§ Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed [18th October] to Main Question [17th October], "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 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 Alexander Acland-Hood.)
And which Amendment was, at the end of the Question, to add the words—
But we humbly represent to your Majesty our strong disapproval of the conduct of the negotiations with the Government of the Transvaal which have involved us in hostilities with the two South African Republics."—(Mr. Stanhope.)
§ Question again proposed—"That those words be there added."
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN,) Birmingham, W.
I rise, Sir, with a feeling of satisfaction and almost of relief at being able now to reply to the accusations and insinuations which have been made against Her Majesty's Government during the past few months, and I am especially glad that the arraignment which I have to answer has been presented to the House and the country in the dignified speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth. I have already said that to the tone and substance of that speech I could not possibly take any exception, and if he will permit me to say so, as one who has fought with him as well as against him, I think the speech was worthy of him and of the occasion. I think he is in many particulars wrong, I do not agree with many of his conclusions and many of his inferences, and I am even sanguine enough to suppose that when he has heard the explanations I shall have to give he himself will be of opinion that in some respects at all events he has been unjust to Her Majesty's Government. The right hon. Gentleman began 255 his speech by remarking that it was a vulgar notion held outside the House of Commons that it would be unpatriotic, under existing circumstances, to discuss the past policy of Her Majesty's Government. I think the right hon. Gentleman cannot have been present in the House when it was addressed by the Leader of the Opposition, because the doctrine to which the right hon. Gentleman takes exception as a vulgar notion held outside the House was the doctrine seriously put forward by the Leader of the Opposition, who said in terms and in words I am prepared to quote that he thought—though he differed, or thought he might differ, from the policy of the Government—no detailed criticism of it at the present time could be undertaken by himself or his friends.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will allow me to say that I expressly did not repudiate the right of any patriotic man to criticise in detail the conduct of Her Majesty's Government, but I said that in the circumstances of the day upon which I was speaking, it did not appear to me opportune or desirable that I should undertake the duty. I reserved then, as I reserve now, a perfect right of criticism.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I do not understand what there is in my remarks of which the right hon. Gentleman complains. I do not for a moment say that the right hon. Gentleman had any power to bind his followers from the exercise of the right, but he advised them not to exercise it.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
I did not advise anybody. The right hon. Gentleman must not, when he professes to quote me, impute to me things I did not say. He must not attribute to me a course of thought or words that are not mine. I never advised my followers not to do this. I was speaking for myself, and I said I did not think it was an opportune moment for me to undertake the task of detailed criticism. That I said, and no more, and I ask the right hon. Gentleman to confine himself to that fact.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I accept most fully the statement of the right hon. Gentleman. I regret exceedingly that I 256 should have raised any heat; it was not my intention to do so. I assure the right hon. Gentleman that I had no intention whatever of doing so, and I take it, therefore, exactly as he has said. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Monmouth thinks, rightly as I believe, that he is fully entitled to discuss the past policy of the Government; he thinks that this is an opportune moment for such discussion, as we also think. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition does not think it is. I have said that I think the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Monmouth is perfectly correct in the view which he has taken. I venture to say—I hope this is not offensive—that the reasons which the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition gave for his own abstention were bad ones, and I have got also this to say, that, whatever he may have intended on the subject, his actual practice differed altogether from the principles that he laid down. It is quite true that he did not engage in detailed criticism of the conduct of the Government—that is to say, he gave no proof of his allegations, he laid no foundation for his case, but he insinuated, he alleged in vague and general terms, many things against the Government which I am anxious to discuss with him in the most courteous, and, I hope, friendly way. Now, the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition must see this—that he cannot have it in both ways. He has spoken frequently in the country during the last three months; he spoke to us the other day upon the Address; but he cannot claim credit for his patriotism in avoiding everything which could by any possibility embarrass the Government in the pursuit of a difficult task, and at the same time continue to make these insinuations, to go about the country with a portentous whisper of—"I could an' I would," "hinting a fault and hesitating dislike." Those things are inconsistent, and for my part I confess I prefer the open opposition, expressed in the most courteous and moderate terms, of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Monmouth to these vague charges which have been so frequently in the mouth of the Leader of the Opposition. Just let me point out this to the House:—Supposing that patriotism did require silence upon this occasion, who would be the greatest 257 sufferer? Her Majesty's Government? Why, Sir, for months past we have been the mark not only of the vague charges of the right hon. Gentleman, but of the most unmeasured abuse, the most grotesque misrepresentation, and then are we to be told now that it is patriotic to make these accusations and these misrepresentations, but that it is unpatriotic to bring them to the test of a reply in this House, where those who are accused are still able to speak for themselves? I should be very sorry if I thought for a moment that the view which the right hon. Gentleman took of the duty of the House in this matter were correct. I do not. I think he misapprehended his own position. Sir, the time is past when anything that can be said in this House will embarrass Her Majesty's Government. The issues are out of the hands of the politician. There was a time, I admit, when speeches such as have been made in the country were calculated to embarrass the Government, and did embarrass the Government, when the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition reiterated—not once alone—but reiterated down even to the last few weeks, I might almost say the last few days, his statement that there was no need for military preparations, that there was no cause for the use of force, and that we were unnecessarily provoking a conflict—that was a hint, not an actual statement. There was a time when there were others who argued the cause of the Boers with greater success and greater eloquence than their own advocates, when they succeeded, to their own satisfaction at any rate, in proving that their country was entirely in the wrong. I have not the least doubt that they were acting under a sense of conscientious conviction—that they were acting with a sense of full responsibility; but if they had any common-sense or intelligence they could not have doubted for a moment that the words which they felt it their duty to speak, the statements which they considered themselves bound to make, were calculated to encourage President Kruger in his resistance, and to embarrass Her Majesty's Government in the exercise of those most difficult and critical functions in which we have been engaged for so considerable a period. I say that all these considerations may now be put aside. There is an open field; the fortune of war, whatever it may be, will not be affected by 258 our debate, and now is the time when our past conduct, everything we have done or left undone, the mistakes we have made, may be fairly brought to the test of the opinion and judgment of this House, may be usefully as well as fully discussed. Therefore I say in the first instance, and on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, that we welcome this Amendment; it is a wide and broad Amendment which lays open for consideration everything which has happened during the last three months, or even beyond that time. We welcome the Amendment, we welcome all honest and honourable criticism. I wish I could apply those epithets to the speech of the mover of the Amendment.
§ *MR. STANHOPE (Burnley)
Mr. Speaker, I rise to a point of order. The right hon. Gentleman has spoken of a speech which I made last night, in which I thought fit, and conscientiously thought fit, to arraign his conduct in the presence of this House and of the country—he has spoken of my criticism as being dishonourable and dishonest. I have to ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether terms of that sort can be applied to a Member of this House?
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The language used by the right hon. Gentleman went somewhat beyond the ordinary courtesy of debate.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I bow, Mr. Speaker, with all respect to your decision, and withdraw anything to which you take exception. The House knows very well—those who were present yesterday heard the speech to which I have referred, and they will appreciate its tone, its temper, and its animus. It is a speech, I think, such as has been rarely heard in this House. The tone of it is unusual in our debates; especially, I think, is it inconsistent with the gravity of what, after all, may be considered to be a momentous occasion. I am at a loss to explain it. I can only explain it, if that be an explanation, by a reference to an incident which took place a few weeks ago in the Raad of the South African Republic. There was a member of that Raad, Mr. Longmann, who was called to order by his President for intemperate language, but he, unlike Members of this House, was unwilling to be bound by the decision of the Chair, and insisted upon what he called his right to vent his 259 opinion and to insult the Secretary of State for the Colonies. It seems to me that in carrying out a somewhat similar intention the hon. Member went very far.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
He even raked up the ashes of the inquiry of the South Africa Committee into the Jameson Raid. I thought, as far as I am concerned, that that discussion was necessarily closed by the Report of the Committee which was appointed by this House. That Committee contained Members from both sides of the House, whose honour and integrity and impartiality nobody could be found to dispute. I presented myself for examination to that Committee—
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I told them what I knew. The hon. Member for Burnley is disposed to dispute my words. I hope, even in the passion of debates in this House, for the honour of the House, that there will be very few Members on his own side who will sympathise with him. The hon. Member went on to challenge me to produce a letter which I wrote to Mr. Hawkesley, the solicitor of the Chartered Company, some time after the Raid, which he says he challenged me to produce on a previous occasion. Sir, what right has he to send a challenge to me? Is he my judge? I am not disposed to gratify his spiteful curiosity. I have no doubt that he intends to found, or he thinks that he may be able to found, upon that refusal a continuation of the campaign of slander which has been going on for some time past. He is mistaken; I will not reply to his challenge, I will not produce to him the letter. But I will tell the right hon. Gentleman that, like many other persons who take up the task of an amateur detective, he has found a mare's nest. And if the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, or the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Monmouth, who were both upon the committee—if either of those gentlemen will express a desire or a wish, or any interest in this letter, I will produce it to them with the greatest of pleasure. They are not only honourable Members, they are honourable men.
§ *MR. STANHOPE
Mr. Speaker, I rise to order. On a previous occasion the right hon. Gentleman made use of an expression which you said was going beyond the ordinary limits of debate and the ordinary practice of this House. The right hon. Gentleman, in defiance of that ruling, is now repeating the offence. I ask your opinion upon it, and appeal to you to say whether the right hon. Gentleman is not now speaking in contravention of your ruling?
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I cannot see that the right hon. Gentleman is using language which imputes dishonourable conduct to the hon. Member.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Then the hon. Member went on to speak of the South African League. He said it was an organisation which was subsidised by Jewish and other capitalists, and which employed hundreds of thousands of pounds to poison the minds of the people in this country and in South Africa. Now, sir, the hon. Member may know more of the South African League than I do; but, as far as I know, I can say I do not know the name of a single person who belongs to it, and to my knowledge I have never been in communication with any member of the League. I have been informed by Sir Alfred Milner—I think it appears in the Blue Book—that the organisation has received very little pecuniary assistance, that the largest subscription did not exceed a sum of £50, and that, in fact, from what I have heard, it is one of the poorest and, at the same time, most representative political organisations which has ever been established. When the hon. Member talks about this League or association poisoning the wells of public opinion, why, sir, I call to mind what happened in another country a little while ago, and I think of General Mercier and his Dreyfus syndicate. I noticed that my hon. friend the Member for Durham also referred to the League with a different purpose. He said that the objects of the League were opposed to and inconsistent with the policy of Her Majesty's Government, and he asked why we did not repudiate it. Surely my hon. friend, who has had great political experience, could not have addressed that question seriously to the Government. What is the position of this League? It is a political association; the Government conducted its negotia- 261 tions without the assistance of leagues or associations, and made proposals for reform in the Transvaal, and this League appears to have thought that the proposals did not go far enough for the purpose, and they made representations to Sir Alfred Milner to that effect. They had a perfect right to make those representations, and why on earth are we to be called upon to repudiate an association with which we have absolutely nothing whatever to do, with which we have no official communication, but whose main objects, so far as the principles are concerned, are undoubtedly identical with our own? Let me put to my hon. friend a case. Suppose this Government next year should bring forward a project for redistribution; suppose the Liberal Unionist Association of Durham or the Conservative Federation in this county should consider that that project was inadequate and should make a representation to Lord Salisbury to that effect, and put forward a scheme which went much further—well, Sir, I do not suppose that the settled decision of the Government would be in the least altered by that resolution or protest, but surely nobody in their senses would call upon the Government to repudiate the association with whose general conclusions they might have a certain amount of sympathy. Sir, so far as this league is concerned I hardly understand the object of the hon. Member in introducing it at all into this discussion. The hon. Member for Burnley went on to invent an imaginary collaboration between Mr. Rhodes and myself. Sir, I think I have said before in this House, at all events I say it now, that from the time of the Raid I have had no communication, either direct or indirect, with Mr. Rhodes on any subject connected with South African policy. He has never spoken to me about it; I have never spoken to him. I have seen him about the Cape to Cairo Railway, about the progress of Rhodesia; but never have we touched upon or had any communication what ever with regard to the subject which is now under consideration. So far as I know—my knowledge is derived from the newspapers—until very recently, when he took his place in the Cape House of Assembly, Mr. Rhodes has been absolutely quiet, has remained absolutely aloof from the politics of South Africa; and the only prominent part he has taken is when he went recently, 262 millionaire though he be, to face a danger greater than ordinary in the defence of Kimberley. Now I come to the last point of the hon. Member for Burnley. The hon. Member finally alleges a conspiracy. Against whom? Well, Sir, I think I noticed that while he was loudly cheered by a few Members of the House while attacking the Colonial Secretary, there was a marked coolness when he began to attack Sir Alfred Milner, a distinguished public servant; and when he accused Sir Alfred Milner, and accused me, of being in a conspiracy—
§ *MR. STANHOPE
I did not use the word conspiracy at all. What I imputed to Sir Alfred Milner was that they had determined in their own mind some months ago that war was the only solution of this difficulty, and that they, therefore, made up their mind to that.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
If that was the statement which the hon. Member made, there is no Parliamentary language in which I can express my opinion of it. Sir, to have made such a charge against a Minister—a responsible Minister of the Crown—and against one of the most distinguished servants of the Crown—to have made such a charge, and to accuse them of acts for which, if they were guilty, impeachment would be too good for them, and to make that without proof—is not right. Now, Sir—I am speaking in the recollection of the House—what proof did the hon. Member give of this monstrous charge? Not one scrap, not one iota, not one reference, not one fact, not one quotation. The whole thing was given to the House as an allegation upon his heart and conscience.
§ *MR. STANHOPE
"Upon my heart and conscience" the allegation was an allegation which had been made in the case of another man—not so distinguished as himself, of course—a great statesman.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The hon. Member has no right to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman merely for the purpose of making a reply or retort.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Mr. Speaker, I have done with the hon. Gentleman, and I turn with the greatest satisfaction from his personalities, to which I have been forced to reply, to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth. Now, Sir, let me say 263 on the part of the Government that we welcome his honest criticism. Hitherto, the difficulty with which we have had to deal is that all criticism has been vague and undefined, that the grounds of the statements which have been made in reference to our policy have been hitherto concealed. Until the speech of the right hon. Gentleman it appeared to be in the minds of many members of the Opposition that in some way or other, at some time, by some act of omission or of commission which has not been explained, at some period of the negotiations, we have interfered in such a way as to prevent a peaceful settlement which might otherwise have been secured. Well, now, Sir, I am going to make an admission. I am inclined to complain—or perhaps I should not say complain—of the right hon. Gentleman, who does, I think, occasionally—unintentionally, of course, but still rather unfairly—twist former utterances of his opponents in order to prove their supposed or real inconsistency. I will give an illustration of that in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. He referred to the speech I made on May 6, 1896—a speech which has never been corrected by me—and I do not know, therefore, whether any words have been omitted. The right hon. Gentleman knows what a difference the omission of a word may make, and I have for long found no time to correct my speeches. But, at all events, take the speech as it appears in Hansard. It was a speech in which I expressed my opinion that it would be impolitic, even immoral, to go to war with the Transvaal in order to enforce certain internal reforms. Well, Sir, the introduction of a single word would make the meaning clear. But what I complain of is that a particular passage like that is taken without reference to the circumstances under which the speech is delivered or to the general tone of the speech. I appeal to the House to judge even me fairly. Is it likely that I should have ever intended to say, even in May, 1896, that it would always be immoral, that it would always be impossible, that it would always be impolitic to interfere in the internal affairs of the Transvaal? What I meant then, and what I say now, is that, unless the Conventions are broken, we have no claim under the Conventions for any interference in the internal affairs of the Transvaal. But if our fellow-sub- 264 jects are injured by the conduct of the internal affairs of the South African Republic, that gives us at once the right of interference, even under international law, which is entirely independent of all Conventions, of the suzerainty, or of any other points of dispute. I am led to make this little protest at this stage because I am now going to make an admission which also may be construed as inconsistent with what I have said before. The argument on the other side has been that if we had done something different peace might have been preserved. Well, Sir, I say that, having most carefully considered all the circumstances in the light of the most recent events—in the light of the ultimatum and in the light of the recent speeches of President Kruger and others—I have now come to the conclusion that war was always inevitable. It is a conclusion at which I have only recently and most reluctantly arrived. Sir, the right hon. Gentleman, or any one else, can find passages at different times in the despatches which were only the other day laid upon the Table of the House in which I have continued to be—I will not say sanguine, but, at all events, in which I have continued to express hope of peace. I expressed such hopes of peace when the House broke up at the end of last session. From the first day I came into office I hoped for peace; I strove for peace. At that time, and at an earlier period, down even to the most recent period, I have believed in peace. But do let us all look at the matter in the new light in which it is now presented to us. My hon. friend the Member for Durham expressed in eloquent terms his additional regret that, not only were we at war, but that we had come to war after being apparently so near to peace. The Leader of the Opposition spoke in the same sense, and the right hon. Member for West Monmouth followed him on the same line. Sir, have we ever been near peace? We have appeared to be near peace; reason has been given to us to make us think that we were near it. But is it not true, when we come to look at the whole situation, that always there have been cardinal differences; that there have been things which it was essential for us to demand and to obtain; and that those things President Kruger and his friends and advisers have always been determined not to grant? I claim these quotations. 265 from my past speeches upon this subject as confirmation of what I again emphatically declare to the House—that from first to last in these negotiations, while I have put first in my mind the determination at all costs to secure justice for British subjects, and to secure the paramountcy (or call it what you will) of this country—that is not the immediate subject of discussion—while I have done that, within these limits I have striven to the very best of my poor ability to secure a peaceful settlement. When I have been in doubt as to President Kruger's intentions, I have given him the benefit of the doubt. I am taunted with having spoken of his magnanimity. I desired to believe him magnanimous. Some great man—Goethe, I think—said that if you wish a man to be what you want him to be, you must express your belief that he is so. I convinced myself, I satisfied myself, that there were indications of magnanimity which I rejoiced to acknowledge. Well, Sir, I may have erred. You may ridicule my foresight; you may contemn my moderation; but you cannot deny that all this points to my intimate and anxious desire for that peaceful settlement which we have failed to secure. Before I go in detail into the points raised by the right hon. Gentleman, let us see—and this is the pleasantest task in which any man in my position can engage—how far we are agreed. We are agreed on the whole—but for some insignificant exceptions, who will themselves admit that they do not carry much representative weight at the present time—as to the policy and duty of the Government in the present situation. After that extraordinary ultimatum which was addressed to the Queen and the Government it is impossible, as the right hon. Member for West Monmouth observed, for Her Majesty's Government to do anything other than to prosecute with all energy the war which has been thrust upon us, and to carry it as quickly as possible to a successful issue. But our agreement does not cease there; that is only the present situation. When hon. Members opposite come to consider the whole subject they will be surprised to find how trifling really are the differences between us. At all events, I can show to you that we are absolutely agreed as to the objects of the policy. There is no doubt about that. It is true that the Leader of the Opposi- 266 tion did say in a speech the other day—and I think it was rather a hasty expression—that the man in the street did not know what the cause of the war was. Well, Sir, the man in the street really is wiser than the right hon. Gentleman thought him to be. With that great instinct of the British people in all times of crisis, the man in the street has put aside technicalities and legal subtleties and has gone to the root of the question. He knows perfectly well that we are going to war in defence of principles—the principles upon which this Empire has been founded and upon which alone it can exist. What are those principles? I do not think that anyone—however extreme a view he may take of this particular war, and however much he may condemn and criticise the policy of her Majesty's Government—will dispute what I am going to say. The first principle is this—that if we are to maintain our position in regard to other nations, if we are to maintain our existence as a great Power in South Africa, we are bound to show that we are both willing and able to protect British subjects everywhere when they are made to suffer from oppression and injustice. This is especially incumbent upon us in the present case, because equality was promised between the two white races by President Kruger; because that equality was the foundation of the negotiations upon which the independence of the Transvaal was conceded; and, further, that equality was promised to British subjects in South Africa by Mr. Gladstone, the head of the Government which made the Convention. That is the first principle. It is a principle which prevails always and everywhere, and in every difference which we may have with another country; but it prevails with special force and emphasis in this case, in which our relations with the Transvaal in the establishment of the Republic are so special and peculiar. The second principle is that, in the interests of South Africa and in the interests of the British Empire, Great Britain must remain the paramount Power in South Africa. Let me at once say that, when we talk about South Africa, we cannot always make every qualification and exception. What we mean is not the German or Portuguese possessions, but the two Republics and the British colonies. Almost everyone will admit that that 267 great principle is one which both sides of the House are determined to maintain. Why do we maintain it? Because, as the Leader of the Opposition said—most wisely, if I may venture to say so—the peace of South Africa depends upon our accepting the responsibilities of that position. These, then, are the two principles, and we are at war now because the oligarchy—for it is nothing more than an oligarchy; it is a Republic, but it is not a democracy—because the oligarchy at Pretoria, very often, I am afraid—nay, I am certain—in its own personal interest, aided and abetted by President Steyn and advisers outside the Republic, has persistently pursued, from the very day of the signing of the Convention of 1881 down to now, a policy which tended to the evasion of its obligations; a policy by which it has broken its promises; by which it has placed, gradually, but surely, British subjects in the Transvaal in a position of distinct inferiority; by which it has conspired against and undermined the suzerainty, the paramountcy which belongs to Great Britain. I say that these are the objects of the war; and I challenge—no, I do not challenge, I invite—hon. Members opposite, or the vast majority of them, at any rate, to say whether they differ from me in thinking that these two great objects—to maintain the rights of British subjects and the paramountcy of this country—are objects in which they share as fully as ourselves. Now, did President Kruger at any time intend to make these objects possible? As I have said, we have hoped and believed; but, looking back at what has passed, does anyone continue to believe that there was any time at which these two objects commended themselves to President Kruger's mind and, of course, to the minds of his advisers and colleagues? If not, if that great difference has always existed between us, then am I not right in saying that war was inevitable some time or other, that some day force would have to be used by this country—unless, indeed, which I will not contemplate for a moment, a party could be found willing to betray those interests? If I am right so far, these rights exist, and are we not entitled to insist upon them? Is there any difference between us, or to what extent does that difference go as to our right to use force to compel submission to our will? 268 This raises a question which I want to make perfectly clear. Are there no grievances of British subjects in the Transvaal? Is it denied that they have been placed in a position of degrading and humiliating inferiority? I am not going to quote from Blue Books, although they are full of evidence on that subject. For my present purpose I rely absolutely on the statements of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. I am not going to quote them at length, but I will quote a few words. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, at Guildford, said that British subjects had not the elements of civil rights or of civil freedom. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife said that they were denied those civil and political rights that were customarily regarded as the necessary equipment of a civilised and socialcommunity. Lord Rosebery said they were under an intolerable condition of subjection and injustice; and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Monmouth, in a letter to The Times, spoke of "the grievances which we all admit." That is granted. With very few exceptions we agree to the magnitude of the grievances. Does the House for a moment suppose that these grievances are personal, and that we are concerned because Mr. Jones, of the Transvaal, is subjected to some inconvenience, pecuniary loss, or personal degradation? That in itself is a matter of some importance, for, after all, we do not forget the hackneyed phrase, and it is a true one—that it is something to be British citizens. But there is something more than that, and this is what I want to impress upon the House. What is to be our position in the world—I will say, what is to be our position in Africa—if we are to submit to this inferiority? Is peace to be preserved under such conditions? Are racial differences and animosities to be avoided? Why, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has again and again referred in terms none too strong to the evil of racial animosity. Yes, Sir, but what he has always omitted to observe is what, I venture to say, a colleague who sits near to him could have informed him of. I refer to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Aberdeen, who says that this racial animosity has not yet to be created by anything that we do. It was not created by the Raid—it existed before.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I do not wish to enter into a personal controversy, but I want to know why the right hon. Gentleman did not say so?
