HC Deb 05 February 1904 vol 129 cc488-556


Order read, for resuming adjourned debate on Amendment [4th February] to Main Question [2nd February],"That an humble Address be presented to His 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."—(Mr. Hardy.)

Which Amendment was— At the end of the Question, to add the words, 'But humbly represent to Your Majesty that the facts now made known in regard to the preparations for and conduct of the recent war in South Africa, and particularly the evidence taken by Your Majesty's Commissioners appointed to inquire into those matters and their Report thereon, disclose grave negligence and mismanagement on the part of Your Majesty's Ministers, whereby the duration, magnitude, and cost of the war were greatly increased.'"—(Mr. Robson.)

Question again proposed, "That those words be there added."


I have intervened much earlier in this debate than I had any intention of doing because of the very pointed way in which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham referred to me in more than one or two parts of this subject during his speech last night. The speech ended close upon twelve o'clock, and, therefore, I was unable to follow him at the time, but I am anxious now to dispose of those attacks which he made upon me with so much vehemence and persistence. The right hon. Gentleman made a remarkable speech. My hon. and learned friend behind me, the Member for South Shields, brought forward his Amendment with great moderation, with cogent arguments, lucidly placed before the House. The right hon. Gentleman appears to have interpreted that speech entirely as what he called a malignant attack upon himself. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of the old Dickens story of King Charles's head always getting into Mr. Dick's petition, and he said that in this case he was King Charles's head. Undoubtedly the right hon. Gentleman is the occupier of that place and discharges that function in his own speeches at all events. It has come to this, as my hon. and learned friend found last night—not much to his discomfiture—that whoever ventures to differ from the right hon. Gentleman and to expose his errors, is at once assailed as if he had committed the crime of high treason. We have all been called very ugly names. I have had my fair share of them myself. Because I wished, as I thought, however mistakenly it may be, to unite closer the two islands of Ireland and Great Britain, I was called a "Separatist." Because I objected to some of the right hon. Gentleman's proceedings I was called a "pro-Boer." Because I did not indulge in highfalutin' language, such as appears to be considered necessary in some quarters, I was called a "Little Englander," and the words "traitor" and "unpatriotic" were thrown in.

MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN (Birmingham, W.)

Not by me. I did not use the word "traitor."


If the right hon. Gentleman did not actually use the word himself, I can assure him that, inspired by his example, many of his obsequious followers did apply it. The right hon. Gentleman last night claimed a certain degree of irresponsibility in this matter. He seemed to think it strange that anybody should involve him in this question of preparation for the South African War at all. Why, Sir, he is the most responsible of all. That is why he occupies so large a part in the speeches made on the subject. Whether for good or for evil, he and his diplomacy and his manners of negotiation and his tone and spirit are in the very forefront of responsibility. The right hon. Gentleman quoted a phrase which I have, with little variation, used before the war, during the war, and since the war. I said before the war that the story told and the reasons alleged to us by the Government and the information communicated to us by them, did not seem to me to indicate any case for war or for preparations for war. Supposing I had stated it twenty times oftener and in stronger terms, it would not have been the slightest excuse for want of preparation on the part of the Government. I had formed an independent and necessarily partial opinion, and having a public duty to perform I stated it to those interested in what my opinion was. But the Government were in charge of the whole business; it was their policy, not mine, thank goodness, which was being carried out, and therefore anything that I said does not do any good to their case. But the right hon. Gentleman said that in an unfortunate speech at Ilford I had put this observation of mine much more boldly land plainly than I afterwards saw reason to do. He therefore implied that in subsequent repetitions of the same idea I had shifted my ground a little, and had seen reason to withdraw something of what I had originally said. Now what did I say at Ilford? I take this from The Times of 19th June, 1899, and will read it if the House will have patience— Of the conduct and policy of Her Majesty's Government in this particular (that is South Africa) we are not in a position to form an opinion. We cannot judge of it until we have seen the Papers which have been promised on the subject, and until this information has been received, in my opinion a discussion in the House of Commons would lead to no advantage and might even be attended with disadvantage to the interests of our country. But there are some newspapers which talk freely of the probability, and even of the necessity, of war, and the public mind has been much disturbed in consequence. I think it right to say plainly that I for my part can discern nothing in what has happened to justify either warlike action or even military preparations. This is exactly what I said afterwards, judging from the information given to us by the Government. I went on— The people of this country have no hostility to the people of the Transvaal. They have no desire whatever to humiliate them or to give them offence or to take from them any part of the independence winch they enjoy. Our only desire is to see the inhabitants of all the States in South Africa, our own colonies as well as the other States, living and prospering in perfect harmony with each other. Let us not be blind, however, to the fact that the maintenance of this harmony is no very easy matter, and it requires the greatest prudence and delicacy in the action which we take. I did my utmost in that speech to avoid embarrassing the Government, and at the same time to calm the feelings of the public as far as my little authority could extend. I think it was a very different course which was taken by the right hon. Gentleman when, with infinitely greater responsibility, months afterwards, and when things had become much more critical, he used the language referred to last night. But my words, the right hon. Gentleman says, encouraged the Boers. Was I expected to be dumb while there was being pursued what I believed—even with such comparatively imperfect information as had been given to us then—was becoming a misguided, dangerous, and probably disastrous policy? Was I to be dumb lest an expression of any disapproval of the right hon. Gentleman's conduct should encourage the Boers? Why, I should have been greatly surprised if the Boers themselves had not knowledge enough of this country to expect and believe that such a policy as he was pursuing had not, at least, the support of the whole of the British people. The right hon. Gentleman says that he honestly strove for peace. I believe him. I have no reason to dispute or doubt his peaceful intentions, but I greatly doubt whether he took the most peaceful manner of disclosing his policy.

I must go back, I am afraid, to the origin of things and give a brief history. The right hon. Gentleman came into office in 1895, and at once indicated to us all that his purpose was to subvert the prudent ways of his predecessors. The British Empire had been built up by cautious and wise statesmen, and they were not adventurous enough, it appears, for the right hon. Gentleman. He made a speech almost immediately after his appointment in which he indicated the great field which had to be developed, and the' great estate we possessed, and in other ways by his whole manner of treating the question he roused, and, as it were, gave a cue to all the adventurous spirits in His Majesty's dominions. What was I the immediate result? Certain men in South Africa who had designs of their own felt that now a friendly hand was on the reins in London, and we had the Jameson Raid. Will the right hon. Gentleman get up and say that in his belief, if a Liberal Government had been in power the Jameson Raid would have occurred? No, Sir, it would not. The "jumping off" ground at Pitsani was refused by a Liberal Government, but granted by the more favourable authorities that had succeeded them. The Raid occurred, and then we had the subsequent proceedings.


I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon. It is rather difficult to carry my memory back to the details, but I think he is mistaken. Surely, unless I am wrong, the Liberal Government were in negotiation with Mr. Rhodes for the transfer of the whole of the territory? It was not a mere question of "jumping off" ground being granted.


I understand it was indicated that at some future time it might be granted. [Mr. CHAMBERLAIN: Ah!] But at that time it was the cause of this very cirumstance.


There is nothing of that in the Papers.


Then we had the right hon. Gentleman in this House, notwithstanding that a Committee of the House had condemned the Raid and all who abetted it in the strongest terms, giving his certificate of honour and good character to Mr. Rhodes. Therefore, I am stating what no man can dispute, when I say that thereupon arose a deep and almost angry, certainly an alarmed, state of suspicion, not only in the Transvaal, but in the Orange Free State; and then at that time began those military preparations of which we have heard so much and which culminated in war. [An HON. MEMBER: No, they began before, and cries of "Look at the accounts."] Another incidental evil effect of that most mischievous event of the Raid was that the Boers and every one in South Africa acquired the lowest and most contemptuous opinion of British military skill, which had something to do with what happened. As to the Orange Free State, when your neighbour's house is on fire you are concerned; and really I am amused at all these elaborate refinements and discussions as to the effect produced in these two States. Was it not the most natural thing in the world, almost necessary, that they should join with the Transvaal? The right hon. Gentleman said that the course taken by the Orange Free State was unexpected, and he stated last night that President Steyn had given a promise to Mr. Schreiner that the Free State would not move.


That it would not be aggressive.


I will read these despatches at all events. Here is the telegram from the Prime Minister of Cape Colony to his Honour the State President, dated 11th October, referring to "the intense strain of the position," and expressing confidence "that the territory of this colony will not be invaded from your side," pressing "the same abstinence" on the President of the South African Republic, and stating that the "forces on our border are not more considerable than defence purposes require." The State President at Bloemfontein replied that— Assurance could be given that Capo Colony territory will not be invaded, if you would give the Government the guarantee that this State will not be invaded from the territory of the Cape Colony and also that no troops would be allowed to go through Cape Colony or move towards the border of this State or that of the South African Republic. I have wired your telegram to the South African Republic, and if you give me the guarantee as above I will use my influence to get a similar assurance from the South African Republic. [A laugh from the MINISTERIAL Benches]. Hon. Members laugh, and I suppose they have the idea that that was an absurd stipulation to make. I quote it as throwing light on the statement of the right hon. Gentleman as to the absolute assurance given by President Steyn.


That is not the only one.


That is dated 11th October, almost the last day on which any communications passed. The right hon. Gentleman says that in the time of his predecessor the defences of the colonies were so neglected that there were only two battalions, or 3,000 men, in South Africa, and the Government had to raise the force. Yes, Sir, because the force depends upon your policy. At that time there was no ground of fear whatever. [Cries of "Oh!"] The force was adjusted to the policy. There are two policies that you can pursue in a case such as this. There is the policy of force and of threats resting upon force, and on the other hand there is the policy of patience and of peaceful and conciliatory negotiation. That second policy was supported, and demanded from the Imperial Government, by the Natal Parliament, by the Cape Parliament, by Lord Rosmead, who had been High Commissioner, by the Commander-in-Chief, and by all the constituted authorities except the High Commissioner, and by all who had special knowledge of the question. The alternative was a policy of force and of threats depending upon force. Who was in favour of that policy? I cannot find any authority of the same quality as those I have quoted. The right hon. Gentleman went on to develop this question of the strength of troops, and he said that the Government worked the number of troops up to 12,000, but that I was well aware that those troops were not in a thoroughly efficient state because they were not, as he said, coordinated We seem to be drenched with that word "co-ordinated" in military as well as in educational matters. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to suggest that I had peculiar knowledge on the subject, and I asked him whether he referred to the conversation which I had the pleasure of having with him, and to the correspondence which followed. He said that he did, and I asked for leave to break the seal of secrecy or of confidence and to state what occurred. It was on 20th June, 1899. The right hon. Gentleman wrote to me a note saying that he would be very pleased if I would let him have a little conversation with me. I replied in similar terms, and the right hon. Gentleman came to my room. He told me that he wished to submit to me, and of course to those with whom I acted, two proposals that the Government were contemplating. The first was to send out 10,000 men to the Cape—I think Natal—and the right hon. Gentleman asked whether the Opposition would I join in recommending that step to the House and to the country. I think I must have looked a little surprised, or I may have uttered a few words of surprise, for the right hon. Gentleman went on to say— You need not be alarmed. There will be no fighting. We know that those fellows"—that was the Boers—"won't fight. We are playing a game of bluff. I think I ventured to express frankly to the right hon. Gentleman my opinion that such a policy was unworthy of the country. If I did not say that, I felt it; but at all events I said that it was a rash and dangerous policy, that it was dangerous to begin a course of bluff when you did not know what it might lead to, and I said that I must consult my colleagues. I only gave my own personal impression at the time. Then the right hon. Gentleman said that there was another thing—that the forces in Natal were deficient in equipment—in transport especially—that it lacked mobility; and the right hon. Gentleman wanted to know whether there would be any adverse feeling expressed if that fault were made good. Well, Sir, I said that I would consult my colleagues on both of these proposals. I invited my colleagues to come, and I told them what the right hon. Gentleman had said, and I took their mind on both these questions. With regard to the equipment of the troops, which, I think, meant the purchase of mules and horses mostly, we said that we thought there was nothing to be urged against the proposal—it being desirable, if we had a force, that it should be efficient, provided that it was done in such a way as not to be ostentatious or provocative—as not to be trumpeted about—with the view possibly of producing some effect upon the minds of men in South Africa. But as to the other proposal we could only reply that the responsibility for a great movement of troops such as that lay entirely with the Executive Government, and that we were not prepared to relieve them of any part of their responsibility. I think that that was practically the gist of what occurred. I wrote a note to the right hon. Gentleman expressing these opinions—that the undivided responsibility must rest with the Government—and the right hon. Gentleman replied on 24th June, saying that he quite understood and appreciated what we had said, and hoped that there would be an opportunity later of further private consultation, if desirable, or something to that effect. No such opportunity for further consultation presented itself, and there the matter ended.


I do not want to interfere in the slightest degree with the right hon. Gentleman's speech, but I do not entirely agree with the account which he has given. With the permission of the House, I will explain when he has finished.


