest and the utmost anxiety to the speech of the hon. Member for Portsmouth in support of his Amendment. He was, of course, perfectly well aware that no one was more thoroughly capable than that hon. Member to instruct the House as to the intricacies of Oriental finance; but the Amendment the hon. Member put before them was not a financial Amendment; it was a political Amendment. They had therefore a right to expect that he would show the Committee, plainly and clearly, that this country would derive some advantage from throwing over the Convention made by the Government; and it was not too much to say that the hon. Member had completely disappointed the Committee in that respect. It was, of course, very easy to pass strictures upon an arrangement of the kind proposed by the Government—an arrangement of so complicated a character—and, no doubt, there were many hon. Members who could pass elaborate strictures on every point in it. But that was not the question which they who had to vote on this matter had to consider. The question that they had to consider was, whether there was any other policy or proposal before the Committee; and, if not, whether, under these circumstances, the Government proposal was one which, on its merits, should be condemned, or should be accepted. The question really was to determine whether, under all the circumstances, the Government in this arrangement had done the best in their power for the interests of Egypt and the interests of this country. In order to ascertain that point, it was necessary that the Committee should examine the surrounding circumstances of the case under which the Convention had been made. There was no doubt about one thing—that the condition of Egyptian finance was exceedingly pressing; that that country's affairs required to be set in order as speedily as possible. He quite agreed with the observations which had been made from the Opposition Bench that it would have been perfectly easy temporarily to have arranged for the £1,500,000 deficit; but he failed to sec how a temporary arrangement, in regard to that deficit, would possibly mend the state of affairs. Every day that a permanent settlement was put off, the state of affairs must become worse than before. There was no doubt that there were very great difficulties about settling the financial question of Egypt. There was no doubt, at all events, that they were honourably bound to assist in removing the difficulties that had stood, and that still stood, in the way of that country. He regretted that the proposals put forward by Her Majesty's Government last summer were not accepted by the Powers. They were infinitely superior in the interests of Egypt to the proposals the Government had had to accept. Still, the counter proposals of France were such that it was impossible for the English Government to have accepted them, and to have remained in Egypt. It was said at the time, and many persons thought we had gained a great advantage by not having our proposals accepted, and that it would enable us to exercise the so-called "free hand" in regard to the finances of Egypt, which was obtained by the adjournment of the Conference sine die; but the result was deplorable, for we found that we were powerless to do anything but to break the Law of Liquidation by suspending the Sinking Fund—a course of procedure which would have placed us in antagonism to all the Powers of Europe. Clearly, the position of Egypt in regard to its finances was then much worse than it was before. There were then only two courses open to Ministers—namely, to make the best arrangement they could, or to put their hands into the pockets of the taxpayers of this country in order to make up the deficiency in the Egyptian Exchequer. In his opinion, the Government were wise in entering into the arrangement they had done. They would all have liked to have had a better arrangement; but if they compared the conditions of the arrangement with the conditions sought to be imposed upon this country at the Conference by France, they saw clearly that the conditions obtained were far more favourable to Egypt, and to the chances of this country doing some future good in Egypt. The Government had secured a 5 per cent tax on the coupons, and they were not face to face with the danger of an inquiry for two years, while Europe had consented to an equal tax on foreigners in Egypt. The arrangement was in itself a good arrangement, and there was no doubt whatever it was the intention of the Government that, at the end of two years, the condition of affairs in Egypt should be such that no inquiry would be necessary, or, at all events, that they would be prepared to come forward in such a way as to render the inquiry unnecessary. Such an inquiry, in the case of a Company, would be fatal to the Directors; and in this case it would mean neither more nor less than a Vote of Censure on this country; and if it took place it would be impossible for this country to remain for a single moment longer in the position of Advisers in Egypt. If he thought that the Convention meant additional International interference in Egypt he would not vote for it. He had had some experience of Boards of International Control in Egypt. The affairs placed in the hands of the International Sanitary Commission had been grossly mismanaged, both in the interests of England and of Egypt. It was interesting to note, in connection with this matter, the effect of the great terror which seized upon the different communities of the South of Europe when the cholera broke out. The steps which were taken were of the most extraordinary character, and the result was that the whole commerce of Italy and France to the East was for the time being suspended. The object of these countries—and the proposal was attempted by Germany to be brought forward at the Conference—was to put Egypt into the position of a buffer, which would relieve them from the necessity of putting on quarantine themselves; and the result of that operation would be that the commerce of this country would be delayed and injured, while it would also be opposed to the interests of Egypt. He trusted, therefore, that the renewal of such a proposal would be prevented. Should the solution of the Suez Canal question be strictly on the lines laid down in Lord Granville's Circular, it would be entirely favourable to the interests of commerce, and therefore of civilization. He needed scarcely to say that he should vote for the proposals of the Government without any of the hesitation which some hon. Members had expressed; for he had failed to discover in the speeches of the opponents of this Convention any line of policy which the country could adopt in preference to that of the Government. He would only add that the policy of the Opposition, so far as he could discover any policy in their statements, appeared to be that of letting "I dare not wait upon I would," which led to nothing.


said, that the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain) had altered and shifted a little the arguments adduced by his Leader last night. The right hon. Gentleman had declared that if we did not pass this Convention at once, we should be involved in a European war. If there was such a danger, the Prime Minister should not have omitted to refer to it. Certainly, there was no danger of the bankruptcy of Egypt, because as long as we occupied that country it would not become bankrupt. There was, however, a danger of the bankruptcy of the English Government; and it was for the sake of saving the Government, and not Egypt, that they were asked to decide this question without proper Notice. The Prime Minister said that we were the natural Advisers of Egypt. We were nothing of the kind. We were there because we had spent £15,000,000, and because we had lost 10,000 men. These sacrifices had given us duties, and placed us in a position of command there. How were we to fulfil these duties? What advantages to England and to Egypt ought these sacrifices to bring? The Convention secured nothing to England, and a dismal future to Egypt? During the last two years the French had been intriguing against us incessantly at Cairo; and ever since she had lost the Dual Control she had been striving to regain it. It had been truly said that this was not an English, but a French Agreement. This Convention meant nothing more nor less than the sale of Egypt to the Continental Powers, and England was the broker in the transaction. Every day it remained before the public the more unpopular the Government would become. That was a good reason for the Government pressing a decision in hot haste upon the House of Commons, but a very bad reason for the House assenting to such a course. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade had stated that if England alone guaranteed this loan it would mean nothing but annexation. ["Oh, oh!"] By parity of argument, if the Powers guaranteed the loan, it was nothing but the annexation of Egypt by the Powers. Europe was shocked, at the beginning of the century, by the partition of Poland. Were they not about to partition Egypt? He trusted that the Government would yet see that the effect of this Convention would be to allow the European Powers to exercise lordship over Egypt. A Multiple Guarantee and a Multiple Control would be no compensation to England for the sacrifices she had made.


said, he could not help remarking upon the Egyptian darkness which prevailed in the counsels of hon. Gentlemen opposite upon the subject before the Committee, and which the Conservative Leaders had seemed rather to add to than decrease. They certainly had heard a good deal of invective, and some abuse; and when they spoke of the proposed arrangement as one which ought for every reason to be condemned, it was their duty to offer some guidance to the House, and show a way of deliverance from the dilemma in which they thought their unhappy country was now placed. They were, however, pregnant with objections, but absolutely barren of advice or opinion. It seemed from the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite that the operation of the Government loomed rather larger in their eyes than it really ought to do, or the facts justified. It was not an arrangement of that stupendous nature which would justify the portentous condemnation which they had heard. It seemed to him that the object of the Agreement was to give temporary relief to the financial difficulties of Egypt, and to stave off for a short time the pressure which would otherwise place the country in serious embarrassment; and it surely must be perfectly plain to anyone who had watched the course of affairs that the present would be an unwise and almost impossible time at which to undertake to recast entirely the complex questions and arrangements of Egyptian government. There was much that was unsatisfactory in regard to our present position in Egypt; and although the House had directed attention to the evils of a future Dual Control, he regarded with the greatest apprehension the Multiple Control which at present existed in Egypt, and was sure some change must be made in that respect before we could hope for any great results from our occupation. The Prime Minister had referred to the advantages which England had conferred on Egypt; and he (Mr. Slagg) was happy to be able to confirm much of what the Prime Minister said of the happy results. He might notice especially that, through the influence of the English Government, the kourbash had been entirely abolished, and that justice had been put in an infinitely better position. But perhaps the most beneficial change was the irrigation work of Colonel Scott Moncrieff. If nothing else had been done, English intervention in Egypt would not have been undertaken in vain. He thought it was no exaggeration to say that of the cotton crop of £10,000,000, some £5,000,000 depended upon the fructifying power of that work. Out of the sum of £9,000,000 which they were going to arrange for, £1,000,000, he was glad to find, would be devoted to the development of that system. There were only two modes of action open to us with regard to Egypt—either to stay there or to go away; we must either govern or go. By governing he did not mean annexation, but supreme power in the hands of the English Government to initiate reforms, and to carry them into effect, and a freedom from those in- trigues, ambuscades, and thraldoms which now so obstructed and beset the path of our officials. At present they were held responsible for all that occurred; while it was impossible for them to gain the advantage of half their successes. There were many special reasons which eminently fitted the English people for the task of successfully governing Egypt. Besides the important commercial interests which we had in Egypt, we could better supply the country with the capital of which it was so much in need for the development of agriculture and commerce than any other country. There could be no doubt, also, that our high-minded and public-spirited officials were better qualified than any other for the administration of Egyptian affairs with justice and equity. But under the present system the door was left open to all sorts of abuse and corruption, and the full benefit of our rule was not obtained. This sum of money which was now being raised was mainly on our responsibility. The Power which could borrow at 20 per cent less than any of the other Powers required no backing up in its responsibility. To a certain extent the Convention into which we had entered with regard to Egypt made us responsible to the investors in Egyptian Stock; and he was inclined to think that it was not too great a price to pay in order to gain a little more control—a sufficient control—that we should take upon ourselves a little more responsibility with regard to Egypt than we now had. He did not think, as some did, that it would be in the least degree necessary to undertake a guarantee for the whole Debt. He did not say that we should incur any fresh responsibility for the sake of the bondholders, with whom he had no sympathy. But there were only two ways of dealing with the bondholders. We must either repudiate them, or we must acknowledge them. It was idle to suppose that we could refuse to acknowledge them; and that being the situation, we must make the best possible terms with them, and reduce the burden of the taxpayers in Egypt to the greatest possible extent. What were the alternatives we had before us to our taking a larger responsibility in the conduct of Egypt? We could hand over the Government to the Turk, to France, or to some other country; or we could do as many hon. Gentlemen sitting near him desired—we could allow the Egyptians to "stew in their own juice." We had the chance of allowing the Egyptians to "stew in their own juice" at the time of Arabi Pasha. But we did not take it, and he thought we acted wisely in putting the rebellion down. As to the management of its own affairs by Egypt, he wished to know what some of his hon. Friends meant by the phrase "Egypt for the Egyptians." Why, there were only three prominent administrators in the whole country—Nubar, Riaz, and Cherif Pashas. Before we could hope that the Egyptians could successfully undertake the conduct of their own affairs and their own government, they must have very much to add to their list of capable statesmen and administrators. There did not seem to be any rising men in that country to whom they could look forward with hope in the future. Were we, then, to hand over the country to the Turks? Very few would be found in this country to advocate such an alternative. There was the third course of allowing, or encouraging, the French to undertake the government. But there were many objections to that; for although the French would mean well by Egypt, they would mean much better by themselves. Moreover, with all possible politeness to our neighbours, he was quite sure they were in no way specially fitted for it. They had no commercial interests in the country, and French official ways were not always popular. We might, therefore, dismiss all those alternatives, and we should then find ourselves forced to the only possible conclusion—that England had not only a great duty in Egypt, but that she was specially designated to the task of governing and developing the country. He hoped that they would have the term of two years for experimental experience of this arrangement. From his observation during the little time he spent in Egypt, he thought the future of the country did not look very bright. The Fellaheen were deeply in debt, and their land was passing into the hands of the money-lenders; and, in spite of all that had been done, no one could stand up and say that the taxation in Egypt did not at the present moment equal the whole productive capacity of the Fellaheen. There was also a serious decline in the prices of every product of the country—in corn, in cotton, and in sugar. In view, therefore, of a possible crisis, it was surely the duty of the House and of the people at large to make up their minds as to what they were going to do. We had halted long enough between two opinions—we must now come to the conclusion whether we were to govern the country ourselves, or to leave it altogether. Our relations with Egypt had been solely undertaken with the view of benefiting that country; and he thought that that part of the question which related to the Suez Canal had been exaggerated. Since the new arrangement with regard to the Canal had come into effect, the irregularities and grievances of which shipowners used to complain had nearly all been removed; and he thought that there was nothing with regard to the question of the Canal in time of war that would bind us to the occupation of Egypt. He believed that it would be an ill day for Egypt and for the civilization of the world, although it might be a happy one for ourselves, if we were to leave that country; but to adopt neither of the two alternatives was a policy of which the people of this country were getting tired. He hoped that when the time came, as it must come soon, when we should have to decide, that we should have the courage to declare either that we should only remain in Egypt with full and sufficient powers over the administration of its affairs, or else that we would depart absolutely, and so relieve this country from a difficult and dangerous problem.


I gather from the speeches that have been made from the opposite side that the best that can be said for the Convention is that it is in the nature of a disagreeable necessity; but I should be inclined to say that if the House is in face of a disagreeable necessity, it can be so only because the Government have missed two great opportunities. In 1882 they might have made arrangements for the government of Egypt and the future administration of the Suez Canal on the basis of the ascendancy of British interests and the abdication of French interests, both of which were at that time accomplished facts. Again, in 1884, the failure of the Conference left Her Majesty's Government free to settle the financial question in the same way that they afterwards suspended the Sinking Fund. That is, on the principle that the Law of Liquidation had succumbed to inexorable necessity, and that English credit was strong enough to provide for the consequence of that state of things. The sole liability of England would have raised at a cheaper rate the necessary loan. The substantial acquiescence of the Powers, if not their formal consent, to the taxation of the coupons would have followed, as it had to follow the suspension of the Sinking Fund. Surely, in that case, the sacrifices made by England would have been no greater than they now are to be in virtue of the reduce' payment on account of the Army of Occupation and of the taxation of the coupes and the Suez interest. The sacrifices made by England have alone averted total loss from the bondholders; yet, not with standing these sacrifices, the treatment of England in these negotiations by the Powers in the pretended interest of the bondholders has been something inconceivably shabby, and the Papers laid on the Table make that shabby treatment to seem to have been positively courted by Her Majesty's Government. Her Majesty's Government seem, throughout these negotiations, to have placed first the whims—I will not call them the interests—of France; and, next to that, the interests of the bondholders; and,' last of all, the interests of England. Yet it is to England that France has surrendered all the duties, and that the bondholders owe all their safety. An here let me remark on the beggarly nature of the so-called French concessions, the assumed magnitude of which formed the whole basis and substratum of the speech of the President of the Board of Trade. Where would the French bondholders' 4 per cent or 5 per cent have been but for the Army of Occupation? What could be a more vital point of the administrative expenses than the cost of that Army? In this question is summed up the whole value of the French concessions. The policy of the Opposition, I can tell the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, would not have been to let France trade either upon that sense of duty, which forbade us to withdraw that Army, or upon the unfriendly attitude to us of certain of the Powers, of whom France is only one. The policy of the Opposition would have been to say—"England has been obliged, mainly through your laches, to pay enough and too much. If you and your bondholders will not recognize how much you already owe to us, you must stand aside and allow us to settle Egyptian finance on the principle that no settlement would now have been possible if it had not been for our sacrifices in the past. It is easy, but quite useless, for the right hon. Gentleman to pretend that he does not see that this must have been the policy of any Party that cared more for bare justice and the true welfare of Egypt than for the success of hostile intrigues against England. It may be that in previous cases International Guarantees have not been followed by International interferences and meddling; but the Prime Minister knows, as well as anyone, that the chance of that interference depends neither upon established practice, nor upon technical rule, but upon interest and impulse. In this case, both the interests and the impulses are proved to exist by the eagerness of the Powers to share the burden of the guarantee. That eagerness can be in no way due to any desire to benefit Egypt or to help England; for its effect will not be to lighten the burdens of the one, or the difficulties of the other, any more than they could be lightened without the International Guarantee. To the interest and impulse of which I spoke there will assuredly be added the opportunity and the pretext for the intervention which is only too clearly desired. As if this were not enough, the Powers are to be allowed, two years hence, to use the re-opening of the question to demand further terms. However, it is practically by the Government alone that these fears are not entertained. Of independent Members on the other side of the House, scarcely one, even for the purpose of debate, pretends to approve of this Agreement. Hon. Gentlemen's private opinions are notoriously unanimous in its condemnation. The defence of the inconsistency of the vote by which the same hon. Members are going to approve the Agreement appears to be that the Agreement, with all it faults and dangers, is a preferable alternative to a Liberal defeat. The contention is that to refuse this Resolution would place the Opposition in power; and that, therefore, the Agreement must be sanctioned as the lesser of two evils. But I may remind hon. Members that the question whether the return of the Opposition to power would be an evil, is a question not for them, nor for their Party Associations, but for the nation to decide. I am not aware that hon. Gentlemen opposite have such complete infallibility, or such abundant virtues, that they can be trusted as judges in their own cause. If their doctrine, that you must not change horses crossing stream, is to be pushed to a length that happens now to suit hon. Members opposite, then all that Foreign Powers will in future have to do to force us into any disadvantageous concession is to harass us elsewhere, as Russia is now doing, in the hope that their game may be played for them in this country by some political wiseacres with talk such as this of changing horses. But, at all events, I am glad that at last the mask is off, and it is no longer pretended that the vote which is to be given has any reference to the real merits of the case; that at last we know that, on a question vitally concerning Egypt as well as England, neither Egypt nor England is to be considered, but are to be disregarded, if not sacrificed, solely for the benefit of a particular English faction. I congratulate Her Majesty's Government on the peculiarly Constitutional and conscientious nature of the approval by which their official existence is about to be prolonged.


