§ 1. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a further number of Land Forces, not exceeding 35,000, all ranks, be maintained for the Service of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland at Home and Abroad, during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1900."
§ MR. WYNDHAM
I have already said something on this Vote in reply to a question by the Leader of the Opposition; but as no doubt a good many Members are present now who were absent then I will repeat my point. At the beginning of hostilities, the scope and duration of which no man can confidently predict, it is at least prudent to put a superior limit to the margin from which you may be called upon to draw men from time to time and add them to the establishment of the home Army which was voted by the House. The forces at our disposal which are covered by this Vote of 35,000 I will name in the succession in which they may 406 be called upon. In the first place we must take power to cover the 5,800 men whom we have borrowed from the Indian establishment. That is a very rigorous application of the views held on this subject, because it is sometimes said that it is not necessary to add them to the British establishment. In the second place I name the men who will be retained with the coloursuntil demobilisation, and who, but for the mobilisation, would have gone in the ordinary course to the Reserve. It is not in my power to give an accurate estimate of that figure. But we have 75 infantry battalions on the home establishment, and if you put the normal wastage at 100, that would give a total of 7,500 for the infantry. I cannot make the same calculation for the cavalry, but probably 9,000 will cover the number of men retained with the colours who would otherwise have gone to the Reserve. In the third place there are the 21,000 Reservists called back to the colours. There is a fourth force, the need for resort to which must be remote—the Militia Reserve. They are men who, for an additional bounty, have undertaken an additional obligation; but they are behind the Army Reserve, and would not be called upon until we had exhausted the Army Reserve. Hon. Members may wonder why we thought it necessary to provide against so remote a contingency. Our Reserve is so much stronger now than in earlier days that we are no longer obliged to pool the Reserve and draw upon it indiscriminately for every regiment. We have been able to show due respect to regimental feeling, and the men who are called upon will be called upon to serve with their own regiments and no others. That I believe is a very proper course. But it must be clear that, though the contingency is remote, we must take account of it. One battalion may suffer more severely than another, and having put the Reserve in these compartments, each one behind a separate regiment, it might happen that 407 the whole of the Army Reserve of one battalion was exhaused. Then you would fall back upon the Militia Reserve. Then as to the total of 35,000 men. Frankly, we have allowed a certain amount of elbow-room. Last year and the year before we voted for the whole establishment, not the number of men we expected to maintain in that year, but the superior limit which we hoped to reach when the programmes of 1897, 1898, and 1899 had been completed. So we have another 14,000 men, so to speak, to play with. But the number of men voted here cannot be divided up into so many of this sort and that sort. It is the whole amount of the margin which we have thought it wise to take in order to be drawn upon in the course of hostilities. The question of the embodiment of the Militia has nothing to do with the question of this 35,000 men. That can be discussed on Vote 3, under which we take a considerable sum for embodying the Militia. Now I pass to the further sum which we are asking to be expended on Army services in addition to those voted last session. The Government has decided to put forward the demand in the shape of a Supplementary Estimate, and for two reasons. In the first place, it is the right course if you are to have proper account-keeping; and although I am well aware that on several previous occasions Governments have proceeded by votes of credit, yet last year Lord Cromer and Lord Kitchener financed a considerable war by the method of Estimates, and we desire to imitate so edifying an example. Then, unless we proceed by Supplementary Estimates, divided between the usual Votes, it is impossible for those hon. Members who take a keen interest in the Army to pursue their comparative studies of the expenditure made for certain periods and for certain services. But there is no course which does not present some drawbacks, and there are two to this form of Supplementary Estimates. In the first place, that form does not reflect the course of recent events in South Africa, nor does it reflect the nature and extent of the preparations which we are making. On the first score I need add nothing from the War Office point of view to the speeches to which we have listened during the past few days. But I should like to remove two misconceptions which have existed in South Africa and in some degree in this 408 country. The first misconception is that any delay in sending troops to South Africa is due to the state of unpreparedness at the War Office. The other misconception is that the War Office have been hampered in their preparations by the policy of the Government. We at the War Office, with the vast majority of our countrymen, rejoice that the country forbore to threaten so long as it was permitted to persuade; and from the knowledge of the facts before us for three months I may add that the policy which the Government adopted was deliberately adopted with the fullest knowledge of possible consequences—consequences serious enough for those who have relatives situated beyond communication—and with the fullest confidence that the nation would face those consequences with fortitude and self-respect. On the second score—that is, that the division by Votes obscures the nature of our preparations—I should like to point out that a memorandum which has been circulated indicates clearly that those preparations have included two phases for defensive action, and defensive action alone, and a third phase for offensive action; but I feel that something more in the way of explanations will be expected from me, and for this special reason—that the annual Army debates are largely taken up by scrutiny of our organisation as a whole. Perhaps by leave of the Committee I may interrupt my explanation to read to the Committee a telegram which has just been received—Ladysmith, 20th October, 3.30.—General Yule wires from Glencoe Camp:—'We were attacked this morning at daylight by a force roughly estimated at 4,000. They placed four or five guns in position on a hill 5,400 yards east of the camp. They fired plugged shell into the camp. Their artillery did no damage. Our infantry formed up for attack opposite their position. After their position had been shelled for a time the infantry advanced to the attack, and after hard fighting, lasting up to 1.30 p.m., their almost inaccessible position was taken. Enemy retired to the eastwards. Cavalry and artillery still out. Our losses are heavy, and will be telegraphed as soon as possible. General Symons severely wounded in the stomach.'I must now ask hon. Members to come back from the consideration of intelligence so exciting and of so moving a character to the dry and dull details of the organisation preparations which alone 409 rendered such a good result possible. I cannot, of course, reasonably withhold from the Committee the knowledge of how the system has worked under an exceptional strain. That system has been in existence nineteen years, and as the Leader of the Opposition very well knows, during the whole course of that time has been strenuously attacked, and as strenuously defended. I have no complaint to make about these attacks; there is no matter in which it is more legitimate for the House and for the nation to have its last doubt resolved. But it has been attacked, and attacked in respect of the three functions which it should enable the Home Army to perform:—First, as a machine to manufacture and maintain the Army abroad. Secondly, as a force adequate to home defence. Thirdly, as a force capable on occasions of despatching an expedition abroad. On the first score our system has stood the test of time fairly well; criticism has relented in face of the 74,000 and odd men that we maintain in India, and the 43,000 and odd that we maintain in Egypt and in garrisons. In all we keep 118,000 men abroad in a state of admitted efficiency, and we keep 106,500 at home. But, in respect of the second function, that of mobilising three army corps and four cavalry brigades for home defence, and in respect of the third function, the despatch of a considerable expedition abroad, there has been a good deal of scepticism, not unnaturally, since no occasion has arisen during the whole of these 19 years of bringing our system to the test of actual experience. That occasion has now arisen, not, I admit, on the large scale contemplated, but, still on a scale far larger, and in a shape more convincing, than could possibly be contrived by expedients of peace manœeuvres or experimental mobilisation; and, therefore, I have ventured to name these two great functions of our Army, in connection with the expedition to South Africa, for two reasons—first, because the capacity to send the expedition must confirm the belief that we are ready to defend our shores; and, secondly, because the two questions are so intimately bound up as to be unsuited for separate consideration. If our system is worth a rush it must enable us to send an expedition without depriving our homes of protection. I go further: we cannot be satisfied unless we can despatch 410 such an expedition without destroying the machinery for creating or dislocating the machinery for distributing the units of which our Army abroad is composed. The Army of to-day, in short, is not only the Army of to-day but the machine for creating the Army of to-morrow. Coming to features more particular to the issue, I can best show what we are called on to attempt, and the measure of response which our system has made, by asking the Committee to consider the composition and distribution of the Army before the crisis in South Africa became acute, and to compare it with the present composition and distribution. I select the 1st July as a convenient date. On that date, of our 28 regiments of Cavalry of the Line, 16 were at home and 12 abroad; of our 115 batteries of Horse and Field Artillery, 58 were at home and 57 abroad; of our 153 battalions of Infantry, 75 were at home and 78 abroad. I explained, on the 2nd March, that this provision would be adequate, when our programme of increase was completed, for our armies of occupation in India and in Egypt, the authorised garrisons of our coaling stations and colonies—that is, nineteen white battalions—and for the three army corps and the four cavalry brigades for home defence, and, therefore, for the two army corps, the cavalry division, and the lines of communication, which we should have for a counter-attack. I spoke of these contingencies of home defence and of a counter-attack as remote; so they were, and so I still believe them to be; but another contingency has arisen which, without calling for the sacrifices involved by war with a first-class Power, does supply a good working test of our system as a machine for maintaining our Army abroad during a period of stress, and in a less direct manner a test of its ability to improvise home defence or counter-attack. Just about the 1st July a little cloud arose in South Africa with the abortive conclusion of the Bloemfontein Conference. We had at that time in Cape Colony three-and-a-half battalions of infantry and two companies of garrison artillery. We had in Natal three battalions of infantry, two regiments of cavalry, three batteries of field artillery, and one of mountain artillery. This had been the garrison of South Africa since May, 1897. It was already largely in excess of the garrison authorised for the purpose of defending 411 our coaling station at Cape Town. It was efficient in respect of numbers; the six battalions were at an average strength of 1,004, and could stand comparison with fifty-two battalions in India; but they had not, as battalions in India have, regimental transport, and, therefore, they were in a sense "counters," and not current coin until they were given mobility. They were signs of potential strength and not its embodiment, even for purposes of policing. The little cloud grew. Earnest representations on the necessity of increasing the garrison were made to us; they were not too earnest, when we consider the subsequent events, and when we consider the presence of a very large native population. We, therefore, sanctioned the provision of the regimental transport which was necessary to make this garrison an effective force. The sanction was given on June 27. Further representations were received from the High Commissioner, from the Governor of Natal, and from the officer commanding the troops in South Africa; therefore on August 3rd it was decided to despatch two more battalions to strengthen the garrison at Natal; the 1st Battalion of the Manchester Regiment, of a strength of 977 men, was sent from Gibraltar, and the 1st Battalion of the Liverpool Regiment, of a strength of 980 men, was transferred from the Cape, the gap in the garrison of that colony being filled by sending the 1st Battalion Munster Fusiliers from Fermoy. That regiment sailed on August 23rd. We also provided regimental transport to a wait them on their arrival. A brigade division of field artillery was also detailed to strengthen the garrison, but its despatch was suspended in order to decide whether it should take its horses with it; at the same time sanction was given for the provision of two months' supplies for the force then in South Africa. To this period also belongs the despatch of that gallant and skilful soldier Colonel Baden-Powell and other officers for the purpose of raising two regiments of mounted infantry with Maxim guns for the protection of the southern frontier of Rhodesia, and the eastern frontier of Bechuanaland. The money taken for this force under the Estimates is £193,000, and if, as I hope and believe, Colonel Baden-Powell saves Mafeking, that will be one of the cheapest bargains this country ever 412 made. These measures make up the first phase of the operations, and account for the total of £553,000 shown on the first division of the White Paper. But, Sir, the South African Republic and—this is a point to be noted—also the Orange Free State, continued their military preparations. Large consignments of ammunition were sent through Cape Colony and from Delagoa Bay into those Republics. On the 19th August the South African Republic offered the franchise after five years in return for the admission of their claim to international sovereignty, and on the 2nd September they withdrew that offer of the five years franchise. That brings me to the second phase of our defensive operations. On the 7th September the Government sanctioned the reinforcement of the garrison by 10,000 men for the defence of Natal. It was explained to the President of the Orange Free State that the measure was purely defensive. At the same time the Government sent to the Transvaal a despatch, the terms of which have been approved by all sections of opinion in this country. I wish to defend the Government and the War Office from the charge of not sending out a sufficient force at that time. Can it be urged that such a despatch should have been accompanied by preparations for taking the offensive? The Government did not take that course, and I believe that the Government were perfectly right. The scheme for sending 10,000 men had been prepared weeks before in the War Office, in two alternative forms. First to send the men from home; second to send them from India and the Mediterranean. The second was adopted by Lord Landsdowne as the most expeditious, and the least likely to dislocate the roster of reliefs. From India there were sent three cavalry regiments, three batteries of field artillery, and four battalions of infantry, at a total cost of £897,000. To make the difference between 8,900 and the 10,000 we sent from Aldershot the 1st Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, but that battalion was not taken from the forces for home defence. It had no fixed station at home, and was on the foreign roster. It had been placed on Salisbury Plain to recover from the fatigues of Omdurman and of Crete. Three battalions were sent from the Mediterranean garrisons and three batteries of field artillery from Alder- 413 shot. I should like to dwell on the concentration of these troops from two points of view. The first is that such battalions are fit for service on emergency. As to numbers, while the seven battalions which formed the original garrison of South Africa had an average strength of 994, the four sent from the Mediterranean had an average of 925, the two from home an average of 815, and the four from India an average of 920. And as to the age of the men, men who come from India must, by the terms of our contract with India, be over twenty years of age, and, in the other battalions despatched, the men were practically as well trained. I wish, therefore, to emphasise the fact that those battalions were not battalions of boys, nor were they "squeezed lemons." This crisis arose just before the troop season began and the men were men who for the best part of the year had been well trained. These measures, therefore, give us, in all, in South Africa 24,746 Regulars, trained and mature men, 6,000 at the Cape, 13,000 at Natal, and 5,000 elsewhere. The other point of view is represented by the question whether such transference of strength from one part of our Empire to another is legitimate. I answer, Yes, for a temporary purpose such as this. Consider the case of the Indian contingent. We had approached the Viceroy of India some time before asking him if in the event of an emergency arising he would be able to lend us any troops. The Viceroy had approved the plan months beforehand, and had himself indicated the number of units which he could spare.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
I think it was in July. We did not ask him for the troops, but we asked him whether, if we were hard pressed in South Africa, he had any troops which he could lend to this country. It was he himself who indicated the number of troops he could spare. It was surely reasonable to hold that he could, for a temporary purpose, spare three cavalry regiments out of nine, three batteries of field artillery out of forty-two, and four battalions of infantry out of fifty-two—or, in all, 5,800 men out 414 of 74,000 British regulars, while he retains an army of 140,000 natives officered by white men. And, again, the four battalions which came from the Mediterranean and from home can have their places filled by expediting the departure and retarding the return of other battalions whose places they should have filled, so that effect the concentration of an additional 15,000 men, added to those at the Cape already, which brings up the number there to 25,000, with a net loss of one battalion on the home establishment. I dwell upon this point because it is constantly urged that our system is not sufficiently elastic. I do not think you need despair of a system which gives you such results as these; yet, if we review this case, we see that, while the authorised garrison of South Africa is two battalions of infantry and two companies of garrison artillery, we had, by July of this year, increased it to six and a-half battalions of infantry, two regiments of cavalry, three batteries of field artillery, and one of mountain artillery, and yet, since July, we have been able, by borrowing only one battalion from the home roster, to add 10½battalions of infantry, three regiments of cavalry, and six batteries of field artillery without dislocating the system of reliefs or paralysing our home army as a creative and feeding machine. And note further that we could have supplemented this garrison in case of need by an additional 10,000 men from home, for which a scheme was prepared. Another measure which belongs to this period is the sanction which was given for raising a body of Imperial Light Horse in Natal, the cost of which was £60,000. The total cost of the operations included in this second phase is shown in the second division of the White Paper as £1,441,000. But, Sir, the prospects in South Africa became still darker. I need not go into the reasons why things were so black, but a fortnight elapsed and no reply was forthcoming to our despatch. On 22nd September the Government sent another despatch expressing regret that no answer had been received. Now began a period of suspense. If the door was no longer open, it was, at least, as the Leader of the House said the other night, ajar. The wind of words had dropped, and there was the ominous silence of the calm which precedes the storm. It was during this period that the Government authorised the despatch to South Africa of a large 415 body of the Army Service Corps—not a fighting force, but necessary to prepare the way for a fighting force, if such should have to be sent. On 27th September the Orange Free State Volksraad passed a resolution which constituted, as the event proved, an offensive alliance with the South African Republic against this country, and on29th September, and not until then, the Cabinet authorised the despatch of a large field force from this country. I think it would be well for hon. Members to allude to this force as a field force, as when I am asked about the army corps I may forget for the moment what is meant, and in my replies mislead hon. Gentlemen. That field force is to be composed of a cavalry division, making up a total of nearly 6,000 men; an