HC Deb 22 February 1886 vol 302 cc939-89

, in rising to move— That, Her Majesty having directed a Military expedition of Her forces charged upon Indian revenues to be despatched against the King of Ava, this House consents that the revenues of India shall be applied to defray the expenses of the Military operations which may be carried on beyond the external frontiers of Her Majesty's Indian possessions, said, that he must claim some indulgent allowance as it was only a fortnight since he entered the India Office. The statement which he would make to the House would be short and simple. It was the intention of the Government, following the course announced by their Predecessors, to propose to both Houses of Parliament that there should be a Joint Committee upon the Acts relating to the Government of India; and it would be part of the duty of the Committee to consider whether the meaning of the 54th and 55th sections of the Government of India Act was perfectly clear, or whether anything could be done to remove ambiguities which existed according to many learned authorities. Meanwhile, the Government, acting in the spirit of the Act, sought, at the earliest possible moment, the sanction of Parliament to the step which had been taken of applying the Revenues of India for the purpose of defraying the expenses of the Burmese War. It was not necessary for him to detain the House with any regular narrative of the events that led to the annexation of Burmah. King Theebaw ascended the Throne in 1878, and, not to go further back, ever since that time the relations of the Indian Government with that of Burmah had been anything but satisfactory. The history of those relations was contained in the Blue Book. Matters culminated in the Ultimatum which was sent by the Viceroy in October last year to Mandalay. That Ultimatum contained certain terms to which the Burmese Government refused to accede, and Theebaw issued a hostile Preclamation threatening to efface the heretic Christian barbarians, and to conquer and annex their country. On November 11 the late Government ordered the Military Expedition to Upper Burmah which Sir Harry Prendergast commanded, and on January 1 Theebaw's Kingdom was annexed under instructions from Her Majesty's late Ministers. When Parliament met it was announced in the Speech from the Throne that Her Majesty had decided that the most certain method of insuring peace and order in those regions was to be found in the permanent incorporation of the Kingdom of Ava with the British Empire. What the present Government had to do was to deal with the situation so created. When they acceded to Office the Viceroy (the Earl of Dufferin) was on his way to Mandalay. Her Majesty's present Government awaited the opinion of Lord Dufferin formed on the spot. He had not gone so committed as to prevent his forming an impartial opinion, and he had now telegraphed a very clear and a very strong opinion in regard to Burmah; and acting upon his opinion, and in view of the situation created by the Proclamation of Annexation, and the announcement in Her Majesty's Speech, Her Majesty's Government had had no doubt whatever as to the course which they should pursue; the annexation effected under the late Government must be maintained, and consequential administrative measures had been authorized. He did not know that he could give much idea of what those administrative measures would be. There could, however, be no doubt that Upper Burmah would be administered under the authority of the Viceroy; and it was hoped that a system of administration might be introduced suitable to the peculiarities of the country and the people of Upper Burmah, and not burdensome in cost. The Viceroy was pefecting a scheme with these objects; but Her Majesty's Government were not yet so fully in possession of his views as to Make a more explicit statement at present. Having said that much, he thought the House would expect him to supply some information as to our relations with the great Chinese Empire, our neighbour. With regard to that subject, he need hardly say that Her Majesty's Government were most anxious to show a thoroughly friendly disposition towards China, and he had every reason to believe that that desire was heartily reciprocated by that country. It would be premature, however, to say anything about the precise arrangement that might be come to between this country and China; but the Government were hopeful that the negotiations begun a little while ago would be brought to a perfectly satisfactory termination. As to the cholera, about which there had been one or two rather alarming statements, calculated to make people at home anxious as to the health of the troops, British and Indian, now employed in Upper Burmah, he was able to give most reassuring information to the House. Between November and January a slight outbreak of the malady did occur; but there had been no case of cholera among the troops in Upper Burmah since the first week in January. With respect to the cost of the Expedition, he was happy to say that the estimates which had reached them from the Viceroy at Mandalay, although they were necessarily rough, and perhaps to some extent conjectural, confirmed the statement made by the noble Lord the late Secretary of State for India, the estimate of the Viceroy being that the total cost of the Expedition would not exceed £300,000, even if it should reach that figure. The Secretary of State desired that the most ample recognition should be given of the prompt and complete manner in which the Civil and Military Authorities both of the Indian and Madras Governments had equipped, organized, and despatched this Expedition. He desired also to recognize the able conduct of Mr. Bernard, our Chief Commissioner in British Burmah, during the whole of this affair. He was anxious to acknowledge the promptitude of General Prendergast and Colonel Sladen in their Expedition up the river and entrance into Mandalay. And, lastly, he wished to say a word as regarded the efficiency of the Indian and British troops in many duties often of a harassing character, and to acknowledge the ready assistance given by the Naval Commander-in-Chief and his forces in furnishing a Naval Brigade, whose services were worthy of all praise. He had already given some information upon a very mournful subject—namely, the conduct of the Provost Marshal at some executions in Upper Burmah. Further information would be given as soon as possible. In a communication received from the Viceroy that evening, he stated that, after inquiries, it was certainly untrue that the troops shot persons indiscriminately who had been made prisoners. Those shot at Mandalay during the past six weeks had been cases of convicted offenders, under sentence by civil officers. The Viceroy explained that occasionally, when taken red-handed, the leaders of marauding parties were shot; but whenever that was done, it was in every case only upon the advice of the civil officer accompanying the column intrusted with the duty of suppressing these dacoits and so-called insurgents, both of whom robbed and murdered innocent villagers. They were cruel and barbarous, the Viceroy said, not to us, but to these innocent villagers. This dacoity had been an old evil in Upper Burmah, but exceptionally ripe under Theebaw's bad government. So far as the Viceroy could ascertain, there had been no undue severity on the part of our troops; and he spoke of the calmness and humanity of General Prendergast, and said Mr. Bernard would not countenance excessive punishment. For the safety of the country, and for the happiness of its inhabitants, it was absolutely necessary to suppress these gangs of robbers, and to punish these robbers and murderers. Further, the Viceroy said that the pacification of the country was being effected as rapidly as possible, although the fact that a large part of the country was covered with jungle rendered the work exceptionally difficult. Coming to the Amendment of which the hon. and learned Member for Aberdeen (Mr. Hunter) had given Notice, he observed that his hon. Friend proposed to move that it was unjust to defray the expenses of this Expedition out of the Indian Revenues. He (Sir Ughtred Kay-Shuttle-worth) did not know by what arguments his hon. and learned Friend proposed to support the Amendment. But he anticipated that one of these would be that this was a war for British trade. There could be no doubt that the annexation might have an effect on British trade; he hoped, indeed, that an improvement in the trade of the country might be one of its effects. But a war undertaken for that purpose would have been unjustifiable. Her Majesty's Government was, however, prepared to deny that the war was undertaken for any such purpose. The real ground of the Viceroy's action, as Her Majesty's Government concluded on reading the Papers, was the protection and safety of British Burmah, and of Her Majesty's other Dominions in that part of the world. The Government of King Theebaw had been endeavouring for some time past to establish political relations with other Powers; and its object was clearly to annoy the Government of India. It was obvious that the results of such conduct would eventually be dangerous to the Indian Empire; and it was evident that it was largely on that ground that the Viceroy based his action. If that view were correct, he (Sir Ughtred Kay-Shuttle worth) ventured to contend, on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, that the British taxpayers could not be fairly asked to pay the costs of this Expedition, and that it was properly payable out of the Revenues of India. There were two other arguments which might be used against his hon. and learned Friend, though upon the first he did not lay much stress. This was a comparatively small sum. So far as the information sent by the Viceroy was concerned, the expenses of the Expedition were, as he had before observed, estimated not to exceed £300,000. Not only, therefore, was this a comparatively small affair, but the Expedition was distinctly undertaken for the defence of British Burmah and other Possessions in that part of Asia. On the other hand, there was no ground for laying the burden of this war on the British taxpayer. But there was a further argument for placing this burden on the Indian Revenue which he would place before the House. For many years British Burmah had been a source of very considerable Revenue to India. Here was an Expedition undertaken for the defence of British Burmah, and so far as the taxpayers of the rest of India were concerned, they were only asked to make a small return out of this large annual contribution. As to the probable future of Upper Burmah, he did not wish to put before the House any very rosy or sanguine view regarding the development of trade likely to spring from our annexation of Upper Burmah. It was safer not to indulge in prophetic anticipations, which were often not realized, and he would not hold out any exaggerated anticipations. There was, however, one fact before the House which was of an encouraging character, and which would form much more solid ground than any anticipation he could put forward, and that was the fact that the population, the Revenue, and the trade of British Burmah had increased enormously since it had become a British Province. In 1862–3 the population of British Burmah was 2,500,000, while in 1883–4 it amounted to 3,700,000. The Revenue in the earlier period he had mentioned did not reach £1,000,000; but in 1883–4 it was nearly £3,000,000. At the former period, the trade of the country, including imports and exports, was under £2,000,000; whereas, in 1883, it approached £10,500,000. That was to say, the Revenue of British Burmah had been trebled in the period referred to, while its trade had been more than quintupled. If any such results should be obtained in Upper Burmah, then this House would have very good reason to be satisfied. The hon. Baronet concluded by moving the Resolution of which he had given Notice.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That, Her Majesty having directed a Military expedition of Her forces charged upon Indian revenues to be despatched against the King of Ava, this House consents that the revenues of India shall be applied to defray the expenses of the Military operations which may be carried on beyond the external frontiers of Her Majesty's Indian possessions."—(Sir Ughtred Eay-Shuttleworth.)


