HL Deb 15 February 1883 vol 276 cc7-64



My Lords, I rise for the purpose of moving a humble Address to Her Majesty in answer to the gracious Speech from the Throne to which your Lordships have lately listened. That Speech, my Lords, whether we look to that portion of it which relates to foreign affairs, or whether we consider those passages in which Her Majesty treats of the condition of these Islands, contains much on the whole that is calculated to inspire Parliament and the people of this country with feelings of thankfulness and satisfaction. Her Majesty has been able to inform us that her relations with Foreign Powers are of a friendly character. This announcement, my Lords, is fortunately one which, for many years past, Her Majesty has been justified in making. The circumstances of the present moment give it peculiar significance. That Her Majesty should find it possible to make this announcement immediately after the intervention of this country in Egypt—an intervention in which this country found itself engaged alone—without any formal mandate from any of the Great Powers of Europe—is a conspicuous proof of the confidence of those Powers in the disinterestedness of our policy and the sincerity of our professions. Our policy, my Lords, has been that which has been from the first laid down by the noble Earl the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in his despatches to our Representatives in Egypt and at the Courts of the great European Powers. It may, I think, be summed up under four heads—the prevention of anarchy in Egypt, the promotion of the well-being and prosperity of the Egyptian people, the fulfilment of our obligations to the Ruler of that country, and the protection of the great military and commercial highway to the East, in which this country is interested far beyond any other maritime Power. Our professions have been professions of disinterestedness, of our intention under no circumstances to make use of our successes in Egypt for the purpose of annexation or aggrandizement. My Lords, I think I may say with confidence that the Papers which have been presented to us establish conclusively both the necessity of our intervention in Egypt, and the fact that we did not engage in it single-handed until every effort had been made to secure the approbation of the European Powers, and especially that of our old ally France, whose interests in Egypt are second only to our own. The revolution brought about, and the lawless demands and interference of the Military Party, under Arabi Pasha, with the Egyptian Government, rendered it incumbent on this country to prevent anarchy, and to fulfil our obligations to the Khedive. It was not until every peaceful expedient and endeavour had been made to induce the rebels to return to their allegiance that recourse was had to force. We must deplore the loss of life and property which occurred in Alexandria and elsewhere through the fanaticism of the rebels; but, with respect to the burning of Alexandria, it may be attributed solely to the hoisting of the false flag of truce, under the protection of which the withdrawal of the troops was effected, and at nightfall the town was handed over to pillage and incendiarism. The British Admiral was bound by all the usages of civilized warfare to respect that flag of truce, and had he not been thus delayed he would have occupied the town in time to prevent the deplorable results which followed its evacuation by the rebels. He wisely declined to attempt the landing of the small force at his command at night, with 12,000 rebels in the vicinity of the city. The campaign which ensued showed the valour and discipline of our Army and Navy, and the skill of our Commanders. It is satisfactory to know that the great changes in naval construction, and the vast improvements in gunnery, have not spoilt the good seamanship and the old fighting qualities of our sailors. We have had substantial proof also that the changes in the system of Army ser-vice have not led to any diminution of discipline or to any deterioration of the physical powers and endurance of our troops. As to the future of Egypt, it is not too much to hope that Lord Dufferin, whose personal qualities and intimate knowledge of Oriental politics so well fit him for his post, will be able to assist the Khedive in establishing the Government of Egypt on a more liberal and representative basis. The Khedive and his subjects no doubt derive great advantages from the assistance of the distinguished English and French officials who have hitherto held the position of Controllers. That system of Dual Control, however, which Her Majesty's Government found in existence when they succeeded to Office was inconsistent with the development of national institutions and offensive to the national susceptibilities. From the jealousies thus created the revolutionary movement may be said to have derived its strength. The appointment of an English official who will act as the Financial Counsellor of the Khedive, but who will hold his office and derive his authority directly from him, will not be open to these objections. Until the Egyptians have proved their capacity to govern themselves and to take their place among the free communities of the world, it would be unfair to deny them an opportunity of laying the foundation of national institutions. In the meantime, this country has incurred a responsibility for the establishment of order, and it is manifestly its duty to do so to the best of its ability before it can safely leave Egypt to its own resources. The Papers on the Table show that endeavours will be made to secure our interests in respect to the Suez Canal by stipulations advantageous to this country as a great maritime Power. The formation of a small and disciplined Egyptian force, under the direction of a distinguished English General officer, and the re-organization of the police in that country, will afford the best securities for the maintenance of order and the protection of the loyal population.

Owing to the disposition of the Natives, and the nature of the changes made by Sir Garnet Wolseley in Zulu-land in the establishment of 13 independent Rulers in the place of Cetewayo, that country had not assumed the tranquillity necessary to the well-being of South Africa. There was constant danger of civil war, which would probably have ended in the assumption of permanent authority by the most powerful of those Chiefs. Annexation, or the restoration of Cetewayo, its lawful King, was the only alternative to avert this danger. Her Majesty's Government wisely decided that it would be impolitic to add another Native territory to our already large responsibilities in South Africa. Cetewayo was therefore restored; but, in order to keep faith with those Chiefs who were unwilling to accept his rule, it has been deemed advisable to reserve a district between Natal and Cetewayo's territory, and in this district those Chiefs who desire to remain subject to British paramount authority can live under the protection of the British Resident. Another Chief, Usibebu, has been left in an independent position in the North-east corner of Zululand. These changes of territory will deprive Cetewayo of about one-third of his former Kingdom; but it was only by this alternative that there could be any reasonable hope that he would be able to govern the remainder. I believe that Cetewayo has been received cordially and with satisfaction by the majority of the Zulu Chiefs.

My Lords, Her Majesty informs us that among the measures that will be submitted to us is one to secure compensation to tenants for agricultural improvements. The exceptional difficulties under which agriculture has been carried on during the last few years have directed attention to the legal conditions under which that industry is carried on. The subject is one of the greatest intricacy; but there is a remarkable unanimity in favour of giving further security to the tenant for the improvements effected by him which have added to the value of his holding in all cases where such security is not provided by lease, custom, or agreement. The Report of the Royal Commission, presided over by the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Richmond and Gordon), and the complete agreement on this point of all who have lately taken a prominent part in agricultural politics, have placed this almost beyond question. Under these circumstances, we may feel confident that legislation on these lines will be welcomed, irrespective of Party considerations. At the same time, it is to be hoped that the Government measure will be so framed as to avoid anything approaching to confusion between the interests of the owners and the occupiers of the land, or to the diminution of the good feeling which has hitherto subsisted between these two classes. The evidence taken by the Royal Commission shows beyond dispute that in England an enormous majority of the permanent improvements has been executed by the landlord, and that there is room for the further application of capital on an extensive scale in the draining and equipment of farms. The Report also shows that it is impossible to expect the tenant farmers, owing to the heavy losses which they have experienced through the recent depression, to provide this capital. We should, therefore, view with mistrust any measure calculated to deter the owners of land from applying their capital to those improvements, while we gladly welcome any measure that will increase and justify the confidence of the tenant, and induce him to maintain and develop the fertility of the soil.

Passing to that part of Her Majesty's gracious Speech which has reference to the United Kingdom, and to the terms in which Her Majesty is able to speak of the condition of Ireland, it is impossible not to be struck by the great contrast in the condition of that country as compared with that to which her Majesty bore witness in January, 1881, when Her Majesty's gracious Speech stated, in reference to Ireland, that agrarian crimes in general had multiplied far beyond the experiences of recent years; that the administration of justice had been frustrated; and that, with respect to these offences, there was an impossibility of procuring evidence on account of the system of terrorism which paralyzed almost alike the exercise of private rights and the performance of civil duties. For some time after the delivery of that Speech the state of Ireland, far from showing any improvement, passed rapidly from bad to worse. The agrarian crimes, which in 1879 had been 863, had risen in 1880 to 2,590, and in 1881 to 4,439. In contrast to this state of things, we now find ourselves face to face with a steady and progressive diminution in the number of agrarian crimes. The total for the month of January last, including threatening letters, is only 90, as compared with 479 in January, 1882. The administration of justice is no longer frustrated. There have been numerous convictions where none have ever been obtained before, and evidence has been forthcoming in many cases where it was feared terrorism would be successfully employed to shield the criminals. It is particularly noticeable that this evidence is forthcoming, not only from the lips of informers and approvers, but from witnesses who belong to the same class as the criminals. Recent disclosures have amply justified the Government for having applied last year to Parliament for exceptional measures for the repression of agrarian crime, and, above all, of secret societies. There is significant proof of the utility of this measure in the very marked diminution of crime which has shown itself from the time when the first conviction on a capital charge was obtained. I think your Lordships will agree with mo that great praise is due to the special juries who tried these cases. They have done their duty honestly and fearlessly, undeterred by abuse and threats, and even attempts at assassination. It is gratifying that, owing to the conduct of the special juries engaged in these critical cases, it has not been found necessary to have recourse to the alternative of trial before Judges only without juries. It is not too much to say in praise of the manner in which Lord Spencer and the Chief Secretary, assisted by the permanent staff, have administered the measure, that they have relieved the people of Ireland from an intolerable tyranny, and that this has been done without any material interference with the personal liberty and freedom of any loyal subject. But, my Lords, the Government have not relied on measures of repression alone. Concurrently with these measures for the maintenance of order they have passed remedial measures for the redress of grievances, the existence of which has in past years lent strength to disaffection and agitation in Ireland. The Land Act has secured the tenants of Ireland in the occupation of their holdings at fair rents. However, owing to the exceptional pressure of bad seasons, many tenants were unable to avail themselves of that Act until the passing of the Arrears Act brought them within reach of its advantages. The fact that 90,000 of the tenants of Ireland have appealed under this Act is a satisfactory proof of its utility and necessity. It is, however, impossible to consider the case of Ireland without referring to the case of those occupiers whose circumstances place them beyond the reach of remedial measures, and whose chronic poverty leads to their chronic disaffection. It is to the relief of this class that the Emigration Clauses of the Arrears Act must be applied, in the words of the noble Earl below me who has lately joined Her Majesty's Government. That noble Earl expressed his belief that those clauses must be administered in a spirit of generosity; and I believe that all of your Lordships will be of the same opinion.

With respect to Irish legislation, both Houses of Parliament will be glad to promote further reforms where the necessity for them has been shown, and it is to be hoped they will give to them that careful and temperate consideration which, under the improved circumstances of that country, there should be no difficulty in obtaining for them.

There are many other measures of useful legislation which Her Majesty's Government will bring forward during the present Session—such as the municipal reform of London, the Bankruptcy Bill, the laws relating to patents, &c.—and altogether there is every prospect of the present being a fruitful Session. I will now conclude by thanking you for the indulgence you have shown me, and beg to move that the Address be now presented to Her Majesty.


"WE, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament.

"We humbly thank Your Majesty for informing us that Your Majesty has the satisfaction of maintaining with all foreign Powers relations of friendship and good-will.

"We thank Your Majesty for informing us that since the close of the last Session tranquillity has been restored to Egypt, clemency has been shown by its Ruler to the leaders of the rebellion, and that the withdrawal of the British troops is proceeding as expeditiously as a prudent consideration of the circumstances will admit.

"We humbly thank Your Majesty for informing us that the reconstitution of the Government of Egypt and the re organisation of its affairs under the authority of the Khedive, have in part been accomplished, and will continue to receive Your Majesty's earnest attention; and that it will be Your Majesty's endeavour to secure that full provision shall be made for the exigencies of order for a just representation of the wants and wishes of the population, and for the observance of international obligations.

"We thank Your Majesty for informing us that Your Majesty has already been able to fulfil the promise made to the Sultan and to the Great Powers of Europe, to submit to their friendly consideration the arrangements which appeared to Your Majesty to be the best fitted to ensure the stability of the Khedive's Government, the prosperity and happiness of the Egyptian people, the security of the Suez Canal, and the peace of Europe in the East; that to those objects Your Majesty's policy has been directed in the past and will be addressed in the future; and that Your Majesty continues to rely with confidence on its just appreciation by other countries.

