HL Deb 26 October 1882 vol 274 cc133-54

My Lords, I have the honour to move a series of Resolutions, of which I have given Notice, conveying Votes of Thanks to the Commanding Officers and troops serving in the late Expedition to Egypt. I think that the Resolutions should be put separately, although I will now treat them as a whole. Your Lordships will understand that I do not, in the slightest degree, ask you to commit yourselves to any approbation of the policy of Her Majesty's Government. All I ask is that you will co-operate with the Sovereign and the other House of Parliament in the grateful duty of expressing the thanks of the nation to the brave men who have had so great a success in Egypt. Your Lordships are aware that soldiers and sailors are particularly alive to the good opinion of their countrymen, and I believe there is no honour which they value more than that of a Parliamentary acknowledgment in regard to their services. My Lords, the Naval Forces engaged at Alexandria were, in the first place, the Mediterranean Squadron, which was strongly reinforced; secondly, the Channel Squadron, which arrived at Malta after the attack on the forts; and, thirdly, the Detached Squadron, which had been round the world conveying the sons of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and which was ordered from Gibraltar on its way home. Fourthly, apart from these, there was part of the East Indian Squadron, under Sir William Hewett; and, fifthly, the Reserve Squadron, under the Duke of Edinburgh, was at Gibraltar, ready to go to the Mediterranean if required. Rear Admiral Hoskins was selected for service in the Suez Canal. The force of the Royal Marines numbered 2,500, and the total of officers, seamen, and marines 14,500. In the 1st Resolution I ask your Lordships to give a Vote of Thanks to Sir Beauchamp Seymour, under whose command the Naval Force was engaged. Our Votes of Thanks are entirely confined to what they have done in Egypt; but I may, perhaps, be allowed to mention that the Government feel themselves under obligations to Admiral Sir Beauchamp Seymour for previous services during his Mediterranean command. He commanded the Fleet during the negotiations concerning the Greek and Montenegrin Frontiers, as to which there is an absurd legend that he had instructions never to use force. That was perfectly untrue, although, luckily, the necessity did not arise; but we owe much to the judgment, temper, and tact of the Admiral in dealing both with the Oriental authorities, and with our gallant foreign Naval Allies. They were of great use in contributing to the success of the arrangements. My Lords, Admiral Sir Beauchamp Seymour exhibited the same qualities, in a very remarkable degree, in Egypt, during the critical time before the attack on the forts of Alexandria. I may mention, among other circumstances which are satisfactory, that he was on the best possible terms with the French Admiral (Admiral Conrad), of whom it is only fair to say that during the whole of the time he showed a most loyal and friendly feeling towards the English. Admiral Seymour showed great skill and judgment in the attack upon the forts, and it is to the arrangements that were then made that we must partially attribute the fact that there was not a greater loss of life. The attack was carried on with great courage and success, with small loss of life and damage to the ships, although the Egyptians had 44 modern rifled guns and 200 smooth-bores, and made a most courageous defence. Even 10 hours after the opening attack the forts were not all silenced, only one by one giving way. It was found that preparations were made for mounting more guns, with great stores of ammunition and torpedoes. If the attack had been delayed, we should have suffered very severely. On our side very great care was taken to avoid damage to the town. The conflagration on the 12th was due to lamentable causes, on which I will not now dwell. I cannot help alluding to the courage of a small party who landed to disable these silenced guns, and swam back again to their ships. Sir Beauchamp Seymour spoke with great admiration of the manner in which the officers and men carried out their various duties. Until the arrival of Sir Archibald Alison, on the 17th of July, with two battalions from Cyprus, and 1,000 marines, the defence of Alexandria was undertaken by a small body of the seamen and the marines of the Fleet—a duty requiring skill, energy, and vigilance on so long an extent of lines. The police protection of Alexandria was also provided for with singular energy, temper, and good sense. After the arrival of more troops, the officers and men of the Fleet continued to assist the Army in many ways—in mounting heavy guns, in fitting up and working guns on a railway truck, which were used in re-connoissances, and in providing for the water supply of Alexandria, which was threatened by the damming of the Mahmoudieh Canal. This important, indeed necessary, work was carried out so completely that water was in sufficient supply not only for the soldiers and sailors, but for the whole population, at that time, of Alexandria. In alluding to such works as these, I feel great regret that the scope of the subject hardly permits me to refer to the courageous, enduring, skilful work done by civilians in connection with waterworks and railways, and performed under circumstances of the greatest personal risk. It was decided from the first that the line of operations upon Cairo should be by the Suez Canal, with the base at Ismailia, and preparations were made to bold the line of the Canal from Port Said to Port Suez by the Navy and Marines until the arrival of the troops. Rear Admiral Hoskins was in charge