HC Deb 06 March 1905 vol 142 cc491-517

Adjournment (under Standing Order No. 10).


said in respect to the Motion before the House he had perhaps in some small degree a special right to speak, because he knew perfectly well the state of circumstances and the trend of public opinion in South Africa. During the recent debates on South Africa his recollection had been drawn to the words of a gentleman who, unfortunately, was not now a Member of this House, Mr. Leonard Courtenay, who said— Whatever you do, for God's sake do not make of South Africa another Ireland. It was because he knew the circumstances of the tragedy of Ireland, and the circumstances of the tragedy of South Africa, that he moved this Motion.

He need hardly say that in taking this action he was not animated by personal feelings. He had no unkind feeling towards Lord Selborne, and if he had he should take good care not to use his position as a Member of Parliament to display it. He admitted that it seemed at first sight an ungracious act, an attempt to cast a slur on a man at the commence- ment of his career in a delicate and difficult office. But he opposed the appointment of Lord Selborne simply on the ground that the post of High Commissioner of South Africa should not have been given to a politician, however wise, and, above all, that it should not have been given to a politician who, rightly or wrongly, through fate or fortune, was largely associated with circumstances which had led to embitterment of feeling, followed by bloodshed in South Africa. Hitherto the great post of High Commissioner had invariably been filled not by politicians, but by executive officers of the Crown, Civil servants who recognised that, whatever their individual political feelings might be, they must carry out the policy of the Government. That was the position of Lord Rosmead, and it was also the position of Lord Milner. But Lord Selborne stepped straight out of the Cabinet into this executive position, and from being the colleague he became the servant of the Colonial Secretary. The High Commissioner of South Africa ought to be a head pacificator. But how could Lord Selborne be that when he had been in the thick of the political fight which had led to the South African War? In the circumstances the very name of Lord Selborne itself was sufficient to evoke the most unpleasant recollections in South Africa.

In bringing this Motion before the House he had discharged his duty to his own conscience, and all he now wished to do was to ask the right hon. Gentleman the first Lord of the Treasury to explain why he considered a Cabinet Minister to be the best person to fill a Civil Service appointment. Knowing how things were he was certain that the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister did not make this appointment without consultation. He could not help thinking that Lord Selborne owed his appointment to his connection with the right hon. Member for West Birmingham. The proper man for the position was not a partisan politician, but a Civil servant of tried administrative capacity.

MR. KEIR HARDIE (Merthyr Tydvil)

seconded the Resolution, which, he said, had not originated in any personal bias or animus against Lord Selborne. The charge, so far as there was any charge, was against the Government who appointed him. The mover of the Amendment had given some reasons why hon. Members thought the appointment was inadvisable. At a time when the Colonial Office was synonymous with treachery and duplicity so far as South Africa was concerned, the noble Lord now appointed was connected with that Department of the Government. The policy the Colonial Office initiated then had been continued by Lord Milner, and what they wished to know now was whether the Government intended to perpetuate in South Africa a policy which had been fraught with disaster in that country, and which had brought dishonour to us at home. The Government probably expected that Lord Selborne would follow loyally in Lord Milner's footsteps. Why had Lord Milner resigned at this eleventh hour ill the Government's career?—when he had borne the burden and responsibility so long and when, in the course of a few months, the natural order of things would have brought him release by a dissolution. It savoured more of the Boodle politics of America than of our traditions in regard to such appointments. Lord Milner had never been more than a mask behind which the mineowners concealed themselves while carrying out their nefarious designs. It was time that this country should inaugurate an honourable policy of justice and fair play towards its stricken foe.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—(Mr. Swift MacNeill.)

MR. PURVIS (Peterborough)

said he thought the House would agree with him that in this very controversial question there was a strong distinction between the speeches of the mover and seconder. The hon. mover expressed the view, and the feeling was worthy of him, that his task was an ungracious task, and that he would be the last to cast a slur upon Lord Selborne at such a time as this. The hon. seconder declared that what was wanted in South Africa was a policy of justice and fair play, and in his argument suggested that Lord Selborne would immediately found a policy which was the antithesis of justice and fair play. That was the inference to be drawn from his argument. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment said that a politician could not be a general pacificator, but when the House considered the appointment of the present Viceroy of India and recalled the notable success of Lord Curzon, a politician, as pacifactor they would not attach too much importance to that statement of the hon. Member for Donegal. As to the argument that we ought to appoint an expert and not a politician—well, that was not the English system. Politicians were put at the head of every Department, and that was the way in which our Constitution had been carried on. If the system had its faults it had also its merits. He would not deal with the somewhat imflammatory remarks of the hon. seconder because he did not believe any one sympathised with them, nor did he believe that the hon. Member himself would approve of them in his calmer moments. Subsequent events justified the Jameson Raid because it was shortly after followed by a declaration of war by the Boer Oligarchy, when it was found that the Boers had transformed the Transvaal into an armed camp. That being so, he suggested the hon. mover and seconder had failed to prove anything to justify occupying the time of the House. In fact, nothing short of a charge of high treason against Lord Selborne would justify this Motion, and such a charge would have to be supported by arguments proving that the noble Lord had levied war against a friendly State. The hon. Gentleman had not given any reason for such a charge as that against Lord Selborne. He was a member of the Government at the time of the Jameson Raid; and the Government took immediate steps to disown it. Therefore, that ought to be accounted for righteousness to Lord Selborne. He hoped that the House would show that the Motion was a perfectly unwarrantable interruption of its business, and a most ungracious and unkind attack on the character of a most estimable public man.