I will confess to the House that for a long time afterwards, and indeed up to the present moment, that declaration of the policy of the Government sunk into my mind and remained there. To my mind it amply explains all the want of preparation, all the mistakes, and all the complaints. Some, including the Prime Minister, have blamed the soldiers for the want of preparation. The right hon. Gentleman blames the Opposition. Some Ministers say that they were fully informed in every respect. But we cannot forget what Lord Salisbury told us—that they knew nothing about it, because the Boer cannon were conveyed by some wonderful feat in piano-cases and the like. But what is the use of troubling our heads with all these excuses and methods of accounting for the facts, when we have this declaration that a game of bluff was being played, that there was no sincere expectation or intention of using actively any forces which might be sent out?

I do not know that I have anything more to say on that question. I do not wish to speak at all in too strong terms of anything that has happened, or to rake up old questions of difference. But not only have I myself from the first been convinced that the policy of the right hon. Gentleman was a mistaken policy, that patience and good nature and concessions of a small kind would in a few years (probably by this time) have smoothed over the whole difficulty, but I am convinced that, if the right hon. Gentleman was intending to pursue the policy of force, nothing could have been more unworthy of this country than the particular form of that policy which is denominated by the name of bluff.

One thing more I wish to say, and it applies to the Chief Secretary. He quoted a despatch of Lord Ripon's on the question of the franchise, a despatch which he represented to the House as being rather in the nature of an ulti- matum presented to Mr. Kruger. What are the facts? It was not a despatch in the sense of having been ever despatched. It was a Paper. There were negotiations going on about Swaziland, and Lord Loch was directed to go up to Pretoria and arrange with the Transvaal Government. Mr. Kruger at this time hinted that it was his intention to raise the question of the Convention; and Lord Ripon wrote to Lord Loch to say that, if that question were raised, the first thing put forward would be the question of the five years franchise, and in this Paper Lord Ripon used certain arguments in favour of it. Why, Sir, we are all in favour of a five years franchise, if not of a lower one, in the Transvaal—everybody except, apparently, the present governing authorities in the Transvaal. But when the negotiations began Mr. Kruger never raised this question of the Convention at all; therefore, a fortiori. the question of the franchise was never raised. This document remained, therefore, merely a hypothetical confidential instruction for Lord Loch. Some time ago the late Secretary of State for the Colonies asked Lord Ripon whether he would allow the arguments used in this Paper to be printed in a public document, and that was agreed to, out of courtesy, as between one Secretary of State and his successor. The right hon. Gentleman now uses this Paper, which was never more than that, as a parallel case to the hurling of an ultimatum at a foreign State.


Lord Milner made the same proposal, but he did not hurl an ultimatum.


Well, I do not know. If there was not an ultimatum there were a good many ultimata. There was practically a great deal of shaking of fists, a great deal of fumbling with the butt-end of the revolver. The sands were running out and the sponge was being squeezed. No, Sir, I think that the right hon. Gentleman was misled in quoting that document in the way he did. It is not what I should have expected from him, and I think that if he looks into the thing he will find that it hardly bears out the character of importance which he gave to it. That is all. I have disposed of the points which the right hon. Gentleman put forward so violently last night, and I trust that I have made it clear to the House that most of us have had no other intention than to avoid, where we could, embarrassing the Government in any way, and, at the same time, to advocate in this House that peaceful settlement and arrangement in South Africa which would, I believe, have accomplished the same results, and better results, than have been produced by the waste of all the blood and treasure which have been spent.


Mr. Speaker, in reference to the communications between the right hon. Gentleman and myself, to which he has referred again to-day, we are both, as the House perceives, in a certain difficulty, inasmuch as the papers connected with it are in both our cases at a distance. I have done my best to supply the deficiency by sending down to Birmingham this morning, and I hope I may be able before I leave to obtain the original papers. They consist of the letters referred to by the right hon. Gentleman, and also, in my case, of an account of the conversation written immediately afterwards. I differ from the right hon. Gentleman, both in regard to what passed—I do not differ very substantially, but I do differ considerably—as to what passed in our conversation, and as to that it is possible that we may be unable to come to an absolute agreement, because it is always difficult to remember what passed at a conversation. But, fortunately, there can be no difficulty whatever with regard to the correspondence, and I differ also from the right hon. Gentleman in regard to that. Now, at the time of which the right hon. Gentleman speaks—June—matters, although in my opinion they were not by any means poignant, were undoubtedly serious, and I deprecated more than anything else the possibility that a serious discussion, which might ultimately end in hostilities with other Powers, should be treated as a Party matter, and it was my earnest desire, if that could be done, to remove altogether any Party feeling or controversy from the further discussion of the subject. I spoke to the Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, on the subject, and I had his assent to communicating with and seeing the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman therefore, has omitted the way in which the conversation was opened by me. I told him what I have said to the House. I told him that if he was inclined to accept that view of the situation, and to consider that a great matter of this kind, affecting national interests, should be treated not in the ordinary sense of a Party question, but as a matter in which the Opposition had as much right to be consulted as the Government, then on my part, and on behalf of my colleagues, I was prepared to make him this offer, that we would take no steps whatever without consulting him, and that, if of course we found afterwards that we could not agree, it might be necessary to separate; but, at all events, that each further step from that date, if he and his colleagues saw eye to eye with us, would be in effect a joint proceeding. The right hon. Gentleman, I thought, accepted the idea without unwillingness, but he said— What kind of consultation? What are you thinking of now, for instance? Then I told him that two questions were before us. The first was whether the 12,000 troops that were then in South Africa should be made up—I think the proper word is to complete the unit; I am afraid I am weak in the matter of military terms—




Well, I have no doubt the transport was an important portion of the proposal, but my recollection is that at that time there was a deficiency of field artillery in proportion to the numbers of the troops and a deficiency of cavalry, and that we proposed to send, not, of course, a large number, but a sufficient number of cavalry, artillery, and transport to complete the forces then in South Africa. The right hon. Gentleman said, almost in the words he has used to-day, speaking for himself and not for his colleagues, that as far as he was concerned he saw no objection whatever to that—he did not think any objection would be taken to that. Then I said there was another proposal, which was to reinforce the garrison by sending out a considerable number of men—it may have been 10,000; I do not remember, but I told the right hon. Gentleman that in my opinion there was no probability at that time of war. But I said that our difficulty was then, as it had been all along, to convince the Boers that we were in earnest, and it had been represented, I do not know whether I expressed it as a settled opinion of the Cabinet, but, at all events, it had been under consideration by us, whether it would not have a good effect to send out a considerable body in order to impress on the Boers the fact that we did mean to pursue this matter to the end. The right hon. Gentleman now says that I used the word "bluff." I cannot charge my memory with a contradiction. It is not a word that I am fond of, or that I think I should have been likely to use. My impression would have been, but for the contrary statement of the right hon. Gentleman, that I did not use that word.


Will the right hon. Gentleman allow me to prove that I have not said so from my own memory only? Immediately after leaving the right hon. Gentleman I came into the House and met one or two of my colleagues, and I used the same expression to them. It is within their recollection.


That I quite believe, and I absolutely believe that the right hon. Gentleman thinks that I used it. But he must remember this. It may have been the impression I gave him, but it may not have been the word I used or the impression I intended to give. I certainly feel confident that at that time I had no idea whatever of "bluffing" in the sense in which the right hon. Gentleman considers that I used the word. My whole intention and object was—and about that I am absolutely certain—to suggest to the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues to consider whether it would not be desirable to produce a considerable force in South Africa with a view to giving us greater influence in the further negotiations. Now I come to the letters, and here I differ in an important sense from the right hon. Gentleman, and I believe that the letter which he wrote to me will prove that I am right. My recollection of that letter is this, that having said in private conversation that, so far as he was concerned, he was quite willing to approve of the strengthening of the 12,000 men, though he doubted whether he and his colleagues would be willing to send a large additional force, in his letter he wrote that he, having consulted his colleagues on the proposition I made—which included this proposition for a sort of neutral ground in dealing with this matter, the absence of political controversy, which was really the important point—that he, having consulted his colleagues, they had come to the conclusion that they could not accept the offer of the Government, and they must leave the Government to entirely take its own responsibility. He went on to say in the same letter that in those circumstances I must consider as withdrawn any statement which he had made on his own account with regard to the—not what he said just now [Cries of "Oh!"], certainly not; I must give the exact words—that I must understand that the words which he had used as expressing his own opinion with regard to the strengthening of the 12,000 men in the field must also be considered as withdrawn. That is my recollection, and, as I say, the production of the letter, either by the right hon. Gentleman, if he has it, or by me, if I can find it, will clear up that entirely. It does not in the least degree affect the good faith and sincerity of the right hon. Gentleman or of myself, but it is not an unimportant difference as to the facts, because it is my impression that our offer was entirely and absolutely refused; and we were told that even in the small matter of increasing the force and making complete the unit in South Africa the Opposition would give no Party support beforehand to that, but must leave us to take whatever steps we pleased on our own responsibility. That is my view of the position.


What we are faced with at this moment is an indictment for want of preparation for the war and for the absence of troops in Natal. What is the right hon. Gentleman's own confession? The right hon. Gentleman's own confession is that the urgency of this matter was brought before him as early as June 20th, 1899. The right hon. Gentlemen was invited to co-operate, and he has given reasons which are perfectly clear as to the opinion which he held, and which he was entitled to hold, that our policy was a mistaken policy, and that by patience, good nature, and concessions on small points, further action might be avoided. He is entitled to hold those views, but I ask Members on this side of the House on what possible ground can he then come forward and complain that the Government did not complete the preparations which he himself did his best to discourage.


No, I did not. My objection in this particular case was to what I called a policy of bluff. If the right hon. Gentleman had come and told us of a dangerous condition of things, and if they had admitted us to some of their secret information, we might have modified our view.


The right hon. Gentleman understood that the question had arisen of reinforcing the troops in Natal and sending 10,000 men there. The right hon. Gentleman was perfectly entitled to hold the view that no such reinforcement was necessary, and that he at all events and his Party would not contribute to any such demonstration for the purpose of securing peace. His view was that peace could be secured by weakness in Natal, and not by strength. For five weeks, nay more, after these pourparlers between my right hon. friend and the right hon. Gentleman, he came down to the House and told us that as to the war itself he could only repeat what he had said elsewhere that—"from the beginning of this story to the end of it I can see nothing whatever which furnishes a case for war." That is the right hon. Gentleman's opinion, but what is the position in which we are this afternoon. We are here under this indictment that we were willing to risk the good name of the country in negotiations and by bluff, but that we were not preparing for the actual event of hostilities. I think that anybody who looks at the whole of this story will see that the approach to the Leader of the Opposition was a patriotic approach. It was a peaceful approach. It only occurs to me now as I am speaking, that such an approach is not unusual among men of patriotic feeling when their country is in danger of a devastating war. What is going on at the present moment in Japan? We saw in the telegrams only yesterday or the day before, I think, that not merely members of the then Government, but the past members of past Governments had been called in and convoked in order to give their counsel. For what? Not in order to raise Party difficulties in a great national emergency, but in order that the nation should present an unbroken front to an enemy at a moment of overwhelming danger. I would say for that side of the House that they did not rate any lower than we did the danger and difficulty of warlike operations with the Dutch States in South Africa. They were fully conscious of that danger, and an invitation was addressed to the right hon. Gentleman who had hitherto stood aloof. We knew that he had been backward in supporting the Government at a moment when we thought that from patriotic motives they deserved support. The mass of the House never knew till to-day how backward he had been, and under what pressure. The right hon. Gentleman has made his own attempt to absolve himself. I think it was a vain attempt.


I have nothing to absolve myself from.


The right hon. Gentleman says he has nothing to absolve himself from. Then, are we to understand that he dissociates himself from the attack on the Goverment for having undertaken this war with a want of preparation, in which preparation he declined to associate himself, and to which preparation he put by his speeches every impediment which was in his power?


Let me remind the right hon. Gentleman that it would not be any great crime to hesitate at a particular moment to send reinforcements. This was in June; July passed. In the month of August Mr. Chamberlain wrote to Lord Lansdowne saying that while he wished to avoid the relaxation of pressure he saw no occasion for reinforcements. He should attack the right hon. Gentleman himself.


Does that citation absolve the right hon. Gentleman from the charge that when he was told there was a danger of war, and that that danger—[OPPOSITION cries of "When?"]


You were not going to fight. [An HON. MEMBER: You were going to bluff].


My right hon. friend has given a somewhat different interpretation to that conversation. He has stated that any idea of bluff in the sense in which it was used by the right hon. Gentleman was foreign to the whole tenour of his conversation.


Hear, hear!


Two points were advanced. One was that the sending of these troops would have had the effect of making for peace. The other was that the invitation addressed to the right hon. Gentleman was addressed to him with the view of blending all Parties in any future action which might be taken.


Hear, hear!


If the right hon. Gentleman really desired peace he had the opportunity at the eleventh hour of working with those who had been working from the first hour in the same direction, but did he accept it or was he willing to take a hand at all?


Not at such a game.


Well, not at such a game! That was not his game, but, having impeded the game, he now comes down to complain of those who tried to play the game earnestly. [An HON. MEMBER: Bluff.] The right hon. Gentleman last night tried to explain away his speech in which he spoke of there being no necessity for preparation.


