§ MR. JOHN ELLIS (Nottinghamshire, Rushcliffe)
said in rising to move the Adjournment of the House he made no apology for making the Motion, because if he could be amazed at anything in this Parliament, he should be amazed and was still astonished that the House had not had a statement and explanation before this from the Prime Minister. The method of obtaining such explanation by moving the adjournment was a clumsy method, but it was the only one the House now had of bringing matters of this kind before Parliament. There were in this case aggravating circumstances which alone demanded that it should be gone into without further delay. The right hon. Gentleman earlier in the evening appeared to regard it as a purely personal matter, but he (Mr. Ellis) did not so regard it. It was no personal matter at all. The Prime Minister was also the Leader of this House, and in both capacities he had a duty to perform to the House in explaining why his colleagues in the Cabinet resigned. One would have to go a long way back to find a precedent for the resignation of five members of the Cabinet—nearly one-third in numbers, and more than one-half in weight of authority and reputation. The last precedent he could find which was at all similar was that of 1867, when the late Marquess of Salisbury. Lord Carnarvon, and General Peel resigned from Mr. Disraeli's Government over the Reform Bill. On that occasion there was a complete explanation on the part of the outgoing Ministers, and Mr. Disraeli entered fully into the whole circumstances. He did not impute anything against the right hon. Gentleman's personal honour but in this case there were exceptional circumstances which accentuated the necessity for this explanation. What was the diary of events in this matter? The noble Lord the Member for Ealing had given a very clear and succinct account to his constituents from which he would quote—On the last day of the session the Cabinet was summoned to consider this fiscal question in connection with certain propositions that were put before us by the Prime Minister; and 395 there were two documents under our consideration—the one on Insular Free Trade, and the other was a document which contained substantive propositions which we proposed on behalf of the Government to officially put forward. These propositions embraced preferential tariffs and the taxation of food. The Cabinet unanimously agreed to the publication of the first document. They differed as to the acceptance of the proposals in the second. The discussion was adjourned, and a Cabinet was summoned for 14th September, to further consider the matter.On the 9th September the Member for West Birmingham sent his letter of resignation to the Prime Minister. On the 14th September another Cabinet was heldAt that Cabinet both Mr. Ritchie and myself understood that the old proposals were still before us, though I admit that the turn which the conversation at times took both puzzled and perplexed us. We could not agree. After the Cabinet, we four, the Duke of Devonshire, Lord Balfour, Mr. Ritchie, and myself, met in my room at the India Office. With a recollection of the discussions fresh in our memories, we surveyed the situation, and we unanimously came to the decision that we had no alternative but all to send in our resignations. The Duke of Devonshire undertook that commission on behalf of us all, and he saw the Prime Minister on the matter. We were none of us then aware of Mr. Chamberlain's resignation, but we all knew that, so long as he was a Member of the Government, the question of preferential tariffs could not be eliminated from its programme. There was a Cabinet next day dealing with other matters. After that Cabinet was over we four met again, and as I understood there was no change in the situation, I, in accordance with the agreement arrived at, sent in my resignation. I made it perfectly clear in my 1etter that I relieved Mr. Chamberlain was still a member of the Government, and that preferential tariffs in some shape or other were still to he discussed. The Prime Minister, in a most kind letter, acknowledged my resignation, and the day afterwards, on taking p the newspapers in the country. I read with surprise the correspondence between him and Mr. Chamberlain, and Mi. Chamberlain's resignation.On the 18th September the resignation of four Minister appeared in The Times. On 1st October, the Prime Minister spoke at Sheffield, the next day the Duke of Devonshire sent his letter of resignation to the Prime Minister, and on 6th October that resignation was made public. That was a most remarkable and unprecedented series of events. Let the House remember the high character of the men who left the Cabinet in this manner. The Duke of Devonshire was in public life when most of the Members of the House were hardly out of their small clothes, the noble Lord the Member for Ealing had been a Member 396 of the House for a great many years, Lord Balfour was held in the highest esteem in Scotland, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Croydon had made his mark in the House as one of its distinguished Members. It was one of the most remarkable events in our Parliamentary history, yet, down to the present moment, there had been no explanation from the Prime Minister the head of the Cabinet, is to those resignations.
There were three salient features in this case. In the first place one very extraordinary circumstance was that the communication of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham to the Prime Minister was not only a letter of resignation but a plan of campaign. This man, who was going out of the Cabinet, actually dictated in the last sentence of that remarkable letter what the policy of the Cabinet was to be. Even a more significant circumstance was the way in which that letter was dealt with by the Prime Minister. He desired to choose his language in this matter, and he would say this letter was withheld. What was generally said about it was that it had been concealed, and he was compelled to admit that such a statement would be true. At any rate, the Prime Minister on the 14th September, while having that letter in his possession, allowed his colleagues to resign under the impression that preferential tariffs were before the Cabinet and that Mr. Chamberlain still retained his seat in the Cabinet. The right hon. Gentleman did not disclose the fact then that he had the letter. These circumstances demanded explanation, and he thought that would not be denied by the Prime Minister himself, inasmuch as in speaking to his constituents hi January he had let fall the phrase "my own personal honour" in alluding to this matter.
He thought the right hon. Gentleman should be glad of the opportunity, created by the Motion, of clearing away what must be in the nature of a calumny, if the facts wore a different complexion. The second point was the nature of the second document. They had it on the authority of the noble Lord that this contained "propositions embracing preferential tariffs and taxation on food." These were made by the Prime Minister 397 for the sanction of his colleagues. That was a protectionist policy on the part of the head of the Government. What had he now to say to this? He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not treat the matter in an airy or cavalier way; but would make it plain why it was that the House had not been given, according to precedent, full information of these transactions at the earliest moment. The serious feature of the whole affair was that the right hon. Gentleman had not, since he had been able to appear in the House, made that full and frank communication to the House which always occurred when political changes of this kind took place. He had gone on day by day without giving that clear and frank account to which the House was entitled of what had happened. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh."] A number of those Gentlemen who cried "Oh" would never see the Benches they sat on again after the general election. Mr. Disraeli on the occasion in 1867 to which he had referred had spoken of "that frank communication to the House which always occurs when changes of that kind happen." The Prime Minister, with all his winning courtesy to Members individually, had in this matter showed a lack of respect to the House, and a disregard of what was due by one in his position to the House. That was the principal reason which weighed with him in now moving the Adjournment of the House.
