§ Considered in Committee.
§ [Mr. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith), CHAIRMAN of WAYS and MEANS, in the Chair.]
§ (In the Committee.)
Motion made, and Question put—
That it is expedient that the grant in aid of £798,802 to the Government of the Khedive of Egypt should not be repaid."—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)
§ *THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Sir M. HICKS BEACH,) Bristol, W.
When, nearly a year and a half ago, it was my duty to call the attention of the House to the position of affairs in the Soudan, the province of Dongola had been recovered from barbarism, and restored to peace and security under a civilised Government. At that time I referred not only to what was the present and what had been the past policy in the Soudan, but I also sketched the policy for the future; and if I venture to remind the House of what I then said, it is not because I attach any undue importance to my own words—I am very reluctant to do that—but because the sketch I then gave has been absolutely fulfilled both in spirit and letter. Sir, on that occasion I said that Her Majesty's Government had never concealed their view that there must be a further advance, after the successful result of the expedition to Dongola, and that Egypt could not be held to be permanently secured so long as a hostile Power was in occupation of the Nile Galley up to Khartoum. I stated our 242 intention to pursue this policy prudently and gradually, for it would certainly not be either to the political or financial advantage of Egypt that more territory should be restored to her than she can properly administer or properly defend I said, further, that we proposed that in 1897 there should be a further advance to an important point on the Nile called Abu Hamed, and possibly beyond, and that, in our opinion, the main work to be done in the season before us would be the consolidation and connection of the district already under civilised government, and the acquisition of important strategical positions which might be of the utmost value in the future. I did not contemplate asking Parliament in 1897 for any further expenditure than that then proposed. Well, Sir, that statement was met, as everything we have said or done in regard to the Soudan has been met, by prophecies of evil and solemn warnings of future dangers, but it must be admitted that every word I said of our intentions has been completely fulfilled. The policy then laid down has been carried out by those who represent Her Majesty's Government in Egypt—by Lord Cromer, Sir Herbert Kitchener, General Sir F. Grenfell, aided by the Egyptian authorities in the most loyal manner, and has been carried out with a success which, whatever honourable Members may think of the merits, of the policy itself, I think all must appreciate and admire. Valuable lives have been lost in the valley of the Nile, but they have not been wasted, and the great result is that peace now reigns from Dongola, on the south-west, to Berber, Kassala, and Suakin, on the north east, and throughout the valley of the Nile and the whole of the north-east Soudan trade and industry are reviving surely, though no doubt slowly, as must necessarily be the case after the ruinous tyranny to which the whole of that country has been subjected in recent years. No doubt the recovered provinces have not yet paid the costs of their administration, but it would be a very strange thing if provinces subjected to such a rule should be able to pay the costs of their administration within a period of a couple of years of their restoration to civilisation. If honourable Members would look at the Report of Lord Cromer for 1897, which was presented to the 243 House a few weeks ago, they would find there a paragraph which says that the province of Dongola had almost been denuded of its male population, that a mere fraction of the cultivated land was actually under cultivation, and that the date-trees, a great source of wealth in those regions, had been almost ruined by neglect. Now, Lord Cromer shows how this has been set right, how immigrants are coming in, how industry is reviving and cultivation extending, how even this year a good crop is expected, and how trade routes long closed have been opened, and a beginning made for the complete restoration of the blessings of civilised rule; and the important strategical position of Kassala, the safety of which was an object of the original expedition to Dongola, is now occupied by an Egyptian garrison, making, as Lord Cromer points out, a very important position for checking the slave trade in future between the interior of Africa and Arabia. All these important results have been achieved at a total cost of only £E1,850,000, of which £E750,000 has been, expended in the most valuable assets—hundreds of miles of railways and telegraphs which have been laid down and which will open up for the future the great highway of the Nile, in a manner in which it has never been opened up before. Now we come to the next step—the advance on Khartoum itself. No one can foresee what the nature of the attack may be. It may be, no doubt, that the severe defeats which have been recently inflicted on the Dervish forces, especially in their complete rout at the battle of Atbara, may neutralise their power of defence. It may be, on the other hand, that the assault on Khartoum may be of a nature infinitely more serious than anything that has up to the present been attempted or carried out. But for ail these eventualities Sir Herbert Kitchener and the forces under him will be prepared. They will be strengthened by a larger accession of British troops than has ever been employed in that region before, and we entertain the hope that, so far as human foresight can foresee, they will be so provided as to ensure, as far as possible, success. I remember that the right honourable Gentleman the Member for 244 Monmouthshire, in referring to the matter at the commencement of the Session, took great exception to what he described as a policy which was neither prudent nor safe—that of locking up a British army at the Equator. If, in our belief, our policy involved the locking up of a British army at the Equator, I should be very much disposed to agree with him. In our belief it involves nothing of the kind, for a great many changes have taken place since the right honourable Gentleman talked of smashing the Mahdi, and did not do it. The Egyptian Army has been enormously improved in discipline, in power, and in morale. The Dervish power, though still formidable, must have been discouraged and disheartened by defeats; but what is perhaps more important than all, if you contrast the condition of affairs in the Soudan now with what it was in 1885, is this fact—that throughout the advance, since the expedition to Dongola was first undertaken, Sir Herbert Kitchener and his forces have been received with every manifestation of joy and friendly welcome by all the subject tribes. Those subject tribes, no doubt, had reason enough to complain of the old system of government of the pashas of Egypt. But they have found during the years that have passed that the government first of the Mahdi and then of the Khalifa was infinitely worse, and they welcome with joy anything which will tend to the complete abolition of the power of the Khalifa and the restoration of peace, security and trade to the country which they inhabit. That is not only true of the tribes in the valley of the Nile, but it is true also, as we have seen, of the tribes near Kassala, in the desert, and in the north-eastern Soudan; and only recently we have received messages from tribes far south of Khartoum praying that the assault on Khartoum may not be long delayed, for the final destruction of the Mahdi's power. Therefore I do not at all anticipate that it will be necessary to detain the large British force which will be employed in the assault on Khartoum for any length of time, either at Khartoum or in the Soudan; and I think it probable—though, of course, no one can speak with certainty with regard to military contingencies— 245 that only a small portion of that force will be retained there after the power of the Khalifa has been finally broken, and even the stay of that portion at Khartoum or in the Soudan may be purely temporary, because we must remember that the Egyptian Army at present is better than it was in the old days of Ismail Pasha. I remember when I was in Egypt myself, more than 35 years ago, the journey to Khartoum and the neighbourhood of Khartoum was as safe as England itself, when the country was controlled solely by Egyptian troops, far inferior to the Egyptian forces of the present day, in the pay, of course, of the Egyptian Government. I ought to add, because the Committee will desire to have some information as to our policy in the future, that we do not contemplate the undertaking of any further military operations on a large scale, or involving any considerable expense, for the recovery of the provinces to the south of Khartoum. What we do anticipate is that expeditions may be made by the gunboat flotilla, which will be at the disposal of the Administration, to free the waterway of the Nile from any interference with perfect freedom of commerce with the interior, so far as it can be carried on by that waterway. We hope that in that way and by the establishment of friendly relations between the tribes to the south and the administration at Khartoum itself, it will be possible to open up these regions in a manner which will confer the greatest possible benefit upon Egypt and also upon this country. Of course, we have been told that in all this policy we are imposing upon Egypt a burden greater than Egypt can bear. I hardly think that the policy for the future, which I have sketched out, could be described as onerous to Egypt or dangerous or adventurous in itself. But I know that the right honourable Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire has a very strong opinion upon this matter; that he has stated to the House that in his opinion It is not to the interest of Egypt, and that, in consequence of the Soudan policy, public works in Egypt have been suspended, and the development of the fellaheen and the commercial and agricultural interests have suffered. I should 246 like to appeal from the right honourable Gentleman to a far greater and more impartial authority on Egyptian affairs, and that is Lord Cromer's Report. Honourable Members will find in the eighth page of Lord Cromer's Report this statement of his views, which I shall venture to read to the Committee. He says, referring to the reconquest of the Soudan—There can scarcely be two opinions on the point that it will be an unmixed blessing to the Egyptians when the matter is finally disposed of and when Egypt has acquired a settled frontier, free from fear of Dervish invasion or incursion. For many years past the obvious necessity of dealing sooner or later with the Soudan question has hung like a dead weight round the necks of all who had been responsible for the government of Egypt. It is, from the Egyptian point of view, well worth making some sacrifice in the direction of postponing reforms, which are avowedly desirable, in order to enable this weight to be removed. I hope and believe that the sacrifice will not be heavy, nor the postponement of much longer duration than it would have been had the Egyptian frontier remained at Wady Halfa.Lord Cromer then goes on to say that—In spite of the difficulties arising from recent events in the Soudan the steady progress which has been characteristic of the last 15 years has as yet received no sensible check.Lord Cromer's Report teems with evidence of the truth of the last passage which I have read. If honourable Members consider that insufficient expenditure is included in the Egyptian Budget for the present year, for necessary reforms and improvements in Egypt itself, I would refer them to what Lord Cramer states as to the action of the Caisse in this matter. The Caisse has to deal, as the Committee know, with the general reserve fund, which it may devote to purposes which in its belief are useful for the government of the country and cannot otherwise be provided for. The fund is, of course, purely Egyptian money, and Lord Cromer states that at the date of his Report the Caisse has made special grants from this fund of £E530,000 for the construction of two great weirs in Lower Egypt, £E254,000 for drainage purposes, £E100,000 for new material for Egyptian railways, and £E70,000 for improving prisons, hospitals, and schools. I think all that shows that improvement in Egypt has by no means 247 stopped in consequence of the Soudan expenditure. (But, further, has the debt of Egypt been increased in the last year? What does Lord Cromer say? He says that, in spite of the expenses of the Soudan expedition, the aggregate indebtedness of Egypt has been decreased by £E229,000 during the year 1897, exclusive of the reductions which were effected by sales of property. I think I have given the right honourable Gentleman a sufficient answer from Lord Cromer's Report to his allegations that the development of the interests of Egypt proper has suffered by the expedition into the Soudan. Now, Sir, I