HL Deb 27 February 1885 vol 294 cc1522-97

Order of the Day read for resuming the debate on the Lord Wentworth's amendment to the Marquess of Salisbury's motion to resolve— That this House, having taken into consideration the statements that have been made on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, is of opinion that—

  1. (1.) The deplorable failure of the Soudan expedition to attain its object has been due to the undecided councils of the Government and to the culpable delay attending the commencement of operations;
  2. (2.) That the policy of abandoning the whole of the Soudan after the conclusion of military operations will be dangerous to Egypt and inconsistent with the interests of the Empire."—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)

Which Amendment was, To leave out from "That" to the end of the motion, and insert "an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, humbly representing to Her Majesty that the course pursued by Her Majesty's Government in respect to the affairs of Egypt and the Soudan has involved a great sacrifice of valuable lives and a heavy expenditure without any beneficial result, and has rendered it imperatively necessary in the interests of the British Empire and of the Egyptian people that Her Majesty's Government should not employ British forces to occupy the Soudan or to prevent the exercise by the Egyptian people of their right to select their own government."—(The Lord Wentworth.)

Debate resumed accordingly.


said, that it was not his intention to take up their Lordships' time by a long discussion of the first part of the Resolution of the noble Marquess. Whatever might be their opinion with regard to the responsibility of the Government for the fall of Khartoum and the sad fate of the lamented General Gordon, and for the other grave losses which had happened, it was, at all events, too true that nothing that they could say or do now could bring back to us our great countryman who had gone. They could not undo what had happened; but they could look ahead at what was to come. He did not wish in any way to attenuate the gravity of recent events; but it seemed to him that the events to come were of more importance from a national point of view, because there was, at all events, time to exercise, or to attempt to exercise, some influence over them. In his judgment, the interests of the country demanded that they should ask and that the Government should give to them some frank and full statement of their policy with regard to Egypt and the Soudan in the immediate future. They knew that the Government had issued instructions to Lord Wolseley that he was to follow the Mahdi to Khartoum and break his power. In that policy he believed the Government would be supported in that House and by the general feeling of the country. In itself, perhaps, it was not a policy altogether desirable, because, to a certain extent, it was impossible not to feel admiration for the gallantry of the Arab Tribes, who had originally been under intolerable oppression. He had no desire whatever to see English power and English authority extended by means of the sword; but when they looked at a subject of this kind they must look at it as a whole, and on all the circumstances and the men with whom they had to deal. It must be remembered that they were an Oriental and fanatical people, who were perfectly incapable of understanding a policy of conciliation and concession, and who, if we had attempted to treat with them upon the fall of Khartoum, would only have accepted our action as a confession of weakness. The policy announced was, therefore, necessary under the circumstances. But he thought that they might ask the Government to tell them a little more of their plans. That the Mahdi's power would be overthrown might almost be regarded as a certainty, and he could not suppose that the Government had not contemplated such a result. He thought they might ask the Government to tell them plainly a little more of their plans. After the Mahdi had been overthrown, what did the Government intend to do next? Did they intend to remain until some settled form of Government was set up; and to give some assurance that England would stand by those friendly tribes who had stood by us? They might be told that they should wait till the event happened. He knew well that it was very difficult for the Government to speak out; but, unfortunately, they had not observed a policy of consistent silence. The Prime Minister had announced on more than one occasion that their policy was one of retreat from the Soudan, and it had been reasonably supposed that retirement from the Soudan was the leading point in the policy of the Government. It was true that the Prime Minister had limited his statement, and said that he had only made it with reference to Egypt, and not with reference to England. He would now only ask the noble Earl the Leader of that House to go a very little further. He did not want to ask what the Government did not mean; but he asked them to tell what they did mean. They wanted some plain and distinct words that they could all understand. He wished to raise a humble but firm protest against this system of long speeches and long sentences, which meant anything, or everything, or nothing, and which, in his judgment, had been prejudicial to the interests of this country on more than one occasion with respect to foreign affairs, and which, looking at the matter only from a Party point of view, had been injurious to the Liberal Party. He did not raise any complaint against the noble Earl who led them; when the noble Earl spoke they could all understand him; his only fear was lest the noble Earl should consider it his duty to be silent. He wished to appeal to him, and to ask him whether this was a time for reticence? He would ask him whether he could not say something to them that night which would encourage their friends and discourage their enemies instead of the reverse? Some announcement from him of an intention on the part of England to remain in the Soudan until something like a settled form of Government was established, and that the interests of the friendly tribes would be adequately protected, would double the strength of our Army and of the tribes who had assisted our troops, and take away half the strength of the Mahdi and Osman Digna. He would remind their Lordships of the lines— Fama, malum quo non aliud velocius ullum, Mobilitate viget, viresque acquirit eundo. These Arab tribes were greatly influenced by rumours and reports, and, respecting as they did our bayonets and our squares, they would be strongly influenced by the report that we were going to remain till a settled Government was established. It was more than probable that half the troubles of the Government would be dispersed entirely by such an announcement. They were told that they ought to have confidence in the Government. They had confided in the Government—when it was proposed to censure the Government for the fall of Sinkat and Tokar they had supported the Government. Did anyone suppose that they on that side of the House did not feel bitterly with regard to the falling of those gallant garrisons? But they then had confidence in the Government, and the result now was that they had seen General Gordon sent to Khartoum without any support for a longtime, and without any apparent intention of supporting him. They had now heard of the fall of Khartoum and of the death of its heroic defender, and they now said it was the turn of the Government to have a little confidence in their supporters. If Her Majesty's Government would announce to them, in plain and distinct words, that they would remain only for a short time in the Soudan he was prepared to vote in their favour, even with the death of General Gordon present to his mind. But if Her Majesty's Government could not announce some clear and distinct policy he had no alternative left to him but to vote for the Resolution, as this was the only means open to him of expressing his deep regret that the Government was unable, from whatever cause, to announce a firm and decided line of policy at a moment which they all knew to be a critical one to the interests of the Empire.


My Lords, it is very much to be wished, both for the sake of their own supporters and for the general advantage of the House, that the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary should lend an attentive ear to the appeal that has just been made to him from the Bench behind him. Whether or not the noble Earl will condescend to satisfy the doubts, and the not unreasonable doubts, that there are as to the policy of Her Majesty's Government I do not know; but my duty rather is to suggest to your Lordships some of the reasons, at all events, which may induce your Lordships to vote for the Resolution of my noble Friend behind me. It is so large, so vast a question, that I could spread my recommendations over a far longer period than your Lordships' patience would give to me. I could recommend this Resolution to you on the ground that there has been, from first to last, a consistent failure of every single attempt, of every single object, Her Majesty's Government have set before themselves. I could recommend it to you again on another ground, the absolutely useless expenditure of blood and money lavished upon the sands of the Soudan. I could again urge it on a ground, by no means the least, that Her Majesty's Forces are even now placed, I will not say in a dan- gerous, at all events in a most anxious, position, in consequence of their policy; and, lastly, I might again urge it on the ground that has been indicated by the noble Earl on the back Bench opposite, that we have had no policy declared to us—no certain indications given to us of the course Her Majesty's Government propose to pursue, and in which they propose to lead this country. But, my Lords, I shall not take any one of those grounds. I shall myself vote for the Resolution upon a narrower and much simpler issue, but one which, I believe, recommends itself to your Lordships and to the whole country—that narrow issue being the abandonment of General Gordon. Why, my Lords, do I say this? For two reasons. In the first place, I hold that the conduct of Her Majesty's Government with respect to General Gordon goes to the root of the whole policy which a Government ought to pursue towards its Agents abroad. If you mean to be well served abroad you must support your Agents so long as they serve faithfully and loyally, and discharge their duty to the Government, the Crown, and the country. There are some who sit on that Bench who have sat in the Cabinet of Lord Palmerston. What was the doctrine he always maintained? It was that which I have endeavoured humbly to express, and it was that which gave him his great strength over and over again in foreign policy. Secondly, I dwell on this point, because among all the melancholy records of the last few years I know of none so melancholy as the abandonment of General Gordon. My Lords, I do not like to express all that I feel on this subject. We know that Her Majesty's Government and those Members of it that I see opposite are kindly and courteous Gentlemen in private life. It is almost impossible to believe that in their public capacity they can so far depart from all the principles which I would safely trust them to apply in private life. Having said that, and having said it with pain, I repeat that I know of no record more shameful than the conduct that has been pursued towards General Gordon—no record more shameful, and none more dishonouring to the Crown and to the country. Let me for a moment recall the character of General Gordon. It is not my place to pass a fulsome eulogy upon the dead. I do not desire to say of him, now that he is dead, what I would not have said while he was living; but I do say that he represents one of the highest types of the old English character. I am afraid I must say old, for the type is dying out. Fearless almost to a fault—if such a thing be possible—full of resource, courage, and ingenuity, he had, over and above that, a strong sense of duty and fear of God. As to his mission, who does not remember that, when the Government were in great perplexity, they appealed to him at an hour's notice to undertake that mission? Casting aside the objects to which he had devoted his time and almost his life, he consented to undertake the mission, and on the very day he was requested to go he went. My Lords, I believe that at the last moment of starting some of those paltry and contemptible technicalities which are sometimes raised by the Treasury in respect of money were raised in his case, and General Gordon left this country obliged to borrow the money with which he travelled.


He came to this country from Belgium. General Gordon, as is well known, was a man who utterly despised money. In order to accomplish his journey, having none with him, the King of the Belgians lent him £25 to come here.


It is not a very creditable or worthy story.


Not creditable!


My Lords, I rise to Order. Whatever observations the noble Earl has to make he will have an opportunity of making presently.


I say it is not creditable that a man of General Gordon's position and character should have been obliged to leave the country with borrowed money.


That is altogether an inaccurate description of the facts.


The noble Earl can state his case afterwards; and it is the usual courtesy of Parliament to allow a noble Lord to proceed uninterruptedly with his speech.


I beg pardon. The noble Earl speaks of the courtesies of Parliament. It is not in accordance with the courtesies of Parliament, when an explanation has been made, for a noble Earl not to accept that explanation. I stated the circumstances to which he alluded when he said that General Gordon was in want of money; and I referred to his journey from Belgium to this country, when the King of the Belgians lent him £25. Then the noble Earl goes on to say that it was not creditable that General Gordon should have left this country without any money but that which he had borrowed. That is a perfectly different thing.


