§ Order of the Day for resuming the debate on the Amendment to the Viscount Cranbrook's Motion, read.
§ Debate resumed.
My Lords, after the long debate that has already taken 407 place, I will not abuse your Lordships' patience by attempting to enter into a full discussion of the subject before us; I will only ask for your attention to some rather desultory observations on two or three of the most important points which have not, I think, received all the consideration they require. In the first place, I would remark that I was surprised to find so little said last night by the noble Viscount the Secretary of State for India (Viscount Cranbrook) as to the justice of the war. The noble Viscount cannot be ignorant that its justice has been denied by no small number of persons of some authority; we had, therefore, I think, a right to expect that in stating the case of Her Majesty's Government he would have brought forward some arguments to show that the war is a just one, according to those rules as to what is right or wrong between nations which are generally recognized. According to these rules, as laid down by all the greatest writers, it is held that no nation ought to declare war against another unless it be either to obtain redress for some great wrong, for which it has asked and been refused reparation, or else for self-defence. It is true that a war may be one of self-defence, though no actual hostilities have been committed against the nation which begins it; if there is good evidence that hostilities are meditated, in such cases nations may, in self-defence, anticipate an intended attack. But to justify war on this ground, the danger which it is meant to avert must be a certain and a serious one. Last night the noble Viscount did not tell us that any such danger existed; all he said was that for some time the Ameer has exhibited a feeling of enmity and ill-will against us. This may be true; but it is no ground for war. It often happens that accidental circumstances create for a time a very bitter feeling in one nation against another; such a feeling has more than once existed between this and other countries. Great ill-will has occasionally been shown against England by France, and by the United States; but it has never been supposed that we ought to make this a ground for going to war with the people that entertain such a feeling, if no actual wrong is done to us; and between nations, as between individuals, temporary irritation generally passes away, if 408 nothing is done to carry it into action. Now, the noble Viscount did not allege that anything had been done by the Ameer of which we had any right to complain, except that he had declined to receive British officers in his dominions. The noble Viscount argued at some length to show how reasonable it was that we should ask to have British officers on the Afghan Frontier to give us accurate information of what was done there if we were to protect the Ameer against attack. I quite agree with the noble Viscount—we should have been very imprudent to promise to the Afghans protection against attacks unless we were allowed the proper means of assuring ourselves that they had not provoked these attacks. The refusal to admit British officers gave us a perfect right to say to the Ameer—"If you will not receive them you must not reckon on our protection;" but I cannot understand what right we had to say—"You shall accept our protection and assent to the conditions on which alone we can give it, and because you refuse we will make war upon you." I cannot understand how we are entitled to act thus towards an independent Prince. As the noble Viscount has not informed us upon what grounds he holds a war thus entered into to be just, according to the rules I have quoted as laid down by the best writers, I am unable to answer arguments of which I cannot guess the nature, and I can only say that, in my judgment, the war is an unjust one, and therefore a national crime. I pass from this topic, and I have next to call your attention to the fact that neither in the noble Viscount's speech, nor in any that has yet been made, has the slightest explanation been given as to the advantages Her Majesty's Ministers hope to gain by the war. We have heard a great deal as to its being necessary for the safety of India to prevent the extension of Russian influence in Asia, and especially in Afghanistan; but not a word has been said to prove that the extension of Russia would be a source of danger to our Indian Empire, or to show how that danger is to be averted by the war. I suppose that the danger which is apprehended is an attack on our Indian Dominions either by a Russian Army or by an Asiatic Army assisted and directed by Russians. But if this is the danger against which we are seeking to take 409 precautions, I would remind you that the noble Earl at the head of the Government has told us that the base of operations from which Russia would have to move to the attack of India is so distant, and the line of communication so exceedingly difficult, that he has no apprehension that any Russian Army which would cause us any danger could be brought to the valley of the Indus. To fear invasion from the Afghans is equally absurd—the whole Afghan population is not supposed to exceed 3,000,000 or 4,000,000; and though the men are brave, and capable of making excellent soldiers under proper direction, they are altogether destitute of military science and discipline; and the ease with which they have just been defeated by a comparatively small British force when defending very strong positions in their own hills shows how idle it is to suppose that any force they could raise could attempt an offensive war against the British Army defending our Frontier. Nor could the union of two such weak enemies when combined together have any chance of success in attacking us. I think, therefore, the idea of an invasion of India by a Russian or a united Russian and Asiatic Army may be dismissed from the minds of rational men. In the fears which have been expressed on this subject I can see nothing but a revival of an old panic terror, which many years ago led this country into one of the greatest mistakes it ever committed, and brought upon it a great disaster. Forty years ago much alarm was excited by accounts which reached this country of the doings of Russian Agents in Persia and Afghanistan; and the Government of that day, in order to counteract the projects imputed to Russia, adopted measures which led to the first Afghan War. I had then the honour of being a Member of Lord Melbourne's Cabinet, and I earnestly endeavoured to convince my Colleagues that the policy they were entering upon was wrong. I then thought that the fear of Russia, on which it was founded, was a great delusion, and that in striving to guard against an imaginary danger we were incurring a real and a serious one. I now think the same of the similar policy of the present Government. Since this question has attracted so much consideration, I have referred to a corre- 410 spondence I had in October, 1838, with Lord John Russell, who was then the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, and I find that I argued then, as I argue now, that we had really nothing to fear from Russia, and that if we had, the best course we could take for the security of India was carefully to avoid, as much as possible, any meddling in the shifting politics and intrigues of the semi-barbarous States of Asia, to enter into no Treaties with them, not to disturb ourselves about what might go on among them, or to excite fears among our Indian subjects by showing that we were ourselves afraid, but to pursue the even tenor of our way, striving by good, and especially by economical, government, by measures for improving the means of communication, for extending education among the people, and raising them in the scale of civilization, to increase the welfare and the resources of the inhabitants of India, trusting that we should thus most surely increase our power there, and be enabled to bid defiance to every attack. These, my Lords, were my views in 1838; and if I am asked how it happened that I continued in the Government when the Afghan War was undertaken, I answer, that I was young in those days; that I was associated in the Cabinet with men older than myself, and of far greater experience and ability; that the Chief of that Cabinet (Lord Melbourne) was a man on whose judgment I had very great reliance, and whose continuance in the post he then held I considered of much importance with reference to our domestic interests; and it seemed, therefore, to me that I should have been guilty of presumption if I had left the Government because I could not bring round my Colleagues to an opinion in which I found that I stood alone. Accordingly, though my opinion was not shaken, but confirmed, by discussion, I continued in the Government; and, of course, as I did so, I accepted my full share of the responsibility for what was done, and it was my duty not to show, by word or sign, that I disapproved of it. But now, my Lords, that these things have become matters of history, as my noble Friend on the cross Benches (the Earl of Derby) said last night, there can be no objection to my mentioning what took place 40 years ago; and I am anxious to do so, in order to show to your Lordships that I 411 am not now supporting an opinion lightly or hastily adopted, but, on the contrary, one formed after much reflection 40 years ago, and from which I have never since seen occasion to depart. I have also thought it advisable to refer to the discussions which preceded the first Afghan War, because the result of what was then decided affords a significant warning as to what may happen now. But let me proceed with the argument I was pursuing. Supposing it to be proved that I am wrong in believing that it would be wise to trust for the safety of India to the effects of good and of economical government, and of measures calculated to increase the welfare of the people, and, therefore, their contentment and attachment to their Rulers, and that prudence really requires that we should endeavour to check the extension of the influence of Russia in Asia—suppose this to be admitted, I should still maintain that the policy of Her Majesty's Government has been wrong, and that the course they have been pursuing is calculated not to check, but to increase the influence in Asia of Russia, and to diminish our own. This, my Lords, is the proposition which I shall endeavour to establish. We have been told that it is the interest of England that Afghanistan should be strong, should be independent, and should be friendly. I accept the statement as correct; and then I ask you, whether we have made Afghanistan stronger by having already destroyed a great part of her military force? When I say we have destroyed a great part of her force, I am not referring only to the number of the Afghan troops who have been killed or wounded, but to the far larger number who have been dispersed and disorganized, to our having captured many of her guns and dismantled her forts. We have already done much to break the military power of the Afghan State; and if the war goes on we shall, no doubt, do much more. Instead, therefore, of making Afghanistan strong—as we want her to be—we are making her weak. Will that make her independent? When she has been weakened, and her own military force has been broken, she must necessarily become dependent on some other Power, and, owing to the course we have taken, that Power can only be Russia. Lastly, you say you want to make Afghanistan 412 friendly to us, and what have you done for that purpose? You found that the one thing which was, perhaps, of all others the most distasteful to the Afghans was the notion of having a British Mission established in their country. Successive Rulers of the country, its Chiefs, and its people, were all united in their strong objection to allowing an English Envoy to reside among them. And, with their passionate love of independence, they were quite right in this objection. I do not believe that it would be possible for an Envoy of the Indian Government to reside in Afghanistan without his being led to interfere in its internal affairs in a manner which would gradually bring that country under the control of the Indian Government. You must remember that civil war is almost a chronic disorder in Afghanistan, and especially when the death of its Ruler leaves the succession to be fought for by the many competitors who always come forward to contend for it; when civil war is not actually raging intrigues and feuds go on among the different Chiefs and parties, and in their disputes a British Envoy must find it hardly possible to avoid interfering, while his doing so would lead little by little to the power he represents being brought into play and assuming the control of the Government. It may be true that this would be greatly for the advantage of the Afghans; that they would gain greatly by being placed under such a system of administration as our Government would be capable of introducing; and that it would be much better for them than living under such a barbarous Government as they now do; but surely we have already enough upon our hands without undertaking the task of accomplishing by force the internal reformation of Afghanistan. And, certainly, it is not what the Afghans want. It was said by one of themselves that they could endure anarchy, civil war, rapine, and bloodshed, but they could not endure a master; and seeing that the residence of a British Envoy among them is the first step to their being brought under the yoke of a foreign master, they are passionately opposed to it. I submit that when this is their feeling, and when they have more than once been promised that they should not be asked to receive a British Envoy against their will, it was not wise to turn round 413 on our former declarations, to insist on sending them an Envoy, and to make war upon them when they refused to receive him. Surely this is not the way to make Afghanistan friendly to us. We know the effects of the former war; we know for how many years the enmity and hatred it engendered against England survived in the minds of the Afghans. The present war is likely to excite those feelings in a still higher degree, for we have not now even as much pretence for it as we had before, when we professed to invade the country as the Allies of the rightful heir to the Crown, and for the purpose of restoring to him the power of which he had been, as we contended, wrongfully deprived. I think I have shown to your Lordships that it is difficult to understand how this war can tend to make Afghanistan strong, independent, and friendly as Her Majesty's Ministers tell us they desire it to be; but I should like to go a little further, and ask them distinctly to explain what are the advantages they hope to obtain, and what is the state of things they seek to establish by the success of our arms? Do they mean to annex Afghanistan to the British Dominions, or, what comes to the same thing, to set up a puppet King to reign over it, under the advice of an English Resident, and maintained on the Throne by the military power of England? If so, the experience of France in Algeria may give some notion of the enormous difficulties of the task you will have to undertake, though the difficulties the French had to contend with in Algeria were less arduous than those you will have to face in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is described to us as one of the most rugged and impracticable countries in the world. It consists mainly of ranges of high and rocky mountains divided by narrow defiles, with some good land in the valleys, but scarcely able, on the whole, to produce enough food to maintain its inhabitants, who are brave, fierce, barbarians, utterly averse to the restraints of a settled Government. It is a country from which it is simply impossible to draw a revenue of any consequence towards paying the expense of governing it; while it is so unfavourable for the operations of regular troops, that the cost and difficulty of governing it against the will of the people would be enormous. Whatever little revenue it might be pos- 414 sible to levy would have to be collected with the aid of military force, which would also be required every time that an act of violence or disobedience to the law had to be punished; so that considering the warlike habits of the people I am informed that, in the opinion of men well qualified to form a judgment on the subject, 30,000 men, of whom one-half must be British soldiers, is considered to be the smallest number that would be required for the maintenance of order. Have you considered what the cost and inconvenience of this would be? If not, you ought to do so before you undertake so ungrateful and so unprofitable a task, which, in the end, you will probably be compelled to abandon. I do not mean to say that the Afghans will be able to drive you out of their country by force; no, but the troops you could maintain there would be so harassed and worn down by the continual hard work imposed upon them, the difficulties of governing the country would be so great, that in the end you would find it practically impossible to persevere in the attempt. Well, then, if, foreseeing the probability of this result, you determine not to take possession of Afghanistan, what other course will you take when you have brought the war to a successful close?, Will you depose the Ameer? If so, who is to be put into his place? Is there any Prince you can raise to power who has sufficient weight and authority to hold it without your continual support? If not, to appoint a new Ameer, only able to govern by British bayonets, would be but a different and more inconvenient mode of taking possession of the country. Perhaps you contemplate—indeed, I see no other course that would be open to you—leaving the Ameer in possession of the greater part of his territory, only requiring him to give up to you so much, of it as you may want for what is called the "rectification of your Frontier," and to agree to such a Treaty as you may dictate to him. If this should be your plan, I suppose the Treaty the Ameer would be called upon to sign would bind him to be your friend; to receive a British Envoy and as many officers as you may consider to be necessary to watch what is going on in his country; to send away the Russian Mission, and to enter into no further communication with the Russian authorities; and, lastly, to surrender the territory you 415 wish to get for the purpose of making a scientific Frontier. These would be the probable provisions of a Treaty imposed on the Ameer at the end of a successful war; and I want to know what you would gain by them? You can hardly suppose that by compelling the Ameer to sign a Treaty declaring himself your friend, you will make him become a friend? Is this in human nature? and, above all, in Eastern human nature? It is certain that you will have made him, on the contrary, a bitter enemy, looking out for the first occasion of using to your detriment whatever power you may leave to him. But then you will have expelled the Russian Agents from Afghanistan! Do you really suppose that by causing the recognized and official Agents of the Russian Government to be sent away from Cabul, you will have thrown the slightest difficulty in the way of its communicating with the Ameer? There will be no want of channels through which more frequent communications than ever will be carried on between the Russian Government of Turkestan and the Ameer, who will greedily listen to every suggestion offered to him as to the means of annoying and injuring England. Nor do I think that you will gain much by acquiring the right of sending a British Envoy, with officers to assist him, to Afghanistan. Tour Lordships have been told that this is necessary, because without it you cannot get the information your interests require as to what is going on in that country. But will you get that information? My noble Friend near me (Lord Lawrence) gave us last night a striking description of the position in which British officers found themselves when sent some years ago to Herat and Candahar with the unwilling consent of Dost Mahomed. They were treated as spies and enemies; they could hardly move a step without a guard to protect them; and they were cut off from all means of observation or of gaining information, because anyone who ventured to communicate with them became a marked man, and was in danger of his life; and this not from the Government, but from the population, for the population and the Chiefs were even more averse to the residence of British Agents among them than the late or the present Ameer. My noble Friend says 416 that he was told by Major Todd that he could, from passing merchants and others, get better information at Pesha-wur, where no one was afraid to speak to him freely, as to what was going on at Herat than he could obtain at Herat itself when he was staying there as an Agent of the Indian Government. There remains the advantage of the scientific Frontier you are to obtain by taking territory from the Ameer. Now, my Lords, we know that military authorities are divided on the question whether our Frontier would or would not be made stronger by being advanced; and I find that those who recommend its being advanced have been very careful not to define the exact line of the Frontier they would substitute for that which we have. Perhaps this may be because they have not found it possible to find any new line of Frontier which would not be open to all the same objections as our present one. After reading what has been urged on both sides, it certainly appears to me that the arguments of those who consider our present Frontier better than any we could obtain by pushing it forward are much the strongest on the principles of common sense. But assume—and I am willing for the purposes of argument to assume—that, as a mere question of military science, our Frontier might be made stronger by being advanced, still you must remember that this is not all that you have to consider; you must also take into account the effect on your moral power of your ending the war by taking territory from the Ameer. Your Lordships are aware that when the assumption of the Government of India by Her Majesty in place of the East India Company was proclaimed, it was solemnly declared that Her Majesty desired no extension of the territory which thus came under her direct authority, and would strictly respect the rights of the Princes of India and of the States adjoining her Dominions to the territory they then held. Her Majesty's declaration was received with the greatest satisfaction, and with confidence by those whom it affected. Will that satisfaction and confidence continue to be felt? The Indian Princes know that both Dost Mahomed and his successor had been more than once assured by Viceroys of India that they should not be pressed to receive British 417 Envoys contrary to their own wishes. They have now seen that the Ameer has been pressed in the harshest manner to receive a British Envoy, and that his refusal to do so has been made the pretext of the war waged against him. If they now see that the war is ended by depriving him of apart of his territory, may they not think that to gain this territory was our object from the beginning, and that for this purpose we picked a quarrel with the Ameer? Is not this the more likely to be the light in which they will view the subject, when even before the war began it was publicly stated, by no less an authority than the Prime Minister of England, that one of its objects—I am not sure he did not say its main object—was to obtain a scientific Frontier. Will not the confidence hitherto felt in the promises and declarations of the British Government be thus shaken; and will not this cause a loss of moral power, for which the improvement of our Frontier will be, indeed, a sorry compensation? I must now return for a few moments to another point on which I have already slightly touched. I said, my Lords, that I do not apprehend any evil to the British Empire in India from the extension of Russian dominion in Central Asia. I am quite aware how largely that dominion has been extended in the last few years. I listen with the same incredulity as most of your Lordships to those disclaimers of having any ambitious schemes of conquest and aggrandizement which we are in the habit of hearing from Russian statesmen on behalf of their master, and to their assertions that his only motive in all his enterprizes is pure and unselfish philanthropy. I attach no value to these fine speeches; and certainly I am no admirer of the rule of Russia in the countries subject to her. The cruel oppression of Poland by her has been notorious; but not only in Poland, and other conquered Provinces, but in her own original dominions the Government of Russia seems to me to be one of the worst that exists in any civilized country, and the least favourable to the welfare and advancement of those who live under it. Still, when I consider what is the condition of Central Asia, the scenes of rapine and bloodshed continually going on there, while civil wars, and wars with each other, habitually lay 418 waste the petty States into which this vast region is divided, and that this state of things has prevailed for centuries, without the smallest symptom appearing that any improvement is likely to take place while these wild tribes are left to themselves, I cannot but think that it would be well for the world if they could be brought even under so harsh a rule as that of Russia, and could be made to submit to order and discipline by her stern compulsion. Nor do I entertain the slightest objection to her undertaking this task. I know that not years, but generations, must go by before she can create in these countries a Power formidable to us; and looking to the bad use—as I think it—which she makes of her resources and of her military power in Europe and in Western Asia, I am far from regretting that she should find employment for a part of these resources and of this power in a region where she may possibly do some good, and can certainly do no harm. On Russian authority we learn that the dominions Russia has already acquired in Asia cost her not less than—1,000,000 sterling annually beyond all the revenue they can be made to yield, and that the demand upon her Army for troops, barely sufficient to keep this territory in subjection, is inconveniently heavy. As she increases her possessions in this quarter, these burdens will also increase; and I do not see how we could wish for anything more likely to keep her out of mischief elsewhere than that she should continue her career of conquest in Central Asia. I deeply regret that Her Majesty's Ministers, instead of wasting so much needless jealousy on the conduct of Russia in Central Asia, had not more carefully watched and resisted her proceedings in other quarters where they were really dangerous, and should have become her accomplices in perpetrating one of the worst acts of spoliation of modern times, by taking a strip of territory, to which she had not the shadow of a claim, from Roumania. This iniquitous proceeding was injurious not only to Roumania, but to Europe, by bringing Russia again to the banks of the Danube, from which it had been one of the most useful results of the Crimean War to drive her back. Instead of showing their jealousy of Russia by adopting a new and hazardous policy on our Indian Frontier, Her Majesty's 419 Ministers would have done better if they had acted on this feeling when there was real occasion for it, and refused to be her accomplices in the nefarious act I have referred to. I believe that by the policy they adopted towards Afghanistan they have seriously diminished their means of hereafter counteracting the designs of Russia in Europe. The step taken by the Government in bringing Indian troops to Malta was disapproved by many friends of mine, but I did not agree in their opinion. Though the advantages it ought to have secured for us were afterwards recklessly thrown away, I believe that at the time it was taken it was a wise and politic step on the part of Her Majesty's Ministers thus to show that when the interests of the great British Empire were menaced India, as an important part of that Empire, would help to defend them. But I fear that for a long time to come we have deprived ourselves of this most valuable resource by plunging into war with Afghanistan to guard against an imaginary danger. By rendering that country hostile, and thus creating a new demand upon the services of the Indian Army, you have made it difficult for that Army to spare any force to assist you elsewhere. Instead of this, I believe that your policy has made it necessary to send more English troops to India. Now that you have sent a considerable force beyond the Passes, I think that, in order to maintain your communications and provide for the security of India, you ought to lose no time in increasing your European force there. Though I feel that I have already trespassed too long on your time, there is one more point on which I must say a few words before I sit down. The Amendment moved by my noble Friend expresses the willingness of the House to concur in granting the money necessary for bringing the war to a safe and honourable conclusion. I am ready to vote for this Resolution; but I think it right to explain that in doing so I do not mean to assent to any grant for further offensive operations against the Afghans. Believing the war to be an unjust war, I cannot join in any Vote for affording the means of carrying it further. My noble Friend (Earl Granville), whose absence from indisposition I much regret, said the other night that it might be illogical to profess to consider the 420 war unjust, and at the same time to be ready to grant money to carry on the war; but in spite of its being illogical this was what he intended to do, and that for the sake of our gallant soldiers he was ready to grant whatever Supplies were necessary for their welfare and for carrying on the war with vigour. No man will more gladly than myself assent to whatever may be proposed in order to secure the safety and welfare of our gallant soldiers who have so greatly distinguished themselves in the operations that have already taken place; but it would be quite a different thing to give our sanction to Votes intended to afford the means of carrying on the war with vigour—that is to say, of engaging in further offensive operations against the Afghans. This, my Lords, if we consider the war to be unjust, would, in my opinion, be something much worse than illogical; and, for my part, I will not vote for giving a single shilling for such a purpose. I regard the war- as unjust; and I therefore consider that in waging it a national crime is committed, and that we shall everyone of us be responsible before God if we consent, as Members of this House, to abet and encourage it. I must add that my vote for the Amendment of my noble Friend is meant to be one of decided opposition to the Resolution moved by the noble Viscount, declaring the assent of this House to the use of the Indian Revenue for the payment of the expenses of the war. This, I think, would be most unjust to the people of India. My noble Friend on the cross Benches (the Earl of Derby) has explained his reasons for regarding the present state of the Indian finances as unsatisfactory. I entirely concur in this opinion. I believe the people of India to be already over-taxed and to require relief. We know what heavy burdens have been thrown on the Indian Treasury by successive famines; we know, too, that various public works which are urgently wanted, and some of which would greatly assist in averting future famines, have been postponed, owing to the difficulty of finding money to carry them on. In such a state of things it seems to me that to employ the Revenues of India in carrying on an unrighteous war not to the advantage, but probably to the detriment, of India, would be most unjust. The people of India have not been, and could not be, 421 consulted on the subject; they are not responsible for what has been done. It is the people of England who are responsible; for they, through their Representatives, have given Her Majesty's Ministers the power to take the measures which have had the result which we see. The cost of the war ought, therefore, to fall on this country and not on India; and on that ground I must vote against the Resolution of the noble Viscount.