§ *MR. CORRIE GRANT (Warwickshire, Rugby)
said be only desired to add two snort precedents to the facts brought forward by the hon. Member for the Rushcliffe Division. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister was unable, from causes everybody in the House regretted, to take the earliest opportunity of explaining to the House what had taken place during the recess. When Parliament was sitting, such an explanation should have come, immediately after the resignations. That was what happened in the ease of Lord Carnarvon when he resigned his position in the Government, in 1878. Lord Carnarvon resigned on the 24th of January, and on the next day, the 25th, the position was explained by Lord Beaconsfield in the House of Lords, who, on that 398 occasion, followed Lord Carnarvon and dealt with the statement he had made. The other precedent to which he desired to draw attention was the resignation of Lord Palmerston in the recess of 1851—in December. The House assembled on February 3rd, 1852, and immediately after the Address had been moved and seconded, Sir Benjamin Hall, then the Member for Marylebone, asked for explanations of the circumstances which had led to an alteration in the Cabinet, and asserted that such explanations ought always to be given at the earliest possible moment, unless, as happened in 1828, the individuals concerned were not present in the House. He submitted to the House that the precedent of the debate of 1852 was very much on all fours with the point he was now pressing upon the Prime Minister. At that time all the parties concerned were in the House, and an explanation was at once given of all the circumstances which had led to the dismissal of Lord Palmerston. The rule seemed to have been laid down that when the, parties were not present the explanation could not take place, but as soon as they were the explanation ought to be given, and the House put in full possession of all the circumstances. He had only one other point to mention in conclusion. It was an unusual thing for the Opposition by a Motion to have to force an explanation of this kind, because such an explanation ought to be volunteered to the House as soon as all the parties who were concerned could be present to take part in the debate. He begged leave to second the Motion.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—(Mr. John Ellis.)
§ THR PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR.) Manchester, E.
Mr. Speaker, you have ruled, and I am glad that you have ruled, that it is competent for me to-night, on the Motion that the House do now adjourn, to make that explanation, or to give that narrative, which the hon. Gentleman who moved the adjournment of the House appears so ardently to desire. For my own part I have not now, and I never 399 have had, any objection to giving an account of the course, as I understand it, of Cabinet and Governmental policy during the last six months, except such objection as may find its origin in the fact that these explanations lead sometimes to personal recriminations, and that little good, perhaps, is done by dealing from a personal point of view with questions which, after all, have a far larger significance than any personalities can give us, and that debates like the one which the hon. Gentleman has initiated may perhaps more readily feed the curiosity or the interest of those who care little, and are perhaps very little competent to give an opinion upon the really difficult problems connected with fiscal reform—[OPPOSITION cries of "Oh, oh,"]—easy to persons of the hon. Gentleman's intelligence, but difficult to the ordinary man—so that those who are but little capable of dealing with these problems are happy to occupy themselves with personal gossip and personal controversy. I am confident—I hope the hon. Gentleman will not believe that I suppose that it is with this purely gossiping and personal object that he has moved the adjournment of the debate. What I am endeavouring to point out to the House is that, though I do not shrink from giving the fullest account of all that has occurred during the last six months, I cannot honestly pretend that I think any great public interest will be served by the discussion which the hon. Gentleman has initiated. The House is well acquainted with the fact that it was through no fault of mine that I could not take part in our earlier debates; and if it be true, as perhaps it is true, that neither the House nor the country would have been content had I remained permanently silent under the personal charges that have been levelled against me, I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman for having given me an opportunity of dialing with the subject. But I hope he will allow me, in delivering a speech of, I trust, not inordinate length, to go back to what everybody will admit is the beginning of the crisis, as it is commonly described, the Parliamentary crisis with which the hon. Gentleman has concerned himself to-night.
If the House remembers the condition of affairs that came about when 400 my right hon. friend the Member for West Birmingham made his memorable speech in May last, they will know that, though no novel doctrine was propounded in that speech, though nothing was said by my right hon. friend which had not been said before by responsible statesmen in this country, nevertheless the public interest excited by that speech was of a wholly novel kind, and people felt for the first time that the question of fiscal reform had ceased to be a question of, I will not say academic interest, but of interest outside the immediate domain of practical politics—that for the first time it had been brought within those limits and that every man would have to make up his mind—[OPPOSITION cries of "Hear, hear!"]—even though he belonged to the Opposition, for even they have minds—[An HON. MEMBER: They have convictions also.]—every man would have to make up his mind what course he would have to take upon a problem for the first time presented to the country in a shape which the country would have to decide. The House will admit, those at all events who paid attention to the currents and cross-currents of public opinion at that time, that there was a considerable disturbance of the public mind, a great disorganisation of general opinion, that it was felt that a new problem and a new question had been thrown down for discussion which might make, and which probably would make, considerable changes in Governments and Parties. [An HON. MEMBER: It ought not to have been introduced at all.] Well, I expressly said that the problem was an old one, but what I said was that for the first time in our generation—I do not know how old the hon. Gentleman is who interrupted me—it had come before us for practical discussion. I have been greatly blamed for the course that I took on that occasion. I felt, and I think the House will admit that I was not wrong in feeling, that Members of this House, many of them, were much perplexed by the new situation, that the great majority of us have not been accustomed to deal with these economic problems, which were so familiar to our grandfathers sixty years ago, so that to many they came with a sense of surprise, and that Members of this House, and persons interested in 401 politics outside this House felt they required time to consider questions which, however fully debated between the forties and the fifties, has since the fifties occupied but little of the time of the Members of this House or of Parliaments preceding the present one.