army corps of about 32,000 men, and forces for lines of communication of about 9,000 men; the total estimated forces being about 47,763 men, about 11,000 horses, 14,000 mules, and 2,650 wagons and other vehicles, with 114 guns. To send out a force of this magnitude we naturally had to mobilise. We mobilised eight cavalry regiments, fifteen batteries of field artillery, and four of horse artillery, and thirty-two battalions of infantry, besides other troops. To fill these regiments to war strength we called up a portion of the Reserve. The whole strength of the Reserve on October 1 was 81,000. We called up 25,000, directing the men to report themselves before October 17, and, after reckoning for absentees and invalids, we expected to get an effective force of 21,000. Our expectations have been exactly verified. As October 17 drew near the men did not appear to be turning up in very large numbers, but from my knowledge of military punctuality I guessed exactly when they would come in—that is, a little before, but not much before, the date for which they were summoned. As I have said, we expected to get 21,000 who were fit. We have received 21,067 such men. That really is a magnificent result. We are not sending out a single man under twenty years of age; and the whole of the fit men are men who have served for several years with the colours, and who have only been away from the colours from eighteen to six months. I am sure the Reservists would have come up in any event; but I think that part of the magnificent response to our call is 416 due to the fact that we have respected regimental feeling. I am prepared to defend sentiment in the management of an army. Our field force consists of about 26,000 men who were with the colours, and about 21,000 Reservists, or a total of 47,000. That may seem a large force, but it will not seem too large if we reflect that the two Republics, by juxta-position and situation, have the advantage of what is known in strategy as "interior lines"; that is to say, they can attack with concentrated force at any point on a frontier of 2,020 miles. Let it be remembered also that that frontier is everywhere some hundreds of miles from the sea. Lang's Nek is 301 miles from Durban; Mafeking is, I am sorry to say, 870 miles from Cape Town. And when we further consider that the whole area involved is inhabited by some 3,300,000 natives, it is clear that considerations of humanity dictate that the Empire should make an unmistakable exhibition of its strength in order to rescue one of its greatest dependencies from the horrors of doubtful and dilatory operations. Again, I may be asked why we did not mobilise at once. The sanction for the calling out of the Reserves was obtained on 29th September. Why did we wait till October 9? The answer is that no time would have been gained towards the despatch of a really effective force by mobilising before the immense quantities of supplies, and of transport vehicles and animals, which were required, could be got together. It is a fact, which may easily be overlooked, that even to embody three army corps for home defence, or to despatch two army corps to a country where facilities for locomotion and the accumulation of surplus supplies exist, would be, though a graver, yet a shorter and easier task than that which lay before us. We possessed the mobilisation transport for two army corps, but most of our wagons were fitted with shafts for draught, and all of them were fitted for draught by horses. We had therefore to convert them to pole draught for mules, and we had to apply South African brakes to all of them, and we had to substitute mule harness for the harness which we possessed. All the required vehicles of two large classes—viz., Scotch carts and American buck wagons, have been obtained in South Africa, the balance from our mobilisation stores. And I may say that the 417 first division of the army corps—that is, eight infantry battalions, three batteries of artillery, and one squadron of cavalry, will be shipped by Tuesday, the 24th, with 206 out of their total of 349 vehicles; the others are being prepared to meet them on their arrival in South Africa. By Wednesday, the 25th, we hope to ship off in all, one cavalry regiment with two squadrons of another, one battery of horse artillery, and three batteries of field artillery, nineteen battalions of infantry, and eight companies of mounted infantry, making with the Royal Engineers, Army Service Corps, and Army Medical Corps, a total of nearly 24,000 men in less than six days. I may take this opportunity of saying that our relations with the Admiralty, with which we are so closely associated in a transaction of this kind, have been, as always, of the most satisfactory nature. It has been simply a case of "ask and have. "The sums necessary for mobilising the field force of 47,000 men, for transferring it 6,000 miles over sea, for equipping it and for maintaining it for four months in a land destitute of surplus supplies, are included in the third division of the White Paper, and the cost is shown as £8,000,000. And now, Sir, the question may well be asked—Are we getting value for our money? Take the cavalry, as an example. We are sending eight cavalry regiments at an average effective strength of 515 men and 516 horses, there are five already in South Africa at an average strength of 510 men, the lowest of them has 475—that makes 13 regiments in all. Let us compare this with what we did in the time of the Crimean War. We sent to the Crimea fourteen cavalry regiments. Their average strength on embarkation was 345 men, and ten out of the fourteen had less than 300 men apiece. Take the case of the infantry. We are sending twenty-five infantry battalions in the army corps, and seven for the lines of communication. That is thirty-two battalions. These battalions embark at an average strength of over 900 men. But this does not account for the whole of the £8,000,000 which is set down in the third division of the White Paper; there are other services included, and services of the highest importance. I would designate them as parts of a policy of replacement. You cannot denude this country of such a large force as I have described without producing two results. The first 418 is obvious—your force for home defence is weaker; the second is less obvious but even more important—you will have diminished and damaged the machinery by which the army of to-day produces the army of to-morrow. If we once allow this machinery to become dislocated, to repair it requires not only money, but months, perhaps more than a year, of time. To quote the impressive words of the Commander-in-Chief—No amount of wealth, even when supported by patriotic willingness to enlist, can buy discipline, training, and skilful leading.By despatching thirty-three battalions of infantry we destroy for the time thirty-three machines for training men, and for instructing officers in their simplest duties, and we break up the more complex organism of brigades which alone can instruct general and staff officers in skilful leading. The Government therefore has decided to embody thirty-three battalions of Militia. The principle we have followed is this, that whenever all the battalions of any regiment on the home establishment are absent from this country, we embody an affiliated Militia battalion. It so happens that we are sending out thirty-three battalions to South Africa, and that the number of regiments left at home without any regular battalion will be also thirty-three. The two facts do not depend upon each other, but they happen to be the same. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, who had so much to do with the conception and with the adoption of this system, will bear me out when I say we should have violated a fundamental principle of that system had we mobilised so large a force without embodying the Militia. The principle is that when all the battalions of a regiment are sent abroad we must call out the affiliated Militia battalion. I must safeguard myself by saying that my right hon. friend reserves to himself the right of rejecting any Militia battalion affiliated to the regiment if it should appear in any case that that battalion is not in a fit state to be called out. There are some battalions which cannot always be conveniently called out at all seasons of the year. But that is the principle, and I may assure the Committee that we intend to carry it out, reserving, however, the right to make possible exceptions. These thirty-three battalions are embodied, and the men under twenty years of age 419 left behind by the regiments despatched abroad are thus welded into the Militia battalion, so as to make what is called a provisional battalion. I do not know that I need trouble the Committee with any further justification of our action as Members seem to adopt it, but I have here the first document in which these principles were embodied, viz., the Report of General MacDougall's Committee of 1872, which received the support of Mr. Cardwell, the present Secretary of State for War, and the present Leader of the Opposition. Having taken the steps I have described it will be within our power to reconstitute the regular troops. We shall again have at Aldershot a first cavalry brigade and an infantry division. In this £8,000,000 we are also taking a sum which will enable us to raise seven of the cavalry regiments left behind from the lower to the higher establishment, and we are dealing with the artillery upon the same lines. We have sent out eighteen battalions of field artillery, leaving only thirty-one battalions at home, all upon the four-gun establishment. The Government propose to raise fifteen of those battalions to the six-gun establishment. Then we have sent out four battalions of Royal Horse Artillery, and we propose to raise four battalions left at home to the six-gun establishment. The only other service of this kind which comes under this head is that of mobilisation, clothing, and stores. I do not think I need argue that at any great length. If there was a case last March for having the clothing and stores of our mobilisation reserves ready, there will be as good a case now. Therefore the Government feel that they must ask for money to put the mobilisation clothing and stores back into the pigeonhole from which it has just been taken. These steps, in the opinion of the Government, are absolutely necessary, unless we are content to exist as a nation on the sufferance of other Powers, and are prepared to destroy the machine which enables us to maintain our forces abroad. To sum up the whole situation. If the Committee sanctions the provisions for Imperial defence now submitted, we shall be no worse off next year, humanly speaking, than we have been this; men now serving with the colours will be retained one year under the terms of their engagements; some six infantry battalions will go abroad a year earlier 420 and some five will return home a year later than would otherwise be the case. That is the extent of the damage and dislocation done to the machinery of our home Army, although we have sent an army corps to South Africa. We do not aspire to emulate the vast armies of Continental Powers, but we have, I believe, at our disposal an organisation at once elastic and elaborate, which is well adapted to the peculiar exigencies of an Empire dispersed over every Continent, and yet united by the command of the sea. We can advance or retard our trooping season, maintain or deflect the ocean course of our transports. We can put our finger at any point on the pulse of our Army's circulation about the world, and so produce a concentration where it is needed. Our system of military defence is based upon modern and scientific principles, which lay down that facility of interior communication is of more importance than the piling up of strength at predetermined points. We may regard our possessions the world over under the image of a series of defensive positions, and it is far better that they should be able to support each other than that each should, with Chinese rigidity, have its own quota locked up in a watertight compartment. Sir, I am glad that at a time when party lines are effaced, in so far as the granting of necessary supplies is concerned, we can, Government and Opposition alike, lay claim to any merits which our system may possess. If Paul has planted, Apollos has watered. And by Paul I refer not to the ruler of a certain other State, but to the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues of the early seventies. By Apollos I mean Conservative and Unionist Secretaries for War, from Mr. Gathorne-Hardy to my noble friend, who have been loyal to Mr. Cardwell's ideas. I cannot say that and pass on without saying that the man who has done most to give energy and actuality to those ideas, the present Commander-in-Chief, has presided over our preparations during these months of exceptional effort in a manner which ought to win the recognition and gratitude of his countrymen. I hope I have not taken too roseate a view of this system. I am the last man to holloa till I am out of the wood, or to claim a verdict till the cause has been heard; but I must pay a tribute to the soldiers and civilians at the War Office, who, during 421 these arduous days, have proved themselves true men and willing servants of their country. Two bright features remain upon which I must say a word. The first is the spontaneous offers of assistance of all our self-governing colonies, without a single exception, which have been gladly accepted in the spirit in which they were made. And last, but not least, I would formally tender to the employers of labour in this country the thanks of Lord Lansdowneand Lord Wolseley. Their attitude, not less than the attitude of our colonies, marks an epoch in the history of our Imperial defence. Sir, I have done. I have tried to show the nature of the call made upon our Army, and the manner of its response to that call. Had this machine, so carefully constructed during nineteen years, failed to give an adequate response for the mere purpose of despatching this expedition to South Africa, we might indeed have despaired. But it has not failed. It has done more. After meeting that call, it remains practically unimpaired for the two purposes of maintaining our Army abroad and of providing for home defence. That is, I hold, a source of legitimate satisfaction in the present, and an encouragement to further effort on the same lines in the future.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
I am sure that everybody has listened with the greatest interest and the greatest admiration to the eloquent as well as the most absorbingly interesting statement which the hon. Member has just made. The usual phrase that, after very long experience, I know is applied in similar cases to such a statement is that it is lucid. But "lucid" goes a very short way towards reaching the limits of the merits of the statement just made. And among the other qualities which I discerned, and which everybody must have discerned, in it there was a freshness and gaiety which were perfectly charming, especially in the representative of the best abused and most freely denounced Department in Her Majesty's Service—namely, that office in Pall Mall which Controls Her Majesty's military forces. But, before I say anything with reference to what the hon. Gentleman has told us in his statement, let me say one word as to the matter to introduce which he had to interrupt his speech. This day, at all events, we pass away from the region of words to 422 the region of events. Events are now, I venture to say, if I read the general feeling of my countrymen—events are what we look to with greater anxiety than to the quarrels of politicians, or the criticisms of those who take different views on great and momentous questions of State policy. These are for the moment, I will not say silenced, but, at all events, put into the shade, by the events of the war, for which we are listening, and of which we are now commencing to hear accounts. The information the hon. Gentleman has given us to-day is enough to encourage us so far, but, at the same time, to make us take a sad and sober view of what we are doing. "Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off," and when we hear of a gallant deed here, of a gallant action there, carried out by our own countrymen who are risking their lives on our behalf, and when we hear at the same time that there have been terrible losses, I think everybody here must begin to realise a little more than they did when they were discussing Blue Books and despatches, what a serious matter war is. The hon. Gentleman has, indeed, been most fortunate in his opportunity to day, because, as I have already said, speaking on behalf of a Department which has been denounced on all hands and ridiculed in the public prints and in this House and everywhere, he has been able to show how admirably they have discharged the task entrusted to them; and, speaking of the system of organisation in our Army, for which hardly anybody sometimes has a good word to say, he has been able to prove triumphantly that it has completely fulfilled the purpose for which it was created. As one of the oldest WarOffice hands alive, and still moving, I thank the hon. Gentleman for the way in which he spoke of those who preceded him. I look back to those days when Lord Cardwell and his colleagues at the War Office sat on that bench and introduced certain reforms amid the greatest and most strenuous opposition, and I remember how bravely they bore the brunt of the attacks made upon them—how completely they were supported by soldiers of advanced opinion like Lord Wolseley; and although there may, no doubt, be some points on which mistakes were made, some errors of judgment in particular parts of the general system, we may congratulate ourselves that the system has been brought to the condition 423 the hon. Gentleman has been able to lay before us. But the fact of all others which I think is most gratifying to us is the extraordinary way in which the Army Reserve men have come back to the colours, and just, let it be observed, at a time, perhaps, more trying for the experiment than any other that could have been selected. At a moment when men are out of work and wages are low, you can imagine that a recall to the colours would be the salvation of many of the men so called; but at this time, when everyone is fully occupied and everything is in a high state of prosperity, and when there is a demand for labour in every quarter, that these men should abandon the positions they have secured and come back to fulfil their duty is the greatest honour to them, and a great proof of how we can depend on their patriotism and fidelity. I am glad, too, to recognise, as I said the other day, and as the hon. Gentleman did, the way—the generous way—in which employers of labour have acted in this emergency. The hon. Gentleman has described to us in a most interesting way all the details by which the present force in South Africa has been built up. I am not one who, on the merits of the case, would blame him on the ground that action has not been taken earlier. Allusion has been made to phrases of mine with reference to the necessity for war and military preparations. Let it be remembered that any phrase of that sort used by a public man in my position is based on the information he possesses and upon his estimate, made from the Papers and other sources of information submitted to him, of the real position of affairs and of the possible casus belli.It was, of course, in view of that I have again and again expressed the opinion until quite recently that there was no cause for war, and, therefore, no cause for extraordinary warlike preparations; but by that I did not exclude the necessity that always lies on the military Department to secure that the forces that we have throughout the world should be in a proper state of equipment and fitness for the work they are intended to do. The hon. Gentleman has referred to the fact that we have a large force of 9,000 or 10,000 men in South Africa which was practically, or to a very large extent, destitute of transport. That was a case in which any money spent for the pur 424 pose of equipping that force and of making it mobile for the purposes for which it alone exists was absolutely necessary. With regard to the question of transport I have always been one of those in this House who regard with a certain amount of doubt the theories put forward that when we have built up the thing we call an army corps we should forthwith proceed to provide it with the full transport it might require. That is a very good and necessary thing in the case of a Continental army which will operate in a conterminous and homogeneous country. I am glad the hon. Gentleman has pointed out what I think is the misnomer of "army corps," and has adopted the proper phrase, "field force." With us, when we are called upon to send a field force abroad, who is to know beforehand in what part of the world it will have to operate, whether in Asia, Africa, Europe, or America, and whether the transport will require to be that of horses and carts, or camels, or mules, or elephants, or automobiles, or any other means of moving weights that can be imagined? So that for us in our particular position to spend a great deal of money in continually keeping up a great establishment of transports, solely for European or home purposes, would be preposterous, and that is shown by the fact that in this particular case we have already had to alter our wagons, in order to suit the nature of the country in South Africa where they are to be used. There was one point on which the hon. Gentleman touched as to which I should like to say a word or two, and that is the borrowing of some regiments from India. I do not say that it is an improper thing to do; I do not say that it is not a great advantage to this country to be able to do that, but it introduces a very serious element into the financial relations between the two