come to the present financial needs in this matter. The whole of the Soudan expenditure has been provided for, as the accounts in Lord Cromer's Report show, up to the end of the year 1897, and, further, ordinary military and civil expenditure in the Soudanese provinces, to the extent of a net sum of £E213,000, including the occupation of Kassala, has been provided for in the ordinary Budget of 1898. But no provision has been made in the accounts which have been published for the expenditure consequent upon the reinforcement of the Egyptian Army by British troops early in the present year—those troops who arrived just in time to take part in the battle of Atbara—or for the further reinforcement which will be sent to aid in the capture of Khartoum. We have gone carefully into the probable cost of these further operations, in consultation with Lord Cromer, Sir Herbert Kitchener, and the military authorities, and I have had the advantage of some communication with Sir Elwin Palmer, the financial adviser of the Egyptian Government, who happens now to be in England. Of course, it is impossible to lay down any very definite estimate with regard to military operations; no one can foresee the contingencies that may arise. But, assuming those operations to be conducted in the manner in which they have hitherto been conducted, and with the success that has hitherto attended them—and I think that is not an unreasonable assumption—the authorities whom I have named estimate that the additional cost required should not exceed some £750,000. The arrangement will 248 be that the whole cost of the matter will be borne by the Egyptian Government, and it will be controlled by Sir Herbert Kitchener, the Sirdar. In the sum I have named is included the charge for sea transport and other transport of the British troops from Malta, or Gibraltar, as the case may be, to Assouan and the Soudan. Sir, as I have said, that is the Estimate that has been framed, and Lord Cromer and Sir Elwin Palmer agree with me in considering that if we remit the loan which was made to the Egyptian Government, of £798,000, in the early part of 1897, the Egyptian Government will be well able to provide all that is necessary for the purpose. I may explain, perhaps, that the fact of that loan deprived the Egyptian Government to that extent of their ordinary borrowing powers. The Committee are probably aware that the borrowing powers which the Egyptian Government, like any other Government, possesses for the ordinary provision of ways and means are, in their case, limited to a million, and if they wanted to provide ordinary ways and means by the issue of Treasury Bills they could not exceed a million. By the fact that they accepted the sum of £800,000 from us, as a loan, they were deprived to that extent of their borrowing powers, which were really reduced to £200,000. Therefore it has been, I believe, some slight inconvenience to them with regard to their ordinary expenditure, but further of course the effect of treating this advance of £798,000 as a loan has been, as Lord Cromer's Report shows, to cause a deficiency in the special reserve fund, which is at the disposal of the Egyptian Government, of £E571,000. That deficiency will be turned into a surplus, which will be added to in the course of the coming 12 months by the surplus or the year, which may be fairly anticipated from the ordinary revenue, and the Egyptian Government will also receive from other sources considerable amounts under arrangements which they have recently been able to make. The net result will be that if this is no longer treated as a loan, but as a free grant, the Egyptian Government will be perfectly well able to bear all the expenditure we have any reason to anticipate without 249 any further aid. Sir, perhaps I should explain to the Committee how this advance was made. It was voted by Parliament as an ordinary grant in aid to the Egyptian Government; £798,000 was voted in all, of which £528,000 was in order to enable the Egyptian Government to repay the advance which had been made by the Caisse towards the expenses of the Dongola expedition, and £270,000 was for the purchase of material for the railway from Wady Haifa to Abu Hamed, which has since been completed. Well, the Egyptian Government accepted this as a loan on current account, bearing interest of 2¾ per cent., to be gradually reduced by the application of any surplus arising from Dongola or the Soudan after the expenses of administration had been defrayed, and so much of the free surplus of the revenues of Egypt as might be annually agreed upon. Nothing has since been repaid, as the Committee are aware. That was the action of the Egyptian Government in concert with Her Majesty's Government, but so far as Parliament is concerned it was voted in the ordinary way of a grant in aid, as a free grant, and there is nothing in the record of the Vote, or in the Appropriation Act which sanctioned that Vote, to show that it was a loan at all. Therefore it would be technically possible for Her Majesty's Government to remit this loan and to inform the Egyptian Government that it need not be repaid; but, as the Committee will remember, I stated to Parliament that it was a loan, and I read the terms on which that loan would be made. We have therefore thought it only right to bring the matter before the House and to propose a Resolution that it is not expedient that the grant should be repaid, which I shall presently move, in order that we may have the authority of the House for our action, although, technically, I believe no authority is required, and, further, that honourable Members may have an opportunity of expressing their views on the whole subject, and on the policy we have pursued. Sir, I do not think anyone will grudge this remission of the loan. I am not aware that anyone supported our policy in 1897 because they considered that it was a loan and not a free grant. On the con- 250 trary, I remember perfectly well the right honourable Gentleman the Member for Montrose, when I spoke of our policy as a philanthropic policy, to be supported by this House, because of the enormous blessings it would confer upon a population which has been subjected to the most barbarous despotism—the answer of the right honourable Gentleman to me was this—Oh yes, your philanthropy is all very well; I admit that it is philanthropic, but you ought not to make other people pay for the philanthropy which you desire to practise.If this is treated as a free grant, and if we also bear in mind the other expenditure which has been incurred, notably the expenses, which we paid, of garrisoning Suakim by Indian troops, what it will amount to will be this: that our contribution, so far as we can at present anticipate, to the capture of Khartoum and the final smashing of the Khalifa will be a little short of a million. Those of us who remember that in 1885 four millions and a half were wasted in the Soudan for nothing at all will not, I think, consider a million a large contribution towards such a result. But if any credit be attached to anyone for that result, I do not desire to claim it on behalf of Her Majesty's Government; I do claim it for, and I think the country will give it to, those men who have represented us in Egypt, who have added a fresh garland of laurels to the garland already won there by many of our countrymen by the skill and vigour and foresight with which, from the very inception of this enterprise, they have prosecuted it to the success which it has achieved, and with which they will, I believe, prosecute it to the final conclusion. I beg to move—That it is expedient that the grant in aid of £798,802 to the Government of His Highness the Khedive should not be repaid.
§ *SIR W. HARCOURT (Monmouthshire, W.)
I do not rise for the purpose of discussing over again the whole policy of Her Majesty's Government in these expeditions. The Motion to-day is a financial Motion, and I desire to call attention to the finance, which is always an important matter, which is proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The 251 Chancellor of the Exchequer has been good enough to say that gentlemen on this side of the House had changed their views upon this matter. I was not at all aware that we had changed our views.
§ *SIR W. HARCOURT
Well, at all events, the right honourable Gentleman said something about predictions. There there is an old proverb, "People who live in glass houses should not throw stones." I should have been very glad if in regard to these matters the predictions of the Chancellor of the Exchequer from the commencement of this business had been fulfilled. In the year 1896, when this policy first began, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was challenged by my right honourable Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, who then said that "if the Committee thought that Egypt was going to pay when all is done they would be very gravely disappointed; sooner or later England would have to pay for the policy which had been voted was theirs, and the initiative was theirs." Well, that seemed, I think, to be a very sound statement, and after the lapse of two years that it is a statement that has been verified by the proposals and by the action of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Chancellor of the Exchequer then denied that proposition altogether. He said "it was not an English expedition; that the Egyptian Government had undertaken the expedition." That was the policy as it was introduced to the House of Commons and the country. When my right honourable Friend said it was the policy of England, and that England would ultimately have to pay for it, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said—The Egyptian Government have undertaken this expedition with their own forces and at their own cost. It is probable that some charge may be imposed upon us in connection with the despatch of special service officers and the employment of the British troops now in Egypt, but I, at any rate, have no reason to, anticipate that any of the terrible prognostications of the right honourable Gentleman will be fulfilled.That was the view in 1896. Then in 1897 the Chancellor of the Exchequer was still predicting and stating what was the 252 policy of the Government on this subject. He has to-night enlarged very much upon the resources of Egypt, how they are improved, how these great expeditions are going to be highly remunerative; and consequently, of course, we may expect that Egypt will have no difficulty whatever in carrying out this expedition, which is an Egyptian expedition, at its own cost, out of its own abundant resources. Sir, the right honourable Gentleman referred to a speech of mine in which I pointed out at that time, on the authority of the statements that had been made public, that it had been necessary, in consequence of these expeditions, to suspend the plans for the irrigation of the Nile. I believe since that time some accommodation has been made which has enabled that to be done to a greater extent than at the moment of which I speak. That is not the only reference in the speech. The right honourable Gentleman quoted the great authority of Lord Cromer, who, he said, quite truly, was a greater authority than I am. I am now going to quote on the question of finance a greater authority than I can pretend to be—that is the present Chancellor of the Exchequer; and I quote from a speech which he made, in which he stated that "if it was only a question of the interests of England he should wish that we were not in Egypt." He has not referred to that at all to night. He simply deals with the benefits which he believes will accrue to Egypt from these expeditions; and therefore, when in 1896 this policy was launched, not as an English policy, but as an Egyptian policy, when we were assured at its commencement that it would be carried out at the cost of Egypt, and that the whole military conduct of the expedition would be in Egyptian hands. It is in the hands of that distinguished and able general, Sir Herbert Kitchener, and I would say the right honourable Gentleman is quite right when he said there would be on this side of the House no disparagement of the extraordinary ability, skill, and conduct which Sir Herbert Kitchener has displayed. Upon the subject of the administration of Egypt by Lord Cromer, Sir, I think there will be no difference of opinion. The very essence of all these declarations was that this expedition was 253 to be an Egyptian expedition at the cost of Egypt. The position which Lord Cromer holds in Egypt, and the position which Sir Herbert Kitchener, the Sirdar, holds show that it is not an English expedition, but that it is an Egyptian expedition. What I have spoken of now was in 1896; but last year, in 1897, the right honourable Gentleman came forward, and, still adhering to the view that it was an Egyptian expedition, proposed a Vote—technically, it is true, in the form of a grant-in-aid—he felt, as I am sure he would feel, that in dealing with this matter he could not treat it as such, because he recommended it to the House of Commons as a loan. The right honourable Gentleman has no desire, I am sure, to take any advantage of the technical form in which the Vote was proposed.