"We learn with satisfaction that a Conference of the Great Powers has assembled in London to consider measures for better securing the freedom of navigation on the Danube.

"We humbly thank Your Majesty for informing us that with a view to the preservation of peace and order in Zululand, Your Majesty has caused the former Ruler of that country to be replaced in possession of the greater part of the territories held by him before the war. We join with Your Majesty in earnestly hoping that this step may lead to the establishment of a more stable government, and to the maintenance of good relations between the Zulu nation and the adjoining Colony of Natal.

"We thank Your Majesty for informing us that papers on these subjects will be presented to us.

"We rejoice to learn that the improvement in the social condition of Ireland, to which Your Majesty referred in December, continues, that agrarian crime has sensibly diminished, and that the law has been everywhere upheld, although the existence of dangerous Secret Societies in Dublin and other parts of the coun- try calls for unremitting energy and vigilance on the part of the Executive.

"We humbly assure Your Majesty that our careful consideration shall he given to the measures which may be submitted to us, and we earnestly trust that the blessing of Almighty God may attend our labours."


in rising to second the Motion, said: My Lords, I am sure the House will grant me a large amount of its usual indulgence, now that I rise to address it for the first time under the exceptional circumstances of my previous Parliamentary training in another country. Though I look back to that experience with mingled feelings of gratitude and pleasure, that training adds another and a formidable difficulty to those recognized by all who have to address this House for the first time.

The feature in the Speech from the Throne which will be greeted with general satisfaction is, that we may look forward to a Session not wholly absorbed by Irish legislation, in which Great Britain may expect to have her due share of legislative attention. I will not add anything to what the noble Earl (the Earl of Durham) has said about Ireland. It would be presumptuous on my part, in the presence of so many of your Lordships who are acquainted with all the details of Irish difficulties, and, besides, I do not think the Irish Question can be dealt with in a more masterly way than it has been treated by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. Trevelyan) in his speech to his constituents at Hawick, from which I gather that the Government will continue to apply force to the disloyal faction, and will endeavour to conciliate, by every means in their power, the patriotic Party of Order, putting aside minor Party differences. I shall only add that I noticed, with much satisfaction, that, for the relief of exceptional distress, the Government are not prepared to start an exceptional central machinery, but will leave the local authorities to deal with it. The distress is not general, but in 06rtain localities it is acute. We cannot forget the demoralization of 1847 through the centralized system of relief to 3,000,000 of people, which was only removed by the test of the workhouse; and it is now generally admitted that in 1879–80 extraneous aid, though granted with the best of motives, was not attended with results which could warrant a repetition. One of the chief evils of Irish Government certainly has been that the people have looked to Dublin and to the Castle to aid and assist them. The important lesson they have to learn is to become self-reliant, and to work out for themselves their own happiness; making the most of the privileges which have been granted them in recent Acts of Parliament, by individual thrift, and industry. No further burdens can or ought to be thrown on the Central Government of Ireland. The way in which it is administered, at the peril of their lives, by the Lord Lieutenant and Chief Secretary for Ireland gives them a lasting claim on the gratitude of their countrymen, whose best wishes attend them in their efforts to preserve the unity of the Empire.

Next to Ireland, my Lords, Egypt demands our attention. The achievements in the short and brilliant campaign of Her Majesty's Naval and Military Forces have already met with the recognition of your Lordships' House. Lord Wolseley made it his chief object to save Cairo, by making the forced Cavalry march the culmination of his plans; and with such nicety and precision were those plans drawn that the necessity never arose for deviating from them. Through the success which attended the elaborate preparations made by the two great spending Departments, and the incessant care and toil of the noble Earl the First Lord of the Admiralty (the Earl of Northbrook) and the late Secretary of State for "War (Mr. Childers), we have restored peace and quiet in that distracted country. The industrious researches of the archaeologist, embracing even, as I believe, the mummy of the peerless Cleopatra, can be re-commenced. Did the Egyptian campaign require justification? There is hardly an instance of an intervention which excited so little jealousy. All the Great Powers approved of our action. I say all, because certainly France did not want anarchy to prevail in Egypt, though she judged it more prudent to abstain from restoring order. The neglect of the great interests which we have in Egypt would certainly not have been condoned by the bulk of the English nation. Would the exponents of the non-intervention theory tell us whether they would have been prepared to face the alternatives of non-intervention by England? The question, fortunately, is sufficient to show that there can only be one answer to it. There never has been among sober-minded men any shadow of doubt what our own interests and Egyptian interests required. The Egyptian people have certainly a greater love for the plough than for the sword. All we did and all we are doing is to invite them to return to their fields, and to secure to them the fruits of their labour, with a minimum of taxation necessary to defray the expenses of good government. We are organizing Egypt with and for the Egyptians, and on that account the status quo ante cannot be restored. It is quite clear that the question of the time for our withdrawal can only be settled when the work of organization is complete. A peaceful and happy Egypt is as much an Egyptian as a British interest.

Let us now see what view the French took of their interests in Egypt. For that we must look back for a few moments to some remarkable passages in French history of last summer. On the 10th of June, as we remember, Admiral Conrad and his Fleet left Alexandria. On the 18th of July there was a debate in the French Chamber on the Vote of Credit for Egypt. The Report of the Committee which had to consider this Vote was favourable; but all responsibility of action was left to M. de Freycinet. On the other hand, M. de Freycinet declined to use the grant of money directly for the protection of the Suez Canal and of the French inhabitants in Egypt, unless the Chamber took the initiative, because he did not wish to appear to have a pre-conceived plan of action. The Chamber adopted the Vote by a majority of 424 to 64. In the course of that debate, the statesman whose premature death has been so lately mourned in France (M. Gambetta) urged, in the most emphatic manner, that England and France should not part company. He said— Mate any sacrifice rather than break the English alliance … The reason which induces me to maintain this alliance and the English co-operation in the Mediterranean and in Egypt is the fear—let me be well understood—that, in addition to the breach with England, which would be most unfortunate, you surrender to England now and for ever lands, rivers, canals, where your rights to trade and settle are as good as hers. One reason, my Lords, why I call your attention to this passage is that it strikingly discloses the misconception too often entertained by foreign statesmen of the policy of England. Gambetta failed to see that the surrender of territory to England meant in this, as in all other cases, not a monopoly for Englishmen, but equal rights of settling and trading to the French, as well as to all other nations. The fear of Gambetta had no foundation in fact. To return to this very important French debate, and its bearings on English policy, we must note the views expressed by some of the chief French statesmen, which led up to non-intervention. Gambetta looked on the Vote of Credit as an instalment. The Government deprecated the notion that this Vote meant immediate action. M. Clémenceau, the Chief of the Radical Party, repudiated the idea that French and English interests were identical, and maintained that, through the Control, France had lost ground in Egypt. When the debate came on in the Senate, the Due de Broglie agreed in the main with M. Clémenceau's view and with M. de Freycinet's former opinion, that an Anglo-French intervention would lead to a policy of adventure. Gambotta's views were ably advocated by M. Waddington, supported by M. Scherer, editor of Le Temps, and by M. de St. Vallier, late French Ambassador at Berlin. The Senate carried the Vote of Credit on the 25th of July by a large majority. Meanwhile the Government had proposed to the Chamber an additional Vote of Credit. The Committee to which it was referred repudiated intervention, and, finally, the Vote itself. In the debate in the Chamber, M. de Freycinet pointed out the innumerable complications to which intervention, without a European mandate, would lead, but that protection of the Canal was a very simple affair. M. Clémenceau denied this, contending that it was impossible to draw a distinction between the Egyptian Question and the question of the Suez Canal, because the Canal must be protected at Cairo. The result of this debate was the rejection of the Vote by 417 to 75—a rejection under circumstances which made it as clear as sunlight that France would not intervene, because a Government with a policy of intervention could not be formed. Non-intervention was the deliberate decision of the Representatives of the French people—the decision of an overwhelming majority, after exhaustive debates in both the Senate and the Chamber. England was prepared to co-operate with France; England always maintained the attitude assumed in the Joint Note of January, 1882; and France was left entirely free to do as she liked. The Vote of the French Chamber on the 29th of July put an end to dual intervention and to Dual Control. It did not put an end to the cordial relations which exist between the two countries; and the refusal to co-operate with us has certainly left no rancour on this side of the Channel. Our feelings towards France are those of cordial sympathy. We fully recognize the patriotic motives which led to the decision, as also the friendly tone of the debates towards ourselves. When the Due de Broglie, the foremost Representative of all the great traditions of French statesmanship, and M. Clémenceau, the Representative of the anti-traditional school, take the same view of French interests, I think we may consider them perfectly safe. In the great question of Mohammedanism we are certainly not less interested than the French. The difference between French and English interests in Egypt is this—that the French interests are those of individuals, and ours are national interests. This is the main reason why Europe showed more jealousy of an Anglo-French than of an English intervention alone. The Suez Canal is our main road to India, and we see, as M. Clémenceau saw, that the key of the situation is kept at Cairo. The Canal, we ought never to forgot, is due to French enterprize; its signal success is best proved by the fact that it is about to be enlarged by the owners of the Canal, whose chief and only interest lies in its freedom from obstruction. Whatever may be the other regulations in reference to the Canal, the main point is that our men-of-war shall be able at all times to pass through it. No Power can object to our claims in regard to the Canal, and our wishes are identical with those of other Powers who have an interest second only to ours as regards the importance of their shipping and of their Eastern Dependencies.

The dangers of the Control were obvious. Nothing but praise is due to Mr. Baring, to M. de Blignières, and to Sir Auckland Colvin. Anyone who looks carefully into the changes introduced in November, 1879, in the functions of the Controllers, as originally settled in November, 1876, will at once perceive how very delicate the machinery was which they had to set in motion, and how the absence of friction entirely depended on the harmony existing between the two Controllers. Let it not be forgotten that what is abolished was really a quadrilateral Control. The Dual Control in another and a much more effective form always continues—namely, the influence exercised by the political Agents of England and France. The danger of a divergence of opinion between the political and financial Agents of each country is now removed. You secure to the political Agents a stronger and a better position by giving them the entire control of British interests, both financial and political—in fact, in Egypt the two are so united as to become one. It is hardly possible to conceive a position of greater responsibility than that of Her Majesty's future Representative at Cairo. He must have a combination of all the rarest gifts. English influence in the East means the selection and employment of men like Lord Dufferin and Lord Stratford de Redcliffe. It cannot be denied that if there was an element of danger in the defunct Dual Control, its abolition entails greater responsibility and watchfulness than ever; for a policy, like that of the ex-Khedive for instance, would at once revive the old dangers. The Dual Control, as had been foreseen by Count Kalnoky and by M. de Giers, could not survive.

The Danube Conference will, we may hope, lead to a definite settlement of a difficult question. As the harbour dues between Galatz and Sulina are nearly all paid by us, it is obvious that we are largely interested in the solution of the question, and in the freedom of navigation, which has enormously increased. Fortunately, the principal points are settled, and only minor points remain to be dealt with.

What are the results, my Lords, of the foreign policy of the noble Earl? The noble Earl has kept us out of alliances, too often the cause or the result of weakness. Instead of alliances, my Lords, the noble Earl has secured to us the friendly feeling of the whole of Europe—not only of such an old friend as Austria, but of the whole of the smaller Powers as well as of the Great Powers. Through what means? Through a straightforward and consistent policy, in which there was, and there is, nothing to conceal. The noble Earl the Loader of this House may well feel satisfied in looking back, because he must be conscious that his successful management of foreign affairs in a period of considerable anxiety has materially increased the influence of England.