I will, at all events, so far conform myself to the usages of Parliament as to accept that explanation for the purpose of carrying on this debate. But I come back to a more important point in connection with this matter. General Gordon was sent to Khartoum. On that solitary figure posting across the Desert the eyes not only of this country, but of all Europe, were fixed; and when he reached Khartoum it is no exaggeration to say that there was a long-drawn sigh of relief throughout the Kingdom. We hoped and trusted that the worst was passed; but then there followed a long year of weariness, of watching, and of fighting—a year in which he and two Englishmen, who were his companions, bore the brunt of that terrible ordeal. It was not the first time that Englishmen had been placed in such circumstances. The House may remember how, at the outbreak of the Crimean War, three gallant Englishmen encouraged the garrison of Silistria and withstood the whole of the Russian Forces. You will remember, also, how my gallant friend, Sir Fenwick Williams, of Kars, animated the garrison of Kars, and inspired the most desperate resistance with which that fortress was maintained. And so it was, again, in General Gordon's day; so he maintained, so he endured, so he showed the most wonderful valour and resource; and, in the midst of all, let it never be forgotten that by that indomitable courage he succeeded in saving the lives of some 3,000 people in Khartoum. From time to time short letters and telegrams came out to us as to what was going on in Khartoum—letters and telegrams disconnected and fragmentary, but one and all indicating the invincible spirit of the writer; and with them came also requests to Her Majesty's Government. How were those requests answered? I will not go into details on this subject. My noble Friend last night dealt with them pretty fully; but how were those requests answered? At first, when General Gordon went out, there was an acclamation as it were of support to him on the part of Her Majesty's Government. Mr. Gladstone said— As to General Gordon, we have no more to do than to say that we make ourselves responsible for all the measures he adopts. Sir Charles Dilke was not less emphatic. He said— General Gordon is better able to form a judgment than anybody else: we have implicitly followed the advice that we have received from General Gordon. What said the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary, who, after all, was the person to whom General Gordon would look as his official superior in these matters? He said there never was a mark of greater confidence shown by a Government to any man than by the mission given to General Gordon. The noble Earl went on to speak in that strain for a considerable time; and he gave us an anecdote about Henri Quatre, and made an allusion to Confucius, which I have no doubt, in the noble Earl's mind, had some reference to the matter in hand. I doubt, however, whether the French Monarch was altogether the man who would have withdrawn his confidence, or have allowed his Agents abroad to suffer, as has happened in the case of General Gordon. And as to Confucius, the reference to him may illustrate how the professions of philosophers often point one way, while their practice is in quite the opposite direction. For, in the very briefest space of time afterwards, the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary refused the request urged over and over again by General Gordon in the most emphatic language for the sending of Zebehr Pasha. I doubt whether Confucius would have recognized the noble Earl as his disciple. My Lords, the baneful and petty influences of Party came in; and General Gordon's requests, one and all without exception, were, upon some ground or another, refused by Her Majesty's Government. Out of the five or six requests enumerated by my noble Friend last night, there is not one that was complied with. They all fell dead on the ears of Her Majesty's Government. The Prime Minister was busy, as he has said in "another place," on a comparison of the relative merits of the different routes by which succour could be sent. General Gordon was praised; he was refused; and he was told at last that he was exceeding his instructions. When one reads and knows bow large and full his powers were, it is difficult to understand what could have been in the mind of any man who could speak of General Gordon as exceeding his instructions. At last be was told to come away and to save himself. There is a letter which, I think, bas no parallel in any Blue Book of our day that I have ever read. It was quoted, I believe, last night; and, at the risk of wearying your Lordships, I must quote it again. It was a telegram from the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary, and it was dated, singularly enough, on the 23rd of April, St. George's Day, the patron saint of England; that saint from whom you would expect the qualities of courage, of chivalry, and all that is best in the English character in its best days. And what was this telegram? It was addressed to Sir Evelyn Baring, and it directed him to communicate at once with General Gordon, telling him— We do not propose to supply him with Turkish or any other force for the purpose of undertaking military operations, such being beyond the scope of the commission which he holds and the plans of our permanent policy in the Soudan; and if with this knowledge ho continues in Khartoum, he should state to us the cause and the intention with which he does so. I cannot, my Lords, remember any message so bard and so cruel ever being despatched by an English Government to an English Agent who was enduring such hardships, and was bearing the whole weight of such a burden in the face of the enemy. We know how General Gordon accepted this invitation or instruction to come away. The tacit promise that he made to the Khedive, and the one condition which he imposed, was that the safety of the civilians among the Natives should be cared for. That promise he strove to keep; and he said— I have no option as to staying at Khartoum; it has passed out of my hands. And be wound up the whole of that most tragic correspondence by words which have been rarely addressed to the Foreign Minister of this country— I leave to you the indelible disgrace of abandoning the garrisons of Sennaar, Kassala, Berber, and Khartoum. I believe there is no parallel to the telegram that I am quoting. At length multiplied warnings came pouring upon the Government in such force and such numbers that they could not resist them; and an Expedition was organized; and it was launched. And if courage and skill on the part of officers and men could have in any degree countervailed the official delays, General Gordon might have been saved. But he fell at his post, and he died quite as much as any other knight of old died, giving up his soul to God and his life to the State. It is to be remarked that everything, or almost everything, that General Gordon has said has come true. It is said that the spirit of prophecy sometimes comes strongly upon men who are about to die; and so it would appear to have been in this case, for there was nothing that General Gordon noticed and recorded but has practically been fulfilled. He has warned you that if you refused to send a few troops now you would soon have to send many; that if you refused to spend a few pounds now you would soon have to spend vast sums of money; that if you allowed Berber to be taken you would have to go to Khartoum; and he warned you that if you allowed Khartoum to be taken you would have to struggle with the whole Mahommedan population. I now turn for a moment to something different. I think the case such as I have described it would justify me, and would justify any of your Lordships, in recording a vote on that single ground which I have just mentioned. But we are bound to ask whether the Government have any other arguments than those which they have brought forward, and how does the case stand? My Lords, the debate in this place last night and the debate in the other House, as seen by the ordinary channels of information to which we all have access, seem to have brought us somewhat nearer the point than formerly. The Government are now willing to confess, as I understand, their error with regard to Hicks Pasha; they are willing to confess the error they made as regards the Mahdi, and their want of appreciation of the formidable nature of his rising and of his power. They confess also, to a certain extent, to the delays that have taken place, and they meet this with the argument that "We have done the best we could in the circumstances." My Lords, we have heard it said that the virtue of penitence consists of two parts. It consists of sorrow for the act done, but also of an intention to adopt a better course in the future. Now I am afraid Her Majesty's Government are hopelessly impenitent, because I cannot detect in anything they said here, or in anything that I have read of "elsewhere," any indication or promise of amendment in the future. If we could find or ascertain any reasonable ground of hope in this respect, even at the eleventh hour, they might ask us to condone the errors of the past; but is there any hope? I frankly own that I see nothing but irresolution, obstinacy, and casuistry. The entreaties of their followers have not received much satisfaction. They have been urged over and over again to declare, not the whole of their policy, but enough of it to justify a vote. The oracle is dumb; the smallest answer has not been received. Meanwhile Moloch demands the sacrifices of fresh life and more blood. The only policy—if policy you can call it—which has been vouchsafed to us is that which is termed, in not very elegant English, "the policy of smashing the Mahdi and then retiring." It reminds me very much of the old lines— A noble King of France, He had ten thousand men; He marched them up a hill, He marched them down again. If this is to be the end and the object of the policy enunciated it is, to say the least of it, a very unsatisfactory one. But your Lordships must observe that in this policy there are two parts. Torrents of blood have been shed; hideous scenes have been enacted at Tokar and at the other towns which have fallen. I can remember the scathing terms in which the Prime Minister spoke of those scenes of horror which occurred only a few years ago in Eastern Europe; and yet where is the difference between them and those which have taken place in the Soudan? You allowed those things to take place and secured nothing in return; and after the sacrifices which had already been made and the blood which had been shed I cannot conceive a Christian Government adopting such a monstrous view or a Christian nation sanctioning it. Assuming that you had taken Khartoum and had smashed the Mahdi, would your retirement then have been possible? I think it would have been perfectly impossible. I ground this belief, first of all, upon General Gordon's own statements. If one thing como3 out clearer than another from these Papers it is this—that General Gordon held it to be absolutely impracticable, and that you could not retire from the Soudan—at least, from all parts of the Soudan—in the manner now proposed. You have to remember what my noble Friend said just now as to the relations with and the conduct of the Northern Tribes. What is to be your conduct in relation to those tribes on whom we have to depend? You have to remember that you draw the greater portion of your supplies for the Army from those tribes; and the moment you announce the abandonment of the country they will at once withhold their supplies. For that reason, if for no other reason, it is impossible to carry out this extraordinary policy. I said just now that the military position was one which, though it need not create fear, at the same time is one which it is impossible to consider without anxiety. It needs no military genius to point to the serious nature of the case; there are, unquestionably, risks of health; they may be more, or they may be less, but they are very great. There are, again, equally unquestionable risks of the failure of supplies. You are in a country from which you must draw your supplies; and yet, by your perverse announcement of the intention to abandon that country, you are doing everything in your power to stop those supplies and to turn those tribes against us. More men are needed. It is admitted on all hands; and yet every man you send there, to a certain extent, increases the difficulty which I have just now referred to. Lastly, do not forget—do not let the country forget—that the 10,000 or 12,000 men who are now in the Soudan and in Egypt, the flower of the English Army, are locked up there for months and months to come; and I ask your Lordships to consider, in the anxious and critical position of European politics, how far such a result as this is wise, how far it is creditable to the sagacity of Her Majesty's Government? Is there any other argument which would induce us to say "No!" to the Resolution of my noble Friend? I can conceive of but one—that it is desirable that a Liberal Government should stay in, and that the Conservative Opposition should stay out. The meaning of this is that Party feeling must override every other consideration. Now, my Lords, Party government has existed in this country for about a century and a half. It has had brilliant periods; it has also produced great evils; and I think those of the present generation will be of opinion that during the last five or six years Party government has shown itself in no favourable light. Party government has, at least, had this one consolation—that when matters became bad, and when the Government has blundered in a course of consistent and hopeless failure, the common sense of the country, the moderate men on all sides, had drawn together, and an utterly incompetent Ministry has been displaced in order to make room for those who, at all events, are to be tried. That has been the case. It was the case in the last century, when the Government of Lord North was turned out. It was the case in our time, when the Coalition Government of the time of the Crimean War was reconstructed to such an extent that it practically became a new Government; it was the case again in 1874 when Lord Beaconsfield came into Office. The same thing has held good on the other side of the Atlantic. I cannot conceive that there is any man of sense on this side of the House who could desire to accept the Offices which noble Lords opposite hold. I can conceive no greater heritage of woe and anxiety than such Offices as they hold; but, at the same time, it has been the consistent maxim of the Conservative Party to do their duty and to carry on the Queen's Government, and I cannot doubt now, as on former occasions, such would be their conduct. As regards the question of policy, the answer of the noble Lord last night seems to me to be perfectly delusive. It is, of course, very difficult to define beforehand what should be the exact details of a policy. No one desires to retain the Soudan for itself; but it is necessary to see that the legitimate influence of England in Egypt is maintained, and it is clear that there may be points outside Egypt, which are necessary to the safety of Egypt, and which it is the duty of the Government for the time being there to hold. "We have spent blood and money in the Soudan, and it is right that we should obtain some return for it. We have destroyed the Government of Egypt; we have destroyed her institutions; and we are bound to place something on their ruins. Anyhow, our Government is bound, at least, to do this—to accept the responsibility of their acts; to put an end to their melancholy irresolution; to know their own mind, and to speak it plainly. They ought to have a policy, and, having announced it, to adhere to it.


My Lords, I will not follow the noble Earl into his disquisition on the merits or demerits of Party government. I apprehend that his very unfavourable view of Party government during the last four or five years may possibly be somewhat influenced by the fact that during that period he has sat on the Opposition side of the House. For myself, I must say that I shall not despair of Party government, even though the Votes of Censure should to-night be carried in both Houses of Parliament. But, to turn to the important subject of the Motion now before the House, the noble Earl opposite says that he rests his speech principally upon an examination of the manner in which we have treated General Gordon. I cannot help thinking—and I hope he will forgive me for saying so—that while he, no doubt in common with all others, greatly admires General Gordon, that which was uppermost in his mind was the manner in which General Gordon could be best used to attack the Government. I am placed naturally in a position of difficulty with regard to a discussion of this point. After all that has been said in General Gordon's praise, it would be impertinent in me to detain the House with a eulogy of him. But General Gordon was not infallible. If I were to discuss in detail all the advice and suggestions which he gave the Government, I am conscious that, after his heroic death, it would have a grating effect on the House. Therefore, I hope I may have some excuse for not going into all the details that I otherwise would have ventured upon. On the other hand, I may be pardoned if I mention two or three points. Now, the essential part of the whole case is that a clear view should be taken of the original mission of General Gordon, and the grounds upon which it was approved by the Government. General Gordon's mission was in its initiative and conception, both on the part of the Government and on the part of General Gordon himself, essentially a pacific mission. General Gordon was of opinion that his influence in the Soudan was such that he might be able to accomplish the pacification of that country by his name and by his influence with the tribes. That in the case of any other man would have appeared a Quixotic idea; but in the case of a man who had displayed extraordinary powers over tribes of men, half-civilized, in all parts of the world, and not least in the Soudan, it did not appear an altogether impossible task; and, under the circumstances in which Her Majesty's Government were placed, they considered it wise, in the interests of Egypt and in the interests of this country, that they should accept General Gordon's offer to proceed to the Soudan. General Gordon, it is impossible not to say, was mistaken in his calculations; and it turned out unfortunately that the course he had hoped to pursue was one of which, after no long time, he came to doubt the success. He then completely changed his policy. Having gone out to the Soudan distinctly saying that he did not wish for nor expect the assistance of British troops, he then took another view, and came to the conclusion that nothing would be satisfactory unless a great Expedition of English troops was sent to the Soudan. He came slowly to that opinion, but he did arrive at it. Before he came to that conclusion he made a number of suggestions; but it did not imply any want of confidence in him that the Government could not accept them. Last year attacks were made on the other side of the House on General Gordon for having taken the singular step of issuing a Proclamation, in which he declared that he would not interfere with the Slave Trade. Undoubtedly it was a great mark of the confidence of Her Majesty's Government in General Gordon that they deferred to General Gordon's opinions on this subject, and I do not think that in the ease of any other man they would have done so. Take the suggestion, for instance, in regard to the appointment of Zebehr. General Gordon at Khartoum could not, and did not, know all the facts with regard to Zebehr which were in the knowledge of the Government; and if the Government had assented to his proposal General Gordon could subsequently have turned round and reproached them for having appointed Zebehr, with the information they had that Zebehr was not to be trusted. I never was more clear in my life upon any subject than that it was the absolute duty of Her Majesty's Government to refuse to send Zebehr. Then there was a suggestion made by General Gordon that Turkish troops should be sent to the Soudan. But that involved a number of considerations with which General Gordon was not acquainted, and the Government could not accede to it. The noble Earl has stated that our abandonment of General Gordon was shameful; but we deny that we abandoned General Gordon. The whole question was one of time and means. In a matter of this kind, those who do not succeed are always in an unfavourable position; but when great military operations are undertaken one has to consider whether there is a reasonable prospect of success. The result shows that we had a reasonable prospect of success. Supposing that Khartoum could not have been reached by General Wolseley, then the Expedition would have been a case of miscalculation; but, in point of fact, Lord Wolseley nearly succeeded in reaching Khartoum in time, and but for treachery he would have been in time. Therefore, the military operations were certainly not miscalculated. I wish, my Lords, to refer to another point upon which the noble Marquess who moved this Motion laid very great stress indeed. He said that our declaration that the Soudan would be evacuated by the Egyptian Government was a stupendous blunder. Such words as those, no doubt, sound very sonorous and exceedingly well in a speech; but in human affairs I venture to think that nobody would apply them to anything except what they very much disliked; and you often meet with such high flights of expression in rhetorical speeches and sensational newspaper articles. But if you look at the matter more closely, I rather think you will find that the mistake, if one has been made, was upon the other side. Just consider what the alternatives would have been. In the first place, General Gordon, when, he was sent out, was distinctly of opinion that the Egyptian rule in the Soudan should cease.


The declaration was made before General Gordon was sent out.


That does not affect the statement that General Gordon was of opinion that the Soudan ought to be evacuated by Egypt. The noble Marquess will see what the argument is which I was going to adduce. Her Majesty's Government were decidedly of opinion that the Soudan should be evacuated; and the point is whether we were right in announcing that policy? Now, supposing that holding that opinion, and having sent General Gordon, who also held that opinion, we had determined not to announce it, what would have been the effect of that? Either we must have left the people of the Soudan under the impression that we were going to restore the Egyptian Government in that country, or we must have declared to them that we intended to send an Expedition for the purpose of restoring the Egyptian Government there—one or the other. Of course, if we were going to substitute another Government, that would be another question; but I maintain that nothing more suicidal could have been done than to have left the people of the Soudan in a state of ignorance upon the point. They would then have regarded General Gordon, to begin with, as a man sent out to place upon their necks the yoke they had determined to shake off. I will just ask whether this declaration has been in the slightest degree dangerous to this country? On the contrary, what would have been the effect if we, when sending an Expedition to the Soudan, had announced that we, a Christian Government, and, therefore, looked upon with suspicion by the Mussulman population, had come there, not to free them, but for the purpose of riveting upon their neck a yoke which they detested? My Lords, I do not think such terms as "stupendous blunders" are wisely made use of in connection with these matters. The noble Marquess says that that declaration was one of the causes of all our misfortunes in Egypt. Another of the causes which he mentioned was that we had not sent English troops at once after General Gordon to support him. Well, I say again, my answer to that is simply this—that we sent Gordon on a pacific mission. The noble Earl behind me (the Earl of Camperdown) and the noble Earl on the other side of the House (the Earl of Carnarvon) both adverted to the question of the policy of the future, and said that, although with reference to the intentions of the Government it may be of importance to define what we have done in the past as regards this country, it is far more important to know what is to be done in the future. What we are continually told is that we have no decided policy. Now, a decided policy, although we do not hear it so plainly stated in this House, has, in fact, meant this—as regards Egypt, it has meant that we should pledge ourselves to hold it permanently. That is a decisive policy, which, out-of-doors, at all events, is entertained; and, as regards the Soudan, that we should pledge ourselves to remain there for some indefinite period. But, in point of fact, that would not be a decisive policy. A decisive policy means something more than that. There must be a definite period; and it is just that which, in the circumstances of the case, renders it impossible for any Government to have a decisive policy. Upon the subject of the evacuation of Egypt, I have always been, and still am, of opinion that Her Majesty's Government has been right, and that you should leave as soon as you have formed a Government that can stand there. It would be inconsistent with our pledges, and contrary to our interests, to remain in Egypt; or, even were it in accordance with our interests, looked at selfishly, it would be impossible to remain when we considered the interests of the European Powers. Therefore, the policy of remaining permanently in Egypt must be dismissed, as one which, I will undertake to say, could not be adopted by any Government in this country. We have always said that, having gone to Egypt, we could not leave unless we succeeded in settling the Government there, and in bringing about a state of things which might give some hope that a settled Government in the Soudan might be maintained; and it has always been our intention and policy to secure our own interests in Egypt. The policy of Her Majesty's Govern- ment in the Soudan is this—being, as we are, in Egypt, we are bound to provide for the security of Egypt. We found in the Soudan a growing danger—I say a growing danger, because, apparently, it has become much greater from the presence of this False Prophet, the Mahdi, who exercises such an extraordinary influence over these tribes—and we are agreed that it is absolutely necessary that this power should be checked. Suppose we succeed in giving a severe check to this power, it is obvious it would be to our interests to substitute a state of things that will keep this power in check; but no man can say at present in what manner that can be done. But, in point of fact, something else is asked of us. Some want us to declare that we are going to keep the Eastern Soudan; but I maintain that such a policy as that is utterly irreconcilable to the interests of this country. To say that, with all the engagements we have in other parts of the world, we are to take possession of the whole of the Eastern Soudan, on whatever pretext, is, to my mind, the most disastrous policy this country could possibly follow, and it could not be an object of any Government in this country. It is a country full of fanatical and hostile tribes, and must be held, if held permanently, with a large Army, placed in such a climate and at such a distance from us as to render such a policy most dangerous. That cannot be, to my mind, the permanent object of any Government. My Lords, we cannot give any further pledges than those we have given—namely, that our object is to check the Mahdi, and, having checked his power, to substitute, if possible, such a state of things as may reasonably be expected to prolong that security. The remark of my noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Carnarvon) seemed to me to justify entirely this policy, because he said—"You have locked up 7,000 of your best troops in the Soudan, and have thus weakened this country." I entirely agree with the noble Lord that, in the face of European complications and the present state of affairs, it is a misfortune to this country that 7,000 of the best troops should be locked up in the Soudan; and I say it would permanently weaken this country, and weaken it to a very serious extent, if you were permanently to lock up a large body of your troops in the Soudan. Those who are responsible for the affairs of the country know only too well the entangled questions involved in the Soudan; and yet we are reproached because we say consistently, and again and again, that our policy, and the whole object of our policy, is to disentangle this country from the embarrassments in which it is involved in Egypt and the Soudan, and not to continue permanently in that position in which we find ourselves, and if it be possible to extricate ourselves from that position, and to return to a position in which our strength and our influence will be greater all over the world, and in which we shall be able to secure objects of other kinds which are, if possible, even more closely connected with, and of more importance to, the interests of this country. My Lords, the Motion made by the noble Marquess is one which I doubt not will be carried in this House. It strongly condemns Her Majesty's Government; but it does not, I think, really pledge noble Lords opposite to any precise and definite policy. It says, in effect, that the abandonment of the whole of the Soudan would not be conducive to our interests in those regions. My Lords, "abandonment of the Soudan" is an ambiguous expression. It may mean a great deal, or, as was said by my noble Friend (the Earl of Northbrook) last night, it may not mean very much. The abandonment of the Soudan—that is, to march in and then to march out again—is one thing. To retire from the Soudan after you have established some satisfactory state of things there is another thing. The permanent occupation of the Soudan is a third; and I do not by any means see, from the Motion or the speech of the noble Marquess, nor do I think that the noble Marquess and his Friends intend us to discover what course would be pursued if they came into power. My impression is that, practically, their policy would be found very much the same as that which Her Majesty's Government have pursued. I do not believe that any Government would be rash enough permanently to occupy the Soudan; but I do believe that any Government in power in this country would endeavour to bring about such a state of things as would secure our interests in Egypt, and as early a retreat from it as may be possible in the circumstances.