said, that the remarks of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down (Mr. Stuart-Wortley) were perfectly unjustifiable. He (Mr. Heneage) ventured to say that hon. Members on the Ministerial side were all agreed that the arrangement which had been entered into was perfectly fair, perfectly practicable, and perfectly reasonable, and their votes would be given solely upon that basis. ["Oh, oh!"] For his part, he thought the debate they had heard perfectly justified the Government in saying that it should not be further adjourned, because there appeared to be very little interest taken in the matter on the Opposition side. He did not quite know why the hon. Member for Portsmouth (Mr. T. C. Bruce) should have offered the Government a Vote of Confidence, unless it was that he had done it in a spirit of patriotic sacrifice, feeling that England was passing through a rather severe crisis, and that the Government should have its supporters united behind its back. On the Ministerial side of the House they were glad of the opportunity of showing that they approved of the arrangement that had been made. On some occasions they had not entirely agreed with the Government; but they preferred to put on one side their own opinions rather than support the Opposition, which had neither policy nor statesmanship. Hon. Members opposite had had great advantage in having speeches made for them from the Ministerial Benches, and they had also had the advantage of the votes of Irish Members. They would now have to be left to their own reso[...]ces, and if those resources were as poor in the Lobby as they had been in debate he did not think they would gain much. After the Conference of last year, it was entirely impossible that this question should be settled without agreement with the Powers, who had always claimed a right to interfere in Egypt where their interests were concerned The only way they could keep that interference at a minimum was by showing during the next two years that they in- tended to have their own way, and to govern Egypt in its own interests, and not for the interests of the bondholders. The question they had to consider was whether the Convention was good for Egypt, for the Fellaheen, and also for England and Europe generally. He ventured to say it was good for all three. If they could only place Egypt in a solvent position by this Convention that alone, he thought, would justify them in supporting it, for he believed that when once she was placed in that position she would have abundant resources to make her prosperous and happy. The masterly speech of the right hon. Gentle- man the President of the Board of Trade left little to be said upon the question, and he would not detain the House by reiterating his powerful arguments, with which he cordially agreed. The second great advantage was that we should have a free hand in Egypt at least for two years, and he hoped by that time the country would be in a solvent state. He did not believe that, except in a great emergency, we had a right to reduce the interest on the bonds. We ought either to repudiate the bondholders altogether, or to accept them in their present position. The bonds were only paying 4 per cent, and that was what people paid in England for a mortgage on their land. It was said that the bonds were put out a great deal under their value; but in the time of the Great War English Consols were issued at 60, and now they were 100. To diminish the interest on these bonds would be no benefit to the Fellaheen, who were the tillers of the soil. It all went into the pockets of the landlords, who were the immediate tenants of the Egyptian Government. He regretted that the Domain and Daira Lands were not to be dealt with under the Convention; but the Government had reason to believe that they would be met in a fair spirit in this matter. He believed the real business of England in Egypt was to re-organize the Government and to place the Revenues in an efficient state, while protecting the Fellaheen. They were told that the Land Tax—that was to say, the rent paid for the land—was very severe in Egypt; but that was not the case. Twenty-five shillings per acre was the price paid by the Fellaheen, and 11s. by the large landholders. He thought the whole might be raised to 25s. an acre, considering the exceptional advantages the landowners possessed, and the fact that they often relet the land at £3 per acre. If, in good times, the Fellaheen were able to pay £3 an acre, the large landholders ought to be made to pay 25s. an acre. If the Fellaheen were free to cultivate their own lands, they would do very well; but when the large landholders let land to the Fellaheen, the latter were obliged to cultivate, not only their own lands, but those of the landholders. He would give the Government a most hearty vote, believing that they had made the best possible arrangement in the interest of Egypt, the Fellaheen, and this country.


said, that he had heard many extraordinary speeches delivered by the hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Heneage), but had never heard anything so extraordinary as the speech to which they had just listened. The hon Gentleman seemed to forget that in last night's debate the strongest opposition to the scheme now before the House came from his own side of the House. In fact, he (Mr. Grantham) thought that if they required further proof of the objectionable character of the Convention, it was to be found in the speeches of the supporters of Her Majesty's Government, for he had never known before an occasion on which all the Members who spoke on behalf of the Government condemned the policy of the Government for which they were about to vote so strongly as they did in that debate. All the men in whom the country had confidence on that (the Opposition) side of the House had spoken against Her Majesty's Government, and they were supplemented by hon. Gentlemen on the other side, not one of whom, when speaking last night, had a good word to say for Her Majesty's Government. Their language was, if anything, more drastic than that which had been used by the hon. Member for Wicklow (Mr. M'Coan)—a Gentleman who knew a great deal more about Egypt than the hon. Member for Grimsby; and it would be well if many Members of Her Majesty's Government knew Egypt as thoroughly. What did the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. Joseph Cowen) and the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) say? Why, all the speakers last night, though speaking from different points of view, condemned in the same way the conduct of Her Majesty's Government. They had last night a cloud of words in the able speech of the noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice); but it all ended in this—that the Government had been obliged to make concessions to France. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain) to-night ended in the same strain—that they had been obliged to make concessions to France. The right hon. Gentleman had applied himself to magnifying the concessions made by France, and minimizing the sacrifices made by England. That was where the Government had gone wrong throughout these transactions—they had forgotten what was due to England in their endeavours to uphold what they thought was due to other countries. But the first duty of an English Government was to look to the interests of England; and it appeared to him that in this arrangement the interests of this country were entirely overlooked. In his opinion it was half-hearted conduct such as that which had led to all the troubles in which this country was now involved; and in that way it could be shown that all the difficulties of the Government in Egypt originated in the base concessions they made to the Boers. From the moment when the Government yielded to the Boers, the idea became prevalent throughout the East that any Power, however weak it might itself be, could get something out of England by a little squeezing. The First Lord of the Treasury on the previous night had argued that a Power's right of interference in the financial matters of another country did not denote the existence of any right to exercise control over the internal affairs of that country. He did not understand how the right hon. Gentleman could reconcile that view with the action of Lord Granville at the meeting of the Plenipotentiaries last July, when the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs resolutely opposed the suggestion of the other Powers to give them rights of financial control, on the very ground that those who were connected with the finances of Egypt would have, or would claim to have, a right to interfere in the administration of that country. The noble Lord said that it would involve, instead of a Dual, a Multiple Control, for there was hardly a question, political or administrative, which might not be considered to be connected with the question of finance. The noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs had told them that, at the close of the Franco-German War, when France had been crushed by Germany, was the proper time for England to step in and get rid of the Dual Control. That might be so in the opinion of the noble Lord (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice); but, at the same time, in his opinion, it would have been the most dishonourable time to have taken for doing so. It was too bad that the interests of this country should be sacrificed by a Government who appeared willing to give up anything and everything if they were only squeezed sufficiently. On the opening night of the debate, many hon. Members had assumed that Italy, Russia, Austria, and France all desired to share in the Guarantee, in order to gain a right to interfere in the affairs of Egypt in two years' time. Now, however, they were told that that assumption was unfounded, and that the present plan was acceded to for the sole purpose of pleasing France. That he held was not a sufficiently good cause for the action of the Government, considering that the country disliked the idea of a Multiple Control. The Government had made the mistake of forgetting the position which England gained by the bombardment of Alexandria and the battle of Tel- el-Kebir, and they ignored the position in which France placed herself by her conduct in 1882. It seemed as if the Government supposed that the bondholders must be paid in full; but they acquiesced in a reduction of their claims at the time of the Mission of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon (Mr. Goschen), and they would have acquiesced in a greater reduction than was now proposed. If Arabi had gained possession of Cairo and Alexandria, who could doubt that the bondholders would have been glad to got oven only 1 per cent on the money which they had advanced? What was the pecuniary interest of this country in Egypt? This loan was not to enable Egypt to do something for this country, but was given her to enable her to do something for herself, and to enable her to pay interest to foreign countries. Hon. Gentlemen opposite had referred to the Loan of 1855; but there was no parallel between that case and the present. On that occasion the money was advanced by England, in order to advance her own interests; whereas now all the interests of this country were to be sacrificed, merely because there was a Government at the head of affairs who wore ready to give way to anybody who squeezed them hard enough. Of course, he had no doubt as to what the vote would be that night. Whatever might be the merits of the case, they had seen in the course of this debate, as they had seen on other occasions, Member after Member get up on the Ministerial side of the House and repudiate the principles and policy of the Government in no measured language, but winding up their speeches by stating that they intended to vote for the Ministry they had denounced. Hon. Members opposite seemed bound in the iron chains of a despotism which they could not break; and the result was that upon every Vote of Confidence they had observed the Prime Minister, as he bad a perfect right to do, turn round and say—"You approved of the blunders of my Government 12 months ago; how dare you op- pose me now?" For those reasons he had, as he had said, very little confidence as to the result of the debate. Doubtless, the Government, with their big battalions, would carry the Vote; but however large or small the majority for Her Majesty's Government might be, whether 20, 30, or 100, it would count for nothing with the country, for the country knew too well how such a majority was made up.


said, that in reading the Papers dealing with this subject, he felt increasing admiration for his own country. We had lost many valuable lives; we had paid higher Income Tax, and a great part of the energy of the public life of the country had been set aside; and we had given all this to Egypt, and we were doing, and had done, all this, not only without seeking selfish reward, but, as far as appeared from the Egyptian Papers, without one word of acknowledgment from those whose interests we had safeguarded and secured equally and conjointly with those of this country. He was sure that modern history afforded no parallel case; indeed, it seemed to him that, in the comity of nations, gratitude was entirely omitted. In these Papers, the Ministers of Foreign Powers were very strenuous indeed in defending their subjects against a charge of 5 per cent, but not one word did they say of thankfulness to the Power without whose intervention the charge would have been 50 per cent, for no Power on earth but England could have saved Egypt from a declaration of bankruptcy. Yet he was sure that, in their hearts, these astute foreign Gentlemen agreed with Mr. Mill in regarding this country as "incomparably the most conscientious of all nations in our national acts." The best trace of the sacrifices of this country was the tone of sympathy with, and for, the needs of Egypt which was apparent in Lord Granville's own language. That of other Powers displayed a most disagreeable cynicism, which we should be imitating if we were to engage in barren disputes as to the ascendancy of England, instead of looking to the necessities of Egypt. This was not a fitting opportunity to discuss our general policy in Egypt; but he did not understand how it would have been possible to obtain, in this financial matter, that denial of the International character of Egyptian finance which many hon. Members so ardently desired. To begin with, he did not see how the Khedive could have given priority to this loan over the Preference Debt if Her Majesty's Government had refused the Joint Guarantee of the Powers. The proposal of the Government in November to raise £4,000,000 of this loan in privileged stock at rather more than 4½ per cent, was undoubtedly less favourable for Egypt than the counter-proposal of France which had been accepted. The English Guarantee did not propose a lower rate than 3½ per cent for the loan. At the Conference of last year, the Guarantee proposed and rejected was clearly a controlling Guarantee; there-forming of the Caisse de la Dette showed that it should govern Egyptian finance, and through the power of finance should control the political affairs of Egypt. Then the Powers demanded a fixed and certain re-assembling of the Conference to con-sidor the Budget of 1887, and would yield no reduction of bondholders' interest. This Guarantee was quite a different matter. It was incident to the Law of Liquidation, and gave no right of interference that was not pre-existent. The Loan of 1885 was said to be the model; but it was not so. In that case, the service of the loan was practically conducted by the Bank of England; and France accepted, in the Convention and in the Declaration, a secondary place, though one of equal responsibility. The real question was, what did the country wish in regard to Egypt? Did it wish to annex Egypt? If so, then the proceeding they were asked to sanction would, undoubtedly, be a check, though not necessarily a hindrance, or a denial of that desire. He did not think the people of this country desired to make Egypt part of the British Empire, and, therefore, he did not object to the Convention on that account. Did they wish to be paid in full for the sacrifice of money which had been made in Egypt? If so, then the Convention ought to be rejected. But this House had, again and again, affirmed by its votes that it did not desire to lay upon the Egyptian Treasury all the expenditure which had been made, and, therefore, he did not object to the Convention on that account. What they did desire and demand was, that the efforts and sacrifices of England in Egypt should be acknowledged, and that the action of this country for the welfare of Egypt should be undisturbed. He did not wish to make England more vulnerable in Egypt than she was at present. He did not find that this Convention lessened our power of action in Egypt, and, therefore, he did not object to the Convention on that account. But our sacrifices in Egypt had not received adequate acknowledgment from the Powers, and that was probably partly due to the modesty of the pretensions put forward by the Government. But, dealing with the matter purely as a question of finance, it would be seen that this loan was in one aspect borrowed at the expense of the International creditors of Egypt. It obtained a preference over their claims; and it was because of such preference that the Powers were so ready with their Guarantee. They assumed that because of the position of the Loan, it would cost them nothing. But he was not sure that the liability would be gratuitous, were it not for the power of England in Egypt. He did not suppose there would be default in this case; but, if not, it would be owing to the power of British arms. The promise of the Khedive to pay this annuity would not be worth more than the half of£9,000,000 in the open market, if Cairo and the Suez Canal were exposed to be overrun by the tribes of the Soudan. It was, therefore, decidedly necessary that the British Government should insist upon measures for securing good administration in Lower Egypt. If good government was found to be incompatible with the existence of the Capitulations, they should be abolished, if possible, with the friendly consent of the Powers. But good government in Egypt, if we were to remain responsible, must not be wholly subject to such cynical correspondence as that of these Blue Books, which showed that when that country was perishing for this financial relief, the Ministers of Foreign Powers could defer consideration of the subject for months, upon pleas which everyone must regard as inadequate and insufficient. It was the business of the Government, not merely to endeavour, but to succeed, in the next two years in so reforming the Government of Egypt that it might bear its financial burdens without difficulty, and so prevent the meeting of the Commission of Inquiry suggested in the Papers. If necessary, they must deal boldly with obstacles to that success. One result of this debate would be a further resolve on the part of the people of this country, that they would not continue an aggressive campaign in the Soudan unless there was a clearer definition of our position in Egypt and a proved necessity for that tremendous operation in regard to the welfare and security of Egypt. The Prime Minister promised that the House should not be called upon to give any vote on this occasion touching the Suez Canal, and, perhaps, it would have been better if the hon. Member for Portsmouth (Mr. T. C. Bruce) had omit- ted that subject altogether from his Amendment. He (Mr. Arthur Arnold) did not consider that, in the meeting of the Commission, we entered upon any unexpected obligation with reference to the Canal. It was simply in accordance with Lord Granville's well-known despatch of January, 1883. The arrangement as to the Canal, which was there proposed, appeared to be right and just, although it certainly did dontain a certain amount of what might be called benevolent fiction. If this Agreement were signed, the security of Egypt might justify the sinking of a ship at either end of the Canal. It might be right—indeed, be thought it was right—that the Agreement should be made, but the security of the freedom of the Canal would, in spite of any Agreement, be in the hands of the strongest and most vigilant of the Naval Powers. That, however, was not the question before the House now. They had to consider a very simple financial arrangement. He accepted it, because he believed that if he voted against it he should be acting injuriously to that which was the paramount object of all our efforts—the welfare of Egypt. Indeed, he could not help thinking that the Leaders of the Opposition were glad to find that they were saved by the strength of the Government supporters, composing what they termed the "Government's big battalions," from the responsibility of rejecting the Convention.