One of the most important measures to which I may now call your Lordships' attention is that of the Municipal Government of London. The growing needs of the Metropolis, the multiplicity and the intricacy of the problems which this huge agglomeration of human beings gives us to solve, makes it absolutely necessary to establish a machinery which will be able to deal with them. It might have been done by creating a number of units—a number of municipalities. It seems, however, simpler and more rational to go on historic lines, and to create one Municipality for the whole of London, working, of course, through subordinate bodies in the various districts. We all know the difficulties thrown in the way of securing a good water supply, and what are the results of a snowstorm. If any further proof were needed, I should call your Lordships' attention to the Report of 1837, which contemplated the formation of a Municipality—to Sir George Lewis's Report of 1854, followed by the creation of the Metropolitan Board in 1855, for the purpose mainly of superintending London drainage, but gradually enlarging its useful sphere of action. Then we have had many attempts of private Members to deal with the subject—J. S. Mill, Charles Buxton, Lord Elcho, and Sir Ughtred Kay-Shuttleworth; but leading men on both sides have felt that the Government ought to undertake the work. The Mairie Centrale had terrors for the French Chamber, and on the same 19th of July that it adopted the Vote of Credit it rejected the Mairie Centrale by a majority of 100. But then what does the Mairie Centrale represent? Let me give an illustration of what it represents. Some officials who were going to proclaim a new Govern- ment were ascending the stairs of the Hôtel de Ville. "Where are you going?" said an old messenger. "We are going to proclaim the Government." "I beg your pardon, gentlemen, but you are going the wrong way. This is the window from which new Governments are always proclaimed." Well, my Lords, our Mairie Centrale is certainly not connected with the proclamation of new Governments. Its memories are essentially genial, I might even add convivial. It is associated with every generous and charitable movement. Its honours are coveted by our best men. These traditions remain undisturbed. The Mansion House will still be the heart of London. It will be the same power for national improvement and for international courtesy which it is now. The Lord Mayor will preside over an assembly which will be representative, and which will, in some respects, be as important as the Chamber of an independent State. I need not give a catalogue of subjects, but I should like to mention one for the consideration of the new body—a University for London. Ours is the only great capital without a University, in the strict sense of the word; and there is no capital where you could have a better University by organizing the various existing Colleges and courses of lectures, especially as regards law and medicine.

It is obvious why the question of County Government should be speedily settled. First, we have the absolute necessity of simplifying a system of which the complications are well known to us; then we have the difficulty of dealing with certain matters as long as the County Boards are not representative; and, lastly, the importance of strengthening the sense of citizenship in some sections of the rural community. The difficulty attending the re-adjustment of boundaries, where boundaries overlap, appears to be considerably exaggerated. By simplifying the machinery of county government, by having fewer areas, and by investing the authorities of each area with the whole of its administration, you reduce the expenditure, and you make the problem of local taxation a much easier one to solve. By the creation of County Boards you also make the work of the Local Government Board lighter. In the County Boards you will find a proper authority for con- trolling Poor Law Guardians and School Boards, for granting licences, and you have in it the proper body for stimulating education in its higher grades. The County Boards will be invaluable to the English Universities in the great work they have undertaken of superintending education all over the country. The unselfish activity of the Universities in leading the intellectual life of the nation is beyond all praise. They are doing work which elsewhere is done by the State, only they are doing it with superior wisdom. The supreme danger of a Democracy is that it does not recognize its own ignorance. The dangerous success of false prophets will be minimized as long as the English Universities lead the rising Democracy. I do not speak of the Scotch Universities, for the simple reason that they have always been essentially Democratic bodies, and that to their influence is due so much that is characteristic of Scotland. But the County Boards have another function to perform. What is the present danger of our rural life? The loss of so many of our most useful men. The attraction to a young farmer of becoming a landowner in our Colonies, or in the United States of America, is great, and doubly so, since lack of capital renders the stocking of a new farm so difficult. On a County Board you can give him the same position he has now in the hunting field—a local interest and influence, and a sense of citizenship which may make him think twice before he leaves the old country for hard work in a new country. Unfortunately, we cannot increase the number of landowners, not because there is no land in the market, but because there are no agriculturists who will buy, and we cannot pass a Homestead Act. The greater the number of landowners, the greater is your safeguard against experimental or complicated agrarian legislation, for the numbers who would resist such legislation become a bulwark of stability. When the acreage is very small it is respected as a personalty. A Continental owner of 10 acres has much more absolute ideas of property than the owner of 10,000 acres in Great Britain; and I would much rather be the tenant of the latter than of the former, who looks upon his 10 acres as a pure investment. The same reasons which plead in favour of County Boards can be urged in favour of those reforms which tenant farmers are justified in asking for. As long as none of the "three F's" of Irish Land Laws are to be discovered in them, I do not suppose they will meet with' much opposition in this House. They are certainly not hidden in the clauses of the Bill which the Government will introduce to secure compensation for unexhausted improvements. The greater the number of improving tenants there are, so much the better for the country. I expect, however, that, as a rule, the landlord will carry out the permanent improvements, leaving to the farmer his capital for other purposes. The best remedy for agricultural depression and agricultural wrongs—and I do not deny there are such in exceptional cases—lies in the willingness of landowners to meet their tenants halfway, which we see everywhere around us. When we note that the Bill has been demanded by very moderate land reformers, and recommended by the Royal Agricultural Commission, it cannot be called revolutionary. Moreover, it is a result of the power given to one party to contract himself out of the Agricultural Holdings Act instead of having made it a matter for joint agreement. The notion that agricultural depression can be cured by legislation, or is due to existing laws, or to the tenure of our land system, is totally fallacious. The same causes which have produced agricultural depression here have been working out the same results under a totally different system of land tenure in other parts of Europe. I speak from my own experience and observation.

The influence of America on our rural economy is a factor which cannot be overlooked. It is a growing influence, and I do not believe that it will be confined to rural matters. The relations between the English-speaking communities on the face of the globe must necessarily become more and more intimate, and, I believe, more friendly. The fact of the financial surplus of the United States being their great political embarrassment is one of the most extraordinary events in history. That our people can so easily obtain a share in that prosperity is certainly most gratifying.

Scotland, my Lords, does not expect so rich a harvest of legislation as last year. Until Scotch administration is put on a more definite footing, Scotsmen know that they can only get their wants attended to by a series of happy coincidences. Scotland is, however, looking forward to the measures promised in the Speech from the Throne. All the Royal and Parliamentary burghs of Scotland have been consulted on the Police Bill, and there is no doubt that a codification of the police and municipal laws of Scotland would be attended with beneficial results. Scotland, my Lords, will be pleased to hear that the Universities are to have their wants, not investigated, but satisfied. When it is considered, in addition to what I have already said about the Scotch Universities, that Edinburgh is in numbers the most important University of the United Kingdom, that Glasgow is equally outgrowing its cradle, and that the Scotch Universities have to contend with a competition—of which I do not complain, but growing fiercer every day—of the English Universities, owing to the fact that the latter are more and more widening their sphere of influence, I trust that a measure ardently desired by the Scotch people will be allowed to pass this Session, and that it will be one of many. The privilege of increasing the conditions under which the people can attain prosperity is one which cannot be taken from us. It is the privilege we most care for.

I hope, and I firmly believe, in conclusion, that England is destined to continue to give an example to the world of a strong and sober Democracy, all the stronger because it unites steady progress with unbroken loyalty to our ancient Monarchy. I beg to second the Motion of my noble Eriend.—[See page 13.]


