HL Deb 11 November 1914 vol 18 cc3-53

Bill, pro formâ, read 1a.



My Lords, I rise to move that an humble Address be presented to His Majesty by this House in reply to the gracious Speech from the Throne. I look upon it as a very great compliment to the Army that His Majesty's Ministers have been good enough to ask me to move this Address. I look upon it also as showing the friendly relations which exist and should exist during this crisis in our Empire between all parties in this kingdom. Very likely, my Lords, many of you here, like myself, remember the excellent and hopeful speech that was made last year by the noble Lord opposite, who occupied the position that I occupy to-day. It was a speech which I am sure to the sorrow of both sides of this House did not prove as true as we all wished. Then came that terrible trial which we all had to face, and which, let me say very respectfully, was faced both in action and in words by His Majesty's Government in a manner which will never be forgotten as long as the history of this country exists.

I will touch very shortly upon the Navy, which is performing its lonely vigil away in the North Sea. We perfectly recognise that the safety of this kingdom depends on that Navy, and we feel that it is in the most capable hands under Admiral Jellicoe. We congratulate it on its successes. At the same time we mourn for the loss of those who have sunk below the sea, but we must accept in war misfortunes as well as successes. And now I come to the doings of the arm to which I belong. I would rather leave it to those who come after me to sing its praises. But I must say that I can hardly call to mind any time in the history of our Army when it has been called upon to endure such a long and terrible trial as it has had to endure lately. It bears out very well the words which were used by an old friend of mine in those days, Field-Marshal Frieherr von der Goltz, unfortunately now by circumstances my enemy. He said— The time may come when a small and well-disciplined Army, perfect in every way in training, may be more than a match for those large Armies that you see in Europe, with the short training that they have for two or three years. If any proof were needed of the truth of Field-Marshal von der Goltz's words, our Army has given the answer.

Although we regret the loss of many friends—I may say I have lost many myself—I am sure this House and the country at large will give its sympathy to the noble Marquess the Leader of the Opposition, who is not able to-day to be present in your Lordships' House. Before I leave the question of the Regular Army, let me say one word of the splendid manner in which the London Scottish have done their duty in the field. It is a happy omen of the work that we shall expect to see done by the Territorial Force and Lord Kitchener's Army on the Continent. Let me also touch upon the splendid manner in which India and the Colonies have come to the assistance of the Mother Country. Whereas in the great struggle against Napoleon there was only England to face, Kaiser Wilhelm now has the British Empire ranged in front of him, there to remain until it has Germany down on her knees.

We have heard a good deal about recruits not coming forward as well as they did in the early days of the war. I have myself no kind of fear. I blame in no way the War Office. They have undertaken a superhuman task, and the Secretary of State for War had to take over things as he found them. It is no fault of his, no fault of those who are working under him, if the depôts were not as perfect as they should be, if the camps were not as happily situated as they might have been. Then the hopeful tone that is always given by the Press has induced people living away in the country—the labourers and the like—to think that matters are not as difficult as they really are. Let them realise the fact that we cannot do the work we shall have to do without facing a great loss of life; also let them recognise that for what we have received we have given ten times as much to the enemy. If it is found later on by the Government, on the advice of their Secretary of State, that further measures have to be taken, at any rate in Wiltshire, in Somersetshire, and in the adjoining counties we shall never fear being called upon to find a, quota—we have almost done that already.

If there is one thing that has equalled the admiration I have for our forces abroad it is the manner in which England has come to the front and given the lie to those who asserted that we did not realise the position that we occupy in the nations of Europe. I am also grateful to the Government for having recognised that the help they were giving to soldiers' widows and dependants was not as great as it might be. I do not for one moment mean to say that the scale which has been given will meet with the approbation of everyone. It probably will not. But at any rate the Government have shown the soldier what he wishes to know, and that is that they have his interests at heart and that if he is killed on the field of battle he will leave his widow and children safe in the hands of the country. I recognise perfectly well the work we have before us. Prussia with her militarism has, like the ivy over an old building, clutched Germany in its clasp. All that we admired in Germany—its science, its art, its literature—has been seized by Prussian militarism, and all that we loved in Germany seems for the moment to have departed. If it is true, as they say, that a nation is represented in her Army, then God save Germany. German soldiers have committed cruelties, they have ignored what is due to holy shrines, they have ignored all that manhood recognises as due to women, and they have even made children suffer so as to gain their ends. If the Army is the type of a nation, then, indeed, we may be proud of our nation. For fifty years come this month I have worn His Majesty's uniform, and never have I felt so proud as I do at this moment in addressing your Lordships on behalf of the Army. I beg to move.


My Lords, I rise to second the Motion for an Address which has just been moved by the noble and distinguished Field-Marshal opposite. That Address is intended to assure His Majesty that we share the conviction upon which stress is laid in the first paragraph of the gracious Speech—that it is a duty of paramount and supreme importance to take whatever steps are necessary for the prosecution to a victorious issue of the war in which we are engaged. The whole country has given the amplest evidence that it is ready to do all that can be done to support His Majesty and His Majesty's Government in the prosecution of this war. The fact, for which I can recall no precedent, that the Motion for the Address in reply to the gracious Speech is moved from the Opposition side of the House and is seconded from this side is itself an interesting evidence of the unprecedented position in which the nation is placed, and is typical of the unanimity which pervades the whole country.

In every previous war that any of us can remember there was a considerable difference of opinion regarding the merits of the war. My own recollection goes back only to the days of the Crimean War, and many of your Lordships will remember that there was opposition made to that war by not a few statesmen eminent by their character and their abilities. But I suppose that since the war which began with the rupture of the peace of Amiens in 1803, and perhaps even further back than that—perhaps as far back as British history goes—there has never been a case in which the whole heart and mind of the people were united in giving their support to a war as we are united to-day. All Parties are united; all sections and parts of the United Kingdom are united; all classes in the community are united; and a wave of feeling has swept over the country which is hurrying recruits front every town and county to the Colours and to offer themselves for service at the Front. This is the best evidence of the existence of a spirit which will persevere until a successful conclusion has been attained.

Nor is this the only sense in which this occasion is unprecedented. We have all been struck of recent years by the way in which the whole world is becoming one, so that whatever affects any one part of it affects all the rest, so that no country and no race can remain exempt front the consequences of any misfortune which befalls another. We have to-day the amplest and the saddest evidence of that new found unity of the world. Never before has so large a part of the earth's surface been covered by warlike operations. I dare say your Lordships will remember a, sentence in which Macaulay, in one of his Essays, has described the outbreak of the war of 1740, caused by the ambition of Frederick the Great of Prussia when he seized Silesia. Macaulay's words are—so far as I can remember them— He lit up a war which raged for many years in three continents, and, in order that he might rob a neighbour whom he had promised to defend, black moll killed black men upon the coast of Coromandel and red men scalped red men upon the shores of the Great Lakes of North America. On this occasion the flames of war have spread still further over the globe. They have involved the whole of the Old World from the Sea of Japan to the Bay of Biscay, from Nova Zembla to New Zealand, and if you will make a calculation by adding together the populations of the several countries engaged it will appear that between one-half and two-thirds of the whole human race is now engaged in war—a thing which certainly never did happen and hardly could have happened before.

That is only one of the many way in which this conflict is a universal conflict, touching every part of the globe. It will be remembered as the World War. Neutral nations also are suffering; the machinery of commerce and finance and industry is dislocated over the whole of North and South America, as well as in the neutral countries of Europe. And there is one way more in which we may feel how far-reaching are the issues which are raised by the present strife. It is a conflict of principles and a conflict of principles of universal application. The unprovoked invasion of Belgium, and, perhaps almost more, the cynical arguments by which that attack was defended, have raised this question from being one between Austria and Serbia, or from being one between the five great Powers most directly concerned, into an issue which touches the fundamental principles of political life and of the whole relations of the nations of the world to one another. It has become a collision of Ideals—the ideal of a gigantic military State resolved to dominate all the neighbouring countries and to propagate its civilisation by the sword against the ideal of peaceful communities, free and industrial communities, dwelling together in tranquility, the great and the small side by side, under the protection of international obligations solemnly guaranteed. Had there been any issue less clear than this moral issue, an issue of world importance, England should have been distracted by internal controversies as to our duty and our interest, it would not have been possible for us to feel that solid conviction which now knits us together, and we could not have counted, as we count now, upon the unanimous support of the whole country. We should not have been able to stand, as we stand now, with the invigorating feeling of the supreme importance of the cause for which we are fighting.

And for what is it that we are fighting? We are fighting against the doctrine that Treaties may be broken whenever it is to the interest of the stronger Power to break them; against the doctrine that whatever is necessary becomes thereby permissible; against that terrible application of these doctrines which seizes innocent citizens and treats them (perhaps shoots them) as hostages for the good behaviour of others whom they cannot control, which destroys towns and works of art precious from their beauty and antiquity, which, perhaps worst of all, besides levying enormous fines upon the cities of a country which desired to be neutral, scatters, to the danger of peaceful passengers travelling in neutral ships across the seas, engines of swift and sudden destruction in places far removed from the direct scene of naval operations. By such practices all the mitigations that have been introduced by common consent into the practice of war by land and sea ever since the days of Alberic and Grotius are being annihilated. We are turned back to the Dark Ages, but with the aggravation that this war is on a far vaster scale, involves a far greater volume of human suffering, is carried on by means of scientific appliances which spread destruction much more widely, and is raised into a system and is justified or attempted to be justified by clothing it in the trappings of a false philosophy.

Let me add that we gladly recognise that we are fighting not so much against a people as against a system, and against the military caste which has invented and is applying the system. The full wickedness of the system is often not carried out by those subordinates who are charged with its application. We have seen on land, and even more on sea, in—stances of chivalry and humanity shown by the sailors and soldiers of the enemy which we are glad to acknowledge, and which make us feel that we desire, as the noble and gallant Lord opposite intimated, to retain feelings of respect for individuals in the hostile nation even when we detest the principles on which their Government seems to act. These are no longer the days in which Britain sings Te Deums for victories. We have given up the habit, although there are others who still retain it, of introducing lightly the name of the Almighty into our struggles and claiming Him as our special helper. I remember an anecdote that is told of Abraham Lincoln in the crisis of the great American Civil War. When asked by some one whether he did not believe that God was on his side, he replied, "I am much more concerned to know whether I am on God's side."

