House Of Commons
Friday, 5th May, 1876.
MINUTES.]—SELECT COMMITTEE—Boulogne sur Mer Petition, appointed and nominated.
PUBLIC BILLS— Ordered—First Reading—Convention (Ireland) Act Repeal* .
Committee—Cattle Disease (Ireland) —R.P.
Committee—Report—Pier and Harbour Orders Confirmation (Aldborough &c.)* .
Third Reading—Treasury Solicitor* , and passed.
Friendly Societies Act—Registration Clause—Question
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If he is aware that the construction put upon the Registration Clause in the Friendly Societies Act by the Chief Registrar is likely to necessitate the cancelling and re-registration of a large number of registered Courts and Lodges of United Societies, at very great expense; and, if he will take any steps to prevent such an expenditure of the funds of these societies?
in reply, said, he knew the matter was causing some interest. It stood in this way—Formerly all branches of Friendly Societies were obliged to be registered independently. Under the present law it was possible to cancel that registration and get them registered as branches of the society to which they belonged. The jealousy of Parliament guarded all such cancelling of existing registration by the necessity for advertisement notices which wereof an expensive character. He should be glad to facilitate the re-registration of branches, if it were possible, by a short Act to exempt them from the necessity of issuing these advertisements. That, however, was a matter on which there was a good deal of difference of opinion among the societies, and although the central body in some cases desired to have the branches registered as such, many of the lodges did not desire it themselves. There was, therefore, great difficulty in dealing with the case; but if there appeared to be a general wish for it, he would not object to introduce a short Bill to do away with the necessity of re-registration in cases where the registrar was satisfied that all parties were agreed.
Navy—Commanders—Order In Council, 1864—Question
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, If he will take under his consideration the propriety of restoring the benefit derived under the Order in Council of 1864, entitling Commanders to assume the rank of Retired Captain after 15 years'seniority, to those Commanders who retired under Order in Council 1873, he having granted the privilege of the step of Flag Rank to the Captains who retired at the same time?
in reply, said, the matter was very fully considered before the Order in Council was issued last year, and it was thought at the time that it was not expedient to make the proposed change. A memorial had just been received upon the subject, and of course it would receive consideration.
The Art Library, South Kensington—Questions
asked the Vice President of the Council, Whether any steps are being taken to meet the admitted want of accommodation in the Art Library at South Kensington, which was reported last year as still in the same crowded and unhealthy condition as for some time previously, two of the attendants being now in the Consumption Hospital?
in reply, said, he was sorry to say that the condition of the Art Library was very much as the hon. Member had described it to be. It was, however, a temporary room, and he was informed that all that could be done at present to improve it had been done. The Educational Library, which was the one in which the health of the young men alluded to suffered, had been now transferred to a larger and better room, so that he hoped there was no longer any danger to the health of the public or the officers attending the room. A general plan for completing the South Kensington Museum had been agreed upon between the Lord President and the Board of Works, and the first work to be undertaken was intended to be the Art and Educational Libraries; but the claims upon the Exchequer had been so heavy for more important public ser- vices that it had been found absolutely necessary to postpone this work.
asked whether it would not be possible to place in South Kensington Museum some benches or seats for the accommodation of persons who visited it? He had been there several times, and he considered it would be a great advantage to provide such accommodation for the visitors, because people could not stand two or three hours.
said, he would inquire into the matter.
Merchant Shipping Act, 1854—Surgeons—Question
asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether the provisions of Clause 230 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 17 and 18 Vic. c. 104, is strictly enforced: viz.—that
and, if not strictly enforced, under what circumstances has the law in this respect become a dead letter?"Every foreign-going ship having one hundred persons or upwards on hoard shall carry on board, as part of her complement, some person duly authorized by law to practise as physician, surgeon, or apothecary, and in default the owner shall for every voyage of any such ship made without such medical practitioner incur a penalty not exceeding one hundred pounds;"
Sir, Section 230 of the Act of 1854, requiring every foreign-going ship to carry a duly qualified medical man on board, is by no means a dead letter. In October last the Board of Trade issued a Circular calling special attention to the duty of comparing the names of the medical officers with the Register under the Medical Act of 1858; and in February last the Board of Trade inquired of the Registrar General of Seamen, whether he was aware of any neglect in ships, either under the Passengers' Act, or Merchant Shipping Act, 1854. He reported some cases, but whether they were all cases coming under Section 230 or not he could not say. The cases, with one exception, occurred at Liverpool. The Board at once communicated with the Superintendent of that Mercantile Marine office, who, it appeared, had misunderstood the Act. Lately the Board had inquired of the superintendents of 18 of the principal ports, and from their replies it appears that the 230th section has been generally strictly enforced.
The Royal Titles Act—Commissions In The Militia—Question
asked the Secretary of State for War, with reference to the statement of the Prime Minister that the new Royal title will be employed in Army Commissions, whether it will also be employed in granting Commissions in the Militia; or whether there will be a difference between Commissions in the Regular Service and Militia Commissions, the one bearing the style of the Queen and Empress, the other that of the Queen alone?
in reply, said, that there would be no change whatever in the commissions of the Militia.
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether it is true as reported in the newspapers, that the English Ambassador at Constantinople has tendered advice to the Sublime Porte not to occupy the territory of Montenegro; and, if so, whether that advice was given in consequence of instructions received from Her Majesty's Government?
In reply to my hon. Friend I would inform him that Her Majesty's Ambassador at Constantinople has not been called upon to tender any advice to the Sublime Porte as to the invasion of the territory of Montenegro. There was unquestionably a rumour very rife at Constantinople that such an invasion was contemplated, but the Porte officially denied that intention, and so it was quite unnecessary for Her Majesty's Ambassador to offer any opinion upon the subject.
The United States—The Extradition Treaty—Question
asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, If his attention has been called to a telegram in the "Daily News"of May 4, to the effect that the United States Secretary of State had officially communicated, on Tuesday night last, to the British Government the decision of the Government of Washington to abrogate the 10th Article of the Treaty of 1842; and if such statement is correct?
in reply, said, it was not correct to state that the United States Secretary had officially communicated with Her Majesty's Government on the subject, nor had any communication of the kind reached Her Majesty's Government from any quarter.
Parliament—Arrangement Of Business—Questions
asked the Prime Minister what business would be taken on Monday?
in reply, said, the Merchant Shipping Bill would be the First Order of the Day on Monday next, and after that they would proceed with the Commons Bill, if the Navy Vote was taken to-night. If not, the Navy Vote would be taken on Monday.
was desirous to know after what hour the Commons Bill would not be proceeded with on Monday?
I hope not after an unreasonable hour.
said, he had received an unusually vague reply, and he therefore must ask the Prime Minister whether he would name a definite hour after which the Bill should not be taken?
I can only repeat, as long as I have the conduct of the Business of the House, it will be my object to promote the general convenience of the House, and I hope I shall never propose anything unreasonable. I trust that in the present state of Business the hon. Member will not press me for a more definite reply.
gave Notice that he would repeat the Question on Monday evening, and if he did not receive a distinct answer, he would move the Adjournment of the House.
Order for Committee read.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
Central Asia—Khanate Of Khokand
ADDRESS FOR PAPERS.
in rising to call the attention of the House to the occupation by Russia of the Khanate of Khokand; and to move an Address for Copies of all Correspondence between Her Majesty's Government and the Russian Government respecting this occupation; and, of any Reports of Captain Napier or other Officers on the frontier states, said, that on one point there would be a cordial agreement—that the interests of India and the interests of England were identical, and that anything which tended to weaken us in India ought to be carefully watched. The House would agree with him that there was only one Power we had to consider when the question of India was discussed. Germany, France, and Italy had no interests in India, while Persia and Afghanistan were only of importance by relation to ourselves. There was but one Power to which we had to look, and that was Russia. The wild nomad tribes of Turkestan and the adjoining provinces looked to the North and saw a colossal military Power sweeping down, conquering their independence—sometimes advancing slowly, as in 1836, and sometimes with great rapidity, as in 1875 and 1876, but always continuously. If they looked to the South they saw another great Power, not so much distinguished for its military strength, but which was mistress of the seas. That great Power had marched on until she had arrived at the Indus and reached the foot of the Himalayas, while the wild tribes of Turkestan looked forward with the greatest interest and anxiety to a time when these two great Powers should be in presence of each other. No one would dispute the progress of Russia in Central Asia, but that progress was differently regarded by two schools of thought in England. One of those schools was represented by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell), and included men of the greatest ability and knowledge of India. They viewed the progress of Russia without alarm, and looked forward to a time when Russia should advance her frontier to the foot of the Himalayas. They regarded Russia as a civilizing Power, and thought it better that the wild tribes of Turkestan should be conquered by Russia, and that there was less chance of disagreement when these two great Powers joined their frontiers than at present. There was, however, another school who thought very differently, and he would endeavour to represent their views. They regarded with the greatest anxiety the progress of Russia in Central Asia, and, without anticipating a time when Russia should either conquer India or attempt to do so, saw the danger of this constant approach towards our Indian frontier. When the frontiers of two great Powers like Russia and England were contiguous, great armaments must be kept up, because that very contiguity necessarily led to an increase in the means of defence by both. The great desert which formerly separated Russia from our Indian possessions was the greatest possible protection to us. It represented the Channel between England and the Continent, and enabled 60,000 troops in India to govern and control 200,000,000 people. This class of politicians anticipated a time when, if Russia advanced any further, we should be compelled to keep three times our present Force in order to occupy the position we now hold. That must be admitted to be at least a plausible view. He did not imagine that a great Power like Russia would come down upon our Indian Empire without notice; but in the event of a European war, the contiguity of the two frontiers would render it necessary to keep an enormous force in that country. Had anything changed since 1869? Russia had advanced since that time 1,000 miles towards our Indian frontier, yet her advances had attracted so much attention in Europe that Lord Clarendon wrote, on the 27th of March, 1869, to Sir Andrew Buchanan—
Lord Clarendon, subsequently writing to Mr. Rumbold, said—"Unless stringent precautions were adopted, we should find before long that some aspiring Russian general had entered into communication with some restless or malcontent Indian Prince, and that intrigues were rife, and disturbing the Indian population on the frontiers, against which Her Majesty's Government would have a right to remonstrate with Russia; and it was in order to prevent such a state of things, which might endanger the good understanding which now existed, not only on this but on all other questions, between England and Russia, that I earnestly recommend the recognition of some territory as neutral between the possessions of England and Russia, which should be the limit of those possessions, and be scrupulously respected by both Powers. Baron Brunnow appeared to think that this would be a desirable arrangement, and promised to make a report of my suggestion to his Government. His Excellency called upon me this morning, and had the goodness to leave in my hands the copy, herewith enclosed, of a letter from Prince Gortchakoff, giving a positive assurance that Afghanistan would be considered as entirely beyond the sphere in which Russia might be called upon to exercise her influence. Prince Gortchakoff replies,—'The idea expressed by Lord Clarendon of keeping a zone between the possessions of the two Empires in Asia, to preserve them from any contact, has always been shared by our august Master.'"
Sir Andrew Buchanan, writing in July, 1869, and giving an account of his interview with the Emperor,represented to His Majesty that while India and Russia remained as they were the good understanding which happily existed between the two countries would not be disturbed; but that the number of persons in England who were interested in the prosperity and tranquillity of India was very great, and that in the event of a conflict between Russia and Afghanistan, or of the entrance of Russian troops into provinces bordering on India, public opinion might be so excited that Her Majesty's Government might be obliged to take measures to satisfy it entirely inconsistent with the views they at present entertained."It was thought advisable to propose that the Upper Oxus, which was south of Bokhara, should be the boundary line which neither Power should permit their forces to cross. This, I said, would leave a large tract of country apparently desert, and marked on the map before us as belonging to the Khan of Khiva, between Afghanistan and the territory already acquired by Russia, and, if agreed to, would, it might be hoped, remove all fear of future dissension."
Writing to Sir Andrew Buchanan on the 3rd of September, 1869, Lord Clarendon said—"The Emperor answered that he quite understood this, and it was only natural, but there was no probability of any event occurring to create such a state of feeling as that to which I had alluded, for I must know that he had no ambitious views, and that he had been drawn by circumstances ('que nous avons été entraînés') further than he had wished into Central Asia."
They had, therefore, to do not only with the Emperor of Russia, but also with the Army, and throughout the Correspondence they would find that the Emperor said he was against advance and annexation. But then the generals advanced in spite of the Emperor and without any apparent authority to do so; and it was found that when those generals returned to St. Petersburg they were invariably received with respect and honour; they were decorated, and every approval was apparently given to their conduct. That was a fact which ought not to be lost sight of in considering this subject. The Emperor was most pacific in his tendencies, but they knew what had happened since 1869, notwithstanding those pacific tendencies. Lord Clarendon in the same letter continued—"'Prince Gortchakoff said the Emperor considered, and he entirely shared His Majesty's opinion, that extension of territory was extension of weakness, and that Russia had no intention of going further south. It was satisfactory, I replied, to learn that the Emperor had arrived at such a sound conclusion respecting the interests of Russia, but that when I considered the rapid advances of Russia and her great organization of territory within the last five years, it was impossible to doubt that her army had been impelled forward either by direct orders from St. Petersburg, or by the ambition of generals in disregard of the pacific intentions of the Emperor."
Now, let the House consider what had been the proceedings of Russia since 1869. In that year General Forsyth, an officer of distinction, was sent to Russia, and the most positive assurances were given to him that no further advances would be made by Russia in Central Asia. But two years subsequently, when Samarkand was occupied, it was distinctly stated that Russia preferred to give it up. Again, in 1873, the present Russian Ambassador was sent on a special mission, and it was stated that there was no intention of occupying Khiva, that the object in view was to punish certain troublesome tribes, but what was the result? Khiva was occupied then, and was occupied still, and this very year they found that Russia occupied the Khanate of Khokand, and incorporated it with its own territory. So much for promises and pledges, so much, too, for a neutral zone. He would ask the House whether they did not consider that our rule in India was one of prestige? In the admirable biography of Lord Macaulay which had recently appeared, it was stated that the first observation Macaulay made when he landed in India was that he had arrived in a country where he found that our power depended upon our prestige of being anation of warriors. Was it or was it not the case that we had lost prestige in India? He ventured to say, and he had heard from those who had recently come from Central Asia, that the opinion was gaining ground that England was losing influence and power, and that the only Power certain to advance was Russia. What said a high authority, Lord Napier and Ettrick, in "another place?" He said—"I pointed out the various acquisitions of Russia, and the dates at which they were made, adding that, Russia being now in possession of Samarkand, Bokhara was completely in her power, to which his Excellency assented; and that the next step onwards would probably be to Balkh, which could be of no use to Russia except for purposes of aggression; and that on the Hindoo Koosh the British possessions might be viewed as a traveller on the summit of the Simplon might survey the plains of Italy. The only apprehension we had was, I continued, that the nearer approach of the Russians and intrigues with Native Chiefs might keep the Indian mind in a ferment and entail upon us much trouble and expense, all of which would be avoided by a clear understanding with the Russian Government, by which a neutral ground between the possessions of the two countries might be established. Prince Gortchakoff replied that he could take no exception to anything I had said, and particularly with regard to the military commanders, who had all exceeded their instructions in the hope of gaining distinction. To this he added, that they had one after the other been recalled, and that nothing was to be feared on the part of General Kaufman, who had gained every honour that a Russian general could aspire to, and who had received special instructions from his Government."
He could quote from many Russian newspapers and other documents to show the hostile feeling which existed towards England, but he would content himself with a few extracts. One Russian paper said that Central Asia was a poor, unpopulated country, which would never pay its expenses, but that it furnished the Russians with a splendid station, where they could take breath and collect their forces. In a number of The Moscow Gazette it was stated that Gassar and the countries on the southern side of the hills, forming the southern frontier of Khokand, were subject to the suzerainty of Khokand. M. Terentyeff said—"He should never forget the painful impression with which he once heard the expression of a Russian diplomatist and statesman upon that subject. In conversation with him upon certain political eventualities which seemed to be impending, he (Lord Napier and Ettrick) said that in such eventualities the resistance of the English Government might be expected. The Russian statesman replied in deprecation and surprise—'Resistance, my Lord, is a word which has no longer a place in the political vocabulary of England.'If such an impression existed in the mind of a Russian statesman might it not exist in the minds of other persons in Europe much less well informed, and in a still higher degree in the minds of the ill-informed and easily-deluded classes of our Indian fellow-subjects?—[3 Hansard, ccxxviii. 836.]
M. Ferrier wrote—"Our Central Asia possessions serve only as an étape on the road to further advance, and as a halting-place where we can rest and gatherfresh strength.…. Russia has been permitted to make vast headway, and is likely not to miss profiting by the opportunity."
