§ Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Main Question [30th January], "That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, as followeth:—
§ Most Gracious Sovereign,
§ We, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the Gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament."—(Captain Pretyman.)
§ Question again proposed.
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)
Mr. Speaker, I do not rise for the purpose of endeavouring to renew discussion about topics which have been the subject of the debate for the last week. I have no intention of perpetuating the weary-some and shameful story of the inefficiency and insincerity of the diplomacy which has led this country into a war for an ostensible object which could easily have been obtained by a little patience and goodwill, and a little conciliation. Still less do I desire to enter into any criticism of the political and military blunders which have brought disaster on 831 your arms since the commencement of the war. My object is entirely different. I desire as far as possible to leave the past alone. I may say, I have no particular sympathy with the recriminations which have passed between both the front benches as to the responsibility for this war. In my view both are responsible, though in different degrees, for its initiation, and both are equally responsible for its prosecution. My object is to explain and justify the feeling of Ireland upon this subject, and that will be evidenced by the votes of eighty Members of this House, who think and will act as one man. The sympathy of Ireland is with the two South African Republics. We abhor this war; we call for its stoppage, and we declare our intention to do all that in us lies to maintain the independence of these two little Republics, which was won by untold sacrifices, and defended by a heroism which is without a parallel in the history of the world. I know, of course, that putting this view forward in this assembly must be unpalatable to many Members on both sides, but every sober-minded man must agree with me, that if a large body of Members hold this view, it is well that the view should be expressed; and I trust the expression of opinion of eighty Members of this House, representing the majority of the people of Ireland, will be listened to, if not with respect, at any rate with patience. The sympathy of Ireland is with the Boers. Why is this? On what foundation is it based? What is the explanation of it? I propose to answer shortly those questions. We in Ireland have been accused of being indiscriminate in our sympathies and our views of this war; we are told we know nothing of the merits of the quarrel, and that our sympathies with the Boers have one real and only motive, which is antagonism to England; that we should be against England, right or wrong; and I have even heard it said that if it was Germany who was fighting, and England was defending the Boers, we should turn right round. And it was alleged that if England had gone to war, as she undoubtedly ought to have done, three years ago to avenge the massacre of the Armenian Christians, our sympathies would have been on the side of the Great Assassin. I want to be perfectly frank and candid. There is both truth and untruth in that charge. It is true that wherever the Empire is 832 involved in a difficulty or complication which diminishes its great strength, a feeling of hope and satisfaction stirs through the veins of men of the Irish race both at home and abroad. This is a fact which stares you in the face, and it is folly to conceal it. It is one of those facts which statesmen should study and observe and try to understand. It is not our fault that it is a fact, but yours. It is the fault of the history which you and your predecessors have made. You thought you had got rid of the Irish question when in 1895 you overwhelmed Home Rule by a majority of 150. You thought you had got rid of it in 1800 when you abolished the Irish Parliament, because, twenty years before, when you were engaged in your wicked American war, a war which particularly compares with the present war, you were confronted with this same phenomenon of the Irish seeking to take advantage of your difficulties and sympathising with your foe. Why was Ireland prone to these views then as it I is now? It does not lie in the cussedness of the Irish, it is due to the simple fact that Ireland one hundred years ago felt she was treated with systematic injustice and deprived of her true rights. She had the same feeling before, and the same cause will at all times produce the same result in the history of nations. Some day, not perhaps far off, in that Ireland which you are about to create for yourselves in South Africa, you may find white people rejoicing in the Empire's difficulties and sending messages of sympathy to your foes. I would urge this country, before it is involved more deeply in this ill-fated war, to endeavour to learn something from the history of your own experience in Ireland and the American colonies, and from contrasting the history of other great portions of the Empire, and to beware of pursuing to the bitter end the chapter which, whatever way the military operations may go, whether you succeed in this war or not, can only be a story of misfortune and disgrace. I admit, in the frankest manner, that the feeling of the mass of the Irish people is hostile to the Empire. At this moment it would be hypocrisy for me to attempt to deny it, and it would be the utmost folly for you to attempt to minimise it. One of the greatest Englishmen of our time, John Henry Newman, in speaking of Irish discontent, drew a picture which explains to some extent 833 this feeling that I have spoken of and admitted. He describes the feelings of an Englishman travelling in Ireland. He says—He finds that the wrongs which England has inflicted are faithfully remembered, her name and fellowship are abominated, the news of her prosperity heard with disgust, the anticipation of her possible reverses nursed and cherished as the best of consolations. The success of France or Russia over her armies, of Yankee or Hindoo, is fervently desired as the first instalment of a debt accumulated through seven centuries, and that even though those armies are in so large a proportion recruited from the Irish soil. If he ventures to ask for prayers for England he receives one answer, a prayer that she may receive her due. It is as if the air rang with the old Jewish words, 'Oh, daughter of Babylon, blessed shall he be who shall repay thee as thou hast paid to us.'I admit, therefore, the sympathy of Ireland with the Boers in this matter is, to a certain extent, due to the feeling which I have described. But having said so much I entirely deny that the attitude of the Irish people towards this war is governed wholly or even mainly by that sentiment. Irishmen are just as capable as anyone else of judging the policy and the merits of the conflicts in which this Empire chooses to embroil itself, more especially when, as in the present instance, an impoverished and over-taxed country is called upon to pay so heavy a proportion of the cost, and when so many thousands of Irish families, rich and poor alike, are called upon to pour forth the still more precious treasure of their children's blood. Do not imagine that this war does not come home to us in Ireland. It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that there is scarcely a family in Ireland, from the poor people who live in Dublin slums to the highest in the land, that is not represented, in one shape or other, upon one side or other at the front. This is more the case with regard to Ireland than it is here, because in proportion to the population a larger number of our people take to soldiering for the mere love of the calling than with you, and when they do get to the front a far larger proportion of them are thrust into dangerous posts. I candidly admit that in one sense I cannot but rejoice that so many Irishmen are fighting in this cause. I recognise the duties and obligations of the soldier's calling—"His not to reason why; his but to do or die"—and recognising that, I, as an Irishman, cannot help feeling a thrill of 834 pride at the record of the heroism of the Irish lads from Mayo and Roscommon, who have suffered so terribly in this war. I could not help noticing that, while those brave and devoted press correspondents who have sent accounts of the operations to this country have paid generous tributes to the gallantry of these Irish regiments, in the official reports from General Buller and other officers in command no such mention has been made. I saw a calculation made the other day in a newspaper as to the number of men killed and wounded of various nationalities, and it was shown that since the war commenced there were 120 Irishmen killed or wounded to 56 Englishmen, and when it is remembered that these Irishmen are, as I have said, boys from Roscommon and Galway and other Irish counties, Catholics in creed, Nationalists every man of them practically in their sentiments, I can understand the impatience, almost the disgust, with which the taunt of the hon. and gallant Member the other night was heard by this House.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
I will not enter into any conflict with the hon. Gentleman. What he said is in the recollection of the House. It is not only that Irishmen are entitled to judge of this war, and the merits and policy of this enterprise, but as a rule their judgment is more likely to be sound than yours. For one thing, Irishmen are not subject to those passions of Imperial greed and pride and arrogance which habitually obscure the judgment of large classes of Englishmen on these occasions. They are not as materialistic in their aims, and they have, moreover—and it has often been accounted one of their weaknesses that they have—what is called a sympathetic temperament. They have a faculty for understanding other races, and so long as it is true that no Imperial policy can be wise or sound which is not morally right, so long I maintain that these instincts are more likely to lead the nation to a sound conclusion than, say, the instincts of the average modern jingo in this country. By this means the Irish people, by a perfectly natural and, as I think, unerring process, have come to entertain a genuine abhorrence of this war, and a genuine admiration for the little heroic 835 Republics that are facing and thwarting your effort to destroy their independence. I assert emphatically that the sympathies of the Irish people would be in precisely the same direction if England were not concerned in the matter at all. Our sympathies would be on the side of the independence of these Republics, no matter what was the Power that was attempting to act as the bully and the oppressor in South Africa. If you look back over your own history you will see that in every war of this kind in which the Empire has been engaged the sympathies of Irishmen have always gone in the right direction, and not their sympathies only but their counsel and advice, and their counsel and advice have invariably been disregarded and rejected. Go back for a moment to the conflict which lost you America, and the memory of which is the real reason why to-day you cannot win the friendship and alliance of the United States. Go back to the history of that war. Who led the Opposition; who inspired, who planned, who worked through steadfast years in opposition to that luckless war? An Irishman, and in doing so he poured forth a wealth of political wisdom which has been the nourishment of your wiser statesmen ever since, and which if it could be only understood and acted upon by your statesmen of to-day would induce you even now to retrace your steps, and by an early peace to retrieve to some extent what I believe is the worst mistake of your Imperialism. Yes, Burke and Sheridan and Grattan and the mighty Irishmen of that day took precisely the same stand in that eventful controversy that we their humbler countrymen take to-day upon the question of this war. They had to face the self-same abuse, the same unstinted criticism that we have to do. But who in the world of politics dares to say now that they were not absolutely in the right? No; the organised and obstinate pride of the rulers of that day would not accept advice from the treacherous Irish Members, and America was lost. In crises like this your best advisers have always been Irish statesmen and Irish soldiers. But you have always distrusted their advice, whether in the case of the present war or in other struggles. Had you taken the advice and heeded the warning of one who was your representative in South Africa until recently—I 836 mean General Butler (who was described as labouring under the disadvantage of being an Irishman and a Catholic), had you hearkened to his advice, instead, of the advice of Sir Alfred Milner, you would not be the spectacle of humiliation before the civilised world which you now are. I say, therefore, that we arrive by quite a natural process at our sympathies with these Republics. How could it be otherwise? We would be stocks or stones if our admiration were not aroused by one of the finest spectacles that the world has witnessed since Thermopylæ—the resistance of these two little Republics to the most powerful Empire of modern times. I think I am speaking the sentiments of all generous-minded men in this House—no matter what view they take of the war—when I say that we admire the pluck and heroism of the old grey-bearded Boer side by side with the dauntless courage of the Boer of sixteen in the stand they have already made against this mighty Empire in defence of what they believe to be right. Do they surrender their independence without a struggle? Do the Free Staters, thinking only of their crops, abandon their brothers in the Transvaal? Had they done so we should all, without distinction of creed or party, have heartily despised them; and it seems to me that but for this bloody struggle the world would have been robbed of one of its most stirring episodes. I think the world at large owes a deep debt to these two little Republics for showing, in this degraded age, that there are other things to fight for than gold, and for which they are prepared to lay down their lives. Sir, the cant we have heard that this war was set on foot to remove the grievances of the Uitlanders, to obtain for them the five years franchise, no longer deceives anyone. If that had been the object of this country, it could have easily been obtained without war, as the question was on the eve of settlement on the 19th August, when the five years franchise was offered. And it is clear from the course of the diplomacy and the discussions in this House that the responsibility for the breaking off of negotiations rests with this country. However, that is not worth while arguing now, because after the speech of the Colonial Secretary the other day no man will deny that this war between Boer and Briton is to establish the supremacy of the British 837 in the two Republics, and if that be so I for one pray God that the effort will be frustrated. Sir, these may sound strong words, but do you remember the words uttered by one of the greatest of your Parliamentary figures, one of the greatest of your orators, and one of the greatest of Imperialists? I refer to Lord Chatham when, speaking of the American war, he said—The Americans struggling for their rights I love and admire. It is the struggle of free and virtuous patriots. The time demands the language of truth. In a just and necessary war, to maintain the rights and honour of my country, I would strip the shirt from my back to support it. But in such a war as this, unjust in its principle, impracticable in its means and ruinous in its consequences, I would not contribute a single effort or a single shilling. I am glad the Americans have resisted. Resistance was as necessary as it was just.Let me then add as to this attitude of Ireland that it is not governed either slightly or mainly by hostility to England, but is based on the merits of the struggle. It is not Ireland alone which takes this view. It is England that stands to-day in isolation, in splendid, may be, but disgraceful isolation; for all the nations on the earth, as far as one can make out, share our antipathy to the war. The solitary exception whose sympathy you win is Turkey. [Interruption.] Does anyone doubt that? ["Yes."] I am judging by your own newspapers. The other day in the Standard newspaper there were published extracts from articles from all the leading papers from all the capitals of the world—from Vienna, Berlin, Brussels, St. Petersburg, Madrid, Paris—and, not least, from America. Every one of these expressions was hostile to you and was exactly the same as the expressions which we make to-day on behalf of Ireland. Let me take the case of America. I myself have recently been in the United States, and I there had the pleasure of meeting, not merely prominent Irish-Americans, but many leading statesmen of purely American extraction, and while I admit that public official expressions of hostility to you are not heard, chiefly because America, being embroiled in the Philippine war, does not feel herself in a position to rebuke you, as she otherwise would—still the overwhelming opinion of the leading statesmen of America and of the mass of the people is hostile to you. 838 In the issue of the Standard to which I have referred there were extracts from the New York Herald, which, like The Times in this country, generally throws in its lot with the strongest side, but which may be taken very fairly to express the dominant view for the moment. The New York Herald in the article to which I am alluding declared that the overwhelming mass of opinion was against England in this war, and the New York Sun, which was the most pro-British organ in America, addresses a remonstrance and expresses its fear lest the experience of Lord North in America should be repeated in South Africa, and asks whether the animosity of the Afrikanders would be lessened by years of war, even though they result in victory through the slaughter of all their kinsmen, whose children would simply inherit an implacable blood feud. That is the view expressed in what has been of recent years the most pro-British paper in the United States. They think it is an unjust war, and they desire to induce you to bring it to a speedy termination in accordance with the views that I am expressing here. I do not want to use a rather hackneyed illustration, but it is worth repeating. The universal opinion of the civilised world being against France in the Dreyfus business was quoted by all the organs of public opinion in this country as conclusive proof in itself that France was wrong. I ask now does this universal opinion of Christendom against you to-day count for anything, and is this war to be allowed to go on until the Union Jack waves over Pretoria or until tens of thousands of brave men have been slaughtered, and perhaps hundreds of millions of treasure have been expended, and all in an enterprise which cannot bring you credit or glory, but which must undoubtedly end in the establishment of a state of eternal enmity between the white races in South Africa? Let me ask, if this war is persisted in to the bitter end, what will be the result? I do not mean will you get to Pretoria. I take that for granted. As we were reminded some time ago, eleven armed men are more than a match for one man in his shirt. I conclude that if you continue to pour in troops the end is inevitable. But that is not the result I am speaking of. What will the future of South Africa be? The Boers have added a new page to the 839 annals of political and military heroism. Do you think you can blot out that page, that you can trample upon it and that it will be forgotten? Do you think with such a page behind them you can wipe out Boer nationality? I say the only chance of retrieving the mistake is this. You may devastate these two Republics; you may exterminate the entire male population. If so, what then? Well, I say let a woman answer. This woman is the sister of the Prime Minister of Cape Colony. I think I heard some one smile at that. Why is he Prime Minister of Cape Colony? Why, because he has at his back the support of the majority of the white races in South Africa. This lady says—You may see all of the fighting men in arms slain. But what of the women? If there were left but 5,000 pregnant South African-born women and all the rest of their people destroyed, those women would breed up again a race like the first. Grandchildren and great grandchildren of the men who lie under the stones, who are not English or Dutch, but only African, will say as they pass those heaps, 'There lie our grandfathers or great-grandfathers who died in the great war of independence.'With these facts staring you in the face, how can any man look with confidence to the future of South Africa? It may be asked what can be done now. I said at the commencement of my remarks that I would not go back as far, at any rate, as the past is concerned. The situation now is that you are at war. Even if you wrongly went to war, hon. members say you must go on. [An HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!] Ah! "hear, hear" says a feeble voice. I do not think that even the Colonial Secretary would cheer that sentiment. This war in my view, and in the view of those for whom I speak, was an unjust war in its inception. We say that the only course for you is to recognise that at once, and, before further slaughter takes place in South Africa and before the future of South Africa is further imperilled, to retrace your steps and allow these Republics to maintain their independence. We call, therefore, for the stoppage of this war. We ask that the independence of these gallant Republics shall be guaranteed and maintained. In the words of the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth, we ask for some settlement honourable to that brave people whose conduct 840 in this war has vindicated for them the right to maintain their independence. Yes, Sir; those are brave and courageous words, and it is a singular coincidence that they are almost identical with words used in this House with regard to the Boer War in 1881 by the late Mr. Parnell. In 1881 Mr. Parnell gave notice of the following motion—To call attention to the Transvaal War, and to move that in the opinion of this House the Boers by their gallant resistance have earned the right to their independence.To-day, after eighteen years, we make the same declaration, the only change in the situation being that the gallantry of the Boers in those days has been completely eclipsed by the gallantry of the Boers of to-day. In conclusion I cannot do better than say that we desire to put this case before the House with moderation, but with clearness. We do not desire to be guilty of the hypocrisy of pretending that we are solely moved by the merits. While admitting frankly that in these cases we are prejudiced to a certain extent by an antecedent hostility, at the same time in most cases in the past we have been right, and in this case we have been undoubtedly influenced by the merits of the controversy. We ask you in time to reconsider your position. We believe that you can do it without injury to yourselves, certainly tainly with far less injury than must come to you if you persist in going on to the end of the chapter and imperilling the future of the white races in South Africa. We at any rate make our position perfectly clear. We are not influenced one whit by the odium that may come upon us because of our action. We know that we are a small minority in this House—possibly some people say a contemptible minority. We look back on the past, and we know that when Chatham and Burke were right in denouncing the American War they were in contemptible minorities, and were the objects of odium and misrepresentation. We know that when in the Crimean War John Bright attempted to stem the flood of war passion he was in a contemptible minority, and was a mark for odium and taunts. And we care still less for the threats of injury to the cause of Home Rule. We know that we are right, and are profoundly convinced that Ireland our country has nothing to lose, but has everything to gain, by raising her voice 841 on the side of justice and liberty. I therefore beg to move the Amendment standing in my name.