This, however, at least we may say. The doctrines and the principles against which we are contending are the doctrines and principles not only of barbarism but of heathenism, and we are fighting in the cause of humanity and of those ideals towards which Christianity has been leading the best minds of humanity for the last few centuries. There has been among us during these three months much suffering and much sorrow, and it is to be feared that much more suffering and much more sorrow still he in front of us. But suffering is, exalted and sorrow is hallowed by the sense of the cause in which they are undergone. I suppose there is not one of us who has not, lest friends and there are many of us in this House who have also lost near relatives in these three months of war. Our hearts go out to those who are mourning for the sons and the husbands who willingly offered themselves on the altar of their country, and England will cherish and revere their glorious memory. There is a worthy tribute paid in His Majesty's gracious Speech to the valour displayed by our soldiers, and I should like to associate myself—I am sure we all do associate ourselves—with what was so well said by the noble and gallant Field-Marshal Who has moved the Address about the conduct of the British Army in the field. Never, I think, in the long annals of British heroism has there been anything more splendid than the way in which, in the trenches of Northern France, our men have fought day after day, in retreat as well as in advance, brilliant in their charge and immovable ill their resistance.

The confidence which we feel in the justice of our cause is strengthened and confirmed, if it needed confirmation, by the sentiment of the self-governing Dominions and by the admirable spirit in which they have rallied to our side. They feel that our cause is their cause, that the principles against which we are contending strike at the welfare and happiness of all mankind, and deserve to be opposed and overcome by them as by us. Neither ought we to forget the gallantry of the Indian troops and the spirit in which the Indian Princes have come forward. The wisdom of the policy which trusted to the spontaneous loyalty of our self-governing Dominions has been approved by the result; and equally is it proved by the result how wise has been the policy we have so long followed in seeking to govern India in here own interest and for her own good. And I would venture, my Lords, to add that there is another source from which we also receive moral encouragement—I mean the sympathy of many neutral countries. Doubtless not a few of your Lordships have received, as I have done, a stream of letters from eminent men of that nation which is nearest to us in blood and speech, telling us how deep and how wide is the sympathy which is felt with our cause there. The United States is not only a nation which is able, from its high intelligence, to judge wisely and well of questions such as this, but it is also sufficiently detached to be impartial, and it is upon moral grounds and large considerations affecting all mankind that those to whom I refer are giving us that moral support which we so highly prize.

The gracious Speech adverts to one new feature in this contest on which I will venture to say two or three sentences—the entry of the Ottoman Empire into the war. The Emperors Charles V and Ferdinand I resisted the flowing tide of Ottoman conquest in the sixteenth century, but those who to-day claim to be their successors are now endeavouring to bring back that tide in a flood which would overspread and fling back into bondage the Christian races of South Eastern Europe. From what I have had an opportunity of seeing in recent visits to Ottoman territories, I think that those who have been luring, Turkey to its own destruction expect from her help much greater advantages than they will receive. She is not likely to do us much injury. The fame of British administration in Egypt has gone out over all the neighbouring countries. There is many a Syrian peasant who envies the security and justice which the peasantry of Egypt receive under British rule, and few indeed are there among the peasantry of Egypt who would like to exchange that rule for the rule of the Turk, or who would welcome the Crescent even if they saw a Black Eagle perched upon it.

As for India, I must speak with great deference to the views of some eminent members of this House whom I see present who know much more about the condition of India than I do. But I may venture to say that ever since I have visited India I have taken great pains to ascertain from those who know it best whether it was likely that any appeals made in the name of the Caliphate to the Mussulmans of India would be likely to shake their loyalty to Britain, and I have been invariably told that those appeals would find no response whatever. To begin with, the claim of the Turkish Sultan to the Caliphate is an extremely doubtful claim which has been denied by many high authorities of Islam and is not admitted in many Mussulman lands. But apart from that, we may rely upon it that the advantages of British rule are so well known and the loyalty of its Mussulman subjects to the Crown has been so amply witnessed to already, that we may be without apprehensions on that score. One may regret on grounds of humanity the extension of the area of war by the entrance of the Turks into the war, but that entrance is not without some compensations. The conduct of that unscrupulous camarilla which has ruled Turkey for the last five years has shown that the old evils continue, and are, in fact, incurable. A complete change is needed in the interest of all the subjects. The Allied Powers will now be able to deal more freely with the resettlement of South Eastern Europe and of Western Asia when the end of the war arrives and when the time comes for endeavouring to extinguish for ever the oppressions and maladministration from which both Mussulmans and Christians have alike too long suffered.

It is perhaps too soon to talk about the end of the war. This is a conflict of principles—the principles of good faith and justice against the principles of violence and force—and in a conflict of principles there can be no settlement until one or the other has triumphed. I do not suppose that any one in either House of Parliament has been or is now more devoted to the cause of peace than I am myself, or more grateful for all that Germany has done in the sphere of thought and learning; but I venture to believe that there can be no talk of peace at present, and that a peace patched up now would be no better than a hollow truce during which the contending nations would prepare for a renewal of the struggle and during which Europe would have to go on living in suspense, disquiet, and alarm. Meanwhile, my Lords, we can already see two services which it is possible for Great Britain to render. The one is to maintain that strict adherence which we have, as we trust, been showing to all the rules that have been from time to time accepted by the agreement of European Powers for the mitigation of the cruelties and horrors that belong to war. Even if those rules are broken by the enemy, it is in the interests of humanity and in consonance with the chivalrous traditions which Englishmen have followed for centuries past, that we should not be tempted to retaliation or reprisals, and that we should show how war can be waged and victory won compatibly with that pity to non-combatants, to the wounded, and to prisoners which even war itself ought never to extinguish.

The other opportunity for service will come at the end of the war, when we have to consider how a recurrence of the frightful calamities from which the world is suffering can be averted. Many thoughtful minds both here and in America are now thinking upon some such lines as were indicated with his usual force and felicity of expression by the Prime Minister in a recent speech delivered, I think, on September 25, in which he suggested that we ought to try, before the horror which now fills us of this awful expenditure of human life has passed away, to make one great effort to place upon a better footing the relations between the great Powers of the world to secure a permanent reduction of those armaments which have been a standing temptation to strife, and provide some better method than that which has now conspicuously failed for preventing controversies between them from passing into war. Could there be created some really effective concert of the European Powers, or indeed of the Powers of the world, with the conscience of the peoples of the world behind it, ready to render united support for the preservation of peace? That was tried at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. It failed, and it failed because it was tried by rulers and based upon the principles of absolutism. If it is to be tried now again at the end of this war, let us try it by the peoples, and upon the principles of liberty. If the Allied Powers can succeed, with the co-operation of neutral States also, in creating some such better relations, some scheme which shall secure time for conciliation in every dispute and provide for its peaceful adjustment, averting any recurrence of the catastrophic we see to-day, they will earn the gratitude of many generations to come. My Lords, I beg to second the Address which has been moved by the noble and gallant Field-Marshal. It expresses the sentiments not only of the people of the United Kingdom but also of the whole British people dispersed throughout the world—the sentiment of earnest loyalty to the Crown and of a firm resolve to carry this war through with all our strength and power until we bring it to a successful issue.

Moved, That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty as followeth:—

"Most Gracious Sovereign,

"We, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in Parliament assembled, beg leave to thank your Majesty for the most gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament."—(Lord Methuen.)


My Lords, the noble Marquess the Leader of the Opposition, who is incapacitated by an illness from which he is slowly but happily recovering, has asked me to take his place this afternoon, and I do so, I can assure your Lordships, with a keen sense of the loss which the House must experience from his absence on this occasion. Perhaps, my Lords, you will pardon me if I refer for a moment with a peculiar sorrow to another and a more poignant blow that has befallen the noble Marquess. As the noble Viscount to whose moving address we have just listened with so much pleasure truly said, this House may almost be described as a House of mourning. Some noble Lords have lost a dearly-loved son; some have lost an only son; some have lost relatives, not less dear, and by a sad coincidence it happens that a similar blow has fallen almost simultaneously on the two Leaders of the two Front Benches in this House. So that in offering our sympathy to the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, I hope I shall not be erring if at the same time I respectfully include in that tribute the noble Marquess who sits opposite—the Marquess of Crewe. While we extend our sympathy to these noble Lords—and there are many others in all parts of the House who have similarly suffered—I venture to assert that from not one of those noble Lords has any note of repining or regret been heard. Cheerfully and heroically they have borne the sacrifice which has been imposed upon them. As heroically, I am sure, will they bear any further sacrifices—and I agree with the noble Viscount that they are likely to be great and continuous—that may still be required. And mingled with the condolences that we offer them is a sense of pride on our part, which I hope they share, that in this crisis of the fortunes of our country this House has been identified with the sufferings and the sacrifices no less than with the glories and the achievements of our people.

The noble Viscount who spoke last alluded to the exceptional character of the circumstances in which we meet to-day. It is amply testified by the novel precedent with regard to the Address in reply to the gracious Speech from the Throne which has been set by His Majesty's Government on this occasion. Ordinarily we might expect to see two noble Lords rise from the Benches opposite to perform the task—the not too easy task—with a grace and dexterity with which long experience in this House has rendered us familiar. But His Majesty's Government have, I think rightly and wisely, on the present occasion adopted a different plan. They invited the noble and gallant Field-Marshal sitting behind me to move the Address—the noble and gallant Field-Marshal whose uniform, to which he referred with honourable pride, is in itself a sufficient indication of the conspicuous services he has rendered to his country in the field of war; and they invited, to second the Address, another noble Lord who has rendered not less distinguished services in the field of peace. It would be impertinent. on my part to offer the conventional compliments to either of those speakers on an occasion so unconventional as this, but may I say that the two speeches were worthy both of the occasion and of the speakers, and that in particular the House could not fail to be greatly impressed by the high tone and spirit which were infused into the speech of the noble Viscount, to whose admirable dissertation on the philosophy and the ethics of the war we have just listened.

The gracious Speech from the Throne indicates in general terms the change that has occurred in the situation since this House broke up in August last. Since then the conflagration in which the northern and southern States of Europe were at that time involved has spread over a wider area, and at the present moment, as the noble Viscount truly remarked, half the civilised world is in arms. I believe that that is not a figure of speech, but that it correctly represents the facts. If we take the population of the whole world at 1,800,000,000, a rough calculation will show that 900,000,000 have taken up the sword in this war. These appalling facts—because you cannot describe them by any other name—throw, as it seems to me, into terrible and sinister relief the responsibility of those—of whom, thank God! our nation was not one—who plunged the nations of the earth into this vast and ruinous strife. But they have another value to us. The enormous number of persons who are engaged in this war, the still larger number of persons who watch it with interest, testify, I think, to the almost universal revolt of the conscience of mankind against those who, by their reckless disregard of public morality and international law, have been the aggressors in this struggle. But they have yet another value, on which I would desire especially to insist on this occasion; and it is this. They show us clearly that this war, ranging as it does over this wide area, involving this turmoil of racial and national passions, and fought for such tremendous stakes, cannot be a war with an early ending. It must entail sacrifices greater than those we have vet endured; it must require efforts greater than any we have yet put forward; and it is in that spirit—the spirit which animated the two speeches of the mover and seconder of the Address—that I believe the whole of your Lordships have come here at the commencement of this session to carry on the business which will be placed before you and which is foreshadowed in the gracious Speech from the Throne.