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
Because everybody knows it. What I said was that there was no necessity to state what everybody knew. What I wished to point out was that feelings of animosity would be increased tenfold and a hundredfold when the Dutch and English were driven to slaughter one another.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. I am glad that, at all events, we are agreed that this animosity existed before.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
We differ, perhaps, in our estimate of the extent to which this animosity will be or can be increased. Sir, the animosity, the racial animosity, which has been the curse of South Africa, is based upon contempt. Hate is bad enough, I admit, but I would sooner have the hate of any man than his contempt, and as it is with individuals, so it is with nations. These animosities are bitter, are increasing, and will increase as long as one white race in South Africa has contempt for the other. Is it denied? It was to his views on that point to which I wanted to refer when I spoke of the right hon. gentleman the Member for South Aberdeen. This morning in the Daily News I am supplied with my quotation. He said in that book, for which we all have, I hope, the greatest admiration, the following—It must be admitted that the event belied some of their hopes.—he was speaking of the Convention of 1881—They (Mr. Gladstone's Government) had expected that the Transvaal people would appreciate the generosity of the retrocession as well as the humanity which was willing to forego vengeance for the tarnished lustre of British arms. The Boers, however, saw neither generosity nor humanity in their conduct, but only fear. Jubilant over their victories and (like the Kaffirs in the South Coast wars) not realising the overwhelming force which could have been brought against them, they fancied themselves entitled to add some measure of contempt to the dislike they already cherished to the English, and they have ever since shown themselves unpleasant neighbours.Sir, that is a wise word and a true 270 word. In my opinion, there will never be an end to racial animosity until both the white races have, I will not say learnt to love each other, but, at all events, to respect each other. The quotation which I have read shows, I think, that both sides of the House are are agreed as to the objects we should have in view; but are we agreed as to the main lines on which we should pursue those objects? Of course, peaceful negotiation is the best line—the line which should be exhausted before any other line is attempted. That we are all agreed upon. I now come to my right hon. friend the Member for Montrose, and I may say that he has made speeches in the country of great moderation and, I need not say, with great courage, because he has been championing what is undoubtedly an unpopular cause. This is what he says upon this point, "We are all for insisting upon fair play." Again he said, "I entirely agree with the Government in insisting"—I call attention to the word "insisting"—"upon the vote being granted after five years residence." The Leader of the Opposition says, "If we claim as we do claim, if we enforce, as we do enforce, our right to seek redress for the grievances of our countrymen, "it is not because of the Convention but or our rights under general international law. In the main I agree with him. What I want to point out is this—that the Leader of the Opposition and my right hon. friend take what may be called an extreme view, but they both agree that we have a right to insist and to enforce our just claims upon the Transvaal Government. Now, Sir, is it not absurd, under these circumstances, to say that we did wrong in contemplating the possibility of military preparations? Their statements would be inexplicable except on the assumption that both these right hon. Gentlemen contemplated that a time might come when we should have to "enforce" and "insist" after what had previously been friendly negotiations. Now I ask every fair-minded man on the other side, if you were in power and in the place of this Government, what would have been your course? What would have been your policy? It is evident you would have pursued the same policy and the same object, contending it was just and right, and you would have asked for the same reforms, for the same five 271 years franchise. Where would your policy have diverged from ours? Up to the present we are the most unanimous House of Commons on both sides that I have ever met. This is the point I would put. Suppose the negotiations had failed with you as they have failed with us, what would you have done then? If your insistence had been of no avail, would you have withdrawn your demands? Would you have betrayed your countrymen? Would you have lost South Africa? It is absurd to answer except in one way. You would have been bound by your own utterances. You could not have helped yourselves. You would have been bound to carry your proceedings a step further and use force when persuasion had failed. If you had gone to war under these circumstances, there would have been absolutely no difference between your policy and ours. If you did not go to war, well, Sir, I decline to contemplate the alternative, which at all events would have been disastrous to your country. I wish to say a word upon another subject which has not been mentioned in the debate, and which has not appeared in the Blue Books. When we have talked of grievances hitherto we have confined ourselves to the grievances of the whites. The House will bear in mind when we granted the Convention of 1881 and substituted the articles of the Convention of 1884 we undertook the protection of the natives of the Transvaal. Those natives had been our subjects. They were the majority of the inhabitants, and we retroceded them to the Transvaal, the natives whom we had promised to protect. How have we kept our promise? Sir, the treatment of the natives of the Transvaal has been disgraceful; it has been brutal; it has been unworthy of a civilized Power. Why have we not complained, it is said. Why have not I complained? In 1896 I drafted a despatch, and I sent it out to Sir Hercules Robinson, and I instructed him to make representations to the Transvaal as to their conduct to Malaboch and other native chiefs. Then the Raid came, and I had to telegraph instructions that that despatch could not, with any propriety, be presented at that time. That is the true reason why I have not made complaints, and why there is, therefore, very little correspondence in the Blue Books about the native grievances; but do not 272 think for a moment that we have at any time done our duty or kept our promise to these native subjects whom we retroceded against their will, and whom we promised to protect. We have heard a great deal of the Great Trek. I do not know whether the hon. gentlemen who talk about the Great Trek have information different from mine—whether it differs very much from mine. The Great Trek took place mainly and chiefly because, in the words of the Boers themselves, and you can prove it from their own language, they wanted to "wallop their own niggers."
§ MR. DILLON
Mr. Speaker, you can suspend me if you like. I did not apply it in that sense. I did not impeach the veracity of the right hon. Gentleman. I said the statement was untrue, and that is an expression that I have frequently heard in the House of Commons.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I did not understand the hon. Gentleman to impute unveracity to the right hon. Gentleman, but such an interruption as "It is not true" in the course of a speech is irregular. I will not, after the hon. Member's explanation that he did not intend to impute want of veracity, ask him to withdraw the expression. But I repeat that such expressions are entirely irregular, and I hope that expressions of that kind will not be repeated.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Perhaps I may be allowed to say that I quite understand the intention of the hon. Gentleman. Of course, all questions of history are matters of opinion to a certain extent, but what I want to express here, in the strongest possible terms, is my opinion that the main reason for the trek of the Boers from British rule was their disinclination to be interfered with in their treatment of the native races. That is my belief. My opinion is that the independence of which we hear so much, and which the Boers are said to value so highly, is a free right to treat as they like the people under their control. I have dealt with the question which I say was the first cause 273 of the war—that is the grievances of British subjects, the injustice done to them. Now I come to the question of supremacy. I believe we are all agreed as to the necessity of maintaining what I describe as supremacy. Then has it been threatened? Has there been any danger to this supremacy? Well, Sir, the whole policy and object of the Boers in regard to this matter has been displayed so clearly that the man in the street can read as he runs. Why, Sir, from 1881 downwards they have been patiently, cleverly, persistently, by imperceptible steps, endeavouring to oust the Queen from her suzerainty, to throw off the last trace of subordination, until, grown bold by apparent immunity in the course they have pursued, they now take off the mask, they show openly what has been their object all along, and declare themselves to be a sovereign independent State. Do you suppose that, because they only declared that in May last, they had not it in their minds? We had not it in our minds—credulous people that we have been. At least I had not it in mine—I cannot speak for my predecessors. I did not know that they had any pretension to be an independent sovereign State until they declared it in the despatch of May last. I do not care whether they insisted upon it or not. I think they found they had made a mistake by showing their cards, and I think in a subsequent despatch they were evidently anxious to weaken the effect which they had produced. I think that throws a most lurid light on the policy of the Boers. If you want any confirmation of it you will find it in a perfect cloud of witnesses—in the conversations, which came out by no fault of the Boers, between Joubert and Lobengula, when he urged upon that chief to make common cause with the Boers and wipe the stink of the English out of the land; in the negotiations of 1884, to which I shall have to refer; in the refusal of President Kruger to accept the invitation for which he himself had asked in 1896 on the express ground that he found that I refused to discuss with him any alteration of Article 4, which placed the foreign relations of the Transvaal under the control of Her Majesty's Government; in constant intrigues with the Uitlanders themselves who, again and again, have been invited by Boer emissaries to give up this appeal to Her Majesty's Government and to 274 engage with the Boers in creating a United South Africa entirely free of Imperial influence and control; and in the treasonable appeal which was circulated widely, weeks before the ultimatum, on the borders of the Cape Colony, amongst the Dutch, and in which they were told that their rights as Afrikanders in the English colonies—rights which are exactly on an equality with those of British subjects—were only protected by the continued existence of the two Republics, and that as the two Republics were threatened the Afrikanders should join with the Boers in going to war in order to get rid of British supremacy. In every line of the ultimatum, too, there breathes this desire to escape subordination. There is much more to be said upon which we have suspicion which amounts to knowledge—not the proof that you would bring forward in a court of law, but a suspicion which, I am certain, no one who has been in my office has failed to entertain, a suspicion which points to the fact that the mission, so-called, of Dr. Leyds has been one continual series of intrigues with foreign Powers against the British supremacy. There has been an object, present to the minds of a certain number of the Dutch colonists, perhaps, but, at all events, to the whole population of the Transvaal Republic and of the Orange Free State, an ideal which, I will go so far as to say, it is very proper for them to entertain, but which it would have been most improper and most dangerous for us to encourage. This ideal was a united South Africa, an independent Republic, permitting us by their goodwill to retain our hold upon the Cape so long as our naval protection was necessary for the Republic, but leaving us in Africa in one corner, and there only as a matter of sufferance. There are people who say, "What a preposterous notion! How could it ever have been entertained? How could it ever have been a danger to this great country? How could we, with our enormous wealth and resources, be alarmed by the threats of insubordination on the part of 30,000, be they more or less"—they happen to be a great deal more—"of Dutch farmers?" The inequality is not quite so great as that. It is all very well for certain hon. Gentlemen at one time to pretend to under-estimate the strength of our enemies, and at another to exaggerate it. I hope we take a more reasonable view. What was happening 275 was this, that by continuous accretions of the military armaments of the two States, and especially by the ammunition, arms, guns, artillery, and men that were constantly poured into the Transvaal, the Transvaal had become a few months ago by far the most powerful military State in Africa. Great Britain, with all its resources, could not stand up against her at that time. It was impossible. Of course we might, by an expenditure of blood and treasure from which every man would shrink, have restored our supremacy after it had been taken from us, but does anybody think that that would have been a trifling operation? With the whole of South Africa in arms, with the whole of South Africa in the possession of the Boers, does anybody suppose that it would have been a small operation under such circumstances, even for a rich and powerful country, to have put, it may be, 200,000 or 100,000 men into South Africa? That was the danger. We have then escaped, I believe, one of the greatest dangers which we have ever been subjected to in Africa. I venture to say that you, the Opposition, without respect of party or individual opinions, with few exceptions, share our three great objects. You desire, as we did, the maintenance of the supremacy; you desire the equality of the white races; you desire the just protection which we have promised to the natives. The main lines of our policy have been the same. You in the last resort, as we in the last resort, would have resorted to arms, if necessary, to ensure the objects you had in view. What remains?—and here arises the whole point of difference between the two sides—the details of the negotiations. It is with those I have now to deal. I come first to the question of the suzerainty. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth, in a speech in the country, said that he thought "the suzerainty had been the principal obstacle to a satisfactory settlement." I do not think that he put it so strongly last night, but at all events I can assure him, and I think I shall be able to satisfy him, that that opinion is altogether unfounded, and that, although it may be true that the desire to get rid of the suzerainty was one of the great objects, one of the great motive-springs of the Boers, the insistence on suzerainty by this country did not, in itself, in any way impair the conduct of the negotiations. I hope the 276 House will bear with me while I endeavour to put before it briefly, but at the same time as clearly as possible, the history of this rather complicated question. The right hon. Gentleman, the Leader of the Opposition, said that the question of the suzerainty had been "dug up from the grave in which in 1884 it had been decently buried." I do not quite know what he meant by that. I think I know, and perhaps he will correct me if I am wrong. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth said that successive Secretaries of State had agreed that the suzerainty was abolished. Now that is an entire mistake.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Monmouth, W.)
I quoted the words of the right hon. Gentleman himself—"successive Secretaries of State." It was not my statement. It was his—that successive Secretaries of State had declared that they had no right to interfere with the internal affairs of the Transvaal.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Yes, Sir; but I think, if the right hon. Gentleman will allow me, that that is not the point. He did say that, but on that he based his further statement that successive Secretaries of State had declared that the suzerainty had been abolished. I am dealing only with the right of suzerainty, not with the right of interference from whatever cause arising. I say that no Secretary of State for the Colonies, from Lord Kimberley in 1881 down to myself, including all those who intervened, has ever stated, or, as I believe, has ever thought, that either the suzerainty was abolished or that the name of suzerainty had been renounced. I believe I can say that this is true; at any rate, that is my statement. When does the Leader of the Opposition suggest that the suzerainty was buried? I suppose in 1884. Well, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman was not in that Cabinet. I was. I assert that it was not buried in 1884, and I would point out to the right hon. Gentleman that in saying it was he makes—unintentionally, of course—a very serious charge against some of his present colleagues, and against all the members of that Cabinet, because if the suzerainty was abolished in 1884 our supporters and the country were deceived. What would 277 have been easier than to say then it had been abolished—it would have been more honourable than not to say it was abolished—if as a matter of fact it had been abolished? But that was not the opinion of anyone concerned at the time in those negotiations. I am speaking in the presence of one, at all events, of my colleagues in those days. We were accused of abolishing the suzerainty by our opponents. Lord Cadogan, in the House of Lords, accused Lord Derby of an intention to abolish the suzerainty. What was the reply of Lord Derby? It was—Whatever suzerainty meant in the Convention of Pretoria, the condition of things which it implied still remains.Lord Derby went on to say—Although the word was not actually employed, we have kept to the substance of it.Was that consistent with the abolition of the suzerainty? Our proposition is that the suzerainty was never buried, never abolished, from 1884 down to the present day. Throughout successive Governments of different party complexion the existence of the suzerainty was asserted, although the particular word was never used after 1884.
§ MR. CHAMBERLAIN
Yes; but it was never renounced. Now, Sir, I agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition when he says what does a word matter? As the right hon. Gentleman says, we are not going to fight about a word. Not this Government, or any other. But is he willing to fight about the substance? That is the whole point. As far as the word goes I agree with the right hon. Gentleman. But the cardinal and essential fact is supremacy, predominance, preponderance, paramountcy—call it what you will. I do not care a brass button which of those words you choose. You may call it Abracadabra if you like, provided you keep the substance. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Monmouth, does not agree with the Leader of the Opposition, because he said yesterday that he rejected paramountcy. It is not merely a question of a word with him. He rejects the thing. He says, "How can you have paramountcy consistent with the independence of the Transvaal?" 278 Now, I do not agree with the right hon. Gentleman. I agree much more with the Leader of the Opposition. When you talk of independence here it appears that in order not to be misunderstood you must always use a tremendous series of words to express a meaning which is, after all, in the mind of everyone. Of course, when we talk of the independence of the Transvaal, we always mean independence as limited by the Convention. Very well, I submit that suzerainty is a better term to use in regard to a State whose main independence is limited.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Certainly by Convention. Surely no one has ever argued that suzerainty was otherwise than defined by the articles of the Convention. I confess our opinion is—although I have said I did not care about a word—that suzerainty is a better word than paramountcy. "Suzerainty" expresses our position in regard to the Transvaal Republic. "Paramountcy" would express our position better with the Orange Free State over which we have no suzerainty, but in regard to which our relations have always been more or less modified by the fact that we have paramount interests. But, as I have said, it matters little what is the word, provided we have the substance. Now why, in those circumstances, was the word used in the despatch of October 16, 1897? It has been supposed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Monmouth that this was a gratuitous introduction of an irritating expression in a despatch which was intended to be conciliatory and to make for peace. No, Sir, it was not so at all. In my judgment the reversion to the word suzerainty was absolutely called for by the action of the Boers in attempting openly to undermine the substance of the suzerainty. The name became of importance when the substance was attacked. That is the point. Let us see now how that happened. We are all agreed as to the importance of the substance, admirably described by Lord Kimberley in 1881 as "the superiority over a State possessing independent rights of government subject to reservations with reference to certain specified matters." That is the definition which we have always accepted, 279 and upon which we have always proceeded. The word was then chosen as most conveniently describing this superiority. Let me say in passing that it is of collateral importance. It is not merely a matter of etymological definition, but the importance of the word consists in the impression it produces upon those foreign Powers whose intervention in South Africa we desire to avoid. It is a well understood term. It gives us certain rights in regard to them, and for that reason I have always preferred it, as a matter of convenience, to any other word that has been suggested. Well, this word suzerainty appears in the preamble of the Convention of 1881. A great deal of confusion has arisen from talking of this preliminary part of the Convention of 1881 as a preamble. It is not properly a preamble. It is the charter of the independence—the limited independence—of the Transvaal. Destroy the preamble and there is no basis whatever for the independence of the Transvaal—no legal and constitutional basis for the independence of the Transvaal. That, at all events is the view we have always taken on the subject. No doubt, from the moment this Convention was signed—although it was described, in the few days that followed, by President Kruger as a most magnanimous act on the part of the British Government, one which would gain for ever for the British Government and the Queen the loyalty, admiration, and gratitude of the Transvaal people—from almost the day on which his signature was affixed to that Convention President Kruger was engaged in an attempt to get it altered. Accordingly, in 1884, a new Conference took place. What was the origin of that Conference? A letter from the Boer Government asking Her Majesty's Government to consider, what? Not the abolition of the suzerainty, but some restriction of the extent of the suzerainty. Those are the exact words. They did not claim the abolition of the suzerainty—they wanted it to be restricted; as it was so, in fact, subsequently, most imprudently as I am obliged to confess now. But although that was the letter which the Boer Government sent and upon which a deputation from them was received, the moment they got here and were received they changed their note, and they put in a treaty in the introduction of which they 280 claimed to be an independent State publici juris, and in that treaty, as between two independent States, they asked for arbitration to settle all differences that might have or had arisen. What was the answer of Lord Derby—of the man who is now said to have abolished the suzerainty? He returned their treaty to them. He said the terms of the treaty and the form of the treaty were such as Her Majesty's Government could not even consent to consider. So far, at all events, Lord Derby had not abolished the suzerainty. He refused to abolish the suzerainty, and, as I have shown, he in the most express manner declined to consider the subject. Well, the actual Convention which was signed did not mention suzerainty. But why should it? Will hon. Gentlemen, those who are lawyers as well as those who are not, apply common sense to this proceeding? You have two very formal and important agreements, contracts between two parties. Is it customary to interpret these contracts by anything else than what is contained within the four corners of them? If you treat these two Conventions in that way, what do you find? That the second Convention says that Her Majesty has been pleased to say such and such articles shall be substituted for such and such other articles. Suppose an Act of Parliament repealed in terms certain clauses of another Act, Clauses 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, would it be contended that it also inferentially repealed Clause 1? Surely in this case, where the second Convention deliberately, clearly, and definitely states, as it does, that it substitutes certain articles for other articles, what you ought to do is to paste these articles over the articles which are repealed, and leave all the rest standing. I think it is perfectly clear, under these circumstances, that the preamble remains—that preamble which is the justification of the suzerainty, and which is also the foundation of the independence of the South African Republic. "Oh, but," says the right hon. Gentleman, "there was a black line round the preamble in one of the documents which was submitted to the Boer deputation." In the first place I do not think it is fair, when we know nothing about the circumstances, at all events, of those interviews, to construe formal documents by inferential statements, obiter dicta, memoranda which are not contained in those documents. There are heaps of 281 answers that might be made to the argument derived from the fact that in the draft of the second Convention which was submitted to the Boers a black line was drawn round the preamble of the first Convention—but the answer which I make—I do not know whether it is the true one, but it seems to me to be common sense—is this, that in drawing up the second Convention there was no room for the preamble. The second Convention had nothing to do with the preamble; the second Convention substituted articles by which the suzerainty was limited. The preamble remaining, it was not necessary to put that preamble once more in the second Convention. I am arguing with a lawyer, but it seems to me—being a layman, I do not want to push a legal argument too far—that if you did put the preamble into the Convention of 1884 you would have made nonsense of it; it would not read; there is no reason for putting it in. It does not follow that because you did not put it in in 1884, therefore you repealed it in 1884. That is the conclusion that was left on my mind when I first came to the consideration of this subject. If this uncertainty—if there is any uncertainty—has produced misunderstanding in the minds of the Boers, or in the mind of anybody else, what is the moral? The moral is that in diplomacy, as in most other things, you should not only mean what you say, but you should say what you mean. That being the state of the case, what happened in 1897? We got a despatch from the Transvaal Government once more proposing the old arrangement, making the same proposal which had been made in 1884 which was summarily rejected by Lord Derby. Once more they proposed that we should enter into an arrangement with them that all differences should be subjected to arbitration by a foreign State; which was again the assertion of precisely the position which had been rejected in 1884. Sir, it was a challenge to us, and if we had not taken notice of that challenge it would have been said of us that tacitly we had done away with the suzerainty which up to that moment had never been abandoned by our predecessors, and which we believe in the minds of our predecessors was believed to exist. That is the justification—whatever may have been the effect of the introduction of the word 282 "suzerainty," that is the justification of it in the minds of Her Majesty's Government. Our hands were forced. We had been content, as our predecessors had been content, to speak of "paramountcy" because we supposed that it was less irritating than the word "suzerainty." That suzerainty was challenged in the substance; then we thought it necessary to reassert the name also. Here is another point which I particularly wish to impress upon the mind of the right hon. Gentleman. How is suzerainty an obstacle to a settlement? I must assume he thinks that the mention of suzerainty is extremely irritating to the Boers. Granted, for the sake of argument. It was made in October, 1897. What happened? Did they immediately make a strong reply? Not a bit of it. They allowed the whole controversy to lapse for six months. It was six months before we heard a single word in reply. When we made our second reply an interval of five months was allowed to elapse. It was nineteen months after the word had been introduced that they agreed, apparently most willingly, to the Conference at Bloemfontein, and through the whole of that Conference, from the beginning to the end, the President never put forward the question of suzerainty. The only points on which he was apparently anxious were the question of indemnity, the question of arbitration, and his claim to have entire control of Swaziland. I think, therefore, even if it were granted to the right hon. Gentleman that it would be a mistake to introduce this question into the discussion at all, the right hon. Gentleman must admit that it could not have a serious effect on the subsequent negotiations. The second point of objection which the right hon. Gentleman has taken to our policy is the publication of Sir Alfred Milner's despatch. Will the House consider for a moment who Sir Alfred Milner is? What were the circumstances of his appointment? The moment that appointment was made, by common acclamation from everybody—every organ of public opinion, to whichever party they belonged—Sir Alfred Milner's appointment was hailed as the most admirable appointment that could possibly have been made. It was recognised that he was a most distinguished public servant; everything he had done he had done well. It was said he was a man of great discretion and judgment; it 283 was said he was a man cautious even to an extreme; it was believed that going to that country in difficult and complicated circumstances he, at all events, would not err on the side of temerity. I believe Sir Alfred Milner belongs, politically, to the party opposite. ["No!"] It is just as good for my argument whether he does or not. I thought he belonged to the party opposite, but I do not attach any importance to that, because I believe neither party, for their own credit, would ever think of party considerations in selecting an agent for so important a position. But having selected an agent you have got to trust him; you have got to assume, after he has been on the spot a sufficient time, that his opinion is worthy of the most careful consideration, and you must not in any way instruct him contrary to his opinion unless you have most complete assurance to the contrary. Well, when we were publishing an important Blue Book, when matters were critical, I had not at the time any opinion on the situation from Sir Alfred Milner that I could publish. Suppose I had published an important Blue Book without an opinion from him, what would have been said? Would not the first thing I should have been asked have been:—"Where is Sir Alfred Milner's opinion? If he has given an opinion, why have you suppressed it? Why have you acted without his opinion? That would be a most reasonable and proper question. Therefore I telegraphed to Sir Alfred Milner asking him to give his views for their publication. He sent the despatch; I published it as I received it. What is suggested that I should have done? Is it suggested that I should have suppressed it? What a howl of indignation would have come from the opposite benches if I had done that. Why, Sir, if I had disagreed with what Sir Alfred Milner said in that despatch I doubt very much whether I should have been justified in the circumstances of the case, considering the character and position of Sir Alfred Milner—I doubt whether I should have been justified in withholding from the House the opinion he had expressed.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