, in rising to move, as an Amendment— That this House is of opinion that it would be unjust to defray the expense of the Military operations in the Kingdom of Ava out of the revenues of India, said, that it would be admitted on all sides that they ought to examine such a proposal as that now made by the hon. Baronet the Under Secretary of State for India with the most scrupulous care. Indeed, it was impossible to exercise too scrupulous and exacting a care, for the House occupied a peculiarly delicate position in ascertaining whether the expense of the war ought to be paid by the people of India or the people of England. The people of India had no Representative in that House to protect their interests; and there always was a danger that injustice might be done in matters of account between the two countries. Further, the relations between the English Government and the people of India had been compared to that between guardian and ward, There was some truth in the comparison; and as there was nothing more dishonourable to a guardian than to charge upon the estate of his ward expenses incurred for his own personal ends, such conduct was peculiarly cruel and mean when the guardian was very rich, and the ward was very poor. There were two facts as to which, unfortunately, there could be no dispute. First, we had acquired an insolvent Province; and the noble Lord the late Secretary of State for India had expressed a hope that it would be possible to introduce a simple form of government, inasmuch as it was probable that for a considerable period the Revenues of the country would not defray the costs of administration. The time had been very unhappily chosen for increasing the burdens and extending the responsibilities of the Indian Empire, seeing that the Government of India had been driven to the last resource of imposing an Income Tax. The Revenue from British Burmah had never paid the interest on the first Burmese War. The cost of that war was £15,000,000, and the largest surplus in British Burmah, after making allowance for exchange, was only £670,000; and the time never would come when it was possible for British Burmah to pay its arrears of interest to the Indian Empire. Who were those who had clamoured for annexation? They were certainly not the people of India, or the Native merchants of British Burmah. Indeed, he denied in toto that there was any widespread feeling in the country favourable to the annexation of Upper Burmah. Even in October, 1884, when the relations of the Indian Government and the King of Burmah were admittedly friendly, the Native merchants of Rangoon protested against the views in favour of annexation expressed by the British merchants of that town, because they knew it would be entirely a burden. If the annexation was brought about by the Chambers of Commerce, and, as was undoubtedly the case, this was a war to open up new markets for British trade, for British interests, and not for Indian interests—if it was a war that was urged on by British merchants, and condemned by the people of India—then where was the justice or honour of imposing the expenses of the war upon the Exchequer of India? What aggravated the war in the eyes of the Indian people was that, in their estimation at all events, there never was a war less necessary, or an annexation less desirable. The Government of India, in the Proclamation on which they based their attack on King Theebaw, spoke of the King's Reign as having been marked by the violation of Treaties and by outrages on British subjects, and generally of his having pursued a policy systematically opposed to British interests. But in a despatch from the Government of India, dated March 24, 1885, the Government declared that— Hitherto our Treaties have been, on the whole, respected, our commerce has received protection, and our officers have succeeded in maintaining friendly relations with the officials on the Burmese frontier districts. Those, then, were points in which the statements in the Proclamation were flatly contradicted by a despatch sent from India no later than March 24, 1885. The average British trade between British Burmah and Ava in the four years before King Theebaw ascended the Throne was £3,061,174; the average of the four succeeding years was £3,224,814, which, moreover, represented a relatively much larger volume of trade, because, in the meantime, the prices of articles had declined as much as 30 or 40 per cent. Mr. Bernard, our Chief Commissioner in Burmah, who up to that time had steadily opposed annexation, on the 28th of July gave a conditional and qualified assent to a different policy. What was it that occurred in the interval? It was two documents which purported to be copies of an engagement entered into by the French Government on the one hand, and by the Burmese Government on the other. This Agreement, it was alleged, would make France and French influence dominant in Burmah, and exclude British trade from the Valley of the Irrawaddy. But what were the facts? The French Government, on September 26, 1885, in a despatch, informed Lord Salisbury that— There was no truth whatever in the report that a Convention had been concluded between France and Burmah by which a concession for railways, with interest guaranteed, is secured to a French Company, control given to the French Government over the Customs of the Irrawaddy River, and a concession granted for the establishment of a bank at Mandalay. Thus, on September 26, before the date when the Ultimatum was sent to King Theebaw, our Government were in possession of two facts—in the first place, that their Chief Commissioner was entirely opposed to annexation; in the next place, that he consented conditionally to annexation, if the representations referred to were true, and they had positive information from the French Government that there was no truth whatever in those representations. As to questions of etiquette at the Burmese Court, about which so much had been said, he (Mr. Hunter) considered that taking off the shoes in a hot climate was not worse than taking off the hat in a cold; leaving one's sword outside the Palace was not more absurd than a civilian wearing a sword, to which he was in no way accustomed, when he went into the presence of his Sovereign; and as for sitting on the floor, that was, no doubt, an attitude to which they were not much accustomed, but neither were they to walking backwards, like a crab. He maintained that the blame for the breaking-off of diplomatic relations did not rest with the Burmese, for it appeared from the Blue Book that it was insisted that the request for the return of the British Agent to Mandalay, after he had been withdrawn in the panic after the catastrophe at Cabul, must come from the Court of Ava. He thought this disposed of the pretexts for the war; and as to the Bombay Company, it declined to enter into any compromise with the Burmese Government. There never was a war in which the people of India took less interest, and there never was a clearer case of a commercial war. It was unjust—he might use a stronger term— to place this charge upon the people of India; and to give the House an opportunity of expressing approval of that sentiment he moved the Amendment which stood in his name.


I rise to second the Amendment. I could have wished that my hon. Friend had given a wider scope to his Motion, so that we might test the feeling of the House, not merely on the point of defraying the expenses of our military operations in Burmah from the resources of India, but on the still more important question of the general policy we have lately pursued in that country. For my part, I must state my opinion that the summary annexation of that Kingdom was an act of high-handed violence for which there is no adequate justification. Recent events and present appearances seem to indicate that it was not only an act of injustice, but an act of flagrant folly. By suddenly overturning the existing Government, it looks as though we had consigned the country to what may prove to be a prolonged anarchy; while there is no little danger of our becoming involved in serious troubles and complications in more than one direction, especially with China. I am sorry that the present Government are disposed to endorse and adopt that policy. I believe it would have been better if they had acted as they did in Afghanistan and the Transvaal, and reversed the policy of their Predecessors, instead of following it as they did in Egypt, with what consequences to themselves and the country is now only too well known. The pretext assigned for this act of wholesale confiscation is the misconduct of King Theebaw. But I fear the real motive was that we coveted his possessions, and were determined to have them at any cost. When Naboth's vineyard is wanted, it is not difficult to make out a case, to our own satisfaction at least, why Naboth himself should be put out of the way. There are two strong presumptive and primâ facie reasons which incline me to put this construction on the matter. The first is the general fact that our countrymen, especially in the East, have a perfect passion for annexation. And the reasons for it are not far to seek. For whatever these acts may cost the people of England, or the people of India, they are certain to re- dound to the interests of the classes that clamour for them, or such, at least, is their belief. When the issue of the last war with Burmah was pending, there was a discussion on the subject in the House of Lords, when Lord Ellen-borough made a remarkable speech. Some parts of it are so singularly pertinent to the present occasion, that I ask permission to read a few sentences from it. After referring to the pressure brought to bear on the Indian Government by "certain enterprizing British merchants and the Press of Calcutta" in favour of our "occupying the whole Burmese Empire," he added— I hope that my right hon. Friend the Governor General of India will treat that Press with the disregard which it deserves. But, my Lords, there is also another serious pressure which my right hon. Friend ought to disregard, and which it will be more difficult, I am afraid, for him to resist—that is the pressure of a part of the Civil and of the whole Military Service. They have before their eyes the occupation of Afhganistan, which produced a complete revolution in the Army of Bengal. That will always be the case where a great territory is to be occupied even for a time, and still more where a new territory is to be annexed to and brought under our dominion. Young officers are then placed in command of districts; others are placed in political employment, where they actually direct the operation of troops under the command of their superiors. Great rewards and distinctions are obtained, great talents exhibited —and every man, with a natural ambition, looks forward to the promotion he may attain; and then the idea of a new war, likely to terminate in new conquests, is dear to that Army—an Army full of enterprize and of those feelings which naturally excite military men to great actions. Under such circumstances, I view with great alarm the annexation to our Empire of a large portion—aye, or even of any portion—of the Burmese territory. Remember this was in 1853, when there were people already demanding that we should occupy the whole Burmese Empire. This leads me to my second reason for believing that the conduct of King Theebaw was a mere pretext for the act now consummated. It is perfectly notorious that the settlers in British Burmah, backed by the Anglo-Indian and Anglo-Chinese Press, have been for a long time—for many years before Theebaw came to the Throne—hankering after their neighbour's possessions in that region, and never ceasing to address vehement exhortations to the Indian Government to go in and seize the land, on any pretence whatever. Colonel Laurie informs us that when he was in Rangoon, in 1864–14 years before the accession of Theebaw—he found a loud demand even then for war and annexation. My hon. Friend the Member for North Aberdeen has already, on a former occasion, referred, as a significent indication of the feeling prevalent at Rangoon, to the pretty sharp rebuke administered by Lord Mayo, in 1869, to the Chief Commissioner, expressing the extreme regret and disapproval with which he would regard any action tending towards further annexation. And when young Margery was murdered on the foolish expedition on which he was sent from China to Burmah, though there was ample evidence that the Burmese Government were in no way implicated in that transaction, and the Governor General in Council issued a special Minute, absolving that Government from all imputation, the Anglo-Indian and Anglo-Chinese Press eagerly seized upon the incident as furnishing a capital pretext for the confiscation of Burmah. The North China Herald said— If the Burmese King's complicity can be proved so much the better. His deposition and the advance of the British Frontier to the borders of Yunnan would be a great political gain. And, then, mark this other extract from the same source— The political advantage of occupying Burmese territory would not he confined to India. The contiguity of the British Indian Frontier with that of Yunnan would mean a pressure on China that could hardly fail to be felt at Pekin. But it looks now as if China were going to put a rather inconvenient pressure upon us. All this proves that the spoliation of Burmah was a foregone conclusion for many years. The principal points relied upon by those who vindicate the annexation are three. First, the massacres and cruelties perpetrated by the King upon his own relatives to protect himself against rival claimants to the Throne. Secondly, his daring to enter into communication with the French and Italian Governments without our leave. And, thirdly, his quarrel with the Bombay and Burmah Trading Company about certain logs of wood. With regard to the charges of cruelty, I dare say King Theebaw is not a very desirable person. It is likely enough that he followed the abominable custom which seems to prevail in that country at the accession of a new Sovereign, of putting out of the way other members of the Royal Family. But I have no doubt myself that some of the representations which have been sent to this country of the "horrible cruelties" committed at Mandalay have been greatly exaggerated, coloured, and cooked for the home market, to prepare for further outcries in favour of annexation. Indeed, some of them bear on their face a questionable character; for we have given to us the minutest details of what was going on in the recesses of Burmese prisons, not only as to the number of executions, but as to the precise mode in every case; and, in some instances, we have the conversations that took place between the prisoners before they were led out to execution. One would like to know how all these particulars were got at. In one of the despatches sent by the Indian Government to Lord Cranbrook when he was at the India Office, they dilate, as usual, upon the cruelties and barbarities practised by the King, and then add, very naively, that all they knew of them was from popular report, and from the statements of one of the rival Princes, who was a pretender for the Throne—not a very satisfactory testimony, surely, on which to rob a man of his Crown and country. Then, our sensibilities are very partial and local, for while we shudder and are filled with indignation at the violent death of 100 or 200 people at Mandalay, we seem quite comfortable in conscience when we know that our own Government, during the last 10 years, must have slaughtered 50,000 or 60,000 human beings. For my part, I am bound to say that I have come to look with a good deal of suspicion on the representations sent home by our countrymen settled in those remote regions, whether they are mercantile adventurers, or newspaper correspondents, or even Government officials. We know, from past and quite recent experience, that it is very easy for British subjects in foreign lands to trump up charges of a formidable kind, against any Ruler with whom they want to pick a quarrel, especially as they have it all their own way, and the inculpated parties have no fair opportunity of stating their own case. We have not forgotten how grossly Shere Ali, and Cetewayo, and the leaders of the Transvaal Boers, and Arabi Bey were misrepresented and calumniated by our Representatives abroad, though, unhappily, those calumnies were not discovered until the irreparable mischief they occasioned had been done. One very remarkable thing is the striking family likeness between all these acts of aggression and annexation. We are always told that they are undertaken for the benefit of the people of the countries annexed; that the great body of the inhabitants are passionately in our favour and eager for our coming. We are assured that there will be very little occasion for fighting; let us send a few regiments, or two or three ships of war, and the people would crowd to welcome us, and fall down and embrace our knees with transports of gratitude and loyalty. We were told that this would be the case in the Transvaal and in Zululand. But the very reverse has always happened; for we soon find that the people do not like to have their country stolen from them, do not like to see their Native Government overturned, do not like to see all places of authority and influence usurped by a people who are aliens to them in race, language, and religion. And when, instead of receiving us with welcome and gratitude, they betake themselves to arms to defend their own national independence, we christen them rebels or dacoits, and shoot and hang them, without mercy, to any extent. But whatever may be the rights or wrongs of our quarrel with Burmah, why should India pay for it? Is India in a position to bear further burdens? Not long ago, an Indian official had said that there were 40,000,000 of people in that country who had to go through life on insufficient food; and I have lately seen a statement in The Times, on what I believe is good authority, that in the 19 years between 1861 and 1880 more than 11,500,000 people had died of famine. And is this a people on whose shoulders we should throw the cost of our own quarrels? The bill which they would have to pay for this war may grow to be a very large one. We are told that it would only be £300,000. But we always begin our wars with very modest demands. When we entered upon the Abyssinian War we were assured that the expenditure would not amount to more than £2,000,000 or £3,000,000, whereas it had not been much less than £9,000,000. The Government which had promoted the Afghan War had estimated the cost at first at £1,250,000, but that had swollen to £18,000,000 or £20,000,000. And what security had we that the Burmese War might not lead to some such sum? I maintain that we have no right to tax the people of India for this war. They have had no part or lot in bringing on the conflict. They have never been consulted as to its policy; and they are not represented in this House. But though they have no means of expressing their opinions here, they have done so in the only way in their power. I am told that the whole Native Press of India has with one accord pronounced against both the necessity and the equity of this war; and I warn you that the time is not distant, if indeed it has not already come, when it will not be wise or safe for you to disregard Native opinion on matters of this kind.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That," to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House is of opinion that it would be unjust to defray the expenses of the Military operations in the Kingdom of Ava out of the revenues of India,"—(Mr. Hunter,) —instead thereof.

