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arguments in both Houses.

The proceedings are collected under the headings of the subject-matters of discussion
with cross-references when necessary, so as to show the chronological progress of each-
Bill or question. They are, as far as nossible, arranged in alphabetical order, with the
exception of debates in " Supply," which generally appear in order of date unless the
subject is already noticed under another heading, when it is so stated.

Business in the House of Lords is prefixed by the letter L and in the House of
Commons by C> Government business is denoted by an asterisk.



Meeting of Pabliament Januaby 19, 1897.

Pbobogation op Pabliament August 6, 1897.



Opening of Parliament.— The third Session of the 14th Parliament of Queen
Victoria was opened by Boyal Commission on January 19th.

^Queen's Speech. — Her Majesty's Speech^ after recording the continued friendliness
of our foreign relations, referred to the appalling massacres which had taken place in
Constantinople and in other parts of the Ottoman dominions which had (MiJlecf for the
special attention of the Powers who were signatories to the Treaty of Paris. Papers
would be presented showing the considerations which had induced the Powers to consult
together upon the condition of the Ottoman Empire. The conf fences of the six Ambassa-
dors in Constantinople were, it was stated, still proceeding.

The success of the expedition to Dongola was warmly acknowledged, and a further
advance whenever such a step shall be juaged to be desirable was foreshadowed.

The Speech went on to refer to the conclusion of an arrangement with the United
States for arbitration on the disputed frontier between Venezuela and British Guiana,
which would, it was hoped, adjust existing controversies without risk to the inteiests of
our colonists.

Her Majesty expressed much gratification at the conclusion of a Treaty for General
Arbitration with the United States,- by which she trusted that all future differences
would be peacefully adjusted, and further, that the principle might commend itself to
other Powers.

The suppression of the rebellion in Matabeleland and Mashonaland and the appoint-
ment of a Commission to investigate the Sugar industry in the West Indian Colonies
were next noticedL

The Speech then referred with regret and deep sympathy to the scarcity and famine in
India, and recorded the efforts of the Government to mitigate suffering, commending
the crisis to the liberality of the people at home and in India.

Plague had also appeared in the seaports of Bombay and Karachi, and the most strin-
gent measures would be taken to eradicate it.

Passing to domestic questions, the Speech declared the necessity for maintaining the
provision for the defence of the Empire.

The Government Bills to be laid before Parliament were announced as follows :

1. — Maintenance of Voluntary Schools. I 3.— Military Defences.

2. — Compensation to Workmen for 4. — ^London Water Supply.

Accidents. 1 5. — Board of AgriciUture for Ireland.

If time permitted, Bills would also be presented dealing with



6. — Primary Education.
7. — Evidence in Criminal Cases.
8.— Bills of Sale.
9. — Begistration of Land.
10.— Limited Liability Companies.



11. — Agricultural Holdings Act.
12. — Foreign prison-made Goods.
13. — Beformatories for Inebriates.
14. — ^Private Bill Legislation for Scotland
and Ireland.



The Speech concluded by invoking the guidance of Almighty God.

L— The Address.— The Marquis of Bath (C.) moved the Address in answer to the
Speech and Lord Kenyon (C.) seconded it. Lord Kimberley (G.L.) expressed his regret
that Lord Eosebery was no longer the Opposition leader in that House. He also referred
with regret to the death of Archbishop Benson. After a reference to the sixtieth year of
the Queen's reign, he proceeded to criticise the Speech. He heartily welcomed the
arbitration treaty with the United States, and congratulated Lord Salisbury on the
snccessful conclusion of his difficult task. As to the Armenian massacres, the country
onght to know what were the results of the consideration of the Powers. He asked



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230 PARLIAMENTARY SUMMARY, 1897.

L—Tlie Ad^wm—eontinited.

whether the Berlin Treaty was to be ooosideMd dead, or waB there any intention to carry

it out ? He had hoped that we might have aetl^A 'together with BuBSia, as Lord Salisbury

had disclaimed any permanent antagonism bi^tw^en England and that country. The

Opposition would support him in any measures short of provoking a European war.

As to Egypt, the Dongola operations reflected the greatest milita^ honour, but the

policy was mysterious and contradictory, aud the country had a right to know what

was the real object of the Oovemment. If the Soudan was to be reconquered we

must do it at our own cost, and it would add in no way to our strength. As to domestic

legislation, if the Education Bill aimed only at rendering the voluntarv schools

thoroughly efficient, it would probably receive general support. The financial relations

between England and Ireland would require careful consideration. — Lord SaUsbnxy,