That is a foolish and rather unnecessary intervention. I published, indeed, one despatch 284 from General Butler on purpose to show what his opinion was. I had other despatches from General Butler, some marked "Confidential," some of them involving personal questions which could not, in the interests of the public service have been presented. But I myself particularly insisted that one despatch from General Butler should be published in order that his views should be known, although I do not consider that General Butler, who had just gone to the Cape in a military capacity, had at all the same claim to have his opinion represented to the House as Sir Alfred Milner had. When I was interrupted I was saying that clearly it was my duty, except in some very exceptional circumstances, to publish Sir Alfred Milner's despatch, sent for the purpose, even if I had disagreed with it. But, Sir, I agree with every word of it. How can it be supposed for a moment that there is a single thing which Sir Alfred Milner has done—whether he did it, by the necessity of the case, without consultation with me, or whether he did it after consultation with me—for which I do not take the fullest responsibility? But then, I think, the contention is that there is a particular passage in Sir Alfred Milner's despatch which I should have suppressed. If I had suppressed it, it would have had nothing whatever to do with the controversy. It is not an offence to the Boers; it does not affect the settlement with them. If there is any criticism to be cast upon it, it is that it is unwise to give publicity to statements which reflect in any way upon the loyalty of our own colonies. But whatever view you take of it, it cannot, at all events, be contended that the publication of that passage in the despatch had anything whatever to do with exasperating our relations with the Transvaal. What were the words Sir Alfred Milner used? He said—The Dutch Press in the Transvaal"—everybody knows the nature of the Dutch Press in the Transvaal—"and not in the Transvaal only"—that refers to a portion of the Press in the colony—"preaches openly and constantly the doctrine of a Republic embracing all South Africa, and supports it by menacing references to the armament of the Transvaal, its alliance with the Orange Free State, and the active sympathy which in case of war it would receive from a section of Her Majesty's subjects. I regret to say that this doctrine, supported as it is by a ceaseless stream of malignant lies about the intentions 285 of the British Government, is producing a great effect upon our Dutch fellow-colonists.Sir, was that true? Yes, it was. Then, if it was true, does anyone mean to tell me it was dignified, or proper, or right, or wise to play the part of the ostrich, to bury our head in the sand, and conceal what is a most important element of the situation? That, then, is all that I have to say in defence of our action in publishing the despatch of Sir Alfred Milner. Now, Sir, I come to the franchise negotiations. Of course, the House is fully aware of the state of things which preceded those negotiations. Matters, which had never been satisfactory with regard to the treatment of the Uitlanders, were going from bad to worse. No single grievance had been remedied since the Raid. On the contrary, additional grievances had been created and old grievances had been increased. The last grievance of all was connected with the Edgar murder. Sir, I regretted to hear my right hon. friend the Member for Bodmin on a previous occasion making himself an apologist for this transaction. As a murder, if it had stood alone it was not more, perhaps, than a murder in any other civilised country. But what made it serious was the way in which the Government treated the murderer, the way in which they provoked and then broke up agitations on behalf of the victim and on behalf of justice and fair play. The end of that was a petition from the Uitlanders to the Government. Her Majesty's Government examined the petition, found the grievances substantial, and found the charges proved. They then wrote what I think must be admitted to have been a most moderate despatch. No one has yet laid finger on a word in that despatch which could be described as provocative. In that despatch we said that we could not permanently ignore the condition to which our fellow-subjects were reduced, and then we suggested a Conference, which was anticipated by a suggestion from President Steyn, and which took place at Bloemfontein, to discuss the question. Sir, I have seen complaints made that here was a failure on the part of the British Government to conduct these negotiations properly, and that we were in the wrong to put the franchise first. But what was the alter native? There were only two things we could have done. We did not pretend that we had then, any more than we 286 had at any other time, a right of interference in the internal affairs of the Republic; but what we did contend was that we had a right to secure justice for our fellow-subjects, and we thought that the best way to secure that justice would be to enable them to secure justice for themselves; and, above all, we thought that it would be a great advantage in future if her Majesty's Government were discharged from the task of taking up any future grievances, and could say: "You have your own Parliament, in which you are represented; go to that Parliament and represent your views and gain redress in a constitutional way." Sir, there were only two alternatives. We could put forward, as we did, this franchise proposal, which has always been wrongly described, as I put it to the right hon. Gentleman yesterday, as a mere franchise proposal, but which was really a proposal for substantial representation—such a representation as would enable the Uitlanders to have a fair amount of influence upon the legislation of the country in which they lived. And we had the alternative instead of putting that forward, of claiming redress for every grievance, for scores of grievances—which would have involved interference in almost every detail of Transvaal administration—the courts of justice, the magistrates, the appointment of officials, bribery and corruption, monopolies, taxation, and matters dealing with civil and political rights. There were heaps of other grievances, every one of which we should have had to raise if we had gone straight to grievances instead of taking up a method by which all grievances can be redressed. My right hon. friend the Member for Montrose has very properly said in one of his speeches that if the Government had done that they would have courted defeat. Yes, does anyone suppose that President Kruger, who refused our mild proposition for the gradual settlement—it would not have been immediate; it would have taken years fully to arrive at—does anybody suppose that if he rejected that, he would have accepted from us an interference, an intermeddling control and revision of almost every detail of his whole administration? Then my right hon. friend the Member for Montrose made a charge against us which is clearly not justified. He said that after that we had shifted our ground. 287 Sir, we never shifted our ground from the first minute to the last moment of the day of the ultimatum; our ground has still been the same. We never put forward new proposals. The proposals were exactly the same as they always had been—a substantial and immediate representation at any moment, in order, at all events, to put an end to the immediate tension and crisis.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY (Montrose Burghs)
I think the right hon. Gentleman will not deny that what I said was true. What I mean was that in the despatch with regard to the franchise proposals, he added what I regarded as a fatal sentence, that there were other questions which were to be settled concurrently with the franchise.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
No, Sir, that was not new; it was mentioned at the Bloemfontein Conference. ["No."] Yes, pardon me, and it will be found in the Blue Book. If you will read the protocol of that Conference, you will find that that was mentioned and explained. Let me point out what the position was. Sir A. Milner proposed a moderate and substantial representation as practically a cure—not an immediate, but a slow and gradual cure—for all the grievances of the Uitlanders. Then he proposed arbitration for the settlement of all differences of interpretation of the Convention, and the third thing was a friendly Conference to settle certain matters which were outside the Convention and which were not subjects for arbitration. Let me tell the right hon. Gentleman what they were. I only know two of them. One was compensation for the Edgar murder. That might have been arbitrated upon; but the other and more important matter was the treatment of British Indian subjects. That was unfortunately outside the Convention, and it had to be dealt with as a separate matter. That was not a question on which we were going to arbitrate, especially because the whole question of the treatment of the coloured races in South Africa is a very difficult one, and we have to make allowances for the prejudices both in the Transvaal and in our own colonies. We therefore thought that instead of referring it to a formal tribunal an informal conference would be much better. Those are the three points, and I say again that I am glad to have this 288 opportunity of removing misconception. Now, Sir, how have these proposals of ours been described upon the other side? I take all my quotations from the other side because I want to minimise, if possible, any difference that may still remain. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for South Shields says they were moderate—I agree with him—even to the extent of being useless if President Kruger had had the cleverness to accept them in full. That is, at all events, an arguable view. But I admit I am much more afraid of the charge being proved against me of being too moderate than I am of any charge being proved against me of being excessive. Well, Sir, these proposals which were made involved no danger to the independence of the Transvaal—none whatever. They would not have affected President Kruger's personal authority. They would only have proceeded very slowly towards that equality which he himself promised, and to which we all look as being the ideal government for the whole of South Africa. The result of the Bloemfontein Conference was to show the spirit of our opponents. President Kruger refused these proposals and brought forward a proposal of his own, which on the face of it was so ludicrous that it could not be considered; and that showed for the first time perhaps clearly that there was a gulf between us and that there was an essential difference. While President Kruger might be willing to give us names, he was not willing to give us substance. After the Bloemfontein Conference the matter went on; three futile and inadequate proposals followed each other. The right hon. Gentleman made a great deal of the statement of mine that I was happy to see in each an advance upon the other. It was a difference between tweedledum and tweedledee.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Yes. I do not say there were not some points of difference between them; but the last of these proposals, like the first, when it came to be examined, did not give the slightest possibility for hope of any substantial or immediate representation. Then came the first real proposal of a seven years franchise. It did appear to me to make an advance. I did not say it was a basis of settlement, 289 but that it made me hope that it might be a basis of settlement. I saw in it a distinct advance on anything which had been proposed before. I hoped it would turn out to be a genuine reform, and I proposed an inquiry into the matter. I asked first that President Kruger would be good enough to consult with Sir Alfred Milner before the law was passed, thinking that it would be much better that we should come to an agreement before the law was passed, instead of asking the Volksraad, after the law was passed, to make a modification. President Kruger refused again, in the spirit in which he has always approached this matter, and the law was passed. In the despatch of July 27, which was communicated on August 2,we asked for a commission of experts to examine the law and to make reports to their respective Governments, and that if it were found that they considered that the law did not give the substantial representation for which we asked we should make further representations to President Kruger in the hope that he would assent to an alteration. Now, what was the answer to this request? The answer to that despatch was written on August 12, and it was held back because of the pourparlers going on, and it was only delivered on September 1. It was a despatch refusing this innocent commission of inquiry into the conditions of the franchise. And why did President Kruger refuse it? Not upon a minor point, but because it was derogatory to the independence of the Transvaal. If it was—if President Kruger believed it was—it was of course a flat refusal, and we could not expect him to do anything derogatory to his own independence. If that was his opinion on September 1, and that was a genuine answer, we had a right to take it as a flat refusal. Now, the pourparlers went on between Mr. Greene and Mr. Smuts, but so little did the Transvaal like this proposal of the commission, so anxious were they, for some reason or other, to avoid it, that the whole object of the pourparlers was to see whether they would be allowed to substitute the new proposals for what had been previously talked about—the commission. That was the distinct object. In order that they might get rid of the inquiry they made this proposal. Well, Sir, about that proposal there is a good deal which has hitherto been entirely unexplained. I am not going to speak of the discrepan- 290 cies which arose between Mr. Smuts, the Attorney General, and Mr. Greene. You recollect that they conversed together and each took his own notes, and there is always a possibility of a little misunderstanding under such circumstances. I am sure there is no one in this House who has suffered more from such misunderstanding than myself. I do not therefore rest upon that, but it was a very curious thing that when the proposal was officially communicated it certainly omitted several very important points, which Mr. Greene believed were offered to him by Mr. Smuts, and I confess that the probabilities of the case are that Mr. Greene's recollection would be accurate in regard to a matter of that kind. He would hardly suppose these advantages were offered unless, at all events, they had been mentioned in the conversation. But, however that may be, serious discrepancies appeared in the official proposal, which was not as favourable as the proposal which we imagined was coming to us. And here I come to another stage, in regard to which there has hitherto been an apparent difference between us and some of our critics. It is said that when this proposal came to us we refused it, we slammed the door. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Monmouth-shire said, "You slammed one door and refused to open another." We did not slam the door; we did not refuse the proposal, but we accepted it.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Very well, let us see. We accepted all that part which referred, of course, to our demands. We agreed to accept the five years settlement as a basis, subject to an inquiry which as they objected to a joint inquiry should be a unilateral inquiry. They attached conditions. Now what were those conditions? The first was that we should agree to a scheme of arbitration. We accepted it. We had been negotiating on that basis. We proposed it at Bloemfontein. Of course we accepted it. They then proposed that we should not insist upon our assertion of suzerainty and should tacitly agree to drop the controversy. We accepted it. I admit I am not certain that I should have accepted it if I had not been bound 291 by my previous utterances. In the despatch which closed the old controversy of the suzerainty we had said of our own motions, without any reference to them, that, having laid our views before them, having declared that we adhered to them, we did not intend to enforce them any further. Under these circumstances all I could do was to refer back to that despatch. So two of the conditions were at once accepted. The next condition was this—the right hon. Gentleman did not state it accurately last night. He said the condition was that we should not make this a precedent for further intervention. If that had been all I do not think we should have refused it; but what they asked in addition was that there should be no further intervention. With our experience of the Transvaal, with the knowledge that the next day some difficulty of a similar character might arise, with the knowledge that promises made might not be kept, with the knowledge that the anticipations we had formed might be disappointed, and that we should have all the trouble again in a week's time, we were asked to pledge ourselves, under no circumstances and at no time, to practise any intervention. That was impossible. If the right hon. Gentleman will now consider he will see that our reply to the Transvaal despatch was the acceptance of every point, except that, instead of giving a pledge that we would never interfere again, we expressed a hope, an honest and earnest hope, that if these measures were carried out there would be no reason for our intervention. I cannot explain to the House why, having got that despatch from the Government, the Transvaal went back on their own proposal. We might at once have gone into a commission, either unilateral or joint, as they preferred, in order to discover whether there were any pitfalls in the proposals. Personally I believe that in the interval a malign influence appeared in our transactions with the Transvaal, and that communications were received by the Transvaal from their advisers—I must not be misunderstood, I am not alluding to foreign Powers, but to advisers of the Transvaal. I make that explanation because it struck me as necessary while I was speaking, as I am not going to mention names. I do believe that influential advisers of the Transvaal must have interfered and got them to 292 withdraw the offer which, at all events, I hoped might have prevented this crisis, or at least have lessened the tension which existed. Well, Sir, what happened? The Transvaal, without reason as I conceive, formally withdrew their own proposal. They asserted that we had refused their conditions, although they could not prove it. They withdrew their proposal, and they went back to a proposal which was then, I think, a month or six weeks old, and asked us once more to engage in a commission which might have met and lasted for weeks, but which in the end was certain to have one, only one, result, because in the meantime we had ascertained from our own examination of the provisions of the Bill that as it stood it was perfectly inadequate to give us the substantial representation we asked. Let me again quote the words of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for South Shields. He is a lawyer, and quite competent to consider a subject of this kind. This is what he says—I have gone carefully through the proposed Franchise Bill by which President Kruger claims to have given a seven years franchise to the Uitlanders. I do not hesitate to say that that Act is a grotesque and palpable sham. I doubt whether 200 or 300 Uitlanders could be found who could honestly fulfil its conditions.I agree entirely with every word of that passage. Is it contended by anybody in face of that statement made by a gentleman, who, as I say, is not a member of my party, and who is well qualified to speak—is it contended that we ought to have gone back, after all these three or four months' delay, to an inquiry which could only have been proposed in order to gain time while ammunition and arms and food were pouring into the Transvaal, and meanwhile the unrest and distress of the Rand were increasing every day? I do not see how it would have been possible to maintain the condition of things which thus obtained in the Transvaal for the time that would have been requisite for such an inquiry. Well, Sir, this withdrawal happened on September 8. The right hon. Gentleman, having first said that we slammed the door, went on to say that we had not opened another door. Not only, as I have said, was the door not slammed then, but it was not slammed afterwards. Why does not the right hon. Gentleman say that at all events another construction might be 293 put upon the delay which took place? It is true we sent an interim despatch to say we could not accept the proposal, the belated proposal, for a new inquiry into an Act which we knew to be insufficient and inadequate, and that under those circumstances we should have to formulate our own conclusions. We said that under the circumstances it was useless to proceed. What does that mean? Useless for us to argue with people who had made up their minds. Suppose they had changed their minds. I will not say, I will not even imagine, what we might have done under the circumstances. What would the right hon. Gentleman have done if the Transvaal Government, having changed their minds, had proposed to us a five years franchise without the objectionable condition, and we had refused? Would he not have denounced us then? Would he not have denounced us with some reason, and should we not have had a very difficult task to defend ourselves? Having got from the Transvaal a statement that went back on their own proposals and said they would only put forward proposals that we had declared to be absolutely inadequate, was it a closing of the door to new propositions from the Transvaal to say that we could not pursue the controversy on those lines? It is perfectly monstrous and farcical considering the circumstances I have mentioned. I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that a charitable construction of our action would be that the delay which took place in presenting what must necessarily have been an ultimatum was not altogether unconnected with the hope that the Transvaal at the last moment might make some change in their attitude towards us. Well, but over and above that the communication was delayed by other reasons. President Steyn had entered into correspondence with Sir Alfred Milner. I admit that the correspondence did not offer from the first much hope of anything like a satisfactory settlement, and it became perfectly evident in the course of it that President Steyn was not really proceeding in a way which was likely to have any good result. I think I interrupted the right hon. Gentleman on this point last night. At all events, I have now got the words. I find President Steyn said that without the withdrawal of the troops on both sides and an undertaking on the part of Her Majesty's 294 Government not to increase them it would be futile to attempt to make or obtain suggestions or proposals for a solution of the difficulty. What proposal could have been more one-sided than that if we would withdraw our troops the South African Republics would withdraw theirs? With little of the transport and impedimenta which usually accompany European armies, the Boer troops could be easily mobilised. That is not the case with British troops. If we moved our troops to the coast it would take a considerable time to get them back again, and if the negotiations had fallen through our colonies might have been overrun. I do not believe President Steyn had the least idea that we would accept his proposal. The right hon. Gentleman says: "You never treated President Steyn fairly, because you would not indicate to him your proposals." But in this final statement of his, President Steyn does not talk of our proposals. What he says is that it would be futile for him to attempt to make proposals for the solution of the difficulty. No doubt what he contemplated was that, if we would withdraw our troops and put ourselves into a position of inferiority to the Boers should hostilities subsequently take place, he would make proposals to us in return for that advantage. Heaven knows what they would be! I do not think under these circumstances he had much reason to believe they would be accepted.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
I have one question to ask of very great importance. President Steyn asked on 28th September that your new proposals to be formulated should be communicated to him. You answered on 1st October that they should be communicated, that they were being prepared, but were not ready. You said, on 5th October, that they were still being prepared, and you would communicate them. Why did you not communicate them? You said you would.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Yes. We said we would, and at that time I fully expected they would be communicated at the outside in a week. As a matter of fact they were delayed about a fortnight. That is quite true. But I beg the right hon. Gentleman to take into account what 295 I have said. In the first place a certain amount of delay did—as every newspaper which supports the right hon. Gentleman has seen and admitted—leave an open door to President Kruger and give him a last chance. But he ought to bear in mind also—and I am content to rest my case upon this—that in the interval we communicated with President Steyn, and that we wanted to see the result of the negotiations before we committed ourselves to our ultimatum. That is a plain statement. The right hon. Gentleman actually said at the close of his speech that he thought the House of Commons had a right to see and consider these communications—this ultimatum which has never been communicated to President Kruger.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
The Duke of Devonshire said the new proposals were so reasonable that they would satisfy President Kruger that we had no intention of invading the independence of the Transvaal.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I think the hon. gentleman has misquoted the Duke. I am sure—I have not the words of the speech by me—that what the Duke said was that although he had very little hope of a satisfactory result he did cling to the desire that those proposals—which would be found extremely moderate—might be accepted by President Kruger. It is a different thing to say, as the right hon. Gentleman puts it, that they were so moderate that they would have been accepted, and that they were so moderate that he hoped, although not very strongly, still he hoped against hope that they would be accepted.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I dare say the right hon. Gentleman does. That want will never be gratified. That ultimatum is buried, and is never likely to be raised again, and when the time comes to deal with the situation at the conclusion of hostilities I am perfectly certain the terms will be something quite different. Now I am coming to the end, much to my own satisfaction, and I am inclined to put this question to every fair-minded and impartial man in the House. I am not contending that 296 there may not be something in all these transactions on which there may be reasonable and perfectly legitimate ground for criticism. But I ask, in all this long history which I have given of facts, despatches, and intentions, is there anywhere any sign of provocation, blood-guiltiness, desire for war, or of a conspiracy to bring about war? I repudiate such an accusation. I am sure it has been based where it has been made on a misunderstanding of what has passed and a misapprehension of facts. I am much more afraid of being told that I have been patient even to the point of weakness, that I have been moderate in the extreme. I confess that my only justification in such a case would be that, after all, although I do not hold the interests of peace as supreme, they are the main object of every British statesman. We have been accused of failure to send reinforcements to the Cape and elsewhere as the matter became critical. That accusation has been made from the last quarter from which I should have expected it. It even appeared—veiled, but it was there—in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. I think he said "long delay." [Sir H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN shook his head.] I understood him to say so. At all events, I do not think any accusation of that kind could come with a good grace from the benches opposite. That, at all events, must be admitted. But, if it comes from this side, let me say in the first place that during these negotiations, and even before that, during the present Government, the garrison of the South African colonies, which was originally something like 3,000, has been increased to 10,000, and from that to 25,000, at which it stands now. We have gradually increased our resources there, with the object of at least putting ourselves in a proper defensive position. We were pressed thereto by our own colonists and by the Government of Natal. If any Government deserves, in this matter, our gratitude and consideration it is the Government of the colony of Natal. Never before in the history of the difficulties in South Africa has the Government of the colony so completely identified itself with the mother country, and there are strong reasons which should have pulled them in an opposite direction. They are the people, we have seen, who were the first to bear the brunt of the 297 attack. They were, at the time when the negotiations were going on, and when at any moment "a bolt from the blue" in the shape of an ultimatum might have produced war—they were defenceless and open to attack. Yet they have thrown in their lot, heart and soul, with the mother country, and certainly they are entitled to our lasting gratitude. If, after all, even having done what we believed to be best, on the advice which we received, humanly speaking, and having taken sufficient and necessary precautions for a purely defensive attitude—if it be asked, "Why did you not send an Army Corps earlier," I might allude for a moment to the question of popular support upon which the right hon. Gentleman was rather sarcastic yesterday. I think we speak of different things. When we are speaking of popular support, we are not thinking, as he appeared to be, of votes or strength given to a particular Government. We are thinking of the Interests of the country. Sir, a great and serious war such as this is not one that any Government or statesman can contemplate without serious misgivings. To carry on such a war with so many difficulties and such complications, with a country seriously divided by a strict party line—that would be bad for the national interests. I do not see how a Government could satisfactorily prosecute a war under such conditions, hampered and embarrassed at every turn. I do not see how—what is far more important—they could ever arrange a satisfactory peace. It has been our earnest desire to carry with us, as far as it might be possible, both parties in the country, to reduce our differences, if we have differences, certainly not to exaggerate them. If we had proposed a month ago to send an Army Corps to South Africa, if we had come here with proposals to spend a million and a half on animals and eight and a half millions more on the necessary preparations, would the party opposite, as a whole, have supported us? The Leader of the Opposition, speaking on 6th October, three days before the ultimatum, declared that there was no need for military preparations.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
No, I beg your pardon, you did not. You complained of the "despatch of troops."
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
I said troops had been despatched, and I think I said it here again the other day—that there had been an ostentatious despatch of detachment after detachment of troops, which had the same effect when you were conducting nominally friendly and necessarily in their intention conciliatory negotiations with a foreign Power as if, when you were conducting similar negotiations with a private individual, you all the time shook your fist in his face. That is a totally different matter from the action which the Government might have followed if they were satisfied, as they appear to have been some time ago, that war was necessary, a necessity which did not appear so plainly to me. But if they had been satisfied of that, then, of course, it was their duty, irrespective of any criticism which might be passed, to send a sufficient force to support that policy.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I did not refer to this with the idea of making a point against the right hon. Gentleman. What I desire to emphasise is the position as between the two parties at the period to which I refer. If a month or more ago we had sent any large body of troops to South Africa, hon. Gentlemen opposite, holding the opinions they did, must have opposed us, and the result would have been a party division which would have shown the country to have been seriously divided in a time of great crisis; the Liberal party would have been more or less alienated, and our position, both at the moment and in future negotiations, seriously hampered. I am not ashamed to say that, having provided for the defensive necessities of the case, our policy was to a certain extent modified, so far as offensive preparations were concerned, by a desire not to alienate the sympathies of hon. Gentlemen opposite. I am not ashamed to have taken that line, for it is a line that must have been taken by any Government under similar circumstances when contemplating the possibility of a great undertaking such as this. The right hon. Gentleman goes back to his contention that the troops were ostentatiously despatched. I do not wish to add anything to what my right hon. friend the Leader of the House has said. I have always understood that by the necessities 299 of the case the War Office is the most leaky of all departments of State.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
We had it in an answer to an inquiry last summer that information was sent officially by the War Office to the press. The Secretary for War said so.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
A particular piece of information, certainly. Nobody denies that. But that is not the charge. The charge is that we continuously over a long period sent forward detachments of troops and were always making a great demonstration. Very well. The answer to that is that it is absolutely impossible, and I believe it has always been so, to move a single regiment in this country without news of it getting into the newspapers. Well, I believe that I have now gone through all the heads of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, and I have endeavoured in passing to meet other objections taken during the recess. Sir, we do not pretend that we are infallible, any more than any previous Government, but we do claim that as much as any previous Government we are anxious for the honour and the interests of this country. And we think it is in consequence of that that we have received the great measure of support from the great mass of our countrymen, and that we have seen that magnificent demonstration of loyalty, and not only of loyalty, but of sympathy with our object, which has been made by our self-governing colonies. Throughout these negotiations we have put first the objects we had in view, of maintaining the equality of the two races, of securing protection for British subjects, and confirming and upholding the suzerainty of the Queen. We have been, as I have shown, as anxious for peace as any man on the other side of the House, or in the country, but we have held that there are things which are even more important than peace itself, and in order to gain those things it is sometimes necessary to face the contingency of war. In our endeavour to maintain peace we have shown the utmost conciliation, we have shown endless patience. We have run some risk, but we have never from the first to the last for the sake of peace been prepared either to betray our countrymen, or to allow the paramountcy, or whatever you call it, to be taken from us. President Kruger has settled the question; he 300 has appealed to the God of battles, and I say, with all reverence and gravity, we accept the appeal, believing that we have our quarrel just.