of this delicate operation, and admirably well he did it. Sir William Hewett showed his well-known energy in occupying Suez, and preparing to take possession of the southern portion of the Canal. Circumstances, of which your Lordships are aware, caused great anxiety, and obliged Admiral Hoskins to act with forbearance and caution. And now, my Lords, as a friend and neighbour of one of the principal depots of the Marines, it is with peculiar pleasure that I allude to that distinguished Corps, who, although sometimes inclined to dread being squeezed out by the superior numbers of blue-jackets and of soldiers, always manage to retain a great and well-deserved hold on the appreciative respect and sympathy of the public. They were in every action from first to last. They were the first troops to land with the sailors at Alexandria. They distinguished themselves at the reconnoissance in force on the 5th of August, under Sir Archibald Alison. The Royal Marine Artillery behaved with great gallantry at Kassassin. The Light Infantry were in the first line at Tel-el-Kebir. Both lost heavily during the campaign. As to the Transport, over 28,000 officers and men and nearly 6,000 animals were conveyed to Egypt and the Mediterranean in connection with the operations. Forty thousand tons of stores were sent out; 124 ships in all were engaged by the Admiralty. Not a single casualty occurred. When the movement of the troops from Alexandria was settled, the plans carefully prepared beforehand were carried out in the early morning of the 20th of August. On the arrival of the transports the whole line of the Canal was safe in the hands of the Navy, the enemy shelled out of Nefiche, three and a-half miles from Ismailia—one of the cleverest operations of the campaign—and telegraphic communication established. The pilotage of the transports was exclusively undertaken by the Naval officers; and the arrangements were so perfect that, while one or two merchant vessels were never stopped at all, the normal traffic of the Canal was resumed in less than 48 hours. The discipline was so good that, out of 300 sailors who occupied Port Said for a month, only four cases of want of discipline were serious enough to be brought before the officer in command. The action at Chalouf, between Ismailia and Suez, secured the line of railway to Suez. A 40-pounder gun on a truck was worked by seamen. A Naval Brigade, at Sir Garnet's special request, took part in the action of Tel-el-Kebir. But the greatest service rendered to the Army was the conveyance of stores and provisions along the Fresh Water Canal, and the greatest energy was displayed in bringing back the wounded from Tel-el-Kebir to Ismailia, which has been gratefully recognized by Sir Garnet. It sounds as if a canal and a railway were extraordinary aids for transport; but it must be remembered that the Canal was a narrow, shallow ditch, meant to convey water, not to carry traffic, and that the single line of railway was broken up for miles. I now come to the 2nd and 3rd Resolutions. During the Naval operations, measures of precaution had been taken; the Mediterranean garrisons had been strengthened by two battalions, and a force was sent from Malta to Cyprus on the 8th of July, which subsequently arrived at Alexandria on the 15th of July. It was on the 20th of July that the Cabinet decided on the Expedition. The Vote of Credit passed on the 27th of July. Preparations commenced on the 21st of July, and on the 30th the first troops left for the field, followed from day to day till, on the 11th of August, there was a complete Army Corps, with proper proportions of Cavalry, Artillery, and Engineers, of about 36,000 men, 54 field guns, and 5,600 horses. I have refrained, though reluctantly, from alluding to the merits of the Departments in which the two noble Earls near me have worked so hard; but I do not feel the same scruple with regard to the Indian Government. Orders had been sent to India on the 8th of July, as a preliminary measure, to send the Sea-forth Highlanders to Suez. Immediately on the receipt of the orders of the 25th of July, for the despatch of the Indian Contingent, the Government of Bombay were called upon to take up and equip sufficient transport for the whole Force. So well was the call responded to, that the first instalment of the detachment sailed on the 5th of August; and by the 9th September 47 transports, aggregating 114,500 tons, had left India, conveying 322 commissioned and warrant officers, 1,690 British troops, with 12 guns, 3,970 Native troops, 7,209 followers, 1,765 horses, 4,375 mules, and 775 ponies. The first detachment arrived 27 days from the date of the first instructions for their despatch, and the Force continued to arrive until the 15th of September; and though the season of the Monsoon was the least favourable time of the year for sending troops by sea, man and animals arrived in excellent health, there being no casualties among the men, and only 27 among the horses. The Indian Government provided tents for 16,000 troops coming from England, and raised, equipped, and despatched, on Sir Garnet Wolseley's requisition, a corps of 600 muleteers for employment with the Transport animals. The result was a perfect success; the troops were able to take the field immediately on arriving, and to keep it in perfect health, thorough efficiency, and comparative comfort, until the close of the operations, during which, under the command of General Macpherson, they did such admirable service, and nowhere more than in the attack on Tel-el-Kebir, and by the part they took in the brilliant march to Cairo. The Indian Contingent has already left Egypt, excepting the commissioned and non-commissioned officers