HL Deb 05 February 1884 vol 284 cc8-37

reported by The LORD CHANCELLOR.


My Lords, I rise to move a humble Address to Her Majesty in answer to Her Majesty's Gracious Speech, which we have this day listened to from the Throne, and in doing so I would claim a large share of that indulgence which your Lordships never fail to extend to those who undertake the arduous duty I am about to discharge.

My Lords, Her Majesty's Gracious Speech commences with the ever-welcome announcement that Her relations with Foreign Powers are on a footing of cordiality' and friendship, and it supplies several instances to show that these words are not mere formal expressions. In the first place, Her Majesty is able to announce that the difficulties which arose out of occurrences in Madagascar, referred to in Her Majesty's Speech at the close of last Session, have been satisfactorily adjusted, and further evidence of the sincerity of the Government of France to maintain cordial relations with this country may be cited from the appointment of a Convention, sitting at this moment at Paris, for the purpose of considering and disposing of a subject which has been the source of considerable irritation between the two countries for many years past. I refer to the fisheries dispute on the banks of Newfoundland.

My Lords, Her Majesty's Speech further informs us that an agreement has been entered into with Portugal to remove another source of difficulty and trouble in respect to the relative rights possessed by Portugal and ourselves on the West Coast of Africa, in the neighbourhood of the Congo River. My Lords, a Treaty embodying the provisions which have been agreed to will, as I understand, be laid on the Table of the House; and if, as I believe, it contains provisions limiting the territories of Portugal towards the interior, provides for the protection of missionary settlements of the Native tribes, for the freedom of commerce towards the interior of Africa, and, moreover, affords precautions with a view to keeping in check the Slave Trade which prevails in that part of Africa, I think it is a Treaty which will receive your Lordships' unanimous approval.

My Lords, Her Majesty's Speech furnishes ample evidence that Her Majesty's Government have not lost sight of the interests of commerce. No less than four Treaties of Commerce are referred to which have been concluded, or are in course of arrangement. The whole of these will undoubtedly lead to a great development of the commerce of this country; while one Treaty, that dealing with Corea, will open up an entirely new field of mercantile enterprize. In the same direction, Her Majesty's Government is enabled to announce that there is a reasonable probability that, at an early period, diplomatic relations with Mexico will be resumed. My Lords, Mexico is, as you are aware, a country of immense natural resources; and we may expect, from a renewal of diplomatic relations, that a considerable impetus will be given to the trade which already exists with that country.

My Lords, the position of affairs in Egypt is one which naturally occupies a very large space in Her Majesty's Speech; and I think that your Lordships will be glad to observe that Her Majesty's Government are able to announce a very marked improvement in the administration of affairs in that country. Indeed, so much impressed were Her Majesty's Government with the improved state of things, that towards the end of autumn of last year orders were given for the withdrawal to Alexandria of the troops which had been stationed at Cairo. My Lords, this very desirable movement was suspended, as your Lordships well know, in consequence of the disaster which befel the Army of Hicks Pasha sent to the Soudan, contrary to the advice of Her Majesty's Government. Now, my Lords, this event is acknowledged to be a very deplorable one, in respect to the loss of life which resulted from it; but, from another point of view, may prove in the long run of great benefit to Egypt Proper. The Provinces of the Soudan have always been a source of great embarrassment and of immense cost to Egypt. Nor was there observable any compensatory advantage to the country itself in the administration which was provided for it by Egypt. On the contrary, the Government in the administration of the Soudan was probably as bad as any Government known in the world. In these circumstances, my Lords, the question as to the future relations which should exist between Egypt and the revolted Provinces of the Soudan was forced for decision upon the Khedive and his Government. And, my Lords, I think everyone in this House will agree that the course adopted by the Khedive, in accordance with the advice tendered by Her Majesty's Government, was the most proper one in all the circumstances of the case. It must be obvious to your Lordships that it would have been impossible, in view of the weakness of the financial and military condition of Egypt, for Egypt to undertake the reconquest of those Provinces. My Lords, having come to the decision to withdraw their troops from the Soudan, the Khedive, in concert with Her Majesty's Government, made the very best selection in their power of an Agent to carry out their views. General Gordon is, as is well known, a man of extraordinary ability and energy, of great honesty of purpose and probity of character—is well known personally, and his good qualities as much appreciated by the people of the Soudan as by ourselves. We may hope, therefore, when the nature of his Mission is understood—namely, that he comes practically to effect the withdrawal of the troops from the Soudan, and to inform the Natives that they will be no longer under the domination of the Government which they hate—I hope that when he delivers the message to the people of the Provinces of the Soudan—I think, my Lords, that his Mission cannot fail to be attended with success. I do not mean to suggest for a moment that it will not be attended with personal peril and risk. But, my Lords, General Gordon is not a man to draw back from danger, especially when he hopes to attain a great good by encountering that danger. My Lords, there is one criticism to which this policy might be open—namely, that the abandonment of the Soudan might lead to a revival of the Slave Trade. But, my Lords, inasmuch as the ports of the Red Sea will continue in possession of the Khedive, at least as vigilant a watch will be kept upon the export trade—if I may use the expression—as has been kept at any previous time. My Lords, Egypt freed from the encumbrance of her Provinces in the Soudan—Provinces which are undoubtedly a serious cost to the country—and with its Executive strengthened and invigorated by the appointment of European officers of the highest standing and ability, will, in my humble judgment, make still further progress in the direction of good government, and thus realize the main object of Her Majesty's Government in interfering in the country.

