§ CAPTAIN SIR A. ACLAND-HOOD (Somerset, Wellington)
In making the customary appeal to the House for its indulgence, I feel that I make it with a more than ordinary claim, for never in the memory of the oldest Member of this House have we been called together under graver or more momentous circumstances. On the 61 result of our deliberations will depend the future not only of South Africa, but of the British Empire, and I feel that a very serious responsibility rests on me in moving the Address in reply to the gracious Speech from the Throne. Circumstances have arisen which have rendered it necessary in the opinion of the Government to call Parliament together to dispatch a large force to South Africa—the largest and the best equipped force which has left these shores since the great wars. We are told that there is a party in this country who have been urging the Government into war. If that be so, I, at all events, do not belong to it. If there is a section of this House who would most strongly oppose an unjust and unnecessary war, it is the military Members, and especially those among us who have seen active service. Those of us who have seen what war really is, who have seen the horrors of a great battlefield, who have seen the ravages of disease more terrible than those of the sword, who have seen the sufferings not only of the defeated but of the victorious army, are the very last in this assembly to commit the country to war without very grave consideration. It is because we believe that the Government have throughout this difficult crisis acted with unexampled patience and forbearance, and have done all in their power to secure their ends by peaceful means, that we are determined, now that those peaceful moans have unhappily failed, to support them in securing their ends at any cost. It is not my place to review at length the history of the dispute between the South African Republic and ourselves; the despatches are in the hands of Members: the question has occupied their minds for months past. The object which Her Majesty's Government had in view in the negotiations which the action of the Boers has so prematurely cut short was not the destruction of the independence of the South African Republic, not the setting of Englishmen over Dutchmen, nor to effect merely the settlement of the questions of suzerainty and franchise. The object was to secure equal rights for all white men in South Africa, and to settle once and for all which Power is to be paramount in that continent. The sword has been thrust into our hands, and we cannot lay it down until we have established, cost what it may, the principle that British subjects, wherever they reside in South 62 Africa, are not to be subjected to the badge of inferiority. It is said that the grievances of the Uitlanders are not real grievances, that they are manufactured by capitalists, and that, even if they were real, the Uitlanders are a useless and contemptible mob, not worthy of our support. At any rate, the majority of them are British subjects, and it has never been the custom of this country to inquire into the private character of its subjects before securing them justice. The grievances of British subjects in the Transvaal are real grievances, such as no one in this House would submit to live under without protest, such as no Government worthy of the name can disregard. They are not manufactured by capitalists either here or in South Africa. Many of my constituents, farmers, tradesmen, artisans, have relations in the Transvaal. They are not capitalists, but hard-working, struggling men, and they one and all say that their position is intolerable. It may be asked, Why do they stay in the country? The answer is that they have made their homes and invested their savings there, trusting in the honour of Great Britain to see that the Conventions she has signed are carried out, in spirit as well as in letter, and in her strong arm to secure them their rights. Her Majesty's Government endeavoured to secure them those rights by the ordinary constitutional means, that is, by obtaining for them a share in the government of the country, to enable them to work out their own salvation. In the negotiations which ensued it is difficult for a plain man to follow the twists and turns of Boer diplomacy, but there are two points that stand out prominently. The first is the proposal of Her Majesty's Government to refer the Franchise Bill, which had been hurriedly passed by the South African Republic, to a joint inquiry, a proposal which the Republic declined, probably because they knew the provisions of that Bill would not stand investigation. The second is the offer made by the South African Republic of a five years franchise under certain conditions. Amongst those conditions were that Great Britain should abandon the suzerainty, and should bind herself never again to interfere in the internal affairs of the Transvaal. We were dealing with a State with which we have already had three Conventions, all of which have been flagrantly and openly violated. And we 63 were asked, in making a fresh agreement, to deny ourselves for all time the right to see that not that agreement only, but all former Conventions should be faithfully carried out. No Government could have been so blind as to fall into such a trap. How far that proposal was made in good faith can best be judged from the belated Green Book in reply to the Colonial Secretary's despatch of May 10. In that Green Book the grievances of the Uitlanders are ridiculed, and their statements declared to be false. If that was really the opinion of the Government of the South African Republic, is it likely that at any time during the negotiations they ever contemplated giving the Uitlanders is real share of political power? It was a thinly-veiled attempt on the part of the South African Republic to purchase their recognition as a sovereign State, with the ultimate rescission of our South African supremacy, at the price of a franchise, a price which they never had any real intention of paying. The fact is that the guiding principle of this country in dealing with South Africa is that of equal rights for all white men; the guiding principle of the South African Republic is to retain all power in the hands of the Dutch race, and to deny it to all other races. So long as neither side is prepared to give way (and we certainly shall never give way), it is difficult to see how even the greatest patience and forbearance can lead to successful negotiations. It was impossible for Her Majesty's Government to accept the conditions offered. But they offered to accept the proposed Franchise Bill without the obnoxious conditions, and at the same time suggested a conference to discuss other questions of dispute, and thereupon the Government of the South African Republic withdrew the five years franchise proposal altogether. The situation was then this—The whole of South Africa was in a state of unrest, trade was at a standstill, towns were deserted, the colony of Natal in alarm, and it was our plain duty to stop such a condition once and for all. Her Majesty's Government informed the South African Republic that they would formulate their own scheme of settlement, and at once took the proper steps to carry it out in case of refusal. They have been blamed on the one hand because they have sent out reinforcements, and on the other because they did not send them out 64 sooner or in larger numbers. I think the answer to both is that, while Her Majesty's Government were loth to take the extreme step of despatching an army corps as long as there was a reasonable chance of peace being maintained, they were bound in view of previous experience to provide for the safety of Natal with a sufficient force. President Kruger did not wait for the scheme of the Government. He issued an ultimatum so gratuitously insolent, that he must have known it could have but one result. For the first time in the history of this country an English Sovereign has been peremptorily ordered by the transitory ruler of a subordinate State to remove her troops from her own dominions. The die is cast. President Kruger has, by his own act, removed the chance of peace. His ultimatum shows clearly how far he has acted in good faith in past negotiations, and his obstinate determination to pursue the old course of government by tyranny and oppression. The greatest condemnation of President Kruger is to be found in the fact that the whole people of this country, who, throughout this crisis, have hoped against hope for peace, have rallied to the support of the Government at the present crisis, and in the splendid loyalty of our colonies, who have spontaneously offered their help in the cause of freedom. The brightest feature in all this sad business is the manner in which our colonies in all parts of the world have supported the mother country, and have shown their determination that the blessings of free institutions which they themselves enjoy shall be extended to their fellow countrymen in South Africa. It is the duty of the Government to use such an overwhelming force as will bring this unhappy war to an end as soon as possible. Both in the interests of humanity now and in the interests of racial feelings in the future we must hope the victory will be rapid and complete. This struggle is principally for the establishment of the great principle of equal rights, but there is an even greater question behind it which this war must settle. It is whether in future the paramount power in South Africa is to be Great Britain or the Dutch Republic. To that question there can be but one answer. Our responsibilities in South Africa are tremendous; we cannot and we will not shrink from them. Great Britain has spent her blood and treasure 65 in the development of the country. The whole of the civilization and wealth of the country is due to us; the most thriving, the most contented population are to be found under British rule; the least cultivated, the most oppressed under Boer rule. The question of British supremacy must be settled now once and for all. We cannot allow ourselves to be confronted in South Africa by armed States which will necessitate our keeping a garrison of 40,000 out there. Neither the present nor any future Chancellor of the Exchequer, neither the present nor any future generation of taxpayers, is prepared to submit to such a burden. We cannot misunderstand the question at issue. The action of the Orange Free State, the language of President Kruger's ultimatum, every line of which breathes defiance of Great Britain and repudiation of her supremacy, alike show that the object of the Dutch Republics is to substitute Dutch for British authority throughout South Africa. It is impossible for us, who have given free institutions to our colonies, to allow those institutions to be swept away, and the political methods of the South African Republic to be introduced in their place. It is impossible for us to leave our fellow countrymen and the natives of South Africa to the tender mercies of Boer rule. I would appeal to hon. Members who belong to the Society of Friends or the Aborigines' Protection Society, which, in their opinion, is the greater evil—to fight on behalf of the principles of freedom and equal rights, or to hand over millions of natives to a race who, whatever their private virtues may be, have shown themselves utterly incapable of dealing with native tribes. Unless we show them that we are determined at all costs to maintain our position as paramount Power in South Africa, the result is inevitable—our supremacy must go, and British rule in the end cease throughout the country. To abandon our supremacy means the surrender of what in time of war is the most important of all our naval stations, which would be an act of suicidal folly; it means the placing of thousands of our fellow-countrymen who have settled in South Africa on the guarantee of our good faith under the heel of Boer rule, which would be an act of national dishonour; and it means the abandonment of millions of natives who have put their 66 trust in us, which would be a crime unparalleled in the history of this country. No Government could possibly contemplate such a course. I support the action of the Government, because I believe that under most trying circumstances they have shown unwearied patience and forbearance, because when the time has come for action they are acting with vigour and determination, and because I believe that that is not only the best but the only policy which can at the same time safeguard the interests of this country, and secure a final and permanent settlement in South Africa.
§ COLONEL ROYDS (Rochdale)
In rising to second the Address, I wish to assure the House that I do so with diffidence, and in full appreciation of the gravity of the moment. No one can contemplate the circumstances under which this House meets without experiencing feelings of profound disappointment and regret that the patience and forbearance of the British Government in their negotiations with the Transvaal Republic have not met with success or achieved the results so earnestly desired and hoped for by the nation. The country has followed with unmistakable approval the infinite patience, from first to last, with which the Government endeavoured, by diplomatic means and friendly representation, to bring home to the President and Government of the Transvaal Republic that the condition of unrest caused by the attitude of that Government towards the majority of the white inhabitants in the Transvaal constituted a source of danger in South Africa, which could no longer be tolerated; and which Great Britain, as the paramount Power, could not ignore. It is not for me to discuss the varied causes which have led to the defeat of the efforts of Her Majesty's Government for a peaceful settlement—efforts which, so far as I know, have never been surpassed. They have been met by stubborn impracticability shown by concessions which were coupled with conditions impossible for the British Government to entertain, and there has been an apparently overwhelming self-confidence, which has yielded to neither representations nor advice. The assurances of good faith by Her Majesty's Government and Ministers have been carried to an extent which would have been 67 incompatible with dignity had the Transvaal Republic been a more important Power. Could there be anything more pathetic than the words of the esteemed Leader of this House—We have sought peace, earnestly and conscientiously, to the utmost of our ability.The proposals for franchise reform, and even a suggested municipal government, made with all the statesmanlike ability and moderation of Sir A. Milner, have been met by a blind determination not to concede any measures which would permanently secure to the Uitlanders a fair share of representation in the government of the country. The Transvaal Republic, which owes its existence to the generosity of the British nation, misplaced as the result has proved it to have been, was re-established in 1881, and the Convention was granted undoubtedly on the assurance of the Boer leaders that equality of treatment would be strictly maintained among the white inhabitants, and yet it is since that time that the grievances have arisen under which the Uitlanders labour, such as restriction of the franchise and individual liberty. At that time the qualification for the franchise was one year's residence, but in 1882, after President Kruger was elected, it was raised to five years and so on, till finally successive franchise laws have increased the obstacles till it has become practically impossible for a Uitlander to vote at all—and at last an armed minority of one-third of the white population are keeping in subjection the other unarmed two-thirds, who provide the great bulk of the income of the Republic. As Mr. Spencer Wilkinson said, in his recent book on the Transvaal—They retain the government of the Transvaal in the hands of the original Boers and for their families, to the perpetual exclusion of newcomers, who are to be left, either as resident aliens, the subjects of a distant Government, or as a subordinate class of unenfranchised subjects, occupying a position midway between that of the Boer burgher and the Kaffir.A hundred thousand of these Uitlanders are of the British race, and are treated as an inferior race, little better than slaves. Can anyone be surprised to find under such circumstances that abuses of public expenditure and a scandalous administration of the public service have been prevalent, as well as other evils which 68 naturally follow in the wake of irresponsible government? Petition after petition from the Uitlanders received the same contemptuous treatment, and revolution and bloodshed have been in the air. It was under such circumstances that obligation to our fellow-countrymen and the honour of the Empire called for the interference of the British Government and the requirement that the Boers should redeem their pledges and give the people a constitution which should secure the enjoyment of their property and civil rights. The people of Lancashire have viewed with extreme regret the situation in which this country is placed by the action of the Government of South Africa. Confident hopes had been entertained in my own constituency—and those hopes, I believe, were stronger in my own constituency, which is the birthplace of the great apostle of peace, than in any other part of the country—that the Ministers who had so successfully encouraged diplomacy, friendly representations, and the peaceful settlement of international disputes, would again be successful. But the Note of the South African Republic on the 9th October dashed those hopes to the ground. This made it clear that the only point at issue now was British or Boer supremacy over South Africa. The answer of the nation has been clear and unmistakable. Her Majesty's Ministers will receive such staunch and unfailing support as they may think necessary to carry out the duties that are imposed upon them. A sacrifice may be required, but it will be freely made. The war which we have to encounter is not one of our own seeking; it has arisen in spite of the Government's efforts to avoid it. Our patience, if abused, will not be thrown away. We can confidently appeal to the great tribunal of public opinion that those who read the history of this day will see that we have acted as a nation conscious of its strength, and have not drawn the sword to satisfy unworthy motives, slighted honour, lust of conquest, or greed of territory.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, as followeth:—
§ "Most Gracious Sovereign,
§ "We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United 69 Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the Gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament."—(Captain Sir A. Acland-Hood.)
SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNEEMAN (Stirling Burghs)
Mr. Speaker, the first part of my duty—and it is not likely to be the least pleasant part of my duty—is to express, on my own behalf, and I am sure I may say with confidence on behalf of Members sitting in every part of the House, our appreciation of the excellent manner in which the mover and seconder of the Address in reply to the gracious Speech from the Throne have acquitted themselves in the part entrusted to them. Sir, the hon. Member who has just sat down does not, I think, very often intervene in our discussions, but he has shown today that he is able to do so with perfect effect. But my hon. and gallant friend the Member for the Wellington Division has been more frequently, I think, accustomed to address us, and we have always listened to him with pleasure. We know how well he can state his case, and I would say that we listen to him with especial pleasure when his natural gifts of oratory are stimulated and brought into full play by the fervour of his zeal on behalf of the service to which he so long belonged, and especially and particularly of the brigade of Guards of which he was so long a member. But, Sir, the hon. Members have discharged their duty under exceptional difficulties. Ordinarily, the Speech from the Throne exhibits a catalogue, more or less long, of prospective measures of legislation, of greater or less importance, around which the fancy of the mover and seconder may play, to which they may turn for the stores of their political learning, and to which they may direct our attention in that sanguine spirit which befits the opening of a session. But on this occasion they have been limited to one topic, because Her Majesty's Speech has but one purpose, and I think we shall all be agreed that they have dealt with that topic not only with the ability which we expected of them, but also with a due sense of the gravity of the position in which we are all placed. Sir, we have been summoned today in order to give 70 the approval of Parliament to the early stages of a war. On two occasions within recent memory—once in the autumn of 1867, and again in the early winter of 1878—Parliament was called together for a similar purpose. On each of those occasions the hostilities which were thought necessary were directed against a people who were only partially civilised, who inhabited a remote and inhospitable and little-known country, and who were altogether of a different race of mankind from ourselves. Naturally, public interest among the people of this country followed closely the fortunes of our arms; but the general circumstances did not come near to their hearts. But now we are entering on a war directed against a European people, a people of a race akin to our own, a Christian people, a Protestant people, and a people who are near neighbours, and close kinsfolk of half at least of our fellow-subjects in two of our great Colonies. And the outburst of actual hostilities is the culminating point of a long series of transactions and negotiations and agreements and misunderstandings, which have been followed with the closest and most anxious interest by the whole of the people of this country. I am, therefore, justified in saying that never has Parliament met in circumstances more serious or engaging to a greater degree the deepest interest of our people. Sir, the main fact in the position of affairs is that this nation is in a state of war. It is quite true that we derive that information solely from the public press, because it will have been observed by every Member, no doubt, that Her Majesty's Ministers have not advised the Queen in her Speech oven to mention the word "war." There is something said of "the state of affairs in South Africa." There is something also said of the difficulties which have been caused by the action of the South African Republic. But there is nothing directly of war. Sir, I am not surprised. War is an ugly word, and I sympathise with the attempt to keep out as far as we can, even the word as well as the thing. But we are at war. A message has been received from the Government of the South African Republic making demands couched in language such as to render it impossible for Her Majesty's Government, or for the Government of any self-respecting country, even to take into consideration. Sir, two British colonies have been invaded 71 by an armed force, and actual hostilities have commenced; an aggression which it is the plain duty of us all—Ministers, Parliament, and people—to resist. I desire at once to say that there will be no disposition in this part of the House to place any obstacle in the way of granting such supplies or such powers to the Queen as may be requisite in order to secure a rapid and effective prosecution of the war so commenced. Mr. Speaker, apart from the necessity of vindicating the rights of our country and of our Empire, it is due to our gallant countrymen who have gone out to run the risk of their lives in our cause—it is in the interest of the Empire, and in mitigation of those sufferings which necessarily attend war, that the campaign should be vigorously and promptly prosecuted, and nothing that is requisite for this purpose will be refused by the House of Commons. Now, Sir, I am glad that the Government are at least not falling into an error which has not infrequently been made by our countrymen in past times, and that they are sending out—after some delay, it is true—an ample force for the purpose of effectually prosecuting and concluding this enterprise. The difficulties there are such that they will try to the utmost both the courage and endurance of the soldier and the skilled general. We have the most complete confidence in our men and our officers, and we know that those difficulties will be successfully encountered. Especially I would venture to congratulate Her Majesty's Government on the choice they have made of the officers who are to have the main charge of the expedition. I believe that there never has been so capable and experienced a staff despatched from our shores, and I question if so capable and experienced a staff ever crossed the frontier of any country. Sir Redvers Buller is not only a soldier of conspicuous gallantry and of great practical experience of warfare, but he has an intimate acquaintance with South Africa, and knows well the enemy whom he has to encounter, and he is at the same time as capable a civil administrator as any man in the whole of Her Majesty's Civil Service. He has at his side Sir George White, Sir Archibald Hunter, and others who could easily be named, who have each one of them won a high reputation on many fields, in the course of that varied military service 72 which is at once the test and the strength of our Army, and which is such as no other army in the world has an opportunity of undergoing. It is not, of course, even for such men to command success, but we know and are confident that they will deserve it. Perhaps, Sir, I may be allowed in a word or two, having for so many years taken a close interest in the administration of the Army, to express the immense satisfaction with which, in common with all interested in that matter, I have witnessed the fidelity and alacrity with which the men of the Army Reserve have come up to the colours, and especially the manner in which large employers of labour have shown themselves willing to facilitate the return of men to the colours and also to make their minds easy, as far as that can be done, as to their future when they return to civil life. The system of the organisation of our Army is undergoing a severe trial, and I trust it will be vindicated and approved by that trial; but nothing could contribute so much to its possible development and improvement in the future, and to the popularity of the Army in the country, as the spectacle off the generous and liberal treatment given to these men when they obeyed their country's call. Now, Sir, our sudden summons to assemble on account of a state of war is made the more impressive, to our minds when we look back less than three months and remember a day at the end of July—the 28th, I think—when we were discussing in Committee of Supply the Colonial Office Vote. On that occasion the Colonial Minister stated, to our great satisfaction as well as to his, own, that proposals had been received, in which he saw a basis of a settlement. It had been a matter of common agreement among us that the grievances of the foreign element in the Transvaal State must be removed. It was desirable, nay, it was essential, that they should be removed in the interest of the peace and prosperity of the whole South African community; because, owing to the close affinity between those concerned on either side in those grievances, both on the side of those who urged the grievances, and on the side of those against whom they were urged, on account of the affinity on both sides with their kinsmen and countrymen in neigh- 73 bouring States, the continuance of bad relations between the Government of the Transvaal and the Uitlanders was an undoubted impediment to quiet and contentment throughout South Africa. I do not stand upon any technical ground whatever; our natural position in South Africa makes us principally responsible for this quiet and contentment, and places upon us the duty of seeing that any impediment to it is removed. In this we were all agreed, and we were also agreed that this patriotic object should be effected and could be effected by pacific means. Here then, Sir, on the eve of the prorogation in July we found ourselves with a basis for a settlement of this question. How comes it that the attempt at a peaceable settlement has failed? More than once the two parties to the controversy have appeared to be on the verge of agreement. They have again and again been so close to each other that it seemed as if a very slight concession on the one hand or the other would settle the matter. Even when they were furthest from each other there was no cause that most of us could see, no ground for any thought of an appeal to arms, but there was still less when the difference was so narrow as it appeared to be, and from first to last, in the long course of these events, let me point out to and remind the House that her Majesty's Government had entire and exclusive control of the negotiations. They were not interfered with in any way. We of the Opposition, in the midst of all the tension and anxiety in the public mind, were able to hold our hands and our tongues not, I will admit frankly, particularly out of consideration for the right hon. Gentlemen opposite, but mainly, if not entirely, because we dreaded that something might be done prejudicial to the public interest of the Cape. Well, Sir, the Government now meet Parliament having failed to succeed in obtaining the object which we then had before us—namely, the removal of the grievances of the Uitlanders by pacific means. But there is another object, Mr. Speaker, which is always before statesmen in this country, and that is, the preservation of peace. It is a trite, but not on that account a less true, saying that the greatest British interest is peace. I have never quite understood why peculiarly "British." It is the interest of every country to maintain peace, if pos 74 sible; but, at all events, let us be content with our own case. It is the greatest British interest, and if there in one corner of the world where peace ought to be scrupulously maintained by any concession that could be made within the limits of reason, surely it was South Africa. Because a war between white men in South Africa, in addition to all the natural evils of a foreign war, has greatly the character of a civil war. I could not in any words of mine give a more or an equally graphic summary than that which was given by the Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1896. He said:—A war in South Africa would be one of the most serious wars that could possibly be waged. It would be in the nature of a civil war. It would be a long war, a bitter war, and a costly war, and as I have pointed out, it would leave behind it the embers of a strife which I believe generations would hardly be long enough to extinguish.That is a description of the nature of this war, and yet the end of these negotiations is that we are in that war, and that things have been so managed that there are ranged against us the powers and influences in South Africa which every nerve ought to have been strained to conciliate and keep on our side; for we have the Free State actually in arms against us, and as to our Dutch fellow subjects in the two colonies, we must hope for the best, but every one can understand the tremendous strain put upon their loyalty. I have no intention in the circumstances of to-day to enter into any minute or detailed criticism of the steps that have been taken by Her Majesty's Government. The time for that has not yet come, it appears to me, and certainly I should consider it unbecoming and inopportune in me at this moment to enter upon it. In fact, we wait for fuller explanation of all the more recent events. We have received a very full supply of Papers containing the documents that have passed, but the documents themselves leave many things in the dark, and there are a good many points upon which we wait for information. It is not, however, difficult to point, out one or two causes in the conduct of the Government which must have contributed to the defeat of their efforts towards a peaceful, solution. In the first place, it seems to me evident that the Government were 75 engaged, if I may be allowed to use a very homely expression, in a game of bluff. Now, a game of bluff is not a very worthy game for a great country at the best. It is an impossible game on so large a scale as this where secrecy cannot be maintained; and it has this disadvantage and danger, that you cannot stop short in it just where you like, and it may land you in a war which you neither desire nor intend; and of all people in the world against whom such a game could not be played with success I should select the Dutch, and, above all, the old fashioned Dutch in the Cape of Good Hope. The Boers have, like all of us, some good qualities and a good many bad ones, and among their qualities which hon. Members may class as good or bad according to their fancy, they are