The noble Viscount, speaking with great personal knowledge of Turkey and the East, said a few words about that paragraph of the King's Speech which alludes to the recent participation in the struggle of the Ottoman Empire; and this morning we had presented to us Papers, to which we probably have not had time to give more than a cursory inspection, but which seem to me, so far as I have read them, entirely to justify the statements that are made in the gracious Speech with regard to that participation. The circumstances of my life, like those of the noble Viscount, have thrown me somewhat frequently into contact with Mahomedan populations, and I have always in this House and elsewhere been a firm defender of the independence of the few remaining Mahomedan States of the world. I know, too, that Mahomedan sentiment throughout the world has always looked for special sympathy and support to Great Britain. But for my own part no particle of that sympathy or support can I spare for those who have now lured Turkey to her ruin and who have plunged her into this war, which for her, at any rate, can only have a calamitous ending.

There is evidence in this White Paper of a fact in which I believe—namely, that many of the older statesmen of Turkey—and the same, in my opinion, applies to large masses of the people in many parts of the Turkish Empire—will enter this struggle without any heart in it, and will resent the counsels of the misguided men at Constantinople of whom they have been the victims. And in the wider world of Islam—not merely Turkey in Europe, but Africa, Arabia, Persia, India and the Malay States—I doubt whether there will be any response at all to the appeals made to them by that little clique at Constantinople. The general world of Islam knows perfectly well that we are not fighting against the Mahomedan religion. By no process of imagination can this be converted into a religious war. We have no quarrel whatever with the religious convictions or with the political independence of any Mahomedans in any part of the world. We have no designs upon the inviolability of the Holy Places, the sanctuaries of their faith, most wisely guaranteed by His Majesty's Government by a Proclamation issued at an early stage in the struggle. Neither have we any desire to interfere with the rights and liberties of the populations that are at present under Turkish rule.

I do not think it necessary—indeed, it would be premature and absurd at the present moment—to discuss what the future of the Turkish Empire is to be; but I should like to say that I regard with complete approval the steps so far taken by His Majesty's Government in the annexation of Cyprus and elsewhere, and I am confident that Egypt, under the dispositions which have been made, will be safe from invasion, and that at no distant date a brighter and less complicated political status will be conferred upon that country. The noble Viscount specially appealed to those of us who have served in India, with regard to the state of Mahomedan feeling in that part of the world, and I unhesitatingly reply to him that upon the loyalty of the Mahomedan Princes, the Mahomedan States, and the Mahomedan community at large I believe the Government may confidently rely. A Germanised Turkey, a Turkey which is strapped to the sword-belt of the Young Turks and of Enver Bey, I am certain will have no fascination at all for the Mahomedans of India or of any part of Asia. Greatly therefore as we regret the enlargement of the field of struggle and the rupture of old and familiar ties with Turkey, we accept without fear the challenge which she has thrown down and we await the result with equanimity.

While talking about distant parts, may I allude to another part of the world which has not so far been mentioned, but which, much to our surprise and I think somewhat to its own, has been thrown into the vortex of the war—I allude to the Union of South Africa. I do not desire to say one word about the treachery of those who have broken their signed word and their oath of fealty to the Crown. Such conduct is apt in public as in private affairs to meet, and no doubt in this case will meet, with its due reward. But I think we ought to utter a word of sympathy with and admiration of the strong and resolute man who is at the present moment at the helm of affairs in South Africa, and who seems to me to have shown a spirit of courage, statesmanship, and patriotism of the highest order. At a time when he—General Botha—was setting an example, a splendid example, of fidelity to the highest and brightest ideals of Imperial statesmanship he was wounded, stabbed in the back, in the house of his friends. I believe that the majority of the people of all races in South Africa are heartily with us in this conflict that they will be steadfast in their loyalty to the Imperial connection, which guarantees them practical independence and holds them to us almost with a silken tie, and that this rebellion will presently sputter out to an inglorious end. But in the meantime let us give all honour to the man who stood firm in the hour of trial, and who deserves equally well of his own countrymen and of ours.

I pass, if I may, for a few moments to the combatants in the field. And here I cannot help noticing that His Majesty's gracious Speech does not say much—not, perhaps, as much as we might have expected or desired—about the Allies with whom we are fighting on the Continent of Europe. I think, therefore, I should ill express the sentiments of your Lordships on both sides of the House if I did not utter one word, in passing, of admiration for the heroic achievements of the French and Belgian Armies who are fighting by our side in Belgium and in France. Those Armies have been and are companions in suffering, but they are also comrades in glory. Both of them are experiencing an ordeal from which we have, fortunately, escaped. Their country has in each case been invaded; they are fighting amid ruined cities and devastated homes. Belgium in particular has been treated in a manner which will be remembered as long as men's crimes are written in letters of shame; but she has conducted herself in a manner which will be remembered as long as human valour is mitten in letters of glory. Along with this tribute of admiration to the Belgian and French Armies may I be allowed to include, in passing, the Army of Serbia, who have successfully endured a scarcely inferior strain. And may we send a message of congratulation to our gallant allies, the Russians, who seem dining the past few weeks to have displayed a power of military organisation and concentration, a strategical ability, and a spirit of national unity in the ranks, which mark them out as one of the great peoples of the world, and which are already exercising, and must as time goes on increasingly exercise, a material influence on the progress of the war.

From them I pass to our own soldiers in the field. I heard with pleasure, as we all did, the splendid tribute paid to their valour by the noble Lord who has led them on the field of battle and who knows them so well. We agree with all that he said. He would be, in my judgment, a poor-spirited Englishman whose heart did not thrill at the accounts that we read in the newspapers almost daily of an endurance, a cheerfulness, a patience, and a bravery on the part of our men which has never been excelled in the annals of the British Army. And let us remember that these brave men, I suppose little more than 100 miles from where we are sitting in security here, lining the trenches with Hell let loose around them, holding their own with a constancy which never falters, and yielding up their lives without a murmur, are fighting our battles and defending our frontier just as emphatically as if they were engaged on this side of the Straits of Dover. It is to their exertions that we owe our continued security here and our continued existence as a nation among the great nations of the world. I join with the noble and gallant Field-Marshal in giving full credit to the Government for the organisation, equipment and despatch of this incomparable Force, and also for the manner in which they are now discharging what seems to me to be an even more important task—namely, pouring in incessant reinforcements to the Front.

Do not let any of us in regarding, as I shall presently have to do, some of the difficulties which have taken place, underrate the stupendous character of the problem which confronted the Government at the end of last July. They possessed machinery only competent to meet a certain strain, and they were suddenly called upon to expand it to meet a necessity a hundred-fold greater than any one of them reasonably contemplated. I do not think it is at all surprising if at places and times since then the mechanism has shown itself unequal to the load that has been placed upon it. Again, when we talk about recruiting in terms of some anxiety do not let us fail to give full credit to the tens of thousands of patriotic men who have flocked to the Colours and who have cheerfully borne the discomforts and—I think the Secretary of State for War at the Guildhall the other night rightly used the word—the sufferings (because in some cases they have amounted to sufferings) which they have been called upon to endure in the camps and training grounds where they are concentrated. Lord Kitchener on that occasion spoke about 1,250,000 men as being at the present moment under training in this country. I believe that is outside the Regular Army, and I imagine the figures included the whole of the Territorial Force. It is a very remarkable achievement to have raised that body of men, and by all means let us give every credit to the organisation that has brought it about. But I feel certain that I am not misunderstanding the situation and that I am not misinterpreting the sentiments of His Majesty's Government if I say that great and successful as those efforts have been, much greater are the efforts that in the future will be required if we are to rise to the full measure of our responsibilities and to bring this war to the termination that we all desire.

Upon that point may I address a word to the noble Marquess? I have read some conflicting statements made by spokesmen of the Government as to the numbers of men they are likely to require. I have no idea myself how many men they actually look forward to obtaining. I think it might be well if the Government gave us some clear idea of the actual limits of their expectations and their desires. Surely on a point like this frankness is not only desirable but essential. The nation, in being asked to make a great effort, is entitled to know what is the extent of the contribution that it is invited to make to the Armies of the State. If another half-million or another million is required do let us be told, so that we may know where we stand and set about obtaining the men with all the efficacy at our command. I see it stated in the Press that in some parts of the country the stream of recruiting is flowing slowly, and that in places it has dwindled to quite a slender volume. Personally, having seen a certain amount of the feeling in different parts of the country, I am loth to attribute the variations or the diminution of which I am speaking to selfishness or lack of patriotism on the part of our people. On the contrary, I am inclined to think that wherever the conditions of the problem are really made known to the people by men possessing local knowledge or influence you get a good return to the Colours. But there must be, and I think there are, other explanations which the experience of the past three months has placed quite clearly before us—obstacles which it ought to be our object to remove, and which I have no doubt it is the desire and I hope the intention of the Government to diminish to the best of their ability; and if I allude briefly to one or two of these obstacles I hope I shall not be thought to be casting blame on any organisation or any individual. We on this side merely desire to assist the Government in the prosecution of their task.

In one respect the Government have taken a step, perhaps somewhat too long delayed, to remove one of the chief causes of hesitation and misapprehension. I allude to the new scale of allowances and pensions which has been published. I do not think the present moment would be a favourable one for criticising that scale. These are difficult questions, and no solution is likely to be acceptable to all parties. The new system, as I think the noble and gallant Field-Marshal said, is undoubtedly much more liberal than that which preceded it, but still, so far as I can ascertain, it leaves great inequalities. In some cases the grant of money is exorbitant; in others less is given than might be expected or desired. Some families will be better off than before the war began; others will be hard hit. There are provisions in this scheme which are very doubtful indeed in their moral application—about which we shall no doubt hear something further in this and the other House of Parliament—and in its entirety the financial burden placed by this scheme upon the nation seems to me to have been rather hypothetically and imperfectly calculated, although in any case it must be very great. I think it might have been well if the Government had enlarged the field of those whom they took into council in preparing their scheme. And even now if you are to obtain general consent for this system, if it is to be fair to all and if it is to escape the risks of demoralisation at one end of the scale and waste at the other, I really think it would be well if His Majesty's advisers were to convene a representative committee of persons qualified by experience and by local knowledge to criticise and examine these proposals in the light of the real conditions of the people. I throw out this suggestion with deference for the consideration of the noble Marquess.

But there is another respect in which the administrative machine has been unequal to the strain placed upon it and is in urgent need of reform. I refer to the separation allowances, a new scale of which was promised and was to be paid from October 1 last. I suppose there is not a noble Lord who does not know of scores of cases in which great difficulty has been experienced by the woman left at home in getting the payment promised her; in some cases it has never been paid at all. The question, moreover, is complicated, as I know, in several cases by the allowance from the husband, or the man who has gone, sometimes compulsory and sometimes voluntary, but raising questions of complexity and intricacy which are a great barrier to the successful working of the scheme. I think it is an open secret that this question of the separation allowance has been one of the chief causes of discontent in country districts and has had a very deterrent effect upon recruiting. Remember that every discontented man and every disappointed woman, instead of being an agent for recruiting, is an agent against it; and I submit this question to His Majesty's Government as one which it is their duty in the interests of the Army to treat seriously and to grapple with without delay.