My Lords, passing from foreign affairs to Colonial matters, it will be a source of great satisfaction to your Lordships to know that peace and contentment prevail throughout the Colonial Empire, with the single exception of one or two places in South Africa. My Lords, in Canada we know that the Government is busy in carrying out a gigantic scheme of railway communication, which will connect the Atlantic with the Pacific Ocean, and undoubtedly lead to a development of the resources of that country. In Australia our fellow-subjects are occupied with the important object of bringing about a confederation of their different Governments. My Lords, this movement will, I am sure, receive your Lordships' hearty support, tending, as it will, to strengthen Australia, and enable it to carry out those measures of self-defence which are essential to its future security and prosperity. My Lords, it is in South Africa alone that any troubles are to be found amongst Her Majesty's Colonies. Happily there the difficulties which have occupied the attention of the Colonial Office for so long a time past are about to be removed—at any rate, as far as Basutoland and the Transvaal are concerned. Basutoland is now in a contented condition in consequence of the immediate transfer which is to take place of the control from the Cape to the Imperial Government. With regard to the Transvaal, the negotiations now pending, and which are on the point of being brought to a conclusion, it is hoped will result in an arrangement entirely satisfactory to that country as well as to ourselves. Ample care will, no doubt, be taken that the tribes bordering on the Transvaal shall be completely protected, and the trade route from the Cape to Central Africa rendered entirely secure. Zululand remains, no doubt, in a state of great uncertainty. It is difficult to see in what respect Her Majesty's Government can help matters in that distracted country. One thing, however, I trust, will be the case—namely, that Her Majesty's Government will persistently abstain from extending any protectorate to that country, or interfering in any way with the internal concerns of the different Provinces beyond our frontiers, except for the purpose of guarding those frontiers and protecting the lives and property of our subjects.

Passing from Colonial to Home affairs, your Lordships will be glad to note that the fruit of the remedial legislation of the last few years is beginning to make itself manifest in the improved condition of Ireland. Rents are being paid with comparative regularity, outrages are, undoubtedly, considerably diminished, and although political passions still run high, and there is much yet to be desired in respect to the feeling of the people of Ireland towards this country, yet there is sufficient of improvement to encourage Her Majesty's Government in adhering to the policy which has been pursued—a policy of remedying grievances where grievances are clearly shown to exist, and of maintaining law and order without respect of Parties, or creeds, or persons.

Your Lordships will learn with satisfaction that Her Majesty's Government have determined to introduce a Bill to extend the franchise to the inhabitants of the rural districts of the United Kingdom, so as to place them on a similar footing with the inhabitants of boroughs. Her Majesty's Government has no doubt been actuated by a feeling—which, I am sure, is generally shared—that it is no longer desirable, or even, indeed, possible, to deny to one portion of Her Majesty's subjects the right enjoyed by another portion separated only by the barriers of a purely arbitrary character, involving no new principle or Constitutional change. It may be predicted that this measure will meet with no serious opposition, and that the close of the Session will witness an addition to the Statute Book settling the question of the electoral suffrage.

My Lords, a measure only second in importance to the one to which I have just referred is that which proposes to deal with the Municipal Government of London. Every day furnishes fresh proof of the necessity and expediency of such a measure. Indeed, that necessity has already been recognized in two successive Speeches from the Throne. Of the details of the measure by which it is proposed to achieve so desirable an object, I am necessarily ignorant; but I trust it may take the shape of an extension of the present municipality to the whole of modern London. In this manner the continuity of the present system will be maintained, and a strong, well-organized Government established, worthy of the extent, vast wealth, and ancient traditions of the Metropolis of this country.

My Lords, as a Scotchman, I cannot but rejoice that Her Majesty's Government contemplate a measure which, it is hoped, may meet the wishes of Scotland, and provide a mode by which its legislative and administrative wants may be attended to in a manner more effectual than is at present the case. Any doubt which may have existed in the minds of your Lordships as to the genuineness of Scottish opinion on this subject must have been removed by the meeting held in Edinburgh a few weeks ago, which was unexampled in its representative character, and in the enthusiasm which was there exemplified.

My Lords, I do not propose to refer to any other of the numerous topics which are contained in Her Majesty's Speech. I have trespassed long enough on your Lordships' time. I have touched very inadequately on some of the more important subjects, and I have only, therefore, to thank you for the patient hearing that you have been good enough to give me, and to move that a humble Address be presented to Her Majesty.

MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN, 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 Tour 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 continues to hold friendly and harmonious relations with all foreign Powers. We thank Your Majesty for informing us that Your Majesty's communications with the President of the French Republic, arising out of special incidents in Madagascar, have closed in a manner such as tends to confirm the cordial understanding between the two countries; and that Your Majesty has likewise, in conjunction with the President, appointed a Commission to discuss a basis of arrangement for the future regulation of the Newfoundland fisheries and the avoidance of disputes. We humbly thank Your Majesty for informing us that an agreement has been arrived at with Portugal respecting the River Congo and the adjacent territories; and that arrangements are in progress for the resumption of diplomatic relations with Mexico. We thank Your Majesty for informing us that negotiations for a Treaty of Commerce with Turkey have commenced; that an Agreement on commercial relations with Spain has been signed, which awaits the sanction of the Cortes; that a revision of the Commercial Treaty with Japan, on a basis generally agreed to by the Treaty Powers, is nearly completed; and that a Treaty of Commerce and Friendship has likewise been signed with Corea. We humbly thank Your Majesty for informing us that, having had every reason to be satisfied with the tranquillity of Egypt, and with the progress made in the establishment of orderly institutions, Your Majesty gave, during the autumn, instructions for the evacuation of Cairo, for the further reduction of Your Majesty's military forces, and for their concentration mainly in Alexandria. We learn with regret that in the month of November the Egyptian army, appointed to maintain the rule of the Khedive in the Soudan, was defeated and broken up with heavy loss. We thank Your Majesty for informing us that upon the occurrence of this defeat, Your Majesty deemed it wise to recall the order Your Majesty had given, as a precaution against the possible effects of the military reverse in Egypt itself, and to preclude all doubt as to the certain maintenance of tranquillity; but that, while an unforeseen and calamitous necessity has thus required Your Majesty to suspend the measure Your Majesty had adopted, the aim of the occupation, which has been explained to us at former times, continues without change. We humbly thank Your Majesty for informing us that Your Majesty has offered to the Egyptian Government such counsels as appeared to be required by a prudent regard to the amount of its resources and to the social condition of the country; and that Your Majesty has also despatched Major-General Gordon to report on the best means of giving effect to the resolution of the Khedive to withdraw from the Interior of the Soudan, and has permitted him to act in the execution of the measure. We thank your Majesty for informing us that Your Majesty has directed communications to be held with the Delegates whom the Government of the Transvaal has sent to this country for the purpose of urging a reconsideration of the Convention of Pretoria; and that nothing has occurred to discourage the expectation that these communications may be brought to a favourable issue. We learn with satisfaction that the condition of Ireland continues to exhibit those features of substantial improvement which Your Majesty described on the two occasions when Your Majesty last addressed us. We humbly thank Your Majesty for in. forming us that a measure will at once be presented to us which will have for its principal object the enlargement of the Occupation Franchise in Parliamentary Elections throughout the United Kingdom. We thank Your Majesty for informing us that a plan will be laid before us for the extension of Municipal Government to the whole Metropolis; that the preparation under this head, which has been made by Your Majesty's directions, has not been limited to London; but that the actual presentation of further Bills of the same class must depend upon the progress we may be enabled to make with the weighty business which has been already set forth. We humbly assure Your Majesty that our careful consideration shall be given to the measures which may be submitted to us, and we earnestly trust that the blessing of Almighty God may attend our labours.