§ *SIR W. HARCOURT
I was quite sure of that. So I understood from the right honourable Gentleman. The substance of the thing is contained in the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he was proposing that Vote. He says this—The terms upon which we have made the advances are these. We have made an agreement with the Egyptian Government that while the advance is outstanding"—and in the Advances are these: We have made an agree the Estimates, to which I will subsequently allude—while the advance is outstanding they shall pay 2¾ per cent, interest on the money, being the same rate paid on our own funds, and that it shall rest with the two Governments from time to time to agree as to the repayment by the Egyptian Government of the capital sum by such instalments as may be found possible and convenient. The Egyptian Government have willingly accepted that proposal.Now, Sir, we have this statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that this was to be an Egyptian expedition, carried on at the expense of Egypt, and in consequence of matters, to which I need not refer, but which played a considerable part in that Debate—in consequence of what, I think, the right honourable Gentleman described as being worried by Russia and Frahce—this advance in the form of a loan was made. But mark, 254 that advance in the form of a loan of money was ultimately to go to the English Exchequer, and be employed in the reduction of the English debt. Then the right honourable Gentleman comes forward now and says, "Though I have taken that money on the representation that it was to be a loan only, which would ultimately come into the English Exchequer, and therefore be no charge upon the British taxpayer, I now propose to remit that loan." Well, Sir, the right honourable Gentleman says that this is the very last demand that he is likely to make in respect of this expedition. He read to us what I thought was a very carefully prepared sentence, which contained the pledge that the expedition was not to go beyond Khartoum. It seemed to me as if the sentence had been very well considered and largely debated in the Cabinet; and I remember in the very first Debate on these subjects, when we suggested that the expedition would go to Khartoum, there was a sort of rejection in a rather horrified sceptism by the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the very notion of going to Khartoum at all.
§ *SIR W. HARCOURT
Well, is it then only to this particular expedition that the right honourable Gentleman's pledge is to be applied? Are the predictions of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to be equally fallacious, and his conversion to be as annual as it has proved to be in the past two years? He says: "Oh, no; we are going to smash the Mahdi at Khartoum, and we are going to do it very cheap. It is only going to cost £750,000, and though this is only a remission of loans, there are to be no loans hereafter, and no grants in aid hereafter, and the British taxpayer will never be charged with anything more hereafter. It is an Egyptian expedition; it is an Egyptian policy, for Egyptian advantage." The vanity of human hopes in the case of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he undertakes, as I said, to make a military occupation of the Equator, is not likely to be better fulfilled in the future than in the past. This is a most remarkable transaction. The right honourable Gentleman must forgive me if he regards me as rather a financial prude in 255 this matter. I do not like the notion of a Chancellor of the Exchequer coming down one year to get a loan to supply an expedition, and then next year to come down and say: Oh! we will turn it into a grant in aid. I read a speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer—I thought it a very sensible speech—made in the City to the bankers, in which he expressed some disinclination to be the lender to uncivilised people—I forget the exact words—but I think they would have included the inhabitants of the Equator. Those financial statements were extremely sound, but it surprises me that he had, within a few days of that speech, to come down to turn this loan into a grant in aid. I can only say that I take quite as much objection to grants in aid for purposes of that kind as I have to loans for the purposes of the inhabitants of the Equator. Sir, the real question is, what is the liability you are proposing to undertake in this matter? The Chancellor of the Exchequer tells us that he thinks that this occupation of Khartoum and the districts in the neighbourhood of Khartoum is only to be temporary. He said he would agree with me that in the condition of Europe as it is, to lock up British forces in districts of that character and at that distance, with our limited Army, was not and is not a good or wise policy. He agrees with that opinion, and he says we shall never do anything of that kind. The troops are only to remain there, I suppose, for this autumn, and then to be withdrawn; the British troops are not to remain there. Only the Egyptian troops, on which he has entire reliance, are to be left there. I do not know how many loans or grants in aid we are going to give to the Egyptian troops left in Khartoum, but all we can now do is to protest against this policy. Upon this occasion, as to the financial Motion made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I must pronounce it to be in form absolutely unsound, and one against which I must enter my protest. You have no right to impose a grant of this kind upon the British taxpayer. In view of the allegation—no doubt the well-founded and bonâ-fide allegation—of the Chancellor of the Exchequer last year that this money was to 256 be a loan, and was not to be charged on the British taxpayer, but was to be repaid, for the right honourable Gentleman to come down in the next year and propose to make the loan a grant in aid I do not think is sound finance. On the contrary, I think it is pregnant with great danger for the future to pursue a course of that character. Now what is the course which the right honourable Gentleman might have pursued, and which I think he ought to have pursued? He ought to have left the loan as it stood upon the allegation of last year, and come forward in his Budget this year, and said, "We are going to Khartoum, and it is going to cost £750,000 or £1,000,000, and I say I think the British Exchequer ought to contribute to this expedition;" and so dealt with it as part of the finances of the year. That would have been sound, straightforward finance. It is telling the House of Commons what you are going to do, how you are going to do it, and charging the cost in a bonâ-fide, straightforward manner upon the taxation of the year. But to make it no part of your general financial arrangements, to come forward in June with this indirect method of obtaining the money by turning into a grant in aid that which was given upon the representation that it was to be a loan, is not, in my opinion, a proper way of dealing with the finances of this country, and I must enter my protest against it altogether.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
I think, Sir, that undoubtedly all those who have followed these proceedings must agree that one of the foremost objects of any Egyptian statesman must be the reconquest of Khartoum. That is certain, and I for one am not prepared to think that under proper conditions England will object to it. But there are two things which I cannot quite understand. First of all, the right honourable Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire says the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to have dealt with this money in his Budget for the year. But, Sir, it was a supplemental Estimate last year, so that the course suggested by the right honourable Gentleman would not have been possible. 257 What, however, I still less understand is the case, or rather the absence of a case, made out by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the entire reversal of the proposal he made to this House in February last year. Sir, when I came down here to-day I anticipated that the right honourable Gentleman intended to move, as he had moved, that this debt should not be paid; but, as a further reason for that proposal, I expected him to make it in the language of the Standing Order 59, which I think would be applicable in this case, and which provides that the House shall not receive a proposal for compounding any sum of money owing to the Crown, upon any branch of the revenue, without a certificate from the proper officer, "stating the debt, what prosecutions have been made for the recovery of such debt, and setting forth, how much the petitioner and his security are able to satisfy thereof." That, Sir, is the sort of language I expected the right honourable Gentleman to use; but, Sir, quite the contrary. The right honourable Gentleman draws a most roseate picture of the finances of Egypt in view of the future, and of her enormous prosperity, and having done so in a manner to make the mouth water of any Chancellor of the Exchequer he ends with a proposal that we should forgive this debt of £800,000. Well, Sir, he proposes at the same time to commit England in Egypt to a much larger extent than has ever been done before. The right honourable Gentleman opposite reminded him that in 1896 he said this was a purely Egyptian expedition, carried out by Egyptian troops and Egyptian money, but how the Egyptian troops are outnumbered by British troops, and we might fancy that Egypt was not in the affair at all; and, in addition to that, the Chancellor of the Exchequer tells us that a larger quantity of British troops are to be employed in the annexation of Khartoum than have ever been employed before. So that, while he tolls us that the burden is not greater than Egypt can bear, and that it would not be onerous, he at the same time, forsooth, makes his proposal that we should forgive this debt. To me that is perfectly incomprehensible. But what is still more incomprehensible is that part of the speech of the right honourable Gentleman which was taken 258 up with one of those irruptions by an unaccustomed Minister into other Departments than his own, which he himself deprecated in a recent speech. No doubt he had another Minister in his mind when he was making that speech, but he has given us a striking example of the accidental and casual irruption by a Minister into a Department which is not his own, because the right honourable Gentleman not only irrupted into foreign affairs, but he irrupted into strategy. I almost thought I was listening to a field marshal when he explained the method by which the advance to Khartoum ought to be made, and the way in which the gunboats should be sent up the Nile to the farther reaches of those waters. Well, now, Sir, this grant was moved for in February, 1897, and it was moved for on the ground that the mixed tribunal in Egypt had decided that Egypt herself could not pay the expense. But here is a point on which I really trust the right honourable Gentleman will now give us some explanation. The right honourable Gentleman on that occasion absolutely derided the mixed tribunal which had given that financial decision. He said it was almost absurd, and he further told this House that it was time to reconsider the Convention, and I suppose he meant also the conduct of the tribunal—certainly that some alteration would have to be made, and it would have to be considered whether it should be allowed to interfere with the finances of Egypt and the financial relations between Egypt and England. Now, Sir, has that reconsideration taken place? If so, what is the effect? Has the right honourable Gentleman been defeated in his attempt to reconstitute this tribunal which decided against him last year? Has he succeeded or has he failed? He must have given up the mixed tribunal as a bad job, and eventually concluded that he must accept the position of last year, and the outcome of his decision is that we must let them off this debt.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