said, he was not surprised at the hon. Member's (Mr. Arthur Arnold's) last statement, for it was now not uncommon for supporters of the Government to bring forward strong arguments against the policy of the Government, and yet announce their intention of voting for the Government. The House had heard two very able speeches—one from the present Leader of the Radical Party (Mr. Gladstone), and the other from the future Leader of that Party (Mr. Chamberlain); but if one of these was true, the other must be false. Whereas the Prime Minister argued in favour of this Convention, on the ground that it implied no International Control, the President of the Board of Trade argued that International Control now existed and must be continued. The right hon. Gentleman said it had existed all along, and could not be escaped from now. Supporters of the Government, therefore, had to choose which flag they would follow, the flag of the Prime Minister, or the flag of the future Leader of the Radical Party. The President of the Board of Trade made a statement that was certainly true—that the situation was full of difficulty; but he forgot to add that those very difficulties were chiefly the manufacture of the present Government. Two years ago they could have cut the knot of these difficulties, but they had neglected the opportunity of forming a stable, firm, just, or good Government after the battle of Tel-el-Kebir, when they had the game entirely in their own hands. The Prime Minister had made the astounding statement that all the nations had one object in view. The fact was, that every nation had its own object, and the only difference between England, Germany and France was, that while we made hypocritical professions, they did not. They said what they meant. Did the Government think that a firm and stable Administration would be established in Egypt by that Agreement? He believed that it intensified the evils under which Egypt was now suffering. What were those evils? In the first place, there was a mixed Administration in Egypt. With a mixed Administration, it was impossible for Egypt to have a firm, a good, or a just Government. Take, for instance, the case of the railways. At the present time, in consequence of this mixed Administration, the railways in Egypt were under the control of an Englishman, a Frenchman, and a Turk. No cheque could be cashed on account of those railways unless two of those gentlemen signed it. What was the result? Intrigue came into play, and intrigue was at the root of the evils of Egypt. This state of affairs existed not only with regard to the railways, but in regard to law and financial matters. As to the laws at the present moment, there was one administration for the Natives in civil matters and another for Europeans; while in criminal matters, there was one set of laws for the Natives, and 17 different forms of legal procedure for the different Nationalities of Europe. This state of things was, of course, a curse to the country, and if we were really in earnest, and if the professions of the Government were sincere in respect of the well-being of the Egyptian people, the first thing they would do would be to cut the knot of the mixed Administration, and get rid of this curse by setting up a sound financial system. At the present time, there were no fewer than five or six different financial Administrations, which had not the same object in view. One of the great evils under which the country suffered was that even at the Caisse four different Nationalities administered the money. How was the Government endeavouring to remedy this state of things? Owing to the weakness of England, the Administration of the Caisse had been increased from four members to six. The President of the Board of Trade seemed to think that there was nothing humiliating in the Agreement which the Government had drawn up in regard to Egypt; and he spoke of his great knowledge of the people of this country, by stating, in reply to the hon. Member for South Northumberland (Mr. Albert Grey), that 99 men out of 100 were against England guaranteeing the Debt. The right hon. Gentleman might have a great knowledge of the people of this country; but he (Mr. Marriott) was sure that the right hon. Gentleman did not interpret the feelings of the people of this country with anything like accuracy. He believed that the feeling of the people was one of disgust at the shame and the disgrace which the Government had brought on the nation. The feeling of the country was that the Agreement itself was humiliating, igno- minious, and degrading. ["Oh, oh."] He would go further, and say that when the country understood the negotiations which led up to this Agreement, it would find that, humiliating, ignominious, and degrading as the Agreement might be, the negotiations were more degrading still. On the 24th of November last, Lord Granville drew up the English proposals. The chief point of those proposals was the English Guarantee; secondly, that the money belonging to the Daira and the Domains should be paid to the Bank of England; thirdly, that they should be under the management of Egypt, which, of course, was J under English control, and that the Daira and the Domain Loans might be sold, and the proceeds go to pay off the Debt. Anyone, however, who knew what the Daira and the Domain Loans were, know that they could not pay off the debt upon them. What happened then? During the whole of that year no reply was sent by any Foreign Power to the English proposals. On the 11th of December, Germany and Russia sent an Identic Note, not to England, but to the Khedive, demanding that they should have a delegate upon the Caisse. Why did they do that? The reason they gave was in consequence of the arbitiary act of the Egyptian Government—they really meant the arbitrary act of Lord Northbrook—they did not have the same confidence and security for those who held investments in their own country, and therefore they felt that they had a right to have a delegate on the Board. The day after this, Austria and France came forward supporting the claim of Russia and Germany, and the consequence was that we had a concert of the Powers against England. After a great deal of waiting, and a great deal of correspondence between Lord Granville and France and Germany, then came the French proposals, which were diametrically opposed in principle to those of England. The President of the Board of Trade touched the fringe of the matter with great ability, but he avoided the real kernel of the subject. He relinquished the principle that England, having spent money and wasted life, ought to have the power in Egypt; the French principle was, that England, having spent money and shed her blood in the country, ought not to have power there. In fact, the Agreement was the giving up, root and branch, of all which Lord Granville had contended for in the first instance—namely, that England was to be the preponderating Power. If, in 1882, Her Majesty's Government had counted the cost of the war, and had known what was to be the result of their intervention, and had placed before the House the policy that we were going to spend so much money and send so many soldiers into Egypt, and at the end we were going to relinquish the rights of this country and place it in the same position as it stood in 1882, the House would have rejected the proposal with scorn and contempt. If the people of England were appealed to, he believed that they would be of opinion that that Agreement was humiliating and degrading to this country, and that the only thing that could be equally degrading was the negotiations that had led up to it. If it were to be sanctioned, we should be in a worse position than under the Dual Control.


Sir Arthur Otway, I do not wish to trouble the Committee with many observations on this occasion. I only wish very shortly to state the reasons for the vote I propose to give. We have heard a great deal this evening, and last night also, as to the pressure that would be put upon Members on this side of the House with regard to the vote they were likely to give to-night, and it is assumed that the Government would be prepared to put pressure upon hon. Members in order to secure the passing of this Agreement. I do not deny that there may have been occasions when pressure has been exercised; but I do not think it has been necessary now, because I think that, on this occasion, the Government could not do better than rest this matter on the candid arguments which have been adduced on the one side or the other as to the feelings which this Agreement may excite, and not upon any preconceived opinions as to what either side of the House or what the country might wish. If the question be submitted to the Committee in this form—"Is it our duty, in the interest of the country, in the given circumstances of the moment, looking to the state of Europe, and to all that has passed, to pass this Agreement or reject it?" I believe that, without any pressure on the part of Her Majesty's Government, the Committee would simply find that it was its duty to pass it. The hon. Member who has just sat down has, in the main, confined his argument to a denunciation of the past conduct of Her Majesty's Government. He has recited the difficulties at present existing in Egypt, the complications existing with regard to finance, with regard to law, and with regard to the many composite Administrations in Egypt. But that is not the question that is submitted to the Committee this evening. The question, to my mind, is simply this. Ought we to accept this Agreement, in view of the difficulties which this country would have to face if the Agreement wore rejected? I am not sure that hon. Members have been fair with respect to this part of the case. For instance, my hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth (Mr. Bruce) spoke of the attitude the bankers would be likely to assume supposing this Agreement were rejected. He explained that there had been several renewals of the advances made, and possibly, if this Agreement were rejected, there might be a further renewal. I quite agree that that is very probable, for this reason—that if the Egyptian Government were bankrupt, the renewal would not depend upon the discretion of the bankers, but upon the ability of the Egyptian Government to repay the advances which have been made. But I should like to hear, if the Agreement were rejected, and the Powers of Europe were to take up the attitude which it is possible they might take up under the circumstances, whether the bankers would be found to advance any further sums—in the general confusion that might occur—for the payment of the tribute to Constantinople, and the other liabilities of Egypt. I think we should be deceiving ourselves if we were to refrain from contemplating seriously the results of a breakdown of this Agreement under existing circumstances, and in the present situation of Europe, and looking' to the attitude which the various Powers of Europe have assumed. We have had Blue Books on this subject; we have read those Blue Books, and I must say we have not found in them any very conciliatory disposition on the part of Foreign Powers to make things easy for Her Majesty's Government. ["Hear, hear!"from the Opposition.] An hon. Gentleman cheers that sentiment; for my part, I deplore the fact. I presume that that cheer means that our embarrassment may be due to the policy of Her Majesty's Government. I do not think it right that a sentiment of that kind should find approval in the House of Commons for such a reason. We have on both sides alike to deplore the fact that there is not a conciliatory attitude with regard to Egypt on the part of the Foreign Powers. And if that is so, is that to be made an argument for rejecting an Agreement, when such rejection might heighten that tin-conciliatory feeling displayed towards this country by the European Powers? If the breakdown of the Conference has had an effect on Europe, so that it has been less disposed to treat fairly with this country than it was before; and if, after the breakdown of the Conference, there should be now a further breakdown of the negotiations, what may we anticipate would be the attitude of Europe towards us? If we were to stand upon our rights, we might say that we should be indifferent to the attitude of Europe towards us. But this is a point which has not been handled by all the Members who have spoken to-night. Several Members of the Legal Profession have addressed the Committee as if there were a tabula rasa in this matter, and they have ignored the powerful argument of the President of the Board of Trade, that what we have to consider is the diplomatic engagements and what other Powers may conceive to be their absolute rights, which we should have to set aside as one of the effects of the rejection of this Agreement. Can it be denied that the rejection of this Agreement means the non-payment of large sums due under International acts? It means the revival of that suit—that most embarrassing suit—before the Tribunals, which was brought by the Representatives of the various Powers; it means the condemnation of the Ministers of Egypt who have acted under our advice. That is the first difficulty which would have to be met, and I confess I have not heard any suggestion from hon. Members opposite as to the way in which that difficulty ought to be met. How should it be met? We cannot disguise this point fro*m ourselves, that the rejection of this Agreement can only be followed by one great measure—a measure extremely bold, and I do not know whether the Committee would be willing to take the responsibility of approving of such a measure—and that is the suspension of the functions of the Caisse de la Dette, and the suspension of the action of the International Tribunals by England alone. I do not know whether the hon. Member opposite would be prepared to face that difficulty. I did not observe that that suggestion was cheered by any responsible Member opposite. But I only wish to put this matter fairly before the Committee and the country. I say, do not lot us blink this question—do not let us shut our eyes to it. We may dislike the Agreement, and I doubt whether there are many Members in this House—I doubt whether there are many Members on the Treasury Bench—who like this Agreement. But the alternative is one which in the present situation of Europe, in the present position of our diplomatic relations with other countries, the Committee would not, I think, lightly accept. In the able speech of the right hon. Baronet the Member for East Gloucestershire (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), he referred to it as being the first step towards the internationalization of Egypt. Well, if that were so, I think the Committee would reject the Agreement. If it were the first step towards the internationalization of Egypt, after the sacrifices which this country has made, after the preponderance which we thought at one time we claimed in Egypt, the first step towards the internationalization of Egypt would be one which I do not believe the country would approve. But is it the first step towards the internationalization of Egypt? I would rather call it the last step, and not the first, because this is the situation in which we find ourselves—that Egypt is already internationalized through the position of the Caisse, and through the attitude which Foreign Governments have taken up in regard to the position of the Caisse. I do not know to what extent the arguments of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade will prevail to show the advantages and the disadvantages, the pros and the cons, of this Agreement: but this is clearly established to my mind—that this is but a further step, and that it is not necessary for Foreign Powers to appeal to this Guarantee in order to have ample power to interfere in the affairs of Egypt. I will confess that there is another step in those transactions which I have regretted as much as, and I may say almost more than, the Agreement, and that is the claim put forward by Russia and by Germany to be represented on the Caisse de la Dette as well as the other Powers; for we cannot ignore this fact, that while it would surely have been the wish of this country to have loosened the trammels imposed by foreign countries generally on Egypt, the attitude of Foreign Powers during the last year and a-half has been intended rather to tighten these chains than to loosen them. It will be seen, from the observations I have ventured to place before the Committee, that I frankly say I look upon this matter more in an International and a diplomatic light, than merely from the point of view of the conditions and the provisions of the Agreement. It is looking to the state of Europe generally that I think we ought to act, and looking at it from that point of view the action of Germany and Russia cannot be passed over. We cannot and ought not to blind our eyes to what has occurred. The hon. Member who spoke last, alluded to the claim put forward by Germany with regard to admission to the Caisse, and the hon. Member based his suggestion as to the motive of Germany mainly upon the action which had been taken with regard to the Sinking Fund. Her Majesty's Government, I understood, last night denied that it was mainly due to that particular cause, and I think they are borne out by the Papers in holding that view. ["No, no!"] Well, I am afraid it is rather worse; I wish it had only been based upon that particular action. I will read what was said by the German Consul General, writing to Nubar Pasha, as to the motive of Germany in claiming a place on the Caisse. The first passage is this— Considerable modification has now taken place in the state of affairs, and the Commission of the Public Debt has acquired from the force of circumstances very much greater importance than it had at the beginning. Now, I should have thought that we might have traversed that declaration entirely. The Caisse was intended as a protection against the despotism of Ismail Pasha. I think Her Majesty's Government might fairly have replied to the German Government, that while this country is in Egypt, not more importance, but less importance, ought to be attributed to the Caisse de la Dette than had been attributed before. Let me read the following most significant passage to the Committee:— The importance at present attaching to the above-named Commission, no longer allows of the abstention of the Imperial Government from the direct international superintendence which is exercised by all the Great Powers as signatories to the existing Treaties with the exception of Germany and Russia. [Mr. MARRIOTT: Head the next paragraph.] I am alluding to the Sinking Fund, because it is of great importance to note that they claim a direct International superintendence. This is claimed, the Committee will observe—and I think they will see the point at which I am driving—not in consequence of this Agreement, but before and independently of this Agreement; and if we reject this Agreement, we do not get rid of the claim of Germany and Russia, but, on the contrary, we intensify the position, and they can, under this claim, set up a right to control our whole action in Egypt, even at the present time. This, then, is the position in which we find ourselves. I admit to the full it is a deplorable position, that while we are still in Egypt, and practically responsible for its administration, Foreign Powers are setting up a claim for direct International superintendence. But we must look these matters in the face. We cannot ignore passages of this kind, and speak as the right hon. Baronet the Member for East Gloucestershire (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) did, as if for the first time by this Agreement we were making a move towards the internationalization of Egypt. It exists, and all we can say now is that it is possible it might have been practicable at some other moment during the last two or three years for Her Majesty's Government to have held language to Foreign Powers of this description—"You are claiming this direct International superintendence; so long as you claim it we cannot continue to be responsible for the safety of Egypt. Either you should withdraw your demands, or else we shall be free to withdraw our troops." And here we come to a matter which appears to me to be specially and extremely important with reference to our present situation. I should wish to say a word as to the victory, if I may so call it, in this compromise which has been gained by Her Majesty's Government in postponing the Commission of Inquiry. Hon. Members opposite, who have spoken, have ignored the advantages of the postponement of that Commission, which I think, was vital to the case of Her Majesty's Government. They could not have accepted an immediate inquiry into the finances of Egypt, while we were conducting military operations. While we were in Egypt, with English Administrators at the head of the various Departments, it was impossible for Her Majesty's Government to assent to such a demand, put forward by France in the first instance; and I think it ought not to have been ignored, in the criticisms which have been made of the arrangement, that this advantage has been gained. And in all these matters it has not been merely on financial questions that controversy has taken place. The Prime Minister, I think, argued this question too much as if it was a financial question. I believe that the Commission of Inquiry, as it was proposed by France, was not simply intended to ascertain what the financial position of Egypt was, but it was intentionally put forward by France in order at once to have her hand, as far as she could, in the administration of Egypt. And so I am bound to say this—I do not hold with the hon. Member opposite that the Agreement will materially strengthen the position of Foreign Powers, because that position is already legally so strong. At the same time, I admit that it is a symptom of the intentions of Europe, and that it is a fact of much significance which we are bound to take into account. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade has stated this evening a fact which I do not think was familiar to most of us—namely, that many of the Foreign Powers were not anxious for this Guarantee, but that it was mainly agreed to at the instance of France. But, nevertheless, the fact remains that this International Guarantee is readily claimed and assented to by Europe as a whole; and I take it that we should do wrong, as the House of Commons is bound to look this matter in the face, if we did not see in it a kind of proof and symptom of the desire of Europe to be in a position of equality with us in Egypt. That was assented to last night by my noble Friend the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who said— It seemed to him that it was not unreasonable or unnatural to believe that the sentiment of equality which existed among great nations —a desire not to appear to be left out from arrangements which were being made in regard to events of European importance—was one which naturally weighed, and had weighed to a great extent, with these Powers in making such a demand. The "sentiment of equality!" Now, that is a remark which strikes me with some surprise and some regret; and this is a point on which I must say I differ from Her Majesty's Government. I do not think they have pushed sufficiently in argument, so far as these Papers disclose, the fact that our sacrifices in Egypt, and our whole position in Egypt, do entitle us to more than this equality which is claimed by the other Powers—that they entitle us to preponderance. I remember that in a diplomatic conversation which I had with one of the chief French Diplomatists, he admitted this to the full, citing by way of illustration the position of the French in Tunis. "Our position in Tunis," he said, "must be one of supremacy, in the same way as you will claim supremacy in Egypt almost as a matter of life and death." Now, that preponderance of ours in Egypt appears to me, I admit, to be almost given up. It is not given up by the Agreement which is before us this evening, but it has, I believe, been given up. And why has it been given up? I think I know the reason. It is because, while other countries are fairly unanimous in their wishes with regard to the policy which their Governments pursue in Egypt, this country has been divided in its views as to what would be the proper position for us to take up. And let hon. Members, and let the country, be just to Her Majesty's Government with regard to that point. It is almost impossible for a Government, when it finds that the country is divided upon a matter of such supreme importance as this—namely, what our position in Egypt should be, to act with the same vigour with which it would be able to act if it felt it had the country unanimously at its back. I regret to say it, and I say it not looking at the past, and not with any reflection upon Her Majesty's Government or upon any section of this House or of the country, but if we continue in this position, and the country remains divided as to the policy to be pursued in Egypt, we shall go from disaster to disaster, and much worse things than this Agreement will be put upon us. It is because we do not know our mind that we have been weakened in our position. Now, I want to know this. What is our position at the present moment? Do we wish to maintain our preponderance in Egypt, or do we not? I do not sec in any of the Papers that a demand or a wish or a claim for preponderance has been put forward with any force by Her Majesty's Government. Possibly Her Majesty's Government themselves reflect in this matter the attitude of the country. ["No, no !"] Yes; you have not heard me out. They faithfully reflect the attitude of the country in this—that there is a section who are in favour of maintaining our preponderance, and there is another section which would be content to see the internationalization of Egypt. That is the position. But we have not only to take ourselves into account, and we have not only to reckon with the country. The Committee will remember the able argument of the President of the Board of Trade, that we have to reckon with Europe in this matter; and I think it would be folly on the part of this country, if, being divided, as I am inclined to think we are divided with regard to this question of policy, we should still continue at some times to act as if we were in favour of maintaining our preponderance, and at other times as if we were inclined entirely to abandon it. See what a bearing this point has upon the retention of the Army of Occupation in Egypt. Are we to maintain our Army there? That, as hon. Members will see, is entirely within the limits of this debate, because the question of the cost of the Army of Occupation in Egypt is part of the arrangements which are to be confirmed this evening. I am inclined to think that, if Her Majesty's Government find out that the country will not back them in claiming permanent preponderance in Egypt, the time will come, and soon, when they must hold language to Europe of this kind—"If we are not to have preponderance, we will not have single and individual responsibility. We have accepted your International Guarantee; we have accepted a compromise in which you have accepted some of our proposals and have rejected others; but in the main you have intended by your diplomatic action to claim what the Under Secretary calls the principle of equality.