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, before making some observations upon the very interesting speech to which your Lordships have just listened, I owe it to the respect which I feel for my noble Friend the late Secretary of State who spoke last night on the cross benches (the Earl of Derby) to refer to one subject on which he touched, and on which I think some misunderstanding prevails out of doors. My noble Friend referred to what is called the Constitutional question of the right of the Executive to recommend to the Sovereign a commencement of war without a previous appeal to Parliament. I heard from my noble Friend what I expected to hear—a free and full admission that in any step which the Government have taken they have only acted within the limits of their Constitutional power. But my noble Friend proceeded to say that a time might come when there would be a disposition in the country to consider whether, as a people governing themselves, some alteration in the present rule might not be desirable, and some principle established by which a previous appeal to Parliament should be insisted upon. Upon that question itself, which is only a question of theory and of future consideration, I should not think it right to delay your Lordships with more than a few sentences; but I think it as well, since the subject has been mentioned, to point out to your Lordships that there are connected with it considerations very much wider and larger than those to which my noble Friend referred. My Lords, if it is to be a rule of the Constitution that an appeal should be made to Parliament before war is declared, it must be distinctly understood that that is a rule to be applied to all wars and in all circumstances; because you cannot leave it to the Government to decide that the rule shall be applied in some cases and not in others. Now, 422 my Lords, let it be remembered that so far as the Executive Government are concerned there could not possibly be a rule more conducive to their ease and comfort. Nothing could be more agreeable to them than to shift the responsibility of war from their own shoulders to the shoulders of Parliament. I speak, I am sure, for many of those who have held office of State under the Crown. If it has been their fate to recommend to the Sovereign a commencement of war, I think they will agree with me that nothing more serious, no duty more irksome, could well be imagined. My next observation is this. If you appeal to Parliament, you must lay before Parliament all the secret information which the Government possesses. We have not in this country any Secret Committees, such as are possessed by other countries, to which information can be communicated which cannot be made public to everybody. And I would ask your Lordships to consider how it would be possible in Parliament, as it exists in this country, to have a discussion upon the subject of a war with all the secret information which the Government possesses. You must adopt one of two courses. You must either give Parliament an imperfect knowledge of the case, or you must reveal to Parliament information which might utterly frustrate the object you might have in view in making the war. And the matter does not end there. The existing rule of the Constitution of this country in this matter is not, as some people imagine, an ancient remnant of Prerogative right adhered to and preserved for the purpose of increasing the power of the Sovereign and of the Executive Government. It is a rule which was maintained at the very best period of the Constitution, and maintained advisedly and deliberately, and I believe there is no rule which is better for Parliament itself. Parliament at present has this very great advantage—as soon as war is commenced and Parliament is appealed to to support it, Parliament is able to take a wide and general view of the object and purpose of the war, and also of its probable results. If Parliament is dissatisfied, it has nothing to do but to come to those votes which would lead to the appointment of another Executive, and that other Executive would have the advantage, not indeed of being able to 423 stop the war, but of preventing its being carried on in the spirit of the policy in which it was originally undertaken. Supposing, however, Parliament to be the authority which had commenced the war, it could not recede from what it had undertaken, and the war would have to be carried on, whatever changes might occur, to the bitter end. There is another consideration to be borne in mind. If it is to be proposed that the power of commencing war should emanate from Parliament, I would remind your Lordships that a very small part of the object which my noble Friend appears to have in view would be accomplished. You cannot stop at the commencement of a war; you must go further back. In the conduct of foreign affairs there is scarcely an interview with an Ambassador—there is no part of the policy of the Government pursued from day to day—which may not in some circumstances and in some contingencies lead to war; and if you say that war must not be undertaken without the consent of Parliament, you must not only have a Secret Committee to judge of the war, but you must have a foreign department of Parliament conducting the foreign affairs of the Government. It is quite impossible that you should take the commencement of the war as a matter separate from the whole conduct of foreign affairs. I pass now from that subject to the more immediate object of the present Motion of the noble Viscount. My Lords, I know that this Motion has been freely called out-of-doors a Party Motion. I am not going to give it any such name. I have no right to speculate upon the motives of those who originated it or of those who support it; and I desire in any observations I have to make not to refer in any shape or form to any question of Party. My Lords, I have in my time paid some attention to the conduct of Indian affairs; and I must say there is nothing which has ever filled me with a deeper feeling of respect than the position in the Government of India of those who are the Ministers of India in this country and of those who are the Viceroy's of India abroad. I believe there is not one of those distinguished persons I have known who has not endeavoured to conduct the Government of India for the benefit of India, and for no purpose 424 or object of Party. The Ministers of India at home and abroad have a most difficult part to fill. They are in a position of almost perfect isolation; they have to undertake a work of great difficulty, of great responsibility, and of great importance, requiring great detail of information upon subjects as to which information is difficult to acquire. If all goes smoothly, they get no thanks; if anything goes wrong, they are held accountable. My Lords, I believe nothing could be more disastrous than to make questions relating to the government of India the subject of Party warfare in this country. Looking at the Government of India as I do, I feel that those engaged in it are entitled to every consideration and respect in this House; and I think if it had been my fate to be Viceroy of that great Empire I should have looked with some degree of indulgence and sympathy upon my successors. I will simply look at the policy that has been pursued in India for the purpose of ascertaining the history of that policy We are accustomed to speak of Afghanistan; but I am not sure that we at home can realize exactly the position of that country with reference to our Indian Possessions. Let me give your Lordships an illustration of what appears to me to be the position of Afghanistan. I will ask your Lordships to suppose that the northern part of Scotland was not incorporated with England, and that it was held by an independent race very much less civilized than we are—a race independent and warlike, and as numerous as the population of Afghanistan; and I would ask your Lordships further to suppose that to the north of Scotland there was an extension of land representing somewhat the features of Central Asia, in which there was a Power of great influence, of great strength, and of great energy, and one which had shown a tendency to move southwards. Let me ask your Lordships further to suppose that between this country and Scotland there was a belt of mountains something like that to the south of Afghanistan—a belt of mountains with three or four Passes, impassable except at those Passes, and the Passes were in the hands of the people of Scotland. If that were so, and if, further than that, we began by having with the Sovereign ruling in Scotland a Treaty of friendship, and if we found 425 afterwards that that Treaty of friendship was acted upon in this way—the subjects of this country were not allowed to pass into Scotland, and we were utterly unacquainted with what was going on inside Scotland, and we had reason to believe that was going on which might result in injury to this country—then I ask you this question: Would we here in this House—and I speak to those on one side as much as to those on the other—gravely and calmly discuss a point of diplomatic etiquette? Would not, rather, both sides of the House be urging the Government of the country to take those steps which were absolutely necessary to make secure the position of this country in regard to this northern neighbour? Let me ask what has been the policy with reference to Afghanistan in India during the last 10 years? I heard with great interest the noble Earl who spoke just now state what his opinion had been for the last 40 years of the advances which had been made in Central Asia by a great Northern Power. We all know the consistency of the noble Earl; and I have not a doubt that he has maintained, without hesitation and without alteration, the views which he says he maintained in the Cabinet of 1839—that the steps which the Cabinet took at that time to improve, as they thought it necessary, our position in India were taken against his wishes. My noble Friend says how he would deal with the advances of Russia: he would take no notice of them. That is the policy which he says ought to have been pursued in 1839; and that is the policy which he thinks ought to have been pursued ever since. I turn from that policy—the policy of the ostrich—and I look to the policy which has been laid down by the highest authorities in India. You have it stated in moderate compass, and yet one which makes the statement too large for me to refer to in words. Let me remind you of what occurred in 1868. A very interesting Paper was drawn up by Sir Henry Rawlinson, admitted to be one of the best judges of the subject who could be found. That Paper considered the question which my noble Friend has referred to; it considered at great length the position of India with regard to Afghanistan, audit pointed out four dangers, differing in degree. The first was that to which the 426 noble Earl has referred—the possibility of an invasion of India by a Northern Power through Afghanistan. You may say that is not very likely and it would be a very difficult task—an invasion of the country against the will of the Ruler of Afghanistan. The second danger was an invasion of India in which the Northern Power and Afghanistan would assist each other. The third danger was action by Afghanistan itself upon our Frontier and upon the northern part of our Indian Possessions. The fourth danger was a progress of a Northern Power into Afghanistan, gaining influence and settling itself there, making Afghanistan a centre, of intrigue and a harbour for discontented persons, to the injury of our Indian Possessions. These are the dangers which are described and explained at great length by Sir Henry Rawlinson. You will find they were submitted to the Government of India of that day, when the noble Lord at the Table (Lord Lawrence) was Governor General. Did he or the other eminent persons to whom the Paper was submitted take the view of the noble Earl, that all this was more chimera—that Sir Henry Rawlinson was the victim of a scare, and that the best policy was to take no notice of what Russia was doing? Nothing of the kind. I find the Memoranda which were written upon the essay of Sir Henry Rawlinson, beginning with the despatch of the Governor General in Council, and including the Minutes which are enclosed in that despatch from some of the best authorities—the Lumsdens, Sir D. F. M'Leod, and Colonel Taylor—all of them differing as to the degree of danger and as to what should be done to meet the danger; but all these eminent and experienced persons admitted that the danger pointed out by Sir Henry Rawlinson to a greater or less degree did exist. But it is in these Papers we find a definition of the policy which has been advocated as the policy of the noble Lord at the Table. I am not entering into this with the least desire to cast the slightest reflection upon any person concerned; no doubt they all stated what they conscientiously believed to be the course we ought to pursue. I will refer to one sentence in which Sir Henry Rawlinson stated what his opinion was of the course that ought to be adopted in the Government of India. Having described what he con- 427 ceived to be the danger of the situation, he thus continues—Another opportunity now presents itself. The fortunes of Shere Ali Khan are again in the ascendant. He is already in possession of Herat, Candahar, and Ghizni, and is expected, either in person, or as represented by his son, Mahomed Yakoob Khan, to be soon installed at Cabul. He should be secured in our interests without further delay. Provided that he is unentangled with Russia, the restoration of his father's subsidy and the moral support of the British Indian Government would probably be sufficient to place him above all opposition and to secure his fidelity. If he has been already tampered with, his expectations, of course, will be higher. It may, indeed, be necessary to furnish him with arms and officers, or even to place an auxiliary contingent at his disposal; but whatever the price it must be paid, of such paramount importance it is to obtain at the present time a dominant position at Cabul, and to close that avenue of approach against Russia."—[Afghanistan, No. 1, p. 38.]That was the opinion of Sir Henry Rawlinson; what was the opinion of the noble Lord, then Sir John Lawrence? I will take along with the policy of Sir John Lawrence that of one of his great supporters, Sir Richard Temple; they both stated their opinions, and this was that of Sir John Lawrence, writing as Governor General in Council—The following are the only fresh measures which we could bring ourselves to recommend:—We think that endeavours might be made to come to some clear understanding with the Court of St. Petersburg as to its projects and designs in Central Asia, and that it might be given to understand, in firm but courteous language, that it cannot be permitted to interfere in the affairs of Afghanistan, or in those of any State which lies contiguous to our Frontier."—[Ibid. p. 45.]Now, my Lords, divesting this language of what is mere courtesy, it means simply this—that those who are conducting at home diplomatic relations with St. Petersburg should tell Russia distinctly that any interference with the affairs of Afghanistan or any State contiguous to our Frontier would not be permitted—would be a casus belli. That is the meaning of words of this kind. This view was repeated in a separate Memorandum, in which the words used were—We might also endeavour to come to some mutual arrangements, and to an understanding with Russia; and, failing that, we might give that Power to understand that an advance towards India, beyond a certain point, would entail on her war, in all parts of the world, with England."—[Ibid. p. 61.]That was the policy advocated at that 428 time. Is that the policy of the noble Lord now? If I caught correctly what fell from the noble Lord last night, he said—I think, now, if Russia will not enter into satisfactory arrangements with us about Afghanistan, or, having made them, allows her officers in Central Asia to violate them, that ulterior measures should be taken in England to protect India.That is the policy—to take ulterior measures in England to protect India. What Sir Richard Temple says is—Without, therefore, at all objecting to what Russia is doing in Bokhara, we have a right to ask, for our own interest and safety, that she abstain from all interference in Afghanistan (including Herat) and Yarkand. As our relations with Russia are at present friendly, we might, I submit, make diplomatic representations to her on the subject.…If after that she persisted in interfering within the prohibited limits, it could only he with a view of injuring us, and our Government would know how to take the steps which alone could properly he taken under such circumstances. In that case Russia would have to look to her own safety in various parts of the world."—[Ibid. p. 67.]That is the policy of the noble Earl who spoke last. That is a clear and decided policy; it is the world at war, and India supine and quiescent: make diplomatic representations at home in England; tell Russia, in firm and courteous language, you will not allow her to interfere with Afghanistan; do nothing in India towards Afghanistan; make no Treaty with Afghanistan in India; make no offer of alliance to Afghanistan in India; leave all that to take care of itself; but let the Government at home, in its diplomatic intercourse with Russia, tell Russia we shall go to war with her in every part of the world. Call this a policy of inactivity! I call it a policy of desperate and dangerous activity. But it is at the wrong time and place. It is an activity after the evil is done. It is an activity of reprisals, not of prevention. You have a great country, in the fate of which you have the highest interest; you have the greatest interest that it should be friendly to you; that it should not be alienated from you—that it should not be corrupted by those beyond it; but in place of doing anything to secure firmly its friendship, instead of taking steps to prevent its being corrupted and alienated, you leave it open to corruption and aliena- 429 tion, and make your whole policy to rest upon threats to those outside that they are not to interfere with it. Was there ever a policy which was so little consistent with what our knowledge of human nature is? And I ask your Lordships how is it to be supposed that a policy of that kind is to be called a policy of inactivity? But let us see how this policy works when tried, for it has been tried, and the moment it was tried it broke down. In 1873 the attention of the then Viceroy (Lord Northbrook) was called to the advances of Russia. He wrote a despatch to the Secretary of State at home, and this is what he said. Your Lordships will remember that before the despatch arrived a particular paragraph of it was sent home by telegraph to be communicated by the India Office to the Foreign Office that it might be laid before Russia. This is the paragraph—We think it for interests of peace that Russia should know our relations with Afghanistan, and we say in paragraph 18:—'Although we have abstained from entering into any Treaty engagement to support the Ameer by British troops in the event of Afghanistan being attacked from without, yet the complete independence of Afghanistan is so important to the interests of British India that the Government of India could not look upon an attack upon Afghanistan with indifference.'The Viceroy was not going so far as Sir Richard Temple—he only said very mildly, but intelligibly, that the British Government would not look on any attack on the independence of Afghanistan with indifference.So long as the Ameer continues as he has hitherto done in accordance with our advice in his relations with his neighbours, he would naturally look for material assistance from us; and circumstances might occur under which we should consider it incumbent upon us to recommend Her Majesty's Government to render him such assistance. I propose to inform Cabul Envoy of sense of this paragraph."—[Ibid. 102–3.]What happened? It was sent home to the Duke of Argyll. He thought it a very proper thing to send it to the Foreign Office to be communicated to Russia; but what did the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs say? I am sorry the noble Earl who was then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs is not in his place; but I mention the fact not to cast any blame upon him, but in order to show how this policy worked when it was tried. What did the noble 430 Earl do? The noble Earl replies to the Under Secretary—I am to request that you will state to the Duke of Argyll that Lord Granville would not think it desirable to communicate to the Russian Government, as suggested by the Indian Government, a copy of the former despatch, and so convey to it indirectly an intimation that any aggression by it on Afghanistan would be resisted by Great Britain with force of arms."—[Central Asia, No. 1 (1878), p. 206.]So that when the moment came for that to be done which Sir John Lawrence said ought to be done—the moment it was proposed by the Indian Government to inform the Foreign Office, that the Foreign Office might inform Russia, that any aggression on Afghanistan would not be viewed with indifference—the Foreign Office declined to do it. Why? Because it would be conveying to Russia indirectly an intimation that any aggression on the Ameer of Afghanistan would be resisted by Great Britain by force of arms. The communication was not made, and thus the great policy upon which the Indian Government had rested up to that time utterly broke down. The noble Earl the other night, who was formerly Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Earl Granville), said—"You ask me what my policy would be with regard to Afghanistan. I will tell you: I would follow the course pursued and advised by those three Viceroys—Sir John Lawrence, Lord Mayo, and Lord Northbrook;" but when in the Foreign Office he did not follow that policy. I want your Lordships to consider what effect this policy produced upon the person principally concerned—upon the Ameer of Afghanistan. The noble Earl who spoke last night from the cross-Benches said it would be quite useless and impracticable to inquire what it was that had affected the temper and disposition of the Ameer of Afghanistan. In the view of my noble Friend it would be quite useless, because he approved the policy of the Government up to the end of the year 1876, and had nothing to complain of in it; therefore it was immaterial to consider what was the effect produced on Shere Ali up to that time. But when he said it was impracticable, I cannot quite agree with him. Generally speaking, it is most unprofitable work to take the opinion of bystanders as to what is passing in men's minds; but as regards 431 the Ameer, we have a singular official history on that subject. If you look at these Papers, you will find what I can only call a series of pictures given by Shere Ali himself in his letters, as to how he became affected in regard to his foreign relations from year to year. I doubt whether the records of diplomacy contain anything more graphic. I think they may be termed "The Progress of Diplomacy," because they give the very beginning of the end—the first communication of Russia sent to Shere Ali, and the subsequent communications from us, which produced such an impression on his mind. Your Lordships will recollect what took place in 1869 with Lord Mayo. At that time the Ameer was thinking very little about foreign affairs. I do not observe that the name of any external Power was mentioned, or that anything as to his external relations was referred to; but what he was very anxious about were the internal concerns of his country. He had hardly taken his seat upon the Throne; he was exposed to very great dangers and intrigues on every side; and what he did want was that Lord Mayo would give him an assurance to maintain his family on the Throne, and to assist him if he should be disturbed by internecine causes. Your Lordships know what took place. Lord Mayo did not give him all he wished—he did not enter into the engagement which the Ameer would have liked; but he satisfied him as to the friendship of the British Government, and used this expression—that they would view with displeasure any attempt made inside Afghanistan to disturb him on his Throne. The Ameer went away so far pleased, having had an assurance given him which he had never had up to that time. That was his position at the beginning of this history. What is the next step? A somewhat singular and a very important one in the Ameer's career. He had received the first letter from Russia, and he was in a flutter of excitement on the subject. Your Lordships will find it in the Central Asia Papers at page 108. It is a communication from the Ameer. He expressed his anxiety to know why Russia should write to a State with which she was already in friendly relation. He thought she must have some sinister design. He says there was reason of apprehen- 432 sion, for already Bokhara had submitted to Russia. He forwarded the letter to the Indian Government; and in a most humble and respectful way he besought the Indian Government to tell him what answer he should return. Major Pollock, at Peshawur, on the 26th of May, 1870, says—With the above came a forwarding letter from His Highness the Ameer to my address, and one from the Cabul Agent, to the effect that the Ameer was much troubled at the receipt of the letters from the Russian authorities at Tashkend, for the following reasons:—1st. What reasons can the Russians have for writing letters in a friendly strain to a State which has already friendly relations with the British Government?…There is room for apprehension, for the King of Bokhara has already submitted himself to, or become a dependent of, Russia, and it would not be surprising to find Russian officials establishing themselves on the actual border of Afghanistan. If (which God forbid) they should so establish themselves on the actual border and harbour our enemies, what hope is there of the borders of Turkestan, Balkh, and Herat remaining on a satisfactory footing without full ('kamil') arrangements being made, and it is impossible that such complete measure can be carried out for the protection of these borders without the help and assistance of the British Government, with which the Afghan Kingdom is allied.Nothing could show more precisely the state of mind in which the Ameer was in 1869. What is the next picture in this series of transformations? Your Lordships will find it at page 197, in a letter to our Envoy at Cabul. He said—His Highness in private said that he gathered from this murrasila that it was the wish of the Russian authorities to establish a regular and frequent correspondence with the Cabul Government. What demands careful thought in their inconsiderate language is, that notwithstanding that the Russian Government must have thoroughly apprehended and been convinced that the weal or woe of the Afghan State is entirely bound up in and associated with that of the British Government, still when writing about boundaries they make use of this unguarded expression, which may indicate God knows what intentions in their minds, viz., ' for as much as the slightest alteration in intention leads to displeasure between parties, it destroys entirely the harmony which may exist between them.' Further, when the Governor of Turkestan writes in his letter that the instructions of his Sovereign are to avoid all interference with or annoyance to his neighbours, it is a cause of astonishment that the Russian interpretation of harmony with neighbours is a strange one, for in but a few years they have extended their possessions from the foot of the Throne of Russia to the borders of Bokhara, and now style the Afghan State 'their neigh- 433 hours,' oblivious of the fact that Bokhara and Khiva intervene. If (which may God forfend) the country of Bokhara and Khiva becomes theirs, and their Frontier is extended without the intervention of any buffer ('pardah') to the limits of Afghanistan, which may indeed be truly styled the Frontier of Hindustan, God only knows what line of policy or demeanour they will adopt towards Afghanistan, and what troubles may be in store for the Afghan and English Governments.That was the letter in 1872. Nothing could be more friendly, nothing could show more complete reliance on the British Government than this letter of His Highness then, as in former cases, requesting the Viceroy to tell him what answer to make. There were one or two more letters in the same strain. Well, my Lords, what was the answer? What did the Indian Government tell the Ameer? I find the Indian Government replying as follows:—Should His Highness the Ameer allude to these letters, and manifest the apprehensions which his courtiers entertain, the Agent should be instructed to state that the Viceroy and Governor General in Council sees in them no ground whatever for apprehension, but rather additional reason for believing that the Russian authorities desire to maintain none of the relations but those of amity with the Government of Afghanistan."—[Ibid. p. 202.]That was the only consolation the Indian Government gave him in his distress. He was very much alarmed at the Russians coming across the Frontier; but the Indian Government cheered him up by telling him that those communications which alarmed him were only a proof of the friendship of the Russian Government. That brings us to the next scene, in 1873. Your Lordships have, I believe, heard a good deal about this already, and I shall refer to it very briefly. We have the impression on the Ameer's mind as to the danger he was in, owing to the movements of Russia, in what his Agent communicated to us. His Agent said—Time has approached very near when the Russians, after taking possession of Urganj and Merve Shajehan, will make communications for exercising some influence in my kingdom. It is as clear as daylight that as soon as the Russians will take possession of Merve Shajehan, the Turkomans will necessarily take refuge in Badghees in Herat, and if they do not desist from their misbehaviour, viz., from causing injury to the Russians from time to time, the Russians will undoubtedly send messages to the Afghan Government that either the Turkomans should be prevented from aggression, or permission 434 should be given to them (the Russians) to punish these hostile tribes. Under these circumstances, such difficulty will present itself to me that even the British Government with regard to the interests of the Afghan and English Governments being identical, will have to adopt very serious measures for its removal.And he adds—The British Government should take my views and reflections into most careful consideration, and be kind enough to sympathize with Afghanistan, otherwise I have not at all received any peace of mind whereon I can place perfect reliance and remain quiet or free from anxiety. Should the British Government intentionally overlook this matter with a view to temporizing for a few days, it is their own affair, but I will represent my circumstances in a clear form in detail without time-serving hesitation."—[Afghanistan, No. 1, p. 111.]Nothing could be more clear than the meaning of the Ameer when he gave us this intimation. He said, in effect—"It is your affair as well as mine. If you adopt a time-serving policy I cannot help it. I have warned you; I have delivered my own soul." I own, my Lords, I was very much surprised the other day at a statement which I saw from the noble Duke, whose absence we must all regret, (the Duke of Argyll). The noble Duke said that in 1873 the Ameer either was or pretended to be very much afraid of the Russian advance, and that he held out the bait which was thought to be most tempting to catch the Indian Government. I do not know how that is. I have read the whole of these Papers—there is a deal more in the same strain—and I must say I have never seen expressions which conveyed to my mind more clearly the convictions of a man really and thoroughly alarmed. But if it was the view of the Secretary of State at that time that the Ameer was only pretending to be alarmed and was holding out a bait to catch the Indian Government, I can very well understand the course which was taken with regard to the alarm of the Ameer. I will say a little more of the documents which passed in 1873. I am going to refer to them not for the purpose of casting a shadow of blame on any person connected with the events of that year, but because it is absolutely necessary that your Lordships should see what was done in 1873 in order to judge of the policy of 1876, because the policy pursued in 1876 was a policy to remedy that which had been overlooked or, at all events, not done in 1873. I will take the telegram which 435 was sent home by the Viceroy in 1873 to the Secretary of State. I was very much surprised, I own, as to the controversy which has arisen upon the construction of that telegram. I shall adopt myself implicitly the construction which the noble Lord (Lord Northbrook) tells us the Government of the day put upon it, and that he put upon it. But, while adopting that construction, I must tell your Lordships the construction which I put upon it. The Viceroy had informed the Government at home of those apprehensions of the Ameer, and had proposed to give the Ameer some assurances of assistance. This is what the telegram of the 26th of July says in reply—Cabinet thinks you should inform Ameer that we do not at all share his alarm, and consider there is no cause for it: but you may assure him we shall maintain our settled policy in favour of Afghanistan, if he abides by our advice in external affairs."