Oh, very well; then I think the proposal of the right honourable Gentleman is premature. If the Commission is sitting now, the mixed tribunal may yet have to 259 reconsider its conduct last year, and may decide that Egypt had a right, after all, to expend this money; and in that case there is no necessity for the right honourable Gentleman to propose this large remission. If the matter is not yet concluded, then I say this proposal is altogether premature in being brought before the House now. The right honourable Gentleman opposite has quoted, some of the words of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in making this Motion last year, and I feel it necessary to quote some others, because I think the House will scarcely believe that a suggestion was made from those Benches that this loan Very likely would not be repaid, and that England would probably, in fact, have to pay it herself; as, indeed, the Chancellor of the Exchequer now proposes. But what was the answer which the Chancellor of the Exchequer then made to that suggestion? Why, Sir, he scouted the whole suggestion. He said—The honourable Member for Northampton will probably find fault with me for advancing the money on too easy terms.Mr. Labouchere: No.He may say there is no technical security. That is perfectly true. Owing to their financial fetters the Egyptian Government are unable to give any such technical security. But we have the word of the Egyptian Government, which we trust, and we have this further fact—that we are in occupation of Egypt.So that the right honourable Gentleman told us we need be under no fear as to this loan being repaid, which now he says cannot be repaid; or, rather, which he says can be repaid, but is not to be repaid—because he says Egypt is very greatly more prosperous than she was when he spoke those words. Last year he said in effect—We have no technical security, but we have a real, good, valuable security that we trust. We have the word of Egypt, and, in fact, we are in occupation of Egypt—we are the man in possession; and if Egypt makes any difficulty about repaying this loan, we can take some steps.I do not know what, perhaps the annexation of the taxes on the Customs—to repay ourselves.That was the answer the right honourable Gentleman made; but that is not all. 260 The right honourable Gentleman told us in that famous phrase which we all so much admired, that this country was not going to be "worried" out of its policy by any other country. Everybody admires that phrase of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. But the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer on that occasion paled before the speech of the right honourable Gentleman the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs. Sir, when I spoke once before, the Under Secretary of State said the least dull part of my speech consisted of quotations from his. So he said with characteristic modesty, but that will not deter me from giving other quotations from one of his speeches, and I hope he will like them. The Under Secretary of State gave a description of the resources of the country to which we were asked to make this loan, which we are now requested to forgive. He said—The right honourable Gentleman has asked whether these advances to the Egyptian Government are ever going to be repaid; and he said we shall not be able to obtain repayment without starving the Egyptian Government. There seems to prevail an idea among some honourable Members that the Exchequer of the Egyptian Government is in an impoverished and depleted condition. What are the facts? What are the financial resources at the disposal of the Egyptian Government? They have, in the first place, a reserve fund—through the successful conversion of some parts of the debt in 1890, and from the interest on the money thus accumulated, of £2,305,000. They have, further, a general reserve fund, constituted by the decree of 1888, which, at the present moment, after deducting liabilities, shows a surplus of £2,235,000; and, finally, there is a special reserve fund, in which there is at the present moment a sum of £255,000;making a total altogether of resources in the hands of the Egyptian Government of £4,795,000. Then the right honourable Gentleman went on to say—This is the impoverished Government which we are alleged to be starving, and to which"—and here comes the point—we are making an advance that cannot be repaid.So that we see that, like the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs absolutely ridiculed the notion that there would be any difficulty at all on the part of Egypt in 261 repaying the £800,000. And there was one other great passage in the speech of the Under Secretary of State. He remarked—The right honourable Gentleman the Member for Montrose went on to say 'Why do you not pay this sum yourself?' I do not know whether that is a serious question. I noticed it did not excite a single cheer on his own side of the House, and I do not think it would have been received with enthusiasm upon either side.Now mark this—So long as the Egyptian Government are willing and anxious to pay.They are more prosperous this year, and probably more willing and anxious to pay but for this tyrannical Chancellor of the Exchequer, who will not allow them to pay; for, so far as I can see, there is no other reason.So long," said the right honourable Gentleman, "as the Egyptian Government are willing and anxious to pay, I do not think we need needlessly disturb susceptibilities here by discussing whether or not we should pay.Well, now, Sir, I say that picture of the financial position of Egypt, added to the picture given us this evening by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, absolutely deprives him of all justification for the Motion which he has placed before the House. Egypt willing and anxious to pay! Egypt with overflowing coffers last year, and with coffers still more overflowing this year, and yet, in spite of her willingness to pay, in spite of her anxiety, in spite of the overflowing coffers, the Chancellor of the Exchequer comes down here as though he were representing a miserable and impoverished land, unable to pay this debt of £800,000. I do not understand it, and he has given no argument in support of the proposal at present. But, perhaps, as he has undertaken to fight the battle of the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs will fight the battle of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I do not quite gather from the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether this country is liable for another million, or only for another £200,000.
§ *THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I stated that altogether 262 the contribution of this country towards the recapture of Khartoum would be less, than £1,000,000, including this £800,000, and about £145,000, I think it is, which the House voted for the expenditure on the Indian garrisons.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
I now understand. In my opinion it is absolutely necessary for various reasons that Khartoum should be again a province of Egypt; but should the reconquest be made wholly or even largely at the expense of England? Are we to keep Khartoum for nothing, and to pay either all, or a large part, of the expenditure? If that be the proposal, it seems to me entirely unreasonable. If it were a British, possession, then I could well understand our undertaking the expense of the reconquest of Khartoum; but, inasmuch as our possession of Egypt is that purely of leaseholders, at the will, one might almost say, of the Powers, insomuch as we have undertaken that in Egypt we will neither gain nor seek any advantages for ourselves that are not shared absolutely and completely by every other Power, and inasmuch as even the canal itself has been placed by the Convention of 1888 in such a position that, apparently, if we were at war with China and Russia, we should, we being in the occupation of Egypt, have to allow a Russian vessel to sail through the canal that would attack our fleet at China—inasmuch as we are in this strange and anomalous position in Egypt, I do not think we ought to be asked to remit a large part of this loan. It seems to me that before the House is asked to forego the repayment of the loan some grounds at least should be shown to us that Egypt is unable to repay it. No ground has been shown, either political or financial, why this country should be asked to pay this £800,000, and I therefore think it is extremely difficult to support the proposal of the right honourable Gentleman.
§ *MR. JOHN ELLIS (Nottingham, Rushcliffe)
I have listened with interest to the proposal made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I must say that if he had been speaking to an Egyptian Parliament, instead of to the British Parliament, I could well have understood what 263 he said. As I listened to his speech the question ran through my mind as to what reason he would give why the taxpayers of the United Kingdom should remit this loan of £800,000, but the reason never came. He gave a very glowing picture of the condition of Egypt, but I am perfectly certain that he would not deny for a moment that every penny spent by the Egyptian Government in the invasion of the Soudan has been so much money taken from the most urgent and beneficial reforms in Egypt itself. The Chancellor of the Exchequer endeavoured to minimise what he called the next step. He told us—and I listened to the speech with very great satisfaction as being almost the first statement of the policy we have had on the subject—that the Government have no intention whatever, as I gathered, of taking any steps to conquer certain provinces of the Soudan. Well, so far so good. But I am bound to say, Mr. Lowther, that I fail entirely to gather any adequate reason why the ratepayers of the United Kingdom are to be called upon to remit this loan. This proposal raises, of course, the question of the whole policy of the Government in the Soudan. I am not going to detain the Committee at length, but I will endeavour to express my opinion on that point, since circumstances naturally called my attention to the subject last winter when I was in Egypt. I returned from Egypt feeling that the termination of the occupation of Egypt was not a question of practical politics. I returned with a rooted conviction and the strongest possible feeling that this incursion into the Soudan, with the exception of very narrow limits—of which I will speak in a moment—had been to Egypt most disastrous, for it has taken the minds of those who are responsible for the government of Egypt off other questions, and has postponed reforms which are extremely desirable. We have had no statement from the Government why the policy of Lord Salisbury, so clearly laid down by him in 1888, has been departed from. I will not dwell upon the military aspect of the matter except to recall one event, the importance of which looms much larger in Egypt than in this House, and that is the invasion of Egypt by the 264 followers of the Mahdi in 1889. They were absolutely defeated and routed, not by the assistance of British troops, but by the Egyptian Army under the leadership of the then Sir Francis Grenfell. From, that day to this the idea of the invasion of the Dervishes on any practical scale has been treated as absolutely chimerical. There has been no practical danger since. Now, what is the position now? In 1896, after years of peace—1891, 1892, 1893, 1894, and 1895—a new policy was started. Lord Cromer remarked in a Report which he wrote on the 3rd of February, 1896, "the Dervishes maintain a strictly defensive attitude." The Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs came down to this House on the 16th of March, 1896, and in reply to a question by the Leader of the Opposition, unfolded a new policy—a policy of the invasion of the Soudan, and placed it upon three bases. He said it was (1) to protect the frontier of Egypt; (2) to form a granary for Egypt in Dongola; and (3) to assist the Italians. In relation to that the right honourable Gentleman read three somewhat panic-stricken telegrams. He made statements which turned out to be quite chimerical. As to Dongola, I may remind the Chancellor of the Exchequer that a special report has been published, containing a most lamentable account of the Province of Dongola. Dongola is a wild waste, the male population is almost extinct, and therefore for a very considerable time the province of Dongola, even under the most capable administration, cannot add anything to the riches of Egypt. Turning to the military aspect of the advance, nobody can admire more than I do, putting aside the question of killing and wounding, the precision and admirable method in which the military operations have been carried on, and which have been largely due to the fact that the Sirdar has kept his own counsel. Coming to the political aspect, I say no reason has been given for the departure from Lord Salsbury's declaration in 1888. His words were, and it is vital to bear them in mind—We do not depart in any degree from the policy of leaving the Soudan. As to the obligation which the noble and gallant Earl would impose on us, the duty of restoring it could only be carried out by a large and costly expedi- 265 tion entailing an enormous sacrifice of blood and treasure, and for the present a continuous expenditure, which I do not think the people of this country would sanction.I ask, what reason has been given to the House of Commons for departing from this policy? In 1896 the Secretary of State for the Colonies spoke, and he gave some indication of what our policy was to be. Then, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said last year that our policy was limited. The House of Commons has been called upon to vote sums of money under what I call a limited liability policy. But I ask, what British interest will be served by this incursion into the Soudan? Where do the interests of our constituents come in in this matter? That is the question I wish to drive home to the Committee. This is, as I take it, a policy of aggression. It cannot be called a policy of defence. It is not necessary for us to secure Egypt. It is a policy, I submit, which is punitive, and similar to what took place in 1884. I certainly do think that the Committee have been somewhat unfairly treated in the matter of procedure. The Chancellor of the Exchequer took some credit to himself for having made this Motion at all, hinting that it was not really needful. But I respectfully join issue with him there. He will find nothing in our procedure which is more carefully framed than the system which deals with the expenditure of the taxpayers' money. In 1864 it was laid down that it was necessary to submit to the Committee of Supply the Resolution to remit a loan. I say that the right honourable Gentleman ought not, therefore, to take credit to himself for the way in which this matter has been brought before the House. We ought to have had some notice of it. There should have been in the notice of Motion some indication of the nature of the Resolution which the right honourable Gentleman was going to propose. In my humble judgment, these financial resolutions ought themselves to appear on the Paper. They involve grave issues. Why, only this year, the right honourable Gentleman himself withdrew a financial resolution in connection with the Irish Local Government Bill. As regards finance, as I understand it, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has committed himself to the 266 assertion that this £800,000 is the only sum we shall be called upon to pay—
§ *MR. J, ELLIS
I understood the right honourable Gentleman committed himself to that, but as we are in Committee perhaps I may put to him the specific question.