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


said, the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment had asserted that the Indian people had not been consulted as to the laying upon the Revenues of India of the expenses of the Burmese War; but it must be admitted, nevertheless, that the Indian people had found very able advocates in that House. Those Gentlemen were men of extreme sensibility; and it was noticeable that whenever a discussion arose as to the advance of Russia in Central Asia they were generally found to be apologists of Russia, who pointed out the advantages of extending Russian civilization, while in all cases of the advance of British civilization nothing but invective and disparagement was to be heard from them. He had listened attentively to hear the reasons stated why India should not pay for this war; but, instead of dealing with that question, they confined themselves to considering the question of justification for the war, which was quite another matter. At the meeting of Parliament it was, no doubt, a question whether there was or was not any justification for making this war without the sanction of Parliament. But now it was admitted that Lord Dufferin had made out a case for urgency, and shown, by his despatches, that it was necessary to act promptly. Lord Dufferin had explained that he had proceeded without delay in order "to circumscribe the extent of the war, the loss, and the duration of the campaign." The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Aberdeen (Mr. Hunter) had said that the only people who agitated for the war were the English merchants in Rangoon. He seemed to overlook the fact that Lord Dufferin never consulted the mercantile communities, either in the East or in this country, and that his reasons for declaring war were of a totally different character. Lord Dufferin pointed out in his despatches that the mere misgovernment of Burmah had not been deemed a sufficient reason for his interference, but that he did consider it to be his duty to intervene when the King of Burmah endeavoured to enforce unjust exactions against British subjects. Even, however, after this, he was willing to refer the matter to arbitration. No doubt, the reasons for the war were not stated with that frankness which would convince every reader of the Blue Book. Lord Dufferin was really forced to go to war by the French intrigues in Burmah; and it was undesirable that the Viceroy of India should put the case plainly against a Power with which we were still in friendly alliance. It was said that the French intrigues only commenced in 1884. But that was not the case. In 1882 the Burmese sent a "Scientific Expedition" to Europe, and it remained 18 months in Paris without even calling on Lord Lyons. It was said by the Mover of the Amendment that the French Government explicitly disclaimed any intention of interfering in Burmah. But Lord Lyons reported a remarkable conversation with M. Ferry in 1884, who, while asserting that the French Government merely intended to conclude a Mercantile Treaty with the Burmese, added that the Burmese Expedition had come to France to say that Burmah was quite ready to throw itself into the arms of France, Some valuable information was also afforded by the Correspondent of The Bombay Gazette, who stated that the Italian Consul at Mandalay, having obtained access to certain private papers, had discovered a secret engagement between the King of Burmah and the French adventurers out there; that this had been transmitted to the English Government, and had convinced Mr. Bernard and Lord Dufferin of the necessity of immediate action. It was said that the Imperial Government had no right to invade the Dominions of an independent Sovereign; but those who asserted this could not have had any appreciation of the real position of the British in India. They had to protect the people of that country; and it was clearly in the political interests of India that Lord Dufferin made war upon Burmah. Lord Wellesley acted similarly at the beginning of the century in banishing rival European influences from India; and fortunately England possessed, in the brilliant Irishman now ruling over India, a worthy Successor of that other great Irishman who laid so broad and deep the foundations of her Indian Empire. The French Government disclaimed what was going on; but European Governments generally did disclaim intrigues until they were successful. If action had not been taken these French adventurers would have established rights in Burmah, and representations would have been made to every European Government, and there would have been a demand to place the Irrawaddy in the position of the Congo, and so destroy the exclusive British influence over it. The hon. Member (Mr. Richard) had talked of £300,000 being a large sum to be paid by India in the critical state of her finances; but were not the finances of England also in a critical position? And it seemed rather an austere self-denying ordinance to say that the English taxpayers were to bear the expense of all extensions of Her Majesty's Dominions in the East. India surely ought to pay her share. It was, he thought, Lord Lytton who laid down the rule that India might fairly be taxed for wars on her Frontier and to the East of the Isthmus of Suez when no European Power intervened; and that when a European Power intervened England might contribute. India had a commerce of £150,000,000 sterling; and if she were an independent State, to protect that commerce she would have to maintain a Fleet on every sea and an Ambassador at every Court, whereas she only made a small payment for the Indian Squadron. Therefore, she might be fairly asked to bear the cost of that small war undertaken in the East for the benefit of the Empire. The Province of British Burmah had, at present, a commerce of fully £5,000,000 sterling carried on with India alone, whereas the whole of its commerce with all the other countries in the world did not amount to double that sum. India was also one of the largest customers of the Chinese, and one great advantage of our having possession of Upper Burmah was that we should get a short cut into the interior Provinces of China never yet touched by our commerce. It was said that the new Province would be a costly possession; but when the hon. Member for the Evesham Division of Worcestershire (Sir Richard Temple) was sent to report on the prospects of British Burmah when it was annexed, he made an estimate that it would yield about 80 lakhs of Revenue some day. That prophecy had been far more than fulfilled, for the Revenue of British Burmah now amounted to 280 lakhs. They might look for similar results from Upper Burmah, especially if the same energy was shown by the present Government in completing the negotiations at Pekin as was displayed by the late Government in bringing the war to a conclusion. He therefore sincerely hoped that the same decision and vigour of purpose would be evinced in realizing for England and India the fruits of that war as were shown both by the Statesmen and the Generals concerned in conducting it to a successful issue.


said, the hon. Member who had just spoken had suggested that previous speakers had dealt with subjects not strictly to the point. He (Mr. McIver) feared he should sin in the same direction, for he did not rise to support that particular Amendment, but to speak of what seemed to him a yet graver matter. He only interposed in that debate to express his regret and surprise that Her Majesty's Ministers should not have thought fit—should not have thought it proper or found it convenient—to lay before the House full and adequate grounds why they should confirm what he held to be the precipitate action of the late Government in annexing Upper Burmah. The Under Secretary of State for India (Sir Ughtred Kay-Shuttleworth) had indicated to the House that there was no going back from the sentence in the Queen's Speech relating to that subject, and had seemed to suggest that though they might drive a coach and four through an Act of Parliament, yet once they had adopted a paragraph in a Royal Message there was an end of the matter. He did not know whether hon. Gentlemen called that a fundamental law; but, for himself, he questioned whether it was quite a Constitutional use to make of the Sovereign's name. He would remind the present Advisers of Her Majesty that they had gone back before under much more dubious circumstances in South Africa; and, although he did not refer with unmixed satisfaction to that precedent, yet he would point out that they had gone back before in India. The circumstances then and now might not be identical; but they had given Mysore back to Native rule after 18 years of British rule; and there was no reason why the results should be deemed unsatisfactory in that case. Although the Under Secretary had held out no promise of reconsidering the situation in Upper Burmah, matters had developed there since the annexation which it would be well for Her Majesty's Government to consider. The despatch of the late Secretary of State for India, explaining why they had annexed Upper Burmah, said that Her Majesty's Government derived special gratification from learning that their troops were welcomed by the people of that country, and spoke of the genuine desire on the part of the Natives for our rule. According, however, to recent reports, it required 16,000 British bayonets to keep alive that "genuine desire," which was evinced by the whole country rising in arms. Was it a "genuine desire" which required a large number of executions to take place, and which required that large force to repress those people? The attitude of that people, who were panting to be British, closely resembled that of other peoples who "were struggling, and rightly struggling, to be free." The Burmese did not desire British rule. It might be incomprehensible to some that there should be a people so lost to all sense of their own interests; but it seemed to be the fact, nevertheless. The Burmese had a national sentiment. It was not precisely identical in form with what they knew as national sentiment; but it was analogous in its effects. Their idea of government was not as our idea. Our central idea was civil order, personified by the policeman. Their idea was religion, personified by a semi-Divine Royalty. In the Burmese mind, no social scheme was conceivable without a King; life was incomplete, government impossible. Their loyalty or devotion to their King was not personal or dynastic, but purely religious. It was rendered, not because the King was the son of his father, but because he had passed through several stages of existence before he became qualified to be a King. And his position was based on a principle which was the central principle of the Bhuddist religion. The Burmese did not wish to see their King—he might be good, bad, or indifferent—they only wished to know that he existed. That might be considered a strange state of facts; but he was speaking of a feeling which was common to the people of the Provinces of Upper and Lower Burmah. In the past the British respected that feeling. They honoured the religious feelings of the Burmese, and by this course succeeded with them; but now we had needlessly and recklessly outraged this national