stubborn, they are self-sufficient, they are unimpressionable, they are shrewd, and they are brave. When, therefore, they heard, week after week, with somewhat ostentatious announcement, that a further detachment of troops was under orders for service at the Cape, and when in other ways it was made clear to them that we were really intending to fight, the result, the natural result, would be to irritate them and to increase the suspicious which they not unnaturally entertained after all these years, and which it ought rather to have been our duty to endeavour to remove. But they were not in the least degree intimidated. The same observation applies to certain speeches which were delivered and to certain despatches which were published—I do not say despatches which were written, because those to which I refer, although they used some rhetorical language not customary in a solemn despatch, yet were within the compass of the reasons in the minds of those who wrote them—but despatches which were published at a time and with a promptitude which showed a desire to create an effect upon the public mind. But the foremost place is probably to be given to the raising of the question of the suzerainty, which, utterly unnecessary and inept as it was, did more than anything else to remove any chance of success. Well, Sir, for every step thus taken Her Majesty's Government are, as I have said, exclusively responsible. I have said that on some points, especially affecting the more recent transactions, we are without information. May I especially ask 76 the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House, when he speaks, to say what were the reasons why when on September 22 the door was shut upon the franchise proposals—I do not say that the door was locked and barred, but it was, at all events, shut upon the franchise proposals—so long a delay occurred before the other door, as to fresh proposals, which was promised in the despatch, was opened? That was a promise distinctly given, and day after day passed, and week after week passed, of most critical time, covering the very period that Parliament was summoned and the Reserves were called out, and yet no public enunciation was given to those fresh proposals, and not only the Transvaal Government, but we ourselves to this day are entirely in ignorance as to what the proposals are. I trust the right hon. Gentleman will enlighten us both as to the reasons for that delay, which seems almost inexplicable, and as to the nature of the proposals themselves. I believe he may be able to give a very good and sufficient reason for the delay, but I ask for it as it appears strange on the surface. There is yet one thing, more that I would venture to ask the Leader of the House if he would favour me with his reply. I would ask him to repeat in his place here, in order to give it still greater efficacy in the public mind, the assurance he has already given elsewhere, that, whatever may have been the purposes and the objects of himself and his colleagues in all these proceedings, an unworthy desire to avenge the military disasters of another year, and a no less unworthy desire to establish a political superiority of Englishman over Dutchman at the Cape—that these have no place among them. I know that he can give this assurance, and it is right that it should be given, for I fear that these motives, although they would have been repudiated by every right-thinking and responsible man amongst us, yet are largely active among those who are the noisiest applauders and acclaimers of the war amongst certain classes of the community. I look forward with the profoundest apprehension to the consequences of this war. I would call it an unhappy war, and in that I think I should have the agreement even of those who think it was an inevitable war. To this unhappy war I look forward with the profoundest appre- 77 hension as to its consequences—not as to its military course, but as to its after effects upon the social and political harmony of the South African community. I can only fervently trust that the results may not be such as I fear, and as I believe there is reason to anticipate they will be. I repeat, I am not one of those, if there are any in the House, who will shrink from granting the necessary supplies for prosecuting the war, now that it has commenced, with the utmost vigour, so as to bring it to the earliest and therefore the most humane and most successful termination. Now, these are the observations I have to make upon the question of the Address, and before I sit down I would simply ask the right hon. Gentleman to take this opportunity, as our proceedings in these sittings are somewhat novel, of making a statement as to the probable business before the House. I would ask him whether he could make any conjecture as to the duration of the time over which the sittings will extend, and whether, in fact, he can give the House any information as to the general subjects of our proceedings, and what opportunity there will be, if any, for us to discuss them.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
Before proceeding, Mr. Speaker, to deal with such parts of the right hon. Gentleman's speech as appear to call for comment, I must join with him in congratulating my two hon. friends on the manner in which they discharged a task always difficult and delicate, but on the present occasion carrying with it a sense of rare responsibility and gravity. The right hon. Gentleman has pointed out that under ordinary circumstances the mover and seconder of the Address have the opportunity of selecting such topics as they please from a large number submitted to their choice. On this occasion both the mover and seconder were confined by the very nature of the circumstances which have called us here together in the autumn to one single topic, that which is occupying all our thoughts at the present time. I am sure I do not go beyond the truth when I say that the impressive manner in which they dealt with that single topic, the emotion which they throw into a speech usually and naturally of a character in which personal elements and personal feelings have less 78 place than they have on the present occasion, mark these efforts out amongst similar speeches, at least in my experience, as giving them a weight and an importance which under ordinary circumstances they could perhaps hardly possess. But I need only say that so far as I am concerned I associate myself with all that has fallen from my two hon. friends. I think they presented the case which the country has before it lucidly, temperately, and yet forcibly, and I might gladly leave the statement of the Government's case in their hands. Now I pass from my hon. friends to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, and, Sir, with a great deal of that speech I not only have no quarrel, but I find myself in the heartiest agreement. The right hon. Gentleman in all the earlier parts of his speech, speaking as the Leader of the Opposition, did what we expected from a Leader of the Opposition; he threw aside all party differences, he forgot all petty criticisms, and he announced that he and his friends, now that the Government and the country were embarked in the perils and difficulties of a great war, were prepared to give us all the assistance in their power. Nothing could be better, nothing be better stated, and I confess I could almost have wished, not for my sake or for the sake of the Gentlemen sitting on these benches, but for the sake of the debate as a whole, that the right hon. Gentleman had confined himself in his speech to those earlier topics. Not for the first time in the right hon. Gentleman's oratorical career, it does seem to me, I confess, that the source of inspiration of one-half of the speech was somewhat different from the source of inspiration of the other half of the speech. And if the right hon. Gentleman's effort had fallen under the critical gaze of some professor of the higher criticism he would certainly have said that what professed to be the utterance of a single individual upon a single occasion undoubtedly formed part of two separate speeches delivered by two different individuals on two entirely different subjects. The right hon. Gentleman said truly enough that in July last he and we were in accord as to the justice of the demands, broadly speaking, which were made of the Boer Government, as to the reality of the grievances, under which the Uitlanders laboured, and as to the great probability, as we all hoped and thought, of those demands 79 being granted ultimately by the statesmen responsible for the conduct of the policy of the South African Republic. That was in July. I do not dissent from the account the right hon. Gentleman gives of the general state of mind prevailing in this House, and not only here, but throughout the country. Certainly I was, I will not say sanguine, but hopeful, at all events, then and at a much later date that wise counsels would still prevail, that just demands would after all be granted, and that all the horrors of war would not be brought down upon South Africa by an obstinate refusal of the South African Republic to grant rights to the Uitlanders which the right hon. Gentleman and we are agreed in thinking the Uitlanders had a right to demand. The right hon. Gentleman argues, "How comes it that, after all these hopes and all these expectations, we nevertheless find ourselves, in the middle of October, in a state of war?" and he insinuates—he does more than insinuate—that the fault of this deplorable termination of diplomatic controversy was due, not to obstinacy—criminal obstinacy, as I think it—on the part of the rulers of the two South African Republics, but was due to some unmentioned errors on the part of those responsible for conducting diplomacy on behalf of Her Majesty's Government. The right hon. Gentleman says that he is going to defer telling us in detail what those errors were until a more convenient season. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman in making that statement intended a kindness to those whom he abstained from criticising, but I can assure him it is a kindness which we are far from appreciating. I confess if we have been guilty of errors in the conduct of these negotiations we should like to be told what they are in the presence of the representatives of the people, and in their presence to refute, if we could refute—as we confidently believe we could—any charges thus brought against us. It appears that the right hon. Gentleman is going to defer to a later date the commentary upon these negotiations, and until that later date I suppose we must reserve our reply. The right hon. Gentleman, though he abstains from detailed criticism of the negotiations, nevertheless had something to say in criticism of the policy of Her Majesty's Government, and I must confess I listened to these fragments of the case which is some day to be presented 80 to us with an astonishment which I do not pretend to disguise. The right hon. Gentleman asks me why there was so long a delay after the despatch of the 22nd September before our solution of the Transvaal problem was submitted to the Boer Government. Am I to understand that the right hon. Gentleman thinks that that delay was a delay which militated against the interests of peace? Am I to suppose that an interval when it was possible for the Boer Government to go back upon their course, and make proposals to us either directly or through the President of the Orange Free State, was one which hurried on war? Such a contention is not only inconsistent with common-sense, but it is inconsistent with the very contentions of those organs of public opinion which support the right hon. Gentleman and his party in all this South African affair. We were congratulated that we had not hurried on the formulation of these proposals. We were congratulated on leaving the door, if not open, still ajar, and I therefore fail altogether to understand why the right hon. Gentleman, surveying the whole course of these prolonged negotiations, singles out for criticism this one act, not of commission, but of omission, which everybody except the right hon. Gentleman thinks was an omission which, if it had any effect at all on the ultimate result, would tend to peace rather than to war. The right hon. Gentleman brings up—as, perhaps, he could hardly avoid bringing up—that ancient and oft-repeated charge that we had goaded the South African Republic into war by flaunting suzerainty in their face. Sir, there is no justification whatever for that charge. The South African Republic themselves made claims of being a wholly independent State, externally and internally, quite inconsistent with the Conventions of 1881 and 1884. In answer to that contention my right hon. friend the Secretary for the Colonies did re-reiterate the undoubted rights of this country to control the foreign relations of the South African Republic, and he did use, as he had a perfect right to use, the word "suzerainty." He did not use the word gratuitously or unprovoked. It was made necessary by the contention of the Boers themselves, and had he not made perfectly clear the position of this country he would have been guilty of laches which I am con- 81 vinced this House would not easily have forgiven. The right hon. Gentleman tells us or insinuates—for I am really not quite sure whether the charge was deliberately formulated or whether it was only suggested—but whether it was formulated or suggested, he seemed to me to hint, or more than hint, that the war was due to the fact that for the last two or three months we have been bluffing. Now, Sir, what is bluff? I understand it is a word largely used in connection with a game of cards, of which I have no personal knowledge, and so used it indicates that a person having no useful cards in his hand nevertheless acts as if he possessed them. That is not the condition of this country. We have the cards and we mean to play them, and I really fail to understand what the right hon. Gentleman means by using the word bluff in this connection. But he suggests that to send out 10,000 troops from Malta or from India was of the nature of an irritating menace to the South African Republic, and that it made that menace doubly irritating because the fact appeared in the newspapers. I do not know what control the right hon. Gentleman had over the newspapers when he was in office, but I know it is not in the power of this Government to keep secret the fact that many thousand troops are sent from one part of the British dominions to another. That is a fact necessarily involving publicity, and does not involve anything in the nature of menace or brag. Now the right hon. Gentleman disapproves of our sending these troops to South Africa. Where should we have been at the present moment if we had not sent them? What sort of a speech would the right hon. Gentleman have made if Parliament had been called together at the present time, and we had to deal with a situation in which our colonists in Natal were left wholly unprotected against invasion from the two Republics? Should we have heard anything then of bluff or brag, or the folly of sending troops, or the folly of allowing the sending of troops to appear in the newspapers, and all the rest of the matters which the right hon. Gentleman has brought before us? Would he not have got up and said, "The Government might have hoped, and were right to hope, that peace would be maintained, but they also had to contemplate the possibility of peace not being main- 82 tained. It was their duty without menace to provide for the defences of the Empire. That duty," he would have said—and what answer could we have given?—"you have failed to undertake, and while we, the Opposition"—I am quoting from this imaginary speech of the right hon. Gentleman—"are quite prepared to assist the Government in carrying on the war with vigour, we must express our unanimous condemnation of that failure to carry out the primary duty of a Government—viz., that of seeing to the safety of the Empire." I do not know how the right hon. Gentleman would have us behave. Not to send out troops is to betray the country. To send them out, in his opinion, is playing a game of bluff and brag. Which of these two alternatives have we chosen? I know we have chosen the right one. As I think I have said elsewhere in public, if there is any criticism to be levelled against us it is not that we have acted too quickly, or that we have done too much, but that our hope for peace, our anxiety lest anything should unduly hurry on or provoke war, made us most reluctant to do anything which the most suspicious and the most irritable of politicans could translate into a threat. I hope and believe that in this matter we have steered a just course between these two extremes. At all events, of this I am certain, that the criticism which the right hon. Gentleman thought fit to level against us to-day—the criticism that we have provoked, and almost brought upon ourselves and the country, a war that could be avoided by sending out troops—is, of all possible accusations that could be brought against us the most impossible to substantiate, and the most intrinsically absurd. I am sorry to have spent even so much time in the ungrateful task of attacking a speech with so much of which I cordially agree. But the right hon. Gentleman will, I am sure, feel, when he has thought it right to say what he did, that I could not do less than say what I have said. Having answered him to the best of my ability, I suppose it is hardly necessary that I should add anything. The gravity of the position is present to the mind of every man listening to me. I should be the last person to boast of victories not yet won, or to look forward to happy conclusions not yet reached, but surely this at least we may say, that if war is to be entered into, it has seldom been entered 83 into by this country on an issue which, at all events as we feel it, is more clearly an issue of righteousness and liberty. There is another circumstance which I could not sit down without referring to, and which is novel in the history of this Empire, or at all events, if not novel, has had no parallel on the same scale or magnitude in the history of this Empire; for we I have with us the material proof that our self-governing colonies beyond the seas are with us heart and soul in this matter. Is it to be believed that, if we were engaged upon some piratical transaction against the liberty of another people, these colonies, the very breath of whose nostrils is self-government and liberty, would have thrown themselves into our cause, would offer us their resources, and aid us with their troops? No, Sir; we are the butt of much ill-informed and malicious criticism on the part of foreign nations, but we have with us the conscience of the Empire, and, having with us the conscience of the Empire and the material resources of Empire, surely we may look forward without undue misgiving to the result of a contest which was none of our seeking, and which we would have given anything consistent with the honour of this country to avoid, but which, as it has been forced upon us, will undoubtedly be carried through, so far as we are concerned, to its final, its honourable, and I hope its not remote conclusion.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)
The right hon. Gentleman has failed to give any answer to the question addressed to him by the right hon. the Leader of the Opposition, as to the course of our proceedings in the present session.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon, and apologise for the omission. I conceive that the only business which this House is called upon to transact in the course of the present session would be the proceedings in connection with the Queen's Speech, and I venture to hope that speeches will be confined to the exclusive topic dealt with in the Queen's Speech, to the Army Estimates which will be brought forward by my hon. friend the Under Secretary for War, and 84 to the proposals of the Chancellor of the Exchequer with regard to Ways and Means. These are the three subjects with which we shall have to deal; and when I am asked, as I was by the right hon. Gentleman, how long it will take to conclude our labours on these subjects my answer is that that depends more on hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite than on those on this side of the House. So far as I am aware, there is no reason, considering the unanimity which prevails as to the desirability of giving the Government every assistance in prosecuting the war, why ourlabours should be in any way of a protracted character.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE
That is not an answer to the question which I understand has been put by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition to the Leader of the House, and which I also, on behalf of several Members acting with me, gave him private notice I would put to him. The right hon. Gentleman counts on the assistance of the House to facilitate the business of these short sittings and bring them rapidly to a conclusion. I believe that the right hon. Gentleman wishes to confine discussion to the one topic mentioned in the Queen's Speech; but the Government, I understand, cannot force that course upon the House. I imagine from the precedents that the Chair would not limit discussion on the Address in Reply, for hon. Members have a right to discuss all subjects, competent to be raised on these occasions. If the Government are going to appeal to Members to rigidly confine themselves to one subject the House has a right to know what are the facilities to be given to Members to discuss all other subjects in place of the opportunity which is now to be denied to them.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Though I am perhaps rather out of order, I may be allowed, with the leave of the House, to say that the right hon. Gentleman did give me private notice of his intention to ask a question, and I am quite prepared to answer it. I believe there are two precedents bearing on the present position of affairs, that of 1878 and that of 1885. On both occasions Parliament was summoned to meet in the autumn for the purpose of dealing with a single 85 topic, and the Queen's Speech was, in both cases, practically confined to that topic, and in neither case was there a second Queen's Speech when the House met in the spring of the following year. In 1878, which I think is the precedent most germane to the present case, the absence of a Queen's Speech was made up for by a Ministerial statement made at the opening of the ordinary session, upon which there was an opportunity for Members to express their views upon the legislative programme of the Government, and otherwise to raise questions similar to those raised in the debate on the Address. I would propose, should the House abandon the privilege of miscellaneous discussion in this autumn session, to follow the precedent set by Sir Stafford Northcote in 1878, and followed by Mr. Gladstone in 1885, affording a similar opportunity for discussion when we meet again.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE
It is clear that that precedent is one not altogether applicable to our present forms of procedure, which would have to be varied. Under the present forms only one night would be given for the discussion of the Bills the Government proposed to bring forward. In the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, on which I would like to make a few brief observations, he challenged those of us who have our doubts as to the policy and necessity of this war to state any grounds for criticism of that policy. It is impossible for us who have these doubts to abstain from taking the proper and almost necessary opportunity of stating, with all the gravity the subject deserves, although as briefly as possible, the views and doubts we entertain. The speeches we have heard tonight have entirely avoided what most of us on this side regard as the causes of the war. Not a word has been said as to the original annexation of the South African Republic, or in regard to the Raid which took place on the Transvaal State a few years ago. It seems to many of us that it is impossible to judge the wisdom or necessity of the war in which we are now engaged without some regard to these events in the common history of the South African Republic and ourselves. The hon. and gallant Member the Mover of the Address in Reply to Her Majesty's 86 gracious Speech, appealed to those on this side of the House, who he said were either members of the Society of Friends or of the Aborigines Protection Society, to study the history of the treatment of the native races by the Boers. I am not a member of the Society of Friends, but I have been all my life and am now a member of the Aborigines Protection Society, and I admit that I am one of those who have no sympathy with the Boers in that respect, that I believe their treatment of the native races has set a bad example, which other people in Africa have subsequently followed. So little have I any sympathy with the Boers that I believe the state merits made in regard to the corruption and injustice of their Government are true. As an advanced Radical I have my own views as to the pig-headed Toryism by which the Boers are animated. But I ask myself what are the Imperial interests, at stake in this war on which we are entering, and is not this a question we should consider, viz., the future which this war presents to us in South Africa? The hon. and gallant Member who moved the Address in Reply gave us a most alarming glance at that future. In, the course of his remarks he spoke of this war as being, in his opinion, intended to disarm the whole Dutch population of South Africa, for, he said, without disarmament throughout South Africa, we should have in future to keep a garrison of 40,000 men in that country, which would add enormously to our responsibilities. It is impossible for us to discuss, however inadequately, the subject of this war without considering the effect on it of past history and our past treatment of these Republics, and what the difficulties are in our way to which we should look forward as a consequence of the war in which we are involved. I am convinced that my right hon. friend the late Leader of the Opposition was right in the remarks he made the other day when he pointed to the fact that the Secretary of State for the Colonies and others of us who were parties to the change in 1884 were impressed at the time by the difficulties of the situation in South Africa which had been caused for us arising out of the annexation of the Transvaal. To that annexation I was bitterly opposed at the time, and remained bitterly opposed to it. But we cannot consider the present war without remarking the impression pro- 87 duced on the minds of the people of South Africa by that annexation and by the Raid. Now, in this country, we are all prepared to condemn the folly of the Raid. We are all prepared to admit that the military conduct of that Raid was disgraceful, and that the whole history of the expedition led by the medical officer and the gallant officer of the Household Cavalry which was repulsed was foolish and miserable. But we do not sufficiently bear in mind in embarking on this war, and on the policy which has led to the war, what was the effect produced by that Raid upon South Africa, and what was the necessary expiation of that Raid if we are to restore that confidence on which the whole future of these South African Colonies depends. We have had frequent allusions to the great Imperial interests in South Africa. There is no one in this House more concerned for the safety and usefulness of that most important Imperial coaling station. But many of us who hold that view as strongly as hon. Members opposite believe that that is best secured by a policy of friendship with the Dutch race in Cape Colony. That being so, we have always striven for the time when the two races should co-operate together. As in Canada the French, so the Dutch race in South Africa is a prolific race. They outnumber us already at the present moment, but just as the French Canadians increase rapidly, and as French Canada is even more of a French country than when we conquered it, the Cape is more Dutch than when we conquered it. The relations between the two races were becoming every day closer, but when the annexation of the Transvaal was beginning to be forgotten, the Raid retarded that happy amelioration of the condition of affairs. It is these two events which have jeopardised our coaling station in South Africa, if it has ever been in jeopardy for a moment. These are matters which it seems to me cannot be forgotten when we are entering on this war. I freely admit that the war in its immediate inception has been forced upon us in circumstances which make it impossible for ms us not to pick up the gauntlet thrown down, but, without allusion to the annexation and the Raid, the question cannot now be discussed at all. These matters affect the whole question of Sir Alfred Milner's policy, and the wisdom 88 of the Government in actively taking it up and pressing it on the country. The Leader of the House tells us that, up to a very late moment indeed, he hoped for peace, and he repudiates with natural warmth the charge that this country was "bluffing a small State." Is it not the fact, however, that Sir A. Milner, in placing his policy before the Government, told them very frankly that a very probable result of that policy would be war, and war not only with the South African Republic, but with the Orange Free State as well? I cannot but think that the whole policy was open to grave doubts, and it seems to me that, in view of the annexation and the Raid, it was unwise to embark on that policy. The Leader of the House has made a certain charge against my right hon. friend, and has said that there are two voices in the speech of the Leader of the Opposition; but is it not absolutely necessary that there should be to some extent two voices in the speech of any man, on either side of the House, who deals with the great issue before us? The terms of the ultimatum addressed to this country are such as no Englishman can avoid resenting, and it is, in my view, impossible that we should refuse the Government the money they ask for now for their military operations. But that very fact makes it the more necessary to inquire into the causes that have led up to this expenditure. Now is the time to express our doubts, if we have any, as to the wisdom of the policy which has made this expenditure necessary. I quite agree that the sooner the might of our arms is irresistibly displayed the better for South Africa as a whole, but I cannot avoid regarding with the gravest doubt the sacrifices which will be imposed on this country in the future by the adoption of this policy. The Leader of the House appeared to doubt whether there was not some difference of opinion between critics of the Government as to whether they had done too little or too much in the way of military preparation, but surely the whole House sees that when that question is asked it is asked from the point of view of the Government policy. It is still open for us who have our doubts as to the wisdom of the policy itself to express them. We believe that there was in the fact of the Raid ground for the exercise of greater patience on the part of the Government, 89 and that, by the exercise of such patience, this war might have been avoided. With regard to the military preparations, we have seen the great readiness and celerity with which the Indian Empire has placed forces in the field. We knew India would do that, but I doubt very much whether it is wise on an occasion of this sort to draw upon the resources of our Indian Empire. This action will undoubtedly produce the greatest controversy in the future, and will strengthen the impression in India that India is overtaxed for military purposes, and has to maintain an army which may very easily be drawn upon for service in other parts of the world. I should have preferred that exclusive reliance should have been placed on forces sent out from home. The Leaders of the two sides in this House are the strongest defenders of our existing military system. They have frequently told us of the frightful strain put upon it by our present garrisons, and I for one fear that the adoption of Sir Alfred Milner's policy may involve the breakdown of that military system. The gravest military question involved is, what is to be the future military situation in South Africa. The policy on which we have entered will force upon us the augmentation of our garrisons in South Africa in the future. That augmentation will be an additional strain on the military system, to which I personally am opposed, but which the majority of both parties support, and it can only be met by enormous expenditure or by lessening our other garrisons. I fear, too, that it will have a tendency in this country to encourage the opinion that, in view of the great increase in our Army, we can afford to stand still in regard to our Navy. The future in South Africa must, I am afraid, be essentially a gloomy one.