said, he had listened with the greatest attention to the speeches that had fallen from the Front Bench on the Ministerial side; and, while he viewed with respect the chivalrous manner in which the noble Lords had thrown themselves into the breach, the impression left on his mind was this—that if it were to be accompanied by so little skill in fence, so little vigour in the counter-attack, and supported by such lack of enthusiasm from the Benches behind them, their case must, indeed, be a weak one. While their Lordships would appreciate the readiness, twice repeated, of the noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies (the Earl of Derby) to retire from the cares of Office, they would not be so ready to admit the plaintive excuse he put forward in defence of Her Majesty's Ministers—that unprecedented circumstances had hampered the Government—as a valid one. He had no doubt that the speech of the noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies would be appreciated at its proper value; but he did not think the noble Earl was justified in congratulating himself on the policy that had been pursued, because the converse or any other policy might have resulted in a European war, when they knew that at this moment the eyes of Europe were watching with anxiety the ring of clouds on the horizon, which might at any moment give out the flash of guns and the thunder of artillery. He congratulated the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) upon the Resolution he had brought forward. It was drawn in no doubtful terms; but he might say that his mind was not of such a character as to enable him to draw a distinction between that Resolution and the Resolution which had been brought before the other House. To his mind they were similar—if not in words, certainly in import—and amounted to a distinct impeachment not only of the Egyptian policy of Her Majesty's Government, but a distinct impeachment of the whole of their foreign policy. Their conduct of foreign affairs was remarkable only for its lack of foresight, and lamentable for its indecision until the moment for decision had passed. He contended that ever since the time that the Government were committed to action in Egypt their policy had been an inconsistent and an undetermined one. The noble Earl the Secretary of State for India contended that it was not inconsistent, for to be consistent it would be necessary to state a fixed time for the withdrawal of troops from the Soudan. But they had already fixed a date for the withdrawal of troops from Egypt, and had not adhered to it; and, therefore, he was justified in saying it was inconsistent. To his mind, a fair description of that policy would be, if it had not been so unfortunate and so unlucky, a happy-go-lucky policy, having in it a distinct element of kismet, of leaving things to chance, that they had no right to expect from a Cabinet of English gentlemen, and which would have been entirely inexcusable in a Cabinet in that country, whose assistance, he confessed, would have been of the greatest value to us now—he meant our old Ally, Turkey. The case of the Opposition was that the affairs of Egypt were in the hands of Her Majesty's Government, and that Her Majesty's Government had failed; and he challenged them to prove that they had adopted a particular line of policy; that they had now arrived at an expected point on that line, and that they would follow that line up to a definite issue. It was for them to show the people of this country that the charges made against them were groundless. If the vacillation or indecision which reigned in their Councils had affected their action, had it not also had an effect upon the Mahdi, and that in an entirely different direction? The noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies said that they believed the Mahdi would be satisfied if his own Provinces were free. That was most characteristic of the policy of the Government. They could not conceive that anyone would advance; they could only conceive that everyone would retire. What was the result of that policy of vacillation? What was the result of the announcement of their intended retirement from the Soudan, which the noble Earl, who had just sat down, insisted was not a mistake? He found it in inclosure 108 in the Blue Book— At the beginning of February, the Mahdi heard through one of Zebehr's messengers and Osman Digna that the British troops had been defeated, and that the Khedive and the English Government had determined to give up the Soudan, and make Assouan the frontier town. The Mahdi and his troops were much pleased when they heard this.…The Mahdi said he would now go to Khartoum, take Gordon prisoner, and exchange him for Arabi Pasha."—[Egypt. No. 1 (1885), p. 109.] That was the result of their policy of vacillation. Some of their Lordships had to mourn friends and relatives who had fallen in the war; all England through there was mourning for those who had fought and died as soldiers should, and now lay buried beneath the sands of Africa; but these losses sank into insignificance in the face of the loss which the country had sustained by the death of General Gordon; and he thought he might say that the country laid his death at the door of Her Majesty's Ministers, for whom it was to answer the question why they did not keep up communications with him. The Government had sent General Gordon on a most perilous mission, and it was their duty to give him every support and all the information that was necessary. They had shown themselves ignorant of the first principles of modern military recognizance—having sent forward their advance guard, they had omitted to follow it up with a support, or to keep up connection between it and the reserve. The noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies said that Sir Evelyn Baring lost no opportunity of communicating with General Gordon; but Sir Evelyn appeared to he singularly unfortunate in getting his messages through, and was certainly not so successful in that respect as was General Gordon himself. Nothing was more plaintive than his message, saying that "this would never have happened if they had kept him better informed." He could not conceive what excuse the Government could put forward for not getting messages through. Gordon reported in one of his despatches that all the north side was free of Arabs; and this fact was clear from other reports. If General Gordon could get messages through, how was it the Government failed? They had also failed to support Gordon with military force. But Khartoum had now fallen, Gordon was dead, and it was for Ministers to answer the question why they failed to keep open their communications, or to pay the penalty. If they contemplated sending troops to Khartoum, they cer- tainly made a most extraordinary mistake for Ministers of a country which had more dealings with Eastern nations than any other nation, in failing to strike quickly. With regard to the future, he warned Her Majesty's Government to be careful that British interests did not fall into the gulf of Mahommedan fanaticism. If we were to retire, who was to take our place? Where was the Egyptian Army which might have taken their place? Destroyed. But as to those Egyptian troops, the First Lord of the Admiralty said they were very good if they would only stand, and they would make an efficient force with which to support—what did their Lordships think?—the police. It was evident that the protection of the Soudan could not be entrusted to Egyptian troops; and if we retired, where should we retire to? We might draw a line on the map; but would the Mahdi respect it? He had set the ball of fanaticism rolling, and the only way possible was to meet it. He considered that the bounden duty of England, for her own honour, and for the safety of Egypt, was to render secure that boundary which her most dangerous enemy threatened; but what assurance had the country that the Government would adopt such a course? The promises of the Government, such as they were, were utterly unreliable and deceptive. They were as delusive as the mirage of the Desert itself. In the vote he should give, he believed he was merely echoing the opinion of the people of England—that in the hands of Her Majesty's Government the foreign affairs of this country were no longer safe.


said, he thanked the noble Lord who had just sat down (Lord Harris) for the admirable speech he had delivered; and he would also thank the noble Earl (the Earl of Kimberley) for the lucid way in which he had put forward his case. If the Government intended to exculpate themselves from blame, and to excuse their conduct, it was interesting to show to what extremities weakness might come; but what was more interesting and important was to make out what the policy of the Government in future was to be. Those who agreed with Her Majesty's Government were never tired of assuming that those who differed from them desired the occupation of Egypt and the permanent occupation of the Soudan. The noble Earl had said the same thing that night. It was for exactly the opposite reason that he (the Earl of Dunraven) objected to the policy, or want of policy, of the Government. Their policy was inevitably leading towards the annexation of Egypt, and towards the permanent or indefinite occupation of the Soudan. The Government, by their action, or default of action, were going, step by step, to plunge this country into greater difficulties, and to make it more difficult for this or any other Ministry to with draw from Egypt or the Soudan. The House had heard nothing from the Government as to what form of Government was to be left at Khartoum. The noble Earl the First Lord of the Admiralty said they would be very glad to see some form of Government; but what the House wanted to know was, whether Her Majesty's Government attached such importance to that as to take measures to insure that it was established? It was not sufficient to be told merely that the Government would be very glad to see it. No doubt they would, if it were without any trouble on their part. Then the noble Earl said the one thing that was perfectly clear was, that Egypt, at any rate, was to have nothing more to do with the Soudan. It might be right or wrong; it might be wise or foolish. But if Egypt was not to be allowed to have anything to do, not only with the whole of the Soudan, but with Khartoum and the Eastern Soudan, at least the Government might have given them some indication as to what authority they intended to put there in the place of Egypt. He should also like to know what was the meaning and object of Prince Hassan's appointment, because it was rather peculiar that the brother of the Khedive should be appointed to an important post with the English Army, when, at the same time, the Government were reiterating their assurances that Egypt was to have nothing whatever more to do with the Soudan. The noble Earl the First Lord of the Admiralty went on to lay great stress upon the importance of the railway from Suakin to Berber. He (the Earl of Dunraven) entirely agreed with the noble Earl in that matter. A railway had, no doubt, a most civilizing influence, and would work a very great change in the country. But it was rather strange that the civilizing influence of a railway should have only just dawned upon the minds of Her Majesty's Government. He quite agreed that the railway would do much good. It was astonishing what an effect the rapid carrying of goods from one part to another had upon the minds of men. Those who acquired goods in that way wished to get more of them, and to get more of them they had to occupy themselves in the pursuits of peace. We made them a present of that railway; but, for the railway to be of the smallest benefit to the country, we should maintain our hold of the country until that railway had had time to effect its benevolent objects. To do otherwise was merely to waste the money the British people would have to pay for the construction of the line. The noble Earl the Secretary of State for India (the Earl of Kimberley) spoke about destroying the power of the Mahdi; and the noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies (the Earl of Derby) spoke on the same subject. The object of the Expedition was the destroying of the power of the Mahdi at Khartoum. But what was the use of doing that if we were immediately to go away? Had Her Majesty's Government forgotten the lesson of last year, when they sent an Expedition to Suakin, and killed 5,000 or 6,000 Arabs; and he ventured to say, if those men were killed without definite aim or object, that was not an act of warfare, but was an act of murder. He was told it was a necessary thing, and would break the power of Osman Digna. We knew that Osman Digna was just now as powerful as before, and had, in fact, a larger force than last year. It might be necessary to destroy the power of the Mahdi in order to occupy Khartoum; but were we to do so, and then to retire, it would be an absolute waste of money and waste of human life, because such a course could not, by any possibility, have the smallest practical or permanent good effect. Her Majesty's Government were not justified in spending the money of this country, and lavishing the lives of Englishmen, without definite aim and object. A large portion of the country was most fertile; and if we determined to remain there until a settled Government was set up, then Her Majesty's Government would be justified in shedding blood, if neces- sary, and spending money; but, if not, were they justified in causing the life of a single Englishman to be lost, or spending a single shilling of our money? He should like to know for what the Expedition was forming, because the original purpose, he was told, was the rescue of General Gordon? He was beyond the power of rescue now. He had saved Her Majesty's Government trouble in the way in which it was generally saved, their attempts to save having, unfortunately, been settled by slaughter before they could reach the objects. That part of the Expedition was gone. He did not know what their object was. When they got to Khartoum, were they going to use every effort for the relief of other garrisons still holding out in the Soudan? That was a question, and, surely, an important one, which no Member of Her Majesty's Government had touched upon in that debate. He wanted to know what was to become of these garrisons? He wanted to know whether Her Majesty's Government considered themselves in any way responsible for them? Last night the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) said the Government were not responsible for the position of these garrisons; but it seemed to him (the Earl of Dunraven) that we were as responsible as if there were English soldiers placed there under the direction of Her Majesty's Government, because Her Majesty's Government compelled the Egyptians to announce their intention of retiring from the Soudan, and thus, practically, to leave the garrisons to their fate. Therefore, Her Majesty's Government, he maintained, were as much responsible for the lives of these men as if they had been sent there by Her Majesty's Government. He did not know how far it was feasible to rescue some of these garrisons; but he wanted to know whether the Government felt this responsibility, and would take all the measures they could to carry it out? Last year, it was said, Lord Wolseley was to take measures to relieve the garrison of Sennaar, and was receiving his instructions. He would like to know if that noble and gallant General would be exceeding his instructions now if he took any measures for the relief of Sennaar? He would like to know if anything was to be done to relieve the gallant garrison at Kassala? Were they to be left to the same fate as the garrisons at Sinkat and other places? He understood, some time ago, that some Treaty arrangement had been made with Abyssinia. For this country to employ Native Abyssinians to operate in a religious war against fanatical Musulmen was, on the face of it, an injudicious act, and it was only excusable if some great object was to be gained by it. Then we knew that Italy was established in Massowah. The Government, he thought, might give the House some information on that point. The information required was, whether that had anything to do with either Suakin or the policy in the Soudan? As to the Mahdi, we knew, on very good authority, that not very long ago the Mahdi might have been disposed of very summarily with a force of, say, 500. That fact was used by a Member opposite as a proof of the insignificance of the movement. Now, it heavily taxed the British Army to put a force in the field against him, to say nothing of the enormous expense. The noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies seemed to have made an extraordinary and novel discovery, which he imparted to the House the previous night. He said he had discovered that the Mahdi was not a petty Chief, struggling to be free, but was at the head of a religious movement, and it was a movement that might have grave consequences. Her Majesty's Government might have had information from various sources which they could recognize as authentic by men well knowing the country. The ex-Khedive had given a strong opinion long ago as to the religious movement of the Mahdi; and similar opinions had been given by Mr. Broadley, who had defended Arabi, by Arabi himself, by Dr. Schweinfurth, by Sir Samuel Baker, by General Gordon himself, by Mr. Blunt, and by Mr. Villiers-Stuart. All these had borne testimony to the importance of this movement, and had all explained that it was a religious and political movement which, if not checked, would endanger Egypt. In spite of this they were told that Her Majesty's Government had not reason to suppose that the Mahdi was anything more than a petty Chief struggling to be free. That was a fair example of the ignorance which characterized Her Majesty's Government on matters of this importance; and he did not think that the feebleness of their policy could be better exemplified than by the speech of the noble Earl the First Lord of the Admiralty last night. He explained that, although evil consequences had happened, Her Majesty's Government were hoping that something would occur. Her Majesty's Government were constantly hoping that something would occur, and consequently took no measures to prevent the disasters which followed. The announcement that they would be glad to see a certain policy at Khartoum showed the greatest amount of ignorance concerning affairs going on in that part of the world—an amount of ignorance absolutely inconceivable. They had naturally heard a great deal about General Gordon, who had occupied the attention of everybody for a long time; and now Her Majesty's Government seemed anxious to show that he exceeded his instructions, and that he did not fulfil his mission in the way in which he undertook to do it. They also said that it was impossible for them to anticipate the danger he was in; and the noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies went so far as to say that in one respect only had Gordon's wishes not been carried out, and that was on the Zebehr policy. As he (the Earl of Dun-raven) understood, the first and greatest considerations were for General Gordon to go out and ascertain the best means of evacuating the Soudan, supplemented by a distinct mission to evacuate the Soudan given him by the Khedive and accepted by Her Majesty's Government. Gordon went out, and let them see what he did on this matter. After General Gordon arrived at Khartoum, he sent some valuable and important Reports bearing upon the difficulties and dangers of his position. In a telegram in January, 1884, to Sir Evelyn Baring from Khartoum are these words— I implore you, in view of the impossibility of relieving the garrison, to give orders to retreat, as one-third of the troops are disaffected, and cannot be depended upon for maintaining order in the town. General Gordon telegraphed from Berber on his way out, just at the time the Egyptian Forces were at Suakin. He said— I would not, were I supreme, try again any Egyptian Forces at Suakin, but would engage 3,000 Turkish troops in British pay. That would settle the affair."—[Egypt. No. 12 (1884), p. 56.] Then Gordon arrived at Khartoum on the 18th, and on the very same day telegraphed home to say that he would not be able to place a successor in his seat, because that would be a signal for general anarchy throughout the country. Yet the Prime Minister said the other day that General Gordon could have withdrawn at any time he liked. At a later date ho asked for 200 Indian troops to be sent to Wady Haifa. He (the Earl of Dunraven) did not think it necessary to repeat many of these telegrams, because it was distinctly stated last night that there was no reason to suppose that Gordon was in any danger and could not have returned himself at any time. In March he telegraphed— I have no option about staying at Khartoum. It has passed out of my hands."—[Egypt. No. 12 (1884), p. 135.] Before that he said— Should you wish to intervene, send 200 British troops to Wady Haifa.…and then open up Suakin-Berber road by Indian troops."—(Ibid. 151.] On March 1, after his request was refused, he said— I will do my best to carry out your instructions; but I feel conviction I shall be caught in Khartoum."—[Ibid. 152.] In face of this telegram, Her Majesty's Government came down there and affected to tell their Lordships that they were ignorant that General Gordon was in danger, and that they acceded to all his wishes. Then, as to his mission, that was said to be a mission of peace, and so it was a mission of peace; and General Gordon endeavoured to carry it out in a peaceful way. First of all he had wished to have a personal interview with the Mahdi. That had been absolutely forbidden by Her Majesty's Government. His next request had been that Zebehr should be sent to him as his successor, and that request was also vetoed by Her Majesty's Government. They had been told that General Gordon could not have been in a position to judge, and that Her Majeaty's Government at home knew better. But the Government seemed to have forgotten that Stewart had also said that Zebehr should be sent, as well as Nubar Pasha and Sir Evelyn Baring. Sir Evelyn Baring had said that he believed the best course would be to permit Zebehr to succeed General Gordon. He said— I believe that Zebehr is the only possible man you can suggest to go there, and Nubar Pasha is strongly in his favour. Yet, whether they were right or not, the Government did put a distinct veto on the two means by which Gordon hoped to carry out his mission. First, by an interview with the Mahdi, and, secondly, by sending Zebehr Pasha. He asked for force, but force was invariably refused him. He asked for a British Force and he asked for a Turkish Force. All these requests were absolutely not only not complied with, but were refused in the strongest terms by Her Majesty's Government; and yet they came and said now that they did everything that Gordon asked them to do, The only thing that General Gordon did that Her Majesty's Government acceded to was his proclamation that the Slave Trade should not be interfered with. That was the one solitary instance in which Her Majesty's Government did not interfere with General Gordon. In every other respect, in attempts to carry out his mission, the refused him what he asked, and gave him absolutely nothing at all. Then they come and say General Gordon might have retired if he would. They entirely miscalculated their man if they thought it might be possible for him to leave behind him those who had trusted to him. He said he would not go, for the sufficient reason that the Arabs would not let him. "Evil communications," it was said, "corrupt good manners;" but the communications from Her Majesty's Government to General Gordon had not been sufficient to make him throw aside his responsibility, or to prevent him carrying out the mission he was sent there to fulfil. He would say nothing more on the subject of General Gordon. The noble Earl the First Lord of the Admiralty took exception to the points raised by the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) in his most able speech. It was necessary to draw the line somewhere. To go back to the Dual Control was absolutely absurd. The result of the statement that we would interfere by force in Egypt, if necessary, was that we were obliged to send our ships to Alexandria. That step was protested against in the most vigorous way by the Sultan. He would not say whether Her Majesty's Government had become responsible for all that ensued. As a matter of fact, the forts were bombarded, the town was burnt, and a great massacre occurred, because Her Majesty's Government were not prepared to send troops. Her Majesty's Government said they could not find troops because of the political condition of the country. It was a strange thing, if they were able to bombard the town, that they were not able to find troops and prevent massacre, and prevent Alexandria from being burnt. England was alone in the matter; we had the entire responsibility on our shoulders. He would like to know whether Her Majesty's Government accepted it—whether they intended to remain there until they had put the Government of the country on a secure basis, and had reconstructed society? They did nothing of the kind. They made an attempt to withdraw their troops with the loss of General Hicks and 10,000 men. The natural consequence was that the Mahdi and his movement came to a head, and gathered great force. Another point was that we were obliged to undertake the Expedition to Suakin. Could any reasonable man doubt that if that Expedition had been planned in time, and sent out in time, it could have proceeded from Suakin to Berber, and the whole thing would have been ended there and then. There was a second point at which the Government could have averted all the consequences that followed from that date. If they had sent across from Suakin to Berber, there would have been an end of the Mahdi, and we should have been spared all the trouble that had occurred since. But Her Majesty's Government did nothing of the kind. Her Majesty's Government sent out General Gordon; and since they sent out General Gordon they might have interfered. Not only did they not interfere themselves, but they would not allow anyone else to interfere; and the whole responsibility rested with Her Majesty's Government. He maintained that there were three distinct occasions when a determined policy might have been adopted—first, before the bombardment; second, after the battle of Tel-el-Kebir; and, thirdly, after the destruction of Osman Digna's Force at Suakin, when an Expedition might have been sent to Berber. Even after General Gordon went to Khartoum, Her Majesty's Government might have averted all the disasters that had befallen us in Egypt. We were told the other night that we were not entitled to exile Arabi. He did not know in what light we looked upon Arabi; but some time ago Her Majesty's Government spoke of him as aiding a people who were struggling to be free. Who were the people who were struggling to be free? Were they the Egyptian traders, or the Arabs, or the Fellaheen Native population? Who were the people struggling for freedom in the Soudan? Were they the Arab slave hunters, the Arab conquerors of the country, or the Native negro tribes of the Soudan? Whenever Her Majesty's Government were seized with a violent desire to fight, and were anxious to kill somebody, then they said—"This man is a rebel, and he must be smashed;" but when they changed their mood, and did not wish to do anything, they turned round and said that the same people were "a gallant race struggling to be free," and that it was contrary to all their principles to interfere with them in any way. He remembered certain words that were used by Mr. Gladstone just before he came into Office. They were noble and excellent words; but unfortunately the were not carried out. The right hon. Gentleman said that we were both rich and strong, but that no people were rich and strong enough to disregard the priceless value of human sympathies; that at the close of the year, should an account be taken, he trusted that they might not find that they commanded a less meagre store of those human sympathies than they had at its beginning. Now, for himself, he (the Earl of Dunraven) might ask whether, since they took Office, the present Government had much increased the stock of those sympathies? When they succeeded to power the country enjoyed the friendship and respect of all foreign nations. That could hardly be said to be the ease still. Their policy had caused the deaths of 500 Englishmen and fully 50,000 Egyptians and Arabs; and that was not likely to increase the stock of human sympathies extended to them in North-East Africa. Before very long the Government would have to render an account not only to Parliament, but to the country. The people would audit that account, and he doubted very much whether they would consider the record a satisfactory one which was so disfigured by such frightful extravagance both of money and of human life.