sentiment. The evidence was to be found in the way that the people, not only of Upper, but of Lower Burmah were set against us, and had broken out in a way which was unprecedented during the last quarter of a century. Telegrams in the newspapers had informed the English people of movements of troops, and of engagements with what were called dacoits. The use of that word was very ingenious, but it was very misleading. Dacoits were being hunted up and down the country by British troops, and we were told of engagements against them at places with grotesque and unfamiliar names—Sittang, Kyeikto, Shwegyeen—and the public assumed that those places were in the newly-annexed but still unconquered region of Upper Burmah. Not a bit of it. As a matter of fact, the places mentioned were not in Upper Burmah at all; they were in the heart of British Burmah. They were old settled Provinces, which had enjoyed all the privileges of British rule for more than a quarter of a century. They had enjoyed English law, English policemen, and English tax-collectors. They were quite as settled as Westminster, and far more settled than Limerick. The Commander of the British Forces reported on the excellent demeanour of the people on his way up the river. No doubt, his report was correct. Sir Harry Prendergast was a friend of his own; and he recognized in that Commander not only a man of great personal courage, but a gallant, capable, and skilled General. Sir Harry Prendergast, it must be remembered, only met the riverain people, who were perfectly familiar with foreigners, and who knew the advantages of that contact; and at the time when he interviewed the Natives there was no suggestion that we were going to tamper with the central idea of their social scheme and deprive the Burmese of their Kinghood. But there was no recent Report of Sir Harry Prendergast with regard to the attitude of the people towards us. Only two days before we were informed that in one of our maritime districts, which had been for 30 years in our possession, military operations had been directed against us. Two days before the Hlootdau or Royal Court declared that we must have obtained Mandalay by fraud, because they never imagined there existed people so wild as to pretend that Mandalay could be governed without a King. He ventured, before leaving that subject, to point out to the House how large a part the religious feeling played in this Burmese Question. In the past, great deference had been paid to that feeling; and the first time that we trespassed on that religious feeling was when we entered that country with the loudest protestations that we had no intentions to touch on anything religious. Among the other suggestions justifying annexation was that annexation was the inevitable result of the deposition of King Theebaw. He did not think there was any evidence of that; and although it might be an unpopular suggestion he did not know that there was any absolute evidence that it was necessary to depose King Theebaw. What was the evidence against King Theebaw? The popular story was that he was a drunken savage who murdered his mothers-in-law. Some critics had gone so far as to say that he was insane on that ground. But there was no evidence to show that he was drunken, and there was no evidence to show that he was insane. What was known about him? As a wretched boy of 18 he was selected from school to be the husband of his wife. He was not King because he was his father's son, but because he was the husband of the daughter of her mother. There was no evidence that he was in any way responsible for those massacres about which they had heard so much. It was no part of his (Mr. McIver's) duty to whitewash King Theebaw. All he said was that there was no evidence that King Theebaw's deposition was necessary, or that his deposition rendered annexation necessary. He (Mr. McIver) was convinced that if, as he freely admitted, intervention was necessary, nothing was to be gained by annexation which could not have been equally well secured by a strong Protectorate; and by the latter course many great dangers might have been avoided. The assumption of the noble Lord the late Secretary of State for India (Lord Randolph Churchill), under whose auspices the annexation was carried out, that we might anticipate the same wealth and prosperity in the new Province as in the old Province, was a very pleasing assumption. It was, however, based on the belief that the two Provinces consisted of countries with identical soils. But the prosperity of Lower Burmah was owing exclusively to the fact that it was one of the richest deltas in existence, and that the country which had 3,000,000 inhabitants was able to export nearly 1,000,000 tons of rice per annum. The surplus Revenue, of which they had heard so much that night, consisted almost exclusively of the export duty on that rice. The Province which they had annexed—but not conquered—did not grow rice; it only grew wheat and a little cotton; and it was so poor that a large section of its adult male population crossed the frontier in search of employment, just as the Irish came to this country to assist in the harvest. There was, indeed, no prospect of this Province developing the same wealth as Lower Burmah, or of being anything else but a poor country and a hindrance to its neighbour. It had been suggested that this was a beneficent war; and they were told that all the hindrances to trade would be removed; and the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Maclean) said that it was a gain to British commerce. Now, on that matter, he would ask on what information or responsible advice was this annexation decided in the first instance, and what additional information and responsible advice had Her Majesty's present Advisers for confirming it, beyond that already received from five Secretaries of State, three Viceroys, and two Commissioners, not a single one of whom had ever given a definite opinion in favour of annexation, whereas any such definite opinion that had been given was directly opposed to annexation? If the noble Lord the late Secretary of State for India (Lord Randolph Churchill) who annexed Burmah did not receive his advice from responsible officials, from whom did he receive it? He thought the answer was to be found in those pages of the Blue Book which were devoted to the Reports of the Chambers of Commerce. The late Government had given an exaggerated importance to the interests of commerce as represented by the Chambers of Commerce, and had appealed to the worst instincts of a nation of shopkeepers. The doctrine was that, in order to open new channels for trade and find a market for piece-goods and raw spirits, it was well to make war, remove a dynasty, and stifle a nationality. In the Blue Book he did not find one word of responsible advice. The present Government were in a worse position than their Predecessors in adopting this policy. It was suggested that the Viceroy had assented to this annexation; but on the 1st of December the Viceroy said he hoped shortly to submit recommendations as to the future government of Upper Burmah, and before doing so he wished to go to Mandalay in order to study the very "elements of the question." On the 23rd the noble Lord the late Secretary of State for India telegraphed to the Viceroy to annex Burmah. They were told now that, after a few hours' residence at Mandalay, the Viceroy had confirmed the annexation. A few days ago some hon. Members were making merry over the rapid capacity for assimilation displayed by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. H. Smith), when, after a short sea voyage, he was able to advise Her Majesty's Ministers on Irish affairs. But in that case the right hon. Gentleman was dealing with facts, with a large portion of which he was already familiar, and was speaking to people whose language was very much the same as his own. The Missions of the right hon. Gentleman and the Viceroy were very much alike. They were now told that the Viceroy had assented to what had become irrevocable. Both Gentlemen had to confirm a foregone conclusion, and both gave fresh proof of loyalty to Colleagues. The hurried assent of the Viceroy did not improve the position of the present Government; indeed, recent events made it worse. The conduct of the late Secretary of State for India was, at all events, straightforward and consistent. As the prominent Leader of a Party seeking for empirical remedies for depression of trade, he decided to take his advice from Chambers of Commerce, and, having taken it, to stick to it. He was consistent, too, with the teachings of a school which adopted the forward policy of the Earl of Beaconsfield in India. On this occasion he showed his consistency to the extent of the religious observance of a particular date. The Viceroy had asked for time; but the Imperial instincts of the noble Lord would brook no delay. He realized that his own time was short, and he wanted to crown the edifice of his Indian administration and on the proper date. The 1st of January was the birthday of their Indian Empire, the fêete Napoléon of Anglo-Indian Jingoism. On the 1st of January, 1877, the Earl of Beaconsfield made the Queen an Empress. At that time 5,000,000 of Her Imperial Majesty's Indian subjects were preparing to die, and they did die, for want of the food which the money spent on that Imperial pageant would have gone some way to buy. The 1st of January was again selected as the day on which to add another Province to the Empire; but the consistency of the noble Lord could not be imputed to the Liberal Government. If there could be said to be any Liberal policy in relation to India, among its cardinal principles, were those that they must govern India in the interests of its people devote their taxes to internal purposes, and respect their national traditions. That annexation in itself was bad, because their Empire was as large as they could well manage; and if annexation were justifiable in any case, it must be on some ground of Imperial importance, such as the safety of their frontier. If a people expressed a desire to be annexed it was essential that their country should be able to pay its way. An increase to their trade, more or less illusory, would not justify the present Government in confirming the act of the late Government, and thus violating all their own principles. What had been done would add another grievous burden to these of the Indian taxpayer. Apart from that, recent events which were associated in the Reports with the word dacoit—events which, had occurred since the noble Lord arrived at his decision—should give the present Government pause. In endorsing the action of the late Government with a larger knowledge of facts, and, therefore, with a smaller justification, they were incurring grave responsibility. Their misfortunes in Egypt were almost entirely due to a similar course. In that case they received a legacy, and accepted it instead of rejecting it. Now they were accepting a new legacy without question; and if they refused to avail themselves of breathing-time, they would saddle the Indian taxpayer with a new and intolerable burden, incur new relations with new and difficult neighbeurs, and awaken feelings of uneasiness and unrest in the breasts of the loyal Native Princes of India.