§ *SIR EDWARD CLARKE (Plymouth)
I think the House will understand that it is with reluctance I take part in this debate. The matter is a grave and serious one, and I wish I could hope that what I must say on the subject will be welcome and pleasant to friends sitting around me. But I ask their forbearance. I will make no large claim on their patience, but there are things which it is my duty to say to-night. I have spoken on this subject outside the House, and, having so spoken, after what has been said I feel it my duty to join in this debate. The Leader of the House, in answer to an attack hinted at by the Leader of the Opposition, but which the right hon. Gentleman does not appear to have courage to make directly, said that if the Government had been guilty of errors in the conduct of these negotiations, he would like to have those errors made known in the presence of the representatives of the people. It is because I have said elsewhere, and am prepared to say here, that I think there have been errors in the conduct of negotiations I feel bound this evening to state clearly and distinctly what those errors are. Since I made that speech, a fortnight or more ago, I have read with the utmost care all that has appeared in the Blue Books and in the public prints in regard to this matter. I have listened to-night to the speech of the Colonial Secretary, and if I had found it possible to get up and tell the House that I found I had made a mistake, that my opinion was expressed too hastily or upon imperfect knowledge, I hope I should have had the courage—and it would require less courage than for the speech I have to make to-night—to acknowledge my blunder. I would rather have confessed to a personal blunder and mistake than say a word in the nature of an attack on the Government or any member of the Government. But I am bound to say the more I read of the correspondence and learn the circumstances of the case the more I am convinced of the errors in the negotiations, and that this lamentable war is absolutely unnecessary. And I would add this—that if I had any doubt when I came into the House, the extraordinary 301 statement which was made by the Colonial Secretary about half an hour ago with regard to the tenor and intention of his answer to the proposals of the Transvaal Government—that statement would have satisfied me that there have been most unfortunate and disastrous blunders in this matter. With a large part of the speech of the Colonial Secretary, of course, I have no concern. I am sure I shall be acquitted at once of concern or sympathy with the personal attack made upon the right hon. Gentleman yesterday from the other side of the House. So far am I from thinking that he was given a place in the Ministry which would take him out of contact with the work of this House and give him occupation sufficient to prevent his interfering with measures here—I say we never can be too grateful to him for the Workmen's Compensation Act, which I think the best measure this Parliament has passed, and I hope it is not necessary for me to say I absolutely dissociate myself from any personal attack. With the earlier part of the speech I have no fault to find. It is true we are all agreed there were grievances in the Transvaal, that the rights of British subjects had not been sufficiently respected, that our interests were endangered by the bad government of the country, and that it was the imperative duty of this or any Government to use such measures as might rightly be employed to put an end to the grievances and to protect the interests of the inhabitants of the Transvaal. Nor am I concerned in the question of whether we were premature or dilatory in the despatch of troops. Of course, upon a matter like that all confidence must be given to the Ministers of the Crown; they act upon the circumstances as known to them. But on the middle part of the speech—I was going to say the smaller part of the speech connected with the Amendment, that is to say, the conduct of negotiations—I desire to say a few words. Let me in parenthesis say that I cannot help being very heavily oppressed by the thought of what we are doing upon entering upon this war. It is not that we have to fight with a large number of persons. When my hon. and gallant friend the Member for the Wellington Division of Somersetshire was speaking in moving the Address I could not help remembering that the whole Boer population of the great country in South Africa we are 302 going to attack is equal to about a sixth of the population of that western county part of which he represents. The gravity of the proceeding is shown by the fact that in order to deal primarily with that small body of persons we are obliged to call out the reserves and militia, to send out a great army corps, to draw troops from India, and to accept contributions of troops from our great colonies. Seeing the efforts that are made for the prosecution of this war, one wonders what the country would do if ever we were engaged in a war with a great European Power. What is the reason, the necessity for these great preparations and this costly expedition? The question which exists between you and this small body of persons is one which touches so many interests, which is connected with so many difficulties in other parts of South Africa, that it would have been worth anything for your diplomacy to have succeeded in healing the sores which existed there without raising all those difficulties which call on the country at this moment for such an enormous expenditure of force. The gravity of the matter has been foreseen. We are told that during the time this Government has been in power the garrison in our South African possessions has been raised from a few thousand men to the very substantial number of 15,000.
§ SIR E. CLARKE
Of 25,000. Moreover, there are suggestions that in the future, owing to the action we are now taking, and to the unhappy differences which must exist when this war is over, we shall have to keep a garrison of 40,000 men in South Africa. It may or may not be so, but I think the best garrison that we could have established in our South African possessions would have been a faith in the perfect straight forwardness and honour of the diplomacy of this country. I am very much afraid that the course of these negotiations has been such, however we may be able to justify ourselves, that we cannot expect from those with whom they have been carried on the admission that we have been straightforward, frank, and honest in our dealings with them. A good deal has been said about the question of the suzerainty. I do not propose to make many quotations to-night, but I shall be ready to support any statement I make 303 by a reference to the quotation if it is asked for. I think that course will be most convenient, and I will trust hon. Members to check any statement I make by a reference to the Blue Books. Much has been said about the suzerainty. I aid in the country, and I say here, that for any British Minister since 1884 to assert that we have a suzerainty over the Transvaal is not only a statement made in defiance of fact, but also is a breach of national faith. Suzerainty was expressly provided for in the Convention of 1881, but when the Convention of 1884 came to be made, suzerainty is not to be found mentioned in it at all. It is said that there were negotiations with regard to the matter at the time, and the right hon. Gentleman has said to-night that a proposal was made to Lord Derby that a Convention should be made in a particular form, expressly disavowing the suzerainty, and that he would not consent to the form or the substance of such a Convention. That is perfectly true, but other things are to be remembered as well. The right hon. Gentleman read some words from the statement which Lord Derby made in the House of Lords, but the important words of that statement were these—We have abstained from using the word 'suzerainty' because it is a word which is capable of misconstruction, and leads, may be, to misrepresentation and difficulty.Therefore, there was a deliberate abstention in 1884, after conference and agreement with the delegates of the Transvaal, from the use of this word in the Convention, and the reason Lord Derby gave, as is stated by someone whose honour is not impugned, why they did not explicitly abandon the term "suzerainty" was that they were afraid to give to the then Opposition in the House of Commons, which was at that time troubling them very much with regard to Egyptian affairs, a further handle.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I do not think I can allow that to pass. That statement was made by Mr. Faure. But Sir Robert Herbert—who, I think, is the only person living who knows really intimately the history of the whole of this question—denies it.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I assure the hon. Gentleman that Sir Robert Herbert disagrees entirely with Mr. Faure. 304 I have had the opportunity of personally consulting with Sir Robert Herbert, and I say without hesitation that he considers that Mr. Faure was entirely mistaken.
§ *SIR E. CLARKE
All I can say is that Sir Robert Herbert's statement is in my hand. He says:I have absolutely no recollection of that or any similar language being used. I desire however, to add that I in no way question the bona fides of Mr. Faure's account of his remembrance of this part of the contract.
§ *SIR E. CLARKE
If Sir Robert Herbert does not remember any such language to have been used in his presence, but does not question the bona fides of the man who said he did hear it. I confess I think there is some evidence that it was said. Let me pass to another point. The Boer delegates, after they had been to this country, had seen Lord Derby, and had discussed this question of suzerainty—and if hon. Gentlemen will refer to The Times' paragraphs of about that time they will find the question of the suzerainty was specially mentioned as one of the topics—went back to their own country and submitted a report to the Volksraad. That report, which was published in the papers at the time, stated that they had procured the abolition of the suzerainty. If there was a mistake about it it ought to have been corrected then; but, as a matter of fact, from that time, when Lord Derby spoke in the House of Lords, until October 16, 1897, when the Colonial Secretary revived the claim of suzerainty in justifying a refusal to proceed to arbitration, that word had never, so far as I know, been used by any Minister of the Crown or in any public document having regard to the Transvaal. I venture to say that if it is arguable whether the particular clause of the Convention of 1884 did create what could be called a suzerainty, at all events, it was a breach of faith to the Transvaal for any British Minister, after the lapse of fifteen years, to renew the claim attached to that word, which had been deliberately abandoned after conference with Lord Derby. It is said that the suzerainty remains because the preamble to the Convention of 1881 remains. I cannot imagine how anybody can have brought himself to believe that there is any substance in that. The Convention 305 of 1881 recited in the preamble certain things, and then went on to make articles to give effect to them; but the Convention of 1884 did not consist of new articles of an old Convention; it was called in terms a new Convention, and the new Convention was one with a preamble of its own appropriate to the position which was then created. The Transvaal at that time was, not made, but was recognised as an independent sovereign State, a State with which this country was negotiating on equal terms. A great deal has been said about the claim of the Transvaal to be an international sovereign State. The Colonial Secretary has not said much about it, but a great deal has been said about it in the Blue Book. When that statement was made Sir A. Milner sent a telegram or despatch—one of those unfortunate telegrams and despatches which have been most unnecessarily published in this extraordinary way—in which he said this was clearly in opposition to Her Majesty's Government, and is in the nature of a defiance of Her Majesty's Government. Why should it be a defiance of us for the Transvaal to take one view of its own position and not a defiance of the Transvaal for us to take another view? I really cannot understand. If it is a question as to how far the Transvaal was justified in looking upon itself as a sovereign State, I should like to refer to a quotation, and I think it will be a treat to the House to hear a new quotation which has not been read or published so far as I know in the course of these discussions. In 1884 Lord Kimberley, representing the Government of the day in the House of Lords, was asked in that House how it was that the British Minister had signed the Convention with the Transvaal of 1884, but had allowed six months to the Volksraad in which to signify its acceptance of that Convention. Lord Kimberley replied, on 17th March, 1884—A treaty when concluded must be ratified by the sovereign power. Now, the sovereign power is not in the President of the Transvaal, but in the Volksraad itself, and the treaty must therefore be ratified by the Volksraad there and the Queen here. The noble Earl [Cadogan] also referred to another point, viz., that in 1881 the delegates who concluded the Convention on the part of the Transvaal solemnly engaged to see that the Convention of that year should be ratified. The noble Earl will see that there is a considerable difference in the two cases. There was then no 306 established government in the Transvaal. The persons with whom we negotiated were delegates of the Boers, and that is a wholly different case from the present when there is an established government, and the delegates are acting under the ordinary authority given them by the State.The leader in the House of Lords of the then Government, therefore, himself described the Volksraad as being the sovereign power with which this country was entering into a Convention. Now, of course, the Transvaal is not an unlimited sovereignty. It is limited by one particular article, but the Transvaal is a sovereign Power. It has international rights. It is entitled to receive Ambassadors or the representatives of Foreign States. It is entitled to send its own representatives to Foreign States, and the only limit upon its sovereign power is that all treaties made by it with Foreign States—which it is perfectly free to make—are not valid unless within six months they are ratified by Her Majesty's Government. That is a derogation from its sovereignty, but it does not destroy the sovereignty. That the Transvaal is an international Power in another sense we cannot dispute. We have ourselves on two occasions entered into treaties with the Transvaal for arbitration upon the terms of the Conventions. Having said so much upon these points, let me say this. I am amazed to hear what the Colonial Secretary says with regard to these matters. He says they are not of importance, and that in the answer of the Transvaal which was given in August of this year they were, in fact, waived. I will come to that in a moment, but I want to see what is really the history of this matter. There is no use whatever in going back before the time of the Bloemfontein Conference. Now what were the instructions given to Sir A. Milner before that Conference?—Lay all the stress on the question of the franchise in the first instance. Other reforms are less pressing, and will come in time if that can be arranged satisfactorily.Other matters were mentioned, but Sir Alfred Milner went to that Conference and told President Kruger that if they could come to an agreement upon the franchise the other questions would either solve themselves or could be dealt with by arbitration. The Conference broke down. A proposal was made by Sir Alfred Milner which President Kruger would not accept, and in reply made a proposal for a 307 nine years franchise, which is described by the Colonial Secretary as an absolutely insufficient and foolish proposal. What happened after? Almost directly after the Conference had broken down the Transvaal addressed a despatch to this country asking for arbitration upon the matters which were in dispute. Before that despatch was handed in Sir Alfred Milner suggested to the representative of the Transvaal that if the franchise were promptly and satisfactorily dealt with other things might easily be arranged. Upon that hint the Transvaal acted. We talk about criminal obstinacy and their making no advance. It is absolutely absurd. There was a session of the Volksraad. They prepared a reform Bill by which a franchise of seven years was given and a certain number of seats were given to the Rand, and in a single fortnight that Reform Bill was passed, and by July 26 the Uitlanders were being enrolled as naturalised burghers under the provisions of that Act. On July 27 the Colonial Secretary wrote a despatch in which he recognised that this was a great advance, and he went on to say what was perfectly true—that one could not possibly tell, except by a little experience and investigation, how far the seven years franchise would give the Uitlanders a fair share in the government. That was on the 27th July, but that despatch was not presented to the Boer Government until the 23rd of August. It was held back for this reason—that it was suggested to the Transvaal Government or by the Transvaal Government (it is not material with whom the idea originated) that it might be expedient to make a further proposal which would suit this country better, and so avoid the necessity of the inquiry into the effect of a seven years franchise, because it was thought that if a five years franchise was granted there would be no necessity for that inquiry. With regard to the application made to the Transvaal not to go on with the passing of that Act through the Volksraad until Her Majesty's Government had had an opportunity of expressing an opinion upon its sufficiency, it is not the fact that this application was refused. A draft copy of the Bill had been handed to our representative at Pretoria, and the answer given when that request was made was that the Bill was ready for submission or had been submitted to the Volksraad, and it was im- 308 possible for the Minister to stop the proceedings of the Raad. President Kruger has had much difficulty with the Volksraad. I think he has on many occasions shown himself a moderator and an influence on the side of peace, but if he had gone to the Volksraad and said: "I propose we should adjourn the discussion until the British Colonial Secretary has had an opportunity of telling us what he thinks about the Bill"—of course such a message would not have been listened to by anybody. It is said in many newspapers that the Transvaal insisted on our disavowing and withdrawing our claim to suzerainty. The Transvaal Government did nothing of the kind. The Transvaal stipulated that there should in future be no use of the word which had been abandoned in 1884, and that the controversy on the subject should be allowed to drop. Now, I agree with the right hon. Member for West Monmouth that there was good reason why the conditions attached to the five years franchise proposal should have been accepted. The extraordinary incident that has marked the proceedings of this evening has been the statement of the Colonial Secretary that the answer to that proposal might have been taken as an acceptance. That was the phrase he used, but it is an ambiguous phrase, and I should like to know—Was that answer intended as an acceptance?
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
At that time we thought the proposal of the Transvaal extremely promising. We intended to send a most conciliatory answer, accepting, as far as it was humanly possible for us to do so, their proposal, and, as the only point of difference was the internal intervention, I thought myself it would be accepted.
§ *SIR E. CLARKE
Then I take it that it was intended to be an acceptance of that proposal. Now, Mr. Speaker, if that were so, if, in fact, the Colonial Secretary intended to accept the proposals of the Transvaal, then undoubtedly this Amendment is proved up to the hilt. But I do not think that anyone can read the despatch which was sent on September 8 and reconcile it with the statement which is now made. Just let me put this to the House. Suppose when the Colonial Secretary got that proposal of August 19 he intended to accept it, what would have been, might have been, ought to have 309 been his answer? That we do accept, that while we claim the right which any Government has to interfere for the protection of its subjects, we do not claim any right beyond that which we have under the Convention of 1884, or a right which arises in consequence of our position in Africa; and he might have gone on to say that as to the suzerainty, if objection is taken to the use of the word, we do agree that it shall not be used in future, and that the discussion as to whether we are suzerains or not shall be tacitly allowed to drop. That is the obvious answer that would have been given by anyone who intended to accept such a proposal. But what was the answer given? I crave the indulgence of the House for a moment while I refer to this. The answer that was actually given was—Her Majesty's Government have considered the proposals which the South African Republic Government, in their notes to the British Agent of 19th and 21st August, have put forward as an alternative to those contained in my telegram of 31st July. Her Majesty's Government assume that the adoption in principle of the franchise proposals made by you at Bloemfontein will not be hampered by any conditions which would impair their effect.With regard to the conditions of the Government of the South African Republic; first, as regards intervention; Her Majesty's Government hope that the fulfilment of the promises made, and the just treatment of the Uitlanders in future, will render unnecessary any further intervention on their behalf, but Her Majesty's Government cannot, of course, debar themselves from their rights under the Conventions, nor divest themselves of the ordinary obligations of a civilised Power to protect its subjects in a foreign country from injustice.Secondly, with regard to suzerainty Her Majesty's Government would refer the Government of the South African Republic to the second paragraph of my despatch of July 13.The second paragraph of the July despatch is this—Her Majesty's Government concur generally in the views expressed in your despatch, and have no intention of continuing to discuss this question with the Government of the Republic, whose contention that the South African Republic is a sovereign international State is not, in their opinion, warranted either by law or history, and is wholly inadmissible.By all means, but where is the acceptance?
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
We had no intention of pursuing the controversy, what the hon. Gentleman has just said 310 was all that they asked for. He has just said that we tacitly agreed to allow the correspondence to drop, and that, as he has already declared, it was our intention to do.
§ *SIR E. CLARKE
Supposing that to be so, there was an obvious misunderstanding. The stipulation that you would discontinue the use of the word and allow the controversy tacitly to drop is not answered by a reference to another despatch, which says that you are not going to continue the controversy. But I must point out that that answer which was, as we know now, intended to be an acceptance of the proposal made on 19th August, was sent by telegraph on 28th August. On 2nd September the Transvaal Government answered it, regretting that Her Majesty's Government "have not been able to decide on accepting the proposal for a five years franchise," and then they go on to say this—Passing now to the discussion of the observations of Her Majesty's Government on the conditions attached by this Government to the proposal, which has now lapsed in consequence of the non-acceptance by Her Majesty's Government of these stipulations, the Government wishes to observe (a) that with reference to the question of intervention, this Government has neither asked, nor intended, that Her Majesty's Government should abandon any right which it really might have, on the ground either of the Convention of London, 1894, or of international law, to intervene for the protection of British subjects in this country; (b) that as regards the assertion of suzerainty its non-existence has, as this Government ventures to think, already been so clearly stated in its despatch of 16th April, 1898, that it would be superfluous to repeat here the facts, arguments, and deductions stated therein; it simply wishes to remark here that it abides by its views expressed in that despatch.Now, if the despatch of 28th August had been misunderstood, and if the Transvaal Government ought to have taken it as an acceptance of their conditions, why was not that said? But so far from it being said, a despatch was written which destroys the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion that it was an acceptance. The despatch was sent on 8th September—Her Majesty's Government understand the Note of the South African Republic Government of 2nd September to mean that their proposals made in their Note of 19th August are now withdrawn because the reply of Her Majesty's Government contained in their Note of 30th with regard to future intervention and suzerainty is not acceptable. Her Majesty's Government have absolutely repudiated the view of the political status of the South 311 African Republic taken by the Government of the South African Republic in their Note of 16th April, 1898, and also in their Note of 9th May, 1899, in which they claim the status of a sovereign international State"—In our telegram of 28th August no reference is made whatever to the claim to be a sovereign international State—and they are, therefore, unable to consider any proposal which is made conditional on the acceptance by Her Majesty's Government of these views.The proposal had never been made conditional on their acceptance.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. Member harps upon the word acceptance. He must remember he asked me the question whether we intended to accept. I, myself, should have thought that the Boers would have taken it as an acceptance, but I suppose it may be properly described as a qualified acceptance. We did not accept everything, but we accepted at least nine-tenths of the whole.
§ *SIR E. CLARKE
Really, this becomes more and more sad. It is dreadful to think of a country of this kind entering upon a war, a crime against civilisation, when this sort of thing has been going on. Why, in the very next sentence, the right hon. Gentleman says—It is on this ground that Her Majesty's Government have been compelled to regard the last proposal of the Government of the South African Republic as unacceptable in the form in which it has been presented.
§ *SIR E. CLARKE
With regard to the point made by the right hon. Gentleman opposite in his speeches in the country and in this House, that the conditions which were attached to the proposal of August 19 were conditions which might have been accepted, we know now that so little objection was there made to them that a despatch was sent, which, it was supposed, would be considered by the Transvaal Government as an acceptance. Suppose otherwise. Suppose the proposals were so bad that they might be deemed to be rejected. In what period did this happen? The despatch in which the right hon. Gentleman said that the offer of the seven years franchise was far in advance of anything promised before, and that it formed a basis upon which matters might be discussed by a joint Commission, was kept back until August 23.
§ *SIR E. CLARKE
I have no doubt its substance was delivered. It was telegraphed on 27th July, and communicated to the Transvaal Government immediately after that, but not formally delivered until 23rd August, when these proposals were all known to Her Majesty's Government. What was the situation, then, when the despatch was formally delivered to the Transvaal Government? On 22nd August the right hon. gentleman received these proposals which we now understand he was willing to accept, but having received these proposals on 22nd August he telegraphed on 23rd August to deliver to the Transvaal Government the despatch sent on 27th July, receiving in a friendly fashion the proposal for a seven years franchise. The Government then refused to go any further with regard to the proposals of 19th August. It would have been perfectly right to say, "You have misunderstood our answer, we intended in substance to accept your offer," but not only did they not do that, but they distinctly refused to discuss the seven years franchise, which had been dealt with in favourable terms by the despatch delivered on 23rd August. There was here a lamentable departure from the course which our opponents might have expected us to take. If negotiations are going on with a man, and you have come very near a conclusion, and he has made a proposal which you may not think adequate and sufficient, but which gives a basis of agreement, and if he then makes another proposal intended to cut short the discussion by making some other arrangement and you refuse that—why, in commonsense and honesty you ought to keep open the proposals which you have been considering before. Sir, I confess that I, for one, cannot see any answer to the suggestion that at that time of stress and difficulty Her Majesty's Government would have acted wisely either in making clear the acceptance of the proposals of August 19, over which there had been a misapprehension, or in saying, "After this alternative proposal is out of the way we will go on negotiating upon the basis existing before, and try to bring them to a conclusion." But not only did they get rid of the proposal of the five years franchise by not accepting the conditions, and then saying that they refused to go back to the discussion of the seven years 313 franchise, they actually made the fact that the Transvaal Government had proposed a five years franchise a reason for saving, "You have actually admitted that a five years franchise will not do you any harm and we will not go back. "From that time the question was hopeless. There was one further attempt made by the Transvaal Government to bring matters to a conclusion. In the answer of 2nd September there was a discussion of a question of a joint commission. It was pointed out to them that they had not in terms accepted the joint commission proposed in the despatch of 27th July, and on 8th September the Transvaal Government sent a telegraphic communication asking her Majesty's Government to add to their note a clause stating that they accepted the joint commission. Unfortunately, time went on. Parliament, unhappily, was not sitting.