said, that in a crisis like the present, if it could be shown that with safety and advantage to the country the Government could be replaced on the Treasury Benches by noble Lords opposite and their Friends, he should willingly vote for the Resolution that night. But he thought it seemed to him that the double indictment preferred against Her Majesty's Government by the noble Marquess in his Resolution had signally failed, and that, so far from the present dangerous condition of the country being improved, it would be greatly aggravated by the assumption of Office on the part of noble Lords opposite. The Government were made responsible for the failure to rescue General Gordon; but if there had not been one traitor in Khartoum and Sir Charles Wilson's Force had been able to relieve the place, ho believed that Her Majesty's Government, instead of being vehemently attacked, would have been held up to the country as a model of wisdom and vigour. All this came about because of an act of treachery 48 hours before the arrival of troops at Khartoum. It was known that Gordon's troops were not trustworthy, that they gave many excuses for desertion and abandonment, and yet up to this unhappy day his troops had proved themselves faithful enough to warrant him believing that he might depend upon them. The question, therefore, of the condemnation of the Government rested not upon their own actions, but upon the fact that a traitor took measures to betray his Leader 48 hours before the arrival of succour. It had been said that the Government had received telegrams from General Gordon announcing his danger, and pointing out the manner in which that danger might be overcome; but he asked if there was any person who would accept the recommendations with our knowledge of what had taken place in the country? One of General Gordon's propositions was that 200 troops should be sent to Wady Haifa; but was it to be supposed that this small force would really have been of any use? Another proposition was the sending of 500 Cavalry from Suakin after the victories of General Graham; but if these men had started on their journey it was improbable that any of them would have been alive. It was also said that General Graham's Force should have advanced after his victories in the Eastern Soudan; but no man who had the slightest knowledge of the means necessary for such a movement in such a country would advocate it. The wells on the route between Suakin and Berber were few; the population was hostile; and there were many other considerations against the adoption of military movements which contained a considerable element of rashness. If the noble Marquess was to succeed in putting out the Government and taking their place all his eloquence would not give him a majority in the other House unless he could obtain the support of the Irish Members. Within the last few days some steps had been taken by Her Majesty's Opposition in the House of Commons to secure that support. He had seen with the deepest regret the authority of the Speaker set at defiance, and that course had been supported by a considerable number of the Members of the Opposition. He saw in that an incident not unconnected with the proceedings of their Lordships' House that evening. It was of ill-omen, and if by such means the Government were displaced he was afraid great injury would be inflicted on the best interests of the country.


repudiated the insinuation of the noble Lord who had just spoken, and said that on the occasion referred to the power which the Speaker proposed to exercise was one which was to be employed for the first time in circumstances of great perplexity, and after the discussion it was proposed to close had not lasted more than two hours; and, under such circumstances, it was surely open to independent Members of the House of Commons to vote as they thought fit. If the only defence of the Government was that they had nearly succeeded in saving General Gordon, that defence was a very poor one. The noble Lord had endeavoured to show that the Government were not to blame on account of the recent Expedition being too late, because Sir Charles Wilson had reached Khartoum two or three days after it had fallen owing to treachery. But were the Government justified in running the time to so fine a point that it was necessary to make that most dangerous and unprecedented march across the Desert from Korti to the Nile, which had been so heroically performed, but at so great a loss of life? After all, that march had ended in failure. He considered that the conduct of the Government towards General Gordon had been characterized neither by generosity nor magnanimity. The noble Lord suggested that no reasonable man could have accepted General Gordon's suggestions such as those to send a few troops to Wady Haifa and two squadrons of Cavalry to Berber. But General Gordon did not base these suggestions on the material value of a small body of troops, but on the effect which they would have as an indication that the power of England was behind them and would be exerted if necessary. This suggestion of General Gordon's appeared perfectly reasonable. And the moral effect of such a demonstration might have been to prevent the disasters which subsequently occurred. As was well known, our advance upon the Nile had secured the Mudir of Dongola as an all and it was perfectly natural to believe, as General Gordon did, that the appearance of British troops at Wady Haifa would have secured great advantages to the garrison at Berber. Berber did not fall until June, and there had been ample time for a small detachment of British troops to march from Suakin to Berber to relieve the garrison there. On March 24 Sir Evelyn Baring recommended that this should be done, and quoted the opinions of Generals Stephenson and Wood to show that it was perfectly practicable. The noble Earl the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in a speech on the 19th of February, took great credit to the Government for having taken upon themselves the responsibility for everything Gordon did. But how were those brave words borne out? General Gordon invited the cooperation of Zebehr Pasha, and suggested that he should be appointed to succeed him as Governor General; but the noble Earl refused his permission. On the 19th of March the noble Earl made another speech about General Gordon; and he (Earl Beauchamp) thought he could detect a shadow of want of confidence. The noble Earl then said— With regard to ourselves we have had confidence in General Gordon, and we hope and believe it was justified. Those were hardly such cordial terms as those used by the noble Earl on February 19. Again, on the 6th of March, Mr. Gladstone said that the Government made themselves responsible for the measures adopted by General Gordon; but how did the noble Earl carry out that promise of Mr. Gladstone? On the 21st of May the noble Earl in a despatch said— Her Majesty's Government have been at all times ready to assist the Government of the Khedive with their advice as to the best means of with drawing from the Soudan the Egyptian garrisons…and for that purpose they consented to the mission of General Gordon; but…the presence of Egyptian garrisons in the Soudan…is in no way due to any act of Her Majesty's Government, and that they cannot hold themselves responsible for the measures which those on the spot may think fit to take with a view to facilitate their withdrawal."—[Egypt. No. 25 (1884), p. 50.] Who was meant by "those on the spot," but General Gordon? The despatch of the noble Earl of the 11th of March recognized the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government for that which, in this despatch of the 21st of May, he afterwards repudiated. It was true that a large part of the Soudan consisted of barren desert; but a great part also was a region of unbounded fertility. Both Lord Dufferin and Sir Samuel Baker recommended the retention of a part of the Soudan. Sennaar, Berber, Dongola, and Khartoum were all Provinces of great fertility, which, when General Gordon was in his former position of Governor General of the Soudan, were a source of great wealth and commerce; and even in the last few years of Egyptian finance—before 1882—were also a source of revenue. He wanted to know, therefore, what reason there was for abandoning those four fertile Provinces? When they spoke in Government despatches of "restoring to the inhabitants their former position of independence," he wanted to know whom they meant by the inhabitants, and what by independence? Did they mean the independence of the slave, or the independence of the slave-hunter? Were they going to abandon the people of the Soudan to the anarchy from which they were rescued by General Gordon 10 years ago? Was that their idea of a mission of mercy; or were they going to restore to them a peaceful and orderly Government in which life and property could be secure? If they really did mean to restore those Provinces to their former independence, they would make their last state far worse than the first. He characterized as a stupendous blunder the announcement of the abandonment of the Soudan at the time it was done. When there were garrisons and persons engaged in commerce in the country, it was the height of folly to announce that they would evacuate the Soudan before they had placed those persons in a position of safety. Anybody could see that such an action was not only insane in its idea, but likely to be disastrous in I its consequences. The noble Earl had referred to the growing power of the Mahdi; but why had Her Majesty's Government allowed it to grow? The Government had received many warnings; but they had deliberately disregarded them, and now the plea was I raised that the circumstances had I changed. But the charge against Her Majesty's Government was that the circumstances had changed, and that they knew that they would change. What was to become of the railway from Suakin to Berber? They had had some experience of difficulties in regard to; another highway—the Suez Canal; and he thought the House and the country ought to know what was to become of the railway after it was laid down. Who was to be responsible for its administration if it did not remain in the hands of England or Egypt? He did not think they were unduly trespassing upon the reticence of Her Majesty's Government in asking to be taken into their confidence, and to be informed with what objects and purposes this railway was to be constructed? In conclusion, the noble Earl spoke of General Gordon's death, and said that on the shoulders of the Government must rest the responsibility for the agonies with which his heart must have been filled.