I am desirous, Sir, of saying a few words in this debate in order to remind the House of the nature of the question we are called upon to decide. Before referring to India, I must first endeavour to do justice to the able speech we have just heard from the hon. Member for the Torquay Division of Devonshire (Mr. M'lver), in whom it is plain, beth from the ability of his speech and from the spirit by which it was animated, that we have received a valuable addition to our ranks. Perhaps he will permit me to observe that, as he himself stated, his speech did not in strictness relate to the question before us. He said that the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment had departed from what was strictly the question before us, and he intended to follow their example. I do not make the smallest complaint of that course; it was to be expected, considering the nature of the subject, and considering the great interest that attaches to the question of Burmah, and the difficulties that Members often feel in finding opportunities for bringing forward the precise Motion they wish to make. It must have been expected, therefore, that this occasion would undoubtedly be used, more or less, in discussing the merits of the Expedition to Burmah. But the merits of the Expedition do not form the question which we have to decide; and I am anxious to bring the House back to the question which is placed before us by the Resolution. I would, in the first place, refer to a matter which was touched upon earlier in the evening, and which is now evidently germane to the subject. There is no allegation and no opinion on the part of the present Government that the law of 1858, according to the construction which we have been disposed to place upon it, has been broken in the present instance. We do not deny that it is perfectly within the competency of these who made war in Burmah to allege that the invasion of Burmah was due to urgent and unforeseen necessity. Now, Sir, as to the construction of that Act of Parliament I will only say a brief word. Do not let the hon. and learned Gentleman the late Attorney General (Sir Richard Webster) suppose that upon the construction of the section in the Act I venture to set my opinion against his cuique in arte suâ credendum. It is the very last thing I think any man ought to do—to enter into a dispute with distinguished lawyers upon the strictly legal question of the construction of an Act of Parliament. All I observe is this—that having been conversant with the motives which dictated the language of the Act, I set out, in my ignorant reading of it, with the assumption that the words had a rational purpose in view. If I am right in holding that their meaning was that the Revenue of India should not be applicable except under certain circumstances without the consent of Parliament, and that these Revenues could not be charged without that consent, then a certain presumption arises in favour of the belief which I ignorantly entertained that the consent of Parliament meant the prior consent of Parliament. On the other hand, the construction which, upon irresistible authority, we are told is the legal construction, is to this effect—that the consent of Parliament does not mean a prior consent of Parliament at all; it means the consent of Parliament at any time between this time and the Day of Judgment. There is no limit whatever. The hon. and learned Gentleman carefully guarded himself against its being supposed that the Act meant that the consent of Parliament was to be had in three months, in six months, in the next Session, in the next Parliament, in the next generation, or in the next century. He has never committed himself. If at any period in the future such consent be asked for, the Act is made a legal Act; and as you can never be certain that it cannot be asked for a century or two hence, you are never justified in saying that it is not a legal Act. That is the distinct construction put by the late Attorney General; but, at the same time, I bow implicitly to his judgment. As this difficulty has arisen either in the interpretation or construction of the Act, it is quite plain, I trust, that as we are to have a Committee to inquire into the working of the India Act the matter in dispute between us will be entirely settled. Objection may be taken, I know, to our reading of the Act. I will not enter into the question that we never literally complied with the Act; I make that admission, however, at once. It is quite true, and it is always the same case that happens in England. There is no better understood and established law, I think, than this—that in England Her Majesty's Government are not entitled to spend money without the consent of Parliament. That is, without dispute. But what happens in an analogous case on every Vote of Credit submitted to this House? Invariably, before the House gives a Vote of Credit, money has been laid out in the expectation of it. That is a practical consideration which arises in this way. The House never can be asked, and the Government can never determine to ask the House, for a Vote of Credit until it is certain that the Vote will be wanted. That has been the usual and almost invariable rule; but when it comes to be morally certain that the Vote of Credit will be wanted, and there is a moral certainty that it will be given, then it becomes of the utmost importance that not a day should be lost in making the necessary preparation; and, as a question of common sense and practical utility, undoubtedly there is established in the English case and also in the Indian case that deviation from the letter of the law which, notwithstanding, is perfectly compatible with the strictest observance of the law. There is no question here about the breaking of the law, and no such allegation has been made. The state of the case is this. It has been alleged by these who have assailed the policy of the invasion and annexation of Burmah that this is a war which has been made for trade. Well, Sir, I must own that in the speeches we heard on the first night of the Session there were sentences and sentiments used which may have induced the belief that that was the main cause why these operations were undertaken. But the late Government has not asserted that it was a war for trade. I do not think that there is any man of weight and experience in this House who would deliberately rise in his place and contend that we should be justified in making any war whatever for the sake of trade. It must be universally admitted that we must have justification of a totally different character. I, therefore, cast entirely aside that allegation. It is not an allegation on which the defenders of the proceedings in Burmah have, at any time, founded their action; and it is, consequently, hardly fair and equitable to take the ground of the defence they offer, and treat it as a justification of the claims of a defence which they do not offer. The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has laid down what he thinks is a sound principle to be observed in the Government of India, and a principle which he thinks we are departing from on this occasion. Now, our position is exactly this. If we thought, from the evidence before us, that there was a presumption that this war was a wanton or a needless war, I admit that we should be placed in a position of great difficulty. I will not admit that even in that ease it would follow that a reversal of the annexation ought to take place, because there is a great precedent which I have referred to on former occasions in this House—the precedent of the war and annexation of Scinde, which took place under the Government of Sir Robert Peel. When that annexation was made known there was not a single man in the Cabinet of Sir Robert Peel—from Sir Robert Peel to the Duke of Wellington and downwards to myself, who was then the youngest Member of that Cabinet—who did not heartily disapprove of it; and yet there was not a single man there who thought that any step ought to be taken for the purpose of reversing the annexation. The question is not the original justice of the annexation, but whether you will do more good or evil by proceeding to areversal—that is, upon the supposition that it was an unjust annexation. I am bound to say that, as far as we are able to follow the case, we do not find any proof of that allegation. We are not responsible for the policy of the late Government in regard to Burmah; but it is our duty to judge it fairly. My hon. Friend says that Indian funds should be expended in Indian interests. Most certainly; and it is upon the grounds of Indian interests, if at all, that this war and this annexation are to be justified. My hon. Friend says that we should respect the sentiments of national existence. I cordially agree with him. But, at the same time, it is perfectly well known that in India cases have arisen where we have unjustly and greedily made annexation. But other cases have arisen. For example, the conquest and annexation of the Punjaub. In the case of the Punjaub, I believe, there was a real sentiment of nationality to recognize and to respect. But there was a just cause for war, and that led to operations which convinced the British Government of that day and the English nation that the annexation of that country was the best thing for the people of that country, as well as for the security of India. I think experience has shown that that was a sound and a right judgment to arrive at. A distinguished man whom I had the honour of knowing well, and who was greatly concerned in that policy—the late Lord Hardinge—and I am convinced that no amount of temptation or inducement would ever have induced that gallant soldier and sound and prudent statesman to deviate, for one moment, from the strict rule of right, either in India or in any other part of the world; and, therefore, although we may respect this sentiment of nationality, we cannot take it as an absolute rule to guide our actions. My hon. Friend says annexations are bad; and then he admits—what I am rather disposed to allow and to assert—that in every case prior to examination the presumption is against annexation. But then, on the other hand, my hon. Friend admits that it may be required for the safety and security of our own frontier and our own people. That is the very ground and justification for the annexation in this case. It was not to extend trade, to gratify passion or ambition, but because a door was threatened to be opened through which would have been brought into India danger, insecurity, loss of happiness, and prosperity. The mass of people depend entirely on our sovereign rule in that country; and it was to defend them, and not for the purpose of giving effect to any idle dreams, that this war was believed to be necessary. My hon. Friend has himself confessed that it was necessary He said that a great deal has been stated about dacoits, and most unnecessarily stated; and among the places which have been referred to be notices places within British Burmah. That I do not contest. I do not contest the fact that disturbances have been produced in British Burmah in consequence of the state of Upper Burmah. But the question we have to consider is whether we are to give credence or not to the allegations of the highest responsible authorities in India on this matter. My hon. Friend thinks that the Earl of Dufferin did not take time enough to make up his mind on the question whether the annexation was just or unjust. I think it would be very difficult indeed, and I think it would be more than difficult—that it would be rash and unwarrantable on our part—were we to lay down in this House at this time, at this distance, and under the circumstances, the exact amount of time it was necessary for the Earl of Dufferin to take in order to make up his mind. We are disposed to place confidence in the Earl of Dufferin. I know of no reason for withholding confidence in him, or questioning the soundness of his judgment. He is a man in whom, from his great public services, as well as from his temper and his character, we have the greatest reason to place confidence. The war that has been made in Burmah has been made for the gravest public reason. It was a war against which I had a certain degree of prepossession myself, simply upon the ground of the promi- nence given to the alleged wrongs of a British Company; but it was a war made in perfect good faith; it was a war made, not in any violation of any plain and intelligible principle governing the intercourse of nations, but it was made on grave political causes, and it is supported by great, and, I think, irresistible authority. So much for the war; but, then, what is the question we are now debating? If the war was bad, that issue ought to be directly raised. It is quite evident that the general sense of our administrative system is that India is to pay for what is called a bonâ fide Indian War. I perfectly understood the contention that if a Party in this country is prepared to challenge radically the justice or propriety of a war, then a case may be raised for the purpose of arguing that the expense of it ought not to be borne by India, which cannot be heard upon the question, but by the superior power and authority of this country. But that is not the case. There are no such allegations to be made or sustained; and until such allegations have been made, and made good, it is not to be expected that this House can properly entertain the question whether the charge should be made on the people of India. Nothing, it seems to me, can be more plain than that if we are to make an entire departure from the general rule which makes Indian Wars an Indian charge, it ought to be done on grounds already established to the satisfaction of the House. It will not do, in the course of a debate as to charging the Indian Exchequer, to make speeches, however ingenious and able, which may be answered by other speeches as ingenious and able; it will not do to make that a ground for laying on the British taxpayer the expense of an operation in which he himself had almost as little voice as the Indian taxpayer. That is the question before us to-night. My opinion is that there has not been tonight established a case which would lead us to think that this war is a war on principle worthy of condemnation. I do believe that it has been in reality, and certainly in intention, a defensive war. I do not believe, for a moment, that the late Government would have taken up this question in a spirit of aggression. There is no evidence that they have done be. All the evidence is to the contrary effect. In protesting against the policy of our own Governor General, and of these who advised him, you would incur a heavy responsibility. But if that responsibility is to be incurred, and if that question is to be raised, let it be raised on the merits, and not collaterally, as it is on this occasion. No doubt, it has been our duty to depart from the general rule. The general rule is that Indian Wars go to the charge of India; and the whole question now before the House is that authority be given, so far as the House is concerned, to lay that charge upon the people of India.


I am not very much surprised that the speech of the hon. Member for the Torquay Division of Devonshire (Mr. M'Iver) was not altogether satisfactory to the Prime Minister, for it cannot certainly be a very pleasant thing to say that a number of Liberal principles have been laid down as applicable to this case, and then to be told that every one of them have been broken. I cannot think that that is a very pleasant thing, and I must say that with regard to the principles which the hon. Member has laid down there is a great deal of force in the arguments he has put forward. I do not wish, however, to pursue that subject further. I would rather go back to the more general proposition which has been put before the House. The Prime Minister has himself admitted that a debate of this nature must necessarily take a very wide turn. Upon these occasions, when it is necessary to satisfy the requirements of a statute, it is customary to allow the debate to take a wide turn, and discuss the whole question of the policy of the Military Expedition. On this occasion the Military Expedition has hardly been seriously challenged. I will not, indeed, enter into the arguments of the hon. Member for Merthyr (Mr. Richard), because I am satisfied that no circumstances, to his mind, would ever justify a war. Therefore, I cannot hope to satisfy him; but, Sir, if any hon. Gentleman desires to approach the subject with a desire to ascertain and decide from the facts whether the Expedition was legitimate or not he will, after reading the Blue Book which has been laid upon the Table of the House, come to the conclusion which the Prime Minister has distinctly set forth—that that Expedition has been amply justified. I think he will find in the Blue Book abundant proof of great patience on the part of the Government of India, and great self-control and self-restraint, and the greatest possible anxiety and desire to avoid and overlook causes of complaint which might have led to a collision. A collision certainly would have occurred much earlier if there had been any desire on the part of the Government of India and the Government at home to bring matters to a climax. But the time came at last when we had to consider not only our relations with King Theebaw, but the character of his relations with other Powers, and when we had also to consider the grievous interference with the trade of Burmah, which, although I do not propose to dwell upon it now, certainly required the most earnest attention on the part of the Government of India. Fortunately, when the time came for dealing with the case, the Governor General who had to deal with it was a man who could not be suspected of any undue leaning on the side of interference outside his duty. The Earl of Dufferin was not a man who was at all inclined rashly to apply the principles of any one particular political Party to the complex system now existing in India. The Earl of Dufferin calmly and carefully considered the whole circumstances of the case; and I do not think the Prime Minister has done more than justice to the Earl of Dufferin, or to these who approve of his action, when he said that the steps which they took in vindication of the duty of England to Burmah were not in intention in any way aggressive. But when the necessity for action arose, the interests of humanity, if not also the success of the Expedition, required that our action should be decisive, and that we should strike quickly, and strike home. I come now to the second point which has been raised in the debate to-night—namely, the question of the expense of the Expedition, and I am the last person to say that the House is not fully entitled—nay, more, that it is absolutely beund—to scrutinize very carefully any questionable expenditure of this description before allowing it to be charged upon the people of India. We are trustees for the people of India, and are bound to respect our trust, and to examine all matters connected with expenditure with the greatest care. I should, therefore, never complain of any complete discussion which might take place in this House when such proposals are brought before it. But the question we have to consider on this occasion is, what is the interest of India in the Expedition which has just taken place! Upon that subject we have had a good deal of information. We were advised by the Viceroy of India, speaking with all the authority of his high position, and with all the advantage of the skilled advisers who surround him—we were told by him that the interests of India demanded the annexation, and the same view has been taken at home. All the advisers who surround the Secretary of State, all these in this country who understand the relations between India and Burmah, were of opinion that this Expedition was founded upon justice, and that it was undertaken in the interests of India herself. India's interest in the matter is a great and increasing one. Our trade in Burmah was not only in danger, but had been brought to a standstill by the anarchy which prevailed in Upper Burmah. The danger to Indian interests was real, substantial, and obvious; and I do not think that anything further is needed than the contents of the Blue Book now laid before the House to justify the Resolution which the Under Secretary of State for India has submitted to us. But then it is said—"That may be all very well; but can you justify the annexation of Upper Burmah?" It may be said that, although the Expedition was justifiable, the annexation was not so. Upon that subject I will only say, in answer, that we, who advised the annexation of the country, acted only with the utmost care and deliberation. The whole matter has repeatedly been before the people of India, and the India Office at home. It has been the subject of constant communication officially, and what is called at the India Office "semi-officially," between the Viceroy of India and my noble Friend 0the late Secretary of State (Lord Randolph Churchill). My noble Friend was perfectly aware of the views entertained by the Earl of Dufferin, and he and his Colleagues were thoroughly well acquainted with all the arguments which had been urged for and against the annexation of Upper Burmah. And it was our deliberate opinion, being in possession of all the facts, and having every opportunity of forming a deliberate conclusion on the matter, that the annexation ought to take place, and that, in mercy to the population of Burmah, it ought to take place without delay. Our conclusion, therefore, was that Upper Burmah ought to be added to Her Majesty's Dominions. I understand that Her Majesty's present Government entirely concur in that opinion. We believed—and no doubt they also believe—that anything short of the annexation of Burmah would have run the risk of reproducing within a very short time all the evils which have prevailed during past years. If anything short of annexation had been adopted, we should have failed in our duty to the people of India and of Burmah. Unhappily it is the case that our commercial interests in that country have hitherto been prejudicially affected; but we hope that they will be largely benefited by the annexation of Burmah. That, however, has not been the main reason for the annexation; but that step has been primarily dictated by a desire to servo the real interests both of India and the Burmese people. I listened with great interest to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham (Mr. J. M. Maclean), who addressed the House for the first time this evening in an able and comprehensive speech. My hon. Friend, who, from a thorough knowledge of the subject which I cannot pretend to rival, spoke of the policy of annexing British Burmah, and expressed a sanguine hope that the annexation would prove to be as advantageous as that of British Burmah in the past. We certainly, as the Government who advised that annexation, did so in the hope and belief that there will be a great development of trade in that country. We look forward not only to the promotion of the interests of that country, but of these of England and India also; and I believe that hereafter it will be recognized that the step which has been taken was necessitated by a regard for the best interests of India, and could not possibly have been avoided by any Government in this country.