They saw what strides Russia had made within four years. Did they think she would be content with those advances? Were they or were they not prepared to allow Russia to occupy Bokhara and Khokand?Even now an expedition was preparing to occupy Merv. On this subject M. Frederick von Hellward, who had written on the subject of Russia in Central Asia, said—"Herat and Kandahar once in the hands of the Russians, they could become the arbiters of the various and conflicting interests of Central Asia, and could unite them all in her own favour. The very presence of the Russians in that country would of itself immediately create a hostile feeling among the native population."
Again, Vambéry said—"The circumstance that the influence of Russia is daily increasing, while that of England is declining, and that England is thus quietly being lifted out of the saddle, appears to us fraught with serious consequences in the proximatefuture. The British statesman ought to have foreseen this peril and nipped it in the bud, and to have placed in the very beginning a veto on the extension of Russian power in the East."
In Clouds in the East, a work written by the same author, he found recorded a conversation with Alayer Khan, who said—"If the Russian diplomatists can persuade the English that the possession of Khiva is only provisory, it will be an easy thing for a Russian army to march on Afghanistan at a time when Great Britain is standing unprepared. I do not mean to say that Russia designs any surprise, and that England has generally to fear such an attack. No, the result of this chess move will only be that Russia will arrive sooner in the true arena of subsequent events, and this precedence must not be allowed on the part of England. And, again, it is no longer asserted that the two great European Powers in Asia are only rivals in the field of geographical discovery, commerce, and Western culture. It is now confessed that a contest for supremacy is here involved, and, indeed, that a vital question is at stake."
It was important to bear in mind that from Merv to Herat there was water carriage, and also that between the two points there was a mail road, along which troops could make the journey from place to place in not more than four days. If once therefore the Russians were permitted to go to Merv, it was perfectly certain they would go on to Herat. It was not long since a traveller had a conversation with the Khan of Khiva on this very subject, and the Khan, referring to the advances that were being made in the direction of the British frontier, expressed his wonder at the apathy of the British Government, and also his conviction that whether it was or was not distasteful to the English people, they would speedily have to fight if the existing state of things was allowed to continue. The opinion of Lord Palmerston on a question of this kind would be received with consideration by the House, and he would therefore read an extract from a letter which in 1847 the noble Lord addressed to Lord Russell—"Ten years ago the Russians were a long way off; where are they now? They are at Samarcand, they are at Khokand, and Bokhara is really theirs whenever they like to take it. The English told them they were not to take Khiva and they took it. Now they are on the Oxus. They will come to Merv, they will be at Herat. And do you think the people you have conquered in Hindostan will be asquiet as they are now with the Russians at Herat?"
The hon. Gentleman the Member for the Elgin Burghs (Mr. Grant Duff) was one of those who formerly took a view much like that of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell), though he believed that since then he had spent some time in travel and had taken the pessimist view that it would not matter even if Russia advanced to our frontier. He had, in a very interesting book of travels which had just appeared, expressed different views from those which he formerly entertained. He said—"A Russian force in occupation of Afghanistan might not be able to march on Calcutta, but it might convert Afghanistan into the advanced post of Russia, and whatever Hardinge may say of the security of the rest of our frontier, you would find in such a case a very restless spirit displayed by the Burmese, by the Nepaulese, and by all the unincorporated States scattered about the surface of our Indian possessions. These things would lead to great expense, require great efforts, and might create considerable damage. It is as well that we should be able to defend India in Asia, as well as in Europe."
On the same subject Lord Derby addressed a speech to the House of Lords in 1874, in which he said—"Unless diplomacy keeps the Russians away from Merv, we can take up no attitude in those countries, except one;" and, he added, "any aggression on the dominions recognized as those of Shere Ali means war with England."
It was not wished by any one that disturbances or misunderstandings should arise between this and any other country on the subject he was bringing before the House, and it was in order to diminish the possibility of any such event that he wished the country to inform itself upon the question. The Russian Government had always said the more we discussed the question the more we should understand it. He, however, thought the people of this country ought to mate up their minds one way or other on this question. If we said to the Russian Government—"We don't believe you want to take India; we believe in your mission of civilization; but if you approach our frontier, for which there is no necessity, it will involve us in expense, and we ask you, in the interests of peace, to advance no further, to stop the expedition you are sending to occupy Kashgar, and, above all, not to cross the Oxus in order to occupy Merv," he could not help thinking there would be a satisfactory result. If, however, something of that kind were not done he felt convinced there would be trouble in the future. He had recently read an amusing article in a Russian paper, in which the writer said—"What is all this discussion about the advance of Russia? Let us advance and shake hands with you across the frontier?"That was certainly putting the question in a peculiar way, and simply meant that Russia would occupy all the country and all the important posts which England looked upon as a protection to her Indian Empire. If that course con- tinued, we should be forced to have a very large force kept in India. He did not say it was the ultimate intention of Russia to attack us; but it was the general feeling that it was with such an intention Russia was making her advances in the East, and he therefore thought it highly important that such advances in the direction of British India should be resisted. He knew how difficult it was to create in the House an interest in any foreign question; but there might come a day when we should regret that we had not taken more care, and that we had allowed ourselves to be deceived year after year upon various pretences. He thought that the subject was one which was well worthy of the attention of the country and of the Government; and therefore he had ventured to introduce it. Thanking the House for the patient hearing it had accorded him on a not very interesting subject, in conclusion, he must say he believed that we should meet the Russian approaches as we should an encroaching and rapidly rising tide upon our shore; or, at all events, that we should be fully prepared to argue this great question. He begged to move for the Papers of which he had given Notice."To maintain the integrity and the territorial independence of Afghanistan, in our judgment,…. is, and ought to be, a most important object of English policy, and that any interference with the national independence of Afghanistan would be regarded by Her Majesty's Government as a very grave matter, requiring their most serious and careful consideration, and as one which might involve considerable danger to the peace of India. I think if such an interference occurred, to put the matter mildly, it is highly probable that this country would interpose."—[3 Hansard, ccxviii. 1916.]
I rise to second the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Baillie Cochrane). But in doing so it is not necessary for me to agree in all his views. This is a Motion for the production of Papers, and with the same object in view different speakers may have different opinions. I disclaim altogether any intention of attacking the policy, or blaming the conduct of Russia in making advances in Central Asia. Unless she occupies positions that threaten the British Empire in India, and create a feeling of insecurity, we have no right to interfere. It will be admitted that the advance of civilization upon barbarism, and the substitution of laws securing life and property against the rapine and violence of savage tribes, must necessarily benefit mankind. It must not be forgotten, however, that Russia is a semi-Oriental Power. She was an Asiatic Power before England had any possessions south of the Himalayas, and she has been forced, almost in fulfilment of her destiny, to make further encroachments towards the East. The policy of Russia in Central Asia was well explained by the language used by Prince Gortchakoff in his Circular dated November, 1864, addressed to Russian Agents abroad, which was to the effect that the position of Russia in Central Asia was that of all civilized States brought into contact with half-civilized and nomadic populations; in such cases the more civilized State was forced, for the security of its frontier, to exercise an ascendancy over those which were less civilized. For my own part, I believe that it was not the wish of Russia to advance further into Central Asia, but that she was compelled to do so in self-defence. In a conversation that occurred between the Emperor of Russia and a near relative of my own—my brother, Sir Douglas Forsyth—in 1869, the Emperor stated that there was no intention to extend the Russian dominions in Asia, but that it was well known that it was impossible to stop when and where the Russian Government wished. I may admit that the conduct of Russia with regard to Khiva is open to question; because, notwithstanding the fact that Count Schouvaloff was reported to have stated at the commencement of the war with that country that there was no intention on the part of Russia to occupy Khiva, the entire half of the country situated on the right bank of the Oxus is now annexed to Russia. Therefore, if Count Schouvaloff ever gave that promise, beyond all doubt it has been broken. But even admitting that there was deception in the assurance given by the Russian Ambassador with regard to the intention of not retaining possession of Khiva, I do not know that we have much cause to complain. Russia had as much right to invade Khiva to release Russian captives, as we had to go to war with Abyssinia. Let me illustrate the case by a strong example. We know that Kashgaria stands in the way of a further advance of Russia to the East. It is a thriving, prosperous country, governed by an energetic Ruler, who has shown an anxious desire to be on the most friendly terms with England, and sets a high value, on her support. I know from the best authority that he has a mortal dread of Russia, believing that she will before long attempt to swallow up his dominions in her advancing tide of conquest. Well, we have no treaty of defensive alliance with the Ameer of Kashgar, and if Russia were, with or without a plausible pretext, to pick a quarrel with him, and march her troops into his territory, what right should we have to interfere? Kashgaria is too far from our frontier, separated from India by deserts and almost impassable mountains; and it would be impossible to say that the possession of Kashgaria would threaten the security of our Indian Empire. Russia has just annexed Khokand to her dominions, but by that she has not advanced her southern frontier a mile nearer to India than it was before; for Samarcand, which she has for some years possessed, is further south than Khokand. Moreover, it is not on the North of the Himalayas, that we need have any fear of the progress of Russia in the East. To reachIndia directly from the North an army would have to march across stupendous mountains by one of three passes—either the Karakorum, the Chang-nemmo, or the Baroghil Pass. By the Karakorum it must cross 11 mountains, each 18,000 feet high, with no sustenance for man or beast, beyond what the commissariat carried with it could supply, and exposed to piercing cold. The Chang-nemmo Pass has an easier gradient; but the elevation is still higher, and it is, I believe, a worse route than even the Karakorum. The Baroghil Pass crosses a belt of mountains from 100 to 150 miles broad. It is at the head of the Chitral Valley in Kafiristan, and is 500 feet higher than the Simplon. To suppose that a Russian army, after encountering the almost insuperable difficulties of these passes, and marching through Kashmere upon the Punjab, to be met there by our military force in India, could hope to conquer us, is an idle and chimerical idea. No! Sir, it is not from the North, but from the West and North-West that the real danger to India lies—if there be any danger—and it is to that part of the question that I wish to direct the attention of the House. There are two lines of advance upon the Punjab, and both lie in Afghanistan. The one to the South is by Kandahar and the Bolan Pass—the other, to the North, by Kabul and the Khyber Pass. No doubt, if Afghanistan were friendly to the invading force, and the enemy were able to march unopposed through either of these passes, the danger to us would be for- midable, and it seems to me that our policy ought to be to strengthen as much as possible our influence in Afghanistan, and be able to rely upon that country as an impassable barrier against the aggression of Russia. She can approach Afghanistan either from the north from Tashkend, which is now the Russian capital of Western Turkestan, and the place from which one of the two expeditions marched which invaded Khiva. Tashkend is between 300 and and 400 miles from Merv, and is connected with Oxenburg by a long line of forts; and Merv is 250 miles from Herat, which has always been considered the key of the position. Merv is now practically independent, although I believe that Persia sets up some kind of claim of sovereignty. It is an oasis in the desert with a circumference of about 100 miles, and really belongs to the Turcomans who rove along the desert that separates it from Khiva. The other line of approach to Afghanistan which Russia might take is from the south-east corner of the Caspian Seaby the Attreck Valley and Meshed to Herat; but to do this she must count on the support or overcome the resistance of Persia. All this points to Persia and Afghanistan as the outer bulwarks of our Indian Empire, and our policy ought to be directed to cultivate the most friendly relations with them, and be able to rely upon their alliance and support in the hour of danger. Of Persia I need say nothing; she is our ally, and we have a Minister at Teheran. But what is our position with respect to Afghanistan? There is hardly any country about which we know so little. We have at various times subsidized Shere Ali, the Ruler of the country, and I believe, supplied him with arms; but our Commissioner at Peshawar says that Afghanistan is a sealed book to him. We have a Native agent at Cabul, but no trustworthy information is supplied by him. Whatever he has to tell us is first submitted to the Ameer, and comes to us coloured by the complexion he chooses to put upon it. No Englishman is allowed to set his foot in the territory. British merchandize entering the country is heavily taxed. There is on the Oxus to the north of Afghanistan a place called Hassar-Imam, where there is a large annual bazaar—I believe, one of the largest in the East. Russian merchants find their way there from Tashkend in the north, and Russian goods go from it by way of the Pamir Steppe to Yarkand in Kashgaria; but our traders are entirely excluded, partly by the insecurity of life in travelling through Afghanistan to reach it, and partly by the heavy duties imposed by the Ameer. Moreover, the Oxus is navigable for small vessels, and the Russians are gradually creeping up the river, so that they have a double access to the bazaar from which we are practically excluded. Surely such a state of things ought not to be allowed to exist. We have a right to insist that Afghanistan should be open to our commerce, and we ought to establish direct relations with the Ameer by having an envoy either at Cabul or at Herat. I am assured that the country in the Khorassan frontier of Persia west of Herat has never yet been even surveyed, so that we really know nothing about it. There are three schools of politicians who propose to deal with the question of Afghanistan in different ways. The first propose a policy of masterly inactivity—that of doing nothing at all. The second propose that we should establish a sort of military Protectorate over Afghanistan. The third that we should exercise our influence on Afghanistan by establishing an Envoy at Cabul or Herat; that we should insist that Afghanistan should not be as a sealed book or closed country, and that we should be enabled to ascertain what are its resources and to explore its frontier. We ought, I repeat, to establish friendly relations with Afghanistan and Persia, and feel assured that in time of danger Afghanistan will rally to our side. When thus fully protected on the West, we may laugh to scorn the fears of Russian conquest, and contemplate with serene indifference the progress of Russia in Central Asia. And we shall then no longer be exposed to periodical panics because Russia happens to take possession of a piece of country north of the Himalayas.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "an humble Address he presented to Her Majesty, that She will be graciously pleased to give directions that there be laid before this House, Copies of all Correspondence between Her Majesty's Government and the Russian Government respecting the occupation by Russia of the Khanate of Khokand; and of any Re- ports of Captain Napier or other Officers on the frontier states,"—(Mr. Baillie Cochrane,)
said, the position the question had as-assumed had very materially changed since the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister had, in such a distinct, emphatic, and he (Sir George Campbell) had almost said ostentatious manner, declared himself to be a Russophobist. So long as the matter was the peculiar patrimony of the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Baillie Cochrane), it was not of so much consequence; but since the right hon. Gentleman at the head of Her Majesty's Government declared that it was necessary to stop the progress of Russiain Asia it must be admitted that the question was one of the utmost seriousness and importance. The right hon. Gentleman might perhaps have used the expressions to which he referred in furtherance of his policy in regard to what he (Sir George Campbell) might call, comparatively speaking, a trumpery Titles Bill; but he had reason to fear that the declaration of the right hon. Gentleman did not stop there. From all he could learn, he believed that behind that declaration there was an important change of policy on the part of the Government in regard to the North-West frontier of India. He believed Her Majesty's Government were now adopting what he might call a forward policy with reference to that frontier. If he were mistaken, no doubt he would be corrected; he had no particular sources of information, for he believed that all that was done was done in the secret department of the India Office or of the Foreign Office. From what he gathered, however, in this country and in India he believed, as he had said, that Her Majesty's Government at present, in accordance with the view expressed by the Prime Minister, were attempting to adopt a forward policy, and what made the matter more important was this—that the views of Her Majesty's Government were in a great degree opposed to those of the Government of India. The Nobleman who for some years had held the office of Viceroy of India, and his Council, and those local officers who dealt with the subject under the Go- vernment of India, were, from little things he had noticed, opposed to the views of the Government in England, and Her Majesty's Government were pressing unwilling officials in India to a forward policy in regard to the frontier question. He was confident in that belief. It was the fact that the most experienced men in India were of the opinion that he himself held—namely, that it was better not to press forward on the North-Western frontier of India. If that policy were adopted it would change the whole features of the case, and he hoped that evening an expression of opinion would emanate from the House of Commons which would show that the policy of advance was not approved, and serve as a warning to the Government that they had better be cautious in the matter, and leave the question to those intimately acquainted with the frontiers of India. He believed the Government were to a too great extent guided in this matter by a very able man, Sir Henry Rawlinson, who held very decided views on the question, which views, however, were not in accordance with those entertained by men of equal experience in India. There was another matter which, as he understood it, indicated a risky policy of the Government. Her Majesty had recently appointed a new Viceroy, a man of great ability and diplomatic experience, and he understood that on the eve of the noble Lord's departure from this country a gentleman favourable to a go-ahead and forward policy—Sir Lewis Pelly—was suddenly summoned to accompany Lord Lytton to India. He believed it was generally understood that Sir Lewis Pelly proceeded to India as the adviser of the Viceroy on frontier matters. That was a serious subject at the present, and he hoped the House would treat it in that light, for the result would probably be that a dangerous policy with regard to the frontiers of India would be adopted. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of Her Majesty's Government on the occasion when he made the declaration to which reference had already been made, described the position of Russia in the East as now being within a few marches of our own frontier in India. It was a great latitude of speech on the part of the right hon. Gentleman to describe the territory intervening between the two positions as "a few marches." The hon. Member who brought forward the Motion (Mr. Baillie Cochrane) had been good enough to accompany his statement with a map, which was all very good as far as it went; but it did not give the physical features of this intervening country, though among them were the greatest mountains in the world. The hon. Member had given them figures also, and he stated the distance between the frontiers, the Russian at Samarcand and ours at the Indus, at 1,260 miles, which was over one of the most difficult countries in the world. That was only the distance between the frontiers. That of the seats of government was considerably greater.