said, he should not have presumed to undertake the task of seconding the Address to Her Most Gracious Majesty had it not been for his desire to give his humble support to those who had piloted the State during the last four years through the shoals and quicksands of political affairs, and for the assurance that any attempt, however unsuccessful, to do one's duty would be received by their Lordships with forbearance and leniency. That Her Majesty's relations with Foreign Powers were amicable was a matter of congratulation to all; and the hopes expressed by his noble Friend as to the speedy solution of the difficulties in Egypt without further armed interference on their part would meet with cordial approval from all those in favour of peace and economy—the watchwords of the Liberal Party. At least, they would be unanimous in their belief that in despatching General Gordon on the important Mission with which he had been entrusted, the Government was consulting the truest interests both of that country and also those of the civilized world. Whatever might be their Lordships' opinion as to the wisdom of the advice tendered by Her Majesty's Government to the Khedive, he deserved our most sincere sympathy in the great and unexpected difficulties which he had been called upon to combat. The amity and good feeling which characterized their negotiations with the French nation, with reference to the imprisonment of a British subject at Madagascar, formed a striking contrast to former difficulties in cases of the same description; while attaching due importance to the suave and irresistible influence of their noble Leader in that House, might they not also attribute a great part of the change to the improved commercial relations of the two countries? Treaties of Commerce were surer bonds of union between nations than diplomatic triumphs; and he was sanguine that as year by year they extended their Commercial Treaties with Foreign Powers, they would not only add directly to the wealth of this country, but also do their utmost to obviate any chance of those misunderstandings which had so often involved them in long and sanguinary wars. In connection with the subject of free inter-communication and its effects upon the welfare and happiness of mankind, it was the desire of the Government to remove all impediments to the ready circulation of goods at home, by assigning additional powers to the Railway Commissioners, enabling them to deal judicially with the grievances, real or alleged, of the mercantile and agricultural community. They had hopes also of being able to call attention to a still higher question—"the preservation of life at sea." As a body, shipowners deserved the greatest praise for the solicitude they evinced in attending to the welfare of those in their employ, but there were notorious exceptions to that high character; and legislation was needed to meet the designs of the few who preferred to sacrifice human life to their own pecuniary advantage. When considering affairs near home they must all rejoice over the visible improvement in the condition of Ireland, owing to the just and firm government of the present Viceroy, rendered possible by the remedial measures which had passed their Lordships' House, the tension under which she had been labouring was already somewhat relaxed, the moral tone of society was decidedly improved, the obstructions and interruptions of trade had disappeared, and there was a more general appreciation of the efforts that had been made for the removal of just grievances and for the amelioration of her affairs. Among the proposals for the coming Session was the introduction of a Bill for the assimilation of the county and borough franchise, which would remove the anomalies in the present elective powers of the constituencies. The enlightened masses, accustomed to liberty, freedom of action, and an interest in public affairs, claimed a right to assist in carrying out those measures which they considered advantageous to the common good—they did not wish to pull any other class down, but to raise themselves up to the position they felt qualified to fill. He trusted they would endeavour to make the basis of representation as wide as their Lordships might deem consistent with the welfare of the State, and directly enlist as large a portion as possible of the intelligence, virtue, and property of the nation in the maintenance of its institutions. With regard to the reform of the Corporation of London, no intelligent citizen would wish to uproot suddenly the administrations which had so long and so honourably controlled the interests of municipal affairs; but they were originally designed for the government of a comparatively small City, and were quite inadequate to the wants of the present vast population. Having no desire on his first appearance in that House to trespass on valuable time, and be classed as a recruit in the ranks of Obstruction, he would make way for abler and more experienced speakers, and, by having briefly seconded the Motion of his noble Friend (the Marquess of Tweeddale), would hope to gain their Lordships' approval.—[See page 13.]