I rise for the purpose of heartily supporting the Amendment which has been moved by the hon. Member for Aberdeen (Mr. Hunter). The effect of the Motion of the Under Secretary of State for India is simply that the Revenues of India shall be charged with the expense of this war; and the Amendment of my hon. Friend is to negative that proposition, and to provide that the Revenues of India shall be charged with no portion of the expense. No grounds have been given why the expense should not be charged upon the Imperial Exchequer beyond the general ground that charges of this nature have usually been thrown upon India. Now, when the Address in reply to the Queen's Speech was before the House the noble Lord the then Secretary of State for India (Lord Randolph Churchill) asked these hon. Members who felt very strongly as to the injustice of the war not to discuss the question upon the Address, but to wait until a Vote was asked for, and upon that Vote to discuss the merits of the Expedition to Burmah. Hence on the question now raised, whether the Revenues of India should bear the charges which have been incurred in the war in Burmah, I think we are entitled to enter fully into the general question upon the Amendment of my hon. Friend (Mr. Hunter). I entertain a strong opinion that the war was altogether unjustifiable. It was a kind of freebooting Expedition undertaken against Burmah—one of the wars entered into at the instance of these modern freebooters, the commercial Jingoes, who believe that they are entitled to do anything in the name of British trade. I have gone carefully over the grounds which have been urged in justification of the steps we have taken, and I cannot see that there has been any justification given for them. I admit that for some time there have been strained relations between the Court of Mandalay and ourselves; but if hon. Members will inquire into the causes of these strained relations, I think they will arrive at the conclusion that the Court of Mandalay was not to blame. What were the questions in regard to which these strained relations sprung up between ourselves and the Court of Mandalay? First of all there was the shoe question. Before 1878 the Court at Mandalay had exercised its rights, and had prevented any Ambassador from a Foreign Power entering the Presence Chamber without taking off his shoes. In the East that was not considered more dishonourable than requiring a Member to take off his hat on entering this Assembly; but it has become a very serious matter, and is one of the principal causes which have led to the annexation of Burmah. I do not think, however, that if there had not been a change of Government in 1880 the country would have been annexed on that pretext. King Theebaw refused to have any intercourse with the Representatives of any Foreign Power who did not comply with the usual observances of his country. That had been a vexed question in the time of King Theebaw's Predecessor; and when King Theebaw came to the Throne a sense of irritation sprang up, because, in the first place, our Resident refused to take off his shoes on entering the Presence Chamber; and, secondly, because we refused to give him the right of sending an Ambassador to this country. This may be considered a small matter; but it is well known that small matters seriously affect the dignity of small States. When we entered into negotiations with the King of Burmah he complained that he could only have official communication with this country through a gentleman who was Secretary to a Commissioner; and his first Ambassador was not allowed to go further than our frontier. In 1883, under the Governor Generalship of the Marquess of Ripon, negotiations with regard to a Commercial Treaty, as will be seen by reference to the Blue Book, came to an end. At that time the Burmese Government were willing to waive many of their claims if we had conceded their right to send an Ambassador here; and that, I believe, was the principal ground upon which the negotiations broke down. But surely a question of this kind affects the King of Burmah as much as it would any other Monarch. He was an independent Sovereign just as much as the Emperor of China or the King of Siam. Even the Sultan of Zanzibar has made similar complaints. We have been told by the noble lord the late Secretary of State for India (Lord Randolph Churchill) that there were several reasons for our action which led to the war—that there had been unprovoked attacks and outrages upon British subjects in Burmah. The noble Lord said that in November, 1879, an unprovoked attack was made upon a British steamer lying at anchor in the Upper Irrawaddy, and that in consequence the Government of India had recommended a renunciation of all engagements with King Theebaw. Now, what are the facts of that case? The facts are, a Mahommedan merchant from Surat, at a time when the River Irrawaddy was crowded with vessels, went on board the Golden City, and, desiring to go to a part of the vessel which he was warned had been newly painted, was refused. He persisted in making his way, and a disturbance ensued, in which a number of Burmese coolies went to the assistance of the interloper. The resistance of the crew is said to have been an unprovoked attack upon British subjects by the Burmese Government, Can anything be more absurd? Nevertheless, these are the kind of excuses we make for sending out a warlike Expedition and annexing the country. It is also said that a Scindian—a Mahommedan—had been subjected to an unprovoked attack in connection with a question of trading. The fact is that in the case of the Surat merchant he was fined 10 rupees; these who assisted the aggressor were also punished, and every redress was afforded by the Burmese Government. In this case it is quite evident that the real object was simply to get an excuse for raising money from Burmah. It appears that the salt taken into Upper Burmah was taxed at a lower rate than that which was taken into Lower Burmah, and the Government of Lower Burmah were anxious to place a 5s. duty upon salt going into Upper Burmah, in order to make it not worth while for people to smuggle the salt back again. This so-called outrage was made to allow the Government to unduly tax the people of Lower Burmah and make the lives of the unfortunate Burmese harder, because there can be no doubt that the absence of salt is a prolific source of disease both in regard to human beings and cattle. Having gone carefully through the Blue Book, I must confess that I see nothing in the evidence which has been brought before us that is not unimportant and trivial. The most substantial cause of complaint was the attitude of the Burmese in connection with the miserable squabble with the Bombay-Burmah Company. My hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen (Mr. Hunter) has shown very clearly, from the despatches which he read from the Earl of Dufferin and Mr. Bernard, that up to last year there was no reason or pretext whatever for a war with Burmah, and that up to that period Mr. Bernard urged the Government of India not to interfere. There is one quotation I will refer to, which the hon. Member did not read, which states that there were strong Petitions coming from the Burmese Chamber of Commerce, asking that Upper Burmah should be annexed, because the trading interests were suffering from the state of affairs in Upper Burmah. Upon the 15th of January last year Mr. Bernard writes that King Theebaw was not nominally an ally of the British Government, but an actual ally; and he expresses an opinion that at least it was questionable whether any Power had a right to expect that it would be justified in sending a force up to Mandalay and expelling King Theebaw on the ground that his subjects were suffering from the arbitrary character of his rule. Upon this point, it is said, the Viceroy suggested arbitration; but I do not think that the Viceroy did in reality suggest any fair mode of arbitration. I do not wish to enter into the merits of the case, except to say that before the Blue Book reached me the case of the Burmese Government had been sent to me. I can see no justification for the action taken by the Trading Company. When the question arose the Burmese Government sent down to our frontier station for information, so as to enable them to determine the question, and from the information furnished by the British officer the High Court of Burmah, which is analogous to our House of Lords, gave their decision upon the merits of the case. It may be that the Court was mistaken; it may be, as we have been told, that the evidence sent by our officer was not reliable! It was that which caused all the trouble. What was to be the character of the arbitration? Mr. Bernard admits that he did not desire arbitration, for fear that the French Consul might be appointed the arbiter. The kind of arbitration we suggested was that the Indian Government should appoint the arbiter; and the Burmese Government were asked whether, in that case, they would abide by the decision? Practically, it was to be an arbitration in which the arbiter was to be appointed by one of the parties. We have had information to-night that the Italian Consul was suggested; but we were not told that the Italian Consul was the agent for the Italian Company, and agent also for the Bombay-Burmah Company—one of the parties in the case. We are told that higher grounds of policy existed; but from the despatches which have been sent by the Earl of Dufferin and Mr. Bernard in this Bombay Company's trading dispute can we find the only ground for our interference. It is said that French adventurers were obtaining concessions in Upper Burmah. Why should not French adventurers have just as much right to go to Upper Burmah and obtain concessions as the British merchants, such as Price and Maxwell, who went there and obtained concessions? ["Divide!"] I have no desire to take up the time of the House; but we are not going to allow an ancient Monarchy to be annexed without offering a strong protest against it; and we do not intend to allow the Indian Government to be saddled with the expenses of this unjust war without raising our voice in protest also. What is the position of Burmah? Look at the map. The idea of foreign interference is ridiculous, seeing that the only modes of entering into the country by means of the Irrawaddy and Pegu Rivers are, practically, in our hands. When we annexed Pegu we obtained possession of the key of the country, and no one else can get into the country except with our knowledge and consent. Indeed, one accusation made against us is that we have not allowed King Theebaw to obtain sufficient arms to defend himself. To be told, as we have been to-night by the Prime Minister and others, that questions of high policy come in—that to allow the French to get a position in Upper Burmah would leave India open to attack and weaken our position in Lower Burmah—all this is arrant nonsense, because anyone studying the map will see at once that we hold the key of Burmah, and that our Indian Empire is no more affected than China. I will not enter further into the reasons which have induced us to attack Burmah, or the reasons why we have stolen this ancient Kingdom; but perhaps I may be allowed to say a word upon the second part of the question. ["Divide!"] Hon. Gentlemen opposite are making a great noise; but I must be permitted to say that if we keep Burmah there will be two classes who will benefit by it—namely, the Anglo-Indian officials, who will receive pay and pension, and the English merchants, who will find room for further trade. But I am bound to say that the poor overtaxed Indian ryot, who will have to pay for the annexation, will not benefit by it; and that is the reason why I support the Amendment, and am of opinion that the charge ought to be placed upon the Imperial Exchequer instead of the Indian Revenues. In the first place, Burmah is not a portion of India. Tonight it has been assumed that Burmah is a portion of India. Now, Burmah is no more a portion of India than China or our Malay Provinces; and we might just as well annex China and Malay. The Burmese people are different in race, language, and customs, and everything else. In fact, the Burmese are a very distinct people, and occupy a very high and promising position, especially when compared with India. The first thing which struck me on going to Burmah from India was the position which the women occupy there as compared with that which they occupy in India. In India they take no part in public life; but in Burmah the ladies take even a more prominent position than the men; and they are far more civilized. That being the case, and seeing that we have in Ceylon a Crown Colony very similar and near to India, and more associated with Indian interests than Burmah, why not make Burmah a Crown Colony, like Ceylon, allowing the costs to be defrayed from the Imperial Exchequer and paid back again? The people of Lower Burmah have been agitating this question for a number of years; and we have now a good opportunity, if we are going to take possession of Burmah, to make it a Crown Colony, and so prevent this Burmese question from interfering with and complicating the very difficult problem of India. At present it is not likely that Burmah will be able to pay its expenses. It is not as rich as Lower Burmah, and a great number of complicated questions will arise. For instance, the King of Burmah claims to be the Suzerain over the Shan States. The Suzerainty over these States is equally claimed by Burmah, Siam, and China. I am also afraid that the annexation of Burmah will open up the question of Yunnan, and that we shall be told that as the people of Yunnan are Mahommedans, and as we are the largest Mahommedan Empire in the world, we ought also to annex that country. It may further be stated that we require Siam in order to keep the French out of it. The ryots of India are strongly opposed to the annexation of Burmah; that is the view expressed by the Native Press. I do not see why the Native opinion of India should not be considered as well as British opinion in connection with this question. I am sorry that the Prime Minister has so changed his views since he made his first speeches in Mid Lothian, and I notice with regret how great a difference there is between his speech to-night and his addresses on the occasion of the Mid Lothian Campaign.