selected to visit England before their return to India, when I hope they will receive the honour due to them. To return to the history of the campaign, Sir Archibald Alison had, by bold and skilful action, made safe our position at Alexandria, and the value of recent tactical training was shown on this occasion. Sir Garnet Wolseley, aided by Sir John Adye, instantly on arrival carried out the plan of campaign which had been carefully preconcerted in England. The bulk of the Army was removed bodily to the new base with speed, secrecy, and success of details. On arriving at Ismailia, the force under General Graham pushed forward to secure water and seize the obstructing dams made across the Canal. It rapidly seized Kassassin Lock, and made the supply of water safe. There were two successful skirmishes under General Graham, and on the night of the 2nth of August there was a Cavalry charge, executed with courage and steadiness. Here the Household Cavalry had the first opportunity of vindicating their military efficiency. The Force, strengthened by Sir Edward Hamley and one brigade, pushed forward for a great result. My Lords, at this moment of offering our thanks to the Army of Egypt, I cannot help feeling that we have been anticipated by the popular and warm receptions which have been given in different parts of the country to detachments of the returning Force. Most of your Lordships have, like myself, probably, only had the opportunity of seeing some of the Household Cavalry passing through the cheering multitudes of this great city. It was remarked to me that, on the Continent, a victorious army would have been re-clothed before entering the capital. I do not know whether that is the case; but it seemed to me that these sunburnt men, looking older, thinner, but in first-rate condition, in weather-stained, worn-out jackets, told their own story of endurance and of courageous discharge of duty in a more telling manner than by any attempt of smartening them for the occasion. It was after this affair at Kassassin that alarming prognostications were made at home and abroad—that the delays and dawdling of Sir Garnet had destroyed the chances of success which at one time were within our grasp. We are all wise after the event, and we all now acknowledge that delays and dawdling are not Sir Garnet's especial defects. A great military historian has remarked that the great difference of wars of this century, compared with those of previous times, is that, owing to the greater powers of locomotion in an army, an extension and a rapidity have been given to war which were previously unknown; that, in consequence of this, every soldier thinks of going straight to his end—namely, the capital of the country he is attacking; and that this system, when successfully carried out, is more economical in blood and gold than the former system. But he adds that, in that system, there may be great disappointments. They are movements that require a first-rate General with genius to execute them—one who has the power of appreciating the powers of his own forces and those of his enemies; one who is able exactly to calculate questions of time and distance with extraordinary accuracy. When second-rate or third-rate Generals attempt it, their rashness is easily punished. Colonel Wolseley's reputation stood high when it was decided to send him in command of the Red River Expedition. The work was done by him not only completely, but with singular celerity. In the Ashantee War, Coomassie, despite its almost inaccessible position, was taken in seven weeks; while Cairo was taken in three weeks after the arrival of the troops at the base of Ismailia. It has already been said that before leaving England Sir Garnet had named the place and the date of the great battle. With regard to the date, I am bound to say he was not quite mathematically correct. To my noble Friend behind me, he said the 15th would be the date of his great battle; to another, the 13th; while to a third, he said that Cairo would be taken on the 15th, the result being that the great battle was fought on the 13th and Cairo taken on the 14th. If the quotation I have made as to the qualifications of a General is correct, your Lordships will admit that Sir Garnet has some claims to the character of a first-class General. I beg pardon for this digression. It appears to me superfluous to give your Lordships any account of the attack upon the works of Tel-el-Kebir. The military despatches, the letters of correspondents, the descriptions in the Press, have given you the most vivid knowledge of that well-planned and well-executed attack—the short time of sleep, the night march, guided by the stars alone, the perfect silence, the discipline which prevented a single gun being fired, and the final rush with such fatal effect to the enemy; a struggle in which English, Scotch, and Irish regiments, swelled by the Reserves, who had patriotically come forward almost without exception, were engaged in generous rivalry to do their duty, under the command of Generals Hamley, Willis, Alison, Graham, the Duke of Connaught, Drury-Lowe, and Macpherson. In the moment of exultation, we all remember the anxieties of families at home; we all deeply sympathize with those whose relations have been killed or seriously wounded, and rejoice with those who have seen them return with glory to their homes. There is one illustrious Widow who did not hesitate for one moment in her wish that her Son should share the perils of his companions in arms, but whose anxiety for his safety was intense. Her Majesty must be rewarded, not so much by his safety, as by the manner in which the Duke of Connaught has been spoken of in the public despatches, while from all