Prime Minister, congratulated Lord Eimberley on becoming leader of the Opposition in

succession to Lord Rosebery, who was exceedingly popular, had great ability, aud in his

retiring speech had raised high the standard of patriotic duty. During the unique

duration of the Queen's reign, he remarked that Her Majesty had won the warm affection

of her own people, and the deen respect of the civilized world, while she had enabled

constitutional government to achieve a success never before equalled. He next paid a

tribute of respect to the late Primate, who, be said, had singular power of governing men

as well as of guiding the Church. Referring to the Turkish question, he said that Lord

Beaccfnsfleld's policy in 1878 had been inherited from others. The Emperor Nicholas in

1861 made proposals for deahng with the Ottoman Empire which were rejected by Lord

Clarendon. 'I ne mistake made was that they put all their money on the wrong horse,

and it was not very easy to withdraw from a step of that kind. The hopes entertained

of regenerating the Turkish Empire had not been justified, and there remained no other

course but to exercise our influence with other Powers to induce the Sultan to introduce

such reforms as would save his subjects from massacre, and preserve his own empire

from a ruin that could not be lon^ delayed. The Government had done this, and the

Powers were agreed in the necessity of considering how the Turkish Empire might be

saved. They were also agreed that, if the Sultan refused, material pressure might have

to be emj^oyed to enforce reforms, but there were differences in the expression of their

views. Wi^ regard to Eg3rpt, he repeated that the ultimate occupation of Khartoum

was an object to which they were urged alike by their desire to extirpate the vilest and

cruellest despotism, and to open the Nile Valley to Egyptian commerce. As to the Treaty

of general arbitration, he did not say that it would restrain a Napoleon or a Bismarck

but there were many small differences which tended to excite bitter feeling; and a

Minister would be enabled to negotiate with a freer hand if he could say that a matter

was to be referred to an impartial tribunal. The measure might lead to others of the same

kind, and the necessity for the vast and increasing armaments maintained by different

Powers might gradually disappear before the system of substituting judicial decision for

the arbitrament of force. The Address was agreed to, Jan. 19.

C—The Sessional Order affirming it to be a high infringement of the rights and

privileges of the Commons for any peer to interfere in the election of members having

been carried by 834 to 68, the Address was moved by Lord Folkestone (C.) and seconded

by the Hon. A. Lyttelton (L.U.). — Sir W. Harcourt (G.L.) referred, in the first place, to the

most satisfactory announcements of the arbitration treaty with the United States and

the settlement of the differences with Venezuela. The general treaty, he said, afforded

great ground for congratulation, as it would probably establish permanent peace and

goodwill with America. He a^ed for further information respecting the Egyptian policy.

The Dongola expedition had, he admitted, been conducted with great ability and

success, but a clear explanation should be given as to the aim and object of the Government,

as our international relations were full of difficulties and perils on this question. As

regards Armenia, though he did not charge the Government with indifference to the

massacres, an explanation was due as to wby the influence of Great Britain had proved

unavailing, and we ought to know how we stood with regard to the Anglo-Turkish

Convention and our obligations thereunder. In domestic affairs, the year had been, he said,

one of increased trade and extraordinary prosperity, and there would be a surplus of several

millions. The Irish demand for financial relief should be considered before the Budget

was introduced. On the question of education, he desired to approach it in a spirit of

peace, and, if the Government would only act with common sense the Opposition would

support them against the Church party, provided that the fundamental principles of the

Act of 1870 were retained, and that the Bill would be proposed with the object, not of

endowing denominations, but of educating the nation. — Mr. A. Balfour (C), First Lord of

the Treasury, made a brief reply. He recognised that the Opposition had patriotically

done their best to prevent any difficulty in the course of the Venezuelan negotiations.

The general arbitration treaty, though nominally limited to five years, would, he hoped,

be a perpetual guarantee of peace. As regards Egypt, the policy of the Government in

the Soudan had in no way increased the difficulties of our foreign relations, nor, if the

Egyptian iquestion were removed would it be possible to diminish our forces by a ship or

a man. He maintained that it was right, and an advantage to humanity, to restore to

Egypt the southern provinces which she had recently held. A vote would be asked to



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PARLIAMENTARY SUMMARY, 1897. 231

C— 'The AddxBM—continued.
sanction the advance to the Egyptian Government of the sum repaid to the Caisse de la
Dette. As to Turkey, he confideptlj, jtisn^ted that European joint action would yet
produce the desired results. As regards the financial relations with Ireland, the Royal
Commission had omitted to deal fully with the subject, and the Government would
propose a further investigation. On the education controversy, he thanked Sir W.
Harcourt for his offer of co-operation, though he founded very slight hopes upon it. He
hoped the Bill would receive general support on the Ministerial side. In regard to the
Anglo-Turkish Convention, our obligations were precisely what they were when Sir W.



Harcourt was in office.— The debate was continued by Sir E. A. Bartlett (CJ, Mr.
Labouchere (G.L.), and Sir C. Dilke (G.L.). The latter advocated handing over Cyprus
to Greece under certain conditions. — Mr. Bryce (G.L.) said that the position of this



country with regard to the question of Armenia was one of humiliation, and that our
diplomacy had proved a failure. Jan, 19.