§ *THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
No one can foresee what may ultimately happen; but, having consulted the best authorities at hand, that is the sum which I am told will suffice.
§ *MR. J. ELLIS
I am obliged for the answer which I understand is the best the right honourable Gentleman can give, and which, I take it, is as far as the Chancellor of the Exchequer can go. I hope that he will turn out a good prophet in that respect; because, Sir, undoubtedly these expressions were used by the right honourable Gentleman last year. He said, with regard to security, that we had the word of the Egyptian Government, and we had the occupation of the country. Coming to the political question, as I have said, I do not regard this matter as at all bound up with that of the occupation of Egypt. At Darlington, in October, 1896, the right honourable Gentleman said—I do not hesitate to say that, in the interests of England, I wish we were not in Egypt. It imposes upon us a responsibility which in very conceivable circumstances might become a very grave responsibility indeed.All I desire to do is to call attention to the fact; and I do remember that the right honourable Gentleman said last year that certain action might impose upon us a longer occupation of Egypt than we had at first anticipated. No one can be ignorant, even without special knowledge of the subject, of what takes place in Europe—what a source of international friction and jealousy this occupation of Egypt is. Then I want to ask again, from the British standpoint, what are we to gain by this invasion? What, after all, are the geographical and historical aspects of this matter? There is no such place as Khartoum. It has disappeared. The districts of the Soudan, are now 267 comparatively buried, and must be a great drain if governed by Egypt. Traversing the Nile, you will observe from certain landmarks where Egyptian Government began and ended; and you will find from time immemorial that the Soudan was never governed by Egypt. They had, indeed, some troops there, but from an administrative point of view the Soudan has always been outside the sphere of Egyptian government. And this has been true during the epochs of the Pharaohs, Ptolemies, Romans, and down to the present day. As Lord Salisbury has said, we have more territory than we know what to do with. That is a sentiment I heartily concur in. I am alarmed, Sir, at the responsibilities which might be entailed by this country in any attempt to reconquer the Soudan. For, after all, we must admit it is we who do these things. It is not the Egyptians. We are the initiators. We find, practically, a large proportion of the money. Again, Sir, I would like to say that the right honourable Gentleman did not tell us what military force it is intended to add to the forces in Egypt. But, perhaps his colleague, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, will give us a few particulars on that head. I challenge the Government to prove that they have the people with them in the policy they have assumed. There was no whisper of it a few years ago. Surely there are other more advantageous outlets to which we might address our energy, and over which we might spend our money, than this Soudan invasion. I have no hesitation in saying what I believe to be the opinion of people outside this House, and what I know to be that of my constituents, and it is one of hearty deprecation. Forming the best judgment I can, and leaving the question of Egypt out altogether, I have no hesitation in voting against the remission of this loan.
§ MR. COURTNEY (Cornwall, Bodmin)
On the question of this advance to Khartoum, Mr. Lowther, I am prepared to repeat the opinion I expressed a few years ago, that in the interests of Egypt primarily, and of ourselves, this advance was a mistake. I spoke from the consideration of the cost in men and money. Those reasons which prevailed in my mind then are equally 268 strong now and lead me to the conclusion that this policy of ours is altogether an error. I would like to say a word about the financial aspect of the question. The right honourable Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer asked us to remit the sum of £800,000 which was advanced last year, although it was not so entered in the records of the House. The Commissioners of the Caisse had voted nearly half a million of money towards the expedition. But the tribunals interested in that Act pronounced it to be beyond the powers of the Commissioners of the Caisse to perform. The question has never been raised, and probably never will be raised, as to whether the Egyptian Government had the power to borrow money up to one million. It is quite true that they have the power to borrow to that extent. ["No, no!"] The Egyptian Government have power to borrow up to that extent, but it must be construed as part of their general administration, and if the advance of the money by the committee of the Caisse for the purposes of the expedition was improper, it might also be argued that the borrowing of money for that purpose was also invalid. The point now left before the Committee is the remission of this sum of £800,000. I understood my right honourable Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to say ha proposed this remission on the ground that if once given to Egypt no future financial embarrassments are to be expected in regard to this expedition, and no further claim can be made upon us. The right honourable Gentleman referred to Lord Cromer's Report, which was, no doubt, of a roseate character, especially with regard to the fact that during the last year there had been an actual, reduction of the debt of Egypt by £200,000. But I think that reduction has been made by leaving out of account the £800,000 owing to us. I agree with the honourable Member in this, that from the financial point of view the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was scarcely sufficiently explicit. I should like to have the balance laid before us of the Egyptian Administration last year and the balance of the Egyptian Administration in the current year.
§ *THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I think I can put the right 269 honourable Gentleman right on the point he has just mentioned. I will read the paragraph from Lord Cromer's Report:—The Guaranteed Three per Cent. Loan has been reduced by about £70,000, and Egyptian stock to the extent of £730,000 has been purchased by the Commission of the Debt. These two reductions, making together a sum of £800,000, stand on a different footing to the reductions made in the Daira and Domains loans. They represent real redemption of debt effected out of the proceeds of taxation. On the other hand, the Egyptian Government owes £E780,000 to Her Majesty's Government and, as I have explained in dealing with the special reserve fund, only £E209,000 is available as an asset to meet this liability, thus leaving a deficit on this account of £E571,500. The most accurate and comprehensible manner of stating the net result of these operations is, I think, to say that, in spite of the expenses of the Soudan expedition, the aggregate indebtedness of Egypt has during the past year been decreased by the difference between £E780,000 and £E571,000.