quarters confirmation has flowed in of his soldier-like ability and qualities, coolness under fire, and especial care of his men. My Lords, I cannot conclude without speaking in the highest terms of the conduct of Generals Sir Evelyn Wood and William Earle. The less attractive, but most important, duty of watching the enemy at Ramleh was performed by the first of those distinguished officers, while the latter most efficiently guarded the communications. The Cavalry and Artillery march to Cairo, which crowned the operations, has, I understand, especially excited the admiration and the curiosity of the most eminent of the German military authorities. The safety of that famous town is a subject the importance of which cannot be over-estimated. My Lords, I have spoken highly of the qualities of the men who have achieved this successful Expedition. I am perfectly aware that there were circumstances in our favour. In the first place, Egypt is the one foreign country in the world where it is the easiest for us to apply our military and great maritime resources. In the second, our Armies were not confronted by the trained soldiers of Germany, France, Austria, Russia, or Italy. All I claim is, that in these short operations, although, in some details, useful information has been obtained for further improvements, those which for some years have been carried on in both the Navy and Army have not been without their fruit; and that, as to the officers and men, they have shown a skill, a courage, and powers of endurance and of discipline in doing everything they have been asked to do, which must give the nation perfect confidence that if, which God forbid, they should be exposed to a still more crucial test, they would come out with equal credit to themselves and to the country at large. I beg to move the Resolutions of which I have given Notice.


My Lords, in a Motion of this kind we are happily not divided by any distinctions as to Party, and it is with the most cordial and earnest pleasure that I rise to second the proposition which the noble Earl opposite (Earl Granville) has made to the House. In doing so, I have nothing to add to the concise and perspicuous narrative which the noble Earl has given us of the glorious events of this short campaign; but I must permit myself, before joining in heartily voting the substance of the Motion, to make two criticisms, without laying any undue stress upon them, as to the wording in which the Motion is couched. In the first place, the Motion of the Government speaks of this as a "military rebellion." I do not mean to say that it is not; but that this is the introduction of a controversial statement, regarding which diverse opinions are held; and, that being so, I think it should have been carefully banished from the proceedings in a ceremony of this kind. My other observation refers to the last words of the Motion—namely, "the cordial good feeling which animated the United Force." I have no doubt that a cordial good feeling did animate the United Force; but is it precisely necessary to state that in a public document? I should have thought that was a matter we might assume, without further insisting on it—that among the Forces serving Her Majesty united feelings would prevail. But, after all, these are mere criticisms of words, not of substance. In the essence of this Motion we shall, I think, all of us join, and join in a feeling of thankfulness and relief, because in recent years, owing to a vast variety of causes, on which it is not proper now to insist, doubts have been propagated as to the efficiency of our Forces, and as to whether England would maintain her old supremacy, both by land and sea. It was thought that the vast changes which mechanical science had introduced in the methods of naval warfare had diminished the peculiar preeminence our sailors had attained, and that England could no longer rely as of old upon being, by right of her position and the traditions of her race, the foremost maritime nation in the world. But I think that the experience of Alexandria has shown that our sailors can handle the new mechanisms of warfare as intelligently and brilliantly as they did the old, and that the intelligence and spirit which have always animated the British sailor are shown with equal lustre and with the same results, whether he works with iron or with oak. Although we were, I think, not opposed to an enemy altogether worthy of our steel, and though the dangers run were, owing to the foresight of Sir Beauchamp Seymour, not so great as they might have been, still I think that the effect of the bombardment of Alexandria must be to show the native fitness of the British sailor for waging naval warfare under new, as well as old, conditions, and that, displaying as it did the intelligence and practical skill of the British sailor, it will powerfully increase the reputation of England over all seas, and will greatly assist the diplomacy of England, whenever it may be called upon to act in the future. Of Sir Beauchamp Seymour the noble Earl has spoken in terms of fitting praise. The present Government have, I think, good reason to be proud and to speak with gratitude of that Officer, who has conducted delicate and difficult matters with singular tact and skill; and though, as a Party, we have, hitherto, had no experience of his services or qualities, we shall certainly join heartily in celebrating his praise, and according to him the tribute paid by this Resolution. We shall certainly most cordially welcome him when he makes his appearance here. With respect to the next Resolution, I cannot say so much—I mean with regard to our inability to join from personal and official knowledge, in tribute to the distinguished