There were a certain number of medical advisers who, diagnosing the situation, thought that the best remedy for the disease was a debate in this House, and I was much blamed for not interrupting the ordinary and normal course of public business by giving an opportunity for that debate. I must admit that the doctors who most confidently made that prescription were the Members who wanted to make the speeches which were to cure the disease, and that I did not find in the general opinion of the House any great anxiety to have a debate upon that subject. There was a perfectly well-recognised and constitutional method of forcing that debate, had it been desired. I have been told that it was an improper course for the Leader of the House to suggest that a vote of censure should be used as a vehicle for discussing this subject. Some persons may have thought there was force in that observation last June; they can hardly think so in the present month of March, because it was on a vote of censure that the House has discussed the matter for six days during my absence; and I should really be curious to know whether it was improper to discuss on a vote of censure last June what it was eminently proper to discuss on a vote of censure this February. I admit that I took the course I did of refusing, short of a vote of censure, to interrupt the normal course of legislation with some regret. I spent sleepless nights in wondering whether there was, indeed, in this House some "mute, inglorious" Adam Smith or Ricardo—mute and therefore inglorious by my action. I have since been amply reassured, and I do not know that there is any reason for deploring that the ample debate of which the House has had the enjoyment, or even surfeit ["Oh"], at all events a full meal, within the last three weeks, took place in February, 1904, rather than in June, 1903.
It seemed to me, on the contrary, that it was most desirable that 402 some months, at all events, should be employed in accumulating information and statistics on the present position of trade in this country, and in considering, each man for himself, and as far as we could for the benefit of our neighbours, the broad economic principles which ought to underlie the policy of this country. To the best of our ability we, on this Bench, set ourselves to work to supply both of those needs. I am quite aware that the statistics prepared by the Board of Trade have been described as undigested statistics; but I am convinced that nobody who knows what the modern science of statistics is—how difficult statistics are to prepare, how much they are a matter of trained consideration—will regard the great volume of statistics prepared by the Board of Trade, which is a mine of information for all who desire to consider the concrete facts of the existing situation—will regard that great work as a mass of undigested statistics. I speak with more diffidence and more humility of my own very humble attempt to bring certain bro id economic reasonings before the attention of my fellow-countrymen. That effort has been described, I think, by my noble friend the Duke of Devonshire as an academic effort. I do not disclaim the epithet, which, indeed, as coming from the Chancellor of one University addressed to the Chancellor of another University, cannot be otherwise than highly complimentary. Well, we did our best. I, at all events, worked hard in the middle of a very exacting session to make clear the lines of reasoning on which I thought people ought to proceed. The Cabinet, as everybody knows, were even at that time divided upon the subject of fiscal reform, but it was practically agreed among us that the subject should not be raised, and that we should put it on one side for decision.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Precisely. We put it on one side for decision until the work of the session was over. There were other questions of great and pressing importance on which I am glad to think the Cabinet were agreed—questions of foreign policy, questions of 403 domestic policy—and it would have been folly to imperil those by a premature discussion upon a subject which could not come up for practical consideration until the event which the hon. Gentleman looks forward to with such pleasure—the next general election—was past and gone. At the beginning of August, in preparation for that Cabinet to which the hon. Gentleman has alluded, I circulated among my colleagues the pamphlet which has since become public property; and at the Cabinet, the date of which I forget—it was a late Cabinet in August before the House separated—they were in possession of that pamphlet and of certain tentative suggestions which I threw out for their consideration. Here I must frankly say I think I have some reason to complain of the course which was pursued by my noble friend the Member for Middlesex. I have not much to complain of in the course he has pursued, and I trust nothing I say to-night will wound any of those who have so long served with me in public offices; but I am bound to tell the House that I do think that in this matter I have been somewhat ill-used. My noble friend made a statement with which I have not the least desire to quarrel. I am not sure that I quite understood it, but I should certainly have never made any public criticism upon it had it not been the foundation of repeated attacks made on me by Lord Rosebery and other members of the Opposition. They interpreted my noble friend's statement as meaning that I had come down to this Cabinet in August, that I had presented a public pamphlet on one side representing a certain body of doctrine, another pamphlet, not yet published, representing an opposite set of doctrines, and said to my colleagues, "Well, one of these two you had better have. Toss up and see which you prefer."
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I know that my noble friend did not say that. I do not complain that my noble friend said it. I complain that my noble friend let it be said.
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
When Lord Rosebery put the interpretation upon my words which my right hon. friend denied I wrote to the newspaper to say that my right hon. friend was perfectly correct in repudiating the gloss which Lord Rosebery put upon my words.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I am grateful to my noble friend for his interruption, because it makes exactly clear what I wanted to tell the House. What I complain of is that my noble friend let it be said. He let it be said in one speech by Lord Rosebery; he let it be said in two speeches by Lord Rosebery; I think he let it be said in three speeches by Lord Rosebery. Lord Rosebery found it easier to preach a sermon on the text furnished him by my noble friend than to support a policy unanimously accepted, as I understand it, alleged to be unanimously accepted, by Gentlemen on the other side of the House. And when was it that my noble friend came forward and corrected this misinterpretation of Lord Rosebery? Was it after the first speech of Lord Rosebery, or the second, or the third? It was not till after I myself had told the public that the thing was totally untrue. It was in answer to the Daily Mail, I think, that my noble friend made this tardy explanation. It was not until alter my noble friend was asked by the Daily Mail how he reconciled his statement with my statement that he made the tardy explanation to which he has just—