§ MR. COURTNEY
I think my right honourable Friend is right in saying that the £800,000 was taken into account. Of course that makes the matter very important with respect to the future. You are going to remit this £800,000, to leave the borrowing powers of the Egyptian Government unencumbered. Under the circumstances I should like a little fuller exposition of the financial situation in Egypt on the part of my right honourable Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The situation is such that even in the present year the Egyptian Government have a deficiency, and you are relieving them. The deficiency exists, and it may very well be a recurrent deficiency. Although I hail with great satisfaction the statement of the right honourable Gentleman that Khartoum is the ultimate point to be reached, and that no military operations will be carried beyond that, we all know from our experience in India, as well as in Egypt, the failure of hopes of this kind, and how a Government may be led from point to point. Although I have a strong opinion against the impolicy of the advance, I shall not vote against this or similar remissions, as they are likely to bring home to the people of this country some of the results of the policy which has been pursued.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
When this Vote was suddenly sprung upon us two years ago we had just re- 270 ceived the Report of Lord Cromer, making not the slightest allusion to any possibility of an expedition to the Soudan. The Government, in announcing this expedition, floundered between various reasons, one contradictory of the other. They told us that the Khalifa intended to make an offensive attack on Wady Haifa. I looked to sea what Lord Cromer said upon the subject. He said absolutely nothing on the subject. There was not; the slightest intention to make such an attack. Then we were told that this was an ancient province of Egypt, and we were bound to restore it, and that the wicked Liberals, with Mr. Gladstone at their head, had told the Egyptians that they were not to be allowed to go vanquishing the Soudan for Egypt, and that the Egyptians ought to do it themselves. We were led to suppose that these ardent warriors were longing to go there. There is no doubt that many of the Egyptian soldiers had not the slightest desire to go to the Soudan. There was another, and still more extraordinary reason. We were told at the time that we were going in order to help Italy out of a difficulty. Italy had lost a battle in Abyssinia, and we were told that we ought to go down and give aid to Italy. The only reason not urged at that time was that it was our interest to go there. We were told—and I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer admitted the soft impeachment—that Egypt was to pay the money.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
Does the right honourable Gentleman make a distinction between one portion of the expedition and another portion? We are told that the Egyptians were going to advance until they encountered serious resistance, but everyone knew that they did not encounter serious resistance, and we thought that rather a joke on the part of the Government. The Government intended to carry out their own policy; they endeavoured to loot the Egyptian Caisse de la Dette. It was only when we were compelled to restore the money that the Government came down and asked us for a loan. It was stated to be a loan; and I think we ought to pin the right honourable 271 Gentleman to the promise he gave us. We did not so strenuously oppose the advance of the money, because the Chancellor of the Exchequer said it was a loan. I trusted the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and what is the position that I find myself in—I and my constituents, who put trust in the Chancellor of the Exchequer? The right honourable Gentleman talked about philanthropy. It makes me sick to hear a Minister of the Crown talk about philanthropy in these matters, because I know that there is some policy of grab or robbery at the bottom of it. We are such consummate hypocrites that there is no philanthropy in these matters at all. We only consider our own interests, and though we sometimes plead that we went to these countries to spread the Christian religion or to civilise the uncivilised people, that reason, however excellent, is not the one which urges us to go there. Now, this province is to be added to the Soudan. Why? When it was added to Egypt before Gordon said it was a perfect hell upon earth. It did not pay then, and it never will pay. Since the historical commencement of the world silly people have endeavoured to conquer the Soudan. The first person was King Cambyses, and he was immediately shut up as a lunatic; and up to the time of Ismail Pasha, no sensible person has attempted to conquer the Soudan, for the simple reason that the Soudan is not worth conquering. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has gone out of his way to explain how rich Egypt is. It would appear that Egypt was better off than this country, because while we have been obliged to give up this year the normal amount to pay off the national debt, Egypt possessed money to pay off her debt. Why, in the name of goodness, are we to be called upon to pay it off? During the Parliament of 1880 I must have divided against my own party at least a hundred times with reference to expenditure, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer was one of those who voted with me, and he will remember that on one occasion when I had him voting with me I very nearly beat the Government of the time. But now the Chancellor of the Exchequer is asking the Committee to sanction the expenditure of more money against the protests which he himself made at that time.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
That is precisely why I am objecting to the proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer now. But about this one million, I could not quite follow what was said regarding it. Am I to understand that during all this time Egypt has been paying out of the money for the soldiers who have been sent there? Is Egypt paying on the same scale now, or is this country paying the normal cost of the regiments, and Egypt the extra cost?
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
In that case it will cost us more, because we are providing more troops. Now, the Chancellor of the Exchequer says Egypt will repay this. The right honourable Gentleman will, no doubt, agree generally with the statement that when money is advanced to a friend the prospect of getting paid was not by any means sure. Who is paying for the money we are spending now?
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
It is doubtful, however, whether Egypt has a right to borrow money, and if the revenues did not allow her to meet the normal expenditure, then we should have to pay this £750,000. But Egypt can only pay if things go well. Supposing the Khalifa does resist more than the right honourable Gentleman anticipates, and that the war costs more, who then would pay? The right honourable Gentleman does not say that Egypt could pay. Egypt could not pay out of revenue, and consequently we should have to pay it. At present it is intended to have a real occupation of the country; but how does the Chancellor of the Exchequer know that there will not be further outbreaks there, or that the Khalifa, when he retires to Kordofan, will not harass the frontier? How does the right honourable Gentleman know that only Egyptian troops will be necessary? Looking at the experience of per- 273 sistent rebellions in Uganda, it is only reasonable to anticipate that if the Khalifa harasses the frontier and joins with the turbulent Arabs in the Soudan, then we will be obliged to again strengthen the Egyptian Army by sending more regiments there. Sir, the Chancellor of the Exchequer told us that nothing would be done beyond taking Khartoum, and then he qualified that by raying that there would be no expeditions on a large scale. Therefore, if they are not on a large scale they will be on a small scale, and these small expeditions were always exceedingly costly. The Chancellor of the Exchequer told us that there were tribes imploring us to come to their aid. If we are running this business on philanthropic lines, on what plea can we object to go a little further, and to prevent the massacre of other tribes by the Khalifa? Sir, the fact is, the Chancellor of the Exchequer is "too knowing by half." I look to him as my guardian angel as regards finance, but, unfortunately, my faith in the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been rudely shaken of late. There is nothing so painful as for a man to be told that he is a firm man. When I saw it mentioned in the newspapers that the one peculiar characteristic of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was that he was a firm man, I knew at once that the right honourable Gentleman would be an infirm man with regard to money; I knew that he would join in these expeditions, and now the right honourable Gentleman seems to be perfectly ready to supply to anybody, except the unfortunate English people, money to carry out any wild scheme suggested by any of his colleagues. We cannot say we will go thus far and no farther. When we went into Central Africa we went into a hornets' nest. If we are really inclined to spend money in foreign countries in order to push our commerce surely it is infinitely more reasonable to spend it in a country densely inhabited, like China, than in Africa, which is inhabited by savages. The whole occupation of Egypt has been a mistake from beginning to end. We promised to leave it, but by not doing so foreign countries can always respond that we have been guilty of bad faith; the absurdity being that it is no gain or advantage to us to remain there. The Chancellor of the 274 Exchequer has expressed himself in these terms, but Lord Salisbury has expressed himself more strongly; he said our tenure of Egypt was a permanent danger to us. And yet, notwithstanding this, we are pushing forward into the Soudan. It is a gratification to me, and to all sensible persons, that we should have to pay for the follies we have committed. If the Government had come forward frankly, and said, "You will have to pay for this," I should have said, "We will pay for it." But we must take the arguments of the Government for what they are worth. They told us that Egypt would pay for this, and it seems to me that we have legitimate grounds for keeping the Government to the bargain, and, so long as they remain in power, to insist on the carrying out of their promise and assurance that this was a loan, that it should be repaid, and should not come upon us. Sir, it is perfectly terrible the way the Government are going on in the matter of reckless expenditure. They seem to be like a young man who has come into an estate which has been brought together by the ability of his father. My right honourable Friend the Member for Monmouthshire, when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, added to the revenue a large amount per annum by his excellent tax upon estates. The present Government got the benefit of that, and, because they happened to live in good years and got a surplus, they went wandering over the whole face of the globe, like another person, seeking whom they might devour, or how they might get rid of this money. Let the Chancellor of the Exchequer fulfil his duties as Chancellor of the Exchequer; let him not be led aside by his colleagues, let him offer a stalwart resistance to them, and then again I shall feel that confidence in him which, as I have already told him, has been not a little shaken of late.
§ MR. PIERPOINT (Warrington)
There is one remark of the honourable Member for Northampton to which I wish chiefly, if not entirely, to refer. The honourable Member knows, as well as anybody in this House, that France made promises with regard to Tunis, as precise, if not more precise, than any we ever entered into regarding Egypt, and if ever we are called upon by France to retire from Egypt we have a right to demand her 275 retirement from Tunis. For myself, I should regret, in the interests of Tunis, that France ever should retire from the country. I think it is desirable, for the sake of the Tunisians, that a civilising Power like France should remain there. Still, like many honourable Members and other people, I regret that what I may call the Tunis card was not played when it might have been played, and that Government after Government refused to win the game with the card they held in their hands. The honourable Member for the Rushcliffe Division spoke of this expedition into the Soudan as "a policy of aggression, not of defence," and the honourable Member for Bodmin also referred to it as a "foolish policy"—I think these were his words. I desire, however, to refer chiefly to what was said by the honourable Member for the Rushcliffe Division. The honourable Member said this was a policy of aggression, not of defence. On the contrary, I think this expedition into the Soudan is undoubtedly an expedition of defence, because it is an expedition for the preservation of the very life of Egypt. It has been asked in this House, "Why was not the policy of Lord Salisbury, expressed 10 years ago, adhered to?" Surely it is within the knowledge of the Committee that there have been approaches towards the upper waters of the Nile by foreign Powers within the last 10 years which put the Nile in distinct danger! Surely these honourable Members know that Atbara and the Nile at Khartoum, if not in the possession of the rulers of Egypt, are in danger of being diverted! This idea was given expression to by Sir Samuel Baker in a letter which appeared in the Times on 12th October, 1888. In it Sir Samuel Baker says—An enemy in possession of the Blue Nile and the Atbara river could, by throwing a dam across the empty bed during the dry season, effectually deflect the stream when risen by the Abyssinian rains, and thus prevent the necessary flow towards Egypt.In a further passage in the same letter Sir Samuel Baker says—I have seen a spot about 230 miles from the mouth of the Atbara where the river might be deflected without difficulty and be forced to an eastern course towards the Red Sea.276 Again, Sir Samuel Baker says—If I were myself an enemy of Egypt, I know the place where I should commence the fatal work upon the river Atbara.That is one very great authority. Here is another. Sir C. Scott Moncrieff, in a lecture delivered before the Royal Institution on 26th January, 1895, said with regard to Khartoum—Supposing that they (the Italians) occupied Khartoum, the first thing that they would naturally and very properly do would be to spread the waters of the Lower Nile over the Soudan, and no nation in Europe understood irrigation so well as they. What would then become of Egypt's cotton crops?I think it is obvious, if we take such authorities as these, that this expedition is a matter of defence, and not of aggression. It is perfectly obvious that the possessor of the river at Khartoum, even if not actually hostile to Egypt, might think it necessary for the fertilisation of the land to divert the waters of the Nile. Supposing some of these enemies of Egypt were in possession of Khartoum, that enemy could dictate terms to England, and tell us that, unless we cleared out of the country, they would divert the waters of the Nile and utterly ruin Egypt. I would remind honourable Members that it is as true to-day as in the time of Herodotus that "Egypt is the gift of the Nile." Another reason which I might urge to show the advisability of Egypt holding Khartoum is the importance of the nilometer which measures the rise and fall of the Nile, and enables the officials to make provision in accordance with the height of the river at Khartoum. Objection has been taken to the gift of this money to Egypt. But Egypt pays to the Turkish Loan £72,000, which is supposed to go to the support of the country, but is diverted by England in payment of the 1855 Turkish Loan. To that extent, therefore, Egypt relieves the liability of France and the liability of this country in respect of that loan. And it is rather curious that, if we divide the £72,000 of the Egyptian contribution into halves, and assign one half to France and the other half to England, the money will result to just about the interest on this million which we propose to assign to Egypt. Therefore, we may, at all events, comfort 277 ourselves by thinking that Egypt has been saving France and ourselves from liability on behalf of bankrupt Turkey, and that we are now, as it were, making a slight return to Egypt for the advance she has already given us. We have listened pretty often to speeches by the honourable Member for Northampton very much on the same lines as that which he has given us this evening. I sincerely hope that the Government will carry out their policy, and that before very long this House will be able to congratulate the Egyptian and the English troops on being in possession of Khartoum.