§ *SIR H. MEYSEY-THOMPSON (Staffordshire, Handsworth)
I should not intrude upon the House at this moment were it not that I think that I may be able to be of some slight use in reassuring and comforting the consciences of those who, though loyally supporting England and the Government at this juncture, have still some qualms of conscience with respect to what has been taking place and the reasons which made war inevitable. There are two words which have troubled 90 them especially—Suzerainty and Independence. Now, in October, 1897, just two years ago, I was at Bloemfontein. There I had some very interesting conversations with Mr. De Villiers, Chief Justice of the Orange Free State. Mr. De Villiers pressed me strongly as to my opinion whether there was any chance of inducing the House of Commons and England to give up and abrogate the suzerainty of England over the Transvaal. I could not understand why he was so anxious on this point, until he told me that if England was willing to do this the Orange Free State would at once amalgamate and fuse with the Transvaal. Also that they would already have done so had it not been for the suzerainty of England over the Transvaal. Now, sir, I think this disposes altogether of the contention which has troubled some of our friends so much, that the suzerainty was abrogated by mutual consent by the Convention of 1884, and was only raked up by the Colonial Secretary in order to needlessly hurt the susceptibilities of the Boers. Here was not what the French call le premier venu, not what our friends opposite call "the man in the street," but the highest legal authority of the Orange Free State, discussing the matter quietly in quiet times, and not only recognising the suzerainty as an absolutely unquestioned fact, but as a fact of so solid and important a character that it was the bar, the only bar, but in his opinion the effectual bar, which was preventing the amalgamation of these two States. I think, sir, that this ought to carry conviction to those who have been believing that the Transvaal and the Orange Free State were under the impression that the suzerainty had lapsed and disappeared until it was revived for the purpose of the late negotiations. So much for the suzerainty; we now come to independence. Why was it that the suzerainty should be considered a bar to amalgamation? It must be remembered that it was the Orange Free State which objected to amalgamation. Why? I dare say it will be said "for sentimental reasons." That will be by persons whose experience and knowledge of the Boers are drawn from their own inner consciousness. Those who know the Boers intimately tell us we must look to more solid reasons than sentiment. The Orange Free State is well governed, the Transvaal badly governed. If they amalgamated what 91 was to happen? Was the Transvaal Government to become good and to be assimilated to that in the Orange Free State? or was the Orange Free State Government to become bad and assimilated to that in the Transvaal? Now can this suzerainty question throw some light on the question? Suzerainty would be no hindrance at all to good government, but it might have been a hindrance to bad government. If the Orange Free State had hoped that fusion would lead to good government they would never have bothered their heads about suzerainty. If these Republics had governed justly and without plunder and corruption their independence would have been safe and the question of suzerainty would have remained dormant. It is like the law: the law is a terror to evil-doers; the upright citizen hardly knows of the law's existence as far as he is personally concerned. So with the suzerainty. While good government had prevailed the suzerainty would have not been felt; but it existed, and the Orange Free State knew that it existed, and it was because they wished not for good government, but for bad government, and to share in the plunder and corruption prevalent in the Transvaal that the suzerainty was a terror to them. President Steyn, who was educated at an English University, Mr. De Villiers, a highly educated and an extremely intelligent man, and many others in the Orange Free State knew perfectly well that the independence of the combined Republics would have been perfectly safe if they had had decent civilised government, and that the suzerainty question would never have troubled thorn at all. But if the Uitlanders were not going to be obliged to pay the taxes for the ordinary burgher, and if officials were not to be able to make large sums of money, what was the use of amalgamating? Good government they had already at home, and perfect liberty to manage their own affairs—they had nothing to gain in the way of government. Would they be allowed to spoil and plunder the Uitlander in the future? That was the question. Many of the most intelligent men, both in the Orange Free State and the Transvaal, could not bring themselves to believe that England would not some day or other awake up to a knowledge of the great injustice which was being done, and insist on its being redressed. A friend of mine lately re- 92 turned from the Transvaal told me that a Transvaal official in a moment of expansion said to him, "Of course we know it cannot last; what we have to do is to do the best we can for ourselves while it does last!" If England had been content to give up and abrogate the suzerainty that would have been an outward and visible sign that she had once and for all made up her mind that nothing could induce her to fulfil her duties or responsibilities in the Transvaal—that she had abandoned her subjects there to their fate, and to be the prey of the Boors for all time. It is extraordinary that any people should have so absolutely misunderstood the English character and English determination. To imagine that England would permanently consent to see her subjects and those of other Powers provide tens of millions of money, collect the finest engineers, chemists, and mine managers in the world, and then see the Boors help themselves to as much of the profits as they pleased seems to us absurd. Sic vos non vobis, as Virgil said of the bees; the English were to make the honey, and the Dutch were to eat it. It was a beautiful dream, but the more beautiful the dream the more disappointing is the awakening, and it is to avoid the pain of seeing this beautiful dream vanish that the Boers have gone to war with England. Now, I think it must be abundantly evident to anyone that the independence which we intended to give to the Transvaal and the independence which they are willing to fight for are two perfectly distinct things. Independence, in so far as it meant the right to govern themselves according to civilised ideas—freedom for themselves without interfering with the freedom of others—this independence they could have had without war, and they knew it; independence, meaning licence to plunder and rob the Uitlanders within their borders, licence to arm and bribe and incite our own subjects in Africa against us, licence to keep an expensive legation in Europe for the purpose of corrupting and inciting politicians and journalists not only on the Continent of Europe but all over the world to injure England in every possible way, this independence they could not have without war, and they have deliberately, after arming and preparing for years, gone to war with us to preserve this sort of independence; and it is for this that they have deliberately risked and thrown 93 away the other independence of self-government and equal rights for all, which they despised and would have none of. I am afraid that the results will be disastrous to them, but I cannot see that our Government could have taken any other steps than those they are now taking.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
I rise for the purpose of moving an Amendment to the Address. It is one drawn on lines which I think will commend it to the judgment of a very large section of the people of this country, and will, I am sure, recommend it to the over-whelming majority of the people of the civilised world outside. I noticed that I the First Lord of the Treasury in his speech treated with marked contempt the opinion of the civilised world; but some months ago, when a portion of the press in Europe was favourable to this country with regard to this dispute, our newspapers most carefully and sedulously gathered and reproduced articles from the most obscure journals. But now, when the unanimous voice of Europe is to be found on the side of the two small nations whose existence is threatened, the First Lord representing the Government treats it with contempt and speaks of it as unjust and malignant criticism. I venture to respectfully submit the following Amendment to the Address:—And we humbly represent to your Majesty that the state of war now existing between Great Britain and the South African Republic has been caused by the assertion of claims to interfere in the internal government of the Republic in direct violation of the terms of your Majesty's Convention of 1884 with the Government of the South African Republic, and by the massing of large bodies of British troops on the frontiers of the Republic; and we further humbly submit that before more bloodshed takes place proposals should be made in the spirit of the recent Peace Conference at The Hague, with the view of finding, in an independent and friendly arbitration, a settlement of the difficulties between the two Governments, and that an ignominious war may thus be avoided between the overwhelming forces of your Majesty's Empire and those of two small nations numbering in all less than 200,000 souls.This is a moderate Amendment which, even in the midst of the war fever, one of the most grievous diseases that can seize upon a nation, which now rages throughout Great Britain, will recommend itself to the bettor judgment of 94 large sections of the people of this country. I know it is hard to get a hearing for the voice of reason, of justice, and of humanity, at a time when the dogs of war have been let loose. When our soldiers are in the field we are told that the time for argument has gone by. But I do submit that this Amendment will certainly recommend itself to the overwhelming majority of the civilised world outside this Empire. I am proud to be in the position of declaring that in Ireland the overwhelming majority of the people condemn this war as unjust, unnecessary, and cowardly. (Cries of "Question.") Yes, that is the question. We in Ireland will have to pay our share—aye, more than our share—of the enormous expense, and the injustice to us is aggravated by the universal condemnation in our country of this war. I have carefully read the speeches of Ministers on this question, and I have been astonished to see that this has been treated as if it were a war between two great nations of equal or nearly equal power. Very few of those in this country who support the Government seem to have realised that there can be no glory gained—whatever may be the result of the war—there can be no honour and no glory to the arms of England arising from her victory. In the whole history of civilised mankind there never has been so unequal a struggle, and this very inequality ought to have made men show a spirit of moderation in their language and sorrow in their hearts even in the case of those who honestly believed we were driven into this war. But that has not been the case. We have heard of vengeance for past military defeats, we have heard that the blot of Majuba Hill must be wiped out, and we have heard of the necessity of asserting British supremacy in South Africa. We are told, in the same breath, that there is no intention of interfering with the independence of the Boers. But we heard just now a speech by an hon. Member opposite which must have made Ministers feel uncomfortable. The great difficulty we have had in the past has been to discover what really this war is about. The hon. Member opposite tells us that it is not over any franchise question, or in consequence of any interference with the independence of the Transvaal, but that it has been undertaken because the Boers have claimed a right to take a 95 share of the gold which Englishmen have dug from under their soil. And the hon. Member spoke of the Boers indulging in a beautiful dream from which they would have to be rudely awakened. But surely every Member of this House must have present to his mind the colossal fortunes which have been made by the very people who complain of the action of the Government. I would point to this fact, that the Government upon whose soil these immense riches have been discovered has, by the universal admission of the whole world, allowed strangers to come into its country and extract from its soil its boundless wealth, thereby piling up untold fortunes, under a system of gold laws the most liberal that exist in any part of the world. Far away at Klondyke, when the miners there complained of certain injustices which they alleged they suffered at the hands of the Canadian Government, the laws of the Transvaal were pointed to as being the best and most just in the world. Yet the hon. Member opposite is not ashamed—and I rather admire his frankness—to tell us that it is not a franchise question which has caused this war, but that it is the claim of the Transvaal to a share of the gold dug from its soil. I think it is one of the most extraordinary acts of cruelty the world has ever seen, that the liberality of the Transvaal Government, which has thrown open its gates to the stranger, and allowed him to grow rich upon the produce of the country won by the sacrifice of their forefathers when you had driven them from the Cape, should be used as an argument and turned against them to rob them of the liberty which they have won. One complaint that I have to make as to the action of Her Majesty's Government in this matter is that up to this present time no clear statement such as the public can understand and agree about has been placed before the people as a cause for the war. For a very long time we were told that the cause of the war was the franchise, and the sympathies of the people were aroused by the statement that the demand of Her Majesty's Government was for those rights for the Uitlanders to vote and have a share in the Government such as had been secured for every inhabitant of this country. A considerable amount of feeling and sympathy was roused by that issue, and many men supported the Government on 96 that issue who would not have done so had any other issue been raised. But I have believed from the beginning that if the issue of the franchise was a real issue, and if the franchise had been granted—and I wish for their own sakes that the Boers had offered it years ago—not one of the British Uitlanders would have accepted it. I have known English citizens who have made their homes in America for ten or fifteen years, and who have always refused to take part in the government of that country. The English citizen when he goes abroad is not anxious to give up his British citizenship, and I say the issue of the franchise was falsely put forward. It was not the real grievance put forward by the Uitlanders. It was an attempt to conciliate to the Government a certain element of the public. If the franchise had been granted, and the Boers had come to hold that view, it would not have been the end of the matter, but only the commencement of their trouble. But whatever may be the merits of that contention the fact remains that the statement as to the franchise is absolutely rotten. We were told by the speech of the Duke of Devonshire that the franchise was really a matter of exceedingly little importance, and that in reality all that the Government desired was the best rights for their citizens in South Africa, but he did not give any definition of what those rights were. He declared that the franchise was no longer in issue, and never had been. Since that statement there has been no authoritative statement as to what is the issue in dispute between the two countries. Now, I desire to say a few words with regard to the recent despatches which have been laid before us. No man who has studied what has been published in reference to the misunderstandings which took place between Mr. Conyngham Greene and Mr. Reitz can doubt but what there was ground for believing that the Transvaal Government were trapped and induced to send the despatch in which they offered the five years franchise proposal under conditions, under the impression that the despatch would be approved and accepted by this country. Surely, if a breath of suspicion was raised as to whether it would be approved by the British Government, the benefit of the doubt ought to have been given to the Boers. The conditions which were made were reasonable, and might have 97 been accepted by this country. All that the Transvaal asked was that if they consented to give the five years franchise the Government would give a fresh guarantee that this interference would not be taken as a precedent, and that the suzerainty should be dropped. It had already been dropped by the Convention of 1884—(cries of "No")—or at least that was the opinion of a majority of the British people, and it was certainly and unquestionably the idea of the Government of the day. Lord Derby stated so, and if hon. Members would read the debates of that date they would see that Lord Salisbury and other Ministers denounced the Convention on the ground that it destroyed the suzerainty. The policy of Sir Alfred Milnor was to give a five years franchise and to leave the Uitlanders to work out their own salvation by constitutional methods, and the Boers asked for nothing except an opinion as to what they understood the meaning of the Convention of 1884 to be. Their last appeal was rudely rejected by this Government, and the door was closed in their faces with a bang. The Boers were told that this Government refused to discuss the matter further, and would formulate their own proposals shortly. Those proposals have never been formulated from that day to this. The First Lord of the Treasury undertook to say it was done in the interests of peace; that is not true, as I can prove by the Blue Books. On the 1st October, Sir Alfred Milner sent a despatch to the Colonial Office in the following words—September 30th (No. 8). —'Urgent. Just received following from British Agent, begins—'State Secretary has just been here and asked me to send you the following message—"State Secretary would be much obliged if he might be informed by Monday what decision, if any, the British Cabinet had taken."'That was received on October 1st, and a reply was immediately sent on the same day—Urgent. Your telegram (No. 8) on the 30th September, the answer to State Secretary should be as follows—'The despatch of Her Majesty's Government is being prepared; it will be some days before it is ready. 'That proves that the unfortunate Secretary of the Transvaal was eager to see the ultimatum of the British Government, and was eager to see if even at the eleventh hour the terms proposed were 98 such as he would be able to recommend either to the President or the Raads, and to this hour, when the war has begun, the Transvaal has not known on what terms they might have purchased peace. The sinister side of the picture is that while the Government were taking time in not letting these people know on what terms they might have purchased peace, they called out the Reserves, and strained every nerve of this mighty Empire, and sent our men to the front in order that they might crush this unhappy people. The South African Republic were encouraged to begin the war because they believed that Her Majesty's Government were witholding their ultimatum until they had such a force as would make all attempts to oppose it futile, and no one can say it is not futile. I turn for a moment to a letter from the Council of Uitlanders which is published at page 9, and which I only allude to as a sample of the language which is constantly used by these men, and adopted by the Government so as to justify this Government in accepting them as spokesmen of the Government. The letter is from the Chairman of the Council, and he says—Under these circumstances we are compelled to come to the conclusion that with a five years franchise, and only live seats in the Volksraad, the Uitlanders would be placed in a helpless and contemptible position, and reform from within would be an impossibility.And the policy of Sir A. Milner, which had been recommended as a panacea for everything, is declared by the Uitlanders to be a misfortune unless it provides a full catalogue of reforms. Those reforms are equal language rights, disarmament of the Boer population and demolition of forts, freedom of speech and of the press (we have not got that in Ireland yet), and the abolition of industrial monopolies. Yet of all this avalanche of evils from which we are suffering, the industrial monopoly of Cecil Rhodes is the greatest. Look over the earth and you will see none that is worse. That is the modest catalogue without which the franchise would be a misfortune. How can we blame the Transvaal if they regard with suspicion and distrust the probity of a Government who have adopted as their organ in South Africa the South African League and Uitlanders' Council, and have conveyed to the people that their programme is the programme of the Government also? Those are the reasons 99 why we are inflicting this war upon them. It has been said that this war is due to the aggression of the South African Republic on the dominions of Her Majesty. Is it not preposterous to say that a people numbering half the population of Dublin would deliberately and for the sake of conquest attack a nation of forty millions? I consider that the South African Republic have been driven from pillar to post and harried and hunted until they have arrived at the conviction—a conviction which I fully share—that war was intended all along, and that, no matter what concessions they might make, those concessions would only be made the stepping-stone to further aggressions and demands. The question really becomes one not of greater or less rights to the Uitlander, but of whether they are to submit to the loss of that liberty for which the Boers have endured greater sufferings and done more heroic deeds than any people have ever done in the history of mankind. This would never have taken place had it not been for the gold which was discovered in their country, and you would never have gone to the Transvaal. On more than one occasion I have drawn the attention of the Colonial Secretary to the status and treatment of the Indians in Natal. These Indians are as much Her Majesty's subjects as the Uitlanders in the Transvaal, but the Colonial Secretary has refused to bring any pressure to bear on the Natal Government to secure their fair treatment, because, the right hon. Gentleman said, Natal is a self-governing colony. If that policy is to hold good for Natal because it is a self-governing colony, why should it not hold equally good for the Transvaal, which is more than a self - governing colony, for it is an independent state? It is all very well to glory and revel in the slaughter which our troops will inflict in South Africa, but it is only when, in the van of our conquering army, gentlemen like Mr. Monypenny, of The Times, who stipulated for £3,000 a year before he would leave Fleet Street to engage in this infamous conspiracy, and who, when the time came, fled across the border—it is only when in the van of our army these gallant heroes return to Pretoria and to Johannesburg that our real trouble will commence. Yon may hold the people down by force, but 100 three-fourths of them will curse your name, believing, as I believe, that you goaded this unhappy people into war for the purpose of robbing them of their country. On the 24th of April last I protested against the increase of the garrison of South Africa, and expressed my belief that that increase would lead not to peace, but probably to war. I see sitting opposite me a right hon. Gentleman who made a speech which interested me very much. What did he say? He said we had to put down not only the Dutch in the Transvaal, but the disloyal Dutch in the Cape, and he was cheered from the benches opposite. I submit that when you enter Pretoria and march in triumph over these people—who, I am sure, will make a gallant fight, for they were always brave—you will find that you have been fighting the battle of Mr. Rhodes and the gold fields, that millions have been wasted, and that this country has hung a millstone round its neck. Let me put this problem to the Government—either they must believe that Mr. Schreiner and the Cape Ministry are rebels and disloyal, or they must not. They have treated them from the very outset as enemies of the Empire and as disloyal men whose counsel ought to be treated with contempt. They first suppressed their opinions, and when, by force of questions in this House, they were publisher, the views of Cape Ministers were given in small print and in places unworthy of notice in the very same Blue Book where the preposterous speeches of the South African League and the articles of the Cape Times were recorded in the largest print in the most prominent pages. Either these Cape Ministers are disloyal men and enemies of the Empire, or they are not. You have treated them as disloyal men. They have protested against the whole course of the Government policy. But they were treated with contempt from beginning to end, and you have carried this policy in the teeth of those who know the country best, and who warned you that you were creating trouble and ill-feeling throughout South Africa. You disregarded their views, and you have brought on this war, and this country will rue it in generations yet unborn.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