—[Ibid. 108.]Now, my Lords, I have been accustomed all my life to study the meaning of documents, and I will tell you frankly what I think this document means. The Ameer told the Viceroy that he was very much alarmed at the advance of the Russians, and he asked for some new assurances in the circumstances of his new position. He never suggested to the Viceroy that the Indian Government was going to fall short of anything that had been promised by previous Viceroys—by Lord Lawrence or Lord Mayo; he never suggested it for a moment. He never suggested that the Indian Government was going to recede from any engagement made with him; but what he did suggest was that the changed state of affairs required that something new should be done—that some engagement must be entered into, some promise made to him, which had never been made before; that the policy pursued by Lord Lawrence and Lord Mayo was all very well in its way and well suited for the time when it was adopted, but that the time had arrived when he must have something more definite, something more tangible, than the engagements previously given by the Indian Government. That was what the Ameer meant; but the meaning of the telegram from home was that we did not share the alarm of the Ameer, and that we meant to pursue the policy we had pursued all this time. What 436 happened? Communications were made to the Ameer, and how were they taken? The first complete communication to the Ameer was in the shape of a despatch from the Governor General, which your Lordships will find at page 116. It said—The result of the communications between the British and the Russian Governments has been, in my opinion, materially to strengthen the position of Afghanistan, and to remove apprehension of dangers from without… I have had some conversation with your Envoy on the subject of the policy which the British Government would pursue in the event of an attack upon your Highness' territories. A copy of the record of these conversations is attached to this letter. But the question is in my opinion one of such importance that the discussion of it should be postponed to a more suitable opportunity. I do not entertain any apprehensions of danger to your Highness' territories from without, and I therefore do not consider that it is necessary that your Highness should at present incur any large expenditure with a view to such a contingency. My hope is that having received the foregoing assurances, your Highness will now be enabled to devote your undisturbed attention to the consolidation and improvement of your internal government. The British Government desires to see your Highness' country powerful and independent. It is my determination to maintain the policy which has been adopted towards your Highness by my predecessors, Lord Lawrence and Lord Mayo, and I repeat to your Highness the assurance given you at the Umballa Durbar, that the British Government will endeavour from time to time, by such means as circumstances may require, to strengthen the Government of your Highness, to enable you to exercise with equity and with justice your rightful rule, and to transmit to your descendants all the dignities and honours of which you are the lawful possessor.How did the Ameer understand this, because that is the next evidence we have on the subject? If I had been the Ameer I should have said to myself the substance of all this is that nothing is to be done. I asked for a new engagement, and I am told to wait till a more convenient time. The Ameer wrote back after a short interval to the Governor General. I will not read the letter, since your Lordships have seen it. What the Ameer says is, in substance, this, and I may remark that the tone of the letter is such as was never adopted in a communication to a Viceroy of India before. To say that the tone of the letter is not courteous is saying much too little. Apart, however, from the discourteous tone, the Ameer, in substance, says—"I come to you for relief and for engagements suited, to the posi- 437 tion in which I find myself. You are going to retire from what Lord Lawrence and Lord Mayo proposed; but I come to suggest that you must do something more than was promised by either of them, and you tell me that you are going to resume their policy. If so, what is the use of your going through the ceremony of having these long interviews? "Your Lordships have heard the Ameer's opinion about the letter he had previously received from General Kaufmann. Well, his answer to the next letter he received from General Kaufmann was this—and your Lordships will be amused at the change of tone. I do not think the reply of the Ameer, dated the 16th of November, 1873, was submitted to the Indian Government. It was written on his own inspiration, and here it is. He says to the Russian Governor General at Tashkend—I received your kind and friendly letter dated the 1st August, 1873, on 22nd idem, and was extremely gratified with its contents. The cause of the delay of a few months in the dispatch of a reply to it is evident, viz., first you went to St. Petersburg, and afterwards you were occupied in the Kharism expedition. I hope you have now returned in health and comfort to Tashkend, and I have, therefore, considered it advisable to take the opportunity of sending a reply to your murrasilla. I am much gratified with the contents of your letter explaining that His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Russia is anxious for the peace and welfare of neighbouring States, and that you have considered it one of your most pleasing duties to report to His Majesty that you have had every reason to be satisfied with me, and that I have upheld the friendship existing between us. It is as evident as daylight that at present His Majesty is a great and powerful Monarch, and it is, therefore, becoming that neighbouring States should enjoy tranquillity and convenience. This policy will tend to confirm the friendship existing between His Majesty and these States."—[Central Asia, No. 1 (1878), p. 8.]Did ever such a change in the same number of months come over a Correspondence between two Potentates? Compare this with the letter sent to our Viceroy only a few months before and see what a difference there is. Yet I am told that the mind of the Ameer continued the same, and that up to the time of the late Viceroy's arrival in India there was no change on his part. My Lords, it was done at the end of the year 1873. It was finished then, and there was no change afterwards. So much for the letters; but I must call in two witnesses to speak on this subject. 438 First, there is the late Governor General. What does Lord Northbrook say as to the feeling of the Ameer in the year 1873. His Lordship says—His language after the return of his Envoy, Noor Mahomed Shah, from Simla in 1873 was certainly far from satisfactory; but we are disposed to attribute it either to his impression that we were so anxious for his support that by assuming an attitude of dissatisfaction he might obtain further assistance from us; or to his disappointment that we did not give him the distinct pledge he asked that the British Government would protect him under all circumstances against external attack, coupled perhaps with his discontent at the result of the Seistan arbitration."—[Afghanistan, No. 1, p. 134.]I am not here dwelling on the question as to whether it was right or wrong to refuse to give the pledge which the Ameer asked for. I am now dealing merely with the question of fact. Is it a fact that the mind of the Ameer was changed at this time? Lord North-brook, at all events, makes no doubt about it. Next, I will take the evidence of our Native Resident at Cabul. Writing in January, 1875, but speaking of the previous year, he says—Considering then the external and internal state of Afghanistan, I am firmly convinced that now is the time for the interference of the British Government with a view to the peace of that country and the tranquillity of Hindoostan. The following are a few of the reasons why the Government of India should interfere in the affairs of Afghanistan:—For a long time the British Government has been anxious to establish amicable relations with the Ruler of Cabul, but without success.And then he goes on—The possible inclination of the Ameer towards another party (Russia?) owing to the silence and apparent apathy of the British Government."—[Ibid. p. 146.]That is what our Resident at Cabul at the time of the late Viceroy reports to him as his opinion of the feeling of the Ameer. Now, what evidence have we on the other side? The noble Viscount who moved the Amendment told us last night that Sir Henry Norman, who was on the Council of Lord Northbrook and that of Lord Lytton, had addressed to the newspapers a letter, in which he said that up to the time of the departure of Lord Northbrook the Ameer had no feeling of hostility to us, and that all his hostility was due to the measures taken in 1876, and since that time. The noble Viscount dwelt very much on that 439 letter as a proof that it was the conduct of the present Government which has caused the hostility of the Ameer. My Lords, I wish to speak with great respect of Sir Henry Norman. I have heard some persons say that that letter was one which ought not to have been written to the newspapers; but I do not express an opinion on that point. I do not know what the habits of Indian Councillors are; but they appear to me not to be very reticent, and they seem to use considerable freedom in their communications to the newspapers. However, I do not say anything about this letter, except to express my opinion that if it had been kept back for 24 hours it would never have been published at all. Strange to say, when it was published in the newspapers, it appeared side by side with another letter from the Ameer himself. Side by side with Sir Henry Norman's letter, saying that the whole of the hostility of the Ameer had been occasioned by the events since 1876, there appeared a letter from the Ameer stating just the reverse. Unfortunately, therefore, the noble Viscount's witness is discredited by the person principally concerned. The Ameer says the hostility occurred at the time when the late Viceroy interfered with him on the subject of the treatment of his son. I must say that the late Viceroy was in a very unfortunate position in regard to that subject, for I observe that General Kaufmann wrote on the same subject to the Ameer. General Kaufmann told the Ameer that he had acted quite right towards his son, and that the first thing necessary was that parental rights should be enforced. The late Viceroy, writing in a different strain, told the Ameer that he was quite wrong. In these circumstances, I am not surprised at the Ameer preferring the advice of General Kaufmann to that of the late Viceroy. At all events, I think we may remove from this discussion the testimony of Sir Henry Norman. Let me now say a word or two about these occurrences in 1873. I repeat that I blame no person whatever, for it is very easy to be wise after the event—to go back and say what ought to have been done five or six years ago. I do not propose to adopt that course. But I appeal with confidence to your Lordships on both sides of the House, whether if you had to do over again what was done in 1873, you would not then have pro- 440 mised to give the Ameer the assistance he asked for? I cannot entertain a doubt that, by an overwhelming majority, you would have said it would have been a happy thing if we had taken that opportunity, as Sir Henry Rawlinson advised, of obtaining the friendship of the Ameer by conceding all that he asked for. Well now, my Lords, the transactions of 1873 were the justification for the conduct of the Government in 1876. I refer to the Mission of Sir Lewis Pelly. I am not going into the details of the history of that Mission; but I have heard it said that that Mission was an attempt to force upon the Ameer British Residents in Afghanistan. I entirely deny that statement. There is no foundation for it. The whole of that Mission—the whole of the proposals made by Sir Lewis Pelly, and the proposals made before Sir Lewis Pelly met the Ameer's Envoy—proceeded on the avowed and the distinct condition that there was to be no force whatever applied to the Ameer, and that he was to understand it was not a question of forcing anything upon him. I was surprised to hear the noble Earl speak of this as an attempt to force. What were the facts? They were that the Envoy who was sent to Cabul was supplied with an aide mémoire to show to the Ameer and to the Durbar at Cabul what the advantages were which we were prepared to give in return for the concession of having British Agents resident in Afghanistan. He was told that the Government were ready to make with him, in the form I have described, engagements of a character such as before he had asked for; but that if he wished for those engagements, there must be a consideration on the other side; that that consideration must be the presence of British Residents, not in Cabul, but on the Frontiers of his territories; and that this was absolutely necessary in order that we should carry out the engagements which we were about to make. Well, what happened at Cabul? Your Lordships have the narrative of the meeting which took place, and of the Durbar held before the Envoy was sent to meet Sir Lewis Pelly. The Durbar distinctly understood that the condition which was to be the sine quâ non of the negotiations was the admission of British Residents. They met again, and at last they agreed to accept that condition; 441 and it was on that footing that the Envoy came to meet Sir Lewis Pelly. What happened afterwards? Let me remind your Lordships, in the first place, as to the question of these British Agents, that the policy of having British Agents in Afghanistan has never been disputed. It has been admitted by the late Governor General, as well as insisted on by the present Viceroy. Let me remind you of what was said on this in the time of the late Governor General. Writing in Council he said—We agree with Her Majesty's Government that, having regard to the present aspect of affairs in Turkestan, it would be desirable that a British officer should be stationed at Herat. The appointment, it is true, would be attended with some risks, and the usefulness of the measure would depend on the discretion of the Agent who might be selected. But if an officer of experience and sound judgment were chosen who possessed the full confidence of the Ameer and the Afghan officials, we should anticipate great advantage from the arrangement.—[Ibid. p. 133.]And your Lordships will remember that in 1873 the late Viceroy himself proposed that a British officer should go into Afghanistan and survey the whole of the boundaries of that country. Was there any reason to suppose that the Ameer would not be prepared to receive British Residents as a concession in return for advantages which were to be given to him? Here, again, I have got the concurrence of the late Viceroy and his Council. Their testimony on the subject is quite explicit. I do not agree with what fell from the noble Earl who spoke last, that any engagement on this subject had been given to the Ameer either by Lord Mayo or by anyone else on behalf of the Indian Government. I believe the correct statement on this point is the one given in the despatch of the Governor General in June, 1875; and I am quite satisfied with the conclusion which the Governor General and his Council then came to as to the intentions of the Ameer. He says—On the whole, however, we think that either the Ameer himself or his Minister, Noor Mahomed Shah, did in confidential communications with Captain Grey express a readiness to accept at some future time not far distant the presence of British Agents at places in Afghanistan, excepting Cabul itself. But our impression, is that the intimation was intended to be contingent either upon the receipt of far more substantial assistance than was promised the Ameer at the Umballa Conferences, or upon the conclusion of a Dynastic Treaty, that is, upon obtaining the 442 recognition, in a Treaty with the British Government, of his son Abdoolla Jan as his successor."—[Ibid. p. 131–2.]
§ THE EARL OF NORTHBROOK
The next paragraph is not in my hands; but it simply states that the impression was that this was not information which could be so relied upon as to found on it any representation to the Ameer.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I do not see the alteration which that makes in these matters. I am anxious to state the thing as favourably to the noble Earl as I can. As I understand the view of the noble Earl, it is this—They state that the Ameer required some terms to be offered to him as a condition to his receiving British Agents. That is exactly the conclusion which I have given. If you had proposed to the Ameer to put Agents in Afghanistan without giving him something in return, he would never have consented; but he was quite prepared, when the subject was last mooted to him, for the consideration of the advantages which were to be given to him, to consent to the admission of British Agents. And I wish to remind your Lordships that it is a complete misapprehension to say that the Ameer had manifested an absolute objection to receive British Agents in his territories. Nothing of the kind. I take the evidence which the Governor General and his Council have given as to that. They say it is a question of bargain, and that was exactly how Sir Lewis Pelly was ordered to deal with it. He was ordered to make a bargain; he was armed with the power of offering the Ameer very great advantages and benefits, and was directed to ask in return, as a matter on which the Ameer was to be a free and a consenting party, the admission of British officers into Afghanistan. That bargain was not accepted. What occurred at the Conference? It has been said that the object of Sir Lewis Pelly was to pick a quarrel at the Conference with the Ameer and his Envoy. I have read with some care the narrative of what took place at the Conference; and I am bound to say that anything more unlike an attempt to pick a quarrel than Sir Lewis 443 Pelly's conduct I never read. Anything more careful, more elaborate than his explanations, more patient than his attention to all the complaints of the Envoy I never read. The Conference went on from day to day and from week to week. The whims and the caprice of the Envoy were indulged; he was allowed to speak day after day without interruption. Sir Lewis Pelly presented the advantages which he had to offer in the most attractive form; everything which patience, temper, and long experience could enable a man to do to make a Conference successful was done by Sir Lewis Pelly. But what was the conduct of the Envoy? In the first place, when he arrived, although our resident Agent told us that the Durbar at Cabul had agreed to the terms that were to be offered with regard to British Agents, the Envoy professed himself to be entirely without power to assent to such an arrangement. What was his argument? It was this—"You offer to me certain advantages, certain assistance, certain promises, and a certain Treaty with the Ameer, but you are bound to do this already. My interpretation of the Treaties which already exist between Afghanistan and Great Britain already binds you to do all that you now propose to do." Nothing could be more absurd than that statement. That was really the climax of Oriental ingenuity. What did the Envoy do? He said—"You point out to me in great detail the position of Afghanistan and the advantages which it will derive by being protected by Great Britain from any aggression of Russia: but I must remind you of what you told me three years ago. Then you read to me extracts from your despatches with Russia, and read to me assurances by which Russia promised not to meddle with Afghanistan, and that it was not within the sphere of her influence. Then now," says the Envoy—"I cannot think that all these assurances could be given between two such religious Governments like those of Russia and Great Britain, and by excellent and religious Envoys, and Secretaries of State, and after all there is the slightest reason to fear Russia's interfering with Afghanistan. He turned against us the despatches of 1873, which assured him that there was no danger to his dominions, and in that way the Conference continued until the 444 Envoy died. But what was happening at Cabul all this time? Your Lordships will find it in the Central Asia Papers. Russian messengers were going to and from Cabul, and seldom was there a day when one was not present there, holding conferences and consultations with the Ameer. The Ameer was collecting troops on his Frontier; he was communicating with the Akhoond of Swat, the Patriarch of the Mahomedans, for the purpose of raising a religious war; while all the time the Envoy was wasting time, getting adjournments of the Conference for a week or a month, and insisting that he had no authority to give that which was a sine quâ non of a settlement. I should like to know, in these circumstances, what other course the Governor General ought to have pursued than the one he took when the Envoy died? It is said the Viceroy states that another Envoy was coming to agree to all our proposals. If the Viceroy had shut the door against any fresh overtures which the Ameer wished to make, I could have understood the suggestion that there was a precipitation and a want of indulgence towards the Ameer, although I do not think there would be any justification for saying that he wanted to pick a quarrel with him. The Mir Akhor, the only person on the spot, said he had no authority. The proceedings at Cabul being such as I have described, the Viceroy directed, as he was bound to do, the Conference to be closed; but it was intimated that the door would be kept open for the Ameer—as was actually done for more than a year—in order that he might come forward and accept those terms which he had in writing, and which he perfectly well knew would be agreed to by the Indian Government. Well, my Lords, that is the case with respect to the Conference with Sir Lewis Pelly; and up to this point my noble Friend (the Earl of Derby) said he agreed with the policy of the Government, that he was quite satisfied with the way in which the Conference was closed, and the despatches had stated the position of affairs at the end of the Conference. What my noble Friend objected to, he said, was what occurred afterwards. Now, my Lords, what occurred afterwards? More than a year elapsed. The Ameer kept himself back; he made no overture; he showed no disposition to accede to what 445 we proposed; and then he received an Embassy which was sent to him on the part of the Russian Government. My noble Friend said he received that Embassy under compulsion. So far as the evidence in these Books is concerned, there is not the slightest evidence, that we can find, that there was any compulsion before the reception of that Embassy; and, so far as we have information which is not in these Books, all the public information goes the other way, and leads us to suppose that there was no compulsion whatsoever, but that the Embassy was received without anything like duress or pressure on the part of Russia. Well, my Lords, the noble Earl who spoke to-night asked what right or authority had we to require that our Envoy should be received? My Lords, I have seen that asserted elsewhere; and the case of Afghanistan has been likened to the case of some European Power with which we might have no relation by way of Treaty, but which we might require to receive an Embassy, and it is said that such a State might refuse to receive it. I shall not, my Lords, stop to inquire whether that would be so, because our relations with Afghanistan were of an entirely different nature. We had a Treaty—a Treaty of friendship—with Afghanistan; and it was absolutely necessary, in order to discharge our obligations under it, that we should have a right, in the ordinary way, to information as to what occurred in that country. But, in addition to that, Afghanistan is a country which had professed for years to lean upon us, and the Treaty was entirely connected with ourselves. Well, my Lords, when it was proposed that Afghanistan should be made a neutral zone, the Indian Government and the Russian Government declined it, on the ground that our relations with Afghanistan were not such as to enable us to look as neutrals upon that country, or to enable us to be bound by a Treaty forming Afghanistan into a neutral zone. And if your Lordships look at the Central Asia Papers you will see that the opinion of Russia and the opinion of Afghanistan also was this—that we had the power by Treaty to force upon Afghanistan a certain line of conduct with respect to the tribes and people of the country. Therefore, my Lords, in that state of things, it is idle to talk of the 446 question of our right to send an Envoy to Afghanistan as if it was a question of sending an Envoy to the King of Dahomey, or to any country with which we have no Treaty relations whatever. We had, therefore, a perfect right to send an Envoy, and the only thing which led us to forbear from doing so was this—that the Ameer told us that if the Envoy of one Christian Power was received, the Envoy of another Christian Power would be received also. But the moment the Envoy of Russia was received and our Envoy was rejected, that excuse fell to the ground. My noble Friend (the Earl of Derby) said—"You ought to have taken this course with the Ameer—you ought to have allowed him very much more time. You ought not to have called upon him for an answer to your request at the time you did; and if you had given a greater lapse of time what would have happened would have been this," and, speaking with an appearance of almost absolute authority, my noble Friend told us what would then have occurred. Well, in the first place, I must remind your Lordships that the concession of a longer period would have meant the concession of the whole winter. It would have been the giving up of all the time necessary for purposes which might have to be accomplished. But what my noble Friend said was this—"If you had given a longer time, I can tell you what would have happened. The Ameer would have gone to Russia; he would have said to Russia, 'I have received your Embassy, and now I am called upon to receive a British Envoy, and I want to know whether if I resist you will see me through it, and fight for me?'" Then, says my noble Friend, it is perfectly certain that Russia would have said she would do nothing of the kind; that she would not fight; that he might make the best terms he could; and I think I heard my noble Friend say—but I am not quite sure of that—that Russia would have mediated. But, my Lords, what would be the state of things then? We should have given up the whole winter to Afghanistan on the chance of Afghanistan going to Russia and Russia saying she would not stir, and advising the Ameer to make terms with us, and, perhaps, offering to mediate. Well, I should like to know what would have been the result of that policy, which 447 would have left the Ameer the master of the situation during the whole winter upon the chance that Russia might have come forward to mediate between England and Afghanistan—between England, the protector, and Afghanistan, the protected country. Yet my noble Friend would have had us leave the Ameer master of the situation, trusting to the chapter of accidents which might happen in the course of the winter. But might not the Ameer also have said that he now saw exactly what this great Power was going to do? That if he allowed the time given him to pass, possibly it would do him no harm; that he would trust to the lapse of the winter months, set us at defiance, and treat us as he had treated us hitherto. What, my Lords, would have been the result? My noble Friend says—"Well, but you have made war upon Afghanistan; but was there no one else? Is Afghanistan the only country which has done you wrong?" And my noble Friend admits that we have good reason to complain of what has been done and intended by Afghanistan; but he asks, Have you not cause of complaint against Russia also? I do not know whether my noble Friend meant to represent as his policy that he would have had us engage in a war with Russia. I rather think that what my noble Friend intended to convey was this—that inasmuch as he could show logically that if we went to war with Afghanistan we should go to war with Russia, therefore we should go to war with neither. That seemed to be the drift of my noble Friend's argument. Well, I can give my noble Friend two short answers, each of which is, I think, conclusive. If it had been the case that we should have gone to war with Afghanistan because the Ameer received a Russian Envoy, then I quite understand the argument that in that case we should have gone to war with Russia also for having sent an Envoy. But, my Lords, the mistake made by my noble Friend is, that we have gone to war with Afghanistan for having received a Russian Envoy. We have never said it; we have never thought it. What we have gone to war with Afghanistan for was for not receiving our own Envoy. That is the first answer. Here, my Lords, is the other. We requested Russia to withdraw her Envoy, and the Envoy has returned. We asked Afghanistan to 448 receive our Envoy, and she refused. And yet the argument is, that because we have gone to war with the second, we ought to have gone to war with the first. Why, my Lords, it seems to me the most absurd thing in the world to say that we should go to war with Russia because the Ameer had refused to do that which we naturally and necessarily required him to do. Now, my Lords, I own I cannot help regretting the Amendment which has been moved by the noble Viscount. I said at the beginning that I was anxious not to treat this as a Party question; and I hope I have not said a word which would make anyone think that I desired to represent the conduct of any Party in these transactions in a Party spirit. But, my Lords, I know how this Motion will be looked at out-of-doors. It is very seldom the House of Lords has a Motion brought before it on a question of Supplies. The jurisdiction of this House as regards Supplies, as your Lordships all know, is very peculiar and very limited. I never heard of any case in which this House could interfere by an Amendment on a Motion of Supply until the Act of 1858 for the government of India was passed. Parliament, in passing that Act, provided that the House of Lords should have a power in regard to Supplies that it never before possessed; it provided that the Revenues of India for particular purposes—purposes of external war—should not be applied without the consent of both Houses of Parliament. The consequence is, that the House of Lords, as it appears to me, has upon this question a jurisdiction co-ordinate with that of the House of Commons. Well, it is a very singular thing that upon what I think is the second occasion at most on which that power has come before your Lordships to be exercised, a Motion should be made which would have the effect, if carried, of stopping the Supplies. The noble Earl is much too candid—much too straightforward—to put any disguise upon a matter of this kind. There is no doubt that, as the noble Earl says, it would have the effect, if carried, of annihilating the means of providing for the troops in India out of the Indian Revenues; and as this House has no jurisdiction over any other Revenues the very liberal offer made in the Preamble of the noble Viscount's Amendment must be taken for what it is worth. 449 This, then, is a Motion calling upon your Lordships who have power over the Revenues of India to stop the payment out of those Revenues of the troops now engaged in Afghanistan. My Lords, what object is to be gained by this Amendment? The noble Viscount (Viscount Halifax) says, in his Motion, that his object is to bring the war to an honourable conclusion. For my part, I cannot, for the life of me, see how the war, which, in the opinion of the noble Earl who spoke last (Earl Grey), is unjust, impolitic, and even criminal, can be brought to an "honourable conclusion." It can be brought to a conclusion, of course, like everything else; but how it can, under the circumstances, be brought to an "honourable conclusion," I confess, is more than I can understand. The noble Viscount, for his part, gave us a great deal of information with regard to Afghanistan of a not very encouraging kind. He said he knew Afghanistan very well, and that it was a terrible country. If our troops went into the valleys they would be surrounded by tribes from the hills; and if they went upon the hills they would not be able to get water from the valleys. If we sent small bodies of troops into the country they would be cut to pieces; and if we sent large bodies of troops the expense would be intolerable. If they went to Candahar they would be in great danger; and if they did not go to Candahar they would be in greater danger still. The noble Viscount fills the air with these sinister prophecies, and proposes to bring the war to an honourable conclusion by stopping the Supplies. Well, my Lords, I regret the course that has been taken by the noble Viscount. I believe it will be misunderstood in this country and still more in India. Our troops are engaged in a war which I am satisfied the great majority of the people of this country—and I believe the majority would be much greater were the question thoroughly understood—consider to be a war which could not have been avoided for the honour, for the dignity, and for the safety of our Indian Empire. That I take to be the feeling of this country; in India, I believe, there is no difference of opinion whatever; and in the face of that a Motion is proposed of the character I have described, a Motion which will be regarded here—and which I am certain will be re- 450 garded in Indian—as made for Party purposes. In considering a Motion of this kind, whatever may be the result of it, we are bound, in theory at least, to assume that, if carried, it may lead to the embarrassment or removal of the present Government. That, my Lords, is a very small matter. I am satisfied that if one Government in this country is removed, another will be found, without difficulty, to take its place. But if you endanger, or imperil, our Indian Empire, we can only lose it once. We have heard of the saying, "Perish India!" I do not stop to inquire by whom it was used or when; but, my Lords, I would say this—I care not what becomes of this or any other Government; I say, "Perish Governments;" but I implore your Lordships, in the vote which you are about to give on this question, to do nothing which will impair, or shake, or endanger the stability of our Indian Empire.