MR. MARKHAM (Nottinghamshire, Mansfield)

said that the gravamen of the charge lay in the fact that Lord Selborne was going out to South Africa, having been a member of a Government; which was carrying out a certain policy in that country. He had not a word to say against the personal character or integrity of Lord Selborne. It was with him entirely a question of policy. And what was the policy that Lord Selborne was going to South Africa to carry out? It was to establish, in the first place, a form of representative government in the Transvaal—a form of government wholly opposed by the Boers and by a very large percentage of the British population other than those controlled by the capitalists. That policy ought, not to be brought forward, as it would be brought forward inevitably by Lord Selborne, by a member of His Majesty's Government. Very grave issues turned on this question of representative government. His advices from South Africa, were to the effect that the Boers would not take any part in the government if that House decided to place upon them a form of representative government and that they would much prefer that the form of government should remain as it was than that what General Botha called a "bastard" form should be introduced before responsible government was granted. The Boers were now our fellow-subjects; and it was the duty of Parliament to treat them as such, and not impose on them a policy which was opposed to their wishes. He should vote for the Motion because he thought Lord Selborne's appointment was a most unwise one, taking all the circumstances into consideration.


The debate has not proceeded very long, Sir, yet we have heard three quite, I will not say inconsistent, but different versions of the reasons why the House should assent to the adjournment, and thereby indirectly pass a vote of censure upon Lord Selborne.


No, upon you.


I am quite ready to take it that way—three quite different reasons why the House should pass a vote of censure on the Government, but more strictly on the Prime Minister, who is the person who has to recommend on these occasions. It is very instructive to compare the various versions which are going about among hon. Gentlemen opposite to justify them in going into the lobby against the Government, if that be the intention. The mover of the Motion dwelt chiefly on the past. He seems to consider the fact that Lord Selborne was Undersecretary in the Colonial Office at the time when there was a considerable and growing difference between us and the South African Republic as a sufficient reason why, five years afterwards, he should not be sent out to carry on the responsible duties of Lord High Commissioner. That was the hon. Gentleman's first reason, and his reason was, if I remember aright, that it should be an administrator, not a politician, who should be selected to fill this great post. I think both those reasons are bad reasons. I am not going to trespass on your ruling, Sir, that the causes of the South African War do not come within this debate, and I presume that the subject of the Raid is equally excluded from it; but whatever view you take of the Raid, and whatever view you take of the causes of the South African War, I absolutely deny that the fact that Lord Selborne was at that time Under-Secretary for the Colonies is a disqualification for the appointment. And while I traverse the particular statement made by the hon. Gentleman with regard to Lord Selborne, with equal strength do I traverse the general proposition which he has ventured to lay down, and which I think will receive no support from those who have studied the policy of this country with regard to these great appointments. I am not going back to the case of Lord Durham. I understand, though, perhaps, the treatment of Lord Durham by his Party is not one of the brightest pages in their annals, they now look back to his administration of Canada as the beginning of a better state of things.


Hear, hear !


It is all very well to say "Hear, hear," in 1905. Lord Durham was a politician of the politicians, bitter, or, at all events, strenuous, I will not say bitter—even among Party politicians at a time when Party politics ran very high. His Party sent him out to Canada—I will not discuss his treatment when he came back, but, at all events, he was a politician and not what the hon. Gentleman, by a very erroneous antithesis, described as an administrator—to deal with a great colonial difficulty. So much for Canada. How about India? Has it been the practice of successive Governments in this House to send out to India administrators in the hon. Gentleman's sense of the term, or politicians in the hon. Gentleman's sense of the term? Why, everybody knows that, though the rule has not been invariable, the most brilliant examples of great administrative capacity have been drawn from amongst the ranks of politicians, and that it is, perhaps, from among the ranks of politicians that those rulers of India have been drawn who have shed the greatest lustre upon the annals of our rule in that dependency.


Are you going to govern India as you govern South Africa?


I do not complain of the hon. Gentleman's interruption. It was not discourteous, but it was singularly ludicrous. "Are you going to govern India in the same way that you govern South Africa," asks the hon. Gentleman, though I suppose he meant South Africa in the same way as India? What has that got to do with it? How is it relevant to the discussion? What possible bearing has it upon the contention of the hon. Gentleman that what he calls administrators and not what he calls politicians ought to be sent out as our pro-Consuls in distant regions? The case of India differs in many respects, in profound respects, from the case of Africa, but it does not differ from it in the only point in which the argument is relevant, and if ever there was a country where you might suppose it justifiable to send out what I may, without offence, call a bureaucrat rather than a politician, it is to India and not to South Africa that that justification would apply. And that brings me to another point raised by the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Mansfield Division of Nottingham. His reason for objecting to Lord Selborne going out was not drawn from the past, and has no reference to the Jameson Raid or the South African War. His objection was that Lord Selborne was sent out in order to give representative government to the Transvaal, and he objects, in the name of progress and liberty, root and branch, to anything in the nature of representative government.