I rise to second the Amendment of my hon. friend. I have put down an Amend- 101 ment of my own in somewhat similar terms; in fact, the terms were so similar that were this Amendment to go to a division, I am sure you, Mr. Speaker, would rule mine out of order. I therefore find it necessary to second the Amendment of my hon. friend. Last session my right hon. friend the Leader of the Opposition said that he considered there was no cause for war, and no cause even for the preparation of hostilities. My right hon. friend has taken a different view upon this occasion. He says that circumstances are very much changed since last session. At present we are at war, and that war, we are told, is the act of the Boers: in fact, it is declared, the Transvaal have declared war upon us and not we on the Transvaal. I am not going into the origin of this dispute, nor am I going to follow all the phases of the diplomacy of the Colonial Secretary. I will only go so far back as I think will enable me to show that it is an entire error to suppose that the Transvaal Republic is responsible for the war. I say that we are responsible for it, and that it was the absolute act of the Colonial Secretary himself. On August 12, the Boers offered a scheme of arrangement which included a five years naturalisation law and franchise, and there were to be a greater number of members elected by the Uitlanders to the Volksraad than even was proposed by the Colonial Secretary or Sir Alfred Milner. The Boers agreed further, should any dispute arise as to the scope of the law, that there should be a consultation with Her Majesty's representative, and that Her Majesty's representative should be aided by a legal adviser. All the other issues were to be submitted for arbitration provided that the question of the suzerainty was dropped and that we agreed not to interfere with the internal affairs of the Transvaal. Sir, this proposal was refused by the right hon. Gentleman, and it was refused on account of the conditions attached to it. The Transvaal Government were under the impression that if they made this proposal, it would be acceded to by the Imperial Government. Certainly, I think, no one can read the despatches of Mr. Conyngham Greene without seeing that he himself was under the impression that Her Majesty's Government would assent to this proposal, and conveyed that impression to the Boer Government. When 102 the terms were sent over to the Colonial Secretary, the right hon. Gentleman replied that if they were embodied in a scheme the Government would consider it upon its merits. If the Colonial Secretary intended to refuse to accept the scheme, he ought to have said so at once. The statement that he would consider it on its merits, coupled with the assurances of Mr. Greene, would lead the Transvaal Government to suppose that it would be accepted. I do not blame Mr. Greene for a moment; I only say that the circumstance was unfortunate, and tended to a great extent to increase the distrust the Boors evidently felt in regard to the action of the Colonial Secretary. Well, after further negotiations, which were; not of a very conciliatory character, on the part of the Colonial Secretary and Sir Alfred Milner, a despatch was sent to the Transvaal on the 25th September, which was practically an ultimatum to that Government. That dispatch said that it was useless to further pursue a discussion on the lines hitherto followed, and Her Majesty's Government were consequently prepared to consider the circumstances afresh and to formulate their own proposals for a final settlement of the issues which had been created in South Africa by the policy constantly followed for many years by the South African Republic, and they would communicate to them the result of their deliberations in a later despatch. On the 9th October no despatch had been received indicating those views, although on the 3rd or 4th President Kruger urged that he should know what were the terms to which he was asked to assent. But while no despatch was sent, the Reserves were called out at home, Parliament was called together, and additional troops, although there were already large, numbers surrounding the Transvaal, were sent hurriedly to Natal. The Boers, therefore, were in this position—drastic demands had been made to alter entirely the relations which existed between that Government and ourselves. Meanwhile it was openly asserted in our newspapers—I suppose this will not be denied by the Colonial Secretary—that it was intended to enclose the Boer territory in a circle of iron, and that terms would be submitted to them when the Colonial Secretarychose—that is to say, when this chain of iron had been forged, and when it was perfectly obvious to everybody that 103 they must either accept our terms or go to war. They had the choice between war and surrender at discretion. But although the Boers may be our enemies at the present time, let us be fair to them. If they had deemed this an attack on their independence, and had determined to fight rather than surrender, they would be utter fools if they had waited until the right hon. Gentleman's troops had arrived in overwhelming numbers and occupied the passes into their country. It is not fair to say that the situation has been changed by the Boers declaring war' on us. I assert that the Colonial Secretary practically declared war on the Boers by sending them an ultimatum, the terms of which they were not prepared to accept, and therefore they were justified in anticipating events and in doing their best to occupy the passes leading to their country. It is perfectly true that the Colonial Secretary guaranteed the independence of the Transvaal, but there may be differences of opinion as to what that independence was. The complaint of the Boers was that the Colonial Secretary was attacking their independence. If the Colonial Secretary had angled for an opportunity to throw the odium of the actual outbreak of hostilities upon the Boers in order to get up public opinion in favour of this war, he could not have chosen a better mode than he did on this occasion. I do not blame the Boers for an instant; and I see the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bodmin [Mr. Courtney] has said that he could not blame them. We really cannot in common fairness blame the Boers or throw upon them the responsibility of actual hostilities. But what was the Boers' reply to the Colonial Secretary's dispatch? They replied to the proposal by offering arbitration, and they declared that unless this were accepted, or in the interval, pending receipt of conditions, more troops were massed, they would consider themselves at war with us on account of the ultimatum that had been sent to them. It is the common practice of countries who are inclined to go to war to throw the odium of actual hostilities upon each other. The House will remember that it was the habit of Prince Bismarck. He did so in the case of the German-Austrian war. He did it in the case of the French war, actually boasting that he had induced the world to believe that that was the case, 104 and that a prejudice had been created against Franco in consequence. As the Leader of the Opposition truly says, the important fact at the present moment is that war now exists. And the practical question is, How are we to end it? Now, the Government have a plan, and that plan is supported by many hon. Gentlemen. The Government say, "Let us end it by sending out such a crushing force to the Transvaal, and winning such a victory that we shall be able to dictate terms to the Boers." For my part, I think if we could find a better plan, a plan involving less bloodshed and no discredit to the country, it should be adopted in preference. At the present moment I have really not the remotest idea for what we are fighting. I have listened to the speech of the Leader of the House, expecting that he would have told us what we were fighting for. He did not. We are certainly not fighting for the franchise. The Boers would be pleased to give the franchise, and to give more than we ask. We are not fighting for our rights under the Convention, because the Boers have agreed to accept to the full the Convention under which relations are established between them and us. We are not fighting for the interpretation of the Convention, because both we and the Boers have agreed to refer the question of interpretation to arbitration. The only thing that we are fighting for is a general recognition of the right of suzerainty or paramountcy in South Africa. The hon. and gallant Gentleman who so eloquently moved the Address this evening said that we were fighting for equal rights and privileges for everyone in South Africa. I have often heard this stated, and it has become a catch-phrase on the part of those who are in favour of the war, but I should like some gentleman to explain to me precisely what is meant by "equal rights and privileges." In Cape Colony no man can be naturalised without the consent of the Colonial Governor. There is no general law of naturalisation there. Anyone going there has to apply for naturalisation, and it is granted or not granted. As far as I can understand it, the Boers have agreed to grant a naturalisation law in regard to Englishmen and all other foreigners coming into their country precisely on the lines of our own naturalisation law. I therefore do not understand the meaning of the phrase "equal rights and I privileges in South Africa." The real 105 reason why we are fighting was stated by Sir Alfred Milner at the commencement of the dispute in the telegram which he sent to England, and which was published at once by the Colonial Secretary. After charging a large number of the Cape Dutch with disloyalty, he said a striking proof was desirable of the intention of Her Majesty's Government not to be ousted from its position in South Africa. If that is really what we are fighting for, it has very little to do with the franchise. It is, in fact, intended to show the Boers, not only of the Transvaal but in our other colonies, that they have what is vulgarly termed though I really think it is a good deal the feeling of hon. Gentlemen opposite and of many in the country—"got too big for their breeches," and that the Anglo-Saxon race must remain paramount in South Africa. As to the policy of this war, I might quote hundreds of passages from the speeches of the Colonial Secretary. My right hon. friend the Leader of the Opposition quoted one passage, but there are many others on the same lines. We all know that the Orange Free State has thrown in its lot with the Transvaal. It must be remembered that only a few months ago President Steyn expressed a desire to avoid war. It was due to him and to Mr. Schreiner, the Premier of the Cape, that many concessions were made by President Kruger, and it does seem somewhat striking that President Steyn should, after having done his utmost to prevent war, have thrown in his lot with the Transvaal unless he honestly and really believed that the independence of these two Republics was menaced by the action of the Colonial Secretary. We know perfectly well from the Blue Books that again and again the Cape Ministry, who represent the majority in the Cape Legislature, have urged us to do everything to come to some compromise to prevent war, because they know that the majority of the people in the colony are Dutchmen, that up till now they have been perfectly loyal to the Crown, and that they have no desire to be disloyal, but that they have the warmest sympathy with their friends in the Transvaal, and fear that disloyalty may be created amongst them if we treat the Transvaal in a cruel or unfair manner. Justice, humanity, and policy alike dictate the wisdom of stopping this war. It is to my mind perfectly horrible, without 106 due and adequate cause—I go further, without absolute cause—to convert the whole of South Africa into a battlefield. It may be an edifying lesson to the blacks who are in all parts of the world to see two white races as if they were savages themselves. It seems to me very doubtful whether the blacks will not follow the example of the whites and themselves engage on one side or the other. And can we blame them? We send out missionaries and talk about religion and our civilisation. Can we blame them if they follow our example instead of our precepts? It cannot be denied that the Boers have the right to look with some distrust upon the action of the Colonial Secretary. On a previous occasion we acknowledged and Mr. Gladstone admitted that we had unfairly tricked them out of their independence, and on this ground we gave it to them back again. Then there was the Jameson Raid. I am not going to enter into the whole question of the Jameson Raid-Heaven forbid but it certainly was not likely to create confidence in the policy of the right hon. Gentleman, supported as it was by Mr. Rhodes and the South African League, and when the Colonial Secretary, after reporting against Mr. Rhodes, got up in this House and said that Mr. Rhodes was an honourable man. The fact that Mr. Rhodes remained a member of the Privy Council was a standing disgrace to us and a cause of legitimate suspicion on the part of those people. Rightly or wrongly, they perfectly believe, that their independence was being attacked; they are fighting for what, they believe to be a just cause, and, even if they are in error, we must admit that it is one of the holiest and most noble of causes that any country could fight for—that which it believes to be its independence. I know that at the present, moment all these considerations are drowned in the beat of the war-drum. That is always the case. I have seen that before. At the time of the Crimean War we all shouted; I remember I myself shouted and felt very valorous when the Guards were going out to the Crimea. I did not trouble myself whether the war was just or unjust, politic or impolitic; I was as big a fool as are the greater number of the gentlemen who are now clamouring for this war. Therefore I do not pay much regard to this feeling of the moment. The feeling 107 with regard to the Crimean War very soon disappeared; we began to doubt whether we were wise in embarking upon it, and by the end of the war the country was determined to have peace, and even Gentlemen on the other side of the House I believe will admit that a greater mistake was never made in this world, and that a more foolish war was never waged than that of the Crimea, about which we all shouted as we are shouting at the present time. But, Sir, I do not think this war is popular. The press has done what it could to make it popular, but it has not succeeded. I was opposed to the ultimatum which we sent to France a little while back, but I perfectly admit that I was in a very small minority on that occasion. I believe that that war, if France had not yielded, would have been popular; but that is not the case now. There is a feeling in the country that if there had been no gold in the Transvaal there would have been no war; that if there had been no Rhodes there would have been no war; that if the right hon. Gentleman opposite had devoted his eminent talents to some other sphere of usefulness than the Colonial Secretary ship there would have been no war. I believe positively that if the negotiations had been in the hands of Lord Salisbury at the Foreign Office there would have been no war. There is an unsavoury feeling over the whole of this business. There has been a great deal too much of the Stock Exchange element in the matter. The people may he right or they may be wrong, but they do not see where they are profited in it, and they cannot help asking themselves whether it is wise to go to war in order that a number of Uitlanders in the Transvaal may be enabled—as the right hon. Gentleman well put it—to cease to be Englishmen. We have questions about these unfortunate Uitlanders being overtaxed Are they overtaxed? They are making fortunes beyond the dreams of avarice. They may be taxed heavily; but the ganger, the engineer, or the skilled artisan who goes out there pays hardly any taxes at all. One of these men will get about £30 a month, while he can live on £6 or £7 a month. The taxes on articles of primary necessity are lower than in either the Cape or Natal. The idea of these men is to make their £30 a month, to put by £200 or £250 a year, and then in three or four years to return 108 to their own country. I contend it is an insult to the honest respectable Englishmen out there to say that they are ready to bargain their nationality for a Boer vote. They will have nothing to do with this mess of pottage. They were perfectly satisfied with the position they hold there; they were perfectly satisfied with their lot; and they intended to come back to England. The only Uitlandors—and I admit there were grievances—who really were in favour of this war were those millionaires, those owners of mines, who wanted to reduce the taxation upon the mines, and their jackals and toadies, who are obliged to agree with them to avoid losing their situations. I heard only the other day from a gentleman of South Africa, who said it was a wondrous thing to hear these Uitlanders who had been driven out of the State speaking of what had occurred. They complained bitterly. Of whom did they complain? Of President Kruger? Not a bit of it. They bitterly complained of the Colonial Secretary, and Sir Alfred Milner, and the capitalists. They were trapped and fooled into this. They were in the Transvaal making money, and they wanted to continue making money, and to go on as they were. It is the greatest possible mistake to suppose that the mass of the Uitlanders of English nationality in the Transvaal ever really complained, beyond that sort of complaining in which every Englishman indulges, or that they do not regret that their avocation, their honest work, has been interfered with on account of this turmoil and trouble which has been caused by the Colonial Secretary, Sir Alfred Milner, and the capitalists. It seems to me that we are really bound to make an effort. We boast of being a Christian and a civilised nation; then why in the world do we refuse to go to arbitration, for which President Kruger has always asked, but which has been refused on the technical plea that we have a suzerainty over the Transvaal, or that we are the paramount Power in South Africa? In fact, we refuse to arbitrate because, we say, the Transvaal is a vassal State. The Transvaal is not a vassal State, although I do not agree with President Kruger in thinking it is an independent sovereign State. The Colonial Secretary has, however, admitted in his own despatches that this country is a foreign country. We have again and again recognised the expediency, the wisdom, and the justice, when two nations 109 fall out over matters which do not affect their honour, of referring the question to independent arbitration rather than resorting to war. If then this is a foreign State why should you not agree to go to arbitration I go further. Suppose the Transvaal is a vassal State, and that we are its suzerain, are the relations of a suzerain to a vassal State so extraordinary that while we agree to arbitrate upon questions in dispute with a foreign country, we will not arbitrate upon a question in dispute between us and a State over which we exercise suzerainty? I cannot understand why not. In trade disputes we are always urging workmen to go to arbitration. It is said, "Oh, but the war has broken out, and we cannot arbitrate now." Why not? In a trade dispute war has generally broken out, but we urge the men not to go on injuring themselves, but, having seen their folly, to agree to arbitration. I can understand that if a foreign country had declared war upon us and crossed our frontiers arbitration would be difficult. But, it must be remembered, this is not a great Empire from whom we have any danger to fear. There are 30,000 or 40,000 farmers, all told—about as many men as are found in a medium-sized English town. It is a medium-sized English town against the greatest and mightiest Empire the world ever knew. No foreign country would accuse us of pusillanimity if we were to suggest arbitration. It is a case in which we can afford to be magnanimous, because we are so very much stronger than our opponents. The Boers are perfectly aware that they cannot hold their own against the entire might of this Empire, and that we must conquer. If we go on it will mean a great deal of bloodshed both on our side and on the Boer side, and we will have all the misery of war thrown upon South Africa. I admit that in the end we shall conquer, but my contention is that the war is so impolitic, that the animosity between the two races will then be so aggravated, that our victory will do us more harm than if we made some reasonable arrangement at the present time. What did we do two or three years ago? The House will remember how English newspapers and various hon. Members preached the necessity of going to war about some bogs in Venezuela, and it was with the greatest difficulty the Government were induced to agree to arbitration. 110 Arbitration has taken place, but I should like to know how many people care about what part of the bogs belongs to us and which to Venezuela. The only thing all sensible men can say is that it is a very fortunate thing we did go to arbitration rather than to war about such a cause. If in regard to Venezuela, why, in the name of common-sense, not in regard to the Transvaal? Take the case of Canada. Hon. Gentlemen will remember that hostilities went on between the Anglo-Saxon and the French races in Canada. We said: "The Anglo-Saxon race must be paramount; we must crush out the French race." But owing to the wise policy pursued by Lord Durham things toned down, the two races were induced to cease hostilities, and peace, quiet, and good feeling have reigned between the two races ever since. It is said, "We will have no Majuba again." For my part, I regard Mr. Gladstone's action in regard to the Majuba Treaty—in coming to an agreement with the Boers to make peace, because he would have no more share in the blood guiltiness of fighting on the wrong side—was one of the noblest acts in a noble life. But here there has been no Majuba. There has been no great action on either side—although there has been a little fighting on both sides which has only shown that both are stubborn and both are brave. There are those who hold that when once the sword is drawn by England the decision must be by the sword, but that was not the view, and never has been the view of our best statesmen. During the French Revolutionary wars it was urged that because we were at war we ought to go on with war, but Mr. Fox and the Liberals of those days always opposed that view, and urged that steps should be at once taken to put an end to war and establish peace between France and England. Then, the Crimean War was opposed from beginning to end by Mr. Bright, who, holding that the war was unjust, refused to have anything to do with it. It is a perfectly new doctrine to us that when we are engaged in an unjust war we ought to vote supplies to carry out that war, if the enemy is weak, by crushing him. I hold to the good old doctrine, that if we are engaged in an unjust and impolitic war we ought to take the earliest opportunity of endeavouring to arrive at a peaceful settlement with 111 our enemies. It may be asked, "Who would arbitrate?" I leave it to the Government. I could name half a dozen arbitrators in a moment. Why not take President McKinley? He is very friendly towards us. He was asked to interfere in this Transvaal matter, and replied—I will not offer arbitration unless I am asked by both parties.What was that but an invitation on the part of this worthy and practical President of the United States to arbitrate? It was practically telling us that he thought arbitration would be the wisest and most just course to pursue. It is absurd to say that in these matters we cannot find a fair arbitrator. Once you agree to the principle, there will be no difficulty about finding an arbitrator. What are we to arbitrate about? I would have it on the largest and widest reference—not merely whether or not we are suzerains, or whether or not we can do this or that under the Convention, but on the broad lines of devising some scheme which will protect the honour and interest of the Empire, of South Africa, and of the Transvaal. If that were proposed I am perfectly certain war would at once cease. "But," you say, "troops are already on our territories." Of course, the first step would be that the Transvaal troops must withdraw into the Transvaal. Then there would be a suspension of hostilities, and it does seem to me that if during that time you could not arrive at a reasonable understanding by direct negotiations you ought to do it by arbitration. At present, to say the least, the issues about which we are fighting are not clear and definite. There never was a stronger case made out for arbitration than there is in regard to this most unfortunate war. We are acting against our own interests. Our right to interfere in this matter is and has been doubtful. Everybody, including the Attorney General, will admit that. [The ATTORNEY GENERAL intimated his dissent.] We have everything to gain by showing all foreign nations that if we do claim supremacy over the seas we are never eager to make our law the law of the world, and that we are never ready to substitute might for right. I believe if we were to arbitrate in this particular cause we should give such an impetus to the whole principle of arbitration that it 112 would go very far to put an end to war in the future. The Colonial Secretary has told us again and again that if we do arrive at fighting this out to the bitter end we shall create a state of things in South Africa the embers of which will not be extinguished for many generations. Surely justice and policy and every other consideration ought to induce us to come to some sort of arrangement, and the only arrangement I know of is to go to arbitration. When I read that the soldiers are cheerfully rallying to the colours I honour them for responding to the call of duty; I know perfectly well they will maintain the noble traditions of their race, but I cannot help feeling what a sad thing it is that these young fellows are some of them to come back maimed, for no earthly reason that I can see, for a war that is forced upon us and upon the Transvaal by the Colonial Secretary himself, and which might have been avoided again and again by fair negotiations or arbitration, and which might be stayed even now by arbitration. I confess that I feel sorry for the end of these unfortunate Boers. They are fathers of families, they are farmers, honest, and ignorant if you like; they are fighting for that which they believe to be the holiest and most noble of causes—their homesteads and their country—and we must all regret not only that their country is turned into a battlefield, but that a number of these men, the breadwinners of families, will be slain. For my part I cannot accept the responsibility of contenting myself with merely washing my hands of an injustice like this. It may be a very politic thing to say, "There is a feeling in favour of war; I protest against it; I have protested against it, but I wash my hands of it, and shall criticise, hereafter, the conduct of the Colonial Secretary." I have not criticised the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman in this matter, except indirectly, because that is not the question of the moment. The question is to do the best we can to put an end to this war, and that is why I have seconded, and why I would venture to urge the House to agree to, the Amendment which has been moved, because then the war would cease in a very few days.