Well, then, let us likewise have equality in the responsibility, because the country will not long be content to remain in the position of acknowledging the equality which is recognized by this Agreement, and, at the same time, of continuing unaided those sacrifices which are made by us." I have admitted that, therefore, this Agreement is one which I consider, in the present position of Europe, and looking to the rights and the legal position of Europe, we are almost bound to accept; and I do not mean to say that as for the financial bargain Her Majesty's Government have not attempted to do their best. But, looking at these facts, do not let us drift on during these two years without making up our mind whether we are to be supreme in Egypt or not. Let the country, and let the Government, make up their minds whether they really intend to claim the position which was originally thought to belong to us in Egypt; and, if not, let us not waste treasure, and let us not waste lives, but let us take the measures which are indicated by the acceptance of an Agreement such as this.

Mr. W. H. SMITH and Sir GEORGE ELLIOT rose together. Sir ARTHUR OTWAY called upon the former.


said: I submit myself, Sir Arthur Otway, to your call. I was, however, prepared to give way to my hon. Friend, because I know that his great knowledge of the affairs of Egypt would have amply justified his intervention at this particular moment; but I am anxious to say that no stronger arguments could have been put in force against the ratification of this Convention than those which have just been stated by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. The right hon. Gentleman told us that the Convention was based upon the assumption that there is an International equality in Egypt between the Great Powers, and that the preponderance which has been claimed by England in Egyptian affairs is no longer to be admitted by the Governments of Europe. The right hon. Gentleman has told us that we are in a deplorable position in this matter—that we are responsible for the administration of the Government of Egypt, and that while, at this moment, we are incurring great sacrifices, while we are holding Egypt by ourselves, and incurring vast sacrifices in men and treasure in protecting the frontiers of Egypt against an enemy whom he terms courageous and warlike, our actions in that country are to be subject to the control of Foreign Powers. The right hon. Gentleman also tells us that by entering into this Convention we have admitted the right of Foreign Governments to interfere in Egyptian affairs, and, that in giving our assent to this Agreement, we shall be taking a further step towards the internationalization of that country—a step which he himself considers altogether objectionable. I do not think that any hon. Member could put forward any stronger arguments against this Convention than those which the right hon. Gentleman has submitted to the Committee. He has told us that the rejection of the Agreement means the non-payment of large funds payable under an International Guarantee, and the condemnation of the Ministers of Egypt, who would act under our advice in the performance of obligations which fall upon them under circumstances and conditions imposed upon them by the will of the Powers of Europe. But at this particular moment the security of Egypt rests only in the power exercised by Her Majesty's Government, and the very existence of Egypt itself is maintained by the authority and power of this country. I will pass from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, able as it was, because I am satisfied that the arguments he has ad-advanced go far in the direction we ourselves contend for—that the Agreement submitted to our approval is not one which ought to be maintained. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade takes credit to the Government for respecting the legal rights of the Powers under the Law of Liquidation, which the hon. Member for Portsmouth (Mr. Bruce) desired to set aside. It is remarkable that the first act almost in the drama performed by Her Majesty's Government was an act of the Earl of Northbrook himself. I am glad to see that the right hon. Gentleman has had the courage to say that what was at first supposed to be the act of the Egyptian Government was the act of the Earl of Northbrook. It is quite right that we should recognize our responsibilities and our duties in Egypt. There can be no doubt that at the present moment we are the Governing Power, and that what is called the Government of Egypt consists of a body of gentlemen who act by our authority and under our control and direction, and from that position we are now asked to recede. Has the right hon. Gentleman opposite thoroughly recognized the fact that the suspension was the act of the Earl of Northbrook and of Her Majesty's Government, and which they justified at the time on the ground of imperious necessity occasioned by the financial difficulties which beset the Government of Egypt at the moment? All that his hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth (Mr. Bruce) desired was that the powers exercised under the Law of Liquidation should be suspended. Surely it is reasonable that my hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth should take that view, when in doing so he certainly does not go beyond the view which Her Majesty's Government unquestionably took themselves, acting on the advice and representations of the Earl of Northbrook. But we are told that this Convention is a bargain which has been the result of negotiation. That may be so, but it still lies with us to say whether that bargain is a good or a bad one for this country; whether it is a bargain that ought to be maintained, or whether it is so bad in itself that the common sense of the country requires that it ought at once to be set aside. For my part, I maintain that it is a bad bargain for this country to enter into. The right hon. Gentleman opposite has told us that there is an alternative, and that the alternative to this Convention is that we should make ourselves responsible for the whole of the Egyptian Debt or annexation. I am not aware that any hon. Member on this side of the House has suggested that there should be a Guarantee of the whole Debt of Egypt or annexation. We are told that there was the alternative of bankruptcy and anarchy, and that under the Law of Liquidation the Powers will be entitled to put their legal rights into force. Then why should not Europe bear the burdens imposed upon England? If England is responsible for the position in which Egypt finds herself, under whose action and direction has she become responsible? Is it not under the action and under the judg- ment, if I may so say, of Her Majesty's Government during the last three or four years? And why should the Powers of Europe combined, step in now? Is it because Egypt is now incapable of paying the interest that may be due upon her bonds? Why should the Powers of Europe interfere? Is there any other Power of Europe that is prepared alone to take on itself the responsibility of restoring order and tranquillity in Egypt under present circumstances—is there any other Power in Europe that is prepared to step into our shoes and give the necessary guarantees for securing the occupation of that country which we are now carrying out for the advantage, not only of Egypt itself, but of Europe and the world? The third alternative is this Agreement, or bargain. We are told, with regard to this Agreement, that France has conceded much, and England something. We have conceded an inquiry in two years, and France has conceded the taxation of foreigners; but the taxation of foreigners was in force before the Agreement. England has conceded very much indeed, in principle, while France has conceded very little, and the other Powers for them selves nothing. Anyone dealing with a great difficulty, if he did his duty to those he represented, would prefer to deal with it at the present time, rather than adjourn it to the future. One of the great considerations which has been urged upon the Committee for the acceptance of this Agreement is, that instead of the inquiry proposed by Francs as to the ability of Egypt to bear the burden put upon her taking place now, it is to be postponed for a period of two years. What does that mean? It means that during the period of two years there should be an opportunity for intrigue and far more difficulty, which the experience of members of the European community in Egypt know well how to make use of, in order to throw obstacles in the way of the good government of that country. In his able, but audacious, speech, if I may so call it, the right hon. Gentleman opposite has succeeded admirably in exaggerating the statements made on this side of the House, and in minimizing the difficulties on his own side; but the country will feel that the circumstances are much too grave to permit the subject to be dealt with in a light-hearted manner between Parties.

The Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has said that— Upon the rectification of the present financial situation depended the recovery of Egypt's financial prosperity. I agree with him; but I regret that we have heard so much in this debate of the interests of Europe, and so little of the interests of the Egyptians. Throughout the whole of the Papers I have read, the most remarkable thing which has struck me is the entire absence of any reference to the material prosperity of Egypt, or of the steps which are necessary to insure that prosperity. It might be supposed that Egypt was a farm, on which so many slaves were engaged and occupied, that Europe had a claim upon it, and endeavoured to make the most out of it, no matter what the sufferings of the slaves employed upon the farm might be. I will now refer to the figures which have been laid before us by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer; and here I must make a complaint of the right hon. Gentleman. The figures in the Papers are most confused. I find that in no single case do the Papers tally with the figures in his statement. No single table agrees with the statement of the right hon. Gentleman. The Chancellor of the Exchequer put the administrative expenses of Egypt at £5,237,000, and there is no figure in the Papers which leads up to or makes anything approaching that sum of £5,237,000. He, therefore, obviously includes charges not embraced in the statements of Sir Evelyn Baring and the Earl of Northbrook, but they are not indicated in any way. I am obliged to make out as best I can what is included in this sum of £5,237,000. The right hon. Gentleman will, perhaps, correct me if I am wrong; but I assume they include £4,678,000 which the Earl of Northbrook put as the administrative expenses of Egypt; £200,000 for the Army of Occupation, variously stated at £120,000 and £160,000; also £175,000 due from the Egyptian Government for Suez Canal interest due to Her Majesty's Government; and £150,000 for Mouka-balah. Assuming that to be the case, these figures make up a sum of £5,203,000, which is very nearly the sum mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman of £5,237,000; but it is an effort to trace the figures on the Paper, and I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to say whether I am right or wrong in my calculation. If I am right, there will then remain £3,275,000 for interest on Preference and Unified Debts, less5 per cent for two years, amounting to £199.750. That leaves a sum of £3,075,250, added to which is the interest of £315,000 on the new loan, and £300,000 deficiency on the Daira and Domains. Altogether, I make out that the Expenditure of Egypt for the next year will amount to £8,927,250. But I find in one of these Papers a despatch from Sir Evelyn Baring, in which he says— At whatever sacrifices it is essential that the financial combination should present solid elements of stability and finality. He tells us that, with a Revenue estimated at £9,000,000, a margin of not less than £200,000 should be allowed, so that the extreme estimate of which the Chancellor of the Exchequer avails himself is the Estimate of £8,800,000 as the Income to be dealt with. These are the proposals of Her Majesty's Government, for they are in effect the proposals of Her Majesty's Government, and not of the Government of Egypt, and they start with the deficit which the Earl of Northbrook expects in the ordinary course of things in the year 1885. Then let us fully realize what the effect of these proposals is as far as this country-is concerned. Notwithstanding the warnings which the Government have received that their proposals should be final, energetic, and conclusive, they start, as I have said, with an annual deficit. The bondholders lose 5 per cent of their interest, with a title to recover that 5 per cent after the expiration of two years; and England loses ½ per cent. on the interest of the Suez Canal shares, equal to one-tenth of the amount she ought to receive, with no power of recovery. Besides this, England has to pay the whole cost of the Army of Occupation, with the exception of a sum of £200,000 or so much of that sum as she may receive, and she has also to pay the whole cost of the Army in the Soudan. Practically and in fact, also, England guarantees the now loan, because the guarantee of the other Powers is in actual derogation of the financial value of the loan. As far as the actual financial operation is concerned, the joining of the five other Powers with England in the new loan will, it is notorious, reduce the amount which Egypt will receive from this loan.