Commander whose merits are set forth therein. Sir Garnet Wolseley has served under the present and the late Administration of which the noble Earl opposite was and is a Member, in a military capacity, and with what success we all know. Under us he served in a civil capacity; but in that capacity, as in his previous military capacity, he displayed that which is the peculiar characteristic of genius—namely, a vast and most accurate knowledge of detail, over which he had the most entire and complete command, and which did not interfere with in the least degree, or narrow, as it sometimes does, the largeness and the scope of his general mental grasp. In civil affairs, as in military, he showed that peculiarity. He has been criticized, as the noble Earl told us, adversely during the progress of these operations. I think the noble Earl dwelt too much upon that circumstance. Every Commander, while the crisis of action is going on, and while the effect of his measures is more or less doubtful, will necessarily be subjected to adverse criticism. It has been said that this was an audacious stroke, and that if Sir Garnet had been opposed by a more vigorous and better trained army it might have ended badly. I am not soldier enough to know if there is any justice in that criticism; but if it be just, it seems to me only to add to the distinction of Sir Garnet and the merit of his tactics. It shows that the peculiar brilliancy of the operation was this—that he knew precisely how to measure his stroke to the capacity and power of resistance of his enemy, neither despising his enemy nor wasting time in unnecessary precaution. But he could draw truthfully and exactly the precise line where caution should end and where audacity should begin. The noble Earl has referred to the services rendered by the other gallant officers and men mentioned in the 3rd Resolution; and, amongst other things, he has very naturally alluded to that patriotic and courageous decision at which the Queen arrived, when she decided that the Duke of Connaught should share the labours and dangers of his fellow-soldiers. It was not only a courageous but a wise decision. Those dangers were by no means unreal. It is true that General Officers do not face the dangers of war, so-called, to the same extent, perhaps, as those who stand in an inferior position. But this was a very peculiar war, attended with dangers of a special kind. The greatest dangers did not come from the enemy to whom we were opposed. I was very much struck, in the Papers which the noble Earl has laid on the Table this morning, by the statement that was made by M. de Freycinet, when he said that the French Ministers of War and Marine were of opinion that if this war was to be conducted at this period of the year, one-half of the troops would perish by sickness. That was a danger which affected alike the highest and the lowest, Generals and common soldiers. Happily, it has not proved so great a danger as M. de Freycinet anticipated; but that was the estimate formed by those who, from their Algerian and Tunisian experience, were eminently qualified to form an estimate of the kind of danger to be encountered by those who went to the war; and there can be no doubt that the Duke of Connaught, in joining the Expeditionary Force, has acted in accordance with the principles which animate his family, which make the duties they undertake real by personal labour and work, and the performance of duties, so as to win, as it were, over again the authority which naturally belongs to their position. By so doing, he has not only proved, as we know, on high authority, a most gallant and efficient officer, but I think he has set an example which will work advantageously in every rank of the British Army. My Lords, no greater praise can be given to those who have taken part in this brief but glorious campaign than to say that they have acted in the highest sense of the word as Englishmen. The greatest reward that Englishmen can receive is the approval of their countrymen whom they have served; and it is the proud duty of the Houses of Parliament, who represent their countrymen, to confer upon them, by their Thanks, those honours and rewards which they have so well deserved, and with which no other honours can compare.

Moved to resolve, 1. That the Thanks of this House be given to Admiral Sir Frederick Beauchamp Paget Seymour, G. C. B., for the distinguished skill and ability with which he planned and conducted the attack on the Fortifications of Alexandria and the Naval operations in the Suez Canal which aided materially in the suppression of the military rebellion against the authority of His Highness the Khedive: 2. That the Thanks of this House be given to General Sir Garnet Joseph Wolseley, G. C. B., G. C. M. G., for the distinguished skill and ability with which he planned and conducted the military operations in Egypt, which resulted in the victory of Tel-el-Kebir, the occupation of Cairo, and the complete suprpession of the military rebellion against the authority of His Highness the Khedive: 3. That the Thanks of this House be given to

and to the other Officers and Warrant Officers of the Navy, Army, and Royal Marines, including Her Majesty's Indian Forces, both European and Native, for the energy and gallantry with which they executed the services they have been called upon to perform: 4. That this House doth acknowledge and highly approve the gallantry, discipline, and good conduct displayed by the Petty Officers, Non-commissioned Officers, and Men of the Navy, Army, and Royal Marines, and of Her Majesty's Indian Forces, European and Native; and, also, the cordial good feeling which animated the United Force."—(The Earl Granville.)