I do not propose to say anything about the minor difficulties arising out of the treatment of recruits in camp—the difficulties connected with clothing, cooking, accommodation, equipment, arms, etc.—because I have no doubt that the Government are thoroughly aware of them. They were natural enough and pardonable enough at the beginning of the war, but with the improved organisation that has now been created I hope and believe they will gradually disappear. I merely mention them because they are questions that have caused a good deal of feeling amongst the soldiers of the new Army. As I contemplate these administrative difficulties, I rather wonder whether the War Office has not taken upon its shoulders a burden somewhat greater than it is qualified to-bear. Would it not have been a good thing—might it not even be a good thing now—if some of this work were devolved upon committees, or bodies, or persons of experience and ability who would relieve the Secretary of State for War—who is really the Commander-in-Chief and Secretary of State for War in one—of a task which it is almost beyond human power to sustain? I cannot help thinking myself, from what I have heard in the country districts, that a great deal more use might have been made of local bodies full of knowledge and willingness to work, but left stranded there because no one invites them to do anything, the War Office insisting upon managing everything in its own way. I am sure that nothing would be more welcome than an intimation to the effect that the War Office was going to throw off a portion of this burden from its overworked shoulders.

I see in the papers to-day a further suggestion which has been made of the creation of a register of all adult males throughout the country between the ages of 18 and 35—I wonder why you do not extend the figures a little more at both ends of the scale—who would be willing to serve their country and would be prepared to go when wanted by the Government. I think that is an excellent suggestion. But, speaking about it, the Chancellor of the Exchequer last night—he is not always very precise in his use of language—said that he would like to see each county called upon for its quota. There was a flavour of compulsion about the phrase. I can hardly believe that that was what the Chancellor of the Exchequer meant, but perhaps the noble Marquess may give us a word upon that point. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer merely meant that the contribution of each county, or borough, or constituency, or whatever area you choose, because I think myself that a county is perhaps needlessly large—if he meant that the contribution of each area is to be made public, and that an appeal is thereby to be addressed to those who have been laggard in coming forward, then, again, I think it an excellent suggestion and that nothing but good can come of it. You want to promote a spirit of honourable emulation between counties and boroughs and local areas. It would be an excellent thing for one area to know what has been done in another area, whether it has contributed its own quota or whether it is behindhand. I believe that in this way perhaps more than in any other you would raise the spirits of the country and produce a much fairer level of contribution all the way round.

One other criticism may, I think, not unfairly be made. Surely the Government have been rather indifferent to what I may call the spectacular side of war—or rather of the preparations for war. May not we remind them of the well-known lines in Shakespeare: The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing file, The royal banner, and all quality, Pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war! Those are conditions which it is necessary to bear in mind, because they are a part of the human appeal that you must make to a people if you are trying to turn them into a nation in arms. I venture to say that we have seen too little of this side in the country. There has been a certain drab monotony in the movements, marchings, and parades of the newly-recruited men. To-day I was glad to see quite a change in the streets. Whether it was due to the presence of His Majesty or to the opening of Parliament I do not know, but there were bands galore; and I venture to think that what you did in London to-day you might with great advantage do in every part of the country. If you wish to rely, as I believe you do, upon the voluntary system, if you think that the voluntary system is going to give you all that you want, then I say you must make your appeal to popular sentiment and you must get upon your side the imaginative sympathy of the nation.

There is one other respect in which greater publicity can be given in easy and quite defensible conditions—I refer to a wider circulation of the brave deeds of our brave men.


And regiments.


Yes, I mean regiments and individuals—both. I am not going to echo the popular criticisms of the Press Bureau. I make every allowance for an organisation started as it was without any experience and in circumstances which I believe could not have been overcome even by an Archangel. As regards the Press Bureau I think it is fair to state this, that whatever imperfections have been observed in its operations have been due, I am told, much less to any fault of its own than to the hampering rules and regulations to which it has been subjected by the War Office. I believe if blame attaches to any one—although I do not want to import blame of any one into my remarks—that the War Office is the responsible party. I need not say that no one on these Benches or in this House pleads for information which would be of any use to the enemy. We do not want to know the movements and disposition of our troops in Belgium or France. We do not ask to know the where or the when of the battles that are taking place, but we do ask to know something of the how. It surely cannot help the Germans to know that this regiment or that brigade, this or that individual, has covered himself with glory upon the field of combat. But it does help us, it does encourage the men who are fighting at the Front, it does cheer up their relatives who are left behind, and it does promote recruiting in the country.

I know I am only saying what every noble Lord will bear out from his own experience that too often we only hear of these wonderful feats performed in the field either because we have the accident to come across some officer who has returned from the Front, or because we go to a hospital and meet a wounded and, perhaps, rather garrulous soldier, or when we read the extracts that appear from their letters in the newspapers. For the rest we have to rely upon the short bulletins that appear almost daily in the newspapers and that are drawn up with a truly irreproachable obscurity; or upon the longer despatches, masterly in their character but necessarily late in their arrival, from Sir John French; or upon the picturesque embroideries of an "Eve-Witness" at the Front. If the Suffolks or the Sherwood. Foresters or any other regiment do a great and brilliant deed, why should it not be known in Suffolk or Nottingham or whatever may be the county interested a few days afterwards? Why should it not be blazed abroad throughout the United Kingdom? The London Scottish are almost the only corps who since the beginning of the war have had the advantage of this advertisement. No doubt it has been a splendid thing for the Territorials that they have received it. But what about the Regulars who have been fighting for two or three months, performing prodigies of valour, without almost any recognition except what comes almost too late? As it is, in trying to get your recruits you have, by a strange and melancholy paradox, to wait for reverses in order to bring them in. The moment a reverse happens men crowd to the recruiting stations in order to avenge the losses and sufferings of those to whom they are attached. I suggest an absolutely opposite method of procedure—that instead of obtaining recruits from your reverses you should win them from your triumphs; and if you do I believe that you will find an immediate and gratifying response in those who will flock to the Colours.

I hope that my questions have not exceeded the bounds of discretion and self-restraint which we all of us desire to observe upon this occasion. I would only like in conclusion to say, on behalf of noble Lords who sit on this side of the House, that in prosecuting this war to the only termination which is right and which we can contemplate with Clue regard to our own honour and existence, the Government will continue to be assisted by our whole-hearted cooperation. I read with extreme satisfaction the concluding passage—a notable and, I think, a noble passage—in the speech of the Prime Minister at the Guildhall two days ago. It was the passage in which he said that the nation would not sheathe its sword—and I am sure he was speaking for the Allies of the nation as well as for ourselves—until we had secured the objects of the campaign. Those objects were four in number. The first was that Belgium should be reinstated—I am not giving his exact words— in its country and its homes; the second was that France should be secured against aggression in future; the third was that the rights and liberties of the smaller nations should be placed upon a secure basis; and the last was that the military domination of Prussia should be destroyed. My Lords, those are righteous and honourable objects, and those are the objects in securing which we will support the Government to the end. We will support you with all the Parliamentary assistance that we can give.

I was going to sit down, but I ought not to do so when so much has been said about the Army without adding one word to the sentence of tribute which we heard from the gallant Field-Marshal to the services of the Fleet. There is not one of us who does not recognise the supreme and successful efforts which the Fleet has made for the safety of the country. My Lords, we are too apt because of little incidents here and there to forget that it is this Fleet which has convoyed our forces from all parts of the Empire, I believe without the loss of a single life, either to the shores of this country or of France. It is the Fleet that has maintained and is now maintaining our food supplies intact, and keeping down to a normal level the price of the necessities of life for the poorer classes of our people. It is the Fleet that has paralysed the overseas trade of Germany, and that is exercising an economic pressure upon that country which will every day become more serious and that will one day be a material factor in hastening the termination of the war. It is the Fleet that has kept the German Fleet shut up in the harbours and rivers of Germany, and compelled it to have resort to those measures which the noble Viscount described as either the precarious attacks by submarines or the nefarious attacks by mines let loose about the sea. Lastly, to the Fleet we owe it that Germany has ceased to have a Colonial Empire at all. One by one the plums have been pulled off the tree until now there is no fruit to be seen upon it. These are very great services which ought to be gratefully acknowledged in your Lordships' House. I have not interpolated any criticisms—and I do not intend to—with regard to the handling of the Fleet. There are questions that have to be raised and to which replies should be given, but these my noble friend Lord Selborne is going to take charge of at a later date. I will only say in conclusion: All thanks and honour to the brave Army and Navy who have sustained our credit, and all power to the Government if they will now take steps to increase that Army so as adequately to discharge the task which lies before us.


My Lords, I am sure the House will not misunderstand me, least of all the noble Earl who has just sat down having performed his task with the power and the grace which distinguish every speech that he makes, if I join in the regret that has been expressed that it is he who has had to perform the task and not the noble Marquess whom I generally find myself facing from this Bench. I desire also to join in the expression of regret at the cause of the noble Marquess's absence, and in the still deeper expression of sympathy at the loss which he has sustained; and in doing so I may be allowed to thank the noble Earl opposite for the manner in which he spoke of the loss which I myself have suffered in the war.

The noble Earl stated that he had no desire to pay conventional tributes to the two noble Lords who moved and seconded the Address, owing to the peculiarity of the circumstances in which we stand. I entirely agree with him. We were struck I am sure, all of us, by the manner in which both those noble Lords discharged their duty. Perhaps I may be allowed to say that, having been closely associated with the noble and gallant Field-Marshal when he was commanding the troops in South Africa and I was Colonial Secretary, it was a peculiar pleasure to me to be able to invite him to undertake this duty on this occasion. As regards my noble friend on this side of the House, a very old friend and formerly a colleague of mine, I felt that by inviting him to perform this duty he would furnish the best possible complement as representing diplomacy to the distinguished representation of the Army by the noble and gallant Field-Marshal. And in listening to the observations of my noble friend the noble Viscount, I was struck, as I think others must have been, by the recollection of the fact that his moving words were addressed not only to one continent, but that his speech will be as closely scanned and have as profound an effect in the United States as here; and that in its turn adds to the pleasure that I feel in having been able to secure his services this afternoon.