Therefore, England has not only to pay for the cost of the Armies in Egypt and the Soudan, but she also incurs the liability of guaranteeing the new loan. In addition to that, England has spent much blood and millions of treasure in maintaining this condition of things for the benefit of the bondholders and in the interest of the other Powers. What is the actual condition of affairs? The Prime Minister himself said that at Tel-el-Kebir England effected the conquest of Egypt, and, after that, every act of the Egyptian Government in the maintenance of order and good government was done on the sole responsibility of England. Her Majesty's Government destroyed one Government in Egypt and set up another. Since that Her Majesty's Government have been responsible for every act of the machinery they created. An independent and responsible Government in Egypt must be held by every intelligent person to be absolutely impossible. The Ministers of the Egyptian Government hold their posts only by the act of Her Majesty's Government; they can be removed by Her Majesty's Government; they are merely marionettes of which the Government pull the strings. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade practically admitted throughout the whole course of his speech that it is England that is governing in Egypt. What are we to understand? The acts of the Government in Egypt are practically our acts, and they are to be checked, intrigued against, and thwarted by a Vigilance Committee of the European Powers, "in defence of their common interests," as M. Barriére says, but in defence of indefensible interests, as we were told with so much force in the powerful speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth (Mr. Bruce). The Earl of Northbrook, in his Report, says, that in order to allow Egypt to meet the cost of her Administration and the interest on her Debt— It is indispensable, in my opinion, that Egypt should be set free from the trammels which now hamper the action of the Government, increase the cost of the administration, and diminish the resources of the country. Only a small part, however, of this Report has been published, and it has been emasculated and deprived of a great portion of the interest which should attach to it, by the evident effort of Her Majesty's Government to prevent anything coming before the House which is condemnatory of the course they have pursued. After these words, the Earl of Northbrook tells us what are the encumbrances from which Egypt has to be set free. He says— The incumbrances to which I refer are:—First: the constitution of the Administration of the Daira and Domain Lands and of the Egyptian Railways, in the supposed interest of the bondholders. Second: the difficulty of taxing foreigners equally with the natives of Egypt. Third: certain provisions of the Law of Liquidation, especially those which debar the Egyptian Government from making fiscal changes in the assigned Provinces and revenues without the consent of the Commissioners of the Caisse. I shall proceed to make some remarks upon each of the foregoing heads. I have placed the Administrations of the Daira and Domain Lands and of the Railways first among the incumbrances from which the Egyptian Government suffers. The mere constitution of these Administrations, under which three gentlemen of different nationalities are made jointly responsible for the transaction of difficult and important business, is almost in itself a sufficient reason for making some change; the arrangement is not only unnecessarily costly, but its effect has naturally been to dilute responsibility and greatly to interfere with efficient and economical management … I heard many complaints of the railway administration; for some time there was considerable risk of the permanent way not being properly maintained, and its present condition, as well as that of the rolling stock, leaves much to be desired. The Egyptian Government have no authority over the Board; they recently made some observations upon the railway budget, especially in regard to the increase of salaries, to which the Board replied, denying the right of the Government to interfere … To conclude my proposals in regard to the removal of encumbrances upon Egyptian administration, it will be necessary to make some changes in the Law of Liquidation, and especially to provide that the Government should be free to introduce fiscal changes in the provinces and Administrations assigned to the Caisse. In order to place your Lordship in possession of the position of the Egyptian Government under the present provisions of the law, I need only observe that while they can exercise their discretion in respect to the modification of the land tax, or of any other taxes, in the provinces which are not assigned to the Caisse, such modifications cannot be extended to the assigned provinces without the concurrence of a majority of the Commissioners. Your Lordship will recognize that, if this arrangement is maintained, it must either render any fiscal changes impossible, or at least make them subject to the concurrence of a body of gentlemen who would naturally and not unreasonably be disposed to take a somewhat technical view of their duty, based upon their responsibility to the bondholders, and so hesitate to give their assent to any diminution of the gross receipts of the provinces and Adminstra- tions assigned to the service of the Debt. The arrangements which I shall subsequently propose will dispense with the necessity of these provisions, which might have been required when the finances of Egypt were subject to the absolute will of the Ruler, but the reason for which has been removed now that the financial administration has been placed upon a more satisfactory footing."—[Egypt. No. 4 (1885), pp. 32–3.] But what have become of those proposals? I have looked through the Papers carefully to find any proposals for the improvement of the Caisse, but I failed to find them. Why did I not find them? Because they were carefully removed from the despatches by Her Majesty's Government before they were submitted to the House of Commons. We are supposed to be dealing with the interests of Egypt and the interests of this country; and the Earl of North-brook and Sir Evelyn Baring, in a subsequent Paper, tells us the removal of these trammels is absolutely indispensable for the good government of the country. Yet we find that Her Majesty's Government have concluded an Agreement ignoring altogether the recommendations of the Earl of North-brook and Sir Evelyn Baring—two most important functionaries—after telling us, as Earl Granville does in his despatch, that, in respect of the proposals that the Daira and Domain Loans should be converted, and the lands held as security for our supposed loan— We are prepared to give it up in deference to the views of the French Government, but we are much impressed with the necessity, in the interests of the finances of Egypt, for some change in the system of the administration of those lands."—[Ibid. p. 111.] Now, I want to know whether it is a reasonable and business-like or a proper course of proceeding, that when Her Majesty's Government have declared solemnly that the trammels which are imposed by these conditions upon the good government of Egypt are unendurable—that they hamper the resources of the country and prevent them from being developed, and that they prevent Her Majesty's Agents from doing their duty by that country—when they had made this declaration before the world, I ask, is it not inconceivable that they should enter into a Convention with the Powers of Europe in which all these conditions are confirmed, while nothing whatever is done to lend a free hand to the Government of Egypt? I maintain that we have entirely lost sight of the duty which attaches to us as the preponderating Power in Egypt. I say that the condition in which we find ourselves is absolutely unendurable. The noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs told us last night that there were four courses open to us; but I think there was a fifth. We might have said to Europe that a free hand must be conceded to us, that we had no selfish or exclusive aim, but that so long as our blood and our treasure are necessary to the existence of organized government in Egypt, the trammels and difficulties which intervene to prevent good government in that country must be removed. We have been told by Her Majesty's Government that England must be predominant in Egypt. We want no more than that. Sacrifice, responsibility, and power must go together. We are prepared to give every assurance that every legitimate interest of every foreign subject shall be preserved and protected. There is no desire on our part to upset or destroy the legitimate influence or the legitimate interests belonging to any European Power in Egypt, or of the subject of any European Power. There is no doubt that Earl Granville represented the views of the Government and the views of England when he said that although we have no desire to obtain for this country any exclusive power or advantage, yet, that our influence must be predominant, because our responsibility is predominant, and we are charged, in the interests of Europe and of England, with the security of Egypt. But what have we done? We are asked to accept an accommodation bill, to submit to a Committee of Inspection for the next two years. We have two years' grace, two years' postponement; and, in the meantime, the blood and the treasure of England are to be spent, if not wasted. God grant that that blood and treasure may not be spent in vain! The military situation at this moment is worse than it was a year ago. Thousands of lives have been lost, millions of money have been spent, and what for? Why, Sir, that a Commission should sit in Cairo, jealously watching the projects that England desires to carry out, not for her own selfish aims and purposes, but for the building up of a strong, permanent, stable, and firm Government.

There cannot but be jealousies, difficulties, troubles, and cross purposes, if this divided and inspected Government continues. For peace sake it is desirable that we should end the opportunities for quarrel. I say that, in my own conviction, the country will not endure the continuance of this state of things. Yon will be face to face with demands for the withdrawal of our troops from Egypt, and for leaving Egypt to those who are now tearing the country to pieces. Do what you know to be right and necessary if you can. If you have not the courage of your principles, the anger of the country will be beard. If you cannot govern, you will be driven, and this responsibility and sense of coming trouble and difficulty belongs to every Member of this House. Any Member of this House who says "Aye" to an Agreement of this sort, which he knows or suspects to be bad, is by that act accessory to a wrong done to Egypt and to England. What is the alternative? I have no doubt hon. Gentlemen will say it is one too dreadful to be faced. It is a possible Conservative Government. Is Party, then, so tyrannical a monster? Are there none on that side of the House capable in their own mind of realizing the responsibility which belongs to this great country, and of taking it? At any cost, at any risk, I implore the Committee to take the right and straightforward course. I denounce this Convention, because I believe it to be unwise, unfair, and unjust at once to Egypt and to the people of this country.


said, be would not detain the Committee for more than a few minutes; but he bad the advantage of being well acquainted with Egypt, and he should like to make one or two remarks before the debate closed. He confessed that there was a great deal of force in what be had heard from both sides of the House; but, in order to be brief, be did not propose to occupy the time of the Committee by any reference to figures. The financial portion of the matter had already been fully dealt with, and nothing he could say would make matters either better or worse. There was only one point which concerned him, and probably the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister would know very well what it was. As a matter of fact, it was the fear and apprehension he bad entertained from the commencement of the Egyptian Question of finding themselves landed in a European Control, or a Multiple Control, or whatever hon. Members might please to call it. He had been in the habit of visiting Egypt regularly for 18 years, and be had spent a great deal of time in studying the affairs of the country. It was so fair a country, that if it only had a fair chance there was no fear of the bondholders not getting their money and every-body being well paid. But it seemed to be always destined to be embarrassed and harassed in regard to its administration. There existed, as the Committee well knew, a duplicate system of administration, whether in regard to the railways there, or the Domains, or any other description of property whatever; and the development of the resources of the country was consequently fettered, hampered, and crippled. Everybody interested in the administration was perpetually crossing and thwarting ever-body else. The interests of property in Egypt, he was bound to say, were sacrificed to the cupidity of the persons who administered the affairs of the country; and he thought that if, instead of having French and English and Natives managing the railways, French and English managing the Domains, and French and English managing all the other property there, they could have a single and responsible administration, and could allot it, letting the French have the Daira Domains, the English the railways, and the Natives something else, matters would be improved. He bad suggested that system of allotment to Sir Evelyn Baring, and he thought that the Government would do well to consider it. He expected after the bombardment of Alexandria that the English Government would have Egypt very much in their own hands; and up to the time that Tel-el-Kebir was fought he believed that that was the case. He remembered mentioning in the House, when the Conference of London broke up, that he felt he could breathe freer and better, because at last they were likely to obtain some degree of independence in the administration of the affairs of Egypt. He would make great allowances for International obligations; there was no doubt something in them, and they had been very ingeniously dealt with by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade.

But he took it that, if the Government had not been under the impression that they had that control in Egypt which he thought they ought to have, they would not have sent their Army up the Nile. He did not think, after all that this country had done, and all that they had still on their hands, that it was right or just that they should simply find themselves on equal terms in Egypt with France. He was in Cairo the other day when the news came of the fall of Khartoum, and, without specifying any particular nationality, he believed he might fairly say that there were at that time some hundreds of foreigners in that city who were quite as ready to throw up their caps as were the Mahdi's followers. There was no doubt a feeling in some quarters in Egypt against this country. The question was how that feeling was to be overcome, and how they were going to administer the affairs of so perverse a people amid all the intrigues and opposition they met with on every side. This country was bearing a great burden in Egypt and the Soudan; and his opinion was that before the war was over the £1,300,000 which was voted in November last would have to be multiplied by seven. The question was how all these burdens were to be borne by this nation in order to secure good government and the due administration of law in Egypt. No one could suppose that they were going to Khartoum and the Soudan for the mere purpose of revenge, but for the re-establishment of law and order, and the protection of life and property in Egypt. That was the sole object with which they were sending out their best men and spending their money. After all this, how were the Government to keep countenance with the English people if they consented to hand over Egypt to International Control? Were they to allow themselves to be handicapped at every move by France, who were circulating in the Native language every kind of rumour against the English people resident in that country and against their occupation? If they were to continue the occupation, how were they to avoid International complications? He was sure that the Government would do well, if this Agreement was to be carried out, to give some kind of authority which would justify the expenditure which was going on in Upper Egypt. This country could not continue to conduct the terrible business there, of which they had no definite idea what the result would be either in money or sacrifice of life, with all the Powers looking on as International friends, smiling at seeing England fighting and spending her money, while at the same time they were really nobody in the country after all. So far as he was able to judge, they had a very good man at the head of their affairs in Egypt in Sir Evelyn Baring. They had the best Native Administrator acting with him—Nubar Pasha; and they had a Khedive representing the Native Power, who was prepared to act cordially with them. What had happened in recent years? Notwithstanding the ravages of the cholera, and the cost of a great civil war, the produce of the Revenue in Egypt in 1884 had been larger than had ever been known previously. Could not, then, Her Majesty's Government advise the Great Powers to stand on one side and allow this state of things to continue? In spite of every drawback, and of all the difficulties which had been interposed, enormous improvements, thanks to the exertions of Mr. Moncrieff, had been effected in irrigation, and the works for raising water were more complete and successful than they had been for 20 years. He would not say any more. He was never very bitter against anybody, not even against a bad Government; and if it was felt that his observations had anything of value in them, he should be perfectly satisfied with the contribution he had made to the debate. He thanked the Committee for the patience with which they had heard him.


said, that, irrespective of Party considerations, for his own part he should support the Convention, because he believed it to emphasize the great difference that existed between the policy of the Liberal Party on European questions and the policy of hon. Gentlemen opposite. The great merit of the Convention was that it restored the European Concert, which he believed to be the only safety for this country. It was impossible to suppose that England could continue to sing the same song of "Rule Britannia" all over the world which she had done before the great Empire of Germany was formed, and Italy had become a United Kingdom. The more therefore they could maintain the Concert of Europe the bettor for this country, and that was the main ground upon which the greater number of Members would, according to their consciences, vote in favour of the Convention. Hon. Gentlemen opposite feared that this European Concert would degenerate, as they called it, into European Control. Would, however, anybody explain how it was possible that there could be concert among the Great Powers of Europe if there was not to be an European Control upon the subject in regard to which the Concert existed? How was it possible, if all the Great Powers of Europe were united in a common cause, that they could deny to that Concert the control over the subject for which they were united? If hon. Gentlemen opposite upset the control to which they now objected, would they substitute again the Dual Control of which they were the authors? The hon. Member for Greenwich (Baron Henry De Worms) endeavoured to make an arithmetical computation on this subject. The hon. Member said that if the Dual Control was objectionable, how much more objectionable must be an European Control in which there were six Members? He would give the hon. Member his opinion upon that subject. The Dual Control, to which they were indebted for almost all the evils to which Egypt had been subjected during the last few years, was a Control between two nations with separate and distinct interests in Egypt. They were always told that the interests of France and the interests of England in Egypt were totally distinct. Then, what did Dual Control mean? It meant merely strife, it reminded him of a game called the tug of war, where they had stalwart men tugging at one end of a rope against stalwart men tugging at the other. Instead of a control that was favourable to good administration in Egypt, it was a control by which that country had almost been ruined. No one supposed that when they had all the Powers of Europe introduced into the control, there would not exist opposite opinions upon different points? Of course there would be such differences; but then the majority would rule. He was anxious, therefore, to ascertain what they were really called upon to do in Egypt, and the question they ought to ask was one which had been asked throughout the whole of the debate—namely, what their real interests in Egypt were. He had listened to his hon. Friend the Member for Manchester (Mr. Slagg) that evening with some astonishment. The basis of the speech of his hon. Friend was an utter contempt for the Egyptian nation, and an utter denial of the possibility of ever forming a Native Government which would be of any use. He (Mr. Mitchell Henry) protested against that doctrine. He did not believe that Egypt was a mere appendage of this country. They had gone there from circumstances over which they had no control; but they had certainly not gone there solely for the interests of English commerce. They had gone there for Imperial objects; but the only justification they could have for remaining was to do good to the people of Egypt. He confessed that the speech of his hon. Friend, like those of some other Members, made him feel that the idea of England's duty did not prevail in this country, as it did in her greatest days. On the other hand, did anybody suppose that if France had possession of Egypt, it would contribute to the strength of the French Empire? They were told that they must not on any account permit France to obtain possession of Egypt. He had no wish that France should obtain possession of Egypt, because he did not think that it would be to the advantage of that country; but he did not fear the possession of Egypt by France mainly on the ground that it would strengthen the position of France. Everybody knew that the French Possessions in Africa were the source of the greatest weakness to her. In Algeria the French were never safe for an hour, and during the Franco-German War it was well known that France was greatly embarrassed by the insurrection of the Arabs. Would the possession of Tunis strengthen the resources of the French Empire? Nothing of the kind. The more the French had spread themselves out for colonization in the Mediterranean the weaker they had become. Another question he would like the Committee to consider was this—Did anybody suppose that they would be able to shut up Russia in the Black Sea for ever? In the magnificence of their strength and power, would the Russians be perpetually content to be shut up there? What would be the case with us? Would we sanction an attempt to shut us up in an inland lake? Did hon. Members suppose that the English people would quietly submit to it? Then let them consider what the position of the great Empire of Russia was. For half of the year she was shut up by nature in the Baltic; and could it be supposed that by artificial arrangements it would be possible also to shut her up for ever in the Black Sea? He did not think that it was possible, and the policy he would recommend to the Government of the country was this—that they should no longer contend for mastery in the East of Europe; but throw that responsibility on the people to whom it naturally belonged, especially the Austrians and the Greeks. The condition of affairs on the frontier of Afghanistan was very critical, and probably they were not far from the most terrible war. Let them, then, at any rate, take care that in their combinations they secured that concert amongst the Powers of Europe which was the only hope of putting an end to the terrible strife they expected. He would not have made those observations except that he believed that the spirit which for years had been fostered on the opposite side of the House of supposing that they were the only nation who had any rights in the world was a spirit which would probably bring them to grief sooner than they anticipated. He should support this Convention, because he felt it to be for the benefit of this country; he should support it especially because he believed the concert of the European Powers, which implied the control of the European Powers in regard to Egyptian questions, was the only safeguard for the liberties of the Egyptian people.