At the end of the Question, to add the words,. 'But we humbly represent to your Majesty that the state of war now existing between
Great Britain and the South African Republic has been caused by the assertion of claims to interfere in the internal government of the Republic in direct violation of the terms of Your Majesty's Convention of 1884 with the Government of the South African Republic; and by the massing of large bodies of British troops on the frontiers of the Republic. And we further humbly represent to your Majesty that before more bloodshed takes place proposals should be made in the spirit of the recent Peace Conference at the Hague, with a view to finding in an independent and friendly arbitration a settlement of the difficulties between the two Governments, and that an ignominious war may thus be avoided between the overwhelming forces of your Majesty's Empire and those of two small nations numbering altogether but two hundred thousand souls. ' "—(Mr. Dillon.)
§ Question proposed—" That those words be there added."
§ *MR. DRAGE (Derby)
The hon. Member who has just sat down has challenged the Members on this side of the House upon a number of distinct points. It might possibly be thought that it was not the duty of hon. Members on this side of the House to take up such a challenge had it not been for the hon. Member's reference to the foreign, colonial, and the American press. If such a challenge is not taken up it may be concluded by the foreign press and by the Irish papers that no answer can be given to the allegations made. Upon an occasion of this kind one would be glad to avoid matters of personal controversy amongst hon. Gentlemen opposite, and I will use my best endeavours in the few remarks I make to say nothing that can give any cause for offence to those hon. Members opposite who from patriotic motives are supporting the Government upon the present occasion. I will deal first with the grievances of the Uitlanders. The hon. Member for East Mayo stated that the only grievance which had been laid down by the Duke of Devonshire was that connected with the franchise, and he said he would be glad to know what the others were. In regard to numbers the Uitlanders represent between one-half and three-fourths of the population of the Transvaal, and although they pay from five-sixths to nine-tenths of the taxation of the country, they have no share in the government. With regard to this question of taxation, I may point out that it has been laid down in the Blue Book that the taxation paid by the Uitlanders is £16 per head, and 90 114 per cent, of the Uitlanders are British subjects. With regard to freedom of the press, such a thing does not exist in the Transvaal. According to the Press Law of 1896 read in connection with the amending law of 1898, the President of the South African Republic can forbid the circulation of printed matter at his discretion, and it is within his power to prohibit the circulation of any newspaper he chooses. Open-air meetings can only be held with the sanction of the Government, and indoor meetings can be broken up by order of the police in terms of the law. Next I come to a grievance which I should have thought would have touched and appealed to the sympathies of hon. Members opposite. In answer to a question which I asked in July last, the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs stated that under the constitution of the Transvaal no Roman Catholic can ever be admitted to be President, or a member of the Executive Council, or a member of either of the Raads. The right hon. Gentleman also added that he thought this law for the exclusion of Roman Catholics applied to officials as well. I know some people give another interpretation to that, but I believe it is a fact that no Roman Catholics are appointed as officials in the Transvaal. The hon. Member for East Mayo has referred to finance. Now it is admitted even by the inquiries which have been conducted by the Transvaal Government that the administration of the finances is bad and corrupt, and that there is no proper system of audit or control. On this point we have the report of the Inspector of Offices in 1897, in which he states that the defalcations of officials amounted to £18,590, and only a few hundreds had been recovered. Between 1883 and 1898 the debates in the Volksraad show that on advances to officials there is no less than £2,398,500 unaccounted for. So much for the finances of the Republic. There is another question which I think will appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite, and that is the administration of the Liquor Laws. The Liquor Laws were passed in 1897, but they were habitually evaded. Under those laws only 88 licences were allowed in Johannesburg, but as a matter of fact no less than 438 licences were granted. A Transvaal Commission have reported on this subject, and they point out that this abuse of the Liquor Laws has resulted in the ruin of a 115 large portion of the native population, in disease, accidents in the mines, and other crimes, and the Commission also point out that from 30 to 40 per cent, of the native population employed in the mines are incapacitated owing to this abuse of the Liquor Laws. An attempt was made by one of the most enlightened of the Boor loaders in the Transvaal Republic, who saw the blot this was on his native country, to remedy it.
§ *MR. DRAGE
That is not the point, for I am now dealing with the Transvaal. The next grievance is that connected with the appointment of judges. The judges are all subservient to the President, and can be dismissed by him at pleasure, and, in the words of the present Chief Justice, the oath which they are called upon to take is one which no man can take with self-respect. Perhaps hon. Gentlemen opposite are not aware that there is no trial by a jury of his peers for the Uitlander. Then there is a very important grievance with regard to the administration of the police. I am not going to refer to any controversial subject, and I am not going to touch upon the Edgar trial, but I think the case of the murder of Mrs. Appleby shows that intense hatred was caused by the denouncement of the abuses to which I have referred, and it also shows that murder can be committed under circumstances in which it should have been easy to apprehend the murderer. Then there is the treatment of British coloured subjects in the Transvaal under the pass law. It is well known from such cases as that of the action of Field-cornet Lombaard that the police can enter houses without a warrant, and can treat people with the grossest brutality, and though temporarily dismissed in consequence, afterwards be reinstated. This is a very serious hardship for British subjects, and it is an infringement of their rights under the Convention of 1884. Another hardship is caused by the Alien Expulsion Act of 1896, under which the President has power to expel any Uitlander without any trial whatever. The hon. Member for East Mayo must not complain, because he has challenged us to give these abuses, and what I am giving are all to be found in the Blue Books With regard to commandeering, hon. 116 Members opposite are aware that the Transvaal Government has claimed the right in time of war to seize the property of British subjects and to levy a special war tax upon them. It is perfectly true that objection was taken to this by Sir Henry Loch, but we have seen within the last few weeks what can be done under that law. Then, again, neither the hon. Member who moved the Address or the hon. Member who seconded referred to the languages taught in the schools. Although the English language is generally used, yet it is forbidden in public schools, and the regulations are such that, out of,£63,000 which is raised in Johannesburg, only £650 is spent on British children, and no grant is made to the voluntary schools, which are some of the most excellent schools in the Transvaal. They are conducted in some cases by the coreligionists of the hon. Member opposite, and if he had seen them I am sure he would be one of the first to call for a fair grant from the Transvaal. Then there is the dynamite monopoly, upon which I will not lay stress, because it is one which affects the capitalists, and hon. Members are open to reply that the capitalists are able to bear the burden. There are, however, other monopolies which affect the Uitlanders in the Transvaal, such as the monopolies of matches, papers, chocolate, wool, starch, mineral waters, soap, oils, and other articles which hon. Members can find mentioned in the Blue Book issued by the Colonial Secretary. There is another grievance in regard to the municipality of Johannesburg, where there are 23,000 Uitlanderelectors to 1,000 Boers, and yet the Boers elect an equal number of members, the chairman of the Council has to be a Boer, and the decisions of the Council when arrived at are subject to confirmation by the Executive. The municipality of Johannesburg has less authority than the old Sanitary Committee, and even a drainage concession has been given to a private person. These are the principal grievances, and I think the House will agree with me that they are worth putting on record in connection with this debate. There is also the question of the franchise, to which the hon. Gentleman referred, but I will not now go into the details or the controversial points connected with it. In 1874, under the Boer Convention, the franchise could be obtained after one year's residence without 117 real estate. In 1882, after the first Convention, it required five years' residence and registration. I may point out that the registration since then has become more and more complicated, and at the beginning of the present year it took fourteen years, during twelve of which the candidate was neither a Boer nor a British subject, to obtain the franchise. Anyone who reads the law passed in the present summer on this point will come to the conclusion arrived at by Sir Alfred Milner that under the present law it remains within the power of the Transvaal Government to refuse the franchise to anyone, owing to the extremely complicated regulations and conditions which are attached to it. Although I condemn and deplore the Jameson Raid as strongly as any one, I should like to call the attention of hon. Members opposite to the fact that from the year 1892 onwards a succession of appeals have been made by the Uitlanders to the Transvaal Government for a redress of their grievances. In 1892 the first great public meeting was held, and a deputation conveyed to the President of the Republic the resolutions which were passed. The answer of the President was characteristic, for he said: "Cease holding meetings and be satisfied. Go back and tell your people I shall never give them anything. I shall never change my policy. Now let the storm burst." In 1894 there was another petition to the Raid for the franchise, signed by 7,000 people, and that was rejected. In 1895 there was a petition for the franchise, again signed by 13,000 persons, and after a debate that was also rejected with ridicule. As far as Johannesburg is concerned it is really doubtful whether the people there were aware of the Raid, at any rate they were not responsible for it; but both before and since that time there have been many acts of constitutional agitation, and it is a mistake to represent that the Uitlanders have not taken the constitutional steps placed within their power. Of course when the appeal to the Transvaal Raad failed the Uitlanders petitioned the High Commissioner and the Queen. There was a petition in regard to commandeering. There were two petitions made in the present year—one in regard to the murder of Edgar, which was rejected on account of an informality, and the other was a petition, signed by 21,000 persons, dealing with 118 protection and redress of their grievances. On that point I should like to call the attention of hon. Members opposite to a passage in Sir Alfred Milner's despatch. He says—It is a wilful perversion of the truth to say that it is the work of scheming capitalists and professional agitators. The persons who brought it about were not 'birds of passage.' These people are the mainstay of the reform movement, as they are the prosperity of the country, and they would make excellent citizens if they had the chance.The High Commissioner goes on to say—The case for intervention is overwhelming. The only attempted answer is that things will right themselves if left alone. That policy has been tried for years, and it has led to them going from bad to worse.Hon. Members opposite are asking by what right are we interfering, but I would remind them that the Colonial Secretary in 1895 gave a pledge to the Uitlanders. He said in a despatch to Lord Rosmead—The people of Johannesburg laid down their arms in the belief that reasonable concessions would be arranged by our intervention, and until these are granted or definitely promised to you by the President the root cause of the trouble remains.The hon. Member opposite who moved the Amendment now brought forward practically represents the view taken in the ultimatum of the Transvaal Government, for they say that the English Government has no power to intervene after the signing of the Convention of 1884. I would point out, however, that so long ago as 1877 a very different state of the law was laid down by the then Colonial Secretary, and it has been repeated by Colonial Secretary after Colonial Secretary since that time. At that time the right hon. Gentleman the present Chancellor of the Exchequer wrote as follows—The power and authority of England have long been paramount, and neither by the Sand River Convention of 1852, nor at any other time, did Her Majesty's Government surrender the right and duty of requiring that the Transvaal should be governed with a view to the common safety of the various European communities.I am not going to-night into the details of the questions connected with the suzerainty, although I think that by quotations which I could make from the Blue Books a very good case for the 119 Government could be made out. I will, however, base my case upon what was laid down nearly forty years ago by a great authority. I refer to the case of Don Pacifico, and the declaration made by Lord Palmerston as to the treatment of British subjects in foreign countries. Some hon. Members opposite have used the argument that because people belonged to the criminal class we should not extend to them the protection of Great Britain. This is what Lord Palmerston laid down upon this subject. He said—I do not care what Don Pacifico's character is. I do not and cannot admit that because a man may have acted amiss on some other occasion, and on some other matter, he is to be wronged with impunity by others.Hon. Members opposite have gone further, and they say that it is not fair for this country to use the strength of a great Empire against a smaller country. There is in Lord Palmerston's speech a striking passage upon this point. He said—Oh, but it is said, what an ungenerous proceeding to employ so large a force against so small a power! Does the smallness of a country justify the magnitude of its evil acts? Is it to be held, if your subjects suffer violence, outrage, and plunder in a country which is small and weak, that we cannot ask it for compensation?Hon. Gentlemen opposite will see that there are two sides to this argument. Lord Palmerston laid it down, and it has ever since been upheld in this country, that—A British subject, in whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and strong arm of England will protect him against injustice and wrong.I feel that in answering the arguments of the hon. Member for East Mayo I have trespassed too long upon the indulgence of the House, but as I pointed out at an earlier stage, the arguments of the hon. Member will be published in the Irish and American papers, and if they are allowed to go unchallenged the hon. Member for East Mayo will be represented as the only honest man in the House, and it will be said that there is a "conspiracy of silence" between the two front benches on this subject. I do not like to sit down without paying the tribute of my heartiest admiration to the courage with which the High Commissioner has carried out the policy of Her Majesty's Government. No one knows what his anxiety 120 must have been. Sir Alfred Milner went out there sympathising, I believe, with the views of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and also with the Dutch population. I believe he was a man of Radical views, but he has in a most bitter time and through a great crisis carried out the duties of his high office in a way which is well worthy of a public servant. Hon. Members opposite have given us their ideals of peace and honour, let me tell them that our aspirations are no less lofty than their own, but is it conceivable that if their views of the facts were correct, free communities like our colonies would have lent us a hand in this war if they had not believed, what we believe at the bottom of our hearts, that this is a war of democracy against oligarchy? We believe on this side of the House that we are going to remove oppression, and that we are going to set up equal laws for all men. This is a war which has been thrust upon us, and now we have entered upon it I hope that the Government will see that the result will be that from one end of South Africa to the other freedom and equality will be established among all men. No one can read the history of the past without feeling the profoundest sympathy for the Dutch. I have spent much time in that country, and I did all I could to arrive at the true facts of the case; and the views which I hold I adopted with the greatest care, and I have no hesitation in stating here my conviction that the policy adopted by Her Majesty's Government is the only one which it was possible to take up. They prosecuted their policy with the utmost patience, in fact I believe that they pushed patience to the verge of weakness; and now that they have entered upon this war I hope they will be rewarded for their long patience by a speedy and successful issue.
§ *MR. DAVITT (Mayo, S.)