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Perhaps when my noble friend speaks to-night he will give the dates. I am perfectly confident that my noble friend's contradiction of this calumny never appeared until I myself contradicted it in Manchester on 12th January. This is an episode. I et us return to the main current of the drama. I had hoped, though with a diminishing degree of confidence, even up to that last 405 Cabinet in August, that I should be able to retain all the friends who in these long years had served the King with me, that there need be no necessary break-up of the Government. I admit that it was with diminishing confidence that I held that view; but that confidence wholly vanished soon after, and for more than one reason. In the first place, I felt that if those members of the Government who differed altogether from me on the question of fiscal reform had really thought an arrangement was possible I must do them the justice to believe that they would have suggested a compromise. I am quite sure they desired to keep the Party together. I am quite sure the last thing they wished to do was to break from us; and, therefore, had there been any arrangement consistent with the views on fiscal reform which I held, and which I hold, which they were willing to accept, I am sure it would have been suggested by one or other of them. No such suggestion came. I do not believe that in the whole six months that elapsed between the speech of my right hon. friend the Member for West Birmingham in May and the date of the final Cabinet on 14th September—I do not think any suggestion of a compromise was made by either my noble friend or my right hon. friend the late Chancellor of the Exchequer. And undoubtedly from their point of view they were quite right. They were wholly at variance with me, and therefore naturally they did not suggest a compromise. We shall come to that directly. But there was another reason which made me, about the period of which I am now speaking, feel that the chances of keeping the Government intact were practically at an end, which I speak of with more diffidence, and which I think cannot be regarded, and I do not put it forward, as in any sense legal evidence. If I quote gossip it is not because it is gossip only, but because it represents a certain amount of what goes on, especially among persons who live in one society, who agree on most points, and who have an enormous number of common friends and acquaintances. All the gossip that reached my ears led me to believe that my noble friend and my right hon. friend the late Chancellor of the Exchequer had by that time themselves wholly 406 abandoned any hope of remaining members of a Government who were pledged to fiscal reform; and I heard that speculations even were rife as to what would occur when in consequence of the breakup of the Government anticipated last September I should have resigned my place as Prime Minister. Every kind of suggested combination reached my ears, though, by the way, as regard; hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, I do not remember that they came through any of them. I do not think the combinations I heard of promised sufficient stability to make it worth while for right hon. Gentlemen opposite to have anything to do with them. I did not really pay very much attention to the rumours current, I believe, in all political society and on both sides of the House; but as a matter of fact, I had not the smallest intention of resigning then. I had not the smallest intention of resigning in September whatever happened. The hon. Gentleman opposite who moved this Motion, said there, had never been anything so catastrophic as the resignation of five members of a Cabinet.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
No, I think I have improved on the hon. Gentleman's phrase. He said he knew of no precedent, and I admit that I know of no precedent; but my view was, and I think I was right, that it was contrary to my public duty to abandon my post as long as I retained the confidence of the King and of this House. And, quite frankly, it never occurred to me that another course was open to me.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I do not know that that has any relation to the course I have explained. I believe the House on both sides will think I was right. I believe they do think I was absolutely right, and I believe they would have regarded me with considerable contempt, not merely my own friends but hon. Gentlemen opposite, to whom I am a legitimate subject of criticism, and that they would not have felt that I had risen 407 in their estimation if I had shrunk from a task, rendered indeed difficult by the separation from old friends, but, as I think I shall show, far from impossible. Well, Sir, I therefore, in September, came to the conclusion that some break up of the Cabinet was inevitable, and I had altered the view which I had previously held. I want to be absolutely frank with the House in all these matters. I had come to the conclusion, fully expressed, I think, in my published letters and speeches, that it was not within the region of practical politics to suggest a tax on food in this country, even although the interests of free trade—I put aside altogether the Imperial question—would have been greatly promoted thereby. I mean even supposing that were possible. No human being, I presume, would deny that there is a conceivable concession on the part of the protectionists in Canada, combined with a conceivable minimum of a duty on food in this country, which would enormously subserve the interests of free trade. That, I take it, is absolutely undeniable, and I have never heard anybody deny it.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
My noble friend has made a perfectly legitimate point, and he has given me an opportunity of explaining what I mean. Nobody denies that supposing, if he likes, that Canada gave up her protective policy on great branches of trade for an indefinite period, and that you could purchase that concession by a small duty on corn—that might be good or bad, but it would be free trade. I think I heard a murmur of dissent, but I am convinced that it is not from anybody who has considered in his own mind what free trade means. I came to the conclusion, which I have just described to the House, in the course of the recess, and my right hon. friend the Member for West Birmingham had come to a similar conclusion which had been 408 expressed in a letter which has since become public property. It was in these circumstances that the Cabinet of 14th September assembled. My right hon. friend the Member for West Birmingham had, in the letter which I have described, expressed his view that public opinion was not ripe for any taxation of foodstuffs, and he had also expressed his view that for personal reasons of his own he would prefer to carry on the propaganda in which he was so profoundly interested in an independent capacity; and I was aware of that fact when the Cabinet met on 14th September. That fact, which I have never denied, or even suggested a denial of, has been twisted—not by my noble friend, not by my right hon. friend the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, but by the worst of all supporters, the supporters that do not belong to our own Party—into the foundations of an accusation that I kept from my two late colleagues a fact material to their own course during the Cabinet of 14th September. A more preposterous statement—a statement more absolutely contradicted by my right hon. friends, and which, if true, would be more discreditable to my right hon. friends—I cannot imagine. Now let me suppose for a moment that it is true. It would mean that my right hon. friends' objection to fiscal reform, as I conceive it, is not in the least based on the essential policy of that plan, but based on a personal objection to the right hon. Member for West Birmingham, or to his methods, or to his speeches. I am quite sure they would be the first to refuse to accept such an explanation as that. Then it appears to be thought to be the business of the Prime Minister for the time being to announce to his Cabinet that any one of their colleagues has indicated that if a certain policy is pursued he would have to reconsider his position. That is a view of the duty of the Prime Minister which can only occur to those who have never seen anything of the interior of Cabinet life. It used to be said—I do not know whether the distinguished biographer of Mr. Gladstone supports it or not—that Lord Palmerston pointed to a drawer and said, "That is full of Mr. Gladstone's resignations." Does any human being suppose that every time that Mr. Gladstone explained to Lord Palmerston that 409 he would have to reconsider his position if Lord Palmerston did not carry out this or that policy, Lord Palmerston came down with a long face and told all the Cabinet that his Chancellor of the Exchequer took a different view of the subject from himself? Why, Sir, of course it is left to the Minister himself to tell his colleagues that if a certain course is pursued he would feel it impossible to remain a member of the Government. And that course was actually pursued by the right hon. Member for West Birmingham. It was not my business to do it. It was his business to do it if he thought fit. And he did think fit. And he distinctly told the Cabinet that if preference was omitted from the official Government programme he would, for purely personal reasons, explained in his letter to me, not feel it possible to remain one of His Majesty's Ministers. I am quite aware that my noble friend and my right hon. friend the late Chancellor of the Exchequer did not hear that observation.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Well, then, Sir, we really need not argue the question any further, because they knew absolutely everything that I knew.