Sir Arthur Otway, I had hoped that before this time we might have had the advantage of hearing the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Childers) upon this question. We have a peculiar right to ask for a full explanation from the right hon. Gentleman for more reasons than one. In the first place, he has been especially connected with all these negotiations. He has himself taken part in the proceedings which have led to the Convention which has now been laid before us. In the next place, we find that at the present moment we have some difficulty in making out what the views of the different Members of the Government are, and how far those views are to be brought into consistency one with the other; for though we have had the advantage of hearing the Prime Minister and the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain), and the noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Lord Edmond Fitz-maurice), I think that those who have listened to those speeches, able and powerful as they undoubtedly were, each in itself, will agree they have hardly been entirely consistent one with another, and we wait very anxiously to hoar what is the view of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and how far he will be able to reconcile the different views of his Colleagues, and I may be allowed to add how he will be able to reconcile also some of the expressions that have fallen from himself in the course of the last few days. Now, Sir, the question that lies before us is one of very great importance. The Government, after keeping us waiting, I am bound to say, for an inordinate length of time, have at last presented to us a Convention of the very highest importance, upon which they demand our judgment in the very hottest haste. It is a question of the highest importance to Egypt and to ourselves; but I am bound to say that the moment at which it is produced is by no means the most favourable that could have been chosen for a calm and quiet decision of such a question. It is a matter which does not refer only to a momentary exigency; it is a matter which is not to be dealt with as if it were to be all the same at the end of the next month or six months; but it is a question which we are to solve, upon the solution of which may depend the future of Egypt, and to a very great extent the future of this country's relations with the East. Now, Sir, what are we entitled to expect? We are entitled to expect a full and clear explanation from the Government, and to be led to understand what the effect of the Convention is to be in their judgment, and how far it is to be justified, and reconciled to the interests of this country and of Egypt. Our confidence in the Government—our absolute confidence—has I think been a good deal shaken even on that side of the House by some of their recent proceedings. They have made so many blunders in relation to the affairs of Egypt, that it is impossible to accept simply upon their ipse dixit any proposals that may be laid before us. We are bound to look upon those proposals, and to ask for explanations. Now, let me contrast for a moment some of the sayings of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Childers) and of the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain) on this matter. As a matter of fact, we had from the Chancellor of the Exchequer some days ago, before the Convention was actually laid before us, a description of that Convention. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that the Powers proposed to us the arrangements which we have before us; but when the President of the Board of Trade, in his extremely lucid and able speech to-night, dealt with the question, he threw that all aside. He said—"Why do you talk about the Powers; you yourselves have proved that Austria, Russia, and the other Powers did not seem to care about entering into this guarantee. It was France that proposed it, and France only." Now, there is a great deal of difference between those two statements, and we want to know which is to be taken as the true one. Is it or is it not a question, the decision of which, as it were, has been forced upon us by the unanimous vote or desire of the different Members of the Conference, the Representatives of all the Great Powers, or is it simply a decision which has been adopted for the purpose of gratifying France? Again, there was another expression of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer which has given occasion for more than one remark. When he described the Convention to us, he told us that there would be a certain position established, and that under certain circumstances at the end of two years there would be a Commission of Inquiry, and he said that that would not be objectionable, provided it did not involve international interference. That expression of the right hon. Gentleman was gladly cheered by the great bulk of the House. We thought that the Convention, when we saw it, would contain some provision that would exclude international intervention; but now, not only do we find that there is nothing of the sort in the Convention, but we find that the President of the Board of Trade, when he speaks on the subject, tells us that the right of interference already existed, and that it was not a question of giving it by this arrangement, or by that arrangement, by this power of control or anything else; but that it was a right which already existed, and we need not trouble our heads about it, for there it was whether we liked it or not. Well, I am perplexed, and I think many Members of this House must be perplexed, when we have such inconsistent statements made to us, to know what the real state of the case is. Now, Sir, in order to get some little light on this matter we may cast our eyes a little further back. What was it that happened at the close of the Conference in July last? Why was it that the Conference broke up? I take Earl Granville's words. He said— The additional powers proposed by the French would confer on the Commissioners of the Caisse a mastery over the Government and affairs of Egypt, and to this we would on no account consent. Well, we are surprised to find that now they have consented, and we wish to know what has caused the change between July last and the present time? I venture to look a little further back still. Hon. Members will recollect the speech delivered by the Prime Minister last June, in which he first announced the meeting of the Conference of the Powers, and in which he explained the circumstances under which that Conference was to be called together. We have heard that this has really nothing to do with political affairs; it has nothing to do with anything except mere finances. The right hon. Gentleman said—"We have been in a difficulty for some time as to the course which we ought to take in Egypt; we had arrived at a point when it was impossible for us to stay airy longer without moving, and it became absolutely necessary that we should move either forward or backward." He explained that when he spoke of moving forward he meant taking some greater responsibility on ourselves, and that when he spoke of moving backward he implied the taking of steps towards withdrawing from the country. He explained also the difficulties under which the Government laboured as to which course they should take, or how they should move. And then, he said, came, as a sort of Godsend, the difficulty in Egyptian finances, it was the pressing difficulty in Egyptian finance, which was the moving cause of their finding a way of escape from the embarrassment in which they were. That was an explanation which showed that the influence that would be exercised by anything in the nature of a multiple authority would not be an influence merely of a financial nature, but that it would be an influence upon the political condition of Egypt. It is very important we should bear that in mind. Everyone who has spoken with any knowledge of the subject has held much the same language with regard to the minor points of the pecuniary arrangement. They have said—"We are not agreeable to look too closely into these matters, and see whether we have got exactly as much as it was convenient, or right, or fair we should have got; we treat all that as a matter of minor consequence; what we do look to is what is to be the position that England is to hold under the arrangements which are here made." It is the political consideration that governs everything else—for what, after all, is our great interest in Egypt? Why have we taken all these pains? Why have we incurred all these great sacrifices? What is it we are aiming at? Why, surely it is nothing more nor less than this—that we may establish or maintain in Egypt a system of Government that shall be for the good, and peace, and quiet of the country. It is not that we are particularly anxious about the claims of the bondholders. What we are anxious for is to exclude as far as possible any occasion for the interference of other Foreign Powers in the affairs of that country; and we have endeavoured, as far as it has been in our power, to produce in that country a state of Government which would admit of a satisfactory regulation of the people. Well, now. Sir, what has been the result of that? We have found that in many respects we have been able to do many good things, and stops have been taken for the improvement of the condition of the country. But when the Earl of North-brook went out to Egypt and examined carefully into the condition of the country, he arrived at the conclusion that there never was a country that was better suited to improve than Egypt, provided it could be relieved of the incumbrances that were weighing upon it, and the first of the incumbrances which he mentioned was the existence of the Multiple or Dual Control over certain portions of the Egyptian administration,—over the Daira and railways. He also mentioned the power which was given to the Commissioners in connection with the pressure of the Law of Liquidation. These are some of the incumbrances he mentioned, and with which it does not appear that we are about to deal at all, except in a way to strengthen and perpetuate them. I gladly admit that one of the incumbrances mentioned by the Earl of Northbrook has, to a certain extent, been dealt with by Her Majesty's Government, and I think we ought to thank them; it has been recognized as a matter of great importance ever since we have had to deal with Egyptian affairs—I mean the taxation of foreigners. We ought to acknowledge, and acknowledge with gratitude, the arrangement, so far as it has gone, for bringing foreigners under taxation. But though that is an excellent thing to do in itself, the effect of it is very much diminished by nothing being attempted to get rid of the other incumbrances of which I have spoken—indeed, they are made worse. Now, the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister has told us that this is a matter in which there is no real risk. Of course there is no risk in a pecuniary sense. No one thinks of guaranteeing so small an amount; but the Prime Minister also says that there is no real risk of the Powers which are guarantors obtaining any political influence over the country, and he quotes different cases in which there have been guarantees, and in which the guarantors have made no pretence of exercising an authority over the country to which they guaranteed the loan. But I do not think that those cases bear out or are on all fours with the case with which we have now to deal. I venture to think that if we were to look a little more closely into some of the cases he has mentioned, we should find that there was something in the position of the guarantor which gave him a claim—at all events, a supposed claim—to interfere with the Government of the country with, which he was dealing. I feel confident that if we were to look into the proceedings with regard to the Greek Loan, to which reference was made, we should find that there was in that case an attempt on the part of the guarantors to enforce the rights which they considered they had under the Treaty of Guarantee. I have had experience at the Treasury of cases in which we wore called upon to express our opinion—and express it with pretty considerable authority—as to what Greece ought to do, or ought not to do, in regard to the relations of her finance with the interests and obligations of guarantors. There were communications between Russia, France, and England with regard to the duties of Greece, and the points which we ought to urge upon Greece; but, after all, those questions are not on all fours with this question, because those were guarantees which were given as incidental parts of other settlements, in which other objects were the supreme objects. For instance, when you made the Loan with Turkey in 1855 you claimed that Turkey should give a certain assistance in war. That was the object for which the money was advanced, and in this case you looked not for a general interference, but for so much interference as the circumstances justified. But here it is just exactly the point that you would interfere. You give your guarantee in order that the country may be able to get through its financial difficulties, in order that the country may be properly, and quietly, and safely administered; and you have a moral right to look into these matters, and to see whether the country is being properly governed, and whether the administration is being carried on in a manner as would justify the burden you have taken on yourselves. The Prime Minister told us that we have not a very strict right and not a very legal right, but that we had a moral and indeterminate right. Now, I do think, before we commit ourselves to all the consequences of this Agreement, we ought to get a little beyond this "moral and indeterminate right."


That has nothing whatever to do with the guarantee; it was the moral and indeterminate right that grew out of our military occupation.


Well, Sir, I am afraid our right growing out of the military occupation, and the consequences that it has led to, has been very indeterminate, but not very moral. The right hon. Gentleman spoke about the autonomy of Egypt, and, said that we were not going to interfere with it. It will be a new thing if we are not, because since he has been administering the affairs of this country he has interfered very materially with the autonomy of Egypt. When he found that the Government of Egypt were not willing to do that which he desired them to do, he made it a point that the Ministry should be dismissed. Well, the right hon. Gentleman made a good deal of the case of there being no risk. On the other hand, he urged upon us that there was a strong case for urgency. He said—"You are safe in what you are going to do, and it is absolutely urgent that you should do what you are asked to do." In regard to the question of urgency I think there are two opinions. The opinion of my hon. Friend the Mover of this Motion is one, in such a matter as this, which cannot be passed over without regard, and just as if it were not to be considered worthy of attention. I suppose there is not a higher authority in the whole country on the question of Eastern finance, and as to the bankruptcy of such a State as this. But the Prime Minister, no doubt, may say that there is urgency—urgency sub modo—as he made the distinction between being hemmed in and being surrounded—between the kind of urgency which makes it very desirable and pressing that we should come to a conclusion, and the urgency that brings you within a hair's breadth of a great calamity. I have not the smallest doubt that there is great urgency to bring about a settlement of this matter; but I am convinced that if the Parliament of this country, indicating with sufficient clearness its intention to deal with the question, and to make some provision for saving Egypt from bankruptcy, at the same time requires to look more carefully into the particular method adopted, and is indisposed to adopt that particular method, I believe there is no doubt whatever that means would be found to enable the government of the country to be carried on whilst Parliament is considering the subject. We are asked—"If you reject this Convention, what is it you will substitute for it, or what will you do, and how are you to escape from the great dangers which may result from its being overthrown?" We have indicated plainly what our views on the subject are. We are taxed and twitted sometimes with having no policy for dealing with Egypt. I deny that we have no policy. But I say that, however serious for an Opposition to have no policy, it is much more serious to see that the Government of the country have none. Really, so far as I am able to judge, it is difficult to discover whether the Government have any policy, or, at all events, whether there is any on which they are agreed. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon (Mr. Goschen) urged us very earnestly to support the Government in fear of the consequences that might arise if they do not receive our support. Sir, I quite recognize the very great importance, if possible, of unity of opinions throughout England on a question of this sort; but I do not think that we ought to have a sham unity—that we ought to pretend to be satisfied, because we have plastered over the sore instead of attempting to heal it. You are by this Agreement, if it be entered into, laying up in store for yourselves in the future a serious condition of affairs that may lead to very unfortunate consequences. I say that we have no right to shut our eyes to these things, or to put them off, because we have got two years of breathing time. I believe myself that these two years of breathing time are no real benefit, because they will bring about fully as much harm as good; for they will keep the country in a state of agitation and of anxiety that will prevent anything from settling down, and prevent anybody from having any confidence. We shall find that there will be endless intrigues with a view to bring about that which some desire at the end. I confess that, for my own part, I would prefer to take the position which the right hon. Gentleman indicates—namely, that of maintaining the primary and, to a certain extent at all events, the exclusive authority of England in the management of the affairs of Egypt, at least so long as we remain there. I desire no annexation. No one desires to annex Egypt in the territorial sense to the Dominions of this country. But as long as we are there, as long as we have to undergo all these sacrifices and are to maintain the power that we exercise, so long our duty and our right will compel us to exercise that authority on our own responsibility, and without the admission of anyone else. If we can bring ourselves to that point, we may do it with the most perfect good faith; we may do it without giving in the least degree any unnecessary offence to any other Power. We have no desire to give offence to other Powers. We desire to accomplish that which is for the benefit of every other Power as well as ourselves. We desire to see Egypt prosperous; so do they. We desire to see Egypt solvent; so do they. We desire to see Egypt in an independent position so far as she has strength to maintain her independence; so do they. And what we desire especially with regard to Egypt is to keep free and open the roads between the East and the West for the advantage of all other Powers as well as of ourselves. What I am afraid of is, that under an Agreement like this we may get into a state of relation between the different Powers that will be adverse to that which is the common interest of all concerned. The noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in the midst of the very excellent speech that he made last night—though I was sorry not to be able to agree with his proposition—spoke to us in regard to our dealings with Egypt, and in regard to the course that was adopted by the late Government at the time when, as he said, Prance was in difficulty, when she was weak and in a position in which she could not have interfered with you if you had chosen to annex or to take any other course as to Egypt; but, he said, you did not attempt to do it. He seemed to argue that as you did not attempt to do it when France was weak, why would you think of doing it now when Prance is strong? Why, Sir, we never thought of taking a mean and low advantage of any other Power. Certainly, the idea of taking any advantage of any temporary difficulty of France never could have weighed with us for a single moment; and I do not think there was a time when it would have been possible for us to have taken any steps in Egypt that would have given umbrage to France. I say with confidence—and it cannot be contradicted—that there never was a time when the relations between England and France wore more friendly or more cordial than they were during the time of the Earl of Beaconsfield's Government. I must say that it would have been in entire harmony with the principles of that Administration that when the matter of any alteration of our relations with Egypt might be under consideration it should have been done at a time when we were able to discuss it fairly and freely, and on an equal footing with France and with other Powers, and could satisfy them that what we proposed was not for any mere selfish advantage of our own, but for the benefit of Egypt and for the general good of the rest of the world. I will not trouble the Committee with any more remarks at present. I am anxious to hear what the Government has to say on the debate as a whole. I will not now enter on a point on which I had intended to say a few words—namely, in regard to the Suez Canal. I would only point out that you are going into a Convention with respect to the Suez Canal upon a basis that, as it seems to me, is full of dangerous pitfalls; and although the principles of it may work out rightly, it is very possible that they may be worked out so as to prove injurious to the interests of this country. X confess that I have no confidence in the Government in regard to that matter. I have not forgotten their proceedings in 1883 with respect to the Suez Canal Agreement. We ought to know how much they have conceded now in what appears to be a small matter, of the meeting taking place in Paris instead of London or Cairo. We know that the demand was made for it to be held in Paris on account of the Company being a French Company. We know how many difficulties there wore. But this is not the convenient moment for discussing that point. I should be ready to discuss it, if an opportunity were given, at a later stage of the proceedings; and I will only say that we believe that in calling upon us so hastily to accept this Convention after deceiving us—I will not say deceiving, but after having lulled us by their apparent energy last summer, by the vigour with which they threw over certain proposals that were then made—after having lulled us, I say, into the belief that we might have confidence in them, they now bring forward an Agreement so as to give us little time to consider it and they give the country still less. My belief is that the country is well awake to the dangers of these proceedings. It will be our duty to take care that these dangers are not forgotten and overlooked; and I believe that when the country sees and understands the issues involved, whatever the decision of the Committee may be to-night, it will not be slow to come to a decision for itself.