§ MR. POWER (Waterford, E.)
I have been asked to second this Amendment, and I do so with pleasure, only regretting that I had not longer notice. It has often been said that Irish Members have one voice when addressing audiences in Ireland and another when addressing the House of Commons. I do not think that that could ever be said, but certainly on this occasion it could not with any degree of truth. Before this war was entered upon Mr. Davitt and others protested in the name of Ireland against the policy of the Government, and here to-day, speaking for the vast majority of the people of Ireland, my hon. friend who has just sat down has expressed in terms unmistakable the feeling of Irish people on this question. The pity of the thing is that all must recognise that this war was distinctly preventible. It is within the recollection of this House that when an angry debate was proceeding during the autumn session of last year, and when passions on both sides were considerably inflamed, an hon. and gallant Gentleman on the other side of the House rose and deprecated the tone in which the debate had been conducted, and paid a high tribute to the gallantry and bravery of the foes with whom you are fighting.* Those few words from the hon. and gallant Member changed the whole tone of the debate, and a debate which would probably have been prolonged for another day was brought to a conclusion. I think we often find that the braver a man is the more considerate he is for the feelings of his opponent. My hon. friend has spoken of Ireland's voice on this question. Looking at it from a financial point of view, of course we have to pay the piper for this most iniquitous war, and very much more than our proper share. But I hope and believe that if we were a self-governing country to-day the voice of the Nationalists of Ireland would be raised for the weak against the strong in protest against this most unjustifiable conflict. I may be told that we do not speak for the majority of our people in this matter, and that the blood of Irishmen which has been so* See The Parliamentary Debates, Fourth Series, Vol. lxxvii, p. 475. (Speech of Col. Kenyon-Slaney, 20th October, 1899.)842 freely spilt is proof that they sympathise with this war. We are a martial race, and a military life will always have its attractions for the Irish, but at the same time—and anyone who doubts the truth of what I say, if he takes the trouble of inquiring among the masses of the Irish people, will find that it is correct—in those families where the twos and the threes of young men have laid down their lives for your cause—because we all recognise that when a man is in a post of danger he must do his duty—but even under those conditions you will find that the prayers of the people of these very families are offered almost nightly for the success of the Boer arms. I must say that I have not feelings of satisfaction with regard to the way in which Irish blood has been spilt in this war and in many other wars. I think our most bitter enemy must acknowledge, if he studies the history of this country, that Irish brains, Irish arms, and Irish blood have done their part in building up, extending, and maintaining your kingdom. And when I look at the sacrifices which Irishmen have made on your behalf I ask what has been done for us to justify them? We have been far too prodigal with our blood in your causes. Our country is a byword, and as for poverty, is not the present reign the most hideous, from an Irish point of view, since the time of Elizabeth? The First Lord of the Treasury, I believe, in one of his much criticised Manchester speeches, made mocking allusions to the "union of hearts" between England and Ireland, and certainly the Irish Secretary spoke in that vein at Leeds; they say that events have proved the insincerity of that "union of hearts." On that subject I may be allowed to say that the Irish people have approached the English on this matter in a spirit of friendliness and, to some extent, of honourable compromise, but we must recollect that if there was any breakage of the contract entered into it was a breakage by the English people, who on two different occasions rejected the treaty proposed by Mr. Parnell and also proposed by Mr. Gladstone in 1886 and 1895. Upon occasions when treaties have been entered into between England and Ireland, Ireland has not been the country to break them. I will not enter at any length into the merits of the case, because it has been so ably and amply stated by my hon friend the Member for the City of 843 Waterford. The fact that you have Irish regiments fighting under your colours wherever fighting is to be done does not disprove the statement that the vast majority of the Irish people disapprove of this war. We should be unworthy of the sacrifices made for our cause if we did not detest this war, and as a protest against it we shall have the satisfaction of, at any rate, recording on the part of those who sent us here the fact that Ireland hates and detests this war and wishes for the success of a people who, by their conduct, have merited the right of free men.
At the end of the Question, to add the words, 'But we humbly represent to Your Majesty that the time has come when the war at present being waged in South Africa should be brought to a close, on the basis of recognising the independence of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State.'"—(Mr. John Redmond.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ MR. J. H. M. CAMPBELL (Dublin, St. Stephen's Green)
I have not either the intention or the desire to question in the slightest degree the sincerity of the motives or the convictions of hon. Members opposite who have already, or may later on, take part in this debate. It would be impossible to deny that the sentiment of this Amendment and the language of the speeches just delivered is calculated to fill hon. Members from Ireland who sit on this side of the House with an acute sense of despair and indignation. I say despair, because I believe the proceedings in this House of to-day are fraught with injury and disaster to the best interests of our country. Not merely are they calculated to deter the inflow of English capital and English commerce into our country, but they are certainly calculated to widen the breach which already exists between hon. Members opposite and hon. Members from Ireland who sit on this side of the House. Even at the present day there is much in the financial and commercial policy of Great Britain that is beneficial to the best interests of Ireland, and a hope had sprung up in recent years that it would be possible by the united efforts of Irishmen sitting on both sides of this 844 House to obtain some redress for recognised grievances. The Unionist Members from Ireland claim to be as sincere patriots as any of the hon. Members opposite.
§ MR. J. H. M. CAMPBELL
Our interests for the present and our future and all that belongs to us are all centred in this country. Such actions as these are calculated to postpone indefinitely, if not to destroy all hope or prospect of ever securing an amicable settlement of our differences. We also have a very strong feeling of indignation that such speeches as these are a slander on our country in the face of the civilised world, for they present a scene of disloyalty and disaffection which is opposed to the best interests of the Empire. At the present moment, and for some months past, Irish valour and Irish bravery has been conspicuous in the forefront of this war. It has not been merely the rank and file of the soldiers, but it has been the bravery of General White, of General French, and last, but not least, the fact that Lord Roberts, with the weight of years and the weight of domestic affliction upon him, responded nobly to his country's call and placed his services at the disposal of Her Majesty. As we read of the efforts of our Irish soldiers, we find that no blood flows more freely, and that none is more dearly avenged in this war than that of our fellow-countrymen. I say it is a slander upon their manhood and their courage that our country should be exhibited as a hotbed of disloyalty and disaffection. It was suggested in the speech of the hon. Member for the City of Waterford that Irishmen were not receiving their proper recognition for their services in this campaign. I do not know whether within the last few days the attention of the hon. Member was called to a Gazette in which the names of four persons were honourably gazetted for the Victoria Cross for distinguished bravery in the field, and two of these were Irishmen. But it is not merely in the front and at the front that Irishmen have vindicated their loyalty and devotion to Queen and country. Even at home we find, if you judge it by any standard capable of recognition, that the assumption of hon. Members opposite that they 845 represent the feelings of the majority of the Irish race is contradicted. Test it by the subscriptions to the various funds for the relief of the suffering and the wounded; test it by the number of those who have volunteered for service at the front, and by the number of those who are being recruited. What has Ireland done in the interests of the Boers? I know that a subscription list was started for the assistance of the people of the Transvaal. I have in my hands a record of the magnificent total which has been obtained after six months efforts, and it amounts to £300. That, so far as I can make out, is the only active sign on the part of any Irishmen of sympathy with the Boers in this war. Perhaps I can best dispose, once and for all, of the pretence that hon. Members opposite are entitled to speak for the majority of the Irish people, by reading an article from an Irish newspaper. The authority, I think, will not be challenged from the other side, for it is an article in the United Irishman of the present week, which is the recognised organ of the physical force party in Ireland, and I will read from this article a description of how the Irish people look upon this war. It says—The Irish people are satisfied with the present system of Irish government, as their deeds testify. A community works for its government and shows its satisfaction with it by supplying it freely with men and money. Ireland supplies these quite as willingly as England, or more so. And so long as Ireland supplies men and money of her free will she is prima facie contented with her Government and her complaints are merely the popular grumbling—a little exaggerated, being Irish—and a little more of it because we have more leisure time, that is all. The Irishman's patriotism is not strong enough to keep him from entering the army of his conqueror. In both of these vital matters, therefore, those of taxes and of physical forces, the practice of the Irish people gives the lie to their professions. The latter cannot be taken seriously, and they are no so taken by any Englishman or foreigner who knows the facts. Deeds are the true test of sincerity. The North Cork Militia are loyal because they work for England; the Irish people are also loyal because they work for England. In both cases deeds are the proof, not words.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare, E.)
I have no desire to interrupt the hon. Member, but as he has quoted an extract 846 from that paper, I should like to ask him whether in that very same paper, and every issue of it that has been printed, there is not an article containing a strong denunciation of the enlistment of Irishmen in the British Army, and an appeal to Irishmen not to enlist at all?
§ MR. J. H. M. CAMPBELL
I am quite prepared to admit that the fact is as stated by the hon. Member, but it is a strong corroboration of the argument which I am endeavouring to advance, that a paper which on the admission of the hon. Member has been for months struggling to prevent Ireland aiding and assisting England in this war should have to admit that in the end the English people will judge Ireland not by words but by deeds, and that if that test were applied to the deeds of Ireland, beyond all question Ireland is in favour of this war. It has been suggested by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford that the unity of the Irish Members opposite on this question is a convincing proof that Ireland is opposed to the war. "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." Judging by appearances, however, one would hardly imagine that the Irish Members are enjoying that goodness and pleasure to the extent they would wish, but it may be internal and not external gratification. Be that as it may, is it true that this war has been the cause of unity? Has it not rather been the occasion? Let me quote from a source which I think will be recognised and admitted as an authority on this matter. I refer to the Evening Herald, a well-known Nationalist newspaper published in Dublin. To what does it attribute this sudden outburst of unity? Is it to feeling on the Transvaal War? Here is its explanation—Unity has become necessary because funds have only empty boxes, because American support has become estranged, and at home subscriptions for any purpose have died a sudden death. This state of affairs could not continue.But what is the real cause of the present demonstration—if I may so describe it without meaning any offence—of disloyalty and disaffection on the part of hon. Gentlemen opposite? It is to be 847 found in the simple fact that at the present moment in Irish Nationalist politics the party of physical force is, for the time being, in the ascendant. It is true of every Nationalist movement in Ireland for all time that there is behind it and in control of it this party of physical force—a party which though in a minority among Nationalists is yet irresponsible, unscrupulous, and dangerous, and has been able at all times to suggest the tune though hon. Gentlemen opposite may perform the dance, and I think that the best illustration of this is to be found in the fact that it is the increasing strength and power of the United Irish League—
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is quite at liberty to discuss the attitude of the Irish party—if I may call it so—towards this war, but he is not entitled on this Amendment to discuss the attitude taken up generally by them in Parliament.