said, he would not trespass on the time of the I House by any lengthened speech. The debate had already lasted nearly two days, and a remarkable feature of it had been the extraordinary vitality of certain of the arguments used, which were refuted over and over only to come to life again. The remark did not apply to the speech of the noble Earl who had just down, and who, in closing, had paid I a tribute to the late General Gordon—a tribute which everyone would agree with. General Gordon had only filled that place in their Lordships' mind which, he was sure he now filled in the minds of all Englishmen, and which he would fill in the minds of Englishmen for many years to come. The noble Earl opposite, who had framed a careful indictment of the Government, had inquired as to the railway which was to be laid down. As to that, he could only reiterate what had already been stated, on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, that it was to be undertaken simply and solely for military purposes. The only object for it being laid down was in order that they might safely withdraw Lord Wolseley from Khartoum. Lord Wolseley had himself specially asked for it and it was purely in deference to his request that it would be proceeded with. The noble Earl also asked why the Government did not long ago undertake to smash the Mahdi, because he would then have been easily smashed. The answer was simply this—that it never had been originally an object of the Government to smash the Mahdi; and it was only now, when his advance was likely to embarrass the policy of Her Majesty's Government, that they thought it necessary to adopt the policy of dealing with the Mahdi in that summary manner. Then, as to the issue of the Proclamation of the abandonment of the Soudan, on account of which some condemnation had been passed on Her Majesty's Government, that step had General Gordon's hearty sanction and approval. To have sent a White man and a Christian into that part of the world at a time of great confusion without some definite object of which the population were likely to approve would have been to commit him to a far greater danger than that upon which he voluntarily embarked. The one thing on which the entire population of that part of the world was agreed was the desire to be rid of all European control. Hatred of all Christians was a feeling common to all the Arab tribes in that neighbourhood. The noble Earl who spoke a short time ago (the Earl of Dunraven) stated that all the disasters that had fallen upon the Soudan were the result, not of the Dual Control, but of the Joint Note for the maintenance of the Khedive and the government of Egypt. Of course, it was quite true that the issue of the Note had affected all the subsequent events; but why was that Note issued? Simply and solely for the reason that this country was led by the action of the noble Marquess opposite into a joint partnership with France, which obliged us to consult, and in a great measure to follow, the wishes of that country. Practically, we had undertaken the government of Egypt in conjunction with France; and it was owing to the extreme urgency of keeping on friendly terms with France, and in order that this partnership might not be wrecked, that the Joint Note was issued. M. Gambetta, who was then at the head of the French Government, was a man of a strong will and of an enterprizing character; and he it was who urged the issuing of this particular Note. In fact, it rather appeared from the Blue Books that the Foreign Secretary himself objected to it, and that it was only when it appeared that our relations with France would be in danger that he yielded. Had Gambetta remained in power, it is not improbable that the understanding with France might have been successfully maintained; and if it had been, then Arabi would in all probability never have ventured to raise his standard of rebellion. Therefore, the Government were justified at the time in concurring in the presentation of the Joint Note. Then, as to the future, the Government had been asked to pledge themselves to a particular definite line of policy on the conclusion of the military operations in the Soudan. He did not see how they could have sufficient groundwork for arriving at any decision until the military operations were concluded. Nothing could be more rash than to announce a precise and definite plan of that kind. The Government had, however, intimated their desire to form something like an orderly Government at Khartoum before leaving it. The Government had gone as far as they could in intimating to the House and the country that they did not intend simply to smash the Mahdi and then leave the country. Of one thing he was confident, and that was that Her Majesty's Government fully intended to establish an orderly Government at Khartoum before troops were withdrawn from that capital, the ultimate object being to leave both Egypt and the Soudan entirely. The object of the Motion was to turn out the present Government and replace them by the opposite Party; but it seemed to him that, seeing that our present difficulties had arisen not merely, as the noble Earl had suggested, from the Joint Note, but from the partnership with France in the government of Egypt which had made that Note a necessity, that would be an extremely illogical step to take merely because Her Majesty's Government had not yet been entirely successful in their attempt to undo the mischiefs which their Predecessors had created.


took credit for having initiated the interesting debate upon the sending out of General Gordon which took place in April last year. The fears then expressed had, unfortunately, been realized. He did not wish to underrate the difficulties the Government had bad to contend with during the time that they had been in Office; but he, nevertheless, thought they had brought upon themselves the indictment now urged against them by their determined obstinacy in rejecting advice, and indecision in adopting any course. He hoped that in the course of that debate they would have some explanation from Her Majesty's Government which would lighten the minds of many people as to the reason why General Gordon was ever sent to Khartoum at all, and why, when he was sent, the Government did not take the responsibility of his mission, and treat him as an Ambassador to any Foreign State. From first to last, the evil of the Government in Egyptian affairs had been vacillation in policy and indecision in action. The taunt of the Government had been that the present Opposition was responsible for the Dual Control he admitted it; but, had they been in power, none of the difficulties which had arisen would have occurred. He believed that if the late M. Gambetta had been alive and in power in France at the time the Egyptian Question arose, a much more vigorous and satisfactory policy would have been pursued. After the death of M. Gambetta, France had become one of the greatest difficulties in our negotiations. The Government had, unfortunately, given way to M. Freycinet. The policy of an English Government with regard to Egypt ought to have been linked with that of the Suzerain; but ever since the Russo-Turkish War the policy of this country had been changed towards Turkey, and now this country was beginning to feel some of the very serious difficulties which arose from attempting to conduct the affairs of a Mahommedan country without the assistance of the Caliph. If they had not made this change of policy, he believed that they would not have had to send an Army to defeat Arabi, or to send General Gordon to the Soudan. But whenever Turkey had proposed to do anything she had been thwarted by England and France. When an Envoy was sent to Turkey, they sent their ships to Alexandria, and after the Envoy had returned their ships remained. What had taken place? The revolt at Alexandria was in May, 1882, and lasted a month; a British squadron was there, but did nothing to quell the insurrection. In June the Government had instructed Sir Beauchamp Seymour to bombard Alexandria. In his opinion, that was one of the most atrocious acts ever committed by a British Government. There wore no troops landed to save Alexandria from bloodshed; but they waited till the end of August to put down Arabi Pasha. The whole of their Egyptian policy from that time had become an imbroglio and an incubus upon the English nation. The next step had been to send General Gordon to rescue the garrisons in the Soudan. The Government then sent an efficient Army to Suakin; but after having defeated Osman Digna, instead of making up their minds to open up the route to Berber, they had refused to do so, against every advice, and against the imploring demands of General Gordon himself; against the advice even of their own Minister at Cairo. It was perfectly possible to open up the Suakin-Berber route; and, at all events, it should have been attempted. But no arguments, no entreaties, no imploring demands in either House of Parliament or in the country at large, had had the slightest effect on Her Majesty's Government. They had been wrapped up in a policy of direct obstinacy. The blame entirely rested with Her Majesty's Government. They had from first to last warnings from persons whose opinions were worth having, that General Gordon was in the most imminent danger, and yet they disregarded them. He hoped that the noble and gallant Lord (Lord Napier of Magdala) would state to their Lordships what he thought of the march up the Nile. Whether that House and the other House of Parliament would that night pronounce a verdict that would force the Prime Minister to place his resignation in the hands of the Queen remained to be seen. He did not, however, believe that if the Government had a majority in either House of Parliament it would in the least remove the imputation and slur which rested on them. The time would come when the country would be able to give their verdict. They would join hands round the grave of General Gordon; and they would then say, feeling the sorrow which overwhelmed them all, that the policy of vacillation and inaction was the murderer of General Gordon.


My Lords, reference has been made to my former observations in this House, and I find it incumbent on me to revert to them. On the 4th of April, 1884, the question of the safety of General Gordon appeared to me very serious, and I had failed to learn that Her Majesty's Government were making any preparation for his relief. Knowing from experience how much preparation is required for even a small Expedition of a difficult nature, I gave Notice of a Question to ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether any Expedition would be sent for General Gordon's relief; and whether the Scientific Departments had been requested to consider how such could be effected either from Suakin or Cairo? The Prime Minister having the previous day declared that he was not prepared to send an Expedition for the relief of General Gordon—which I only became aware of on entering the House—I confined my Question to asking whether the Government would be prepared with a plan in case it should be necessary. I beg permission of the House to read an extract from my remarks. I said— The Government had declared that at present in their belief such an Expedition was not necessary; but the time might come when the opinion of the Government might change, and when General Gordon's position might not be so secure as it appeared to be at present; and, therefore, it would be a dreadful thing if General Gordon should escape—if it were possible to imagine that such a noble nature would attempt to escape—and leave behind him those who might suffer all the evils of an unfortunate war. It was possible the time would come when the Government might consider it necessary to relieve Khartoum; and if such relief was to be carried out, it would certainly be carried out from either Cairo or Suakin, and it would be done with more effect if every step had been previously prepared by the Scientific Departments under the Government, whose resources were inexhaustible. Khartoum was about 445 miles from Suakin, and about 1,200 miles from Cairo. Of the distance between Khartoum and Suakin there were 200 miles of route by the Nile, and of the remaining 245 miles, 100 miles consisted of Desert, which might be divided into, and traversed in, two stages of 50 miles each. Then there came 145 miles of level country, between the Desert and the Rod Sea. There would be no difficulty at any season of the year in making a practicable route across those 145 miles; and then there would be those 100 miles of Desert to be crossed. Along the 145 miles, at every stage there was some water to be got, good or indifferent; and no doubt it would be in the power of the force occupying those halting places to get more water, and to sink more wells in the neighbourhood of the springs. No doubt the climate of Suakin was very severe indeed; but it was not unhealthy, and he believed that the country could be crossed by British troops, properly equipped, at any time of the year."—(3 Hansard, [286] 1612.) At that time the Mahdi's followers were not in possession of Berber, and therefore nothing would have been easier than for a force to have crossed over from Suakin, and given a hand to General Gordon. General Graham then had destroyed the power of Osman Digna; and although he was not at that moment in a position to advance because he had not transport camels they might have been got at many of the ports of the Red Sea. I concluded that if Her Majesty's Government decided on the Nile route of 1,200 miles they would at once begin vigorously to lay down rails to pass the difficult Cataracts to be connected by intermediate railways hereafter. I did not object to the Nile route under such circumstances, as there was convenience in having Cairo as a base, and any permanent opening of the way was removing a great evil, and the want of communication from Cairo to the extremities of the Empire. But such steps were indispensable, and also the provision of steamers and river transport for the navigation of the intermediate reaches of the river between the Cataracts. That appeared necessary then, and it appears to be necessary now. I did not enter into these details. General Wolseley requires support and better communication with Cairo. As long as he can rely on Dongola no doubt he has a great resource. No one had any right to cri- ticize the action of Lord Wolseley in ordering the advance of General Sir Herbert Stewart. That was a most gallant and brilliant advance, with the view of extending a hand to General Gordon; but it was a great military risk. Lord Wolseley trusted, and justly so, to the valour of his troops; and if the movement had succeeded it would have been a brilliant achievement, which could not have been surpassed. There seems to be some anxiety as to the position of Lord Wolseley's Force; but I have no doubt whatever that it is perfectly safe under his command. Had Lord Wolseley's plan to advance on Berber and Khartoum been carried out, it would have been necessary to advance from Suakin to Berber, in order to meet him and effect the withdrawal of his troops from Suakin. That advance has, unfortunately, been suspended. I think that great misapprehension has prevailed with regard to the climate of the Soudan. I know by experience that troops have marched and fought in India in heat quite as great as that of the Soudan. The temperature recorded in the higher lands in the Soudan is from 110 degrees to 112 degrees in the shade. I have records in my possession from officers in camp at Mooltan, in India, showing a temperature of 120 degrees in the shade. The heat of the Soudan is not so trying as the heat of India, although it is very great; and although no one would wish to send troops to the Soudan in the hot weather, if it could be avoided, yet I believe it would be quite possible to conduct operations, if necessary, even in the hot season, provided they are supplied with Indian tents and proper means of assistance. Uneasiness has prevailed, because so large a body of troops has been blocked up in Africa; but if more troops are required, we have only to raise them. I am told that Lord Wolseley had already informed the Government that he required 10,000 more soldiers to carry out the short service system. Some apprehensions have been entertained regarding the Russian approaches to the Afghan Frontier. All the Russian officers whom I have met are extremely pleasant people, and I should be extremely sorry if we should ever be at war with Russia; but I do not believe that Russia would make war on England for a few miles of ethnographical frontier. I trust that the officers in command of the troops in the Soudan, if they find that they are able to advance, to carry out the objects of the Government, will be permitted to do so in any season of the year.


said, that at that stage of the debate he would certainly not go into a retrospect of the events which had led up to the present condition of affairs. There had not been a debate in their Lordships' House in which argument was less needed. During the whole period of this terrible tragedy the Members of the Opposition had plied the Government with arguments of every kind; but, as they all knew, the Government had turned a deaf ear to their warnings, and treated their arguments with scorn. Now, however, the justice of all they had said was abundantly proved, not merely by speeches on the Opposition or Ministerial side, but by the fact that the Government were now hurrying to do too late that which they had all along been urged to do while there was yet time. He knew they were told the circumstances were changed, and that those efforts which it was not right to call upon them to undertake in the way of risking troops and expending treasure for the life of one man and a handful of followers was justly called for by the grave circumstances of the present condition of affairs in the Soudan. But he thought that only proved again more fully still what the Opposition had always said and urged—namely, that Government must do in the end what they were now doing, and that they ought to have done it while General Gordon was alive, and not wait until he was dead. They must always remember that General Gordon was sent out in no ordinary way. They knew that the Ministers of the Crown never failed in pressing upon the House the fact that General Gordon was the central point of the whole policy of the Government, and the representative of all that England held most dear. If they did send out General Gordon in that way then it was their bounden duty to take every precaution to assure themselves that they would be able to bring him back again. The point which they had now to consider was what course they had to take. The Government had been taught a bitter lesson; but had they shown any sign whatever that they had learnt it? Had they had no lesson before? Could one have believed a short time ago that any Government could have received the news of the tragedy of Sinkat, and not, at all events, have provided that the safety of Gordon must be jealously guarded? Even now they heard that the interests of England were still jeopardized, and that the blood already spilt had been spilt in vain. They had gone to Egypt, and they should be determined not to leave it until they had bound her to them by such bonds of friendship that no unfriendly hand could loosen them. There were many reasons to justify the votes which they were about to give; and although the Secretary of State for the Colonies warned their Lordships that that House might do just as it pleased, because it was not on their votes the existence of the Government depended, but on those in "another place," he asked their Lordships whether during the last five years their action had been such as to warrant confidence being reposed in them? He had no doubt that the historian of the future would record a verdict against this Administration, that its career had been one of degradation and shame. He trusted that that might not be so; but he appealed to their Lordships to do their part, so that in that shame this House might have no part. They had often in that House to take a decision which exposed them to much censure and criticism out-of-doors. In proceeding to a division that night they had no such censure or criticism to face; for he believed that by carrying the Motion of the noble Marquess they would be recording on the pages of their country's history the verdict for which their country was indignantly calling.


took a retrospect of the last five years, and of the different position which England occupied in 1879, when its destinies were intrusted to a Minister who recognized that in nations, as in individuals, noblesse oblige. She, by a display of determination, backed by her Fleet alone, saved Constantinople from the grasp of conquering Russia; and this assertion of her power at once placed her in her old position as one of the foremost European Powers. The present Government, on coming into power in 1880, proceeded, out of sheer perversity, to reverse all that their Predecessors had done; the consequeuce of which was humiliation and disgrace, so that we were now the scorn and laughing-stock of the world. Formerly, our alliance was courted; now, we were made of small account. The noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies explained last night what the Government policy in the present state of affairs was to be; but his explanation was characteristic of the noble Earl, whose policy always appeared to be to get as much as possible out of harm's way, to open his mouth and shut his eyes and see what Providence would send. It behaved us now to see that all the blood and treasure poured out in the Soudan should not be fruitless, but that at least some blessing should be left behind us, when we gave it up, in the establishment of some settled form of government, by which the blessings, of justice and civilization might be insured to the inhabitants.