I am sure the First Lord of the Treasury has not the slightest wish to misrepresent me. He is perfectly well aware that the most burning question in South Africa is whether the Transvaal shall be granted representative or responsible government, and that the whole of the, Boer element of the population ask for responsible government and not a bastard form of representative government.


I do not dispute with the hon. Gentleman that Lord Selborne is sent out, in the first instance at all events, to deal with the question of representative government, and not with the question of responsible government. The view that we entertain, and I do not wish to minimise it in the least, is that representative government is a necessary and inevitable stage on the road to full responsible government. It has been so in all, or, at all events, in the great majority, of our Colonies, and what is a sound policy for colonies almost entirely composed of colonists of English blood is certainly not less necessary in a colony in which racial divisions unfortunately now exist. I therefore admit that the hon. Gentleman is perfectly right in saying that Lord Selborne will be asked by His Majesty's Government to deal with representative government as a stage, and a very long stage, on the road to that final form of responsible government which is the goal to which we look forward in all cases of our self-governing Colonies. Yes, Sir, but is any Gentleman going to get up from that front bench or from those benches opposite and say that a stage which has always been thought necessary in the case of other colonies should in this particular case be omitted from the ordinary evolution of a colony with self-governing rights from the conditions of a Crown colony, as the Transvaal now is, immediately subject to the regulations of this country? I do not mean to deal with the general question, but I would point out to the hon. Gentleman who moved the Motion that whether we are dealing with responsible government or with representative government, it is emphatically desirable that the man who has to deal with it should be a man accustomed to the working of free and representative institutions rather than the man, however able, however experienced in all business affairs, however competent as the head of a Department, who has not been, from the very nature of his training, brought up in the free atmosphere of controversy which is the very life-blood of representative assemblies. Can there be a doubt that at a period like this, when the question of the character of the Transvaal Government and the working of the Transvaal Government is the chief subject that has to be dealt with, the man who can best superintend its inward workings is the man whose life has been spent in dealing with popular forces, in popular assemblies, and in that kind of management of men and debate and business habits which can be acquired, and acquired alone, within the walls of a representative assembly? Sir, I think that I have disposed, at all events to my own satisfaction, of the general contention advanced by the mover of the Motion—namely, that we ought to have gone to an entirely different class of public servant than that to which we have gone, and that we should have chosen a member of the permanent Civil Service rather than one accustomed to the working of a responsible and free government.

I pass from that general part of the argument to a rather unworthy suggestion which, if he will permit me to say so, fell from the lips of the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil. He is not a gentleman who, so far as my experience of the House goes, is apt to indulge in vehement invective, or unjustifiable insinuation, but on this particular occasion, moved by I know not what motive, he has given a version of British history in connection with South Africa during the last ten years which I wholly repudiate, which I do not even deal with, and has, in addition, suggested that Lord Milner's retirement has been ingeniously contrived between Lord Milner and His Majesty's Government so that the appointment of Lord Milner's successor might be made by those in office. Now I can assure the hon. Gentleman that that ingenious insinuation has not the smallest foundation. It has been with the utmost difficulty that we have induced Lord Milner to go on during the last few years, and before I endeavoured to persuade—and it did require some persuasion—Lord Selborne to allow his name to be submitted to His Majesty, I made an appeal to Lord Milner, couched in the strongest language I could command, in the most earnest and pressing language, begging him to continue in a post which, though a post of difficulty, he has made a post of honour and glory, and in which I most earnestly desired that he should feel himself able to continue the work which he has so well and admirably begun, and finally to erect the completed building upon the foundations which he has in a fashion so solidly and durably already laid. Well, Sir, I failed. Lord Milner feels it absolutely impossible, for reasons of health, to continue to bear the continuous and unremitting strain which he has borne for eight years, and when an argument like that is used by a man who is so ready to spend himself in the public service as Lord Milner is ready to spend himself, it is an argument to which even the hardest heart cannot feel insensible. In these circumstances, the hon. Gentleman will feel that if the choice of Lord Milner's successor falls to the present occupants of this bench, it is through no fault of ours. We, at all events, have done our best to secure that Lord Milner should continue his distinguished official career in the country where he has made his chief fame, and though his successor will, I am convinced, reap golden opinions in the sphere of activity where he is going, I could yet have wished on all grounds that it had fallen to Lord Milner to complete the work which he has begun.