My Lords, I believe that as far as my not very long experience in this House reaches, there exists no instance of an Amendment being moved to the Address, and I imagine that such a practice has been abandoned for a considerable time. In fact, I do not believe that since the displacement of Lord Melbourne's Administration in 1841 that course has been taken. I believe that this alteration in our practice is a wise one, because circumstances must be exceedingly exceptional which would make any Motion of that kind desirable in this House. But even if the case were otherwise, I should find it difficult to frame a bill of indictment against so impalpable and formless a Queen's Speech as this. I think that some feeling of that kind must have pressed upon the two noble Lords who have so ably moved and seconded the Address, because they felt it necessary, in order to give some additional interest to their agreeable discourses, to fall back upon such matters as the proceedings of the French Assembly some 12 months ago, and the military merits of the noble Lord who sits upon the Cross Benches, and whose presence here we all welcome as a high honour to the House. One of the noble Lords said that the Speech was one which must give great satisfaction to the House to hear. However that may be, I doubt whether it is one that gave great satisfaction to its authors to compose. It gives me the impression of an ordeal by fire. A number of burning questions he about—matters of the deepest interest to the world—and the Speech moves about among the red-hot ploughshares with delicate steps, scarcely touching one of them, and certainly not allowing to remain upon its surface the slightest imprint of their contact. There are many subjects of interest just now. There is the question of the constitution of Egypt, of the future of Egypt, and of the policy of the Government in that country, and of the way in which that policy is to be received by Foreign Powers. We learn from the Speech that Her Majesty's Government had suppressed with rapidity and completeness a formidable rebellion in Egypt. Let me say in passing that the words used are those which are usually employed by those who have territorial possession of a country, and who are repressing a rebellion against their own authority. Then we are told that— The withdrawal of the British troops is proceeding as expeditiously as a prudent consideration of the circumstances will admit. But the great anxiety of the world is to know whether the British troops are to be withdrawn altogether, and when; and upon neither of those questions does the Speech give us the slightest hint as to the intentions of Her Majesty's Government. The Government are able to say that they have submitted to the friendly consideration of the Powers the mysterious arrangement by which the stability of the Khedive and the prosperity and happiness of the Egyptian people are to be secured. But we have not a hint that any one of those Powers has expressed its approval of the arrangements proposed. And when the noble Lord who has just sat down tells us that the result of the administration of the Government is that we remain on terms of as great friendship as before with all the Powers of Europe, he must have forgotten almost entirely the condition of our relations with France. To those objects my policy has been directed in the past and will be addressed in the future; and I continue to rely with confidence on its just appreciation by other countries. But no intimation is given us as to whether any circumstances have arisen that should induce us to believe that that confidence will be justified. And so with respect to other questions. Matters of local government have excited a great deal of interest, but they are not put into the forefront of the Speech; they come as a sort of supplement to the measure for the government of the Metropolis— And, if time should permit, Mill be followed by other measures relating to reform of Local Government —apparently on the same model, and belonging to the same class, as the Metropolitan Government Bill. The question of tenant right has excited the liveliest interest in the country. The Government on this matter has adopted a form of language of which it is difficult to penetrate the meaning. On other questions we are to have measures; on this subject of compensation to tenants we are only to have a proposal. But what precise distinction Her Majesty's Government mean to draw between the treatment of those subjects it is difficult to ascertain. I suppose that, in using that language, the Government desire to depreciate the importance of their measure on that subject which they intend to introduce, and do not like to put it upon the level in point of definiteness and distinctness with such measures as those relating to the police of Scotland and to the reform of the Universities in that part of the United Kingdom. Then comes the most burning question of all, the question of future legislation for Ireland. Do the Government say they intend to legislate for Ireland? They do not say so. Do they say they do not intend to legislate for Ireland? They do not say so. They say there may be legislative needs for Ireland, for which preparation has not yet been made, and with which it is possible time may be found for dealing. I suppose that is intended as a delicate hint to the Irish Members, that if they will only employ the usual means of influence which have so often succeeded with the Government, those means of influence may yet succeed again. But I hope that this mode of announcing measures, dealing with the most important and difficult part of the task confided to Her Majesty's Government, will not be made into a precedent. Hitherto we have spoken of the announcements of the Queen's Speech. If the present practice is followed, we shall have to drop the phrase, and speak hereafter of the innuendoes of the Queen's Speech. Those who have studied the Speech have adopted two different interpretations of the peculiar character appertaining to it. To some it seems that the difficulty arises from the fact that the head of the Government is now divided from the body of the Government by a distance of something like 1,000 miles, and that the headless trunk, under these circumstances, begins to feel, as might be expected, symptoms of paralysis. But others think that it is the result of the study of military art, to which, under the tutelage of my noble and gallant Friend (Lord Wolseley), the Government have been recently forced to devote their attention, and that this soft and unobtrusive language is merely a screen, that the whole thing is a masked battery, and that later on the mask will be withdrawn, and a formidable array of destructive legislation will, in due time, be displayed. I do not venture to decide that question or hazard any prophecies, for I know well that in Parliamentary matters, as in other matters, the only safe thing to prophesy is the unexpected. But, my Lords, I have no objection to this particular line of treatment when it deals with measures for extending the Lord Mayor's dinner, or for relieving the deadness of county life, which the noble Lord put forward as an object. I do not know that my noble Friends round me are prepared to say that country life is so absolutely dead; but any measures which may infuse into it any amount of resuscitation will be accepted with gratitude. The policy of dealing by innuendo with unimportant measures might be passed over without remark; but with respect to the burning questions of the day, I cannot help thinking that it is singularly misplaced. First take Egypt. With respect to that country, we have undoubtedly, since Parliament met last year, witnessed a great transformation scene. For the first six months of last year the policy of the Government was instinct with the doctrines connected with the name of that distinguished Gentleman, Mr. Bright, who has left the Government. For the last six months they have returned to an earlier and a sounder model; but their repentance does not entirely wash away their sin. It does not efface the effects of their temporary concession to the policy of weakness, vacillation, and self-effacement. The result of their action, or want of action, at the proper time, has been that the mechanism has been destroyed by which the results they now look for should be attained. Had they interfered in time, the Khedive's Government, or the traditions which supported it, and the religious and other influences which belong to them, under the sanction of the Ottoman Power, would have remained upright, and the future conduct of Egypt by their help might not have been difficult. But all the powers the Khedive's Government possessed of itself have been swept away, and for the future all the power of Egypt must be derived from the protective influence of the British Government. Now, how do you hope to exercise that influence? If you are about to leave a military force there, it is as if you left it at Gwalior or Secunderabad. It is not difficult to understand, whatever objections there might be to such a course, how such machinery would insure the objects you say you have in view—the internal peace and stability of the Khedive's Government and the future prosperity of Egypt. Even if you proposed to take any diplomatic facilities, in case of need, for returning with your Forces to Egypt, some species of security for those objects would still be preserved. But if we rightly understand the policy of Her Majesty's Government—at present we have it only from non-official sources—they intend to rely for the future predominance of England in Egypt only on the prestige derived from the success of the arms of my noble and gallant Friend. I do not dispute the greatness of that prestige. I do not dispute that our Army has dealt a good lesson to Egypt and to the Eastern world—a very wholesome lesson—but the recollection of the power of it will speedily fade away. Remember this—that you failed before in your endeavour to maintain the Government of Egypt, whether by your own fault or not, though you had not only your own military prestige, proved in every quarter of the world, to sustain you, but the prestige of France as well. You will have that no longer; you will be by yourselves. Do you not imagine, when the troops are withdrawn and the Khedive is left to himself, when political changes sweep from time to time over the surface of English and European politics—do you not imagine that old ambitions will revive, and old intrigues will be renewed; and that the effect of the lesson given at Tel-el-Kebir will be entirely forgotten? But even if that were not the case, you must remember that you will have, not alone, to deal with the influences that may arise among the Egyptian people. You must calculate upon the future action and influence of France in this difficult question. The noble Lord opposite addressed himself with great ability to show that France was not injured by what we have done in Egypt. That may be the case; but I thought he fell into an error which is too common, and which, I fear, has misled the Government—that the interests of France in Egypt are only individual interests—the interests of the bondholder and merchant. Unfortunately, France is actuated by less substantial and far more formidable and powerful motives—namely, the result of their own action in Egypt, the exploits of their Army, the fame won there by the First Napoleon, and the engineering achievement accomplished there under the auspices of the Third. These are sentimental influences; but, unhappily, no one can read the expression of French opinion without feeling that France is deeply dissatisfied at being deprived of the authority which she formerly possessed. As time goes on, and as the internal politics of France clear themselves, and she becomes more of a power in Europe than she is now, you must expect that your position in Egypt, unless very strongly secured, will be attacked, not only by the ambitions which may spring up among the Native population, but by the intrigues of Foreign Powers as well. There are other circumstances which ought not to be forgotten in dealing with the attitude of France towards this country in Egypt. The constant changes of Government in France have seemingly, and in reality, weakened that country, and have made the power of the Central Government over its distant agents far feebler than it was before. Now, what you have to fear, in your dealings in every part of the world, is, not so much the antagonism of the Central Government, which is enlightened and knows its own interests, but the action of distant agents, who are actuated by traditional feelings which they cannot shake off; and, in proportion as the Central Government is weak, you will find the difficulty of dealing with these matters in Egypt increase. I say this to illustrate what I have ventured to advance—namely, that at this moment the policy of dealing with this Egyptian Question by hints and innuendoes is singularly misplaced. The time is come when it would be of great diplomatic importance, and of great assistance to the conduct of England in the future, that her position with respect to Egypt should be fully and rigidly defined. We hear from one Member of the Government that the troops are not to stay in Egypt. We hear from another Member that they are to stay until certain objects are to be achieved, which we know cannot be achieved at an early period. We hear from Mr. Chamberlain that, considering the interests it has, it is impossible for England to look with apathy on anarchy in Egypt; and from the Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Courtney) we hear an inspired panegyric on anarchy, which he appears to regard as the highest blessing that can be bestowed upon a nation. That seems to show that you have no definite policy; and those who look forward to the time when your troops will leave the country, and when their own influence and power will be restored again, are encouraged to make their preparations for that period, and to keep alive every source of discontent and disturbance which may be at their command. My Lords, the same may be said, with regard to Ireland. Her Majesty's Government have changed their policy in Ireland. We have had efforts to maintain the law which we cannot too highly applaud. I think that the greatest praise is due to Lord Spencer for his exertions; but we cannot but regret that all these efforts were not made 12 or 18 months ago. In this, as in the former case, your change of policy, of course, does not wipe out the evils you have done. The agency by which you eon-ducted, to a great extent, the government of Ireland, by your act, is gone. You formerly had the landowners of Ireland between you and the rest of the population. I am not speaking of the injury you have done them, and the resentments it may leave behind—that is another subject of discussion—but you have shattered their power, and they are now perfectly useless for the purpose of protecting the English Government, or of maintaining the connection between the two countries. Thus, the greater burden is thrown on the Central Government. On it now rests the whole exclusive responsibility of making head against what seems to be a rising popular feeling in that country. With these difficulties in front of you, of which nobody can underrate the magnitude, I would ask, have you a clear and settled policy? Do your Ministers know what they are going to do? Are they able to announce what they will grant and what they will refuse, so as to remove all the hopes of agitation? From the phrases of the Speech, one would imagine that Her Majesty's Government have never heard of the fierce conflict that has been going on between its Members on the subject of their Irish policy. Why, we have had a regular tournament all the winter between the various Members of Her Majesty's Government—a tournament in which Lord Hartington has challenged all comers. It was begun by the noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies, who avowed that his great nostrum for Irish evils was spending a million or two on emigration. Lord Hartington hastened to assure the world that that was a delusion, and was utterly opposed to the feelings and prejudices of the Irish people. Then there was the serious question, which is the burning question of the hour—the extension of local government in that country. Mr. Healy, before he went to prison, elaborated a careful scheme in that direction, and the matter has been dealt with by Members of the Government both inside and outside the Cabinet. I think Mr. Herbert Gladstone said he was in favour of considering Home Rule; Mr. Ashley would not grant Home Rule, but would give every possible extension of the municipal and Parliamentary franchise; while Mr. Courtney, as I have said, pronounced a perfectly Pindaric eulogium on the advantages of anarchy. Mr. Chamberlain again—I should be sorry to misquote him, because it is so strange in a Member of the Government to give utterance to such words—said— As long as Ireland is without any institution of local government worthy of the name, so long the seeds of discontent and disloyalty will remain, only to burst forth into luxurious growth at the first favourable season. Unfortunately, we have not had many utterances from Mr. Gladstone in this Recess. His constituents in Mid Lothian have, to their great grief, failed to receive a defence of his policy; but we progress rapidly in these times, and new ways of communication are constantly discovered by distinguished men. Mr. Gladstone, having abandoned the senate and the platform, has taken refuge behind the tea-table, and there he informs M. Clémenceau that the "curse of Ireland is centralization." He adds— What I hope and desire, what I labour for and have at heart, is to decentralize authority there. We have disestablished the Church, and have relieved the tenant class of many grievances, and are now going to produce a state of things which will make the humblest Irishman realize that he is a governing agency, and that the government is to be carried on for him and by him. I do not like the idea of the humblest Irishman as a governing agency. Now, these are the opinions of Mr. Herbert Gladstone, Mr. Gladstone, and Mr. Chamberlain; what does Lord Hartington say? He says— It is supposed by some that by changes in the system of local self-government we can restore contentment to the country. It would be madness, in my opinion, to give Ireland more extended self-government, unless we can receive from the Irish people some assurance that this boon, would not be used for the purpose of agitation. Now, it is not for mo to reconcile these divergent opinions; it is enough to say that Mr. Chamberlain's and Mr. Gladstone's views are regarded by Lord Hartington as madness. What I do wish to press upon the House and upon Her Majesty's Government is, that this is no mere question of inconsistency. It is not an ordinary Party device of comparing the present with the former opinions of an adversary. It is a question whether, in a crisis of singular importance in Irish history, the Government have presented to the Irish people a plain and distinct policy in which they are all agreed, or whether, by their expressed disagreement, they are not encouraging the Irish people to further efforts in agitation. Two or three years ago we used to hear a great deal of the Concert of Europe. That has entirely disappeared from the speeches of the advocates of the Government; we have ceased to hope for such great things, and only ask now for the concert of Downing Street. We ask only that Downing Street shall be at one with itself, because we cannot but feel that these strange divergencies of opinion are not the result of accident, but are a necessary part of Party strategy. If this difference of opinion had concerned merely Egypt, I might have thought that predominant diplomatic considerations had driven the Government to it; but in respect to Ireland it is impossible not to feel that the speeches on one side or another are addressed successively to the two wings of the Liberal Party. When the Radicals begin to think that the pledges of 1880 are not being fulfilled, Mr. Chamberlain is sent down to pacify them; and when the Whigs begin to think that those pledges are taken too seriously, Lord Hartington is commissioned to set the matter right. I can well imagine that in so divided a flock what is called, in American parlance, "sitting on the gate," may be a judicious art, and a necessary resource of Party tactics. But, however necessary it may be for Party cohesion and to secure the obedience of confiding Radicals, I venture to say that no course can be pursued more dangerous to the interests of the Empire.