countries. The financial relations between the Imperial and the Indian authorities with regard to military matters have always been a matter of controversy, and I believe that, although Royal Commissions have sat to consider the question, none of them has ever come to any conclusion. I rather think we are in that position now; there has been a long inquiry which has come to nothing, because the theories of the two countries are perfectly irreconcilable. We have on the part of this country always argued that we are entitled to charge India—I 425 am stating it very broadly—with almost everything that can possibly be held to be advantageous to her purposes in our military system, because she can always fall back and rely upon us and because this country is the reservoir for the military purposes of India. But India contends that she ought only to pay for the article she receives, and should pay nothing for those subsidiary advantages of which I have spoken. If we are to begin to use India on a large scale as a reservoir from which to draw troops for our own purposes, the argument shifts materially, and I am afraid the case for some greater consideration for India will be greatly strengthened. And when it is said that the excuse here is that the maintenance of a coaling station at the Cape of Good Hope is necessary for Indian purposes, I do not think that is a consideration so direct or so strong as materially to modify what I have just said. Although this is no affair of mine, and I do not propose to meddle with it myself, yet there has always been a strong opinion among well-informed men acquainted with India that the military expenditure of India is too great and that the force maintained there is larger than is required for Indian purposes. I believe the theory put forward by India has always been of late years that the number of British troops maintained in India is certainly more than is required at present, and if it is found that you can casually take away 5,000 or 10,000 men without any difference being discovered, that contention will be materially strengthened. But these are rather considerations for the future. I have no objection whatever to raise to the fact that these regiments from India have been made use of if in the opinion of the Government of India they are available. As to the embodiment of the Militia, I am very glad that that has been resorted to. It has always been part of the provisional scheme for the defence of the country and for military defence generally that the Militia should be used; and all of those who have had any responsibility in the matter have maintained that while we repeatedly and almost continuously allowed the Army to be greatly injured by having too many battalions abroad and too few at home to feed those abroad, we all that time neglected what was a part of the original system—namely, that in the case of two sister battalions 426 being abroad there should be immediately a depôt provided at home for the purpose of supplying them; and that the Militia battalions ought to be embodied and constituted into provisional battalions, taking the younger men of the line battalions which are abroad. That appears to me exactly what we have always maintained. I have no criticisms to offer either of a friendly or unfriendly character on the statement which was made by my hon. friend. I congratulate the Under Secretary upon being able to occupy his position at so triumphant a moment as this—triumphant I mean from the point of view of the Department he represents. There is only one other point to which I will refer, one to which the hon. Member referred at the close of his speech, and that is the action taken in regard to this war by the colonies—not only those more immediately connected with that part of the world in which the operations are taking place, but even the more remote parts. Nothing could be more indicative of the close feelings of relationship and friendship, and of the gratitude which prevails there towards the mother country, than what has just taken place. They do not inquire very much as to the reason why—theirs but to come forward and help the mother country when the mother country desires it. That is precisely the spirit that every patriotic man wishes to encourage, and I trust that in any possible way that is open to us we shall be always careful—it is a matter irrespective of politics—the Government should always be careful to reciprocate similar feelings towards the colonies, and lose no opportunity of letting them see that we have the same feelings towards them as they have displayed towards us.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE
The hon. Member the Under Secretary for War, in his statement, which the Leader of the Opposition has not praised more strongly than it deserves, made an allusion to something which I said the other day regarding the drawing of the troops from India, a matter which has also been taken up by the Leader of the Opposition. Upon this subject I agree with every word that fell from him, and it is not necessary for me to say anything myself in reply. There is really no difference of opinion between the Under Secretary and myself as far as his statement is concerned. The hon. 427 Member has spoken of this matter as a temporary expedient, and has given his reasons for sending out the Indian troops. I agree with his view, and so does the Leader of the Opposition. Some time ago I ventured to express the same view with regard to the political bearing of this question which the Leader of the Opposition has expressed to-day. The right hon. Gentleman has so completely stated my view that it is unnecessary for me to say more. The Leader of the Opposition—himself a great defender of the War Office—has described this as a day of triumph for the War Office. I cannot, however, but think that this triumph is arrived at by considering only matters as to which there never was any difference of opinion. In recent times there never was the slightest doubt as to the Reserves coming up in answer to a call. In the old days I know there was some doubt, but never in recent days. On the contrary, in the year 1882, when a similar experiment was tried, the Reserves came up exactly as they are doing now. It has always been admitted, both by friends and opponents of the War Office, that when the emergency was sufficient to make it necessary to call out the Reserves by proclamation they would be available. This is not a point upon which there has ever been any difference of opinion. Nothing that has ever been said here, or written outside by the leading War Office critics, has ever thrown any doubt upon that point. As regards the Militia, it has always been generally admitted that the embodiment of the Militia is a proper step to take whenever both battalions of a linked regiment were out of the country at the same time. The reason why I consider we are somewhat premature in congratulating the War Office upon the triumph arrived at is because there has not been the slightest reference made to the weakest of all the points of our military system—I mean the enormous, the frightful cost of that system. I would remind the House that the cost of our land services and fixed defence in the Empire in this year is £43,000,000 sterling per annum, with the addition of this £10,000,000, which makes a total of £53,000,000 sterling. I think the Committee will see that to take into consideration the War Office successes in mobilisation without any regard to the cost incurred is to state only one-half of the problem which is involved. The Under 428 Secretary has defended the working of the present system as illustrated by the mobilisation, upon three heads—home defence, expeditionary forces, and garrisons. When this matter comes to be discussed in February next in the full knowledge of all that has occurred, and the information afforded by the Estimates, I think there will be a great deal to be said upon all those heads. With regard to the classification alluded to by the Under Secretary, I take exception to his statement in which he speaks of the home Army as being kept here for the purpose of defending the kingdom. That is not the purpose for which the Army is here. The Navy is a sufficient defence of this kingdom against any probable expeditionary attack. The British Army is essential to us for the purpose of attack upon our opponents, by which, after the success of the Navy, a war alone can be brought to an end. Therefore, it is from the point of view of our power to send expeditionary forces across the sea that this matter should be considered, and not from the point of view of defence here at home. The garrison side of the question is one which has been entirely begged. Up to now the Army has been unable to meet the strain which the garrisons put upon it. The Government made a considerable increase three years ago in the numbers of the Army for the purpose of trying to meet that strain, but they have not actually raised the number of men for that purpose. Of course, many of us fear that the result of the present military operations will be another very heavy increase of that strain on the garrisons abroad. As the Army authorities at the present time have not succeeded in meeting the necessities of the case as regards those garrisons, it is reasonable to suppose that those difficulties will be intensified in the future. Those difficulties have not been met; indeed, they are driven at the present moment to all kinds of expedients, because the full number which was expected has not yet been arrived at. At the present time several coaling stations which are supposed to be garrisoned by British battalions are garrisoned by other troops in order to try to relieve the strain. With regard to the garrison at Mauritius we have been using Indian troops there apart from our own, and so absurd are some of the stratagems to which the War Office has been forced that there is even a battalion which was 429 raised for local service in Africa now being used to defend a coaling station. I merely mentioned these instances to show that the Army has not succeeded in solving the difficulties of our garrisons. The Under Secretary laid stress only on the points where there has been success when mobilisation took place, and he put aside in his defence those matters in which we entertained the greatest doubt. Besides the examples which I have given I desire to point to the composition of the staff of the expeditionary force which is being sent out to South Africa. I am sure there could be no more brilliant staff of officers brought together for this special purpose, although they have not been connected with the units or the groups of units with which they have been sent out in that particular capacity in which they will have to rule them. In Germany as regards the brigades and the regiments of several battalions the men who are with them in time of war are the men who have trained them in time of peace. Another matter upon which the War Office has said nothing here to-night is one which it is premature to discuss to-night, and which we cannot discuss until February, or until the war is over, after the War Office have themselves given us the information necessary for its discussion. I allude to the particulars with regard to the composition of the various battalions which have gone out, the number of the men, the reasons why men have been left behind, and the extent to which they have been filled up by Reserve men. There is one matter with regard to what has taken place in the last few weeks which has raised a very grave doubt in my mind, and that is the illustration that the recent mobilisation has given us as to the insufficiency in this country of the supply of horses in time of peace. The call which has been made upon the supply of horses seems to have been greater than I should have anticipated myself would have been necessary in the event of so partial a mobilisation as that which has taken place. I ventured to put before the Committee in February last the view that we do not keep up a sufficient supply of horses for the calls which are likely to be made upon our Army from time to time. The only other point with regard to which I should like some information is this: My hon. friend the Under Secretary for War spoke of replacement at the conclusion of 430 his remarks, and of the number of men he proposed to raise to effect that replacement. I do not quite understand how he expects to obtain those men, for he is still very far short of the establishment which this House has already voted. If, therefore, the brisk recruiting which a war always produces has not filled up that deficiency, how does the hon. Member expect to get the additional number under the present system to give him the increased establishment which he proposes now to maintain? Upon that point I confess that I was not able to understand his remarks, and perhaps on some future occasion he will explain.
§ MAJOR RASCH (Essex, S.E.)
It is hardly necessary for me to criticise the speech of the right hon. Baronet, although I think he has been rather too optimistic. That, however, is a way which they have on the other side. As the Government have decided to embody the Militia and call out the Militia Reserve, I desire to congratulate them upon having taken that step. I hope that in the future the War Office will regard the Militia more seriously, for that force is not in a particularly rosy condition at the present moment. At the last training they were something like 10,000 below their strength, and if you deduct the Militia Reserve—which is really the Army Reserve—and also the number of men, calculated at about 22,000, who are recruits, and who have not gone through a musketry course, and in addition to that the men passing from the Militia to the Line, you have, instead of a force of 129,000 strong, hardly 40,000. These men have no mobilised artillery, no staff, and no transport, but I do not intend now to criticise the proposals of the Government under this particular head I am very glad that they are going to embody these Militia battalions, because then the country will be able to judge as to their actual numbers. A man very frequently enlists in half a dozen regiments, and consequently the War Office counts that one man six times over. With regard to our system of mobilisation I have not always been a fanatical admirer of it, but on this occasion I think the War Office have disappointed the fondest hopes of their bitterest enemies, and they have done very well in this particular juncture and crisis, more particularly in regard to the mobilisation and the sending 431 out of kit, baggage, transport, and arms all over the country. I venture to remark that in this respect we have not got a good system. Of course it is rather difficult to speak upon this subject at the present moment. The Reservists from all parts of the country are called upon to join their regiments, and their arms and kit are not with the regiment. They are generally at the depôt, and the difficulty is that the Reservist has to go back from one place to the other. I am very glad that the idea that the First Army Corps—which some of us have always regarded as a phantom—had any existence has now been exploded and found out. The War Office, in reply to all our complaints for many years, when we told them they had got more general officers than battalions, or that they had 13,000 Dragoons and only 8,000 horses, have said, "Yes, but we have got the First Army Corps, at Aldershot, ready go anywhere." Recent events have practically shown that that Army Corps does not exist, because if it did exist surely the Government would have sent out the corps which they are now sending out a month ago, instead of waiting to send them during the next few weeks, for some of us think they ought to have been in South Africa six weeks ago. But this is not the time to criticise the conduct of the War Office, and I am the last man to do it. I am not astonished at anything the War Office might do, but I am astonished at the successful and workmanlike manner in which they have carried through their arrangements in the present crisis.
§ *COLONEL BLUNDELL (Lancashire, Ince)
I desire to congratulate the Government upon their decision to call out the Militia. I also believe they are doing right in sending out a large force to South Africa, because although it may cost more money, yet it will be sure to save blood. The Boer Army is much more formidable than it is supposed to be, and it has been trained to the use of arms; hitherto it has been the only force which, as a whole, used arms of precision precisely. I think great credit is also due to the War Office for the manner in which they have carried out the mobilization of this force. I know that for many years very hard work has been done in the War Office Department which never meets the eye. Great credit is due to the officers now serving in the Department, and 432 also to the Commander-in-Chief, to Sir Redvers Buller, Sir Coleridge Grove, Sir John Ardagh, and other officers whom I could name for this result. I think we also ought to congratulate our Reservists for their promptness in coming up, for many of them had to leave their families and situations where they were getting high rates of pay. I see that at the Wellington Barracks the Guards have practically all turned out, and it was one of the finest sights I have ever seen, when the Duke of Cambridge made his inspection.
§ SIR HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)
A more admirable statement than that which has been made by the Under Secretary for War could not possibly have been delivered. The clear way in which the hon. Member has stated all that has been done by the military authorities in the campaign in which we are now engaged gave the utmost satisfaction to all who have watched the proceedings. The hon. Gentleman referred especially to the enormous debt which the country owes to Lord Wolseley, the present Commander-in-Chief, for the manner in which he has carried out the mobilisation, and the way in which he has been assisted by the officers under him. Great changes took place after I had been in the Army a few years, and I always felt convinced that the proposals of Mr. Cardwell and those who worked with him in 1872 would eventually bear good fruit, and from what the Under Secretary has stated, I think that statement has been fully justified. I believe the satisfactory way in which the Reservists have responded to our call has been largely due to the territorial system which has been so greatly insisted upon by the present Commander-in-Chief, in which he has been supported by the War Office. I rejoice to find that the Reserve men of my old regiment—the Royal Welsh Fusiliers—have, without a single exception, responded to the call made to them, and they will embark for South Africa on Monday next. I am not going to detain the Committee at any length, but I do earnestly desire to express a hope with regard to the Reservists that the Government will do everything they possibly can when the Reservists are released to help them to find employment, and to prevent any distress arising among their wives and families during their absence. I hope the Government will set 433 a good example to the whole country by holding such posts as are filled at the present time by Reservists open for them on their return. The way the employers of labour in our great towns—in Sheffield and elsewhere—have assisted the Government of this country in this crisis must meet with hearty recognition everywhere. I know a firm in Sheffield who have decided to give half-pay to the wives and families of all the Reservists in their employ during their absence, no matter how long the campaign may take. I feel sure that the Militia will respond most heartily to the appeal which has been made to it. The only regret will be that some of our Volunteer battalions have not been called out, and I do hope that if the emergency arises the Volunteers will be given an opportunity of showing their patriotism and their desire to help the Government in this crisis.
§ COLONEL WELBY (Taunton)
As one who has sometimes been regarded as a professional critic of the War Office, perhaps I may be permitted to add my testimony to the excellent work of the Department on this occasion. With regard to the equipment of the cavalry it is perfectly true that the vacancies have been filled up by our Reservists, but I do not think the Under Secretary of State for War is aware of the great number of horses that have had to be taken from other regiments for this purpose. The result of this course is that the regiments which are remaining at home are very much denuded of their horses. There is another point, to which the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean referred, and that is that this force—which may be more truly called an expeditionary force than an army corps—has a temporary staff. The best officers in the kingdom have been chosen and the very best staffs have been selected, but, as the right hon. Baronet has pointed out, the generals have never worked together before, and have never worked with their staffs, and the staffs have never worked with the regiments. In this war we have to meet the Boers, who, happily, have no regular army and no staffs, and therefore we do not meet them at a disadvantage. But we cannot work under the same advantage as if each staff and regiment had been trained together, and I am sure it is misleading to the people of 434 this country to talk about an army corps as if on mobilisation we had the same efficient staffs as foreign nations have. I do hope that when a statement is made after the war the Under Secretary will be able to tell us to what extent the generals and their staffs who have been called out would have been selected if the First Army Corps had been mobilised against a European force. I am certain, if the War Office can make the three Army Corps to which the Under Secretary has referred a reality, that this country will be sufficiently strong to defend itself against any possible attack.