The noble and gallant Field-Marshal began with the subject with which the noble Earl who has just sat down concluded—by an allusion to the task which the Navy has had to perform. We have been told that the object of the enemy has been to reduce the Navy by a process of attrition until the power of the two forces should become approximately equal, with a hope that a great general engagement at sea might be brought about with a possibility of success to the enemy. We have had some losses, but that process of attrition has not gone far. I think, indeed, that we are entitled to congratulate ourselves, in view of the fact that the use of submarines and also the use on a large scale of mines of the kind which are now bestrewn over the sea are both novel facts in naval warfare on a large scale, that our main Fleet is still in practice intact, and that we owe to its silent and unadvertised work those safeguards and benefits to which the noble Earl so eloquently alluded. Of course it is impossible to suppose that everywhere and all over the world at sea we can be invariably successful against a foe crafty and courageous as the German Navy has proved itself to be. Some losses are, of course, inevitable. But we have all regarded with pride the conduct both of the officers and men of the Navy, and we desire to extend our deep sympathy to the families of those who have suffered in sonic of the naval actions that have taken place. But by all means let us remember, as the noble Earl told us to remember, that it is due to the Navy that the endless procession of commerce has been able to go on along the trade routes of this country from all parts of the world; it is due to the Navy also that the Oversea Forces have b; en brought safely and happily to this war, and that the trade of Germany has been altogether sterilised so far as passage by sea is concerned.

Every speaker, naturally and inevitably, has spoken of the work of the Army and of the trials which it has gone through and the losses it has sustained. The doings of the Army have been watched by everybody in this country with an intensity of regard to which I imagine no parallel exists with reference to any public events within the recollection of anybody now alive. The nation has felt an absolutely unqualified pride in its officers and men; it has regarded with equal admiration the leading of the troops from the highest to the lowest grades of commissioned officers, and also the heroic endurance which has distinguished the Army in all its ranks both in advance and in retreat. It is, indeed, my Lords, a terrible price that we have had to pay even thus far for having been able to hold our own, and more than hold our own, in the contest on the Continent. This war has been carried on by such numbers and has been accompanied by such carnage, owing to the perfection to which engines of war have been brought, as the world has never thought of contemplating. In this House we naturally think fist of those with whom we are ourselves specially associated—the higher ranks of the Army, represented by the officers of the different forces. They come closer to ourselves here; and we do not forget to remember with sympathy that the Royal Family itself has not escaped paving toll by the life of a brave and popular young Prince.

I remember that in one of the great speeches which Mr. Bright made in the course of the Crimean War he alluded in particular to the loss of officers. That speech was made three months after the battle of Alma, and he told his audience in that famous and thrilling oration that that had been a terribly destructive war for officers. "They have been," he said, "as one would expect, first in valour as the first in place; they have suffered more in proportion to their numbers than the commonest soldiers in the ranks." Then Mr. Bright went on to say that the losses after those three months of war, including some battles the names of which are so famous, amounted to 100 officers killed; 40 had died of disease, and 200 or so had been in different degrees wounded. When we consider the toll the country is paying in this war, a toll which, as we know, has not yet by any means been fully exacted, those figures seem comparatively small; and it is true now, as it was then, that the proportion of officers who fall is large as compared with that of the rank and file. The duty of leading imposes special and extra dangers. But we certainly make no kind of comparison between the different grades. All that we can do is to express our thankfulness to them and our admiration of them for the ungrudging gift which they have made of their lives in the service of the country; and that, of course, applies to all of whatever rank, from the highest to the humblest.

Before I leave the subject of the Army I must say one word about the Indian forces, whose advent to the scene of combat was so warmly welcomed by your Lordships' House before the Prorogation. They have fulfilled and more than fulfilled the highest hopes that we ventured to entertain. They have shown not merely courage, but steadiness and staunchness in a manner which has awakened the admiration of some of those who had never seen them before even in times of peace. They, too, have paid a heavy tribute in casualties, and I am certain that on the plains and in the hills of India just the same pride will be felt by those who have lost their brothers and their sons as is felt by us on this side of the water.

It was made a matter of some gentle complaint by the noble Earl opposite that the Allies had not been mentioned in the course of the gracious Speech. If the noble Earl carries his recollection back he will find that a tribute was paid to them in the Speech at the conclusion of the last session. It was desirable to keep His Majesty's speech within brief limits on this occasion, and therefore no repetition was made either of that tribute or indeed of any tribute to the troops from the Dominions and the troops from India who also received recognition before. But this certainly does not mean that anybody is or possibly could be unaware of, or indifferent to, the part which the various allied Powers are playing in different scenes in Europe. The noble Earl alluded in appropriate terms to the Russian Army and its leadership, but in no way overstated the feelings of respect and admiration which we all feel for that Army and for the Generals who command it. Whether in strategy, in tactics, in endurance, and in careful observation of the humane practices of war, the Russian Army has been a model to all, and therefore I am happy to join in the tribute which the noble Earl paid to that force. And of the French Army, with which we have been fighting side by side, we are not to think with less regard—of a more personal and affectionate character from a closer association—than we do of the other Allies. The French, as we are assured, have shown in the field all their traditional qualities which for a thousand years have made them formidable foes and the most desirable friends in war.

The noble Earl also rightly alluded to the fine efforts which the Belgian Army has made after all it went through in the earlier stages of the war. Inspired as it is by duty and by that deep-seated sentiment which must always be a most formidable engine in war—that of the determination to win back the homes from which they have been driven—the Belgian Army has shown remarkable qualities during these late weeks. Nor, as I entirely agree with the noble Earl, ought we to forget the part played by Serbia in circumstances of tremendous difficulty in a field of war remote from that in which the Allies are fighting, with a heavy burden to carry alone, and of necessity unassisted on the spot while fighting, as we hear, with undiminished courage and with the steady determination which has distinguished her from the first.

Allusion has been made to the incoming of the Turkish Empire on the scene. My Lords, I say without hesitation that no act among all those which have shocked the world—scarcely even the invasion of Belgium itself—seems to me more sinister than the process of bribery and cajolement by which the small but formidable cabal which holds military sway in Turkey has been seduced from the path of good sense and of honour by the elaborate machinations which have been worked at Constantinople. I agree also that it cannot be declared too clearly or reiterated too often that with Islam we have no shadow of a quarrel. The history and the faith of Islam, as we all know, are not Turkish but Arabian. We regard the Mahomedan faith as one of the great beliefs of the world, held by millions of its adherents with a devotion and a conviction with which a parallel might be found among the adherents of some other faiths though none surpass the Moslem world in that respect. In fact, my Lords, Islam as a continuing force in the world no more depends upon the domination of the Ottoman Turk than the existence of France as one of the Great Powers and as a shining centre of civilisation could ever have depended upon the permanent continuance of the Napoleonic dynasty. Islam remains whatever may be the fate of Turkey; and our almost innumerable Mahomedan fellow-subjects, not only in India but in many other parts of Asia, and also in Africa, in Nigeria, and elsewhere—all these, as the noble Earl so truly pointed out, are fully aware of these facts, and are absolutely certain that we shall always pay the most scrupulous respect to the great shrines of their faith, more respect, indeed, than has been paid by some to religious shrines of a faith akin to their own, in a part of the world which would hold itself to be more civilised than the East.. I have a mass of evidence, too long to produce at this moment, representing the views of Moslem leaders in India—great Princes and also leaders of thought—and the views of various societies and organisations which are entitled to speak for a great number of Mahomedans, one and all showing that this act on the part of Turkey is recognised by them in its true light and its real bearing, and that it has had and will have no effect whatever in compromising their allegiance to the British Crown. The fact is that if those who for 450 years have possessed the ancient seat of the Empire of the East are now content to become the political vassals of the parvenu Empire of Northern Germany, they cannot hope to escape the political consequences of such action as that, and I do not know who will interfere to prevent those consequences from coining into effect.

In the latter part of his speech the noble Earl entered into certain matters affecting the Army in this country, but before he did so he mentioned the stirring events which are occurring in South Africa. Like him I have no wish to attempt to discuss this evening the general political bearing of those events or to examine into their causes; but, like him, I am unwilling to let the occasion pass without joining in a tribute to the manliness, the invariable courage, and the not less invariable balance of good sense which General Botha has shown upon this occasion as upon others. And, like the noble Earl, I am absolutely confident that the Government in South Africa will triumph; that they will clear away all this outgrowth of disaffection and disloyalty, which has not affected any persons of really solid consideration in South Africa, although it has affected some whose feats in the former war have made them famous. I fully believe, and I trust that there is every reason to believe, that all the best elements of the country are with General Botha, and that his final triumph even in the most difficult district that he has to deal with, the Orange Free State, will prevail in due course.

I was saying that the noble Earl alluded to one or two matters connected with the Army at home upon which it is right that I should say a word in reply. I was grateful to him when he mentioned the criticisms, somewhat thoughtless, which have been levelled not particularly at His Majesty's Government but generally on the subject of recruiting. I was grateful to the noble Earl for reminding the House what actually has been done in that respect, and I can assure him that the desire which he expresses that a further effort should be made and maintained to encourage recruiting is entirely shared by us. But I do not think that the Secretary of State for War, who is not able to be in his place to-day, would be prepared to go the length which the noble Earl suggested of naming a final figure as the total number of men at which it was desirable to aim for the purposes of this war. I am inclined to think that he would desire to proceed as it has always been the custom here to proceed—that is to say, to ask Parliament for a Vote to enable a certain number of men to be raised. It will soon he necessary to make a demand of that kind to Parliament, and I do not think that the demand is likely to be a very small one. But until that demand is made I would sooner, if the noble Earl would excuse me, not go into any figures, particularly in the absence of my noble friend the Secretary of State, who will, I have no doubt, be in his place in the course of a few days and will make a statement upon military matters generally.

Then the noble Earl alluded to an observation which was made by another colleague of mine with reference to the possibility of calling on every county for its quota. The interpretation which the noble Earl placed upon it was undoubtedly the correct one—that what the Chancellor of the Exchequer intended to convey was that in his opinion it would be a good thing if each county were told what would be its numerical proportion of recruits out of a certain number, so that in the event of its not producing that number the other counties and the rest of the country would know that this particular county was falling short and they would certainly wish to know the reason. But I think my right hon. friend is well aware that the whole matter is not altogether so easy as might appear from the simplicity of taking a step of that kind, because the position in different districts—not merely counties, as the noble Earl quite rightly pointed out—is very various indeed. There are some districts, for instance, in which there are industries which it is of the highest importance to keep fully manned. Take, for example, those parts of the country in which armaments, clothing, boots, and so on, are made. It is exceedingly important that those trades should be quite fully manned, and the last thing we should wish is that the young men who may be engaged in them within the service age should enlist in His Majesty's forces. That is one thing which produces a discrepancy. There is another. There are some parts of England where a great number of people have joined the Territorial Force, and there are other parts of England and of the United Kingdom generally where people in large numbers have joined the new forces that are being raised. It would be exceedingly unfair upon those who have contributed handsomely to the Territorials if they were merely twitted with not having sent a proper quota to the new Armies which are being raised.


It is the total.