My Lords, in addressing myself to the consideration of the Address which has been laid before your Lordships, the wish of every Peer will be, if he possibly can do so consistently with the convictions he holds, to concur in approaching the Throne with a unanimous voice, and it is easier for us to do so in this House, both because the traditions of our House are adverse to Amendments on the Address—I do not think one has been moved by the Opposition since the fall of the Government of Lord Melbourne—and, also, because we are not, as in some other places they may be, under stress with respect to the employment of our time, but are able to challenge in any manner in which we may think necessary the conduct of the Government without having to ask, with little hope of obtaining, the leisure and the space requisite for such a purpose. I do not, therefore, propose, and I have not heard that anyone else does, to move an Amendment on the present Address; but, in making that statement, I cannot subscribe to the optimist views of public affairs which ran through both the able speeches to which we have listened. This is a longer Speech from the Throne than we have customarily received. I will not say it is a clearer Speech, but certainly it is marked by this peculiarity—that as public affairs become darker and more difficult, its tone becomes more optimist and more complacent. Much of its complacency would at any other moment be absurd, and might be passed by with a laugh; but in the face of the sinister news which within the last hour or two has reached this Metropolis, it is hardly in such a spirit that we can approach the consideration of the difficult questions which are before us. My Lords, the Speech appears to have been composed with a kind of forecast of the arduous character of the cause which its author had to maintain. It approaches the great burning question of the day with timid and hesitating steps. It is composed much in the manner in which a certain class of letters are composed, reserving for a late period in the composition the cause for which the composition has been made. Foreign affairs, of course, are introduced first, but it is not the most important part of foreign affairs which comes first. The Speech goes round and round about them, dealing with this matter and with that matter like a man who has a disagreeable message to communicate, and who wishes to lengthen out the time as much as he can before he comes to the crisis of it. First, we have Madagascar, in respect to which I observe that the congratulations of the Government are entirely confined to their dealings with regard to Mr. Shaw. We have no allusion to the great wrong and suffering which many other British subjects in Madagascar suffered, and for which, so far as I know, no compensation has been suggested. Then we have the Newfoundland Fisheries; then we have the Congo; then we have Mexico; then we have the Commercial Treaty with Spain, of which we know the prospects are so brilliant; rising to a climax we reach the Treaty of Commerce with Japan; and, finally, we come to the pinnacle of all, the Treaty of Commerce and Friendship with the Corea. This curious list sufficiently shows the uneasiness with which the author of the Speech approached the principal theme of his composition, and I am not surprised at it. It must have cost the Cabinet many arduous days to compose sentences so unintelligible as those which relate to Egypt. But the general burden of their language is plain enough. It is to say that somebody else and not the British Government is to blame for the disasters which have occurred and the terrible confusion of which we are the witnesses. The Government has been unfortunate with respect to Egypt. Matters have always gone wrong, and it has always been the fault of somebody else. France at first was the guilty partner. At first the discontent and then the mutiny of the Army were suffered to rise to such a point that the remedy for the evil could not be obtained without the desolation which was wrought in Alexandria and the utter destruction of the Khedive's Army and the fatal weakening of his authority in Egypt. For that delay, whenever we challenged the conduct of the Government, we were always told in no disguised terms that their necessary partnership with France was to blame. Whatever truth or validity there may have been in that excuse, it is strange that we meet with an excuse of an exactly similar kind at a later period of this disastrous history. We have again the same phenomena, and again a danger neglected at first, and allowed to go on from week to week and from month to month. We have had again vacillation and delay in the application of the necessary remedies; and now, when the matter seems to be approaching almost to a point of desperation, we are told it is not the English Government, but the Egyptian Government, which is to blame. It is the Egyptian Government which has led and forced this poor, meek, submissive, English Government to suffer all these things which have taken place. My Lords, I cannot help thinking that the picture of the relations between the English Government and the Egyptian Government will not be accepted in the world generally as an accurate representation of our position towards each other. As the Speech stands, England appears simply in the position of a counsellor, a mere spectator standing aside and giving disinterested advice. The Speech says— I have offered to the Egyptian Government such counsels, as appeared to be required by a prudent regard to the amount of its resources, and to the social condition of the country. The advice appears to have been that the Khedive should consent to the dismemberment and cutting off of, I believe, the largest part of the country over which he rules; and the English Government, standing by in the character of an adviser in this matter, has condescended to go a little further than tendering advice. It will give the Egyptians a little assistance. It is a matter of "scuttling out," and the English Government, under present auspices, may be said to be an expert in scuttling out. Therefore they have magnanimously and generously come forward to help the Government of the Khedive to scuttle out of the Soudan. For that purpose they have selected, with a strange disregard of the fitness of things, the most gallant soldier they can find. They appear to know no other way of retreating from the Soudan than by sending a man whoso life has not been spent in retreating, but in advancing and in striking hard blows against the enemy. The Speech says— I have also dispatched Major-General Gordon to report on the best means of giving effect to the resolution of the Khedive to withdraw from the Interior of the Soudan, and have permitted him to act in the execution of the measure. It really did not require that we should have sent General Gordon to the Soudan in order that we might withdraw from it; that could have been done by a far meaner hand, or, if I may use the phrase, by a far meaner pair of legs. I venture to say that it was not for the purpose of running away that General Gordon accepted the Mission he has undertaken, and that Her Majesty's Government have "permitted him to act in the execution of the measure;" as though it was the one thing he had desired, and that it was his suggestion and wish that we should give up the Soudan, and that he had been employed by the Khedive's Government independently for that purpose.


I cannot hear the noble Marquess distinctly.