The amendments to the Address were then considered, and will be found more fully
described under the various heacUngs (post) as follows :— 1. Africa — Zanzibar. — ^Amend-
ment by Mr. J. A. Pease (G.L.) : withdrawn after debate, Jan. 19. 2. Ib£i<and — Dyna-
HITBB8.— Amendment by Mr. P. O'Brien (P.N.) in favour of reconsideration of sentences :
negatived by 204 to 132, Jan. 20. 8. Ireland — Land Question.— Amendment by Mr. J.
Dillon (N.) demanding the immediate consideration of measures of relief. Discussed on
Jan. 20 and 21, and negatived by 189 to 125. 4. Ireland— Education. — Amend-
ment by Mr. Engledow (N.) calling for legislation on the question of University Edu-
cation for Irish Roman Catholics. Discussed on Jan. 21 and 22 and withdrawn.
•5. Scotland — Crofters. — Amendment by Mr. Weir (G.L.) regretting the absence of legis-
lation in favour of the Highland Crofters ; negatived by 144 to 77, Jan. 22. 6. Ireland —
Dynamiters.— Amendment by Sir H. Howorth (C.) condemning the release of four
dynamiters in 1896; discussed Jan. 22 and 26, and negatived without a division.
7. Adulteration of Food. — ^Amendment by Mr. Kearley (Gr.L.) in favour of legislation
on this subject ; negatived Jan. 26. 8. Merchant Shipping. — Amendment by Mr. J. H.
Wilson (G.L.) calling for a Bill to prevent undermanning ; withdrawn Jan. 25. 9. India—
AmendmeDt by Sir W. Wedderburn (G.L.) in favour of an inquiry into the condition of
the people in India ; negatived by 217 to 90, Jan. 26. 10. Registration. — Amendment by
Mr. Strachey (G Jj.) demanding simplification of the Registration Laws ; negatived by 141 to
59, Jan. 26. 11. Poor Law. — Amendment by Mr. Murnaghan (N.) in favour of discon-
tinuing the deportation of paupers from Great Britain to Ireland ; withdrawn Jan. 26.
12. Turkey. — Amendment by Mr. Disraeli (C.) urging the desirability of sending a special
envoy to Constantinople; withdrawn Jan. 26. The Address in reply to the Queen's
Speech was finally agreed to. Jan. 26.

C— Adulteration of Food.—In the debate on the Address, Mr. Kearley (G.L.)
moved an amendment expressing regret that no legislation was proposed on the report of
the Committee on Food Products, which disclosed the existence of unfair and nefarious
competition with native food producers by foreigners and others.— Mr. T. W. Russell
<L U.), Sec. to the Loc. Govt. Board, said the report was only recently presented,
and the question bristled with controversial points and required most careful considera-
tion. A draft Bill had been prepared. The amendment was negatived. Jan. 26.

C — Africa — Abyssinia. — Mr. Curzon (C), Under Sec, announced a mission to King
Menelik to assure him of our friendly intentions, to endeavour to promote amicable
and cooomercial relations, and to settle certain questions which had arisen between the
British authorities in the Somali Coast and the Abyssinian Governor of Harrar. Feb. 26.

In Supply, Mr. Curzon stated that the mission had not been without success as regards
the settlement of boundaries aud other questions, June 24 ; and on July 19 he
announced the conclusion of a treaty.

Benin Expedition. — Mr. Curzon (C.) said the mission to Benin which led to the murder
of British officers, was undertaken by the officials of the Niger Coast Protectorate, whose
duty it was to visit the different parts of their district. Jan. 21.

Mr. Goschen announced the successful issue of a punitive expedition, and the taking
of Benin city with little loss of life. Feb. 22.

Congo State. — Sir C. Dilke (G.L.) called attention to the condition of the Congo State,
ahd advocated a conference of the European Powers having territory iu Africa, for the
consideration of further measures for securing equitable treatment of the natives. He
said the international stipalations for regulating the supply of arms and of liquor were
violated both in the Niger and Congo territories, and that cannibal troops had been
employed by the Congo State. — Mr. Curzon (C.) said it was admitted that many mistakes
had been made by the Congo authorities, but it was fair to remember that the State had
achieved great things for freedom. The charges against the Niger Company could not
be sustained. The Government were, in fact, communicating with other Powers on the
subject of a conference. April 2.

*£otpt. — Mr. Curzon said that letters had been addressed by the French and Russian
Consuls-General at Cairo to the Egyptian Government inquiring whether the latter had
requested or would accept pecuniary assistance from England, and expressing the opinion
that such application should be made through the Caisse de la Dette to all the Powers.