Whatever may be the opinion of your Lordships upon the question submitted to you in the course of this debate, one thing I think will be admitted by everyone—that this discussion has taken place under most unusual and exceptional circumstances. I have not been for many years a Member of your Lordships' House; but I do not believe that the oldest Member of this House can recall an instance in which a Vote of Censure such as the one now under discussion, involving charges of the gravest character and possibly the very existence of a Government, has been discussed almost entirely from one side of the House. Peer after Peer has risen on the Opposition Benches, and has arrayed the facts to be found in the Papers presented to the House, and scarcely any Peers but those who are Members of the Government have attempted to make a reply. If silence were to be taken as giving consent, I do not believe that at any time has a Vote of Censure been carried with so much unanimity, for that which we are now discussing might be taken as carried without any division at all. Under such circumstances, it will not be necessary that I should intervene for long between your Lordships and the statement of the noble Earl opposite (Earl Granville). The affairs of the Soudan have been laid before the House so completely that I am not disposed to go into them any further. I prefer to remind your Lordships that there is some fear that in the discussion of the special Expedition to 'which the Resolution of my noble Friend refers, the larger interests and principles of policy may be left out of sight altogether. My Lords, we must not forget that this Soudan Expedition is not merely one of those small wars or military operations, usually attended with defeat and disgrace, to which Her Majesty's Government have accustomed us in past years. It is the outcome of the general policy of Her Majesty's Government in their conduct of the affairs of Egypt; it is only an episode in one phase of that great Eastern Question which so vitally affects the interests of this Empire and the whole of the civilized world. The country laments, and your Lordships lament—and your grief has found eloquent expression during this debate—the sad scenes enacted at Khartoum, and the terrible fate that has befallen that hero of heroes, General Gordon. But these disasters mean more than humiliation, to which, unfortunately, we are becoming more and more accustomed. They mean a failure on the part of this country at a time of great difficulty and great crisis in Continental affairs; they mean the loss of the influence prestige of this country; they mean the weakening of our power before the world, and therefore they demand serious attention, and should be viewed, in my opinion, as a whole. My Lords, if you examine the Egyptian Question as a whole, and will look at the history of these affairs from beginning to end, you will find that Her Majesty's Government never had a policy at all. Their line of action has been invariably guided by the political exigencies of the moment. They appear always to be hindered by a dread of their responsibility, which to them appears a perpetual bugbear; and they are fettered, above all things, by the necessity of keeping together and consolidating that heterogeneous conglomeration of atoms which goes by the name of the Liberal Party. The noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) did well, last night, to remind your Lordships that the same vacillation and feebleness of purpose have marked the whole history of the conduct of Egyptian affairs by Her Majesty's Government. It was their undecided counsels which prevented their dealing firmly and with adequate strength with the rebellion of Arabi, that fons et origo mali of all their disasters. It was their undecided counsels which led to the massacre of the garrisons, to the despatch of General Gordon, and to the Expedition which was sent—too late, as usual—to effect his relief. Now, my Lords, the Prime Minister has told us that all these laches—all these iniquities, as I should prefer to call them—of the Government were condoned in the month of May last, when he obtained a mechanical majority of 28 in the other House of Parliament to approve the course his Government adopted; but at that time we had not the information to guide us to a decision on the merits of the policy of Her Majesty's Government which we now have fully at our disposal. The Government then told us that, although they had met with defeat and disaster, and although they had failed in rescuing the garrisons, they still had one trump card to play—they had sent General Gordon by himself to effect what they had been unable to attain by their armies and by their diplomacy and by their policy. If, under these circumstances, Parliament acquitted Her Majesty's Government last May, I do not see why they should be acquitted this year, after the result of Gordon's mission, now that that disastrous result is known. There is one point I should like to advert to which has not been touched upon in this debate, and that is, that the responsibilities we have now incurred in Egypt have been largely increased by the policy of Her Majesty's Government of incessantly and continually weakening the Egyptian Government. It is true they have, with a certain amount of loyalty, supported Tewfik; but they have never ceased to interfere in all the internal affairs of Egypt. They have dismissed some Ministers and appointed others, and have never lost an opportunity of humiliating the Governor of Egypt in the eyes of his subjects. Now, my Lords, the noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies, last night, told us that they could not wish to treat Egypt as an English Province. But if it be possible to treat Egypt as a British Province, Her Majesty's Government have done it. What is the meaning of these perpetual sham appointments which are supposed to be made by the Khedive of Egypt, and which are decided upon by Her Majesty's Government? We have had an instance of it within the last few days. Sir Evelyn Baring writes that Lord Wolseley wished that Prince Hassan should be appointed on his Staff as Governor of the Soudan. After some correspondence Her Majesty's Government assented to the appointment; and although their policy at this moment is that Egypt shall quit the Soudan and have nothing whatever to do with it, the brother of the Khedive has just been appointed Governor of the Soudan. But there is another instance, and a more remarkable one, of this extraordinary conflict of authority in Egypt. When General Gordon was sent to the Soudan there was some difficulty felt in Parliament to understand the conditions under which he was sent; and from a conversation which took place in "another place" at that time it appears that it could not be ascertained whether he was appointed by Her Majesty's Government or the Khedive. Under these circumstances, my Lords, no one need be astonished that Her Majesty was advised to insert in her gracious Speech that memorable sentence, that "information from Egypt included painful uncertainties." But the noble Marquess yesterday said that the counsels of Her Majesty's Government were not only undecided, but also divided. The First Lord of the Admiralty took umbrage at that statement. It is difficult for us to prove that the Government are not a happy and united family. Our belief, however, is that the discussions in the Cabinet resemble more than anything that game which is indulged in at athletic sports called "a tug of war," than the friendly discussions which are usual in such a body. The scene which took place last night in the course of the debate also throws some light on the matter. My noble Friend the late Under Secretary of State for War (Viscount Bury), in the course of his able speech, was endeavouring to recapitulate some statements made by the First Lord of the Admiralty. The noble Earl was not then in his place; but immediately three Cabinet Ministers sprang to their feet in their anxious and earnest desire to correct the statements my noble Friend had just made, and to give the exact meaning which they thought attached to the words of the First Lord; but I was particularly interested to notice that the Members of the Government were each and all at total variance with one another. Then the noble and learned Earl sprang from the Woolsack and gave my noble Friend the "lie direct."


My Lords, is it Parliamentary, is it in accordance with the usages of this House, to apply such language to anything that was said? I said that I understood the First Lord of the Admiralty to say the reverse of that which the noble Viscount had attributed to him.


My Lords, if I have been guilty of saying anything which either offends the feelings of the noble and learned Earl on the Woolsack, or which is in any sense un-parliamentary, I beg, without hesitation, to retract it. Perhaps my language was rather more strongly descriptive of the statement of the noble and learned Earl than what I was entitled to employ; but I am in the recollection of the House, and I do not think that the words just quoted by the noble and learned Earl were exactly those which he used. I have, however, to apologize if I have, in any way, misrepresented him to the House. But with regard to this question of divided counsels, I do not quite understand why the noble and learned Earl should be so anxious to disclaim the accusation. It appears to me that the fact of their being divided is the only possible defence that can be offered for many transactions which we have so much deplored in the course of the last few years. I confess I should have thought it would have been impossibe for 14 men to sit round a Council Table and with complete unanimity to decide on the courses that Her Majesty's Government have adopted. One word as to the delay. The culpable delay, to which my noble Friend alludes, I suppose may be considered to have occurred from the moment when danger was seen actually to exist. Now, the moment, in my opinion, when the Government should have considered that General Gordon was in danger began from the moment when, to use the words in his despatch, he was "hemmed in;" and if they were cut off from communication with him they should have considered his danger and made preparations to meet the danger. The Prime Minister never would see the danger that existed. At the end of the month of April he solemnly told the House of Commons that no danger existed to the garrison of Berber; and before five weeks were over the whole garrison of Berber, consisting of 5,000 people, with the Governor of that fortress, had ceased to live. But, my Lords, the Prime Minister has now given a very different excuse for the delay which arose. He says he spent three months in discussing with his Cabinet as to the choice they should make of one of the two routes that are now both adopted. Now, it is my belief that if Mr. Gladstone had consulted the Intelligence Department at the War Office—a Department which, perhaps, does not exist within the Cabinet—he would within a much shorter space of time have been enabled to make up his mind as to which route to adopt. I believe the right hon. Gentleman ultimately chose the wrong one; but that I must remain an open question. But both the choice of routes and all other preparations should have been in time to meet the possible case of failure; and it seems to me that the chief weight of the charge that we have to make against the Government lies in this fact—that they never seem to have provided against possible failure and possible disaster. Apparently these chances never entered into their heads. And now they shelter themselves under the plea of treachery. Well, now, treachery is an Oriental weapon. It is probably the best, the sharpest, and the surest in Oriental hands, and it has various characteristics which might have prepared the Government for its use at the siege of Khartoum. In the first place, traitors almost always lean to the strong side. They are quick to detect signs of weakness on the part of anyone; and, I ask, is it possible to imagine any circumstance more likely to lead to such traitorous action as that which we are now deploring than the course adopted by the Government in their whole dealings in this matter? If they foresaw that the very fact of the appearance of an Expedition in the neighbourhood of Khartoum would lead to the tragedy, why did they ever send an Expedition at all? If, on the other hand, they did not foresee the probability of treachery, they are not entitled to allege this probability as a reason why they should have delayed their preparations. The fact is, there is abundant evidence in the Papers to show that the sending out of Gordon to the relief of Khartoum was a temporary expedient required by the political necessities in which Her Majesty's Government found themselves; and that the Expedition was also a temporary expedient, undertaken in the hurry of the moment, in one of those rushes which the noble Marquess so eloquently described. And now I come to the second part of the Resolution of my noble Friend. I agree that the difference between it and that presented in the other House of Parliament is a difference in form, but in meaning and scope there is very little difference, indeed, between them; and I believe if the Resolution in the other House is carried, it will be entirely and utterly impossible for the Government to retain the Office which they now hold. There is further a reason why these two Resolutions should have been different both in form and substance in the fact that the Resolution before the other House was laid on the Table before the framer of it had had the opportunity of seeing the Papers which were presented a day or two afterwards, and of hearing the explanations afforded in both Houses of Parliament. Is it to be wondered at, that, after we had had the advantage of seeing those Papers and of hearing the statements of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the Resolution of my noble Friend was couched in stronger terms? Now, Mr. Gladstone says that he will not abandon the Soudan; but he has not told us how long he means to stay there. We know from the definition of policy sent by General Gordon on the 5th of February, and never contradicted by the noble Earl, that it is the intention of the Government to establish "a firm Conservative Government in the Soudan." But what we wish to know is, when you have created that Government, how you mean to make it a stable one, and to insure that it will remain stable after you leave? Before we make further sacrifices, and before we enter upon the expenditure of further blood and treasure, I think we have a right to demand that the objects for which we are going once more there are such as are likely to be permanent, and likely to benefit the country and fulfil our obligations to it. The statements of the Government are not sufficient. It is not enough to know that they will not abandon the Soudan. We want to know what they will do while they stay there. We want to know what they intend to do with the railway. It is, I consider, our solemn duty to challenge the Government and its policy. The noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies has told us that their policy has been the same—that there is to be no change, and that he is prepared to go on with the tactics which he has adopted ever since he has been at the Colonial Office. But there must be, in spite of the noble Earl, some change in the policy of the Government. There must be some change, not only in respect to the Soudan, but in the whole spirit which animates their policy in relation to home and foreign affairs. It has been said that we have been half-hearted in the action which we are now taking, and that, although prepared to censure, we are not ready to take responsibility. There is no doubt that the heritage which the Government leave to their Successors will be one of unmitigated woe, embarrassed finance, diminished prestige and authority, and an increased responsibility which would require some courage and some determination to face. There could be no personal ambition in the matter; but there are higher interests and duties than those of personal and Party feeling; and in no respect is the difference between the Opposition and the Government more clearly marked than when the Opposition show their willingness to subordinate their private feelings to the welfare of the country. I cannot believe that my noble Friend and those to whom we look for light and guidance in this matter will shrink from their obvious duty if this Motion is carried. It is absolutely necessary that a firm, simple, and honest policy should be announced, or that the present Government should cease to exist. I do not believe I am using language too strong for the occasion when I say that the continued existence of the Government has become a great danger and scandal to this country. The late Earl of Beaconsfield once likened a Liberal Cabinet to a row of extinct volcanoes. But the difficulty now is that the volcanoes are not extinct. Their dangerous and spasmodic characteristics remain; and, unless they can be controlled, may involve the country in still further degradation and ruin. There may be some who think that Party feelings and the existence of the Liberal Party are of more importance than this danger to the State, and they will probably obey the crack of the whip, and condone the various offences of the Government. We, at all events, will not share in that responsibility. We have appealed to Parliament to solemnly condemn the Government for its policy in Egypt and the Soudan; we believe that we have the opinion of the majority of the country at our back; and we trust to the verdict of the country.


My Lords, your Lordships were good enough to allow me last week to make a statement with regard to the subject of our discussion to-night; and, although this does not dispense with the duty of taking some part in the debate, I feel that it is a justification if I do not trespass now at too great length on your attention. I have listened to this debate, nearly the whole of it, with the interest which it deserves. One thing has struck me in connection with the brilliant and condensed speech of the noble Marquess who made the Motion (the Marquess of Salisbury). It was that he was much more sparing of strong epithets than he generally is on occasions of this sort. On the other hand, in the very able speech of the noble Earl who has just sat down (Earl Cadogan), he has rather departed from that persuasive moderation which generally characterizes his speeches, and he evidently thought he would try his hand at a little strong language. But I must do the noble Earl the justice to say that he most gracefully and courteously withdrew a word which appeared to your Lordships a little too strong. I have not, however, generally observed the same weakness in his illustrious Chief. My noble Friend (Earl Cadogan) has complained of the monopoly which his side of the House has had in the debate. I must admit that there has been speech after speech which appeared to me to repeat, not only what has been said by Peers in this House, but very much repeating language we have read and heard for some time past; and it is quite clear that in all this technical, detailed criticism of the Government, it is very difficult for other than official Members, who have followed the thing, to give answers when these particular criticisms are made. I entirely agree with what fell from my noble Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies (the Earl of Derby) when he said that, though the Government differed from the Resolution, he had not one word to complain of the noble Marquess for bringing it forward. During the last two years we have had difficulties of a most complicated character; episode after episode has arisen, and whatever alternative was presented and adopted, offered occasion for criticisms, not only plausible, but which might very reasonably be made. Whether by the advantage which the Opposition have taken during those two years of constantly questioning, constantly criticizing, and of constant attacks, a great national question of this sort has been advanced or not, I must leave entirely to others to decide. But when they come forward with the avowed intention of dismissing the Government from Office as being incapable of holding it, and of replacing it with one of their own, I can only say that I think that that course is perfectly right and Constitutional. The noble Earl has been good enough to give your Lordships a description of what passed in the Cabinet. I am very sorry I have not seen the noble Earl in our Cabinet, for I should rather like to see him there. But when he complains of supposed dissensions in the Cabinet, I cannot help asking, are we the only Party who have dissensions? My noble Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty (the Earl of Northbrook) the other night spoke about the great difference between the two Motions in this House and the other, and he happened to allude to a report in the newspapers describing what had occurred at a political meeting at the house of the noble Marquess.

A noble LORD

At the Carlton Club.