§ COLONEL MILWARD (Stratford-on-Avon)
I also join in congratulating the Under Secretary for War on his very able and lucid statement. Of course, it is impossible to criticise the statement before us, because the figures are for the most part estimates on rather a broad scale of what we may have to spend. At this stage I venture to suggest—although it may be unpopular—that the economy always exercised by the War Office may, as far as possible, be exercised in connection with the expedition we are now sending out. It seems to me rather a large estimate that for the purpose of placing 60,000 men in the field for six months we should require ten millions sterling, whereas the annual cost for our Army and Reserve, numbering between 500,000 and 600,000 men, is only twenty-two millions. Although I sincerely hope that the estimate may err on the right side, I trust that every economy will be used in the expenditure of the money. Of course we hope that the money will not have to be paid by England—
§ COLONEL MILWARD
One other question has been raised in this debate, as to the English troops coming from India. I know it has been asked whether they can be spared, and if they can be spared for the purposes of this expedition, why cannot they be spared permanently. During the last few years a great number of our troops have been engaged on the Indian frontier, and when there was a scare we have been obliged to send troops all over India. I 435 am glad to know that the war policy in India has been abandoned, and I hope, if the troops being now sent from India can be spared, that they can be spared permanently. I regret very much that none of our Indian native troops under English officers have been used in this expedition. I know that this also is an unpopular view, and I know the arguments advanced against it, but I feel myself that on occasions of this kind we should prove the solidarity of our Empire and its defences. These troops, under our own officers, have marched side by side with our own men, and have proved well worthy, at any rate, of being entrusted with the holding of the line of communication in South Africa.
I only express what is a widespread feeling in India, that some of our native troops should have been included in this expedition. In conclusion, I desire to congratulate the Under Secretary for War on his statement.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
I am afraid, if we have economy as it is exercised by the War Office, that we shall not have a very economical campaign, because I have never yet heard that the War Office was regarded as an exemplar in economy. The hon. and gallant Member who has just sat down pointed out that economy was not being exercised in this particular case, because, although the total cost of our Army is only £22,000,000, we are positively spending £10,000,000 in sending troops to South Africa. We know perfectly well that that is only the commencement of the sums we will be called upon to vote. Let us thoroughly understand what we are doing on the present occasion. The Government are not only asking power to raise 35,000 men, but practically they are taking power to raise 49,000. If it were only a temporary emergency we might be able to say that this would not be a burden on us, but has the House ever known a case in which an addition has been made to the Army, where, after the emergency has passed, the Army has been reduced? We know perfectly well that the result of this war will be 436 to increase the calls on the Army, because we shall have to have a large garrison in South Africa. Therefore we ought thoroughly to understand that not only shall we have the temporary expenditure connected with this campaign, but that by engaging in it we shall add a large permanent charge to the military establishment of this country, and through it on the pockets of the taxpayers. For my part I have relieved my mind by voting twice already against the Government—I have voted in favour of arbitration, and also against the diplomacy of the Colonial Secretary—and I shall vote on every occasion on which I get an opportunity against this iniquitous and impolitic war. I wash my hands entirely of it. We know the Government have a majority, and we know it is difficult to ask the House to vote against the defence of the Empire when it is attacked; although, so far as we are concerned, we believe it to be a defensive operation as far as the Boers are concerned. [Sir ELLIS ASSHMEAD BARTLETT laughed.] Why does the hon. Gentleman laugh? He comes here as a military authority, but what does he know about it? He struts around Constantinople, but why does he not fight himself? He prefers to fight by proxy, like a good many more. We on this side have protested against this war, and I thank God that by the Division last night the Liberal party has shown that it has nothing, and will have nothing, to do with this vile war.
§ MR. DAVITT
I listened to the able statement of the Under Secretary for War, and I wondered whether hon. Members hearing about the mobilisation and the other arrangements for the killing of man did not feel ashamed that they were not for some higher and nobler purpose than the stealing away of the independence of two little Republics. I am convinced that sooner or later a better and higher feeling will obtain, if not in this House, certainly outside it. I can take no pleasure in the news coming from the field of battle—either of your soldiers now writhing in the agony of wounds received on the battle-field, or of the slaughter on the other side. I look upon it all as a hideous and damnable massacre, and I take no responsibility for it. Many as have been the piratical expeditions sent from the shores of England in years gone by, I question whether such a magnificent 437 robbing force has been sent abroad before. Perphaps it is because the prize to be won is one of the wealthiest and largest which has ever tempted the cupidity of England and the British Empire. We are asked to vote 35,000 men, and in addition the taxpayers will have to pay for the 25,000 other soldiers already in South Africa. Surely this is calling on the people of these three kingdoms to go to unnecessary expense, for the fighting force to be provided actually outnumbers the adult male Dutch in Natal, the Orange Free State, the South African Republic, and Rhodesia. Our contention is that with the troops now in South Africa and the Uitlanders you have enough and more than enough to contend against the available forces on the other side. Our argument, therefore, is that there is no need for the money or the men we are asked to vote to-night. The Under Secretary for War said in a very pretty sentence in his speech that this country forbore to threaten as long as it was permitted to persuade. The hon. Member must not have read Sir Alfred Milner's despatches, and must not have troubled his mind with the writings in the papers of his party—the Jingo press. During the last two or three months these organs have been endeavouring to drive the South African Republic and the Orange Free State into war in order to serve your purpose, and I think that was made pretty plain last night by men of your own party whose patriotism cannot be called into question. The Under Secretary for War boasted about the success of the Army system, but that boast reads somewhat strangely in the light of another boast made by the Commander-in-Chief, who said that if it were required an Army Corps—one of the best in the world—could be shipped from the shores of England within a week to any part of the world. War was declared on 11th October, and I do not think this Army Corps will have left the shores of England for at least another month. The Under Secretary for War complained that the South African Republic and the Orange Free State had been augmenting their armaments for some time, which compelled the Government to send reinforcements constantly to South Africa, but in a previous sentence in his speech the hon. Member said that the Governors of Natal and the other British colonies had been pressing for reinforcements 438 before the knowledge of the increasing armaments of the South African Republic and the Orange Free State had reached the Government. It is obvious, therefore, that it was the British Government which first began arming for the bloody war which has now taken place. The Under Secretary for War also boasted that the Government had borrowed 5,000 troops from India, and the hon. and gallant Member who has just sat down expressed his regret that these troops were not native Indian troops. Well, I venture to say that the First Lord of the Treasury, who gave to this country and to the world a promise that such troops would not be used against the enemies of England in South Africa, represented a better feeling than that expressed by the hon. and gallant Gentleman. But if the hon. and gallant Gentleman takes legitimate pride in the loyalty of the Indian native troops, why does he not show some recognition for their services? Why does he not give these British subjects the franchise, or that liberty which corresponds to that open to the Uitlanders in the South African Republic? The statement that the Government have borrowed 5,000 troops from India indicates two things—one that these troops are not necessary for your purpose in India, and should not be sent back; and the other that the people of India should not be called upon to pay for them. We in Ireland will have to pay against our wishes and convictions towards the expense of this war, but I hope that the Government will not be mean enough to call on the people of India to pay for these 5,000 troops. The Under Secretary for War contended that the forces of the South African Republic and the Orange Free State had the advantage of being able to concentrate at any point within their own borders; but what about the British auxiliaries at present within the theatre of war? I contend, if you take the relative Dutch and British inhabitants within the theatre of war, that, apart altogether from your troops, there are 30,000 more adults on your side than on the side of the Dutch.
§ MR. DAVITT
But can you not arm them? They are subjects of the richest Empire in the world, and surely you are not going to contend that you have 439 neglected to send sufficient rifles and ammunition to South Africa. You need not send 50,000 or 60,000 more troops to South Africa, because the adult males are more numerous among the English than among the Dutch, and therefore you ought to have more fighting material in South Africa than the two Republics. The sending out of more troops is, in my opinion, absolutely unnecessary. There ought to be sufficient men in South Africa to do your bloody work. It is contended by the Colonial Secretary that this war is so righteous, that you are so anxious to fight for humanity, liberty, and the franchise, that you have even the moral support of the United States. That I deny. You would be glad to have that support, I know, but in this instance you have not got it. In view of what the chief figure in this horrible tragedy said in a letter recently sent to the United States, I trust I may be allowed to quote a few words from the Washington Post. [Laughter.] Oh, yes; but you did not laugh two years ago when the Washington Post was one of the most earnest advocates of the Anglo-American alliance. The Americans will not ally themselves with you in every cause. The Washington Post says—It is plain enough to all fair-minded men that England, represented in this case by Chamberlain, is simply indulging in a new paroxysm of spoliation. Nobody believes, not even Chamberlain himself, that England has any more right to meddle in the domestic affairs of the Transvaal Republic than she has to meddle in the domestic affairs of the United States. Chamberlain's demand that British subjects shall be admitted to citizenship by the Boers is a demand which he would not dare to make on us. The proposition is so extraordinary, and its motive so transparent, it fills the civilised mind with a profound and pitying contempt. The world would have infinitely more respect for England if she should throw off the tawdry gossamer of her pretence and simply sound the pirate's cry. She wants the diamond and the gold mines, and is to make the laws under which she may administer them. And she insists that her subjects shall be made citizens of the Transvaal, so that they may influence legislation to the injury of the Republic they swear to honour and protect, and to the advantage of the Republic's most bitter and rapacious foe. We believe that nothing more indecent and outrageous can be found in the history of any country pretending to an enlightened Christianity.And yet it was for a war thus described that the Colonial Secretary last evening 440 invoked the God of battles. I am not one who believes that God Almighty takes part in a cause which brings about the slaughter of men. I think it would be impious to imagine that the Almighty would take sides in any such cause. The sentiment of the Colonial Secretary is, however, anticipated in the following lines from one of the weekly papers—O God of battles who hast madeOur Empire great in war and trade!Vouchsafe in this dark hour Thine aid, As oft before.O launch Thy vengeance, long-delayed, Against the Boer!O Lord, Thou knowest our anguish sore,When blacks are butchered by the Boer!Tis our prerogative of yore To slaughter niggers;Only to make them love Thee more We pull our triggers.
§ MR. DILLON
This proceeding is taken, as I understand it, under the Reserve Forces Act,1882, and the clause under which this great addition is made is Clause 12, which says that in case of "imminent national danger or grave emergency "it shall be lawful for Her Majesty to call out the Militia, This great country ought to be ashamed to proclaim to the world that this is a case of "imminent national danger or grave emergency." It is neither one nor the other. To talk of this mighty Empire being in imminent danger because it is confronted by two small Republics in South Africa is an abuse of terms calculated to lower the prestige of the British Empire among civilised races. Those of us who for the last three years have formed a small minority in this House, and have resisted to the best of our ability the successive and growing increase in our Army expenditure, have ventured from time to time to prophesy that this expenditure has been incurred not to bring, about a condition of national security but to satisfy the military Members who are always clamouring for an increase in the Army expenditure. The passion for increased expenditure on naval and military charges increases by what it is fed on. The more we spend the greater is the demand for more expenditure, and our prophecies have been fulfilled to the last letter. I confess that the persistent opposition which I have given throughout these years to the increase of the expense of the Army has been actuated by another consideration, 441 and it is this. I believe that one of the worst curses by which any great State can be assailed, one of the worst diseases which can affect the body politic of any people, is militarism. We are travelling at a rate of accelerated rapidity every year along that path of militarism which adds fresh fuel to the patriotic fervour of those military gentlemen to whom we listen sometimes with interest and sometimes with great weariness. One would think there was no cause for their existence except to produce on demand all the sums necessary to put the military forces of this country on a war footing. One of the worst evils of militarism is that the more you have of the military caste and the military spirit in the country the more will the dangers increase and multiply of the country being dragged into war. We have seen it every day. When the country is at peace these men are ornamental. I do not say this in any spirit of hostility to military men, who often make parade in this House. We know that they go tumbling over each other to the War Office, begging for permission to go to South Africa. That is their profession, and they love the excitement of war. Of course it is a fine thing to see men with such splendid spirit, and when the country is really in danger to know that we have men on whom we can rely. But it is nevertheless a dangerous thing. I confess I was sorry when I heard the Under Secretary of State for War expressing the opinion that this war was not altogether to be regretted, as it would test the elastic machine for mobilising the troops of the country. I see in that sentence an indication of that dangerous spirit which regards war as not, after all, the deadly thing which is commonly supposed. "I hold that there was one great deficiency in the speech of the hon. Gentleman which has been so belauded; he gave us no adequate reason for the necessity of such a large force. He spoke, to use a technical term, of the advantage which the Boers possessed in having an inner line of defence, and in being able to mobilise their forces at any point on their frontier. Those who know the difference between the trained and well-officered forces of a great Empire like this, and the Boer force, untrained, un organised and comparatively speaking lacking in artillery and all the immense machinery of war, cannot pretend that there is anything approaching to equality 442 between the Boers and the British Army. When I am told that the Boers can concentrate their forces at certain particular points, my answer is that the British defences of those points which they have selected to defend are of such a kind that the Boers cannot prevail against them. What is the necessity of sending so vast a force as we are now called upon to provide at such an enormous expense? I am perfectly prepared to admit, that having gone into this war—laying aside whether the war is justified or not—the most humane thing to do is to send a force sufficiently large to make it short and decisive, and not allow it to drag on. But I do not think that that argument can be stretched nearly far enough to justify the sending of 35,000 additional troops. I want to know what these British troops are going to do. The first thing, of course, is to conquer the Transvaal, and the Orange Free State. We have been told of the necessity of protecting the enormously long lines of communication, and we have been told over and over again that one of the strongest reasons for such a large force is, that there exists an amount of unrest among the native nations of South Africa which is increasing. God knows, small blame to them, if they followed the example of the whites, and rose against them. Now, I want to know whether we can obtain any pledge from the Government, that a portion of this overwhelming force sent out will be used to check the Basutos, should they rise. We have been told that the Basutos, who number 35,000, are already on the war-path. I have seen an English newspaper in this city base enough, atrocious enough, to hint that the time will come when the "loyal Basutos" will sweep down upon the plains of the Orange Free State, and make a useful diversion on behalf of the British troops. That language has been used in the Standard newspaper in such a form as to make a direct incitement, if it reached South Africa, to the Basutos. I see an hon. Member laughing and sneering at this statement. I suppose that some hon. Members think that the Basutos are very ignorant men, and do not know what is going on here. But the Basutos are a very intelligent and civilised race. Many of them read the newspapers, and they know what is going on in South Africa. They have a kind of parliament of their own, in which they discuss everything 443 that goes on in South. Africa. I have a great admiration of them. I am not making any charge against them, but I say, that there is a great danger that these men may become involved in this war. If the Basutos cross the border, all Africa, from the Zambesi down to the Cape, would become a hell upon earth. For if one tribe takes the field what would be the effect on the Dutch population? The Dutch population in the Capeare undoubtedly excited. The Government of the Cape—as they have a perfect right to do—have issued a treason proclamation threatening the colonists with pains and penalties if they assist their brethren in the Transvaal. But what would you say to the Dutch population at the Cape if the Basutos were let loose on the Dutch population of the Orange Free State? Are you going to say to the Dutch population of the Cape, "You must not go to protect your friends or their mothers and sisters"? Why, themoment the Basutos crossed the border every farmer in the Cape would mobilise and rush to the assistance of the Orange Free State. Are you going to take up the position that the Basutos are loyal subjects of Her Majesty, and must be supported? You dare not. If your military commanders were to take that line the public opinion of this country, at any rate the public opinion of the civilised world, would object. Remember that the English Government of the Queen is responsible for the Basutos, because you have a Resident there, and you claim the right to control their proceedings. If we were informed that a large force of British troops was told off to secure that no Basutos should be allowed to interfere in this war, that would be a justification for some of the military preparations that have been made. When we raised this question at an earlier stage the right hon. Gentleman, in his statement explaining the conduct of the War Office, said that before the War Office had taken any steps strong representations had reached it, first of all from Sir Alfred Milner, and secondly from the Government of the Colony of Natal. Well, there are other important people in South Africa. I should like to know whether any representations were received from the Government of Cape Colony.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
I did not mention Cape Colony. I mentioned the Govern- 444 ment of Natal, and the reinforcements asked for by them were sent to that colony.