My Lords, I have no doubt that your Lordships will permit me to express, in a few words, on this very interesting and important occasion, my views as to the services which have been rendered to the country by Her Majesty's Forces in Egypt. I am the more glad to have this opportunity of doing so, because, from what has fallen from the noble Earl who brought forward this Motion, it is beyond doubt that great services have been rendered to the country by the hearty co-operation of the Naval and Military Forces. Our position is most peculiar. As an Island, we are in a very different position from a Continental Power, and, without the assistance of our Navy, the Army would be able to do but little or nothing beyond our own shores—in fact, it is the Navy which enables the Army to carry out the duty required from us in our foreign wars. Consequently, your Lordships will feel that unless the greatest cordiality and good feeling existed between the two Forces, the services expected from the Army could not be carried out in the manner they ought to be. But on this occasion especially the Navy has rendered the most useful and valuable services to the Army; and I am sure that there is nobody who feels more strongly the value of those services, and who is more prepared to give hearty concurrence to this Address as far as regards the Navy than myself, not alone on personal grounds, because that would be of comparatively little importance, but on the part of the Army. On the part of the Army, I can with all my heart thank the Navy for the admirable manner in which they carried out their duty, and for the valuable and useful assistance which they rendered to the Army during the whole of the campaign. And when I say that, I do not confine myself to the admirable assistance afforded to the Army by Sir Beauchamp Seymour, Admiral Hoskins, Vice Admiral Dowell, and Sir William Hewett; but I contend that there was not a sailor nor a sailor boy who did not work as hard as he could in order to enable the Army to carry out the objects of the campaign. My Lords, when I speak of the Navy I must not be supposed for a moment to forget the services which were rendered by the Royal Marines. The Royal Marines find themselves in rather a difficult position, and are apt to think themselves rather left out in the cold as compared with the other Naval and Military Services. But I may say that, as far as the Army is concerned, we are only too glad to avail ourselves of the valuable services of the Royal Marines. Upon every occasion on which they have been called upon to serve their country they have done their duty most admirably, and have shown that they are suited for all sorts of work, and are an extremely fine body of men. On this occasion they have had an opportunity of showing of what value they are to their country, and what useful work they can perform, whether on board ship or on land. But I speak now more especially of their service upon shore. As to the action of the other portions of Her Majesty's Service, there can, I think, be only one opinion. Their conduct has been such, and the result of their action has been so successful, that nothing but praise can be given to them. Whether we look to the mode in which the Navy and the Transport Service conveyed the military contingent to Egypt without any accident, or whether we look to the military operations which followed and led to the success which, singularly enough, as the noble Earl has pointed out, was almost predicted to a day by the gallant General who carried out the operations, we certainly have a right to be proud of our Navy and our Army. Sir Garnet Wolseley has been somewhat severely criticized for the delay which occurred after Ismailia; but a most extraordinary criticism it was when we came to analyze it. The fact was that we landed in Egypt without anything; we had to take everything with us. The consequence was that everything, even to a sack of coal, had to be landed before anything could be done in the way of preparations for an advance. Then, as to the transport after the troops had been landed. Generally, in an ordinary country we expect to find means of transport ready to hand. But in this case it was not so; and the distance from this country was so great that without the enormous transport which we had collected there, and which would have taken a great amount of time, and would have involved great additional trouble and expense to have sent from this country, it would have been impossible to obtain means of transport at the very moment when the troops landed in Egyyt. The whole operation turned upon the sudden seizure of the Sweet Water Canal, because unless we had at once seized that Canal, and so secured a supply of water for our troops, we could have done nothing. The seizure of the Canal was an essential necessity and a speciality, and it could only be effected suddenly. If that had not been done, we could not have carried on the operations which followed. We therefore say that we went faster than our transport could possibly have followed, and that was the cause of the delay and no other. As it was, the advance to Kassassin was made in order to save the Sweet Water Canal, and, that object having been accomplished by a small body of troops, every endeavour was made to send a larger body to the front, with the success which your Lordships are fully aware of. I have thought it necessary to point this out, because, although it is patent to a military mind, sometimes that view of this question may be overlooked. I know that my gallant friend Sir Garnet Wolseley felt himself ably seconded by Sir John Adye and General Willis, and by other Generals of Division. I think it right on this occasion especially to name General Drury-Lowe, who commanded the Cavalry. We are often told that the day for Cavalry has gone by, and that it is very absurd to maintain a force which is so expensive, and which is of no good. I think, however, that this short campaign has fully answered that criticism. I may also add that there has been a good deal of criticism on what has been termed the extraordinary idea of sending Her Majesty's Household troops to Egypt. The Household troops would, I think, stand in a very false position if they were only to be seen in the streets of London and in St. James's Park. They are splendid and gallant troops. What was the result when they went into the field? Sir Garnet Wolseley has said that he never saw troops behave so splendidly, and that he only wished he had had a great deal more of them. These troops, although they had such great hardships to go through, have come back looking, perhaps, not quite so