All these matters would have to be carefully borne in mind before a comparison was made which would not be exceedingly unfair to some districts who might find themselves to some extent held up to public reprobation while they were really doing as much as others for the direct service of the country.

There were two other points that the noble Earl made. One was with regard to allowances and pensions, particularly those payable to wives and dependants, including separation allowances. As regards pensions to widows and so on, it is important to bear in mind that we ought not to be carried away by the very natural sentiment which would desire us to endow and assist these poor women as far as possible—we ought not to be carried away to an extent which would be unfair to other people by dislocating the labour market in which these women have to find a place. Points of that kind are of great difficulty and great complexity, and there always is the risk of being carried away on one line of thought to an extent which may make one ignore other considerations which are not less important. In these matters we have endeavoured not to confine our inquiries only to those of our own way of thinking but to get such assistance as we could from those who are not in general agreement with us, and I can assure the noble Earl that these matters have been receiving the closest care and thought from a number of those who are qualified to study them with effect and to give sound opinions about them. I speak with some ignorance because it has not happened that my sphere of action has lain at all in this direction. I have had nothing to do with any of the Committees that have been considering these matters, but I know, from having seen the results of some of their work, that that work has been most closely thought out and conducted with the most scrupulous care; and I believe that it is also true that the further they have gone the more they have been impressed by the extreme difficulty of arriving at conclusions which are not only fair to the particular people who are to be benefited by these allowances and pensions but are not unfair to other people.

The only other point to which I think the noble Earl alluded was that of what he called a wider circulation to be given to brave deeds. I am grateful to him for having refrained from bringing up a full discussion on the subject of news and the Press Bureau. What I feel about this is that it is exceedingly difficult for a civilian to say what are the proper limits of reticence in the description of operations, even of past operations. I confess that it would seem to myself—I dare say it also seems to the noble Earl—that once a battle is over and done with there could be but little harm in giving a tolerably full description of many of those engaged in it and what took place generally. But I am given to understand—I dare say the noble and gallant Field-Marshal opposite could tell me—that, on the contrary, by a publication of that kind information of value might conceivably be conveyed to the enemy. Therefore it is necessary that what I frankly admit to my civilian mind, as to the noble Earl's, appears to be the somewhat nebulous as well as jejune supply of news with which we have to content ourselves should be given. The only thing I hope is that the noble Earl and his friends do not think that we on this side have a vast amount of informa- tion which he and his friends have not got, over which we gloat in private. I can assure him that that is not the case. There are a great many subjects of the highest interest upon which I am, and my friends are, quite as ignorant as the noble Earl could be himself, and upon which I could give no information—supposing that I was in communication with alien enemies—which would be of the smallest interest or value to them.

But I am certain that what the noble Earl has said will not be ignored or forgotten. It will be carefully noted that he was not making a general complaint, but that there were certain specific points upon which he thought an improvement might reasonably he made. That, I have no doubt, my friends who are particularly responsible for this matter will take into consideration. Similarly with the other subject. which he mentioned, that of the possibility of introducing somewhat more pomp and circumstance into the conduct of recruiting and our life generally with a view of exciting the public mind, which in some classes and in some districts may for all we know still be somewhat apathetic, by the expedients which from time immemorial have been used with that object, I am certain that what the noble Earl has said will also receive close attention from those whose business it is to consider these matters. My impression is that something has already been done in the way of bands to a certain extent, but I do not know how far; nor do I know whether the practice has at all spread to the country. In London I fancy that there are a good many more bands, and there have been, I am told, some marches of an attractive character. But I can assure the noble Earl that what he said will receive the attention of the War Office. I think I have now covered the various points which were raised by the noble Earl, and that enables me to conclude what I have to say, only repeating what has also fallen, I think, from the three noble Lords who have spoken, that it is our steadfast determination not to relax, far less to cease, our efforts until an end has been reached which is honourable, which will so far as we can look ahead be permanent, and which will be satisfactory to the nation which is spending so much both in money and in what is so much more precious than money, the lives of its citizens, in this great cause.


My Lords, the gracious Speech from the Throne was entirely concerned with the war, and I ask your Lordships' permission to-night to allude to certain naval aspects of the war. I shall not detain you long, but there are certain observations which I think ought to be made, and certain questions which I think ought to be asked. First of all I wish to speak about the expedition to Antwerp. I have no opinion to express as to the military wisdom or unwisdom of that expedition. I have not the facts on which to form an opinion, and therefore I shall express none. The question I want to ask is, Why was this expedition, which was of a purely military nature, entrusted to the Admiralty to carry out? I should regard with absolute dismay any attempt of the War Office to control the movements of the Grand Fleet, and I regard with no less dismay the attempt of the Admiralty to conduct the defence of a fortress. Therefore I ask, Why was this task entrusted to the Admiralty; and was this expedition undertaken on the advice of the military advisers of the Government? My second question is, Why was this expedition to Antwerp entrusted to a Naval Brigade?

I confess that under all circumstances I regard with jealousy the use of a Naval Brigade on shore. Sometimes, of course, it is amply justified. But I think its use always requires explanation, and particularly in this case, because although Marines, as we know, are trained to serve on land as well as afloat, only a portion of this Brigade consisted of Marines. I am only stating a fact which is known to the whole world when I say that Naval Brigades, apart from Marines, are not trained to undertake land operations; therefore under no circumstances could this have been a thoroughly trained military unit. Further than that, we know that many of the men of this Brigade had only recently joined the Naval Volunteer Reserve, and although it is true that Germany is using many untrained troops in the operations in Flanders, there are many German practices which I would rather we should avoid than copy. Therefore many of us regarded the employment of this particular Brigade for this particular purpose with nothing less than amazement, and I think it is wonderful—quite wonderful—how splendidly the men did under the circumstances. We have every reason to be most proud of them. Their deficiencies were no fault of theirs; they were part of an organisation meant to serve afloat, and they were suddenly called upon to conduct an operation of a purely military character. Therefore I feel it my duty to ask, Was this particular force selected for this particular purpose by the military advisers of the Government as the most suitable to conduct the defence of a fortress?

Next, my Lords, I wish to allude to our recent defeat in the Pacific. We have had many discussions in this House about the standards of naval strength and the numbers of our squadrons. This is not the moment to continue that discussion; we shall have to examine that question at the end of the war. But I feel it my duty to ask now, how it could possibly have happened that such a squadron as that which has been in large part destroyed could have been chosen to defend our flag in the Pacific against such a squadron of cruisers as that which the German Admiralty had sent forth? According to the information at my disposal, the German squadron consisted of three excellent third-class cruisers of the "Emden" class—the class which has become famous owing to the exploits of a gallant captain whose escape from the loss of his ship I am sure all your Lordships are glad to learn—combined with the "Scharnhorst" and "Gneisenau," two very powerful first-class cruisers. All those five ships are fast ships. Now, what was the squadron collected to meet those ships? The "Glasgow," a better ship than the "Emden" class; the "Monmouth" and the "Good Hope," two good ships of their date, but of a type not to be compared for a single moment with the "Scharnhorst" and the "Gneisenau." The inferiority of those three ships to the German combination was so manifest that we were told by the Admiralty that they had joined to that squadron the battleship "Canopus."

I want to allude to the Memorandum published by the Admiralty. I must say I did not like it. I did not like its tone altogether. I am sure there was no kind of intention to suggest a reflection on that most gallant seaman, Admiral Cradock, who gave his life for his country when the "Good Hope" went down; but I could not help thinking when I read it that he might have had something to say about that. Memorandum, particularly when he read the part about the "Canopus." The point is this. If you add the "Canopus" to the "Monmouth" and the "Good Hope" and the "Glasgow," most surely you have a squadron more powerful than the German squadron it was intended to meet; yet also you have a squadron which under no possible circumstances could force the German squadron to action, because the "Canopus" is slow. All the cruisers on both sides concerned are over 20-knot cruisers—I think, running up to 22 and 23 knots. I do not suppose the "Canopus" at the most can steam more than 17-knots. Therefore it was perfectly clear that so long as the "Good Hope" and "Monmouth" were in company with the "Canopus" they never by any possibility could force the German squadron to action. Consequently for the purpose of catching and defeating the German squadron the addition of the "Canopus" to the cruisers we have lost was obviously futile.

I confess that the explanation about the "Canopus" only filled me with astonishment, and with a greater desire for an explanation from the Government as to how this could ever have come to pass. It is quite clear what happened. The "Good Hope" and the "Monmouth" and the "Glasgow" had to meet the whole of the German squadron alone, and from that moment it was only a contest between the two 9.2 guns of the "Good Hope" and the sixteen 8.2 guns of the "Scharnhorst" and the "Gneisenau," and there could be no doubt whatever as to the issue. All we can do is to pay our tribute of intense admiration for the officers and men of those two ships who, fighting against hopeless odds, gave their lives for England. But I do think that the country is entitled to a better explanation than has been given as to how such a squadron was sent to meet the German squadron.

I should like to take this opportunity of making a protest. The Board of Admiralty is an historic body, and the First Lord is not in the position of a Secretary of State. I wish the present First Lord, who has thrown the whole of his great intelligence and power of work into the task entrusted to him, would remember that, and not send messages to foreign Powers, to Fleets, or to Naval Brigades in his own name. I may have offended myself when I was at the Admiralty, but I have no recollection of ever having done so. If I did, I repudiate that precedent altogether, and I apologise for it. But it is a great breach of historic continuity and of real constitutional custom for any communication to be sent as from or to the Navy except by the Secretary in the name of the Board of Admiralty.

Then, my Lords, I wish to say a word about Prince Louis of Battenberg. It was my privilege, when I was First Lord of the Admiralty, to have Prince Louis as Director of Naval Intelligence, and I got to know him very well. I wish to say here what I have said elsewhere, that a more devoted, a more loyal, servant of the Crown has never existed in the Navy, the Army, or the Civil Service. Prince Louis of Battenberg is a man of great abilities, who became an Englishman by adoption in his fourteenth year, and who has lived ever since for nearly half a century for no other purpose in the performance of his profession than to give his very best to his King and country. That such a man should be singled out for attack is, I venture to say, nothing less than a national humiliation. I can scarcely find words to express my indignation that there should be people among us who seem unable to distinguish between the man who is as loyal, as true, to the country of his adoption as man can be, and the man who has shamefully abused our national hospitality, merely because both of them had German parents. I should not think it right to let this the first opportunity that has occurred pass by without expressing to all my countrymen my sense of the immense services Prince Louis of Battenberg has rendered to the Crown of England, to the British Navy, and to the English people, and my misery and shame at the attacks which have been made upon him.