§ MR. DILLON
I ask whether any representations were made from Cape Colony. Natal is a very small colony. I consider it to be one of the grievances throughout the whole course of these proceedings that, if a representation is made by the Minister of the very small colony of Natal, it is published to the House as a justification for War Office action; but if any representation is made from the infinitely more important colony of the Cape, it is cast aside. In connection with that aspect of the question, I desire to draw attention to the fact that the right hon. the Colonial Secretary himself emphasised in a very marked manner the loyalty of Natal, while he said nothing of the loyalty of the Cape. Will not that be held, when it reaches the Cape, as a reflection on the loyalty of the Cape? He said, "When the victory is won and the war is over, this country will not forget the services of Natal." What does that mean? It means that there has been for many years a keen commercial rivalry between Natal and the Cape for the trade of the Transvaal and the gold mines; and I suppose that we shall have, after the war is over, a setting up of Natal against the Cape, and that some reward is to be given to Natal for its alleged loyalty, and that the Cape is to be punished for its alleged disloyalty. In my opinion Mr. Schreiner deserved much better than the Minister of Natal the thanks of this country, because he gave honest advice, which, if followed, would have saved this enormous expenditure, and the evils that must follow from it. I must notice a remark made by an hon. Member opposite, who regretted that the native Indian troops would not have a look in at this horrible war. I could not imagine a more monstrous addition to the woes of that wretched country, because to turn coloured troops against European races would stir a ferocious bitterness in the minds of the whole Afrikander people. Here is a point I have never been able to get any explanation of. The hon. and gallant Member calmly proposes to bring over to South Africa native Indian troops. What would be the first sight they would witness? They would find 50,000 of their fellow-countrymen proscribed and ill-treated, degraded and 445 insulted, in spite of the remonstrances of the Colonial Office. What answer did the Colonial Office get from Natal when it called attention to the treatment of Indian British subjects in that colony? That they are only Indians, and that the Colonial Office would never dream of interfering with the local government of Natal. You would interfere on behalf of crowds of German Jews, but not on behalf of your own fellow-subjects, who are denied the franchise, or the rights of ordinary toleration, and who are treated as pariahs to this day. Could irony be carried to a greater extent? The hon. and gallant Member has devoted so little attention to the affairs of this Colony that he thinks it a useful suggestion to make to bring over to Natal native Indian troops! I think it is a very wise thing to resolve that no coloured troops of any kind shall be employed, and I would be considerably relieved in mind, and I think a good many people in this country—even those who take very strong views with the Government on this matter—would also be relieved in mind, if we were assured, in addition to the pledge not to import any coloured troops into South Africa, that some portion of this large force we are sending out would be employed to prevent the Basutos invading the Orange Free State, with which we have no quarrel, which is one of the best governed countries in the world, and where there are hundreds of British women married to Dutch farmers. Even the President himself is married to an Englishwoman. One thing in the course of this debate struck me as very extraordinary, and it is the first time the argument has been introduced. We were informed that this great expedition was organised not only for the purpose of obtaining the rights of the Uitlanders, but for the protection of the natives. Last evening I somewhat rudely contradicted the right hon. the Colonial Secretary, when he said that the real object of the Great Trek was because the Boers had been robbed of their liberty to "wallop their own niggers." That statement was a gross falsehood. I know of no history more full of romance, more full of that undying love of liberty which characterises the Dutch race, and has made of them the very standard-bearers in the forefront of enlightenment and liberty in Europe—I know of no history which has been so characteristic of 446 the magnificent spirit of the Dutch people than the history of the Great Trek. That a Minister who is about to launch an overwhelming force against these people should use his position from the side of that box, and, with the ear of the world open to him, to blacken the character of those people in the Transvaal at a time when they are hemmed in by British troops, and cut off from the public opinion of the world, is a cowardly act, and an act that ought not to be tolerated by the people of England and all those who love fair play and honest dealings. After all, if these men are your enemies, you ought to respect them still. We in Ireland have been called Celts, and a "savage fringe," by Lord Salisbury. These men are not Celts. They are not Catholics. They do not belong to a race which, as has been said by the head of this Government, is unworthy and incapable of free institutions. They are men of Dutch blood, who, above all the races of Europe, have fought and suffered for liberty, which, they prize above everything else on earth. If you are going to deprive them of their liberty, you should respect them, instead of blackening their character. One word I must say in conclusion, in opposing this Vote. A cry was raised in this House to "remember Majuba," although the Leader of the House, to his credit, reprobated it. But it is a cry which assails one in every part of the country, and when the troops are sailing out of the southern ports. I put this question, and it is a question which will be put many a time. How many lives will it be considered necessary to take before Majuba is avenged? After all, Majuba was a very small affair, but it was a fair stand-up fight. Your troops knew that the Boers were coming, and my recollection is that they were about man to man. Is this country's record so poor and beggarly that you cannot have some generosity for the men who have beaten you in a fair stand-up fight? You are calling out an enormous number of troops to meet these Boers. Remember, this is only the beginning of the war, and yet you have declared, and I suppose the public opinion of this country, and of the man who once had great influence in this country has declared, that no Government would be found to repeat the magnanimous decision come to after Majuba. More shame to England. More shame to England, because it was one of the greatest and noblest deeds you 447 ever did. But now the time has come when you are going to wipe that out; the country says Majuba must be avenged. Eight hundred and thirty of your soldiers lost their lives at Majuba Hill. How many lives are you going to take? Will you stop at 1,000? will you stop at 2,000? If you were unable to offer terms when you began, will you when you have beaten them? Will you cause a truce to be proclaimed, and offer them one more chance to preserve their liberty before you carry fire and sword to their homes and devastate their country?
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
I desire to say a few words in support of the observations of my hon. friend who has just spoken, the Member for East Mayo. So far as I am concerned I cannot allow any stage of this discussion to pass without protesting as strongly as I can against the whole conduct of the Government in this matter. We are told from time to time different reasons why this war should be prosecuted. First we are told that because of the intolerable grievances from which the Uitlanders suffered it was necessary for this country to protect its subjects. Then we are told it is to be entered into to retrieve the honour of the Army, which suffered to some extent at Majuba Hill and other engagements where the Boers were successful. I do not believe that either of those reasons is the true one. I can understand people believing the Uitlanders to be oppressed and requiring protection, and I can understand, though I do not agree with the view, people thinking that Majuba Hill must be avenged, and that the Boers and the blacks should be taught that the British are superior in arms; but I do not believe those are the true reasons for this war. It is difficult to speak as one feels on this matter. In this House tremendous forces are ranged in favour of war, and outside the feelings of the people have been aroused to warlike ardour, but I honestly believe that the true cause of this war lies in the fact that certain financiers in the Transvaal, many of whom are neither of British blood or British origin, impatient of the Government of the Transvaal, have urged the Government on to prosecute this war in order that they might take complete possession of the rich mines and other properties which have been discovered in that country. I am 448 almost amused when I hear of the intolerable grievances of the Uitlanders. What are they? We have had several debates here, but I have not heard a single Member opposite in favour of the war enumerate any grievances from which these people suffered except that they have had the franchise withheld from them; they have not had the power to vote—no more have foreigners who come to this country until they have lived here six years and the Government has allowed them to become naturalised. Outside that, these Uitlanders have had nothing to complain of whatever. Johannesburg is as free a city as any in the world for well-behaved and decently disposed people, and beyond one or two brawls occurring at night with policemen, there has been nothing at all in the shape of violence and outrage against British subjects in the Transvaal. We have heard of an Uitlander being killed by a policeman in the course of a quarrel, and the whole of this country rang with the outrage. I am not an old man myself, but I remember case after case in Ireland where unarmed and inoffensive citizens have been shot down like dogs by the police of that country, but we never heard such an outcry as we hear now about the grievances of these Uitlanders. We are told they have not been allowed to follow their avocations. Who are they? and what have they been doing? They are people attracted to the gold mines. A large proportion of them may be described as the scum of creation, the offscourings of every country of Europe, lawless men; and what has been their history there? Many of them have grown extremely wealthy; on the wealth they have secured there they have lived in security. Johannesburg is one of the gayest cities, probably, in the world—a place where musical and theatrical companies like to go, because they know that, owing to the great prosperity there, they will reap a rich harvest. I have not such a list as an hon. Member read the other night, but I think if you take the names of the Uitlanders and go through them you will find for one British name there are nine German, and these are the people for whom this country is about to embark in a disastrous war. I do not think the history of the world contains accounts of conduct more cowardly, more despicable, or more sickening than that of the Uit- 449 landers of the Transvaal since they commenced this outcry. They appealed to Jameson to go to their relief, and they got misguided but plucky men, no doubt, to go on an expedition with Jameson into the country of the Boers, not knowing what the result might be. Jameson was wrong, of course, and ought to have been kept in gaol till this day for that outrage, which was condemned in holy horror. Yet, in spite of that, Jameson was not kept in gaol so long as I have been myself from time to time in Ireland for attempting to enforce the rights of my constituents. However, he went to the relief of these people, expecting to meet these Uitlanders for whom you are going to war, but they did not come near him; some of them hid under their beds, and others disappeared in every direction except Krugersdorp, where a few rifles were firing, and where Dr. Jim was obliged by an overwhelming force to surrender. Now, I say here, if I were an English Member of Parliament and was asked to go to war and to spend ten millions of money to commence with, and risk the lives of thousands of troops of my country, I would say no. I would say men who were so cowardly and base as to leave the man who went to their relief in the lurch are unworthy of our support. People who have a real grievance, and who are truly oppressed, will sooner or later strike a blow for their liberty. Many a time in Ireland have we done so, but we have always been beaten because of your superior force; other countries have done the same. The Transvaal is the only country where people are so oppressed that their lives are intolerable, where there is not a man who will strike a blow or do a single thing for his liberty except whine to the Colonial Office. I protest against this country going to war for men like these, and though I believe they have not been oppressed and not been treated as slaves, they deserve to be. I would ask those who support the British Government in this matter whether they know what it means for the Government to come here and ask for ten millions of money to conquer 20,000 men who are not soldiers but farmers. There has been, I see to-night, what is called a glorious victory, and no doubt the papers to-morrow will say a second battle of Waterloo has been fought, because Her Majesty's trained soldiers have beaten 450 these men, who are brave, but who are not soldiers, who at the call of duty left their occupations and rode off to fight for their homes. I do not wish to say anything harsh of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who sit on this side of the House for the action they have taken. I know how hard it is for many of them to face their constituencies against war when once the bulldog blood is aroused, but there are scores, if not hundreds, of Liberal Members representing, not the classes, but the masses of this country, who feel as I feel, and cannot state their views. I do not blame them. But to come here and ask for ten millions of the taxes of the working people of this country to conquer and destroy a handful of men in South Africa, whose only crime is to love their independence, is a scandal and a disgrace to civilisation, when at the same time we know that in this country there are thousands suffering from starvation and privation. ["Question."] Sir, I am speaking to this Vote, and if I were not I have no doubt you would call me to order, as you have often done before. We are told that the Unionist party is the great friend of the working man, and when they came into power they were going to prove that "Codlin is the friend, not Short." We were told there were to be great reforms; and one great scheme of the Colonial Secretary, before he took up President Kruger and the Transvaal, was pensions for poor people.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
I was simply going to show my reason for objecting to this Vote. We are asked for ten millions. My point is if the Government were consistent and kept their promises they would come to Parliament and ask for a Vote of so many millions to establish the scheme of old-age pensions, instead of coming and asking for millions to destroy the liberty of people who have never injured you or interfered with the interest of people of this country. From a purely Irish point of view, I object to this Vote. I see an hon. Gentleman opposite, a near relative of the First Lord of the Admiralty, smiles, and I say to the hon. Gentleman that this Vote is for a war to be prosecuted in favour of men 451 with names sounding of German nationality like his own.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
If I am to be called to order, Sir, I think the hon. Gentleman opposite should be called to order also for interrupting me. This money may be voted, never mind the people starving in your streets, never mind your promises. Let the English vote it, but to ask us in Ireland to contribute to the expenses of the war is outrageous and unjust in the extreme.
Under this Vote no money is asked to be contributed from Ireland, or any other part of the United Kingdom; that is another matter to be reached when the Committee sits upon Ways and Means.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
No doubt, Sir, your point technically is correct; but it is well within the knowledge of myself and other persons that Ireland will be called upon to bear a larger share than she ought of this expense, and from the present point of view I object in the slightest to sanction this war. The Under Secretary of State for War said great credit was due to the employers of this country for the treatment of the men in the Reserve who had been called up. Great credit has also been given to the colonies, and great credit is to be given to everybody who has helped in this matter; all that I am anxious to make quite clear is that no credit shall be given to any Irish Member on this side of the House for any help that has been given. I honestly believe that the Transvaal is a weak Power. A short time ago a controversy arose between this country and Venezuela, but it did not get further forward. We were told that the British Lion had wakened up, and then we were told that the United States of America suggested that the matter should be settled by arbitration, but England would not arbitrate; but when the United States of America said you must arbitrate, the British Lion went to sleep again and England went to arbitration and lost. There is no arbitration with the Transvaal because the Transvaal are quite away from any neighbour like the United 452 States of America. Anything more cowardly or unworthy of the fame of a great nation than the brutal action taken by the British Government cannot be conceived. We are told it is only Irish, rebels, like my hon. friend the Member for South Mayo now sitting on the front Bench below me, who has spent nine years in your gaols, who oppose you; how can yon expect his assistance in this Vote? There were 135 votes cast last night against this war, and I hope when the news reaches Pretoria President Kruger will feel cheered when he finds that 135 Members of this House have the courage and manhood to vote in his favour. He will see that there is at least some justice left in England yet. I am not so old a Member of the House as the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, but I am old enough to remember the good old days of the Fourth Party, when he and I used to sit on the Bench opposite, with the late Lord Randolph Churchill, Sir Drummond Wolff, and Sir John Gorst. In those days we had no horror of obstruction. I was then a very young Member, and anything that I have learned about protracted discussion on an occasion such as this, I learned from the First Lord of the Treasury. But if hon. Members object to the attitude of the Irish Members, I think I am entitled to refer them to the speeches delivered in this House in the same direction by hon. Gentlemen whose honesty, sincerity, and loyalty cannot be impugned, and yet who have protested as strongly as any Irish Member against this war. I refer to the hon. Member for Plymouth and the right hon. Member for Bodmin.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (seated, and with his hat on)
On a point of order, I desire to ask whether it is in accordance with precedent, in a debate on a Vote of this magnitude and unusual character, 453 that the Government should move the closure, and also whether, the closure being moved under these circumstances, there is any precedent for the Chairman receiving that motion on a Vote of this exceptional kind for ten millions of money.