The hon. Member who has just sat down has made an interesting speech and he has not introduced any bitterness into his observations. He has retailed for us a number of drawbacks to the constitution of the Transvaal, and he has enumerated a number of grievances which the English residents in the South African Republic complain of. But surely these are all matters relating to the internal affairs of the Transvaal, and Her Majesty's Government are bound by the terms of the Con- 121 vention of 1884 not to interfere with what concerns only the internal Government of the Transvaal. There is one answer to the contention of the hon. Member, and it is this: President Kruger virtually conceded everything asked for by the Uitlanders. when he was told that there were other demands, not alluded to in the Conference with Sir Alfred Milner at Bloemfontein, which would be sprung upon him. And surely in that condition of things the hon. Member has failed to make out any justification whatever for the extreme step taken in forcing the South African Republic into hostilities. The hon. Member—in order, I presume, to embarrass us on this side of the House—referred to the exclusion of Roman Catholics from certain posts in the Transvaal. This solicitude for the rights of Roman Catholics is not altogether above suspicion. The Transvaal Republic is a Protestant country, and not a Roman Catholic country. Its constitution was drawn up not for a mixed population, but for a people holding practically the same faith as the hon. Members opposite. Now, if I contrast it with Ireland, which is a Roman Catholic country, I find that in Ireland no Roman Catholic is allowed to fill the office of Lord Lieutenant. I believe there are not less than two millions of Roman Catholics in England, and yet in the constitution of this free and very enlightened country Her Majesty—I believe very much against her own will—was obliged to take a coronation oath that fundamental tenets of the Roman Catholic faith were "false and idolatrous." President Kruger was never compelled to take a bigoted oath of that kind. It is rather strange to hear the appeal for justice on behalf of Roman Catholics in the Transvaal coming from those who deny to Roman Catholics in Ireland the right of university education there. The hon. Member has referred to the base and cowardly and infamous murder of Mrs. Appleby. He cannot condemn that in any stronger language than we do. She was a courageous temperance reformer, and the theory is that she was murdered by the brothel-keepers of Johannesburg, all of whom were Uitlanders. There is one Member of this House who is known to a vehement supporter of the present policy of Her Majesty's Government, but whose name has not been mentioned, and therefore sufficient justice has not 122 been done to him. I refer to the hon. Member for Sheffield. He has been a consistent and, I believe, an honest enemy of the Transvaal in the past. He ought to be a proud man today, when he finds that the Colonial Secretary, the majority of this House, and the majority of the people of Great Britain have adopted his policy; and I hold that he should be called upon to direct this policy. As I have the honour to represent a constituency which was the first in Ireland to condemn the war policy of the Colonial Secretary, I support the Amendment of my hon. friend. Upon the war which that policy has provoked the whole world outside of jingo circles and stock-jobbing rings cries "shame," and I am proud of the fact that Ireland's voice is raised in that indignant chorus of condemnation. It is a war without one single redeeming feature, a war of a giant against a dwarf, a war which, no matter what its ending may be, will bring neither credit nor glory nor prestige to this great British Empire. In the words of the Colonial Secretary, spoken in this very House, only three short years ago—A war in South Africa would be one of the most serious wars that could possibly be waged. It would be a long war, a bitter war, and a costly war, and, as I have pointed out already, I believe generations would hardly be able to blot out the memory of it; and to go to war with President Kruger to enforce upon him reforms in the internal affairs of his State, in which Secretaries of State standing in their place have repudiated all right of interference—that would be a course of action which would be immoral.These just sentiments, so clearly expressed, are the standing justification of the action of those who think and speak now as the right hon. Member for West Birmingham spoke and thought three years ago. And never, surely, in the annals of British statesmanship has there been such a striking example of political inconsistency as that exhibited between the past views, conclusions, and declarations of the Colonial Secretary and his recent language and attitude on this very Anglo-Transvaal issue. Of course it is sought to be made out that President Kruger's ultimatum is the cause of the present hostilities. Nobody outside the jingo circle is deceived by that flimsy contention. It would be like saying that a householder who has had his dwelling attacked by the same burglars on two or three occasions provoked bloodshed by his conduct in warn- 123 ing them, when seen gathering round the premises again with jemmies and tools in their hands, that he would fire upon them if they did not retire. The real ultimatum was given in the despatch which declared that Her Majesty's Government would negotiate no more for terms of settlement, but would formulate their own demands. What was that but a virtual declaration of war, backed as it was by the constant sending of masses of troops and war material to South Africa by every available ship? Worse if possible than this shameful war itself is the hypocritical pretence that it is forced upon England through her desire to obtain justice for Uitlanders in the Transvaal. A more transparent sham than this assertion was never invented as a cloak for unrighteous aims. If history closed her pages, and men's memories were deadened by the clamour of the jingo press, this shameless perversion of truth might deceive ignorant minds, as it does unfortunately blind millions of the British people to the truth in this instance. But neither history nor the testimony of Englishmen is silent on the past policy of English jingoism in South Africa. What we are seeing today in the propaganda of the war party is but a repetition of the bad faith and shameful calumnies of the past towards these same Boers. The late Mr. Froude, who will not be accused of want of patriotism for England, and who, I believe, is the favourite historian of the jingo party, writes as follows in "Oceana" of England's previous bad faith towards the Boers—'The ink on the treaty of Aliwal North was scarcely dry when diamonds were discovered in large quantities in a district which we had ourselves treated as part of the Orange territory before our first withdrawal, and which had ever since been administered by Orange Free State magistrates. There was a rush of diggers from all parts of the country. There was a genuine fear that the Boers would be unable to control the flock of vultures which was gathering over so rich a prey. There was a notion also that the finest diamond mine in the world ought not to be lost to the British Empire. It was discovered that the country in which it lay was not part of the Free State at all, and that it belonged to a Griqua chief named Waterboer. This chief in past times had been an ally of the English. The Boers were accused of having robbed him. He appealed for help, and in an ill hour we lent ourselves to an aggression for which there was no excuse. Lord Kimberley gave his name to the new settlement. The Dutch were expelled. They did 124 not resist, but they yielded under protest to superior force, and from that day no Boer in South Africa has been able to trust to English promises.What is this but a picture of the present-day policy of the Colonial Office and of the campaign of falsehood against the Transvaal, urged by The Times and the other Yellow Press organs of jingoism? Continuing his indictment of England's bad faith, the historian further said—We have heaped charges of foul dealing on the unhappy Free State Governments. We have sent menacing intimations to both of them, as if we were deliberately making or finding excuse to suppress them. It has become painfully clear to me that the English Government has been misled by a set of borderland jobbers into doing an unjust thing, and up to now equally difficult to resist and draw back. The English Government in taking up Waterboer's cause have distinctly broken a treaty which they had renewed but one year before in a very solemn manner, and the Colonial Office, it is painfully evident to me, have been duped by a most ingenious conspiracy.In the present instance the Colonial Office has not been duped by an ingenious conspiracy. According to Mr. Stead—and there is no more patriotic Englishman alive—he has had it from the conspirators of the Jameson Raid that the Colonial Office was the headquarters of the conspiracy which has now succeeded in compelling the British Empire to finish the work which Jameson and Rhodes failed to carry through in December, 1895. What failed then will, of course, succeed now, but a generation of Englishmen will arise who will be ashamed, as the civilised world is to-day, of the Government which has sanctioned this monstrous outrage upon a small nation which has done England no wrong. Small in number, weak in resources, though these people are, yet you cannot fight them fairly. A campaign of lying is urged against them in your Press, while you are sending out your soldiers to destroy their liberty. Lies about outrages on women, lies about Boers firing on trains carrying women and children, lies about brutal attacks on defenceless Uitlanders, and every other kind of cowardly calumny have been invented day by day in the Rhodesian reptile Press, and repeated and commented upon by the no less reptile jingo organs of London. And it is a war thus propagated and precipitated that Irishmen are expected to support, and for the cost of which we 125 shall be compelled to contribute. Let me give one instance of these infamous inventions for inflaming popular passion against the Boers. The Daily Mail of yesterday says—The Cape Town correspondent of the Mail says the rumour that Mr. Greene had been murdered by the Boers on his way from Pretoria obtained an extensive hold here, and created much excitement. The rumour was eventually traced to a London source.The rumour traced to London. Yes, to the offices, probably, of the South African League; to the Yellow Press rooms of the Globe, and Daily Mail, and Times of forgery reputation. The truth is always late in a race against a lie, but it arrives at last all the same, and so it does in this instance, as it has in every other case against the Transvaal. I read in yesterday's Echo—[Cries of "Oh."] Well; it is an English paper, not an Irish paper. I read the following statement from Cape Town, which I will quote for the benefit of the veracious Mail—October 15—Mr. Conyngham Greene was shown every civility on his journey from Pretoria. Six men of President Kruger's bodyguard accompanied him as far as the Transvaal border and the Free State authorities were equally courteous.And this is only a sample of scores of instances in which monstrous charges have been insinuated against this little Republic with the object of precipitating a war of plunder and revenge. What else it is but a war waged for millionaires and for "Majuba"? Who are the head and front of the Uitlander agitation? Here are the names of some of the "fine old English gentlemen" for whom the British Empire's going to war. They are nearly all millionaires and leading Uitlanders—Beit, Wernher, Eckstein, Rouilot, Barnato. Adler, Lowe, Wolff, Goldmann, Neumann, and Goertz. I wonder how many of these millionaire masters of Her Majesty's Government are now at the front with your soldiers to face the music Let me, however, do justice to one for whom I have no sympathy. He may escape from where he is, although I believe he is in a tight corner. I refer to Mr. Rhodes, who has had the courage to face the music in Kimberley. But then his name is Rhodes, and not Rhodes-stein. As against these, and the falsehoods of their paid scribes in the London and South African Press, there is not wanting 126 the testimony of manly and honest men with English names. Here is that of one Englishman, who knows the truth and speaks it fearlessly. In an interview with Mr. Frank Watkins, not Watkinstein, an ex-British member of the Volksraad, which appeared in the Daily Chronicle on the 5th of this month, we read the following refutation of slanders spoken outside and in this House—'And what of his Government? Is it so corrupt as they say? Is it corrupt at all?''No Government is absolutely pure. There are Parliamentary directors and shareholders, at home who are not entirely above reproach. There may be something of the same thing in Pretoria. Some few members of the Government may have profited among many Uitlanders by the immense enrichment of the country through shares and concessions. But there is no proof of direct corruption. Mr. Kruger is called corrupt, but what are the facts? He receives a salary of £7,000 a year, and saves most of it. He sold his farm with gold on it for £100,000. and it is now capitalised at a million and a half. Had he not a perfect right to do that? Are your Ministers corrupt because they receive big salaries? Is Sir Michael Hicks-Beach corrupt because he sold his estate on Salisbury Plain?''But the Raads—are not they corrupt? Mr. Ellis Griffiths in the House of Commons said that twenty-two members of the Raad had been proved to be corrupt.''That was the accusation, but what, again, are the facts? I caused a Commission to be appointed to inquire into the allegation, and the result was that all the members accused were exonerated. He forgot to mention that. Then why these accusations? The accusations are made by the very people who tried to corrupt the Boers—and failed. A fund of £25,000 was subscribed by a certain group of men to pass certain legislation—and it was not passed. Hence the mortification.'There is a ring of veracity about this statement which would shame a certain infernal personage. In the Daily Chronicle of October 4 there are the views of another Englishman, who says—For my own part I must say that I have not a high opinion of these people when they act in this manner. After getting up their petitions and meetings, and making all this fuss in order to get British interference in their behalf, they turn tail as soon as the music; seems about to start, leaving the place and the people to stand the row as best they may. One could respect them much more if, after their tall talk, they had calmly braved it out and shown a determination to stand or fall by their cause. I am much afraid that they are are only a lot of windbags after all, and have no 'true leaders of men' amongst them.And, as a fitting comment upon these indignant sentiments, there is the piece 127 of news which appeared a few days ago in the Press. It reads as follows—Telegram from the Special War Correspondent of the Echo at Cape Town.—The Uitlanders here are now quietly leaving the future in the soldiers' hands. Two thousand more refugees are expected immediately. Miners prefer bar-loafing to volunteering. Trouble is possible here when their money is all spent. There is a considerable rise already in the prices of the necessaries of life.And these are the "oppressed" Uitlanders, the "down-trodden" British subjects, for whom your soldiers are to sacrifice their lives, and for whose criminal antics Irish taxpayers must pay. Sir, I am on the side of right against wrong, of justice against injustice, of the weak against the unscrupulous, every time and everywhere, let the combinations be who they may. England is not my country, but even if she was, I would not side with her if she acted the part of a big bully against a plucky little man defending his own against overwhelming odds. Though I am an Irishman, I spent most of my life in Lancashire, and while Lancashire exists it will exact from me a tribute of admiration. There a bully who would strike a man who was not his equal would be called a coward. My sympathies and those of the overwhelming mass of my countrymen, outside of the British Colonies, are on the side of justice, freedom, and humanity in this monstrous, unequal war. It is a very serious matter for me to find that Irishmen who are Home Rulers in Canada, Australia, and South Africa are siding with you, because you have conceded Home Rule to them. Let me say this for myself, that this compels me to take a somewhat different view of Home Rule than I have done. If I thought that the concession of Home Rule to Ireland to-morrow would involve me in giving my sympathies to England in a war of cowardly injustice and tyranny, I would cease to be a Home Ruler at this moment. Whom are you hurling your mighty armaments against in this miserable conflict Why, against men of your own religion, race, and blood. Listen to one of them speaking for his people—We will fight until not one Boer remains to defend our flag and our country; our women and children will fight for their country and its liberties; and even I, an old man, will take the gun which I have used against them twice before, and use it again to defend the country I love.128 May I ask what would English papers and politicians say if similar sentiments were spoken by some other noble old man fighting against Russian, German, or French aggression? What praise, what sympathy would be lavished upon such an exemplar of heroic patriotism? But because England, not France, is the aggressor, Mr. Kruger is an enemy to be dealt with by Mark IV. bullets and Lydditeshells. In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I have spoken amidst some interruption, but I make no complaint. I recognise I am speaking in an alien assembly. I am called a traitor by the hon. Member for West Belfast who is not in his place, and by the London Times, because my sympathy goes out to a small nation of your own blood and faith, whom you intend to rob of its independence; because I side with a people less in number than the population of Birmingham, in a contest forced upon them by the Member for Birmingham in the name and by the resources of the British Empire. Very well, if that is to be a traitor, then I feel more honoured in the title than if I were called the Colonial Secretary of a Government who will have the blood of a brave race and of your own soldiers upon his head. I have not, however, a monopoly of the title "traitor." The honour can be shared by no less a person than the central figure in this war tragedy, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, whom his present nominal chief, the Prime Minister, once termed a Jack Cade. This historic personage was both a traitor and a reputed robber, and yet the statesman whom the Marquess of Salisbury likened to Jack Cade is now the jingo hero of the hour. I find myself, therefore, in most distinguished company. It is only the other day that a present Prime Minister of the Queen was referred to as follows by the Sun newspaper, owned, I believe, by an hon. Member opposite:—Mr. Schreiner, Cape Premier and Boer Agent, will be lucky if he does not hang from a Cape Town lamp-post before long. That would be a justifiable form of elevation for him, one which he has fairly earned.I am in distinguished company. Mr. Gladstone was once called a traitor by the same class of Englishmen. So it has been with other men who have raised a voice against aggression and injustice. Washington was called a traitor in his day, so was O'Connell, and so, too, 129 was the late Charles Stewart Parnell. Therefore I feel honoured in a special sense in being singled out for this distinction. For myself, when I die I aspire to have no bettor epitaph than this:—Here lies a man who from his cradle to his grave was considered by his foes to be a traitor to alien rule and oppression in Ireland and in every land outside her shores.
§ Mr. LOWLES (Shoreditch, Haggerston)
I wish to challenge one statement made by the last speaker. He said that outside this House the feeling of the British people was overwhelmingly against this war. Now, I called a public meeting last week in the constituency which I have the honour to represent, and at that gathering a resolution was unanimously passed in support of the Government, those in favour of it belonging to both sides in politics. The hon. Member for East Mayo referred to some remarks I made with regard to disloyalty in Cape Colony. When I made those remarks I had recently returned from that part of the world, and what I said was that if there were any disloyal Dutch they would have to be dealt with as they deserved. But I did not suggest that the majority were in any sense disloyal. I believe that they recognise the advantage of British rule and appreciate the personal liberty and equal rights which they enjoy under it. Any hon. Member who has travelled in South Africa will know that the feeling against Kruger is just as strong amongst the Dutch Cape Colonists as it is amongst the British Afrikanders. With regard to the remarks of the hon. Member for Northampton, how is it that he asserts here what he dare not say outside? How is it he is not to be found in Trafalgar Square and Hyde Park on great public occasions?
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
I shall be happy to go down with the hon. Member to Northampton to test public feeling there.
§ MR LOWLES
And I shall be equally happy to go with the hon. Gentleman. And for this reason, that we represent very much the same class of people in this House. I believe the great majority of the constituents of the hon. Member are engaged in the boot and shoe trade. So, too, are the great majority of mine, and I am therefore perfectly ready not only to meet his constituents, but to 130 invite him to meet mine. I am certain that where public opinion, especially in industrial centres, is tested fully nine-tenths of the artisan class will be found approving the policy of the Government. The hon. Member objects to our fighting a small State. I object to allowing a small, stubborn, and ignorant minority of the white population to keep South Africa in a state of unrest for twenty-five years. The Dutch population of both Republics form a very small minority of the whole white population probably not more than 25 per cent—and why should that small minority keep this progressive part of Her Majesty's dominions in a perpetual state of unrest? Much as I regret that this war has been forced upon us, I believe that it is perhaps the best way out of a very serious trouble, and I trust that when the Government come to discuss terms after the war is over they will, once and for all, put an cud to the independence of these Republics—an independence which has been a constant menace to the safety, happiness, and welfare of Her Majesty's subjects in that part of the world. I repeat that I am ready to accompany the hon. Member for Northampton to any place where honest English public opinion can be tested, because I believe that such opinion will be found to be unanimous in support of the policy of the Government.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare, E.)
I desire to say a very few words in support of the Amendment of the hon. Member for East Mayo, and I do so for two or three different reasons. In the first place, I handed in an Amendment of my own on somewhat similar lines, and as that will probably now be ruled out of order, this affords me the only opportunity of saying what I have to say. Again, I consider it would be an extremely cowardly thing upon my part to say one thing in speeches in Ireland, and to refrain from saying the same thing in my place in the House of Commons. I have noticed for some days past references in many of the London news-papers to speeches of mine in Ireland, and all I have to say, in reply to those references, is that I am here in my place in the House of Commons perfectly prepared to bear out, and, if necessary, to repeat every single word of sympathy with the South African Republic and its people which I uttered in Ireland, and 131 which I believe to be shared by an overwhelming majority of the Irish people. I read in one newspaper a statement that it was not consistent for any Member of this House to object to the Vote which is about to be asked for the prosecution of this war. I venture to assert that I have as much right, under the constitution by which I am here, to express disapproval of that war as hon. Gentlemen opposite have to express approval of it, and if you are going to call Parliament together to discuss the prospects of this war, and to ask for a Vote of money, and at the same time refuse a hearing to those who disapprove the policy of the Government, then I say that the calling together of Parliament at all is simply a farce, and an outrage on the constitution of this country. Why am I on the side, as unquestionably I am, of these two small Republics fighting for their independence? First, because I believe, as conscientiously and sincerely in my heart as hon. Gentlemen opposite hold their beliefs, that this is a fight for liberty and justice on the part of these people, and because I object, as an Irishman, to taking any part, however slight, in defraying the cost of this war, or lending any sanction to it. I know that great enthusiasm exists in England on the subject of the war. I know that the masses of the people cheer the troops when they are seen in the streets, but I also know that the people of this country do not I understand what this war means. They have been told it is a war against the burghers of the Transvaal and Orange Free State, who cannot put into the field a force anything like as strong as the British forces which have been dispatched against them. They are told that in a month or two these States will be reduced to submission, and that everything will then be well. Now, I have been to the Cape myself, and I venture to say there is no man who has ever been there who does not know that, in entering on this war, England is not merely undertaking the task of subjugating the burghers of two small Republics, but that she is also entering into antagonism with a people who are today a considerable majority of the white inhabitants.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
An hon. Gentleman cries "No." Can any- 132 one who knows the facts deny what I say?
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
The hon. Gentleman, who is so very popular, will, when he wakes up now and again, deny anything. I repeat that nobody who knows the facts of the case can deny that the majority of the white inhabitants of the whole of South Africa—of Cape Colony and Natal as well—are men of the Dutch race. ("No.") Well, at any rate you have a Dutch Ministry at the Cape of Good Hope, and your Prime Minister there is Mr. Schreiner, a Dutchman. I repeat that, in entering upon this war, you are bound to create feelings of antagonism against your rule and against your Empire in the breasts of the majority of the white men there. You may be told that they will not interfere actively in support of these small Republics, but, after all, blood is thicker than water, and feelings of resentment and indignation are bound to be roused among the Dutch all over South Africa when they see a huge Army Corps of the first military power in the world launched against a mere handful of their—own countrymen, with a view to driving, them into subjugation. I say here, speaking with some knowledge of the inhabitants of the Cape, that if this war is prosecuted, and if you beat the Transvaal and the Free State, if you kill every man in them capable of bearing arms against you, you will not be able, as long as Members of this House live probably, to withdraw your Army Corps from South Africa; it will have to remain there in order to keep in subjugation the men of the Dutch race, who are disaffected against you. And I would add that this is a poor return for the generous and loyal treatment accorded to you by the Cape Parliament, which is composed mostly of Dutchmen, in granting you a subsidy for your navy. Much has been said as to the grievances of the Uitlanders, but I defy anyone to prove that, outside the question of the franchise, these men have suffered any serious or real outrage or disability. A great deal was made some time ago of the killing of an Uitlander by a policeman at Johannesburg, and the indignation of the country was aroused; but the real grievances of the Uitlanders can be counted on the fingers of both hands. It 133 is complained that they are denied the right to vote. It is true that some time ago the number of years a man must reside there before he could vote was fourteen, but that term was reduced some years ago to seven, and Her Majesty's Government asked for five. After some delay this was agreed to, with conditions, and I assert that this coming war is to be waged because of a difference of opinion between five years and seven. In this country you compel a foreigner to live six years before you give him the franchise and a vote, and because the Boers will not allow five years you are going to war. Who are the Uitlanders? No one in this House more condemned the Jameson Raid than I did It was an unwarranted and criminal proceeding, but after all there was a certain amount of pluck about it. Jameson and his few untrained men were given to understand that the Uitlanders of Johannesburg would meet them—they outnumbered the Boers five to one—and enforce reforms. At this time the Uitlanders were fully armed, and at this time Johannesburg was unfortified by the Boers. Jameson, on the faith of the promise of these valiant Uitlanders, marched in with his men, and what happened? Not a single one of the Uitlanders went out to meet him; they went and hid themselves and allowed Jameson and his men to be seized by the Boers and brought to Johannesburg and cast into prison. They are a brave people, truly. I have heard of people with grievances, but never before have I known of men with, arms in their hands who would not fight to remedy their grievances. I should like to hear what Jameson has to say of those who sent for "Dr. Jim," and did not lend a hand to help him.
SIR ELLIS ASHMEAD-BAETLETT (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
They only had 2,000 rifles among them.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
But even so omnipotent a general as the right hon. Gentleman must be aware that something may be done by men who know that others are on the road to help them, though they only have 2,000 rifles among them. These are the men for whom you are going to vote eight millions tomorrow—and who can say it will not be fifty millions before we have finished?—whilst in this country there are thousands 134 of people in the direst poverty, but you, have not a million to help them, not a farthing, but you may spend fifty millions in subjugating a people who have never injured England. What is the history of the Boers? Some people imagine that the whole world originally belonged to England, and no doubt, in a fit and proper state of things, if everything, had been properly ordained, that would have been the case; but we must not forget that the forefathers of these men now behind their guns were the original colonisers of South Africa. They it was who first brought white men to the Cape of Good Hope. From time to time you have hunted them out, but it was theirs before an English foot trod South Africa. Pushed from the Cape, they trekked, time after time, until when they had crossed the veldt they were told they could rest, and would be molested no more. When they went into the country and enriched it and built their towns they were followed by people from the outside, and now again they are going to be denied the land which they have carved out of the wilderness, and we are told this is to be done in the interest of the Empire. It is the worst thing that can be done, and to say that these two little countries are to be crushed in the interests of liberty is a thing no intelligent man can for an instant believe. There is now a state of war, and we are told the Liberals and Tories unite, and I am sorry to say in regard to English Liberalism that is largely true, because there are people on the front Opposition bench who say that it is an unjust and an unnecessary war, yet they will vote for the Government. Let Liberals and Tories do as they will; thank God there are in this House a few men who, undeterred by the laughter of hon. Gentlemen opposite, will register their votes against this measure. Hon. Gentlemen talk about the oath of allegiance. Am I to be told that anything in this House or out of it binds a Member to vote and speak for a measure which in his heart he considers unjust? If my oath required me to support every measure submitted by the Government it would be a very sad thing for my oath. A Unionist or even a jingo Government supported by Liberals with Conservative opinions on Imperialism might command some respect, but surely it is a sorry spectacle, 135 and not calculated to inspire respect, to see a Government led and pushed and dragged along into a disastrous war, not by a Conservative statesman, but by a man who in turn has been everything in degree. I remember years ago, before I entered this House, studying the different leaders of this great assembly, and when I entered this House, sixteen or seventeen years ago, I asked my father near me who the various persons were. He pointed out one after another, and then he pointed to a lean man with a spare and hungry look. I asked who that was, and heard he was a very celebrated man. He was a great Republican. He it was who made speeches to and led our young "Reds" Sixteen years after I find the Republican orator of that day, the man who was considered the leader of the young "Reds" of England, climbing upon the Treasury Bench, Toriest of the Tories, dragging his Party to disaster. With the might of England at his back the once Republican turns out as Conservative as his Tory companions. When his story is written nothing will be more discreditable than to know that the man who hurled the force of English might against these two small Republics was a man who was a Republican in his younger days, when no country gentleman would touch his hand. I apologise for detaining the House at such a length, though I may tell the hon. Gentlemen who cheer the remark, I do not apologise in one iota for anything I have said against this man, either in Ireland or in this House. I opposed the war in Ireland because I think it is unnecessary and unjust, and is against the spirit of liberty. The man up on whose head will be the blood of every British soldier who bites the dust, the man whom the widowed women of the Dutch race will teach their children to curse, is the man who, under the power of an overweening ambition—an ambition-seldom coming to gentlemen, but to people of that class who aspire to mix with them—
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
Mr. Speaker, I have not the slightest intention of disobeying your ruling. At a moment like this, I think that if an expression is used which is not altogether suited to the 136 place, one might to some extent be excused, for I am not one of those who enter upon this work with a light heart. (Ministerial laughter.) If hon Gentlemen opposite were shut up in Mafeking they would not be laughing. If they were in Kimberley they would not be laughing. Those take it with a light heart who do not go to the front; they are like the valiant Uitlanders, who, having raised a storm in Johannesburg, storm all the trains to get out. The man on whose head the bloodshed in this war should be visited, the man who is responsible before the country and before heaven, is, I say without hesitation, that recreant Republican.