§ *SIR E. CLARKE
I have heard it often said, and I think said with a good deal of truth, that there are many dangers to the peace of the world in discussions which take place in this House with regard to foreign matters, and I believe the representatives of the Foreign Office sleep the more soundly and peacefully when Parliament is not sitting. But in this case we have had a specimen of what is called the new diplomacy. Everything has been published whether it ought to have been published or not, and I am convinced that if this House had been sitting during the month of August and the first week of September there would have been no war with the Transvaal. We should have secured without war the five years franchise, which Sir Alfred Milner said was better than any proposal that he himself had made, or we should, at all events, have had seven years franchise with an inquiry by joint commission and arbitration on every other point. I said that I was reluctant to intervene in this matter. It is a great pain to me to take to night a course which separates me in judgment and in action from many of my colleagues, but it is impossible for me to do otherwise. We have had a specimen of the new diplomacy. If I had read these Blue Books not knowing the persons who were concerned in the matter, I con- 314 fess that I should have been forced to the conclusion that the correspondence was conducted not with a view to peace. I do not believe that for a moment. We have had the statement of the right hon. Gentleman that he has been working for peace, but if he has been working for peace in this matter I cannot help saying that a more clumsy correspondence is not to be found in the records of diplomatic action, and it seems to me that the publication of certain despatches in these Blue Books has been most unfortunate. It was competent for Sir Alfred Milner to send a confidential statement to the Colonial Secretary telling him freely what he thought.
§ SIR E. CLARKE
I am not referring to one despatch only. There are a number of them. As one travels along the Blue Book one finds these despatches from Sir Alfred Milner. The Blue Books are full of despatches whose publication could not have been of any use except to make the Transvaal more suspicious, while they are also filled with observations from Cape newspapers, with reports of public meetings at which violent speeches have been made with regard to the Transvaal, with anonymous affidavits as to outrages and threats used towards this country. We are told a most extraordinary thing with regard to the object of the Blue Books. We are told on the highest authority that it is desirable to inform the public mind, to raise the public interest and sympathy for the Government. Yes, if the Government were going in the direction of war these Blue Books were the very things to excite sympathy and support for them in this country, and to excite a feeling in the Transvaal which was as hostile to the preservation of peace as was the excitement of a violent war feeling here. I think the course which these negotiations have been allowed to take is greatly to be regretted. I should have been wanting in duty to myself if I had not here said what I have 315 said elsewhere with regard to them. I should like to say one personal word to the hon. friends around me. I have been for thirty years in active political life. I have been for twenty years a diligent worker in the affairs of this House. I think I can say that during that time I have been unwavering in my fidelity to the leaders of my party in this House. Except on one occasion, when I made a speech with regard to the financial relations of Ireland, I have not in this House spoken against the course which my leaders were taking. It is, therefore, a great pain to me to speak so now. But my work for the party has been amply and completely rewarded. No sort of reward or gratitude remains due to me from the party or its leaders. It has been rewarded by my being permitted for some years to be one of the law officers of the Crown; it has been rewarded more than that by the constant friendship, and I hope I may say the confidence of the right hon. Gentleman whose follower I am proud to be. A reward, too, has been given to me which is, perhaps, better than anything else, and that has been the opportunity afforded to me of taking a sometimes not inconspicuous part in the discussions of this House. But I am bound to speak this. No man can know he is right, but he can know whether his opinion is an honest one, whether it is absolutely unbiassed by any question of personal interest, or by the more subtle influence of personal antagonism. I know that my opinion is an honest one, though it may not be right. I hope by-and-by my hon. friends who now are feeling angry and hurt at my conduct may remember that there is a deeper and a truer loyalty to party than that loyalty which is expressed in the constant going into the division lobby at the bidding of the Whip. I think they will acquit me of any disloyalty to the party for having, as I have done, striven to prevent my country from suffering the calamity, and my party from suffering the reproach, of having embarked on an unnecessary war.
§ MR. HALDANE (Haddington)
No one who has heard the hon. and learned Gentleman can fail to appreciate the sincerity and the high motives by which he is inspired. In the eloquent words that he has uttered he has given another proof of the public spirit and devotion he has always shown to the public cause. But while the hon. and learned Gentleman 316 has spoken in terms of great emotion of the responsibility which is upon him, that responsibility is not felt by him alone. There are others of us on this side of the House who feel ourselves, to our sorrow and to our pain, separated from those with whom we have often worked, and with whom in the future we hope to work again. The hon. and learned Member has put forward a view of this correspondence, and if I could agree with him that the correspondence could be taken by itself and separated from the situation as between the two parties, I should feel that there were several points upon which I could agree with him; but I am wholly unable to take that view, and isolate it from the situation of this Government and this country in connection with the Transvaal. I will put in a sentence what the difference between my hon. and learned friend and myself is on this momentous issue. As I have endeavoured, to follow the situation in South Africa as it is and as it has been for many years past, there is one instance in particular which is analogous to it. At the time of the Franco-Prussian War, a French critic, the late M. Prevost-Paradol, compared the two countries to two express trains afar off, coming in the direction of each other on the same line. He said it was only a question of time and only a miracle could stop the inevitable collision. My view in this case is the same, and the only thing which could have stopped the calamitous collision was a complete change of policy on the part of President Kruger. I ask now on whom does the burden of blame lie in this controversy—on the people of this country or upon the burghers of the Transvaal? If the House will bear with me I will go back a few years as to the position of the Transvaal, because it is absolutely essential to appreciate what the situation was that the Government had to face. Going back nearly twenty years, immediately after the Convention of Pretoria in 1881 had been negotiated, an attitude made itself manifest in the Transvaal so wholly uncertain as to necessitate the well-known interview between Sir Hercules Robinson, Sir Evelyn Wood, and President Kruger. In. the report of that interview I find the following:—PRESIDENT: Before annexation had British subjects complete freedom of trade throughout the Transvaal; were they on the same footing as citizens of the Transvaal?MR. KRUGER: They were on the same foot- 317 ing as the burghers; there was not the slightest difference in accordance with the Sand River Convention.PRESIDENT: I presume you will not object to that continuing?MR. KRUGER: No. There will he equal protection for anybody.SIR E. WOOD: And equal privileges?MR. KRUGER: We make no difference so far as burgher rights are concerned.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The hon. Member must not interrupt an hon. Member in his remarks because he does not read so much as the hon. Gentleman desires.
§ MR. HALDANE
I am sorry that I have not the Paper before me at the moment. However, the interview resulted in a promise of equal burgher rights for all white inhabitants, and this promise was given in words which were not ambiguous. The Convention of Pretoria was given, therefore, on the solemn pledge of President Kruger that all burgher rights would be given. In 1882 the franchise, which before that time was obtainable by everybody after two years' residence, was raised to five years, and in 1887 the five years was further increased to fifteen, and the Uitlander population was still further cut off from participating in the government of the country. In 1890 President Kruger found it necessary to make some provision for the representation of the Uitlanders, and made it in the Second Raad, which is a body having no power of veto over the First Raad, a body having no power to consider the question of taxation, so important in the view of the Uitlanders, who paid by far the greater proportion; a body in the position to which some of us on this side, including my hon. friend the Member for Northampton, have expressed a wish, I think, to reduce one of our own Chambers. The privilege offered them by President Kruger was one which gave the Uitlanders no power of making their voices heard on the topic which touched them most of all, taxation. In 1894 another change in the franchise was introduced of such a complicated character that it was practically impossible for any substantial number of persons, who had not already obtained the franchise, to obtain it at all. The position then was that the Uitlander population was put at the mercy, so far as political power was concerned, of the Transvaal Government. In Ireland we have an instance of the same relation, the relation of which we have often spoken as that of ascendency; 318 but what you have in Ireland is intensified in the Transvaal. You have a minority having the control of the majority, and you have a condition of things in the Transvaal more nearly approximating to Ireland a hundred' years ago, before the Union, than now. Now, how is that power used? It was first brought into operation in the policy of taxation. Directly gold was found a modification took place in taxation under which the Uitlander paid from £16 to £20 for every £4 paid by the burgher, the teaching of the English language in the State schools was prohibited after the fourth standard, and no Englishman could carry a gun, or even go out for a day's shooting, although he was compelled to contribute to furnish rifles to every male Boer of the State. The Government was administered, not on the footing that we are used to, but on a system of monopolies, concessions, and corruption, which made it impossible to count on getting any just treatment at the hands of the Executive. With regard to this matter, I am content to have the question tested by the report of the Industrial Commission which was made in June, 1897. That Commission was composed exclusively of persons in the burgher interest, and it reported unanimously that a substantial part of the mining industry was being crushed out by the burden of taxation which was put upon it. It pointed out that only a small proportion of the mines were paying, and that others could be made to pay. They made the statement that the black labour was being demoralised by the drink laws, under which concessions were given to persons from the outside to come in and furnish drink to the Kaffir population without any regard to their well-being. The report pointed out that every article of daily consumption was so heavily taxed as to make the high wages given in reality not high at all when the cost of living was taken into consideration. All these things were reported by the Industrial Commission, only to have the report scrutinised by a hostile Raad, and to have the members of the Commission themselves denounced as traitors to their country, and there was no redress. The outcome of that situation has been a marriage of ascendency with oppression, and a progeny of rebellion. You were always face to face with events like the Raid of 1895. I have always thought that was one of the most calamitous 319 things of the whole story; it was one of those things by which we are judged by foreign Powers; but, after all, weak and silly as the Raid was, was it not as much an effect as a cause? was not the state of feeling out of which it arose the direct consequence of this cutting down of the franchise which I sketched out, which came into existence immediately after the Convention of 1881, and went on increasing in volume and intensity up to 1895? Why is the feeling so intense in many parts of this country? Because in every district there are families who have relatives in the Transvaal—men who have worked in the mines, and, as superintendents and artisans and so forth, who have written back, and some of them have come back in disgust and despair, declaring, as free-born Englishmen, they will no longer submit to be under the treatment of the Boers. They are not plutocrats, these men, nor do they, or those who are backing them, live in Park Lane. I do not desire to speak further on this matter and make things worse than they are. I have come to the conclusion that there was a state of things absolutely unbearable, and that unless President Kruger could effect a change in the ways of his Government, the collision between Uitlanders and the Transvaal Government and the Government of this country was inevitable. People have asked, could not those Uitlanders have stayed away, and why did they not stay away? Under the Conventions of Pretoria and London they had a right to go there, and they had been invited to go there. In the production of gold not much has been due to the Boers, and through that foreign industry the wealth of the country has been increased. These men have come and settled and furnished the revenue, and contributed to the prosperity of the country, and contributed to put it into its present state of efficiency, and that under the guarantees offered to them by the Transvaal Government. If we had not interfered, if we had not come to them, they would have gone away from us, and it was morally impossible for us to leave our countrymen, which constitutes a great majority of the population, under a system of treachery which was bound to lead them, sooner or later, on to revolution. It has been attempted to discuss the diplomatic relations in this matter as if they referred simply to the written documents, which my honourable and learned friend opposite has so skilfully discussed. But the 320 real question is the larger one. It is impossible to ignore the fact that the main contentious features of the controversy were contained in the conversations of the Bloemfontein Conference Nothing could be more moderate and conciliatory than the tone adopted there by Sir Alfred Milner, and I cannot agree with my hon. and learned friend that President Kruger and his advisers were so ignorant of the position of affairs in this country. I have followed the franchise proposals, and I am bound to say I have come to the conclusion that throughout the whole Conference President Kruger did not desire to come to an understanding. Sir Alfred Milner pointed out he was not asking for a majority vote for the Uitlander population, but a minority representation which would enable them to make their voices heard. The proposals which were then brought before the Raad for this purpose gave no real representation to the Uitlanders at all. They were so elaborate that they must have been prepared before President Kruger came to the Conference at all, and they must have been prepared by skilled advisers, who knew they were nugatory and intended them to be so. President Kruger then introduced another Bill without consulting anybody on behalf of the Imperial authorities, which he said was to effect the thing which the other Bill did not. That Bill was as bad as the other, and would not serve the purpose of Sir Alfred Milner, which was to get a real substantial, although a minority representation for the Uitlanders, to enable them to make their grievances known and have them discussed. Then came a third Bill, as to the result of which the Government were not sanguine after what had happened to the two previous Bills. Probably what was in the minds of the representatives of the Government, at the moment at which they are said to have been bound either to accept or reject in clear terms, was that there was no real desire on the part of the Transvaal Government to settle the matter and to give such representation as the Uitlanders desired. Sir Alfred Milner pointed that out, and if you come to that conclusion what do you say of the subsequent despatches? The Transvaal Government at that time were anxious to be off, and not anxious to make any proposition unless it suited their purposes, and their purposes exclusively. I am not prepared to say that if the express trains had been 321 allowed to travel yet a further distance the collision would not have been worse. The Transvaal is getting richer, and time is with them and against us, and they saw if they could carry on the existing conditions into a sufficient period of the future they would be in a still stronger position to resist any demands made upon them. I desire to reserve all my rights and duties as a member of the Opposition when the time comes, if indeed it ever comes, for criticising the diplomacy in this matter, and there may be a great deal to be said upon the points, but this is not the true question before us. This Amendment is meant to be a censure on the policy of the Government, taken broadly, and it is suggested that there should be another policy. I think on this question we have come to two divergent ways where there is no middle course. If this Amendment suggests that the Government is to blame and that President Kruger is not, I can regard it only in the light of a motion that should be resisted to the utmost by voice and vote.
§ *MR. C. P. SCOTT (Lancashire, Leigh)
The hon. Member who spoke last assigned a ground for this war which, I think, deserves a little more attention than it has received. The ground which he put forward, first, in justification of this terrible war—a war which, I have no doubt, both parties in this House sincerely regret—was an alleged breach on the part of the Transvaal Government of solemn obligations in virtue of which the Convention of 1881 granting them their independence was passed. His words were very clear. He said:—A solemn promise of equal burgher rights was given, on which, and on which alone, the Convention was allowed to go through.Now, this serious statement on the part of a man so eminent as the hon. and learned Member for Haddington is a sample of the kind of ground on which this war has been justified and of the utter recklessness which has throughout characterised the defence of the war. But the hon. Member for Haddington does not stand alone in this statement. On the 27th of July the Leader of the Opposition made a speech, in which he for the first time—so far as I am aware—alleged that there had been certain solemn and definite undertakings given by the Government of the Transvaal on the strength of which their independence had been granted, and the violation of which constituted a grave and serious breach 322 of faith. On the very next day the same statement was repeated by the Colonial Secretary, and when we came to the end of the session it was actually given a foremost place in the Queen's Speech. Well, what is this charge of breach of faith? That the Government of the Transvaal had given certain undertakings which entitled us to demand that they should grant the franchise to the Uitlanders. Sir, I believe a more baseless statement was never made. Certain words indeed were quoted from what the Leader of the House has called the protocols, but which are really the shorthand writer's notes of conversations ranging over the widest variety of topics, which preceded the conclusion of the Convention of 1881. The allegation is that President Kruger, on behalf of the Transvaal State, solemnly undertook to grant burgher rights to all white persons within the Transvaal, and that it was in respect of that promise that the Convention was concluded. Now, if that was the essential condition on which the Convention was concluded there would surely have been some trace of it in the correspondence. What do we find? In the instructions given to the Chief Commissioner, Sir Hercules Robinson, and the other Commissioners before they entered into that conference there is not a single word about the franchise. All that is referred to is equality in regard to trading and taxation. That is tolerably clear evidence that the Government of this country attached no great importance to this matter at that time. When we come to the negotiations themselves, there is only a single casual reference in the whole of these conversations, extending over twenty or twenty-five days, as to the matter, and, be it observed, this reference is not made by the Chief Commissioner. Sir Hercules Robinson never mentioned the word franchise, never mentioned the words "burgher rights," never mentioned the words "equality of privileges." He simply asked whether complete freedom of trade did not prevail in the Transvaal; whether British subjects were not on the same footing as other citizens of the Transvaal; and whether the existing state of things would continue. Sir Evelyn Wood interjected, "and equal privileges," but Sir Hercules Robinson turned the conversation to the question of equal trading. Does that look as if it were a solemn obligation imposed on the Transvaal as a condition 323 upon which independence should be granted? Sir, the position is, in fact, perfectly untenable. But that is not all. This conversation, for whatever it may be worth, took place before the conclusion of the Convention of 1881. Now, it it was good for anything, it bound the Transvaal to maintain the condition of things which prevailed in 1881. That condition was that a man entering the Transvaal should be naturalised within a year, or, if he had landed property, in less than a year. The first change in the franchise law of the Transvaal was not made, as has been said by the Colonial Secretary, after the Convention of London. It was made the very year after the Convention of Pretoria, in 1882, and in that year the period of qualification was raised from one year to five years. Therefore, whatever breach of understanding, or undertaking, took place took place in 1882. Well, if there was a breach of solemn undertaking, that breach took place in 1882, and we are asked to believe that this was possible, and that no notice was taken of it in 1884? That breach, if it was a breach, was never referred to. There is no trace of it in the Blue Books or anywhere. In point of fact, it was regarded as a matter absolutely of no importance, or one within the competence of the Transvaal State. Now, I ask hon. Members whether that is a kind of statement on which it is fair or even honest to base a charge of breach of faith against the Government of the Transvaal? It is a fair specimen of the kind of way in which accusations have been trumped up against the Transvaal Government, and in which it has been sought to excite prejudice against then, and to lead an honourable and fair-dealing people, such as the great mass of the English people are, to look upon these men as pledge-breakers, as men who can only be dealt with by the strong hand, and with whom, since they have broken faith with us, it is justifiable or excusable that we should also break faith. Then the hon. Member for Haddington, speaking also on his responsibility, and coming forward as a Liberal on these benches to defend a holy war, asked us, in the second place, to justify this war on the ground of cruel oppression of our fellow-subjects in the Transvaal. Well, we have heard a great deal of the cruel oppression of the Uitlanders in the Transvaal, but it has been of the vaguest, most general, and most unsubstantial character. We 324 have never had any facts. We have never been told in what particular way the individual Uitlander has been made to suffer, how his life has been made intolerable, how the iron heel of oppression has entered into his soul. All these statements are mere rhetorical generalities. I venture to say that something more serious is required in order to justify those who are responsible for the Government of this country and for the direction of this mighty Empire, in bringing power to bear upon a small and defenceless people. But what are the grievances of the Uitlanders in the Transvaal? Let hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side get up and tell us what those terrible grievances are, and in what respect the Uitlanders are helots. I should be very much surprised if anyone could tell us exactly in what way these men have suffered any oppression which can for a moment be called intolerable. We do not dispute that there are abuses in the Government of the Transvaal. There are abuses in the government of this country at this moment, and there were much worse abuses a few years ago. There are infinitely worse abuses in many European countries with which we have friendly relations and with which we do not propose to go to war. What we want to know is what are the intolerable grievances which we are called upon as a matter of national honour, duty, and right to redress? Yet this is the whole origin and ground of the attack which we are making upon the independence and liberty of the Transvaal State. It is true that one or two cases of murder—so called—were brought forward, one, a terrible case of murder, the case of Mrs. Appleby. But there are cases of murder in all countries, and it was not alleged that the Transvaal Government in any shape or form was responsible for the murder of this lady. There was also the case of the man Edgar. This has once more to-night been called by the Secretary for the Colonies a case of murder. It was not a case of murder, and to call it such is an abuse of terms and to play upon the confidence of the House and the country. I need not recite that case again; I thought we had heard the last of it. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bodmin exposed it from beginning to end. If there was any murder committed it was the murder committed by poor Edgar.
§ *MR. C. P. SCOTT
He did, and the man died from the injuries he received. If that is the worst case, what may be called the show case, the case on which the whole of this attack has arisen, what are we to think of the other cases? I venture to say that no more baseless ground on which to place the interference of this country with the affairs of a friendly State like the Transvaal could possibly be conceived. If that is the worst that can be alleged in respect of the treatment of the Uitlanders it is a monstrous and iniquitous thing that the power of this country should be invoked to redress grievances which, after all, are not more intolerable than the grievances suffered by subjects of constitutional countries. If there is no justification for going to war on those grounds, on what ground is there justification?
§ *MR. C. P. SCOTT
They invaded us, of course; but I am glad to see that that has not yet been alleged in this House until the hon. Member at this moment alleged it as the real ground of the war. It would be perfectly childish to make such an allegation. It is true that our colonies have been invaded, and that invasion has to be repelled. But what we want to know is what led up to the invasion, what drove the Boers—and not the Boers only, but the Free State, against whom none of the things that were charged against the Boers have been alleged, but who have been one of the best governed States in the world—to war with us. The only other ground that has been stated, and it would be a serious ground—it might be a sufficient ground if it were true—is that there were political reasons of the strongest nature for suppressing the independence of these countries, that they were conspiring against the power of this country, and that it was a question whether we or they should be dominant in South Africa. I think that is a travesty of the truth. What evidence is there of any such conspiracy? It is precisely on a par with the famous Dreyfus syndicate. It is a kind of fable or fiction which is invented in order to justify a course which cannot otherwise 326 be justified. It was only the other day that we were rejoicing in the extraordinary loyalty of the whole of the people in the Cape Colony. It was only the other day they were voting supplies for our navy. For twenty years we have been at absolute peace with the Free State. It has been a model of good government, and no one has breathed a word of suspicion against the Free State people. Take the Transvaal itself. When did the Transvaal begin to be a danger to this country? The Transvaalers, it is quite true, value their independence, they value their separate national existence. We guaranteed it to them by treaty, and we are going to take it away. If you menace a people as you have menaced the Boers again and again, they begin to suspect you. But when did they begin to be a menace to the peace of South Africa? It is said that they are building forts and are arming. When did they build forts and begin to arm? Why, after the Raid. I do not, however, think it affected the feelings of the Transvaalers very much. I think they were inclined rather to be forgiving about the Raid, because it gave them the opportunity of I showing what they were made of, and they were rather pleased with themselves over their success in repelling us. But that Raid undoubtedly showed them the necessity of defending themselves, and they built their forts and imported arms as a direct consequence of the Raid. Now, can we allege that that action on their part is a sign of disloyalty to the Grown and of conspiracy against the peace of South Africa? No, Sir; if there is a danger in South Africa, it is a danger which we ourselves created, and of which we shall feel the effects for many a day. What do we hope to gain by this war? Do we hope to do good to the Uitlanders and to make their lot more happy than it has been? The 50,000 Uitlanders who are living on charity in Cape Town will not thank you for their lot to-day. If you think that in the future the lot of the Uitlander is going to be bettor, I am inclined to think that that future is somewhat distant. It won't be to-day, it won't be to-morrow, that the evil which you are creating will be healed. It won't be to-day or to-morrow, even granting the utmost success that we can hope for, that the prosperity of the Transvaal will revive or that these great industries 327 which we are doing our best to destroy will once more flourish. Then what other benefit do you think you can confer by the war? The First Lord of the Treasury told us that this was a war waged for righteousness and liberty. The name of righteousness has often been invoked for bad causes, but never for one worse than this. When you are going to commit a great wrong, an act of violence, I do not think it meets the matter to call it by a lofty name. When you are going to do things of that kind you had better call them by plain and blunt names. People will not like or respect you the less because you do not try to cover your acts with lofty phrases which do not deceive anybody. But we are told that this is a war for liberty. Where will the liberty of the Transvaal and of the Orange Free State be at the end of the war? You are going to suppress the liberty of those two countries. Do not deceive yourselves. You may talk now about restoring to them a large measure of autonomy, as the Prime Minister did in another place the other day. It will not be so easy to restore autonomy or any other form of self-government to these States after the war. This is not the first time we have suppressed the liberties of the Transvaal. Once before we suppressed their independence and annexed their country. We said then that we wanted to grant them a large measure of autonomy. But we never did, we never could, and we never should have done. For four years we held the country, but never did we venture to give them any form of self-government. Why? Because we knew that the first use they would have made of it would be to release themselves from the bonds we imposed upon them. We did not dare to do it. It may be that things have changed since then; that the old inhabitants of the Transvaal—the burghers—are no longer in a majority; that there is a majority of Uitlanders; and when you have suppressed the independence of the Transvaal and brought it under the authority of the Crown, there will be no question of naturalisation; you can make burghers of the whole of the Uitlander population, and swamp the old burghers, and have some government on that footing. Well, I do not think that would be successful. If you attempt to rule by these new arrivals the old sons 328 of the country who are seated on the soil, and still are in possession of infinitely the widest extent of the country, you will very soon have civil war in the Transvaal. I think the old burghers would infinitely prefer to be a Crown Colony under the Queen than to be governed by the Jews of the Transvaal. It is all very well to talk about the sacred right of the franchise. It is all very well to pretend that the miners are thirsting and hungering after a vote. What sort of use are they able to make of their votes in Kimberley? They are under the absolute domination of the capitalists, and they are driven to the poll like a flock of sheep. The real rulers of the Transvaal under that system would not be the working men of Johannesburg, but the capitalists and the Jews. That is the kind of liberty you are going to establish by your war. But you will say that at least the Empire will be safe; at least, we shall have abolished this eyesore of the Republics. Greater folly was never spoken. These Republics did not menace you; they are no danger to your rule; they would be, with decent treatment and ordinary statesmanship, a strength to your rule. What have they got to gain by casting aside the domination of the Queen? To whom can they look for a better form of Government? (Ministerial laughter.) Hon. Gentlemen may laugh, but that has been the feeling of these people all through; they have never wished to cast off the protection of this country—never. When has the Free State, which is admittedly a sovereign independent State, ever conspired against this country, or desired that any rule should be substituted for our rule in South Africa? They know perfectly well, and have always known, that they are not strong enough to stand alone, and that they must have a protector, and that they could not have a better protector than Her Majesty the Queen of this country. That they believe, and if you had respected their independence they would have been amongst the most loyal supporters of the Empire. But all that you have cast aside. By your empty suspicions and lawless aggression you have turned what might have been a loyal population into what I fear will be for many a long year a population of conspirators. That will be your reward. Will the Empire be strengthened? Why, if there is one thing certain it is that you will have to 329 increase permanently your garrison in South Africa. Talk of 3,000 men! It will be many a long day before there are only 3,000 English troops in South Africa. But you who are extending the bounds of your Empire, and whose military system is strained to the utmost, are wantonly creating difficulties for yourselves which will lock up your troops for years to come in a fruitless and inglorious occupation. A more useless and more calamitous war, out of which there could be less profit whatever the event, has never been waged, and I believe the day is not far distant when Gentlemen even on that side of the House will rue this path on which we have now entered, and that the time will come, and is not very far distant, when we shall have once more to retrace our steps and to restore the liberties we are now destroying.