§ MR. J. H. M. CAMPBELL
Knowing all this, I wonder why hon. Gentlemen opposite attempt to disguise the truth by the suggestion that this present movement arose out of sympathy with the Boers. "England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity," and whether we are at war with savage or barbarian enemies, or with brave and valiant foes like the inhabitants of the Transvaal, it is not to love for our enemies, but to that implacable hostility to the English race and the English Constitution that has always dominated a section of the Irish people that is to be attributed the disloyal demonstration of to-day. I have heard it said by hon. Gentlemen opposite that it is idle to talk about the grievances of the Uitlanders, that Irishmen at home are subject to greater grievances than ever the Uitlanders were victims of. I can hardly believe that that is seriously meant. Does any Irishman who comes to this country and makes his home in England fail to enjoy to the fullest extent every right and privilege the ordinary English citizen possesses? I would test this statement by taking two illustrations, which I consider are two of the greatest possessions which free men can hope to enjoy—I refer to freedom of speech and the liberty of the press. With regard to freedom of speech, I would like to ask 848 hon. Gentlemen opposite what would be the fate of the unfortunate Uitlander who at a meeting of his countrymen in Johannesburg advised them if they were compelled to take service with the Boers to turn their weapons upon their own officers. Yet in this distressed and tyrannised country of Ireland the hon. Member for Kilkenny has been allowed to do that without objection or remonstrance. If a Uitlander did that in Johannesburg, he would receive a fate which, on account of the amiable and active personality of the hon. Member for Kilkenny, I would very much regret to see carried out in his case. Then with regard to the freedom of the press, the Evening Herald of Dublin, on November 18th, published the following—Fallen.—We publish great news to-day. Ladysmith is reported to have fallen into the hands of the Boers. Ladysmith has fallen. If it is proved to be true and that the Irish Brigade contributed to so dire a British reverse, the hearts of Irishmen the wide world over will thrill with a keen delight they have not experienced in our time before. 'God send it is true' will be the fervent prayer in many an Irish homestead to-day.A country or a constitution that tolerates such language in the press at a time when that country is at war with the country of which it is written can hardly be open to the charge that the fullest liberty of the press is not allowed. With regard to the grievances of the Uitlanders and the extent to which they have brought about this just and righteous war, I do not at this stage propose to enlarge on them. There can be no doubt that the Uitlanders by their efforts and their energy succeeded in realising the enormous mineral resources of the Transvaal, which the Boers were either too indolent or too indifferent to realise, and that as a result of their industry they were compelled to pay these exactions which the Boers have spent in building strong fortifications, in the accumulation of immense military stores, and in perfecting their splendid military equipment, which have enabled them to carry on this war with such success, while at home the English nation had been lulled into apathy by hair-splitting diplomacy about the franchise. It was not until the Jameson raid that the English people for the first time became really awake to a few of the indignities and outrages that their fellow-countrymen were suffering at the hands of the Boers, and, speaking for myself, I 849 can only say that, while there were many bad features in that raid, the worst was its failure, and the best was that it awoke the English nation to a sense of these indignities, while it encouraged President Kruger to throw off the mask and put forward the insolent pretence that the Transvaal was a sovereign State, and had a constitutional right to ill-treat the subjects of the Queen. The British Empire has always been believed to be able and willing to assist its subjects in any part of the world, and it is that feeling which is not only the cause but the justification of this war, and which has swept aside all these squabbles in reference to suzerainty and all differences of party and politics in this country, and has enabled the British Empire to present a united front to the foe. Many hard things have been said of the Government in the course of these debates, and more especially of the Colonial Secretary. All I can say is, speaking on behalf of hon. Members from Ireland who sit on this side of the House, that we are never likely to forget what we owe to that statesman for his splendid efforts in the cause of the integrity of the Empire, and I do not think the nation is likely to forget what they owe to him also.
§ MR. SPEAKER
If the hon. Member reads the terms of the Amendment now under discussion he will observe that it states "that the time has come when the war at present being waged in South Africa should be brought to a close." I quite understand it is impossible to deal with the question without expressing an opinion as to the justice or injustice of the war, but the hon. Member is now going into the discussion of matters dealt with on the last Amendment, namely, the policy of the Government leading up to the war, and that is not in order.
§ MR. J. H. M. CAMPBELL
Just a word or two as to the latter portion of this Amendment. I confess chat I listened with considerable amazement and curiosity to the speech just delivered, having regard to the contribution which it contained for the solution of the present difficulties between England and the Transvaal. Because, so far as I understood the purport and tenor of the observations of the hon. Members who proposed and seconded this Amendment, the solution of the difficulties that recom- 850 mends itself to them is that, after our colonies have been invaded by the Boers, this Empire is to content itself with getting rid of the invader, and to retire on the laurels of a disgraceful and humiliating peace. I do not think that is a policy to recommend itself to the English nation. It seems to me very much as if, having found a burglar in possession of your house and of your goods, which he had ransacked from your house, you were asked to be content with politely showing him to the door. I believe that the English nation will require that this war should be pursued to the proper and vigorous vindication of the nation's honour, which requires that these attempts at invasion shall be impossible in the future, and that our fellow-subjects in South Africa may rest assured for all future time that they and their possessions shall be free from depredation. I do not expect or imagine that what I have said will have much effect upon hon. Members opposite. They are entitled, of course, to the fullest credit for honesty and sincerity of conviction and purpose, but on the other hand, I think it is of some importance that this country should know what is the real extent and anticipated effect of this demonstration of disloyalty and disaffection. It is well the country should see that this cloud, by which they have attempted to obscure the picture of patriotism and loyalty presented by the Empire generally, must be dwarfed to its proper dimensions, and that they should know that the discordant note which has come from hon. Members opposite can have little effect upon the harmonious chorus of loyalty and patriotism which has been re-echoed to the furthermost corners of the world in which are gathered the subjects of the Queen.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness-shire)
So far as I could see any argument pertinent to the Amendment in the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down, it seems to be this—that we must not pass this Amendment, that we must not have a peace upon the basis of the independence of the Boer Republics, because British subjects want to win the same electoral rights in these States as Irishmen get when they come from Ireland to England, because there will not be the same freedom of speech in the Transvaal as here; further, because they 851 would not have the same liberty and licence of journalism in these countries as in this. Well, these arguments only show the confusion of thought of which we have seen a great deal on these benches during the last fortnight. Some Hon. Members appear to think that we are engaged in a just and holy war in behalf of the Uitlanders; but hon. Members who have listened to the speech of the right hon. the Colonial Secretary, which brushed aside all that, and said that the franchise had nothing to do with this war. The Colonial Secretary is right, the franchise has nothing to do with the war. You cannot object to the franchise in the Free State. The problem involved is much more serious than the franchise, and the hon. Gentleman, like many others, is utterly ignorant of all the fundamental facts underlying this question. Does the hon. Gentleman know that if a Boer from the Orange Free State or the Transvaal came to this country he would require to remain five years the same as a Frenchman or a German, then petition the Home Secretary, who might or might not give him naturalisation? The Boer position in this country is entirely different from that of the Irishman. Why does the able and learned Gentleman come before the House of Commons to offer us an argument of that kind? There is equal freedom of speech in the Transvaal, as we have here. The same law obtains in Johannesburg as in London. The British can meet anywhere in a public hall, or a private assembly, but not in the streets. In London you cannot have a meeting in the streets unless you get the consent of the authorities.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
was understood to say that the limitation of public meeting in London only applied to Trafalgar Square.
§ DR. CLARK
My hon. friend is wrong there. There are regulations. What took place in Manchester? What was Mr. Brocklebank sent to prison for? You lay down here rules for public meetings in the streets; the Boers do the 852 same. I have had some experience of freedom of speech in London. I went to a meeting in Trafalgar Square where there were 30,000 people present, who allowed me free speech by howling, and throwing stones and knives. I went to Birmingham, where there was a great crowd of people, and I talked to the reporters for half an hour, because they only could hear me. Half a dozen meetings were being carried on in the hall at the same time. Why, there is no freedom of speech here at present; you cannot get a hearing. There is no freedom of speech scarcely in this House, as I knew to my cost last session. The last time I spoke an hon. Baronet told me that my speech was paid for. As to freedom of the press, there is no country in the world, not even excepting France, where you had, as in the Transvaal, treason written daily in all the papers. I support the Amendment because I think it is the wisest and best solution of the Boer problem. This Boer problem is a serious one for the British Empire. It may be solved on lines that will strengthen and consolidate the Empire, or on lines that will weaken it, and the settlement will test the ability and wisdom not only of our statesmen but also of our people. I will tell you what the Boer problem is. You have not got a dying race in South Africa, but a very virile race. When in 1814 we got possession of South Africa by purchase, we found 30,000 unwilling Dutch subjects, who objected to our buying them without their consent. These 30,000 have grown until they are 500,000. They are the most virile race in the world. They attain maturity, legal and physical, at sixteen; they marry early, and no race on the globe has developed so quickly. Again, in other countries the aboriginal blacks have disappeared before the white man; but in South Africa the Kaffir race has increased in almost as great a ratio as the Boers. This is therefore a virile people with whom you are dealing. They are now in a majority in the two Republics, and in one of the colonies. In Natal only have you men of British race in the majority. If you refuse the solution suggested by the Amendment, I take it that the only other solution is that you are going to destroy the independence of these two Republics—to destroy for the first time in a hundred years two Christian States. Well, I shall drop Christianity, as we are 853 told there is a good deal of cant in that phrase—but two civilised States. Poland was destroyed, but the descendants of those responsible for its destruction rather feel inclined to wish that their forefathers had not done so. Is it likely that men of British birth will ever outnumber the Boers in South Africa, and so from that standpoint solve the problem? We have a certain number of men who every year leave this to go to foreign countries. We have three great continents competing with each other for our surplus population, the first and most important section of which has only got its manual labour to dispose of. America wants them, Australia wants them, but does South Africa want them? I must put a qualification on America wanting them, because black labour obtains in the Southern States. Now, all manual labour in South Africa is done by black men. The standard of comfort is such that no white men will go to South Africa to engage in manual labour, although of course you have there skilled artisans like blacksmiths, joiners, etc., who get 20s. to 30s. a day as wages. Next to the gold fields the most important industry in South Africa is agriculture, in which there are very few British born people engaged; but 95 per cent. of those engaged in that industry in the Cape and in the two Republics are Afrikanders. Both as regards agriculture and manual labour Australia and America offer greater advantages than South Africa. We have, of course, got the diamond mines and gold fields there, but will the development of these enterprises draw more men to South Africa? The oldest industry is the diamond industry, and twenty years ago the population there was twice as great as it is now. Kimberley was then a thriving town with 200 companies, and I do not know how many private claims. Now you have but one company and a few white men to overlook the natives, who are kept in the compounds, where they have to buy everything they want of the company, and where the only things they can do are to drink and gamble. What is taking place in Johannesburg? Nine-tenths of the mines are in the hands of four firms—Rhodes and Co., Wernher, Beit, and Co., J. B. Robinson, and Barnato Brothers—and within six months of the settlement of the present dispute you will probably have them all consolidated into one, and 854 things will go on at Johannesburg as they have done at Kimberley. There is consequently no evidence that a sufficient number of men of British birth will be drawn to South Africa to swamp the Boer population, and thus pave the way for a practical and permanent solution of the existing difficult problem by getting rid of the two Republics and establishing one great British colony, either federated or in its present form. Hon. Members opposite seem to think that when we have thrashed the Boers we shall be able to change them from free citizens into loyal subjects. People who say that do not know the history of South Africa; they know nothing about the people. They are not of the Celtic race: they are the most stubborn people on the face of God's earth. Their forefathers fought as great an Empire as the British, with odds against them just as great. They were defeated again and again, as I believe you will be able to defeat them. This is our fourth Boer war. It will not be the last if you settle it on the basis of converting these free citizens into unwilling subjects. What reasons are we to give for the course we are taking? There has already been a great deal of misrepresentation, but we must, as the Colonial Secretary recognises, give some reason for destroying these two sovereign independent States. I call them sovereign independent States deliberately: I say there is no difference in international law between them and the free States of North and South America. The Orange Free State attended the Hague Conference in the same way as the American Republic, as Belgium, and as Russia. Is not Russia a sovereign free State? Yet you extorted from her the right of having her own ships in her own waters.