§ SIR ELLIS ASHMEAD-BARTLETT and Col. SAUNDERSON (Armagh, M.)
rose together to address the House. The latter having resumed his seat:
§ *SIR ELLIS ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
proceeded: I am very sorry to stand between the House and my gallant friend, but as direct reference has been made to my self I would ask the indulgence of the House for a few minutes while I attempt to deal with those statements. I cannot hope to equal the impassioned eloquence of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. But it seems to me that there are three striking fallacies underlying the speeches of the two hon. Gentlemen who have addressed the House from below the gangway opposite. The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down did a very grievous injustice to the Uitlanders. He informed the House that Johannesburg at the time of the Raid was armed. Johannesburg was not armed when the Jameson Raid took place. Only a very small proportion of the people had arms. Yet so great was the terror of the Boers, of President Kruger and of his Government, that in order to get that small fraction of Johannes burgers to lay down their arms, every kind of false promise and mis-statement was resorted to. There were plenty of courageous men in Johannesburg who would, if they had known the straits of Jameson and his men, have gone out to their relief. But the disaster came so suddenly and so unexpectedly that they were unable to move before it was over. Another striking fallacy that has been much used on the opposite side of the House is the effect that this struggle will have upon the 137 Dutch population of South Africa. I venture to predict that within five years after the struggle is over—and it can only have one end—the Dutch population not only of the Cape but of the Transvaal and Orange Free State will be perfectly contented and happy under the liberty and justice they will enjoy under the British flag.
§ *SIR ELLIS ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
I have never said that the Irish race would be contented and happy. I think they ought to be, but they are perhaps a little difficile in their natural characteristics. The true way to cause race sentiment in South Africa to become embittered and hopelessly hostile until a state of Diarchy and ruin is produced there, would be to allow the great Boer conspiracy against the predominance of England to get the upper hand in South Africa. That there is a great Boer conspiracy no one can doubt. It has grown with the weakness of British Ministries, and it has been nurtured on the gold wrung from the Uitlanders. It is a conspiracy which has for its object the destruction of British predominance in South Africa and the creation of an independent South African Republic, in which the Dutch shall be paramount. The hon. Gentleman who spoke last but one said this was a war of millionaires and Majuba. I will deal with Majuba in a moment, but let me first deal with the question of the millionaires. The hon. Member for East Mayo was kind enough to say that I had been consistent in the policy I had pursued in regard to this South African question. If I may be allowed to say so, I have been consistent because, first of all, I know that a policy based on false sentiment and surrender of British rights, like that associated with the capitulation after Majuba, must always be fatal. I have been consistent because, in the second place, I know what Boer rule means, and in the third place, because I know what British rule means, not only in the Transvaal and South Africa but throughout the whole of the world. Because I have kept these essential points in view for the last 18 years, I now have the advantage of receiving from the hon. Gentleman an admission of my consistency. But the hon. Gentleman told us that this was a war of 138 millionaires. There never was a statement more absolutely incorrect. Who are the men now bearing the brunt of the struggle and of the suffering in South Africa? They are not the millionaires.
§ *SIR ELLIS ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
They are not even the British soldiers; but the rank and file of the Uitlander population in the Transvaal.
§ *SIR ELLIS ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
Something between 60,000 and 80,000 working men, professional men, engineers, doctors, lawyers, tradesmen, and artisans. They are the men who now suffer, and they are the men who have been suffering for the last six years. The hon. Gentleman has got hold of the wrong end of the stick altogether. I have had the advantage of having an extensive correspondence with the Uitlanders of the Transvaal for the last six years, and I can tell the hon. Gentleman that for the first three years of that period every letter I received was from men of the artisan and middle classes. I have those letters in my possession, and shall be happy to show them to the hon. Member. These men complained not only of Kruger and his executive, but also of the millionaires, because the millionaires formerly used Kruger and his Government for their own profit. It is only when the injustice and tyranny of the Boer Government became absolutely intolerable that the millionaires made common cause with the great mass of the Uitlanders of the Transvaal. But some of the millionaires behaved with much courage at Johannesburg, and no one disputes the splendid courage of Mr. Rhodes. The war has been rendered necessary for the protection of nearly 80,000 British subjects who have been grossly and most unjustly maltreated by one of the most tyrannical and corrupt oligarchies the world has overseen. That is the truth about this war. The hon. Gentleman made many other statements which will not bear examination, but he is so hopelessly prejudiced against everything that pertains to the interests of this country that it is hardly necessary to answer him. This war has the support, I venture to say, of nine-tenths of the English people, and it has that support 139 because the people of this country realise that the Government have entered into this war with great reluctance, that they have shown the utmost possible patience—in the opinion of some of us, too much patience—and that they have been forced to undertake this war for the most elementary claims of human liberty and human justice. The hon. Member for South Mayo gave his case away when he confessed, with a sadness which he could not avoid, that the great majority of his countrymen in South Africa and the colonies were on the side of the Uitlanders. Why is that? Is it because they are prejudiced in favour of England? No. It is because they know from experience what the rule of President Kruger and his Government means. These Irish have been forced, in spite of themselves, to take the side of England against the side of the Transvaal. The hon. Member for South Mayo, who, if he was in the Transvaal, would, I venture to say, be one of the leaders of the Uitlanders, and would be, perhaps, now the victim of Boer oppression and Boer outrage, makes these wild statements because he is suffering from want of experience, or—if I may say so without offence—from absolute ignorance of the facts. The whole country will support the Government. They will provide the Government with all the resources necessary for this struggle. I believe the struggle will be short. I am certain it will be effective, and I believe it will conduce to the 'Common benefit not only of Englishmen and British subjects, but of Dutchmen and natives as well. A false glamour has been thrown around the Boers of the Transvaal as if they were a people "rightly struggling to be free." Their idea of freedom is very different from ours. They have never shown any freedom or justice to their black neighbour.
§ *SIR ELLIS ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
You are speaking of the incidents of war. The Matabele are treated with justice and good government now, and are satisfied. The name of Boer is detested by the natives throughout South Africa, and I very much fear that one of the results of this war will be a terrible native rising against the Boers which may cause 140 much suffering to innocent people. I said that there has been a great deal of false glamour thrown around the Government of President Kruger and the character of the Boers. Do honourable Gentlemen opposite realise what that Government is? Do they realise that it denies to the great majority of the people of the Transvaal the right of public meeting, of a free Press, and of ordinary justice? Do they know that the independence of the High Court has been deliberately done away with? Do they know that the administration of this country costs 4¾ millions, the greater part of which is spent in corruption; while the neighbouring Republic, the Orange Free State, is administered at a cost of only £400,000? Yet the Orange Free State is better and more honestly administered than the Transvaal. The President and his Executive, the members of his family, and the majority of the Volksraad all enjoy a large and most illegitimate proportion of the product of taxation. This has been proved over and over again, and is one of the reasons for the desperate resistance now being made by Kruger and his cabal to all practical reform. There may be some points to criticise in the policy and administration of the Government; I do not propose now to enter upon these points. The time has not yet come for that criticism. We may be able to say something about the delay in dealing with this Transvaal question—a delay which has rendered it infinitely more difficult and costly to deal with than it ought to have been—and also about the apparent unprepared ness of our military resources; but this is not the time for criticism. This is the time at which, I am satisfied, the great majority of the Members of this House and nine-tenths of the people of this country will rally to the support of the, Government in the action which they have taken and which is necessary, not only for the maintenance of British supremacy in South Africa, but also for justice and the common rights of humanity.
§ *MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S. W.)
As I intend to vote for the Amendment, I desire to state very briefly the grounds upon which I propose to do so. I cannot imagine any proposition more detrimental to the welfare of the country than that honourable Members 141 who are opposed to the war should remain silent until the war is over. If that proposition were admitted, then a Government would have a direct interest in precipitating hostilities abroad by way of avoiding attack at home. But it is quite unnecessary that I should expose the futility of that proposition, because all the traditions and best practice of British statesmanship are entirely opposed to it. From a crowd of precedents I will select only one or two. In the last century that true Imperialist the great Earl of Chatham opposed from first to last the war with our North American Colonies, and in his place in Parliament moved an Address to the King requesting that our troops should be recalled. In 1857, when hostilities had broken out between this country and China, Lord Derby, the Rupert of debate, as he was called, moved a Resolution in the House of Lords condemning the policy of the Government. A similar Resolution was moved by Mr. Cobden in this House, and was supported by Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Bright, and Mr. Disraeli, and almost, with a few exceptions, the entire Conservative party, and it is, I think, not irrelevant to point out that the speech in which Lord Palmerston defended the action of his Government then is curiously like very much that we hear today. Lord Palmerston said that our proceedings had been marked by extreme forbearance; that Sir John Bowring was the most unlikely man to get the country into hostilities without just cause: that this House had in its keeping not only the interests and the property and the lives of many of our countrymen, but the honour, the reputation, and the character of the country, and so forth. Then, again, in December, 1878, when Parliament was summoned in consequence of the Afghan War, Amendments condemning the policy of the Government were moved in both Houses—in the House of Lords by Lord Halifax, and in the House of Commons by Mr. Whitbread, who was supported by Mr. Gladstone, by the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Admiralty, by the present Duke of Devonshire, by the present Colonial Secretary, and by the entire Liberal Party. It is, therefore, perfectly clear that according to the best practice of Parliament, the fact of present war does not and ought not to silence those who condemn the policy which led to the 142 war. Those who maintain the contrary proposition, if I may say so with great respect, confuse two entirely different things. They confuse the exigencies of the military situation with the policy which led to that situation. I say that to refuse Supply is one thing, but to challenge and criticise and condemn the policy which led to the war is quite another, and hon. Members who shrink, and perhaps rightly, from the first course, are not thereby precluded from pursuing the other. It has been said that this is not the time for criticism. No one has said that the issue of the ultimatum, and the consequences which have followed, are to cancel criticism, but it is suggested that criticism ought to be postponed. So far as the practice of Parliament is concerned, I do not understand that proposition. When hon. Members are honestly convinced that the Government is wrong, it is their duty to say so, war or no war. That is the course which has been followed by the brightest ornaments of British statesmanship, and I am not ashamed to tread in their steps. So much I have said in justification of this Amendment, and of the line of criticism which its supporters are taking. I desire now to come to close quarters with the question before us to-night, and I should like to refer to the speech of the hon. Member for Derby, who gave us a catalogue of the grievances of the Uitlanders. I listened very carefully to the hon. Gentleman, who always speaks with great moderation and with regard for the feelings of those who are opposed to him, but to my mind he did not make out anything at all approaching a case for war, or even for entering upon a course of negotiations, the probable consequence of which would be war. The hon. Gentleman said in the first place, that public meetings were broken up in the Transvaal. We have had within the last few weeks many examples of public meetings being broken up in England. Then the hon. Gentleman referred to the evils arising from the liquor traffic in the Transvaal. Why, Sir, have not some of us cognisance of the enormous evils which flow from the liquor traffic in this country? But the hon. Gentleman was interrupted, and he said, "Oh, but the point upon which I am now is that the liquor laws are violated." Are not the liquor laws violated in this country? Yes, probably quite as much as they are in the Transvaal. Then 143 he referred to the murder of a lady in the Transvaal, the details of which no one could read without their feelings being harrowed. He seemed to blame the authorities in the Transvaal for failing to detect the murderer. How many unpunished crimes of murder have we had in this Metropolis? It is a matter to be regretted, but it is absurd to try to make an international question of such a complaint as that. Then he referred to the municipality of Johannesburg, and, as an instance of the corruption which he alleges exists in that city, stated that the monopoly for a drainage scheme had been given to a private person.
§ *MR. DRAGE
I beg the hon. Member's pardon, I did not say anything about corruption in connection with Johannesburg. I merely dealt with the municipal government in out of Johannesburg, not the city.
§ *MR. PICKERSGILL
The hon. Gentleman will not dispute, I am sure, that as an example of the corruption which prevailed he said that the monopoly of a drainage scheme for Johannesburg had been given to a private person.
§ *MR. DRAGE
No; I cited that as the way in which municipal government in Johannesburg was neutralised.
§ *MR. PICKERSGILL
Yes, but what I have to complain of is that the hon. Gentleman did not state the whole facts of the case with regard to that drainage scheme.
§ *MR. PICKERSGILL
Oh! not material to the honourable Gentleman's point! Wait a moment. The honourable Gentleman said, as an example of corruption, the monopoly of a drainage scheme had been given to a private person. That is quite true so far. The monopoly was given to a private person. But on the very page of the Blue Book upon which the statement is found there is a note to the effect that that concession was cancelled, and it was cancelled because representations were made by Uitlanders against this abuse. The hon. Gentleman ought in common honesty to have told the whole of the facts of the case. I think they are very relevant, because they show that President Kruger and his Government are not deaf to all appeals, and that the Uitlanders are able to obtain, 144 in some instances at all events, redress of their grievances by perfectly proper and legitimate means. The fact is that the grievances of the Uitlanders, although grievances there are, have been grossly exaggerated. Take Sir Alfred Milner's famous despatch of 5th May. I say he proves too much. He is not an artist in colour; he dabs in the black paint with far too heavy a hand. Nothing could be more appalling than the picture Sir Alfred Milner draws of life in Johannesburg. Property is not safe, he tells us; personal violence is rife; women are subject to insult. Why, it must be a hell upon earth! But, at all events, it seems rather a popular pandemonium. After all, no one is compelled to stay there, and, what is more to the point, no one is compelled to go there. Yet it is part of Sir Alfred Milner's case, after drawing this appalling picture, that foreigners are pouring into Johannesburg in ever increasing numbers. The picture is not artistic; it bears upon its face the evidence that it is exaggerated, overdrawn, and untrue. I admitted that there were grievances, but there is no complaint of the Uitlanders which has not its counterpart in this country. "Personal violence is rife: the police are guilty of personal violence." Yes, but there have been only one or two or three cases of personal violence by the police, and have not we had in England, and still more in Ireland, similar instances? If you go across the Atlantic to America you will find that the American police, especially in rough neighbourhoods, have been guilty of a score of acts of brutality, so called, for every one which you can charge against the police in the Transvaal. Then it is said that taxation falls heavily on the Uitlander and lightly on the Boer. Have not we the counterpart in this country? Do not we see tradesmen overburdened with public charges while the ground landlord does not lift a single finger to help to bear them? "The right of public meeting is attacked. "It is only a week or two ago that I read of an Irish Member who had called a meeting of his constituents, at which he and his friends were batoned by the police. [An IRISH MEMBER: By the Chief Secretary.] Then we are told that the Uitlanders had to wait long years before they got a vote for the Volksraad or First Chamber in the Transvaal. In this country we have no vote at all for our first Chamber. Then, Johannesburg, "remains without proper municipal govern- 145 ment." How long did this Metropolis "remain without proper municipal government"? Has London obtained "proper municipal government" even now? It is complained that the Uitlanders have not the control of the police in Johannesburg. Why, the citizens of London have not the control of the police. Why should these grievances be held up to the world when we have really their counterparts in this country? Then, Sir, a question has been raised upon which I feel, and which I condemn, as strongly as any man, viz., the treatment of the coloured people. But are our own colonists in South Africa altogether blameless in the matter? The question of the treatment of the Indian subjects of the Queen was expressly raised the Colonial Secretary. It was upon one of those occasions when new grievances were raised and new demands were sprung upon the Boers. Much as I regret the way in which the Indian subjects of the Queen are treated in the Transvaal, I challenge contradiction when I say that the treatment of the Indian subjects of the Queen in Natal is infinitely worse. If, therefore, you will not compel our own colonists to treat our Indian fellow-subjects properly, why do you try to make it a casus belli against the Transvaal Government? This oppression business has been very much overdone. It presumes upon our credulity. I think I know my fellow-country-men better than this supposes. Let the Government be what you please, and the laws what you will, the Anglo-Saxon is too robust and energetic and virile a race to be very much oppressed by anyone under any circumstances. The fact is simply that President Kruger is an old Tory; he is one of; those who consider that what was good I enough for their fathers is good enough for them; and so he wants to jog along in the old way, and hates these "progressives" with their disturbing theories and new-fangled notions, just as some hon. Gentlemen are very much perturbed by the London Progressives. I cannot but think that, after all, the Tory Party must have a sort of sneaking kindness for this image of themselves reflected in President Kruger. The problem of the Transvaal I is a very old one—almost as old as civilisation itself. It is the problem which is constantly recurring—that of the first clash and encounter of the new order of things with the old order of things. It has come about with peculiar 146 suddenness in the Transvaal owing to the discovery of gold. For this state of things there is only one solution, and that solution is the policy of patience. It is said that the policy of patience has been tried long enough and that patience is exhausted. Very well, I will deal with it. The hon. Member for Derby told us that the first meeting of the Uitlanders to press their grievances was in 1892. I believe that is perfectly correct; the Transvaal National Union was founded in 1892. We may take it, therefore, that these grievances first began to be severely felt when steps were taken to remedy them in 1892. We are now in 1899 only seven years. I wish hon. Gentlemen opposite would cultivate a sense of proportion. Seven years, when you are dealing with such a revolution as is expected to be effected in the Transvaal, is not a long period of time. Compare it, for instance, with Cape Colony. It is part of our opponents' case that in Cape Colony you have the English and Dutch side by side with equal rights. It is quite true, and one rejoices that it is so. But it has not always been so. It took at least ten years for the Dutchman to establish himself on the ground of a political equality with the Briton in Cape Colony.
It may be so, but say ten. But here only seven years have elapsed, which I say is not a long time for such a transaction as this. Compare it with incidents in our own history. During how many years did our own Anti-Corn Law League carry on its great campaign? How long did the working classes—my hon. friend the Member for Haggerston appealed to the working classes, and, let me say here incidentally, he claimed that the working classes of East London were upon his side. I deny it. The hon. Member spoke of those who worked in the boot and shoe trade, and I may say that half my constituents work in that trade. (Ministerial laughter.) Why that laugh? I am not ashamed to represent boot and shoe makers. On the contrary, I am proud to have the opportunity of representing them here, and I throw that hon. Member's laugh in his teeth. A week ago I held a meeting—I will amend my phrase and say that I was asked to address a meeting—of my own constituents, and I did attend. It was a 147 meeting with reference to the Transvaal question. A strong resolution condemning the policy of the Government was moved at that meeting, and it was carried with only one dissentient, and he was a member of the Conservative Party. How long did the working classes of this country ask for the franchise and ask in vain? I think there has never been such a piece of irony in any country at anytime as we have seen recently, for we have seen the Members of another place and of this House shrieking to extend the franchise in South Africa, whereas they fought like demons against giving the franchise in this country. Here is another piece of irony. Apparently we are going to war because President Kruger declines to convert loyal subjects of the Queen into Republicans fast enough to please the party opposite. The case is full of absurd contradictions. How long have we been demanding that the will of the people shall not be thwarted in another place? I have full sympathy with the women and children particularly who have suffered in the Transvaal. We have heard of women and children packed together in railway trucks, and I must say that I have the most sincere sympathy for them. But, after all, I have still greater sympathy for the tens of thousands at home, who are packed together, not for forty eight hours in railway trucks, but year in. and year out in unhealthy dwellings in our great towns. I am sorry to see that the Colonial Secretary is not in his place, for I hold in my hand the Birmingham Daily mail of 9th of October, which devotes an article to the housing problem, and it says:—At the present time wages are high—(Ministerial interruption.) I assure hon. Members opposite that they are very much mistaken if they think that by clamour they will prevent this being read.At the present time wages are high, building material is expensive, and half-a-sovereign a week is charged for houses that a few years ago would have been eight shillings at the outside. One result is that working-men and their families have to live the best way they can, and that generally means the worst way possible. Some miserable dwelling in the centre of the city as nearly as possible is taken, and there men and women and children are herded together night after night—
§ (Cries of "Question.")
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Order, order. I do not think the quotation which the hon. Member is reading is relevant.
§ *MR. PICKERSGILL
I bow to your ruling, Mr. Speaker, but I think I have quoted sufficient to show that people in this country are subjected for long periods of time to far greater sufferings than these Uitlanders have had to undergo. Whilst I avow the strongest possible sympathy for the women and children, I think that our first care ought to be for the far larger number of persons who are living under most disgraceful conditions close to our own homes. This Amendment concludes by suggesting that the resources of arbitration should be called in under the present circumstances, and I heartily support that suggestion. I sincerely trust that no technical reason, such as the fact that the Transvaal is not a sovereign independent State, will be allowed to stand in the way of effect being given to this proposal. I do not see why it should, because, as a matter of fact, the Government of this country has already, in one instance at all events, accepted arbitration with the Transvaal. I refer to the arbitration which took place some time ago, when I think the Chief Justice of the Free State was the arbitrator, upon the question of the treatment by the Transvaal of Indian subjects of the Queen. That seems to me to be a relevant case, and it is a precedent for applying arbitration now between England and the Transvaal. Having regard to the fact that not many weeks ago this country sent a representative to the Peace Congress at the Hague, and declared its adhesion to the great principle of trying the resources of arbitration before countries apply themselves to the arbitrament of war, I trust this country will be true to the course it took up there, and will not act in such a way that our enemies on the continent of Europe can say that England is hypocritical on this question.