That was the distance to the Indus, not to the frontier of Afghanistan.
Quite so—to the frontier of India. Her Majesty was now Empress of India, and the Rajah of Cashmere, who was an ambitious man, exercised a vague sort of feudal right over the country beyond, to which he had endeavoured to extend his territory. On the side of Russia, also, there were Protectorate claims, which, in one sense, might be assumed to bring the two frontiers closer. It was by counting distant tributary tribes in this way, their country lying beyond the ordinary range of the frontier, that the right hon. Gentleman might justify the estimate of the distance which he had given to the House, when he described the two frontiers as being only "a few marches"apart. For all practical purposes, however, that was not the case. The country which separated the frontiers contained the vast mountain range which Asiatics aptly named "the Roof of the World,"and which, rising to an average height of 18,000 or 19,000 feet, in some places had a height of as much as 29,000 feet. The country was absolutely impassable for troops, and in that view he quite concurred with the hon. and learned Member who had just spoken. It was utterly impossible for an army to travel; even a traveller bent on a peaceful journey had extreme difficulty. Probably when aerial machines were constructed, that would cross mountains, they might not be deemed serious obstacles to military operations; but until that day came the mountains of which he was speaking would prove an impassable barrier to the advance of any considerable number of men and quantity of material. He (Sir George Campbell) believed that we had no reason to apprehend danger because Russia had advanced to Khokand, and that Khokand was not one inch nearer to our frontier in India than the place formerly occupied by Russia. In advancing to Khokand Russia had followed the route, not to India, but to China. Beyond Samarcand, and reaching to Orenburg, they had another stretch of impracticable country, 1,500 miles in extent. The hon. and learned Member said that the Russians had commenced their railways from Orenburg to Samarcand. He (Sir George Campbell) was not aware of the fact, but even assuming that it was so, there were still 3,000 miles of impracticable and unproductive country interposed between the two seats of power. When that distance was bridged over by a series of railways, Russia might make herself troublesome to India, but not before. The hon. Member for the Isle of Wight said, although it was true Russia was not so near our frontier as to be able to throw any large body of troops into our Indian Empire, yet apprehension on this subject was unsettling and disturbing the minds of our subjects in India. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister said the other evening that—
"The population of India is not the population it was when we carried the Bill of 1858. There has teen a great change in the habits of the people. That which the Press could not do, that which our influence had failed in doing, the introduction of railroads has done, and the people of India move about in a manner which never could have been anticipated, and are influenced by ideas and knowledge which before never reached or touched them. What was the gossip of bazaars is now the conversation of villages."
rose to Order. The hon. Gentleman was quoting speeches made in a debate during the present Session.
It is certainly out of Order to quote Speeches made in a debate during the present Session.
hoped the House would forgive him on the ground of his want of experience. He should be sorry to infringe the Orders of the House; but he might be allowed to quote the substance, though not the terms, of the right hon. Gentleman's observations. This was a matter on which he had great personal knowledge, and, presumptuous as it might appear, he must take on himself to contradict the statement of the right hon. Gentleman in the most absolute manner. The minds of the villagers of India were in no degree disturbed by the advance of Russia; nor had they any considerable knowledge of the fact. The Central Asian question did not hold in India the same position that the Eastern question did in Europe. The Indian villagers did not concern themselves about it. Whatever knowledge they had of it was almost entirely derived from our own newspapers. The people of India in general were wholly without excitement on the subject. The right hon. Gentleman also said that the title of the Emperor of Russia was well known to the people of India. That again he must contradict. He believed that the Emperor was merely spoken of, where he was known at all, as "Shah Russ,"or King of Russia. The alarms, in short, that were spread abroad were very ill-founded, and he believed we occupied a very strong position in India, which would be greatly strengthened by the force of habit and by custom, if by nothing else. The people were not inclined to welcome invaders from Central Asia, but from tradition and recollection they had a fear and a terror of an advance on the North-West frontier. They were rather inclined to look to that quarter as associated with the most terrible onslaughts of bloodshed and plunder. Then the House was told of the 40,000,000 Mahomedans in India, but there was a great deal of misapprehension on this subject. As regarded religion, there was a great gulf between the Mahomedans of Southern Asia and the Turks. Between the Arabs and Persians, and Afghans, and the Turks there was no feeling in common. All their sources of religion and civilization were not Turkish, but the very opposite. It was supposed in this country that the Sultan of Constantinople was a great power in India. There never was a greater delusion. Not a man in India looked to him as either his religious or political chief. The Indian Mahomedans had no concern whatever with the Sultan of Constantinople. Of the 40,000,000 of Mahomedans in India, 20,000,000 were in Bengal, chiefly in the Eastern districts. They were among the quietest and best of our subjects; they were comparatively wealthy and well-to-do, and we had ruled them for 100 years with a garrison of only one Native regiment. What were called Mahomedan Puritans, no doubt, were not unknown in Eastern Bengal; and if we pressed landlordism too much upon them, they might possibly rise some day against us; but if there should be a rebellion among them, it would not be a political, but an agrarian rebellion. At the other extreme of India, in the Punjab, there were other 10,000,000 of Mahomedans, or one-half of the inhabitants, but they were people whom we had rescued from the tyranny of Sikh rule; they were quiet and industrious, making our best cultivators and best soldiers.; and they had reason to be—and they were—grateful to us. The remainder of the 40,000,000 of Mahomedans were scattered throughout India, and if we only gave fair justice to that population in regard to their agrarian affairs, in regard to a share of Government employment, and in regard to education, there was no reason to think they would be troublesome subjects. Well, though he was opposed to "Russophobia,"he admitted that he was by no means without apprehension of the approach of the Russians to India. Some day or other they might be very troublesome neighbours to us; but supposing it was so, how were we to stop them? He agreed with the suggestion of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Seconder of that Motion (Mr. Forsyth) as to our not being able to deal with advantage with the Russians, because they did not adhere to their Treaties. The engagements they had made in respect to their advance in Central Asia they had not kept; and beyond that, the experience gained from the way in which they had thrown the Treaty respecting the Black Sea, made after the Crimean War, to the winds, showed that understandings entered into with them would last just as long as it suited them to maintain them, but not a moment longer. The Russians were now conquering and crushing the Mahomedan Powers of Central Asia; and it was much better for us, by a "masterly inactivity,"to leave things in their present position, with those Mahomedan Powers looking with apprehension on the Russians, rather than looking with apprehension on us. In seeking to have an understanding with us, the Russians had their own ends in view; they wanted our moral support in gaining hold of Central Asia. InSamarkand and other parts of Central Asia the English name was great as well as the Russian. In 1842 we made an unfortunate advance upon Afghanistan; and the Russians were now in much the same position in Turkestan. They wished to have the moral power which would be given them by the belief that they had come to an understanding with the English. We should not extend to them our moral support, but should hold ourselves aloof. We had already gone far enough in the direction of an understanding with Russia, and the present understanding with her he took to be this—that Afghanistan was reserved from Russian influence and interference. If that understanding was broken, the time would come when we must consider what we should do next; but, above all things, we must avoid the folly of making the Afghans our enemies, or of leading them to dread an advance from ourselves. We had better make them feel that we would have nothing to do with Afghanistan. We had burnt our hands already there, and let us not attempt the thing again. We ought to go no further than protecting the Afghans against the advance of the Russians if the necessity should arise. As a military question, then, the danger to our power in India from Russia was, he believed, now unreal, and would be unreal for the next 20 or 30 years. But it was real in a financial point of view. The state of our finances, and of our army also, in India was such that, if we entered into a military rivalry with Russia, those finances would be ruined and our position in India thereby made untenable. Great wars in future would depend on money above all things, and let us not waste our resources by going to meet the Russians before the time came. Our true policy was to make the most of the productive powers of India, to husband her revenues, and to keep our powder dry. Then he hoped that when we might meet the Russians, our meeting with them would be friendly; but in any case we could then meet them at the best advantage. He would conclude by expressing an earnest hope that for the reasons he had assigned Her Majesty's Government would not press upon the Government of India a too forward policy.
said, that if several of the statements of the last speaker were correct, we were indeed in a bad way. The hon. Gentleman (Sir George Campbell) looked with apprehension on our condition, yet he had no policy but a do-nothing policy; and he would advise us to wait until Russian railways were completed, and our danger was immediate. If that view were to be accepted, the best thing we could do would be to begin packing up our traps in India, so as to be ready at any time to forsake that Empire. If there was present danger in the Russian advance and nothing was done, the time would come when that danger would be destructive. The hon. Gentleman had further assumed what the policy of Her Majesty's Government would be relative to Afghan. For himself, he (Mr. Butler-Johnstone) inferred that no Government would assume towards the Afghans an offensive policy, for it was obvious that it would be wise to put between us and Russia a well-disposed people. When it was assumed that the policy of the Government at home was distinct from that of the Government of India, it was implied that there was a consensus of opinion in India which did not exist; and, after all, it was the Government at home which was responsible, and which would have to act if there were real danger, for power and responsibility must go together. It was, therefore, satisfactory to know that there was at home a Government which would accept the responsibility and meet the danger. Until the policy of Her Majesty's Government was known, it was impossible to criticize it. There was a general opinion as to our Indian Empire being in danger, and, in his opinion, that danger was two-fold: First, England was not, and he thought it never would be, a military Power; and when we had a military Power on our frontier, we must meet it in a military manner, or there would be danger to the Commonwealth. But our danger was not simply the danger of the invasion of our Indian Empire. The second element of danger here came in, for it was obvious that there must be scattered masses of disaffection, whether Mahomedan or otherwise, in a country where 60,000 or 70,000 governed 200,000,000, and our danger would be enhanced by the concentration of any of these scattered masses, and increased by the knowledge of there being a European nation, and some day possibly a hostile one, at the back of those who were disaffected. He agreed with the hon. Gentleman who moved and the hon. and learned Gentleman who seconded the Motion that we had no right to say to Russia—"You shall not go to central Asia," because the world, and even Central Asia, was large enough for Russia and for England. No doubt, it would diminish anxiety if our Indian Empire were surrounded by water and the desert; but, Russia being in our neighbourhood, we must deal with the fact. There was great cordiality between us, and he hoped it would long continue, for nothing could be more terrible to contemplate than a death struggle between two such Powers; and he believed no calamity of the kind would befal us during the life-time of the present Emperor; but the life of a man was short, as compared with the life of a nation, and we could not tell what our relations might be when the Russian railways were completed. Seeing that great danger, he said it was not a satisfactory thing to know that we could not put 100,000 into the field to put down another Mutiny or rebellion in India; but that number of men was not required. What it was necessary to do could be done by a scratch of the pen by the Prime Minister. What had two great men and authorities on India said? Sir John M'Neil said the "right of search" was a providential weapon placed in the hands of England for the defence of India. When the free city of Cracow lost its freedom, Lord Palmerston said it was a pity that the Vistula could not float men-of-war. But it was unnecessary that should be the case. England's maritime power could have saved Cracow if it had chosen. Lord Palmerston said the Empire of England was to be saved or defended not only in Europe, but in Asia. He (Mr. Butler-Johnstone) would adopt the converse of the phrase, and say that the great Empire of India was to be defended not only in Asia, but in Europe. If the Ministers of the Crown cared to do what the country would some day demand—namely, revert to the maritime rights of England, there would be no fear for India at the hands of Russia.
said, he concurred to a great extent with the last speaker, but he had heard a great part of the preceding speech with considerable apprehension. There was no man who could speak with more authority and accuracy in reference to the country and the feelings of the Indian population towards England than his hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell), but if he (Sir Henry Havelock) could accept the views of his hon. Friend in their entirety that would not make him feel more comfortable. His hon. Friend spoke of waiting 30 years; but, having studied the question for himself with the advantages of, as it were, hereditary knowledge, he should be surprised if we had to wait for five years before we were called upon to take action. He was no Russophobist; he had no fear of Russia, nor any other country. He did not believe that the interests of Russia and England were by any means so antagonistic as some supposed; but he believed that by prudent and friendly action, mutual conciliation, cordiality, and agreement, all possibility of a hostile collision might be avoided, and it might be shown that the world was large enough for the interests of both. It was generally supposed that the danger from the advances of Russia was to be looked for on the North-Western frontier, but people had too much neglected to look at the other line, in the direction of the West, in which the progress of Russia in Asia and Europe had been most marked. The situation of Russia had been totally changed during the last few years. During the Crimean War she had only one practicable railway. During the last 20 years, however, Russia, with the money we had lent her, had built 12 different lines of railway, not intended for commercial but purely for military and strategical purposes, and some of them extending themselves to Central Asia. The essential point was, that Russia had not only lines directed upon every country in Europe, but a partial railway communication with Asia, which was improving day by day. At the time of the Crimean War the Caucasus was a thorn in the side of Russia; now it was the stronghold of her power, and she would soon be able to carry her troops from the Baltic to the Caspian. Here she had a considerable flotilla, which, by traversing 250 miles by sea, would enable her to land troops on the south-east corner of the Caspian Sea. Hence she had a direct, easy, and open road by 20 days' marches to Teheran. It was not on the North-West or Northern frontier that Russia was most formidable, but she was established on the Oxus, and from that point to Merv was 180 miles, and thence to Herat was only 250 miles, or, as his hon. Friend suggested, 13 days' march. He was no alarmist. Looking at the policy of Russia in the matter of finance, he regarded heras almost in the same state of bankruptcy as Turkey. With an immense population, Russia had devoted her resources not to the development of her commerce, but mainly and chiefly to the development of her military power. An easy access to some sea was a commercial necessity with Russia, and it was one with which England could not help sympathizing. There were, however, two directions in which this aspiration might be fulfilled. One was in a south-easterly direction to the head of the Persian Gulf, and the other through the Black Sea and the Dardanelles to the Mediterranean. The advance of Russia was upon two lines, and might be compared to the antennæ of a crab, with one point on Khokand and the other in the neighbourhood of the Black Sea. She would thus be able to act on a double line, and upon neither were we prepared to meet her. He hoped that peace might be preserved, that the interests of England and Russia might coincide; but it was right that they should look at eventualities. These eventualities might come in this shape. Russia might say—"I have some views as regards Turkey and as regards access to the Mediterranean; I should regret if you have any objection, if so, we must take our own line." Should she do that, it would be difficult for us to meet her. The matter was one to which the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Baillie Cochrane) did well to draw attention. Very few people understood the question, and in one sense this was fortunate, because it would otherwise excite a greater degree of apprehension and alarm than would be altogether comfortable. The hon. Member only moved for certain Papers, and he (Sir Henry Havelock) did not see how the Government could decline to grant them, seeing that the question had reached a stage in which the facts ought to be in the hands of almost every Eng- lishman. As the Mahomedan population of India had been referred to, he might claim to have some knowledge also of them, and he could fully endorse what had been said by his hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell). We had made India more our own than it had ever been before by the justice, humanity, and evident unselfishness of our rule. But there were other Mahomedan populations than those subject to us in India, and they sympathized with each other. It was the natural destiny of Russia to become a still greater military Power, and we could not complain because, instead of being able, as formerly, to place 600,000 or 700,000 men in the field, Russia would soon put under arms 1,500,000 men. If her military organization went on, that number, vast as it was, might be increased before long by one-third. That was a contingency which ought not to be left out of the calculation. The Army of India would always be faithful to us, and there was no reason to doubt its efficiency for purposes of defence. But the House ought to be told that the Native Army system of India was at the present moment rotten from head to foot. He spoke of the Native Army, and he said it was never in a more critical position. [Sir George Campbell:No, no!] The House had, no doubt, seen that the Prince of Wales, in the course of his progress through India, had written a letter stating that the Army in India was in the highest state of efficiency and discipline, and this might appear to be in contradiction to what he had just said. The two things, however, might and did coexist. The Army of India might for ordinary peace purposes, for show and parade, appear to be a remarkably fine Army, and yet it might be radically defective in its organization so that it could not stand the test of war. The Native Army was, in fact, officered on entirely false principles. This was a matter which had never been sufficiently adverted to. It consisted of 140 battalions of infantry and 40 regiments of cavalry, all officered on the false principle of containing only five European officers each. [An hon. Member:And native officers.] If the hon. Gentleman supposed that the Native officers would supply the place of European officers he differed from him. A Native Army officered on these false principles was in great danger, when the critical moment arrived, of becoming a disorganized and rabble mass. It was of the highest importance that we should come to an understanding with Afghanistan. It had been said that Sir Lewis Pelly would not be sent as Envoy to Cabul; but he hoped there would shortly be such a friendship between ourselves and Afghanistan, and that the Afghans would accept him or whomever we might send as their best and warmest friend. The fact was, that we were labouring under that insane terror of Afghanistan and its passes which was brought about by the Afghan War of 1838–9. But the state of things at that period had now ceased to exist, and if we should ever be in a position of hostility to Afghanistan, the passes would present to us no difficulty whatever, as we could now carry rifled artillery of small weight over the most difficult heights. It was possible that if we continued to treat Afghanistan as we had done up to the present time by adopting an indefinite policy which she could not understand, she might throw herself into the arms of Russia, instead of depending upon us. In conclusion, he would say that his view of our position was this, that we should hail and foster by every means in our power any extension of Russian civilization and commerce in Asia which would lead her East and North, but that as regarded any advance to the South and South-West, we should be in a position to say—"Thus far shall you come, and no farther." He supported the Motion for the production of Papers, and hoped there would be no objection to that proceeding.