Now, Sir, I would ask, and really this is all I need ask, is the man appointed a good man for the place? I have shown, or endeavoured to show, that there is no objection to him on the score of general theory or on the score of the practice of this country in regard to its great dependencies. I have further shown that there is no foundation for the insinuation made by the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil. I have now to ask last of all the really vital question, is the appointment intrinsically for the public good? I do not particularly like the task of praising a near friend and old colleague in this House, and yet, after all, Lord Selborne was long a Member of this House; he is personally known to the great majority of those whom I am addressing; he has filled with distinguished success one of the great Departments of the State. [An HON. MEMBER: He's a Cecil.] He has shown himself in every position into which his official duties have called him firm and conciliatory, without crotchets, without vanity, without obstinacy, always eady to consider arguments, always ready to guide his course as sound argument seems to point, and withal, in his manner frank, conciliatory, obviously straightforward, obviously a man of his word, a man with whom men may perhaps differ, but with whom they cannot easily quarrel. Now, Sir, that i the man I apprehend you want in South Africa. I do not pretend that Lord Se borne had any desire to go to that new sphere of activities, for it was not so, but as he has put his hand to the plough, as he has made up his mind that he will make such personal sacrifices as are involved—well, at any rate, what he considers personal sacrifices—as are involved in this changed scene of his activity, I am confident that, difficult as the task must be to anybody sent out from these shores to deal with a country yet palpitating from the stress of recent conflict, if success is possible he will attain it, and if there be any obstacle in his way, if the remains of old controversies and old bitternesses are to make his task in any respect more difficult, who is it who is increasing those difficulties? To whom would it have occurred within the four seas to raise objection to Lord Selbone from the fact that he had been Under-Secretary for the Colonies ten years ago? The hon. Gentleman and the hon. Gentleman's conscience alone, so far as I know, to him and his conscience alone is it due that the very suggestion should have been made; and if any echo of our debates in this House reaches South Africa, and if the seed of suspicion is sown in the minds of any of our fellow-subjects of Dutch extraction by what has passed in this House, it is not Lord Selborne's career, nor any incident in that career, which will have done it; it is the ill-timed Motion which the hon. Gentleman has moved.

*MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)

said he intervened as one who some years ago had the opportunity in this House of defending against the attacks of the right hon. Gentleman, then Colonial Secretary, and the present Secretary for War, the appointment of Sir Hercules Robinson. He admitted to the full that at that time, as since, when these personal questions had arisen, he had seen great disadvantages which might arise from their discussion in the House of Commons, because they really led to no practical conclusion, and they resulted in irritation without compensating advantage. But by this Motion every Member was challenged to express his opinion in regard to the appointment of Lord Selborne, and, that being so, he for one had no hesitation in saying that in his opinion it was an ill-advised appointment and not in accordance with the traditions of the service of the country. After the speech of his hon. friend, with its studious moderation—and in these matters the tone as well as the speech had to be considered—he for one would vote for the Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman said a great deal in regard to the personal character and administrative qualities of Lord Selborne. Let him say that he associated himself with the mover and the seconder of this Motion in saving that they had nothing to say adversely to Lord Selbone as Lord Selborne. From what he knew of Lord Selborne personally and in his administrative quality he was of opinion that he would probably make an admirable High Commissioner in South Africa. It was not with Lord Selborne that they had any quarrel at all, and this Motion was not aimed at him. It was aimed against the Government for having appointed him. There were two grounds on which he was prepared to vote for the Motion. First, he believed that it was a breach of the good traditions which of late years had sprung up in the Colonial service of placing these appointments, not in the hands of active politicians, but in the hands of administrators. The right hon. Gentleman alluded to it as a common practice; but it had been necessary for him to go back to Lord Durham to find a case in which a politician had been appointed to a colonial position except in the self-governing Colonies. Then the right hon. Gentleman referred to India; but India was, he contended, governed on an entirely different basis from our Colonies, and long might it remain so, The whole tradition in the Colonial service during the last ten years had been not to appoint politicians, and especially not to appoint politicians actually in the whirlpool of politics, to positions of this character. The office of High Commissioner had been filled by such men as Lord Loch, Lord Rosmead, and Lord Milner, men whom Lord Selborne would doubtless admit to be as able as himself—but very few Members, if asked, would be able to say what were the Party politics of any one of those administrators. In his opinion this appointment was a breach, an aggravated breach, of that very sound principle or tradition. If the Government had made up its mind to break through that tradition, South Africa was the very last colony it ought to have chosen for the purpose. Nobody could deny that during the last ten years South Africa, and the Transvaal especially, had been the cockpit of controversial politics. ["Whose fault is it?"] The right hon. Gentleman asked whose fault it was.

MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN (Birmingham, W.)

No; I said nothing whatever.

GENERAL LAURIE (Pembroke and Haverfordwest)

I asked whose fault it was.


said he had no intention of entering into the question of blame on either side. Even if it were admitted to the full that the Government, and those who supported them throughout the last ten years, had been entirely blameless and faultless—and he doubted whether even the Government would make that claim—they could not deny that in South Africa there had been the most acute, violent, and adverse opinions as to the policy pursued. Into that whirlpool of contrary politics and contrary opinion, it was now proposed to send a man who had been a member of the Government for many years and a member of the Cabinet for five years. That was not the sort of man who ought to have been sent. Under present circumstances two qualifications were necessary in the High Commissioner, viz., absolute impartiality, and the fullest confidence of all sections of people in this country; and a man possessing those qualifications could easily have been found. It was necessary that there should go out one with a clean record in regard to South Africa, who would bring to the consideration of the problems with which he would be confronted an open, fresh and impartial mind. The Prime Minister had stated that Lord Selborne was going out to carry out the instructions of the Government. Nobody could object to that. He hoped the High Commissioner would always carry out the instructions of his Government. But what was wanted at the present juncture was not a man who had been concerned in the giving of instructions, and who was already imbued with the opinion and the views of the Government, but one who was absolutely free from home trammels and Governmental traditions, who would, indeed, receive his instructions from home, but who would send home free and impartial opinions. That was impossible with Lord Selborne. After ten years close connection with even the present Government, a man must have become more or less imbued with the opinions of his colleagues. They wanted in the High Commissioner what they were told they had in the Prime Minister, viz., an open mind, though not perhaps quite of the same description. The Prime Minister had stated that this Motion would weaken the position of Lord Selborne. If so, that was not the fault of the Opposition. He hoped that as time went on they might be able to give their confidence to Lord Selborne, but they must wait and see before they could judge how far that would be possible. He regretted that a personal question of this kind should have been brought up in the House, but he should vote for the Motion because he thought that under present conditions the appointment of Lord Selborne, admirable administrator and excellent politican though he was, would not best tend to bring that which they all desired, peace and prosperity to that portion of His Majesty's dominions.