I am sorry to say that it is very difficult to make anybody hear in this House. The observations which I was making were with reference to the selection of General Gordon for the purpose of scuttling out of the Soudan. My impression is—and I speak with great submission to the knowledge of the noble Earl—that if for such a purpose the employment of an Englishman was necessary at all, there are many other Englishmen who might have been found who would have been just as good for that purpose as General Gordon, and that it was not necessary in order to effect that object to endanger a most valuable life, and to a certain extent to endanger a most untarnished reputation in performing an act which will certainly reflect no credit upon the Government by which it is undertaken. But the truth is, that everybody who reads that paragraph will recognize that it is no accurate representation either of the position of England to Egypt or the purposes for which General Gordon has been sent to the Soudan. England will not be permitted, in the opinion of the world, thus lightly to shift off on others the responsibility for the policy which she has permitted and encouraged Egypt to adopt. It is useless for her to say that Egypt has done it. Egypt is in the hollow of her hand. England is all-powerful there. At her bidding armies are sent or armies are withdrawn; at her bidding Ministers are dismissed and now Ministers are appointed; at her bidding great territories are retained or resigned; at her bidding the English Army occupies the capital of Egypt and forces the revenues of Egypt to pay for its cost, and that Army is sent not to defend Egypt, but to force the Viceroy to dismember his territories. It is idle, with such facts before us, to treat the matter as though the responsibility lay upon Egypt; as though the puppet is to be blamed for the actions which were directed by a guiding hand. England has full power in Egypt, and to full, absolute, and complete power there must always attach full, absolute, and complete responsibility. And for all that has happened—for the disasters that, under the auspices of Her Majesty's Government, have visited Egypt, they may depend upon it that the opinion of the world and of the English people will hold Her Majesty's Government responsible. My Lords, there is a statement here which, I confess, seems to me so strange that I must solicit some explanation of it from the noble Earl. If it means anything, it means that Her Majesty's Government has recommended the Egyptian Government to give up the territories of the Soudan; and that, I understand, was the belief of the noble Lord who moved the Address. But the Government of Egypt has not the power to give up territories. The Khedive, at any rate, is not an independent Sovereign—he is a Prince under a Suzerain. He holds his position by virtue of a Firman issued by his Suzerain only five years ago, and it contains language in the most distinct manner forbidding the very act which Her Majesty's Government has advised the Khedive to carry out. It says— The Khedive shall not, under any pretext or motive, abandon to others, in whole or in part, the privileges given to Egypt and now confided to him, and which are an emanation of the Prerogatives which are inherent to the Sovereign Power, nor any part of the territory. Now, I can suppose, for the sake of argument, that Her Majesty's Government might feel it to be a wise policy to separate the Soudan from Egypt; but, undoubtedly, it cannot be done by the simple advice of Her Majesty's Government or by the resolution of the Khedive; it can only be done by leave of the Sultan, to whom the Soudan, like the rest of Egypt, is subject, and by the consent of the Powers who have guaranteed the whole of the territory belonging to the Ottoman Empire. In the same way—I do not see it here, but it has been stated in the public papers—something else has occurred which seems to indicate complete forgetfulness on the part of Her Majesty's Government of the conditions under which the Khedive holds his power. I see that a loan of £1,000,000 has been advanced by the house of Rothschild to the Khedive. Now, in this same instrument—this Firman—which placed the Khedive upon the Throne, there is this provision— The Khedive shall have the complete and entire disposition of the financial affairs of the country; but he shall not have the right of contracting loans, except for the purpose exclusively of settling the present financial situation, and in entire agreement with his present creditors or their representatives. If it be true that the Khedive has borrowed this sum of money from the house of Rothschild, and having done so, as undoubtedly he must have done, under the advice of Her Majesty's Government, he has borrowed it without being able to give the slightest security fin-its repayment, and the loan is, legally speaking, invalid. But, knowing what we do of the financial ability of the house which has advanced the money, I do not myself believe that they have advanced it on insufficient security; and I am, therefore, driven to the conclusion that the security for the loan has come from somewhere else—that is to say, that Her Majesty's Government has, I will not say by direct guarantee, but by the indirect guarantee which the announcement of a policy can give, practically secured Messrs. Rothschild the repayment of the loan. If that is the case, no time whatever should be lost in apprizing Parliament of au act which is undoubtedly exceptional, if not illegal, in its character. I hope, therefore, I shall hear from the noble Earl some explanation to indicate exactly how far the British Government is mixed up in this curious transaction of the loan. I do not think that our international difficulties end here. Remember that other countries besides ourselves have an interest in the Soudan. They have stood by and have seen us act as we please in Egypt without interfering with us, because they have had the conviction that our action was the host for the interests in which all nations are concerned—the interests of civilization and humanity, and the encouragement of industry and commerce. But if the result is to be nothing but the desolation of ports and the abandonment of vast territories to the barbarism and cruelties from which they have been with so much difficulty rescued—if that is the main result of the stewardship of Her Majesty's Government, I am afraid that other nations may say that it did not require a State so powerful as England to do these things. Any State, however modest the resources of which it could dispose, might have done as well as this. Why, Greece, or even Monaco, could have made as good a job as we have done of the matter. I think the noble Earl has already heard, through the expressions of opinion which have appeared in semi official organs abroad, something of the dissatisfaction which this momentous resolution on the part of Her Majesty's Government is likely to inspire in the minds of other Powers. This Speech would give me, oven in the present state of affairs, more consolation if it gave me any ground for believing that the era of ambiguities and vacillations and divided counsels was approaching its close; but, on the contrary, the Speech is instinct with the spirit which has brought upon us all our recent difficulties and dangers. Throughout it there is no outspoken statement of the policy that we are to pursue; no definition of the position in which we stand towards Egypt. There is the same attempt to veil, in language that may be pleasing to the Radical constituencies, the entirely changed state of affairs, and the vast responsibilities which Her Majesty's Government have undertaken. Even here the order for our troops to remain in Cairo and not to continue the evacuation is not stated as an expression of general policy; it is stated simply as a precaution, resulting upon the defeat of Hicks Pasha, against the possible effects of the military reverse in Egypt itself, so that when the possible effects of the defeat of Hicks Pasha have passed away, I presume, from the language used, the process of evacuation, now suspended, is to be resumed, unless, indeed, the melancholy news that we have heard this evening shall have the effect of renewing the term of the suspension of the evacuation. It is impossible that any policy can be constructed between England and Europe if the relations between England and Egypt are allowed to remain in their present equivocal position. It is impossible for the Government to claim to satisfy their previous pledges and the prejudices of their supporters by a speedy evacuation, and to inspire the confidence which is necessary not only to maintain the military integrity of the country, but to the revival of the industry and commerce which have been so grievously injured. As long as the present ambiguity and doubtfulness of language is maintained that confidence cannot revive, and by continuing their present undecided attitude, their present language with two meanings, their present attitude with two faces, they are not deluding the Powers of Europe into the belief that England is likely soon to let loose her grasp on Egypt; but they are preventing the Egyptian people from believing in the security of our tenure in that country, and from believing that we are capable of protecting those who turn to us, and from tendering to us that allegiance which if they confided in our intentions would readily be ours. I hope the defects of the Speech will be made good in the reply of the noble Earl, and that he will tell us plainly and clearly what the policy of the Government in Egypt is to be. With respect to other parts of the Speech, they were not much dwelt upon in the language of the noble Lord who moved the Address, and I do not think it will be necessary for me to enter upon them at any length. We are told that the condition of Ireland continues to exhibit those features of substantial improvement which were described on two previous occasions, and I suppose the improvement is as great as it was on those two occasions. We are very familiar with assurances of that kind, and we feel confidence that in proportion as the organization for separating England and Ireland acquires force, in proportion as the antagonism between classes and sections and nationalities in Ireland appears to become more malignant, in that proportion will be the energy of Her Majesty's Government in assuring us that all is well, and that the remedial measures are beginning to do their work. I suppose it was for the purpose of emphasizing the rosy colour of their dreams that they have added a paragraph with respect to the enlargement of the occupation franchise throughout the United Kingdom. Is it conceivable that any men intending to apply this measure to Ireland, knowing what the history of Ireland during the past half-century has been, should have told us that— The progressive admission of augmented numbers to a share in our representative system, happily warrants the belief that again, as heretofore, the result of a judicious extension of the franchise will be a still closer attachment of the nation to the Throne, the law, and the institutions of the country. My Lords, that sentence gives a key to the whole Speech. We are moving in fairyland. There is no connection between the actual facts of the case and the brilliant visions which the intoxication of complacency has produced in the brains of Her Majesty's Government. I observe that the occupation franchise is to be enlarged without any reference to the question of redistribution. I heard the question once argued in a conclusive way by the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) who is the latest recruit to the ranks of Her Majesty's Government; and I must conclude from the phrase of the Speech which I have quoted that that conviction has gone the way of many others, and that like another long catalogue of convictions it was swept and sponged out in one moment by Lord Beaconsfield's decision to call out the Reserves. No doubt the noble Earl will expose to us the workings of his mind and the way in which he has attained to the position of being able to assent to the present policy of the Government. With respect to the other matters referred to in the Speech I need not say much. The announcements are rather ambiguous—the language is very curious. There appears to be a certain gradation in the names given to the proposals of Her Majesty's Government. The Franchise Bill is to be a "measure;" the Metropolis Bill is only a "plan;" but the County Government Bill does not even advance to the dignity of being a "plan "—it is only a "preparation." I do not know what precise difference in the intensity of their belief that the measures, or any of them, will pass is expressed in that curious gradation of language. Perhaps we shall know what it means when we have the measure, the plan, and the preparation before us; but there is one statement in the Speech to which I must give a most earnest negative—it is that other public wants have not been neglected. My Lords, one of the most pressing domestic wants has been entirely neglected by Her Majesty's Government. There is no subject upon which all the agricultural classes of this country, without distinction of rank or of Party, have pressed forward with more unanimity and earnestness than the exclusion from this country of the disease which ravages their flocks; which makes all their industry useless and all their investments unprofitable. They have urged this with a clearness of argument and a steadiness of purpose which it was impossible to mistake, and they have been supported in this by the formally-pronounced opinion of the House of Commons; and yet Her Majesty's Government cannot now give, in a Speech which deals with intermediate education in Wales and the closing of public-houses on Sundays in Ireland, the slightest comfort to what I will say is the greatest interest in the country under the cruel wrong from which it is suffering. In these circumstances my noble Friend (the Duke of Richmond and Gordon), who is so high an authority on agricultural matters, will this evening present a Bill to your Lordships to do that which the Government has neglected to do, and I earnestly hope that when the Government see it they will be content to accept from us, if their other political engagements will not allow them to originate it themselves, this measure which is absolutely necessary to enable the agricultural industry to arise from the depression into which it has been cast, and to justify the farmers in believing that the Government will watch over their interests in the future. My Lords, I will only conclude by saying that as measures of importance are indicated in the Speech I hope the Government will show their earnestness in proposing legislation by making some effort to bring these measures to the House of Lords in decent time. I hope they will take to heart the failure which some of their proposals underwent last year in consequence of their neglecting the precautions necessary for this purpose. Still more do I hope that they will not repeat those curious arrangements by which the most important measures of last year were not only allowed, but it was distinctly arranged that they should not reach the House of Lords until long past the period when legislation usually progresses in this House. My Lords, the best hope I can give for the success of this Session for legislative purposes—a Session which undoubtedly, in many respects, promises to be one of anxious controversy, of difficult discussion—will he in the submission to this House at a time that can justify and insure a full consideration of all measures to which the Government desire that the assent of Parliament should be given.