Well, I do not know that there is much difference. The minute he said this, the noble Marquess sprang to his feet. I thought he was going to smash my noble Friend by indignantly denying the truth of the statement; but not a bit of it, he merely rose to explain that when the Members of the House of Commons of his Party came to the meeting to complain of the Leader of the Opposition in the other House and of the Motion he had framed, it happened on a Tuesday, and not on a Monday. The noble Marquess, in his opening speech, went back somewhat. He went back to the time of the rebellion of Arabi. He was perfectly justified in doing so. When taking the responsibility of a Vote of Censure on the Government in a great national crisis, I think he was bound to explain the grounds of his Motion as far as he could do. The noble Duke who spoke soon after him (the Duke of Richmond and Gordon) extended the charge very much. I may say, of all the speeches, the one which gave me the greatest pleasure was that of the noble Duke. His speeches are generally characterized by judicial, practical, good sense, and he confines himself closely to the points in hand. On this occasion, however, he claimed for General Stephenson a monopoly of the idea of the route from Suakin to Berber, and then the noble Duke went off at a tangent and surveyed mankind from China to Peru. He dropped in in India, he came down to the South of Africa, he went to Ireland, he followed Mr. Chamberlain to Birmingham and Ipswich, and he most ingeniously got back to Egypt by way of Berlin. But in that brief time, the noble Duke compared Her Majesty's Government with the Government to which he, the noble Duke, himself belonged; and he boasted of the immense success of their having maintained peace in all the world. If the noble Duke had a right to go back to 1874, I have a right to go back to 1874 too. Mr. Gladstone left Office with perfect peace everywhere, and the first official announcement of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the Conservative Government was, that he found our relations quite excellent with all foreign countries, and that there never had been a time when this country was held in higher respect by foreign countries. The noble Duke praised the admirable means which the late Government took in defending India. So far as I know, the means they took to strengthen our defences in India amount to this—that they utterly destroyed the stable and firm Government then existing in Afghanistan; and the end of all things, after bloody battles and the murder of Cavagnari, was that the late Government had to retreat as fast as possible from Cabul, without making any effort to establish a firm Conserva- tive Government in its place. When the noble Duke reproaches us with South Africa, does he pretend that the seed sown by the late Government was not the source of those difficulties? Does he imagine that the present difficulties have nothing to do with the measures of the late Government? With regard to Ireland, the noble Duke quoted Mr. Gladstone as to the state of that country, and said that he made an incorrect statement. But when Mr. Gladstone made that statement, it was at a time when he had no official information, which, however, the noble Duke went on to admit was not the case, as he, indeed, was bound to do, after the alarming letter which Lord Beaconsfield wrote to the Duke of Marlborough at the time. The only use of quoting this was to show how perfectly quiet Ireland was at the time. The noble Duke then went to Berlin, and quoted the remarks of Prince Bismarck, which were of an unfavourable character with regard to the Egyptian policy of the present Government. Now, Prince Bismarck is one of the most remarkable men of the time; he is a man of great ability, great will, and great intellect. Prince Bismarck is a man whose friendship is to be desired, and whose enmity is to be deprecated. He has rendered enormous service to that great country, Germany; he has united it; and the gratitude to him for that work is such that he has absolute power with regard to foreign affairs, and exercises great influence on the rest of the Continent. But, although that be the case, does the noble Duke pretend that we should abdicate all liberty of action with regard to the policy we pursue, either in Colonial or foreign matters? I must say that I have not the slightest right to complain of Prince Bismarck—of his expressing an unfavourable view of our Egyptian policy—for the simple reason that the policy of the Government has never yet been in accord with the advice with regard to Egypt which he gave to the late Government and to ourselves—namely, to take it. It was friendly advice; but when the noble Duke reproaches us for not having followed that advice, I have to ask him in return why it was not followed by Lord Beaconsfield, who, when the same advice was given to him, answered that he would not take Egypt at a gift?


Is that observation of Lord Beaconsfield to be found in any public document? I never heard of it before.


Do you dispute it? I heard it on the highest possible authority. It was mentioned at the time, and I believe it to be perfectly true. Unless the noble Marquess can say that the words were not used by Lord Beaconsfield, the objection he makes is of no use at all. Now, I come next to General Gordon; and no one can feel more regret that he was sent to Egypt than I do. But I do not know whether it is blindness on my part, I do not feel self-reproach for being one of those who were responsible for his having gone there. The noble Marquess yesterday said that General Gordon had gone out as a forlorn hope. That is not the case. If it had been the case, I am not quite sure that it would strengthen the argument. I can understand that in warfare, when a number of men volunteer for a forlorn hope and go, perhaps, to attack a fort, with a hundred chances to one that they will lose their lives, or be taken prisoners, there is no obligation in honour on the Commander of the Army to risk any more lives in saving that forlorn hope. ["Oh, oh!"] I believe I am quite right, speaking as I do in the presence of such great authorities. But General Gordon did not go out as a forlorn hope; he did not consider it so; he was confident of success. When we saw General Gordon, we asked his advice, and it was to send him out, and he thought he could be successful in his mission. When we did send him out, what were the criticisms made upon us? The noble Marquess (the Marquess of Waterford) said he did not approve it; but if he did not, he kept his reasons to himself, because the applause was almost universal in its favour. Indeed, only one criticism was made, and it was this—one in the phrase that has been so constantly applied, rightly or wrongly, to everything that we have done—"It is too late; he ought to have been sent two months before." That criticism, however, was made in ignorance of the fact that the Government had been considering the subject, though they believed that General Gordon had determined never to serve in Egypt again. Whenever we inquired of the Authorities in Egypt whe- ther he could be utilized the answer was in the negative. Therefore, the only criticism made upon us with regard to the despatch of General Gordon was perfectly unfounded. What would have been our responsibility, if a man showing everywhere such extraordinary power over Orientals, and who had had such conspicuous success in the Soudan, and told us he was able to assist in the work we had at heart, had been refused to be sent out? What would have been the language of the noble Marquess? A noble Lord said that we ought not to have sent him out alone, but should have given him a considerable Force. That, in my view, is a perfectly different question. That would have been a perfectly different course; and with the information then in our possession, I venture to say that if that had been the view of General Gordon we should not have sent him out at that particular moment to go to fight in the Soudan. Then, again, it has been said that we did not give an ample and sufficient discretion to General Gordon. I must say, in passing, that we entirely repudiate, with some indignation, the assertion that we sent out General Gordon merely to suit our convenience, and not for any public object we had in view. I declare that to be absolutely without foundation. When we sent him out, we were desirous of giving him our fullest support, and the most ample discretion as to the course, in the circumstances, which he should pursue. We sent him out with one set of instructions, which were cordially agreed to by him. When he got to Egypt those instructions were changed at his suggestion, and with the sanction of the Egyptian Authority, and we immediately approved the change. We asked him if troops sent to Suakin would be of any use, and he replied—"I do not want troops there." We were most unworthily attacked in consequence of the Proclamation he issued. Whether we entirely approved of the details or not, we supported and justified General Gordon; and we were quite prepared to take the consequence of his acts, and to approve of the details of any policy he might carry out within the scope of those instructions. Then the noble Earl (the Earl of Carnarvon) contrasted our policy with that of Lord Palmerston, who, he said, set a brilliant example of supporting a subordinate. Nobody knows that better than I do. If a man employed by Lord Palmerston did a foolish or a wrong thing, the private castigation he got was something fearful; but the fact once accomplished, Lord Palmerston took the responsibility on himself and defended the subordinate to the best of his ability. But does the noble Earl think that if Lord Palmerston had received a proposal from his subordinate, however distinguished, to entirely change the policy which he had been instructed to carry out, Lord Palmerston would have taken it as a mark of confidence in his own policy, and would immediately have changed his policy and followed that course? I do not complain in the slightest degree of any change which General Gordon made. He found circumstances on arriving at Khartoum different from what he expected; and, with the view of solving local problems, made certain suggestions, and instead of his pacific mission, he proposed, in a now familiar phrase, to "smash the Mahdi." Bat I beg to observe that that bears much upon the question of his application for any military force. It was not with the least notion of his own personal danger that he wanted it; but in order to carry out a policy, whether good or bad, which was not the policy with which he started, and not the policy of Her Majesty's Government. I do not understand, after what has been said by the Opposition as to the notion of sending Zebehr, how it can be possibly imputed to us as a fault that we did not send out Zebehr at his request. I believe that with the knowledge we had, apart from the political disadvantages we saw in it, the sending out of a first-rate General whom we did not trust, who was a great supporter of slavery—I believe it would have been a positive act of treachery to General Gordon, and that we should have been accomplices in the murder of General Gordon, which result would have amounted almost to a certainty. There are certain other things, such as the mission of only 400 men to go to Berber. Is it now thought that that would have been a safe, efficient, or wise measure to take? Still less would it have been so to send 200 men to Wady Halfa. That proposal was a perfectly new policy, and it was impossible to carry it out. Another question is with regard to the Turks. I believe that General Gordon was merely feeling that he would like some Turkish soldiers in his camp. The whole thing was impossible. The Turks would have been a long time in making up their mind. We know that the Turks do not move very rapidly. They are quite ready to have an Army in Egypt Proper, and then detach from that Army detachments to the Soudan and elsewhere, who will not interfere with local questions. A great many military questions have been argued here to-night, and I listened with great interest, to what was stated by the noble and gallant Lord the Field Marshal (Lord Napier of Magdala). Of course, I do not refer to him further than to say that, while he counsels us in one direction, some of our advisers counselled us in another. I have listened with some astonishment to the courage with which some noble Lords laid down the law as to what is the right military view to take, and what it is right not to do. My noble Friend who generally speaks on the Cross Benches (the Earl of Dunraven) was once, I believe, a brilliant war correspondent, and, of course, we all know that newspaper correspondents know all about military matters; but the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Carnarvon) has laid down the law on military matters as if he were himself a Field Marshal, and he, I have no doubt, would act as such. But I do not wish to go over what has been so fairly stated by my noble Friend by my side. I want to say something as to the future. I do not know that I have much to add to what I said the other night. It appears to me, from all that has fallen from noble Lords in this debate, there are certain things upon which there is more agreement than is generally supposed. It appears to me, with the exception of the noble Lord (Lord Wentworth), who, for reasons which I entirely appreciate, moved an Amendment, and possibly some other noble Lords who share his view, that the great majority of this House on both sides are of opinion that the safety of our Forces is a paramount consideration, and that that safety is best secured by active and vigorous action, however much we may deplore it at the present moment. That action is directed to- wards destroying the power of the Mahdi; and when we have destroyed the power of the Mahdi and are masters of the situation, as I hope and believe we shall be, I think on most questions there can be very little difference of opinion. I imagine that when we are masters of the situation we shall desire, all of us equally, to form the best Government that can be formed on the spot. I imagine that we shall be anxious to deal with the Slave Trade in a most effectual way. I may mention one thing on which we are all perfectly united—that the honour of this country is concerned in the defence of Egypt Proper. The noble Earl says that he must have a definite pledge as to what we are going to do with the railway to Berber. Its primary object is that we believe it to be the most efficient—and not only the most efficient, but also the most economical—way of conveying troops, with their provisions and stores, to the places where they are to be employed, and which we wish to occupy. If we find the circumstances favourable, would it not be perfectly obvious to any Government who was at that time in power, to make the best use and utilization of that railway which can possibly be to the best advantage of that country in whosoever hands it was? But if we are asked, though ignorant of the military and the political circumstances in which possibly for some months we may be placed, to define where we will apply the English Military Force for the purpose of defending the railway across the desert, that is a responsibility which I decline on the part of the Government. My noble Friend behind me (the Earl of Camperdown) made a very touching appeal to me. He said—"Why cannot you, at all events, confide in your personal followers?" I have the greatest confidence in the noble Earl; and if he will call upon me to-morrow, I will engage to tell him everything I know in connection with the subject. But I must decline to give to the whole world an answer to a question which, I believe, has never been put to any Government in any country before a war. I cannot conceive of anything more unstatesman-like, or anything that would more Betray the duty of an existing Government to the country, itself than to enter into those definite and clear pledges re- specting circumstances of which we have not cognizance. There is the first great difference between the two sides of the House. Th6 noble Marquess, in his great fertility of imagination, described our plan as an intention to lay an ostrich's egg in the sand, and then run away. If we are victorious, as we hope and believe we shall be, and are masters of the situation in Egypt, it is impossible not to believe that one of the first objects of the Government would be to do all that is possible for the safety of those Native tribes who have loyally and faithfully supported us during these disturbances. My own impression is this—when we do succeed in destroying the forces of the Mahdi, the particular request of the Natives will be that we ourselves should retire as soon as possible from their country, and let them govern themselves and it. The noble Marquess described the hatching of the ostrich egg, and the various stages of its infancy before it arrived at maturity. During all that time he said that this interesting fledgeling would have to be rocked and nursed by the British Army in that land so truly described by General Gordon and Colonel Stewart as "a land of fearful monotony and fatal climate." That is to be the position during this long education of the future Soudanese Government which the noble Marquess has deliberately laid before your Lordships. The noble Marquess wants us to occupy these districts of the Soudan, when, only yesterday, he stated, to my great surprise, that we have no interests in the Mediterranean, and that it is a matter of indifference to us what becomes of Tripoli and Morocco. My Lords, I can only say that this appears to me a most superfluous and unnecessary declaration to lay before your Lordships on the part of a man who wants to turn us out; and, while the one may not show much slumber on his part, the other shows a remarkable amount of dash. I can only say this with regard to this policy in the Soudan—this long or permanent retention of the Soudan by our troops. I know what the result of the Motion will be in this House to-night; but I do not know what the result will be in "another place;" but of this I am perfectly certain, that if that Motion is successfully carried in that place, and the noble Marquess succeeds to the responsibility of Office, he will look at it a little more carefully than he does when he makes those dashing Opposition speeches. I exceedingly doubt whether he will propose such a policy as that which he sketched out last night; and I am perfectly certain that if he does, he will be forced by the people of this country to wriggle out of it at the earliest possible moment.


My Lords, the House is ready for the division, and I will not venture to interpose between it and that division for more than a very few minutes. I have not much to answer on the other side of the House. The remarkable point, as has been said, of this debate has been the smallness of the advocacy which the Government have received from their own side, or to put it epigrammatically, as I heard it mentioned in private by a distinguished supporter of the Government, my Motion is one that it is much easier to vote against than to argue against. I was rather interested to watch what the proved skill and tact of the noble Earl opposite (Earl Granville) would do with the case that he had to deal with; and it was curious to notice that, although he was pleased to stand up at that Table, and gave us three-quarters of an hour of very pleasant, agreeable, and amusing speaking, he imitated his followers in this—that he carefully avoided arguing against my Motion. He said nothing to repel the charge of the desertion of General Gordon; he said nothing to explain the culpable delay which this Motion is intended to censure. The noble Earl did not take that course for any lack of time, for he had time to play pleasantly about a number of somewhat irrelevant subjects; and he told us some curious things in the course of that dissertation. He told us, for instance, that Mr. Gladstone did not know the state of Ireland, because he had not access to official documents, and so he entirely disposed of any comparison between the state of Ireland now and as it was then. My Lords, it is not necessary to have access to official documents to know that the state of Ireland is now unsatisfactory. Then the noble Lord's imagination took him to Berlin, and he told us a very pleasant story of Prince Bismarck, which he said he heard on the highest authority. I would advise him to put a mark against that authority, and not to believe its stories in future. I can only say that I never heard of Prince Bismarck having offered Egypt to Lord Beaconsfield, and it is needless to say that that which was not offered could not have been refused. The noble Earl points over his shoulder to a source of information as to what passed in the late Cabinet, which, of course, he exclusively possesses. What Prince Bismarck may have offered to that statesman who was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in Lord Beaconsfield's Cabinet, and who is now Secretary of State for the Colonies under Mr. Gladstone, I cannot say.


The words I used were that Prince Bismarck advised the late Government to take Egypt.