§ £10,000,000. It is for men. In granting or refusing the closure I have to consider the use that has been made by the Opposition of the time at their disposal.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes,194; Noes, 42. (Division List No. 7.)455
|Allhusen, Augustus Hy. Eden||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Gilliat, John Saunders||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)|
|Arrol, Sir William||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand|
|Atkinson, Right Hon. John||Gold, Charles||Middlemore, John T.|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Milbank, Sir Powlett Chas. J.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Milton, Viscount|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G.W. (Leeds)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||Milward, Colonel Victor|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Goschen, Rt Hn.GJ(StGeorge's||Monckton, Edward Philip|
|Barry, Rt. Hon. A. H. Smith-||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Monk, Charles James|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Moore, Wm. (Antrim, N.)|
|Bethell, Commander||Gourley, Sir E. Temperley||More R. J. (Shropshire)|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Graham, Henry Robert||Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.)|
|Bigwood, James||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord George||Morrison, Walter|
|Bond, Edward||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert W.||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex)||Hanson, Sir Reginald||Murray, Rt. Hn A. Graham(Bute|
|Brassey, Albert||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Newdigate, Francis Alexander|
|Brookfield, A. Montagu||Hazell, Walter||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Heaton, John Henniker||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Butcher, John George||Hedderwick, Thos. Charles H.||Oldroyd, Mark|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)||Helder, Augustus||Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington)|
|Carlile, William Walter||Hermon-Hodge, Robt. Trotter||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Hoare, E. Brodie (Hampstead)||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Chamberlain, Rt Hn J (Birm.)||Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Chamberlain, J Austen (Worc'r||Holden, Sir Angus||Pilkmgton, R. (Lancs. Newton)|
|Charrington, Spencer||Holland, William Henry||Pilkington. Sir G. A. (Lncs. SW)|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Howell, William Tudor||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Hutton, John (Yorks, N.R.)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Jenkins, Sir John Jones||Price, Robert John|
|Colston, Charles E. H. Athole||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton||Priestley, Sir W Overend (Edin.|
|Cooke, C. W. R. (Hereford)||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edw.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Purvis, Robert|
|Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William||Pym, C. Guy|
|Cross, Alex. (Glasgow)||Keswick, William||Rankin, Sir James|
|Curzon, Viscount||Kimber, Henry||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Knowles, Lees||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||Lafone, Alfred||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Denny, Colonel||Langley, Batty||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Dorington, Sir John E.||Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Doxford, William Theodore||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Round, James|
|Drage, Geoffrey||Leigh, Sir Thomas(Lond'derry)||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Evershed, Sydney||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Swans.)||Rutherford, John|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Ryder, John Herbert Dudley|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Long, Rt.Hn. Walter(Liverpool||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. T. Myles|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Lowe, Francis William||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. E. J.|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Man.)||Lowles, John||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard|
|Finch, George H.||Lloyd, Archie Kirkman||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Finlay, Sir Robt. Bannatyne||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Fison, Frederick William||Macdona, John Cumming||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|FitzGerald, Sir Rbt. Penrose-||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Maclure, Sir John William||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Flower, Ernest||M'Crae, George||Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)|
|Forster, Henry William||M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W.)||Stewart, Sir MarkJ. M'Taggart|
|Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Malcolm, Ian||Strachey, Edward|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Marks, Henry Hananel||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Garfit, William||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Tomlinson, Wm. Ed. Murray||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Williams, J. Powell-(Birm.)||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Tritton, Charles Ernest||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Valentia Viscount||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard||Wrightson, Thomas||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Webster, Sir Richard E.||Wylie, Alexander|
|Whittaker, Thomas Palmer||Wyndham, George|
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.)||Flavin, Michael Joseph||M'Ghee, Richard|
|Ambrose, Robert||Gibney, James||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Gilhooly, James||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Blake, Edward||Hayden, John Patrick||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Caldwell, James||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Clark, Dr. G.B.(Caithness-sh.)||Healy, Thomas J. (Wexford)||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Colville, John||Hogan, James Francis||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Commins, Andrew||Horniman, Frederick John||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Crilly, Daniel||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Curran, Thomas B. (Donegal)||Jordan, Jeremiah||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||Kilbride, Denis||Tuite, James|
|Daly, James||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cumb'l'd)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Dillon, John||Macaleese, Daniel||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Donelan, Captain A.||MacDonnell, Dr. M. A. (Qn'sCo.||Mr. William Redmond and Mr. Davitt.|
|Doogan, P. C.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
§ Question put accordingly.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 200; Noes, 35. (Division List No. 8.)457
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Dorington, Sir John Edward||Helder, Augustus|
|Allhusen, Augustus Henry E.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Hermon-Hodge, Robt. Trotter|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Doxford, William Theodore||Hoare, Edw. Brodie (Hampstd.)|
|Arrol, Sir William||Drage, Geoffrey||Hoare, Sir Samuel Norwich)|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Holden, Sir Angus|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Evershed, Sydney||Holland, William Henry|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Fardell, Sir T. George||Horniman, Frederick John|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J.(Manch'r)||Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Howell, William Tudor|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edwd.||Hutton,John (Yorks., N.R.)|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J.(Man'r||Jenkins, Sir John Jones|
|Barry, RtHn AHSmith-(Hunts||Finch, George H.||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Bethell, Commander||Fisher, William Hayes||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Fison, Frederick William||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William|
|Bigwood, James||FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Keswick, William|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Kimber, Henry|
|Bond, Edward||Flower, Ernest||Knowles, Lees|
|Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex)||Forster, Henry William||Lafone, Alfred|
|Brassey, Albert||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Langley, Batty|
|Brookfield, A. Montagu||Galloway, Wm. Johnson||Lawrence. Sir E. Durning-(Corn|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Garfit, William||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)|
|Butcher, John George||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Lea, Sir Thomas(Londonderry)|
|Caldwell, James||Gilliat, John Saunders||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Llewelyn, Sir D. (Swansea)|
|Carlile, William Walter||Gold, Charles||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (L'pool)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J.(Birm.||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Lowe, Francis William|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Lowles, John|
|Charrington, Spencer||Goschen, RtHnG.J.(StGeorge's||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Macartney, W. G. Ellison|
|Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Gourley, Sir Edw. Temperley||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Colston, Chas. E. H. Athole||Graham, Henry Robert||Maclure, Sir John William|
|Colville, John||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W.)|
|Cooke, C. W. R. (Hereford)||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Malcolm, Ian|
|Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)||Marks, Henry Hananel|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord Geo.||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Curzon, Viscount||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn W.F.|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Hanson, Sir Reginald||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardig'n||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand|
|Denny, Colonel||Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton|
|Milbank, Sir Powlett C. J.||Purvis, Robert||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Milton, Viscount||Pym, C. Guy||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Milward, Colonel Victor||Rankin, Sir James||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Monckton, Edward Philip||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Strachey, Edward|
|Monk, Charles James||Renshaw, Charles Bine||Strutt. Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Rickett, J. Compton||Thornton, Percy M.|
|More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. T.||Tomlinson, Wm. E. Murray|
|Morgan, Hon. F. (Monm'thsh.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Morrison, Walter||Round, James||Valentia, Viscount|
|Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. H.|
|Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Webster, Sir Richard E.|
|Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Rutherford, John||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Nicholson, William G.||Ryder, John Herbert Dudley||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Norton, Capt. William Cecil||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Williams, J. Powell-(Birm.)|
|Oldroyd, Mark||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thomas M.||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington)||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. E.J.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Philipps, John Wynford||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard||Wrightson, Thomas|
|Phillpotts, Captain Arthur||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Wylie, Alexander|
|Pierpoint, Robert||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)||Wyndham, George|
|Pilkington, R. (Lancs., Newton)||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Pilkington, Sir G. A. (Lancs SW||Sinclair, Louis (Romford||Young, Commander(Berks, E.)|
|Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Priestley, Sir W. O. (Edin.)||Smith, James P. (Lanarks.)||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N.E.)||Flavin, Michael Joseph||M'Ghee, Richard|
|Ambrose, Robert||Gibuey, James||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Gilhooly, James||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Blake, Edward||Hayden, John Patrick||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Clark, Dr. G. B.(Caithness-sh)||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Commins, Andrew||Healy, Thomas J. (Wexford)||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Crilly, Daniel||Hogan, James Francis||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Curran, Thomas B. (Donegal)||Jordan, Jeremiah||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||Kilbride, Denis||Tuite, James|
|Daly, James||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'land)|
|Dillon, John||Macaleese, Daniel||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Donelan, Captain A.||MacDonnell, Dr. M.A.(Qn's Co||Mr. Davitt and Mr. William Redmond.|
|Doogan, P. C.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
§ 2. Motion made and Question proposed, "That a supplementary sum, not exceeding £10,000,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1900, for additional expenditure, in Consequence of the military situation in South Africa, in respect of the following Army services, viz.:—
|Vote 1. Pay, etc., of the Army||1,000,000|
|Vote 2.Medical Establishments: Pay, etc.||50,000|
|Vote 3. Militia: Pay, etc.||250,000|
|Vote 6. Transport and Remounts||4,900,000|
|Vote 7. Provisions, Forage, and other Supplies||1,900,000|
|Vote 8. Clothing Establishments and Services||650,000|
|Vote 9. Warlike and other Stores||1,150,000|
|Vote 10. Works, etc.,: Cost (including Staff for Engineer Services||100,000|
§ *SIR ELLIS ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
I wish, Mr. Lowther, to raise a point of order. I understood the First Lord of the Treasury to promise the House in the debate on the previous question, which was finished last Friday, that the general policy might be discussed on these Votes. As the closure was carried after about two-and-a-half hours' debate on the first Vote, my point of order is this: Shall we be allowed to discuss the general question of policy on the coming Vote?
It depends very much how the hon. Member discusses it. If, for example, he refers, as the previous speaker did, to old-age pensions and a variety of other subjects which are not relevant, such a discussion will not be permitted. But if the hon. Member will confine himself to the subject-matter before the House, of course such a discussion will be allowed.
§ *SIR ELLIS ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
I quite understand that irrelevancy is not permissible, but I do not want to make any mistake on the subject. I wish to know whether we can discuss the general question of the South African policy of the Government and the origin of the war upon this Vote, as it has been discussed not by the last speaker, but as it has been generally discussed.
The policy of spending £10,000,000 in sending out an expedition to South Africa is the subject-matter of this Vote. That is the only thing which can be discussed.
I do not think the discussion concluded last night by a resolution of this House upon the diplomatic negotiations between this Government and the Transvaal Government can be renewed on this Vote, but the general question of the policy of spending £10,000,000 in sending out an army to South Africa to carry out a definite object is certainly in order.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
On a point of order, I desire to ask whether, if an hon. Member addressing this House is guilty of irrelevancy, the remedyis that the closure shall be applied, and so preclude other Members who may not be guilty of irrelevancy from addressing the House and taking part in the discussion? Is that the usual practice?
That is one remedy. Of course, it is a very difficult question to decide, and I have to judge in deciding whether the closure should be applied or not from the character of the discussion that takes place.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
I wish to give notice of an Amendment reducing Vote 1, which we are about to discuss now. I desire to move the reduction of Vote 1 by £50,000.
If the hon. Member moves the reduction of any particular item the discussion will be limited to that item, but if he moves the reduction of the 460 whole sum then the whole policy is open. I think it is only right to point out to the hon. Member that if he moves the Amendment of which he has just given notice, discussion must be confined to that particular item.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
Perhaps my best plan would be, before proceeding to move the reduction of any particular item, that I should address myself to the policy which has rendered it necessary, according to the view of the Government, to propose this large Vote. Vote 1 is no less than £1,000,000 for pay, &c., and is largely, if not altogether, necessitated by the military operations that have been commenced by Her Majesty's Government. On the previous question I stated the reason why Irish Members objected to the expenditure of this money from their point of view, and undoubtedly I recognise that, on the last Vote, that might not have been quite relevant to the Vote. I submit on this Vote that it is perfectly within the province of any Member—even if he is an Irish Member —to endeavour to show the reasons why he considers it unnecessary and inadvisable that this large sum of money should be devoted to this particular purpose. I notice that in your ruling a few moments ago you referred to the fact that I had, in speaking of this expenditure, compared it with the possible expenditure for the purpose of old-age pensions. I do not suppose that it would be in order—and I do not desire to discuss it—if I were to attempt to discuss the advisability of spending large sums of money in carrying out a scheme of old-age pensions, or any other definite object of that kind. I think, however, that I am perfectly within my right to object to this Vote on the ground, amongst others, that the money could be much better spent in the interests not only of the people of Ireland, whom we represent here, but also of the taxpayers of this country, than in spending it for the propagation of a disastrous, a useless, a shameful, an unnatural, and an absolutely unnecessary war with a weak and a miserable Power. We know that the power of the purse is a very great power when it comes to a question of war, but I submit that, while it is not unreasonable to expect that Her Majesty's Government, or any other 461 Government engaged in warlike operations, should apply for the money which they consider necessary to carry on those operations —it is altogether monstrous and outrageous that they should come down to this House, and at one step ask for such an enormous sum of money as £8,000,000 or £10,000,000 at one single request. We are told that this is all the money which is necessary for the prosecution of this war, but I say that it would be infinitely more honest to the people of this country—particularly the working classes and the taxpayers generally—if the Government came straightforwardly down to this House, and asked at once for the amount of money which they know will be necessary in order to bring this war to the completion which the Government desire to bring it to. But in order to blind the people of this country to the tremendous responsibility which this country is undertaking in entering upon this war, they come here now and ask for £10,000,000. The Vote which we are now discussing is no less than £10,000,000. I feel sure that this is only the commencement of this war expenditure, and when Parliament meets again further demands will be made upon the public purse of the country, and the taxpayers in the end will find that they have to pay between £50,000,000 and £100,000,000 before this war is completed. From an Irish point of view the Vote is still more intolerable. We in Ireland are firmly convinced—we may be considered wrong by a great number of hon. Gentlemen in this House—that our contribution for Imperial purposes is altogether out of proportion to what we should, under fair and reasonable circumstances, be called upon to pay. It has been demonstrated that we in Ireland have for some time past been paying a greater proportion of Imperial taxation than we ought justly to have been called upon to pay, and though the question of Irish taxation for some time past has fallen to some extent into the background, I hold that on occasions such as this, when a large demand is made upon the purse of the United Kingdom, the Irish Members are entitled —indeed, it is their duty—to speak as strongly as ever they can against the imposition of fresh burdens upon their already impoverished country. It is hard to discover what return is expected by the people of this country 462 for the expenditure upon this war. No doubt battles may be won and the Transvaal brought into subjection; no doubt your victorious arms may ride roughshod over these untrained and undisciplined men. But what will that be in comparison to what it is going to cost you? Surely it cannot be maintained that the expenditure of this money will bring anything like military glory to this country, because glory cannot be expected out of these operations by the most ardent enthusiast of war. It can hardly be said that this war will bring any return to the taxpayers of this country by promoting harmonious feelings at the Cape. I believe that, if the issue were fairly put before them, the taxpayers would infinitely prefer that the affairs of the Cape should be left alone, and that the hardearned taxes paid by the people of this country should be spent amongst the people with whom we have no real quarrel. They would prefer their money to be spent rather on the comforts and the interests of the masses in this country, who stand in need of reforms even on the admission of the Government themselves. This Government came into power with a flourish of trumpets, and with the idea that they were to devote their time to the carrying out of reforms for the amelioration of the condition of the masses of the people. We were told that all their legislation was to be in the direction of benefiting the masses of the people of this country. After all, what has this Government really done for the benefit of the masses of the people?
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
I have not the slightest intention of imputing any unfairness to you, Mr. Lowther; but I must say that I have heard speeches delivered since this House met which were much wider of the mark than my speech, and yet they have been allowed to proceed. I cannot believe—and I am loth to believe—that at this eleventh hour there is a desire on the part of Her Majesty's Government to stifle discussion upon this matter, or to prevent Members of this House from exercising their constitutional right of criticising how the 463 taxes of this country shall be spent. I say that, in objecting to this money being spent for military operations in South Africa, I am entitled to state as one of my reasons for opposing this expenditure that I hold and believe that this money could be spent and ought to be spent in a way far more favourable to the interests of this country. From the Irish point of view this expenditure is altogether intolerable. I say, if you want to go to war with people with whom at least we have no quarrel, then pay for it out of your own pockets, and don't be mean enough to try and rob the Irish people of a share of their money in order to enable you to prosecute this merciless, this cruel, this totally unjustifiable invasion of the rights of other people, who are just as much entitled to independence as you are yourselves. To come here and ask for £10,000,000 at one stroke for a purpose of this kind is in itself sufficient to earn for the Government the condemnation, of the taxpayers of this country. As far as I am concerned, I will reiterate that it is not in the interests of the people who have got Members representing them in this House, who, for some reason, will not say what they know to be true and what they know to be in the interests of their constituents, namely, that this money should be spent in promoting the welfare of the people, and in promoting schemes such as that which the Colonial Secretary himself promised to the working men of this country, namely, the old-age pension scheme.