§ DR. CLARK
I am speaking generally. Russia owns a large portion of it, and you took away from her the right to have her warships in her own waters. The sole right you have in South Africa is 855 the right of veto which they conceded to you, and they no more lost their status as sovereign independent States by conceding that to you than we have lost our status by giving special preference for trade or any purpose whatever to any other State. Why are we going to destroy these two nations? The Colonial Secretary casts doubt on their right to claim to be sovereign independent States. We occupied South Africa and we did it in order to prevent the French doing so. In 1814 we bought from the Dutch a portion of their possessions. The people objected, and in twenty years the great bulk of them left our territory. An attempt was made to stop the Great Trek, but the Attorney General of the day declared that the people had an absolute right to go from British dominions, and to form a State for themselves, so long as they went beyond our territory. They did so, and they started their Republic. We have had four wars with them. In one we captured Natal, and we have kept it. In our second war we captured the Orange Free State, and after holding it for six years we almost forced the people there to become a sovereign independent State. That was done by the British Government. We also recognised the South African Republics, and I say that their status in international law is exactly the same as the status of the North and South American Republics. What is the basis of your interference with them now? Why should you crush a native free State? Your interference in the Transvaal is based upon the two Conventions, and it is doubtful if one of those is now in existence. If you have a suzerainty, you cannot replace it by a sovereignty. It may be argued that the 4th Article of the Convention of 1884 does create a kind of suzerainty, but I cannot admit that that is a fair interpretation. But did the Boers ever consent to the 1881 Convention? The right hon. Gentleman says we can no longer permit them to remain an independent State because by their bad faith they have made it impossible for us to live with them in South Africa. The first act of bad faith was in 1881, when the Boers tried to break away from the Convention. But what really happened then was that a preliminary peace having been established, a Convention was drafted by three High Commissioners, who with some difficulty obtained the signature of the Boer 856 triumvirate; but the Convention was to be ratified within three months by the Volksraad. The Volksraad refused to ratify it, and instructed agents to commence negotiations de novo. They complained that Great Britain took greater powers under the suzerainty than under sovereignty, and they refused to ratify the Convention. Yet we are told the Boers are guilty of bad faith. They never acknowledged your right in the first instance, but it was said by Lord Kimberley, "Oh, give the thing a trial," and they gave it a provisional trial. Then in 1884 they met Lord Derby, and in order to get rid of the suzerainty and all control by Great Britain they gave up the whole of the western border, and now we are told—
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! This appears to relate more to the Amendment already disposed of. The hon. Member is going into the whole history of the Transvaal. The question before the House now is whether the war should go on or not.
§ DR. CLARK
The question we are discussing now is whether we will end the war on the basis of independence of the two Republics, and I take it that this subject underlies the whole discussion. If we recognise the independence of these States, war will at once cease. The Colonial Secretary has said we cannot do that, but must take steps to prevent in South Africa what will militate against the predominance of Great Britain. So long as you have those two States you cannot have predominance, and that is the problem which the present war is trying to solve, and which I do not think it will determine. I am trying to rebut that argument of the Colonial Secretary, and show that there has been no bad faith on the part of the Boers. The right hon. Gentleman gave three reasons for this war—bad faith on the part of the Boers immediately after signing the Convention—
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The hon. Member will be out of order in dis- 857 cussing any negotiations which took place before the war.
§ DR. CLARK
Very well, Sir; I think there is no proof that any convention or treaty has ever been broken by either of those States, and one great reason why we should end this war is because of the bad faith, not of the Boers, but of the British. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House said at any rate the Orange Free State had no complaint against Great Britain. He evidently has not read the controversy in the Nineteenth Century, or he would know that the Orange Free State had good cause for complaint. There was the stealing of the diamond fields from the Free State, and the payment of £90,000 which was given to the Free State for them. Had he read that discussion he would have been able to see why the Free State was fighting. The Boer States have carried out faithfully their obligations, and the blame of broken treaties lies, not with them, but with the British. This is the fourth war we have had in order to arrive at a permanent settlement. In my belief the only way in which we shall obtain a permanent settlement will be a policy on the lines of this Amendment. You have tried the Colonial Secretary's policy in Ireland for 700 years, and to-day you have had a lesson from which you may learn if you will. If you continue this war with the idea of crushing absolutely these little States I believe you will fail. At the same time, I do press this House and the country to carry this Amendment, and put an end to the war on lines honourable alike to the Boers and British, and so secure that friendly feeling between these races so necessary for the peace and prosperity of South Africa.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
As we left the House last night in consequence of a resolution of our party declining to take any side between the British parties upon an Amendment with which we had no sympathy, the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Belfast cried out after us in derision, "There go the Clanna-Gael!" That expression, intended as an insult, we take as a compliment. It sums up the position taken by the Irish party in regard to the past debate. No one, I think, Sir, is entitled to complain that in discussing a question of this kind 858 the condition and prospects of Ireland should first engage our thoughts. For myself I dislike very much entering into any debate that is not concerned with Ireland. I have no Imperial soul. As I was born, so I will remain a parish politician. I am concerned first of all with my own country, its privations and misfortunes and struggles; consequently no one can complain that in dealing with the Transvaal we see in the vast distance the figure and the form of Irish nationality. Now, Sir, as to this Amendment, I confess that the note which has struck me in the course of the late debate as the most remarkable, in exposure of the British mind, was the phrase which dropped from the First Lord, in, I think, his opening address, when he said that the conduct of the Free State was "idiotic." I think one will acquire from it some illumination of the English mind, and the English point of view as to this war when such a man could employ such an extraordinary ejaculation. Do Englishmen think that ties of brotherhood, kinship, language, and race are idiotic? Why, then, is it strange to see one Afrikander, one Dutchman holding out the hand of comradeship and the rifle of salvation to another. Yet the First Lord of the Treasury could find no other definition of a character like that than that of an idiot, and he lays down the principle that these Free Staters must be afflicted with imbecility, and be actuated by the ties and impulses of blood and kinship, although, indeed, they were also bound by treaty with the Transvaal, and are impliedly called "idiots" for not breaking it. Yet the right hon. Gentleman in the same breath and at the same moment hails with acclaim, and with wondering surprise and admiration, the fact that when the British drum-beat sounded, your own distant colonies have come to your assistance. And this is British statesmanship. It is deemed idiotic that the Free State should go to the assistance of its brother across the border; whereas it is the highest patriotism, the noblest deed of loyalty and devotion for distant New Zealand and Australia to rush into the breach to the aid of the British in South Africa. Sir, if you wish to get into the interior tabernacle of the British mind you must take that sad illustration I have just given you from the speech of the First Lord of the Treasury as the key to its recesses. 859 We are here to-day to consider on this Amendment what policy you will adopt during the war, and what policy you should adopt when the war is over; but we know in advance that our voices and our expressions will fall on deaf ears, and yet is there no lesson for the Tory party to learn in this fact that whether the inception of this war dates from Majuba or from October last, it is brought about by the Liberal Unionists? Do you hear no warning voice in this, that if you pursue towards the Transvaal and the Free State a policy founded on the doctrines of Liberal Unionism, it will land you in the same mess as it has landed you in Ireland? I think, Sir, that the Irish may well say that the defeat of the Home Rule Bill was avenged at Spion Kop. The Tory party proper have had nothing whatever to do with this war, and they will have nothing to do with this settlement. You ancient gentlemen of England will be excluded, and all the clauses and articles of the arrangement will be signed, sealed, and delivered between the Unionists at the Colonial Office and the Unionists at the Cape—Chamberlain, Milner and Co. This war has been made, and the settlement is to be made, by the right hon. Gentleman who declared yesterday, in answer to an interruption, and when twitted by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife with the suggestion how much he would enjoy the task, if he could, of editing his speeches; and he declared that he would not alter one word of them. That is to say, of course, not one word since 1894. There are three members of the Liberal Unionist party in the Cabinet to-day; there were three in the Cabinet of Majuba. The right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary was himself leader of the Majuban host; the Duke of Devonshire was, I will not say his aide-de-camp, but at all events he was his disciple. The noble Duke once excused himself for some inconsistency by explaining that his "financial conscience" was in Mr. Gladstone's keeping, but who kept his warlike conscience in 1881? Lord James and another distinguished member of the Unionist party were answerable for the Treaty of Majuba. They are all to-day the presiding geniuses of this war, and will preside when the terms of settlement come to be made in the Transvaal, the Tory party lying out- 860 side the breastworks. I think we have had a very considerable revenge for 1886. And it is a remarkable fact that now, in 1900, we hear exactly the same platitudes about Africa which we then heard about Ireland: "Twenty years of firm and resolute government" and "an unlimited secret service," and that by the joint effect of these two operative causes, in a brief time the two opposing races will become mingled in a common blend, and will stand shoulder to shoulder in defence of the Empire. How utterly history contradicts this, not merely our version of history, but the Tory version of history as we understand it in Ireland! Spion Kop was only yesterday, but who gets up celebrations in Ireland of the Battle of the Boyne? Who is it that sports sashes, at the annual "closing of the gates" of Derry? Yet you think the Boers will be more likely to forget their triumphs than your own "garrison" in Ireland. We are dealing with a race who, at the present time, have only two feast days in their calendar—Dingaan's Day and Majuba Day. You have now given them Buller's Day, Methuen's Day, Gatacre's Day, Yule's Day, Warren's Day, and Symons' Day. [Cries of "Shame!"]
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
There is no man in the House who has a greater respect than I have for the memory of General Symons. One of the noblest and most touching incidents of the war is the correspondence which passed between General Symons in his dying moments and the Boer commander. It was an episode worthy of both sides, and the only touch of unworthiness in it was the action of the English in turning their backs on their dying general.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
I was saying that, dealing with people with these stubborn memories, we have now given them a long list of further celebrations, and do you think, from your point of view, whose chief glory in Ireland is to celebrate the Battle of the Boyne, and Deny, and Aughrim, that these tenacious Dutchmen will not keep up all these days, especially if they add to them White's 861 Day or perhaps a day of Kitchener? How can you, in approaching this question of a settlement from any reasonable point of view, suppose that you can extirpate from the Dutch heart that which you are unable to expel from your own? The most eloquent speeches that were made against us six or ten years ago were those of the Colonial Secretary when he asked, "Are you going to desert the loyal minority whom you settled in that country, who fought with such vehemence at the Battle of the Boyne, Aughrim, and Derry?" These were the speeches that were made at that time, when we were reminded of your "Dutch Deliverer," and to-day, I say, we have our revenge. It would not be human in us if we did not regard as the worst heritage of Tory policy, and as the greatest infliction on a party which at all events boasted of a love for liberty and truth, that they should have got themselves into this impasse, into this mess, into this disgrace, by the action, statesmanship, and policy of the persecutors of Ireland. A compliment was paid, and I think justly, to Lord Salisbury the other day by a distinguished speaker on his own side, and I do trust that when the terms of settlement come to be arranged with the Dutch people—if you ever get to that stage (I am not a prophet)—personal feeling, the suggestion of individual revenge, the crafts of "crooked statesmanship" will be laid aside, and that some man who is not always boasting of Imperialism with his lips, but who has it in the recesses of his breast, will for the sake of your own domestic peace arrange the terms and clauses of the treaty. But is your ultimate triumph so certain? It seems to be in the minds of some Englishmen that the Almighty has given them a lease for ever of the universe, and they treat any reverse which arises as a sort of breach of the covenant for quiet enjoyment. For all through this debate, and all through your newspaper press, when you are arranging where the Boers will make their last stand—it is dotted out on the map—how long the siege of Pretoria will take, and whether the dividends of the Goldfields Deferred will be 15 or 45 after the war, you seem to leave the Almighty out of the process; He does not enter into your calculations. I admit that at this very moment, while one great Protestant nation is 862 slaughtering another great Protestant nation, you are sending out missionaries to the heathen in Africa to teach them how these Christians love one another. This, no doubt, must greatly edify the blacks. Is there no warning for you from history? Is there no warning for you from Ireland? Do your colonies give you no warning? You boast of the bonds between the colonies and yourselves, and we heard the First Lord of the Treasury re-echoing the Colonial Secretary and rejoicing at the support of the colonies, your great self-ruling communities, and at how they had rallied to your trumpet call. All these things have no warning for you, for actually in the name of freedom and self government you declare that you will wipe out in blood the independence of these two peoples. If we are to believe the doctrine of Napoleon that Providence is always on the side of the best artillery, you will succeed. But I do not think that God is going to be always English. Greater empires than yours have passed away and perished. And as to the threat that by our attitude on this war we have woven the winding-sheet of Home Rule, I answer, "My brothers, we can wait." We are not tired; we will carry on the cause. A successful issue may not be achieved in our time; it may not be in our children's time; but the same tenacity that the Irish race have shown through all these centuries will continue. Never will you make Ireland a British hinterland. Even from your benches to-day two voices are heard. One voice says, "In sympathising and actively showing your sympathy with these people and your determination that peace shall be concluded with them on an honourable basis, you are forfeiting the sympathies of England and destroying the chances of Home Rule." That is one argument. The other argument we have heard to-day, that we do not represent Ireland at all—that whereas the brewers and distillers of Ireland have sent out a hospital train and subscribed £10,000, the poor and lowly have only subscribed £300 for the Boers. If you bring everything to the test of £ s. d. we are nowhere at all. I grant you that. I heard a poor man, whose son is at the front, the other day give expression to this sentiment: "My son," said he, "is fighting for the English in Africa, but I would rather hear of his death than of an 863 English victory." That is unaccountable to you; we are unaccountable to you, and you are prepared and determined—I know it—you make no secret of it—that so long as you can rule over us with the arm of oppression so long will you do so without ruth or regret. The Colonial Secretary the other day was taunted with the fact that he could have made a settlement with the Boers if he would consent to submit the matter to arbitration. He was taunted with the fact that at the Blomfontein Conference he could have made a settlement if he would give a guarantee that he would make no further intervention. But he would not, because, he said, "we could not break our word." Seeing that you have broken other Conventions again and again, was not this squeamishness excessive? Why should you not break your word for the fifteenth time? You made treaties with us. I will not allude to the Treaty of Limerick, because that was a treaty between armies in the field, which you would not suffer your Dutch Deliverer to keep. You made a treaty of Union; you did not keep it. This House made a solemn treaty with Ireland, of which I will read one sentence, in the English Act of Renunciation in 1783—Be it enacted that the said right claimed by the people of Ireland to be bound only by laws enacted by His Majesty in the Parliament of Ireland in all cases whatever and to have all actions and suits at law and equity which may be instituted in that Kingdom decided in His Majesty's Courts of Law without appeal from thence shall be and is hereby declared to be established and ascertained for ever, and shall at no time hereafter be questioned.Seventeen years later you bribed your way to the Act of Union. You broke three treaties with us in two centuries, and you could easily have broken another with the Boers. No nation can ever depend or will ever depend on the honour of England. In