I did not explain it away. I stated the circumstances in which it was said. That is all.


I do not know any form of words ever used by one man in this House which played so large a part in the General Election as that speech of the right hon. Gentleman. The country, who did not express their opinion on anything else, expressed their opinion in the strongest possible way on the impediments which the right hon. Gentleman and some who acted with him, not all, had placed in the way of the Government in a purely national crisis of overwhelming gravity. Is it not rather a stretch even of ordinary Parlimentary forms for the right hon. Gentleman to come forward now to associate himself with those who complain of this lack of preparation. Not being willing to enter into the vineyard himself, nor anxious for the reward which he might have got even at the eleventh hour, and having taken care not merely to decline to work in the vineyard himself, he denounced as blacklegs those who went in and were willing to work. I think it strange that men who have throughout declared that the war was unjustifiable, that our policy was wrong, that our preparations were unnecessary, should come here to-day to attack us for our inertia at a moment when they were hanging on our backs, and should pose themselves as foiled advocates of a strong policy. That is the position that the Opposition occupy this afternoon. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Forest of Dean made an appeal yesterday that this question should not be treated as a Party question. He referred in somewhat vehement terms to the speech of the Chief Secretary as a Party speech and an appeal to Party passions. I quite admit that on occasions the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Forest of Dean has known how to divest himself of Party, but was it quite worthy of him last night to barb an attack on the Government and the Prime Minister by saying that the Commission had been nominated by the Government, a Commission, the chairman of which was one of the political opponents of Government, the members of which were representative men, not one of them in any way whatever attached to the Government, and whose findings, to say the least, bore the appearance of impartiality? I think also I can claim that in every speech, except that made by the Leader of the Opposition, who has not touched on the Motion at all, the Commission's Report has been used to blame the Government. Where the Commission blamed the Government the hon. and learned Member quoted the Commission, and where the Commission absolved the Government the hon. and learned Member scavenged the evidence to find proof that they were wrong. The right hon. Gentleman himself said he objected, and I am going to endeavour to carry out the spirit of what he said in the course of the few observations I have to make to this bandying across the floor of the House of accusations as to the number of stores which were laid by the late Government, and the number of stores laid by the present Government—the number of stores put into arsenal——

* SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)

I made no accusation on the subject. I quoted the Prime Minister's saying that the stores were allowed to go down after Mr. Stanhope left the War Office, and added that the Prime Minister had claimed that the stores had again been raised before the war to Mr. Stanhope's standard. The evidence before the Commission showed exactly the opposite.


My point was that the Government, which the right hon. Gentleman helped us to displace, had not adopted Mr. Stanhope's standard, but had even adopted a lower standard of their own. What is the main result of the findings of the Commission? We were told that our preparations were insufficient. That has been discussed throughout this debate. Take one single point on which I think the Government have a right to absolution. The Com- mission shows that the highest military authorities differed in all respects as regards the route of advance. It shows that Lord Wolseley differed from Lord Roberts as to the nature of the advance, and that General Buller differed from both. General Buller advocated an advance by Natal, whilst Lord Roberts chose the Cape. Lord Wolseley rejected both, and said the advance should be made by Bloemfontein. There is one point on which all soldiers agreed, whether you take Lord Wolseley, Lord Roberts, Sir Redvers Buller, or Sir William Butler. None of them put the force with which we ought to advance at so high a figure as that adopted by the Government. How can you say that our preparations were insufficient when the number was actually in excess of the number of soldiers asked for. May I invite the attention of the House for one moment to the attack made on the Prime Minister in regard to the Orange Free State? It has been urged that the Prime Minister in stating that no one could have known that the Orange Free State would join in had shown that lamentable want of foresight which characterised the Government throughout these operations. Is there any truth whatever in that indictment? The Prime Minister undoubtedly did say that we had no quarrel with the Free State; that the Free State had no treaty with the Transvaal which made it necessary to join in the invasion of our territory; and the Free State had no interest in the Uitlander question. It has been urged that our reliance upon these facts made us reduce our preparations, and that the ignorance of our commanders as to the probable action of the Free State prejudiced the whole course of the war. Now I deny that in every case. Every preparation was made on the assumption that it might be necessary to fight the Free State as well as the Transvaal, and moreover, from a strategic point of view, it was held by some of the best and highest advisers of the Government that the neutrality of the Free State would have to be watched and might prove even a greater danger than the actual hostility of the Free State. I should like to know whether the Front Opposition Bench take their share of responsibility for the statement that has been circulated in a little leaflet by thousands throughout this country, that the mistake about the Orange Free State cost the country thousands of lives and millions of money. Sir, there is not a shred or shadow of foundation for that statement; and therefore the attack made on the Prime Minister last night had no foundation whatever.

May I say one word in support and in amplification of what fell from the Chief Secretary last night. My right hon. friend dwelt with great force on the points on which the Commission pronounced a verdict in favour of the Government. He dwelt on the thoroughness and remarkable dispatch of the mobilisation of the troops, and he cited their commendation on the quality of the stores and food supplies which was the most successful feature of the war. He mentioned their opinion of the various articles provided, and he also dwelt with not too great force on the denunciations of the exaggerated statements with regard to the failure of the supply of horses. We were told that the stores were insufficient. My right hon. friend made a very clear statement on that point which could not be gainsaid. We did find great arrears in 1895, and we set ourselves first to the better equipment of the Navy. That we were bound to do. We voted for the Army £4 for every £3 voted by our predecessors, and we raised our Army Estimates very considerably in consequence. During that time we had considerable military expeditions in the Soudan, for which we had to find enormous stores, and on which we spent something like a million of money, which we might have spent in filling our storehouses and regaining that which the opposite Party had spent £10,000,000 in losing before. I may say this, that although the stores ran low they never ran short during the war. And if they did not run short I think the House might, in its generosity, admit that some credit is due to those men in the War Office, much abused though they be, who, under Sir Henry Brackenbury and Sir Charles Mansfield Clarke, supplied an Army in the field three or four times the size of that they had been asked to provide for, in an efficient condition for two and a half years.

I would invite the attention of the House to three or four points, before I sit down, on which the Commission found real scope for their labours and which the Government have shown their anxiety to meet. The Director of Military Intelligence has had very marked compliments paid to him in this debate. I associate myself in every respect with the commendations given to Sir John Ardagh for the intelligence which he provided for us under circumstances of great difficulties. I know that the right hon. Member for West Birmingham has made it clear to the House that that intelligence did reach members of the Cabinet, but we cannot conceal from ourselves that the verdict of the Commission is against us on that question. The Commission stated that there had been a neglect owing to the system, for all practical purposes, of the work of the Intelligence Division. I think that that shows that defects did exist. At all events, amongst the military authorities there was not sufficient cohesion inside the War Office and between the War Office and the Government; not that cohesion on which we could depend in a future war. I go far beyond the Commission in that respect. I say not only was there a want in 1895 of sufficient cohesion to secure that the full force of the best military intelligence should be communicated to the Government, but that there was not sufficient cohesion between the Army and the Navy. Both required to be brought under the authority of the Prime Minister. The Defence Committee as it then existed was not a sufficient instrument, and it was that feeling which moved both the First Lord of the Admiralty and myself as soon as the war was over to approach the Prime Minister with a view to the creation of the present Defence Committee. Without labouring that point, I think the House will readily understand that the sittings of the present Defence Committee, amended and amplified as they may be under the new conditions, have secured, at all events, that the two leading military and naval Members are brought face to face with the Cabinet, week by week, through the session and occasionally during the autumn, and that no such hiatus can again occur, as occurred in 1899, between the Military Intelligence Department and the Cabinet. That point is not one which arouses enthusiasm in the party of attack, but I venture to say that it is by far the most vital result that can take place from the investigations of this Commission. The majority of the Commission did not propose changes in the War Office itself, nor in the system of the Army; but the Minority Report made a suggestion towards which, before that time, we had already gone a long way. That men should work in water-tight compartments in such a matter as National Defence is absolutely impossible. The association of those men in the War Office who have been sitting with regularity for the last three years has prevented that isolation which caused many of the hitches in the late campaign and which is made still more impossible by the organisation now proposed to be set up.

The Commission reported strongly about the training of officers and troops. Long before the war, in Lord Lansdowne's time, great changes had been made in that respect. In the beginning of 1899, opportunities for training and manoeuvring troops had been afforded as never before. There is one step which has been taken and of which scant recognition has been made by the public, but which will have a lasting effect on the organisation and training of the Army. And that is that officers are appointed now to command troops which they are to command in war. It was universally admitted that the manœuvres of last year showed a nearer approach to a condition of war, and a greater appreciation by the officers and men in the training they had received, than anything that has taken place in this country before. May I remind the House that before the Commission sat all the censures which had been passed on the medical department had been dealt with to such a degree that Sir F. Treves was able to tell the Commission that we should now have the finest medical service in the world?

One other matter, our Army had been trained, had been located previously to the war, mainly with the view of home defence, with a Navy which can defend us, or should be able to defend us, from any formidable attack. That view has been abandoned; the Prime Minister has shown as clearly as possible that the policy adopted by this Government three years ago of holding a force in readiness of 120,000 for service abroad was the only legitimate policy for a country which has great dependencies to defend. That, again, is a result of the war. No longer shall we approach another war, another emergency, with a doubt in our minds whether we can send 70,000 men abroad. The policy of the country has been unmistakably declared. I am very glad this debate has been raised; I think it has swept away a good many misconceptions. I do not believe that those who read the indictment of the Government on the one hand, and the defence of the Government on the other, will doubt on which side they ought to give their votes in this controversy. Hon, Members opposite have shown to their own satisfaction that in the state of the negotiations, which was known to them as well as to the public, preparations for war were inevitable. They cannot produce one single point in which they assisted those preparations which they now reproach us for insufficiently making!

The hon. Member who seconded the Motion endeavoured to barb his invective against the Government by citing passages from the Committee on the Crimean war as bearing on the Report we have under discussion. The records of the two Committee will remain side by side in our library for the deliberations of this House for all time. What is the comparison between them? The one said that by the negligence and want of foresight of the Government 52,000 men, the largest force ever in the Crimea at the same time, had been left deficient in everything that makes the Army able to take and keep the field; the other Report has made it clear that a force five times that number was mobilised, maintained for two and a-half years, and well supplied to the satisfaction of the officers and men composing it, and under conditions which, while they gave much occasion for improvement and much ground for the acceptance of experience, on the whole caused the repeated commendation of the Commissioners as to the way in which the service was carried out. I, for one, rejoice that these defects have been brought out; I rejoice also that the exaggerated estimates of them have been authoritatively disproved. And I believe, with my right hon. friend the present Secretary of State, that now that we have had our difficulty, now that we have confessed where the mistakes have arisen, now that we have set ourselves to repair them, the worst possible policy for the country and for this House is to continue denunciation of our Army system and Army administration, and of the results which have been achieved. I have known what it is, during a period which was not directly under the review of the Commissioners, to conduct a war under those conditions of criticism; I have known what it is to receive from the front protest after protest against the speeches and criticisms which were being made in this House because of the discontent they created among those who had been previously contented. I claim that the adverse critics have said their say, and our point is that we have met, with difficulty no doubt, but still successfully, a call which was unparalleled and unexpected. I say that the mistakes were to a large degree remedied before the sitting of the Commission, that our system is now being reviewed from end to end. I say we did not wait for the verdict of the Commissioners, or for the censure of Parliament, to undertake reforms which have altered the whole condition of our preparations for the eventuality of a war. That being so, let the House of Commons decide between us, whose record at all events shows a sense of our responsibility and an earnest desire to repair that which has been amiss—let the House of Commons decide between us and those whose military record is no record at all for the last twenty years who let matters go back, without introducing a single reform when they were last in power, and who hung on our backs at the critical moment, and who now come forward on the most flimsy ground and try to subordinate the great national question of Army reform, which we are determined to carry through, to a Party cry.


said that if they were to take the right hon. Gentleman who had just spoken in earnest, they would fain have to inquire how it was that, after his super-excellent administration at the War Office for four years, he now found his services transferred to another Department. He himself could not help thinking that one, cause of that transference was the knowledge which the Government had that the Report of the Commission was hanging over the right hon. Gentleman's head. The right hon. Gentleman in his speech said that the unpatriotic action of the Opposition prevented the Government making good the deficiencies which they acknowledged existed in the force which they were to maintain in South Africa. If it were unpatriotic not to make good such deficiencies, on whom did the blame lie—on the Government who had the power and the knowledge, or on the Opposition who had neither one nor the other?