Sir, my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Baillie Cochrane) has brought forward one of those interesting annual Motions upon the state of our Indian Empire which always receive the attention of the House, and of which it may be said that almost every year some new incident occurs which adds, of course, increased interest to my hon. Friend's statements and speculations. Our attention is called to this question of our Indian Empire to-night in consequence of the conquest recently by Russia of the Khanate of Khokand. Now, that is not an event which was not anticipated, I think, by those who have given much attention to this subject. I think that from the period of the con- quest of Tashkend, some 10 years ago, everyone must have felt that it was almost inevitable that all these Khanates would be conquered by Russia, and that it was a question of time, which greatly depended of course on the conduct of the inhabitants of those countries themselves. I think that in the present instance they precipitated their fate by constant attempts to struggle against Russia—attempts which I am far from wishing in any way to discredit, as they probably add much to their honour and patriotism—but which, unfortunately brought about the termination of their political independence, which might otherwise have lasted some time. This event after all is one which was anticipated and is in a direction of country that is not peculiarly menacing to those Imperial interests which engage our attention. My hon. Friend has called our consideration to what he conceives to be the serious consequences of this event and of others of a similar character which may follow upon our position in India. My hon. Friend has substantiated his views by quoting from several individuals, some of them known, and men, no doubt, of talent and experience, but all utterly irresponsible in the opinions which they have given. One of them is anonymous, and that I think was the opinion on which my hon. Friend seemed to lay the greatest stress. That was the opinion of the gentleman who thought that this advance of Russia into Central Asia ought to be nipped in the bud. Now nipping in the bud means that the English power should have proceeded beyond our Indian boundary, should have crossed some deserts with which we have since become familiar, and should have entered upon one of the most hazardous, and I should say, one of the most unwise struggles that could well be conceived. Well, then, my hon. Friend says that we ought to come to some "understanding" with Russia. That is a very vague word, and I do not know that our "understandings" with Russia, which have sometimes upon these subjects assumed the character of promises which it seems were never given, have ever been realized. My hon. Friend in his speech seemed to me to treat the scheme of a neutral zone as one which had been brought into practice and had been sanctioned by the two great Powers of Russia and Great Britain. But the fact is that the neutral zone was a speculation in a diplomatic despatch, nothing more. It never was accepted at any Conference or Congress, nor was it ever expressed in any Protocol or Treaty. The idea that Great Britain and Russia agreed to establish a neutral zone between their respective Empires, and that Russia has all this time sytematically violated the neutral zone that was agreed upon, is one of those delusions which, having once got possession of the public mind, it is very difficult to terminate. The fact is that no neutral zone was ever agreed upon by the statesmen of the different Powers. With regard to understandings, there was an understanding aboutKhiva;but we must all admit that that was a most unfortunate understanding, because no two persons ever agreed as to what that understanding was. Therefore I am far from wishing to enter into any understanding with Russia to prevent those fears and apprehensions of which we have heard so much, and on which I may make a remark. The hon. and learned Gentleman who made an interesting speech in seconding the Motion of my hon. Friend certainly contributed much to the debate, but he did not enforce particularly the views of my hon. Friend. I must say that, although I should be proud on a fitting occasion to have the hon. and learned Member for Marylebone for a seconder, if he made as good a speech as he has delivered to night, still I would rather that he should support the policy I was recommending to the House instead of laying down that the conquest of Khokand was perfectly justifiable, and not in the least injurious, and stating that he should look forward with satisfaction to the conquest of Kashgar. That was not the kind of support which my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Wight might fairly have expected. The hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just sat down (Sir Henry Havelock) presses upon us the importance of establishing a substantial boundary to the great frontier State of Afghanistan. I believe that Her Majesty's Government are perfectly conscious of the importance of establishing the best relations with Afghanistan and of cherishing those relations; but although we are most anxious for the prosperity, the peace, and the power of Afghanistan, still we cannot be blind to the very unsatisfactory state of its present Government. We know that there are many who wish to be masters—which is very much to be deprecated—and that there are many aspirants to power. But that is not a state of affairs which can, in our opinion, be remedied by force. It is by cultivating friendly relations; it is by cherishing communications, which have been rarer than we could wish, but which, I hope, are increasing; and it is by commercial influence to a great degree that we must gradually obtain that position in Afghanistan which, I believe, would be a natural position for us if both countries were equally conscious of the independence, the security, and the peace that are involved in that relation. My hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Wight asks me whether I am prepared to grant the Papers which he requires. Now these Papers are of two kinds. He wants Copies of all Correspondence between Her Majesty's Government and the Russian Government respecting this occupation of Khokand. Well, there are none. Then he wants the Reports of Captain Napier or other officers on the frontier States. Well, these are confidential Reports to the Indian Government. It is unusual, and I think it would be unwise to produce Papers of this kind, and I therefore hope my hon. Friend will not be offended or suppose that we consider the subject which he has brought under our consideration is not one of interest and importance, if I request him not to press his Motion for documents, the greater part of which have no existence, and which as respects those we have could not be laid on the Table of the House without great indiscretion. I would not trouble the House to-night with the few remarks which I have made and which might have been made much better by my hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, had it not been for the speech which was made in the early part of the debate by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell), to whom on this subject I listened with attention, even when, as to-night, he made some statements which appear to me to be quite unfounded. The hon. Gentleman seems to me to look upon the present Motion as being in itself of no importance, and I am not sure that he would have condescended to take part in this discussion had it not been for the portentous declaration which he says has teen made by myself. It appears from the hon. Gentleman's view of the case that I am a Russophobist, and that I took in the House the other day the opportunity of hurling a menace at Russia. Now, what I said the other day I will advert to in a moment; but I was not aware at the time that the remarks which I then made would be the subject of such contrary interpretations, for they have been described on the one hand as being extremely indiscreet, and prompted only by the exigency of the moment, while to-night I come down to the House of Commons, and hear a high authority on such matters refer to them as observations which, instead of being indiscreet, and prompted by the exigency of the moment, indicated a change in our policy. Our future policy in the East was, according to the hon. Gentleman, shadowed forth by the observations which I made on the occasion to which he referred. The hon. Gentleman even alluded to certain proceedings which recently occurred at Khelat, as demonstrating the great change and revolution in our Indian policy to which he called the attention of the House. I can only assure the hon. Gentleman that what has taken place at Khelat is, as I believe, a wise and proper step, and one for which Lord Northbrook is as perfectly responsible, as he is for any act of his Administration; and if the hon. Gentleman wishes to obtain proof of this vast and dangerous change in our Indian policy, which he has not merely intimated, but announced this evening, but of which there is no evidence, he must not trust to the incidents which have taken place recently at Khelat. I take so very different a view of the relations between Russia and England, especially with reference to India, from those which the hon. Gentleman has imputed to me, that I must say I listened with considerable astonishment to his remarks. What I said the other night was, generally speaking, quite in accordance with all my previous declarations on the subject. I believe, Mr. Speaker, it is by courtesy allowed to a Member of the House to quote from a speech he has made in the Session, and I therefore quote this sentence—
Now, it seems to me to be somewhat curious that a man should be called a Russophobist for making a declaration of that kind. I went on to say—what I before stated in this House—"I am not of that school who view the advances of Russia into Asia with those deep misgivings some do. I think that Asia is large enough for the destinies of both Russia and England."
These may be considered indiscreet observations; they may be construed into a menace to Russia by the hon. Gentleman, who has not been very long in the House, though we are all glad that he is amongst us; but I may be allowed to say that ever since I have had any control over public affairs—which has been for now nearly a quarter of a century—so far as regards Foreign Affairs, and as representing a large Party, these are the opinions which I have invariably expressed. They are no secret to the Russian Government, which has heard them over and over again, not merely in Parliament, but in our offices and our drawing-rooms, and the Russian Government have always put upon them an interpretation perfectly different from that which the hon. Gentleman put upon. them. The Russian Government has not looked upon them as a menace, but, on the contrary, has regarded the language used as taking a common-sense view of the position of the two countries—that there was room enough in Asia for Russia and England, and that there was no reason whatever why there should not exist between us a clear understanding—not the understanding founded on a neutral zone, but an understanding the result of frankness and firmness. Russia knows full well there is no reason why we should view the natural development of her Empire in Asia with jealousy so long as it is clearly made aware by the Government of this country that we are resolved to maintain and strengthen both materially and morally our Indian Empire, and not merely do that, but also uphold our legitimate influence in the East. Russia, so far as I have had any influence in the conduct of our affairs, has been made perfectly aware of those views, and not only that, but they have thought them consistent with a good understanding between the two countries. I believe, indeed, that at no time has there been a better understanding between the Courts of St. James and St. Petersburg than at the present moment; and there is this good understanding because our policy is a clear and a frank policy. The observations which I made the other night some wise men of Gotham described as singularly indiscreet, and a wiser man this evening says he regards them as a direct menace to Russia; but those observations express the unanimous opinions of an united Cabinet, and those opinions have been some time ago conveyed in clear language by my noble Friend the Secretary of State to the Representative of Russia in this country, and I say without hesitation that it is only by that frank expression of our views that a good understanding between the two Empires can be maintained. But there is another way in which our affairs may be conducted. There is another way of viewing everything which is done by Russia in Asia. We may look upon it with silent suspicion; and if a circumstance occurs which is disagreeable to us, there may be a good deal of growling and grumbling without ever acting. The country may be suddenly surprised at finding that Russia has taken a course which it thinks dangerous and unprecedented because there has been no frank explanation between the two Empires as to the temper and mode in which their mutual relations are to be carried on. Now, far from looking forward with alarm to the development of the power of Russia in Central Asia, I see no reason why she should not conquer Tartary any more than why England should not have conquered India. I only wish that the people of Tartary may gain as much advantage by being conquered by Russia as the people of India from being conquered by this country. I must take this opportunity, therefore, of telling the hon. Gentleman who made this elaborate attack on the Government, because of the observations which fell from me the other day, once for all that he has totally misconceived my views, and, indeed, has I think done violence to them. There was nothing in my remarks on the occasion to which he referred which I had not said before. They are remarks which I believe accurately describe the feeling of the present Government towards Russia in relation to India, and which I believe are calculated to preserve the good and honest understanding that exists between the two countries. As to what the hon. Gentleman said about the occasion when I made those remarks as being a trumpery occasion, I beg to inform him that is an observation which I think he had no right to make. I could quote from books written by the hon. Gentleman himself passages which show that he is deeply impressed, with all his experience, with the importance of the title which Her Majesty should assume in India, and he must be aware, though it is convenient to talk of the absurdity of putting up against the Emperor of Russia, to withstand his invasion of India, the mere empty title of the Sovereign, that human nature is influenced by associations which are connected with titles, especially in the East; and if ever there was a moment on which an apt occasion should be seized of announcing to all the races of India the deep interest which this country takes in that Empire it was that of which we availed ourselves; and that when we were speaking of Russia with that cordiality and candour which we have always addressed to Russia since we have been responsible for the conduct of affairs, we were equally resolved to maintain our Indian Empire."Whatever may be my confidence in the destiny of England, I know that Empires are only maintained by vigilance, by firmness, by courage, by understanding the temper of the times, and by watching those significant indications that may easily be observed."
said, that when his Friends who sat near him occupied the opposite bench, he had on more than one occasion stated in the fullest detail their opinions and his own upon the whole question of the Russian advance in Central Asia. That being so, and their and his opinions remaining precisely the same, he thought it would be unpardonable in him to detain the House at that particular hour of the evening by going into a discussion of the general subject; but he had listened with so much astonishment to the remarks which had been made by his hon. and gallant Friend (Sir Henry Havelock), about the state of the Indian Army that he could not allow the discussion to close without putting a question on the subject to the noble Lord opposite, the Under Secretary of State for India. When he (Mr. Grant Duff) and his Friends left office some two years ago, the Indian Army was in a state to do any duty of any kind that could possibly be thrown upon it, as well or better than at any previous period of its history. He had no means of knowing other than by the usual channels of information whether any extraordinary change had recently occurred, and he wished to ask the noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for India, whether any despatches or other information had been received at the India Office, which could lend any colour whatever to the truly alarming and astonishing account of the Indian Army which had been given by his hon. and gallant Friend? He would be extremely surprised to learn that such was the case, believing, as he did, that his hon. and gallant Friend had merely been led by a burning zeal against certain arrangements of which he disapproved to use the very strong language which he had used.
said, that after the remarks made by the hon. Member for Elgin and lately Under Secretary of State for India, he could not refrain from stating that he concurred entirely with the remarks of the hon. and gallant Member for Sunderland (Sir Henry Havelock) as to the state of our Native Army in India. He had no doubt that as the Native Army was at present officered, it would, in time of peace, be found highly efficient. But in case of war the number of officers at present attached to Native infantry battalions would be quite insufficient to bear those drains which must be expected, thereby leaving the battalions without the number of officers which all our war experience proved to be essential for the efficiency of Native soldiers in the field. He wished to avail himself of the opportunity of asking when it would be made known to the Secretary of State that there were many officers who entertained grave doubts as to the efficiency of the Indian Army, so far as the number of European officers in it was concerned? It was the leading of European officers that rendered the Native soldier efficient in war. In the campaigns during the Mutiny one regiment in India was three times officered. Happily they had officers in reserve, or that Mutiny would have risen to a height that might have proved dangerous to our Indian Empire. With regard to the classes of Natives serving as soldiers to our Native Armies, he believed that their fitness for soldiers depended mainly on the good quality and on the number of European officers. In Bengal there were often loud praises bestowed on the class of Natives serving. Before the Mutiny, the Bengal Pandy class was lauded beyond measure, now it was the Sikh who was praised. For his own part, he believed that the Sikh Army of the Punjab was as much alarmed when attacked by the Bengal soldier led by European officers, as the Mutinied soldiers were alarmed when attacked by Sikhs led by European officers. With the experience they had had in the past, it appeared to be suicidal for them to risk the safety of India by officering the Native troops with so few officers as at present allowed to the Native Army. Indeed, the whole scheme of organization was one of their greatest blunders connected with India. He (Sir George Balfour) regretted that neither the hon. Gentleman who brought forward this Motion nor any other speaker had referred to one part of the Russian aggression, and that was the dangerous aggressions by Russia into China. It was upon China that the aggression of Russia, he believed, would be made, and it was in China Russia would find the wealth which would make her dangerous to our Indian Empire; and eventually by her encroachments round the seaboard of Tartary up to the Corean, Peninsula, Russia would obtain such a commanding influence over Japan and the sea coast of China as to be able to threaten and even destroy their commerce in those seas.
said, he had listened with regret to the observations of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, opposite (Sir Henry Havelock), in which he stated that the Indian Native Army was utterly rotten, and he was much surprised to find that statement endorsed by the hon. and gallant Member for Kincardineshire (Sir George Balfour), for that hon. and gallant Gentleman had been one of a Commission upon whose report the new organization had been mainly based.
explained. He denied all responsibility for the changes in the Indian Army of 1861; that those changes were ordered by Sir Charles Wood, then Secretary of State for India, on the advice of Major, now Major-General, Norman; and that all the responsibility borne by himself (Sir George Balfour) was for aiding to draw out the regulations and plans to get a practical effect to Sir Charles Woods' instructions.