smart as one would wish to see them on parade—rather thin, perhaps, both men and horses—but I can assure your Lordships that I was astonished to see the wonderfully good condition of those splendid squadrons, which I had the pleasure of inspecting personally and very critically on their return. Their conduct you all know. Their night charge was most gallant. A charge at any time is not an easy operation, and requires great determination, tact, and judgment; but by night its difficulty is enormously increased. The charged ordered by General Drury-Lowe was admirably conducted by Sir Baker Russell and Colonel Ewart, commanding the regiment. As regards the other operations, nothing could be better than the way in which General Graham managed to hold his own at Kassassin. It was a delicate position, and he was most ably seconded by General Drury-Lowe. As regards the great operation of Tel-el-Kebir, we may ascribe our success entirely to the mind of one man—Sir Garnet Wolseley. I do not know that anyone was taken into his counsel in regard to any order or direction that he gave. It may be said that his action on that occasion was very rash. No doubt, night marches are rash; but that showed genius. If men, after all, are to have success, they must sometimes be rash. If they were not rash they would do nothing at all. The question is whether a man is justified in being rash in regard to the mode in which he resolves to conduct his operations. I consider that the result has proved that he was perfectly justified, and, what is more, that if he had not carried out the operation as he did, before daylight, our loss would have been infinitely greater than it was. I do not mean to say that the works would not have been taken, because I should rely greatly on the courage of the English soldier; but I fear that we should have had a great amount of casualties, and we all know that in war casualties ought to be avoided. My Lords, I have seen it stated that much cruelty was shown by our troops to the wounded Egyptians after the battle of Tel-el-Kebir. Now, my Lords, I do not believe a word of it. This was a sharp and hard operation, and your Lordships know you cannot make war in a milk-and-water sort of way. What occurred, I believe, was this. Wounded men, or men who pretend to be wounded, are lying on the ground after the charge has passed, and not being wise in their generation, they seize the opportunity of taking a quiet shot at those who have gone beyond them. They, no doubt, think by doing so they will do themselves a good turn. Instead of that they do themselves a bad turn. They produce retaliation, because if a man sees a wounded enemy fire at his comrade he naturally fires at him in return, and makes short work of him. I believe that is what actually happened. I heard of a man who was shot from behind by a wounded Egyptian, while giving another wounded Egyptian some water from his flask, so, of course, someone finished the offender. These are very sad and painful things, but there is always something in them. It is no good to simply say they were not true. On the other hand, it is very wrong to exaggerate them. Now, in what has been said, I believe there is the grossest exaggeration. It will be found that the kindness and attention paid by our men and by the authorities to the Egyptian wounded after the fighting was really remarkable. I believe the great bulk of the Egyptians were well treated by our men until they were helped over to their own side. Of the conduct of the Duke of Connaught I hope I may be allowed to say a word. As he is a relation of mine, it would ill become me to say much. The noble Earl and the noble Marquess have already done him full justice; but I am bound to say this—that I have letters from Sir Garnet Wolseley requesting me to assure Her Majesty that there was not an officer under his command who attended more constantly, more unweariedly, or with more advantage to his duty than the Duke of Connaught. I believe that, from the first, no brigade was taken more care of by its commanding officer than the Duke's. In war there is, of course, an element of danger which all must share, and we must admire the courage and fortitude of Her Majesty for having allowed her Son to go. The Duke himself we may now congratulate upon his safe return. Some complaint has been made that the Brigade of Guards was not put in the first line. Well, if I had been there, I should have placed them in the second line. I do not know that it is always best to put the most solid troops in the position where the greatest danger may arise. The second line is sometimes a good deal knocked about; and so it might have been on this occasion, had not the rapid advance of General Graham's Brigade and of the Highlanders made the Egyptians flee before them. As it was, I believe the Brigade of Guards was exposed to great danger from the rapidity of the Egyptian fire, and in their hurry to fire they fired high and the bullets went over the heads of the first line and into the second line. I think it right to say this, because it has been said the Brigade of Guards was put in an inferior position. It was nothing of the sort. As regards the Indian troops, I am much pleased with the reports which have reached me. They have done their full share of the work; and the splendid conduct of the Cavalry under General Drury-Lowe will be matter of history. We must all feel that the Indian Contingent has performed valuable service in conjunction with Her Majesty's other troops. No one could have discharged his duty better than Sir Herbert Macpherson; and General Drury-Lowe tells me that the way in which the troops marched to Cairo without intermission was as splendid an operation as has ever been seen. Whore all have done so well it would be invidious of me to speak of particular regiments. I believe every officer and every man of the Army, from the General downwards, did their duty in a most creditable manner, and loyally served their Sovereign and their country. I know how strongly the Army and Navy feel the compliments paid them by the Houses of Parliament on such occasions as the present; and although the returning troops were greatly pleased at the noisy cheers with which they were received the other day in the streets of London, they will, I am sure, consider the voting of this Address an even greater compliment. I cordially support the Motion of the noble Earl, and I can assure your Lordships that I rejoice to think that Sir Garnet Wolseley and Sir Beauchamp Seymour are about to receive those honours which they so much deserve, and which will enable them to take their seats among us in this House.


