HL Deb 20 February 1885 vol 294 cc901-3

who had on the Paper the following Notice:— To ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether he will lay on the Table copies of despatches or telegrams from any dominion, colony, or dependency of the Crown, offering the assistance of men and military stores, or of ships, to co-operate with the other naval and military forces of the Crown in Egypt and the Soudan or in South Africa; also, copies of the replies which have been sent to such offers? said, that they all had seen, in the ordinary channels of information, mention of offers of military service which had been made by many of their Colonies; and the report that they had been accepted had excited great enthusiasm. Ho supposed that there were none who did not feel prouder and happier in the knowledge of this conclusive evidence that blood was thicker than water, and that the scattered dependencies of the Crown considered the unity of the Empire such an accomplished fact that they desired to share with our troops the honours and dangers of the campaign in which we were engaged. He supposed that their Lordships knew pretty well the terms in which those offers had been made, and generally the answers that had been given; and he felt sure that they would all agree with him that it was only fitting that those offers and those answers should be formally laid upon the Table of the House. He therefore begged to ask the noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies the Question of which he had given Notice.


My Lords, I am glad that the noble Viscount has given me, by his Question, an opportunity of expressing, at the earliest pos- sible moment, our deep sense of gratitude —I speak on behalf of the Government, and I believe I speak on behalf of the whole people without any distinction of Party—which was felt on account of the various offers of military assistance which have been made by the various Colonies in so patriotic and public-spirited a manner. I should be ready to lay Papers on the Table on the subject; but probably your Lordships will think it better to wait until the Correspondence, which, up to the present time, has been entirely conducted by telegraph, is, if not complete, at all events more complete than it is at present. Perhaps it will be convenient to your Lordships that I should say that the offer of New South Wales was first in point of time. That offer was absolutely accepted, the Colony undertaking to defray the whole expense, and the troops being ready to start. With regard to the other Colonies, the offers of which have come a little later, we are in correspondence about their offers. There are many matters of detail with which it will be necessary for the Military Authorities to deal. All I can now say is that we shall deal with them on the same principle, in the same spirit, and on the same footing; and that we shall do whatever lies in our power to encourage and cultivate that feeling, the display of which we have seen with so much pleasure. I quite agree with the noble Viscount that, apart from the question of increased military strength, the co-operation of our Colonies in matters of this nature carries with it an incalculable moral advantage.


asked, when the Papers would be laid on the Table? He concluded he was right in assuming, from what the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby) had said, that the offers had been accepted.


said, that that was the ease, subject to one slight qualification with regard, to one arm of the Service. In the main their co-operation had been accepted. As to the laying of the Papers on the Table, he thought it would be better to wait till the Correspondence was complete.


On behalf of the Army, I really hope I may be allowed to express my entire approval of what the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) has said, because I see that it has been stated that the Military Authorities have been making some difficulties in this matter. I can assure your Lordships that the Military Authorities have not made the slightest difficulty. On the contrary, they have appreciated most thoroughly, and as highly as any of your Lordships, these very noble offers on the part of the Colonies, which are so highly creditable to themselves and so gratifying to the whole nation. As the noble Earl has stated, there are some small matters of merely military detail to be seen to before the whole arrangements can be carried out; but the principle of the offer has been cordially and cheerfully accepted by the Military Authorities.


asked, whether the artillery offered by New South Wales was field or garrison artillery?


, in reply, said that it was Hold artillery.


asked the noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies (the Earl of Derby) to give the names of the other Colonies besides New South Wales offering assistance? The name of one Colony having been mentioned, it would be a graceful compliment to the Colonies who had made offers that their names should also be made public in the same connection.


The other Colonies are Canada, South Australia, Victoria, and Queensland. Perhaps I ought to add that the conditions under which the offers are made vary in the different Colonies.