Any statement coming from the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite (Sir Henry Havelock) in that House would naturally be much considered by people in India as well as the people of England. He was happy to say that during the last few weeks a large mass of Papers had been received from India, and they did not in any way confirm, but flatly contradicted, the statement of the hon. and gallant Gentleman. The fact was this—there were two classes of officers, who differed as to the best mode of officering Native Indian regiments. Some thought it could only be done by having a large number of European officers, and there were others who thought there ought to be a certain number of European officers, to be supplemented by Native officers. This was the system which had been adopted, and, so far as they knew, with great success. The state of the Indian Army had been under the consideration of the Government; Lord Northbrook had the advantage of the advice of Lord Napier on the subject, and they came to the conclusion that no organic changes were necessary. He would conclude by quoting the words of one who was an authority on the condition of the Native Army, and those words were—"The Native regiments, in appearance, equipment, and esprit de corps, are simply magnificent."
explained, in order to avoid future misapprehension of the purport of what he had said, that he did not in any degree intend to cast any imputation upon the officers or the Indian Army as to their professional reputation or efficiency. That reputation was as dear to him as his own. He had already stated that he believed the Native Army was efficient for all requisite purposes in a time of peace, but was not equal to the strain of a time of war, and he held that what the noble Lord had said confirmed his assertion, and in no way contradicted it.
said, after the straightforward reply which had fallen from the Prime Minister, he was ready to withdraw his Motion.
Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question," put, and agreed to.
Main Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
Barbadoes—The Recent Riots—Governor Hennessy
who had a Notice upon the Paper that he would call attention to the proceedings of His Excellency the Governor of the Windward Islands (Mr. John Pope Hennessy) in reference to the Island of Barbadoes, and move an Address for the following Papers:—
said, that when he gave Notice a month previous that he would call attention to the proceedings of Mr. Hennessy in Barbadoes, the telegrams, which had excited so much alarm, had not reached this country. His object was to take a calm and dispassionate review of the course adopted by Mr. Hennessy to carry out the policy of Confederation, a course, in his judgment, most impolitic, and which, in a few days, he might almost say hours, had rendered that policy odious in the eyes of the Legislature of the island. If there were good grounds for calling attention to the proceedings of Mr. Hennessy a month ago, there were still stronger grounds for calling attention to them now, when those proceedings had been followed by riot and bloodshed. Mr. Hennessy assumed the Governorship of the island under peculiarly favourable circumstances, his predecessor—Lieutenant Governor Freeling—having retired under a cloud of unpopularity, on account of his suddenly dissolving the House of Assembly on the question of the validity of a Member's election—a question on which all Representative Bodies were peculiarly sensitive. On the 23rd of November last Mr. Hennessy received quite an ovation when he opened the Legislative Session of the island after the General Election, in a speech which was described by the local journals as "manly, independent, and well-timed."He spoke of the Legislative Bodies as being "intelligent and patriotic," and congratulated them on the extraordinary aptitude for business which they had displayed during the previous short Session. He concluded his address with these remarkable words—"Copies of speeches of His Excellency the Governor of the Windward Islands (Mr. John Pope Hennessy) to the Council and the House of Assembly of Barbadoes on the 23rd day of November 1875, and the 3rd day of March 1876; of the answers of the Council and the House of Assembly thereto; of the Replies of His Excellency the Governor of the Windward Islands to the answers to his Speech of the 3rd day of March 1876; of the Message of His Excellency the Governor of the Windward Islands to the House of Assembly of Barbadoes dated the 18th day of January 1876, and Reply of the House of Assembly thereto; and, of the despatch of the Earl of Carnarvon to His Excellency the Governor of the Windward Islands, dated the 28th day of January 1876,"
Both Chambers delivered Addresses in reply to the Speech, thanking the Governor for the terms in which he addressed them. The House of Assembly said that the Governor would receive from the House the most emphatic and cordial acknowledgments. The House of Assembly rejoiced that His Excellency "recognized so distinctly the essential importance of paying a studied regard to local circumstances and local history in conducting the government of the country."In order to clear up the existing situation, it was necessary to refer very briefly to the constitutional history of the island. Barbadoes was one of the few West Indian Islands which was taken possession of by Europeans without bloodshed. It became ours by first occupation. When in 1605 an English colony first landed there and proclaimed James I. as owner of the island there were no inhabitants upon it; it was not, however, until 1625 that the island was permanently colonized by the English and the first Governor was elected. In 1627 Charles I. conferred patent rights upon the Earl of Carlisle over the island, and the patent expressly provided that the consent of the inhabitants should be necessary to the enacting of laws, and that these laws should be in conformity with the laws of England. In 1645 the island possessed the same constitution that it now had. In 1649 the slaves secretly conspired to massacre all the White inhabitants and make themselves masters of the island. The conspiracy was only disclosed at the last moment, through the fidelity of a slave to his master. Notwithstanding this untoward event, the island progressed in prosperity and in wealth, and its fame spread over Europe. In 1650, the English Parliament declared that all trade should cease between Barbadoes and foreign countries. The Legislature of the island indignantly protested against this, and said that they would adhere to freedom of commerce. Shall we be bound," they said, "by the Government and Lordships of a Parliament, in which we have no Representatives?" and they concluded by declaring that they would rather choose a noble death than forsake their old liberties and privileges." In 1651 Sir George Askew appeared off the island with a fleet and demanded its surrender to the Commonwealth. Lord Willoughby, once a Parliamentarian, but who then adhered to the Royal cause, was Governor of the island. He made a stout resistance, but owing to the disaffection of some of his officers the Parliamentary forces effected a lodgment in the island. Articles of capitulation were signed, which did infinite credit to both parties. They had ever since constituted the Magna Charta of Badian liberties. Some of the passages, indeed, followed almost literally the great Charter of England—"In an old and contented community like this, I believe that a Governor should not underrate local experience, that he should not lightly disregard the Conservative spirit of local traditions, that he should take ample time to form his own opinion, independently of the influences of class, creed, or colour; and, above all, that he should scrupulously respect the constitutional rights and privileges of the local Legislature."
Clause 1 guaranteed that there should be liberty of conscience;Clause 3 laid down the principle that there should be no taxation without representation; Clause 9 was in favour of freedom of commerce; and free emigration was guaranteed by Clause 11. Clause 19 declared that "the Government of the island" should be "by a Governor, Council, and Assembly, according to the ancient and usual custom" there; and it was declared that the Assembly should be "chosen by a free and voluntary election of the freeholders in the several parishes."In 1660 the Legislature of the island passed an Act limiting the duration of the Assembly to one year, and it had ever since been elected annually. In 1672 it was made imperative on the Governor to transmit to England all laws for the Royal approbation or rejection. Every person who paid parochial taxes for two years to the amount of £5 (equal to £3 6s. sterling) was entitled to the franchise; and more than half of the electoral body consisted of coloured persons and negroes, who were small freeholders. The managers of many large estates, on the other hand, were unenfranchised. The Legislative Council, in returning thanks to the Governor, referred to the various institutions of the island—"for the alleviation of suffering," the "administration of justice," the "punishment and repression of crime," the "preservation of peace and order," and the "education of the young."There were institutions for the alleviation of distress, such as the general hospital at Bridgetown, to which the colony contributed £6,630 per annum; a lazaretto, a lunatic asylum, and lighthouses to prevent shipwrecks on the coral reefs, by which the island was surrounded. For the punishment and repression of crime and the administration of justice there were six stipendiary magistrates, who had civil and criminal jurisdiction, and the verdict of a jury was necessary where cases were sent for trial. A summons in a civil case cost 1s., in a criminal case nothing. The negro population was fond of going to law. If the manager of a sugar plantation boxed the ears of a negro, he would be liable to an action of assault within 24 hours. A negro, on a summary conviction by a stipendiary magistrate, had an immediate right of appeal on the law and facts; first to a Court of Appeal, composed of three Judges; and, secondly, to the Chief Justice of the island; and was thus in a better position than an English workmen. All decisions, moreover, were sent, each fortnight, to the Court of Appeal, who re-considered them in the interests of the prisoners and suitors. For the "preservation of peace and order"there was a police force, which was established in 1835, and consisted of 260 men, and the island was the chief military station in the West Indies. The population was very dense, there being no fewer than 1,000 persons to the square mile; but that led to this—that every negro who wished to live must work, and therefore the capabilities of the soil were developed to the utmost extent. The island had the appearance of a well-kept garden. The exports in 1874 amounted to £1,140,000, whilst the imports were £1,040,000, this being nearly equal to the imports and exports of all the rest of the Windward Islands put together. The public debt of Grenada was £7,000, and that of St. Lucia, £15,000; but Barbadoes had no public debt at all. Provisions were extremely cheap, costing only a moiety of what they cost in the Leeward Islands. A shilling in Barbadoes went as far as two shillings in Demarara. Every facility was offered for emigration; but there being plenty of work and cheap provisions, the number of immigrants was larger than the number of emigrants. With regard to "the education of the young,"there were 162 primary and infant schools, in which there was payment by results, the average attendance of children being 1 in 18 of the whole population; and there were also two Colleges with University men as masters, and a collegiate grammar school. He thought that the Legislative Council might justly feel proud of the institutions of their little island, which was only about as large as the Isle of Wight. He would now turn to the other and less pleasant side of the medal, to Mr. Pope Hennessy's proceedings during the present year. The first document he asked for was the Message which the Governor sent to the Assembly on the 18th January last. In that Message he made no direct allusion to Confederation. He simply called on the House of Assembly to pass measures the practical effect of which would be to throw open the various institutions of Barbadoes to the inhabitants of the whole of the Windward Islands. The Assembly saw that the proposal meant Confederation, although the word was not used by Mr. Hennessy, and they made a "spontaneous request" that no such proposal should be pressed on them. They said that they had no power to legislate for the other islands, and they had no intention to become part of a Federation. The next document of importance which he moved for was the despatch of the Earl of Carnarvon dated the 28th January last. This document did infinite credit to the statesmanship of Lord Carnarvon, being of a thoroughly constitutional character throughout. In it the noble Lord, while advancing reasons in favour of Confederation, said that "Her Majesty's Government would take no steps towards Confederation except at the spontaneous request of each Legislature concerned," and that he "did not desire to press that question on the reluctant consideration of the colonists, as it was a proposal which should proceed from their own sense of what was right." That despatch was communicated by Mr. Hennessy to the House of Assembly on the 2nd of March, he being at the time aware that they had spontaneously protested against Confederation. On the following day, however, he delivered a speech in the Council Chamber to the two Houses of the Legislature, the Chamber being filled on that occasion with a number of roughs, some without jackets, and some even, he had been told, without trousers. These persons interrupted the proceedings with their applause at various passages of the speech. Mr. Hennessy skilfully began his address by referring to the Sugar Convention of 1864, which the planters considered pressed heavily upon them, and held out hopes to them that their grievances would be removed. That pleased the planters; but he went on to say that notwithstanding these difficulties, the planters and manufacturers were prosperous and rich. Then suddenly turning round on the two chambers of the Legislature he rebuked them for neglecting the poor of the island—"the people" as he called them. Speaking of "the people," as something distinct from the "other classes," he said they were "discontented," although in his first speech at Barbadoes he spoke of it as "an old and contented community. "He went on to say that vagrancy and crime prevailed in the island, and practically he laid the blame of this upon the Assembly. He said that the lowering of taxation and an abundance of employment would follow from the panacea which he presented to them and which was Confederation. Having in his first speech spoken of the Legislature as "intelligent and patriotic," and the House of Assembly having presented to him a "spontaneous request"against Confederation, Mr. Hennessy concluded his speech with these words, which had been styled by a London periodical "perilously direct"—"That no man shall be imprisoned or put out of the possession of lands and tenements or of goods and chattels without due proceedings, according to the known laws of England and the statutes and customs of this island in the Courts of Justice here first had, and judgment for the same obtained, and execution thence awarded."
thus holding up the House of Assembly, which had protested against Confederation, to the execration of the population. At that moment all the year's wealth of the planters was wasting in the fields. Incendiary fires immediately broke out in all parts of the island, causing great destruction of property. Riots and bloodshed followed. All this was distinctly traceable to the inflammatory language of the Governor. The House of Assembly, in their reply to this second speech, said that the rate of wages depended upon economic laws, altogether "beyond the control of any legislation;" and that the best thing for trade was to let it alone—to leave it "free and unfettered." Taxation in the island was only at the rate of 18s.6d. a-head, while in British Guinea it was £3 8s. 4d. a-head, and in Trinidad £2 4s. 10d. a-head. The great mass of the labouring population was exempt from "parochial"—that was, local—taxation. The lowest fiscal duties possible were imposed on imported articles in ordinary use by the masses. Facilities were afforded for emigration to those who could not obtain employment in the island. There had been a Commission sitting on the subject of the education of the children of the people before Mr. Hennessy's arrival, and "the House of Assembly would gladly accord to its recommendations a favourable consideration."The criminal statistics of the colony could bear favourable comparison with those of any other colony. They pointed to the Leeward Islands as a proof that Confederation did not mean social and material improvement, and they pointed with gratitude to the constitutional utterances of Lord Carnarvon, that—"I feel confident that no intelligent person who loves Barbadoes will take the serious respon- sibility of standing between his poorer countrymen and the wise policy of the British Government"—
"the Government could not proceed with any measure of Confederation, except at the spontaneous request of the Legislature." "Barbadoes," they added, "it is true, is a small colony, but for upwards of 200 years, as the House of Assembly must be excused for again reminding your Excellency, it has enjoyed representative government, and on that account alone it is entitled to the same respect for its constitutional rights as the most favoured possessions of the Crown. And the House of Assembly entertain a solemn conviction that the Secretary of State and the English people would strongly deprecate any attempt to carry a measure of Confederation in these islands by setting class against class, or by arousing a spirit of discontent and schism in this ancient and loyal, and withal peaceful and contented colony."
rising to Order, asked the Speaker, whether the hon. and learned Gentleman was not transgressing the Rules of the House in reading long extracts from the newspapers?
said, he understood the hon. and learned Gentleman to be quoting from official documents.