In rising to make a few remarks on the Amendment of the hon. Member for Aberdeen (Mr. Hunter), I ask for the indulgence which this House always accords to a Member who addresses it for the first time. I should not have presumed, at this late hour, to make this claim but for the fact that the subject-matter of the Amendment before the House is one of special interest, not only to myself, but also to a large number of my constituents. I have passed a large portion of my life in India, which is the country more immediately concerned with the Amendment of the hon. Member; and, as an Anglo-Indian, I desire, most emphatically, to express my entire sympathy with the sentiment which I believe lies at the back of the Amendment of the hon. Member, and many of the speeches which have been made on both sides of the House to-night—namely, that in affairs of combined action between the Government of England and the Government of India there is always a certain amount of danger lest the interests of the weaker Government should be sometimes subordinated to the interests of the stronger. I remember, some time ago, that the Prime Minister illustrated the action of the two Governments, when working together, by the famous apologue of the giant and the dwarf; and the right hon. Gentleman told us that the dwarf —India—got all the kicks, while the giant—England—got all the halfpence. I confess I have a good deal of sympathy with that opinion, and I also sympathized with the hon. Member for Caithnessshire (Dr. Clark), when, just now, ho deplored the change of opinion which has taken place on the part of the Prime Minister. I was most disappointed not to hear from the Prime Minister, in response to the speech of the hon. Member the Mover of the Amendment, some definite statement of a hard-and-fast rule by which we in Parliament could judge what sum should be paid by England, and what by India. We were told, it is true, that Indian Wars, broadly speaking, should be paid for by India. I think that was the expression of the Prime Minister. Now, I maintain that a much closer and more definite rule is required than that. A rule which, I think, is a very just one, was enunciated by the late Viceroy of India (the Marquess of Ripon) when he stated that wars which the Government of India has exercised the right of initiating, and in regard to which it has been able to control the initiation, the Indian Government should be compelled to pay for, but not for these over which it has had no control whatever—as, for instance, the case of the Egyptian Wars, when Indian troops were employed in Egypt and the Soudan. At that time the Indian Government had no control over the initiation of the Expedition; and, therefore, the Marquess of Ripon urged that the Indian Exchequer ought not be called upon to pay anything towards the cost of that war. With that I entirely agree, and hon. Members will remember that that was really the principle laid down by the Earl of Lytton at the time of the Afghan War. It was then stated by the Earl of Lytton that India should pay for the Afghan War because the Government of India had bad full control over its commencement. Now, at that time some of the Leaders of the Party opposite wished that England should pay at least a portion of the expenses of the war. Well, the feeling of many Anglo-Indians, and of many Indians, was "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes;" and I venture to think that that fear has been realized in later wars. But now, looking at the circumstances of the present war, I would venture to put before the House, and to appeal to the Mover of the Amend- ment, whether it is not the case, with regard to this war, that the conditions of Lord Lytton and Lord Ripon have been fulfilled, and that the Government of India has had full control over the initiation of the war? Therefore, it can hardly be said that the Government of India can fairly put forward the same claim—put forward rightly, I think, at the time of the Egyptian War—to be excused from the payment of the cost. Still, I do hope that the result of the discussion to-night, and of the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Aberdeen (Mr. Hunter), will be that some Member of the Government will rise in his place, and will endorse that opinion of the Marquess of Ripon and the Earl of Lytton to which I have referred. I turn now to the question which was largely dealt with by the Mover of the Amendment and by other speakers as to the general policy of the war. It has been suggested that the war was a merchants' war. That is a statement which I entirely deny. I would join with any hon. Member of this House in denouncing a war that was initiated simply for the purpose of trade; but if there is one thing which has been brought out more clearly than another, in the Papers which have been laid before Parliament, it is this—that every Indian authority, from the Chief Commissioner of British Burmah to the Viceroy of British India and the Secretary of State, have all, with one accord, absolutely refused to listen to any recommendations of the Chamber of Commerce at Rangoon or anyone else who asked them to engage in a war with Burmah, or to annex Upper Burmah for any purpose of commerce. The hon. Member himself quoted, as a proof that the war was objectionable on some other ground, the very language of the Chief Commissioner of Burmah (Mr. Bernard) and of the Viceroy of India (the Earl of Dufferin), in which they distinctly refused to comply with the requisition of that great meeting of the Rangoon merchants which was referred to by the hon. Member. Now, these are the very authorities who, not much later, endorsed and carried out the principle of the policy of the attack upon Upper Burmah. What was it that had happened in the meantime to produce that change? Why, Sir, all the circumstances of the case had changed, and the change is shown and exemplified in the letter of the Chief Commissioner of British Burmah to the Viceroy of India, dated September 4, 1885. The House, I am sure, will see by comparing the letter of the Chief Commissioner, written in the earlier part of the year with his letter in September, 1885, that in the meantime the events had so changed as to render an invasion of Upper Burmah absolutely necessary. What has been the history of our relations with Burmah from the earliest times? We have had the same difficulty which cropped up last year from the earliest times to contend with—namely, the arrogance and ignorance of the Court of Burmah. Why, in point of fact, did Lord Amherst annex Arakan in 1826? Why, simply because, if he had not done so, the King of Ava would have annexed Assam and Cachar. Then, again, in 1852, Lord Dalhousie found it necessary to annex Pegu, a similar attitude of arrogance having forced that step upon him. Coming down to later times, even the pacific Administration of the Earl of Northbrook—and I wish to speak of that Administration in terms of the most complete respect—that pacific Administration was absolutely compelled by the arrogance and by the ignorance of the Court of Ava to take military precautions against that country, and to send what was virtually an Ultimatum to the King of Ava. There was at that time habitual violations of the frontier, and injuries committed on British subjects which were loudly complained of by the Earl of Northbrook. Two hon. Members opposite, speaking of the difficulties which have always occurred in our relations with Burmah, owing to the peculiar customs of that country in regard to the treatment of our Resident, have omitted certain points with regard to that matter. The Government of India have endeavoured for years to maintain a Resident peaceably there—a most necessary measure for the trade of India and of England, if trade is to be carried on with Burmah at all, or if we are to have any relations with that country in any way whatever. We obtained by Treaty in 1862 the right of sending a Resident there. How was that Resident treated? The hon. Member has told us that our Resident was obliged to take off his sword before going into the Royal presence, and to take off his boots before gaining admission to the Royal Palace. That is true enough; but there were other indignities which I think the hon. Member ought to have discerned from reading the Blue Book, and which are certainly well known to anyone who has any personal acquaintance with Burmah. It will be remembered that when the Earl of Northbrook sent a Resident there, our Resident complained that on coming into the Royal presence he was ordered to sit on the floor with his feet behind him. Now, Sir, if any hon. Member will attempt to sit on the floor with his feet behind him, I maintain that he will find the task a most difficult one, and one which, in the end, will prove most disastrous to him. Therefore, it is not unreasonable, as the Earl of Northbrook said, for our officers to protest; on the contrary, it was impossible for us to permit such a state of things to exist any longer. And remember that this was the Earl of Northbrook, than whom no more pacific Viceroy has ever ruled in India. I pray the House to listen to this one point. During last year there was a very heavy accession of new causes of complaint, which rendered some action on the part of the Earl of Dufferin's Government absolutely necessary. First of all, there were the actual massacres which have not been spoken of much to-night, but which wore most important. At Mandalay in the preceding October the massacres in the gaol comprised a large number of British subjects from Chittagong. That was a point which did demand the interference of the Indian Government. Further, there was a spirit of lawlessness spread throughout Burmah, and a considerable part of the country was no longer within the control of the King himself. That lawlessness spread into British territory, and the Province of British Burmah would very soon have been in a similar state of lawlessness and disturbance if the Earl of Dufferin had not interfered. Be it remembered that the victims were employés of the Bombay and Burmah Trading Company, and the rafts of that Company were actually fired upon by some of the Burmese soldiers, and that, again, constituted a direct casus belli. But, as has been mentioned to-night, the point that changed the whole aspect of affairs most materially during the past year was the intrigues of the French Consul, M. Haas. They had reached such a point that the question was whether we should entirely lose our paramount position on that side of India, or should maintain it by force of arms. There can be no question whatever as to the intrigues of the French Consul; and it is known to the House that the King of Burmah had steadfastly determined to do all he could to draw closer the bonds of friendship between himself and the French and Italians. He had sent out an Embassy for that purpose; and it was on that account, and on account of the various other provocations I have recited—it was these facts, I submit to the House, which induced Mr. Bernard, the Chief Commissioner at Rangoon, and the Earl of Dufferin, to say at last—"This can go on no longer, and we must interfere." I was very glad to hear, in the very lucid statement which was made by the Under Secretary of State for India, his remarks upon the successful operations that have been conducted there, and his praise of our troops. I rejoiced to hear the hon. Gentleman praise the bearing of the Native troops engaged in that Expedition. I feel, Sir, that that praise was entirely deserved, and that it will give real pleasure and satisfaction to our fellow-subjects throughout India. I hope that the Government will follow up the speech of the Under Secretary of State by some statement to-night as to the rules by which, in future, the charges, as between the English and the Indian Exchequers, will be apportioned. One word in conclusion. The time for deciding formally the way in which these charges shall be apportioned is a very appropriate one, for, as has been noticed to-night, there is at present at the head of the Government in India a statesman belonging to the great Liberal Party, who, at the same time, commands the entire confidence of every Member on this side of the House. The Earl of Dufferin is making a great reputation for himself in India; and he has, I am bound to say, been supported most heartily by the late Government, and the Party to which I belong on this side of the House. Therefore, I maintain that the present time is one in which Party questions with regard to India are fairly in abeyance, and when it would be most appropriate for the Government to lay down some hard-and- fast rule by which such charges as this may be in future apportioned.