§ MR. RITCHIE
I did not know my right hon. friend had a letter in his pocket, dated some days previous, intimating that the right hon. Gentleman desired to leave the Cabinet, in fact placing his resignation in my right hon. friend's hands. That is what we did not know, though some members of the Cabinet did know.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The only difference between my right hon. friend and myself is that he seems to think 410 there is a great distinction between that which is written and that which is spoken. I can assure him that I take a different view; it would make no difference to me whether he said the words or wrote the words; and that which I say of my right hon. friend I say of the Member for West Birmingham, I see no distinction between what he wrote to me and what he said to the Cabinet. Whether he said the words through the medium of pen and paper or through the medium of his vocal chords properly exercised does not seem to me to make the smallest difference in anything relevant to this discussion. Well, then, my two right hon. friends knew at that Cabinet all that I knew. I knew it by writing, they knew it by speech; but we both knew it, we all knew it. I was, personally, quite confident that my right hon. friend the Member for West Birmingham would carry out his view, though he had not sent his formal resignation. I was as convinced of that as I was convinced, knowing his opinions, that my right hon. friend would not consent to remain in a Government which desired to carry out fiscal reform. [An HON. MEMBER: Fiscal Reform!] This brings me to a personal question, which is, I think, relevant to the discussion at that Cabinet meeting. Everybody has formulated the difference of opinion which separates those who agree with me from those who agree with right hon. Gentlemen opposite. I formulate it in this way, and I believe it is an accurate definition—the right hon. Gentlemen are in favour of a policy of laissez faire on all questions of fiscal arrangements, while I am against a policy of laissez faire, and in favour of fiscal reform. I was constantly endeavouring during that Cabinet of the 14th to get some kind of decision on this question of fiscal reform; but I ought to say quite frankly to the House that I approached that Cabinet in a somewhat different spirit from that in which a Prime Minister in ordinary times approaches a Cabinet. I came there quite clear that this House, the country, the Cabinet itself were determined that there should be a policy in which the Cabinet could agree. I was equally clear what that policy should be so long as I was Prime Minister; and so long as the Government remained what it was 411 that policy was to be one I since expressed at Sheffield and in other speeches, and in writing, and which I have consistently upheld since my first utterance in this House after my right hon. friend the Member for Birmingham had made his famous address.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I was coming to them. Unfortunately, as the House knows, I was too ill to attend the discussion on fiscal reform during the debates on the Address. Passionately as I love a discussion in this House, I am sorry to say the same discussion served up cold has not that appetising effect on me that the real original article hot from the spit must have on everybody who has been long a Member of this Assembly. But I have tried to make myself acquainted with what passed in these debates; and I noticed that the Leader of the Opposition brought up in his initial speech the suggestion that I was "a reed shaken by the wind," that I was without an idea on political economy or fiscal problems until the subject was started unexpectedly in May last; and he quoted a phrase, perhaps a foolish or infelicitous phrase, I used in a speech which is in itself a refutation of the inference drawn from it. I he right hon. Gentleman seemed to suppose, that I had no settled convictions on the great underlying economic problems with which we have to deal. In that very speech I expressed a very strong opinion on these underlying problems; but if he would take the trouble to look back at another speech I delivered in this House in his absence, when the whole of the Front Bench opposite were taking a holiday—it was on the last day before the. Whitsuntide recess, and the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean started a Motion which for some reason or other was not looked at favourably by his own Front Bench, who were all absent—playing golf or otherwise enjoying themselves. I then made a speech which I respectfully think is worthy of mention. I read it myself not very long ago. It embodies in a not inconvenient form almost all the root principles of the proposition I have been endeavouring to 412 instil into the country ever since. That was delivered a month before the speech to which the right hon. Gentleman referred; and I think I may dismiss the question of settled convictions with only this further explanation, that, as everybody looking at my speech will see, it was not to the broad principles underlying tariff reform that I was referring, but to the specially complicated problem presented by preference, complicated not because of the economic difficulties, not because they were difficulties not capable of being dealt with, but because of the difficulties arising from the public opinion of two self-governing communities being at difference; and I said—I wish I could withdraw the statement—that I was not aware how it was possible on such a basis to found any great scheme of preferential dunes. I thought that then, and I think it now. I may have had many faults in this controversy, but I think few will be keen to urge against me inconsistency—if inconsistency be a fault.
Well, now let us consider for a moment what is the charge brought against me to justify the hon. Member for the Rushcliffe Division in moving the Adjournment of the House. That charge has been crudely formulated in this form. It has been asserted, not, I think, by any responsible stateman on either side of the House, and least of all by my right hon. friend the late Chancellor of the Exchequer or by my noble friend the Member for Middlesex—it has been suggested that I jockeyed—1 am not a racing man, but jockeyed, I think, is the phrase—my two right hon. friends out of the Cabinet by keeping from them the fact that the Member for West Birmingham had resigned. That is the charge. Was ever a charge more foolish or baseless urged against a public man in this country? In the first place, as a matter of fact, the resignation, or the intended resignation, of my right hon. friend was not a secret, for he declared it in the Cabinet, and ha was heard by my two right hon. friends. In the next place, had he not said it, had he not been heard, what relevance had it to the question whether my two right hon. friends could have remained in the Cabinet? What drove them out of the Cabinet? A difference of opinion with the head of it, 413 as they themselves have stated in the most explicit terms. They have, indeed, indicated that probably they might have served His Majesty as Ministers for a few hours more had they known that my right hon. friend was going to resign, but not more than for a few hours. My noble friend the Member for Middlesex his told us that, though there was a misunderstanding, that misunderstanding would have been dissipated as soon as he had seen my letter published in the cheap pamphlet form accessible even to the millionaires of the Liberal Party.
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
What I said was that I could not remain a member of the Government after the speech you made in Sheffield.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I apologise to my noble friend. I confused him with his neighbour. It was my right hon. friend the late Chancellor of the Exchequer who told us at Croydon that he could not have remained a member of the Government after my letter to my right hon. friend the Member for West Birmingham, which had been since then published.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
It was my noble friend who said that he could not hive survived the Sheffield speech. If I remember rightly, the Cabinet was held on 14th September, and the letter to the Member for West Birmingham was published on 17th September. The Sheffield speech was made on 1st October, therefore the only results of the misunderstanding of my two right hon. friends is this, that one of them would have been enabled for three days and the other for a fortnight to remain members of His Majesty's Government. Now, I make no complaint. I think that my right hon. friends have been grossly ill-used about it. They have never complained themselves. It has been all made for them by their new admirers. I have always had the highest opinion of my right hon. friends; but I never knew what great men they were until they resigned. They never pretended for a moment that the misunderstanding had the 414 smallest effect on the substantial issue whether they should, or should not, remain members of the Government pledged to fiscal reform. I therefore venture to think that they had no substantial complaint to urge against me. On the other hand, I freely admit that I have no substantial complaint to urge against them, if they will allow me to say so. There is one relatively small matter I regret. It appears, though I did not realise it until a comparatively late stage of this history, that there had been formed within the Cabinet a sort of second Cabinet pledged to each other by bonds of mutual confidence in connection with this subject of fiscal reform. There is nothing dishonourable in that, but I think it is unfortunate.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I had inferred chiefly from phrases used by the Duke of Devonshire that he had been in constant consultation with my noble friend and my right hon. friend all through this crisis, and that each felt that he could not act on his own responsibility without the consent of the others.