I have already pointed out to the hon. Member that he is not entitled to go into the question of old-age pensions. This is the second or third time he has done so. The question is whether this money should be spent in South Africa. Of course, taking the line of argument which the hon. Member is taking, every hon. Member would be entitled to ride his own hobby, so to speak, and say that this money might be spent on that particular object in which he takes an interest. That will not be in order on the present occasion, and I must 464 ask the hon. Member not to enter upon that question again.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
As I said before, Mr. Lowther, I have not the slightest intention of imputing anything to you but a desire to carry out the rules of the House, as you conceive them to be; on the other hand, I do say that I protest against an attempt being made to stifle discussion upon this matter. [Ministerial cries of "Order, order !"] There you are again, trying to stifle discussion. This is an attempt tostifle discussion and to prevent us from showing the people of this country that the money that is to be wasted in South Africa ought to be spent in relieving the sore needs of the masses of the people of this country. You, Mr. Lowther, have said we are not entitled to point out how this money ought to be better spent. I say that last year when our people in Ireland were dying of starvation you would not give us ten pence, much less would you give us the ten millions you are giving here. You are squandering the treasure of this country in prosecuting a war from which you can get neither glory nor benefit, and I know, and every Irish Member on these benches knows if he will only admit it, that there are parts of Ireland where the people are suffering the direst destitution, where it is almost impossible to go—[Cries of "Order, order !"]
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
I insist—[Cries of "Order !"]—I will not allow this money to be passed—[Renewed cries of "Order !"]
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
If you, Sir, will resume your seat and allow me to speak—[Cries of "Order!"] I meant nothing discourteous whatever; it is a well-known rule of the House that a Member cannot speak when the Speaker or Chairman is standing. What I mean is this, that as far as I am concerned I will not, as long as I am allowed the use of my voice, fail to protest that money, if it is to be spent—the money of the working people of this country—ought to be spent in helping on Ireland, and not squandered—
I have requested the hon. Member, in accordance with the rules of this House, to discontinue his speech on the ground of irrelevance. I must ask him, therefore, to comply with my ruling.
If the hon. Member persists in continuing his speech after I have requested him to discontinue it I must consider his conduct as disorderly.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
Do I understand, Mr. Lowther, that on a Vote of this magnitude I am not allowed as a Member of this House to point out the injustice to my constituents?
I have, in accordance with the rules of the House, asked the hon. Member to discontinue his speech. He declines to follow the ruling which I have given —
I therefore am bound to consider his conduct as disorderly, and again, in accordance with the rules of the House, I must ask him to withdraw.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
Well, Mr. Lowther, hon. Members seem to seek my overthrow just as they seek the over throw of the Boers.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
If you will allow me, I should like to make it perfectly clear that I mean no discourtesy whatever to the Chair, but I certainly will maintain my right here to protest that this money, if it is spent, should be spent in Ireland. I protest. I will not withdraw. As a protest against this infamous war I will not withdraw. It is a war of robbery and plunder.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (withdrawing accompanied by the Serjeant-at-Arms)
I wish you joy in your plundering of the Boers. I wish you joy in your great victory over the poor farmers of the Transvaal.*
§ *SIR ELLIS ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
With the permission of the House, I should like to say a few words as to the assertions which have been made by the hon. Member who has just withdrawn, and by others, that this expenditure, which is undoubtedly a considerable one, is not likely to be for the benefit of the masses of the people of this country. This expenditure of £10,000,000 which is the object of the Vote we are discussing*The following is the record of this incident in the "Votes and Proceedings":—The Chairman called the attention of the Committee to continued irrelevance on the part of Mr. William Redmond, Member for East Clare, and directed him to discontinue his speech, but Mr. William Redmond persisted in addressing the Committee. Whereupon the Chairman, in pursuance to Standing Order No. 27, relating to disorderly conduct, directed him to withdraw immediately from the House during the remainder of this day's sitting. Mr. William Redmond declined to obey the order of the Chair. Whereupon the Chairman called on the Serjeant, who removed Mr. William Redmond from the House.467 to-night, is an expenditure for the maintenance of the Imperial supremacy of Great Britain in South Africa. That is the object of this Vote to-night, and along with that Imperial supremacy go our great commercial interests in South Africa. The trade of this country with South Africa represents over £20,000,000 sterling a year, and it is a greatly growing trade. I maintain that such a trade as that, with enormous possibilities in the future of South Africa, justifies not only the expenditure of £10,000,000, but of a very much larger sum should it prove to be necessary. I venture to predict that the £10,000,000 which are now to be spent will be repaid with abundant interest in a very short period—within a very few years—not only by our increasing trade and by the increasing prosperity of the Transvaal, but also with interest in the way of doing away with that race antagonism which exists at present in South Africa, and which has been promoted and increased owing to the weakness of British Governments in the past. Directly this question is settled racial antagonism will die away, and before many years are out —I venture to say before five years are past—you will find the British and the Dutch races in the Transvaal living together with as much peace and good feeling as prevailed up to last year between the English and Dutch races in Cape Colony. That will be the result of this struggle and of this great expenditure. I predict that this will be the result, and I will abide by the outcome. There are one or two other questions which have been dwelt upon very much by Members on the other side of the House which ought to be referred to. We have heard a great deal about the causes of this deplorable war. The hon. Member for East Mayo has spoken of this struggle as if it had been forced upon the Boers by this country, and he has spoken about our tyrannical militarism —which I presume is represented by this Vote—in crushing the independence not only of these South African Republics, but also of the Boers in Natal and Cape Colony. Why, the Dutch in Natal and Cape Colony already enjoy independence and the same liberty and justice as our own subjects. There is not the smallest shred of difference between their rights and the rights of Englishmen, Scotchmen, and Irishmen. 468 To talk about crushing the independence of the Dutch in Natal and Cape Colony is perfectly absurd. With regard to the Transvaal Republic, who have attacked us, their policy may be judged by the cruel treatment of helpless refugees, many of whom have been beaten, robbed, plundered, and maltreated in every possible way. The Secretary of State for the Colonies last night made a very interesting and remarkable admission. He stated that it was now his conviction that this war had always been inevitable, and the right hon. Gentleman had in his mind the period from Majuba Hill capitulation downwards. Now I have never advocated in this House what is called vengeance for Majuba. I have often referred to Majuba as one of the greatest infamies in British history, not on account of the defeat of our arms, but because of the capitulation on the part of Her Majesty's Government. I want to ask the attention of the House to one very important point, because the history of this war is of exceeding interest and its history begins with Majuba. The hon. Members opposite have, over and over again, talked to us about the magnanimity of that capitulation, but there never was a falser piece of history. We are now paying this £10,000,000 and the sacrifice of all these gallant lives because of the capitulation after Majuba, and there was nothing magnanimous about it. That was not done because we desired to restore the liberties of a struggling people. I was present in this House at the time, and I remember Mr. Gladstone coming down to this House and making a magnificent oration in which he promised to vindicate the Queen's authority. I heard Mr. Gladstone with his own lips make a statement, which was cheered by both sides of the House, that he intended to send out a large army in order to vindicate the Queen's authority in the Transvaal. Mr. Gladstone knew the whole question, for he had just had the Boer delegates over here, in the autumn of 1880, and he had sent them back with a blank refusal. That was why he came to this House and promised to vindicate the Queen's authority, and so he sent out Sir Frederick Roberts with a large army. We know that he afterwards changed his mind, but there was no magnanimity in his policy, and there never was a falser piece of history. I remember a Radical cabal being formed of which the Member 469 for Northampton was a leader. There were some 105 Radical Members, of whom the hon. Member for Northampton was the chief, who said, "If you do not capitulate we will vote against you." Mr. Gladstone meant to do his duty, and sent a large army to do it.
§ *SIR ELLIS ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
That is quite irrelevant. If Mr. Gladstone had done his duty we should never have had the sad experience we have had in the Transvaal for the last eighteen years. That is the true history of the capitulation after Majuba, and I expose it because it may be forgotten. There was no magnanimity in the capitulation. Mr. Gladstone gave way to the menaces of certain English Radicals. Had Mr. Gladstone been well advised he would have returned the round robin of these gentlemen and their friends and thrown himself on the magnanimity of the House of Commons. He would have been supported by the then great majority on both sides of the House. We capitulated eighteen years ago. There was a miserable surrender. We surrendered after Majuba in 1881, then we surrendered in the Convention of 1884 and shuffled over the suzerainty. The Government of 1884 was afraid to deal with the question of suzerainty openly. In order to please the Boers they did not repeat the preamble of 1881. Because they dared not tell the country they were going to give up the suzerainty, they adopted the pitiful expedient of not saying anything about it. Then, in 1894, we abandoned the claims of the Swazi people and allowed the Boers to trample upon them. Thus, year after year, Radical Governments have made surrender after surrender ever since, and never was more patience shown, if you call perpetual surrender patience. This war has been forced on the country by a great Boer conspiracy, which has for its object the destruction of British supremacy in South Africa and the establishment of 470 a Dutch supremacy. The Boer Government has a revenue of five millions a year, and most of this has gone—first in corruption among Boer leaders and their relations, and then in arms against this country.
That is not a proper observation to apply to the hon. Member, and I hope the hon. Member will withdraw it.
§ *SIR ELLIS ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
I am sure the hon. Member made that remark in the heat of the moment. Much as I differ from him, I have always found him a fair opponent, though his views on some subjects are almost fanatical. I believe that at least two millions of the annual revenue of the Boers went in the way I have suggested, and that it can be proved.
§ *SIR ELLIS ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
Because I do not wish to go now into a large number of items. We have heard much of the "fabricated wrongs" of the Uitlanders. Is the denial of all share in the political power of the country to the largest and most industrious part of the inhabitants a fabricated wrong? Are the denial of the right of a free press and free speech, the destruction of an independent High Court, and the many outrages and even murders committed by the Boers upon British subjects, fabricated wrongs?
§ *SIR ELLIS ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
We have been told there is a great danger that natives will be employed to fight the Boers, but I deny that any attempt has been made to induce natives to rise against the Boer forces. Indeed one of the first steps taken by the High Commissioner was to warn the Basutos 471 and Swazis not to move. Only the other day Sir George White refused to allow a tribe that had been plundered by Boers to arm for the defence of their rights. The more I examine the subject the more confident I am that the judgment of the country will confirm the verdict of the House on the previous night. The war is forced on the British Government as a result of a great Boer conspiracy against British supremacy, trade, and influence in South Africa, but the result of a brief and decisive struggle will be for the benefit alike of the British and Dutch population. In a very few years the latter will have cause to congratulate themselves on deliverance from the corrupt tyranny of President Kruger and his friends, and South Africa under the British flag will enjoy unexampled prosperity.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
The speech we have just listened to shows that the hon. Member is quite devoid of human sympathy. I was touched by his description of the treatment meted out to another suffering people, and was sorry that I could not trace the same touch of sympathy in his remarks upon this occasion. I believe these ten millions now asked for would never have been expended if the prayer in the Church collect had been answered, in which we pray for the conversion of the Turks, Jews, and Infidels. The hon. Gentleman takes a bad view and gives a bad character to the Boers; he also desires that the disgrace of Majuba Hill shall be well avenged. Let us consider what sort of people these are whom we are asked to treat in this way. In 1881, a speech was made in this House, in which occurred these words—People appeared to be under the impression that the Boers in the Transvaal were fierce and unjust aggressors, and that they dispossessed the natives of their territory and brutally ill-treated them afterwards. He wished hon. Members would read the Papers before they came to this rash and inconsiderate conclusion. The absolute reverse of that was the fact.Again, there is a reference in this speech to the Boers as possessing "qualities which were worthy of a free people." Now, Sir, whose speech is this? It is the speech of the gentleman who is now the Colonial Secretary, but who was then only Mr. Chamberlain. In the same speech he passed a very great compliment 472 to Sir Evelyn Wood, the gentleman who then held the Boers in the hollow of his hand. Those are the words of the gentleman who is responsible for this war. I believe if Parliament had been sitting the war would never have taken place. Nor do I believe that Parliament would have been convened if the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not refused to barter and to pledge public credit. I remember the speech of the Secretary of the Colonies on the last day of the last session, in which he seemed to glory in the prospect of having a free hand. I was sorry to hear the First Lord of the Treasury say the other day, "We have the cards in our hands, and we will play them." But take care that England does not play the knave in this transaction. I have in my hand a pamphlet which has been issued broadcast to the Members of this House, making charges of a most atrocious description against the right hon. Gentleman, whom I believe to be primarily responsible for this war. I am sure the right hon Gentleman will take the proper means of vindicating himself and the Ministry to which he belongs from these charges. I refer, of course, to Mr. Stead's pamphlet, which is in everybody's hand. I rest my confidence that the right hon. Gentleman will take that course on the fact that on July 21, 1888, when he was giving Mr. Parnell a character, the right hon. Gentleman, referring to the offences with which Mr. Parnell was charged in The Times, asked whether, if a charge of that kind had been brought against him by The Times, anybody in that House believed that in the circumstances he himself would not have gone to a jury. I now remind the right hon. Gentleman of that pronouncement, and await with anxiety the verdict in the case of "Chamberlain v. Stead." It would not, perhaps, be right at this time to go into the details of the diplomacy which has brought about this deplorable war, but it has been proved up to the hilt that the Colonial Secretary is, at least, an awkward letter-writer. There is a curious degeneration in the letter-writing of the right hon. Gentleman. He has not known lately how to convey his feelings when, he said, he was full of friendship and conciliation towards President Kruger; but when the Jameson raiders were in Kruger's hands it was not, "We shall close the correspondence," but "Let them go," and "postscript—How is Mrs. 473 Kruger?" That is what we in Ireland call British magnanimity. I have not the slightest doubt that when President Kruger used that exaggerated language, "We will stagger humanity," he was thinking of the heroic deeds of his Dutch predecessor under William the Silent. It is easy for hon. Gentlemen with banking houses in the City to laugh at those poor peasants; they would never do what the British have done. The British have twice driven the Boers from their country, once in 1836 and once in 1853.(An HON. MEMBER on the Ministerial benches, "No.") If the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Stretford Division of Lancashire—
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
Oh, very well. In my judgment, of this £10,000,000 every single farthing is going to be expended for the purposes of murder and robbery. That looks rather a strong observation, but it is true. It was a most fortunate circumstance that the discovery of the goldfields succeeded, rather than preceded, the restoration of Boer independence in 1881. Had Johannesburg with its present population and its present prosperity existed at the time of the Transvaal War, it never would have been suffered to pass away from the domination of the British Government. That was written by Lord Randolph Churchill in 1891, after seeing the gold there. Abuse of the Boersas foul as ever fell from the lips of men has been telegraphed to England, and telegraphed back to the Transvaal. I cannot understand the levity of the hon. Gentleman opposite. Gallant men have been wounded on both sides, for whom our sympathy goes out, and such levity is unworthy, not only of Englishmen, but of human beings. I believe in my heart that if any other gentleman, except the right hon. Gentleman who is now in that office, had been at the head of the Colonial Office this war would not have occurred. I will tell the House on what I base that opinion. I do not wish to say one unkind word about Mr. Rhodes. Mr. Rhodes has acted in many ways very badly, but he has very high qualities, and some high notions, and he knows the qualities of the persons round him exceedingly well. But Mr. Rhodes, rightly or wrongly, is 474 hated beyond measure by the Dutch in the Transvaal. They regard him as the prime mover and conspirator against the independence of the Transvaal, and they have seen him and the Colonial Secretary going about literally hand-in-hand together. I say therefore, that if any other Colonial Secretary had been at the Colonial Office except the present one, there would not have been this enormous distrust of England, and this belief that the English people want to grasp their land.
I fail to see the connection between the argument of the hon. Member and the proposal before the Committee.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
I shall not pursue the subject further, but I was endeavouring to show that £10,000,000 is to be spent on this Boer War, and that that war would not have taken place except for the personal hatred and suspicion of Mr. Rhodes and the close and intimate relations between Mr. Rhodes and the Colonial Secretary, and that the Colonial Secretary had promoted members who were up to their necks in the Raid. Now, Sir, I thank the Committee for giving me on the whole,. a fair and patient hearing. I have not said anything to hurt the feelings of hon. Gentlemen opposite. I can understand their feelings, and I ask them to appreciate ours. I protest against this war, on which £10,000,000 is to be spent, a share of which Ireland will have to pay. But while blood is being shed, it cannot be reduced to £ s. d. Bloodshed is so odious and abominable that I cannot like to think of it as a question of money. I see in this Vote of £10,000,000 to extinguish the Dutch Republic an absolute analogy with the extinction of the Irish nation a century ago. The same corruption is at work. Hon. Gentlemen speak of the corruption of the Boer Republic. The charge of corruption should rather be levelled against the German Jew Syndicate who wish this war in order to raise the price of their stocks and funds. You will crush, undoubtedly, the South African Republic, but you will do something more, you will produce a bad feeling throughout the Cape Colony and all foreign nations. On the whole, I say that this is a sordid, 475 mercenary, and disgraceful war, and that all the worst passions of the human race are enlisted on behalf of it.