The right hon. Baronet has been pleased to say he wished to hear my opinion upon some of the questions which have been discussed to-day and yesterday. I do not propose to address the House at any great length; and I, therefore, trust that hon. Gentlemen will bear with me whilst I reply, as well as I can, to the questions which have been asked me today and yesterday. One hon. Gentleman said that what has fallen from my Colleagues to-day and yesterday has not been always consistent with expressions that have fallen from myself. He had said he should like to hear how far I can explain the differences and reconcile these speeches. I will therefore allude at once to one or two observations of my own and my Colleagues which the right hon. Baronet quoted. He said, in the first place, that I had used the words that the Powers proposed to us a joint guarantee; whereas my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain) had said that the French had proposed it to us. He then attributed to me an expression which I certainly have no recollection of using, and which I find, having referred to the newspaper report, I did not use. He remarked that I had said that there would be a Commission, under certain circumstances, two years hence, to inquire into the finances of Egypt, and that it would be harmless provided it did not involve international interference. I did not say that; what I did say was, that an International Gua- rantee would be so; I said nothing of the effect of the Commission of Inquiry.


I apologize for the misunderstanding.


The right hon. Baronet asked me to explain a discrepancy between certain expressions that fell from Earl Granville and from myself at the last sitting of the Conference, and what I had said now on this question of the International Guarantee. I will explain that later on. But the right hon. Baronet, before he finished, used one sentence to which I must call the attention of the Committee. On the question of urgency he said that if Parliament indicated its willingness to look into the finances of Egypt, delay in the actual settlement would not be material. But Parliament has been indicating that willingness for years past. We have been commissioned by Parliament to look more narrowly as Ministers into the question. We have made a distinct proposition, and we have told the House that if it is not accepted very serious consequences will follow. What is the use now of saying that these consequences will be averted by Parliament merely expressing its willingness to look into the affairs of Egypt? The willingness of Parliament to act is in this Resolution, and it is only by passing this or some Resolution that we can meet existing difficulties. The right hon. Baronet told the Committee to remember what was done in the case of the Suez Canal in 1883. He said—"How can we have confidence in you? We have not forgotten what occurred in 1883." No, Sir; nor have we forgotten it. We distinctly remember that the right hon. Baronet brought forward a Resolution hearing upon our action with respect to the Suez Canal, which was defeated by a majority of 100. I think we have as good a reason to remember it as the right hon. Baronet. I will pass from the observations of the right hon. Baronet, which I thought it my duty at first to refer to, and I will say a few words upon the debate to which we have all listened, and which I must say, to my mind, has been illustrated by some very remarkable and able statements. I must refer for a few moments to observations which fell from the hon. Member for Portsmouth (Mr. Bruce;, who may be said to have made this Motion in the interest of the Party opposite, and who fairly represented their views; and to what had fallen in the sense of distinct propositions from other Members of the Party opposite on the subject of what they would wish to see done in reference to Egyptian affairs. I will quote the words which the hon. Member for Portsmouth used. The hon. Member said that the conditions of the Law of Liquidation were absolutely unsuited to Egypt now; and he added that those conditions prevented the Egyptian Government from restoring its fortunes. He also said that this country was bound to free the Egyptian Government from the trammels which prevented them from using their Revenues in the way in which the interests of the country required. Later on, he said the Law of Liquidation had been followed by revolution and by conquest, and we could not escape from the liability which arose from those facts. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Guildford (Mr. Onslow) said that after we bombarded Alexandria Egypt ought to have been ours; and the hon. and gallant Baronet the Member for West Sussex (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) said that we alone ought to have dictated financial terms to Egypt. The hon. and learned Member for Brighton (Mr. Marriott) said that after Tel-el-Kebir we were despotic masters of the situation, and might have got rid of the Dual Control—which, I believe, we did—and he added that we should have reduced the number of Members of the Caisse from four to one, and that one should have been an Englishman. Now, I quote these words to remind the Committee of this—that while those hon. Gentlemen who do not sit on the Front Opposition Bench have used language which can mean nothing else than that this country ought on its own authority to have set aside in Egypt the International Law of Europe; to have taken the violent measure of acting in direct contradiction of what was the law then prevailing; not one word has fallen from the hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who have followed them—particularly from the right hon. Gentlemen sitting on the Front Opposition Bench—to repudiate the doctrines they expressed. That being so, we must take it to be the policy of right hon. Gentlemen opposite, so far as they have expressed a policy, to repudiate International Law in Egypt, and to say that it was our duty to have acted by force after the battle of Tel-el-Kebir. Nor did the right hon. Baronet the Member for East Gloucestershire (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) use any language in his speech inconsistent with that which fell from the hon. Gentlemen I have referred to, because he spoke of the claims made in regard to Egyptian finance on the part of other Powers as claims which had practically fallen into abeyance. Let me repeat again, that that is the doctrine with which we are faced. We have done our best to act within the law. Hon. Gentlemen opposite would have pressed Parliament to dispense with International Law; they would have urged us to act in the teeth of International Law from the time we obtained mastery in Egypt. Now, let me remind the Committee in a few words what has actually been the history of this matter from that time. The Committee will remember that the object of the Law of Liquidation, which came into effect in a matured condition in 1879, was to establish in the interest of the bondholders certain International powers; and it was the object of the Dual Control, which was established in the previous year, 1878, to aid the Egyptian Government in its financial arrangements connected mainly with the Law of Liquidation. I am not going into the history of the later Dual Control, except to remind the Committee of what has been said before, that whereas the former Control and the system of two Ministers which the last Control superseded gave to England direct preponderance in Egypt—our Representative was the Finance Minister, and the Frenchman who took part in the affairs was only the Minister of Public Works—the Dual Control established by Lord Salisbury in 1878 took away from England her former preponderance in Egypt, and established two Financial Controllers upon exactly the same footing. That was a very serious change; but into that change I do not propose to enter now. But there is no doubt of this—that the Dual Control and the Law of Liquidation established this state of things, that with respect to a large amount of Egyptian finance the country was under great restraint, and that restraint was established by International Law, and International Law must be treated as of the same validity as any other law. Well, Sir, what happened in 1882? When it was proposed by Her Majesty's Government that the Fleet should go to Alexandria the French Government declined to take part in the operation. On the 30th of July in that year, M. de Freycinet asked for a Vote of 9,500,000 francs to pay for a Naval Expedition jointly with us; but he was defeated on that proposal, and was obliged to retire from Office. All combination of action between ourselves and France ceased from that day in 1882. It was evident that from that moment it was impossible for us to go back to the Dual Control. Parliament would not have sanctioned it, public opinion would not have sanctioned it, and the consequence was that we found ourselves from that time not only face to face with the whole of the financial difficulties which might arise in Egypt after that combination with France which the Dual Control established had ceased, but face to face, as I have said, with the whole of the Powers of Europe, without whose joint action we could not alter one single Article of the Law of Liquidation. Now, Sir, it became perfectly clear before the end of that year, 1882, that a very large sum, £8,000,000 sterling at least, would have to be borrowed by Egypt for her public purposes, and it was also clear that the Law of Liquidation prevented Egypt from borrowing one farthing of that money without the consent of the Caisse, or, in other words, without the consent of the Powers. We knew that by the end of 1882, or so soon as the amount of the indemnities had been settled by the Commission which had been appointed to inquire into the claims, we should be face to face with that difficult problem how to enable Egypt to raise the money, which required not our consent but the consent of all the Powers, and by what mutual concession or arrangement we could make an agreement with the Powers of Europe, without even the assistance of France, which, formerly, had been united with us under the system of the Dual Control, which could no longer exist. Well, Sir, what courses were open to us? The then state of things endured until the work of the Indemnities Com- mission was completed in December, 1883. Early in 1884, therefore, it became absolutely necessary for us to confer with the Powers, and consider how we could enable Egypt to raise this large amount of money, then ascertained to be required for her public purposes. It appears to me, Sir, we might have adopted one of three courses. We might, as some hon. Gentlemen have hinted in the course of this debate, have given up all idea of coming to an arrangement with the Powers in regard to the loan, and have left Egypt to do what she could for herself. Well, as Egypt could not borrow a shilling, that would have meant bankruptcy. I know there are some Members of the House who would have wished us to adopt that course. The second alternative was this. We might have adopted, if we had thought fit, a course which de facto would have abolished the Law of Liquidation; and the Committee will ask me what that course was. We can only abolish the Law of Liquidation by enabling Egypt to pay off the whole of her Debt; and as that amounts to something like £92,000,000, I do not think there would have been much chance of success had we asked Parliament to enable us to raise the money to pay off the Egyptian Debt, and to raise a new Debt upon the security we could give. I put that, therefore, out of the question; and now I come to the third alternative. The only alternative to the two courses I have specified was to come to an agreement with the Powers, and to commence the negotiations which were commenced in the early part of 1884, when we summoned the Conference of London. Now, under what circumstances did the Conference meet in London; under what circumstances did we enter that Conference? To a very great extent we were at the mercy of the other Powers. Excepting in one respect, they had no great interest in the settlement of Egyptian financial affairs. We had a very large interest, and there was one weapon in our hands which we could use, and which it was well known we should use—namely, the payment of the indemnities could not take place unless a new loan was raised under the powers of the Law of Liquidation as amended by the Conference. In the payment of these indemnities we had but a small interest —I think our entire interest was one-ninth of the whole amount. The interest of the other Powers of Europe jointly amounted to eight-ninths of the whole; and, therefore, when we entered the Conference, while we had very little to rely upon with which to persuade the Powers to adopt our views, we had that single weapon—that the indemnities could not be paid unless they agreed to a modification of the Law of Liquidation. The French Ambassador was very well aware of the importance of that weapon, because, when the Conference ended in the impossibility of bringing the views of England and Prance into accord, the French Ambassador proposed, as anyone will see on reference to the last page of the Protocol, a separate arrangement, dealing with the indemnities only. If, however, we had assented to that proposal, we should have lost altogether our power of settling the finances of Egypt. We declined to make a separate arrangement in regard to the indemnities; there was a good deal of excitement in Paris, in Vienna, and other places; and there was an idea that we might, perhaps, be squeezed into adopting that course. We strenuously held our ground; and the result was that when the Conference broke up there was a clear impression on the part of all the Powers that the question was only postponed, and that the Powers must come together in another shape to see what could be done to solve the difficulty. Now, Sir, what were the differences between ourselves and the French, Italy being with us, and the three other Powers saying they would not interfere, but would accept whatever Prance was willing to accept? In the first place, we agreed on one very important point—namely, that all the Sinking Funds ought to be suspended; but we differed as to the estimate of the Egyptian Revenue. Now, as these financial transactions must be founded upon Estimates, Estimates are very important matters, and I think the difference between our Estimates was as much as £600,000 a-year. We differed also in this respect—that we pressed for a considerable reduction in the interest paid to the bondholders, and that Prance refused, and they pressed for an immediate inquiry by Europe into Egyptian finance, and that we refused. The matter, therefore, came to a dead lock, and the Conference was adjourned. Well, the Earl of North-brook then went to Egypt, and one of the great benefits of the Earl of North-brook's Mission—and the benefits we derived from it are many—was that our figures, with respect to the prospective Revenue of Egypt, were found to be practically right, and that the French figures were practically wrong. That was a great point established by the Earl of Northbrook's Mission, and we used it as an important factor in the fresh discussions, when we and the French and the other Powers again entered into communication during the months from November to February last. And now let me remind the Committee what it is we have gained in the new arrangement. In the first place, we have gained this—that the Powers have accepted, as the basis of the Budget Estimate, our figures of the Revenue of Egypt instead of the French; secondly, they have agreed to a reduction in the interest of the bondholders, though to the extent of £200,000 instead of £370,000; and, thirdly, they have consented to the taxation of foreigners in Egypt practically on the same basis as the taxation of Natives, which was our proposition. The fourth gain was that there should be no inquiry such as was proposed for two years; and the fifth had reference to some minor points—that the contribution to the Army should be settled at £200,000 a-year instead of the £120,000 a-year, as proposed before. These, I say, are five real advantages gained by us over the proposals made by France and adopted by the other Powers at the Conference of last year; and as against those advantages the single concession of importance which we have made is that the guarantee of the £9,000,000 loan, which had been proposed to be guaranteed solely by us, should be a joint and several guarantee by the Powers. Now, I ask the Committee—I ask any man of business—is there not a very considerable advantage gained by us in these five points? ["No!"] Well, I thought it would be a self-evident proposition. What I said before I will say again, that in gaining these five points we gain something substantial. The question remains—and I do not moan to prejudge it—whether the concession as to the joint guarantee was greater as a loss than the gain we have made. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Westminster (Mr. W. H. Smith), and others who went before him, have asked me to state succinctly what is the position of the Budget of Egypt, as established under the arrangement we have made, and as compared with the previous Budgets which have boon put before Parliament. Now, our proposals at the Conference were to this effect. We estimated a Revenue of £8,855,000; the cost of administration, £4,667,000; a charge of Debt, including the deficits on the Daira and Domain Loans, of £3,760,000; a charge for the Army of £293,000, and a surplus of £135,000. The Budget of the French Plenipotentiaries was very different. They estimated £9,582,000 as the amount of the Revenue of Egypt; they put the Debt at a much higher figure than we did—£4,021,000; the Army of Occupation at £293,000; and they left a surplus of £601,000. And the Budget proposed to us by the French Government, on the basis, to a certain extent, of the Earl of Northbrook's Report, took the Revenue at £8,947,000; the cost of administration at £4,678,000; the Debt, including the interest on the new Loan, the deficit and the other charges, less the 5 per cent tax on the coupons, at £4,003,000; the Army of Occupation at £120,000; and the surplus at £145,000. The final Budget, as now settled, giving the same Revenue, the same charge for administration, and the same deduction of 5 per cent, with £200,000 for the Army of Occupation, leaves a surplus of £65,000. I give these figures to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Westminster (Mr. W. H. Smith) as the correct figures. I am asked, also, to state what the administrative expenses will consist of. The administrative expenses amount altogether to a sum of £5,237,000—made up as follows:—Administration, £4,678,000; Moukabala, £150,000; Suez, £175,000; Daira Khassa, £34,000; and Army of Occupation, £200,000. I have also been asked for the causes of the deficit. The deficit amounts altogether to a little over £10,000,000, £9,000,000 of which are included in the loan. The causes of deficit are as follows:—Deficits to end of 1884, inclusive, £2,657,000, included I in which is an item of £394,000 con- nected with Arabi and his insurrection; £1,337,000 for expenses in the Sou-dan; £1,011,000, the cost of the Army of Occupation; £258,000 for pensions, &c.; and £42,000 for other charges, making a total of £3,042,000; but deducting £385,000, with which we started, we have a balance of £2,657,000. In addition to this sum there is an estimated deficit in 1885 of £1,200,000; for irrigation, £1,000,000; for pensions commutation, £550,000; for cash balance to start, £500,000; and indemnities, £4,130,000; making a total of £10,037,000. Against this may be put the loan of £9,000,000, and £1,300,000 from the balance of the old Law of Liquidation, and from certain lands. I think I have answered the questions which have been put to me as to the figures. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Bourke) asks me to reconcile my statement about the joint guarantee not involving International intervention with what I said at the Conference last year. Now, Sir, I will tell the right hon. Gentleman what happened at the Conference last year. At an early stage of the Conference, the proposal of a joint guarantee was made by France. We made inquiry, and after examination we satisfied ourselves that the other Powers not only did not want it, but in all probability would not join in it, and that the effect of the French proposal would be that the joint guarantee would be that of England and France. When I satisfied myself of that I gave an answer, and those who quoted it only quoted the first part. I said that we did not ask for a joint guarantee, and that we had no reason to believe that all the Powers would agree to it. If we had come to Parliament for a joint guarantee on the part of England and France it would have been objected to; and at that time France was the only Power, as far as we knew, that was willing to join in a guarantee. Last year, therefore, France wished for a joint guarantee, and no other Power wished for it. This year the whole of the Powers unite in wishing for a joint guarantee. Therefore, the position of the matter is entirely altered. Then the hon. Member for Greenwich (Baron Henry De Worms) asked me to explain how what I said the other day about the effect of the joint guarantee agreed with the language Earl Granville used in sum-ruing up the rejection of the last pro- The Chancellor of the Exchequer posal of the Conference. The proposal for a joint guarantee stood by itself, and the proposal made at the last sitting was not for any vague or possible interference, but for a distinct plan by which the Caisse was to be given direct authority, in the event of there being a deficit, to determine how the deficit was to be made good, and to decide from year to year about reduction of interest and so forth. We said that we could not consent to what, in our judgment, might be an improvident financial arrangement, and we said that we did not think that powers of this magnitude should be given to the Caisse. It was a totally different matter from the question whether there should be a joint guarantee. It was a distinct proposal for a joint intervention by the Caisse made by the French Ambassador, which we distinctly refused. Then the right hon. Gentleman the Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Bourke) asks me to explain how it was that Russia and Germany had not applied to be admitted into the Caisse until after the Earl of Northbrook's Mission. I have already answered that question. Russia and Germany applied to be admitted into the Caisse, and I believe in the clearest terms, two months before the Earl of Northbrook's Mission, and their application had nothing to do with the Earl of Northbrook's Mission. I have only a word or two more to add. The right hon. Baronet (Sir Stafford Northcote) asked, in the first place, how the Budget we prepared agrees with the Budget we proposed at the Conference? I have already answered that. He asks whether the Revenue agrees with the Estimate, and what has been done about what the Earl of Northbrook called the incumbrances? The incumbrances had reference to the general condition of the Daira and Domains, and if the right hon. Gentleman will turn to page 332 he will see that France has distinctly agreed with us to discuss that question. There is one matter more, and one only, of importance which has been alluded to. The question has been asked—Can we arrive at a solid inquiry and settlement from our point of view without the intervention of the Powers during the two years which the Powers have given us for the purpose? I can answer that question without hesitation. If we have, as we believe we shall have, a free hand in the matter, we shall be able to complete that in- quiry into the financial condition of Egypt which is so important, and the result of which will be, I believe, to obviate any recurrence to the Powers after the end of two years. I give that as my opinion; but it is an opinion shared by many, and I give it with the greatest confidence. I can undertake to say to my right hon. Friend behind me (Mr. Goschen) that we shall not drift, and that our intention is to exercise thoroughly the powers which have been given to us, and to make a full and thorough inquiry both into the taxation of the rich and the taxation of the foreigner; and I firmly believe that by the end of the two years our efforts will have had a successful result. I am much obliged to the Committee for the patience with which it has listened to me.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 294; Noes 246: Majority 48.