MR. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)
I can hardly understand the levity with which this subject has been treated by gentlemen opposite. I think that going to war is a serious business. I came up from Liverpool, this morning, and I saw several of the most affecting leave-takings of Army Reserve men who are going to join their brigades. I have always held that it is the duty of this House to discuss and determine the war policy of the nation, and in my opinion it seems an extraordinary thing that the constitution of England allows a single Minister 149 to engineer a war, and then when that war is entered upon also allows the Government to call upon Parliament to discuss its merits. I cannot conceive why it is that one single member of the Government can so manipulate and manage affairs: that war becomes inevitable, and then this House, after the final step is taken, is asked its opinion upon a question which it has no power to modify. As an Irish Member I object entirely to this war, and I have as much right to object to it as hon. Members opposite have to approve of it. I want to know what this war is about. I have read in the newspapers most of the articles which have been written on this subject. I have read them until I have become absolutely puzzled as to the details, and I am not clear yet as to what the war is about. I know that ostensibly the war was undertaken about the franchise, but what is the state of the franchise in Ireland? How many years have some of those Uitlanders spent in the Transvaal I know some of them have gone there and made their fortunes, but in Ireland we have had the Irish population deprived until last year of the municipal franchise. This great House of Commons absolutely refused the right of citizenship to the majority of the Irish people until last year, and even when we get it we have to pay for it by an agricultural grant of £750,000 per annum. I see the hon. Member here for St. Stephen's Green. What has happened regarding the franchise in South Dublin? Why, before the last revision court every Nationalist that was on the register in St. Stephen's Green and South Dublin, where there is a very narrow majority of Conservatives, was served with an objection, and every means was taken to prevent them from obtaining a vote for these two divisions. If this kind of thing took place in South Africa what would be said in this country? Another question to which I desire to direct the attention of the House is this. We hear a great deal about the grievances of the Uitlanders in the Transvaal, but every Irishman is treated positively worse than the Uitlanders. We live under a perpetual Coercion Act, Mr. Speaker, in Ireland, and the Irish nation are deprived of the right to bear arms, which is a right hold by every citizen in every free State. We are also overtaxed by £3,000,000 per annum, and every Irishman is called upon to pay his portion of that taxation, and 150 now we are coolly asked by the Government to contribute towards the cost of this war. Not long ago a large meeting was held in Dublin, and with one voice they declared against this war. There is not a single Nationalist in my constituency who is not against this Boer war. I do not sit here as the true loyal servant of the British Government, but I am here as an Irish representative, representing the opinion of St. Patrick's Division; and whether it pleases the Government or not, it is my duty to express the opinion of my constituents fearlessly. I think this financial question is one of the most serious which will have to be considered in connection with this war. I do not intend to take up the time of the House upon this subject now, for I shall have an opportunity of speaking upon it another time. I would, however, like to call attention to this fact. A few months ago we had a Peace Conference, and it was attended by the representatives of the various nations in Europe, and no representative was stronger in putting forward the idea of having these international disputes settled by arbitration than the gentleman who represented this, country. I want to know what change has come over the Administration? Why is it that when President Kruger made the offer to submit this dispute to arbitration it was not accepted? I am strongly of the opinion that it was not a question of the franchise at all; it was not a question of arms for the Uitlanders; it is not a drainage question, as some gentlemen appear to make out, nor a question of gas or water, but it is a question of obtaining the whole of South Africa, and it is a case of continent-grabbing. I am not going to detain the House at any length, but as an Irish Member I protest against this war, and I shall vote against it because I believe it is an unjust and an unnecessary war, which is condemned by the vast majority of the Irish people. I maintain that the Irish people at the present time are labouring under more constitutional disadvantages than the Uitlanders in the Transvaal, and I would like to ask Gentlemen opposite who are so much in favour of this war what they would have thought of America, or France, or Germany, if they commenced to interfere in our internal affairs. (Ministerial laughter.) Hon. Members may laugh, but believe me, England has not so many powerful allies that she can afford to go 151 to war at the present time on a small pretence. The majority of the great Powers of Europe are watching with a jealous eye how this war is going on, and if anything disastrous occurs it is very easy to conceive such complications as may not be so easily met as in the case of the Boers. The Boers are only a small handful of men, and why should the British Empire go to war with them? If the Boers were a powerful nation the British Empire would not have gone to war with them. Our sympathies are entirely with the Boers, and a great many Englishmen also sympathise with the Boers. I have been talking with a great many Englishmen in this country who tell me that war has been declared because we cannot help it. That is the way in which it has been engineered. As an Irish Member I protest against this unjust war, and I trust that God will defend the right.
§ Colonel SAUNDERSON
I hesitate to address the House in this debate, because I expect very few British Members will take part in it. I am happy to know that on this occasion, as on all similar occasions when this country is at war, party politics are forgotten, and Englishmen, whether they be Liberals or Radicals or Conservatives, stand shoulder to shoulder. The principal speakers in this debate have been Irish Members. No one objects to Irish Members expressing their opinions in this House, but I think some surprise must be felt at the vigorous manner in which Roman Catholic Irishmen support the Boers. I think that is very magnanimous on their part, because Roman Catholics in the Transvaal have not a "show" of any kind.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
I will leave the House to judge that. Ireland sends 103 Members here, and they make a considerable "show." I think the House listened with attention and amusement, and perhaps some admiration, to the speech of the hon. Member for East Clare. He wound up an eloquent speech by saying that he was advocating the cause of peaceful farmers in South Africa. The House was perhaps astonished at that statement, but it would not have been if it knew the county Clare. The idea in the mind of the hon. Member of "peaceful farmers" is naturally different 152 from that in ordinary minds, because at the present moment it happens that these peaceful farmers are bombarding Mafeking and probably Kimberley, have already invaded Natal, and may have killed a number of Her Majesty's subjects. Why is it that hon. Gentlemen opposite take up the cause of the Boers? They state very frankly that they hate Great Britain. They have been quite open on the point. They would like to see Great Britain overthrown—at all events, that is what they say in Ireland. But, although they desire the downfall of Great Britain, they have an extremely great respect for the power of the British lion. They will not go for the British lion themselves, but they adopt the principle of patting on the back any one who undertakes the task of tackling the British lion. Not very long ago a great favourite in Ireland was the Mahdi, and I remember that the hon. Member for East Clare himself called for three cheers for the Mahdi. Why did Irishmen admire the Mahdi? I suppose they will not deny that he was a most detestable bloodthirsty ruffian, but he had one redeeming feature which obliterated all his failings—he went for Great Britain. We find now that the Boers occupy the place that the Mahdi occupied. Meetings have been held all over Ireland in support of the Boers, and although the language used has been pretty strong, I really think the House and the country, and even the Boers themselves, should hear what their supporters have said. I will give one quotation, and I think the House will admit it is pretty stiff. The hon. Member for Kilkenny, who has taken the Oath of Allegiance, made the following statement, which, I suppose, by some ethical process he can reconcile to his conscience.He hoped," he said, "that the soldiers in Irish regiments in the service of England would before they lined up against the Boers, remember that they were first of all Irishmen, and that, instead of fighting in favour of England, they would turn their arms in favour of the Boers.Now what does that mean? It means that the hon. Gentleman deliberately incited his countrymen in the service of the Queen not only to desert but to shoot their comrades. I should like to have heard the hon. Gentleman make such a speech in the Transvaal with impunity, or in any other civilised country except Ireland, where they say the liberty of the subject is so 153 much interfered with. I think, however, that the speeches of hon. Gentlemen below the gangway opposite are from the outset absolutely discounted in this House. I think they will have no effect, mid ought to have no effect, either in this House or in the country, not because they are not eloquent, but because hon. Gentlemen opposite stand in the House of Commons and in Ireland as enemies of Great Britain. Therefore, I say that when they advocate any course in the House of Commons, the House of Commons, if true to the country, ought to take a diametrically opposite view. What they advise cannot be in favour of Great Britain: what they condemn is exactly the course we ought to follow. Therefore, I think that the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite, although they may probably give satisfaction to their constituents, will have no effect in the House of Commons. There is, however, one respect in which I regard the speeches which hon. Members have been making on the question of the Transvaal as important. I ask any Radical Member of this House, if there is one, who still even pretends to believe in Home Rule, if we were not amply justified in taking the stand we did in opposing by every means in our power the placing of men in authority in Ireland who openly avow themselves enemies of this country. If there is that patriotism in the hearts of Radical Members for which I give them credit, those speeches and the action taken by hon. Gentlemen opposite on this question, ought to kill Home Rule for ever. The country is accused of going to war with the Transvaal for the meanest motives. Hon. Gentlemen opposite of course hold that opinion, but I do not think Great Britain is ever likely to go to them for a character.
§ COL. SAUNDERSON
It is very hard to carry on guerilla warfare. I may say also that I read with much pain a speech made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose, in which he spoke of this country as a country of pirates. Let me ask any man who thinks calmly for one moment on this 154 question, what has this country to gain in getting hold of the Transvaal? It is said that this country is going to take the Transvaal on account of its gold. Would the British taxpayer get the gold? Would the Members of the House of Commons be richer? Oh, yes, I beg pardon, hon. Gentlemen opposite got £10,000 from Mr. Cecil Rhodes. The hon. Member for East Mayo, in his torrent of declamation against Mr. Rhodes, forgot that £10,000, and he did not tell the House whether any of it went into his own pocket.
§ MR. DILLON
I did not forget the £10,000. It was given to Mr. Paraell to support the Home Rule cause, but it could not bribe the Irish Party.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
Then I suppose it was returned, as it ought to have been. It is idle to have these accusations against this country. The taxpayers of this country or the Members of the House of Commons have not embarked on this war with any satisfaction. I venture to say that there is no hon. Member who does not look upon the War as a sad necessity, and I am conscious that we will be acquitted of deliberately entering upon this war with any idea of aggrandisement or enrichment. That is not our object. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose said that the man in the street did not know why we were going to war, and hon. Gentlemen opposite have reiterated that statement. To my mind nothing is plainer to the man in the street than that the treatment of the Uitlanders in the Transvaal is a very material incident in the case. But that is not the reason why we are going to war. We are going to war because we are determined that Queen Victoria and not President Kruger shall be supreme, and any man who has visited South! Africa, even for a week or ten days, knows that that is the question. I ventured to point out to the House on a previous occasion that in South Africa there exists a great organisation, I might almost go! so far as to say a great conspiracy. It is an organisation similar to that which existed in Ireland, and, just as in Ireland, it derives its money from a foreign country. The Afrikander Bond gets its money from the Transvaal, and why is it! given In the rules of the Bond, which I have procured, it is clearly laid down that the object of the Bond is to create in South Africa a great Dutch power, in 155 which the English should have no share, but I believe the majority of this country is at one with the majority of this House when we say that Queen Victoria shall be supreme in South Africa. My experience, so far as it goes, is that there are thousands of Dutchmen in South Africa at present "sitting on the rail," and that they are ready to join the side which they think will be uppermost in the end. If they find out that this country really means to make an end, as I believe it does, then the Dutch in the greater part of Cape Colony and Natal will become loyal subjects of the Queen. I regret the necessity for this war. I regret that we are fighting at the present moment with a brave, a determined, and above all a Protestant people. As to the necessity for the war, history will record that it was forced upon us, and when we read the Blue Books, I venture to affirm that no Government in the history of our country has ever shown more patience in trying to avert war. What was the point on which the split occurred It was not a question of franchise qualification. The split took place on the word "suzerainty." That is the foundation of the whole trouble in South Africa. The Dutch will not have it, and we are determined that it shall exist. That is the position which the Government have taken up, and, whatever hon. Gentlemen opposite may say, and however they may sneer and misrepresent the motives that have caused the Government to take this action, the British people will record their approval of a policy which will give freedom and justice and prosperity to the whole of South Africa.
§ MR. P. A. M'HUGH (Leitrim, N.)
I have one or two words to say in support of the Amendment of the hon. Member for East Mayo. In my judgment, and that of my constituents, this war is a most iniquitous enterprise, and it appears to me that there is a great deal of hypocrisy in the speeches delivered by hon. Gentlemen opposite in support of it. It has been said that the Uitlanders are denied the right of free speech. On the 17th of last month the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, who is now demanding the right of free speech for the Uitlanders, denied the right of free speech to me in my own constituency, and sent down two hundred of his police to baton my constituents. I would like to know if we have not as much right to 156 free speech in my own constituency, in which I was born, and in which my father and mother are living, as the Uitlanders in the Transvaal? We are told that the Uitlanders do not get a fair trial, but in the county of Leitrim my constituents get no trial at all. Let me point out to Her Majesty's Minister who rules Ireland at the present time, that there is in Sligo Gaol a member of my constituency, an Irish Uitlander, imprisoned after two trials, not because any charge was formulated against him, but because he was a , member of a legal organisation, the United Irish League. You demand a fair trial for the Uitlanders in the Transvaal; I demand a fair trial for my constitutents at home in Ireland.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The hon. Member is not entitled on this question to go into particular grievances in Ireland.
§ MR. P. A. M'HUGH
I was trying to point out the fallacies and hypocrisy of the speakers on the other side of the House, and I was going to show that if they were honest and sincere in their demands for a fair trial for the Uitlanders in the Transvaal, they should extend to the people I represent a fair trial, which was being denied to them, and whose, liberties have been taken away by two partisan Judges.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The hon. Member must know that he is not in order in speaking in this manner of the Judges in Ireland.
§ MR. P. A. M'HUGH
Well, whose liberties have been taken away by the promoted supporters of Her Majesty's Government.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
If the hon. Member persists in this line of argument, I shall have to name him to the House.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
If the Transvaal is under British suzerainty, is it in order to attack the Judges in the Transvaal?
§ MR. P. A. M'HUGH
I do not wish to detain the House, but I might use the same arguments in regard to other questions. We have not equality in Ireland in regard to education; we have not a Catholic university. Then in regard to over-taxation our case in Ireland is much harder than that of the Uitlanders in the Transvaal. I do not know much about Blue Books in connection with this question, but I do know that to my con- 157 stituents, as to myself, this war is an absolutely iniquitous enterprise. There is no use, however, in speaking to the House of Commons about iniquity, or morality, or humanity. The British lion is roaring for his prey, and he must get it. There is another point of view from which this question might be discussed by the Irish representative, namely, that of £ s. d. A huge sum will be asked for, for the purpose of proceeding with this war, and Ireland will be called upon to pay, not her share, but much more than her share. It has been shewn clearly, beyond the power of contradiction of any Member of this House, that Ireland is overtaxed to the extent of three millions.
§ MR. P. A. M'HUGH
Then I will not discuss it; but I will say, as an Irish representative, that I object to pay a penny towards a war to which I am opposed on grounds of public morality. I say it is a scandal greater than any that has existed in the Transvaal; and I object to the people in my constituency being compelled to contribute to an enterprise the cost of which would stagger humanity.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 54 Noes, 322—(Division List, No. 2).159
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Kelly, James|
|Ambrose, Robert||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Pickers gill, Edward Hare|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Healy, Thomas, J. (Wexford)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Healy, Timothy M. (N. Louth)||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Burns, John||Hempill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Burt, Thomas||Hogan, James Francis||Souttar, Robinson|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Jordan, Jeremiah||Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.|
|Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.)||Lenty, Thomas Richmond||Steadman, William Charles|
|Commins, Andrew||Lough, Thomas||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Crilly, Daniel||MacAleese, Daniel||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Davitt, Michael||MacDonnell, Dr. M. A. (Qu'nsC)||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Donelan, Captain A.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Tuite, James|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Dermott, Patrick||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Farrell, Thomas J. (Kerry, S.)||M'Ghee, Richard||Wilson, Hy. J. (York, W. R.)|
|Field, William (Dublin)||M'Hugh, Patrick A. (Leitrim)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis||M'Leod, John||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Gibney, James||Maddison, Fred.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Mr. Dillon and Mr. Labouchere.|
|Gurdon, Sir Wm. Brampton||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Bousfield, William Robert||Cotton-Jodrell, Col. Edw. T. D.|
|Allhusen, Augustus Henry E.||Bowles, Capt. H. F.||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn)||Cripps, Charles Alfred|
|Arnold, Alfred||Brassey, Albert||Crombie, John William|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Brookfield, A. Montagu||Cruddas, William Donaldson.|
|Arrol, Sir William||Brown, Alexander H.||Cubitt, Hon. Henry|
|Asher, Alexander||Bullard, Sir Harry||Currie, Sir Donald|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Burdett-Coutts, W.||Curzon, Viscount|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbt. Hy.||Butcher, John George||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Buxton, Sydney Charles||Dalrymple, Sir Charles|
|Bagot, Capt. J. FitzRoy||Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)||Davenport, W. Bromley-|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Carlile, William Walter||Davies, Sir H. D. (Chatham)|
|Baillie, James E. B. (Inverness)||Carmichael, Sir T. D. Gibson-||Denny, Colonel|
|Bainbridge, Emerson||Carson, Rt. Hon. Edward||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred. D.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Dorington, Sir John Edward|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Doughty, George|
|Barry, Rt. Hn. A. H. S. (Hunts)||Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-|
|Barry, Sir F. T. (Windsor)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r.)||Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S.|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Doxford, William Theodore|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Charrington, Spencer||Drage, Geoffrey|
|Begg, Ferdinand Faithfull||Clare, Octavius Leigh||Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Clarke, Sir Edward (Plymouth)||Dunn, Sir William|
|Bethell, Commander||Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Hart|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Coddington, Sir William||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton|
|Bigwood, James||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas|
|Bill, Charles||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Fardell, Sir T. George|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Colston, C. E. H. Athole||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward|
|Bolitho, Thomas Bedford||Compton, Lord Alwyne||Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)|
|Bond, Edward||Cook, Fred Lucas (Lambeth)||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Man.|
|Bonsor, Henry Cosmo Orme||Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)||Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Cornwallis, Fiennes Stan. W.||Finch, George H.|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lea, Sir Thomas (Londond'y.||Purvis, Robert|
|Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Lecky, Rt. Hon. W. E. H.||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Rankin, Sir James|
|Fison, Frederick William||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Leigh-Bennett, H. Currie||Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)|
|FitzWygram, General Sir F.||Leighton, Stanley||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Swan.||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.|
|Flower, Ernest||Lockwood, Lt. Col. A. R.||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Charles T.|
|Folkestone, Viscount||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Liverpool)||Robinson, Brooke|
|Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||Lowe, Francis William||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Lowles, John||Round, James|
|Garfit, William||Lowther, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Cumb.||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Gedge, Sydney||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Runciman, Walter|
|Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham|
|Gibbs, Hon. V. (St. Albans)||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Macdona, John Cumming||Rutherford, John|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Ryder, John Herbert Dudley|
|Godson, Sir Augustus F.||Maclean, James Mackenzie||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Goldsworthy, Major-General||Maclure, Sir John William||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. E. J.|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Savory, Sir Joseph|
|Gorst, Rt Hn. Sir John Eldon||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard|
|Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J. (St. Geo)||M'Calmont, H. L. B. (Cambs.)||Seely, Charles Hilton|
|Goschen, George J. (Sussex.||M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W.)||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||M'Killop, James||Shaw, Chas. Edw. (Stafford)|
|Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)||Malcolm, Ian||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs||Maple, Sir John Blundell||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Gretton, John||Marks, Henry Hananel||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||Martin, Richard (Biddulph)||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Gull, Sir Cameron||Mellor, Col. (Lancashire)||Stanley, Hon. A. (Orinskirk)|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||Mellor, Rt. Hn. J. W. (Yorks.)||Stanley, E. J. (Somerset)|
|Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord George||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Rob. Wm.||Milbank, Sir Powlett C. J.||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Hanson, Sir Reginald||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Hardy, Laurence||Milton, Viscount||Sturt, Hon. Humphry N.|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Milward, Colonel Victor||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Heath, James||Monk, Charles James||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf. Univ.)|
|Helder, Augustus||Montagu, Hn. J. Scott (Hants)||Thorburn, Walter|
|Henderson, Alexander||Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Hickman, Sir Alfred||More, Robt. Jas. (Shropshire)||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Hill, Sir E. Stock (Bristol)||Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Hoare, Edw. Brodie (Hamps.)||Morrell, George Herbert||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Ure, Alexander|
|Hobhouse, Henry||Moulton, John Fletcher||Valentia, Viscount|
|Hornby, Sir William Henry||Muntz, Philip A.||Ward, Hn. Robert A (Crewe)|
|Horniman, Frederick John||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Webster, Sir Richard E.|
|Hozier, Hon. James Hy. Cecil||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn||Myers, William Henry||Wharton, Rt. Hn. J. Lloyd|
|Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)||Newark, Viscount||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.|
|Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Newdigate, Francis Alex.||Williams, J. Powell-(Birm.)|
|Jenkins, Sir John Jones||Nicholson, William Graham||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Northeote, Hn. Sir H. Stafford||Wilson, F. W. (Norfolk)|
|Jolliffe, Hon. H. George||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Jones, David Bryn. (Swansea)||Oldroyd, Mark||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Kemp, George||Parkes, Ebenezer||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir Jn. H.||Paulton, James Mellor||Wrightson, Thomas|
|Kenyon, James||Pearson, Sir Weetman D.||Wylie, Alexander|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William||Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)||Wyndham, George|
|Keswick, William||Penn, John||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Kimber, Henry||Philipps, John Wynford||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour||Pierpoint, Robert||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Kinloch, Sir J. George Smyth||Pilkington, R. (Lancs., Newton)||Young, Commander(Berks, E.)|
|Kitson, Sir James||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Younger, William|
|Knowles, Lees||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Lafone, Alfred||Pretyman, Ernest George||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Lawrence, Sir E. Duming(Corn||Priestley, Sir W. O. (Edin.)||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Lawson, J. Grant (Yorks.)||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
§ Main Question again proposed: Debate arising;
§ And, it being after midnight, the Debate stood adjourned.