§ LORD SELBORNE
said, he could not help being struck by the remarkable contrast presented by the speech of his noble and learned Friend (the Lord Chancellor) and that made by the Secretary of State for India (Viscount Cranbrook) at the opening of the debate. The Secretary of State for India treated the question before the House as being in no respect a financial one, and passed at once to a general defence of the Government policy. His noble and learned Friend, on the contrary, seemed to regard the financial aspect of the question as of vital importance, and assumed the effect of the Amendment before the House, if carried, to be a stoppage of the Supplies for the troops now engaged in Afghanistan. He (Lord Selborne) ventured to say that no such consequence was involved in the Amendment. The supporters of the Amendment thought it their duty to express their opinion on the policy of the Government which led to the war; but that duty being discharged, they would not only be ready, but, on the face of the Amendment, they professed to be ready to vote all the necessary Supplies for the conduct of the war. If any particular Member of their Lordships' House was of opinion that no portion of the Revenues of India ought to be applied to the war, he could have no objection to vote for the Amendment, because after its adoption he would be perfectly free to abide by his opinion. If, on the other hand, the 451 majority of those who adopted the Amendment should be of opinion it was right to provide Supplies for the war out of Indian Revenues, there would be nothing to prevent their agreeing to such a step. He did not see that there was any inconsistency whatever in the views of those who thought the war unjust and impolitic, and who, nevertheless, professed a desire to bring it to an honourable conclusion. What they wished to avoid was anything which could disgrace or discredit the British arms, or endanger the safety of our gallant troops, who were now acting under orders as to the justice of which they could have no responsibility and no concern. At the same time, it would be necessary to put an end to the war as quickly as possible, due regard being had to the conditions he had specified. It was, therefore, mere rhetoric to speak of there being any inconsistency at all in the matter. His noble and learned Friend had said that in some quarter the cry had been raised of "Perish India!" He was not aware that such language had ever been employed. What he believed really did happen was that a distinguished historian, speaking at a public meeting in a manner, perhaps, not sufficiently guarded to obviate perverse misconstruction, said, in effect, that it would be better that their dominion in India should perish than that they should be disgraced by doing what was unjust and wrong. He did not, of course, mean that India should perish; but merely to express, in as strong language as he could, his abhorrence of what was unjust and wrong. When a man used the proverb "Fiat justitia ruat cœlum," he did not mean that he wished the heavens to fall, but only that he wished justice to be done. No doubt his noble and learned Friend was thoroughly persuaded of the soundness of his own arguments and the justice of his own conclusions; but what could be the advantage of winding up with a suggestion that those who were in favour of this Amendment, or anybody in the House or out of it, wished India to perish, or was not fully convinced that the safety of India would be best promoted by that course which was most just, most honourable, and most wise, in dealing either with the Ameer or anyone else? His noble and learned Friend had said, that this was not a 452 case for Party warfare: and had added that some sympathy should be shown to successors in office. He wished heartily that these questions had not been treated by anybody, or at any time, in a sense which would admit of the suggestion of Party warfare, or of there being any question between successors and predecessors in office; but was it not the despatch of the Secretary of State for India that raised questions between successors and predecessors in office, and showed, perhaps, less sympathy and indulgence than even the noble Lord would recommend not towards successors, but towards predecessors? Was not the able speech of the Secretary of State, of which he had no other complaint to make, almost from the beginning to the end an impeachment of the policy of his predecessors in office and of former Governors General more than anything else? The moment that despatch was written, no other course was open to the Government. It was not possible for them to vindicate their own policy except by accusing their predecessors of want of foresight and error of judgment, and by saying that the war was the result of the policy pursued by their predecessors. If a comparison of policy with policy had been imported into this discussion, it had been so imported because the present Government had presented its policy in contrast with that which preceded it, with the object of showing that the former policy was wrong. Another preliminary point touched upon by his noble and learned Friend was what was called the Constitutional question. There was no doubt whatever that the conduct of the Government in calling Parliament together was strictly within the Constitution; but what had been said, truly and wisely, by the noble Earl on the cross Benches (the Earl of Derby) was this—that it was of essential importance in these great matters not to strain the Constitution. The strength of the Constitution lay in keeping habitually within it when dealing with vital interests of the State. They could not revoke important public engagements by which the whole future of the country might be affected and all its resources might be pledged by afterwards turning out Ministers; they could not undo a war and restore a state of peace by passing a Vote of Censure upon those whose 453 policy led to the war; and therefore it was essential that those who would act wisely, and really in the spirit of the Constitution, in those affairs which were necessarily intrusted to the Sovereign, should carry Parliament with them, as far as possible, in the preliminary policy as well as in the final one, and take Parliament into their counsel, so that it should have a substantial voice and judgment in these great matters, not only when it was too late, but before it was too late. Surely no stronger illustrations of the advantages of that doctrine could be adduced than those that were mentioned by the noble Earl (Earl Grey). An arrangement was sprung upon the country by surprise—which it might have disapproved if it had known of it before it was actually made—by which we were pledged, under all circumstances, to defend Turkey against foreign enemies, if Turkey would shape its domestic policy according to our views. What could be a stronger illustration of the danger of straining those powers of the Crown, than that such enormous engagements should be irrevocably contracted without Parliament being consulted before it was too late? So with regard to a war of this sort. It was not, as the noble and learned Earl had put it, that Parliament must always be consulted before going to war at all, and that secret information must be disclosed, but that Parliament must be consulted whenever and as soon as it is practicable. There might be occasions when it would be impossible, and when Parliament would not expect it to be done. No doubt great powers were given to the head of the State in order to provide for emergencies; but when a course of policy was definitely foreseen, and Parliament could be consulted without detriment to the interests of the country, then surely it ought to be taken into council as soon as possible. And the complaint was that this had not been done. For three years—during 1876–7–8—the Government had pursued a course which had led to war, and they paraded their policy as different from that of their predecessors, and on that account claimed credit for it. Yet so far from letting Parliament know the change which was going on, when they were pressed to take Parliament into their council, they unfortunately gave answers which everybody but them- 454 selves understood to represent the exact contrary of the facts. This was not acting in the spirit of the Constitution, and this was the only sense in which that question was raised. When the noble and learned Earl was instituting a comparison between Afghanistan and Scotland, he should have been glad to know whether the large map theory or the small map theory would have illustrated that argument best; but at the end of that course of instruction he failed to get any light from the comparison, and thought, on the whole, that it was a somewhat round-about process to go to the geography of Scotland for the purpose of understanding that of Afghanistan. The noble and learned Earl was loud in his praise of the foresight of Sir Henry Rawlinson, 10 years ago: but the predictions in the paper of Sir Henry Rawlinson had not been entirely verified. No railways had been constructed between the Caspian and the Sea of Aral, nor had steam navigation been established on the Oxus, so that the anticipated changes on which most of Sir Henry Rawlinson's alarm was founded had not been carried out. The opinions and actions of Lord Lawrence and his advisers were not correctly represented by saying that they did nothing but recommend England to make arrangements with Russia. Both Lord Lawrence and Lord Northbrook had done all that was wise and necessary for safety, not with reference only to communications with Russia, but also with reference to our relations towards Afghanistan: thinking, for the best possible reasons, that it would be inexpedient to do other things, the effect of which might have been to involve us in danger instead of improving our position; there was no ground whatever for the representation, that either of them recommended activity of reprisals and not of precaution. Was it fair to represent the Indian Government of that day as saying that nothing should be done in Afghanistan but merely to threaten Russia? He read the Papers very differently. His noble and learned Friend, adverting to what fell from the noble Earl (Earl Granville), the other evening, had, said that noble Earl was now ready to follow a policy which he had declined to follow in 1873. What was the ground for that assertion? Simply this—that the Indian Govern- 455 ment had suggested the communication to Russia of a particular despatch, urging that she should not interfere in the affairs of Afghanistan; which despatch his noble Friend (Earl Granville) then thought it inexpedient to send—and why? Because other communications had then recently passed between Russia and this country resulting in an arrangement upon that very subject; and if that Indian despatch had been sent, it might reasonably have given offence to Russia, as implying that we doubted her sincerity. But what had that to do with the Afghan policy,—to which his noble Friend and the Government of which he was a Member then as much as now adhered? It was true, Lord Northbrook did not give the Ameer the unconditional assurance of support at home and abroad which he wanted. His noble and learned Friend asked if we had to do over again now what was done in 1873, was there a man in their Lordships' House who would not give the Ameer the assurance he then asked for? He (Lord Selborne) did not believe there was a man in that House, not even excepting the noble and learned Earl himself, who would do it. He could not conceive any circumstances under which this country could possibly be justified in giving an unconditional guarantee against all enemies at home and abroad to the Ameer, and this was all that Lord Northbrook had refused to do. The present Government never offered to do anything of the kind, and would not have been justified in doing so if they had. If the late Government was to blame for not being alarmed about Russia in 1873, what were they to say of the Government of 1876, who, in the month of May, by the mouth of the Prime Minister, on two successive occasions, thus stated the condition of mind in which they then were, and wished all the world in and out of India to know it? In March, 1876, Mr. Disraeli, in the House of Commons, on one day said—I am not of that school who view the advances of Russia in Asia with those deep misgivings that some do. I think that Asia is large enough for the destinies of both Russia and England."—[3 Hansard, ccxxviii. 500.]And on the 5th of May he repeated those views, and added these words— 456So far from looking forward with alarm to the development of the power of Russia in Central Asia, I see no reason why she should not conquer Tartary any more than why England should not have conquered India. I only wish that the people of Tartary may gain as much advantage by being conquered by Russia as the people of India from being conquered by this country."—[3 Hansard, ccxxix. 139.]No doubt the Cabul Envoy, on the 12th of February, 1877, referred to certain things which happened in Lord Northbrook's time, as instances of what the Ameer considered objectionable interference with the internal affairs of Afghanistan; the intercession for Yakoob Khan, and the presents sent to a dependent Chief; and he objected also to the Seistan arbitration; but the attempt of Lord Lytton to impose on the Ameer the necessity of receiving British officers as Residents in his Kingdom was at the same time stated by the same Envoy to be in his view a much more serious interference, and greatly more objectionable than anything else. It was the same Envoy who stated, that while Lord Northbrook remained in India nothing had occurred to disturb the friendship which subsisted between the Indian Government and the Ameer. It was said that something had passed at the time of the Umballa Conference which justified the Indian Government in its new demands, and that the Ameer had been at that time willing to receive British Residents. There was, however, a difference in the testimony of the best informed persons as to what had occurred at that time. Mr. Seton-Karr, who was then the Indian Foreign Secretary, had stated, in an official letter written at that very time, that the Ameer was told we did not want British officers as residents at Cabul or anywhere else in his dominions, as he said they would do him harm in the eyes of his people. And at page 94 of the Papers would be found this passage from a despatch of Lord Mayo—The policy that we had endeavoured to establish may be termed an intermediate one, that is to say.…we distinctly intimated to the Ameer that, under no circumstances, should a British soldier ever cross his frontier to assist him in coercing his rebellious subjects; that no European officers would be placed as Residents in his cities.He did not know what might be Lord Mayo's reasons for giving that assurance; but Lord Mayo said it was a 457 distinct intimation to the Ameer. The only conclusion which could safely be acted upon, under these circumstances, was that drawn in a passage of Lord Northbrook's despatch, which unfortunately the noble and learned Earl had not quoted, but which would be found at page 132, paragraph 20. It was as follows:—Looking to all the circumstances of the case, the absence of any formal record of the alleged admission, its entirely private and confidential nature, and the uncertainty as to its scope and intention, we consider that we should not be justified in founding any representation to the Ameer regarding the Mission of a British Agent to Herat upon the assumption that he had, when at Umballa, expressed his willingness to agree to such an arrangement.Nevertheless, Her Majesty's Government had thought fit to act upon the contrary view. Supposing it was advisable to attempt to get these Agents at Herat and Candahar, he did not think that would dispense with the necessity of obtaining information from Cabul, for which we should still have to depend upon Native Agents: and the importance of the object could hardly be sufficient to justify a new departure in policy for the sake of it. If, however, it was as important as the Government considered it to be, what was the course which a wise politician would have taken to accomplish the object he had in view? He would have put the bait before the fish first that he might swallow the hook. Instead of that the Ameer was ordered to swallow the hook first, as a condition which must precede his getting the bait afterwards. Instead of saying—"We want to have British Residents in your territory," a wise politician would say—"We wish to make a Treaty upon the most beneficial terms to you. Of course, we must have reasonable safeguards, but they can be discussed afterwards." Then, if the advantages offered proved attractive to the Ameer, when we came afterwards to settle the conditions, we might insert one about Residents, and unless the objections to Residents were, from the nature of the case, really insuperable and likely to throw his dominions into confusion, the Ameer would most likely have agreed to that condition. But to say at the commencement of the discussion—"We will not negotiate with you at all, unless you assent to this condition"—why, if we intended to invite failure we could not 458 possibly have taken a better course. It had precisely the effect predicted by Lord Northbrook and his advisers—it ended in the loss of all the influence we had previously gained. His noble and learned Friend protested against the use of language which imputed to the Government an attempt to force British Residents on the Ameer. But force could be applied, morally as well as physically; and, if moral force could be employed by saying, in the most direct and unceremonious way, that the stronger intended to impose his own terms upon the weaker, that was the course which had been taken in the present case. To be sure that language was not held to the Ameer; it was to the Native British Envoy; but it was Lord Lytton's object, and his direction to the Envoy, that at least its general tenour should be communicated to the Ameer. Even deducting all the strongest phrases, about iron pots and pipkins, as meant to be translated into something more civil, the effect would still be menacing and would come to this—"If you don't do all we want, you will lose our protection, and your dominions will be effaced either by us, or by Russia with our consent, from the map of Asia." And after all, when Sir Lewis Pelly's Mission had taken place, when the Ameer's Envoy was dead, and his successor was expected with instructions to concede all that was asked, the Government of India suddenly changed their front, and broke up the Conference; saying, that in the actual situation of affairs they thought it would be no longer useful to prolong the controversy. If Russia could have dictated a policy, surely that was the very policy she would have dictated. It was telling the Ameer, in point of fact—"You must make your own arrangements with Russia, if you wish to be safe." Because the Ameer would not grant that which Lord Mayo said they would never ask, he was treated as a criminal. A more utterly suicidal and destructive policy, if the object were to strengthen our influence in Afghanistan, he could not possibly conceive. Well, when we had said and done all this, we nevertheless ended by giving to the Ameer a distinct pledge, approved by Her Majesty's Government at home. On the 15th March, 1877, Sir Lewis Pelly assured Syud Noor that the British Government had no sort or kind of 459 quarrel with the people of Afghanistan, and closed the Conference by this declaration—Meanwhile, the Afghan people may rest fully assured that so long as they are not excited by their Ruler, or others, to acts of aggression upon the territories or friends of the British Government no British soldier will ever he permitted to enter Afghanistan uninvited." [Afghanistan, No. 1, p. 220.]He wanted to know how had that promise been kept; what acts of aggression on the territory of friends of the British Government had been committed by the Ameer when the present war was declared and when British soldiers entered Afghanistan? Sir Lewis Pelly went on to say—The Ameer, therefore, so long as he remains faithful to those Treaty stipulations which your Excellency has involved on behalf of His Highness, and which the British Government fully recognizes as still valid, and therefore binding upon the two contracting parties, need he under no apprehension whatever of any hostile action on the part of the British Government."—[Ibid.]Had the Ameer broken those Treaty stipulations? He found no stipulations in the Treaty that the Ameer should receive our Envoys at anytime we might please to choose, with or without escort, or that he should hold no communication with Russia. On the contrary, he had for several years with our knowledge been communicating with Russia. What were our engagements? We engaged to respect the territory of Afghanistan, "now in His Highness' possession," and therefore not to send British soldiers uninvited into Afghanistan to rectify our Frontier, nor to force by menace British Residents into the Ameer's cities. His noble and learned Friend had said there was nothing in the Papers to show that the Ameer was unwilling to receive a Russian Envoy. That statement was, however, not correct, as appeared from the following telegram from the Viceroy to the Secretary of State, dated July 30, 1878—British Native Medical Officer lent some time ago to Ameer returned on leave to Peshawur, the 21st instant, reporting that Kaufmann, with troops, had reached Karki, and was personally proceeding to see Ameer. Afghan officials at the Oxus tried to stop him, pending Ameer's orders; but he declined to obey them. Ameer thereupon sent orders forbidding opposition to Russian officers. Native Doctor heard Ameer tell his Minister in durbar, 7th July, 460 that Kaufmann, or officer of equal rank from Tashkend, had crossed Oxus on road to Cabul, refusing to be stopped."—[Ibid. p. 227.]This expression "refusing to be stopped" was repeated in a telegram from Major Cavagnari, and in a subsequent letter from the Ameer himself. All the evidence in the Papers, whether more or less, was to the effect that the Russians would not be stopped when the local officers objected to their proceeding. He could not but express his profound dissatisfaction both at the conduct of the Indian Government in September, 1878, and at the justification which had been offered for that conduct. It had been said that the Ameer repeatedly, steadfastly, and obstinately refused to receive our Mission. He ventured to say there was no ground for that statement. On the contrary, the Ameer offered to receive our Mission, provided that he were allowed a short and reasonable time, and that it was not pressed upon him in a manner derogatory to his independence. Sir Neville Chamberlain sent a letter on the 18th of September, asking—Am I authorised to endeavour to detach the tribes permanently from the Ameer's control?…It should be clearly understood that our doing this will be viewed by the Ameer as an act of hostility."—[Ibid. 242.]The authority so asked for was given, and the course so suggested was taken, before the Ameer had given any answer to our requests. The Ameer was willing to consent to receive the Mission, provided a short and reasonable delay was allowed, and that it was not forced on him in a menacing and offensive manner. That delay was refused, and what was the excuse for the refusal? That if it had been granted, it might have been necessary to postpone military operations until the end of the year, although we had not declared war against the Ameer, or intimated our intention of doing so. He would very much rather, as an Englishman, have given the Ameer the time he asked for, and then have acted as might have been just if he did not keep his word and receive the Mission, even although we might have been put to some military disadvantages in consequence. Some previous Governments of this country had been charged with "meddling and muddling." If he were at all disposed to use such epithets, he 461 thought, looking at every single step which had been taken in that matter, that the policy which had been pursued in it might be called one of bullying and blundering. If our object was to strengthen the influence of this country and obtain ascendency in Afghanistan, he was wholly unable to conceive what possible course of policy more calculated to defeat that object could have been followed than that which had been adopted. At every step errors had been committed that were entirely unnecessary, and this war, in consequence, was completely unjustifiable. He could only repeat the question of the noble and learned Earl on the Woolsack, and ask—Was there ever a policy so little consistent with our knowledge of human nature? He would not enter into the remoter political considerations as to what might be the consequences of this war. He was no great admirer of the peculiarities of Russian government, nor would he by any moans be prepared to justify all the acts of Russian policy in Asia, or in Europe. Nevertheless, he had always held it to be the wise and true policy of this country, for the sake of the peace and benefit of all European nations, and for the safety and welfare of our Indian Possessions, to endeavour to be upon as good and friendly terms with Russia as Russia would permit us to be. It seemed, however, as if the whole policy of the Government had, unfortunately, tended in the opposite direction. Even while they assisted in the negotiation of peace they continued to brandish the sword at a great Power with whom it was our interest, as far as possible, to live in amity; and when they were, by their own confession, not in a position to make what had happened in Afghanistan a cause of quarrel with that great Power, they yet took measures against Afghanistan without adequate justification, which, though they might not provoke any immediate manifestation of the hostility of Russia, still must be felt by that country to be hostile in principle and spirit to her as well as to Afghanistan. He did not pretend to say what the consequences might be; but he said we were engaged in a war which, in his humble opinion, both might and ought to have been avoided, and of which he could neither see the necessity nor the justice. He must, therefore, support the Amendment of his noble Friend.
said, that the noble Earl who began that debate (Earl Grey), with the great candour which was, perhaps, the most remarkable part of his character, had told them that, notwithstanding that he had many years ago held a different opinion from that of his Colleagues as to the manner in which Afghanistan ought to be regarded by the Indian Government, he had not thought it his duty to leave the Government which prosecuted the war with that country to an end. He drew from that confession of the noble Earl the deduction that the present question was one on which both sides of the House ought to show much indulgence towards each other. He did not believe that any personal discussion of that matter could be advantageous or useful. If Indian Governors General and Secretaries of State were to go on criticizing each other, or imputing to their predecessors errors not only of judgment but of morality, it would be impossible to secure the services of independent or honourable men, or to govern our great Dependency with anything like the unity of purpose and the security with which it had been governed for more than 100 years. He was old enough to remember the time of Lord Auckland, and the war to which the opener of the debate had alluded. The former war in Afghanistan was prosecuted for the same purpose as the present one; but there was this difference between the two—that the former war was a case of suspicion, and the present war was a case of certainty, as against Russia. The different temper in which the former war was dealt with by Parliament, as compared with the present occasion, was illustrated by the fact that Lord Auckland was not made the object of serious political animadversion in either House, but was considered to have acted to the best of his judgment, even although the issue was so disastrous. He could not vote for the Amendment now before their Lordships. The words of the Amendment were that the war was unnecessary; and, therefore, everyone who voted for it would, in effect, say that Her Majesty's Government were spending the blood and the money of the country in a war which might well be avoided, and for which they themselves could offer no complete vindication. The noble Earl 463 who spoke first that night (Earl Grey) laid down very distinctly the lines within which the advancing morality of the world now confined the right to go to war. He (Lord Houghton) would go further, and say that the first and the growing impression of the civilized world, notwithstanding the enormous standing armies which, now existed—notwithstanding the great wars which had of late years occurred—was this—that no war was justifiable that was not a war of self-defence. It was solely because he believed this war to be one of self-defence that he could not support the Amendment. If the Ameer was to be made the centre of the picture—if Afghanistan was a separate country, the relations of which with India were such as those of Scinde—both sides of the House would be very apathetic with respect to such a State. Hours had been spent in speeches as to the character of the Ameer, and as to whether this or that message ought to have been sent to him at a particular time; but what had such matters to do with the real question before their Lordships' House? He was very much of the opinion of Lord Napier of Magdala, who had said in a Memorandum of May 30, 1878—We have unfortunately managed Shere Ali badly. Perhaps it might not have been possible, with our scruples, and his want of them, to have managed him advantageously; but it must be admitted that we have not given him the reasons to unite himself with us that he naturally expected."—[Afghanistan, No. 1, p. 225.]He would not go into the question of our relations with Afghanistan; but he would ask, why had they been entered into? Would they have been, had there been nothing behind the Ameer? If the Ameer was an independent Sovereign the case would have been different; but there was no pretence for regarding him as an independent Sovereign. All the arguments, therefore, as to International Law and the personal treatment of the Ameer were of very small relative importance. Afghanistan lay between the great, consolidated Empire of India, and the great, growing, progressive, and aggressive Empire of Russia; and although the comparison of Lord Lytton, that it was like an earthen pipkin between two iron pots, had much better have 464 never been made, it described exactly the Ameer's position. So long ago as 1870—as appeared by the Papers on the Table of their Lordships' House—a Russian official, writing in that capacity to the Ameer, said that, though they were distant neighbours, they should live in harmony, and assured him that Russia would not interfere in the internal affairs of Afghanistan, and gave as one reason that that country was under the protection of England, with which Power Russia was on the most friendly relations. Russia, therefore, knew long ago the relations which existed between England and Afghanistan; and when hostile feelings grew up between Russia and England, necessarily and naturally those feelings extended to Afghanistan. He would only say of the conduct of Russia in those matters that she acted towards us under the influence of the uncertain faith with which she had been in the habit of dealing with Oriental nations; and nothing had more alienated from her the confidence of the English people than her action in Afghanistan. He (Lord Houghton) viewed our present military expedition as directed to prevent Afghanistan from getting beyond the range of English authority, and possibly getting into the range of Russian authority. The story of Khiva must have produced the impression on the mind of the Ameer that Russia was not only a great, but an unscrupulous Power, and he felt that he must have the present certainty of protection from England, or that his only alternative was to place himself under the protection of Russia; and this consideration, doubtless, led him to adopt the course which he had taken. The present was, as he had said, a war on the part of England of self-defence. Much adverse criticism had been bestowed on the Prime Minister's desire for a "scientific Frontier;" but if by this was meant a Frontier that could be easily defended, he saw no great harm in it. Indeed, a scientific Frontier in that sense would be practically useful and right. As to the two opinions held by military authorities, he would not feel justified in giving a vote which implied that he thought one side was right and the other side entirely wrong. He was informed, however, that a new idea held among the strategists of India was 465 that of a delimited Frontier which should not include any large portion of Afghanistan, nor make us responsible for the administration of any large portion of it. It seemed that a Frontier might be devised which should secure us absolutely against any future conduct of the kind now resented, even though the Ameer admitted Russian influence and intrigue into his country. He could only say that if by a very limited annexation of Afghan territory a Frontier could be obtained which would render India practically safe from invasion on the North-West, it would be very desirable to have it. The Government might, in fact, incur serious blame if they failed to rectify an indefensible Frontier when a legitimate occasion for doing so arose. Another reason why he could not vote for the Amendment was that the effect of a difference of opinion among us with regard to the war could not fail to be unfortunate at the present moment; because, declaring as it did the war to be unnecessary, it would cause great pain to our gallant soldiers, who were now shedding their blood for us in Afghanistan.