That was not my point. My point was that we could have strengthened the knowledge of the Boers as to our being in earnest by sending out more troops; but that that advantage would have been altogether nullified if it had been met by loud protests on the part of the Opposition, thereby encouraging President Kruger in his belief that the Opposition were opposed to the war.


said that if the right hon. Gentleman had read the evidence before the Commission he would know that Sir Mansfield Clarke told the Commission in the clearest possible language that it was perfectly possible to make all those preparations without any one of them becoming public. If that were so—and he could not question the authority of such an eminent military official as the late Quartermaster-General—the blame lay on the Government, not only for not preparing for the war, but also for trying to deceive the House of Commons. The right hon. Gentleman also said that in the present dispute between Japan and Russia, statesmen on both sides were called in to give counsel, but what had been taking place in Japan and Russia during the past two months? There had been the largest possible public preparation for the struggle which they feared would ensue. What took place here in the early summer of 1899? The Government did not make any sort of preparation, public or private, for war, although they were responsible, not the Opposition. Even if the Opposition were called into counsel, the Government were responsible for the policy which rendered preparation necessary. The right hon. Gentleman also further said that the last General Election was fought on the cry of the war; the next General Election would be probably fought on the cry of "bluff;" and the cry which floated the right hon. Gentleman in in 1900 would probably float him out in 1904. The right hon. Gentleman went on to tell the House of Commons that the various Governments with which he had been connected had spent £4 for every £3 the previous Government had spent. What had they got to show for it? The right hon. Gentleman said that the storehouses never ran out. Did he remember the evidence of Sir Andrew Noble before the Commission? Sir Andrew Noble was told by the Secretary of State for War there was no shrapnel in the country, except what was in the limber boxes of the artillery, that there were only two cases of ammunition in the country, and that the military stores of every kind were inadequate for ordinary peace requirements. [Mr BRODRICK dissented] The right hon. Gentleman shook his head, but that was the statement of the Director-General of Ordnance; it was also the statement of the Inspector-General of Remounts, of the Director-General of the Army Medical Service, and of the Army Service Corps. Every one of these officers gave evidence in which each said that the requirements of his Department were not satisfactory even up to a peace standard. The right hon. Gentleman stated that the reports of the Intelligence Department reached the Cabinet, but had the Cabinet the intelligence to understand them? These defects were discovered in 1895 by the Intelligence Department. They were not rectified until 1903, and they would not have been rectified then had it not been known by the right hon. Gentleman that the evidence of Sir William Nicholson was going to be made public.


That is a charge, a direct charge, against me. I beg to tell the House that it is absolutely without foundation. So far from its being a case of the Intelligence Department having been left alone from 1899 to 1903, in 1901 Sir William Nicholson was placed on the War Office Council, so that the whole of the evidence from his Department reached the Cabinet direct. But apart from that, as regards the organisation of his Department, I took up the matter very early. The Chancellor of the Exchequer adopted the very natural position that permanent additions to that Department should be delayed till the end of the war. We had an enormous number of officers employed on intelligence in South Africa, and at the end of the war I brought the matter before him. It was before the Treasury long before Sir William Nicholson gave any evidence whatever; and I obtained for him a large increase of officers, I think it was thirteen or fifteen, before he ever went before the Commission.


said that if the right hon. Gentleman would turn to the Report he would see the statement there made that £3,000 was to be added to the Estimates for the Intelligence Department. Sir William Nicholson stated that that was the first time he had heard anything about that increase.


Sir William Nicholson was constantly in conference with the Committee that sat at the War Office the previous year to arrange what his future staff was to be, and that was submitted to the Treasury a long time before I think the Commission began its sittings. As to the charge against myself, a most unusual charge, that I never would have made any representation to the Treasury at all to add to this Department unless I had known that General Nicholson's evidence was going to be published, I think the hon. Member should withdraw it. I never knew what evidence Sir William Nicholson had given on the subject, nor had it the slightest effect on my action in the matter, which had been taken months before.


said that, if the right hon. Gentleman put it on those grounds, he withdrew at once the personal charge against himself, but he would not withdraw it against the Department of which he was the head. He had not got the reference with him at the moment, but the evidence was there in the Report of the Commission for every man who cared to read it. The right hon. Gentleman had further declared that he was glad the debate had been raised. He commenced his remarks by saying it was unworthy of the Opposition to have brought a charge of failure against the Government. This debate had shown that the Opposition were justified in making that charge. The evidence in the Report was clear upon it. It was somewhat difficult to debate the whole of the Report because of the enormous mass of evidence collected and the multitudinous details gone into by the Commissioners, and by the fact that any criticism on the Report itself must fall into one of two lines. First, the want of preparation by the Government, second, the inability of the War Office to perform the duties which fell to their office during the war. That made any criticism on the Report extremely difficult, but it did not diminish the responsibility of the Cabinet. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had expressed the opinion that so far as the Army was concerned the Government deserved an acquittal. So far as the House was concerned, the jury which had to give the verdict on this debate was packed, but the discussion which took place in the House would penetrate into the country, and the country was the ultimate judge. The right hon. Gentleman said, supposing you did bring in a verdict of guilty, it was better to have the devil you did know than the devil you did not. But he remembered reading of a case where a house was cleansed of seven devils and the last state of that house was worse than the first.


Because the other devils came in.


said the devils alluded to were the devils who had come in in the last three or four weeks. It was quite true that the right hon. Gentleman was not fully responsible for the inception or the continuance of these defects, but he was responsible for a great part of the time covered by the Report. Lord Lansdowne, the first of the various Secretaries of State for War, had pointed out that the enemy we were going to fight was more formidable than any we had grappled with for years, and in view of that remark they were entitled to criticise the action of the Government. Reference was made to the fact that there was no plan of campaign, and Lord Lansdowne said— I cannot see that anyone was prejudiced by the lack of a definite plan of campaign. His secretary did not take that view, but thought that if a general had been sent out with definite instructions it would have been far better, and that view was the one that had been accepted by the Commission. No precise and definite instructions were given to any general officer who went out. That had been admitted by all. Lord Roberts pointed out to the Commission that in India, when hostilities were threatened, the Commander-in-Chief and the Quartermaster-General both submitted to the authorities definite plans of campaign, and measures were taken accordingly. Such was the experience of Lord Lansdowne during his Vice-royalty of India. And that was a plan that must have recommended itself to him during the time he was expecting hostilities to break out between ourselves and these two Republics, yet so far as they could make out, no precaution had been taken by him or any of his subordinate officials.

It had been said that no army was better found in the field than that in South Africa. The evidence relied on for that statement was that of Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener. They were not there until five months after the war broke out, and by that time the defects in the supply and so forth had been remedied by the officers on the spot. The evidence that should have been relied on was that of the Chief Supply Officer, General Buller, Lord Methuen, and others on the spot, which was of an entirely different character. Colonel Richardson, the officer in charge of supplies in South Africa, had stated that when General Buller landed there was only a fortnight's supply for the troops, and that was brought out in the ships with which General Buller came. There were £8,500,000 worth of supplies in the storehouses in England, and Ladysmith had ten days supply for the ultimate garrison there, yet the fall of Ladysmith was to be the turning point of the war. That was to be the signal of the rising of the whole Dutch nation in South Africa against the British. What happened in order to pour supplies into Ladysmith? All the transport service of South Africa had to be disorganised and everything else had to be taken off the single line of railway that supplied it in order that these supplies should be got in. Such things might sound ridiculous to people now, but they were not ridiculous to those who had to defend Ladysmith, or to the Boers who hoped through the want of our preparation to be able to capture Ladysmith and raise the whole of the Dutch population. Lord Lansdowne had said if we had been at war with a naval Power we should not have sent out two army corps, and should have had a few weeks to accumulate stores on the sea-board, but we were not at war with a naval Power, the Boers had no fleet, and the result of all this delay was the Boers had all the advantage of the initiative, and during the weeks in which supplies and equipments were being prepared here, South Africa might have fallen. The whole of the delay which occurred proceeded from a false assumption. The Government pretended that they were ignorant of the preparations of the enemy. They played a sort of game with themselves, and thought that other people would be as slack as they were. But the Boers, who learned their lesson better, rigidly adhered to the maxim that diplomacy and military preparations should proceed side by side.

There was only one more point he wished to allude to. The right hon. Gentleman had talked, not for the first time, of the statement that at the beginning of the war in October, 1899, the War Office was not in a position to put into the field any part of the two army corps laid down as the standard of our requirements. There was only one organised body which went out—viz., General Barton's brigade of 45,000 men, and apart from that there were no organised forces in the country. Our fortresses, after we had provided one army corps, were practically defenceless, while as to the Auxiliaries, Lord Wolseley had stated that they were armed with obsolete guns with a range of shell fire which was contemptible, and that it would be dangerous and criminal to ask these Auxiliary forces to stand up against any modern artillery. That was the position around London, that was the state of the country after the right hon. Gentleman and the War Office had sent out one army corps. No wonder the Report stated that the defences of the country were at the time dangerously weak, and if in those facts the right hon. Gentleman could find matter for congratulation, well he must indeed be very short of comfort. If this state of things was to be remedied it could not be done by pretending that all had been well in the past and probably would be well in the future. The right hon. Gentleman had not always taken up that attitude. He could remember the time when he attacked the Secretary of State for disregarding the advice of his military advisers. Yet he seemed very apt now-a-days to shelter himself behind the advice of his military advisers. He told them that if he or his successor failed they ought to be dismissed. But the House had been debarred by the action of the head of the Government from dismissing the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for India. It might have been an act of kindness on the part of a colleague to remove him from the War Office but it was an injustice to the public, for unless faults were brought home to the individuals responsible for them we should have neither economy nor efficiency in the future.

SIR CARNE RASCH (Essex, Chelmsford)

thought the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean was hardly correct in his view as to quick-firing guns. The French had a battery of quick-firers in China which for some reason were withdrawn; the Germans and the Italians had quick-firing guns, with which they had been supplied at a cost of £2,000,000 in one case, and £1,000,000 in the other, but the guns were not satisfactory. In our case, we had two kinds of guns, one invented by Sir G. Clarke, and he thought the Government were better off now with those guns, although not absolutely up-to-date, than if they had re-armed the artillery three years ago with guns which were now obsolete. He considered the attack made by this Amendment on the present Front Bench was rather unfair. The condition of the War Office was due to the neglect of the Army by the Press, the nation, and the Government for the last 200 years. The country had been willing to find the money, but it had never gone into details, it had always allowed the War Office to muddle on as it could, and the standing Army had always been unpopular. That sort of thing had gone on from the time of William the Dutchman to the time of King George, and from the time of George III. to the South African War. It was the fault of the system rather than of the Government that during the last half-century or century the War Office had got into the condition described by The Times that morning as absolutely rotten and effete. It was well known that when Army Estimates came up for discussion Members immediately left the Legislative Chamber for more congenial employment. It might be, as Lord Randolph Churchill once said, that the Service Members were more vocal than articulate on military matters; but even though they were endowed with all the dialectical ability of the two Front Benches combined, it would be extremely difficult for them to induce hon. Members to listen to them on questions affecting the Services. The present Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland was responsible more than any other man for the condition of things which fell out during the South African War. He heard from the right hon. Gentleman three years ago speeches which he considered were the cleverest he had ever heard under the circumstances; and the Chief Secretary carried with him all Members on the Government side and the greater part of those on the opposite side of the House. But he and others felt that in certain details the right hon. Gentleman was absolutely incorrect; he had not had time to study the question. But that was not the fault of the right hon. Gentleman. When a man, after being in civilian life for some years, was pitchforked into a maelstrom of difficulties such as the War Office, he could not be expected to know every detail in six months. It was surprising that this attack should have come from a supporter of the Leader of the Opposition who, a few years ago, tried to run the British Army on the cheap by keeping it short of powder. The real point of importance was that this system which during the last 200 years had cost the country millions of money and thousands of lives, was, he hoped, under the auspices of the present Secretary of State for War, about to be for ever abolished.

CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington, W.)

said that during the last ten years in Parliament he had taken a continuous interest in Army affairs, and, although a strong Party man, had invariably placed the welfare of the Services before Party allegiance. Before the outbreak of war he gave constant support to the Government in doing the best they could for the Army, and he desired to treat the subject now under discussion in a somewhat different way from that adopted by previous speakers. He fully agreed with the views put forward by the hon. Member for the Chelmsford Division. Over and over again when attempting to improve Army conditions they had had to speak to a practically empty House, empty Press Gallery, and unsympathetic public, and his sympathies had been altogether with the gentleman who had had the misfortune to be in charge of the War Office. The present Chief Secretary for Ireland, than whom no abler man sat on the Treasury Bench, did wonders to extricate the Government from the difficult position in which it found itself during the late war, and his successor the present Secretary of State for India had to perform a most difficult task in the face of fierce opposition from the military element at the War Office. The difficulty in dealing with the present question was that last night the Chief Secretary spoke with one voice, whereas the Prime Minister had recently spoken with another. It might be admitted that had great preparation been made it would have acted as a provocative upon the South African Republics. That the Government were sufficiently warned by the military authorities was agreed. The Chief Secretary declared that when the Government came into office their entire attention was devoted to the Navy, and very properly so. But the Secretary of State for War and his assistants must have known that they had duties to discharge, and they ought to have prepared what little army the country would allow them to have, for the object for which it was intended. Quite apart from the South African war we were supposed to have two army corps in a complete state of efficiency. We were to have at our disposal in this country 120,000 men, of whom 70,000 were to be ready to go at a moment's notice to any position for the purpose of carrying on warlike operations. Not only were they not in that condition, but, although warned every time the Army Estimates came up for discussion, the Government omitted to take the proper precautions for keeping that force in readiness.