I do not always agree with the noble Marquess, and, therefore, it is a great satisfaction to me to be in accord with him in at least four of the statements he has made. In the first place, I acknowledge the justice of his remark, that there was nothing to criticize in Her Majesty's Speech; and if the noble Marquess cannot find something to criticize, I defy the rest of mankind to do so. I agree with him also in his welcome to the noble and gallant Lord whom we are all so glad to see amongst us, and I cordially agree with the compliment he paid to the Mover and Seconder of the Address. The remarks of the Seconder of the Address were statesmanlike, and not merely of a conventional character; and with regard to the noble Earl, your Lordships will have observed the excellent tone and substance of his speech. In an hereditary Chamber it is interesting to see what qualities descend from generation to generation; and, from what we have heard to-day, I cannot doubt that the blood of the Lambtons, the Greys, and the Russells will produce the results of which the promise has been given this evening. The noble Marquess complains of a want of vigour in the Speech, which he attributes to the absence of Mr. Gladstone; but the whole tradition of Lord John Russell's experience would be contrary to that contention. Then, again, I am bound to say that when the noble Marquess makes it his principal complaint against the Queen's Speech in that it deals in innuendoes, it appears to mo that the noble Marquess's speech just delivered consists entirely of innuendoes, with hardly any positive attack on Her Majesty's Government at all. Under these circumstances, it is not necessary for me to go into any details respecting the Bills announced in the Speech. The noble Marquess has spoken of Ireland, and I cannot help thinking that it is a very great tribute to the Government of Ireland at this moment that the noble Marquess has not found one single thing to complain of in the Government of that country during the last six months which have elapsed since Parliament first adjourned in the month of August. All his attacks have been founded upon speeches made by Gentlemen not in the Cabinet, and upon unwarranted gossip at dinner parties. I certainly do venture to take upon me to state, whatever shades of difference maybe detected in our views with regard to the condition of Ireland, I am quite certain that no Member of Her Majesty's Government has, on the one hand, declared in favour of anything like Home Rule, any separation of the connection between the two countries, nor, on the other hand, has anyone denied that there may be measures for giving more interest in the government of Ireland to the Irish people, which it may be desirable to pass. Like my noble Friends the Mover and Seconder, the noble Marquess spoke with reference to Lord Spencer. It may be an invidious task to me to award any praise to a Colleague; but I cannot help saying on this occasion—and I do so entirely uninfluenced by personal or political feelings—that I believe what has been said by the three noble Lords who have preceded me does not, in the slightest degree, exceed the merits of the case. Within a short time, since Lord Spencer and Mr. Trevelyan have been associated in the Government of Ireland, they have both taken upon themselves these arduous duties, the undertaking and discharge of which require both physical and moral courage. One of the reasons for the great success of Lord Spencer in that capacity has been that, on the one hand, no one loves Ireland more, no one is more associated with the feeling of the best portion of the Irish people, no one is more desirous of reforming any grievances that exist, and no one, at the same time, combines with that the highest sense of duty in carrying on in a firm and determined manner the war upon the enemies, not only of this country, but of Ireland itself. My Lords, the noble Marquess complains in particular of the want of concert on the part of Her Majesty's Government. As I said before, I have not been reading all the productions of the day; but I certainly have seen some, and I certainly have been told of other speeches and articles, not of Liberals accusing Conservatives of being disunited, but of different Members of the great united Conservative Party complaining of their Leaders and followers, and making up what appears to me to be a quarrel in that great and historical Party; and while speaking on this subject the noble Marquess might have dispelled some illusions which have been created on this side of the House. Then the noble Marquess went on to speak with regard to Egypt, and, as usual, he began by accusing the Government of vacillation and weakness in the first portion of their dealings with the Egyptian Question. The noble Marquess has not explained what he wished. Did he wish for more decisive language on our part, or for earlier decided action? I want to know what the thing is he complains of. Did not we speak loud enough? The great complaint last year was with regard to the Dual Note, in which we spoke very firmly, and which, I may say, we have adhered to, carrying out everything that was stated in that Note. That Note was complained of as being of too aggressive a character by the noble Marquess and some of his Friends. Then, is it want of action that is complained of? One Member of the late Government has twice stated that 100 policemen would have settled the whole thing. Once it was said on his own authority, and once on that of M. Gambetta. I do not know what force it was that M. Gambetta contemplated using on behalf of France; but I do not think it was his intention to send 100 sergents-de-ville to effect that purpose. Another Member of the late Cabinet only this week said that we ought to have landed 1,000 men at Alexandria. I believe that the landing of a force before the successful operations of the Fleet would have been madness. I remember at the time there was a discussion as to whether we should postpone any action on the part of the Fleet, and it was then stated that it would require a whole month to effect a combined land movement with France, whilst during that time the forts were being fortified, not to mention the immense moral effect that such a postponement would have against us. I believe, on the contrary, if we had not used every possible means before adopting measures of force—if we had not convinced the whole of Europe of our determination in this sense—I believe the danger of an early intervention on our part would have been immense, and I very much doubt whether it would have been effectual, while the result might have been a general European war. My Lords, the noble Marquess has treated this part of the question lightly; and, as he has preferred going into the speeches of Cabinet Ministers, and innumerable persons not in the Cabinet, I may make some reference to the speeches he made at Edinburgh. Those speeches were announced as very important ones. They were to have the effect sometimes attributed to the Mid Lothian speeches of Mr. Gladstone, and of course they were carefully prepared before they were made. I confess I felt very nervous and embarrassed as to what might be the power of the noble Marquess, and what the noble Marquess might do in attacking the Government policy on that occasion; and I must say that I never was more relieved in my life than when I read those speeches, because it appeared to me that the arguments of the noble Marquess were based exclusively on historical statements of fact, which I knew, when the opportunity came, could be absolutely and entirely destroyed. I am not going to trouble your Lordships with details of the noble Marquess's speeches; but I will give you an instance of the sort of argument he adduced in holding up the Government to reprobation. He described us as having asked the permission of Europe to invade Egypt, and, after having received a refusal of that permission, as having proceeded to take Egypt. I must say that if the Government had been guilty of such conduct it would have been very hypocritical, very inconsistent, and very audacious; and my only reason for supposing that Europe is not indignant is that I think it just possible that Europe doubted every single assertion which the noble Marquess made. I am at a loss to know when and where we asked the permission of Europe to invade Egypt; and when he states that we have now taken Egypt, I can only state that we have not taken it, and that we do not intend to take it. That is the sort of representation which was made. I will take another instance. The noble Marquess attacked the bombardment, and asked what could be thought of a Government which had taken a vast Fleet to Alexandria, where it had no international right, and, being there, demanded things to be done on shore, and those demands being refused they proceeded to bombard a commercial port contrary to International Law.


Not contrary to International Law, but in a place where they had no international right to be.


I am right; contrary to International Law.


It was Mr. Bright who said that it was against International Law.


I will admit it to be a perfectly legitimate argument on the part of Mr. Bright, but not in the mouth of the noble Marquess. With regard to the Fleet, what occurred first was, that in September Sir Edward Malet applied to the Government, stating that a panic existed; but he applied not so much on account of what might be done as because, if excitement occurred, it might be desirable there should be a place of refuge. We sent a ship, as did the French, and sent a telegram explaining why it was sent; and when that ship was removed, we had another despatch from Sir Edward Malet expressing a hope that his original request for a ship would not be disregarded. It has been stated that it was in consequence of our disregard of Sir Edward Malet's caution against sending a ship—exactly the reverse of what he did advise—that there was a massacre at Alexandria; that event having happened eight months later. I now come to another part of the question. I think it was on the 15th of May I stated in this House the intentions of Her Majesty's Government with regard to Egypt. The principal portion of that statement was that the French Government and ourselves had ordered squadrons to go to Alexandria. The noble Marquess spoke immediately afterwards, and said he had no objection to make to the statement I had just delivered. He said that we had inherited obligations from the late Government with regard to Tewfik, and that it was absolutely necessary that we should support those obligations, not only by despatches, but by force if necessary. Well, it would be perfectly consistent if Mr. Bright or Sir Wilfrid Lawson had used the noble Marquess's recent arguments, because they always objected to the despatch of the Fleet to Alexandria; but is it possible to conceive how the noble Marquess can lay down the principle that he entirely approves of our action, and then hold up the Government to execration at Edinburgh because we have taken a course which he entirely approved of at the time? I go further. He said, being there, we asked for things to be done on shore which we had no international right to do. Well; but on the 1st of June last, the noble Marquess stated in this House that if Her Majesty's Government were allowing the forts at Alexandria to be built, and were refusing to allow the Fleet to take the precautions which at once, and without any breach of International Law, would put a stop to these works, he thought they were running a great risk, and were taking a most imprudent course. However, I do not complain so much of the noble Marquess changing his opinions so greatly within six months, as that he should have said that we bombarded the commercial part of the town. It was said by Arabi Bey and by a small section of the hostile Press on the Continent that we bombarded the commercial part of the port of Alexandria; but all our official Reports, both civil and military, concur with the statements of the Admiral and the Naval officers—that the greatest care, humanity, and skill were exercised to concentrate the bombardment exclusively on the forts and the earthworks which, had been erected. My Lords, it has been said that the great business of an Opposition was to oppose. Well, I admit, my Lords, that it is a very important function of an Opposition to criticize the conduct of the Government; but that ought to be done fairly, in accordance with the ordinary principles of justice, and with duo regard to historical facts. I beg your Lordships' pardon for having dwelt so long on this subject; but I thought it necessary to put your Lordships on your guard. The noble Marquess stated in the summer of last year that there were two things which affected the honour of this country. One was the maintenance of Tewfik in his position as Khedive; the other was the removal of Arabi from the country. Now, both these things we have done. With regard to Tewfik, I have always been of opinion that our honour was deeply engaged in the maintenance of that Prince. The sudden deposition of Ismail greatly weakened the authority of the Khediviat. A deposition of Tewfik would have been fatal to it. I believe that was the opinion of the noble and gallant Lord (Lord Wolseley) on the Cross Benches. The removal of Arabi has been accomplished; and since that time I may fairly say that order, peace, and prosperity have been established in Egypt, and we have been enabled to communicate that fact to the Powers, together with a general expression of our views. That communication was certainly made earlier than I had hoped to be able to make it. Some are of opinion that it is desirable to annex, or, what amounts to the same thing, to maintain a complete protectorate over Egypt. This is a policy which Her Majesty's present Government could not easily pursue, considering the statements they have invariably made to Parliament and to Foreign Powers. Besides, I believe it is entirely out of the question as a wise measure on the part of this country. Lord Palmerston was always strongly against it, and Lord Beacons-field once told a Foreign Ambassador that he would not take Egypt as a gift. India has been mentioned; but there is one great difference between India and Egypt. India is, comparatively speaking, isolated from European nations, other than ours; whereas Egypt has as neighbours many of the nations of Europe, and their inhabitants are swarming in Egypt. This, in itself, would constitute an immense difficulty if we were to take upon ourselves the whole government of the country. The other alternative proposed is that, having by means of our sailors and soldiers achieved that remarkable success, we ought to leave Egypt entirely to solve its own problems. In the first place, if we wished to wash our hands completely of Egypt, I am convinced that other Powers would intervene. In the second place, as we did enter into military operations, and as we did carry them to a successful issue, it appears to me that we should be absolutely without any justification for those operations if we were to leave Egypt in a state of anarchy, and without a reasonable prospect of having a stable and beneficent Government. The noble Marquess wishes me to state the exact date of the withdrawal of our troops from Egypt. My Lords, I cannot conceive that it would be prudent for me to make such a statement. We shall not keep our troops there any longer than is necessary; but it would be an act of treachery to ourselves, to Egypt, and to Europe, if we withdrew them without having a certainty, or, if not a certainty—because we cannot have certainty in the affairs of this life—until there is a reasonable expectation of a stable, a permanent, and a beneficent Government being established in Egypt. The noble Marquess says that our influence in Egypt consists in our troops, and that when they are withdrawn the memory of their prowess will fade away. But before the Expedition, and under a system which gave the French an equal control with ourselves, there was no doubt that the influence of this country in Egypt was very strong. To what is that influence owing? As regards our influence in Egypt, I believe that it will be considerably increased and strengthened by what has occurred there during the past six months. It is all very well for the noble Marquess to twit me with respect to the abolition of the Dual Control. Does he say we ought to have maintained the Control or not? There was not even an innuendo that we ought to have maintained it. Last year he urged us very much not to rely on France, but to rely on ourselves; and now he makes it, in a sort of indirect manner, an accusation that we are not in agreement with France. I doubt whether anyone in this House, or the other House, is more desirous than I have been all my life to maintain the best possible relations with France I do not think it quite reasonable; but it is certainly natural that there should be some little irritation at this moment in France. But I believe that the real interests of both countries are identically the same in regard to the government of Egypt—that it should be orderly and stable, and such as best to conduce to the prosperity and peace of the country. I can most sincerely say that we shall hope for the good feeling of France. My noble Friend who seconded the Motion referred to the approval by the Powers of our action. There is no phrase in the Queen's Speech to that effect, because we have had no official communications on the subject. From the French Government we have had no communication whatever. That may be an unfavourable symptom. But the state of political affairs in that country may sufficiently account for the silence of the French Government. From Turkey we have had no communication, except that the Sultan approves of the abolition of the Control. With regard to Germany, Italy, and Austria, general expressions of approval have been received; and information has reached us from St. Petersburg that the Russian answer will be of a somewhat similar character. My Lords, if anyone ever deserved the confidence of his country, Sir Edward Malet deserves it, in consideration of the way in which he conducted the affairs of Egypt in times of extraordinary difficulty; but we thought it would not be fair to centre in one man constructive as well as diplomatic duties; and, therefore, we looked out for a man who should be best fitted to assist him in the work of construction in Egypt. We found that person in my noble Friend Lord Dufferin, who had arranged in so permanent a fashion the affairs of the Lebanon, who had great experience of government on the other side of the Atlantic, and who had also been so successful in diplomacy. He was, we thought, of all men especially fitted to work with Sir Edward Malet in carrying out exactly the principles which the Government bad laid down. I trust and believe this policy of the Government will be that which is best calculated for the prosperity and peace of Egypt, which it is the interest of France and all the Powers, as it undoubtedly is of this country, to secure and maintain.