said, that before the Motion was put he wished to express regret that there had not been coupled with the names in the Vote the name of any officer of the Royal Marines or of the Royal Marine Artillery. He hoped that the noble Earl the First Lord of the Admiralty would be able to find some reason for the omission of names of officers of those corps from the Vote.


My Lords, my answer to the question of the noble Viscount is this—that the name of no officer has been included in the list on the Paper lower in rank than that of Major General. Colonel Herbert Jones, who bore the rank in Egypt of colonel on the Staff, commanded the Royal Marine Light Infantry, and Lieutenant-Colonel Tuson commanded the Royal Marine Artillery, and no noble Lord can doubt the great merits of those officers, though they have not been named in the Vote of Thanks.


said, that the value of the Vote which their Lordships were about to pass would be enhanced by the speech of the noble Earl who introduced it; for though brief it was comprehensive, so that where all had done well, none could be aggrieved by the omission of mention of their services. If the military operations in Egypt had been in a lawful and just war he should have given a most cordial support to the Vote of Thanks. As it was, he wished to be allowed to praise the uncomplaining patience and endurance of the men and officers during their march through the sands at the hottest time of the year, and under a sun that was more trying than any that they had experienced before. The return of the Household Cavalry, with the loss of so few of their horses, was a special matter of congratulation, when there was every reason to expect that the greater part of those horses would have perished, and after the rumours that had prevailed of the intentions with which the Household Cavalry had been sent out, and which intentions, if they really existed, had now been happily frustrated. This Vote would receive, both in this House and in the country, more universal concurrence than had been given to the general thanksgiving which the Govern- ment had imposed upon the Church, thereby making it to Judaise, since for Rabbinical preachers and their congregations alone the command to "spoil the Egyptians" had not been abrogated; whilst for Christians it had been abrogated by the hospitable reception given by Egypt and the Egyptians to the Holy Family in their flight from Herod. Up to the present time the Government had not yet stated the grounds of their attack upon Egypt. It was clear from the event that it was not on account of the Suez Canal, for that had never been threatened; and it had been proved that the ships could have kept it open without landing men or ruining cities. The Government had already affirmed that the war was not undertaken for the bondholders. Now, the Vote said that these military operations had been undertaken to suppress a military rebellion; but that could not be, since after the bombardment of Alexandria the Khedive had blamed Arabi Pasha for not having taken better measures to repel Her Majesty's ships and to defend Alexandria. Two explanations remained. One was that "evil communications corrupted good manners," and that the recent frequent communications between the Government and Zululand had affected the Government with the desire to "wash their young men's spears," and to perfect the efficiency of the Army as a man-slaying machine. The other was that the Prime Minister, like all great actors, was envious and jealous of performing all the parts of a drama. His Homeric studies naturally made him commence with that of Agamemnon. After that, in Mid Lothian, he rendered with great success the minor part of Thersites. Lastly, he had played the part of Ajax contending with Ulysses for the shield of Achilles; he strove with Lord Beaconsfield for the mantle of Pitt and Palmerston, and with the result that, like Ajax, he went mad and turned his powerful arms against the sheep; so that from 1,500 to 2,000 Egyptians were slaughtered like sheep in from 15 to 20 minutes. This was the Minister who so lately feared blood-guiltiness.

The said Resolutions severally agreed to, nemine dissentiente.

Ordered, That the Lord Chancellor do communicate the said Resolutions to Admiral Sir Frederick Beauchamp Paget Seymour and General Sir Garnet Joseph Wolseley respectively, and that they he requested by the Lord Chancellor to communicate the same to the several Officers referred to therein.