THE MARQUESS OF BATH
said, that it was perfectly consistent to be prepared to give every support to our troops in the field, and to conclude the war without injury to our dominions in India, yet, at the same time, to condemn the policy that had led to the war, and the means by which that policy had been carried out. He would not trouble their Lordships with the question of Prerogative. It seemed to him that whatever might have been the use of the Prerogative, and whether or not the Government was justified in declaring war without the consent of Parliament, what Parliament had to complain of was this—not that they had declared war without its previous consent, but that they had for some years studiously concealed from Parliament the change of policy that had led to the war. If the case of the Ameer was as good as it had been made out by the Secretary of State and by the noble and learned Earl on the Woolsack, it was rather unfortunate that the Government should have gone to war with him. The Ameer knew that England was bound to defend him against aggression from the North; and therefore he did not care about obtaining a formal guarantee of our protection, 466 except with regard to possible disturbance within his own dominions, which was properly refused him both by the late and the present Administrations. As to the increasing power of Russia in Central Asia, it was a pity the Secretary of State for India (Viscount Cranbrook) had not sat in that House long enough to have heard his Predecessor (the Marquess of Salisbury) ridicule the idea of Russia's advance involving any danger to us, though it might occupy some future generation of statesmen. Certain subjects of a personal nature could not be disposed of by calling them personal matters, for they affected the credit of Ministers and of the country. The Question asked in the House last June by the Duke of Argyll was clear and distinct, and so was the reply of the noble Marquess. That reply was received by the House and the country as an assurance that there was no change in the policy of the Government and no danger of any disturbance in our Indian Empire, and as such an assurance it was acknowledged by the noble Earl (the Earl of Northbrook); but when they looked at the Papers on the Table they saw that when the noble Marquess made that statement the Government were trying to press an Envoy upon the Ameer at Herat, and that our relations were getting worse every day, and that the feeling of the Ameer against England was becoming more embittered. But suppose it were possible, as the noble Marquess contended, to accept the construction he had placed upon his words, what did it come to? A Minister of the Crown in that House conveyed to the minds of those who heard him erroneous impressions with regard to the policy he was pursuing; and, knowing that those erroneous impressions were received as true, considered he was justified, because it was possible to put another construction upon his language—at variance with those impressions, and not at variance with the truth. Nothing would be so fatal to a man's character in private life as the suspicion that there might be a second and undiscerned sense in the meaning of his words; and any statesman would lose consideration with the public when it was known that an occult meaning must be looked for in his words—different from the meaning they conveyed, from the meaning those who 467 heard them believed them intended to convey. The country had been kept in the dark on this question, and had been misled. The Indian Press had been encouraged to write in favour of warlike measures, and to give to steps ordered from home the appearance of an Indian origin. The incidents connected with the repulse of the Mission had been misrepresented before the true account was received; the whining reply of the Ameer had been characterized as insulting to an extent not borne out by the text; Minutes had been published by the Government to support their policy, and others opposed to it kept back; and all to involve us in a war in which certain victory would bring little credit, and could only add embarrassments to an overburdened Indian Exchequer. He attributed the sufferings which had been caused to the people to the policy adopted by Her Majesty's Government to secure "Peace with honour"—honour for themselves; for the country—peace, without repose or prosperity; the costs, the troubles of war, without its glories.
THE EARL OF JERSEY
felt he owed no apology to noble Lords for the course he was about to pursue. Some noble Lords who usually sat on that (the Ministerial) side of the House had declared their intention to vote against Her Majesty's Government; while on the other side some who, he might say, were unconnected with official Opposition had declared their intention of voting for the Government. He thought the course which he intended to take was consistent alike with the interests of Party and the honour of his country. The noble Marquess had just sung a terrible dirge on lesser England; but he could not believe that the Ministers would in any way be affected by that expression of opinion. They had heard what the real opinion and intention of the Government was, and he, for one, was prepared to support that opinion. As for the remarks of the noble Marquess he would leave the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to explain himself, and he had no doubt he would do so in a manner satisfactory to the House and the country. The noble Earl who commenced the debate that evening (Earl Grey) told them that the war was illegitimate, unnatural, and criminal. These were certainly strong expressions; but 468 the noble Earl had failed to make out that Her Majesty's Ministers had pursued an illegitimate course in calling Parliament together, or an unnatural course in looking after our interests in India, or a criminal course in supporting by the Army of England the honour and interests of the Empire. The noble Earl had stated that it would be impossible for an English Envoy to live in Afghanistan; but he did not seem to think that a Russian Envoy would be in danger at Cabul. The speech of the noble Lord the Secretary of State for India would find many an echo out-of-doors. He laid down the basis of a clear and intelligible policy—a policy to which, on more than one occasion, Russian Ministers had given their adherence—that Afghanistan should be beyond the sphere of Russian action. But the acts of Russia did not always tally with her words. Her policy was, no doubt, a very subtle one—she sent friendly letters to the Ameer containing accounts of the success of the Russian arms, and even a Russian Governor General was able to tell the Ameer that he could not refuse to receive a Mission, because it was sent by the Emperor of Russia. The late Viceroy of India said we had no right to take umbrage because the Ameer had chosen Russia as an Ally; but it was the unanimous opinion of statesmen and generals that England could not allow Russian influence to be predominant in Afghanistan. It was said the Ameer was independent; he was not so in the ordinary meaning of the term. He was obliged to us for money and arms, and he came to us to answer his letters. This was more like pupilage than independence. It was said we should have allowed the Ameer more time for deliberation; but when a great danger was to be averted it was right that timely precautions should be taken. Russian promises had been accepted by them as men of honour long enough, but they now knew what those promises were worth; and when the Ameer took for his Ally the enemy of this country it was time to take action. If there was a time when it became necessary to avert an open danger by war, there was surely a time when it was necessary to avert an insidious and lurking danger by taking proper precautions. He could not help thinking that Russian policy towards India had been based on deception and 469 aggression. Were the Government to allow Russian intrigue to increase at Cabul? While we were negotiating with the Ameer, Russian influence would be growing. Russia knew how to wage an unofficial war; and the time might come when the Afghan troops might be thrown into Her Majesty's territory, officered by others than Afghans. While we were negotiating Russia would have been preparing for war, and Her Majesty's Government would have been held responsible for their own inaction. Fortunately, they decided to take action in time. Her Majesty's Government decided that if responsibility was to be incurred they would incur it; that they would not hesitate to act; and that before the serpent was hatched they would break the egg. If Her Majesty's Government had not hesitated to incur responsibility, he trusted their Lordships' House would to-night share that responsibility. But Her Majesty's Government had incurred something else. They had been made the butt of the speeches of every rampant orator and every disappointed statesman. Upon their heads had been showered abuse of every kind, because they preferred their duty to their country to following the vain crotchets of irresponsible men. It was only a short time ago that he read the speech of a Member of Parliament who likened Her Majesty's Government to pick-pockets. Fortunately, they were indifferent to charges of that kind, and, instead of answering them, preferred to be consistent in their duty. He trusted they would continue to do so; that they would remain firm in the policy they were now pursuing; and that when the heat of Party passion had passed away—when the clouds which now hung over the plains of Roumelia, as well as the mountains of Afghanistan, had been dispelled by the resolute attitude of Her Majesty's Government—the people of this country would not forget the debt which they owed to them; and that of them it might be said, as had been said of other statesmen—Not once or twice, in our fair island story,The path of duty was the way to glory.
§ THE MARQUESS OF RIPON
said, that when those who did not approve the policy of the Government contended that Parliament should have been consulted before war was declared they 470 were told that such a doctrine was altogether un-Constitutional, and tended to interfere with the Prerogative of the Crown. On the other hand, when war had been declared, they were told by his noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Jersey) that if they challenged the policy of the Government they were forgetting what was due to the gallant services of our Army. These two objections destroyed each other. There was one thing, however, which was satisfactory in this debate, and that was that it was now admittted on all hands that the policy pursued by Her Majesty's present Government differed widely from that which had been pursued up to the time they entered office. They had been told by the noble Duke (the Duke of Somerset) that changed circumstances required a changed policy, and by the noble Viscount opposite (Viscount Cranbrook) that it was foolish to think that the policy pursued towards Afghanistan in 1878 should be the same as that of 1868. But then we were reminded, in justification of this altered policy, of the course of events in Central Asia, and of the progress and designs of Russia. He was not insensible to that progress, or trustful of those designs; though he was not one of those who were accustomed to attribute to the Government of Russia and its agents supernatural abilities and supernatural wickedness. But one of the main reasons why he should vote for the Amendment of the noble Viscount was that he was convinced that in this case, as in that of South-Eastern Europe during the last year or two, Her Majesty's Government had, unintentionally, no doubt, but steadily and very successfully, played the game of Russia. He would undertake to establish that assertion in a few moments out of the Papers which had been laid on the Table of the House. There was an old saying—"Forewarned is forearmed;" but Her Majesty's Government had continued to pursue the policy against which they had been warned. His noble Friend (the Earl of Northbrook) had told Her Majesty's Government that if they were to insist upon the policy of the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Salisbury) the effect would be "to throw Afghanistan into the arms of Russia at the first opportunity." That policy had been insisted on, and it had thrown Afghan- 471 istan into the arms of Russia at the first opportunity. Not only did the noble Marquess, in 1875, require that the Ameer should be called upon to receive British officers at Herat and Candahar, but he also urged the Viceroy to find some occasion for sending a Mission to Cabul and to press that Mission very earnestly upon the Ameer. That the noble Marquess did, notwithstanding the opinions of the most competent officers in India and of his noble Friend who was then Viceroy. Therefore, he had a right to say that Her Majesty's Government had adopted a course which was effectually playing into Russian hands. It had been amply shown, too, in the course of the debate, that the means by which it had been sought to obtain the object in view were even more ill-advised than the object itself. The first letter to the Ameer asking him to receive a Mission was dated on the 5th of May, which was, by a remarkable coincidence, the very day upon which the noble Earl (the Earl of Beaconsfield) told the House of Commons that he had no fear of Russian advance in Central Asia. Perhaps sufficient attention had not been paid to that first demand for the reception of a Mission. He had the pleasure of knowing Sir Lewis Pelly personally, and was aware that he was a gentleman of great intelligence, and a zealous public servant, who might be employed to great advantage in many situations. Still, he thought the choice of Sir Lewis Pelly was in this case singularly unfortunate, because he was the principal disciple of General John Jacob, who was, if not the inventor, at all events the chief supporter of what was called the "forward school" of Indian policy, whilst the fact of his being the author of a work entitled The Views and Opinions of General Jacob, in which the taking of Quettah was advocated, with a view to an advance on Candahar, would render him most unacceptable to the Ameer. It was a remarkable circumstance that until the demand for Sir Lewis Pelly's Mission was made there was no Russian Agent permanently residing at Cabul. After the Conference at Peshawur the Ameer was left to his own devices, and yet some noble Lords were astonished at his turning to Russia. For his own part, he thought it extremely unfortunate that the Ameer should have turned to 472 Russia; but, really, Her Majesty's Government gave him the best possible reason for doing so. Again, with respect to the steps taken after the reception of the Russian Mission at Cabul, it seemed to him (the Marquess of Ripon) that they were in many respects specially calculated to defeat the object which the Viceroy had in view. The moment Lord Lytton heard of the death of the Ameer's favourite son, Abdoollah Jan, he ought to have paused. He must have known, surely, that the grief of Shere Ali was such, when he lost his former son, that, although a civil war was raging in his dominions and he had all but lost his Throne, he shut himself up for many weeks in Candahar and refused to be seen. The noble Lord, then, might have imagined what would be his grief on the death of his favourite son; but, notwithstanding, the demand was sent, and the acceptance of the Mission forced upon him even before the 40 days, the formal time of mourning, had expired. No wonder that the Ameer felt great irritation. The noble Viscount opposite told them last night that the letter of condolence sent to the Ameer on the death of his favourite son was not answered in a reasonable time, and that this was considered a grave insult by Orientals; but what would be thought here in the West if a man professing to be the friend of another who had sustained such a bereavement should, at the same time that he sent a letter of condolence to his friend, also write to him about a most disagreeable matter of business? Such a proceeding would naturally be resented by the receiver of the communication. There was, indeed, one explanation of these proceedings which was sometimes put forward by supporters of the Government, and which had been hinted at that night, by which it was said that they had all along desired to take advantage—to use a phrase of the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Salisbury)—of any circumstances which might enable them to obtain that rectification of Frontier, which was their real object in Afghanistan. He did not say that the Government had pursued that course. The language used by the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Beaconsfield) at the Guildhall gave only too much colour to the theory; but he did not find it in the despatch of the noble Viscount, and he would not charge any 473 English Minister with conduct so utterly unjustifiable. He would now ask their Lordships to consider what was the character of the contest in which they were engaged. Sir Henry Rawlinson, a supporter of the policy of the Government—if, indeed, he were not its author—in his recent article in The Nineteenth Century,said—War with Afghanistan is to be deprecated beyond all other wars, because, however it may end, it will leave behind it a heavy legacy of debt and the hatred of people who ought to be our friends.Such, then, was the war in which Her Majesty's Government had involved the country. For what ends was it being pursued? In the course of this discussion they had had two speeches from Members of the Government, and two alone. What had been the cause of this unusual silence he could not say; but before the debate came to a close the Government ought to give the House some inkling at least of the objects and purposes with which they were prosecuting that contest. At the present moment they knew nothing about them. The noble Viscount (Viscount Cranbrook) had told them the previous day that we must be paramount and supreme in Afghanistan. Upon these words a very wide construction could be placed; and he thought the Government were bound to tell Parliament, from whom they were asking Supplies, whether the war was merely to be waged to punish the Ameer for the insult he was said to have offered us, to obtain satisfaction for that insult, and to carry out the objects stated in the last paragraph of the last despatch of the noble Viscount (Viscount Cranbrook), or whether it was intended to procure a rectification of Frontier—of which there was no mention in that despatch, although it had been mentioned in the Prime Minister's speech. If the last was their real object, what was the extent of the spoliation which was concealed behind the dark word "rectification?" Was it to be the rectification recommended by Sir Henry Rawlinson, which was the military occupation of Western Afghanistan; or what we were told in the newspapers was the policy of the Government of India—to occupy the triangle of Jellalabad, Cabul, and Candahar; or was it to be a more limited rectification, starting from Jel- 474 lalabad and passing down the mountains to the South-West, which would have the effect of transferring to our rule some of the wildest and most savage tribes on the face of the earth? To these questions the House had a right to demand an answer. Their Lordships were told that if they were not prepared to refuse the Supplies they ought not to pass censure on the Government; but in the case of the war with China—which he had believed to be unnecessary and unjust, just as he believed the present war to be so, and against which he, in common with Members of the existing Government, had voted—no such doctrine as that had been recognized. It would be unjust, he fully admitted, that the Government should be severely condemned if, in the course of a series of long and complicated transactions, they had made some mistakes of detail. But, in the present case, the root of the evil lay in the policy itself, which the Government had adopted. They had deliberately rejected the principles that for nearly 40 years—from the time of Lord Ellenborough, the Duke of Wellington, and Sir Robert Peel, down to that of the present Administration—had governed our conduct towards Afghanistan, and which had been acted upon without exception by every Ministry at home and every Governor General in India; they had embarked on their novel policy in spite of the warnings of the men best qualified to speak; and the result had been to fulfil to the letter the predictions of those whose counsels they had rejected. Their Representative in India—the Viceroy—for whose conduct they were fully responsible, had pursued the policy thus entered upon in a manner which would have wrecked a better cause; he deliberately closed the Conference at Peshawur when he knew that if he waited for a few hours all his demands would be conceded; and he had thrown the Ameer into the arms of Russia, as his noble Friend (the Earl of Northbrook) had foretold; and then, when at length he was brought face to face with the inevitable consequences of the course which he had pursued, he so conceived and executed his attempts to extricate himself as to render their failure certain. It was against such a policy, begun so rashly, carried on so unwisely, concealed so studiously from Parliament, marked on more than one 475 occasion by a dark stain of injustice, and ending in the establishment of a Russian Mission at Cabul, and in war with a people with whom it was our interest to be friendly, that he protested that night; and he should vote for the Amendment in order to clear himself from all complicity with proceedings which he believed in his conscience to be so deeply injurious to the reputation and to the interests of the country.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON
considered that the conclusions at which the noble Marquess who had just spoken (the Marquess of Ripon) had arrived were strangely at variance with the facts of the case. What were those facts? The basis of our relations with Afghanistan was admitted to be the Convention entered into by the Government of India and the late Ameer Dost Mahomed. Upon his death, eight years afterwards, there occurred one of those struggles which seemed to be the normal condition of Afghanistan after the demise of one of its Rulers. It was not until the year 1868 that any formal acknowledgment of the present Ameer on the part of our Government was made, and since that time he had many grievances to bring forward against us, the head and front of which—and this occurred during the holding of his office by the noble Earl the late Viceroy (the Earl of Northbrook)—had reference to our preference for his eldest son, whom he desired to put aside in favour of his son by a favourite wife, and this grievance he mentioned with some bitterness in his recent reply to the Ultimatum sent to him by the present Viceroy. It had been asserted that there was no change in the bearing of the Ameer towards us. Such an assertion could not be maintained. His bearing had greatly changed since the days of Lord Mayo; and he had no doubt that had that noble Lord lived the personal influence he exercised over the present Ameer would have saved us from the trouble in which we now found ourselves. About the time of the War of Succession Lord Russell took note of the progress of Russia in Central Asia, and he received from the Government of that country assurances that their objects were purely commercial and pacific. In 1867 similar assurances were received from Russia, and they were repeated to Mr. (now Sir) 476 Douglas Forsyth in St. Petersburg by the Russian Chancellor, who, in 1873, wrote to the same effect, stating distinctly that "we consider Afghanistan altogether beyond the sphere of Russian operations." Their Lordships were aware how those promises were kept. In 1873 the noble Earl the late Viceroy pointed out in one of his despatches that the advance of Russia in Central Asia could not but be regarded with anxiety in Afghanistan. The change in the Ameer's conduct towards us in 1873 was, he believed, entirely owing to his distrust of the confiding simplicity of the Government of that day. The conduct of Russia in seeking to ingratiate herself with the Ameer, in breach of her solemn assurances, was a matter into which he would not enter further than to say that it seemed to him fully to justify the desire of the present Government to obtain the admission of English officers to Cabul and other places in the Ameer's dominions. He did not see why Afghanistan should be treated differently from the Native States in India in which we had established Residents. When Tippoo Sahib declined to receive our Envoy we marched troops into his dominions, with what result they all knew. The course taken by the Government in the present instance was very similar to that pursued towards Tippoo Sahib, and he anticipated for it an equally auspicious termination. If the case for the reception of our officers in Afghanistan was strong before, it was doubly strong when it transpired that a Russian Embassy had been received with every mark of favour at Cabul, while our Native Agent was only allowed to transmit to us such information as the Ameer or his officers thought convenient. With regard to the question of the Frontier, he would only remind their Lordships that the defenders of India, when they encountered their invaders in the plains, had invariably been worsted; and that the same lesson was taught by the collapse of the Turkish resistance in the late war as soon as the Russians managed to cross the Balkans. A scientific or strategical Frontier was therefore a matter of vital importance to India; and whatever the opinions entertained in reference to it 10 or 12 years ago, no one could maintain that we ought to be guided by them in the altered circumstances of the present day. Her Majesty's Government 477 could not have done more than they had done, and they ought to have done no less; their measures had been dictated by prudence and common sense; and an adverse vote at this crisis would cripple the energies, if it would not paralyze the arm, of England.
§ THE EARL OF NORTHBROOK
My Lords, in addressing some remarks to your Lordships this evening, I wish to commence by expressing the gratification which I have felt at the gallantry which has been shown by Her Majesty's Forces in the field in Afghanistan. I wish also to express my confidence in the officers in command of those Forces—Sir Samuel Browne and General Roberts—who have conducted successful operations in the field, and General Stewart and General Biddulph, who have had no such opportunity yet, but who, I am sure, will justify their reputation when they have that opportunity. Having been personally acquainted with those officers, I believe that better selections could not have been made. The spirit which Her Majesty's British and Native Forces have evinced on this occasion cannot be surpassed; and I may be permitted to say that the general efficiency of the Army is, in my opinion, mainly due to the administration of my noble and gallant Friend Lord Napier of Magdala, who was for many years Commander-in-Chief in India, and of my gallant Friend Major-General Sir Henry Norman, who for a long period was Secretary to the Government of India in the Military Department, and afterwards the military Member of the Council of the Viceroy. The general arrangements for the campaign, so far as we know them, reflect great credit upon the Commander-in-Chief in India, Sir Frederick Haines, who will, I am sure, satisfactorily discharge his responsible duties; and particularly upon the Quartermaster General's Department of the Indian Army. I must further express my satisfaction—not surprise—at the expressions of loyalty received by the Viceroy from the Native Princes of India, some of them my personal friends. The Maharajah of Gwalior and others have offered their personal services and those of their troops. Having so recently filled the office of Viceroy in India I cannot pass these offers by without expressing my gratification.
478 I will now say a few words on the main question of the Address. Your Lordships are asked to assent to the application of the Revenues of India to defray the expenses of the war in Afghanistan. My Lords, I entirely agree with my noble Friend who recently filled the office of Governor of the Presidency of Madras (Lord Napier and Ettrick) in regretting the course Her Majesty's Government have taken. It would have been right, just, and generous to have decided at once that no portion of the expense should fall upon the Revenues of India. I consider the war to be the direct consequence of the state of affairs in Europe, and not to have arisen from anything immediately connected with our Indian Empire. For that reason, if for no other, India should not be called upon to bear the cost. Moreover, India has suffered recently from two severe famines; the people are impoverished; and the state of the finances is far from satisfactory. True, the noble Viscount opposite (Viscount Cranbrook) told us that the Indian Government expect a surplus of £1,250,000 above the Estimates this year; but this is exactly what I anticipated in the discussion of last year. The reason of this surplus is the extra taxation unnecessarily imposed upon the people of India for the purpose of raising what is called a Famine Fund. The new taxes, which press upon the poorer classes, and which I believe to be unpopular and impolitic, ought to be taken off as soon as the condition of the finances will allow of it.
I entirely agree with what has fallen from the noble and learned Earl on the Woolsack, that it would be a subject for regret if Indian questions came to be regarded as Party questions. I have never considered them to be so; and it was a gratification to me to hear the complaint of the noble Duke (the Duke of Somerset), that there had been no great meeting of the Liberal Party called together upon this question. As regards the speech, of the noble Viscount who introduced this subject (Viscount Cranbrook), I have nothing personal to complain of. He is right in saying that there has been no reticence on the part of the Government in producing Papers, and he has a perfect right to criticize my public conduct. I 479 am the last person to complain of any such criticisms. What I am now about to say is the result of my actual experience in India. The noble and learned Earl on the Woolsack has given an account of the objects of the British Government, during the last 10 years, in dealing with Central Asia and Afghanistan. During that period there have been two Administrations—five years under Mr. Gladstone, and five years under the noble Earl opposite. I was Viceroy in India during two years under Mr. Gladstone's Administration, and two years under that of the noble Earl; and, as far as I know—and so far as my dealing with these affairs enables me to form an opinion—I have not been able to find out any difference whatever in the objects which the British Government desired to secure with regard to the progress of Russia in Central Asia, or to our dealings with Afghanistan; bearing in mind, of course, that the general line of policy must be modified by the progress of events. Having filled the high office of Viceroy in India, I think it is absolutely necessary, to avoid any misconception in discussing the policy of the British Government towards Russia in regard to Central Asia, for me to say that the Government of India, while I had any connection with it, has not been actuated by the fear of any attack upon India by Russia. We never believed that such an attack was possible; and we were of opinion that if anything of the kind were possible the strength of the British Empire in India and in this country was amply sufficient to render such an attack futile, and disastrous only to those who might make the attempt. The Governments of England and of India have never looked upon the progress of Russia in Central Asia with the eyes of that school of which Sir Henry Rawlinson, who has been quoted by the noble and learned Earl on the Woolsack, is the most able exponent. In 1869 the Government of India said—We by no means share in the exaggerated apprehensions expressed in many quarters as to the danger to British rule in India which may arise from an extension of Russian influence in those countries lying to the South and East of her enormous possessions in Asia.We believe that the influence of a civilised European power over wild and savage tribes cannot be otherwise than beneficial.480We would therefore heartily assist in establishing a frank and clear understanding with Russia as to the relative position of British and Russian interests in Asia."—[Afghanistan, No. 1, p. 103.]In accordance with these principles, they suggested that, as it was for the interests of both countries that a wide border of independent States should exist between the British and Russian Frontiers, it would be desirable that Russia should be invited to adopt the same policy with regard to the independent States which come under her legitimate influence, as the Government of India had pursued with regard to Afghanistan and the independent States within their influence. Her Majesty's Government entered into negotiations with Russia for this purpose. Russia accepted, in 1873, the boundary of Afghanistan suggested by the Government of India in the time of Lord Mayo; and it was arranged that Russia should, to the best of her ability, prevent the Native States on her side from creating any disturbance in Afghanistan; while, on the other hand, we engaged to exercise our influence to prevent the Ameer of Cabul from transgressing the boundaries of his dominions. These negotiations took place under the Administration of Mr. Gladstone; and again, under the Administration of the noble Earl opposite, similar negotiations took place in 1875. The Government of India entirely concurred with the views expressed by the Home Government in those negotiations; and one of the last despatches I sent home when I was Viceroy expressed the concurrence of the Government of India in the arrangements made by the noble Earl now sitting on the cross benches (the Earl of Derby). It is but fair to the Russian Government to add that, during the time that I was in India, they loyally carried out the engagements into which they had entered.