said, Parliament was congratulated in the gracious Speech from the Throne upon the improved condition of Ireland; and much of that improvement was said by Members and supporters of the Government, out of Parliament, to be due to the remedial measures, as they were called, which had been introduced by the present Government. He was glad to say that there had been a considerable improvement in the state of the country; but that improvement was solely due to the vigour and courage with which his noble Friend (Lord Spencer) was carrying out the provisions of the Crimes Act, and it was an absolute delusion to suppose that remedial measures had in any degree contributed to that result. On the contrary, the remedial measures, which chiefly consisted in the confiscation of the landlord's property, had increased agitation and created dissatisfaction in the country population, because expectations were raised which could not be fulfilled. He had been resident in Ireland during the last five months, and he found that it was the opinion of everyone competent to form a judgment that the tenants were much more discontented and unsettled than they were at the close of the Duke of Marlborough's Viceroyalty, before any remedial legislation was introduced or even talked of. The improved state of Ireland during the last four months was entirely due to the vigour with which Lord Spencer had carried out the law; and, in doing so, he had done precisely what the Conservative Party had been urging the Government for the last three years to do, and precisely what, up to last May, they refused to do. Had the Government acted with the same vigour in 1880, we should not have seen Ireland in the disastrous position it was now in; and in the course he had taken Lord Spencer had acted upon the lines laid down by the Conservative Party, and in direct opposition to those laid down and enunciated by Mr. Gladstone as his Irish policy. But let it not for a moment be supposed that that improvement was a solid or a permanent one, or that any relaxation of the vigorous measures now used would not be followed by a renewal of outrages equally numerous and atrocious as those which had disgraced the last three years, and which could only be kept in abeyance at the present time, and for some time to come, by the rigid enforcement of the law. But while a good deal had been said and admitted about the improvement which had taken place in Ireland during the last few months, he was sorry to be obliged to dispel the illusion of noble Lords opposite, by pointing out that that improvement was only a comparative improvement upon the frightful series of agrarian outrages that had marked both occasions of Mr. Gladstone's Governments and the development of his Irish policy. When Mr. Gladstone took Office in the last days of 1868, the official Returns of the agrarian outrages for that year were only 160. Under Mr. Gladstone's Government they rose at once in 1869 to 767, and in 1870 to 1,329, or 12 times the amount of agrarian outrages in the average years of the preceding Conservative Government, when he (the Duke of Abercorn) was Lord Lieutenant. Simultaneously, again, with Mr. Gladstone's second advent to power, in 1880, when he ridiculed Lord Beacons-field's warnings, when he announced that there was an absence of crime and outrage such as was unknown in the history of Ireland, and refused to renew the Peace Preservation Act, or to take any precaution against seditious agitation, the agrarian outrages, coincident with his resumption of Office, rose in that year to 2,585, and in 1881 to the frightful amount of 4,439, or, again, to 12 times the amount of the average annual agrarian crimes during the six years of Lord Beaconsfield's Government which preceded him. The first eight months of 1882 showed no improvement, the Returns of outrages for those months being close upon 3,000; but the last four months, in consequence of the vigorous action of Lord Spencer at the latter end of the summer, showed a great improvement over those frightful amounts. Yet he wished to point out that each month, even then, still showed an average amount of agrarian crime four times the amount of the average monthly agrarian crimes during the six years of the preceding Conservative Government. Nor was it easy to exaggerate the present dangerous state of Ireland when we were too well aware, by recent trials, that any official engaged in the direct administration of the law, from the Lord Lieutenant down to the honest juror, lived in daily danger from the hand of the assassin, unless protected by armed police. Such were the fruits of a legislation of remedial policy in the fourth year of its trial. It would be seen from these facts and figures that on each occasion when Mr. Gladstone had attempted to initiate a special Irish policy, that that policy had been marked by an immediate and unexampled burst of sedition, outrage, and murder. But the Government seemed equally unable to learn experience from the past or caution for the future, for we had heard a fresh danger to Ireland shadowed out in the speeches of prominent Members and supporters of the Government—notably in those of the President of the Board of Trade—who appeared to have some hidden art of forcing his Colleagues, whatever might be their opinion, to come round to his own—speeches which pointed to the future establishment of local County Boards all over Ireland, and to a possible future reduction of the franchise in that country. But there was a good deal more than that, for, according to a daily paper, supposed to be an organ of the Government, the Prime Minister himself had expressed the most advanced views of decentralization in Ireland, and had declared that the desire he had most at heart was—for these were his words as reported— To make every Irishman realize that he is a governing agency, and that the Government is carried on for him and by him. Those words, stripped of Mr. Gladstone's Utopian and transcendental phrases, meant simply that the very Irishmen who were now, and who had been for the last three years, defying the Imperial Government—men of the type of Town Councillor Carey (now on his trial), who was a good example of what a local County Board man would be in the South and West of Ireland—were to be the very men into whose influences the Government was to be handed over. If at any time the great body of Irishmen should show themselves to be fit for such self-government, such utterances would not seem, as they did now, merely those of an almost morbid sentimentalism; but that such rash views should be enunciated now, in the present state of Ireland, showed an amount of delusion which even experience of Mr. Gladstone's policy had not prepared the country for. Such measures as local representative County Boards in Ireland and a reduction of the franchise in Ireland, now or at any time, we were now able to foresee would place the whole local and representative power of Ireland in the hands of the party of sedition, and would be a fatal and permanent blow to the whole loyal population. Nothing in the present state of the country could be more suicidal than such measures for the integrity of the Empire, for the Government itself, and even for the Liberal Party in Ireland. The scenes that took place in Ireland at some of the Local Boards at this time ought to be a sufficient warning to the Government that the representative bodies of a much lower type that they looked forward to instituting would be nothing in three-fourths of Ireland but hot-beds of sedition, and the strongest impetus that could be given to absolute Home Rule or separation from this country. But the lowering of the franchise in Ireland would be a still more serious and dangerous catastrophe. The fact that such measures should be contemplated as possible or probable by Members of the Government showed, in addition to our former experience of the results of their policy, how little Mr. Gladstone or his Colleagues understood the nature of Irish difficulties or of the Irish character. He had had six years' experience of the government of Ireland, and at one period during the Fenian insurrection, in times that might have been as troublous as these if they had not been met with vigour, and he believed that the Irish were a people easily governed if governed with unvarying firmness and justice, but they would not be ruled, and never had been ruled, by unlimited concession, conciliation, and laxity at one moment, and by unlimited and spasmodic coercion at another. But we had, unfortunately, too sound an experience of the disastrous condition into which Ireland had been brought by this ignorance of the Irish character and by the wavering and shifty policy of the Government during their first two years of Office—a policy alternating from Kilmainham Treaties and the tampering with sedition for Party votes to fitful coercion and repression—a policy which the late Lord Lieutenant and Chief Secretary had the courage by resignation of Office to decline to participate in. The Government had never been able to realize that there were three distinct Parties in Ireland—first, as they were too well aware, a large body of seditious men, who, he believed, were in a minority, as those who forced on the first French Revolution were in a minority at first, but who were formidable from a combined power of mischief, who were irreconcilable and whom nothing would propitiate; they had then a large body of honest and loyal men, who alone were ready to support law and order and the union with this country at any sacrifice; and, lastly, they had still a larger body of men, who, having no strong views of their own, had been passive witnesses of the seditious outrages, and who were ready to throw in their lot with whichever should prove the stronger—the seditious agitator or the Imperial Government, but who would inevitably join that Party whom the Government, by the unconditional lowering of its flag to the claims of sedition, would have declared the strongest and made omnipotent in Ireland. While this was the hazardous position of the population of Ireland, to concede such measures as local representative boards of sedition all over Ireland and a reduction of the franchise there to a household, or rather to a hovel franchise, at the sentimental cry of ignorant or interested doctrinaires of the Liberal school—interested because they hoped to propitiate by them the Irish vote in England—would be an act not only of folly, but of criminal folly. There was but one safe and statesmanlike course in Ireland at present—to show that the law was stronger than sedition, and to show that the Government was resolved to enforce that law. The time for sentimental theories and of attempts to propitiate those who were irreconcilable was gone by; and if the Government could learn wisdom they must already be fully aware of that. But, on the other hand, if the Government would pursue the course they had lately—but too late—adopted in resolutely combating the seditious and revolutionary element in Ireland, he could assure them of the hearty support of the whole loyal population of Ireland, whether they were Conservatives or whether they were Liberals; all would join heartily, regardless of all Party feeling, in support of a Government which, forgetting its former errors, showed itself earnestly bent on enforcing the law. It might be said that he was premature in referring to subjects which were not formally laid before the House in the gracious Speech from the Throne; but these subjects were sufficiently in the air, if not at this moment actually on the platform of practical politics, to make the speeches of prominent Members of the Government, as well as the allusions in the Speech from the Throne in reference to them, matters of the gravest alarm. He had had experience for 50 years in Irish affairs, both in public and private life, and he had felt it his duty to give a solemn warning that measures such as the establishment of local county representative boards all over Ireland and the reduction of the franchise to a household franchise could lead but to one of two alternatives—the disintegration of the Empire or civil war. The future aspect of Ireland with such possible changes was a most dark and gloomy one. The only ray of light that could be hoped for in its future horizon was that which would arise from a rule of unvarying firmness and justice—not one halting between sentimental concession and undecided coercion. But, whatever might be its future, in looking back to the policy of the last three years, history would record the name of Mr. Gladstone as that of the statesman who, without evil intentions, but who, warped by prejudice and infatuated by Party spirit, had wrought greater ruin and desolation on Ireland, and greater degradation of its national character, than any Minister who for the last two centuries had governed that country.


said, that he had not intended to address their Lordships upon that occasion; but when the noble Duke who had just spoken (the Duke of Abercorn) had inveighed against the remedial measures for Ireland which had been promoted and carried into law by the present Government, he (Earl Cowper) could not sit silent; and he could not help saying that whether or not those measures had had any actual influence in restoring quiet and order in that country, it was, in his opinion, quite impossible, after the very stringent measures of repression and coercion had been passed, that remedial legislation should not be proposed. Personally, soon after he went to Ireland, he had acknowledged and had clearly seen the necessity, in the then state of things in Ireland, for exceptional coercive legislation for that country; and, indeed, the necessity for it had been generally acknowledged, and it might even have been wished that that legislation had been proposed by Her Majesty's Government at an earlier period. It was also pretty well known that the Grimes Act had been drafted before he and Mr. Forster left Office. Put he wished it to be clearly understood that he should never have lent his name to such measures if Her Majesty's Government had not introduced measures for redressing the grievances under which, most undoubtedly, the Irish tenantry were suffering at the time, and which were considered to be important. It must be remembered that the crimes which had been committed, and the agitation that had taken place, had been directed against the measures which the landlords had taken to enforce the payment of their rents, and that the Coercion Acts were passed to protect the landlords in enforcing the law against their tenants. In these circumstances, he was satisfied that the Liberal Party would never have assented to this exceptional and tremendous coercive legislation, which frequently, owing to the state of things in Ireland, was made use of to carry out Acts which, in many instances, were unjust, unless it was to be followed by remedial measures. He did not desire to trouble their Lordships further on the point on that occasion; but he could not allow the noble Duke's observations to pass unnoticed. He was glad that remedial measures were passed, and he hoped that the improvement in the condition of Ireland would go on increasing.