In conclusion I wish to associate myself in the strongest possible way with what my noble friend Lord Curzon and the Leader of the House said about the services rendered by the Fleet in this great war. I wish also—and here I speak for all my noble friends on this side of the House, and I do not think that noble Lords opposite will dissociate themselves from what I say—to express our pride in the Australian Navy of the King, and our gratitude and admiration for the great service rendered by the "Sydney" in the destruction of the "Emden." And when my noble friend voiced the admiration we all feel for the efforts of our Allies in Europe, I must add—and again I shall carry all your Lordships with me—our great admiration for the way our Japanese Ally has fought in the recent siege of the German fortress which they have captured—captured in the main, of course, by the skill and bravery of Japanese arms, but I am glad to think that a small body of British troops were associated with them in the task. All that my noble friend has said about our Allies in Europe applies equally to Japan.


My Lords, I wish to take this opportunity of referring to an administrative matter—namely, the position of alien enemies in this country and the danger caused by their presence. A few months ago I brought this matter before the notice of the Government, but I am afraid ineffectually. The noble Marquess the Leader of the House received my observations with great courtesy but at the same time with very, amiable scepticism, and the district in which I live in Scotland has up to a very few days ago continued, as regards this danger, in a condition which I am afraid has been most unsatisfactory. But the noble Marquess and his colleague Lord Allendale at any rate comforted me by the assurance that the whole of the County of Fife was a prohibited area. Fife is a sea-girt county. It has on the north the submarine base of Dundee, and on the south the great naval base of Rosyth, the Forth Bridge, the fortified island of Inch Keith, and the city of Edinburgh. I live in Fifeshire, and your Lordships will all admit that the strategic importance of this county justifies my laying before you certain facts with regard to it.

Two months ago when I raised this matter, Fife became a prohibited area; in other words, there being no parish in Fife more than ten miles from the seacoast, the whole of that county became ipso facto an area in which alien enemies were not entitled to live. None the less alien enemies continued to reside there, to go into that county and to leave it apparently at their own sweet will. Up to last week there was actually an alien enemy living in the county to whom the Home Office had refused naturalisation papers for reasons which, long before this war was thought of, they considered adequate and ample. But up till a few days ago that alien enemy continued to reside, as every German in Fife does reside, at a spot commanding the sea. Next door, or next door but one, to that particular alien enemy is living another notorious German who makes no secret of his relatives serving in the German Army or of his profound contempt for this country. He is living there to-day, although he is an alien and a non-naturalised German who publicly and contemptuously expresses his views about us.

Let me quote a further concrete instance. At the extreme easterly end of the County of Fife, which northwards, with glasses of course, commands the extreme coast of Aberdeen, and to the south the Farne Islands, a German was residing up till the end of August, although this was a prohibited area then. That German was detected tampering with official messages, sent along the coast to the coastguards by telephone. He was removed, but somehow or another he persuaded the authorities—military, I presume—that he was innocent, and he came back to Fife to, his house, and the only penalty that this person incurred was that he was cut off the telephone. We have got rid of him now, because on October 29 he was removed; but I am not quite certain that he will not get back again, and on that point I should like assurances from the Government.

It is what these people do to which I desire to call your Lordships' attention. I am not talking about the minor spy, the hotel waiter and insignificant people like that, who watch a Territorial in the street and see what shoulder-strap he has on and then communicate it to sonic one else who may not think it worth while to communicate it to Germany. I am talking about super-espionage, something more advanced than collecting materials of that character. I am talking about active and highly organised communication with the enemy direct, and I ask your permission to explain two or three phases of the forms which this activity takes. In the first place, night signalling from our shores, and from the high ground which rises from our shores in Fife, to ships in the Forth—whether to merchant ships or submarines I cannot say—is continuous. I can if you like give you the names of six places within a very few miles of my own home where this lamp signalling has been in regular progress. But it is not only flash signalling which is a form of communication with the enemy. Only the other day one of these persons who has now left was discovered to have filled up a form of questions—a questionnaire—submitted to him from Germany.

A third form of communication with the enemy was discovered quite recently—a very carefully prepared system of communication by post, in such a way as to escape the activities of the Censor; in other words, a private postal system arranged from our Fife ports to Germany and confined to commercial boats which come into the Forth—Swedish, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, I do not know what. That was discovered the other day, and the person from whom this document was taken is still residing there, or was a few days ago. Now, who are these people? When war breaks out it is understood always that the Ambassador leaves, the Minister leaves, and the Consular staff leave. The Consular work of Fife, such as it was, with Germany and Austria is being conducted in the ordinary way by the Consul of the United States of America at the town of Dunfermline. But Germany is not content with our ordinary hierarchy of Consuls; she has Consular agents as well, and in one of the ports which have given the maximum of trouble to the authorities the Consular agent of Germany and the Consular agent of Austria are still resident or were a week ago. Neither of them is German or British; they both belong to neutral nations; both have been officials of the enemy. Their trade and avocation make it for those two particular individuals ideal that they should remain there, because they are such persons as ship chandlers and so on, who in the ordinary course of their business see every foreign seaman who comes into the port; and the Forth is full of foreign sailors day by day. Our policy has been the fatal one of trying in commercial life to ignore the existence of war, and at all hazards to keep going between Norway and Denmark the butter trade. Therefore it is quite easy for Germany, which has any number of Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, or Frisian subjects, to send their sailors in and out on those boats.

Then there are cases of illegal export and import of cargoes. There have been two cases of illegal importation of dynamite without the formalities of what is called "entry." Wretched little twopenny-halfpenny boats carrying small negligible cargoes of merchandise but also carrying immense quantities of dynamite—there have been two cases of that within the last few weeks. Again at this particular port by my own home there have been in the last few weeks two cases of illegal export of petrol, not great quantities which would be useful to a belligerent Power as a cargo delivered on land, but small consignments which would be invaluable to enemy ships lying off our own shores. I hope the noble Marquess takes my meaning without my having to be more precise. There have been two cases of that within the last few weeks, and I am only speaking of one or two ports within a whole row of ports on the north and the south side of the Forth. What happened? I only know what occurred in one case. In one of these cases the man who committed this crime was fined £5. The fine was paid. Had the fine been £500 it would have been paid the next day. I ask the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack, who has control of these things from the legal point of view, to bear that in mind. A fine is no use. There is more money to pay those fines than a penny on the Income Tax in this country would produce, and it is always available.

My last point is the danger of mines. A ship was brought into one of these ports the other day and searched, and it was discovered that one of her coal bunkers was half filled with sawdust. No sailor in his senses would carry sawdust close to the boilers and engines. Of course the assumption was that this harmless ship had been dropping mines, which we know to our cost have been sown up and down our North-Eastern shores. I have spoken about Fife, the county where I live, and about matters which are common knowledge to us all. I have no doubt from conversations that I have had with noble Lords—Lords Lieutenant and soldiers—and others that these facts can be duplicated with regard to other ports in Scotland, Ireland, or England. On October 12 the Government issued a statement as to what had actually been achieved by the Home Office. It was a wholly complacent announcement— the spy system was broken up, and so on; it was so placid in its confidence that it gave a shock to public opinion. Soon afterwards there were very unfortunate disturbances in London, such as will always occur when people think that the Government are not carrying out the law as it should be carried out. I deprecate these hostile demonstrations against aliens, because I think that they defeat our greatest interests; but none the less they will continue unless the Government are more active than they have been.

I have brought these facts before the highest authorities. There has been a little renewed activity, but none the less conditions to my mind remain very dangerous indeed. Some naturalised British subjects—I refer again now to Fife— have been removed. Others remain against whom there is not the suspicion but the knowledge of offences against the law. German subjects still remain resident, or were until three or four days ago, in this prohibited area; and if they are removed their wives are allowed to remain and in several cases the sons of these people actually remain. It is obvious, therefore, that there is considerable disparity of treatment and doubt as to the proper course to pursue. I should like, however, to say that most admirable work has been done in Fife by the soldiers, sailors, and police; but they know that the Government authority is not quite clear in its own mind as to what should be done. The result is that they live in fear of a snub from the Home Office, or from the Scottish Office which follows the policy of the Home Office in England.

I venture to make two or three suggestions. In the first place, I suggest that there should not be the ridiculous farce of fining a man who has committed a crime against the country and an act of war against the State. Such a man should not be fined; he should be imprisoned. Secondly, I suggest that the authorities should announce that the police, soldiers, and sailors are empowered to remove any naturalised British subject of German birth who is open to reasonable suspicion. This is a matter of life and death, and if there is a German who is a British subject and is open to suspicion, in my opinion we are in many ways more entitled to fear his activities than if the man were a bona fide German. Finally, we must remove this disparity of treatment. We must let the local authorities know how they are entitled to act. I throw out the suggestion for what it may be worth, that a joint Aliens Board should be established, on which the military, naval, police, and Home Office authorities should be represented, to work out a policy—the materials are already available—and that that policy should be published so that the public as a whole, both British and non-British, should know what the wish of the Government is. The result, I think, would be that we should be able to remove from our midst some of the dangers to which I have referred. This is a legal matter, and I hope that the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack will give my remarks some consideration, and perhaps in the course of next week he might be able to announce some line of policy. I do not ask him, nor do I expect him, to make any reply at the present juncture; but to my mind the matter is so important that the sooner it is brought to the knowledge of the House the sooner shall we be able to get something from the Government.


My Lords, I should like to say a few words following upon the Question which I put to the Government on this subject in the early part of September, because the experience of the progress made shows that in some districts, as the noble Earl has told you Lordships, the prohibition does not apply at all. For instance, in Aberdeenshire the prohibited areas were increased very promptly, but they stopped at the bridge. Since then—it took sixty days to bring it about—the Scottish Office has extended the area until it stretches from John o' Groats as far south as to cover the Scottish coast. As to the English coast, it is apparent from the information that has reached me that signalling and interference with shipping is going on actively along the Norfolk coast. I have requested the Home Office several times to have the matter thoroughly investigated, and the Lord Lieutenant of the county wrote to me to say that the local authorities could not make any progress because the Home Office refused to allow them authority.

As I understand, the powers under the Restriction of Aliens Act do not seem to be understood. They are certainly not practised. For instance, in Devonshire, where I live in the winter months, the Chief Constable of the county does not consider that he has a power which our Chief Constables in the North of Scotland have assumed and already acted upon. When the recent extension by Order in Council was made there was a large number arrested in Torquay and district, but they were returned in a few days by the military authority because no arrangements had been made for them. In Scotland, on the other hand, the military authorities had the orders beforehand and were prepared to remove them out of the prohibited areas, or take them to a camp. While poor men, barbers, waiters, and so on and women workers have been arrested and removed, alien enemies who employ a few men and women have been returned and are living where they were and practising their business as before. This shows the inconsistencies of these two Acts, which were passed perhaps without proper consideration of the finality of them. In other words, the general theory of the Chief Constables I have spoken to about the matter is that they are acting for the Home Office, or, in Scotland, for the Scottish Office, and then they turn the cases over to the military. The military, on the other hand, do not assume authority in all cases. Now I understand the question is going to be thoroughly threshed out, and the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack will doubtless he able to make a statement subsequent to the consideration of the whole subject, There are at present overlapping laws which are inconsistent and not thorough.