I have listened with the greatest sympathy to the speech which has just been delivered by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Poplar. I hardly remember a case in which an hon. Member was put in a more difficult position. What was his unhappy position? It is perfectly clear from what he said that he has no sympathy whatever with this Resolution, and he had to explain to the House why he was going to vote for it. He told the House he regretted these personal attacks, but he had to wind up by declaring that although he felt strongly the immorality and undesirability of making South Africa the cockpit of Party politics—he was going, nevertheless, for purely political reasons, to vote for the Resolution, of which, in his heart, he disapproves. The hon. Gentleman tells us this was an ill-advised appointment, and he followed that up immediately by informing us that, taken by itself, the appointment was admirable. He had nothing whatever to say against Lord Selborne; in fact, he praised him in terms that if Lord Selborne had been here would have made my noble friend blush. He was a great administrator, an honourable man, a distinguished politician; in fact, I could not myself have wished that my noble friend should have been more highly praised or more generously treated. Why, then, does the hon. Gentleman not vote for this paragon of administrators, this admirable member of our political spheres? Why does he not vote for him? Because he was appointed by the Government. Here is an hon. Gentleman who would reject the Archangel Gabriel if he were appointed by this Government. And then, forsooth, the hon. Gentleman preaches to us a sermon upon the undesirability of making South Africa a cockpit of Party politics. Because in our domestic differences, in the opinion of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House, the Government has made mistakes in other directions, the most admirable administrator in this country must be refused the valuable support of the hon. Gentleman because the Government has made the appointment. I suppose if right hon. Gentlemen opposite had been in office they would have selected Lord Selborne, but because he was selected by the Government to which they are opposed, at once they declare it to be an ill-advised appointment.

Why is it an ill-advised appointment? Apart from any political reasons, why is it an ill-advised appointment? Because, says the hon. Gentleman, of tradition. The tradition of whom? Of the Radical Party, I suppose. The tradition of the Radical Party, we are told, has been that no politician should be appointed to a responsible office of this kind; that the appointment is to be filled by somebody already in the service of the Colonial Office. When was that the tradition of the Radical Party? Not under the last Government, not when the hon. Gentleman was in office. I have an idea that to one of the most important appointments by the Colonial Office—the Governor-Generalship of Canada—a nobleman was appointed for whom I have the greatest respect and regard, who was nothing if he was not a politician. Lord Aberdeen was not a servant of the Colonial Office. He had not been a governor anywhere else, but he was picked out from a political career and appointed to the administration of the greatest of our self-governing Colonies. I do not complain of it at all, but I think it is a little too much for the hon. Gentleman to come down and lecture us as if that had been a permanent tradition of the Party to which he belongs. If it had been their tradition I think it was very wise to break it, for to confine to any service, I do not care which, the most difficult post in the administration of the Empire—to confine it to the very narrow limits of a particular service, would be one of the greatest mistakes you could possibly make. When I went to the Colonial Office I laid down from the very first, as I thought following the traditions of every one who had held my office, that while I would always give first consideration to any one who had served the State already in connection with the Colonial Office, yet I would never be prevented by any prejudice of that kind from looking outside the Colonial Office if I thought the situation demanded that I should do so.

What are the qualifications, as laid down by the hon. Gentleman, of the gentleman who should be appointed to a post of this kind? He is to be a person of absolute impartiality. Well, I sometimes wish I could find a person of that kind. But he is also to have, according to the hon. Gentleman, the confidence of every section of politicians in the country. Now, was anything more absurd ever presented to the House of Commons by a Gentleman who has held responsible office? I wonder whether the hon. Gentleman has ever heard of a great administrator named Lord Milner? He came near, at any rate, to his qualifications. When Lord Milner went out to South Africa he was given a banquet which members of all Parties attended. I am not certain that the hon. Gentleman himself was not one of the guests or hosts. At all events, the leaders of the Opposition joined with the leaders of the Government to do honour to this distinguished citizen of ours, who was a man of impartiality in so far as he had never expressed opinions or been actively engaged in any sphere which would have induced prejudice. They gave him a very cordial send-off and what was the result? This great administrator, who was appointed by myself in ignorance, at that time, even of his political opinions—indeed, I do not think he has ever taken any part in our local political controversies. ["Yes."] I am reminded by an hon. friend that he was once a candidate on the Liberal side. But that made no difference. I ask the House to observe and to recognise, as I am sure they will, that that made no difference in the appointment that was made. There we have an administrator who fulfilled the great qualifications of the hon. Gentleman, and how has he treated him since? What encouragement does his speech give to any Government to appoint a man who is impartial, and who has, I will not say enjoyed the absolute confidence of every section of his countrymen, but who, at all events, is recognised as not being in any sense a partisan, and whose appointment is, therefore, welcomed by both sides of the House? It is all very well in Opposition to establish this ideal, but the hon. Gentleman, if ever he is in office again, will find it one very difficult to realise.