§ *MR. RITCHIE
We had no consultation whatever until after the Cabinet of the 14th. We never met before.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I confess that I had good reason for taking a different view of the situation; but, of course. I accept my right hon. friend's word.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I did not question the right hon. Gentleman's statement at all. [OPPOSITION cries of "Withdraw."] I do not press the point at all. But had it been so, there would have been nothing dishonourable in it. I do not think it is the best way of carrying on Government by Cabinet, but it would not have been a stain on the right hon. Gentleman's honour. I am glad my right hon. friend his made that 415 contradiction, because it removes the last suggestion of bitterness that should accompany what must be the painful process of separation. There has been an amputation, but I am glad it was performed under antiseptic conditions, and there is no wound left, no feeling on his part or mine that either of us has adopted any course or done anything which may leave any stain of bitterness on a political or personal friendship which has gone on through so many years. I do not suppose that the House will ask me to give any explanation as to my relations with my noble friend the Duke of Devonshire. [OPPOSITION cries of "Yes."] He has himself given an account of what occurred in the House of Lords. In certain particulars I think he has unintentionally made a slight error of statement on certain matters of fact; but I have not the slightest desire to enter upon them, nor do I think any material fell from him about which I need trouble. I do not think anybody suggests that I have behaved badly to him. If it be true, as he thinks, that I was betrayed into a correspondence unduly controversial in connection with his resignation, I am sorry that should have been so. On the other hand, I have nothing to complain of; even the manner of his resignation and the time of it I have long forgotten. The character of my noble friend the Duke of Devonshire is one of the assets of public life in this country. It is beyond attack and beyond criticism; and if we have unfortunately differed on this question, if the amount and the extent of our differences came to me with the suddenness of surprise, betraying me into unduly heated language, I should never forget the service he has rendered to English public life, or how he came forward in a great crisis of our national history to play a part which will have a permanent effect on the fortunes of this country.
I hope that I have at all events satisfied the curiosity of the hon. Member for the Rushcliffe Division. I venture to think that I have done nothing which the strictest critic of this House has any reason to reproach me with. I had to deal with a difficult situation; none will deny that. That I have striven to maintain, as far as it could be maintained, the unity of the 416 great Party to which I belong will be admitted even by those whom I have been unsuccessful in retaining in our fold, and even those opposite may perhaps think that had I had predecessors in the course I have adopted they would find themselves in less difficulty now than they would otherwise be. I do not wish to dwell on this aspect of the question, but I venture to point out to the House that, in striving as I have striven, and frankly admit I have striven, throughout all these difficult months to maintain the unity of the Party of which for the time I am the responsible leader, I have never for one instant varied from publicly declared principles of my own, never have I wavered from statements which I have made before the crisis arose. I have been accused, for example—and the statement of fact is true—of having changed, somewhat modified, my views as to the possibility of inducing the people of this country for any object, however intimately connected with free trade or Empire, to consent to a tax on food. But the principles which animated me, though they have been decorated with a great many uncomplimentary terms by hon. Members opposite, were declared publicly before the right hon. Member for West Birmingham's speech was in the hands of the public. It was on the same day he spoke at Birmingham that I spoke to a deputation with regard to duties on corn; and there I explained, as I still hold, however great the objects which might be attained by a small tax upon wheat, it was impossible ever to impose such a tax unless you had with you the hearts and the consciences of the people of this country. Exactly the thing I stated before and to that opinion I still hold; and if anyone thinks that I have modified my opinions on the other questions connected with fiscal reform, I can with all modesty and humility refer them to that speech I made in the very earliest days of the controversy in May last, in which I surveyed the whole problem opened up by my right hon. friend the Member for West Birmingham. I think if a candid survey be thus taken of the part I have played in this matter it will be felt, not only that I have striven, successfully or unsuccessfully, but at all events to the best of my ability, to carry out my duties as a leader of a 417 Party. In striving for this great object I have never for a moment, or even for a hair's breadth, varied from the principles of the fiscal policy which I had laid down before the stress of the crisis was fully upon us.
§ *LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
I sincerely regret that this Motion has been made. I was in no sense a party to it, and I had hoped even after the Motion was made that it would not be necessary for me to intervene in the debate. But the House has heard the speech of the Prime Minister, and I think all will feel after the statement that it would be impossible for me to remain silent. I agree with my right hon. friend that it was necessary for people to make up their minds on this question, and I made up my mind; so did my right hon. friend the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, early in this controversy, that protection was not fiscal reform. I think I more than once intimated to the Prime Minister that in my judgment protection was fiscal retrogression. There at once arose a difficult question. Connected as I have been for many years with the Conservative Party and my right hon. friend in my official life, how far was it right for me to remain in the Government if from its head and the majority of the Government I could get no guarantee that they did not look upon protection as fiscal reform? My right hon. friend said that he had a complaint to make against me because I made a certain statement to my constituents.
§ *LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
The complaint was as to the statement I made in connection with a certain document which was not before the public. It was absolutely essential that I should make the statement in the form I did, otherwise my position was perfectly un-intelligible, not only to my constituents, but to the public at large. The statement I then made, with due deliberation, in connection with that Cabinet, I will now read in this House—On the last day of the session the Cabinet met, and we had before us two documents, a 418 pamphlet entitled 'Insular Free Trade,' and another document containing proposals the Prime Minister wished officially put forward in the name of the Government. Preferential tariffs and taxation of food was included in that programme.I wrote out that part of my speech with that document before me. I have read that document again during the past few hours, and I adhere to every syllable that I said to my constituents.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I am sorry to interrupt my noble friend. Whether that document shall be published or not as he chooses to deal with it is another question. But that is not what I complained of What I complained of was his allowing Lord Rosebery—that is what I complained of—once, twice, and three times to interpret my noble friend's statement as meaning that I showed two contradictory policies to the Cabinet and asked them to choose which they would like.