saying that, perhaps I should add this qualification—so long as statesmanship of the type which now reigns at the Colonial Office, the statesmanship of the Stock Exchange, prevails in the mind and spirit of your countrymen. In this matter may I say one word in vindication—I have no right or claim to do so—of the statesmanship of Mr. Gladstone. It was directed alike and almost at the same time to this trouble across the channel and across the seas. Those who talk about Majuba Hill and taunt him 864 with having been the author of that settlement, and who now declare that in the next peace treaty there is to be no hint of Majuba, little reflect upon the position of Africa and of England in February, 1881. You had at that time there six or seven regiments, scarcely a good regiment among them, composed, some of them, of raw recruits from Whitechapel, men who would not stand fire. I am not throwing discredit upon the bravery of the British Army taken as a whole, because that surely is beyond question. I am dealing with the material that that statesman had at the moment, without railways in that country, far from transport, oppressed at that time, 1880–81, with troubles piled up for him in Bulgaria and Armenia by the statesmanship of Lord Beaconsfield. I say that instead of being taunted as his memory has been, if Mr. Gladstone had never had to his name anything except the treaty he made with the Boers after Majuba, his action and his fame would serve to defend British honour, and to enlarge the British name for magnanimity when your broken treaties and your treacheries might well make you hide your heads. We are told that you have gone to war to get the franchise from the Boers. You have gone to war for the franchise, and yet the first act of the Tory Lord Lieutenant, on taking office in Ireland, was to move the House of Lords to reject the Irish Municipal Franchise Bill. We are told that the Uitlanders were overtaxed, and that you were entitled to go to war on the question of taxation. But the Uitlanders had no treaty with the Boers. We had a Treaty of Union with you. You made it part of the Treaty of Union that Ireland was to be entitled to exemptions and abatements. But now we are to be crushed with war taxes, in order that more German Jews may have houses in Park Lane. Why should we not be against this war? Why should we not be in favour of an immediate peace? Some English interests may benefit by this war. Your ships, your foodstuffs, your armaments—I can well understand Birmingham and Sheffield being in favour of the war. I can well understand those who run cordite manufactories refusing to re-echo the cry, "Blessed are the meek," and refusing to join in that other blessing in favour of the peacemakers. But what is the position of Ireland, our wretched country—for you have 865 made it wretched; you have destroyed our manufactures, and you are emigrating our people—what is our position to-day? The more our population sinks the higher our taxes rise. English taxes have gone down per head on a declining scale since the Union; Irish taxes have risen in the other proportion. What have we to gain by this war? You do not buy in Ireland if you can help it; you do not expend the price of a percussion cap. I heard a story the other day about your war supplies which is worth telling at a time when you are importing foreign meat, foreign wheat, and foreign emperors to sustain you. For ten years you were paying the Dublin Tramway Company, under some system of war arrangement which I do not profess to understand, £600 a year for the option of taking their horses—a pretty good bargain for the tramway company. You wanted horses, as I understand, six-year-olds, that is, fairly good working horses, and your price was £65 per horse. The Dublin trams have just been electrised, and the 4,000 or 5,000 horses they had were suddenly thrown out of work. The Dublin Tramway Company, as they had been getting £600 a year for nothing from the British, wrote over to say, "You are giving £65 to London bus-drivers for horses; we will give you the pick of our horses for £30 apiece." The War Office wrote over to say they were not having any such horses, although London tram managers are complaining that their stables are denuded by the war. The only thing Irish the Government want are Irish fools. We have heard a good deal of praise of the Irishmen at the front. I read a message the other day from Mr. Winston Churchill, the honoured son of an honoured father, who in this House never showed us anything but kindness. I read his description of an Irish regiment at Spion Kop—The Irish regiment was exposed to an annoying cross fire from Creuzot and Maxim shell guns. The casualties were, however, slight—about a dozen up to noon. The demeanour of the troops under this fire—which they have now borne passively for three days—has been most admirable. The quality of the private soldiers is wonderful. During the morning I visited the Irish infantry, remaining half an hour, in which time eleven shells discharged from a Maxim shell gun exploded in a place where the sheltering soldiers were smoking and playing cards or sleeping, utterly unmoved. They are still the finest infantry in the world—cheery, dignified, magnificent.866 Most English papers copied that from the Morning Post. It had put the Morning Post to some expense to telegraph that message, and even to telegraph the word "Irish," I suppose, must have cost them half-a-sovereign. But the papers which copied that message nearly all omitted the word "Irish." It was a British economy of type-setting. If it be true, as the hon. Member for West Belfast said when we were asking why Irish militia regiments were withdrawn from Ireland—the hon. Gentleman, with his soul full of 1688, and charged with memories of the Boyne, said, "Because they were rebels."
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
That is his correction. I should have said South Belfast, not West. The hon. Gentleman is most anxious that I should associate the name of South Belfast with that affair.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
These are the people you want to put over the Dutch in South Africa. You want a settlement. You want the two races to mingle hand in hand waving the Union Jack and singing "Rule Britannia," and you would put in ascendency over the Dutch such men as have made their ascendency in Ireland hateful, and who call your own Irish soldiers "rebels." What wonder, then, if there is disaffection! I understand the principles of Pirate Smith who hoisted his black flag at Bristol and made war with all and sundry for the sake of booty. He had not a Bible on board. He swore by the Jolly Roger and not by the Ten Commandments. You want to syndicate Christianity, and take the Twelve Apostles, into your limited liability company. Then you hold up your hands like the pharisee and invite other nations to rejoice that the English possess such virtues. The Irish people are a feeble folk, and the only advantage which the Irish have is that we are able to contemplate your virtues at close quarters. But the Dutch, you see, are 7,000 miles away. Therefore misunderstandings may crop up between you and the Dutch. They have not the advantage which the 867 Irish have in this House of seeing the British constantly, of reading your newspapers, and chanting Rudyard Kipling. But I am told that Rudyard Kipling is an author whom it is extremely difficult to translate into Dutch. Therefore, I am inclined to doubt the theory that in the furnace of this war the Afrikander and the Briton will be fused by the bloody flux of battle. No, we are here to-day to testify in the name and for the cause of race nationality. As I have already said, you may win. All your calculations are based upon that. If you win you will think that the results have justified your efforts. You will not think of the statesmanship of Gladstone, who held that there were bounds beyond which empire should not go, that there were limits even to British strength, and that by excessive effort, the extensor and contractor muscles of even the British right arm might tire. You disdain Gladstonian Councils, and you will go on and on and on in so far as time and circumstances permit you, and as long as you are successful you chant hosannas to the glories of your jingo statesmen. Is this wisdom? By what means do you hope to keep the Empire you have got? By what means do you hope to conciliate the races which you govern? Do you think the excuses on which you annex territory satisfy anyone but yourselves? I remember in 1879, when you were thinking of annexing Burma. The Tory Government was about to go out, but nobody knew that in India, where Reuter's telegrams are the great adjunct of civilisation, as anybody who turns up the history of that time will see. There came over sudddenly one day a telegram from Rangoon, "King Thebaw is drinking." I do not think the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle was much disturbed at that. I had never heard of King Thebaw myself, and I was a little more surprised when I read the next day, "The king is drinking still." A week elapsed, and then came a telegram, "King Thebaw has murdered his mother-in-law and three maiden aunts." Nothing more was heard for two days, and then there arrived another telegram, "Thebaw is drinking still." Shortly after this there were troops on the frontier. This was something like the Uitlanders' grievance. But before righteousness could invade Burma the Beaconsfield Ministry fell, 868 and another five years elapsed in which Thebaw and his misfortunes, his want of temperance and the loss of his maiden aunts were entirely ignored by the British public. In June, 1885, a most appropriate circumstance occurred, for we put out the Gladstone Government over a dispute about the whisky tax, and within a week Baron Reuter telegraphed from Burma, "Thebaw is drinking still," and within a month or two after that you made war on Burma and King Thebaw was himself a Uitlander. Your pretext for taking Johannesburg is just the same. There, there is gold, and in Burma there were rubies, and commercial principles must triumph over backward native ways. Your policy is a policy of grab, and I do think it is pitiable that a nation whose qualities are great, whose courage is indomitable, whose resources are endless, should have, at this day, the canker of corruption eating at her heart. The principles which made you great are forgotten. The principles which make the British name a terror are represented by a statue of Cromwell outside Westminster Hall. You put up that statue to the memory of the author of the massacre of Drogheda after "quarter" had been promised to its garrison, at the very moment when your own forces are besieged in Ladysmith. Where was your historic conscience? We represent a small country and a small fraction of the Queen's dominions, but we have memories and we have hopes, and here lift up the voice of that country in protest against your policy, and we declare that the men of Ireland will never join you in any composition of wrong or of injustice.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
I have listened with much pain to the hon. Member for North Louth. His speeches are always brilliant, but I think I have rarely heard from him a speech characterised at once by so much bitterness towards this country delivered within the precincts of this House; by so inappropriate a levity, producing roars of laughter from the Irish benches; and by so little relevancy and regard for the seriousness of the subject under discussion. When I heard the peals of laughter provoked by his jokes following each other with great rapidity, it seemed to me as though the Irish party had set itself the task of discrediting this 869 House, and come here not to assist in Parliamentary work, but to throw discredit upon England and the Parliament of England and to give encouragement to the enemies of the Empire. The hon. Member for Waterford and the hon. Member for North Louth himself are never tired of telling us that they are a small and insignificant minority, but I for one cannot regard without serious misgiving the attitude which they have taken up upon this occasion. I congratulate the Irish party upon their choice of a leader in the Member for Waterford, for he has, in my opinion, improved on the tone of the speeches which we so often have to deplore from the benches opposite. He has lifted the tone of debate and improved the style of oratory, and as we heard him those of us who are most anxious to do all we can for Ireland did cherish the hope that perhaps with such a leader there might come some chance of removing those bitter feelings which have hitherto existed. With regard to the Amendment itself, it is one of the greatest possible importance. It declares that this is the time to make peace, and it declares the terms of that peace. But from whom does this advice come? It comes from those who have avowed that their main purpose is hatred of England. Surely that throws a certain amount of suspicion upon the advice itself, a certain amount of improbability over the theory that this advice is for the good of England, and a certain amount of possibility that it may be intended to lure her to destruction. I am glad to know that all Irishmen do not share this hatred of England, and that there are gallant Irishmen in South Africa who are spending their blood in defence of the United Kingdom. Even the Commander-in-Chief is an Irishman. With what feelings will those Irish soldiers and generals read the account of this debate, filled with jibes and jeers and laughter, and embodying to them this message: that they should cease to fight for the cause which they are fighting. With what feelings will they receive that message? Not with encouragement, I think. The war, as I have said again and again, is a most lamentable war. Even if it were inevitable I should have wished and striven to postpone it as long as possible. I deplore it. I never looked forward with confidence to the prospects it opened. I expected reverses and calamities, and I have seen in front of us 870 prospects of the very greatest difficulties and even of calamities. I do, however, declare that this time is the most inappropriate time of all to end the war. Where do we stand? Our country is invaded, we have lost 10,000 men killed, wounded, and prisoners, and have not yet repelled the invader. We are under the stress of reverses unmatched in our history, for reverses of this kind and quality we have never had before. Therefore, I say of all moments this is not the moment for us to sue for peace. Much as I deplore this war, I do declare for myself, and I believe for many sitting around me, that rather than sue for peace, at this moment and under these circumstances, I would sell the shirt from off my back and give my last possession to carry on the war. What would the hon. Member for North Louth say if Ireland were in the same position? Suppose Ireland had been invaded, had lost 10,000 soldiers, and were in the same position as our South African colonies? I know he would be the first to protest against the action of any Irishman who proposed to make peace with the enemy at that time, and under those conditions, upon any terms whatever. The Member for Waterford told us that England is isolated. It is true that she is isolated, but notwithstanding this I believe that France still entertains friendly feelings towards us. There is, however, no doubt that the Powers of Europe are closing ominously round us in various directions. No doubt there is an ominous movement of Russia towards the Indian frontier. There is a revival of that ancient and notorious movement by which Germany has long sought to bring Holland into the German Empire. And there is the invariable, secular, necessary alliance, always existing though not always avowed, between Russia and Germany, which may before long be turned against us. We are isolated, but is that a reason for making peace? By suing for peace under the stress of such a feeling you would only add to your isolation and to the hatred and contempt of foreign countries. If you want to provide against isolation it is at any rate only to be done by making good your own claim to your own territory, by expelling the foe from the land on which they stand now. Then alone you will be able to deal on equal terms with foreign nations. This argument is one of the strongest against even a 871 suggestion of peace at this moment. It is said in this resolution that peace shall be made on the terms of maintaining the independence of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. I do not know that the independence of the Transvaal was threatened before the war, though now it is quite another matter. What the end of this war may bring we do not know, for who can tell what incidents may occur? President Kruger has said that before this war ends a price will have to be paid which will stagger humanity. Suppose then that some awful, horrible, unheard of event such as has never happened before in history should occur? Suppose some terrible revenge should be taken? Surely that would change the situation. We cannot at this moment commit ourselves to any such declaration as that, at the end of the war, the fullest independence will be granted. I have always held that there is very little to be gained by this war, and have always hoped that the independence of the Transvaal would be respected. But at a moment when you are entirely unaware of what may happen it is absolutely impossible to pledge yourselves to the future. The hon. Gentleman the Member for North Louth has said that we should send out a man who will be competent to make good terms of peace, and I agree with that. I was much struck by the suggestion made by my hon. friend the Member for Plymouth that Lord Rosebery should be sent out for that purpose. I believe he would be a very good man, for he is under no suspicion of stock jobbing, under no suspicion of being an object of dislike to the Cape Dutch or of having used offensive language to or concerning them, and he is therefore to that extent specially qualified for the delicate task of negotiating terms of peace, and even if he did displace Sir Alfred Milner he has occupied such high positions in the State that this would be no slight to that functionary. There is one other subject cognate to this resolution. Sir Alfred Milner has issued a notice declaring invalid all transfers of Transvaal property effected by the Transvaal Government during the war, and I desire to know how far that extends. Does Sir Alfred Milner assume that Her Majesty's Government can and should interfere with the transfer of property of foreign subjects, as between French and German, for instance, or as 872 between Boer and Boer, or between Englishman and Boer? I can hardly suppose it, but to my mind this notice is one of the most amazing I have ever seen, and I should like to hear some explanation of it from Her Majesty's Government. And are the terms of this notice to be made part of the terms of peace? I do not know whether any Minister on the front bench will be able to answer that question, but it is an important one, and should be answered. As for this Amendment on which we are to vote to-night, it is on the face of it little less than an absurdity. This is not the time to make peace, and when the time does come you cannot now say that it should certainly include the independence of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. Were it not for the frank expression of hatred to England we have heard from the benches opposite, I could not understand the proposition being mooted at all, but certainly when our territory is in the possession of the enemy, that is not the moment when England should either declare or feel herself ready to treat for peace.
§ MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
The hon. Member for King's Lynn said this is an unfortunate time to bring forward an Amendment of this character. He also called the Amendment an absurdity. When does the hon. Gentleman suggest that it should be brought forward? Is it when Pretoria has been taken, and when thousands of lives have been lost on both sides in this conflict? This resolution possesses the great merit of going directly to the question, which is, as far as we on these benches, and not a few hon. Members above the gangway, are concerned, that this war is unjust and unnecessary, and that the sooner it is ended the better. The whole controversy, according to the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, turns on the independence and integrity of the two South African Republics; but the Colonial Secretary takes quite a different view, and notwithstanding the Conventions of 1881 and 1884, declares that the whole controversy turns on the question of British supremacy in South Africa. Now it would have been thought that when the abstruse term "suzerainty" was got rid of by the sanction of Parliament, hon. Members would hear no more about it; but "British supremacy" is a still more sinister phrase, and when the Boers 873 come to know that that is the view of the Colonial Secretary, I very much fear it will increase the intensity of the struggle by forcing on them the conviction that their independence is aimed at and that no settlement short of placing them under the heel of this country will satisfy the elements now moving the politics of this country. The question of suzerainty has been very much discussed during these debates, but it cannot be too often insisted upon that it is the pivot on which the whole controversy turns. I read with some astonishment a speech made by Lord Salisbury in the House of Lords.
§ MR. FLYNN
I shall not further refer to it, Sir. The question of suzerainty is inextricably mixed up with the justice or injustice of this struggle, and is accordingly relevant to the Amendment. The Convention of 1881 unquestionably contained in its preamble a reference to this question of suzerainty, but the Prime Minister himself has declared that President Kruger was so anxious to get rid of the word "suzerainty" and all that it conveyed that he made considerable sacrifices of territory for that purpose. I am sure the House listened with great attention to the speech of the hon. Member for Caithness, which was closely packed with arguments and facts giving us the inner history of these transactions as it had not been previously given. He proved to the satisfaction of every fair-minded man that the Boers were dissatisfied with the Convention of 1881, and refused to ratify it in their Raad, and that a final settlement was based on the Convention of 1884. The Colonial Secretary in this House, on behalf of the Government and for the enlightenment of the British people, defended the abolition of the word "suzerainty" and the settlement of 1884. I would ask is this Government entitled, if it finds a Convention inconvenient, or the terms of a treaty unsatisfactory, to tear it in pieces? I was very much struck by a very forcible expression in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the member for Montrose to his constituents. He asked—If you are going to tear up this treaty and Convention, what is going to become of the little pieces?874 To any man not carried away by the dominant spirit of aggressive jingoism the answer to that question is one of the greatest importance. Have the Boers violated the Convention of 1884 or not? No such allegation has been made during these debates; not in one valid particular have the Boers violated that Convention. Why, therefore, did the Government tear it to pieces? The grievances of the Uitlanders might meet with sympathy, but you had no right to go behind the Convention of 1884. This Government, or any Government, had only the right to make strong representations to the Boer Government with a view to the removal or modification of these grievances. The hon. and learned Member for the St. Stephen's Green Division stated in his speech that there was no free speech in the Transvaal and no absolute liberty of the press. Why, Sir, in Ireland within the last month three meetings at which members of this House were announced to address their constituents were suppressed on the unsupported affidavit of an unknown policeman before a resident magistrate, and yet this Government is prepared to pour out blood and money to establish free speech in Johannesburg. Where is the consistency? We are told that trade follows the flag. Will it follow the flag of death; and will your relations with the Transvaal and the Orange Free State be improved after the bloody massacre on both sides? There is something connected with this war entirely outside the question of the Uitlanders' grievances or breaches of the Convention. Politics in this country are in a bad way when they are dominated by Stock Exchange considerations; and if there is one thing more patent than another to every patient reader of the Blue-books, it is that the members of the South African League, directed by the Stock Exchange, are the men who are really responsible for this disastrous war. With regard to the Uitlanders' grievances, we now know in connection with the franchise that it was a matter of only two years difference.
§ MR. SPEAKER
That was one of the matters raised by the debate which ended last night. The question now is, war being declared, what are the terms on which it is to be closed.
§ MR. FLYNN
It will not be necessary for me to follow that line of argument, because it has been sufficiently discussed already. I think every thoughtful man must come to the conclusion that the time has arrived when peace ought to be made. This Empire can gain nothing by pursuing this war to a bitter and bloody close. It may satisfy those who believe in the policy of "wiping something off the slate." That is a policy which the Tory Poet Laureate has commended in doggerel verse. It is a policy which is applauded in the music halls and in a portion of the press of the country; but is it not a reversal in the face of the world of the noble policy Mr. Gladstone inaugurated fifteen years ago? In pursuance of this policy you are prepared to drench the veldt with still more blood, and to squander millions of money; and instead of pacifying the Boers, all who survive and their descendants will be the irreconcilable enemies of the British Empire and the British race. The hon. and learned Member for North Louth drew a very apt comparison of the unfortunate results of this policy in Ireland. If you are going to extend that policy to another latitude and longitude, then continue the war. But if this Empire is to revert to the noble traditions which helped to build it up, if you are prepared to listen to wise councils of humanity and Christianity, then, even if this Amendment be not accepted, I trust the Government will take prompt steps to pursue a course similar to that now suggested.
§ MR. WILLIAM MOORE (Antrim, N.)
I should like to contribute a few remarks to this debate mainly on one ground; I believe that the experience of mankind is that if a certain statement is repeated often enough the person repeating it eventually comes to believe it. I have often heard it asserted by hon. Gentlemen opposite that they have an absolute monopoly of Irish nationality and of aspirations for the good of our common country. They have repeated it so often that they now consider it is absolutely true, but with this effect, that they ignore the loyal Irish minority. It is unfortunate that we, the loyal Irish minority, have not taken on ourselves on all occasions the duty of representing to the 876 people of the United Kingdom our own existence and our own power as a political force, and of establishing to the satisfaction of our fellow-subjects that we are prepared to share in the burdens as well as in the glory of the Empire. I regret, as an Irishman first and a Unionist afterwards, that on this occasion it is not possible for us to take common ground on one topic in which our countrymen are much interested. Ireland has contributed to the Army of the United Kingdom 27,000 men, and it would have been at least a graceful thing on the part of hon. Members opposite if they had joined in paying a tribute to the courage and valour of these soldiers. As regards the Unionists in Ireland, the matter is one of which we are all proud. I have an intimate knowledge of my own constituency, and it is no exaggeration to say that the name of Sir George White is revered there as if he were the hero of the hour. There is one matter, however, in which I am in accord with the hon. Member who has just sat down, and also with the hon. and learned Member for North Louth. The hon. and learned Member said that Ireland was now having her revenge for the rejection of Home Rule. I do not care for these maxims and suggestions of revenge. The only way in which a country can be prosperous is if the dead past is allowed to bury its dead. But putting questions of revenge out of the way, I agree there is a very important lesson to be learned from the policy of this country as regards the Transvaal in 1884. When the Transvaal was given its own Parliament and its own independent legislature, it was stated it was sufficient to satisfy all the aspirations of the people and to make them firm and loyal friends of England in South Africa. That was the policy which hon. Gentlemen opposite suggested would have the same effect if set up in Ireland. The policy, fortunately, was rejected in the case of Ireland, but it was carried out in South Africa. Can we now point with any satisfaction to the results of that policy? Has England received that loyal support from the Dutch majority, from Mr. Schreiner, Mr. Hofmeyr, and other members of the Cape Parliament? I would thank the hon. and learned Member for North Louth for one of the declarations 877 he has made. He declared the unalterable determination of his party to insist on Home Rule, notwithstanding the fact that time after time when they have made proposals in this House their votes have left them in a minority. That is a declaration of war which every Unionist will lay to heart. I am glad the hon. and learned Gentleman has given it to us, because we shall know how to meet it. With reference to the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, I should like to express my sense of the dignified position he took up, but I should also like to add that the tone he adopted, although so worthy and befitting, is entirely different from the language and sentiments he indulges in across the Channel. I venture to say that he has never claimed on an Irish platform the right to tender advice to the House of Commons as to what its conduct should be in the present position, although of course he has a perfect right to do it. He justified himself by saying that he was only treading in the footsteps of Chatham, Burke, and Grattan. I should like to be satisfied that his sentiments towards this country are similar to those of Chatham, Burke, and Grattan. I find in a newspaper of which the hon. and learned Member is a director a reference to the rumoured fall of Ladysmith, a portion of which has been already read in the House by the hon. and learned Member for St. Stephen's Green. The remainder of the extract is as follows—For if it is indeed the case that this important strategic point has come into the hands of the brave Boers it marks the beginning of the end, not alone of British prestige, but of the whole robber system that has for so long plundered and dominated so large a portion of the habitable globe. Therefore it is that we join heartily in the universal prayer of the Irish race to-day.These are the gentlemen who are now offering us friendly advice, and who claim to be the humble followers of Chatham, Burke and Grattan. Does the hon. and learned Member agree with the sentiments of Grattan? Speaking on the 27th of May, 1782, Grattan said—Common interest, a perpetual connection, the recent conduct of Great Britain, a native affection to the British name and nation, together with the constitution we have recovered and the high reputation we possess, must ever decide the wishes as well as the interest of Ireland to perpetuate the harmony, stability, and glory of the Empire.878 Is the hon. and learned Member following in the footsteps of Burke? Burke was never treated as a traitor, and I cannot find any suspicion or suggestion that he was disloyal. Speaking on the 14th December, 1778, when he heard that the American colonies claimed independence, Burke said—On the day that he first heard of the American states having claimed independency it made him sick at heart, it struck him to the soul, because he saw it was a claim essentially injurious to this country, and a claim which Great Britain could never get rid of.These were the sentiments of Grattan and Burke with regard to this country, and when we find the hon. and learned Member for Waterford approving of these sentiments, and advising the House of Commons, surely we should think of the quarter from which the advice comes. I should like to understand what motive the hon. and learned Member has in giving us this advice. Is it to strengthen and encourage the enemies of the Empire? Is it to humiliate Great Britain? When I remember that the party which the hon. and learned Member represents has cheered the Zulus and the Mahdi, it seems to me extraordinary that he should display such disinterested sympathy. The statement has been made by hon. Gentlemen sitting opposite that the whole civilised world is against England in this struggle, and in support of the Boers. I think it is hardly right or respectful—I am not a member of their Church—for any of them to declare that the civilised world is against us, when a cardinal priest of their own Church has blessed the war. Is it suggested that he would do that if he did not believe that the war was just, or that he is not a member of a civilised community? The explanation of the whole thing is, I believe, well summed up in the expression which we borrowed from America, and which is mainly used with reference to authors—log-rolling. Hon. Gentlemen would be very glad indeed if they were able to establish the principle of independent legislatures in the two Republics in South Africa, because by so doing they would be increasing the chance of the same policy being applied in Ireland. That is the obvious explanation of the interested advice of the hon. and learned Member, and I hope that the House will give it the attention it deserves. This war has established one 879 principle for which as an Irish Unionist I am grateful. We have heard a great deal about the affection which the colonies have shown the mother country, but I value still more, as an Irish Unionist, the loyalty which the mother country has felt bound to extend to her colonies. We have had in South Africa a loyal British community, which has been subjected to Dutch domination for years. They sent their complaints to this country, and the policy of conciliation, as applied in Ireland, was adopted, and these complaints of our fellow-subjects in South Africa were treated with contempt. But there comes a time when the last straw breaks the camel's back, and this country is now determined to assert in South Africa, and every part of the globe, the right of our loyal fellow-subjects to ordinary liberty, and to a recognition of their loyalty. If in Ireland, where our loyal fellow-subjects have for long complained of a domination of a majority, there is to be a recognition in the future that you will abide by your own people, and distinguish friend from foe, then I shall welcome the adoption of that principle. It was suggested that the Government had made one mistake in committing themselves to the defence of Northern Natal. I do not know whether strategically that was a mistake, but I venture to say that politically there could be no mistake about it.