The noble and learned Earl on the Woolsack, and the noble Viscount opposite (Viscount Cranbrook), have accused the late Government of having pursued a timid policy, and alluded to a paragraph in a despatch of the 30th of June, 1873, in which the Government of India, when I was Viceroy, suggested that Her Majesty's Government should make a plain declaration to the Russian 481 Government that the British Government would defend Afghanistan in the event of unprovoked attack; and they have said that this was not done. The Government of India always urged upon Her Majesty's Government—perhaps in terms a little stronger than the Foreign Secretary of the day may have liked—the expediency of speaking in the plainest language to the Russian Government both of the independence of Afghanistan and of the inconvenience which might arise from the further progress of Russia in the direction of India. I do not want to pit the policy of one Government of Her Majesty against another; but as that policy has been indiscriminately attacked by one Member of the present Cabinet, I am afraid I cannot depend upon other Members of the Cabinet to defend it. However, in the Central Asia Papers lately laid before Parliament, there is a despatch written by the noble Earl on the cross benches (the Earl of Derby) to Lord Augustus Loftus in June, 1877, in which the noble Earl quotes a despatch from Earl Granville, dated January, 1874, and says—His Lordship thought it right to state candidly and at once to the Russian Government that the independence of Afghanistan was regarded by Her Majesty's Government as a matter of great importance to the welfare and security of British India, and to the tranquillity of Asia."—[Central Asia, No. 1 (1878) p. 111.]The Government of India, in 1874, were much concerned about some probable movements of the Russians in the direction of Merv, not on account of any apprehension of danger to British India, but because such an advance might lead to difficulties between Russia and Afghanistan; and at the time when the late Government resigned that question was particularly prominent. The Government of India wrote pressingly to the Home Government to speak frankly to Russia—to tell her of the inconvenience that might arise from that advance, and to do what was possible to prevent it. The noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) wrote in the strongest terms to the Russian Government, and said that the advance of the Russian arms in the direction of Merv would impose on Her Majesty's Government the necessity of making a corresponding advance, in order to allay apprehensions and to remove misconception from 482 the minds of the people of those countries. On reading those words, and the words used by Earl Granville in 1874, I felt that the intention of the Government of India had been fully carried out by Her Majesty's Government. It seems to me, therefore, that the inference drawn by the noble and learned Earl on the Woolsack and the noble Viscount opposite as to the conduct of Mr. Gladstone's Government, and of their own Government, is entirely unfounded. Both Governments, notwithstanding the objections of the noble and learned Earl, actually used much the same language to Russia as the Government of India—rightly, as I believe—had suggested. With respect to the opinions of Her Majesty's present Government on the position of Russia in Central Asia, it is hardly necessary to do more than to refer to the speech of the Prime Minister in the House of Commons in May, 1876, when he said he wasNot of that school who view the advances of Russia in Asia with those deep misgivings that some do."—[3 Hansard, ccxxviii. 500.]He said that Asia was large enough for the destinies of both Russia and EnglandAt no time," he added, "has there been a better understanding between the Courts of St. James and St. Petersburg than at the present moment; and there is this good understanding because our policy is a clear and a frank policy."—[3 Hansard, ccxxix. 139.]I think that those were wise words. They seem, from the Papers laid before Parliament, to have given great satisfaction in Russia, and they show that the policy of both Governments towards Russia was up to that time one and the same.
So much for our policy with regard to Russia. With regard to Afghanistan and other neighbouring States, the policy of the Indian Government was thus expressed by Lord Mayo before he died—The cardinal points of the foreign policy which the Government of India should steadily pursue may be briefly described as follows.…We should establish with our Frontier States of Khelat, Afghanistan, Nipal, and Burmah, intimate relations of friendship; we should make them feel that though we are all-powerful, we have no wish to encroach on their authority; but, on the contrary, that our earnest desire is to support their power and maintain their nationality; and that if severe necessity arise we might assist them with money, arms, and, per- 483 haps, in certain eventualities, with men. We could thus create in those States outworks of our Empire, and assuring them that the days of annexation are passed, make them practically feel that they have everything to gain and nothing to lose by endeavouring to deserve our favour and support.The noble Viscount opposite (Viscount Cranbrook) seemed the other night to have some difficulty in describing what our "settled policy" towards Afghanistan was. If the noble Viscount had been longer in the India Office he would have found out that the policy was clear and decided. I do not want to add anything myself to the explanation I have read, and I have read it because the policy ought to stand clearly before your Lordships. When Lord Mayo was in India the first application he made of that policy was in dealing with Afghanistan, in consequence of the arrangements made by his predecessor, Lord Lawrence, for the support of Shere Ali, and that a meeting should take place between him and the Viceroy. I am not going over again the history of the Umballa Conference. Although Lord Mayo, when he met Shere Ali, could not comply with all his wishes, the result of the Conferences which then took place was by no means unsatisfactory. I wish to add my testimony to the testimony of those noble Lords who have said in this House that the personal influence and the generous confidence inspired by Lord Mayo were of substantial public advantage in dealing with the Native Princes of India, and almost, if not quite, disarmed the suspicions of one who was the most suspicious of a suspicious race. My Lords, Shere Ali was not less suspicious when, in 1873, I had to enter into some negotiations with him. I will not trouble your Lordships with any long account of them, they have been so much before the House; all that I shall say is that upon that occasion, having received authority from Her Majesty's Government, I gave Shere Ali assurances in respect to assistance from the British Government, under certain circumstances, very much in the terms I read just now when describing the general policy to be pursued towards States which adjoin British India. There were in the speeches of the noble Viscount and of the noble and learned Earl on the Woolsack certain statements with regard to those negotiations which I cannot accept. Of course, I know that the assur- 484 ances which I gave to Shere Ali did not come up to the expectations he entertained. At the same time, when the noble Viscount brings forward the Prime Minister of Shere Ali, who conducted the negotiations in 1873, as evidence to show that the assurances which I then gave were vague, I cannot accept the extract read by the noble Viscount as conveying a correct account of the views of the Prime Minister. The noble Viscount read an extract from the Conference between the Prime Minister and Sir Lewis Pelly on the 8th of February, 1877, and which will be found at page 204 of the Afghanistan Papers. It is true that the Prime Minister then said that the nature of the assistance to be given to Shere Ali was left obscure, both in my writings and sayings; but this remark applied only to my first interview with the Prime Minister; and if the noble Viscount had taken the trouble to read the Report of the next Conference, on the 10th of February, given in the very next page of the Papers, he would have found that the Prime Minister proceeded to relate how he had afterwards discussed the subject completely with the Foreign Secretary, and how at a subsequent interview with me "all the subjects were thoroughly discussed, and so nothing was left unconsidered." The Prime Minister, who, I must say, gave a very accurate account of the transactions of 1873, throughout the Conferences with Sir Lewis Pelly, in 1877, so far from complaining that the assurances given by me in 1873 were vague and undefined, was actually trying to meet the complaint put into his mouth by Sir Lewis Pelly that they were vague and inconclusive, and that, therefore, it would be necessary to make a new Treaty with the Ameer.
There were, no doubt, some causes which led the Ameer to be dissatisfied with the Government of India. In the first place, both he and the Persian Government were dissatisfied with the arbitration which the British Government had undertaken, and which was ably and impartially carried out by Sir Frederick Goldsmid, to settle the boundary of the two countries in Seistan. Then Shere Ali was offended at the advice I gave him to keep faith with his son, Yakoob Khan. I need not defend my conduct in having done this, for no noble Lord has taken exception to it. 485 The noble Viscount (Viscount Cranbrook), having been so short a time in office, cannot be expected to know much about these details; but he entirely misapprehended the facts of the case when he charged me with having sent the message to the Ameer by a "common messenger." My Lords, I sent it by the ordinary channel of communication with the Ameer—the Native Agent of the British Government who was resident at his Court. That was, in fact, the only channel of communication I could have employed; and it was precisely the same channel that was used by Lord Lytton to conduct the recent negotiations with the Ameer. The noble and learned Earl on the Woolsack—and I cannot say that I am surprised at any error into which he may have fallen, for the subject is very complicated and difficult—has said that there was a great contrast between my letter to Shere Ali with regard to his son Yakoob, and that written to him by General Kaufmann, the Russian Governor General of Turkestan, in the year 1875.
§ THE EARL OF NORTHBROOK
I certainly understood the noble and learned Earl to say 1875; but the letter was written by General Kaufmann before I went to India. In fact, it was written in 1871, when Lord Mayo was Viceroy, and related to different events. I feel that I need not dwell long upon the other ground of complaint which the Ameer had against the Government of India—namely, the sending a Native gentleman to carry a present to the Euler of Wakhan, who had been civil to some British officers who had visited his neighbourhood. There was some misapprehension about this affair which I explained to the Ameer; but I insisted upon his permitting the messenger to proceed, as I thought his objections were unreasonable. The noble Viscount has commented upon this transaction as if I had been disposed to go to war with Afghanistan upon the matter; but your Lordships will readily understand that there were other ways of dealing with the Ameer if he had refused; and, in fact, he did what I wished. As regards all these sources of complaint on the part of the Ameer, I apprehend that no noble Lord would wish the Government 486 of India to do everything which the Ruler of Afghanistan wanted him to do—that would have been a course entirely undignified and quite improper. I hold that the Ameer had no reasonable ground of complaint; and I think I did what was quite right and reasonable towards him. Let us look, however, at the general result of this policy, which I have said was the policy of two Governments in India and at home during the time that I was Viceroy, and also in the time of Lord Mayo. There was no difference whatever in the policy of the two Governments. Both wanted to give reasonable assurances of protection to the Ameer, and both desired to keep on good terms with him. The result was fairly satisfactory. We wished that the Ameer should keep peace with his neighbours, and that he should follow our advice in his foreign affairs. He wanted to make an attack on Bokhara, but he abstained from doing so upon our advice. He next quarrelled with the Persians about Seistan; nevertheless, in consequence of our advice, he accepted our arbitration on that subject, and, as far as I know, he loyally kept his word. I advised him to give no assistance to the Turkomans; he acted upon my advice; and, moreover, at my request he tried to induce them to give up to the Russian Government some Russian subjects who had been captured and made slaves, in order to prevent a quarrel between Russia and the Turkomans, which might have brought the Russians to Merv. Then, as to his domestic affairs, I am not aware that the Ameer had any serious quarrel with me about them, with the exception, perhaps, of my advice to him about Yakoob Khan. He asked me, in 1874, to do what I could with the Persian Government to induce them to give a civil answer to his letter, announcing the nomination of Abdoolla Jan as his heir. That did not look like the act of a man who was hostile to the British Government and wished to quarrel with it. The most important thing he did just before I left India was to bring entirely within his control the country bordering on the Turkoman Frontier, not very far from the boundary which was laid down between England and Russia as that which was not to be transgressed. He communicated with us. We wrote home to the Government asking them 487 to inform the Russian Government; and I believe the noble Earl on the cross benches (the Earl of Derby) communicated with Russia. All this shows that what was contemplated by the Governments of Mr. Gladstone and of the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Beaconsfield)—namely, to remain on good terms with the Ruler of Afghanistan and to keep him a reasonable and sensible being who should not quarrel with his neighbours—was maintained up to the time when I left India. I do not like to quote my own despatches; but the account I gave in them of the state of mind of the Ameer was very much like that which I have now given to your Lordships. I believe now—not on my own authority, but on that of everybody who knew anything about it—that the Ameer was then loyal, in the sense that he had not the slightest inclination to turn to Russia for support. On the other hand, he was a little "touchy" on certain things. On two occasions the Government of India wrote to the Secretary of State when I was Viceroy that if he would treat him with patience, and not press upon him certain things unnecessarily which were distasteful to him, there was no doubt that he would remain our good friend. We felt that he was an Asiatic, and must be treated with patience as such by his European neighbours.
I know the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Salisbury) entertains a different opinion from that which I hold, in common with everyone with whom I have conversed who has filled a responsible position in India, upon the disposition of Shere Ali. The noble Marquess, of course, has a perfect right to his own opinion; but he ought not to cast a slur on a distinguished servant of the Government of India, which is entirely undeserved. In a despatch of October 4, 1877, the noble Marquess, referring to the state of mind of the Ameer, when I left India in 1876, said—This (the course of events) demonstrates but too plainly how erroneous was the opinion expressed so recently as the year 1875 by Sir Richard Pollock, the Commissioner of Peshawur, that 'no unfavourable change had occurred in the disposition of the Ameer.' Shere Ali's confidential Envoy stated explicitly that his master had 'now a deep-rooted mistrust of the good faith and sincerity of the British Government.'"—[Afghanistan, No. 1, p. 223.]Sir Richard Pollock tells me that he was unable to correct this statement himself, 488 because he has very properly felt it to be his duty, in consequence of the confidential position he so recently occupied at Peshawur, to consider his lips sealed, and to take no part, directly or indirectly, in the discussions that have taken place about the Afghan War. My Lords, the opinion given by Sir Richard Pollock was quoted by the noble Marquess from the despatch of the Government of India of the 7th of June, 1875, and it was given, not in 1875, but in the beginning of 1874, and therefore before the incidents about Yakoob Khan and the despatch of a messenger to Wakhan had occurred. But, besides, your Lordships will see in a moment how unfair the statement of the noble Marquess is with respect to Sir Richard Pollock. It is perfectly true that Shere Ali's Prime Minister said to Dr. Bellew in a private conversation on the 28th of January, 1877, which will be found at page 195 of the Afghanistan Papers, thatthe Ameer now has a deep-rooted mistrust of the good faith and sincerity of the British Government, and he has many reasons for this mistrust;but it appears from that conversation that the main reason for that mistrust was the endeavour to force British officers upon him. No doubt the Prime Minister alluded to other matters: but this was, all through the Conferences, the principal ground of his complaints. And, therefore—I am sure, perfectly unintentionally—the noble Marquess was in error in attributing a mistake to Sir Richard Pollock. I regret that the noble Marquess should have thrown any doubts upon Syud Noor Mahomed's character by saying that his statements were obviously insincere. It is true that his history is like a chapter from the Arabian Nights. He travelled once with a string of horses from one end of India to the other, and eventually rose to be the trusted Minister of the Ameer, and served his master ably and loyally. A further statement was made by the Prime Minister, as will be seen by the Papers, when he was lying ill. Dr. Bellew went to see him, and the statement he then made was very pathetic. He said to the doctor—"This is a very serious business. It is the last time the Ameer will treat with the British Government. You must not impose upon us a burden which we cannot bear; and if you overload us the responsibility 489 rests with you." The doctor asked him what burden he referred to, and he replied—"The residence of British officers on the Frontiers of Afghanistan." This, my Lords, is enough to show that the state of the Ameer's mind, as represented by his Prime Minister, arose mainly from, the endeavour to force Resident British officers upon him, directed by the noble Marquess himself in 1876, contrary to the opinion of Sir Richard Pollock, and to that of every officer who had a knowledge of Afghanistan.
I said that when I left India the Ameer was loyal to the British Government. Whether he was inclined to turn towards Russia, however, is the main point. After the negotiations of 1873, it was said by the noble Viscount (Viscount Cranbrook) that the Ameer at once turned to Russia. What proof is there for that statement? I was surprised to hoar the opinion of our Native Agent at Cabul quoted in support of it, and at the manner in which the noble Viscount spoke of the reports of the Native Agent. The noble Viscount said it was easy to see that his reports were all rubbish. Our Native Agent was a Mohammedan gentleman of high character and standing, who did good service in the Mutiny, and received a handsome reward from Lord Lytton for his services at Cabul. Englishmen are not the only people who can do anything. Many Natives can and do render good service to the British Government. In October, 1876, our Native Agent went to Simla, and said that Shere Ali did not suspect us of conspiring with Russia to his prejudice; nor that the British coveted any portion of his territory: the Ameer was well aware, he said, that Russia, sooner or later, would attack Afghanistan. The Agents of Russia, he added, were regarded by the Ameer as a source of embarrassment. That statement was made at a formal interview; and in a private interview with Captain Grey he said—"That the Ameer was desirous of securing a pied à terre in British territory whither to send his family and property when he cleared for action with Russia." Is it possible, in the face of such testimony, to say that at that time he was unfriendly to England and friendly to Russia? The noble and learned Earl on the "Woolsack—who, by the way, in commenting upon the letters of Shere Ali, 490 although he is doubtless accustomed, as he said, to interpret English documents, strangely misinterpreted the ordinary terms of compliment employed in the East—after giving an account of the negotiations of 1873, turned round and asked whether any of your Lordships would have refused to grant what was then asked by Shere Ali and refused by me? I have again to come between one Member of the present Administration and another, and to say that in his remarks addressed to me the noble and learned Earl was, at the same time, condemning his own Government. I had the honour of serving as Viceroy for two years under the Administration of the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Beaconsfield). What happened in 1874? There was a debate in your Lordships' House in which the subject of the negotiations of 1873 was thoroughly discussed; and what was then the opinion of the present Government? The opinion of the Government, as expressed in that debate, was that it was quite impossible to give Shere Ali what he wanted—namely, an unconditional guarantee of protection. But is that all? I served as Viceroy for two years after that; and did I receive any instructions to give Shere Ali the unconditional guarantee he wanted? Not one single despatch; not one single expression; not one single hint to that effect. "Here," said the noble Viscount (Viscount Cranbrook) "is what ought to have been done—the guarantee ought to have been given;" and the noble Earl says that this was the thing that drove the Ameer into the arms of Russia. But look at the two despatches in which the noble Marquess opposite instructed me, in 1875, to obtain the admission of British Residents into Afghanistan. Is there a single word about giving any additional assurances to the Ameer? Not a word; no suggestion whatever was made that any greater assurances of support should be given to him than I had given in 1873. So much so, that I was obliged to remind the noble Marquess that if Shere Ali entertained the proposal he would be certain to ask for some return. Therefore, I say that the charges brought against me by noble Lords opposite are really charges against the Government of which they themselves are Members. There can, in fact, be no distinction drawn 491 in this matter between the present and the late Government. I do not accuse the Government of doing anything wrong in the matter; for I do not believe any Government would do such a thing as to give Shere Ali an unconditional guarantee of protection—arms, ammunition, troops, whatever he liked—without asking for anything in return. This is what he asked; and this is what is now said by the noble and learned Earl on the Woolsack that I ought to have given him.
I have shown that during these eight years there had been no change of policy. The objects of the Governments in India and at home were the same; we all wanted the friendship of Afghanistan; our difference was as to the means of securing it. In 1875 I received a despatch from the noble Marquess, pointing out the desirability of our having a British Resident at Herat. I should have liked to have had on that Frontier a British officer. I was not against the measure. Do not suppose I had the least desire to oppose it; but I thought it well to consult the officers of the Government who knew most about the matter. I was on the point of proceeding to Delhi. When I arrived there I consulted the Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab, and all the most experienced officers of the Frontier. I also summoned two Native gentlemen of high character, who had been the Agents of the Government of India at Cabul, and who knew the Ameer well. One of them was the Nawab Gholam Hussein Khan. I did not hold a formal Conference; but I saw all these officers privately—one at a time—and asked them how that request would be likely to be entertained by Shere Ali, and what would be the best way of making it? They said that the admission of British Residents into Afghanistan was the one thing which the Ameer disliked more than another, and which was most likely to get us into trouble with him; and I made them write down their opinions, that I might send them home. After that I had all the Papers on the subject looked out and examined, to see if there was any information which would warrant us in assuming that Shere Ali would receive a British Agent at Herat. The noble Marquess was under that impression. He wrote to the Government of India that— 492The Ameer has more than once in former years expressed his readiness to permit the presence of an Agent at Herat, and it is therefore not possible that, if his intentions are still loyal, he will make any serious difficulty now."—[Ibid. p. 129.]I was under the impression myself that, at some time, he might have said something to that effect. We found that Lord Mayo, at Umballa, had distinctly told the Ameer that he would not be asked to receive British officers in Afghanistan; but we thought that he might have said something, in private conversations, to the effect that he might accept them elsewhere than at Cabul. We wrote this to the Secretary of State, adding that what might have passed then could not fairly be used in any negotiations with the Ameer. But since we examined into this matter in 1875, it has been set at rest by the evidence of Mr. Seton-Karr, who was Foreign Secretary to Lord Mayo at Umballa, and was, therefore, completely acquainted with all that took place. Mr. Seton-Karr came to me, of his own accord, the other day, and said—"I want to tell you that it is quite a mistake to suppose that anything of the kind was ever said by the Ameer." Not only is Mr. Seton-Karr's recollection clear on the point that Shere Ali never expressed his willingness to receive British officers in Afghanistan, but he gave an account of what occurred in a letter to Lord Lawrence, written on the 5th of April, 1869, immediately after the Conferences at Umballa, which he has authorized me to use, and which contains the following passage:—He (Shere Ali) is told that we do not want British officers as Residents at Cabul or anywhere else, and he says they would do him harm in the eyes of his people.Lord Mayo's official account of what took place has been strangely misinterpreted. It has even been said that the Mission of British officers to Afghanistan was a boon which he denied to Shere Ali. This, however, is an error, which is refuted by a private letter written on the 3rd of June, 1869, by Lord Mayo to the Duke of Argyll, in which Lord Mayo, summing up the Umballa Conferences, wrote—The only pledges given were that we would not interfere in his affairs; that we would support his independence; that we would not force European officers as Residents upon him against his wish.493 In June, 1875, the Government of India gave their opinion that it was not wise to force British Residents on the Ameer. We thought it might lead to trouble; and, as servants of the Government, we thought it our duty to point that out. There was no hurry about the matter; and having been told, by everyone whose opinion was of any value, that the course proposed was likely to alienate the Ameer, we stated our opinion to the Government; but the Government, notwithstanding the unanimous opinion of the Viceroy and his Council, replied that the course they had suggested must be followed. Again, the Government of India, in January, 1876, pointed out the evil effects which, in their opinion, would follow from carrying out the Instructions of the noble Marquess, in the hope that the matter might still be re-considered by Her Majesty's Government.
In February, 1876, however, Lord Lytton, before leaving England, received distinct and positive Instructions, both written and verbal, to insist that Shere Ali should receive British Residents in Afghanistan. My Lords, I do not wish to say a word against the proceedings of Lord Lytton; I know the difficulties and responsibilities of a Viceroy, and Lord Lytton seems to me to have carried out the Instructions which he received. The responsibility rests not upon him, but upon Her Majesty's Government. And here it is necessary to remember that there was no change of circumstances which made it necessary then to alter our relations with Afghanistan; for, as I have already shown to your Lordships, the Prime Minister declared, in May, 1876, in the House of Commons, that the relations between Great Britain and Russia had never been more satisfactory.
The first step that was taken in India was to request Shere Ali to receive Sir Lewis Pelly at Cabul. On his declining to do so he was warned in July, 1876, that if he persisted he would isolate himself from the alliance and support of the British Government. My Lords, I consider that that was the turning-point of the negotiations with the Ameer; and we know that three Members of the Viceroy's Council—Sir Henry Norman, Sir Arthur Hobhouse, and Sir William Muir—dissented from the course which was then followed. As some exception has been taken to their conduct in 494 making their dissent known, I must explain to your Lordships that the Government of India is not a government by a Viceroy, but by a Viceroy in Council; that ordinary matters are determined by the majority; and it is only in regard to matters essentially concerning the interests of India that the Viceroy has the power by law to overrule the majority. By statutory rules, framed by the Viceroy in Council under the Government of India Act, Members of Council have a right to express their dissent from any act done by the Government of India. These three Members of Council expressed their dissent at the time. The Viceroy requested them to postpone the formal record of their dissent until a despatch was sent home reporting the proceedings; but, for some reason or other, no despatch was sent home for a great length of time—indeed, until May, 1877, when all three had left India. I do not blame Lord Lytton for detaining the despatch, for I do not know his reasons; and I must add that I do not think it was done for the purpose of preventing the dissents from being recorded: Lord Lytton is an exceedingly able writer, and need not be afraid of answering any objection that might be raised by Members of his Council. But whatever the reason may have been, it is totally contrary to the practice that the course of important affairs should not be frequently reported to the Home Government. As those Members of Council were debarred from the usual opportunity of recording their dissent from the course taken in July, 1876, I have no hesitation in expressing my opinion that when the despatch of the Government of India of the 10th of May, 1877, was made public, they were fully justified in also making public their dissent. If they had not done so, it must have been supposed that they were consenting parties to the policy described in the despatch as having been pursued by the Government of India when they were Members of that Government, and responsible for its action.
To return to the negotiations with Shere Ali. The next important step followed in October, 1876, when the Ameer was plainly told that if he did not receive British officers in his territories he would lose all the protection he had hitherto obtained from England. 495 At one time it was thought he would not give way; but "owing to helplessness" he said he must agree to the demands of the British Government. He said, in substance, let my Envoy meet Sir Lewis Pelly, explain my difficulties, and if, after this, the Viceroy will not give way I must.