§ *LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
I had no idea my right hon. friend studied the papers with such closeness as to be able to know everything that Lord Rosebery said.
§ *LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
I am bound to say I have not read all Lord Rosebery has said on this question.
§ *LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
I did read one speech, and I endorse what my right hon. friend said in his denial of the gloss which Lord Rosebery put on my statement. But surely it is rather hard that a Prime Minister, with a host of secretaries and other persons around him, should turn round and attack an ex-colleague because that ex-colleague has not corrected the misinterpretations which have been made by Members of the Opposition in connection with the Prime Minister's own action. I am very sorry to in any way add to the controversial temper of this discussion. I only rose because it was absolutely necessary for me to do so. I made that statement 419 because that document to which I referred pretty clearly indicated to me that my right hon. friend the Prime Minister's views on the fiscal question were such as did not in my judgment sufficiently safeguard the principles of free trade. We discussed that document at the last Cabinet meeting of the session. We discussed it again at the memorable Cabinet on 14th September. I never understood that that document was withdrawn. All of us who were opposed to the suggestions made in that document did believe that it was still under our purview. And here let me incidentally say that my right hon. friend has be; n entirely misinformed in assuming that there was any cabal inside the Cabinet against him. I never met the Duke of Devonshire or the other members of the Cabinet on this question until after the Cabinet of 14th September and we then only met because we were all unanimous in our belief that my right hon. friend the senior Member for Birmingham was still remaining a member of the Cabinet, and we were uncertain whether the taxation of food was or was not forming a part of the Government policy. My right hon. friend says that every one of us heard in the Cabinet that the senior Member for Birmingham announced his intention of resigning. I certainly heard no such definite statement, and my memory is pretty tenacious. We all left—we four—under the impression that he was still a member of the Government; and my right hon. friend the Prime Minister cannot forget this fact, that in the letter of resignation which I wrote to him, and in the letter which my right hon. friend the Member for Croydon also wrote, we both believed—it was clear from the purport of both these letters—that my right hon. Friend was still a member of the Government and that food taxation in some shape or other was to be proposed. I have never made any complaint of any kind or sort against my right hon. friend the Prime Minister. I admit—I frankly say so—that in my own judgment I had I been quite long enough in office. My right hon. friend had only to give me a hint and I should readily have gone. I go further and say that the Prime Minister has a perfect right, if he considers it advisable in the interests of his Party or of his Government, to 420 request any one of his colleagues to place his resignation in his hands, and in my judgment any colleague to whom such an appeal is made is bound to accept such a proposal if made by the Prime Minister. I do not want to exhume the bones of this old controversy which had, I hoped, been buried. My only complaint in connection with this matter is that I was not told the whole facts of the case. I say, not for the purpose of infusing fresh life into the controversy, but I lay down the constitutional principle that if a Prime Minister has the right to get rid of any one of his colleagues, which I think he has, those colleagues, on the other hand, have an equal right, if they are summoned to discuss a question, to be put in full possession of all the facts relating to it.
§ *LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
I did not know that my right hon. friend the Member for Birmingham had retired from the Government.
§ *LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
Quite so. That is just the position in which we left the Cabinet. Now the House can understand the difficulty in which we were placed. Let me go a little further. The Duke of Devonshire, who was acting with us—
§ *LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
I said there was no cabal, and that we did not meet until after the Council; and we then came to the conclusion that it was our duty, all of us, to resign because we could not agree to what we believed to be the policy of the Government. The Duke of Devonshire was told the day after our resignations were sent in some thing that we did not know, and the 421 Duke further stated in the House of Lords that which he told me privately, that when he suggested to the Prime Minister that I and my right hon. friend the Member for Croydon, who, like him, were in ignorance of the facts, should he told them, a refusal was made to that request. The Prime Minister said, of course, that we should not have been actuated by any personal influences as regards my right hon. friend the Member for West Birmingham, and that whether he remained in or outride the Cabinet really did not very much affect our position. But that is a curious view to take of the situation, because it is not the view which my right hon. friend the Member for West Birmingham took. The position which he took in the letter, which we did not know of until it was published, was that he was so personally associated with a particular part of the policy—that his personality so dominated that policy—that if it were dropped he must have the Government. All I say is that not one single one of us understood that my right hon. friend the Member for West Birmingham had made up his mind to leave the Government, nor did we know that he had done so until after the Cabinet Council of 14th September. My right hon. friend says that none of us suggested any compromise in this matter. But it must be remembered that there was a truce going on, and during the time of that truce it was natural—and I think it would have been very unwise of us to have attempted in
§ any way to do anything else—that we should not re-open a question which at any rate at that time was quiescent. My right hon. friend seems to look upon me as a person who is not predisposed to move in any direction, but perhaps he will pardon me for reminding him that I was the pioneer of retaliation under certain conditions, because it was on my own initiative that retaliatory duties against bounty-fed sugar were imposed in India. Now, I hope that after this discussion we shall hear no more of the incidents and circumstances relating to these resignations. It is with the greatest reluctance that I have in any way alluded to them, but, as I have been compelled to speak, I must honestly say that, while I think my right hon. friend was perfectly right in reconstituting his Government, I think it was unfortunate that the procedure adopted was capable of any misunderstanding. I have been for many years in this House. We have fought our battles, and I look back, and I hope I always shall look back, with pleasure to many incidents of my Parliamentary and political life, but I frankly tell my right hon. friend that the, one portion of my life which I shall endeavour to obliterate from my memory is that connected with the closing incidents of my official career.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 172; Noes, 237. (Division List No. 44.)425
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Campbell, John (Armagh, S.||Emmott, Alfred|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Evans, Sir Francis H. (Maidstone|
|Ambrose, Robert||Causton, Richard Knight||Eve, Harry Trelawney|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Clancy, John Joseph||Farquharson, Dr. Robert|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Cremer, William Randal||Fenwick, Charles|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Crombie, John William||Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Crooks, William||Ffrench, Peter|
|Bell, Richard||Cullinan, J.||Field, William|
|Black, Alexander William||Dalziel, James Henry||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond|
|Blake, Edward||Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Boland, John||Delany, William||Flynn, James Christopher|
|Brigg, John||Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway||Freeman-Thomas, Captain F|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||Fuller, J. M. F.|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Furness, Sir Christopher|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Dobbie, Joseph||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Donelan, Captain A.||Goddard, Daniel Ford|
|Burns, John||Doogan, P. C.||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Duncan, J. Hastings||Haldane, Rt. Jon. Richard B.|
|Caldwell, James||Elibank, Master of||Hammond, John|
|Cameron, Robert||Ellice, Capt E. C (S Andrw's Bghs||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir William|
|Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Murphy, John||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Harwood, George||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Slack, John Bamford|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||Norman, Henry||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Spencer, Rt Hn.C. R. (Northants|
|Horniman, Frederick John||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||O'Doherty, William||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Sullivan, Donal|
|Joicey, Sir James||O'Dowd, John||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea||O'Malley, William||Tennant, Harold John|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||O'Mara, James||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Thomas, D. Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||Parrott, William||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Kilbride, Denis||Paulton, James Mellor||Tomkinson, James|
|Kitson, Sir James||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Toulmin, George|
|Labouchere, Henry||Pirie, Duncan V.||Ure, Alexander|
|Lambert, George||Power, Patrick Joseph||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Langley, Batty||Price, Robert John||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Layland-Barratt, Francis||Priestley, Arthur||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington)||Rea, Russell||Wason, Jn. Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Leng, Sir John||Reckitt, Harold James||Weir, James Galloway|
|Lloyd-George, David||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Lough, Thomas||Redmond, William (Clare)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Lundon, W.||Rigg, Richard||Whiteley, George (York, W.R.)|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Robson, William Snowdon||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Roche, John||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Roe, Sir Thomas||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk, Mid|
|M'Crae, George||Rose, Charles Day||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Runciman, Walter||Young, Samuel|
|M'Kean, John||Russell, T. W.||Yoxall, James Henry|
|M'Kenna, Reginald||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N.)||Schwann, Charles E.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. John Ellis and Mr. Corrie Grant.|
|Mooney, John J.||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Sheehy, David|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir William Hart|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton|
|Aird, Sir John||Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.)|
|Allhusen, Augustus Henry Eden||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Faber, George Denison (York)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn J. A. Worc.)||Fardell, Sir T. George|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Chapman, Edward||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O||Charrington, Spencer||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst|
|Arrol, Sir William||Clare, Octavius Leigh||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Fison, Frederick William|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Fitz Gerald, Sir Robert Penrose|
|Balcarres, Lord||Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Fitzroy, Hn. Edward Algernon|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r.||Compton, Lord Alwyne||Flannery, Sir Fortescue|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds||Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Flower, Sir Ernest|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Forster, Henry William|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S. W.|
|Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Fyler, John Arthur|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile||Galloway, William Johnson|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Gardner, Ernest|
|Bignold, Arthur||Dalkeith, Earl of||Garfit, William|
|Bigwood, James||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H.|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Davenport, William Bromley||Gordon, Hn. J. E, (Elgin & Nairn|
|Bond, Edward||Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chatham||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Dickson, Charles Scott||Gordon, Maj Evans- (T'rH'mlets|
|Bowles, Lt.-Col. H. F. (Middlesex||Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph C.||Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby- (Linc.)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Disraeli, Conings by Ralph||Goschen, Hon. George Joachim|
|Bull, William James||Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Butcher, John George||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Grenfell, William Henry|
|Campbell, J. H. M.(Dublin Univ.||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Gretton, John|
|Hain, Edward||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool||Rutherford, John (Lancashire|
|Hall, Edward Marshall||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool|
|Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford|
|Hambro, Charles Eric||Majendie, James A. H.||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nderry||Manners, Lord Cecil||Samuel, Sir Harry S.(Limehouse|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem'th)||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. Edw. J.|
|Harris, Dr. Fredk. R. (Dulwich)||Maxwell, Rt Hn Sir H. E. (Wigt'n||Seton-Karr, Sir Henry|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Maxwell, W. J. H. Dumfriesshire||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Heath, James (Staffords., N.W.||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Simeon, Sir Harrington|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Milner, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick||Sinclair, Louis (Romford|
|Henderson, Sir A. (Stafford, W.)||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel||Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Spear, John Ward|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Moore, William||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Lancs.|
|Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham)||Morgan, David J. (Walthamstow||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Morrell, George Herbert||Stock, James Henry|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Morrison, James Archibald||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Hutton, John (Yorks. N. R.)||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Stroyan, John|
|Jeffreys, Rt. Hn. Arthur Fred.||Mount, William Arthur||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Talbot, Rt. Hn. G. (Oxf'd Univ.)|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Muntz, Sir Philip A.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbighs||Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute)||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Kerr, John||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath||Tuff, Charles|
|Keswick, William||Nicholson, William Graham||Tuffnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Kimber, Henry||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour||Parker, Sir Gilbert||Valentia, Viscount|
|Laurie, Lieut.-General||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington||Vincent, Col Sir C. E. H. (Sheffield|
|Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H|
|Lawrence, Sir Joseph (Monm'th||Percy, Earl||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Lawson, John Grant (Yorks, N. R||Pilkington, Colonel Richard||Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts.|
|Lee, Arthur H. (Hants., Fareham||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead||Plummer, Walter R.||Whiteley, H. (Ashton und. Lyne|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.||Pretyman, Ernest George||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Purvis, Robert||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Pym, C. Guy||Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H.(Yorks.)|
|Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Randles, John S.||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Long, Col. Charles W.(Evesham||Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart|
|Long, Rt. Hn. Walter(Bristol, S.||Remnant. James Farquharson||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Renwick, George||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Lowe, Francis William||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H|
|Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield|
|Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Rolleston. Sir John F. L.||Alexander Acland-Hood|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||and Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.|
|MacIver, David (Liverpool||Round, Rt. Hon. James|
|Maconochie, A. W.||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
§ SIR FREDERICK BANBURY (Camberwell, Peckham)
said he understood that hon. Gentlemen opposite were anxious that the Motion standing in his name should stand over for a fortnight. That was not his understanding; but if hon. Gentlemen were under any misapprehension in the matter he was prepared to postpone the Motion.