Acland,rt. hn.SirT.D. Buxton, F. W.
Acland, C. T. D. Buxton, S. C.
Agnew, W. Caine, W. S.
Ainsworth, D. Cameron, C.
Allen, H. G. Campbell, Lord C.
Amory, Sir J. H. Campbell, Sir G.
Armitage, B. Campbell, R. F. F.
Armitstead, G. Campbell-Bannerman, right hon. H.
Arnold, A.
Asher, A. Carington, hon. R.
Ashley, hon. E. M. Cartwright, W. C.
Baldwin, E. Causton, R. K.
Balfour, Sir G. Cavendish, Lord E.
Balfour, rt. hon. J. B. Chamberlain, rt. hn. J.
Balfour, J. S. Chambers, Sir T.
Barclay, J. W. Cheetham, J. F.
Baring, Viscount Childers,rt.hn.H. C. E.
Barnes, A. Clark, S.
Barran, J. Clarke, J. C.
Bass, Sir A. Clifford, C. C.
Bass, H. Cohen, A.
Baxter, rt. hon. W. E. Colebrooke, Sir T. E.
Beaumont, W. B. Collings, J.
Biddulph, M. Collins, E.
Blennerhassett, P. P. Colman, J. J.
Bolton, J. C. Colthurst, Col. D. la Z.
Borlase, W. C. Corbett, J.
Brand, hon. H. R. Cotes, C. C.
Brassey, Sir T. Courtauld, G.
Brassey, H. A. Courtney, L. H.
Brett, R. B. Cowper, hon. H. F.
Bright, right hon. J. Craig, W. Y.
Bright, J. Cropper, J.
Brinton, J. Cross, J. K.
Broadhurst, H. Crum, A.
Brown, A. H. Cunliffe, Sir R. A.
Bruce, rt. hon. Lord C. Davey, H.
Bruce, hon. R. P. Davies, D.
Bryce, J. Davies, R.
Buchanan, T. R. Davies, W.
Burt, T. De Ferrieres, Baron
Buszard, M, C. Dickson, T. A.
Dilke, rt. hn. Sir C. W. Jenkins, D. J.
Dillwyn, L. L. Jerningham, H. E. H.
Dodds, J. Johnson, E.
Duckham, T. Jones-Parry, L.
Duff, R. W. Kinnear, J.
Dundas, hon. J. C. Laing, S.
Earp, T. Lambton, hon. F. W.
Ebrington, Viscount Lawrence, Sir J. C.
Edwards, H. Lawrence, W.
Egerton, Admiral hon. F. Lea, T.
Leake, R.
Elliot, hon. A. R. D. Leatham, E. A.
Evans, T. W. Leatham, W. H.
Fairbairn, Sir A. Lee, H.
Farquharson, Dr. R. Lefevre,rt. hn. G. J. S.
Fay, C. J. Lloyd, M.
Ferguson, R. Lusk, Sir A.
Ferguson, R. C. Munro- Lyons, R. D.
Findlater, W. Macfarlane, D. H.
Firth, J. F. B. Mackie, R. B.
Fitzmaurice, Lord E. Mackintosh, C. F.
Fitzwilliam, hon. H. W. Macliver, P. S.
Fitzwilliam, hon.W. J. M'Arthur, Sir W.
Flower, C. M'Arthur, A.
Foljambe, F. J. S. M'Clure, Sir T.
Forster, Sir C. M'Coan, J. C.
Forster, rt. hn. W. E. M'Lagan, P.
Fort, R. M'Laren, C. B. B.
Fowler, H. H. Magniac, C.
Fowler, W. Maitland, W. F.
Fry, L. Mappin, F. T.
Fry, T. Marjoribanks, hon. E.
Gabbett, D. F. Martin, R. B.
Gladstone, rt.hn. W.E. Maskehyne, M. H. N. Story-
Gladstone, H. J.
Gladstone, W. H. Mason, H.
Glyn, hon. S. C. Maxwell-Heron, Capt. J. M.
Gordon, Lord D.
Gordon, Sir A. Meldon, C. H.
Goschen, rt. hon. G. J. Mellor, J. W.
Gower, hon. E. F. L. Monk, C. J.
Grafton, F. W. Moreton, Lord
Grant, Sir G. M. Morgan, rt. hon. G. O.
Grant, A. Morley, A.
Grant, D. Morley, J.
Grey, A. H. G. Morley, S.
Gurdon, R. T. Mundella, rt. hn. A. J.
Hamilton, J. G. C. Noel, E.
Harcourt, rt. hn. Sir W. G. V. V. O'Beirne, Colonel F.
O'Brien, Sir P.
Hardcastle, J. A. O'Donoghue, The
Hartington, Marq. of Paget, T. T.
Hastings, G. W. Palmer, C. M.
Hayter, Sir A. D. Palmer, G.
Henderson, F. Parker, C. S.
Heneage, E. Pease, Sir J. W.
Henry, M. Pease, A.
Herschell, Sir F. Peddie, J. D.
Hibbert, J. T. Pender, J.
Hill, T. R. Pennington, F.
Holden, I. Playfair, rt. hn. Sir L.
Hollond, J. R. Portman.hon.W.H.B.
Holms, J. Potter, T. B.
Hopwood, C. H. Powell, W. R. H.
Howard, G. J. Power, J. O'C.
Howard, J. Price, Sir R. G.
Illingworth, A. Pulley, J.
Ince, H. B. Ralli, P.
Inderwick, F. A. Ramsay, J.
James, Sir H. Ramsden, Sir J.
James, hon. W. H. Rathbone, W.
James, C. Reed, Sir E. J.
Jenkins, Sir J. J. Reid, R. T.
Rendel, S. Tavistock, Marquess of
Richard, H. Tennant, C.
Richardson, T. Thomasson, J. P.
Roberts, J. Thompson, T. C.
Robertson, H. Tillett, J. H.
Roe, T. Torrens, W. T. M.
Rogers, C. C. Tracy, hon. F. S. A. Hanbury-
Rogers, J. E. T.
Rothschild, Sir N. M.de Trevelyan, rt. hn. G. O.
Roundell, C. S. Verney, Sir H.
Russell, Lord A. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Russell, C. Vivian, Sir H. H.
Russell, G. W. E. Vivian, A. P.
Russell, T. Waddy, S. D.
Ruston, J. Walker, S.
Rylands, P. Walter, J.
St. Aubyn, Sir J. Waterlow, Sir S.
Samuelson, Sir B. Waugh, E.
Samuelson, H. Webster, J.
Seely, C. (Lincoln) West, H. W.
Seely, C. (Nottingham) Whitbread, S.
Sellar, A. C. Whitworth, B.
Shaw, T. Wiggin, H.
Sheridan, H. B. Williamson, S.
Shield, H. Willis, W.
Simon, Serjeant J. Wills, W. H.
Sinclair, Sir J. G. T. Willyams, E. W. B.
Slagg, J. Wilson, Sir M.
Smith, Lieut-Col. G. Wilson, C. H.
Smith, E. Wodehouse, E. R.
Smith, S. Woodall, W.
Stanley, hon. E. L. Woolf, S.
Stanton, W. J.
Stevenson, J. C. TELLERS.
Stuart, J. Grosvenor, right hon.
Summers, W. Lord R.
Sutherland, T. Kensington,rt.hn.Lord
Talbot, C. R. M.
Ackers, B. St. J. Bulwer, J. R.
Alexander,Maj-Gen. C. Burghley, Lord
Allsopp, C. Burrell, Sir W. W.
Amherst, W. A. T. Buxton, Sir R. J.
Ashmead-Bartlett, E. Cameron, D.
Aylmer, J. E. F. Campbell, J. A.
Bailey, Sir J. R. Carden, Sir R. W.
Balfour, A. J. Cecil, Lord E.H.B.G.
Baring, T. C. Chaine, J.
Barne, F. St. J. N. Chaplin, H.
Barttelot, Sir W. B. Christie, W. L.
Bateson, Sir T. Clarke, E.
Beach, right hon. Sir M. E. Hicks- Clive, Col. hon. G. W.
Coddington, W.
Beach, W. W. B. Cole, Viscount
Bective, Earl of Commins, A.
Bellingham, A. H. Compton, F.
Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C. Corbet, W. J.
Beresford, G. De la P. Corry, J. P.
Biddell, W. Cotton, W. J. R.
Biggar, J. G. Cowen, J.
Birkbeck, E. Crichton, Viscount
Blackburne, Col. J. I. Cross, rt. hon. Sir R. A.
Boord, T. W. Cubitt, right hon. G.
Bourke, right hon. R. Curzon, Major hon. M.
Broadley, W. H. H. Dalrymple, C.
Brodrick, hon. W. St. J. F. Davenport, H. T.
Dawnay, Col. hon. L. P.
Brooks, W. C. De Worms, Baron H.
Bruce, Sir H. H. Dickson, Major A. G.
Bruce, hon. T. Digby, J. K. D. W.
Brymer, W. E, Dixon-Hartland, F. D.
Douglas, A. Akers- Lawrance, J. C.
Dyke, rt. hn. Sir W. H. Lawrence, Sir T.
Eaton, H. W. Leamy, E.
Eckersley, N. Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.
Ecroyd, W. F. Legh, W. J.
Egerton, hon. A. de T. Leigh, R.
Egerton, hon. A. F. Leighton, Sir B.
Elcho, Lord Leighton, S.
Elliot, Sir G. Lever, J. O.
Elliot, G. W. Levett, T. J.
Ellis, Sir J. W. Lewis, C. E.
Elton, C. I. Lewisham, Viscount
Emlyn, Viscount Lindsay, Sir R. L.
Estcourt, G. S. Lloyd, S. S.
Ewart, W. Loder, R.
Feilden, Lt.-Gen. R. J. Long, W. H.
Fellowes, W. H. Lopes, Sir M.
Finch, G. H. Lowther, rt. hon. J.
Fitzwilliam, hon.C.W. Lowther, hon. W.
Fitz-Wygram, Sir F. Lowther, J. W.
Fletcher, Sir H. Macartney, J. W. E.
Floyer, J. Mac Iver, D.
Folkestone, Viscount Macnaghten, E.
Forester, C. T. W. M'Carthy, J.
Foster, W. H. M'Carthy, J. H.
Fowler, R. N. M'Garel-Hogg, Sir J.
Fremantle, hon. T. F. M'Mahon, E.
French-Brewster, R. A. B. Makins, Colonel W. T.
Manners, rt. hon. Lord J. J. R.
Freshfield, C. K.
Galway, Viscount March, Earl of
Gardner, R. Richardson Marriott, W. T.
Master, T. W. C.
Gibson, right hon. E. Maxwell, Sir H. E.
Giffard, Sir H. S. Miles, Sir P. J. W.
Giles, A. Mills, Sir G. H.
Goldney, Sir G. Molloy, B. C.
Gooch, Sir D. Monckton, F.
Gorst, J. E. Morgan, hon. F.
Grantham, W. Moss, R.
Gray, E. D. Mowbray, rt. hon. Sir, J.R.
Greene, E.
Greer, T. Muntz, P. A.
Gregory, G. B. Newport, Viscount
Gunter, Col. R. Nicholson, W. N.
Halsey, T. F. North, Colonel J. S.
Hamilton, right hon. Lord G. Northcote, rt. hon. Sir S. H.
Hamilton, Lord C. J. Northcote, H. S.
Harrington, T. O'Brien, W.
Harris, W. J. O'Connor, A.
Harvey, Sir R. B. O'Connor, J.
Hay, rt. hon. Admiral Sir J. C. D. O'Connor, T. P.
O'Kelly, J.
Herbert, hon. S. Onslow, D. R.
Hicks, E. Paget, R. H.
Hildyard, T. B. T. Parnell, C. S.
Hill, Lord A. W. Patrick, R. W. Cochran-
Hill, A. S.
Holland, Sir H. T. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Home, Lt.-Col. D. M. Pell, A.
Hope, right hon. A. J. B. B. Pemberton, E. L.
Percy, rt. hon. Earl
Houldsworth, W. H. Percy, Lord A. M.
Hubbard, right hon. J. G. Phipps, C. N. P.
Phipps, P.
Kennard, Col. E. H. Plunket, rt. hon. D. R.
Kennard, C. J. Power, P. J.
Kennaway, Sir J. H. Puleston, J. H.
Kenny, M. J. Raikes, rt. hon. H. C.
Knight, F. W. Rankin, J.
Knightley, Sir R. Read, C. S.
Lalor, R. Redmond, J. E,
Redmond, W. H. K. Thomson, H.
Rendlesham, Lord Thornhill, A. J.
Repton, G. W. Tollemache,hon. W. F.
Ridley, Sir M. W. Tollemache, H. J.
Ritchie, C. T. Tomlinson, W. E. M.
Rolls, J. A. Tottenham, A. L.
Ross, A. H. Tremayne, J.
Ross, C. C. Tyler, Sir H. W.
Round, J. Wallace, Sir R.
St. Aubyn, W. M. Walrond, Col. W. H.
Sclater-Booth, rt.hn.G. Warburton, P. E.
Scott, M. D. Warton, C. N.
Selwin-Ibbetson, Sir H. J. Watney, J.
Whitley, E.
Severne, J. E. Williams, General O.
Sexton, T. Wilmot, Sir H.
Sheil, E. Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Small, J. F. Wolff, Sir H. D.
Smith, rt. hon. W. H. Wortley, C. B. Stuart-
Smith, A. Wroughton, P.
Stanhope, hon. E. Wyndham, hon. P.
Stanley, rt. hon. Col. P. Yorke, J. R.
Stanley, E. J.
Storer, G. TELLERS.
Strutt, hon. C. H. Thornhill, T.
Sykes, C. Winn, R.
Talbot, J. G.

Bill read the third time, and passed.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Resolved, That Her Majesty be authorised to guarantee the payment of an annuity of three hundred and fifteen thousand pounds sterling for the purpose of a loan, to be raised by the Government of Egypt, in pursuance of the Convention signed at London on the eighteenth day of March 1885, between Her Majesty and the Governments of Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia, with the authority of Turkey; and. that provision be made out of the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom, or the growing produce thereof, for the issue of such sums of money from time to time, as may be required, to pay any sums which may at any time be required to fulfil the guarantee of Her Majesty in respect of such annuity, conformably to the tenor of Her Majesty's engagement as specified in the said Convention.

Resolution to be reported upon Monday next.