Then we are told what is more extraordinary still, and leaves me in doubt whether I am wise in expressing the opinion which I have expressed—that it may be to the advantage of the Party on this side of the House that they should have a short holiday and return with renewed vigour to the perennial contest between the two sides at a later period—because, if we retire [Ironical cries of "We!"]—we on this side of the House—we are told by the hon. Gentleman what is the principle upon which he, and I suppose his friends, for he speaks for the Front Bench, are going to govern our great dependencies and our great Colonies. I never heard it expressed so clearly before, and I ask the attention of the House to its terms. He says we do not want a man already cognisant of the opinions of our colonial subjects. We want a man with an open mind, which very often means an empty mind. [Cries of "Balfour" and "Withdraw."] I am glad to see that the other side appreciate my point, and it will be made more clear to them when I continue the quotation. They want a gentleman of an open mind to take orders from his Government. The kind of man whom they are going to appoint to great positions in the Empire is a man who goes there knowing absolutely nothing of the conditions of the country he is to administer, nothing of the opinions held by those who really represent them, but a gentleman of an open mind who is prepared slavishly to follow the instructions of his Government without even interfering to represent to them the facts which he finds. Nothing more fatal to the government of the Empire than the ideal that is suggested by the hon. Member opposite whom we may in future see occupying a very prominent position in the Administration has ever been expressed.

I leave the extraordinary speech of the hon. Member to say one or two words on the Motion which is made. We are told, and I am glad that relieves me of any necessity to deal with the matter at length, that this is not an attack on Lord Selborne. Everybody admits that the only faults he has are, first, that he is appointed by the Government, and, next, that at one time in his career he had the misfortune to be connected with me. It is supposed, I think, by the hon. Member who moved this Resolution—


You did not hear my speech.


No; I did not. It was so much shorter than usual that it had been finished before I was able to enter the House. But, from what I have gathered since, it was much more moderate than I could have expected it to be, and I am giving the hon. Member credit for that when I say I understand his only complaint was of the two things to which I have referred. Why should my noble friend suffer in this great work, which he has, as I think, undertaken in a spirit of real self-sacrifice, although that idea was rather ridiculed when it was mentioned by the Prime Minister? Why should he suffer for his connection with myself? The idea is that, as I was no doubt a strenuous opponent of the Boer policy at the time we were at war with them, any one who had been connected with me would be prejudiced in the eyes of the Boers—I do not suppose the hon. Member will care a brass button about the opinions of the British population—and I want to say to the House that my experience of the Boers or the Dutch in South Africa makes me think that they are not influenced by that sort of personal spite and petty malignity which we see sometimes exemplified in English politics. [Ironical cheers.] It hardly needed a cheer from the opposite side to convince me how far all Gentlemen sitting there are from any sentiment of the kind. I was going to say, wherever it may exist, I do not think it exists in the minds either of the Dutch or the Boers. Certainly, I saw nothing of it in the generous and hospitable reception they gave me when I went there. I did not conceal my opinions, but that made not the slightest difference in the courtesy with which I was received. But I have got a much more striking illustration than that. The Jameson Raid, with that kind of loyalty and generosity which Dr. Jameson always showed, was admitted by him to have been mainly and principally due to his own action, and he suffered for it. ["How much?"] How much did he suffer? I do not know what hon. Gentlemen opposite would think of it, but it seemed to me he suffered almost as much as an honourable gentleman could do in the punishment to which he was submitted. But I do not want to go on to any controversial ground. What I say is that he himself generously and loyally admitted that he had made a mistake, and he suffered his punishment. If any one, therefore, he was a man who might be expected to be the most unpopular in the circles of the Dutch, amongst the Boers, in the Bond. Nothing of the kind. That man, disgracefully, as I think, abused when he was down by people who were not worthy of even his acquaintance, is now Prime Minister of the Cape, and I venture to assert that nobody who knows anything of the circumstances there will deny that, while they have two sides there as we have here, no Prime Minister of this generation has been so popular on both sides as he who has been represented as the chief mover and cause of the Jameson Raid. ["Hear, hear!" "No; you were."] I may have been so represented—I do not know—but my statement is that Dr. Jameson has been represented as being the cause, and he has himself admitted that in some respects he was the chief mover in the Raid. Now I revert to this for one purpose only, and will only say that the Dutch are able to forget an honest difference, and it is only hon. Members here who preserve its memory nine years after the occurrence, not really because of any moral indignation against the event ["Oh, oh!"]—no, not for that reason, but simply and entirely because they think they can make political capital out of it.

*MR. CAWLEY (Lancashire, Prestwich

said that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham had paraphrased what the hon. Member for Poplar had said, and his remarks were an absolute parody upon what he had actually said. The right hon. Gentleman had said that the Boers were not animated by the petty malignity which sometimes animated his own countrymen. He had not always had so good an opinion of the Boers. He associated himself with all the nice things that had been, said about Lord Selborne, but the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham seemed to think that the Boers were so forgiving and forgetful that they would not remember who was at the Colonial Office at the time of the Jameson Raid. He was certain that, rightly or wrongly, the Boer population attributed knowledge of the Jameson Raid to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham and his Under-Secretary. The Prime Minister had appointed as High Commissioner a man to whom suspicion attached in the minds of a large section of the population of South Africa. Would the Prime Minister have ever thought of appointing a man to be Governor-General of Canada who was obnoxious to the French section of the Canadian population. Now the Government had appointed to this great office a man who was absolutely obnoxious to a very large section of the population of South Africa. They all desired to have South Africa a peaceful and prosperous colony with a happy and contented people, but they were not likely to achieve this by appointing a man of whom a large portion of the inhabitants were suspicious.