My Lords, I should like to dwell somewhat upon the Conferences at Peshawur, but time forbids it. I have no fault to find with the manner in which Sir Lewis Pelly carried out the instructions which he had received; he certainly carried them out with great determination. He began by telling the Prime Minister that the Viceroy desired to remove some misapprehensions in the mind of the Ameer. The Prime Minister replied that the Ameer had none; and when he was told that these misapprehensions had arisen out of the Conference with Lord Mayo at Umballa, and the communications with Lord Northbrook in 1873, the Envoy said that the Ameer went away from Umballa perfectly satisfied, and that the communications with Lord Northbrook in 1873 were satisfactory also. What weighed most in the Ameer's mind, he said, was the policy of the present Viceroy, which was different from that of previous Viceroys, in forcing the Ameer to receive British officers as Residents in Afghanistan, contrary to the Treaty of 1857 with Dost Mahomed, and to all the "agreements," "writings," and "assurances" he had received from Lord Lawrence, Lord Mayo, and myself. The Conference concluded by Sir Lewis Pelly, at the Prime Minister's request, submitting his objections for the consideration of the Viceroy. Sir Lewis Pelly was then instructed to demand a distinct and prompt answer, whether or no the Ameer refused to receive British officers in any part of Afghanistan? On this point, however, no answer was ever given, in consequence of the death of the Prime Minister. It is a very extraordinary thing that no explanation has been given, why this demand was not pressed further; for it was clear that the object of the British Government was to have British Residents in Afghanistan, and there is reason to believe that, under great pressure, and under great apprehensions, the Ameer would have given way. Indeed, it appears, from the despatch of the Government of 496 India of the 18th of May, 1877, that Lord Lytton knew that another Envoy was on his way from Cabul, who was reported to have "authority to accept eventually all the conditions of the British Government." Sir Lewis Pelly was nevertheless instructed, on the 30th of March, to close the Conference at once.
Something has been said of the conduct of the Ameer at that time as justifying the close of the negotiations. It seems that he had been raising the cry of "jehad," or of a religious war, and using hostile language towards the British Government. My Lords, I am not going to defend this suspicious Ameer, for I think he behaved very foolishly throughout these transactions. But it is only fair to look at the circumstances under which he was then placed. The occupation of Quetta occurred in October, 1876, just at the time when the Ameer was most frightened at the menacing language of the British Government. Preparations were made about the same time at Rawul Pindee to assemble a force; a bridge was thrown across the Indus; and I believe that arrangements were actually made to send a column up to the Kurram Valley, which is on the direct route to Cabul. Besides this, the Viceroy had recently seen the Maharajah of Cashmere, and encouraged him to advance against some territory on the north-east of Afghanistan, over which Shere Ali claimed sovereignty. Nothing is said about all this in the Papers laid before Parliament; but there is no doubt about the facts. They have been stated in Parliament without contradiction. The truth seems to me to be that the poor Ameer could not form any other conclusion than that the British Government were on the point of attacking him, and he turned to every side to see what defence he could make. He found, however, that the people around him did not wish to quarrel with the British Government; and we are told by the Government of India that the whole movement had "completely collapsed" before the close of the Peshawur Conference.
The Conference was closed in March, 1877. When the Viceroy closed the Conference he took away from the Ameer every assurance that he had received of protection and support from Lord Lawrence, Lord Mayo, and myself, either for himself or for Ms dynasty. 497 He withdrew our Native Agent from Cabul, and therefore deprived the Ameer of the means of communicating with the British Government; and perhaps the noble Marquess opposite will explain what door was then left open to the Ameer. Neither the noble Viscount (Viscount Cranbrook) nor the noble and learned Earl on the Woolsack have alluded to the real result of the Peshawur Conferences; and the noble Viscount described the position of affairs most inadequately in his despatch of the 28th of November, by saying that we had assumed towards the Ameer a position of "vigilant reserve." My Lords, these were the circumstances of the case. I think the course pursued was not wise. When the Government found that the Ameer was not willing to receive British Residents in Afghanistan, they need not have altogether broken off from him, or have led him to feel that he had nothing to expect from the British Government. If a different course had been taken, and time had been given him, his feelings were such that he would, I believe, in the end, have accepted their terms, however hard he might have thought them to be.
Then came a time of real difficulty, when it was necessary that closer relations should be maintained with Afghanistan. That necessity arose on account of the political condition of Europe, England and Russia having been gradually brought to the verge of war. It would then have been right to have strengthened our relations with the Ameer; but in what position had Her Majesty's Government then placed this country with reference to Afghanistan? By pushing forward demands which were not necessary, contrary to all Indian advice, when there existed no crisis whatever, they had so alienated the Ameer that it would have been almost humiliating then to have made any advances towards him. The Secretary of State (Viscount Cranbrook) used an expression in regard to the state of things in 1873 which is far more applicable to the policy of 1876—namely, that "it was too late." The policy of Her Majesty's Government made it "too late" to make a friend of the Ameer when it was really wanted. It may be said that I ought not to content myself with offering criticisms on the conduct of the Government, but should indicate 498 what I think ought to have been done. I say that if the Ameer had not been frightened about the reception of British Residents in Afghanistan, the moment there was the probability of a war between Russia and England the Viceroy ought to have communicated with him, arranged for a meeting, and offered to enter into an agreement with him similar to that entered into with his father in 1857. I am satisfied that he would have readily accepted such an offer. The policy of the Government, however, prevented that being done; and this, I believe, was one of the main causes of the war.
Then came the last stage of these transactions. The Ameer was alienated from us; he had no hope of support from us: he had no Native Agent of ours at his Court. It was arranged at Simla, in 1873, that if he were asked to receive a Russian Mission he should at once consult the Government of India; but this was impossible, as our Native Agent had been withdrawn. The Ameer had been told that we did not care either about him or his dynasty. When, therefore, the Russian Mission was pressed upon him, as he could look for no protection from us, he had no alternative but to accept it, and it seems that he did so unwillingly. When this was first known, it appears to me that the Government of India rightly intimated to Her Majesty's Government, in their telegram of the 30th of July, that the matter was one which ought to be settled between the British and Russian Governments, and not between the British Government and Afghanistan. When England and Russia were on the verge of war, it is true that neither country could fairly be held to be bound by the arrangements of 1873 or 1875 in regard to Central Asia. But before the Russian Mission reached Cabul the Treaty of Berlin had been signed; and I agree with the noble Earl on the cross benches (the Earl of Derby), that the Government should have dealt with Russia and not with Afghanistan. I believe, moreover, that they might have come to a peaceful and satisfactory understanding with Russia, and have avoided the present war. Russia was asked, no doubt, to withdraw the Mission from Cabul; but I am surprised at the satisfaction expressed by the noble and learned Earl on the Woolsack at the answer received to 499 that demand. In fact, having received no satisfactory answer from Russia, Her Majesty's Government went to war with Afghanistan. I will not dwell on the circumstances connected with the dispatch of Sir Neville Chamberlain's Mission, because from the beginning I can only regard it as a declaration of war.
My Lords, I have trespassed so long upon your indulgence that I shall say no more excepting that I believe this war was unnecessary, and that with the exercise of a little common prudence on the part of Her Majesty's Government it might have been avoided. No advantage, I am convinced, can result from it, either to England or to India: and, holding these views, I feel myself reluctantly obliged to vote for the Amendment proposed by my noble Friend behind me.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, at this hour of the evening I certainly shall not delay your Lordships long by following in detail the able but very minute speech of the noble Earl who has just sat down. But before I touch on one or two of the more important points raised in this debate, I must refer to some observations which he addressed to me in reference to Sir Richard Pollock. If the noble Earl misconstrued the meaning of that despatch I am sorry for it, for Sir Richard Pollock is a very distinguished officer; but, if anyone will read my despatch at a more reasonable hour of the day, I think he will say that the construction which the noble Earl has put upon it is entirely unwarranted, and that the proofs I sought for the assertions I made were derived from the general report of the facts addressed to me by Lord Lytton. The noble Marquess below the Gangway (the Marquess of Bath) has addressed some reproaches to me. He was in some difficulty naturally to find a reason for the vote he is about to give; and he gave as his reason that I had used some language last year which he was pleased to say was not accurate. My Lords, I prefer resignedly abandoning my character in the eyes of the noble Marquess to keeping your Lordships out of bed: therefore, I shall not go into the matter, which I dealt with sufficiently on a previous occasion. I will merely say that the Duke of Argyll asked me certain Questions, which I thought it proper and expedient should be answered. He asked me whether 500 certain troops were assembled to force a Resident upon the Ameer; he spoke of a bridge of boats erected on the Indus to facilitate operations; he wished to know whether there was any departure from a policy which had been adopted by many Indian statesmen, and whether any attempt was being made to force on the Ameer a Resident at the Court of Cabul—"Resident at the Court of a Native Prince" being an expression whose significance is well understood in India. To that Question I gave a negative answer. He asked me for positive information. I told him I could not give positive information; and because, under these circumstances, noble Lords opposite appear to have misunderstood what I intended to say, the noble Marquess and others are pleased to accuse me of disingenuousness. I imagined everyone in this House knew there were many subjects on which the mouth of a Minister of the Crown is sealed, and they cannot always explain fully what their policy is. If I had explained fully what our policy then was I must have explained the reasons on which it was founded; I must have depicted the Ameer as he had been depicted to me—as a faithless, treacherous, intriguing man, whose loyalty we had vainly attempted to secure. The noble Marquess has forgotten that anything said here by a Minister of the Crown is said not merely to this House of Lords and the English people, but to the whole world—to the Czar of Russia, to the Shah of Persia, and to the Ameer of Afghanistan; and if you insist that no answer shall be given except such as contains a complete revelation of the policy of the Government, the only inference I draw is, that in the future no answer at all can be given to Questions of that kind. Now, my Lords, turning to the main matter we have in hand. I thought at one period of the debate that we were getting rid of the study of that interesting question how the Ameer came to be angry. Seeing that he has refused, when asked in perfectly friendly language, to receive a friendly Embassy, places a force outside his own territory, and drives back that Embassy by a threat of rifle shots, it does not, in these circumstances, seem to me to be a matter of much practical importance what the particular cause of the ill-temper or disloyalty was that in- 501 duced this man to commit an act which was undoubtedly an act of war. If we are to investigate the question, let us compare for a moment the theories that are offered on the other side to account for the change of the Ameer's policy. The theory advanced the other evening was this—that the Ameer was imbued with great loyalty to the British Government, and firmly determined to resist Russia; that he had been deeply impressed by all the civil speeches which successive Viceroys had addressed to him; and that up to the date of the 8th of July, 1876, that feeling of loyalty was unbroken, and the determination in favour of England and against Russia was unchanged. Of a sudden a change came over the spirit of his dream; he altered his whole policy at once, and a Russian Envoy—as we read, for the first time—was received at Cabul. And what was the cause of this wonderful change? Why, that we had proposed to send him, at any time he pleased, and in any part of his dominions he chose to select, a friendly Ambassador. If our ally was really so constituted as that such a cause as that could produce a change in his deepest feelings of affection and long-tried loyalty, I cannot think he could be an ally about whose temper we need trouble ourselves much. We have heard there is something peculiarly terrible and unknown in the idea of a Resident being sent to Afghanistan. But, my Lords, the State with which the Ameer is best acquainted is that of Persia, which adjoins his own territory, and he knows that Envoys are sent to Persia, and continue to reside there, and that no diminution is thereby occasioned to the Shah's independence or sovereignty. I believe that the idea that the Ameer has any real aversion to the location of Residents on his Frontier is an imaginary one. That he pretended to have it, I quite admit; but as the noble Duke (the Duke of Somerset) said the other evening, when you want to know why a man is angry, you had better ask himself; and the Ameer told us on two occasions what was the cause of his anger. One cause was the very impartial conduct of Sir John Lawrence when he was struggling for his life. Sir John Lawrence had a profound conviction that it was not the duty of the British Government to interfere with the claimants for the Afghan 502 Throne; but he desired to obtain influence over the combatants for the Afghan Throne: and so, instead of leaving them alone according to each changing vicissitude of war, he recognized each candidate as he turned uppermost—always telling him, at the same time, that he had recognized the last who gained a victory, and that he would recognize the next with equal zeal. He went so far on one occasion, not being certain which was likely to be uppermost, as to send an Envoy armed with instructions to offer his facile congratulations to either. We have been told that the Ameer sees English books and newspapers—perhaps he is versed in English literature; if so, I can readily suppose that he must have looked upon Sir John Lawrence as an Oriental Vicar of Bray. What evidence is there as to what his feelings on that occasion were? Here is a record of what passed at the Conference at Umballa. His Excellency urged the Ameer to state the precise mode in which he could help him; but he replied in general terms;—but at last he broke out with great violence that the primary recognition of his rival had been the main cause of his estrangement. But then at the Conference of Umballa Lord Mayo was able to exercise an influence over him by his noble presence and genial mind. What was the next cause of his change of mind? I will accept no other testimony than that of the Ameer himself. If you look in this Blue Book at the speeches to which the noble Marquess has alluded, you will see that the circumstance upon which he dwelt more than any other was the interference of the Government of India between himself and his eldest son. That was the result of Lord Northbrook's intercession. That Lord Northbrook was perfectly justified in the course he took I do not dispute. It was perfectly impossible for any Indian Viceroy to stand by and see such gross cruelty and perfidy perpetrated without interfering. But you must remember that the great danger of the Ameer's race and of his own reign had been civil dissension, and that the one thing he had most to fear was that some member of his family should be set up by his people against him. He saw clearly the Power which loudly expressed its determination not to interfere in his civil affairs coming forward 503 in a crisis of civil dissension to interfere against himself. It seems, therefore, on the Ameer's own showing, we may clearly conclude that what offended him on the part of the British Government was not the offer to send Sir Lewis Pelly at any place or at any time on a friendly Mission into Afghanistan—it was, in the first instance, the conduct observed to him when struggling for his Throne; and, in the second place, our apparent design to renew the civil war by encouraging his eldest son in rebellion against him. Therefore, what your Lordships have to decide is, whether we were justified in the course we took in calling upon the Ameer to allow British officers to be placed at Herat and Candahar? I was very much struck by the noble Earl (the Earl of Northbrook) reiterating again and again that there was no change of policy. If there was no change of policy, why propose to censure us? Of course, there was a change of policy. When we came into Office we found there was practically no information from Afghanistan. The noble Earl asked us to ascertain what was going on on the North-Western Frontier,—which ought to have been ascertained in Asia—and to interfere in Europe in matters which ought to have been settled on the spot. The Ameer had expressed his willingness to receive Residents at any place except Cabul. It is true that the noble Earl entirely denied that fact; but I can hardly take it that he looked at the evidence on which my statement is founded. The circumstance was stated by persons who were more likely than any others to have heard what was the fact. The noble Lord (Lord Lawrence), who spoke the other night, dismissed one of the Residents, Captain Grey, on the ground that he was "an interpreter." But surely an interpreter who necessarily hears all that is said and translated is precisely the man who knows what is going on. Then there was the friend of the Ameer, Dr. Bellew, and Colonel Burne, the Private Secretary of Lord Mayo, and these men distinctly aver that the Ameer was ready to receive Residents on his Frontier. After that, what is the use of quoting a letter written by Mr. Seton-Karr on the subject? On such a point negative testimony is of no value. There can be no doubt, if evidence is worth anything, that the Ameer was ready at that 504 time to allow Residents to come upon his Frontier. Now, it seems to me that much of the misunderstanding upon this point, and much of the difference of opinion, arise from the fact that the real danger and difficulties we have to encounter in Afghanistan have never been rightly appreciated by Lord Lawrence and Lord Northbrook. The noble Lords have spoken in this debate about military invasion, and they have shown the difficulties that would stand in its way. In what they say I entirely concur. I accept the language used by my noble Friend behind me some weeks back when he said that a military invasion of India was almost impracticable. But it is not so much a military invasion of India that we have to fear; it is a diplomatic invasion of Afghanistan that we have to fear. The noble Earl (Earl Grey) who opened the debate to-night was apparently willing that Afghanistan should become, if necessary, a happy Russian hunting-ground. He was perfectly willing that it should be entirely occupied by Russians, and he had no fear of any results which might follow. My Lords, we are not in secret executive Session—as the Senate of the United States would be in under similar circumstances—and I cannot enter fully and freely into the dangers which Russians established in Afghanistan, and with Afghanistan as their base, working in India as they worked in Bulgaria and in Bosnia, would bring about. In dealing with the Russian Government, you have undoubtedly to make considerable allowances. That Government is not organized as other Governments are. You constantly meet with this phenomenon—that what is done by the Generals or the Ambassadors at one place is not known to the Government at St. Petersburg or by the Generals or Ambassadors at other places. At the very time when General Kaufmann was negotiating with the Ameer, Prince Gortchakoff was denying that anything of the kind was going on. At the very time that the last Mission of which we complained was crossing the Oxus, M. de Giers was saying to Lord Augustus Loftus at St. Petersburg that no Mission was being sent. I know it is the fashion to attribute all these discrepancies simply to dishonesty. I say—and I do so with absolute sincerity—that I do not believe that this is the 505 true explanation; and, if for no other reason—besides the regard I should naturally pay to the honourable character of those concerned—I should say that, if they were inclined to deceit, they would not venture on such clumsy deceit. The truth is that Russia—a vast Empire in which the whole of the cares of the State are thrown on the central Government—is administered practically at the will of one man alone, who, like other men, is subject to interruptions of health, to distractions of business, and who probably finds it difficult to struggle against the work which he has to do; so that that unity of policy which in other countries, where there is a Cabinet of Ministers who meet together and govern in unison, is easily attained, in Russia is difficult to arrive at. The Departments appear to act separately. The Foreign Office does not know what the War Department is doing, and one section of the Foreign Office is not always in communication with another section. I make these observations in order to clear myself from using any language which from all of us would be unfitting—and which would, perhaps, from me be particularly unfitting—in derogation of the sincerity of the Russian Government. But still you have the fact that, whether by orders or without orders, Russian Commanders and Diplomatists go forth into any country which borders on any Russian territory and devote themselves to the task of organizing it in Russian interest; they command its armies, they erect its forts, they guide its diplomacy, they shape its councils; and this unauthorized diplomatic invasion is the danger that we had to fear in Afghanistan. Now, it was of no use talking about plunging the whole world in war, as Lord Lawrence said, to cure such an evil as that; it was no use sending home suggestions about remonstrances, as the Government of Lord Northbrook did. Remonstrances at St. Petersburg are of no avail to stop a danger such as that. The only thing would be to have British Agents on the spot to watch and counteract those influences. That was the only remedy that could be applied; and that was the reason why, immediately we saw the state of things which led to the gradual rapprochement of Russia and Afghanistan in consequence of the proceedings of 506 1873, we selected this particular measure of placing British Residents on the Frontier of Afghanistan, because they could have watched, reported, and counteracted the intrigues which really threatened our supremacy in that country. What was going on all this time? The neighbourhood of Russia—the moral as well as the physical neighbourhood—was increasing. The negotiations were getting more frequent and more warm. The subordinate tone of the Ameer was getting more subordinate; the tone of General Kaufmann was getting more patronizing and more imperious. And all this time we had only a glimmer of the events taking place. There was, as it were, a thick curtain stretched across the Frontiers of Afghanistan, behind which all these intrigues were going on. I have heard something of the Native Agent, and the noble Earl (the Earl of Northbrook) was very indignant because we expressed dissatisfaction at the intelligence furnished by the Native Agent. Why Major Cavagnari and Mr. Thornton, men of the highest experience, admit that the reports sent by the Native Agent were meagre and incomplete; and nothing was put into those reports that had not been previously seen by the Ameer. This was what happened, in Cabul to the reports of the Agent we were exclusively trusting. The noble Earl perpetually reminds my noble Friend (Viscount Cranbrook) that he has been only a year in office, and seems to defend himself simply by appealing to the opinions which he himself expressed. He says we have adopted something which is disapproved by everybody who knows anything about India, and that it was strange presumption of us to go against it. Well, if that is the case, every measure to which he and his Government were opposed is approved by Lord Lytton and his Government—and one Government of India is generally as good as another; and I will not allow that the present Government is in anyway inferior in experience or talent to that over which the noble Earl presided. Therefore, if the authority is good in the one case it is good in the other. I have shown you that in the evidence of Captain Grey and with respect to the Native Agent, the noble Earl has misunderstood the evidence of the Blue Book. I will only touch on two more points, as the hour is 507 late. The noble Earl says we broke off negotiations suddenly, and left the Ameer no door by which to approach the British Government. The negotiations were broken off, not in anger, but through the death of the Envoy sent. Lord Lytton thought it a good occasion for putting an end to them, because he understood that the Ameer was negotiating with the Frontier Tribes to attack us at the very time negotiations were going on. Those negotiations, let it be borne in mind, were founded on large terms of support offered by us. Was it possible to go on making these offers to the man you knew was arming his subjects against you? But that the door was closed to him is absolutely incorrect. During the whole time, whatever means the Ameer had of communicating with the British Government he still retained to its full extent. It was still open to him to have sent an Envoy of his own. There was nothing to make it either humiliating or difficult for him to do so. Well, then I am told we ought to have gone to war with Russia. Why on earth ought we to have gone to war with Russia? The burden of Mr. Gladstone's speech at Greenwich was that we had not for this and for that gone to war with Russia. Why on earth should we go to war with Russia? Our complaint of the Ameer was that he had not received our Embassy. His excuse for not receiving our Embassy was, first, that the Russians would make it a ground for coming themselves; and, secondly, that Christians could not live safely at Cabul. The Mission of Russia tore into fragments both those excuses. It was obvious that he did not fear the Russians coming, and that Christians could live safely at Cabul. From that moment his excuses disappear. And now by his own showing, without any reason—out of pure hostility and disloyalty, because he was conspiring with others, because he did not wish light to be cast on his proceedings—he refused to receive our Envoy into his territory. It is natural for every man who has done mischief to object to light being thrown on what he has been doing. The excuses raised by the Ameer remind me of the conditions which spiritualist Professors lay down with regard to their claims—namely, that darkness is absolutely essential to the success of their operations. If I were speaking at an earlier period of the 508 night I should have much liked to dissipate some more of the stranger misconceptions of the noble Earl. Now I will not detain your Lordships. I will merely urge your Lordships before you give your vote to consider the gravity of the vote you are about to give. You are endowed by Parliament with the power of refusing or giving Supplies. You have therefore, on this question at all events, the power of deciding whether a Ministry should stand or fall. A Ministry itself is a small thing—it matters little what men sit on this bench—but in this case we represent a cause, and we carry a standard. If this matter is taken out of our hands it must be placed in the hands of others, and you know what policy they will pursue. It must be placed in the hands of those who have found India a burden; of those who comtemplate the superiority of America over this country with acquiescence and complacency; in the hands of those who even now advise us to take back our army and allow the Ameer to gain in diplomacy the victory which he has been unable to gain in arms; who would permit the Ameer again to draw down the deep veil that has hitherto concealed his proceedings, and prevented us from penetrating his designs—and who would allow him to pursue beyond the border his intrigues and disloyal designs.
§ VISCOUNT CARDWELL
, who was very imperfectly heard, was understood to express his surprise that the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) should have contented himself with so slight a reference to the speech of his noble Friend behind him, the late Viceroy of India (the Earl of Northbrook), which had so entirely disposed of the whole history of the question at issue; and that he should have thought it worthy of him to pass by the speech of the noble Marquess behind him (the Marquess of Bath) without any attempt at an answer upon the merits. Late as the hour was, he should have thought that such a speech would have been considered to demand an answer—and could not be attempted to be got rid of merely by a sneer. As regarded the letter of the late Secretary of State (the Duke of Argyll), in which he so clearly negatived the assertion that the Ameer had expressed to Lord Mayo his readiness to receive British Residents in his cities, 509 he presumed the noble Marquess could not have correctly heard it. He would, therefore, read it to him again, and commend it to his more careful consideration hereafter. The noble Marquess asked if there had been no change in the policy since the present Government came into Office, why had this Motion been made? The answer was a very simple one. The noble Marquess must have perceived, from the interest with which the House had followed every word that had fallen from his noble Friend the late Viceroy, as compared with the reception they had given to the reply, how complete the statement of his noble Friend had been. The policy, perhaps, had not been changed—for this Government, like all its Predecessors, professed to desire a strong and a friendly Afghanistan, but the mode of carrying the policy into effect had been entirely changed. Every preceding Viceroy, and every experienced Indian officer, had avoided the demand for British Residents in the territory of the Ameer as being the red rag to the bull; but the present Administration had made it the sine quâ non, and had brought about the present war. At that late hour, he would not weaken by repeating the speech of his noble Friend; who had stated with clearness and force the policy which, as Viceroy, he had carried into effect with skill and power. The speech of the noble Marquess was no answer to the statement of his noble Friend; and he was quite satisfied to leave the matter as he had stated it for the judgment of the House.