said, that the noble Earl who had just sat down (Earl Cowper) had declared that, if it had not been for remedial legislation, the Crimes Act would not have been passed; but he (the Marquess of Waterford) desired to point out, on the contrary, that if it had not been for the remedial legislation indicated by the Government the Crimes Act would never have been necessary. The noble Earl was the first speaker in their Lordships' House that night who had taken credit on behalf of the Government for the remedial legislation for Ireland. The slight and few allusions which were made to Ireland in the gracious Speech from the Throne needed some comment, because they were told, at the time of the passage of what had been called the remedial legislation, that it only required to pass those measures into law to bring about a vast improvement in the social condition of the country; and the Ministers who had spoken on this subject during the winter had taken credit to themselves and their remedial legislation for the improvement which had taken place. But now, in Her Majesty's gracious Speech, the Government did not dare to state that their remedial legislation had had any effect whatever, because they knew well that it was the Crimes Act, and the Crimes Act alone, which had produced the improvement on the surface of society—because he was sorry to say it was only on the surface—that had taken place. As an Irish landlord, he endorsed every word the noble Duke below him (the Duke of Abercorn) had said with regard to the administration of Irish affairs by the noble Earl the present Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (Earl Spencer), and he thought too much credit could not be given him for the manly and courageous manner in which he had administered the Crimes Act, and the success which had attended his efforts towards bringing to justice the authors of a hideous conspiracy. But Her Majesty's Ministers were well aware that if the Crimes Act were suspended for only one month, they would have all the horrors re-enacted despite their remedial legislation; and the Chief Secretary for Ireland evidently thought the same, because in a speech he delivered to his constituents last week at Hawick, he said, referring to the National League— If the movement had been unchecked, in three months we should have had our worst difficulties all over again. The outrages would have been as numerous as ever, and the country would have been uninhabitable to any ordinary or civilized person. That statement was a proof that the Irish Executive believed that their remedial legislation had not had any of the results they anticipated. But what was most curious in regard to this paragraph in Mr. Trevelyan's speech was that, as far as he (the Marquess of Waterford) could make out, the National League had never been checked. It was not declared illegal. No doubt, two small Provincial meetings of farmers at Ballymena and Loughrea were prevented; but two days before the Chief Secretary for Ireland made his speech at Hawick, a very large meeting of the National League took place in Dublin, which was not interfered with; at which were present four Members of Parliament, and at which speeches were made of the most inflammatory character, daring the Irish Government to interfere with their meeting, although they might have the courage to suppress small meetings in the country. Mr. Sexton stated that the Chief Secretary for Ireland himself admitted that the National League was perfectly legal. Mr. Sullivan showed the identity of the National League with the Land League, by saying that the "same tree would produce the same fruit." Six columns of The Freeman were taken up with the report of this meeting; and yet Mr. Trevelyan led his constituents to suppose that this movement, which he said if unchecked would have such frightful effects, had been checked. They all knew that the National League was merely the Land League in disguise, and if it was unchecked would have the effects specified by the Chief Secretary for Ireland. He (the Marquess of Waterford) had taken part in several debates in their Lordships' House upon the administration of the Land Act. They had declared that that Act was being administered against all principles of justice, and had shown how the landlords could not expect any fair play from the manner in which the Act had been carried out, and the class of men who were chosen as Judges. They stated that these Courts were formed entirely in the interest of the tenants, and that the landlords were given no chance whatever. The statements were indignantly repudiated by noble Lords opposite; but they could hardly have expected that Mr. Trevelyan, in a speech which he delivered on October 3 to a deputation in Dublin, would admit in so many words every one of the charges which they had made. A deputation, which Mr. Trevelyan himself admitted was one-sided, waited upon him in Dublin to demand the dismissal of the valuers who had been appointed by the Land Commission, and not by the Government, after—as the Land Commission stated in a letter laid on the Table of the House of Commons—most careful consideration, for the purpose, not only of expedition in the decisions, but to get rid of appeals, by satisfying both parties that, through the assistance of an expert, the decisions were absolutely fair. The tenants, and those who acted for them, know well that if fair decisions were arrived at, with the help of competent Court valuers, the ridiculous reductions which had been taking place could not possibly go on; and therefore there was a storm of clamour raised against the appointment of the valuers. But how did Mr. Trevelyan meet that storm? Did he answer the deputation by saying that the Land Court was a judicial tribunal, and that the Government had no power to interfere with their appointments? No; but he took upon himself to terrorize the valuers, by stating that if the reductions did not continue on the same scale as heretofore, no matter whether they were fair or not, the valuers would be dismissed. He even laid down a scale upon which the valuers were to proceed, and said that— If the tenants came to the conclusion that they have lost very decidedly by the change, I am quite certain that the Government has quite sympathy enough with the tenants to feel that it hag taken a step which is injuring them. And, again— The Government will recognize that it has made a mistake, and will undo the mistake. Was not that exactly what they on that (the Opposition) side of the House had held that the Government was doing with regard to the administration of this Act? They said that the landlords' property was being confiscated by packed Courts, under the control of the Government, for political purposes; and the Chief Secretary for Ireland came forward, in answer to political partizans, who threatened to withdraw their support, and said that he would interfere with a Court of Justice if one party to the suit was not satisfied with the decision. At the time the Land Act passed the Sub-Commissioners were not named. They had only the names of the Chief Commissioners before them, and immense stress was laid upon these appointments; but when the Chief Commissioners made arrangements for efficiently and fairly carrying out the law of the land, the Government stepped in and dismissed the valuers who, the Chief Commissioners declared, were necessary to assist the Sub-Commissioners to arrive at just decisions. Would such an interference be tolerated for one moment in any Court of Justice in England? And was it not a perfect parody on justice that a deputation of partizans, assisted by clamour, should be able to lay down how an Act of Parliament should be administered; or for the Government to stoop so low as to dismiss an official of a Court upon the application of a few tenants for political purposes? Such, however, had been the case with the Court valuers. By the removal of those officials the Government had practically taken away from the landlord the power to value his own estate, and had handed that power over to the tenant. The cases of Lord Talbot de Malahide finished the Court valuers; and yet those decisions were so fair that only one tenant appealed. That was the case of a holder of four farms; and, after most careful valuation by two of the chief valuers of the Court of Appeal, the Court was obliged to confirm every one of the decisions. A violent article appeared in The Freeman's Journal, and the Court valuers, not having accepted Mr. Trevelyan's scale of reductions, were dismissed. Mr. Trevelyan, in his speech in "another place," stated that his answer to the deputation did not bear the interpretation now placed upon it. He said he had "often re-assured the landlords," although if he attempted to do so he was signally unsuccessful, and he now sought to re-assure the tenants. But Mr. Samuel Black, a member of the deputation, and his friends in the North of Ireland understood the speech exactly as he understood it. Mr. Boyd, of Limavady, a leading Liberal in the North, speaking at a meeting where Mr. Black was present, said— Has not the Chief Secretary practically proclaimed to our friends, the Court valuers, 'You are on your trial for three months. If during that time your reductions of rent are too small to please the farmers, you will then be sent off, bag and baggage; but if you act discreetly and do not encourage this howl of discontent and give substantial reduction, for the next three months, you will then be firmly seated in your saddles, and your £1,000 a-year will be secured to you.' And he was not contradicted. No wonder the Government did not take credit for having settled the Land Question when the Land Act had been denounced on all the platforms in the South-West and Midland Counties of Ireland. And in the North—at meetings where a large number of Liberal M.P.'s were present—resolutions had been passed that it was necessary to amend the Land Act without further delay, and laying down five provisions in which the Act needed amendment, notably among them the improvement in the Purchase Clauses. And there was no doubt that further pressure would be brought to bear on the Government, from the tenants' Representatives, to alter and amend an Act which the Government stated was to give so much satisfaction. In fact, as far as he (the Marquess of Waterford) could make out, nobody valued the Land Act, and even the Government seemed to have lost their love for it, and there was no mention of it in Her Majesty's gracious Speech. The landlords, on their side, did not much admire an Act administered as this had been, which carried ruin and destruction to their class throughout the land, and which had rendered their properties entirely unsaleable. He was reading in the paper the other day the account of two different classes of property put up for sale on the same day—one was several landlords' properties in the Encumbered Estates Court in different counties, for which there was not one single bidder; the other was the tenant right of 12 acres 23 perches of land, at the annual rent of £13 5s. 8 d., for which the tenant right fetched £29 the statute acre—an increase of something like £12 an acre, compared with what the tenant right in the same county fetched, on an average, before the passing of the Land Act. He was sure their Lordships had read with satisfaction the letter written by the noble Earl the Lord Lieutenant to Sir Thomas M'Clure, stating the principles upon which the selections of the new Sub-Commissioners were made, though, at the same time, it seemed somewhat curious that he should apparently make excuses for what he had done respecting them. His Excellency, in writing to a rev. doctor upon the matter, said— In making my selection, I have studiously searched for those whose practical knowledge and experience of farming would enable them to act skilfully in the difficult cases brought before them, and whose integrity of purpose, impartiality, and independence of position and character, would make their decisions respected by all parties coming before them. But some of the appointments could hardly come up to the description of the noble Earl. He (the Marquess of Waterford) took, as a sample of the new appointments, Mr. William Gray, of Maze, one of the Attorney General for Ireland's most ardent adherents. He found that on January 17, 1882, he made the following remark in a public speech:— I may he asked, what standard would I propose for fixing rents? My reply would be, 'Take the valuation, deduct the taxes, and the half would be a fair rent.' For instance, if Griffith's valuation of a farm be 20s. per acre, and the taxes, say, 3s., then 8s. 6d. per acre would be a fair rent. And, again— Landlords would, at 8s.6d. per acre, have plenty to live on—indeed, as much as is good for them. Now, could this gentleman come up to the noble Earl's conditions as to integrity of purpose and impartiality to all parties, which the noble Earl required before making the appointment? If Mr. Gray might be taken as a sample of the Sub-Commissioners appointed to replace the valuers, he could perfectly understand why the tenants were so jubilant at the latter's dismissal. He should also like to know whether Mr. Fitzpatrick, of Limerick, or Mr. Kiernan, of Monaghan, came up to the Lord Lieutenant's description, and whether any of those newly appointed had ever had any connection with the Land League? Those appointments demanded explanation, and further explanation was required of the Chief Secretary for Ireland's answer to the deputations and the dismissal of the Court valuers in answer to mere clamour from the worst section of the Irish people. There was no doubt, from the tone of Her Majesty's gracious Speech, that the Government had at last given up the false theory that their remedial legislation was a success. He was glad to hear that the Government would not give their support to Home Rule; but at the same time Mr. Gladstone and his family seemed to be dangerously playing with the question.


said, he was not prepared at that moment to supply the information desired by the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Waterford) as to certain Assistant Commissioners; but it would be forthcoming if the noble Marquess desired it. He (Lord Carling-ford) thought their Lordships had no desire to prolong this discussion. He had heard the speeches of the noble Marquess and of the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Abercorn), who had formerly governed Ireland, with profound regret, because they were speeches too full of passion and prejudice to be of any practical value. Those speeches consisted almost exclusively of references to the history of the past, and protests against possible future legislation. As to the past, it would be scarcely profitable to debate a history which had been over and over again discussed in that House; while as to the measures of the future, they were not before their Lordships, and it would be time enough to deal with them when they arrived; but there was nothing in the Speech which the House was now discussing which need give cause for alarm, either to the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) or to the noble Marquess who had just spoken. The noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) seemed to think that there was some mystery, something below the surface of the words in that part of Her Majesty's Speech which referred to Irish measures. He talked of innuendoes. Neither on that subject, nor upon any other subject, had there been any innuendoes. The Speech simply said it would be impossible, and it would not be right, in consideration of the claims of the other parts of the United Kingdom, to give any considerable portion of the time of this Session to Irish measures of the first class; but it went on to say that that need not prevent some useful work in the way of legislation for Ireland being done—that was to say, the carrying of certain measures of a minor kind. With regard to the question of Court valuers, that was a question to which his noble Friend (the Marquess of Waterford), like a good many others, had attached a most exaggerated importance. He talked as if it was a case of interference on the part of the Government with the judicial functions of the Land Courts. It was nothing of the kind; it was merely a question of machinery—the question of deciding whether it was best to employ valuers, or to double the number of the non-legal Assistant Commissioners. The change was originally made, not because the Government or the Land Commission had any reason to believe that the Sub-Commissioners were acting unfairly in their decisions; it was done for two purposes—for the purpose of expediting the business and getting more rapidly through the work, and also with the hope that the number of appeals might be reduced, and that confidence in the Sub-Commissions might be increased. That hope proved to be absolutely unfounded, as no effect of that kind was produced by the appointment of the valuers. Suspicions had been aroused among the tenantry which could not be disregarded without the risk of destroying confidence in the Courts; and the change had, therefore, been introduced of which the noble Marquess now complained.