said, he had been reading extracts from the records of what passed between the Governor and the Assembly. The language used by the Governor in addressing the Legislature had in some other respects been imprudent and unconstitutional. He took occasion, for instance, in the course of his rejoinder to the Assembly, to tell them that he could not give his assent to the Prisons Bill before that Bill had yet passed. He further told them that Confederation would "come about by the initiative of 'the people' themselves." The Legislative Council, in their reply, having quoted a statement of Earl Granville in the House of Lords, to the effect that "a colony having representative institutions, though it may be a small one, should be as punctiliously treated as the largest of the colonies," Mr. Hennessy, in his rejoinder, said—
thus trying to cut off all hope of succour from England. The Chamber of Commerce of the island were desirous of presenting an address against Confederation. Mr. Hennessy refused to receive it. In it they referred to the taunt that the "cat" had been used in the prisons, and they pointed out that that was done under instructions from Lord Cardwell, and that its use was in each case sanctioned by the ExecutiveGovernment. They deprecated the action of the Governor in setting convicts free as dangerous to the peace of the island. The statement contained in the private telegram, which had been received in this country, that 500 prisoners had been taken, and that 40 persons had been shot, had been denounced as highly coloured; but Mr. Hennessy himself, in answer to a telegram from Lord Carnarvon requiring definite information on the subject, stated that the number of prisoners taken actually plundering was 90, and of those apprehended afterwards on suspicion of rioting and of having received stolen goods 320, making a total of 410 prisoners; and that the number of killed was 1, of those who had died of their wounds 2, and of those who had been wounded 16; making a total of at least 19 persons shot. Mr. Hennessy, in his earlier telegram, stated that "the troops had not fired a shot," but in a later one he admitted that the police had fired twice—statements involving at least a sort of mental reservation on the part of Mr. Hennessy. He thought he had clearly shown by the State documents he had cited that the conduct of the Governor of the Windward Islands had been wanting in tact, and was calculated to bring representative institutions into contempt. He had brought forward this subject at the present time because delays were proverbially dangerous, and because Mr. Hennessy showed no disposition to depart from the unconstitutional course he had adopted of forcing the Legislature of Barbadoes to assent to Confederation, in distinct violation of the promise given by Lord Carnarvon that the Confederation should only be brought about on the spontaneous request of the local Legislation. He was informed that Mr. Hennessy had actually threatened to dissolve the Legislature if they petitioned for his removal. He did not ask for Mr. Hennessy's recall, but he trusted the Government would lose no time in interfering in the matter. He had been pressed on a former occasion by a Lagos merchant, a leading constituent of his, to call the attention of the House to Mr. Hennessy's proceedings on the Gold Coast, and he had refused to do so on the ground that Mr. Hennessy, when in that House, had acted with the Party to which he belonged; he now regretted that refusal, because, in the opinion of many well-informed persons, the proceedings of Mr. Hennessy on the Gold Coast largely contributed to bring about the Ashantee War."You refer to a recent debate in the House of Lords, and quote a few words from the speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Earl Granville). The sentence you quote may lead to misapprehension if it were imagined that his Lordship was speaking of representative institutions connected with the Legislatures of the Windward Islands. It is better to terminate at once any illusions you may have as to the views of so eminent and influential a man;"
regretted that the House had been called upon to discuss that important subject without full and adequate information, and he was disinclined to follow the hon. and learned Member for Salford (Mr. Charley). But, knowing personally something about the island, and having been privately informed of the present state of excitement there, he was able to say something about it, and he was glad it was so, for it would be productive of mischief to allow the strong and one sided speech of the hon. and learned Member to pass with only an official answer. The hon. and learned Gentleman, in stating that the constitution of Barbadoes was the same now as it was 200 or 300 years ago, must have forgotten that a considerable change had of late years taken place there. The constitution of the past might have been considered satisfactory in the days of slavery, but it was unfitted to the days of freedom. He was not so satisfied as the hon. and learned Gentleman with the condition of the people of Barbadoes, and the ministers of religion there stated emphatically that they never saw a community in which there existed such intense and apparently hopeless poverty as in Barbadoes, and where the people were so ignorant. It was said that the agitation had been caused by the ill-advised proceedings of the Governor. Well, he was not there to defend Mr. Pope Hennessy, for his defence naturally rested with Her Majesty's Government. Be that as it might, however, he believed Mr. Hennessy was not even the chief, much less the sole, cause of the agitation that had taken place in the island, because months before Mr. Pope Hennessy arrived in the island considerable agitation existed there upon this question of Confederation. One of the largest landowners in the island and the last and present Governors were in favour of Confederation. The excitement was so great about it that it was stated that the result would be the imposition of a poll-tax, and that the negroes would be again reduced to slavery, and the popular feeling was so strong that the life of the gentleman he had referred to was in jeopardy. When Mr. Pope Hennessy arrived, he, in obedience to instructions received from the Colonial Secretary, laid the Earl of Kimberley's and the Earl of Carnarvon's despatches before the Assembly at the same time—the Earl of Carnarvon having adopted the views of his predecessor in office. He did not believe that Mr. Pope Hennessy was responsible for the popular agitation that existed, but the opponents of Confederation, who had formed themselves into a Defence Association and summoned meetings in all parts of the island by calling upon the inhabitants to "Come one; come all—no Confederation!"That excited the people, which it was neither wise nor prudent to do, for the result was the disturbances which they all deplored. The people, however, found that they had been deceived by agitators, and that the scheme of Confederation, if adopted, would tend to lighten taxation and also to improve the administration of justice. Immediately after Mr. Pope Hennessy had delivered his speech to the Assembly a dead set was made at him, the opponents of Confederation being determined that he should be re-called for carrying out the Earl of Carnarvon's instructions. One newspaper, The Barbadoes Agricultural Reporter, characterized the Governor as a political firebrand, under whom there could be no peace, and who must be quenched, and also spoke of the West India islands as communities which, in time of war, so far from uniting for purposes of defence, would be happy to be captured by any foreign Power from which they might hope to receive justice. The Barbadoes Defence Association he had before referred to afterwards endorsed, through their secretary, the sentiments expressed in that newspaper by thanking it for its support of their cause. He could not help thinking that testimonials from the Press of that character threw a little light upon the deputation to the Colonial Office a few days ago, and showed that the excitement which had arisen in the island was not confined to one section of the inhabitants only, but that the White population had equally lost their heads with the negroes. Whatever course the Home Government might think fit to adopt, he hoped they would stand by the policy of Confederation—a policy essential to the welfare of those islands, which, though rich in natural resources, were too small separately to provide the means of good government, and ought for that purpose to be united together. It had been the opinion of successive Secretaries of the Colonies, and a large number of the inhabitants of these islands had proposed, that there should be a confederation of the islands, and nothing could be more dangerous to society in Barbadoes than that what should be declared by successive Governments to be for the benefit of those islands and by the population to be necessary should be stopped by a small oligarchy. It had been proposed by Governor Hennessy to make no change as regarded the Constitution of Barbadoes, but things had now reached that point at which the scheme of Confederation must either be given up or that Constitution must be altered.
said, that as an owner of land in Barbadoes, he wished to make a few remarks. He was able to state that up to the time of Mr. Pope Hennessy going there the island was in a flourishing condition, but it was now in an unsettled and unsatisfactory condition. It was unfortunate that these disturbances should have taken place at a period of the year when the sugar crop, which was valued at £1,000,000, was being got in. The negroes of Barbadoes could not be so dissatisfied and discontented, because emigration agents had been trying for some time to induce them to emigrate to Demerara, Trinidad, and other adjacent places where there was a want of labour, and those negroes who had gone there had returned again to Barbadoes, showing that they were not dissatisfied with their wages and their position in that island. The negroes, unfortunately, could not be got to work longer than was necessary to earn enough to live upon, which they could do in three or four days a-week. In Barbadoes, as in England, large bodies of the working population were very ignorant; but there was a school on the average for every square mile in the island—a fact which showed that education was not so much neglected there as some alleged. It was said that although 3 persons had been killed and 16 wounded, the riots could not be called serious, because they had been quelled by the police without the action of the troops. But it should be said that the police in Barbadoes were armed with rifles, and were soldiers in everything except the name. He (Mr. Thornhill) had heard that a telegram was read yesterday, stating that the Assembly had resolved upon an Address to the Crown, asking Her Majesty to remove Governor Hennessy; and that he, in return, had stated that he would dissolve the House. If that were true, it would show that dissensions and disturbances were still going on, and that they were likely to continue, unless the Home Government took some action. That was a reason why an inquiry was wanted now instead of waiting for proofs. A statement had been made that nine-tenths of the coloured population were in favour of confederation; but he (Mr. Thornhill) could not credit that, because Mr. Reeves, the Solicitor General, who had resigned because he could not agree with the views of Mr. Pope Hennessy, was a coloured gentleman, and there was good reason for believing that the coloured people were as much opposed to it as the White inhabitants of the island. He trusted that after what had occurred the noble Lord the Secretary of State for the Colonies would abandon the policy of confederation as far as Barbadoes was concerned, and that he would give the colony back its old Executive Council which it had had since 1652. He thought it would be most unjust to remove Mr. Pope Hennessy from his present post on a mere telegram; but he must say that until pressed by the Secretary of State, the telegrams which he had sent were as scant and understated as the private telegrams could have been overstated and exaggerated. The Secretary for the Colonies had said that he would not force confederation on the islands, but that it must come from the spontaneous action of the Legislatures. Here, however, was a Governor who went about touting for confederation. Surely that could not be considered "spontaneous action, "and he hoped such conduct would not receive the support of Her Majesty's Government. It would be most unjust, he admitted, to remove Mr. Hennessy without giving him an opportunity of defending himself; but as it was evident that Mr. Hennessy had brought on those disturbances by the injudicious and hasty manner in which he had sought to promote confederation, it would be for Her Majesty's Government to give the matter their most serious consideration, as it would be most difficult after what had occurred to restore good feeling between the Governor and a large proportion of the inhabitants of the island.
put it to the House whether they were in a position to con- tinue a discussion upon the conduct of Governor Hennessy and of the question until the Papers had been presented to Parliament. He wished to abstain from giving any opinion, either on the conduct of the Governor, or on the merits of the case;and he simply wished to state that he had received communications from the Chairman and deputy Chairman of the West India Committee, who had been active in the matter, that they entirely shared in the view that it would be premature and unjust to all the interests concerned if, in the present state of the question, there should be opinions formed by the House of Commons. They felt that it would be most improper to endeavour to elicit any opinion from the House of Commons as to the conduct of the Governor in the present state of the information before it. That there had been political and social agitation in the colony, and changes in the Constitution, both actual and contemplated, they had no doubt, and under those circumstances they considered that it was their duty to communicate to the Colonial Office the telegrams which they received. The information which they received induced them to believe that matters were sufficiently serious for the duty of restoring peace and order to be placed in the hands of one who was not connected with the local political questions which had produced the agitation; but they wished him to state in the House of Commons and to the Colonial authorities that they regretted that it should for one moment have been supposed that they wished and asked for the recall of the Governor without his having the opportunity of offering an explanation. For such explanation they understood Lord Carnarvon had telegraphed, and the West Indian Committee considered that in the meantime the matter had better be left in his hands. Under the circumstances, he hoped the debate would not be continued.
agreed with the right hon. Gentleman that it would not be desirable in the present state of their information to prolong the discussion. He wished to say, however, that he considered that the hon. and learned Gentleman who had introduced the subject (Mr. Charley) had in the hour which his speech had occupied done great injustice to the Governor, whose career at its outset it was attempted to destroy. Mr. Pope Hennessy was neither a political nor personal friend of his, but he was aware of a number of circumstances which would mitigate, if it was required, any judgment pronounced upon his conduct. He thought it somewhat hard upon the Governor that he should be attacked in that House by his own political Friends on incomplete and one-sided information.
said, he did not wish the debate should be prolonged, but he thought his hon. and learned Friend was justified in what he had done, seeing that his statements were founded on official documents. He hoped Her Majesty's Government would re-consider the policy of confederation.
said, the House would readily understand the difficulty which he felt in entering into any lengthened explanation with regard to the affairs which had been brought under the notice of the House. He could not join in attaching any blame to his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Salford (Mr. Charley) for having drawn the attention of the House to the subject, for the language which he employed did not lay him open to any animadversion. As far as he understood the case, his hon. and learned Friend had alleged that agitation was still being carried on at the instance of the Governor, and if the hon. and learned Gentleman believed that to be the case he was fully justified in bringing the subject under the notice of the House; but he (Mr. Lowther) believed there was no foundation for the statement. The House had heard from the hon. and learned Gentleman and other speakers reference to the subject of confederation, a subject which no doubt had been the cause of the present excitement. It was frankly admitted by his hon. and learned Friend, and also by others, that on this question of confederation there had been no divergence of opinion between successive Colonial Secretaries. The despatches of Lord Granville, Lord Kimberley, and his noble Friend now at the head of the Colonial Office had coincided in recommending a scheme of confederation to the earnest attention of the Legislature of Barbadoes. Lord Carnarvon also stated distinctly his opinion that any scheme of confederation which should be submitted to the Legislature should be left to their own spontaneous action, and that he could be no party to the forcing on of such a policy contrary to the wishes of the Legislature. This despatch had already been cited and need not be repeated; but to show that this guiding principle had not been lost sight of during the last few weeks, he would quote the following despatch from Lord Carnarvon to Governor Hennessy:—
That telegram was sent in consequence of allegations to the effect that the Governor was personally conducting the agitation contrary to the distinct injunction contained in the despatch previously quoted. This brought him to a delicate part of the subject, the alleged individual action of the Governor with regard to the agitation; and he confessed that, if he felt there was any truth in it, he should experience the greatest difficulty in defending the conduct of the Governor. He could not bring himself to think that, with the distinct injunction of the Secretary of State before him, in addition to the ordinary feelings which should actuate a person occupying so high and important a position, the Governor could in any way have lent himself to such a proceeding. In consequence of renewed representations made from the West India Committee, another telegram was sent to the Governor—"Representations coming from many quarters as to the great and alarming excitement arising from Confederation, such as burning of canes, &c., make me anxious. Telegraph whether there is any truth in the reports. You must clearly understand that no scheme can be forced on the Colony, and you must exercise the greatest caution to prevent political agitation among the native population."
The Governor replied in the course of a long telegram—"Fresh statements made to me to-day of very serious riot at Prospect plantation. Death of one man, wounding of others; apprehension of dangerous disturbances through alleged Government agitation. I have permitted and can sanction no such agitation, and I trust statement is wholly unfounded. Telegraph immediately true facts of case and what steps taken."
Another telegram contained the assurance of the Governor of Barbadoes that neither the action of the local Government nor the protective action of Her Majesty's Government had been made use of in favour of agitation. This showed that Governor Hennessy was well aware of the views of the Colonial Office and expressed his intention to act accordingly. In another telegram his noble Friend said—"From the first I have prevented agitation or meetings in favour of Confederation. I only allow meetings against it, not wishing to coerce the free action of those opposed."
That showed that, so far as the Government were concerned, and so far as they had every assurance from the Governor of Barbadoes, the action either of the local Government, or the reflected action of Her Majesty's Government, had in no way been made use of in favour of agitation on the subject. At any time and under any circumstances he, for one, should deeply regret attempts to coerce the free and independent action of any Legislative Assembly. Members of that House, upon whatever side they sat, would join him in deprecating any such action;and he could only say that if a policy of confederation did not commend itself to the Legislature of Barbadoes, it was a result which he should regret, but it would be the duty of Her Majesty's Government to bow to the decision. With regard to the statement that the Governor had made indiscreet speeches to the Assembly, it certainly was a matter of serious consideration for any Governor, addressing a Legislature, as to what language he might or might not rightly adopt, according to circumstances. The language which had been quoted certainly required explanation. Without expressing any opinion upon it, he would simply inform the House that the special attention of the Governor had been drawn to certain passages in his speech, and that he had been invited to give a full and complete explanation of the circumstances attending their use. As to any disorderly scene in the Assembly during the delivery of the speech, he had no information to guide him upon the subject. He had seen the rumours to which reference had been made;but be was not aware what were the regulations with respect to the admission of strangers into the Assembly. It was possible that some of them had not conducted themselves with perfect decorum. At any rate, whatever the facts were, he could hardly think that the Governor could be held personally responsible for the admission of the strangers who were said to have created a dis- turbance. And he could not help remembering that the Assembly of Barbadoes was not the only legislative body in the world which had found the question of the admission of strangers one of difficulty. Then it was said that an invidious use had been made by the Governor of the word "people," as applied to only one class of the people. It was impossible to speak on this point without the explanations which had been requested, and would, in due time, he trusted, arrive from the Governor. A far more serious branch of the question was the allegation put forward on the authority of a most respectable and influential body—the West India Committee—that the Governor was personally conducting agitation. It was only fair to say that, so far, he had heard no confirmation of this very serious accusation, and to point out that appeals had for some time previously been made to the inflammatory population of Barbadoes by the very persons who now complained of such appeals. He confessed that he was alarmed on hearing that any appeals whatever had been made to so excitable a population. The negroes of Barbadoes were scarcely an audience to which very passionate appeals should be made; and this made him wonder that persons who were interested in the preservation of property in the island—the planters and estate agents—should so address this highly inflammatory element. It had been stated that, in the course of his speech in the Legislature, to which exception had been taken, the Governor alluded to the condition of the public institutions in the island, including gaols and hospitals. The Governor did not appear to have exceeded his duty in that respect, for he seemed to have simply drawn the serious attention of the Legislature to the state of those institutions. As to the rate of wages, which was also alluded to in the Governor's speech, he must remind the House that the population of Barbadoes was a dense one; and that it appeared to be one of the few West India islands in which the people would condescend to work to any great extent. He could not assent to the doctrine that because wages were low, it would of necessity be an act of kindness to the labouring classes to raise them to any great extent. The modern panacea for almost all ills was high wages; but recent experience in this country showed that high wages did not invariably redound to the advantage of a community. On this point, also, however, it would be well to wait for further information before the House came to any conclusion. In a mixed community like Barbadoes, where the Black portion of the community outnumbered the White, it was only natural that panics should from time to time arise, and it was impossible perhaps for people at a distance to avoid forming strong opinions on one or the other side. Some could not avoid giving expression to their natural sympathy for men of their own race surrounded by a ferocious negro mob, while there there were others whose proclivities always led to their constituting themselves the champions of the inferior race under all circumstances and conditions; but a Member of Her Majesty's Government as such could allow himself to have no sympathies, and it had always been the policy of Her Majesty's Government to study the wants and requirements of all classes, sections, and interests, without distinction of race, colour, or creed; and on this, as on all occasions, it was desirable that the Government should say nothing which could in any way be converted into a feeling of special or undue leaning to one section of the population at the expense of the other. The difficulties of a Governor in such a colony could hardly be overrated, for he had to display impartiality in every action of life. On previous occasions Governors who had adopted a line which might have been approved by the ruling race had been persecuted by those who differed from them. It was our duty here to consider dispassionately the difficulties in which a Governor was placed and to say nothing which could add to his embarrassment. Since these difficulties had arisen Mr. Hennessy had pursued a conciliatory line in regard to those who differed from him, naming a distinguished opponent of Confederation as President of the Council, and allowing the Solicitor General to vote against the scheme. Mr. Hennessy once occupied a honourable position in this House, and was generally looked upon as a rising Member, and he transferred his services to his country to another sphere. While it was the duty of the Government fully to consider the serious charges which had been brought against him, he was as yet fully entitled to the benefit of any doubt. The House would be glad to hear that, so far as the last advices went, Her Majesty's Government had reason to hope that there was no cause to fear any further alarm respecting the preservation of order. The latest telegrams, from official and private sources, made no allusion whatever to any form of disturbance; and he trusted that these unhappy circumstances might be considered at an end. The force at the disposal of the authorities was some 600 strong, a large proportion of whom were Whites, which, in an island of about the size of the Isle of Wight, was a considerable force. Besides that, there was within reach a very large contingent in the neighboring islands. His hon. Friend the Member for West Suffolk (Mr. Thornhill), whom he must congratulate upon the success of his first speech, alluded to a telegram stating that the Governor had threatened a dissolution if the Assembly adopted a petition to the Home Government; but it was impossible to conceive that a Colonial Governor would do anything so unconstitutional. In conclusion, he might state that the Papers which the hon. and learned Member asked for would be included in others now in course of preparation, and the whole would, he hoped, be in the hands of hon. Members without unnecessary delay. Under the circumstances, he had no doubt that the hon. and learned Member would not press his Motion."Urge earnestly on all parties to cease from political agitation, for which there is no justification after my despatch, and which must be put down firmly for this very reason."