In calling attention to this question in your Lordships' House two months ago I said that I particularly desired to see a "clean sweep" of all enemy aliens as a precaution and not as a persecution. It has acted the reverse way. At present the poor alien and the wage-earner are interned; but the rich financiers, the contractors, and the big men in the City of London escape. Those are our enemies; those are the ones you will, sooner or later have to arrest. We are acting with Allies, and we must consider the policy which our Allies have pursued with regard to alien enemies in their midst. We are not doing so to-day, but we must do so. I hope the noble and learned Viscount will take this point into consideration with the other subjects. Additional legislation is required to protect the State against these alien enemies, who are actively engaged, and who, I have every reason to suppose, robbed this laud of an enormous amount of money just previous to the war—robbed the country on such a gigantic scale that it is hard to prove, yet there is no reason why this could not be proved in a Court. As the noble Earl who has just spoken said, there must be a Court of experience and knowledge of the facts, civil, military, and financial, and prepared to act on them. I understand from this morning's report that a very large number of persons are being arrested, and the question must come up how they are to be distributed. There must be equity; there must be justice. We must cease this persecution and arresting of the poor wage-earners and arrest the rich men in our midst who are working against us, employed probably by the Kaiser for a number of years. Let them be arrested and let them be held responsible.


My Lords, perhaps it will be thought convenient that I should deal with the two speeches to which we have just listened before I proceed to the points raised in the speeches from the Front Opposition Bench. The speech which we have just heard illustrates the extraordinary difficulties attending this subject. I agree with the noble Lord that there has been a most highly-organised and systematic arrangement for obtaining secret information—a most highly organised system of preparation, not for a few months, but for years before this war. At the time I was Secretary of State for War I was cognizant of it and watched it. When that has gone on for a long time it becomes very difficult, after the outbreak of war, to put your hand upon the people who are giving real information. You are dealing with people of great astuteness, countrymen not only of other countries but of this country. The result is that in well-intentioned efforts to put down the evil you inevitably do an enormous meed of injustice, more than you do by proceeding by summary methods. The result has been that the task not only of the Police but of the naval and military authorities has been very hard.

As the noble Lord who last spoke said, it is very unfortunate to have to lay hold of a man who may be perfectly innocent and in a humble class of life and take him from his wife and children and from his little business and shut him up. Yet that is what we have had to do in order to cope with this difficulty and meet the demands of public opinion. I trust that the process of sifting is a process which will be pursued in a very thorough fashion, and that we shall succeed in some measure at all events in making sure that we are not getting the wrong man and diverting our attention from the real one. I can only say to the noble Lord and to the noble Earl who spoke before him that the naval and military authorities and the Police are putting their heads together, and that I doubt very much whether any board or committee would be of any good. It would be a slow and abstract kind of institution.


What is really wanted is that the Home Office should know what the soldiers and sailors on the spot require.


That is quite right. The noble Earl brought forward such remarkable cases that I fear there might be a doubt that, if we sifted them, they might not be all substantiated; but if the noble Earl would not mind jotting down the heads and giving them to me as confidentially as he can I will have them investigated.


It is because these cases have not been investigated by the Home Office that I have raised the matter here. Every case that I have mentioned is—some of them have been for three months—at the disposal of the authorities. If the noble and learned Viscount will inquire of the authorities he will find that that is so.


The case of the merchant ship carrying mines—does the noble Earl say that that has been before the authorities?


That case has not been before the authorities because there is nothing illegal in having a coal bunker full of sawdust. But the authorities know about the matter, and take the gravest view of it.


I am sure that if they had suspicions in that case the naval authorities would interfere. I do not say this with a view of in the least minimising the importance of what the noble Earl has brought forward. The authorities—naval, military, and Home—are applying themselves with, as far as I can judge, great vigour at the present time; and certainly it is the policy and the duty of the Government to see that that vigour is increased rather than relaxed. At the same time we have arrested a great number of people, some of whom may be perfectly innocent. But we must do our best to assist the authorities at the present time.

The noble Earl on the Front Opposition Bench, Lord Selborne, raised certain questions. The first was the question of Antwerp. I will say very little about it, but I will say this. What was done at Antwerp was done not only in consultation with the Admiralty but after consultation with the Secretary of State for War. It had to be done very quickly, and with the resources that were available. But for the encouragement which the swift action taken gave, but for the delay which that encouragement and support brought about, I am not sure that the line on which we are fighting to-day would be the same as it is. I do not desire to go into details upon that subject, further than to state that what was done was done by the First Lord after consulting the Secretary of State for War; in fact, we take the fullest responsibility and think that the intervention was a useful intervention. Then the noble Earl asked why it was entrusted to a Naval Brigade? It was entrusted to the body handiest to do it quickly, and the Naval Brigade behaved very well in the trenches. Then the noble Earl raised the question of the defeat in the Pacific, and asked how such a squadron was chosen. The "Canopus" was there, but he says that the "Canopus" was not a fast boat—17 or 18-knots.




The answer is this. It was impossible to foresee how the German ships would concentrate. It must be remembered that the "Scharnhorst" and "Gneisenau" had been thousands of miles away just before, and their concentration was a thing which no one could foresee. We do not yet know the circumstances of the affair sufficiently. I have no doubt that the gallant Admiral whose loss we all mourn and who fought so splendidly exercised the wisest judgment in what he did. If these ships were separated for the moment from the "Canopus" it was no doubt to carry out an enterprise which seemed to him in the circumstances the wisest course to take. Certainly we have no information from which we can criticise in the least the view which he formed, nor is there information which leads us to think that the Admiralty policy was wrong. Noble Lords must remember that the Atlantic and Pacific oceans have an enormous space; that we are hunting comparatively few ships; that it takes a great many ships, and it is impossible to foresee or forecast from day to day or even sometimes from hour to hour, where ships will be found; and that it is an enterprise involving a certain amount of time and a certain amount of risk.

Then the noble Earl made an allusion to Prince Louis of Battenberg, and I have deep sympathy with the manner in which he spoke of that officer. We all think that there is no more devoted sailor in the British Navy than Prince Louis. For years he has devoted himself to the service of the Crown and the Navy, and I entirely share the sentiments of the noble Earl. I do not think that he spoke one word too strongly when he said that it was monstrous that attacks of the kind that were made should be made upon a sensitive and high-souled man, who felt himself placed in a difficult and impossible position. The noble Earl also alluded to the composition of the Board of Admiralty, and pointed out, quite truly, that the First Lord is not a Secretary of State. That is quite true. But the noble Earl also remembers that under the Order in Council he is in a peculiar position, and he is the Minister responsible to Parliament. Therefore it does come about that more communications are made by the First Lord in his own name than by any other member of the Board. I cannot tax my memory, but my impression is that the bulk of the communications that have been issued have been in the name of the Board, and that whilst the Minister who is at the head of the Department is bound to make speeches and send telegrams and issue manifestoes at times, that has not been done to an extent which is inordinate. At any rate that is a matter on which my right hon. friend is sensitive and anxious to conform to what is the best practice on the subject. You have to discriminate between his capacity as a Minister and as the head of the Board, and he has conscientious views, as far as I am able to judge, upon that point. I have dealt with the points raised. I cannot go further into details on such matters as the movements of ships. It is very difficult to say much at a time of war, particularly with regard to such movements as those which took place in connection with what happened in the Pacific. We are passing through a time of great difficulty, and the Government is grateful for the tone which noble Lords sitting on the Opposition Benches have adopted to-day and for the support and sympathy which they are giving to the Government in the discharge of one of the most difficult duties that have ever fallen upon the persons responsible for the administration of affairs.


My Lords, I will only detain the House for a few minutes, but I must say that I do not think that the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack has at all satisfactorily answered the remarks which have been made by my noble friend Lord Crawford and by the noble Lord who followed him. It must be nearly two months ago since my noble friend Lord Crawford called attention to this very subject. He brought forward cases then of a kind similar to those which he has instanced to-day, and the noble Marquess who leads the House promised that careful attention would be given to the matter by the Government. Yet my noble friend has shown that precisely similar instances are going on now. It was, of course, impossible to expect the noble and learned Viscount to answer particulars with regard to each of these cases to-night, but I wish that he had shown some stronger sense of the inefficiency of the organisation that exists to deal with this matter. Surely the suggestion made by Lord Crawford that there should be some arrangement for co-ordinate action between the three authorities concerned—the Home Office, the Admiralty, and the War Office—was a very good one. I wish that the noble and learned Viscount had given us hope that some arrangement of that kind would be made, for I must confess that what I have heard to-night and on the previous occasion leaves no impression on my mind except this, that there has been on the part of the Home Office a lack of uniform and efficient action which is very much to be deplored.


My Lords, I listened with great interest to the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Crawford, and, like the noble Viscount who has just sat down—and like many other members of the House, I suspect—I do not consider the Government answer at all a satisfactory one. If I may say so, it was unsatisfactory not on the point of detail but on the broadest line of policy. The noble and learned Viscount said that this spy question could not be gone into wholesale without causing an immense deal of inconvenience and hardship to innocent persons. A great many of the people of this country are aware that there must be suspicion that a great deal too much information is leaving our shores, especially on naval affairs. To put it broadly, no one doubts it. I do not believe there is one of us in this House who would not subject himself, his family, his county, or his country to an immense amount of hardship in order to prevent one single item of information leaking out. That is what we ourselves and our families would gladly suffer if it would prevent information going out.

Where I dissent strongly from the Government on this matter is that we should consider for one moment any inconvenience or hardship which we may inflict upon alien enemies and their families. If we would bear that hardship for ourselves and our own families, I think we should at least equally let the families of alien enemies bear that inconvenience. The point of view which the Government has taken is one with which the country does not sympathise. We wish that the search for information going out of the country should be made far more drastic than it has been. After all, we do not want to keep these people here. If there are a great number of families of aliens who are suffering hardship because their breadwinners are in concentration camps, why should not we offer to return them to Germany? I believe that the Germans are keeping a number of English people in Germany who are of no use to them and would be no help to us; they are keeping them there for their own reasons. Of course, I do not want to see any aliens suffer hardships unnecessarily; I think the Government might offer them to Germany and pass them through the lines. What we want to see is the stoppage of this leakage of information and the reassurance of the public, who ought to know that the best is being done. When the public read a speech like that of the noble and learned Viscount to the effect that we must take great care that; the families of alien enemies do not suffer inconvenience and serious hardships, I do not think it is considered that that is the spirit in which this thing ought to be handled. We ought to treat alien enemies and their families as we would treat ourselves. I believe that it is not in detail but in the spirit that the method in which this question is being handled wants to be fundamentally altered.

On Question, Motion agreed to, nemine dissentiente, and Address ordered to be presented to His Majesty by the Lords with White Staves.