pointed out that the change was not made by the Government, but by the Chief Commissioners.


said, that the plan of employing valuers had been tried by the Irish Government on the suggestion of the Land Commission; but what he was saying was that confidence in the Commis- sioners was in danger of being lost, and that was a very grave matter to be considered. However much the landlords of Ireland might dislike the operations of the Land Act, they surely could not wish, in their own interest, that it should be robbed of a great part of its benefits by absolutely losing the confidence of the tenants. That being the case, he wanted to know why the Government, when they found that the experiment had failed, should be blamed for doing what they had done? Why should they be expected to persist in what had turned out to be a mistake? He believed it was far better to adopt the alternative system of doubling the number of Assistant Commissioners. It was better that the same men should deal with the valuation of a farm, and should fix a fair rent for it. The two things, upon an Irish holding, were quite different; but it was very desirable that the two things should not be separated. Whatever fault might be found with any of the new Assistant Commissioners, he could only say at that moment that he knew that infinite pains had been taken by his noble Friend (Earl Spencer) to obtain competent and impartial men for the duty. He should be very much surprised if his noble Friend had failed in finding any but the right men. With regard to a certain answer made by the Chief Secretary for Ireland, he did not remember the exact expression to which reference had been made; but he knew it had been taken up "elsewhere," and that Mr. Trevelyan had made an ample vindication of himself. He said that he had endeavoured to remove the apprehensions of the tenants, and he asked why he should not do so? Over and over again endeavours had been made to relieve the apprehensions of the landlords. It was the desire of the Government, as far as they could, to remove the apprehensions, and, if possible, to gain the confidence of both landlords and tenants in the operation of the Land Act. He must protest against the extravagant statement that the Land Courts were under the control of the Executive Government; the statement was too baseless and extravagant to be argued against. He certainly must also express his astonishment at some of the expressions used by the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Abercorn). He was surprised to hear the noble Duke say that not only had none of the good effects expected followed from the Land Act, but that he would have had no remedial measures at all, but would have trusted to coercion alone.


was understood to say he did not mean that. What he intended to convey was, that remedial measures, without the enforcement of the law against crime, would not be effectual in securing the peace of Ireland.


asked what the noble Duke did mean by his speech if he did not mean that? The noble Duke said the present improved condition of Ireland was in no degree due to the remedial measures of the Government, and that the Government ought to have had the courage to refuse to agree to any of these concessions. It was too soon to discuss the full effects of the remedial measures; the true name for them, however, was not concession, but reform—reform proved to be necessary and called for, as all other reforms of great magnitude both in this country and Ireland had been called for, and granted after careful inquiry and consideration. The Government refused to accept the view that remedial measures were of no avail, and that they must trust simply to coercion. They would pursue the course they had hitherto pursued; they would enforce the law with the powers which they now happily possessed, and would enforce it without relaxation. But while they continued to maintain order and punish crime with unceasing vigour and vigilance, they would never give up the hope of redressing, in due time, all proved grievances in Ireland.


said, that Mr. Justice O'Hagan, the Chief of the Land Commission, had stated in Court that the real object of the valuators was to inform the Court what the letting value of land was, so that the Court should be in a position to fix a fair rent. It was remarkable that, within the last few days, since the valuators had been done away with, one of the most prominent advocates of the tenants in the North, Mr. Todd, had stated that the Sub-Commissioners ought to be obliged to do the very same thing in open Court. This was what the valuators were to do; they had to inform the Court what was the full letting value of the land, sup- posing it to be in the landlord's hands. From that full value the Court would make the deductions necessary to arrive at the fair rent. The impression of the tenants as to the partiality of the Sub-Commissioners was shown by resolutions passed at a meeting in Donegal, stating that they had had confidence in Her Majesty's Government; that that confidence had been destroyed by recent decisions of Sub-Commissioners, and calling upon their Members of Parliament to get satisfactory—or packed—Sub-Commissioners appointed, as had been done in Tyrone and Londonderry through the act of their Members. He contended that the general feeling with respect to the Land Courts was that those bodies, which should be thoroughly impartial, were very much biassed. He thought it was very cold comfort for the landowning classes of Ireland to be told that the Government had resolved not to depart from the policy they had hitherto pursued. He had always disliked the first part of the Act, but had strongly supported the Purchase Clauses. As regarded the Act of 1870, of which that of 1881 was confessedly the complement, brought in with the best intentions, it had, in many instances, done more harm than good to the tenants themselves, because it had led to the abuse of unlimited credit. He agreed with the noble Duke (the Duke of Abercorn) that the only way to govern Irishmen was by a combination of justice and firmness, and not by an attempt to combine conciliation with coercion. He hoped the noble Lord opposite (Lord Carlingford) would state what were the mysterious measures with regard to Ireland which Her Majesty's Government intended to propose this Session.


It is not usual to enumerate measures in the Queen's Speech unless they are of the first class. I do not wish to bind the Irish Office absolutely to a list of measures; but the Chief Secretary for Ireland hopes to be able to bring in Bills relating to the Sea and Coast Fishery Fund, the Dublin Police and Constabulary, Loans to Distressed Unions, in cases where the Union is unable to pay its way in consequence of the present distress, a renewal, with extension, of the Sunday Closing Act, the Registration of Voters, and probably also a Bill for amending the system of Lunatic Asylums, and a Bill, to which I myself attach great importance, for Union Rating in Ireland. There is no intention of introducing a Bill dealing with any part of the Land Act.


said, he felt bound to congratulate the Government on the success of the measures adopted by his noble Friend (Earl Spencer). He could bear testimony to the fact that, at a very large meeting in Ulster, composed of tenant farmers, they resolved, whatever countenance Home Rule might receive anywhere else, that, in the Imperial Province of Ulster, they would not endure such outrages and disturbances as were common in other parts of the country. If the laws were firmly administered the Government would succeed, after long perseverance and long strife, in making the other three Provinces as loyal as Ulster. In Dublin they had gathered together the threads of a great conspiracy; but much remained to be done. Let those who were content to obey the law know that they would be protected in it, and let those who had the disposition to violate the law be pursued to the very uttermost, and in the end the peace of Ireland would be secured.


said, that, though they had been informed, in Her Majesty's Speech, that the re-organization of the affairs of Egypt under the authority of the Khedive had, in part, been accomplished, the country was left very much in the dark as to the origin of the war, if it was a war. The Prime Minister had designated the bombardment of Alexandria, which resulted in the destruction of a great commercial city, and the campaign which followed afterwards as a "military operation." But that so-called military operation was carried on in defiance of the protest of the Sultan, the Sovereign of Egypt. Now, although Her Majesty's Government had supplied the country with very meagre information with regard to events which ultimately led to the war, there was sufficient evidence to show that financial questions had had a very large share in producing the unhappy results which had ensued. When Mr. Goschen went to Egypt, in 1876, not as representing the British Government, but in the interest of the bondholders, financial matters were seriously disturbing the country; taxation was increasing, and large loans had been advanced at high rates of interest, the first of these standing in the name of Goschen, in 1862, before the accession of Ismail Pasha. Thus, what was supposed to be in the cause of civilization had already begun to vex and harass the country so far back as 1862. This was continued by a series of loans, which reached, in one instance, the high rate of 28 per cent. The auri sacra famesof money-lenders became supreme in 1879, when the country found itself burdened with nearly £100,000,000 of debt; while out of that, deducting interest, expenses, and sinking fund, only about one-half was realized by the Government of Egypt. Therein lay the chief source of that discontent which had since prevailed in the country. Instead of European civilization, the Native population found European exaction and oppression, which at length produced great uneasiness and discontent. While matters were assuming this serious form in Egypt—when the country was becoming bankrupt, and the population oppressed by taxation for the payment of the interest of the Debt, which absorbed a large portion of the Revenue—a step was, unhappily, taken by this country and by other countries of Europe to intervene between the creditors and the Egyptian Government, and to throw a certain amount of protection over the bondholders, even so far as to require the payment of coupons before the claims of Native servants of the State. Serious results had followed upon that course. Now, it had been from the first the view put forward by Her Majesty's Government, that the movement in Egypt was only a military one; and it had been described by the noble Earl opposite (Earl Granville) as a "military rebellion." It was, in some sense, a military rebellion; but if they looked to what took place in the year 1879, they would see that the cause of it, so far as it related to the Army, was not a political one, but rather to obtain redress for private wrongs. That was the account given by Mr. Vivian, who then represented the British Government at Cairo, in a despatch dated February, 1879, in which he attributed the rising to the reductions in the Army, which had recently been made on a large scale, by which about 2,500 officers were put on half-pay, without receiving the heavy arrears due to them. No doubt, the military came forward on this occasion; but discontent was spreading through the whole population, while a heavy taxation was rigidly enforced for the payment of foreign creditors; and if proof were wanting that the movement was a national one, and not a military one only, so early as 1879 and 1880, large numbers of persons, civil as well as military, were exiled to the Soudan for taking part in it. He was much struck with the candour of a correspondent of one of the daily papers, who, writing from Cairo, had said that, before he went there, bethought Arabi's influence was entirely confined to the military, but afterwards discovered that his Party was actually the nation. He (Earl De La Warr) believed that to be a true statement of the case. He would ask, then, whether the policy of Her Majesty's Government was a straightforward one, and whether they had not been treading very closely in the steps of a neighbouring country which not very long ago, under the pretext of self-defence, invaded and practically annexed a friendly State, all the while themselves professing friendship and alliance? So fell Tunis into the hands of France, and so was Egypt falling into the hands of England. A great deal had been said of the danger to the interests of this country of rebellion and anarchy in Egypt. But what was the danger? "Was it to the Suez Canal? The Suez Canal was never menaced. And where was the anarchy and rebellion? He found in official Papers a story only of a people striving to free themselves from foreign interference and oppression, and that struggle crushed by a Government which called itself Liberal, under the pretext that the interests of this country were endangered. If Her Majesty's Government had guided and directed the national movement; if they had co-operated with the Sovereign of the country, instead of opposing and ignoring the legitimate authority of the Sultan, those results would have been avoided which had led to great loss of life and destruction of property, and had inflicted upon an unoffending peo2jle the miseries of war. It was difficult to discover what the intentions of Her Majesty's Government were. First, the avowed object was to restore the status quo antein Egypt; then it was something not quite the status quo ante;and now it was a Constitution with an elected Chamber, which was as nearly as possible what was desired and asked for by the country and did exist before the outbreak of the war, but which Her Majesty's Government declined to sanction. Doubtless the interests of this country in Egypt were great; but they were best maintained not by a policy of interference and one which obstructed the Government and alienated the Native population, but by a friendly policy of justice to the people and of good faith with the Sovereign and Government of the country. If this course had been pursued our interests in Egypt and throughout the Ottoman Empire would have been best secured, and our legitimate influence in the East would have been more firmly established.

Address agreed to, nemine dissentiente,and ordered to be presented to Her Majesty by the Lords with White Staves.