said, that from the little information which had been given to the House there was not reason to suppose that Governor Hennessy had failed in his duty. He saw, however, one thing to which he must take exception. Mr. Hennessy declared that he had not permitted any meetings in favour of Confederation, but had permitted meetings against it. That appeared to him to be a very one-sided proceeding, and he hoped it would not be sanctioned by the Government. Nothing could be more difficult than to hold the balance equally between the White and Black Traces, where their interests were to some degree antagonistic. It had been said that a Governor who took the part of the whites was subjected to malignant persecution in this country. He knew of no instance of that kind, but thought the case was exactly the reverse. Whenever Governors passed laws that pressed hardly on the coloured population, they were loudly praised by the local Press and promoted; whereas the Governors who took the side of the Black population had had islands made too hot to hold them, and were obliged to resign. The hon. and learned Gentleman who had introduced the Motion (Mr. Charley) had spoken of the Constitution which had been given to Barbadoes, and which conferred on the people the right of self-government. But who were the people? What was the population of the island which exercised this right of self-government?It was what might be called a planter oligarchy. It had been stated, and it had not been denied, that those persons who had the whole control of the Government consisted of 1,300, out of a population of 160,000. Could there be a more patent case of an oligarchy, and was not this Constitution similar to that which it had been found necessary to abrogate in Jamaica? Under these circumstances, the position of a Governor who had impartially to administer justice to all classes was one of the greatest difficulty; and it seemed to him, he must confess, highly improbable that a gentleman of Mr. Hennessy's acknowledged ability should have committed the imprudences which were laid to his charge, or that he should be unable to give good reasons for the course which he had pursued. As matters stood, it might be found necessary that reforms in Barbadoes should come from pressure from without, for it was, in his opinion, extremely doubtful whether its present Legislature could carry them from within, and he hoped, therefore, the Government would hold themselves free to correct any faults in the Constitution which might exist there with the support of that House, so that equal justice might be secured to all the inhabitants of the island.
as a personal friend of Mr. Hennessy's, wished to say a few words. That hon. Gentleman, who, when he entered the House, was a very young man, was entrusted with the conduct of many important subjects, and had earned the highest opinion from all Members for the judgment, moderation, and tact with which he took part in the debates, He (Sir George Bowyer) was certain that when full information as to recent occurrences in Barbadoes reached this country it would be found that he was justified in the course which he had taken. He regretted, he might add, that the subject had been brought before the House at all, because what fell from hon. Members in debate was not confined within the walls of the House, nor even within the limits of the country, but went forth to distant places where matters were not so well understood and where frequently a bad effect was produced. When Party spirit ran high, nothing could be more dangerous than debate on imperfect materials; and he was afraid that when the report of this discussion was read in the colony, the difficulties of the Governor would be greatly increased. There had been examples lately of speeches made of a most mischievous description calculated to lead to the worst results when they came to be translated into the native language of one of our great Dependencies, and when a colony happened to be in a position of difficulty nothing could, in his opinion, be more inconvenient than that the subject should be discussed by the House with imperfect information, and on the faithof contradictory telegrams calculated to mislead. He trusted a generous interpretation would be put on the acts of the Governor, who he had no doubt whatever had acted for the honour of the Crown and the safety of the Dependency which was committed to hiscare.
Magistrates (Ireland)—Speech At An Orange Meeting
in rising to call attention to the report which has appeared in The Freeman's Journal of the 9th of December last of a speech delivered at a public meeting of Orangemen in the city of Dublin by Captain Barton, a Deputy Lieutenant and Justice of the Peace for the county of Fermanagh, and to ask the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Whether any steps have been taken by the Lord Lieutenant or the Lord Chancellor to ascertain the correctness of that report; and, whether it is intended to take any notice of the speech attributed to Captain Barton? said, he had a very unpleasant duty to perform in introducing the subject to the House, but he felt sure that all educatedEnglishmen, Scotchmen, and Welshmen would disapprove of the circumstances which he had to bring to their knowledge. It was a question which to his mind was of great importance, as dealing with the question of the government of Ireland, and the due administration of justice in carrying out the Acts passed by Parliament. He thought that the conduct of those entrusted with the administration of the law ought to be above suspicion. They all knew that Ireland, especially the Northern part, was divided into two parties with respect to religion. In the North of Ireland Party feeling ran very high, as the numbers of each Party were more equal than they were in any other part. But when they came to dealing with the question of the administration of justice it must be borne in mind that in the North of Ireland there were 700,000 Catholics as against 800,000 of all other denominations, and there was an opinion in Ireland that they should have a certain number of Catholic justices to represent the feelings and rights of the Catholics—an arrangement that would give the great body of the people of the country confidence in the administration of the law. He, however, found that in the country of Fermanagh there were 51,000 Catholics as against 41,000 of other denominations, and on looking at the constitution of the justices of the peace roll he found that, so far as he could ascertain—and he had a pretty good knowledge of the men—there was not one Catholic upon the list, although there were 69 justices of the peace for the country. He thought that would strike the House as being a most remarkable fact. There were also 17 deputy lieutenants in the North of Ireland, and none of them were Catholics. That being the case, it would strike any one that gentlemen bearing commissions of the peace for the county of Fermanagh should have an extreme delicacy and should be very scrupulous of expressing opinions on matters of religion. In the case to which he wished to call attention the gentleman had not displayed that delicacy, and he thought the language would be disapproved of by almost every hon. Member present. Some years ago a meeting was held at Cavan in favour of the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich relating to the Irish Land laws. The people returning from that meeting separated into two contingents, one of them going on to Dromore, and the contingent was fired upon and a man shot. On the 9th of December last, at a public meeting of Orangemen held in the City of Dublin, Captain Barton made a speech, and was reported in The Freeman's Journal to have said that if the men brother Johnston had promised them were like the other men of the North, they would make short work of their opponents. Captain Barton went on to justify the murder to which he had alluded. Such language as that was not what they would have expected to hear from a man bearing Her Majesty's commission of the peace. He might state that Governments had from time to time endeavoured to discourage those Orange meetings, and the delivery of violent language in which they were in the habit of indulging; and the late Lord Chancellor had administered a severe rebuke to them, and intimated that it was owing to the conduct and language of Orange Societies that embittered and hostile feelings were kept up in the country. His Lordship then warned them that any magistrate that indulged in violent language would be dismissed from the commission of the peace, and said that it must be put a stop to, and, further, that no young man holding and expressing such opinions would be allowed to hold the magisterial office. He (Mr. Fay) deemed it right to say that the Catholics in the North of Ireland could not have confidence in the laws administered by such men. He thought he had made out a case in support of the Notice he had placed on the Paper. The Catholics in the North of Ireland felt themselves unfairly treated in the matter of magistrates. In an extract from a letter written by a Catholic Bishop to a Member of Parliament on an almost similar question to the present, the most rev. Prelate said he hoped the case would cause an alteration in the constitution of the Irish magistrates, because at that time one section of the community felt that it could not exercise its lawful privileges with safety, whilst another section felt that it could violate the law and violate it with perfect safety. He thought the language used by Captain Barton was most improper, and wished to know whether any notice would be taken of it. He believed that when all the facts were known the verdict of that House, and of all dispassionate Englishmen and Scotchmen, as well as Irishmen, would be that such a person ought not to remain in the commission of the peace.
said, that the hon. Member for Cavan County (Mr. Fay) had not only referred to Captain Barton's speech, but had found fault generally with the constitution of the magistracy. The magistrates in Ulster, as in the rest of Ireland, were appointed by the Lord Chancellor on the recommendation of the Lord Lieutenants of counties, and among those Lord Lieutenants were Lord Lisgar and Lord Dufferin, and other gentlemen who were known to be above any party or religious prejudice. It should, however, be borne in mind by those who contrasted the numbers of Catholic and Protestant magistrates in the North of Ireland, that a great proportion of the persons of wealth, education, and social position were Protestants. Magistrates could not be appointed without reference to the property qualification which they were bound by law to find, to their education, and social position; and if it were possible to make any inquiry as to the number of the population in Ulster qualified to hold the office of magistrate, it would be found that the large proportion would be those professing the Protestant faith. But he would not dwell on that topic, because the question which the hon. Member had brought forward referred more particularly to the conduct of Captain Barton. He must say that he thought it might have been almost doubted, in the first place, whether the fact that the speech attributed to Captain Barton appeared in a newspaper was sufficient evidence to make it quite certain that he had used such language. He had known, he was bound to say, at least one instance in which a speech had appeared in full length in the columns of a Dublin journal which was never spoken at all. The speech now complained of was reported in four Dublin newspapers, three of which, however, made no allusion to the words attributed by The Freeman's Journal to Captain Barton. Therefore, when the circumstance was brought under the notice of the Lord Chancellor, he might perhaps have thought that the fact of the report appearing only in The Free man's Journal, a paper not largely read by Orangemen, and which was, therefore, not likely to give the most accurate report of proceedings at an Orange meeting, afforded a reason for supposing that the language had never been used. However, the Lord Chancellor as soon as the matter was brought under his notice, requested Captain Barton to state whether the report in The Freeman's Journal was substantially correct. Captain Barton informed his Lordship that it was only an abridged report, with additions and omissions, and that it gave a most ambiguous and false representation of what he had said, but he admitted having alluded, though not in terms of approval, to the incident to which the hon. Member for Cavan County had referred. The Lord Chancellor, in replying to Captain Barton, reminded him that persons holding Her Majesty's commission of the peace were bound to exercise discretion both with regard to the language they used at public meetings and to the topics they introduced into their speeches; and he added that on the occasion in question this consideration, as far as the introduction of topics was concerned, had not been sufficiently present to the mind of Captain Barton. When this opinion of the Lord Chancellor was expressed, Captain Barton intimated his intention to follow the Lord Chancellor's advice in future. Seeing that the indiscretion was not committed by Captain Barton in his official character as a magistrate, that it only amounted to a foolish allusion in an after-dinner speech, that no serious consequence was likely to result from it, and that he denied having spoken with approval of the circumstance referred to, the Lord Chancellor thought the reproof conveyed to him was sufficient, and accordingly it was not intended to proceed to the very serious point of depriving him of the commission of the peace. It was quite impossible to justify a speech of the kind made by a person holding such a position; but he might remark that Captain Barton was by no means, he regretted to say, the only person who had been guilty of indiscretion in this matter. It might have been reasonably supposed that of all persons the hon. Member for Cavan County, having made up his mind to submit this subject to the consideration of the House, would have been careful to avoid any similar indiscretion. But soon after the occurrence in question, the hon. Member addressed to the newspapers a letter containing allusions, and written in a tone calculated to wound the feelings of one very large portion of the population of Ulster—namely, the Protestants. He should have been glad if the speech had never been delivered, and if the letter had never been written. After the course taken by the Lord Chancellor, he hoped such a matter might not occur in future, and that more care would be exercised by both Catholics and Protestants in responsible positions to avoid giving offence to those who differed from them.
said, he looked upon the Motion as part of the deliberate system which was organized by the Roman Catholic priesthood against the liberty of speech and action of all who were opposed to them. He protested against the futile and ridiculous attempt to conciliate a Foreign Power, as the experiment could only end in failure. It was no honour, but a degradation to the House of Commons to sit and listen, first of all, to such a puerile speech as that in which the hon. Member for Cavan County brought forward his complaint, and, second, to the apologetic and whining tone of the reply made to it by the right hon. Gentleman. Talk about Orangemen—what fault was to be found with Orangemen? He was an Orangeman, and they owed allegiance only to a Protestant Queen, not to the foreign power which appeared to be practically sovereign in Ireland, and under whom crime and outrage flourished.
I must remind the hon. Member that he is not speaking to the question, which is that the House go into Committee of Supply.
thanked the House for having so far listened to him. He would only further say that he would rather not be a Member of Parliament, if he was to be obliged to listen to such covert treason to the principles of the Constitution as was heard from hon. Members below the Gangway on the Liberal side of the House, who were perfectly honest and perfectly consistent in promoting the interests of that particular Power which they represented, and to listen to what was more painful, more derogatory, more discreditable, not to the Government alone, who were here to-day and gone, it might be hoped, tomorrow, but to the House and the country—namely, the un-English sentiments uttered from time to time by the Chief Secretary for Ireland. He (Mr. Whalley) protested against the time of the House being taken up by appeals on behalf of a Power which was recognized by our law and by common sense as alien to the general feeling of the community and utterly destructive to the prosperity of Ireland.
defended the course adopted by his hon. Friend the Member for Cavan County in bringing under the notice of the House the speech of CaptainBarton, and was sorry that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had attempted to defend that Gentleman. He did not agree with the language of the hon. Member for Cavan County, with reference to the meeting; but at all events his hon. Friend did not use these words at a meeting, while Captain Barton did use words which might have led to murder. The right hon. Gentleman assured the House that the language of Captain Barton was not used in the exercise of his judicial functions. But that did not affect his fitness to sit on the Bench, because he had a character to maintain whether on or off the Bench. After all, he was not surprised at the way in which this subject had been met by the Chief Secretary for Ireland when he remembered that the right hon. Gentleman in his speech at Belfast referred to certain Members of the House as spouters of sedition.
In the expression I made use of on that occasion, I did not speak of any hon. Members of this House.
It would be a satisfaction to Home Rule Members to learn now for the first time that the language used on that occasion did not refer to them. In times past dissension in Ulster was promoted by the Government, and he regretted that the Chief Secretary for Ireland had not availed himself of this opportunity to denounce the fanning of the flame of religious bigotry in Ireland whether by Catholics or Protestants.
considered that the hon. Member for Cavan County had done good service in bringing the matter under the notice of the House.
said, he knew Captain Barton to be a young man of warm temperament. He would not say a word in favour of the speech which he had been accused of delivering, and which, if he had delivered it, would have been very indiscreet. But he knew Captain Barton to be the last person who would say anything intended to hurt the feelings of others.
said, there was a feeling in Ireland that some unfairness was shown in dealing with these cases, and that while a magistrate who said anything at a popular meeting was pretty sure to have his name scratched out of the Commission, very little notice was taken of speeches at meetings like that in question.
said, this was not so much a question between Roman Catholic and Protestant, as a question as to a magistrate gloating over a diabolical crime. He, therefore, thought it was the duty of the Lord Chancellor to ask Captain Barton to give his own version of the words that he did use. He presumed there would be no objection to lay upon the Table the correspondence between Captain Barton and the Lord Chancellor.