I never heard that story before. There is only one other remark of the noble Earl to which I wish to refer. He spoke of his never having disregarded General Gordon's wishes; but he qualified that by saying that in asking for troops and contemplating military operations, General Gordon was entirely passing by the original object of his mission, and that, in that respect, the Government were in no way bound to regard his desire. I will not quote documents at this late hour; but it must be in the remembrance of all your Lordships that in the Report which General Gordon wrote on his way from Brindisi to Alexandria, and which he sent home the moment he landed in Egypt, he distinctly stated that, however defensive and pacific his action might be, military operations might become necessary, and that if he was attacked, he would not undertake not to defend himself, or not to press home any advantage which, in defending himself, he might obtain in military operations; and the Government were perfectly warned that such military operations might become necessary, and that such operations must demand the use of British soldiers. He did ask for British troops in small quantity; he did ask for Turkish troops, and for Indian troops. All these requests were denied him, and the Government knew, by the testimony of his brother Englishmen who were there in the month of April, that, unless British troops were sent, the situation of General Gordon was desperate. It seems to me to be impossible, in the face of those facts, to contend that the Government did not abandon General Gordon. The noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies (the Earl of Derby), last night, defended the Government in his own peculiar manner. He said that General Gordon had received enormous praise for the danger of the mission on which he went; but the noble Earl went on to say that, if there had been no danger, of course there would have been no praise. He seemed to look upon it entirely as a commercial operation. The English people paid General Gordon a certain amount of praise, and General Gordon, like an honest man, in fulfilment of his contract, ran a certain amount of danger. The noble Earl would be an admirable political mathematician, if he did not strike out all questions of human sympathy from his calculations. There is no doubt that, whatever may have been the praise that was lavished upon General Gordon when he started, praise was not the motive that dictated the bold, the almost reckless, task which he undertook. He went forward in full confidence that he was serving his Queen; that he was fighting for the cause of humanity; that he was doing his duty to his country and his God; and he never asked whether men praised or blamed him for what he did. Nothing is more conspicuous, in all the utterances of his that we have, than his entire indifference to any opinion that might be passed upon that which, in his conscience, he thought it his duty to do. And it was precisely that sublime, heroic disinterestedness which attracted to him the affection and the sympathy of the English people in a measure that has scarcely ever been given to any of their servants. No public man, and no Military Commander in our history, has gone out on his mission bearing with him in such abundance the good wishes, the hearty prayers, and the deep sympathy of the whole people. In their minds there was no question of any commercial bargain. They did not ask whether the risk that he ran was commensurate with the praise which he received. They followed him, they loved him, they prayed for him, they hung upon his destiny, because they admired the splendid qualities which he displayed, and they appreciated the disinterestedness with which his sublime sacrifice was made. My Lords, the only noble Lord on the Treasury Bench who really undertook the task of repelling the censure conveyed in this Motion was the noble Earl the First Lord of the Admiralty (the Earl of Northbrook). He undertook, with great straightforwardness, to meet the charge of indecision, and he met it in this way. He said, there is nothing more untrue than that we showed indecision; from April to June we resolved upon the Suakin route; from June to August we changed our minds, and we resolved upon the Nile route; and then we did not act immediately, because we were possessed with a "profound reluctance" which induced us to wait and see whether something favourable in the circumstances might not turn up, and that reluctance it was which caused delay. But he seemed to think that nothing was more unreasonable than to apply to such conduct as that the reproach of indecision. These things are questions of definition. What do you mean by indecision? I take the most familiar example of indecision—an old woman crossing a street. She sees a hansom cab in front, nearly upon her; she goes back from it, and comes upon an omnibus coming from behind, and she goes forward; she has a "profound reluctance" to pass either of them; and she waits to see whether something will not turn up to help her, with the inevitable result that the old woman is run over, and an unsympathizing world says that her fate is due to her indecision. If this is the most decided, the most persistent, and resolute conduct, I only hope the Government will not give us such specimens of resolution for the future. I have only now to correct one or two misapprehensions which have been made with respect to what I ventured to say. The noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies appeared to me to entirely misunderstand what I said, or meant to say, when I characterized, as a stupendous blunder, the announcement of the intention to retire from the Soudan. The policy of retiring from the Soudan I think erroneous; but that is another question. That was not what I meant; but the blunder was, that while your garrisons were there, in the power of the enemy—garri- sons for which, as the event proved, you were in honour bound to fight, garrisons placed in the utmost difficulty to rescue—while they were in that position, that you should announce a policy which made all the tribes surrounding them into their desperate enemies, was as fatuous a policy as it was possible to conceive. As soon as you made up your minds that the Soudan was to be evacuated, your first course should have been to retire the garrisons as rapidly as you could; and, when that was done, then you might announce your policy as loudly as you pleased. But it was an unfortunate announcement when the men were in deadly danger—a policy of crass folly which almost amounts to a crime. A noble Lord imputes to me a wish to occupy the Soudan permanently, and to lock up a British Force there for an indefinite time. With respect to British troops, I said nothing. The noble and gallant Lord the Field Marshal (Lord Napier of Magdala) spoke this evening, and justly said that if 7,000 British troops were locked up in Egypt, and if it was for the public service, your best course was to raise 7,000 more. Without falling back upon that alternative, there is another course that might be pursued. I am ready to admit that the climate is unfavourable; but I also contend that there are other troops under British power within reach who could probably be made more effective for the purpose; but that is a military question on which I decline to dogmatize. I only wish it not to be understood that I lay it down, as a sine qua non, that it must be British troops who are to do all the work in the Soudan. As to the assertion that I said it is to be a permanent occupation, I do not know how long will be necessary to give to the Government which you leave in the Soudan the elements of security. This, however, I am certain of—that if you do not retain the Soudan in your power for a sufficiently long time to give security to the Government, so that it shall have a chance of existing and of acting, all the blood and the treasure you have expended will have been poured out in vain, and Egypt will be exposed, in all their acuteness, to all the dangers which you confess it is your duty to guard her against. I know not whether the task is heavy or light; but I know that if there had been a bold hand and a resolute will a little time ago, the task would have been much lighter than it is now. If the task is heavy or light, the only chance which the Government have of setting up a dyke, which shall keep from Egypt a flood of barbarian fanaticism, will be that you shall give the initial steps of that Government your powerful support, so that it may be able to stand upright by its own strength and to fulfil the functions which you propose to assign to it. That, my Lords, is the policy which I venture to lay before the House. That is the point upon which the statements of the Government have been haunted by a persistent weakness and vagueness, which I can only account for by the belief that what they are afraid of is not so much the Mahdi of the Desert as the Mahdi below the Gangway. It is that they may not lose the chance of Radical votes in the great inquest of to-night that a veil has been carefully thrown over that part of the policy as to what shall be done whenever the Mahdi has been smashed. They prefer to leave it in darkness. We know that a noble Earl (the Earl of Camperdown) has been invited to call at the Foreign Office, and the plan, duly drawn out, will be produced and presented to him. It is for Parliament to say whether the past conduct of the Government is such as to induce them to trust it with this unlimited power for an unknown plan; or whether all the precious blood which yet in that country unhappily must be risked, and possibly may be spilled in this unhappy war—whether this is to be risked on the chance that the future course of the Government may be more resolute, more consistent, more sagacious than it has been in the past. In the presence of the sacrifices, of which there are many in prospect, the issue is one of no light moment. It is an issue that Parliament has to decide to-night. The noble Earl the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and the noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies tried to speak as if the decision of this House was uniformly opposed to a Liberal Government, and in that way to discount and depreciate its vote; but the noble Earl of all men knows that this is not the case. I can remember—I am going to appeal to decisions which were contrary to my own opinions—I can remember when the noble Earl the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs was Leader of the House, as he is now, when the Danish policy of Lord Palmerston was impeached. This House agreed with the other House of Parliament in upholding the Danish policy of the Government, and in that were in accordance with the public opinion of the time. But I remember yet another precedent a few years before. I remember that Chinese question, which was a more distinguished instance than any other of that resolution to stand by his subordinates which so distinguished Lord Palmerston. In that case the House of Lords supported Lord Palmerston against the action of the Conservative Party. The House of Commons took the other view by a small majority. The people were consulted, and it turned out that, on this question of a foreign policy, the House of Lords had truly represented the judgment of the people, and that the House of Commons was wrong. I do not know which of those two precedents will be followed to-night. I believe that your Lordships will condemn the policy of the Government. What the action of the House of Commons may be, I do not know, and I believe that noble Lords opposite do not know; but I am quite sure of this—that if it should be that our recorded decision differs from that of the House of Commons, our decision, dictated far less by the pressure of political organizations, which have no weapons that they can use within the walls of this House, will, more truly, represent public opinion out-of-doors and the matured judgment of the people of this country.


I beg to state, with regard to the remarks of the noble Marquess, that my noble Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies was not my informant with respect to what I stated relating to Prince Bismarck and Egypt. But I am quite ready to refer the matter to Lord Derby for decision.

On question that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the motion?

Resolved in the affirmative.

Original Motion put.

Their Lordships divided:—Contents 189; Not-Contents 68: Majority 121.

Beaufort, D. Rosslyn, E.
Leeds, D. Sandwich, E.
Marlborough, D. Scarborough, E.
Norfolk, D. Selkirk, E.
Northumberland, D. Sondes, E.
Portland, D. Stanhope, E.
Richmond, D. Tankerville, L.
Rutland, D. Vane, E. (M. Londonderry.)
Wellington, D.
Verulam, E.
Abergavenny, M. Waldegrave, E.
Ailsa, M. Wharncliffe, E.
Bristol, M. Zetland, E.
Cholmondeley, M.
Exeter, M. Combermere, V.
Hertford, M. Exmouth, V.
Salisbury, M. Hardinge, V.
Winchester, M. Hood, V.
Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore.)
Abingdon, E.
Bathurst, E. Melville, V.
Beauchamp, E. Sidmouth, V.
Belmore, E. Torrington, V.
Bradford, E.
Brownlow, E. Bangor, L. Bp.
Cadogan, E. Liverpool, L. Bp.
Camperdown, E. St. Albans, L. Bp.
Carnarvon, E.
Cawdor, E. Alington, L.
Clarendon, E. Amherst, L. (V. Holmes-dale.)
Coventry, E.
Cowley, E. Ashford, L. (V. Bury.)
Dartmouth, E. Aveland, L.
Dartrey, E. Bagot, L.
De La Warr, E. Bateman, L.
Denbigh, E. Blackburn, L.
Devon, E. Blantyre, L.
Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queens-berry.) Borthwick, L.
Boston, L.
Botreaux, L. (E. Loudoun.)
Eldon, E.
Ellesmere, E. Brabourne, L.
Essex, E. Brancepeth, L. (V. Boyne.)
Feversham, E.
Fitzwilliam, E. Braybrooke, L.
Fortescue, E. Brodrick, L. (V Midleton.)
Graham, E. (D. Montrose.)
Chelmsford, L.
Hardwicke, E. Clanwilliam, L. (E. Clanwilliam.)
Harewood, E.
Harrowby, E. Clements, L. (E. Leitrim.)
Jersey, E.
Kilmorey, E. Clifton, L. (E. Darnley.)
Lanesborough, E. Clinton, L.
Lathom, E. [Teller.] Cloncurry, L.
Leven and Melville, E. Colchester, L.
Lindsey, E. Colville of Culross, L.
Lonsdale, E. Congleton, L.
Lytton, E. De L'Isle and Dudley, L.
Manvers, E.
Milltown, E. de Ros, L.
Mount Edgcumbe, E. De Saumarez, L.
Nelson, E. Delamere, L.
Northesk, E. Digby, L.
Onslow, E. Dinevor, L.
Orkney, E. Donington, L.
Pembroke and Montgomery, E. Douglas, L. (E. Home.)
Dunsany, L.
Poulett, E. Egerton, L.
Redesdale, E. Ellenborough, L.
Romney, E. Forbes, L.
Forester, L. Petre, L.
Foxford, L. (E. Limerick.) Poltimore, L.
Ranfurly, L. (E. Ranfurly.)
Gage, L. (V. Gage.)
Gerard, L. Rayleigh, L.
Grantley, L. Romilly, L.
Harlech, L. Ross, L. (E. Glasgow.)
Harris, L. Rowton, L.
Hartismere, L. (L. Henniker.) Sackville, L.
Saltersford, L. (E. Courtown.)
Hastings, L.
Hawke, L. Saltoun, L.
Headley, L. Scarsdale, L.
Heytesbury, L. Sherborne, L.
Hopetoun, L. (E. Hopetoun.) [Teller.] Shute, L. (V. Barrington.)
Hylton, L. Silchester, L. (E. Longford.)
Keane, L.
Kenlis, L. (M. Headfort) Somers, L.
Stanley of Alderley, L.
Kenry, L. (E. Dunraven and Mount-Earl.) Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)
Ker, L. (M. Lothian.) St. John of Bletso, L.
Kintore, L. (E. Kintore.) Strathnairn, L.
Templemore, L.
Lamington, L. Tollemache, L.
Langford, L. Tredegar, L.
Leconfield, L. Tyrone, L. (M. Waterford.)
Londesborough, L.
Lovel and Holland, L. (E. Egmont.) Walsingham, L.
Watson, L.
Lyveden, L. Wigan, L. (E. Crawford and Balcarres.)
Manners, L.
Massy, L. Willoughby de Broke, L.
Middleton, L.
Mostyn, L. Wimborne, L.
Napier, L. Windsor, L.
North, L. Worlingham, L. (E. Gosford.)
Oranmore and Browne, L.
Zouche of Haryngworth, L.
Ormathwaite, L.
Penrhyn, L.
Selborne, L. (L. Chancellor.) Aberdare, L.
Alcester, L.
Blachford, L.
Bedford, D. Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.) [Teller.]
Grafton, D.
Saint Albans, D. Braye, L.
Westminster, D. Breadalbane, L. (E. Breadalbane.)
Northampton, M. Carlingford, L.
Ripon, M. Carrington, L.
Clifford, of Chudleigh, L.
Cowper, E. De Mauley, L.
Derby, E. de Vesci, L. (V. de Vesci.)
Ducie, E.
Granville, E. Ettrick, L. (L. Napier.)
Innes, E. (D. Roxburghe.) Fingall, L. (E. Fingall.)
FitzGerald, L.
Kimberley, E. Gwydir, L.
Minto, E. Hammond, L.
Morley, E. Herries, L.
Northbrook, E. Kenmare, L. (E. Kenmare.)
Saint Germans, E.
Sydney, E. Leigh, L.
Lyttelton, L.
Canterbury, V. Meldrum, L. (M. Huntly.)
Gordon, V. (E. Aberdeen.)
Methuen, L.
Hampden, V. Monk Bretton, L.
Monson, L. [Teller.] Strafford, L. (V. Enfield.)
Mount-Temple, L.
Northbourne, L. Strathspey, L. (E. Seafield.)
Ramsay, L. (E. Dalhousie.)
Sudeley, L.
Reay, L. Sudley, L. (E. Arran.)
Ribblesdale, L. Suffield, L.
Robartes, L. Thurlow, L.
Rosebery, L. (E. Rosebery.) Tweedmouth, L.
Vaux of Harrowden, L.
Sandhurst, L. Vernon, L.
Sefton, L. (E. Sefton.) Wentworth, L.
Skene, L. (E. Fife.) Wolverton, L.
Somerhill, L. (M. Clanricarde.) Wrottesley, L

Resolved, That this House, haying taken into consideration the statements that have been made on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, is of opinion that—

1. The deplorable failure of the Soudan expedition to attain its object has been due to the undecided councils of the Government and to the culpable delay attending the commencement of operations;

2. That the policy of abandoning the whole of the Soudan after the conclusion of military operations will be dangerous to Egypt and inconsistent with the interests of the Empire.

House adjourned at a quarter before Twelve o'clock, to Monday next, Eleven o'clock.