MAJOR SEELY (Isle of Wight)

said the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham had made several remarkable statements, but the remarkable thing was that it was precisely on account of his action that many of them on his side of the House found it difficult to know which way to vote. He should support this Motion because by this appointment the Government were continuing a policy for which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham was mainly responsible. He thought the House would admit there was reason to reply to the statement that those who voted for the Motion would be animated by "petty malignity." ["No, no!"] The right hon. Gentleman would admit that he used the words.


I think I can recall the words I used. I believe my words were that the Boers were not animated by the personal spite and petty malignity that sometimes distinguished English politics. If the hon. Member fits the cap on, I cannot help it.


said he was within the recollection of the House, and asked if the right hon. Gentleman had not indicated hon. Members opposite to him as animated by petty malignity.


If that had been the expression I should certainly have called for its withdrawal. The words I heard used were those the right hon. Gentleman has repeated.


said hon. Members on his side of the House deeply resented the words that were used by the right hon. Gentleman. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Withdraw."] He could not withdraw the allegation that the right hon. Gentleman used words which caused the deepest pain on his side of the House. What they realised was that Lord Selborne had been appointed to continue a policy which was supporting one particular Party in the Transvaal. Supposing the Prime Minister or the Colonial Secretary were now to say that they would fulfil the pledge that was given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, he should vote against this Motion and support Lord Selborne. It was not any action of Lord Selborne's that condemned the appointment; it was the action of right hon. Gentlemen opposite who had persistently refused to fulfil pledges they had given, not only to the Dutch of South Africa, but also to the English of South Africa and to our fellow-subjects in the Colonies who had helped us in the war. Because the Government had been guilty of this breach of faith they should oppose every executive act of the Government who had made the Transvaal the cockpit of Party politics. However good Lord Selborne might be, if he was appointed by those who had broken their pledged word he could not expect to receive the support of those who regarded honour above Party exigencies.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 178; Noes, 236. (Division List, No. 25.)

Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.) Hammond, John O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Ainsworth, John Stirling Hayden, John Patrick Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)
Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D. Pirie, Duncan V.
Atherley-Jones, L. Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. Power, Patrick Joseph
Barlow, John Emmott Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Rea, Russell
Barran, Rowland Hirst Higham, John Sharpe Reddy, M.
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.) Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Bell, Richard Holland, Sir William Henry Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries
Benn, John Williams Horniman, Frederick John Rickett, J. Compton
Black, Alexander William Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk. Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Boland, John Isaacs, Rufus Daniel Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Brigg, John Jacoby, James Alfred Robson, William Snowdon
Bright, Allan Heywood Johnson, John Roche, John
Broadhurst, Henry Joicey, Sir James Roe, Sir Thomas
Brown, George M. (Edinburgh) Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea Rose, Charles Day
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Jones, Leifchild S. (Appleby) Runciman, Walter
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Jones, William (Carnarvonshire Russell, T. W.
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Joyce, Michael Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)
Burke, E. Haviland Kearley, Hudson E. Schwann, Charles E.
Burns, John Kennedy, Vincent P. (Cavan, W Seely, Maj. J. E. B (Isle of Wight)
Buxton, Sydney Charles Kilbride, Denis Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Caldwell, James Labouchere, Henry Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Lambert, George Sheehy, David
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Langley, Batty Shipman, Dr. John G.
Causton, Richard Knight Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W. Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)
Cawley, Frederick Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall) Slack, John Bamford
Channing, Francis Allston Layland-Barratt, Francis Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Cheetham, John Frederick Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington Soares, Ernest J.
Churchill, Winston Spencer Leigh, Sir Joseph Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R (Northants
Condon, Thomas Joseph Levy, Maurice Stanhope, Hon. Philip James
Crean, Eugene Lewis, John Herbert Stevenson, Francis S.
Cremer, William Randal Lloyd-George, David Strachey, Sir Edward
Crombie, John William Lough, Thomas Sullivan, Donal
Cullinan, J. Lundon, W. Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe
Dalziel, James Henry Lyell, Charles Henry Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)
Delany, William MacVeagh, Jeremiah Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)
Devlin, Charles Ramsay (Galw'y M'Crae, George Tomkinson, James
Doogan, P. C. M'Fadden, Edward Toulmin, George
Duffy, William J. M' Hugh, Patrick A. Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Edwards, Frank M'Kean, John Waldron, Laurence Ambrose
Ellis, John Edward (Notts.) M'Kenna, Reginald Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Emmott, Alfred M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Esmonde, Sir Thomas Markham, Arthur Basil Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)
Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan) Mooney, John J. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Eve, Harry Trelawney Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Weir, James Galloway
Farrell, James Patrick Morley, Rt. Hn. John (Montrose White, George (Norfolk)
Fenwick, Charles Murphy, John White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Ffrench, Peter Nannetti, Joseph P. Whiteley, George (York, W.R.)
Findlay, Alexander (Lanark, N E Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond Norman, Henry Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Flynn, James Christopher Norton, Capt. Cecil William Wills, Arthur Walters (N Dorset
Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.) O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Woodhouse, Sir J T (Huddersf'd
Fuller, J. M. F. O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.) Young, Samuel
Gilhooly, James O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W. Yoxall, James Henry
Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Goddard, Daniel Ford O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.
Grant, Corrie O'Dowd, John MacNeill and Mr. Keir
Griffith, Ellis J. O'Malley, William Hardie.
Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton O'Mara, James
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S. W. Majendie, James A. H.
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Galloway, William Johnson Malcolm, Ian
Allhusen, Augustus Henry Eden Gardner, Ernest Marks, Harry Hananel
Anson, Sir William Reynell Garfit, William Martin, Richard Biddulph
Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.
Arrol, Sir William Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn Maxwell, W. J. H (Dumfriessh.)
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Gordon, Maj. Evans (T'rH'mlets Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.
Bailey, James (Walworth) Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G.
Bain, Colonel James Robert Goulding, Edward Alfred Milvain, Thomas
Balcarres, Lord Graham, Henry Robert Molesworth, Sir Lewis
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r) Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants)
Balfour, Rt. Hn. Gerald W (Leeds Greene, Sir EW (B'rySEdm'nds Moon, Edward Robert Pacy
Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch. Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury) Morgan, David J (Walthamstow
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Grenfell, William Henry Morpeth, Viscount
Banner, John S. Harmood- Gretton, John Morrell, George Herbert
Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin Hall, Edward Marshall Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir Michael Hicks Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F. Mount, William Arthur
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Hambro, Charles Eric Muntz, Sir Philip A.
Bigwood, James Hamilton, Marq. Of (L'nd'nderry Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Bingham, Lord Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem'th) Nicholson, William Graham
Blundell, Colonel Henry Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley Parker, Sir Gilbert
Boscawen Arthur Griffith Heath, Sir james (Staffords. N W Parkes, Ebenezer
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Heaton, John Henniker Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Bull, William James Holder, Augustus Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley
Burdett-Coutts, W. Henderson, Sir A. (Stafford, W.) Pemberton, John S. G.
Butcher, John George Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T. Percy, Earl
Campbell, J. H. M (Dublin Univ. Hoare, Sir Samuel Pierpoint, Robert
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Hobhouse, Rt Hn H (Somers't, E Pilkington, Colonel Richard
Cautley, Henry Strother Hogg, Lindsay Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire Hope, J. F (Sheffield Brightside) Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Horner, Frederick William Pretyman, Ernest George
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Hoult, Joseph Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm. Houston, Robert Paterson Purvis, Robert
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J A (Wore. Howard, John (Kent Faversham Pym, C. Guy
Chapman, Edward Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil Quilter, Sir Cuthbert
Clive, Captain Percy A. Hunt, Rowland Randles, John S.
Coates, Edward Feetham Jameson, Major J. Eustace Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred Reed, Sir Edw. James (Cardiff)
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton Reid, James (Greenock)
Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh) Remnant, James Farquharson
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Kerr, John Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Keswick, William Ridley, S. Forde
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S. Kimber, Sir Henry Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Knowles, Sir Lees Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye
Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton) Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert
Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile Laurie, Lieut.-General Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter
Cubitt, Hon. Henry Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Round, Rt. Hon. James
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Lawrence, Sir Joseph (Monm'th) Royds, Clement Molyneux
Davenport, William Bromley Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool) Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)
Davies, Sir Horatio D (Chatham Lawson, Hn. H. L. W (Mile End) Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford
Dickinson, Robert Edmond Lawson, John Grant (Yorks. N. R Samuel, Sir Harry S (Limehouse
Dickson, Charles Scott Lee, Arthur H (Hants. Fareham, Seton-Karr, Sir Henry
Dimsdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Joseph C. Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead) Sharpe, William Edward T.
Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir John E. Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S. Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Llewellyn, Evan Henry Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)
Doxford, Sir William Theodore Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R. Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Duke, Henry Edward Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Spear, John Ward
Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk
Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S. Stanley, Rt. Hn. Lord (Lancs.)
Fardell, Sir T. George Lonsdale, John Brownlee Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart
Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J (Manc'r Lowe, Francis William Stone, Sir Benjamin
Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale) Stroyan, John
Finlay, Sir R. B. (Inv'rn'ssB'ghs) Loyd, Archie Kirkman Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Fisher, William Hayes Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Fison, Frederick William Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth Talbot, Rt. Hn. J G (Oxf'd Univ.)
FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon Macdona, John Cumming Thorburn, Sir Walter
Flannery, Sir Fortescue Maconochie, A. W. Thornton, Percy M.
Flower, Sir Ernest M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Tollemache, Henry James
Forster, Henry William M'Calmont, Colonel James Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.
Tritton, Charles Ernest Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Tuff, Charles Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson
Turnour, Viscount Whiteley, H (Ashton und Lyne Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart
Valentia, Viscount Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset) Wylie, Alexander
Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter) Willoughby de Eresby, Lord Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H. Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Warde, Colonel C. E. Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir
Webb, Colonel William George Wilson-Todd, Sir W H (Yorks.) Alexander Acland-Hood and
Welby, Lt,-Col. AC. E (Taunton Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath) Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.