My Lords, I am quite sure that your Lordships will accept the apologies of the noble Marquess for not moving an Amendment to the Address on this occasion. Not only we, but both sides of the House, entirely share the feeling he has mentioned—namely, that when there is no positive necessity for it, it is a more graceful act that we should unanimously address the Crown at the beginning of the Session. But I think it must also strike some of your Lordships that there is an advantage in not moving that Amendment on a subject on which the country at this moment, and certainly, from what the noble Marquess has said, on which your Lordships are very imperfectly informed. It occurs to me that with the object of having an unanimous Address we could not have had two speeches more befitting the occasion than those of the noble Marquess and the noble Lord behind me, who moved and seconded the Address. Nothing could have been better than the language and the tone of their speeches with regard to the subject I have just made allusion to. Having paid a compliment to this side of the House, I should be sorry not to pay a compliment to the noble Marquess opposite, with regard to the speech which he has so exclusively addressed to his own supporters on the other side of the House. My Lords, we all know that practice makes perfect, and the noble Marquess has in the last few months had a great deal of practice in attacking Her Majesty's Government. I, for one, quite admit the ability, vigour, eloquence, and power of sarcasm with which he has addressed himself to the subject. If I were able to hint a slight defect in the artistic character of his work, I think it would be that it displays some slight ignorance of the laws of chiaroscuro—a slight want of light. The whole thing is too dark and too black. I think it must be plain to the commonest understanding that, in accordance with the mere doctrine of chances, it is really impossible that 14 men named by the Sovereign to be Her Ministers, and supported for four Sessions by Parliament, should in variably and on every subject connected with home, foreign, Indian, and Colonial policy be always in the wrong, and should never deviate into sense. An hon. and learned Friend of mine the other day amused himself, and amused his audience very much, by repeating 15 of the strongest epithets in the English language, which had been lately used by the noble Marquess and his political friends against the Government of this country. But the list was not perfect. It omitted the statement that Mr. Gladstone is an arch traitor, and it omitted also a very curious medical view of the question involved in the very grave accusation against one of the healthiest Colleagues I ever had of being dyspeptic. We are now accused of being intoxicated——


When I spoke of intoxication I referred to the intoxication of complacency, and not to physical intoxication.


Well, then, on another occasion, the noble Marquess made a delicate allusion to what he assumed to be the fact that the Members of Her Majesty's Government are all of them sophists, quacks, and makers of clap-trap. This, I may say, was, in my view of it, a little overdone; and I thank the noble Marquess for having to-day, as a compliment to the good taste of this House, compared to that of provincial assemblies, confined himself to only a few of the more mild epithets which he has of late applied to Her Majesty's Government. The noble Marquess talked about this being the longest Queen's Speech he could remember; but, at the same time, he expressed his regret that the subject of the foot-and-mouth disease had not been mentioned in it. I am extremely glad to hear that the noble Duke (the Duke of Richmond and Gordon), who is so well acquainted with the subject, is going to introduce a Bill; and one thing, I think, I can promise, and that is, that when the Bill comes before your Lordships' House it will receive the fullest consideration on the part of Her Majesty's Government.