§ SIR C. DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)
Mr. Lowther, I shall not detain the Committee more than two or three minutes while I try to point out that very little has been said to-night with regard to the policy the Government have in view in the Khartoum expedition. A great deal has been said with much force on both sides of the House about the financial policy with regard to Egypt, but we have heard very little about the policy which has dictated the financial policy. As my honourable Friend the Member for Northampton pointed out, when the expedition was originally undertaken various reasons were given which were inconsistent with one another, and none of which appear to be now the reason in view. One reason given is the restoration of these provinces to civilization; but I cannot think that is the real reason of their policy, because no one would contend that we should spend British money—money which we are obliged to refuse to India, whatever her needs—for mere philanthropic objects. I want to know whether or not, and to what extent, the Government have in view the control of the Nile between Uganda and Khartoum. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has pointed to-night to the immediate policy that is to be pursued. We are told that between September 15th and 17th Khartoum is to be taken.
§ SIR C. DILKE
Oh, no; but the Sirdar makes no secret of the day he intends to enter Khartoum. The right honourable Gentleman the Chancellor of 278 the Exchequer said they were pushing the gunboats up the Nile with the view to opening up trade and establishing friendly relations with the tribes; but is there, or is there not, an idea of reasserting the sovereignty of Egypt over the equatorial provinces? As this will be the last opportunity which it will have for a long time of discussing this policy, I do not think the House of Commons should allow this occasion to pass without asking the Government to inform us what is their policy with regard to the Nile beyond Khartoum. Sir, we are obliged to ask these questions, because the Members of the Government are not always so absolutely agreed amongst themselves in their declarations on this subject as to make it thoroughly safe to trust any one of them. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is a man of peace. He naturally, by the office he holds, desires to contract the obligations of this country so far as they may have financial consequences; but sometimes we have known the Chancellor of the Exchequer overruled, and his policy declared to be no longer the policy of the Government. Unless the Committee take very careful note of the assurance given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer—only personally it seems, so far as I gather—with regard to the future of the Nile valley, we shall find ourselves committed later on by those who have successfully, in a military sense, pushed on to Khartoum, to responsibilities beyond that point. There are many men, and some powerful men, in the councils of the Government, who have all along not hesitated to defend this expedition as an expedition which was to carry the British power, virtually the British power, from Egypt through to Uganda. That is not the view expressed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer here to-night. What we really want to know, in giving this money to the Egyptian Government, is whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer's statements are the avowed and seriously adopted policy of the Government, which is to be maintained in the future as well as on this particular occasion.
§ MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
In this discussion we are departing from the main points before us. There is no 279 doubt that the brilliant achievements of the troops in Egypt are not only popular, but achievements of which we are all proud. I for one am glad to hear that, the Government are encouraging the idea of going on to Khartoum, and completing the conquest of that part of the Soudan; but when it is suggested that we should make this loan into a gift to Egypt a number of circumstances arise which make us ask: Is it right that the constituencies of this country should have to pay this sum? [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER interrupted.] The Chancellor of the Exchequer says they have paid it. That is rather quibbling. If you pay a sum of money as a loan you expect to get it back. I do not think that is an interruption worthy of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The real question we are discussing is whether this money sent to Egypt shall continue as a loan, or whether it should be handed over to Egypt by the constituencies of this country. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, as my honourable Friend the Member for King's Lynn stated with justice, really gave us no reason for converting this loan into a gift. Further than that, I should say that the whole tenor of the arguments and discussion has clearly shown that Egypt is in a condition financially able to pay this, and, I think, financially able and willing to pay it. We must remember that this is a sum of money amounting to £300 for every constituency in this country—many of them very poor; and I think we have a right to ask, Are those constituencies willing that this loan should be made into a gift to a prosperous and go-ahead country like Egypt? Sir, the question of India has been incidentally referred to. I would ask would it not be more reasonable for this House to make a grant of a million sterling to India, which has had famine, plague, pestilence, and all manner of troubles, including war? Surely we ought, in justice to ourselves, to look after our own dependencies in the first instance. I think it is reasonable that the taxpayer of this country will ask himself, Why are we going to make this loan into a gift? Why is it thought necessary for this Government, who are talking of the enormous expenditure of this country, and looking with apprehension at the enormous 280 growth of that expenditure, to make this gift of money to Egypt? If Egypt was in such a miserable condition as to need it, I could understand the proposal; but inasmuch as the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer showed clearly and conclusively that the finances of Egypt have, by the wise administration of this country, been developed and improved, so as to leave Egypt in a very prosperous condition, I ask on what possible grounds can we go to our constituents and defend this grant? I think that if the country was to be asked to vote on this question, the constituencies would give a very decided answer hostile to the proposal. No reasons are given for this policy, which I do not believe is a wise policy; for, while this country is generous in the extreme, and is always ready to assist other countries when in distress, it will not willingly make a large grant to a country like Egypt, which is even more flourishing than we are at the present time. I think there must be some other reason for this, gift. Lord Salisbury in 1896 stated:The borrowing powers of Egypt are very narrow; they have a very narrow limit.I cannot help thinking this must be the explanation of this grant, that although this was made as a loan last year, it is found that the Egyptian Government cannot practically take it. If that is so, I think it would be better for the Government to say distinctly that that is the reason why they make this vote. Unless that is the reason, I must, agree with the honourable Member far King's Lynn that I cannot understand it. The constituencies will ask for explanations on this point, and if a satisfactory explanation is not given, they will not approve. I protest in the name of my constituents against this heavy burden, and I think that, unless some better explanation is given, the country will not endorse the policy of the Government.
§ MR. J. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
What I am anxious to know is whether the House and the country will be called upon to make a similar grant next year? I listened very carefully to the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I have first to say that the calculations on which he based his assumption that Egypt would be able to provide for the 281 expenses of the present expedition to Khartoum were exceedingly misty and hazy. Last year the Government obtained the approval of this loan by the Committee on the clear understanding that it was to be a loan, and a loan on which interest was to be paid at such a rate that no loss whatever would fall on the Exchequer of this country, and when the Chancellor of the Exchequer makes a Motion such as we are now called upon to support, he ought to be prepared with some justification for it, and for the great departure in policy which it involves. The right honourable Gentleman ought to have made out a case, and given us some facts and figures to show that Egypt is in a more impecunious position, that things have gone worse with Egypt from a financial point of view, than he anticipated when he called on the Committee to make the loan. But he has done the very reverse. He has told us that the policy of the Government has been a magnificent success, and that in this year—and this makes the case worse—the Egyptian Government have been able to apply a million of money to the reduction of debt, after paying their way. I think that a more astonishing proposition was never made in the British House of Commons than to turn this loan into a gift without one single argument in favour of such a course being given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The right honourable Gentleman said last year that Egypt could repay this loan, and now he comes and asks us to make it a gift. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer asked for the loan he was not unaware that the Khartoum expedition was in view. On the contrary, before the loan was asked for, and during the Debate, he plainly stated to the House that it was the intention of the Government not to stop until they had recaptured Khartoum. Therefore he was perfectly aware last year of the military operations which he alluded to to-night, and yet, in spite of that fact, and in spite of the prosperity of Egypt, he now asks us to turn this loan into a free gift. One honourable Member said he rejoiced that this country was called upon to pay this; he said this was in reality the policy of the British Government, and that it was a wholesome thing for the constituents of this country that they 282 should have the responsibility brought home to them by being called upon to pay some of the cost of the policy which has been forced upon Egypt. That argument should apply to India with far greater force than to Egypt. In India, in a year of distress, famine, and plague, you forced on the people, who are absolutely under the control of the Home Government, a cruel and unjust war, and by so doing, placed an enormous burden upon a country which is infinitely poorer than Egypt. Yet not one shilling will the Government vote for the assistance of the people of India, while they go out of their way to give £800,000 to a nation who, according to their own account, have been able to save a million of money over and above paying their way. I therefore claim that one of the things we have to consider to-night is this, that not only are we giving this £800,000 to Egypt as a free gift, but we are setting a precedent which will undoubtedly result in further demands. The Chancellor of the Exchequer most cautiously avoided any pledge on behalf of the Government that he would not come to this House next year or the year after and demand a further sum for the expenses of the Khartoum expedition. I have examined the Egyptian Budget, which is prepared in Lord Cromer's Report, and in that Budget it is stated that no provision whatever is made for extra military expenses in connection with the expedition, so that Egypt has no resources, according to the Budget, to pay for the advance to Khartoum. Where is that money to come from? It can come from only two sources—either by loan from this country or by borrowing on the open market; and it is a very grave question whether it is legal for the Egyptian Government to borrow on the open market for an expedition to Khartoum. As I understand the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Egyptian Army, with a contingent of British troops, is to advance to Khartoum with no resources whatever to meet expenses except what the Egyptian Government may be able to borrow on the open market. If I am wrong, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will correct me. What is to happen if the experience of two years ago is repeated, if, when this army is on the march, it should suddenly be found, that 283 according to the laws of Egypt, which are so complicated that even Lord Cromer has misunderstood them in the last few years, the Egyptian Government has no power to borrow on the open market? Are you going to leave the joint Army without resources and without supplies on the way to Khartoum? At any moment the Chancellor of the Exchequer may come down and tell us that the case is urgent, that the Army is without supplies, and that Egypt is without resources to supply the wants of the Army. I do not think the Committee have been treated fairly in this matter. The Government ought to tell the House of Commons fairly and fully what they intend to do, and to what extent they propose that the British Exchequer should be made to pay. There is another point to which I should like to direct the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. When debating this loan last year, the right honourable Gentleman promised that the expenditure of this £800,000 should be audited and the accounts laid on the Table. I have never been able to find these accounts.