§ MR. WILLIAM MOORE
Sir, I bow to your ruling at once. It was with the object of surrender that this Amendment was moved. There are times when surrender can be considered, but I venture to think that these are only two in number. You may surrender after a victory, after a gigantic success; and then that surrender would be called magnanimity. Or, again, you may surrender when you cannot lift another arm, or wield another sword, in the crushing gloom of defeat. That surrender is not magnanimity. At present we have reached neither the one stage nor the other; and any surrender could only be treated as having one meaning, the meaning of cowardice. We have given 880 up territory, we have lost valuable lives, we have shed blood and treasure. Is all that to be in vain? If we were to surrender now, would hon. Members call it magnanimity? Sir, the country would have none of that. The City of York would have none of it; and the feeling exhibited there will be exhibited in every town in England and of loyal Ireland. I hope that this war will be prosecuted, I need hardly say with success, but until a termination has been arrived at which will satisfy the wishes of all real patriotic lovers of the Empire.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
I recognise that the terms of the Amendment submitted to the House by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford are exceedingly narrow, and that it is perfectly impossible for anyone to argue the general question of policy upon it. The hon. and learned Gentleman, I am bound to say, introduced his Amendment with great moderation, and in the most temperate language. He put what he believed to be the Irish Nationalist point of view strongly, and I am very far from denying that he has behind him a considerable amount of Irish public opinion. I cannot help saying that I admit the seriousness of the fact. I think it is a lamentable fact that, with practically the whole of Great Britain on one side, with the whole of the self-governing colonies ranged behind us in this war, there should be an Irish party of eighty members in this House who, from whatever motives, will vote against England in this matter. Whether it comes from hatred of England or from a mistaken view of the facts, the fact is there, and I am not in the least inclined to underrate it. But it is, I confess, a rather curious condition of affairs that the representatives of a country which they claim to be an oppressed country, although I am not prepared to agree to the oppression to the extent they believe, should stand behind what I cannot help calling one of the most odious tyrannies of the century. [HON. MEMBERS on the Irish benches: Oh, oh!] Hon. Gentlemen opposite may disagree, but facts are facts. Now what would have been the position of the Irish people had they been in the condition of the British population in the Transvaal? if they were denied the franchise? [An 881 HON. MEMBER: So they were till the other day.] If they had had an embargo put upon the education of their children? [HON. MEMBERS: So they have! What about the university?] If they had had the right of public meeting suspended? [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!] If freedom of the press had been abolished? I know that hon. Gentleman will tell me that all this has happened in Ireland. [Cheers from the Irish benches.] Yes, but what was the view of the Irish Members in regard to it, and what did they say in this House about it? They never ceased to protest against it, and in many respects they succeeded in getting a remedy for great wrongs. But here they are ranged, not in protest against this iniquity, but in defence of it. [IRISH MEMBERS: No, no!] I say it is one of the most extraordinary facts of the situation that the representatives of a country claiming to be oppressed, and protesting against these things, should be standing in line for the oppressor. [An IRISH MEMBER: For his independence only.] The hon. and learned Member for Waterford had an analogy, used repeatedly in this debate, of the most extraordinary character. He claims to stand in the position of Chatham and Burke, in protesting against the war with the American colonies. What was the net issue involved in that war? [An IRISH MEMBER: A tax on tea.] Was not the grievance taxation without representation? But that is the grievance here, or one of them. The Uitlanders contribute most of the taxation of the Transvaal without an atom of representation.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
Yet hon. Gentlemen shelter themselves behind the great names of Chatham and Burke, altogether oblivious of the fact that these men stood for a principle; and that they are revering that principle and standing for the opposite: taxation without representation. They are not alone to blame in that matter, for on the front bench opposite the same position has been taken. The hon. Member for Caithness had some debate with me as to the right 882 of public meeting in the Transvaal. He advanced the extraordinary argument that the law of public meeting in Johannesburg was precisely what it was in London. That is not so. And then the hon. Member went on to describe how he himself had been pelted with stones in Trafalgar Square. But that is not the law. Next, he went on to tell us that he had gone to Birmingham, and had been refused a fair hearing. Yes, but there is one place where he has not gone, where the law of public meeting is perfectly free. He has not gone to Caithness, his own constituency. He has gone up and down the country, but his own constituents have been clamouring for his presence and advice; and although the law of public meeting is perfectly safe in Caithness, he has not gone there. The hon. Member for North Louth, opposite to whom I have sat for fourteen years, and who never makes a speech, whether I agree with it or not (and I often agree with a great deal of what he says), but what I enjoy most heartily, spoke of the Boers having two gala days in the year, but that they were about to add many more. There is one which will never be added—the day on which this Parliament surrenders to most ignominious conditions like those of the Parliament of 1881, suggested by this Amendment. Sir, a good deal has been said during these debates about judgment and forethought. I have not seen much of it on the opposite side, and precious little of it in the Amendment before the House; and probably hon. Members are aware of it. This is not a question of forethought at all. He who runs may read. What are the terms of the Amendment now submitted to the House? The hon. and learned Gentleman does not pretend, because he is incapable of making a pretence, to prejudice the matter. What are the terms on which the war should be stopped? The Leader of the Opposition, the other night, finessed a good deal in his speech on that point. He committed himself almost, and then drew back. What he did commit himself to, if he committed himself at all, was that peace should be made when our territory was clear of the invader. [An HON. MEMBER: Why not?] I am not saying why not; but it is a very different thing to make peace when the invader is on our territory. There is no mistake what this Amendment means. 883 The Irish Members know what they are doing. They have been perfectly logical and consistent in the whole of their proceedings. They refused to vote for the Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for Cricklade, because they did not approve of it. But this is an Amendment seeking to pledge the House of Commons to stop the war—now, with part of Natal and parts of Cape Colony in the hands of the enemy. All I have got to say is, that there are a great number of people in this country who think there was a shameful surrender after Majuba—I believe the majority of the people of the country think so—but the surrender of 1881 would be as nothing to the surrender of 1900, if this Amendment were carried. I say it is an impossible Amendment, and the sooner the House of Commons conies to a division upon it the better.
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON (Cumberland, Cockermouth)
The hon. Member who spoke last but one suggested that to accept the Amendment would be an act of cowardice. I think that it would be an act of the greatest cowardice for anyone to refuse to admit that he is in the wrong, if he is in the wrong. I am very glad that this Amendment has been brought forward, and for one reason—that it is a clear Amendment which we can all understand. We have had five or six nights debate over an Amendment which people did not seem able to understand, and of which they gave different explanations. But this is one we can all understand. I congratulate my Irish friends on having brought it forward. It is one of the first-fruits of that reconciliation which we have heard of; and for my part I take this opportunity of congratulating them on that union, which I hope and trust will be both firm and prosperous. They could not have done anything better than by bringing forward, on such an occasion, a motion in the sacred interests of peace and goodwill. I think the Amendment may be considered in another light; it condemns no one. It deals simply with the present, and suggests the means of getting out of the terrible position in which we find ourselves. It is a motion of peace and goodwill, and I, for my part, do not think that the war policy, so far, has done us any good. Is there any good thing that 884 comes from such a policy? We have an enormous expenditure; we have a long roll of gallant dead; we have our wounded, suffering, and misery in thousands of homes, and our prestige that you talk about is gone. [HON. MEMBERS: No, no!] I can only say I read a letter the other day from one of the greatest Tories of the kingdom, Mr. Frederick Greenwood, who declares that our prestige is gone irretrievably; and the Prime Minister says we are in a state of humiliation; while I read in the Tory newspapers that the Empire is at stake. All this is the result of your war policy. The question brought forward by this Amendment is—"Is it worth while to go on with that policy, or to go on in a wiser course?" I know that the "war-at-any-price party" say, "Go on fighting, with more expenditure of treasure and with more disgrace to this country." [HON. MEMBERS: No, no!] Well, it is a disgrace. Whoever is to blame, whoever began it, surely it is a scandal and a disgrace for two so-called Christian nations to be cutting one another's throats. Why are they cutting one another's throats? It is to prove, if I understand the argument, which is the stronger. I voted in the autumn session with a very few colleagues against this war altogether, and against the money and the men. And I will tell you why I did so. I will quote my right hon. friend the Member for Wolverhampton, though I do not agree with him about this war. I am a man of peace; he is a man of war. I think he stated the case very properly when he went down to his constituents after the autumn session. He said that—He held to the opinion clearly that war was a terrible and awful calamity, and unless it was absolutely unnecessary was a gigantic crime. Now, holding that opinion, he could not and would not spend a single shilling or sacrifice a single life in the prosecution of a war which he held to be unjust.That is my standpoint. I hold this war to be unjust, and I voted at every opportunity against the money and the men; and I shall do so to the end of the chapter, unless somebody can show me a different way of settling this dispute. I have alluded to our misfortunes. We cannot regain the millions spent, we cannot recall the lives of the heroes who are dead, or bind up the hearts broken by all this misery; but I do think it still 885 remains in our power, by conciliation and adopting the Amendment under consideration, to put a stop to what is going on. I think it is possible, even now, that a wise statesmanship may be able to stand between the living and the dead. The First Lord of the Admiralty in his speech alluded to the Amendment brought forward by the Front Opposite Bench as unpatriotic. I do not accept that description for this Amendment; it at any rate proposes a Christian intervention in these horrible proceedings. But I would prefer another Amendment like the one I put on the Paper, which more correctly expresses my views, and although I cannot now move it, I may be allowed to read it—"And we humbly pray your Majesty to direct your Ministers to take immediate steps for making known to the two Republics with whom we are at war the terms on which an honourable peace may be concluded, with a view to stopping further loss of life and expenditure of treasure in military operations." I think that would have been a better way of expressing my own feelings. It does not say "Stop the war," but only takes the means probable to stop the fighting. Now I know that in this House that is not a popular line to take; and in the country it is very difficult to express any opinion in favour of peace. But, Sir, I am proud of this House; I think it is the only place that is left at this moment in which a man is allowed to say what he will on this matter. I am proud of the debate. I am an old Member of the House, and I think some of the speeches made during last week have been the finest I have ever heard, such as those of my right hon. friend the Member for Bodmin, my right hon. friend the Member for Dumfries Burghs, my right hon. friend the Member for West Monmouthshire, the Member for Battersea, and, above all, that of the hon. Member for Carnarvon Burghs, whose was one of the very finest I ever heard in this House. I am sure that the House listened to these speeches graciously and quietly, and I rejoice that they have been put before the country. Of course it is said that we cannot do anything because of the invasion of our territory. That appears to me to be only a part of the argument. Really we were making war against the Transvaal when we were sending out our troops there; and it was only because the Boers had 886 the first chance that they crossed the frontier. Of course there is the feeling which animates our Yeomanry and Volunteers, that they are going out to defend our territory; but nobody can expect any military glory from this war, for if we have 180,000 men opposed to 60,000, that is three to one, how can you possibly find glory in it? As to the bravery of our troops, who disputes it? We know they are brave, and will be brave. But, on the other hand, the Boers are equally brave. When this war is all over you will have to arrange somehow to settle matters. All I ask is, let us try and arrange matters before we kill all these men. If we want to arrange matters, however, we must be clear what is wanted. There is no doubt these Republics made war on us because they believed that we were attacking their independence. If that be so, and if we are merely fighting to repel an invasion, say so, and let them understand it. If we are fighting about the franchise, say so. If we are fighting about monopolies, say so. Lord Rosebery says we are fighting against a corrupt and despotic oligarchy. [An HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!] I hear somebody say, "Hear, hear." I suppose he does not belong to an oligarchy. If we are fighting against a giant despotic oligarchy, I only say, let us put our own house in order before we attempt to put the Transvaal House in order. [An HON. MEMBER: The liquor laws.] I merely suggest various reasons that have been stated for the war. The hon. Member says it is to put down the liquor traffic. Well, the liquor traffic supplies a third of our revenue and two-thirds of the House of Commons. We have heard, over and over again, about fighting for supremacy; and the First Lord of the Admiralty made a distinct Ministerial statement on that point. What are the Boers to think when they know that that is the policy of the Government? What does it mean? It means the extermination of the Boers. It is said that if this war goes on the women will take up arms. That shows it is to be a war of extermination. The Colonial Secretary says that one of the lessons of this war is to be found in the enormous power possessed by Volunteer troops when fighting in defence of their own country. Is not the same power possessed by the Boers? By this motion 887 we are not condemning the past, we are suggesting, instead, a gleam of hope for the future, and the first step towards securing a settlement is to come to a clear understanding. This war is the outcome of a miserable misunderstanding which has cost much suffering and the loss of many lives. Let us have no more misunderstandings. My right hon. friend the Member for South Aberdeen said we were bound to make our authority manifest to the world. Can we not do something better than that, and make our honour, truth, and humanity known to the world? That would be much more effectual than any display of armies and armaments. In his speech the Under Secretary for War—and I congratulate him heartily on being able to make so charming a speech on so horrible a subject—said that the Amendment moved by the front bench would not be understood by the taxpayers here or by our foreign critics or by our fellow subjects in Natal. I venture to assert that none of these people can understand the way we are going on now, and they will be unable to understand it until we have a clear and distinct statement of what our intentions and designs are in this war. Such a statement is due, not merely to the people of this country, but to our neighbours throughout the world. Why can we not try to stop this horrid slaughter? I see nothing before me but a long vista of horrible and ceaseless massacres of mankind. In a speech which the Colonial Secretary made in the autumn session, he appealed to some deity which he himself invented—he appealed to the God of Battles. Of course, if we are to worship him, if we are his subjects, we must go on as we are, sacrificing thousands of men. But if any of us have regard to the teaching and worship of the Prince of Peace, then I implore Members of this House and the Government to make an honest and earnest effort to sheath the sword and to spare mankind.