§ THE EARL OF BEACONSFIELD
My Lords, the hour is late, but I hope your Lordships will think me justified in detaining you for a few moments. My noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack sketched to us, as it were in allegory, a picture that may give to your Lordships an idea of that North-Western boundary that has been the subject of discussion these two nights. My Lords, I think it is advisable that at this moment some general conception of this scheme should be again put before you. I would picture it, not in allegory, but such as it really exists. That boundary, that North-Western boundary of our Indian Empire, is a branch of a chain of mountains the highest in the world—higher even than the Andes—yet no portion of 510 this Frontier is in possession of the inhabitants of the Indian Empire or the Indian Government, and through its Passes invading armies may make their raids, or wild and turbulent tribes ravage the fertile plains which are entrusted to your Government in that part of the world. Well, then, my Lords, I ventured to say that the inconvenience of such a boundary—the injury which frequently follows such a boundary—were felt by the Government of India, and had been more than once the subject of their consideration. The noble Viscount who moves this Amendment (Viscount Halifax) expressed upon that subject some incredulity with respect to my observations. He told us that he had much acquaintance with the Governors of India, and that he could not recall any Viceroy who had experienced a feeling or conviction of that kind. Well, now, my Lords, let us look for a moment to the facts of the ease. We have been in possession of this boundary for, I believe, 28 years. During that period we have been obliged to fit out 19 considerable expeditions to control its inhabitants, have undertaken between 50 and 60 guerilla enterprizes, and have employed upon these expeditions between 50,000 and 60,000 of Her Majesty's troops. All I can say is, that if none of the Viceroys of India who are the acquaintances of the noble Lord have felt the inconvenience, or if they have been insensible to the injury of such a boundary, they were not fit to be Viceroys. But I cannot believe that that is the case. My information would lead me to a very different result. The Government of India is not merely the business of Viceroys, but of statesmen—of sometimes eminent statesmen—and sometimes military leaders of world-wide renown. And it was the information which I derived from one of the most eminent individuals of that character and class that authorized me to make that observation which I made. That eminent personage was for a considerable time a Member of the Indian Administration. He was not prejudiced in favour of the views adopted by Her Majesty's Government. For a considerable period, notwithstanding his sense of the inconvenience and the injury of this boundary, he was one of those who opposed any change, because 511 he believed it was better to incur that inconvenience and injury than to embark on the difficult and responsible office of making a fresh boundary and disturbing arrangements in which political considerations were involved. Remembering the possibility of some Power equal to our own attacking us in that part of the world, but remembering also that some 10 years ago that Power was 2,000 miles distant from our boundaries, a man might consistently uphold the arrangement that then existed, and might, by force of circumstances and the lapse of time, be now a sincere supporter of the policy which Her Majesty's Government now recommends. That, for instance, is the case of Lord Napier of Magdala. It was only recently—on the 8th of November—that I received a telegram from him in which he says—"A careful study of our Frontier convinces me that a rectification of our Frontier is necessary." Those are the words of one of great experience and of consummate ability and judgment, who for a long time was opposed to that which he now finds is absolutely necessary. He does not shrink from the use of the word "rectification," although definitions of that word have been given by many noble Lords opposite which are not to be found in any dictionary. The noble Earl who resumed the debate to-night (Earl Grey) spoke of "rectification" of the Frontier as though it were another phrase for spoliation and annexation. ["Hear!"] I expected those cheers, and wished to receive them. Another noble Earl who spoke in the debate yesterday (the Earl of Carnarvon)—I wrote down his words, because, unfortunately, on a previous occasion he seemed to accuse me of misquoting him—said, "I hate the word 'rectification.' It seems to me to savour of the worst traditions of the French Empire—a word to conceal wrong and robbery." A noble Marquess (the Marquess of Ripon), who recently addressed us, described it as a dark word, and he seemed to tremble as he uttered it. For my own part, I cannot agree in any of these definitions. "Rectification" of Frontier, is a correct diplomatic term which is accepted by the highest authorities and which has a precise and a definite meaning. The "rectification" of Frontiers, instead of being a word of the French Empire, has been long adopted, and your Lordships 512 will be surprised to find that the peace of the world very much depends upon Treaties for the rectification of Frontiers. If all the Treaties for the rectification of Frontiers were destroyed as instruments of the terrible kind described by noble Lords opposite and by the noble Earl on the cross Benches (the Earl of Carnarvon), the peace of the world would be endangered, and might be destroyed. Well, my Lords, after that observation the other night, I took a note of some Treaties for the rectification of Frontiers, and I took them on conditions which I am sure your Lordships will all agree are fair. First of all, they are modern—I would not produce old instances. Secondly, they are not only modern Treaties, but Treaties none of which were entered into or negotiated after a war. Therefore, they are not the consequences of force or fraud. Now, I find that from 1856 to 1868—quite in our own time—there were five Treaties between France and Spain for the rectification of Frontiers; and I have no hesitation myself in saying that if those Treaties had not taken place, there would have been war between France and Spain, and that the existence of those Treaties prevented war. Between France and Switzerland there was a Treaty for the rectification of Frontiers in December, 1862—a Treaty of some celebrity—one which was certainly not a dark instrument. It was a Treaty which certainly has contributed to the maintenance of peace. There is a Treaty between Great Britain and France for the rectification of Frontiers—your Lordships may be surprised to find a Treaty for the rectification of Frontiers between an island and a continent; but it had reference to their possessions in the East Indies. That is a modern Treaty. There is a Treaty for the rectification of Frontiers between Italy and Switzerland, and one between Portugal and the Transvaal. The Transvaal is a place of which I believe the noble Earl on the cross Benches has some knowledge. To make it complete, there is a Treaty for the rectification of Frontiers between Great Britain and an Oriental Kingdom—like Afghanistan—the Kingdom of Siam. Now, I believe the number of those Treaties I have mentioned—some dozen—might be doubled or even trebled if it were necessary.
Did these Treaties involve any of the States parties to them in a diminution of territory?
§ THE EARL OF BEACONSFIELD
The observation of the noble Earl deserves remark. A rectification of Frontiers does not necessarily involve a diminution of territory. Many such Treaties are carried out by means of equivalents. I make no application of those Treaties to the case of Afghanistan. I have not touched upon that point yet. The noble Earl is impetuous. It has been said that I stated on a recent occasion the object of the war to be a rectification of Frontier—the substitution of a scientific for a hap-hazard Frontier. Now, in the first place, I never said that was the object of the war. I treated it as a possible consequence of the war, which is a very different thing. Our first application to the Ameer was, in fact, virtually founded upon the principle of rectifying our Frontier without any disturbance of territory whatever. What was our difficulty with regard to Afghanistan? We could gain no information as to what was going on beyond the mountain range—which was, in fact, rather a prison than a Frontier—or what might be preparing in the numerous valleys of Afghanistan. What we wanted, therefore, was eyes to see and ears to hear; and we should have attained our object had the Ameer made to us those concessions which are commonly granted by all civilized States, and which even some Oriental States do not deny us—namely, to have a Minister at his capital—a demand which we did not press—and men like our Consuls General at some of his chief towns. With that we should have been satisfied. It would virtually have been a rectification of our Frontier; because we should have got rid of those obstacles that rendered it utterly impossible for us to conduct public affairs with any knowledge of the circumstances with which we had to deal as regarded Afghanistan. Therefore, the noble Earl is precipitate in concluding that because I am in favour of a rectification of Frontier, and wished to see a scientific instead of an hap-hazard one, that necessarily any change would occur. I only wish to observe that abstractedly there is no absolute necessity for change, because you may rectify a Frontier. And you may rectify it in different ways—by equivalents and 514 so forth. But, my Lords, my observations on that subject in another place were made rather with reference in my mind to certain wild ideas that were then prevalent, to the effect that it was the intention of the Government to invade and conquer Afghanistan and annex it to our Empire. I explained that that was not our object, and that a scientific rectification of our Frontier would effect for us all the results we desired. And, my Lords, what is a scientific Frontier compared with a haphazard one? Why, it is, as a military authority has said, this—a scientific Frontier may be defended with a garrison of 5,000 men; while, with a hap-hazard one, you may require for its defence an army of 100,000 men, and even then not be safe from sudden attack. It is not for us now to consider what arrangements may be made with this object further than to say that Her Majesty's Ministers, after all that has occurred, will feel it their duty to take care of the security of our Indian Empire. My Lords, whatever may be the objections to the present Northwestern Frontier of our Indian Empire, I have little doubt things would have gone on much in the same way—Members of the Indian Administration would have been equally conscious of the deficiencies of that Frontier—and yet so difficult is the task of amending a Frontier, and so great are the obstacles which certainly present themselves, things would have gone on, I dare say, as they had gone on for 28 years, had it not been for the sudden appearance of Russia in the immediate vicinity of Afghanistan. I would, my Lords, speak on that subject with frankness. It is, no doubt, much easier to speak of it now than it would have been a year ago, or eight months ago. Eight months ago war was more than probable between this country and Russia; and an imprudent word might have precipitated that war. At present we know, from the language of the gracious Speech from the Throne, that Her Majesty's relations with all Powers are friendly, and they are not less friendly with Russia than with any other Power. I will say of the expedition which Russia was preparing in Central Asia at the time when she believed that war was inevitable between our country and herself—I will say at once that I hold that all those preparations on the part of Russia 515 were justifiable; and if war had occurred, of course they would have contributed to bring about the ultimate result, whatever that might have been. Had we been in the position of Russia, I doubt not we might have undertaken some enterprize of a similar kind. No doubt there were a great many wild expressions uttered by persons of some authority. No doubt there have been dreams indulged in by individuals which were never realized. I dare say there are Russian officers who would not have disliked to have cooled the hoofs of their chargers in the waters of the Indus; on the other hand, I dare say there were some English soldiers who would have liked to have caught a glance of the Caspian, and to have exclaimed , like the soldiers of Xenophon. We may dismiss from our considerations all these dreams and wild expressions, and admit that if war had occurred between the two countries, all the preparations in Central Asia against Great Britain and India were justifiable; but when it was found that war was not to be made, Her Majesty's Government made becomingly courteous representations to St. Petersburg, and it was impossible that anything could be more frank and satisfactory than the manner in which they were met. The Emperor of Russia said—"It is very true we did intend to injure you as much as we could on your Indian border; but war has not occurred—war, I trust, will not occur between Russia and England. We have already given orders for our troops to retire to their old stations beyond the Oxus; our Ambassador shall be merely considered as a provisional Ambassador on a Mission of courtesy, and as soon as possible he shall disappear." I think that was sufficient and satisfactory conduct on the part of Russia in regard to this matter. But, my Lords, it was totally impossible for us, after all that has occurred, to leave things as they were. After we had found the Russian armies almost in sight of Afghanistan, and their Embassy within the walls of Cabul, we could not go on with the old system and indulge in the fancy that our Frontier was a becoming and secure Frontier in the circumstances. It was, therefore, absolutely necessary to consider what course we should take. My noble Friend who spoke last night from the cross Benches (the Earl of Derby) made a most ingenious speech, 516 marked by all his characteristics. I never was more pleased. I listened for a long time to what seemed a complete vindication of the Government; and remembering it came from an old comrade in arms with whom I had worked for a quarter of a century, who had ever possessed my entire confidence, but who had left me, unfortunately, from circumstances over which, I assume, he had no control, I thought he was making the amende by taking an early opportunity of vindicating the policy of the Government. But before he sat down, all that romantic flutter of the heart which I had experienced entirely ceased when I found that, notwithstanding his approbation of the Government policy, he was going to vote for the Amendment. What surprised me more than anything else was the reason he gave for it—that was, because we did not go to war with Russia. My noble Friend said—"If you acted logically and properly you ought to have gone to war with Russia, and therefore I must vote for the Amendment. You ought not only to have gone to war with Russia, but in regard to Afghanistan you ought to have treated the Ameer with more courtesy and kindness. You ought to have made appeals to him, and taken every step which might gain his confidence and guide his policy." My Lords, that is the very course which we have pursued. Really, the Ameer of Afghanistan has been treated like a spoiled child. He has had messages sent to him; he has had messengers offered to him—he has sent messengers to us, who have been courteously received. We have written him letters, some of which he has not answered, and others he has answered with unkindness. What more could we have done? Yet my noble Friend is going to vote against the Government, because—with, we think, an imperfect conception of our conduct—he says we have behaved harshly to the Ameer, and not taken the proper course of behaving hostilely to Russia. But Russia has taken every step to make honourable amends to England, and her conduct presents the most striking contrast to that furnished by the Ameer. Then there was another point, which at this late hour of the night I cannot dwell upon, but which I will notice, because it has been treated with great misconception. It refers to the financial 517 part of the question—to the expenses. My noble Friend on the cross Benches (the Earl of Derby) has no confidence in our finance. He recalls the instance of the Abyssinian War, and he says that there was an estimate of £3,000,000, and it turned out to be £9,000,000. My noble Friend ought to be well informed on that subject, because it was at his instance and by his advice that we decided upon that war. I believe better advice was never given; a more necessary war was never undertaken. But when that war took place it unfortunately occurred very late in the season, and the Cabinet were of opinion, and were informed by those who were competent to advise them in such matters, that the affair could not be finished in one campaign. But information subsequently reached the Government which convinced them that by great exertions and expense it might be concluded in one campaign, and we did not hesitate to incur that expense, which amounted to a very large sum, and which was chiefly spent in obtaining means of transport. But it was through that expenditure that Lord Napier, in addition to his great qualities and skill, was enabled to conclude the Abyssinian War in one campaign. If you had had two campaigns you would have spent not only £9,000,000, but more. In the second campaign you might have had a very bad season, instead of the very fine season that we had; and you might, instead of savages, have found European officers who would have assisted them in resisting their enemy. But instead of that, Lord Napier conducted the one campaign to a successful issue without, I believe, the loss of a single life. Well, my Lords, the question is—What is the course we ought to take at the present moment? I was in hopes, after the debate the other night, in which no one interfered with those Members of your Lordships' House whose conduct was implicated in the various Blue Books on the Table, that we might have discussed the political character of the question much more fully than we have done, and that we should not be again lost in a series of what I must call wrangles about the conduct of Ministers who are in office and those who are out. If the noble Viscount who has just sat down (Viscount Cardwell) is satisfied with the triumphant speech of the late Viceroy 518 of India, as he describes it, I can only say that it is not a speech which will give to the people of England that knowledge which is desirable, and which they wish to have of the great question at issue. If I am to sum up the three nights' debate which we virtually have had upon this matter, I should say it might be summed up in a sentence, so far as the discussions have gone—we have done something which in theory you approve, and which, if England had acted in time, you would have done yourselves. In a despatch of the noble Earl (the Earl of Northbrook), who addressed us at such length this evening, your Lordships will find this statement—His Government is alarmed by an account that the Russians are going to occupy Merv, and what he proposes is this: He proposes that we should make—I do not know that it was not to be an offensive and defensive alliance—but certainly a defensive alliance, with Afghanistan, and that English officers should be immediately admitted to Herat. What is the difference——
§ THE EARL OF BEACONSFIELD
I am sorry that the noble Earl has the habit of contradicting without appealing to documents. I can give the date to the noble Earl. He will find it in June, 1875. His despatch says—Much discussion has recently taken place as to the effect that would be produced by a Russian advance to Merv. We have before stated to Her Majesty's Government our apprehension that the assumption by Russia of authority over the whole Turkoman country would create alarm in Afghanistan, and we think it desirable to express our opinion of the course which should be adopted if it should take place.Here it is—It would then become necessary to give additional and more specific assurances to the Ruler of Afghanistan that we are prepared to assist him to defend Afghanistan against attack from without. It would probably be desirable to enter into a Treaty engagement with him," (not merely an assurance but) "a Treaty engagement with him; and the establishment of a British Resident at Herat would be the natural consequence of such an engagement and of the nearer approach of the Russian Frontier."—[Afghanistan, No. 1, pp. 134–5.]I appeal to your Lordships whether this quotation does not entirely substantiate my statement as to the policy of the noble Earl, and whether my summary 519 between the policy of the late Viceroy and our own is not correct and complete? I have no objection at any time to be interrupted, and the only reason why I regret it now is that it will add to the few moments during which I shall have to trouble you. I received yesterday a communication from Lord Napier of Magdala, who expresses his regret that he cannot arrive in time to take part in this debate. He says—Afghanistan, if in the hands of a hostile Power, may at any time deal a fatal blow to our Empire. We cannot remain on the defensive without a ruinous drain on our resources. Our Frontier is weak; an advanced position is necessary for our safety.When I am told that no military authority justifies the policy of Her Majesty' s Government, I can appeal with confidence to one who, I believe, must rank among the highest military authorities. I will not detain your Lordships, because it is impossible in your exhausted state, having met at an extraordinarily early hour to-day, to enter into any great discussion. What I want to impress on your Lordships before you divide—which you will do in a few minutes—is that you should not misapprehend the issue on which you have to decide. It is a very grave one. It is not a mere question of the Khyber Pass, or of some small cantonment at Dakka or at Jellalabad. It is a question which concerns the character and the influence of England in Europe—and your conduct to-day will animate this country and encourage Europe if it be such as I would fain believe you are determined to adopt. My Lords, I object entirely to this Amendment of the noble Lord. It is an absurd position almost in which to put the House of Lords to come down and appeal to them to stop the Supplies to Her Majesty. If the Amendment is substituted for our original Motion, that would be the inevitable result. I cannot believe that many noble Lords opposite, when they accurately comprehend the issue which is before them, can sanction such a course. They can scarcely have been conscious of the dangerous precipice to which the noble Viscount the Mover of the Amendment is leading them. We have seen in this debate an indignant spirit hostile to these tactics evinced by some of the most eminent members of the Party opposite. The speech of the 520 noble Duke (the Duke of Somerset), which was hailed from both sides of the House, was one which expressed the sentiments which I am sure the great majority must feel. My Lords, what I see in the Amendment is not an assertion of those great Whig principles, which no man respects more than myself. What is at the bottom of it is rather that principle of peace-at-any-price, which a certain party in this country upholds. It is that dangerous dogma which I believe animates the ranks before me at this moment, although many of them may be unconscious of it. That deleterious doctrine haunts and harasses the people of this country in every form. Sometimes it is a committee; sometimes it is a letter; sometimes it is an Amendment to the Address; sometimes it is a proposition to stop the Supplies. My Lords, that doctrine has done more mischief than any I can well recall that have been afloat in this century. It has occasioned more wars than the most ruthless conquerors. It has disturbed, and nearly destroyed, that political equilibrium so necessary to the liberties of nations and the welfare of the world. It has dimmed occasionally even the majesty of England. And, my Lords, to-night you have an opportunity which I trust you will not lose, to brand these opinions—these deleterious dogmas—with the reprobation of the Peers of England.
§ On Question, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Motion? their Lordships divided:—Contents 201; Not-Contents 65: Majority 136.522
|Cairns, E. (L. Chancellor.)||Bute, M.|
|Beaufort, D.||Salisbury, M.|
|Manchester, D.||Amherst, E.|
|Marlborough, D.||Bathurst, E.|
|Newcastle, D.||Beaconsfield, E.|
|Northumberland, D.||Beauchamp, E.|
|Richmond, D.||Belmore, E.|
|Sutherland, D.||Bradford, E.|
|Wellington, D.||Brownlow, E.|
|Abercorn, M. (D. Abercorn.)||Clonmell, E.|
|Abergavenny, M.||Dartmouth, E.|
|Ailesbury, M.||De La Warr, E.|
|Ailsa, M.||Denbigh, E.|
|Bristol, M.||Devon, E.|
|Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.)||Ashford, L. (V. Bury.)|
|Eldon, E.||Balfour of Burley, L.|
|Ellesmere, E.||Bateman, L.|
|Erne, E.||Blackburn, L.|
|Ferrers, E.||Blantyre, L.|
|Fitzwilliam, E.||Bloomfield, L.|
|Fortescue, E.||Brancepeth, L. (V. Boyne.)|
|Haddington, E.||Braybrooke, L.|
|Hardwicke, E.||Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.)|
|Howe, E.||Byron, L.|
|Jersey, E.||Charlemont, L. (E. Charlemont.)|
|Lonsdale, E.||Churston, L.|
|Lovelace, E.||Clements, L. (E. Leitrim.)|
|Macclesfield, E.||Clinton, L.|
|Malmesbury, E.||Colchester, L.|
|Mansfield, E.||Colville of Culross, L.|
|Manvers, E.||Conyers, L.|
|Mar and Kellie, E.||Cottesloe, L.|
|Mount Edgcumbe, E.||Crofton, L.|
|Nelson, E.||De L'Isle and Dudley, L.|
|Orford, E.||De Mauley, L.|
|Pembroke and Montgomery, E.||Denman, L.|
|de Ros, L. [Teller.]|
|Powis, E.||De Saumarez, L.|
|Radnor, E.||Digby, L.|
|Ravensworth, E.||Dormer, L.|
|Redesdale, E.||Dunmore, L. (E. Dunmore.)|
|Rosse, E.||Dunsany, L.|
|Rosslyn, E.||Ellenborough, L.|
|Sandwich, E.||Elphinstone, L.|
|Stanhope, E.||Ettrick, L. (L. Napier.)|
|Strange, E. (D. Athol.)||Forester, L.|
|Tankerville, E.||Foxford, L. (E. Limerick.)|
|Waldegrave, E.||Gage, L. (V. Gage.)|
|Westmorland, E.||Gerard, L.|
|Wharncliffe, E.||Grey de Radcliffe, L. (V. Grey de Wilton.)|
|Wilton, E.||Grinstead, L. (E. Enniskillen.)|
|Bangor, V.||Gwydir, L.|
|Bridport, V.||Hampton, L.|
|Clancarty, V. (E. Clancarty.)||Harlech, L.|
|Hartismere, L. (L. Henniker.)|
|Doneraile, V.||Hastings, L. (E. Loudoun.)|
|Hardinge, V.||Hastings, L.|
|Hood, V.||Hawke, L.|
|Melville, V.||Hay, L. (E. Kinnoul.)|
|Sidmouth, V.||Heytesbury, L.|
|Strathallan, V.||Houghton, L.|
|Templetown, V.||Howard de Walden, L.|
|Torrington, V.||Inchiquin, L.|
|Bangor, L. Bp.||Keane, L.|
|Chichester, L. Bp.||Kenlis, L. (M. Headfort.)|
|Gloucester and Bristol, L. Bp.|
|Ker, L. (M. Lothian.)|
|Hereford, L. Bp.||Kesteven, L.|
|St. Albans, L. Bp.||Leconfield, L.|
|St. David's, L. Bp.||Londesborough, L.|
|Abinger, L.||Manners, L.|
|Airey, L.||Massy, L.|
|Alington, L.||Monteagle of Brandon, L.|
|Mowbray, L.||Skelmersdale, L. [Teller.]|
|Norton, L.||Somerhill, L. (M. Clanricarde.)|
|Oranmore and Browne, L.|
|Ormonde, E. (M. Ormonde.)||Stratheden and Campbell, L.|
|Penrhyn, E.||Strathnairn, L.|
|Penzance, L.||Tollemache, L.|
|Poltimore, L.||Tredegar, E.|
|Raglan, L.||Truro, L.|
|Ramsay, L. (E. Dalhousie.)||Tyrone, L. (M. Waterford.)|
|Rayleigh, L.||Ventry, L.|
|Rivers, L.||Vernon L.|
|Rodney, L.||Vivian, L.|
|Romilly, L.||Walsingham, L.|
|Ross, L. (E. Glasgow.)||Wentworth, L.|
|Rossmore, L.||Westbury, L.|
|Sackville, L.||Willoughby de Broke, L.|
|Saltersford, L. (E. Courtown.)|
|Saltoun, L.||Winmarleigh, L.|
|Scarsdale, L.||Wynford, L.|
|Sheffield, L. (E. Sheffield.)||Zouche of Haryngworth, L.|
|Bedford, D.||Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.) [Teller.]|
|Saint Albans, D.||Carew, L.|
|Westminster, D.||Carlingford, L.|
|Bath, M.||Coleridge, L.|
|Lansdowne, M.||Crewe, L.|
|Northampton, M.||De Tabley, L.|
|Ripon, M.||Dunning, L. (L. Rollo.)|
|Elgin, L. (E. Elgin and Kincardine.)|
|Camperdown, E.||Emly, L.|
|Carnarvon, E.||Hammond, L.|
|Cowper, E.||Hatherton, L.|
|Derby, E.||Lanerton, L.|
|Ducie, E.||Lawrence, L.|
|Dudley, E.||Leigh, L.|
|Grey, E.||Lyttelton, L.|
|Kimberley, E.||Meldrum, L. (M. Huntly.)|
|Northbrook, E.||Monck, L. (V. Monck.)|
|Portsmouth, E.||Moncreiff, L.|
|Shaftesbury, E.||Monson, L. [Teller.]|
|Spencer, E.||O'Hagan, L.|
|Sydney, E.||Oxenfoord, L. (E. Stair.)|
|Cardwell, V.||Rosebery, L. (E. Roseberg.)|
|Gordon, V. (E. Aberdeen.)|
|Halifax, V.||Sefton, L. (E. Sefton.)|
|Oxford, L. Bp.||Strafford, L. (V. Enfield.)|
|Aberdare, L.||Sudeley, L.|
|Acton, L.||Waveney, L.|
|Beaumont, L.||Wolverton, L.|
|Belper, L.||Wrottesley, L.|
§ Resolved in the Affirmative.
§ Then the original Motion agreed to.
§ House adjourned at a quarter before Three o'clock, to Tuesday next, a quarter before Five o'clock.