Suez Canal—The Management
rose to call attention to the proposed arrangement with regard to the future management of the Suez Canal. He was encouraged to that course by the language used by the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister on the occasion of the third reading of the Bill authorizing the issue of Exchequer Bonds to pay for the purchase of the Suez Canal Shares. On that occasion, the right hon. Gentleman stated that the negotiations then being carried on could not be decided by either of the negotiators, Colonel Stokes or M. de Lesseps, and that when Colonel Stokes returned to this country he would afford the Government an explanation of the nature of those negotiations. Within three or four days after that statement, Colonel Stokes returned to England, but the information the House was led to expect had never been given. He did not for one moment accuse the First Minister of the Crown or the Chancellor of the Exchequer of want of courtesy or breach of faith in the matter, but he could not but say that when the latter right hon. Gentleman addressed the House in reference to the Suez Canal he seemed not to be altogether his own master. A hidden influence seemed to actuate his actions. It appeared that—
"He sees a hand we cannot see, which, beckons him away;
When the Suez Canal Shares were purchased the whole country approved the conduct of the Government, and although the step so taken was criticized, no serious opposition to the purchase was offered. On the contrary, it was regarded by the country as a great political act. He hoped that that great political act would not from the course which had been adopted lead to a great financial complication. Since then nothing had been done in fulfilment of the scheme originally sketched out to Parliament. Nothing had been done to place the Canal upon an international footing, nothing to increase the influence of this country in its administration, and to secure for it the two essential requirements; first, a good financial administration, and, at the same time, a safeguard against political complications. Government had gone as a suppliant to M. de Lesseps, and obtained the appointment of three directors on the Board to represent the interests of this country. They might be gentlemen every way equal to the work, but whose duties would be unnecessary and even in some cases dangerous. They must on all questions which were hostile to British interests be in a minority of 3 to 21; yet taking part in the deliberations of the Board, they would have to concur in all measures which might have that unfriendly character. It was the interests of the French shareholders that the Canal should earn the greatest possible amount of profits, whereas it was the object of this country to reduce the tolls in the interests of trade generally; and whenever a motion to that effect came to be considered, the three directors representing this country would be sure to be in a minority. And who, he would ask, was to pay those directors?"He hears a voice we cannot hear, which bids him not to stay."
:The statutes of the Company provide for a percentage to be paid to the directors.
said, it was true there was such a provision, but it applied to the directors who represented the Company in general, and not to those representing the holders of the shares of the Khedive—shares not bringing any dividends to their owners—who had only 10 votes, and who could not have elected or influenced the election of directors himself. Therefore he maintained that this country had been placed in a position of great danger and humiliation. The difficulty of the situation, moreover, was increased by the apparent determination of the Government to withold all information on the subject from the House. Nothing was more unbusinesslike. Instead of allowing the subject to be fully discussed, they apparently intended that the House, by means of what had been called a mechanical majority, perhaps, should do simply what Colonel Stokes might chose to dictate. The House and the country had regarded the purchase of these shares as a great political act which was to have two results. One was the diminution of the enormous tax now imposed on ships going through the Canal, and the other was to secure the free passage of the Canal at all times and keep our communication free with India. The question of the surtax was not one of very great importance; but when, according to the present arrangement, the minimum had been reached, the tax upon shipping would still be exceedingly heavy; and it must be plain to the Government that when the novelty of the Canal was worn off commerce would not suffer this very heavy charge on navigation to continue. Then what was to be done? It appeared to him, and in fact the noble Earl the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (the Earl of Derby) had made the proposal, that some arrangement might be come to between different Governments to buy out the Company and apply the profits to the reduction of the tolls on the same principles as the Sound dues. He wished to know whether any foreign Governments had been sounded on that point? An arrangement of the kind suggested had always been a favourite object, he understood, with the Italian Government, and he had no doubt other Governments would willingly come into the arrange- ment; but if not, there were other arrangements, financial and political, by which the tolls might be reduced, and by which the nations that chose to join in the arrangement might have some special advantage. There was a graver question which might crop up any day. When the matter was first discussed, the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition asked what would be the position of the Canal in case of a war? Omitting the case in which England herself was a belligerent, let him suppose that any foreign Power, Italy for instance, went to war with Turkey or with Egypt, and blockaded the Canal either at Port Saïd or at Suez, how would the navigation of England or of the world traverse the Canal? Would England insist on breaking the blockade? That would be a casus belli; and it would be equally one if she were to insist that either of the belligerents—if Turkey and Egypt were at war with some third Power—should yield to the other. Something should be done to secure the neutralization of the Canal. M. de Lesseps had stated in a book recently published that before the completion of the Canal Prince Metternich had made a suggestion to him for its neutralization, founded on the precedents of the Treaty of Adrianople in 1829 in reference to the Bosphorus, and the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty respecting the Nicaragua Canal. With a little pluck and energy the Suez Canal might be taken out of the hands of the shareholders and made the common highway of the nations of the world. Sir Andrew Buchanan proposed a plan for the purpose some years ago, which seemed to be very much approved by the Austrian authorities. It was that the Viceroy should hold the Canal for the benefit of all parties. He could not understand why the House of Commons should be kept in the dark on the subject in the manner it was. He would suggest that, as in the cases of the Stade dues and of the Sound dues, a Committee of the House of Commons should be appointed to consider the subject. Complications might at any moment arise, and the country should not be kept in the dark. He therefore asked the Government to give the explanations he asked for as to the position in which the matter stood.
said, he was not altogether clear as to the object his hon. Friend had in view. He had now, as on former occasions, mixed up matters which required diverse treatment. The Government had on all occasions endeavoured to treat his hon. Friend with courtesy, because they knew he had studied the subject for years; but he appeared to have brought forward two or three questions of a very different character, and deserving of wholly different treatment. His hon. Friend had spoken of the representation of this country in the Suez Canal Company, but he went on to mix up with that a subject of a much wider character—the neutralization of the Canal. They had nothing to do with the neutralization of the Canal—that was a question which stood wholly apart. While the Government still held, themselves open to consider that question, however, they had not considered it, and it was not at present under consideration. If it should be found hereafter that it was desirable to do so, we should be then in a much better position to carry it out than before the purchase was made: but as yet they had not thought it desirable to raise the question from the difficulty surrounding it, and the embarrassment that might arise in dealing with the Porte and the Viceroy of Egypt, and if his hon. Friend thought there was anything behind in respect to that matter he spoke entirely from conjecture, but at present Her Majesty's Government had not considered the question. His hon. Friend wanted to know what arrangement was proposed with regard to the representation of this country in the Suez Canal Company. That Company was constituted under its own statutes, and Her Majesty's Government knew by means of those statutes exactly what was the position of the Company, and what was the position of the Viceroy of Egypt with regard to the shares. They found that at a certain time the Viceroy of Egypt wanted money, which he proposed to obtain by the sale of these shares, and they thought the British Government should come forward to purchase these shares. When the shares were purchased Her Majesty's Government knew they were purchasing shares of a certain nominal amount which would not pay dividends for 19 or 20 years, and that as to the number of votes they carried, if they carried any, such right would, after all, pos- sibly have to be decided by a French Court of Law; but whichever way it might be decided, Her Majesty's Government considered they were doing their duty to the country in saying that they should not fall into the hands of persons who might make use of them disadvantageously to the country. There were also other questions as to the rights which the purchase would confer. Upon these questions they obtained the opinions of able gentlemen. Having become the possessors of these shares, they were subject to the statutes of the Company. They might have rested without asking for any other representation than the moral power that attached to its being known that this country was largely interested in the Canal. Colonel Stokes was the agent of the British Government on matters connected with the Canal, and he put himself in communication with M. de Lesseps. M. de Lesseps and Colonel Stokes arrived at certain conditional arrangements, which were submitted to Her Majesty's Government. The hon. Gentleman wanted to know what these arrangements were. The provisional arrangements proposed by Colonel Stokes and M. de Lesseps were that the British Government should be entitled to nominate three members of the Committee of Management, and that one of those members, if so arranged, should be a member of the Committee of Direction, which consisted of four or five members, and which exercised the chief control over the affairs of the Company. Connected with that was another arrangement—a provisional, but at the same time a very important, arrangement—between Colonel Stokes and M. de Lesseps as to the surtax which was charged upon vessels passing through the Canal. It had been sent home for the consideration of Her Majesty's Government. The surtax affected the interests of the shipping passing through the Canal, and also of the Company; and it had for a long time been a matter of dispute between the Company and the Maritime Powers. His hon. Friend knew that there was a Conference on the subject at Constantinople some time ago, and certain arrangements were come to against which M. de Lesseps protested, and that they were carried into effect in spite of that protest on behalf of the Company. There were other points open to question, and all these had been under the consideration of Her Majesty's Government, and the subject of communications with the other Powers, and the cause of a great deal of inquiry. These proposals having been submitted to Her Majesty's Government, what was the first thing to do? The first was to consider whether they appeared to be satisfactory to the British Government. They were submitted to the Foreign Office, and it consulted other Departments of the Government which were interested in the matter. A good deal of consideration had been given by those Departments to the proposals, and it was only, he thought, within the last few days that a final answer had been received from those Departments by the Foreign Office. It was necessary to formulate the proposals, and to submit them to foreign Governments. Questions like these could not be decided off-hand. They must be carefully considered and agreed to by other Maritime Powers, and even then the consent of the Company would be necessary. The Company had its own rights, and it was under the protection of the Porte and the Viceroy of Egypt. His hon. Friend must therefore admit that it would be extremely inconvenient to discuss such arrangements in that House while they were still in progress, or before they were submitted to other nations. That was, after all, a great international question, and his hon. Friend, who knew the matter so thoroughly, was in the position of a man who was rather a-head of his audience in many respects. He knew a great deal of those things which others did not know; and it was quite impossible to explain them to Parliament without the Correspondence which it was necessary they should have with foreign Powers. They could not come forward, for instance, with a proposal relating to the surtax, before it had been brought before the Porte and the Viceroy of Egypt. The question of the surtax could not be decided in a hurry, but he could inform his hon. Friend generally that certain proposals had been made, with explanations as to the expenditure of money which, in the opinion of the Government, would be advantageous both to the parties using the Canal, and to the Canal itself; and they hoped that they would be accepted both by the Powers who were interested and by the Canal Company. Then, with regard to the Commissioners, his hon. Friend appeared to entertain the idea that by appointing three we should be placed at a disadvantage. He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) thought otherwise; but he must repeat that it was extremely undesirable to discuss in that House particular details of the arrangement. His hon. Friend talked of their being suppliants to the Company. That was an invidious way of putting the matter. They had purchased the shares of a Company having a certain constitution, and which had a perfect right to refuse to alter that constitution. They proposed to avail themselves of a proposal which had been made to them by the Company, and if Parliament should be of opinion that it was one which ought not to be accepted, it would always be in the power of Parliament to say that it objected to their entering into such an arrangement. But it was not in the power of Parliament to negotiate and say—"We will have this, we want that, and we wish the other," because the Company had its constitutional rights to stand upon, and Parliament could not go into these details. Then his hon. Friend wanted to know how these Commissioners were to be paid; but he knew very well that, by the constitution of the Company, there was a certain percentage of the profits set apart for those engaged in its administration. It must also be remembered that after the Company had made any alteration in its statutes, it was necessary for it to obtain the consent of the Viceroy of Egypt to such alteration. The Government were anxious to give the House every information; but they could not at present go further than, he had done. He had endeavoured to state what the position of the Government was. He believed that a meeting of the Company would be held very shortly. Whether an arrangement would then be come to, or whether notice would be given for another meeting to make final arrangements, was a question on which he could not express any opinion; but he hoped they would be able to arrive at some conclusion which would give us proper representation on the Board of the Company. As to making the Canal an international affair, undoubtedly what his hon. Friend had said in regard to the Sound and Stade dues afforded a precedent which, ought to be followed if such an arrangement was made. But he presumed that before a Committee on those dues was appointed, the Government of the day had come to the conclusion that it was desirable so to deal with them. If such a proposal as the purchase of the whole of the interests of the Canal, in order to make it an international passage, should be entertained, of course in so important a matter as that it might be well to have a Committee to consider it. But there was no such proposal at present before them, and he did not think this was the most favourable moment for the consideration of the question. As far as they could judge, it was not favourably entertained either by the Porte or the several Maritime Powers. Certainly the Government had no intimation of a desire to entertain it. While, however, they in no way closed their ears to such a proposal, they would wait until it was made, and if it should be made, the first duty of the Government would be to consult Parliament upon it. He did not know that he could now say any more upon the subject; but as to the important question of surtax, as soon as they were in a position to do so, the Government would be ready to lay all the Correspondence relating to it on the Table.
said, that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had that evening proved himself an adept in the art of making a long speech, and leaving the House as wise when he sat down as it was before he rose. The explanation of the right hon. Gentleman was not an explanation in the proper sense of the terms. At all events, it was not an explanation which could be long accepted as satisfactory to the House. It was all very well to criticize the words of the hon. Member for Christchurch, but it was a fact that we could only hope to obtain representation on the Board, as a matter of favour, not of right. He (Mr. Dodson) trusted that either the right hon. Gentleman or some Member of the Government would, before the close of the Session, give some information to the House as to what settlement was arrived at, or what prospect there was of arriving at any, and at such a period that the House would have full and fair opportunity of discussing the subject.
said, what his hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) wished was that when some arrangement had been made with the Maritime Powers, the points thus settled should be submitted to Parliament before they were submitted to the Company, so that Parliament might have some power of modifying them, instead of rejecting or receiving them en bloc. He therefore agreed that it was desirable that the House should have an opportunity of discussion before the determination that might be arrived at was submitted to the Company. He could not agree with his hon. Friend that this should be made an international concern, because he feared, if it were, it lead to international squabbles. As to the purchase of the shares, the Foreign Secretary had repudiated any political object, but the opinion of the country was decidedly adverse to the noble Lord on this point, and had only ratified the purchase because it wished Europe to understand that we took an interest in the East, and that, however poor an investment the purchase might prove, England was determined to hold the highway to India.
said, there was to be a provision in the statute that out of the receipts of the Company a certain percentage should be set aside for the payment of the dividends.
said, the discussion would have one useful result; it would make people more alive to the fact that the country was deceived in its expectations that the purchase of these Shares would give England any political influence in the East, or any controlling influence over the Canal. What influence could we derive from 10 votes? And what influence could three English directors give us? It would be better to have no directors at all, than directors without power, who would only be a delusion and a snare. It seemed to him that they gained nothing by the possession of these shares; and he hoped that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer would, when the Bill was brought in, give the House a full opportunity to discuss it.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Committee deferred till Monday next.
Unreformed Municipal Corporation Commission
said, he would not ask the Question, of which he had given Notice for Monday next, respecting the Commission on Unreformed Municipal Corporations, as he had learnt privately from the Home Secretary, that it would be for the Commissioners themselves to determine what were and what were not municipal corporations.
said, that was so. If when the Commission had reported it was found that any other body was open to such accusations as had been brought by the hon. Member, he should be happy to allow the inquiry to be extended.
Cattle Disease (Ireland) Bill
[BILL 94.] ( Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, Mr. Solicitor General for Ireland.)
Committee Progress 7Th April
Bill considered in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
Clause 2 (Interpretation.)
Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 15, to leave out the words "Act (Ireland), 1866," in order to insert the words, "(Ireland) Acts, 1866–1874."—( Sir Michael Hicks-Beach.)
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 3 (Construction of Act), agreed to.
Orders by Lord Lieutenant and Privy Council.
Clause 4 (Power to Lord Lieutenant and Privy Council to make orders.)
called attention to the disease of glanders in horses, and moved an Amendment, the object of which was to aid in stamping out that terrible disease.
said, he would give his attention to the proposal of the hon. Member.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
said, this was a most important clause. The Lord Lieutenant should not have the power of authorizing or directing the Guardians of any Poor Law Unions in Ireland to provide for the inspection, examination, compulsory slaughter, or burial of any animals brought into any seaport within such Unions for the purpose of being exported there from.
moved to report Progress on account of the lateness of the hour.
Motion made, and Question put, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—( Mr. Parnell.)
The Committee divided:—Ayes 15; Noes 69: Majority 54.
moved that the Chairman do leave the Chair.
said he would consent to report Progress.
Motion agreed to.
Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Friday next.
Convention (Ireland)) Act Repeal Bill
On Motion of Mr. P. J. Smyth, Bill for the Repeal of the Act of the Irish Parliament, the thirty-third George the Third, chapter twenty-nine, intituled "An Act to prevent the Election or Appointment of Unlawful Assemblies, ordered to be brought in by Mr. P. J. Smyth, Mr. Ronayne, and Mr. O'Clery.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 143.]
Boulogne Sur Mer Petition
Select Committee appointed, "to consider a Petition addressed to this House by Inhabitants of the Town of Boulogne sur Mer in France, and to report upon the advisability of the reception of such Petition by the House:"—Select Committee nominated:—Mr. Walpole, Mr. Bright, Lord Elcho, Mr. WHitbread, Mr. BouRke, Sir Charles Forster, Sir Henry Wolff, Mr. O'Shaughnessy, Sir Eardley Wilmot, Mr. Dodson, and Mr. Secretary Hardy:—Power to send for persons, papers, and records; Three to be the quorum.
House adjourned at a quarter before Two o'clock, till Monday next.