§ COMMANDER BETHELL (Yorkshire, E.R., Holderness)
As I had not an opportunity of addressing the House in the course of the debate which was brought to a close last night, I am very anxious, being one of the few Members on this side in the House who hold opinions 888 different from those entertained on this war by the great body of our party, to place on record my agreement with my right hon. friend the Member for Bodmin and the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Plymouth. I have not, since the outbreak of this war, addressed this House, and I wish now to say that it is my clear opinion and my firm conviction that this war is an unjust war. I am bound to say that in common generosity to my two hon. friends, but I shall not annoy the party to which I have the honour to belong by any investigation of the reasons which have led me to this conclusion. This is scarcely the proper moment to do that, even if I had any desire. But I would like to say a few words in regard to the future, words which I do not think will cause annoyance to anybody. I do not believe that the sword can settle this South African question. It is a racial question. We can, it is true, if we wish, and as we shall, remove the grievances which have been complained of. We can sweep away the armed camp, but we cannot settle a racial question by the sword seven thousand miles away from this country. I pray you to remember that the British Empire after all is an Empire in virtue of its free institutions, and it is as certain as I am standing here that, if not by the present Government, then by gentlemen in some other part of the House, free institutions must be restored to the Republics at the end of this war. How do those institutions work? You have a Dutch population increasing in a much more rapid degree than the English population, and it is pretty certain that in twenty-five years from now the old difficulty will reappear. Remember what has happened within the last twenty-five years. Remember what happened after Majuba. The Afrikander Bond was started and dominated South Africa, and we may be sure that after this war a similar ramification will spread over the whole of South Africa. Do you really believe that after we have given the Dutchmen a beating they will consent to live comfortably beside us? I am afraid that the Secretary of State for the Colonies has misread history most woefully. Have we not before us the history 889 of the Dutch in Europe? Have we not, too, the history of the Dutch in South Africa? Do you believe that a race so tenacious as they have proved themselves to be will accept defeat at our hands and consent to live beside us in peace? No, Sir; much as I grieve for the war and the causes which started it, what I regret much more is the profound mistake of my hon. friends in hoping and believing that the sword can settle this racial question, a question which in history never has been settled by the sword, excepting in the case, perhaps, of small countries bordering on the country with which the difficulty arose. As far as the Amendment of the hon. Member for Waterford goes, I certainly am not going to support that. I did not take any part in the division last night, because I could not see my way to express approval of the negotiations which preceded this horrible transaction. No doubt, technically, the Republics made war upon us; but in my opinion, morally, we made war on the Republics. I frankly admit that mistakes have been made by the Governments of the Republics, but I am not going to consent to any Amendment which would suggest that we should offer terms of peace while the enemy is still upon our soil. I beg to associate myself as earnestly as I can with the speech of my hon. and learned friend the Member for Plymouth and with that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bodmin. While it is essential that we should repel the intruder from our territory, it is not essential merely for the glory of defeating the enemy to continue the war after proper and honourable proposals for peace can be made. I further wish to associate myself with the words of my hon. and learned friend the Member for Plymouth, which, I am afraid, gave some dissatisfaction on this side of the House. I feel bound to support his view that when the time comes to make peace, that when it is possible to undertake negotiations to put a stop to this bloody war, when we can once more hope to give 890 peace to South Africa, then it would be shocking if those who are mainly responsible for the war having broken out—I mean among others the Secretary of State for the Colonies—should be entrusted with the negotiations.
§ MR. ARNOLD (Halifax)
When this House was prorogued last August, I am sure it was the wish of all of us that there should be no war at all, and I believe the great majority of the Members of this House and of the people of this country believed that not a shot would be fired. But in consequence of the ultimatum war has commenced, and if proposals for peace are to be made they should come from the other side. With reference to the Amendment now before the House in favour of recognising the independence of the Republics when the war is over, I trust, and I think we all hope, that peace will be made upon the terms so eloquently described yesterday by my right hon. friend—terms dictated by fairness and justice and not by a spirit of vengeance, but when we come to discuss the question of the independence of the Republics I think we are bound to consider what the possession of that independence led them to do. They so arranged the taxation of their country that the dominant clique paid practically nothing, while the great majority of the inhabitants, who were citizens of this country, had to contribute eight or nine times as much as the Boers. And when they got the money, what did they do with it? They spent millions of pounds in erecting in the Transvaal an arsenal for the construction and storage of the direst implements of war. They created a splendid artillery, and they engaged the services of the best military strategists they could find. Why did they establish their arsenal in such close proximity to one of our most loyal and peaceable possessions—namely, Cape Colony? It would be idle to dispute the fact that their real object was to seize that colony whenever the opportunity 891 offered itself. If they are to be allowed to retain their independence and to do that sort of thing again, then this war will have been undertaken in vain, and we shall have expended our treasure and, what is more precious, many valuable lives, to no effect. I think we may safely leave it to the Government, who know the intentions and wishes of the people of this country, to settle this question, and to insure that wherever the British flag is to be found there shall be equal liberty for all, and that no one race shall domineer over another.
MR. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)
The Amendment brought forward by the united Irish party denounces the war as unjust and unnecessary. As a member of that united Irish party—[Ironical cheers.]—hon. Members opposite may sneer, but, judging from the difference of opinion that exists amongst the members even of the great Unionist party, I claim, as a member of the Irish party, that in this matter we are more united than the Unionists. We declare that this war is unjust. It is the opinion in Ireland that the war is unjust, because the jingo party of Great Britain has practically endeavoured to take away the independence of the two Republics, and because the war has been engineered through the means of certain Cabinet Ministers. If I were to make a suggestion to this great and honourable House, I would say, in all seriousness, that no war should be declared until the question has been debated by this House. I made such a
§ proposition in the newspapers, and it was not received with favour; but I do hold that the question of peace or war should be determined by the House of Commons and not by a particular Minister. I am delighted to have an opportunity of showing that we, the united Irish party, are not in line with, but are entirely separated from, other parties in the House of Commons. It is a mere pretence to say that this war is necessary. It is simply a war of capitalists. It is a gold and diamond war, brought about through the agency of the Stock Exchange. It is a war of shareholders in gold mines and diamond fields. It is not the result of international complications, it is simply the result of pressure which has been brought to bear on the Government by gentlemen who control the purse-strings of the community. I do urge the House to take measures to put a speedy end to this war. I made some remarks a few months ago, and hon. Gentlemen laughed at the idea of this being a serious war. I tell you now, as I told you then, that this war is not a matter to be laughed at. The French nation went into their war with Germany with a light heart—so one of their Ministers said. You hon. Members opposite went into this war with a light heart, and you scoffed at Members on this side who urged that it had a serious side. I ask you to-day, have you any consideration for the widows and orphans created by this war?—and I again ask you to declare that this war is unjust and unnecessary, and that measures should be taken to secure a speedy peace.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 66; Noes, 368. (Division List No. 4.)895
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N.E.)||Crean, Eugene||Flynn, James Christopher|
|Ambrose, Robert||Crilly, Daniel||Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Curran, Thos. B. (Donegal)||Gibney, James|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||Hammond, John (Carlow)|
|Blake, Edward||Daly, James||Harrington, Timothy|
|Burns, John||Doogan, P. C.||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Carew, James Laurence||Engledew, Charles John||Healy, Maurice (Cork)|
|Carvill, P. Geo. Hamilton||Farrell, James P. (Cavan, W.)||Healy, Thomas J. (Wexford)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Farrell, Thomas J. (Kerry, S.)||Healy, Timothy M. (N. Louth)|
|Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.)||Ffrench, Peter||Hogan, Thomas Francis|
|Commins, Andrew||Field, William (Dublin)||Jameson, Major J. Eustace|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Jordan, Jeremiah|
|Kilbride, Denis||Murnaghan, George||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Macaleese, Daniel||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|MacDonnell, Dr. M.A. (Qn's C.||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary)||Roche, John (East Galway)|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|M'Cartan, Michael||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|M'Dermott, Patrick||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Tully, Jasper|
|M'Ghee, Richard||O'Malley, William||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|M'Hugh, Patrick A. (Leitrim)||Parnell, John Howard||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Thomas Esmonde and Captain Donelan.|
|Mandeville, J. Francis||Pinkerton, John|
|Molloy, Bernard Charles||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Aird, John||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.||Forster, Henry William|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Chaplin, Rt. Hon, Henry||Foster, Sir W. (Derby Co.)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Charrington, Spencer||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Chelsea, Viscount||Fry, Lewis|
|Arnold, Alfred||Clarke, Sir E. (Plymouth)||Galloway, William Johnson|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Coddington, Sir William||Garfit, William|
|Arrol, Sir William||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Gedge, Sydney|
|Asher, Alexander||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Gibbons, J. Lloyd|
|Asquith, Right Hon. H. H.||Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (C. of Lond.)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Gibbs, Hn. Vicary (St. Albans)|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Giles, Charles Tyrrell|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Cooke, C. W. Radcliffe (Heref'd)||Gilliat, John Saunders|
|Baillie, J. E. B. (Inverness)||Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)||Gold, Charles|
|Bainbridge, Emerson.||Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Goldsworthy, Major-General|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D.||Gordon, Hon. John Edward|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Goschen, Rt. Hn. Sir (St George's|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Mauch'r)||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Gourley, Sir Edward Temperley|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Graham, Henry Robert|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Barry, Rt. Hn. A. H. S. (Hunts)||Currie, Sir Donald||Greville, Hon. Ronald|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor)||Curzon, Viscount||Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Dalkeith, Earl of||Gull, Sir Cameron|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Gunter, Colonel|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||Guthrie, Walter Murray|
|Beach, W. W. Bramston (Hants.)||Denny, Colonel||Haldane, Richard Burdon|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Hall, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord George|
|Begg, Ferdinand Faithfull||Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred. D.||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.|
|Bethell, Commander||Donkin, Richard Sim||Hanson, Sir Reginald|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Dorington, Sir John Edward||Hare, Thomas Leigh|
|Bigwood, James||Doughty, George||Harwood, George|
|Bill, Charles||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Haslett, Sir James Horner|
|Billson, Alfred||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Heath, James|
|Blakiston-Houston, John||Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S.||Heaton, John Henniker|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Hedderwick, Thomas Chas. H.|
|Bolitho, Thomas Bedford||Drage, Geoffrey||Helder, Augustus|
|Bonsor, Henry Cosmo Orme||Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Henderson, Alexander|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Dunn, Sir William||Hermon-Hodge, Robt. Trotter|
|Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn)||Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart||Hickman, Sir Alfred|
|Brassey, Albert||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Hill, Sir Edwd. Stock (Brstol)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Elliot, Hn. A. Ralph Douglas||Hoare, Edw. B. (Hampstead)|
|Brookfield, A. Montagu||Emmott, Alfred||Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)|
|Brown, Alexander H.||Evans, Sir Francis H. (South'ton||Hobhouse, Henry|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Fardell, Sir T. George||Hornby, Sir William Henry|
|Butcher, John George||Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Horniman, Frederick John|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry|
|Caldwell, James||Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||Houston, R. P.|
|Cameron, Sir C. (Glasgow)||Finch, George H.||Howard, Joseph|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Howell, William Tudor|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Howorth, Sir Henry Hoyle|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Edward||Fisher, William Hayes||Hozier, Hon. James H. Cecil|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Fison, Frederick William||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmund||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbyshire||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice-|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Fletcher, Sir Henry||Hutton, John (Yorks, N.R.)|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Flower, Ernest||Jenkins, Sir John Jones|
|Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||Mount, William George||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Muntz, Philip A.||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Joicey, Sir James||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch'|
|Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.|
|Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt. Hn. Sir U.||Myers, William Henry||Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir J. H.||Nicholson, William Graham||Spencer, Ernest|
|Kenyon, James||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Spicer, Albert|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Stanley, E. J. (Somerset)|
|Kinloch, Sir John Geo. Smyth||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Stanley, Sir H. M. (Lambeth)|
|Kitson, Sir James||Oldroyd, Mark||Stephens, Henry Charles|
|Knowles, Lees||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Lafone, Alfred||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir J. M.|
|Laurie, Lieut.-General||Parkes, Ebenezer||Stock, James Henry|
|Lawrenee, Sir E. Durning-(Corn||Paulton, James Mellor||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool)||Pease, Herbt. P. (Darlington)||Strachey, Edward|
|Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)||Strauss, Arthur|
|Lea, Sir Thos. (Londonderry)||Penn, John||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Lecky, Rt. Hon. W. Edw. H.||Perks, Robert William||Sutherland, Sir Thomas|
|Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington)||Philipps, John Wynford||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ|
|Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur||Tennant, Harold John|
|Leighton, Stanley||Pierpoint, Robert||Thomas, Abel (Carmthn., E.)|
|Leuty, Thomas Richmond||Pilkington, R. (Lancs. Newt'n)||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Llewellyn, Evan H. (Somerset)||Pilkington, Sir G. A. (Lancs. S. W.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn- (Sw'nsea||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Plunkett, Rt. Hon. Horace C.||Tomlinson, W. E. Murray|
|Loder, Gerald W. Erskine||Pollock, Harry Frederick||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverpool)||Pretyman, Ernest George||Ure, Alexander|
|Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Usborne, Thomas|
|Lowther, Rt. Hn. J. (Kent)||Pym, C. Guy||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert||Wallace, Robert|
|Lucas-Shadwell, William||Rankin, Sir James||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Renshaw, Charles Bine||Ward, Hon. Robert A. (Crewe)|
|MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Rentoul, James Alexander||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Maclure, Sir John William||Richardson, J. (Durham, S.E.)||Warr, Augustus Frederick'|
|McArthur, Chas. (Liverpool)||Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l.)||Wason, Eugene|
|M'Arthur, Wm. (Cornwall)||Rickett, J. Compton||Webster, Sir Richard E.|
|M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)||Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.||Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.|
|M'Crae, George||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W.)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Wharton, Rt. Hn. John Lloyd|
|M'Kenna, Reginald||Robinson, Brooke||Whiteley, George (Stockport)|
|M'Killop, James||Robson, William Snowdon||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.|
|Malcolm, Ian||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Manners, Lord Edward Wm. J.||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel W.||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Marks, Harry H.||Runciman, Walter||Williams, J. Powell- (Birm.)|
|Martin, Richard Biddulph||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Maxwell, Rt. Hon. Sir H. E.||Rutherford, John||Wills, Sir William Henry|
|Mellor, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Yorks)||Ryder, John Herbert Dudley||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Samuel H. S. (Limehouse)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks)|
|Middlemore, J. Throgmorton||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. T. Myles||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Milbank, Sir Powlett Chas. J.||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Hudders.|
|Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Saunderson, Rt. Hon. Col. E. J.||Wylie, Alexander|
|Monk, Charles James||Savory, Sir Joseph||Wyndham, George|
|Montagu, Hon. J. S. (Hants)||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel)||Seton-Karr, Henry||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)||Younger, William|
|More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Morgan, J. L. (Carmarthen)||Sidebotham, J. W. (Chester)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Sidebottom, T. Harrop (Stalybr|
|Morrison, Walter||Sidebottom, W. (Derbyshire)|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ Debate arising; and it being after half-past Five of the clock, the debate stood adjourned.896
§ Debate to be resumed To-morrow.
§ Adjourned at a quarter before Six of the clock.