Question put.

The House divided:—-Ayes297; Noes 82: Majority 215.

Acland, A. H. D. Coddington, W.
Acland, C. T. D. Cohen, L. L.
Agg-Gardner, J. T. Collings, J.
Ainslie, W. G. Colman, J. J.
Allen, H. G. Commerell, Adml. Sir J.
Ambrose, W. Compton, Lord W. G.
Amherst, W. A. T. Coote, T.
Ashmead-Bartlett, E. Cozens-Hardy, H. H.
Ashton, T. G. Cranborne, Viscount
Atherley-Jones, L. Crawford, D.
Baden-Powell, G. S. Crompton, C.
Baggallay, E. Cross, rt. hn. Sir R. A.
Baily, L. R. Crossley, E.
Baird, J. Crossman, Gen. Sir W.
Baker, L. J. Currie, Sir D.
Balfour, rt. hon. A. J. Curzon, Viscount
Balfour, G. W. Denison, E. W.
Barbour, W. B. Denison, W. B.
Barnes, A. De Worms, Baron H.
Bartley, G. C. T. Dillon, J.
Barttelot, Sir W. B. Dimsdale, Baron R.
Bass, Sir A. Douglas, A. Akers-
Bates, Sir E. Duff, R. W.
Baumann, A. A. Duncan, Colonel F.
Beach, right hon. Sir M. E. Hicks- Duncan, D.
Duncombe, A.
Beadel, W. J. Dyke, rt. hon. Sir W. H.
Beith, G.
Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C. Edwardes-Moss, T. C.
Beresford, Lord C. W. De la Poer Egerton, hon. A. de T.
Egerton, hn. A. J. F.
Bethell, Commander Elliot, hon. A. R. D.
Bickersteth, R. Elliot, hon. H. F. H.
Bickford-Smith, W. Evelyn, W. J.
Biddulph, M. Ewing, Sir A. O.
Bigwood, J. Fairbairn, Sir A.
Birkbeck, Sir E. Farquharson, H. R.
Blaine, R. S. Farquharson, Dr. R.
Blundell, Col. H. B. H. Feilden, Lt-Gen. R. J.
Bolton, J. C. Fergusson, rt. hn. Sir J.
Bolton, T. H. Field, Captain E.
Bonsor, H. C. O. Finch, G. H.
Boyd-Kinnear, J. Finch-Hatton, hon. M. E. G.
Brand, hon. H. R.
Brassey, Sir T. Finlayson, J.
Brinton, J. Fisher, W. H.
Bristowe, T. L. Fitzgerald, R. U. P.
Broadhurst, H. Fletcher, B.
Brookfield, A. M. Flower, C.
Brooks, J. Folkestone, Viscount
Brown, A. H. Forwood, A. B.
Brunner, J. T. Fowler, Sir R. N.
Bryce, J. Fowler, H. H.
Burghley, Lord Fraser, General C. C.
Campbell, Sir A. Fuller, G. P.
Campbell, J. A. Gaskell, C. G. Milnes-
Campbell-Bannerman, right hon. H. Gent-Davis, R.
Gill, T. P.
Cavendish, Lord E. Gladstone, H. J.
Chamberlain, rt. hn. J. Glyn, hon. P. C.
Chamberlain, R. Goldsmid, Sir J.
Charrington, S. Goldsworthy, Major-General W. T.
Clarke, E. G.
Gorst, Sir J. E. M'Culloch, J.
Goschen, rt. hon. G. J. M'Donald, P.
Gower, G. G. L. M'Iver, L.
Grant, Sir G. M. M'Lagan, P.
Grey. Sir E. Magniac, C.
Hamilton, Lord C. J. Manners, rt. hon. Lord J. J. R.
Hamilton, Lord E.
Hamilton, Lord F. S. Marriott, rt. hn. W. T.
Hamilton, right hon. Lord G. F. Maskelyne, M. H. N. Story-
Hamilton, Col. C. E. Mason, S.
Hamilton, J. G. C. Menzies, R. S.
Hamley, Gen. Sir E. B. Mildmay, F. B.
Hankey, F. A. Mills, hon. C. W.
Hardcastle, F. Milvain, T.
Harker, W. Montagu, S.
Harrington, E. More, B. J.
Hartington, Marq. of Morgan, rt. hon. G. O.
Hastings, G. W. Mount, W. G.
Havelock-Allan, Sir H. M. Muntz, P. A.
Murdoch, C. T.
Hayne, C. Seale- Newnes, G.
Heaton, J. H. Nolan, Colonel J. P.
Heneage, right hon. E. Norris, E. S.
Henry, M. Northcote, hon. H. S.
Herbert, hon. S. Norton, B.
Hobhouse, H. O'Connor, J.
Holland, rt. hon. Sir H. T. O'Shea, W. H.
Paget, T. T.
Holmes, rt. hon. H. Paulton, J. M.
Hope, right hon. A. J. B. B. Pearce, W.
Pease, A. E.
Houldsworth, W. H. Pease, H. F.
Howard, H. G. Pelly, Sir L.
Howard, J. M. Percy, Lord A. M.
Hoyle, I. Pilkington, G. A.
Hughes-Hallett, Col. F. C. Pitt-Lewis, G.
Playfair, rt. hon. Sir L.
Hunter, Sir G. Plunket, rt. hon. D. R.
Hutton, J. F. Pomfret, W. P.
Isaacs, L. H. Powell, F. S.
Jacks, W. Powell, W. R. H.
Jackson, W. L. Price, T. P.
James, rt. hon. Sir H. Priestly, B.
James, hon. W. H. Puleston, J. H.
James, C. H. Quilter, W. C.
Jenkins, D. J. Ramsay, J.
Jennings, L. J. Richardson, T.
Johns, J. W. Robertson, H.
Johnson-Ferguson, J. E. Robertson, J. P. B.
Robinson, T.
Joicey, J. Roscoe, Sir H. E.
Jones-Parry, L. Ross, A. H.
Kay-Shuttleworth, Sir U. J. Rothschild, Baron F. J. de
Kenyon, hon. G. T. Round, J.
Kimber, H. Russell, Sir G.
Knatchbull-Hugessen, hon. H. T. Russell, C.
Russell, E. R.
Lacaita, C. C. Rylands, P.
Lane, W. J. Sandys, Lieut.-Col. T. M.
Lawrence, Sir T.
Lawrence, W. F. Saunders, W.
Lethbridge, Sir R. Sclater-Booth, rt. hn. G
Lewisham, Viscount Seely, C.
Llewellyn, E. H. Seton-Karr, H.
Lockwood, F. Sheridan, H. B.
Macdonald, right hon. J. H. A. Shirley, W. S.
Sidebottom, W.
MacInnes, M, Sitwell, Sir G. R.
Maclean, F. W. Smith, rt. hon. W. H
Maclean, J. M. Smith, D.
M'Arthur, A. Spencer, hon. C. R.
Stafford, Marquess of Wason, E.
Stanhope, rt. hon. E. Watson, J.
Stanley, rt. hn. Col. Sir F. Watson, T.
Wayman, T.
Stevenson, F. S. Webster, Sir R. E.
Stevenson, J. C. Westlake, J.
Stewart, M. Weston, J. D.
Strong, R. White, J. B.
Sturgis, H. P. Wiggin, H.
Sullivan, D. Will, J. S.
Swinburne, Sir J. Wilson, C. H.
Talbot, J. G. Wilson, I.
Taylor, F. Winn, hon. R.
Temple, Sir R. Winterbotham, A. B.
Thompson, Sir H. M. Wodehouse, E. R.
Tipping, W. Woodall, W.
Tottenham, A. L. Woodhead, J.
Trevelyan, rt. hn. G.O. Wortley, C. B. Stuart.
Vanderbyl, P. Wroughton, P.
Vincent, C. E. H' Young, C. E. B.
Walrond, Col. W. H.
Walsh, hon. A. H. J. TELLERS.
Wardle, H. Marjoribanks, hon. E.
Waring, Colonel T. Morley, A.
Warmington, C. M.
Abraham, W. (Glam.) Howard, E. S.
Abraham, W. (Limerick, W.) Illingworth, A.
Ince, H. B.
Allison, R. A. Jacoby, J. A.
Balfour, Sir G. Kelly, B.
Biggar, J. G. Kenrick, W.
Blaine, A. Lawson, H. L. W.
Blake, T. Leicester, J.
Bradlaugh, C. M'Carthy, J.
Bright, W. L. Mayne, T.
Bruce, hon. R. P. Molloy, B. C.
Buchanan, T. R. O'Brien, P. J.
Burt, T. Otter, F.
Buxton, E. N. Pickard, B.
Cameron, C. Pickersgill, E. H.
Cameron, J. M. Picton, J. A.
Campbell, H. Power, P. J.
Carew, J. L. Pyne, J. D.
Channing, F. A. Rathbone, W.
Clark, Dr. G. B. Redmond, W. H. K.
Cobb, H. P. Roberts, J. B.
Cohen, A. Robertson, E.
Coleridge, hon. B. Robson, W. S.
Conybeare, C. A. V. Rogers, J. E. T.
Cook, E. R. Salis-Schwabe, Col. G.
Corbett, A. C. Sexton, T.
Cox, J. R. Shaw, T.
Craven, J. Spensley, hon. H.
Crawford, W. Spicer, H.
Cremer, W. R. Storey, S.
Crilly, D. Stuart, J.
Dixon, G. Sturrock, P.
Ellis, J. Verney, Captain E. H.
Ellis, J. E. Williams, A. J.
Fenwick, C. Williams, J. C.
Fry, T. Wilson, H. J.
Gourley, E. T. Wilson, J. (Durham)
Haldane, R. B. Wolmer, Viscount
Hayden, L. P. Yeo, A. F.
Healy, M.
Healy, T. M. TELLERS.
Hervey, Lord F. Hunter, W. A.
Holden, A. Richard, H.
Holden, I.

Main Question put, and agreed to. Resolved, That Her Majesty having directed a Military expedition of Her forces charged upon Indian revenues to be despatched against the King of Ava, this House consents that the revenues of India shall he applied to defray the expenses of the Military operations which may ho carried on beyond the external frontiers of Her Majesty's Indian possessions.