There were in the House fifty or sixty members who, like himself, had had the honour of wearing Her Majesty's uniform, and they had done their utmost to force successive Ministers to put the Army on a sound foundation. On 8th April, 1897, he asked the Secretary of State whether he was aware that the Army Medical Department for the two army corps was forty short of its number, and the reply was that it was forty short, but that measures to make good the deficiency were under consideration. In June, 1898, the right hon. Gentleman declared there were sufficient for two army corps when at full strength, but it was then under strength. In 1898 on the Army Estimates he pointed out that not two but three army corps would be required in the event of war in South Africa, that the two army corps were not fully equipped, that we could not move troops from India or Egypt, and that the troops left in the Empire would be insufficient for its defence. In March, 1899, he pointed to the failure of the system and the fact that out of eleven new batteries only eight had been completed. The Service Members as a body complained of the position in which the Auxiliary forces were, but without avail. It had been urged that in the late war we were called upon to deal with circumstances altogether different from those of any other campaign. That could not be said with regard to the war which preceded the struggle in South Africa—viz., the Egyptian War. Nevertheless, in the debate on the Address in 1900, he pointed out that in the Egyptian War the hospitals were so defective that at the base of operations there were only two nurses, and that men were dying like flies owing to the cheeseparing policy of the Government.

Many references had been made to the fact that our guns were not up to standard; yet during the period 1886–92, while a Conservative Government was in power, the artillery batteries were reduced from six guns to four, and the spare horses taken from them. It was pointed out at the time that properly trained horses could not be produced at a moment's notice, and protests were entered against the starvation that was taking place. The same thing was true of all the departments. Everybody knew the result of the Veterinary Department being undermanned. Through the horses not being properly conditioned, and there being no one competent to take charge of them, at least £3,000,000 out of the £8,000,000 spent was wasted. In June, 1903, the Secretary of State, in reply to a Question, stated that there were no fewer than thirty-five vacancies, that the establishment was 20 per cent. below peace strength, and that there were five candidates for thirty-six vacancies. So that not only were the Departments defective before the war, but even after the war no steps were taken to bring the forces up to their proper strength. It was well-known that when war broke out the fortresses of the country had to be depleted of their guns and the Navy drawn upon, and he distinctly remembered the then Financial Secretary to the War Office, while refusing to supply the quick-firing guns which it was pointed out were absolutely essential, boasting that he had given a sum of £150,000 for converting practically worthless guns into quickfirers. In the face of these facts it was impossible to justify the Prime Minister's recent statement that immediately on coming into office the Government set to work to bring up the Army which had been abandoned by the "professors of economy."

As to ammunition, Sir H. Brackenbury had stated that there was a deficiency of 326 machine guns, and a reserve of only one horse artillery battery and one 5-in. howitzer, while Lord Lansdowne stated— It would be a national misfortune were it to become known that after our First Army Corps had left these shores we could produce only thirty-six battalions with nothing behind them but numbers of partially trained Militia battalions and men who had been discarded from the regular battalions because they were too young to go on foreign service. Therefore only one army corps was available, and even that was not properly equipped, for on 11th October Lord Wolseley said— We soon came to the end of our available military stores. I found that a demand for 250 sets of saddlery could not be completed. Further there was neither clothing nor saddlery for the mounted infantry of the Fifth Division if they had been ordered to embark in the month of November, and the Commander-in-Chief declared that when one army corps had been despatched he had not the necessary material to despatch a second army corps. The Prime Minister did not wish to throw blame upon the military authorities, for he said— What I want you to understand is that all the so-called failures of the war arose out of that miscalculation, and not out of previous War Office maladministration. But that did not exonerate the Prime Minister for not having ready the two army corps. Then the Prime Minister went on to say— Observe that in so saying I am offering a defence, not for the Government, but for the military advisers of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman attempted to escape Cabinet responsibility, and that was what he wanted to enforce upon the House. He was not going to take any advantage of that in order to abuse the Ministry, but when the Government attempted to ride off upon the backs of their military advisers, and claimed that they did all the military advisers asked them to do, they stood condemned by the Report of the Commission. He had shown how, years before the war broke out, he had pressed the Government to attend to this service. Surgeon-General Jameson, referring to the deficient medical service, said— He had often made representations at the Army Board, but that the answer given was that' the trained soldier is the only man you cannot purchase in the open market, and that all the money was wanted for trained soldiers.' Well, they did get medical officers in the open market, but they all knew that ordinary medical practitioners had no chance whatever, without previous military experience, when called upon to deal with great administrative questions, or to establish a hospital at the base. The Secretary of State for War of the day said he had reserve medical officers to draw from, but he knew they were men who, for active service, were past their work. The result was that he had to draw upon inexperienced men in South Africa, with the shocking results which were disclosed by the hon. Member for Westminster. The people of this country had not realised the number of men who went out to fight our battles in South Africa who would have been safe and sound to-day if only proper precautions had been taken to keep a sufficient staff of Army medical men for the two army corps. Surgeon-General Jameson went on to say— When the South African war broke out what happened was as follows: The whole, practically, of the Army Medical Corps personnel, officers and men, was exhausted in supplying the First Army Corps, and in manning the base hospitals and stationary hospitals. All that was pointed out two or three years before the war broke out, and in the face of that the Prime Minister said— I do not believe it will ever be maintained that the Army we have sent into the field was inadequately equipped with any modern requirements or any equipment which the progress of invention has shown to be necessary to a modern Army. That would be poor consolation for himself and many others, for he did not suppose there was a member of the Service Committee who had not sustained some loss during the war, and could count upon his fingers the number of relatives, connections, and friends lost in the war, many of whom might have been saved if what the Prime Minister boasted was true had been true. Here was what Sir Frederick Treves said upon this point— The ambulance waggons jolted and were old-fashioned. The Boers had good ambulances, but an English ambulance is hardly fit to transport the sick. That was not much consolation for those who had relatives wounded in the South African war.

With regard to stores, so far from being prepared, they were not only deficient, but the Government absolutely refused to incur the necessary expenditure in order to bring their military stores up to what they declared to be the necessities of the situation for the general defence of the country with two army corps. The Commissioners reported that— The Army Board soon brought to light a serious deficiency in the stores and material required on the mobilisation of an army corps. The minutes of the Army Board during the period up to 22nd September, 1899, make it clear that in the opinion of that Board the main difficulty was the refusal of sanction for the expenditure of the money involved, amounting to about £640,000. Lord Lansdowne said he brought the whole circumstances before his colleagues. The decision not to sanction the expenditure, therefore, was taken by the Cabinet, though Lord Lansdowne of course does not dissociate himself from it. They could not therefore get rid of Cabinet responsibility in this way. In the minute in which Lord Lansdowne brought this matter before the Cabinet he said— As matters now stand, it would not be possible to place a mobilised army corps and a cavalry division in the north of Natal under about four months. If, on the other hand, all our preparations were complete, this period might be reduced by about one month. Therefore that period might have been reduced by about one month if proper preparations had been carried out in this country. How absurd, under these circumstances, it was to endeavour to throw the blame on the Commander-in-Chief, because every particle of evidence went to show that the whole key of this position was in the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition that the Government were playing a policy of bluff, and failed to make the necessary preparations. They were doing this behind the backs and without the knowledge of the military authorities, and when this policy of bluff failed they came down upon their military advisers and blamed them. Lord Wolseley suggested that an army corps should be mobilised on Salisbury Plain in order to see what defects there were, and in order that they might be ready to move abroad at any moment. That advice was neglected, and Lord Wolseley went on to say— As a soldier, it seemed to me to be madness to go on as we were from week to week, not making preparations for an eventuality which to me seemed a certainty. He went on to say that if those preparations had been ready they might have placed an army in the Transvaal long before they did. It had been said that the transport could not have been got ready. The attempt was made and why was it not got ready? Simply because the Cabinet would not sanction the expenditure. The Prime Minister spoke of starving the Army, but who starved it? Why, the present Cabinet. The Report states that— On the 9th of September the Quartermaster-General asked to spend money on mules, but on the 16th of September the Secretary of State declined to enter upon any expenditure in connection with these services at present. And the Report went on to say— I think we wanted 6,000 and we were allowed to purchase 1,300 odd, and on the 2nd October permission was given to buy the remainder of the mules we required. And when it was too late the remainder of the mules were purchased. On the 6th of September, Lord Wolseley said— I pressed that more field artillery should be placed on the higher establishments. Would that have interfered with political negotiations, for it would certainly have been no threat to the Boers. Lord Wolseley proceeded— The answer I received was that the question should be deferred to the Estimates of 1900. On the 3rd of November, 1896, Lord Wolseley addressed the Secretary of State on the subject of increasing the Natal garrison and he said— I think I may say that I was always hammering at this one chord, and pointing out whenever I was asked, and even at times when I was not asked, that increases were necessary in order to bring up the Army to what I had laid down as the minimum which I thought we always ought to have ready for home defence; and to enable us to send a small army of two army corps abroad. Throughout the war he had supported the Government because he knew that owing to the want of preparation and the enormous task before them they were straining every effort to carry out that task as well as they could under the circumstances. His point was that the preparations which ought to have been made, irrespective of any war whatever, were not made. The Commander-in-Chief himself distinctly stated that he was always hammering away and trying to get the Government to bring up the Army to the standard he had laid down. He did not blame the Army authorities, but he blamed the Cabinet for not having given those in charge of the Army proper support. After the war had begun they pressed for a system of organising drafts at Aldershot in order to keep the Yeomanry in South Africa what he called alive, but their advice was not taken until a year or two after, and what was the result? Lord Methuen said— When the second contingent of Yeomanry came out, their riding was hopelessly bad; they had no knowledge of a horse or how to ride, and there were only a few farmers among them. They had been pressing the Government over and over again to make the Yeomanry force effective. The Commissioners wound up by saying— We regret to say that we are not satisfied that enough is being done to place matters on a better footing in the event of another emergency. His contention was that they were in no better position at the present moment to send two complete army corps abroad, and have one fully equipped at home, than they were prior to the war. The Commissioners went on to say that— The Volunteers and Yeomanry proved themselves of value in the late war under an organisation which was improvised for them in the face of the enemy. Complaint had been made by some hon. Members on the Front Bench that the Opposition had not dealt with the Report, but the right hon Baronet the Member for the Forest Dean dealt with the Report and dealt with it exhaustively. There had been no answer given to any of their statements, therefore, whether the Government stood upon the platform of preparation prior to the war, or upon the platform of the Report of the Commission with reference to the carrying out of the war, they stood condemned in the eyes of the country. If the people only realised that owing to the conduct of the present Government between 20,000 and 30,000 British homes had been rendered desolate it would go very hard with the Government when they appealed to the country.


said that after listening to the greater part of this debate, it was very refreshing to find an hon. Member on the other side who had had practical experience of the Army rising to take part in the debate. He honestly confessed that, taking into consideration the speeches of the mover and the seconder of this Amendment, and those which had been delivered in support of it, it was very difficult to believe that the intention of this Amendment was one to improve the military forces of this country. The hon. and gallant Member opposite ended his speech by saying that the Government stood condemned. He ventured to say that this was not a question of acquittal or condemnation either in the eyes of the man in the street or of the nation at large. The nation was well aware from the Report of the Commission, and from the experience of our soldiers in South Africa, that there had been want of foresight, want of preparation, and there might have been mismanagement; but what they felt was that, no matter which Party had been in office, there would have been the same state of inefficiency, and it might have been even greater if the other side had been in office. [OPPOSITION cries of "Oh, oh!"] He was sorry that hon. Members opposite should differ, but it was quite natural that they should. All he was trying to do was to represent to them the general feeling of the country upon this point. The people felt that under our present military and political system there could not have been a war of this magnitude of which it could not have been said that there was want of foresight, want of preparation, and mismanagement. What the nation really wanted was not to pay attention to the details which the hon. and gallant Member opposite had so ably put before the House, but to know how in future they were going to avoid a repetition of those mistakes and this want of preparation and foresight. This Amendment was directed against His Majesty's Ministers. He ventured to say that if they wished to fix the blame, they would have to lay it more upon the system. Ever since he came into this House he had been a constant critic of the War Office. The right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean said they ought to approach this subject in a non-Party manner. He could appeal to his past action upon this subject, for he had spoken against the Government and voted against them, and he had divided the House against the Government in what he believed to be the best interests of the Army and the country. Therefore he stood in an independent position in rising to speak that afternoon to condemn the Amendment which had been moved.