§ *DR. CLARK
I listened to the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Haddington, and I called in question the quotation he was making, because he was stopping in the middle of the answer and so perverting its meaning. I went out and obtained the question and answer from our own Papers, and they demonstrate that my hon. friend stopped in the middle and did not accurately represent what was said. On that question he occupies a position similar to that occupied by the Secretary of State for the Colonies and by Her Majesty's Ministers. Having had some information from President Kruger regarding that question, I should like to tell you how he views it. This promise he thinks he has carried out. It was an answer given by him to the Royal Commissioners. They had met for some days with the President (Sir Hercules Robinson) for the purposes of discussion, and this answer was made the first day after the arrival of the President. The question was discussed as to how British subjects then in the Transvaal were to be treated in the future. President Kruger stated what had been the mode of procedure in the past, and said that he had no objection to that continuing any more in regard to burgher rights than with regard to the other matters put before him. They were met together for the purpose of considering how a Convention should be drawn up, and what conditions should be placed in that Convention. Under Clause 12 of that Convention every British sub- 330 ject in the Transvaal on the 8th of August, 1881, is secured full civil rights. The Dutch word is even stronger than the English. Under the 28th Clause those persons have the right to register themselves as aliens in the books of the British President, and then they were to be free from all the burdens of citizenship, from being commandeered, and from compulsory service. About 90 per cent. of the British subjects who remained elected to be aliens, and were free and are now free from being commandeered. The pledge was carried out. All those who remained got every right; but the clause has been construed as meaning those who came into the country afterwards. I see the Attorney General in his place; would he construe it so? I had better read it—All persons who established their domicile in the Transvaal between the 12th day of April, 1877, and the date when this Convention comes into effect, and who shall within twelve months from the last-mentioned date have their name registered by the British Resident, shall be exempt from all compulsory service whatsoever.Nine-tenths of them did that and were exempt. Under the 12th Clause all persons holding property in the said State on the 8th day of August will continue to enjoy all the rights of property, and the enjoyment of all civil rights and protection for their persons and property. They have got that, and have had it ever since. But this Convention was replaced by another. Is there anything in that new Convention of the same character as Clauses 12 and 28? Is there exemption given to British subjects from being commandeered? No; they have been commandeered and they were commandeered for years, and they have only ceased from being commandeered because of the action of Lord Loch in 1894 or 1895, when British subjects were for the first time placed in the same position as Portuguese and Belgians, and given preferential rights. We have now the most favoured nation clause as far as compulsory service is concerned. I am in a different position from the right hon. Gentlemen the Leader of the Opposition and the Member for East Fife. I hope I am as democratic as they are, but I cannot see that the facts of the case justify their statements. Some 14 years ago I introduced a Bill for the purpose of securing adult suffrage, because I believe in the two great principles that taxation without 331 representation is tyranny, and that with a democracy no law is morally binding on any class unless they have a voice in the making of that law. I would apply these principles in the Transvaal as well as in this country. The fallacy that underlies all the speeches I have heard is that the speakers confuse the franchise law and the naturalisation law. What from the beginning of the Republic until now has been the franchise law of that country? It has been early residential manhood suffrage. From the age of sixteen years upwards every person born in the country, whether Briton or Dutchman, has had the same equal rights, and the franchise cannot possibly be extended except by changing it to adult suffrage. What of the naturalisation law? It was a very simple one in 1881. It would naturalise all persons who bought property in the State at once, as they would naturalise under the old law in existence when we took over the Transvaal, which was that after twelve months' residence by paying the poll-tax anyone could be registered, take the oath of allegiance, and have a vote. In 1882 a change was made, not in the franchise law, but in the naturalisation law, by which all the rights could be secured in five years. That was the law in operation when the delegates came over here in 1883 for the purpose of having a new Convention framed. That was the alien law when the Convention of London was made. It was a great change from the old law which existed in 1881. Lord Derby was thoroughly well aware of that. The matter was discussed and recognised, but there was no clause put in the new Convention regarding it, nor was any pledge concerning naturalisation asked for. This condition continued until 1891, and then a change was made in the constitution of the country. I was at the time Consul-General, and President Kruger asked my counsel regarding it. The hon. Member for West Perthshire, who was at Pretoria with me at the time, was also consulted regarding the new scheme. President Kruger said—Until now we have had only one Chamber, one Volksraad. There are new duties and new questions coming up which we do not know much about. What I propose to do is to divide our Raad into two—a First Chamber and a Second Chamber. We will give all business matters—everything affecting the mines, the gold laws, and so on—to the Second Raad.332 But, as my hon. friend has pointed out, the First Raad had a right of veto. How have they misused that right of veto? During the eight years which have elapsed there is only one law which has been vetoed—the penny postage law—but the year following, that Bill was passed by the First Raad. What were the naturalisation laws as modified by the Constitution of 1891? Of course every citizen over sixteen years of age had an absolute right to vote for both Chambers as well as for the President; and any alien coming into the country, after two years' residence, could get a vote for a member of the Second Chamber, and in two years more was eligible to sit in the Chamber. It is perfectly true that he had to wait another ten years before he could get a voice in the election of the First Chamber and for the President. It is perfectly true the First Chamber had more powers than the Second Chamber, and that he had not full burgher rights. I regret this very much. I am sorry that in this country just now there is a Conservative Government and a Conservative majority; I am sorry that in the Transvaal for many years there has been a Conservative majority and a Conservative Government. But I know that when the Liberal leader, General Joubert, stood for the Presidentship six or seven years ago, his policy was to have an alien law, under which all newcomers after four years' residence should get every right, and a couple of months ago General Joubert was still of the same opinion. Unfortunately, out of 16,000 votes that were then cast there were 500 more for President Kruger than for General Joubert, the Conservatives were victorious, and as the result of that victory we have this condition of things to-day. I want to ask my right hon. friends the Member for the Stirling Burghs and the Member for East Fife, before they repeat all this claptrap about helots and impossible conditions, to be sure of their facts. We have the opinions of those gentlemen, but we want facts to justify their assertions, and I say are not justified under the law of the Transvaal. Look at the position of an Uitlander in this country. You have no vote either here or in the colonies for the First Chamber or for the head of the State. I deprecate the position taken by the Tory majority and President Kruger, and I regret very much 333 the policy which has brought about the present condition of things in the Transvaal; but nevertheless the facts do not justify the assertions which have been made either by Sir Alfred Milner and the others as to the franchise or regarding what is termed the Edgar murder. A great many people think the wrongs of the Uitlanders in the Transvaal are as bad as the wrongs of the Armenians in the dominions of the Sultan of Turkey. I now want to say a word or two with regard to the real serious question at issue, which is, Why have these negotiations broken down? I regret to say that these negotiations broke down because certain of my friends at Pretoria became so indignant at the way they were treated that they lost their heads. Let me state the facts from their standpoint. The proposal was made to the Transvaal Government that there should be a joint commission of inquiry as to the effect of the naturalisation law of 1899, to see whether it would give what both Governments agreed was desirable, viz., immediate and fair representation to the Uitanders, because both Sir Alfred Milner and the Colonial Secretary are right in saying it was not the five years franchise that was contended for, but immediate and fair representation of the Uitlanders. When the Bill was passed it came into effect at once. It was a seven years retrospective naturalisation law. At the end of two years aliens were naturalised, and had their vote for the Second Chamber, and at the end of seven years they had a vote for the First Chamber. Therefore, at the end of a period of seven years they obtained all the rights they could get. The question to be determined by the commission was to what extent that law, and an accompanying law which never passed, giving new seats, would be availed of. The fear of the Transvaal Government was that this joint commission which was proposed would interfere with their independence, and they also objected from a practical standpoint. One of the clauses of that law was that it gave the Uitlanders six months to decide whether they would take advantage of the Act or not. A large number of Uitlanders in various parts of the goldfields could exercise this right, and, therefore, the question of representation could not be determined until the end of the six months, and until it was known to what 334 extent naturalisation would be accepted by the Uitlanders. Until the end of that period they neither knew who the voters would be nor where they would be. There were two things which they were ignorant of. In the first place they did not know how many people would be able to vote, and secondly, how many of those able to vote would accept the vote by naturalising themselves. I will explain why they got so angry, for it is only fair that something should be said in support of their position. What occurred was this. There was considerable discussion on this matter between the representatives of the British Government and the Transvaal Government. The Transvaal Government asked Mr. Conyngham Greene to put before the British Government certain private proposals. They said: "You must sound Sir Alfred Milner and the Colonial Secretary as to whether they will agree to our proposals. We will not make them publicly unless they are going to be accepted. Our proposals will be a five years franchise at once, and on such conditions as to registration as will please the British authorities." They offered more than one-fourth of the representation on the Raad for the goldfields, and a pledge that the representation there should never be less than one-fourth. They asked three conditions. One of them I think was rather unfairly stated to-night by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Colonies, because what they said was that Her Majesty's Government should not make this offer a precedent for interfering with their internal affairs beyond the powers of the Convention or of international law. These qualifications were put in, but it was put to-night as if you were giving up all your rights. They said, "We won't refuse your commission, but we will allow it to stand aside, and we ask that you will consider our proposal; and if you consider it favourably, then we will make it publicly." In reply to that they got from Her Majesty's Government an ambiguous answer which the British Agent considered was an acceptance. They then made it publicly, and, to their astonishment and indignation, got a refusal. Although the right hon. Gentleman tells us he meant to accept it, that his reply was a qualified acceptance, I am sorry that the Transvaal Government did not receive it as an acceptance, for it was 335 a qualified acceptance. I blame the Transvaal Government as much as I blame the Colonial Secretary because they did not accept it, for it would have brought about a settlement of this unfortunate controversy. I think the right hon. Gentleman has been unfair to Dr. Leyds. I conferred with Dr. Leyds as to getting these reforms in the naturalisation laws, and I found he was not opposed to them. I thought the proposal of 8th September was a fair and moderate one, but it was not accepted, and the result is that we are at war. And why was it not accepted? Because of the action of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Colonies. Because questions regarding the suzerainty and the Convention were raised. There was another thing that weighed with them, and that was a despatch from Sir Alfred Milner, in which he stated that it was no use for the Transvaal Government to rush through a five years franchise Bill, because there were other questions to be considered such as the coolie question, the Cape Boys question, the Swaziland concession question, and other matters of equal importance with the franchise question, and it was no use settling one without settling all of them. Consequently the Transvaal Government came to the conclusion that they had been unfairly dealt with and cheated. As far as Mr. Conyngham Greene was concerned, I do not think he intended anything of the kind. They treated him, perhaps rather harshly, but they knew that it was either him or the Colonial Secretary who had led them to make proposals publicly which they never would have made unless that they would have been accepted. I happen to know a little about the question of the suzerainty. I had occasion to consult Lord Derby and Sir Hercules Robinson upon this question, and I think I know what was in their minds. After the war the suzerainty was imposed upon them, and under the treaty it had to be ratified by the Volksraad within three months. That body, however, refused to ratify it because of the suzerainty, and telegrams were sent to Lord Kimberley pointing out their objection to the suzerainty, and ultimately Lord Kimberley persuaded them to ratify it provisionally in order to give it a trial, and promised that if what they had said regarding it proved to be true the Government would change it. 336 They ratified it provisionally, and tried it for two years, and the then Boer delegates came over here to meet Lord Derby to discuss the question. Before they came over I expressed at their request their views in an article in the August number of the Fortnightly Review in 1883. I read all the correspondence which passed between the Colonial Office and the deputation at that time. I remember that it was very hard to bring a resolute old man round to some of the views desired by the British Government. At that time there was no limitation to the South African Republic as far as extension was concerned, and it was considered very desirable by the inhabitants of Cape Colony that the trade route to the interior, which was no man's land, should be in the hands of the British, especially as the Germans were the nearest neighbours to the Transvaal on the West, and there was no British territory between them, it was thought desirable that a new boundary should be made. Consequently the time of the delegates for the first two months they were here was taken up discussing the boundary question. These delegates had, however, to give way on the boundary question, and they did so because they were told that the British Government would, in return, give way on the suzerainty question. Consequently, they paid the price, and went back to the Transvaal under the impression that the suzerainty had been abolished. That was the condition of things at that time, and these delegates thought that in treating with Lord Derby they were dealing with an honest man, who would carry out all he had promised. The delegates went back to their own country, and stated clearly and distinctly what they had given up, and what they had got in return; and they were under the impression that the suzerainty was abolished, that there was a new Convention replacing the old one; and everybody was of that impression until a clever lawyer in Johannesburg, in 1893, discovered that it was not actually stated in the Convention of 1884 that the preamble of the former Convention was abolished, although the articles were. The Uitlanders consequently claimed a right to the franchise because the Queen was suzerain of the Transvaal, and they contended that they were subjects of the Queen. That impression continued until a despatch was 337 sent by Lord Ripon which put an end to this contention, and in which he placed before them the fact that whether the Uitlanders liked the objectionable oath or not—which was the same as that imposed by the American constitution—the mere fact that they had become citizens of the Transvaal State took away from them their British nationality. That decision was laid down by Lord Ripon, and from that time the claim of being subjects of the Queen by right of suzerainty ceased. Then we had the Jameson Raid, and had it not been for that Raid, the Liberal party in the Transvaal would have come into power a couple of years ago. With regard to the South African League, I do not know whether its president, Mr. Rhodes, supplies the money or not, and I do not know whether it is a poor man's association or not, as has been stated by the Colonial Secretary. I know that Mr. Rhodes spent a good deal of money in trying to bring about the Raid, and in arming the people in order to take the country from the Boers. We are now told that there is no free press or liberty in the Transvaal.
§ *DR. CLARK
Why, Sir, the British papers in Johannesburg preach treason against the State day after day and week after week. I do not believe that there is any other country in the world where papers of that kind, preaching directly treason against the State, would be permitted. There was one very serious argument used, and that was that when you had public meetings the Boers came in and interfered. Well, the peace party here have tried to hold public meetings, and we have had things made pretty uncomfortable for us. As far as this question is concerned I venture to say that the assertions which have been made are not warranted by facts. It is claimed by the Government and by the First Lord of the Treasury that this suzerainty question has been raised by the Boers, but it has never been raised by them at all. It was first raised by the British Government when the Transvaal Government made the offer to have all the questions in dispute settled by arbitration. In regard to the coolies question, Lord Ripon 338 and the President of the South African Republic agreed that it should be settled by the Chief Justice of the Orange Free State. Both parties submitted it to the decision of the Chief Justice, and his award was put in force, and now the British Government wish to get rid of that decision. Upon a variety of the merest pretexts public feeling in this country has been inflamed, with the result that we have been unable to discuss this question fairly and legitimately until this moment. We have had a speech from the right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary to the Colonies, in which he states that this question of the five years franchise has been given up, and we are told that it is now a question of paramountcy over the Orange Free State. The Orange Free State is as free as the Congo Free State, and you have no more right to claim paramountcy over the one than you have over the other. As to our suzerainty over the Transvaal, it was impossible for both the Free State and the Transvaal to admit our right in this respect. All the humbug about a five years or a seven years franchise has been given up, and now we have gone to war simply because the Government have determined to dominate these two nations and take possession of their country.
§ *MR. SCOTT-MONTAGU (Hants, New Forest)
The House has just listened with interest to the remarks which have been made by the hon. Member for Caithness. Having been a servant of the Transvaal Government, the hon. Member speaks with some authority.
§ DR. CLARK
As this charge has been made against me several times I desire to deny it, for the Transvaal Government were never my employers. When this question came up I stated that I had acted has an honorary officer there, but they were never my employers. I gave them services for which they have repaid me, not in money or in kind, but otherwise.
§ *MR. SCOTT-MONTAGU
I understood that the hon. Member was their agent, but I accept his explanation. The hon. Member for Caithness, with an 339 honesty which does him credit, has stated that he wished the Government with which he was formerly associated had acted in a different manner. Coming from the hon. Member I think that is a very significant admission. With regard to the remarks of the hon. Member for Leigh, he has dwelt for a long time upon the absence of any real hardship to the Uitlanders in the Transvaal. I do not know whether he has had the good fortune to have been in South Africa, but if he had lived in Johannesburg for a short time he would have known that these grievances exist, and are of a very substantial kind. I will mention one or two. What would you say in this country if you had to pay duties on food which ranged up to nearly 50 per cent of the value of the imported article? How would hon. Members opposite like to have their children educated in a language which was not their own? How would the hon. Member for Leigh like to see monopolies extending to all kinds of things besides dynamite? From personal knowledge I know that these grievances are very real and numerous, and I do not think any gentleman in this House who has been to South Africa would form any other impression than that the Uitlanders suffer under very serious grievances in South Africa.
§ MR. C. P. SCOTT
I expressed the opinion that the Government of the Transvaal was not a perfect Government. I challenged hon. Members to produce cases of individual hardship which had proved to be intolerable.
§ *MR. SCOTT-MONTAGU
When you have a community rising in spontaneous rebellion, the state of things represented by the hon. Member cannot be accurate. The hon. Member for Leigh made another statement which I desire to correct in reference to the building of forts. I would remind him that they had a fort at Johannesburg in 1894, and forts were erected in Pretoria from 1894 to 1895. Another argument is that this war will accentuate racial feeling, but my firm conviction is that it will eventually allay rather than arouse racial animosity. My right hon. friend the Colonial Secretary never said a truer word than that 340 the contempt in which the Boers held our fellow-countrymen in the Transvaal has been one of the chief causes of the present situation. After the war our countrymen will be equal to the Boers in arms and power, and racial feeling will subside. I have lived in South Africa, and I can assure hon. Gentlemen opposite, that I have formed the opinion that a strong policy is the only cure for the evils afflicting that country. It is much better to adopt strong measures now, than to have the two Republics creating for ever disturbance all over South Africa and disaffecting the minds of the Dutch in Cape Colony, and I am quite certain that the steps we are now taking will in future years be attended with most beneficial results.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
I do not propose to make anything that would deserve the name of a speech, but a very important change came over the spirit, I think over the matériel, of this discussion at a time when the House was not so full as it is now, during a portion of the speech—of the brilliant, eloquent, forcible, and unanswerable speech—of the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth. Sir, before calling the attention of the House to the revelation—for so I think I may call it—which was then made by my right hon. friend the Colonial Secretary, I will only say one word to the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. He spoke about the infamy of the dynamite concession.
§ *MR. SCOTT-MONTAGU
I did not mention the dynamite concession alone. I mentioned other monopolies, such as the jam and bottle monopolies.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
Monopoly or concession makes no difference to my point, but I leave the matter there. Now, what is the result of the discussion we have had? It does appear that this is the net result of the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary's way of stating the case to-night. We are not now at war for the franchise; we are not at war for suzerainty; but we are at war for something which he calls paramountcy, though I think he prefers the word suzerainty as more convenient. What- 341 ever the word may be, it means some power so vague, so informal, so incapable of being stated in words that any lawyer—and for the matter of that, any layman—could understand, that the application, the enforcement of it must really be a matter of doubt. Now, I wish to submit this proposition to the attention of the House. You, under the name of paramountcy, are going to impose your will—to impose upon the South African Republic obligations which you would not for the life of you dare to impose, or try to impose, upon any self-governing colony. My right hon. friend will perhaps correct me if I misstate this case, which illustrates my point—that you are going to impose obligations upon the Transvaal, whose independence you are so eager to cherish.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I desire not to interrupt any more to-night, but my right hon. friend makes a direct appeal to me. If, Sir, I could imagine the case which the right hon. Gentleman puts—some self-governing English colony imposing upon the majority of the inhabitants of that colony such conditions as are imposed upon the British inhabitants of the Transvaal—I say we should interfere, or we should cut the connexion.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
There is no difference between my right hon. friend and myself as to the right to interfere for the protection of British fellow-subjects against cruelty and injustice. But my point is a different one. A little time ago—this year, I think—in Newfoundland there was the very remarkable circumstance of an enormous alienation of public territory to a given individual by an Act of the Legislature of Newfoundland. There were those in the colony, I am informed, who protested against this as a most maleficent use, or abuse, of public property. Would not my right hon. friend say that that was a case corresponding very much to the monopoly he has just been speaking of?
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
Of course, it is not on all fours in all particulars. But 342 what did my right hon. friend say to the Colonial representatives who came to him in the Colonial Office? He said—This is wrong, but I will not advise Her Majesty to refuse her assent to this Act, because it has been passed by a self-governing colony which we cannot dream of interfering with".