§ MR. DILLON
Yes, I saw that report; but that is not such an account as should be placed before a Committee of this House. To give three or four rough items in an official report is not fair and reasonable. I shall support the honourable Member for Rushcliffe in the division because I object to the policy of advance in the Soudan. If this grant were refused by this House, it might, and I daresay it would, be an injustice to the people of Egypt, because we all know this policy was forced upon them, but it will have the effect of stopping the advance in the Soudan. I shall vote against this gift to Egypt for another reason I know that if we remit this loan this year, we shall be called upon to make another grant next year, and the year after. The very same arguments will be used with additional force by the Chancellor of the Exchequer for more funds. I protest still more strongly against this Vote as an Irish Member at a time when a large number of my countrymen 284 are in great distress, and in want of the bare necessaries of life.
§ *THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I do not desire to go again into the question of policy. I have explained that as fully as it is possible to explain it until Khartoum is actually taken. The right honourable Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean invited me to make a further declaration, but it would be altogether premature to do so. But it is upon the question of finance that the principal part of this Debate has turned, and upon that question I wish to say a few words. The right honour able Member for West Monmouthshire has said that at the time of the Dongola expedition I laid it down that the expenditure was Egyptian expenditure, and that I did not expect that Parliament would have anything to provide. That was so, no doubt, and my expectation, would have been fulfilled but for the action of the mixed tribunal, which directed that £528,000 should be paid back to the Caisse. The Egyptian Government had then to be placed in funds in order that the money might be replaced in the Caisse. The right honourable Gentleman next accused me of unsound finance in this particular matter, and I gathered that his accusation was not so much that I had proposed that this loan should be treated as a grant, as that I had not made provision for the recapture of Khartoum in the Budget of the year. I do not think I am guilty of that charge. I have every respect for the opinion of the right honourable Gentleman on financial matters, but it does appear to me that to have maintained this £798,000 as a loan and to have asked the House to provide in the Budget a similar sum for a free grant in respect of the advance, would have been to make two bites at a cherry. The result to Egypt would have been, so far as I can see, precisely the same, and I do not suppose that the taxpayers of this country would have been specially gratified by such an arrangement. The money was required for the advance on Khartoum, and I think the method which I have proposed is the simplest, and, therefore the best, method of providing it. The provision of the money has been attacked 285 on two different grounds. It has been suggested, on the one hand, that Egypt is so rich that she can herself provide for the whole of these proceedings; and it has been suggested on the other hand that she is so poor that in all cases of expenditure in the future it will be necessary for her to call upon us. Well, these arguments contradict each other; and therefore I need not reply to them, elaborately. I have already shown that if there had been no advance from Berber on Khartoum this sum of £798,000 might very properly have remained as a loan, to be repaid at a future date by Egypt. But the decision that there should be an advance, having regard to the expenses consequent on that decision, necessitates that some steps should be taken to help Egypt to bear the burden. If aid were not given, the advance could not be made, and I very much question whether any honourable Members really contend that, having gone so far, it is possible to stop where we are, and not to advance to the capture of Khartoum. Sir, if that be so it settles the whole question. The honourable
§ Member for Islington has said that Egypt ought to pay this herself; but she could not pay it herself. The only way in which the expenditure can be provided for is by remitting this debt, so as to restore to Egypt her borrowing powers for temporary purposes, and to place the special reserve fund, on which she draws for these particular objects, in a position in which it will be solvent, and will bear further burdens. Unless we place the Egyptian Government in funds for the purposes of this expedition, it will be quite impossible to carry it through. To my mind, it is a matter, not only of Egyptian interest, but of British interest; the burden must be borne, and I trust the Committee will sanction the expenditure.
That it is expedient that the grant in aid, of £798,802, to the Government of His Majesty the Khedive of Egypt should not be repaid.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 155; Noes 81.—(Division List No. 169)287
|Ambrose, Wm. (Middlesex)||Cornwallis, Fiennes S. W.||Henderson, Alexander|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Cox, Robert||Hill, Rt. Hn. Lord A. (Down)|
|Arrol, Sir William||Cranborne, Viscount||Hoare, E. B. (Hampstead)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Curzon, Rt. Hn G. N. (Lancs, SW)||Holland, Hon. Lionel R.|
|Baillie, J. E. B. (Inverness)||Dane, Richard M.||Hornby, William Henry|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch.)||Dickson-Poynder, Sir J. P.||Houston, R. P.|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Dorington, Sir John Edward||Howard, Joseph|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers.||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B.||Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Hughes, Colonel Edwin|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Brist'l)||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Hart||Jebb, Richard Claverhouse|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Edwards, Gen. Sir Jas. B.||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Bigwood, James||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E.||Kemp, George|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Kenyon, James|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith.||Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. Wm.|
|Brassey, Albert||Fisher, William Hayes||Kimber, Henry|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose.||Knowles, Lees|
|Brookfield, A. Montagu||FitzWygram, Gen. Sir F.||Lafone, Alfred|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Flannery, Fortescue||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks)|
|Butcher, John George||Flower, Ernest||Lea, Sir T. (Londonderry)|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Folkestone, Viscount||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, E.)||Garfit, William||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Sw'ns'a)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Gibbs, Hn. V. (St. Albans)||Loder, Gerald Walter E.|
|Chaloner, Capt. R. G. W.||Gilliat, John Saunders||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverp'l)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Godson, Sir Augustus F.||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Lowe, Francis William|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Lowles, John|
|Charrington, Spencer||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J. (St. Geo's)||Lucas-Shadwell, William|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||McKillop, James|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W.||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Heath, James||Milbank, Sir Powlett C. J.|
|Cook, Fred. L. (Lambeth)||Helder, Augustus||Milton, Viscount|
|Monckton, Edward Philip||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.||Tomlinson, W. E. Murray|
|Monk, Charles James||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Charles T.||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Montagu, Hon. J. S. (Hants)||Robertson, Herb. (Hackney)||Warkworth, Lord|
|Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Round, James||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|More, Robert Jasper||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Webster, R. G. (St. Pancras)|
|Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.)||Samuel, H. S. (Limehouse)||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)|
|Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon.|
|Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Savory, Sir Joseph||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u.-L.)|
|Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Williams, J. Powell (Birm.)|
|Nicholson, William Graham||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|O'Neill, Hon. Robert T.||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renf.)||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart.|
|Pierpoint, Robert||Skewes-Cox, Thomas||Wylie, Alexander|
|Plunkett, Rt. Hon. H. C.||Smith, J. Parker (Lanarksh.)||Wyndham-Quin, Maj. W. H.|
|Pollock, Harry Frederick||Stanley, Lord (Lancs)||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Purvis, Robert||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'T.||Young, Comm. (Berks, E.)|
|Quilter, Sir Cuthbert||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Richards, Henry Charles||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)||Thorburn, Walter|
|Ascroft, Robert||Holburn, J. G.||Roberts, J. H. (Denbighsh.)|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Horniman, Frederick John||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee).|
|Baker, Sir John||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Kilbride, Denis||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Kinloch, Sir John G. Smyth||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn)||Labouchere, Henry||Souttar, Robinson|
|Brigg, John||Langley, Batty||Spicer, Albert|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Steadman, William Charles|
|Brunner, Sir John T.||Leng, Sir John||Stuart, James (Shoreditch)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Lewis, John Herbert||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Burt, Thomas||Lough, Thomas||Tennant, Harold John|
|Caldwell, James||Macaleese, Daniel||Thomas, D. A. (Merthyr)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||McDermott, Patrick||Tully, Jasper|
|Carvill, Patrick G. Hamilton||McEwan, William||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Causton, Richard Knight||M'Ghee, Richard||Wayman, Thomas|
|Clough, Walter Owen||McKenna, Reginald||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Crombie, John William||Maddison, Fred.||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||Maden, John Henry||Williams, J. Carvell (Notts)|
|Daly, James||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Wills, Sir William Henry|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Morley, Rt. Hn. J. (Montr'se)||Wilson, H. J. (Yorks, W.R.)|
|Davitt, Michael||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Donkin, Richard Sim||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Woodall, William|
|Doogan, P. C.||Paulton, James Mellor||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Fenwick, Charles||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Gourley, Sir E. Temperley||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm.||Richardson, J. (Durham)||Mr. John Ellis and Mr. Dillon.|
|Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Hedderwick, Thos. Chas. H.||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
§ Resolution to be reported.