Under their present military system it was impossible that there could be proper preparation for a war of this magnitude. The late war had carried a lesson into every home in the country, and the mismanagement and want of foresight in the conduct of that war was known in every village; but to say that those who were to blame were the Ministers of the Crown, and not the system, was an absolute mistake. The people knew perfectly well that if the Front Bench opposite had been in power, there would have been in all probability even less preparation, and there would certainly have been less foresight. [OPPOSITION cries of "No, no!"] There was no efficient preparation, simply because the nation had never foreseen or anticipated a war of this magnitude under modern conditions. Therefore there had not been that public opinion behind the Government upon this question without which it was impossible to carry out a far-reaching reform of the Army system. He felt it his duty when the late Secretary of State for War produced his scheme of reorganisation and reform to oppose it tooth and nail. He thought, however, that the scheme put forward by Lord Esher's Committee struck at the very root of the inefficiency of the War Office and the mismanagement of the Army, and he was prepared to give his hearty support to that scheme. Although he had been a constant critic of His Majesty's Government, and had attempted from the time he came into the House to the breaking out of the war to bring to the notice of the War Office what he knew from experience were defects in their military system; although his criticisms were very often received with a very wet blanket and a shower of very cold water, especially from the present Secretary of State for India, his only regret was that his words were wasted when they might have saved a great deal of trouble and disaster during the late war. He repeated that the responsibility for all these defects did not rest upon His Majesty's Ministers, but upon our system of Army organisation. Under the conditions prevailing when the war in South Africa broke out, it was impossible for the Government to make further preparations in Cape Colony and Natal, for they had not the troops to send there unless they sent out the Guards Brigade, called out the Reserves, or brought troops from India. If any of those three courses had been adopted, he ventured to say that there was not an hon. Member opposite who would not have said that the Government were forcing on a war. Under the present system they could not send out troops in that special way without drawing attention to it in the House of Commons, and in every newspaper, and in that way every word would be carried to foreign countries, and to that particular country which was in dispute with ourselves. Under those conditions it was absolutely unjust and wrong to condemn His Majesty's Ministers, who did their best under the circumstances. Critic as he had ever been of the War Office, he would say that when the strain of the war came upon them no Department could have worked harder and better, for they toiled night and day, and did everything which was possible for them to do. They were not able to put into the field well organised and prepared troops because their system prevented it. With regard to the Amendment, he looked upon it as one which was simply political and had nothing whatever to do with the military defects of this country. The need for military reform was present to the minds of all those who were not simply and purely Party men, and when this new scheme which was before them was brought forward they would have to debate it, and they must look at it in the light of all the defects and deficiencies which had been shown in the Commission's Report. In the light of what he had said it would give him very great pleasure to vote against this Amendment.

* MR. J. S.AINSWQRTH (Argyllshire)

said that if the question were asked, "Who won the war?" the answer of the country would be, the Army and the Country. He was particularly sorry to hear the suggestion made that the responsibility for what they all deplored lay at the door of the Opposition and the Army. He thought the Opposition were able to take care of themselves. He would recommend hon. Gentlemen opposite to say nothing against the Army in the country. He was reminded in this connection of a story of what happened before the battle of Waterloo. The Duke of Wellington, observing a British soldier walking about the streets of Brussels, said to a friend, "That is the gentleman who has got to do it, and if they only give me enough of him I think we shall do it." That had been the secret of our success, not only in the late war but in all the wars in which we had been engaged. These men were a credit to the country. It had been frequently stated during the past few years that, the cause of the misfortunes during the early stages of the war in South Africa was the failure of the Intelligence Department. It was evident now that it was not the Intelligence Department that failed to supply information to the Government, but the Government that, for some inexplicable reason, refused to avail themselves of that information. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham said they were obliged to differentiate between fact and opinion, but it should be remembered that nearly everything they got from the Intelligence Department was opinion. How were they going to differentiate fact from opinion in the case of the Intelligence Department? It seemed to him that what had occurred was not the fault of the Army; he was prepared to go so far as to say that it was not even the fault of the War Office. The breakdown was due to the want of a policy on the part of the Government. That had been made clear by the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. The responsibility for the mistakes which had been made must rest on the Cabinet collectively, and especially on the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham. Hon. Members might feel certain that if we had the most perfect Army and the most perfect War Office in the world there would be a breakdown, unless we had at the same time a Government with a definite policy.


said it so happened that he was in Johannesburg in the critical months of August and September before the war, and it would be wrong of him if he did not say distinctly that our preparations were not sufficient. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham that it was extremely difficult to prepare for war, and at the same time convey to the Boers the idea that we desired to prevent war. He regretted, however, that we did not take greater steps to safeguard the country at that time. But everything showed that the Government were most anxious not to do anything which could suggest a threat. He thought they went too far in that way. The mover of the Amendment had referred to the certainty that the Orange Free State would join the Transvaal in the event of war. When in Johannesburg he took an interest in that subject, and he could emphatically say that, as to the action of the Orange Free State, the most competent authorities were in doubt up to the last moment. He had no hesitation in saying that there were two special reasons which determined the action of the Transvaal. The telegram of the Emperor of Germany had given the Boers immense encouragement, and they believed that they would have the support of at least one European State; and another influence unquestionably was that of the speeches of the Opposition, which were reprinted and circulated broadcast in South Africa. Those speeches were one of the greatest incentives to war. He remembered the arrival of the troops from India, and he could say that they did arrive in time, their arrival causing intense relief at a critical moment. He was greatly impressed by the appearance of the troops, and he suggested to the Governor of the Colony that they should be paraded in mass for the purpose of impressing the Boers, but the emergency was so great that this could not be done, and the men were entrained and sent up to Pietermaritzburg immediately on landing. Looking back over those events, he thought it was a pity that they should be made matters of recrimination. They must look to the future and see that something was done to prevent a recurrence of the mistakes which had admittedly been made. He joined the public service after the close of the Crimean War. There was talk then of reforming the War Office. The reform had been going on ever since, but it would appear from the disclosures that had been made that the work was not yet complete. He believed that it would have been impossible for the Transvaal to develop as it should do under the government of President Kruger. He believed that greater happiness and prosperity for that country would ensue as a consequence of the war.


said that the failure of the Government to provide adequate guns, rifles, and ammunition was an indication of the general inefficiency of its arrangements. They were told yesterday that in the midst of the war the Government had to buy 108 quick-firing guns in Germany. The Boer Republics had those modern guns; England with its great resources had none. The Boers had provided themselves with pom-poms from England. We had none, and English-made guns were turned upon our soldiers. In February, 1900, he himself called the attention of the then Under-Secretary for War to the incorrect sighting of the rifles with which our troops were armed. The defect was made light of, treated as rather theoretical than practical, but General Brackenbury in his evidence said that the discovery was "an awful blow." The Government reserve of rifle cartridges at the time of the war consisted in the main of hollow-nosed bullets, and it became a serious question whether they did not come within the provisions of the Hague Convention. Partly on this ground, and partly because when the rifle was foul they were apt to break up prematurely, 66,000,000 of them were discarded. For these reasons, if for no others, he thought the Government preparations must be condemned.

MR. ROBSON (South Shields)

May I, with the permission of the House, make a statement, which is in the nature of a personal explanation, with regard to a criticism passed last night by the ex-Colonial Secretary upon what I had said as to the evidence of Sir William Butler? I had stated that in his evidence Sir William Butler had mentioned 80,000 to 100,000 men as being the force which might be required if the Transvaal were to be annexed. The right hon. Gentleman said in reference to that— The hon. and learned Member produced a statement which amazed me, that Sir William Butler had said that 80,000 to 100,000 men would be required. When did Sir William Butler say that? He did not say anything of the kind. The right hon. Gentleman went on to hint that I had not fairly treated the House in relation to that statement. Now, Sir, without comment, I will read what General Butler did say in his evidence. In answer to a question as to the report that he had given 100,000 men as being the necessary number that would be required, he says— There is no document in evidence of that, but I stated 100,000 men over and over again. To be more particular, I stated 80,000 irrespective of the lines of communication, and the thing was growing. I was asked by a very high authority early in May that is the authority the right hon. Gentlemen himself cited— if it was necessary to bring pressure on the Boers with reference to some political questions, such as the franchise, could the existing force in South Africa be of any use if moved towards the frontier? I laughed openly at the idea. 'No, I said.' the existing force in South Africa could only hold a few positions, which I have in my mind, until reinforcements arrive, and to bring pressure on the Dutch Republic at least 40,000 men will be required.' [Laughter and cheers.] Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite had batter wait— That was early in May—a sudden, offhand question, nothing more. As things went on, I put that number very much higher, and I said to my staff, '80,000 men exclusive of the lines of communication,' and that was nothing wonderful as the Dutch were writing to that effect at the time. The House had an impression that I had in some way attempted to mislead it. The suggestion ought never to have been made and ought now to be withdrawn.


I am not competent, and I have no desire, to defend the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham in his presence, but when he happens to be absent I think it is my privilege to continue the quotation which the hon. Member opposite has produced, apparently with the intention of confuting the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham. I can find no more pertinent confirmation of the charge, if it be a charge, which my right hon. friend produced last night than the sequel to the passage which the hon. and learned Gentleman has quoted. What was the gist, the whole point, of my right hon. friend's remark? He said that Sir William Butler, an officer for whom I may say I have the most profound and sincere respect, being the officer in command of the troops in South Africa, advised the Executive Government that in his opinion a force of 40,000 men was sufficient for the purpose of putting pressure on the Dutch Republics. The hon. and learned Gentleman interrupted and said that on some other occasion he made some other remark. My right hon. friend said— I will not do Sir William Butler the injustice of supposing that, if he knew that a larger force than that was necessary, he failed to perform the primary duty of a general in command and inform his Government, Now what is the sequel? The hon. and learned Member stopped at the end of question 13,505. The next question is this— Did you put that in an official document of any sort? Answer I do not know that I put it into any official document.


I must ask the right hon. Gentleman to deal fairly with the point between myself and the right hon. Member for West Birmingham. I stated in my speech that Sir William Butler had said this to members of his staff. That was the observation I made. That was the observation which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham said did not exist.


I am within the recollection of the House, and I ask whether that is the meaning of a statement made in a debate on the Address—on a vote of censure on the Government—when the hon. and learned Member gets up and reproaches the Government with not having sent more troops because their own general in the field said they ought to send more. I have not done. The next question which I think the hon. Member might have read is this.


I will read it all if you like.


No, I think the time is not long enough. But I will read it. Sir John Edge—Did you inform the Government or the War Office? Answer—No, in fact I waited to be asked my numbers. I ask the House whether the hon. and learned Member's presentation of his own defence just now was a full and adequate presentation of the facts.

I think I have said enough about what, after all, is an unimportant point. I address the House with some reluctance upon this question at all. My position is a peculiar one. I am not personally acquainted with the transactions which have been discussed during this debate; I am not personally responsible for them. I cannot deny that there have been occasions on which I have expressed opinions which have committed me to certain views with respect to them. I hold those views still. I do feel, nevertheless, that nothing I have said disqualifies me from expressing a very clear opinion as to the discussion which has taken place and as to the view which the House is invited to take with regard to this Amendment. I believe that the Opposition has once more misunderstood the whole feeling of the country. The hon. and learned Member for South Shields rebuked me with having said that in my opinion the country did not greatly care about the question he has raised and which he has placed before the House with so much ability. I am bound to say that if at the beginning of this discussion I thought as I did, that the country does not very greatly care to reopen this long-past matter, that it does not really very greatly care about the minute details which the hon. and gallant Member for Newington discussed with so much propriety, but not, I think, with very great relevance; I think so still. But I think that the country does care very much about a matter which has been touched upon very little during the course of this debate—namely, the condition of affairs at the present time and the condition of affairs as it may be in the future. It may be alleged that I have committed myself to much that has been said by hon. Members, whether on the other side of the House or on this side. I have not been in the habit of going back on my own opinion, and nothing has occurred to induce me to do so now. It may indeed be possible to learn a wise, lesson from the views which seem to be common among hon. Members on both sides. But I do think there has been an enormous amount of serious exaggeration and misapplication of the lessons taught in the Blue-book. I was interested and gratified to hear the soldiers defended from that side of the House. It was a new and pleasant experience. [OPPOSITION cries of "Oh, oh," and MINISTERIAL cheers.] I am not speaking of all hon. Members opposite, but I have a very keen and painful recollection of the opinions I have heard expressed about our officers, and about our soldiers, from hon. Members on the other side of the House. [An HON. MEMBER: Methods of barbarism.] I shall make no personal allusions. I am only too delighted that we have now come to a saner frame of mind, and that the merits and capacities of our soldiers, whether officers commanding or privates, are coming to be recog- nised by hon. Members opposite as they ought to be.