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
My right hon. friend asks me whether he is correct in his statement. What I have to say is that the case is absolutely different. There is no comparison whatever to be made between the case of the Transvaal and the case of this concession.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Of course it is argument. The case in question was a case of a contract which I thought to be imprudent. There was no allegation either of corruption or of oppression, absolutely no official allegation. There was nothing in the nature of a serious allegation, except as to an individual—which is nothing—either that that contract was corrupt or that it involved oppression of any grievous kind to any British subject. It was purely and entirely a question of the prudence of certain legislation which had been passed by a self-governing colony. My statement was that, while in my opinion the contract was imprudent, it was not my duty and it could not be the duty of any Government to interfere with the action and discretion of a self-governing colony in a matter in which no Imperial interest was concerned.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
I do not wish to detain the House; I want to go on to the general point I am particularly anxious to press. I will ask my right hon. friend whether he says it is a monstrous thing that in the Transvaal we ought not to have a right in the name of paramountcy to impose our views as to the way in which their school system should be conducted. You try that on in Canada. My right hon. friend would, I am perfectly sure, carefully abstain from any such intervention. My right hon. friend spoke of his own desire to 343 avoid war, and he protested and ridiculed the charge of blood guiltiness and so forth which had been made against the policy of the Government. I will only say for myself—and I am sure that my right hon. friend knows what I say is true—that I have never used that kind of language about the attitude of Her Majesty's Government in this matter. My right hon. friend was good enough to say that I had preserved moderation of language and of argument. I have done so for the best of all possible reasons—because I was sensible, as we are all sensible to-night, though not so many were six weeks ago, of the enormous gravity of the issues on which we are embarked. I hope, like every one in the House, that the war in which we are unhappily engaged may be brought to a speedy issue. When I hear hon. Gentlemen speak of a good and prosperous issue; that I am bound to say, except in a military sense, I cannot for a moment anticipate, because my great objection to this policy is not merely that it is a policy of war, but that it will leave you, however victorious you may be, face to face with embarrassments compared with which any embarrassments you have had are trivial. My right hon. friend complained that some speeches made in the recess were calculated to embarrass and hamper Her Majesty's Government. My own conscience on that charge is perfectly clear. My right hon. friend never contended, as apparently some hon. Gentlemen contend, that in the face of a crisis of this magnitude, and with all the perilous results connected with it, it was not the duty of those who took an interest in the question, who informed themselves as well as they could of the merits of the question and were conscious of the gravity of the issues involved, to come forward and boldly try to instruct the public on the issue at stake. My right hon. friend asked me what policy I would have pursued. He said truly that in the foundations of the policy there was, when we parted on July 28, no difference between us. We on this side agreed with my right hon. friend that reform, the redress of grievances by way of franchise, was, and we say it is, in fact, the only policy compatible with the respect, independence, and self-government of the Transvaal. But if you go upon new lines and dictate to the Transvaal what the reforms shall be which you yourselves think 344 desirable, there is an end of their independence in any sense in which independence is worth preserving. My right hon. friend will agree in that. Therefore, we assumed that we were all agreed that the franchise policy was the true path along which to travel for the ends we all desired to accomplish; and if I were asked to state my view of the method by which the aims of this policy should be achieved I could find no opinion of my own so good as that of my right hon. friend, expressed, not in this House, but outside, on May 21. At a South African dinner the gentlemen present prayed Her Majesty's Government to resist all efforts to induce them to depart from that policy of moderation and conciliation which can alone secure the real progress and true happiness of South Africa. Then my right hon. friend said—Those words are wise, moderate, and patriotic words. We must have patience. We can afford to wait; time is on our side; and I do not doubt its healing hands will close the wound so rudely opened and will remove all obstacles in the way of the prosperity of South Africa.The speech of my own which hon. Gentlemen opposite are inclined to find so much fault with was conceived and expressed in the words of my right hon. friend which I have just read, and I ventured to lay down certain rules of policy which I am perfectly sure would, until a few weeks ago, have commanded the assent of my right hon. friend. Every one who has considered the South African question will agree that these principles and maxims—they are not my invention, they are the utterances in effect of all Secretaries for the Colonies for a great many years past—are simply principles which have always been admitted. I always admitted, as I admit now, that there is, or was before this war, a state of things in South Africa which it is in the highest degree desirable to put right. My second proposition was that in trying to get that state of things put right you must remember that the South African Republic had good grounds for caution, and that no language should be used which could feed the suspicion of the Government of the South African Republic that under the plea of reform we wished to steal their country from them. My third proposition was that in putting right the state of things in 345 Johannesburg we must be careful that we did not put a great many other more serious things wrong. My fourth proposition was that you must carry with you the sympathetic and friendly judgment of the Dutch population in the various communities making up the Province of South Africa. And my fifth proposition was that you must respect your pledged word.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
Mine. I am glad that my right hon. friend so far assents to these sentiments that he is not quite sure whether it is in his speech or mine. Another point. A resolution which I framed, and which was carried at a great many meetings in the North of England, Wales, and Scotland, asserted that we should not, above all things, impair that independence of the South African Republic to which successive Secretaries of State had constantly pledged themselves. There was nothing in that to deserve your blame or reprehension; that is the very thing the Duke of Devonshire now earnestly implores the friends of the South African Republic to bear in mind. The first thing that induced me to come out of pursuits which I like a great deal Letter than going on the platform was a speech made by my right hon. friend, and to-night what I cannot call less than an extraordinary light has been thrown upon that speech by what took place before dinner, when the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth was speaking. My right hon. friend, in response to a course of cross-examination by an expert in cross-examination, said that his despatch of August 28, which was a reply to the famous despatch of August 19, was intended by him to be construed by the Transvaal Government as an acceptance of their despatches of the 19th and 21st of August. When my right hon. friend the Member for West Monmouth was challenged by the Colonial Secretary to produce the evidence on which he justified some of his criticisms, he mentioned a certain speech of the Secretary of State in his own constituency. I hope the Colonial Secretary will believe me when 346 I say that I do not refer to that speech for the purpose of making any taunts or recriminations, or small platform triumphs. I refer to it because when I recall that speech, and when I hear what my right hon. friend has told the House to-night, I am more bewildered and mystified than I have been at any other stage of the question. My right hon. friend says that he meant his despatch of August 28 to be an acceptance. When he received the Boer proposals of August 19 he thought so favourably of them that when he sent his answer a few days later he believed it would be taken as an acceptance or qualified acceptance. The whole matter of our discussion is as grave as could engage the attention of the House, and I will ask the House to be so good as to remember the dates. On August 26 my right hon. friend used this language—while he had in his box proposals of which he thought so favourably that he intended to accept them—We have made, perhaps, some little progress, but I cannot truly say that the crisis is past. Mr. Kruger procrastinates in his reply. He dribbles out reforms like water from a squeezed sponge. And he either accompanies his offers with conditions which he knows to be impossible—[Ministerial cheers.] Yes, but that is not what my right hon. friend told you, to-night. This slow distillation of reform was so satisfying that a few days after making this speech my right hon. friend writes a despatch accepting the proposals. Then my right hon. friend went on—The issues of peace and war are in the hands of President Kruger and his advisers. Even now, at the eleventh hour, he has it in his hands, by the acceptance of these moderate and reasonable reforms, to relieve at all events the present difficulty. Will he speak the necessary words? The sands are running down.A Cabinet meeting is held, and my right hon. friend on behalf of the Government writes the despatch which is intended as an acceptance of the Transvaal's proposals.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
Let us not wrangle about it. Let us see what happened. I know no language which 347 more strikingly describes the gravity of the case or the momentous nature of the issue. How was it, when my right hon. friend sent a despatch which meant to convey a qualified acceptance—how was it that, when he found the Boers did not understand it in that sense—how was it when he found that they were misunderstanding it—why did he not instruct Sir Alfred Milner to tell them, "You are misunderstanding the despatch; it is not a refusal, it is an acceptance"? If I had any doubts before as to the vote which I shall give to-night—and, if hon. Gentlemen opposite will do me the honour to believe me, I had some doubts, because I go with them to the full in desiring to give the Government all supplies that they need for military work, and I trust that work will be done rapidly, as I am sure it will be done efficiently—those doubts have been entirely removed by the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth. It is impossible for those who have listened to that speech—and no one has listened to it with more respectful attention than I have—when they find what misunderstandings, what misrepresentations, what small points, and what paltry differences there have been which prevented a conciliatory settlement and brought about this horrible, this hideous catastrophe—I say it is impossible under these circumstances to deny that we are within our rights in entering our protest in spite of the military anxieties of the moment, which press upon us as much as upon anyone else in the House. The hon. and learned Member for Plymouth used a phrase which I hope the hon. Members round about him will not forget. He said—If that be so, if the declaration made by the Colonial Secretary be as he put it, the case for the Amendment is proved up to the hilt.That is my view, and no vote that I have ever given in this House am I more prepared to justify, either in my own constituency or any other where they will give me a fair hearing, than this vote. I give that vote with the perfect confidence that it is right, aye, and in the assurance that before many months, nay, before perhaps many weeks, are over, the good sense, the love of justice and the hatred of unnecessary war which animate the breasts of all our people, will entirely 348 justify it. Your former leader, when you were a Conservative Party, brought back "Peace with honour."
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
Sir, I had hoped that in this House, at all events, we should not have had any reference to Majuba.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
I thought so; but I do not say on the part of Her Majesty's Ministers. I am sure that there is nothing about Majuba in their minds; but since it has been mentioned, I, for my part, cannot but regret that Lord Rosebery has thought it worthy of the occasion to make so very moderate a contribution to the difficulties that weigh upon all of us who have not got to make up our minds whether we enter or re-enter politics or not. I regret that anything should be said by that eminent and distinguished man which should lead people to suppose that those of us, at all events, who remain true to the man who was then the leader of the Liberal Party are in any way going to abandon the tradition and the example that he set us. I have no more to say, except that I do not wish to unsay in this House one single word which I have said in the country, and that I shall vote, with a clear conscience, for the Amendment of my hon. friend.
§ MR. COURTNEY (Cornwall, Bodmin)
I have had the privilege of speaking on this subject in the country, and I shall not consider it necessary to enter upon it at length on this occasion. I shall be as brief as possible, and shall proceed rather to the broader issues which are involved in this question than to the many details with which the debate has necessarily been occupied. I desire, in the first place, to admit fully that there was much in the 349 government of the Transvaal which required and justified our remonstrances; that there was much which should have led us to use our utmost endeavours to effect a reform of what was going on. At the same time, whilst I make that confession, I desire briefly to protest against the exaggeration which has been used with respect to those abuses—an exaggeration which has been, to my mind, attested by the speech of my hon. friend the Member for the New Forest Division. My hon. friend, who has had the advantage of visiting the Transvaal, proceeded to explain to us those abuses which, from his point of view, justified the employment of force—justified the beginning of this war. The three which he was able to put in the forefront were—first of all, the excessive taxation of imports, a taxation which is less than that which prevails in the adjacent colonies of Natal and Cape Colony; next, abuses with respect to education, which abuses are admittedly in process of amelioration. ["No."] Those who are acquainted with the subject know they are. And the third was the concessions and monopolies which have been established. Those were the three which my hon. friend adduced as showing the evil condition of the Transvaal which required our interference. As has been well put by my right hon. friend opposite in the speech just concluded, the same things, and worse, prevail in our own self-governing colonies, and you dare not interfere with them there. Before I pass away from this branch of the subject, upon which I am not going to dwell, I must speak with reference to one subject which my hon. friend did not adduce, but which I know has made a great effect on the popular mind in England—I mean the alleged degradation of the judiciary, making it dependent upon the Executive Government. If I understand the matter aright (and my hon. friend will correct me if I am wrong) there is no such dependence as is alleged. What is it? A judge in the Transvaal may be put to his oath to observe and carry out the laws and the resolutions passed by the Volksraad. That is the subjugation of the judiciary which is imposed. That is the subjugation under which our judiciary here live. ["No."] I beg hon. Members to reflect for one moment. If a judge presumed to say that he would not acknowledge an Act passed by this Parliament—
§ MR. COURTNEY
That he would not observe and carry out an Act passed by this Parliament, he would have to resign his office. If he did not resign there would be an Address from both Houses requiring his dismissal. The case in the Transvaal differs in this only from ours, that it applies to resolutions.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (SIR RICHARD WEBSTER,) Isle of Wight
That makes all the difference in the world.
§ MR. COURTNEY
My hon. and learned friend the Attorney General says that makes all the difference in the world. Does my hon. and learned friend mean to say that it is not within the competency of a legislature to determine what shall be the forms to be passed through in the decreeing and enacting of laws? If a legislature determines to pass an Act by one reading instead of three readings it can do so. I remember that in this House we passed the first and second readings, the Committee stage, the Report stage, and the third reading of a statute altering the principles of the common law—I do not say without good grounds—in the course of one sitting. I enter a protest against the suspicion that President Kruger could impose his own free will on a judge. I say then that in the Transvaal a judge is bound to carry out the rules, resolutions and Acts of the legislature just as much as a judge is bound to do so in this country. I admit the grievances in the Transvaal, but I want also to describe what in my view is the future for which we ought all to work. I myself dream—if you like, have a vision—of a Commonwealth of South Africa—in which the existing colonies and Republics may be merged and united as component parts of one English-speaking Commonwealth, penetrated with English ideas. [Ministerial cries of "Under the Queen."] Yes, under 351 the Queen. I think that might be brought about, not immediately, but in the not distant future. No doubt you would have to work for it in faith. You cannot at once precipitate the result. But is the process upon which you are going to embark likely to bring it about? [Ministerial cries of "Yes."] Those who cry "Yes" are very sanguine persons, and they have singularly misread history if they think that by conquest and war you can efface racial distinctions and unite into one brotherhood, and under one Sovereign, people who are now so sadly disunited from each other. The result is already achieved in the Cape Colony, where you have got Boers and British side by side, working in faith in the future, under even-handed justice, and showing to the Boers of the Transvaal that they will enjoy the same liberty, self-government and union in the future as now. My hon. and learned friend the Member for Haddingtonshire said that having devoted some time to the subject he had arrived at the painful conclusion that war between the South African Republics and the United Kingdom was inevitable—that the Boers and British must fight, and that a solution of the difficulties can only be obtained by conquest. That was the vision of my hon. and learned friend the Member for Haddingtonshire. But how does that agree with the facts? Is this antagonism exemplified at the present moment in the Orange Free State? In the Orange Free State, up to a month ago, there was the completest friendship between Boer and British. I refer Members to an article in The Times to-day written from the Orange Free State, and depicting in pathetic terms the harmony which prevailed there between Boer and British—a harmony which was injured, if not ruined by the Raid in the Transvaal—which still ruled in the Orange Free State and might have gone on to succeeding generations. I say that harmony can be restored in the Transvaal. [Ministerial cries of "Only for Kruger."] But is Mr. Kruger going to live for ever? Are you 352 afraid of a man 74 years of age? Especially when it was pointed out by the hon. Member for Caithness that his possible successor is a man of a different stamp. Can you not wait and work in patience and hope in order to unite through peace those whom you certainly will not unite through war? This is the end which my hon. and learned friend has at heart as well as myself. The question for us tonight is whether the means that have been adopted, whether the diplomacy which has been used, tend to bring about that state of things which we all have at heart, or tend unfortunately to defeat it. Before we separated in August my right hon. friend the Colonial Secretary was able to announce that in answer to the seven years franchise law passed by the Volksraad he had proposed a commission of inquiry into its working, and I, following him, had the privilege of expressing my hope that it would be accepted. But the Boer Government did not like the proposal. They saw in it a danger to their own self-government. I am not going now into particulars of these negotiations. They did not like the proposals, and after some pourparlers they made a counter proposal, having ascertained beforehand by cautious inquiry that the making of that counter proposal would not be regarded as a negative to the first proposal. The first proposal was kept open; they might fall back upon it. In the meantime they made a counter proposal of a retrospective five years franchise, coupled with three conditions. Now we have to-night a most extraordinary, a most inexplicable revelation with respect to the reception to that proposal. Remember what it was. The Transvaal Government proposed a five years franchise with three conditions. One of them was arbitration, another was that the action then taken should not be regarded as a precedent for future action of the same kind, and the third was that the controversy about suzerainty should tacitly be allowed to drop on both sides. When that proposal was published 353 here it was received in some of the newspapers almost as an insult to the nation. I believe The Times newspaper said that a delaration of war had been made upon an offence less gross than this. But, now, what does my right hon. friend the Secretary for the Colonies tell us? He tells us that, so far from resenting those proposals, he sent out a reply which he intended to be received as an acceptance of these proposals. [A laugh.] Why does an hon. Gentleman laugh? The Secretary for the Colonies, receiving those proposals, sent out a reply which, he said, in answer to the hon. and learned member for Plymouth, he intended to be received as an acceptance of those proposals—a qualified acceptance it may be, but an acceptance at any rate to go on with. And at the time that he was reviewing these proposals in that light he made the extraordinary speech to the garden-party at Highbury. What diplomacy, Mr. Speaker! What diplomacy to accompany your intention to send a despatch accepting those proposals with a speech of that kind, which was sure to be reported and received before your acceptance got there. Well, when the answer was sent out it was not received as an acceptance. An answer was sent back which showed that they did not understand that it was an acceptance. You would have thought my right hon. friend, if he intended that it should be received as an acceptance, would have corrected the error; that he would have said: "You have misunderstood me. We intended in a qualified way to accept the proposals. You must be corrected and understand that it is as we say." But no, the same extraordinary diplomacy goes on. What a misery it is that two nations should go to war, that we should be sending out such forces as never left our shores before, that our brothers, sons, nephews, cousins, should be going to fight, and perhaps to die, and all not to produce amity, not to build up a united commonwealth, not to efface a racial animosity, but to accentuate 354 divisions in South Africa, and all through a diplomacy which could not express what it meant, and when it was misunderstood could not explain that it was misunderstood. It is a tragedy. I know that a great diplomatist once said that "language was given to us to conceal our thoughts." I had hoped that that belonged to the old diplomacy and not to the new. In this case, through some unhappy accident which I cannot in the least fathom—it is started upon us to-night; hon. Members were not here when it was said; they have not realised it yet, but they will have to realise it by-and-by—through some extraordinary accident my right hon. friend sent an answer which was meant to be an acceptance, a qualified acceptance, if you like, but he did not express it, and the Boers did not so understand it. None of us thought it was so, and when the misunderstanding was patent it was not corrected. The greatest anxiety was expressed by the Uitlanders, the South African League, and The Times newspaper lest these proposals by the Boers should be accepted. The Time, said my right hon. friend the Member for Montrose, could scarcely conceal its pleasure—I do not know how they found it out—in the fact that the Boers had not accepted the offer made to them, and so put the Government in a corner. Now, it appears that The Times newspaper was under an entire misapprehension of the real situation. The Government were really wishing to accept these proposals and yet they did not. Then, Sir, this miserable business happened. The next thing would have been to fall back upon the seven years, plus the inquiry. Why was it not done? Again, extraordinary diplomacy. The Government looked into it and said, "We find it is not substantial, and it is no use prosecuting the inquiry." Why not have gone on with that inquiry and have shown them that? No! Having so miserably failed at first, you refused to prosecute the alternative, and you told them that you must formulate 355 new proposals. The natural thing for the Boer Government was to wait until you formulated your new proposals: but the new diplomacy did not expect that. You intended or you hoped that the Boer Government would have made some further proposal, and then when the Boer Government came again and again and when the Orange Free State came also and asked, "What are your proposals? Let us understand them; let us see whether anything can be done." days passed, a fortnight save a day passed, and no answer was given except "By-and-by." We know now that it has taken a month to elaborate these proposals, if they ever have been elaborated. The Orange Free State said, "Let us know what your proposals are."
§ MR. COURTNEY
Yes, Twelve of the clock will bring us to an end. The Orange Free State said, "Let us know what your proposals are and we will try to see whether anything can be done with them; it is most difficult with your forces pressing us on every side, and surely you had better hold off your forces rather than accumulate them." To that no reply is given except "By-and-by." It is in these circumstances that the ultimatum comes from the Boer Government which has precipitated war. That ultimatum was an instance of as bad diplomacy on the one side as on the other. It was violent, outrageous, and a thing not to be endured; but at the same time I ask hon. Members to look upon it as men of common-sense considering the situation as one in which they themselves might one day be placed. Here is a force pressing round these Republics day by day more tightly. Here is a burgher force without any organization—they have no organization like our own. It is a volunteer force, with difficulty kept together and with difficulty sustained. How can you expect them to wait until you come up with all your forces and then communicate your demands under conditions which require 356 instant fulfilment? It is as if two men are disputing and one says, "Tell me what you want," and the other says, "Wait five minutes and I will come back and tell you what I want, and I will bring a loaded pistol with me." That is the diplomacy which has involved us in a war of the most threatening character, of a prolonged character, certainly not a speedy war, certainly a bloody war, and certainly an inglorious war, a war which will leave the position of South Africa in the end worse than it was in the commencement, a war which gives no promise of peace. Is this the Dayspring from on high? ["Oh, oh!"] No, you do not like those words, and I am sorry to say you do not like these sentiments. But there is a good steady heart in the people of this kingdom of ours, a good solid heart which will respond to these thoughts; and, looking upon the situation as it is, regarding the objects which we all have in common, and thinking of the miserable waste in the means that have been adopted, of the horrible failure of diplomacy to which resort has been made, I join with my right hon. friend opposite, and in the words of my hon. and learned friend I say that the Amendment proposed has been proved up to the hilt, and that nothing could be established more damning of the diplomacy which has been employed.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
Since my right hon. friend the Secretary for the Colonies concluded his great speech this evening in defence of the policy of the Government of which he is so distinguished a member, there have been three speeches delivered—one by my hon. and learned friend the Member for Plymouth, the second by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose, and a third by my right hon. friend who has just sat down—traversing the policy of the Government. In the few minutes left me before 12 o'clock it is not easy to find space to reply in detail to those three speeches; but my task is somewhat lightened by the fact that to a certain extent they covered the same ground, and only in certain particulars has there been a special and individual note raised by the last two speakers I have named. 357 I will take those separate contentions in which they are distinguished from the argument of my hon. and learned friend the Member for Plymouth, and then I will come to the broad line of argument on which all three speakers agree. My right hon. friend who has just sat down boldly engaged in the heroic task of proving to the House of Commons that, after all, the abuses of the Government of the Transvaal are not so serious as we have been led to understand.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Let us first agree upon their magnitude. I understood the right hon. Gentleman to tell the House that the system of taxation was not worse than the system of taxation prevailing in self-governing colonies of Great Britain. Well, that statement is exaggerated to an extent which is ludicrous. There is no colony of Great Britain which my right hon. friend can mention in which the taxation is levied in so inequitable a manner, reaches such an amount per head, or is so corruptly expended. My right hon. friend, having dealt in this summary fashion with the financial condition of the Transvaal, proceeded with equal courage to defend the judicial system of the Transvaal. I admire my right hon. friend—that great constitutional authority. Apparently he considers that there is a parallelism, amounting almost to similarity, between the system prevailing in England, under which the judges administer the law, and the system prevailing in the Transvaal, under which the judges are required to square their decisions with the chance resolution of a single Chamber. My right hon. friend, after all, is a student in these matters. He has the faults of a student. Let him have also the merits of a student, and let him give us, when he addresses us on questions like this, sound, solid constitutional learning. I venture to say that no more ludicrous proposition was ever advanced in this House as that it is a sound judicial system for any country to have its judicature so intimately dependent upon the executive of the day that any resolution passed by the 358 majority following that executive should be blindly accepted by the judges of the land. So much for my right hon. friend's view of taxation and my right hon. friend's view of judicial independence. I now leave him for the moment and come to the right hon. Gentleman who preceded him in this debate. That right hon. Gentleman for the most part, as far as I understood him, developed—he will forgive me if I say I do not think he improved—the argument advanced by my hon. and learned friend the Member for Plymouth in regard to a single episode in the recent diplomacy—the despatch of August 28. But there was one individual note in the right hon. Gentleman's speech, elicited from him by an interruption—an interruption which personally I regret, from an hon. friend of mine who sits behind me—in reference to Majuba Hill. I see no reason why we should dwell upon Majuba Hill, a very small military action, in which, I think, less than half a regiment was engaged, and which, in my judgment, may be absolutely ignored, both in the present controversy and in any future consideration connected with South Africa. But the right hon. Gentleman could not resist the opportunity of emphasising his differences with others who belong, nominally, at all events, to the same party, and he actually went the length of telling the House of Commons that the dividing line between him and Lord Rosebery was that he desired to appeal to the country on what he called the traditional policy and example of Majuba Hill.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I understand, and I think the House, and I am sure the country, will understand, that the tradition and example of Majuba mean that you give good terms to your enemy when, and only when, your enemy happens to defeat you. As the right hon. Gentleman says I am mistaken on that point, I do not propose further to develop it. I come, then, to the main contention of my right hon. friend and my hon. and learned friend on this side and the right hon. Gentleman on the other. My hon. 359 and learned friend's speech has been made to turn on a vast number of small criticisms upon particular despatches from this country to Sir Alfred Milner and from him. My hon. and learned friend, whom I wish to pass no criticism upon to-night, who has been throughout his life an earnest and loyal supporter of the party, I am told has a peculiarity which greatly increases his efficiency as a Counsel, but, if he will allow me to say so, makes me rather suspect in some circumstances his judgment as a politician.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
That is not, I conceive, an offensive observation, and it is not offensive to hon. Gentlemen opposite. My hon. and learned friend—whom I gladly recognise usually resists the temptations which beset the great profession of which he is an ornament—does, I am informed, always passionately believe in the case which, for the moment, he happens to have taken up, and nothing will convince him—not even the verdict of judge and jury—that he has been mistaken in the views he has entertained. I cannot help thinking that in this case he, too hastily, took up the wrong side, and without conscious partiality, certainly without conscious prejudice, he has never been able to free himself from the prejudices which animate his first too hasty utterances on this difficult problem. After all, there are three hypotheses only before the House. We may concede that the Government in general and my right hon. friend in particular have been animated by the most infamous, unqualifiably wicked desire to provoke a war where no cause of war existed, and to drive into hostility nations who desire to be on friendly terms with us. That is one hypothesis accepted, as I supposed it would be, by a certain number of hon. Members in that (pointing to the Opposition benches below the gangway) part of the House. There is a second hypothesis—that the Government in general and my right hon. friend in particular, while not in the least desirous of war, have been so extremely stupid in the manner in which they have conducted these negotiations that, against their own 360 desire, they have driven into hostilities those two nations who are equally undesirous of going to war with them. The hypothesis of criminality is accepted by a certain number of Irish gentlemen; the hypothesis of idiotcy is acccepted by the right hon. Member for West Monmouth and those, whoever they may be, who happen to agree with him. But I will venture to put before the House a third hypothesis—and specially before the three right hon. Gentlemen who preceded me in debate—which I think bring out the facts far better than either of the two extravagant theories which I have indicated. If you conceive a body of men like the burghers of the Transvaal, fervently animated by the idea of liberty, but conceiving liberty as liberty for themselves and no liberty for anyone else, conceiving liberty as many of the aristocracies of the old world conceived it, as a body of free superiors having under their heel a large subject population, I do not wholly condemn the sentiments that condition of things generates. In the history of the past it has often produced a fine type of character. Conceive a Boer oligarchy of that character, conceive a Republic, not a democracy, framed on those lines, conceive all the elements of financial corruption introduced by the sudden discovery of vast goldfields, and the sudden irruption of an enormous population. It was the discovery of the goldfields that produced these special circumstances. It has produced them partly by the introduction of a great white population not of the same birth or blood, partly by the corruption which a sudden acquisition of unexpected wealth has brought upon a poor population wholly unaccustomed to such a state of things—I have stated the position, I hope, not offensively to the burghers, and with a truth that, I think, will not be denied by the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken. That is the condition of things. You have what is so much appreciated by hon. Gentlemen opposite—you have ascendency, and you have, in addition, corruption. Now, suppose a proposition made to this oligarchy that they ought to adopt a political system whose inevitable result in the future must be both to destroy ascendency and destroy corruption, is it unnatural, however deplorable, that they should fight, not for anything that can be described as their rights, but for a system from which they gain such 361 infinite profit? I believe that the leaders of Dutch opinion were determined at all hazards to avoid any such solution as that. If you will look through these Papers and consider the history of the Transvaal from 1881 to the present time, you will see that the solution I offer of the problem and the reason I give for this unhappy war is not this or that sentence in a despatch, not this or that delay of a week or a fortnight in sending an answer, but it is the deliberate intention of the Transvaal Government at all cost to avoid giving the franchise, to wriggle until wriggling became ineffectual, and when wriggling became ineffectual to appeal to the arbitrament of arms. That, I believe, is what has occurred. Surveying to the best of my ability, without party plea or prejudice, the whole history of these transactions, I am convinced that the last thing they wanted was an agreement, provided that agreement meant giving genuine representation to the Uitlanders. Any man with common-sense, with half an hour's work, could have devised a representative law that this Government and this country would have gladly and loyally accepted. The whole efforts of Dutch diplomacy were directed, not to giving such a representation, but to putting forward such a simulacrum, such an imitation of a plan as would produce debate and delay, but in no case give the rights to those who were determined to have those rights granted. That I believe to be the cause of this unhappy war. In the two minutes and not more that yet remain to me, let me make an appeal to hon. Gentlemen whose minds—if there are still any such in the House—are not made up as to which lobby they shall go
§ into, not to allow themselves to be seduced to vote against the Government in this matter on the ground of this or that sentence in this or that despatch. Nominally, the Amendment is condemnatory of the way in which the Government have written their despatches and the period at which they sent them out; but the Division will be taken, not, perhaps, in this House, but in the country, in Europe, in Africa, as much more than that. The Amendment will be taken, not as a condemnation of the diplomacy of the Government, but as an attack on the good faith of this country, and as showing that we deliberately intended and desired to provoke war. That will be the interpretation if the Amendment is assented to. Let those who believe in that view vote against the Government; they will be right in doing so; conscience and honour require it of them; but if there be any hon. Gentleman who does not take that view, who thinks that the Government, though not infallible, has been honest in the desire not to provoke the present situation, but has been driven into it by broad tendencies over which no English Government could have control, then he is bound in conscience and honour to go into the lobby to support the Government of his country.