§ COLONEL KENYON-SLANEY (Shropshire, Newport)
I rise simply to give utterance to the thought that is in the minds of every soldier in the House, namely, that it is a thousand pities, on an evening when news of so momentous a character, affecting the lives of so many near and dear to us, is trembling on the telegraph wire, that we should indulge in anything like unseemly party controversy, or that we should bandy across the floor of the House repartees and accusations, which in cooler moments we must be sorry to have uttered. I am not presuming to say on which side the blame lies, but, speaking as a soldier, and feeling therefore very strongly the crisis of the moment, I hope that Members, on whatever side of the House they sit, may be able to put some little check upon their language. However strong their feelings may be, surely these may be hushed to-night, in the face of the news which we have heard, and are likely to hear, and out of respect to the memory of those who have fallen—gallant men on the other side, as well as on our own—for soldiers are the last to deny to gallant opponents their full meed of praise. Humble Member as I am, I believe that I identify myself with the feeling of the House and the country in wishing that at this moment controversy may be hushed, and in stating that we Englishmen are proud to-night to know that the victory, however much it has cost us, has been won by the gallantry of our Irish brother-soldiers as well as by our own.
§ MR. DOOGAN (Tyrone, E.)
I have no sympathy with the levity which has been exhibited in this House to-night, and I merely rise to express my concurrence with the sentiments of the hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just spoken, who has recalled our feelings to the human suffering and family bereavements which must necessarily occur during the prosecution of this lamentably bitter war. I do not think this war will reflect any credit on this great nation, but it must affect us all, and enlist our sympathies for the heroic men on both sides who are unhappily engaged in it. It is said that the object of the war was for 476 civilisation, that it was for revenge, that it was the result of conspiracy, and that it was thrust upon us by the Boers. Now, who can believe that countries of the size of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State wished war with this great Empire? The Boers are the descendants of one of the bravest races in Europe. They are actuated by an intense love of freedom; they love their country, and will only yield up its independence with their lives. I look upon this as a wantonly aggressive war; and it is especially to be deplored that it should have been forced upon these unfortunate people, within a few months of the date when the English representatives at the Hague Conference were the foremost in supporting the humanitarian principle of arbitration—a principle which the Boers have all along expressed themselves as willing to accept. The Boers wanted as much as they could to avoid hostilities, and I certainly think that it will be very hard for the friends of this country and of British soldiers to defend it. A reference has been made to Majuba Hill. Mr. Gladstone sent out an army which was sufficient to vindicate the honour and glory of England when the people of this country were smarting under defeat and disaster. If that army of 15,000 men was sufficient to subdue the Transvaal then, why are you going to send out 70,000 now? I object to this Vote on principles of humanity, on a general detestation of war, and a desire for peace. Of the £10,000,000 this expedition will cost, Ireland will pay nearly a million, while already Ireland is suffering from over taxation to the extent of £3,000,000 a year. The great bulk of the people of Ireland detest this war. On behalf of my constituents I protest against it, because it is an unnecessary, an unjust, and an aggressive war.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness-shire)
We have heard two reasons urged for this war, one by the Colonial Secretary and one by the First Lord of the Treasury. The Colonial Secretary urged us to go to war for the purpose of imposing our suzerainty on these two Republics, and the First Lord of the Treasury said that because you had a corrupt Government you should put an end to it. The Boer Government may be a corrupt Government, but I have heard no evidence in support of that contention put before the House. There 477 was once a corrupt Government in the Transvaal which was administered by an hon. Member of this House, a Government appointed by the British Government. Sir Theophilus Shepstone was the Governor, and his son the Secretary. That Government was corrupt and scandalous. My hon. friend the Member for North Norfolk was sent out to the Transvaal to investigate that matter, and we have seen his Report and the correspondence between him and Lord Welby, a permanent official, the head of the Treasury. In the correspondence it was pointed out that the accounts were of a most unsatisfactory character; vouchers and details were produced for about one-third of the payments, and the small portion which was capable of thorough examination contained evidence that the unvouched residue included several duplicate charges. There was a charge of swindling, and Lord Welby's attention was drawn to the fact that there was an overdraft of £300 for salary. This doubtless led the hon. Gentlemen to recognise the grave position in which he had placed himself by disregarding the rules of government which he was appointed to carryout—
AN HON. MEMBER
If the hon. Gentleman is addressing himself to me I would direct your attention to it, Sir.
§ DR. CLARK
And when the Colonial Secretary of the day appealed to the Treasury not to ruin this man, and urged that a great number of the charges might be allowed, a right hon. Gentleman, then a Member of this House, wrote a letter, in which he said—"Charges made for forage, etc., were simple impertinence." Under these circumstances I think we might hold our tongues regarding corrupt Governments, because that Government was appointed by the people of this country. I have a great respect for our Civil Service both at home and abroad. 478 I think it stands for honesty with any civil service in the world; but there are black sheep in it, and there may be black sheep in the Transvaal—I do not know. I heard the hon. Member for Central Bradford make an assertion that President Kruger had got the little six-roomed house in which he lives by giving concessions to people to sell liquor in the Transvaal. That concession was given in 1882.
If the hon. Member applies that expression to any hon. Gentleman he will see that it is an expression that ought not to be used.
§ MR. PAULTON (Durham, Bishop Auckland)
On a point of order, Sir, are the remarks of the hon. Member relevant to the subject before the Committee?
§ DR. CLARK
One of the principal reasons urged by the right hon. Gentleman for our taking the course we are taking to-day was because it was a corrupt Government. You have roused a war feeling in this country on false pretences, and you now tell us quite frankly that you are fighting to impose your supremacy all over South Africa. In my opinion you have justified the action taken by the Orange Free State, because you have no moral right to force your supremacy on the Orange Free State upon any ground whatever. We went to South Africa and got our rights there, whatever they are, in 1815. These 479 men were then citizens of the Natalian Republic. From no fault of their own they became citizens of the British Government; they remained citizens for 20 years, and then they left you and went into the wilderness and carved out a State for themselves. The question was discussed by the various law officers of the day, and they agreed that these men had the right to do as they did, and you met these men and made treaties with them. The men who signed that treaty were born citizens of the Natalian Republic, and now we are told that for some reason or other we are going to thrust our supremacy upon them. I protest against such a course. You have neither moral nor legal reason for it, and the war is simply an act of piracy on the part of this great nation.
§ DR. CLARK
I ceased to be Consul General for the Transvaal in 1891. That was eight years ago. I was their first Consul General from the date of their independence; and although paramountcy and suzerainty are now claimed over the Transvaal, as Consul General for the Transvaal I got as many exequaturs as the Consul General of any other country. I hope that the present course of events, which we all deplore, will be as brief as possible, and that something may yet be done to bring about what I desire as much as anyone in this House, viz., not mere physical supremacy, but the supremacy of the English language, and of English ideas, which I have seen grow since my first visit to Africa. I trust that we shall discuss this question on higher grounds 480 than mere insinuations regarding the honesty of the men who are engaged on the other side.
§ MR DILLON
The purpose for which I have risen is to give expression, very briefly, to the feeling of satisfaction—which I am sure must be universal throughout the House —with which I have listened to the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for Newport. If the debate had been conducted throughout in that tone and temper, many bitter things which have fallen from both sides must have been left unsaid. We feel so intensely on this subject, that it is difficult for us to speak calmly upon it. I, for my part, however, strongly as I differ from the hon. and gallant Member, feel bound to recognise in the language and the evident feeling with which he spoke the spirit of a generous and gallant soldier. He has spoken in a very different tone from some other hon. Members. He recognised the qualities of his enemies, as a brave soldier ought to do. Sir, I had myself intended to move some Amendments, but so far as I am concerned I think the discussion might now close. There is only one point which I wish to put to the First Lord of the Treasury or the Secretary of State for War. Already the dreadful results of battle are upon us, and hundreds of wounded are lying on the field. Will the Secretary for War, in regard to the £50,000 for medical stores, undertake that the same treatment shall be extended to the wounded of the enemy as to our own wounded?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I can assure the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken that he is not mistaken in supposing that the dictates of humanity, the dictates of common charity, and the principles of civilised warfare all conspire to guarantee that everything that can be done for the wounded will be done alike for the wounded on both sides, wholly irrespective of the part which they may have taken in the contest. Sir, I think the hon. Gentleman who has just satdown agrees, as he told us he does agree, with the speech—a speech I am sorry to say I did not hear, but the tenor of which I have been made acquainted with—made by my hon. friend the Member for Newport, which I believe found an echo in 481 the mind of everybody, on whatever side of the House he may have sat or whatever view he may take of the particular controversy in which we are now engaged. And I hope, after what has fallen from the hon. Gentleman. that we may content ourselves now with a Division on the question, without further continuing the controversy between the different parts of the House. I think if that is the general view of the House—and I gather from what has fallen from hon. Gentlemen that that is the general view of the House—that view will be confirmed when I read to them the sad telegram which has just been received from the General Officer Commanding in Natal, dated 7.10 p.m., and which has just been put into my hands. [Cries of "Hats off!" and every hat was at once removed.] The telegram runs as follows:—General Yule wires:—'Regret to report General Symons mortally wounded. Report
§ of other casualties follows. The important success to-day is due to his great courage, fine generalship, and the gallant example and confidence he gave to the troops under his command.'"
§ MR. DAVITT
I only rise for the purpose of reminding the Under Secretary for War of the promise he made last session, that in the dread eventuality of war Mark IV. ammunition would not be used.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
I have been mindful of that promise. The Indian troops have left their Mark IV. ammunition behind, and orders have been given for them to be supplied with other ammunition.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 271; Noes, 32. (Division List, No. 9.)483
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Chelsea, Viscount||Fletcher, Sir Henry|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Clarke, Sir Edw. (Plymouth)||Flower, Ernest|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Forster, Henry William|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)|
|Bagot,Capt.Josceline FitzRoy||Colston, Chas. E. H. Athole||Foster, Sir W. (Derby Co.)|
|Baird, John Geo. Alexander||Colville, John|
|Balfour, Rt Hn A. J. (Manch'r||Compton, Lord Alwyne||Galloway, William Johnson|
|Balfour, Rt Hon G. W. (Leeds||Corbett, A. Cameron (Gl'sg'w)||Garfis, William|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Gibbs, HnA. G. H. (CityofLond.|
|Barry, RtHnAHSmith-(Hunts||Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D.||Giles, Charles Tyrrell|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Cranborne, Viscount||Gilliat John Saunders|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Goddard, Daniel Ford|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Cubitt Hon. Henry||Gold, Charles|
|Bethell, Commander||Curzon, Viscount||Goldsworthy Major General|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.|
|Bigwood, James||Dalkeith, Earl of||Gordon, Hon. John Edward|
|Bill, Charles||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon|
|Blakiston-Houston, John||Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J. (St. Geo's)|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Denny, Colonel||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)|
|Bond, Edward||Dewar, Arthur||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex)||Dorington, Sir John Edward||Gourley, SirEdwardTemperley|
|Brassey, Albert||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Graham, Henry Robert|
|Brookfield, A. Montagu||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Doxford, William Theodore||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Drage, Geoffrey||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Duckworth, James||Greville, Hon. Ronald|
|Caldwell, James||Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Griffith, Ellis J.|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)||Dyke, Rt. Hn. SirWilliamHart||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord George|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.|
|Carlile, William Walter||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph D.||Hanson, Sir Reginald|
|Carmichael, Sir T. D. Gibson-||Evershed, Sydney||Harwood, George|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Fardell, Sir T. George||Haslett, Sir James Horner|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Ch. Seale-|
|Cavendish, V.C.W.(Derbysh.)||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edwd.||Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.|
|Cawley, Frederick||Fergusson, Rt. Hn-SirJ. (Man.)||Helder, Augustus|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Finch, George H.||Henderson, Alexander|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Hermon-Hodge, Robt. Trotter|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Fisher, William Hayes||Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen(Worc'r||Fison, Frederick William||Hobhouse, Henry|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Fitzgerald, Sir Robt. Penrose-||Horniman, Frederick John|
|Charrington, Spencer||Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.||Howell, William Tudor|
|Hozier, Hon. James Hy. Cecil||Milton, Viscount||Saunderson, Rt. Hon.Col.E.J.|
|Hutton, John (Yorks. N.R.)||Milward, Colonel Victor||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Jenkins, Sir John Jones||Monckton, Edward Philip||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard|
|Jessel, Captain H. Merton||Monk, Charles James||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez E.||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropsh.)||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Morgan, Hon Fred. (Mon.)||Shaw-Stewart, M.H.(Renfrw)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvons.)||Morrison, Walter||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Kemp, George||Morton,ArthurH.A.(Deptf'd.)||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Kenyon, James||Mount, William George||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Kimber, Henry||Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Knowles, Lees||Myers, William Henry||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Lambert, George||Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks)|
|Langley, Batty||Nicholson, William Graham||Smith, Hon. W.F. D. (Strand)|
|Lawrence,SirE.Durning-(Corn||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Stanley, Edw.Jas. (Somerset)|
|Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Northcote, Hn. Sir H. Stafford||Stanley, Sir H. M. (Lambeth)|
|Lea, Sir Thomas(Londonderry)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Oldroyd, Mark||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Leighton, Stanley||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Strachey, Edward|
|Llewellyn, Evan H.(Somerset)||Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham)||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Swans.)||Paulton, James Mellor||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Pease, Herbert P. (Darlingt'n||Talbot,Rt.Hn. J.G.(Ox.Univ.|
|Loder, Gerald Walter Erksine||Pease, Joseph A. (Northmub.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Long,Col.Charles W (Evesham||Penn, John||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverpool)||Philipps, John Wynford||Tomlinson,Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Lowe, Francis William||Pierpoint, Robert||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Lowles, John||Pilkington, Sir G.A.(Lancs SW||Valentia, Viscount|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Vincent,Col. Sir C. E. Howard|
|Lucas-Shadwell, William||Pollock, Harry Frederick||Webster, Sir Richard E.|
|Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Priestley, Sir W. O. (Edin.)||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u.-L.)|
|MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Maclure, Sir John William||Purvis, Robert||Williams, JosephPowell-(Birm|
|M'Arthur, Charles(Liverpool)||Pym, C. Guy||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Rankin, Sir James||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|M'Calmont, H. L. B. (Cambs.)||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H.(Yorks.)|
|M'Crae, George||Renshaw, Charles Bine||Wortley, Rt. Hon.C.B.Stuart-|
|M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W)||Rentoul, James Alexander||Wrightson, Thomas|
|M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson||Wylie, Alexander|
|Malcolm, Ian||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Wyndham, George|
|Manners, Lord Edward Wm. J.||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Marks, Henry Hananel||Round, James||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Martin, Richard Biddulph||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Massey-Mainwaring,Hn. W.F.||Runciman, Walter||Younger, William|
|Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Middlemore, J. Throgmorton||Rutherford, John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Milbank, Sir Powlett C. John||Ryder, John Herbert Dudley||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.||Gibney, James||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Hayden, John Patrick||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Blake, Edward||Healy, Thomas J. (Wexford)||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Clark, Dr. G.B. (Caithness-sh)||Jordan, Jeremiah||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Commins, Andrew||Kilbride, Denis||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Crilly, Daniel||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cumb'l'd||Tuite, James|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||Macaleese, Daniel||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Daly, James||MacDonnell, Dr MA (Qn's Co.)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Ghee, Richard||Mr. Dillon and Mr. Davitt.|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||M'Hugh, P. A. (Leitrim)|
§ Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next.
§ In pursuance of the Order of the House of the 18th day of this instant October,484
§ Mr. Speaker adjourned the House without Question put.
§ Adjourned accordingly at ten minutes before Twelve of the clock, till Monday next.