It does not become me to discuss in any detail what I may call the diplomatic side of this question. There has been a great deal said, and effectually answered, on this side in respect to the diplomatic proceedings which took place before the commencement of the late war. I have never been quite able to understand the disclaimer of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. He has told us that he really did not in any way contribute to these diplomatic difficulties, and he has explained, or endeavoured to explain, a phrase which has very often, and I think justly, been quoted against him. I was at that time in no way responsible for the Army, or for the diplomatic proceedings, but I have refreshed my memory, and I have informed myself of what the right hon. Gentleman did say. Although I do not want to enter into any recriminations, I say this—that if I had been a soldier serving in the field, or if I had been a member of the Transvaal Legislature at the time when the right hon. Member spoke, I should have put only one interpretation on what he said, and I should have agreed that that interpretation was the same which would be put upon it by any sane man in this country or out of it. The right hon. Gentleman has referred to a second edition—a revised version—of the remarks attributed to him. I have the original report which appeared in an Essex paper on the morrow of the speech. This is what the right hon. Gentleman said— There are some newspapers which talk freely of the probability and even the necessity of war, and the public mind has been distracted in consequence. I think it right to say plainly that I for my part can discern nothing in what has occurred to justify either warlike action or military preparations. I turn to another column of that same Essex paper on that same day, and I find that the whole of the remarks were straightway telegraphed to South Africa. [OPPOSITION cries of "Why not?"] Very well, why not? Now, I cannot but believe that if it had been the object of the right hon. Gentleman to encourage those who were intending war against us, no better means could have been devised for the purpose. An hon. Member says "Why not?" I will tall him why not. I heard the hon. and learned Member for South Shields make his attack on the Government. One of the things which impressed mo most in his able speech, was his admission, from start to finish of that speech of the, proposition for which we have always been contending—that the Boer Republics were preparing for war, that they meant war and were bent upon war, and that we ought to have expected nothing but war. That was the argument he adduced in order to strengthen his attack on the Government and I admit the logical consistency, but what about the speech of the right hon. Gentleman when he knew that war was being contemplated and that war was in preparation against the country to which he belonged?

I pass to another phase of the question. It is made a matter of reproach against the Government that they were not prepared for this emergency for which the hon. and learned Member says they ought to have been prepared. My opinion would coincide with that of the hon. and gallant Member for Taunton, who said our Army system was to blame for the position in which we then found ourselves. The hon. and gallant Member for Bristol spoke of the preparedness of the Boers. He said that within two days they had mobilised and crossed the frontier. It was perfectly true that they did make an aggressive advance against our colonies. What was our position when this war broke out? It was a position in which the Army system had invariably placed us. It was a position absolutely different from that which is occupied by any other European country. In the first place we cannot send any fores into action without mobilising the Army. That is not a new thing. That is part of the system which was invented by hon. Members opposite, which has been cultivated by hon. Members opposite, and which is now defended by hon. Members opposite; and let me point out that mobilisation must have taken place, and did take place, 8,000 miles from the military front. The hon. Member cites to us the action of the Boers. Does he really suggest that it would have been in the interests of peace, for which the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition was so curiously anxious—and to which he contributed so little—that it would have been of any assistance to the negotiations if we had mobilised the whole of the Army Reserve three months before the date at which war was declared? No, Sir, I draw a totally different lesson from the words of the hon. and learned Member for South Shields and the hon. Member for Bristol. It has been pointed out that when the war began we had no troops that we were able to sand without mobilising the Army. The Report of the Commission has demonstrated in unmistakable language that another brigade might have turned the fortunes of the war in Natal. Is the hon. Member who dwelt on this subject prepared to give us that brigade in future? There are two things which are needed before you can enable a martial nation to give effect to its power at the outbreak of war. There is preparation in the matter of men; there is preparation in the matter of money. Both these things, the Commissioners pointed out, we ought to have. Never yet have we had either. The authority of the House of Commons is paramount. We cannot spend a shilling without the authority of the House of Commons. Does the hon. and learned Member suggest that it would have been well for the Government to come down at the time these negotiations were being conducted and ask for a credit of £10,000,000 sterling to fight the Transvaal? Does he suggest that it would have been well for the Secretary for War to have issued a proclamation in the Queen's name to embody the Reserve? What is the alternative? The alternative is always to have a force adequate to the needs of this country, and possibly a sum available for the utilisation of that force. I think I am right in saying that in the corners of this Report we find recommendations of that character. We find recommendations, put, no doubt, with great moderation, that this country assign to the Executive Government a fund which would enable it to prepare for war without the publicity which necessarily accompanies a Vote of Parliament. Does the hon. and learned Member agree with that proposition? If so, I look upon him no longer as an opponent, but as an ally. I quite agree that that is a remedy for the disease we all know to exist. But these defects are part of our Army system—inherent in it. I hey have been part of our Army system for years and years, and if anybody has done anything to mend that system it is certainly not the Party opposite.

I claim the support of the hon. and gallant Member in a reform of which I think he has justly pointed out the importance, but I cannot go further, when he comes to speak of matters of supply, clothing, and transport. I believe that he struck an entirely false note with regard to these matters. I think, perhaps, if he had studied as much as some of us have studied the history of other wars in other lands he would have been cautious before he ventured upon a denunciation of the performances of our auxiliary departments during the late war. It is perfectly true that there was a depletion of our stores, and I have spoken very strongly about what I considered were the steps which ought to have been taken to set that right; but when it is said that there was great dereliction of duty in supplying the necessary stores and provisions to the troops in the field, he goes far beyond the fact, and he goes far beyond the authority given to him in the Report of the Royal Commission. I believe there was a great, an unreasonable, a wrong depletion of our stores at the beginning of the war. I know perfectly well that it was true before the war, and much more true of many a year anterior to that time. But it is not the fact that our troops were without the necessaries, I may almost say the luxuries, of life during that campaign. I honestly believe that never was an army in the field better supplied from start to finish with everything that was necessary for the clothing, the feeding, equipment, and arming of the men. I admit that those supplies were furnished under circumstances of which we have no reason to be proud, and I think we ran very near to the point of danger. In some respects we passed it. But, admitting that, I think a little credit should be given to those who repaired that error in the face of an emergency. It would have completed the story if the hon. and learned Member had told us that, barring the accidents of war, the fighting, and the marching, which are incidents of every campaign, the troops were never without food. No army was ever so well fed. As to the clothing, too, although the clothing which was adapted to the climate was lacking at first, it was supplied in time for the troops to get the benefit of it. That the transport, which had to perform its duties in a country where distances are reckoned, not by miles or scores of miles, but by hundreds of miles, where railways in war time are practically non-existent, or where they exist, make an enormous extra demand upon the Army—that that transport succeeded in practically never being a day behind the troops for the benefit of which it existed is a fact to be proud of.

Now, Sir, let me say a word about guns, There, again, I venture to think the hon. Member has gone a little beyond the facts. It is true that there is need for reformation in our artillery material, but I think the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean is a little in advance of the facts on this point. I am sure the House will recognise the value of any statements he may make and that he has been a most impartial critic in these matters, and has earned the goodwill of both services in that respect. Therefore, I hesitate to dispute any allegation he may make; but when he told us that the Boers had 120 quick-firing guns, and that in that was to be found the mark of the inadequacy of our supply of guns, I think he went a little in advance of the facts.


The statement I made I believe to be true. It was not my own statement. I quoted it from the notes of the Prussian Staff on the war.


I have read that statement, and I think there is some confusion of fact in it. The fact is that the number of quick-firing field guns was exceedingly small, though the number was in advance of our own, for this reason. There was no country in Europe, with the possible exception of France, which at that time had a quick-firing field gun; but it was possible for a small State to buy a fancy article, and the Boer States did so. But they bought a very much smaller number than the right hon. Gentleman suggested. It would have been a very serious undertaking for us to have armed ourselves with what I call this embryo quick-firing gun which no European country possessed. France did possess something approaching a quick-firing gun, but Germany did not, Russia did not, and we did not. I believe we have gained greatly by the postponement of the operation of re-arming our artillery, and, if I am permitted to ask the House to sanction expenditure this year, I believe I shall be able to prove that as the result of that postponement we shall get a much better gun. It is undoubtedly true, and there is undoubtedly force in the allegation that in respect of heavy guns we were out-classed at the beginning of the war by the heavy guns in the possession of the Boers. We were only then beginning to realise what one or two Governments, notably the Russian and the French Governments, had realised—that these heavy guns can with advantage be taken into the field. We suffered, but I do not think to anything like the extent that the hon. and learned Member opposite has suggested. I think the general artillery view is that the material damage done by these guns was small, and that the effect of our guns was quite as great as could be possibly expected, considering the country in which they were operating and the obstacles to which they were opposed. I do not believe, as a matter of fact, that the introduction of quick-firing guns would have made any substantial difference in the progress of the war. But I admit that it would have been wise and provident if we had gone a little in advance of military opinion of the time and had furnished our Army with a certain number of heavier guns. We were not, after all, so very inadequately provided with artillery in the war. We began with 91 guns. We ended up with 752, and I am unable to credit that the organisation at home could have been so bad as it has been described if, during the progress of the war, it could increase the number of guns from 91 to 752.

The peroration of the hon. Member for Camberwell was undoubtedly eloquent, but he pitched in a very false note. He spoke of the bones of men whitening in South Africa, of hearts made sad, and of many homes darkened because the supplies which ought to have been furnished to our troops were not forthcoming. That is a false note. It is not a fact. I do not believe, if you went through the whole of the regiments which so cheerfully bore the inevitable privations of the campaign, you would find they adopted such an attitude at any period of the war. There were losses, lamentable losses. I do not care to apportion the responsibility for those losses, but I would say that principally they were due to the fact that with an army unspecialised for the task it had to perform we were fighting an army thoroughly specialised in their own country. But granting every loss, I believe that no modern campaign has ever been conducted in which there was so small a proportion of avoidable losses as there was in this campaign. If any hon. Member had gone as I have gone in the footsteps of the armies in the Franco-German and the Russo-Turkish Wars, then he would have understood what is meant by the losses which overtake armies in the field, due to causes such as were described by the hon. Member for Camberwell.

Well, Sir, we are asked to take our example from the other side. We are told we ought to have been more provident, that we ought to have foreseen the number of men that would be required to terminate this war. We were told that the Government of the day estimated that an Army of 70,000 or 80,000 men would be sufficient, and that we did not foresee that 250,000 men would eventually have to be put in the field. Let me say a word on that. The hon. Member pointed out that the addition to the numbers originally calculated was the necessary penalty we paid for our want of success in the first weeks of the campaign. That is perfectly true, but I can recall a campaign which is famous, or infamous, and which is usually called the surrender of Majuba. I have never had any reason to doubt that what took place then was that the officer in command of the troops had positive orders to make no terms with the enemy until he had defeated them. But what happened? The enemy defeated him, and, within a day or two, orders were sent to make peace. I quite admit that in that case no addition was necessary to the numbers originally sent out. That is the analogy we are asked to follow.

SIR JAMES JOICEY (Durham, Chester-le-Street)

That is not correct. I myself heard Lord Kimberley make the statement that orders were sent to make terms of peace before Majuba.


I adhere to the opinion that my information is correct. But I quote the case as an example of what ought to be avoided in making war. It is true there were failures, which we all regret. Our soldiers fought bravely, and if they were defeated, and because they were defeated, we had to send out more men until we achieved success. That was done then, and I hope it will always be done when a British Army is in the field. So far from having anything to apologise for, I think the Government of the day ought to be congratulated because they had the determination to insist that the war should be carried through to the bitter end, and that the honour of the British Army should be re-established. We are asked to censure the Government because they failed to prepare the Army for war. I have been, perhaps, occasionally rather a stormy petrel in these military waters, and I have not always been in agreement with my Party, but I have been a very careful, and I hope a very impartial, student of the history of the War Office and the Army during late years. I challenge contradiction from any hon. Member when I say that what has been done for the Army by the present Administration is incomparably in advance of anything that has been done in the whole of the last twenty years by the Party opposite. Hon. Members opposite laugh. I wonder how many of them know. I believe I have earned a cheer now and then by enlarging on this subject, but when I spoke I did not speak altogether without knowledge. We are asked now to give a verdict on the Blue-book. It is not the first Blue-book, nor the tenth, nor the hundredth—my shelves are piled with Blue-books which have recorded the failures of the past, and principally of the Party opposite. [An HON. MEMBER: Oh!] I do not think the hon. Member who objects has any real recollection of the facts. I have the most painful recollection. I have been through them all, analysed and annotated them and know of what I speak. They have one common characteristic. I do not desire to draw a distinction between this and that Party. I have always said the same thing, that these Blue-books have been sterile, that they have produced no result whatever, and that, while condemnation of our system has been persistent, action to improve our system has been non-existent. But now we have this Blue-book, on which the Opposition desires to base their indictment. Has it anything in common with any of these previous Reports? Nothing. I will differentiate in a sentence. The lessons which that Blue-book has taught have been learnt. Action has not been deferred, indeed, till that Blue-book was issued. I suppose I cannot appeal to hon. Members opposite, but I do appeal to hon. Members on this side to say whether I am right or wrong in declaring that in this matter the Government is entitled to a verdict, because they have not failed to take those lessons to heart.

What are the lessons? We are told that we needed stores; we have got them. My right hon. friend the Secretary of State for India said truly that it was the first care of the Administration of which he was at that time a member to supply stores for the Navy, and I can bear testimony by visual evidence that these stores exist, and that there never was a time in the history of the British Navy when the supplies of the Navy were in a better condition than they are at this moment. I can now bear testimony to a similar state of things with regard to the British Army. Ten million pounds was asked for and voted by this House; that £10,000,000, with some inappreciable exceptions, will be expended by the end of this year, and value will be received for it. I could take hon. Members to storehouse after storehouse where they would see these stores in their places, ready for any emergency. That is very different from what has happened as the result of any of these voluminous inquiries which have taken place before. Criticism was directed to the Remount Department; the hon. Member said it was undermanned considering the amount it had to administer. But do not accept that too readily. The Transport Department of the Navy administered £32,000,000, and I am not aware that its personnel is very much greater than that of the Remount Department. Judge the work not by cost, but by quality. But the Remount Department was in need of extension; we were taught how a great emergency might arise such as had never been contemplated before, and we have now provided against that emergency if it should recur. As to the new armaments required, a vast proportion of the fixed armaments of this country have already been provided, and, if I am permitted, I am in a position now to ask the House of Commons to sanction the introduction of new armament for the artillery which, I believe, will place us in advance of any country in Europe.