§ It being Midnight, Mr. Speaker proceeded to interrupt the business:—
§ Whereupon Mr. Balfour rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 356; Noes, 158. (Division List No. 4.)367
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Bill, Charles|
|Aird, John||Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds)||Blundell, Colonel Henry|
|Allhusen, Augustus Hy. E.||Banbury, Frederick George||Bolitho, Thomas Bedford|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Bond, Edward|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Barry, Rt. Hn. A. H. S.-(Hunts)||Bonsor, Henry Cosmo Orme|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-|
|Arnold, Alfred||Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Boulnois, Edmund|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Beach, W. W. Bramston (Hants)||Bousfield, William Robert|
|Arrol, Sir William||Beckett, Ernest William||Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex)|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Begg, Ferdinand Faithfull||Brassey, Albert|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Brookfield, A. Montagu|
|Bagot, Capt. J. FitzRoy||Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Brown, Alexander H.|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Bethell, Commander||Brymer, William Ernest|
|Baillie, Jas. E. B. (Inverness)||Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Bullard, Sir Harry|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Biddulph, Michael||Burdett-Coutts, W.|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Bigwood, James||Butcher, John George|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)||Gedge, Sydney||Llewellyn, Evan H. (Somerset)|
|Carlile, William Walter||Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Llewelyn Sir Dillwyn (Swansea|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Edward||Gibbs, Hn. A.G. H. (C. of Lond.)||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Gibbs, Hn. Vicary (St. Albans)||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbys.)||Gilliat, John Saunders||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Liverp'l|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Lowe, Francis William|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm)||Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon||Lowles, John|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J. (St. Geo.||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Lubbock, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Charrington, Spencer||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Lucas-Shadwell, William|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Graham, Henry Robert||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred|
|Clarke, Sir Edward (Plymouth)||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Macartney, W. G. Ellison|
|Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs.)||Maclean, James Mackenzie|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Gretton, John||Maclure, Sir John William|
|Colston, Chas. E. H. Athole||Greville, Hon. Ronald||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Gull, Sir Cameron||M'Calmont, H. L. B. (Cambs.)|
|Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Gurdon, Sir William Brampton||M'Calmont, Col. J.(Antrim, E.)|
|Cooke, C. W. Radcliffe (Heref'd)||Hall, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Manners, Lord Edward Wm. J.|
|Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||Maple, Sir John Blundell|
|Cotton-Jodrell, Col. Edw. T. D.||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Courtney, Rt. Hon. Leonard H.||Hanson, Sir Reginald||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Hardy, Laurence||Maxwell, Rt. Hn. Sir Herbert E.|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Melville, Beresford V.|
|Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Heath, James||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.|
|Cruddas, William Donaldson||Heaton, John Henniker||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Helder, Augustus||Milbank, Sir P. C. John|
|Currie, Sir Donald||Henderson, Alexander||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Curzon, Viscount||Hermon-Hodge, Robert T.||Milner, Sir Fred. George|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Hickman, Sir Alfred||Milton, Viscount|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Hill, Rt. Hn. A. Staveley (Staffs)||Milward, Colonel Victor|
|Davenport, W. Bromley-||Hill, Sir Edw. Stock (Bristol)||Monckton, Edward Philip|
|Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chath'm||Hoare, E. Brodie (Hampstead||Monk, Charles James|
|Denny, Colonel||Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)||Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Hobhouse, Henry||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Holden, Sir Angus||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Hornby, Sir William Henry||Moore, Robt. Jasper (Shropsh.)|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Morgan, Hn Fred. (Monm'thsh.|
|Donkin, Richard Sim||Howard, Joseph||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Dorington, Sir J. Edward||Howell, William Tudor||Morrison, Walter|
|Doughty, George||Howorth, Sir Henry Hoyle||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Hozier, Hon. James Henry C||Mount, William Geo.|
|Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S.||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn||Muntz, Philip A.|
|Doxford, William Theodore||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Murray, Rt Hn A Graham (Bute|
|Drage, Geoffrcy||Hughes, Colonel Edwin||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice-||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)||Myers, William Henry|
|Egerton, Hn. A. de Tatton||Jackson, Rt. Hn. Wm. Lawies||Newark, Viscount|
|Elliot, Hon. A. R. Douglas||Jebb, Richard Claverhouse||Newdigate, Francis Alexander|
|Evershed, Sydney||Jeffreys, A. Frederick||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Jenkins, Sir John Jones||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Northcote, Hon. Sir H. S.|
|Fergusson, Rt Hn Sir J (Mancr||Jolliffe, Hon. H. George|
|Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||Kemp, George||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Finch, George H.||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Finlay, Sir Robt. Bannatyne||Kenyon, James||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William||Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Keswick, William||Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)|
|Fison, Fredk. William||Kimber, Henry||Penn, John|
|FitzGerald, Sir Rbt. Penrose-||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Phillpotts, Capt. Arthur|
|Fitz Wygram, Gen. Sir F.||Knowles, Lees||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Lafone, Alfred||Pilkington, Rich (LancsNewt'n|
|Fletcher, Sir Henry||Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Flower, Ernest||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Plunkett, Rt Hn Horace Curzon|
|Folkestone, Viscount||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks)||Pollock, Harry Frederick|
|Forster, Henry William||Lea, Sir Thomas (Londonderry||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Lecky, Rt. Hn. Wm. Edw. H.||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Priestley, Sir W Overend (Edin.|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Garfit, William||Leighton, Stanley||Purvis, Robert|
|Pym, C. Guy||Sidebottom, T. H. (Stalybr.)||Ward, Hon. R. A. (Crewe)|
|Rankin, Sir James||Sidebottom, W. (Derbysh.)||Warde, Lieut.-Col. C. E. (Kent)|
|Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Renshaw, Charles Bine||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Webster, Sir Richard E.|
|Rentoul, James Alexander||Skewes-Cox. Thomas||Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Richardson, Sir Thos. (Hartlep'l||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon|
|Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.||Smith, J. Parker (Lanarks.)||Wharton, Rt. Hn. J. Lloyd|
|Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-und.-L.|
|Robertson, Herb. (Hackney)||Spencer, Ernest||Whitmore. Chas. Algernon|
|Robinson, Brooke||Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk)||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Round, James||Stanley, Edw. J. (Somerset)||Williams, Joseph P.- (Birm.)|
|Royds, Clement Molyneux||Stanley, Sir H. M. (Lambeth)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart||Wilson, J. W. (Wor'shire, N.)|
|Rutherford, John||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Ryder, John Herbert Dudley||Stock, James Henry||Wodehouse, Ht. Hn. E. R (Bath)|
|Samuel, H. S. (Limehouse)||Stone, Sir Benjamin||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles||Strutt, Hon. C. Hedley||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier||Wrightson, Thomas|
|Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. Ed. J.||Sutherland, Sir Thomas||Wylie, Alexander|
|Savory, Sir Joseph||Thorburn, Walter||Wyndham, George|
|Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard||Thornton, Percy M.||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Tollemache. Henry James||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Seely, Charles Hilton||Tomlinson, W. E. Murray||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Seton-Karr, Henry||Tritton, Charles Ernest||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Sharpe, William Edw. T.||Usborne, Thomas||Younger, William|
|Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)||Valentia, Viscount||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Shaw-Stewart, M. H, (Renfrew)||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. H.||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.)||Dewar, Arthur||Leuty, Thomas Richmond|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Dillon, John||Lloyd-George, David|
|Allen, Wm. (New-under-Lyme||Donelan, Captain A.||Logan, John William|
|Ambrose, Robert||Doogan, P. C.||Lough, Thomas|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Macaleese, Daniel|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||Duckworth, James||MacDonnell, Dr. M. A. (Qn's C)|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Dunn, Sir William||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Edwards, Owen Morgan||M'Crae, George|
|Bainbridge, Emerson||Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||M'Dermott, Patrick|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Farquharson. Dr. Robert||M'Ewan, William|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Fenwick, Charles||M'Ghee, Richard|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||M'Hugh, Patrick E. (Leitrim)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Field, William (Dublin)||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin|
|Billson, Alfred||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||M'Leod, John|
|Birrell, Augustine||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Maddison, Fred.|
|Blake, Edward||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Maden, John Henry|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Gibney, James||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Gilhooly, James||Morley, Rt. Hn. John (Montrose|
|Burns, John||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J.||Moulton, John Fletcher|
|Burt, Thomas||Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Harcourt, Rt Hon. Sir Wm.||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Caldwell, James||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Cameron, Sir Chas. (Glasgow)||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)|
|Cameron, Robert (Durham)||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Hedderwick, Thos. Charles H.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Carmichael, Sir T. D. Gibson-||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||Oldroyd, Mark|
|Carvill, Patrick G. Hamilton||Holland, William Henry||O'Malley, William|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Horniman, Frederick John||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Cawley, Frederick||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Jacoby, James Alfred||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.)||Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez Ed.||Pickersgill. Edward Hare|
|Colville, John||Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Pilkington, Sir G. A. (Lancs S W|
|Commins, Andrew||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Crilly, Daniel||Jordan, Jeremiah||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Curran, Thomas B. (Donegal)||Kearley, Hudson E.||Price, Robert John|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||Kinlock, Sir John Geo. Smyth||Priestley, Briggs (Yorkshire)|
|Daly, James||Labouchere, Henry||Randell, David|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Lambert, George||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||Langley, Batty||Reid, Sir R. Threshie|
|Davitt, Michael||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'land)||Richardson, J. (Durham, S. E.)|
|Rickett, J. Compton.||Stuart, James (Shoreditch)||Wilson, Frederick W. (Norfolk)|
|Roberts, John H. (Denbighs)||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)||Wilson, Henrv J. (York, W. R.)|
|Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Schwann, Charles E||Tanner, Charles Kearns||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)||Tennant, Harold John||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Hud'sf'd)|
|Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Woods, Samuel|
|Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)||Tuite, James||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Wedderburn, Sir William||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Souttar, Robins||Weir, James Galloway|
|Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Steadman, William Charles||Williams, John Carvell (Notts.)||Mr. Bryn Roberts and Mr. David Thomas.|
|Stevenson, Francis S.||Wills, Sir William Henry|
§ Question put accordingly, "That those words be there added."368
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 135; Noes, 362. (Division List No. 5.)371
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Gibney, James||O'Malley, William|
|Allen, W. (Newc. under Lyme)||Gilhooly, James||Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Gurdon, Sir Wm. Brampton||Pease, Joseph A. (Northum.)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm.||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Hayden, John Patrick||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Bainbridge, Emerson||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.||Price, Robert John|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Hemphill, Rt. Hn. Charles H.||Priestley, Briggs (Yorks)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Horniman, Frederick John||Randell, David|
|Billson, Alfred||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Birrell, Augustine||Jacoby, James Alfred||Reid, Sir Robert Threshie|
|Blake, Edward||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Richardson, J. (Durham, S. E.)|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Jordan, Jeremiah||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Kinloch, Sir John Gee. Smyth||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Labouchere, Henry||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Burns, John||Langley, Batty||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Burt, Thomas||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cum'land)||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Cameron, Sir Chas. (Glasgow)||Leuty, Thomas Richmond||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Cameron, Robert (Durham)||Lewis, John Herbert||Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarsh.)|
|Carvill, Patrick G. Hamilton||Lloyd-George, David||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Cawley, Frederick||Logan, John William||Souttar, Robinson|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Lough, Thomas||Steadman, William Charles|
|Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.)||Macaleese, Daniel||Stuart, James (Shoreditch)|
|Commins, Andrew||MacDonnell, Dr. M. A. (Qu's C||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Courtney, Rt. Hon. Leonard H.||Maclean, James Mackenzie||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Crilly, Daniel||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Curran, Thomas B. (Donegal)||M'Crae, George||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||M'Dermott, Patrick||Tuite, James|
|Daly, James||M'Ewan, William||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Dalziel, James Henry||M'Ghee, Richard||Weir, James Galloway|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||M'Hugh, Patrick A. (Leitrim||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Davitt, Michael||M'Kenna, Reginald||Williams, John Carvell (Notts.)|
|Dewar, Arthur||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Wilson, Frederick W. (Norfolk)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||M'Leod, John||Wilson, H. J. (York, W. R.)|
|Dillon, John||Maddison, Fred.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Maden, John Henry||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (H'fl'd.)|
|Duckworth, James||Morley, Rt. Hon. J. (Montrose||Woods, Samuel|
|Edwards, Owen Morgan||Moulton, John Fletcher||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Ellis, John Edward||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Nussey, Thomas Willans||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Fenwick, Charles||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||M. Philip Stanhope and Mr. Samuel Evans.|
|Field, William (Dublin)||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John|
|Aird, John||Arnold, Alfred||Bagot, Capt. J. FitzRoy|
|Allhusen, Augustus Hy. Eden||Arnold-Foster, Hugh O.||Bailey, James (Walworth)|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Arrol, Sir William||Baillie, J. E. B. (Inverness)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Baird, John George Alex.|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Donkin, Richard Sim||Hobhouse, Henry|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds)||Dorington, Sir John Edward||Holden, Sir Angus|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Doughty, George||Hornby, Sir William Henry|
|Barnes, Frederick Gorell||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry|
|Barry, Rt Hn A H Smith-(Hunts||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Howard, Joseph|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor)||Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S.||Howell, William Tudor|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Doxford, William Theodore||Howorth, Sir Henry Hoyle|
|Beach, W W Bramston (Hants.)||Drage, Geoffrey||Hozier, Hon. James Henry C.|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B||Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Begg, Ferdinand Faithfull||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Hughes, Colonel Edwin|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Elliot, Hn. A. Ralph Douglas||Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice-|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Evershed, Sydney||Hutton, John (Yorks., N. R.)|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Fardel1, Sir T. George||Jackson, Rt. Hn. Wm. Lawies|
|Biddulph, Michael||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Jebb, Richard Claverhouse|
|Bigwood, James||Ferguson, R. C. Monro (Leith)||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick|
|Bill, Charles||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J (Manc'r||Jenkins, Sir John Jones|
|Blakiston-Houston, John||Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||Johnson-Ferguson, JabezEdw.|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Finch, George H.||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Bolitho, Thomas Bedford||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Jollifle, Hon. H. George|
|Bond, Edward||Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Kearley, Hudson E.|
|Bonsor, Henry Cosmo Orme||Fisher, William Hayes||Kemp, George|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Fison, Frederick William||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.|
|Boulnois, Edmund||FitzGerald, Sir Rob. Penrose-||Kenyon, James|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William|
|Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex.)||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Keswick, William|
|Brassey, Albert||Fletcher, Sir Henry||Kimber, Henry|
|Brookfield, A. Montagu||Flower, Ernest||King, Sir Henry Seymour|
|Brown, Alexander H.||Folkestone, Viscount||Knowles, Lees|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Forster, Henry William||Lafone, Alfred|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool)|
|Butcher, John George||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)||Galloway, William Johnson||Lea, Sir T. (Londonderry)|
|Carlile, William Walter||Garfit, William||Lecky, Rt. Hn. William E. H.|
|Carmichael, Sir T. D. Gibson-||Gedge, Sydney||Lees, Sir Elliott|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Edward||Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Cavendish, R. F (N. Lancs.)||Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (C. of Lon.)||Leighton, Stanley|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshre||Gibbs, Hon. V. (St. Albans)||Llewellyn, E. H. (Somerset)|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Gilliat, John Saunders||Llewelyn. Sir Dillwyn (Swan.)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Godson, Sir Augustus F.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Chaloner, Capt. R. G. W.||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J. (Birm.)||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||Long, Rt Hn Walter (Liverpool)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Goschen, Rt Hn G J (St George's)||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller|
|Charrington, Spencer||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Lowe, Francis William|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Lowles, John|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Graham, Henry Robert||Lowther, Rt. Hon. James (Kent)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Lubbock, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles R.||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury||Lucas-Shadwell, William|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Greene, W. R. (Cambs.)||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Gretton, John||Macartney, W. G. Ellison|
|Cook, Fred Lucas (Lambeth)||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Cooke, C. W. Radcliffe (Heref'd)||Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Gull, Sir Cameron||Maclure, Sir John William|
|Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Haldane, Richard Burdon||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Cotton-Jodrell, Col. Ed. T. D.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||M'Calmont, H. L. B. (Cambs.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Halsey, Thomas Frederick||M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert W.||Manners, Lord Edward Wm. J.|
|Cross, Herb, Shepherd (Bolton)||Hanson, Sir Reginald||Maple, Sir John Blundell|
|Cruddas, William Donaldson||Hardy, Lawrence||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn W. F.|
|Currie, Sir Donald||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Maxwell, Rt. Hon. Sir H. E.|
|Curzon, Viscount||Heath, James||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Heaton, John Henniker||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Helder, Augustus||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand|
|Davenport, W. Bromley-||Henderson, Alexander||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.|
|Davies, Sir Hon. D. (Chatham||Hermon-Hodge, R. Trotter||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton|
|Denny, Colonel||Hickman, Sir Alfred||Milbank, Sir Powlett C. J.|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Hill, Rt. Hn. A. S. (Staffs.)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Hill, Sir E. Stock (Bristol)||Milner, Sir Frederick George|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Hoare, E. B. (Hampstead)||Milton, Viscount|
|Milward, Colonel Victor||Renshaw, Charles Bine||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Monckton, Edward Philip||Rentoul, James Alexander||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Monk, Charles James||Richardson, Sir T. (Hartle'pl)||Sutherland, Sir Thomas|
|Montagu, Hn. J. Scott (Hants)||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir Matthew W||Thorburn, Walter|
|Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Tollemache, Henry James|
|More, R. Jasper (Shropshire)||Robinson, Brooke||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Morgan, Hon. F. (Monm'thsh.)||Round, James||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Morrell, Geo. Herbert||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Usborne, Thomas|
|Morrison, Walter||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham||Valentia, Viscount|
|Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. H.|
|Mount, William George||Rutherford, John||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Muntz, Philip A.||Ryder, John Herbert Dudley||Ward, Hon. Robert A. (Crewe)|
|Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute)||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)||Warde, Lieut.-Col. C. E. (Kent)|
|Murray, C. J. (Coventry)||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. T. Myles||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert||Webster, Sir Richard E.|
|Myers, Wm. Henry||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. E. J.||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Newark, Viscount||Savory, Sir Joseph||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Nicholson, William Graham||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Seely, Charles Hilton||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Northcote, Hon. Sir H. S.||Seton-Karr, Henry||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Williams, Joseph Powell-(Birm|
|Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Shaw, Charles Ed. (Stafford)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Paulton, James Mellor||Sidebottom, J. W. (Cheshire)||Wills, Sir William Henry|
|Pease, H. P. (Darlington)||Sidebottom, T. H. (Stalybr.)||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Penn, John||Sidebottom, William (Derbysh.||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Phillpotts, Captain Arthur||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Pierpoint, Robert||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Pilkington. R. (Lancs, Newton)||Skewes-Cox, Thomas||Wrightson, Thomas|
|Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Plunkett, Rt. Hn. H. Curzon||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)||Wyndham, George|
|Pollock, Harry Frederick||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Spencer, Ernest||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Pretyman, Ernest George||Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk)||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Priestley, Sir W. O. (Edin.)||Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)||Younger, William|
|Purvis, Robert||Stewart, Sir Mark J. McT.|
|Pym, C. Guy||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Rankin, Sir James||Stock, James Henry||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
Main Question put accordingly, and agreed to.
§ Mr. Balfour claimed, "That the Main Question be now put."
§ Resolved, 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 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."
§ To be presented by Privy Councillors and Members of Her Majesty's Household.