My Lords, the noble Marquess, before he sees the Papers, talks about the unsatisfactory arrangements which we have made with regard to certain special incidents connected with Madagascar, and he says that we have failed in obtaining reparation for other damages done. I think before this accusation is made it would be as well for the noble Marquess to ascertain whether the particular damages of which he complains, are such as, by the rights of International Law, we have a right to demand satisfaction for. We have had several complaints of this sort, but we do not know the facts as yet. When the facts come before us we shall most carefully consider them; and I am perfectly certain if there is cause for asking reparation we shall be met by the French Government in the same manner as they met us in the unfortunate incident under Admiral Pierre, though the gallant Admiral was, at the time, suffering from a disease which soon proved to be fatal the noble Marquess has concentrated all the powers of his mind in attacking the Government about Egypt. The noble Marquess has in almost every speech of his in the country made this the standing offence against the Government. The noble Marquess is cunning at fence. Those who have had the honour of crossing swords with him know it well; but I cannot help thinking that he belongs to that class of swordsmen who are somewhat neglectful of self-defence, and who do not mind how any particular thrust has been met and parried very often, but, trusting to strength and wind, will go on lunging at their adversary as before. The noble Marquess has repeated the arguments he used against us two years' ago—arguments which we have constantly met, and which always appear inconsistent with themselves. He has certainly used some arguments which are inconsistent with those which the noble Marquess addressed to us two years ago. But one thing he has not done—he has not defended himself from certain charges which have been made against him. There is a speech which has been made some little time ago by a Member of Parliament—not a Member of Her Majesty's Government—a man whom nobody accuses of being strongly influenced by Party spirit—a man who, almost bettor than anyone in this country, knows the facts with regard to the Egyptian side of the Eastern Question—I mean Mr. Goschen. Mr. Goschen closely argued, and logically proved—examining one diplomatic step after another taken by the noble Marquess till he arrived at the conclusion—that the noble Marquess, of all persons in this Kingdom, was most responsible for the difficulties which occurred in Egypt. The noble Marquess has not thought necessary for his own character to give the slightest answer to a speech which certainly has some weight with those who think on the subject. My Lords, the noble Marquess has spoken of our conduct in Egypt as being weak and vacillating. I do not understand how our conduct can be said to be vacillating. It is just as vacillating as that of a man who, carrying an umbrella, opens it when it rains, folds it up when it ceases to rain, and puts it over his head again when the drops fall anew. The noble Marquess speaks of the inconsistency of our policy. Let us see how that is. I will go back before the end of last year, and I will take the instructions sent to Lord Dufferin, dated November 3, 1882. In those instructions we say— Her Majesty's Government, while desirous that the British occupation should last for as short a time as possible, feel bound not to withdraw from the task thus imposed on them until the administration of affairs has been re-constructed on a basis which will afford satisfactory guarantees for the maintenance of peace, order, and prosperity in Egypt, for the stability of the Khedive's authority, for the judicious development of self-government, and for the fulfilment of obligations towards Foreign Powers. These objects are in the real interest of Egypt, of this country, and of Europe. Again, here is an extract from a most important document, a Circular addressed to the Powers, on January 3, 1883, and explaining to Europe the policy of Her Majesty's Government— The course of events has thrown upon Her Majesty's Government the task, which they would willingly have shared with other Powers, of suppressing the military rebellion in Egypt, and restoring peace and order in that country. The object has been happily accomplished; and although for the present a British force remains in Egypt for the preservation of public tranquillity, Her Majesty's Government are desirous of withdrawing as soon as the state of the country and the organization of proper means for the maintenance of the Khedive's authority will admit of it. In the meanwhile the position in which Her Majesty's Government are placed towards His Highness imposes upon them the duty of giving advice with the object of securing that the order of things to be established shall be of a satisfactory character and possess the elements of stability and progress. My Lords, the Queen's Speech in 1883 in somewhat different words, but in words exactly to the same effect, announces the same policy to this country and the world. Here is an extract— The aim of the temporary occupation of the country by my military forces, the considerations which must supply the measure of its duration, and the constant direction of my efforts to the maintenance of established rights, to the tranquillity of the East, and to the welfare of the Egyptian people, have been more than once explained to you, and they remain unchanged. In the debate on the Address upon that Speech from the Throne, the noble Marquess asked me in a very pointed manner to specify the date of the withdrawal of our troops, the object of a Question which I never could explain to myself. I answered— 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."—(3 Hansard, [276] 41.) My Lords, these things show what our policy was. We do not wish permanently to occupy Egypt with an armed force; but while that armed force is there we think it our duty to Europe, to ourselves, and to Egypt, to see that our advice should be followed in all important matters connected with Egypt Proper, and to that we have adhered to the present moment. At different times, under Sir Edward Malet, under Lord Dufferin, and under Sir Evelyn Baring, there have been faults of omission and commission of which we thought we had a right to complain. Down to just before the resignation of Cherif Pasha the excuses sent to us were entirely of the same character, always admitting that during our temporary occupation of Egypt the Egyptian Government were bound to follow our advice. My Lords, I have had occasion to assure the Egyptian Government quite recently of our determination to support it in its efforts to secure stability in that country. We feel bound to defend Egypt Proper, and to assist in defending Egypt Proper on the Red Sea, and in obtaining security and tranquillity in Egypt. My Lords, we have given promises of support to the Khedive, and I am bound to admit that I know nothing more creditable to the noble Marquess than that, both in Parliament and out of Parliament, he has always, in the strongest terms, stated that it was our positive duty in honour to support the present Khedive. Well, my Lords, having, though somewhat reluctantly, mentioned the Khedive, I wish to mention to your Lordships some grave accusations which were made against Tewfik Pasha—accusations of the most damaging character—that he, of all men in the world, had been guilty of inciting to massacres at Alexandria. Memoranda were presented to Lord Randolph Churchill, and sent by him to the Prime Minister and to a morning paper, containing so-called proofs. Well, I speak now before all the Law Lords in this House; I know at least one who has waded through those documents; and I say, without the slightest hesitation, that there is not the slightest vestige of evidence either of a moral or a legal character against the Khedive. There are surmises, there are hearsay remarks made sometimes by un-named persons, at other times by those whose natural enmity to the Khedive has been increased by the punishment which they were undergoing in consequence of their connection with rebellion, but unsupported by anything whatever like proof. They were supported by certain extracts from Blue Books; but I regret that when these