A great deal has been said about the Intelligence Department. I should like, as one who, for a short time, has had the privilege of working in close touch with the Department, to bear my testimony to the value of the work it has done and is capable of doing. But I have been one of those, I think, who have always said that there was room for great extension in the organisation of the Intelligence Department. That Department has been extended and if I have the honour of occupying this office much longer, it will be still further extended. We have been challenged because we did not provide enough manœuvring grounds for the troops; there has been more done in this respect during the last three years under the administration of my right hon. friend than during the previous thirty years. We have been told that the Army is over-centralised, and that from that springs half its evils. Never has the Army been as decentralised as it is at this moment. We are told that the War Office ought to be reorganised. Well, I think it will be admitted that we have not been slow to learn the lessons of the Commission, and that we are doing what we can;—we can only do it with the cordial support of this House, and of both sides of the House—to reorganise the constitution of the War Office and make it even more efficient.

There are things we have not done, and we have got to learn lessons from this discussion. We have not yet filled up that hiatus to which many hon. Members have referred. We have not yet got this striking force which will relieve us from the painful and dangerous position we were in when the last war broke out. We have not yet reorganised the Army in a way which will ensure the continuance, of recruiting and enable us to get full value out of the splendid material we possess, but we have gone very far in the direction of progress. This House is asked to pronounce a vote of censure upon the Government, which has, I suppose, made the kind of mistake which I think I have shown is common to every Party which has sat in this House, of not understanding that the military needs of this

country are great, and that they can only be met by forethought and scientific organisation. But it is a Government which, having learnt a sharp lesson in the school of experience, has applied itself as no Government ever applied itself before, to giving practical effect to that lesson, and therefore there ought to be no choice at all. If this House, aye, and the country, which has been appealed to, really desires to put its military arrangements on a satisfactory basis, if it desires to continue this work, which I believe has been well begun, then it will do, what I am confident the House will do, give a negative to the Amendment.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 192; Noes, 278. (Division List, No. 1.)

Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.) Condon, Thomas Joseph Furness, Sir Christopher
Ainsworth, John Stirling Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark) Goddard, Daniel Ford
Allen, Charles P. Crean, Eugene Grant, Corrie
Ambrose, Robert Cremer, William Randal Grey, Rt. Hn. Sir E. (Berwick)
Asher, Alexander Crombie, John William Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton
Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbt. Henry Crooks, William Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.
Atherley-Jones, L. Dalziel, James Henry Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir William
Barlow, John Emmott Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) Harmsworth, R. Leicester
Barran, Rowland Hirst Davies M. Vaughan-(Cardigan) Hayden, John Patrick
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Delany, William Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway) Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.) Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)
Bell, Richard Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Holland, Sir William Henry
Black, Alexander William Donelan, Captain A. Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)
Boland, John Doogan, P. C. Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.
Brand, Hon. Arthur G. Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)
Brigg, John Dunn, Sir William Jacoby, James Alfred
Broadhurst, Henry Elibank, Master of Joicey, Sir James
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Ellice,Capt.E.C(S.Andrw'sBghs Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea)
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Ellis, John Edward (Notts.) Jones, W. (Carnarvonshire)
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Esmonde, Sir Thomas Jordan, Jeremiah
Burke, E. Haviland- Evans, Sir F. H. (Maidstone) Joyce, Michael
Burns, John Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan) Kearley, Hudson E.
Burt, Thomas Farquharson, Dr. Robert Kennedy, Patrick James
Buxton, Sydney Charles Farrell, James Patrick Kilbride, Denis
Caldwell, James Fenwick, Charles Labouchere, Henry
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Field, William Lambert, George
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Flynn, James Christopher Langley, Batty
Carvill, Partick Geo. Hamilton Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.) Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.)
Causton, Richard Knight Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Layland-Barratt, Francis
Channing, Francis Allston Freeman-Thomas, Captain F. Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington)
Cogan, Denis J. Fuller, J. M. F. Leigh, Sir Joseph
Leng, Sir John O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.) Shipman, Dr. John G.
Levy, Maurice O'Dowd, John Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Lewis, John Herbert O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.) Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Lough, Thomas O'Malley, William Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R., Northants
Lundon, W. O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Stevenson, Francis S.
Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Partington, Oswald Strachey, Sir Edward
MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Paulton, James Mellor Sullivan, Donal
MacVeagh, Jeremiah Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden) Tennant, Harold John
M'Crae, George Perks, Robert William Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
M'Hugh, Patrick A. Pirie, Duncan V. Thomas, D. A. (Merthyr)
M'Kean, John Power, Patrick Joseph Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)
M'Kenna, Reginald Price, Robert John Tomkinson, James
M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Priestley, Arthur Toulmin, George
M'Laren, Sir Charles Benjamin Rea, Russell Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Mellor, Rt. Hon. John William Reckitt, Harold James Ure, Alexander
Mooney, John J. Reddy, M. Walton, J. Lawson (Leeds, S.)
Morley, Charles (Breconshire) Redmond, John E. (Waterford) Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Morley, Rt Hn John (Montrose) Redmond, William (Clare) Warner, Thomas Courtenay, T.
Moulton, John Fletcher Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries) Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)
Murphy, John Rickett, J. Compton Weir, James Galloway
Nannetti, Joseph P. Rigg, Richard White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Newnes, Sir George Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion) Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)
Nolan, Col. J. P. (Galway, N) Robertson, Edmund (Dundee) Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) Robson, William Snowdon Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Norman, Henry Roche, John Williams Osmond (Merioneth)
Norton, Capt. Cecil William Roe, Sir Thomas Wilson, F. W. (Norfolk, Mid)
Nussey, Thomas Willans Runciman, Walter Woodhouse,SirJ.T.,Huddersf'd
O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Russell, T. W. Yoxall, James Henry
O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary, M.) Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)
O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES, Mr.
O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.) Sheehan, Daniel Daniel Herbert Gladstone and Mr. William M'Arthur.
O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.) Sheehy, David
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Burdett-Coutts, W. Dalrymple Sir Charles
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Campbell.J.H.M.(Dublin Univ.) Davenport, William Bromley
Allhusen, Augustus Henry Eden Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Davies, Sir H. D. (Chatham)
Allsopp, Hon. George Cautley, Henry Strother Dickinson, Robert Edmond
Anson, Sir William Reynell Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.) Dickson, Charles Scott
Arkwright, John Stanhope Cavendish, V.C.W.(Derbyshire) Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-
Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh Cayzer, Sir Charles William Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon
Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Doughty, George
Bailey, James (Walworth) Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm) Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-
Bain, Colonel James Robert Chamberlain, Rt.Hn.J.A(Worc) Doxford, Sir William Theodore
Baird, John George Alexander Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Duke, Henry Edward
Balcarres, Lord Chapman, Edward Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin
Baldwin, Alfred Charrington, Spencer Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Hart
Balfour, Capt, C. B. (Hornsey) Clive, Captain Percy A. Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.)
Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds) Coates, Edward Feetham Faber, George Denison (York)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Fardell, Sir T. George
Banes, Major George Edward Coddington, Sir William Fergusson, Rt.Hn.Sir J.(Manc)
Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor) Cohen, Benjamin Louis Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.
Bartley, Sir George C. T. Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne
Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin Colomb, Sir J. Charles Ready Firbank, Sir Joseph Thomas
Beach,Rt.Hn.Sir Michael Hicks Compton, Lord Alwyne Fisher, William Hayes
Beckett, Ernest William Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas Fison, Frederick William
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-
Bignold, Arthur Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon
Bigwood, James Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge Flannery, Sir Fortescue
Bill, Charles Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim,S.) Flower, Sir Ernest
Blundell, Colonel Henry Cripps, Charles Alfred Forster, Henry William
Bond, Edward Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W.)
Bousfield, William Robert Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile Fyler, John Arthur
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Cubitt, Hon. Henry Galloway, William Johnson
Brymer, William Ernest Cust, Henry John C. Gardner, Ernest
Bull, William James Dalkeith, Earl of Garfit, William
Gordon,Hn.J.E.(Elgin&Nairn) Lowe, Francis William Samuel, Sir H. S. (Limehouse)
Gordon, Maj. E. (T'r Hamlets) Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale) Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Gore, Hon. S. F.Ormsby-(Linc) Lucas,Reginald J.(Portsmouth) Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. Edw.
Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Goschen, Hon. George Joachim Macdona, John Cumming Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)
Goulding, Edward Alfred MacIver, David (Liverpool) Seton-Karr, Sir Henry
Graham, Henry Robert Maconochie, A. W. Sharpe, William Edward T.
Gray, Ernest (West Ham) M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Greene,SirE.W.B'ry S.Edm'nds Malcolm, Ian Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury) Manners, Lord Cecil Sloan, Thomas Henry
Grenfell, William Henry Martin, Richard Biddulph Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)
Gretton, John Maxwell,Rt.Hn.SirH.E.,Wigt'n Spear, John Ward
Greville, Hon. Ronald Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh) Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)
Guthrie, Walter Murray Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. W. Stanley,Hon.Arthur, Ormskirk
Hain, Edward Mildmay, Francis Bingham Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)
Hall, Edward Marshall Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Lancs.)
Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F. Milvain, Thomas Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart
Hamilton.Rt.HnLordG.Midd'x Mitchell, Ed. (Fermanagh, N.) Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.
Hamilton,Marq.of, L'nd'nderry Molesworth, Sir Lewis Stroyan, John
Hardy, L. (Kent, Ashford) Montagu, G. (Huntingdon) Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Hare, Thomas Leigh Moon, Edward Robert Pacy Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier
Harris,F.Leverton, Tynemouth Moore, William Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Harris, Dr. Fredk. R. (Dulwich) Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow) Talbot,Rt.Hn.J.G. (Oxf'dUniv
Hay, Hon. Claude George Morrell, George Herbert Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Heath,James (Staffords., N.W) Morrison, James Archibald Thorburn, Sir Walter
Helder, Augustus Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer Thornton, Percy M.
Henderson, Sir A.(Stafford,W.) Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C. Tollemache, Henry James
Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T. Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G (Bute) Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.
Hickman, Sir Alfred Murray, Charles J. (Coventry) Tritton, Charles Ernest
Hobhouse,Rt.HnH.,Somers'tE. Nicholson, William Graham Tuff, Charles
Hogg, Lindsay O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward
Hope,J.F.(Sheffield,Brightside) Palmer, Walter (Salisbury) Tuke, Sir John Batty
Horner, Frederick William Parker, Sir Gilbert Valentia, Viscount
Houston, Robert Paterson Peel, Hn. Wm. R. Wellesley Vincent,Col.Sir C. E.H., Sheff'd
Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham) Percy, Earl Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)
Hozier, Hon. J. Henry Cecil Pierpoint, Robert Walker, Col. William Hall
Hudson, George Bickersteth Platt-Higgins, Frederick Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William
Hunt, Rowland Plummer, Walter R. Wanklyn, James Leslie
Hutton, John (Yorks., N.R.) Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Warde, Colonel C. E.
Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton Pretyman, Ernest George Webb, Colonel William George
Kenyon, Hon.Geo. T.(Denbigh) Purvis, Robert Webb, Colonel William George
Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop) Pym, C. Guy Welby,Lt.-Col.A.C.E. (Taunton)
Kerr, John Randles, John S. Welby,Sir Charles G. E. (Notts)
Keswick, William Rankin, Sir James Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd
Kimber, Henry Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne Whitmore, Charles Algernon
King, Sir Henry Seymour Ratcliff, R. F. Williams,RtHnJPowell- (Birm.
Knowles, Sir Lees Reid, James (Greenock) Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Remnant, James Farquharson Willox, Sir John Archibald
Laurie, Lieut.-General Renwick, George Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R)
Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Ridley,Hon.M.W. (Stalybridge) Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Lawrence, Sir J. (Monmouth) Ridley, S. Forde, Bethnal Green Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H. (Yorks)
Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool) Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Charles T. Wodehouse,Rt. Hn.E.R. (Bath)
Lawson, Jn. G. (Yorks., N.R.) Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield) Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Lee, A. H. (Hants., Fareham) Robertson, Herbert (Hackney) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead) Rolleston, Sir John F. L. Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Leveson-Gower, Frederick N.S Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert
Llewellyn, Evan Henry Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter TELLERS FOR THE NOES, Sir
Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R. Round, Rt. Hon. James Alexander Acland-Hood and
Long, Col.CharlesW.(Evesham) Royds, Clement Molyneux Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.
Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S.) Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-
Lonsdale, John Brownlee Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander

Motion made, and Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned"—(Mr. Joseph Walton)—put, and agreed to.

Main Question again proposed.

Debate to be resumed upon Monday next.

Adjourned at twenty-three minutes after Fire o'clock till Monday next.