extracts were given to Lord Randolph Churchill he did not collate them with the Blue Books themselves. They are nearly all wrong. I could give several, but I will only trouble your Lordships with one. Mr. Hewart is quoted as saying— From information gathered from many sources, I am fully of opinion that the riot of the 11th was a preconcerted plan, the inference being that Mr. Hewart was convinced that the riots were preconcerted by the Khedive; but if the whole sentence out of the Blue Book had been quoted, it would have run thus— The riot was a preconcerted plan by His Excellency Arabi Pasha and his partizans. My Lords, since the time when the first part was omitted of the quotation—"The fool hath said in his heart 'There is no God,'" I do not think there has ever been a bolder dealing with a text than this. With regard to our policy. We are told that our policy has led to utter confusion and anarchy in Egypt. The noble Marquess jumbles up Egypt Proper and the Soudan in a very clever way, which was easily disposed of by the noble Marquess behind me. I can only say this—that Sir Evelyn Baring, after he arrived at Cairo, told me that to his very great surprise he found that everything connected with the action of the Government was in a better position than when he left the country at the expiration of his control. A Colleague of mine, the Under Secretary of State for India, in addressing his constituents the other day, told them what I believe to be perfectly true. He had recently passed two months in Egypt, and he stated that it was safer to walk through any part of Egypt Proper at this moment by day or by night than it is to walk from Euston Square to Waterloo Station in this great and civilized Metropolis. Instead of there being anarchy and confusion, there is perfect security for life and property in Egypt at this very moment, even although they have been disturbed by the great disasters arid massacres in the Soudan. My Lords, there is one point on which I quite admit there is a serious consideration that may be urged, and it is with reference to finance. Putting entirely aside the normal condition of Egyptian finance, is it possible that Egyptian finance should not be very heavily disturbed by the fact that, after a successful military rebellion, the country has suffered from pestilence in the I shape of cholera during two months, directly and indirectly interfering with the revenue, and has to pay an enormous indemnity created by the events at Alexandria, and by the expenses of our troops at Cairo, and the further expense of withdrawing the garrisons from the Soudan? All this, however, was done at less expense than would be involved in the insane attempt which I understand the noble Marquess recommends at this moment—that we should try and reconquer the Soudan. The noble Marquess really talks of the Soudan as if it were not under an entirely separate administration from Egypt Proper. By the Law of Liquidation we can treat it in a separate manner. The Soudanese and the Egyptians are of an entirely different character. The prayer of the Egyptian peasant is—"Give me plenty of water, but save me from the Soudan." General Gordon says that— It would he an iniquity to reconquer these people, and then hand them hack to their old oppressors—the Egyptians—without guarantees of future good government. It is evident that this we cannot secure them without an inordinate expenditure of men and money. The Soudan is a useless possession, ever was so, and ever will he so. Larger than Germany, France, and Spain together, and mostly barren, it cannot he governed except by a Dictator, who may he good or had. If had, he will cause constant revolts. No one who has ever lived in the Soudan can escape the reflection—' What a useless possession is this land.' Few men also can stand its fearful monotony and deadly climate. It has been a loss to Egypt ever since 60 years ago, when Mehemet Ali took possession of it. It has been a perpetual drain of money from Egypt, and the calculation is that Egypt has lost more than 100,000 soldiers who have been sent there. The noble Marquess proposes to the House, not to "scuttle out" of the Soudan, but Bays that we advised the Khedive, and advised him in the most pressing manner—not to use the word "abandon," because it is not necessary—but to withdraw the troops, who could not possibly reconquer the country. I quite admit that the Khedive owns the Soudan under the authority of the Sultan; but the Sultan has no troops to send to reconquer the Soudan. I have no reason to suppose that he wishes to reconquer the Soudan. And to propose that impossible task for the purpose of making jokes about "scuttling out" appears to me to be going beyond the limits of fair argument. The noble Marquess is dreadfully alarmed about the Rothschilds. I agree with him that that is one of the most sagacious and honourable houses in Europe, and I really think we may leave the house of Rothschild to act for themselves in the way of finance. The noble Marquess says the Egyptian Government is prohibited by Firman from contracting such loans; but I may say that by the Law of Liquidation it is provided that they may raise £2,000,000. I do not wish to argue the question. I think that Baron Rothschild would be perfectly capable of judging for himself. The noble Marquess is perfectly convinced that a secret and confidential declaration has been made to the Rothschilds, and that it announces to him a policy which we have kept quite secret from the rest of the world. My Lords, Baron Rothschild knows no more whatever than any one of your Lordships or the public know of our declarations of policy, which I have repeated to-night. I really think the noble Marquess might have shown something of the tone which Lord Carnarvon took when the other day he heard that General Gordon had been despatched to the Soudan. He talks of our tarnishing the honour of a great and brave officer by sending him out—perfectly sanguine and full of hope, though at great danger and full of peril—to perform an act of humanity of the very highest character. I do not think that if you gave General Gordon an Army of 100,000 men to direct against any part of an enemy's country, you could more honour him than you do by confiding such a work to his hands. The Egyptians are not able to hold or reconquer the Soudan, and you send a man who has confidence—which, I trust, under God, will be fulfilled—that he will be able to assist some of the garrisons in making a retreat from that country. But what I do protest against, in the strongest manner, is the notion that English soldiers, or Indian soldiers, or the produce of English taxation should be applied to reconquering, or re-establishing Egyptian rule, through some false notion of honour, in this barren desert in the centre of Africa, without any sort of advantage to Egypt, or the slightest bearing on our interests in India. The noble Marquess indicated that we should immediately send an Army into the Soudan; but, except that intimation, he has not told us in the least what we are to do. A Colleague of his the other day was more kind. I think, if the noble Marquess really believes that this country is disgracing itself, and that Egypt is perfectly ruined, he can hardly avail himself of the worn-out quotation of Sir Robert Peel, "that you must not prescribe till you are called in." "Would any respectable physician, seeing a man dying in the streets, withhold his advice until he had received his fee? I think the noble Marquess should give us some more practical suggestion than this favourite one of his—that we should reconquer the Soudan. Sir Richard Cross told Her Majesty's Government—No; he said the miserable Government—that they should say—" We do not want to annex Egypt, but will not leave it until the Khedive is in the position we promised to place him—in such a position that he can honourably maintain himself, and the fellaheen have all the security to which they are entitled." This is a much less precise and a much less comprehensive assertion than the formula I have quoted. I maintain, and perfectly consistently, that by these documents which I have quoted we do feel bound to maintain the security and tranquillity of Egypt until the purpose for which our Army was sent to Egypt has been accomplished.

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