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232 PARLIAMENTARY SUMMARY, 1897.

C — Aftrioa— Egypt — continued.

In Committee of Supply a vote of i-798|802 was proposed in aid of the expenditure
for the Egyptian Expedition to Dongola.~MStr M. H. Beach (C.)« Chancellor of the
Exchequer, said that the actual coat was 4788,000, including £186,000 for the railway
and telegraph and gunhoats. Out of the whole force only 47 were killed, 286 died of
cholera, and 100 from other diseases while the campaign lasted. No more complete
success was ever attained hy any expedition. The sum of £612,600 was advanced hy the
Caisse de la Dette to the Eg3rptian Government, which, with a surplus fund, would have
defrayed the whole cost, but the decision of the Caisse had been overruled by the Mixed
Court of Appeal, and the sum advanced had to be repaid. When, in 1898, the constitution
and powers of this Mixed Court would be reconsidered, a very grave question must arise
as to their future powers and authority, but for the present the Egyptian Government
must repay the money, and H.M. Government had no option bat to recoup it. An
advance nad therefore been made to the Egyptian Government at 2} per cent, interest,
to be repaid from time to time as might be found possible and convenient. If the
occupation of Egypt were regarded as an abstract question there was not a little to be
said against it, but it had long passed out of that region. A long chain of events, for
which no Ghovemment was specially responsible, had prevented the termination of the
occupation with honour or safety. The main cause was that France, especially after
having voluntarily retired, had never allowed us a free hand in Egypt. She had cast upon
EngUmd the sole responsibility for the safety of Eg3mt, and we might justly demand a
free hand to perform our responsibilities. As to the luture, the Egyptian Government
had been refused permission to use their own surplus, and H.M. Ghovemment would
consider carefully whether they should sanction a further advance in the policy adopted
in 199tJ towards restoring to civilization the province of Bongola. The Government held
that there ought to be a further advance, and that Egypt could never be secure while a
hostile Power held the Nile Valley up to Khartoum. If it believed any policy to be right
with regard to Egypt, this country would not be worried out of it by hindrances and
difficulties such as the refusal of this money. The Government believed their policy ^*^
right, and they intended to pursue it prudently and carefully, for it would not be
advantageous to Egypt that more territory should be restored than she could pik>perly
administer and defend. In the first instance there would be a further Egyptian advance
to Abu Hamed, a very important point on the Nile, and afterwards, probably, beyond,
but how far could not be stated. The main work in the coming reason would be to
consolidate the district already acquired, and to obtain important strategical positions for
the future. The Government proposed to contribute £270,000 for a light railway between
Wady Haifa and Abu Hamed, but they did not contemplate during 1897 any further
expenditure in this matter. They believed their policy would meet the approval of the
great majority of the people of this country. — Mr. J. Morley (G.L.) regarded the
announcement as one of much gravity, as at that moment the Government ought neither
by word nor act to increase the indignation notoriously felt in some quarters, and Sir M.
Beach's reference to the action of France and Russia was a direct and most imprudent
challenge to those Powers who questioned the sincerity of our pleas for remaining in
Egypt. The policy of the Government would embark us in serious, costly, perilous, and
thankless operations. — Sir W. Harcourt (G.L.) also regarded the speech as mischievous
and dangerous. He said he should vote against the grant as a public protest against
language of menace and defiance. He had noped the Government would have acted in
friendly concert with the Great Powers, and especially with France and Russia.— Mr. G.
Curzon (C.)* Under Secretary, said that the clear and emphatic statement of Sir M. Beach
contained no word of a provocative or an irritating character. Our positioB in Egypt was
due to the fact that since Arabi's rebellion France declined to take part with us, and bad
since given us no support, otherwise more might have been done for the benefit of Egypt.
The decision of the Mixed Tribunal was due to political predilections, and when, in 1898, the
time came to revise the arrangements, that decision must be taken into account.— Mr.
Courtney (L.U.) held that the expedition was impolitic, inexpedient, and dangeroas. —
Mr. Labouchere (G.L.) also opposed any further advance. — Mr. Amold-Forster (L.U.)
regretted the attitude of the Government towards France and Russia ; and Mr. H. M.
Stanley (L.U.) considered that Abu Hamed was a magnificent strategical position. — A
motion by Mr. Enox (N.) to reduce the vote by the sum of £72,500 was negatived by
139 to 29.— Mr. Munro Ferguson (G.L.) and Mr. M'Arthur ^G.L.) spoke in favour of the
proposal of the Gtovemment, and declined to vote against me estimate. —Other members
having spoken, the vote was passed by 169 to 57.— A vote of £145,000, the expenses of
employing Indian troops at Smudm, was agreed to after short debate. Feb. 5.

Mr. Curzon stated that the Government had no information that French troops had
occupied a portion of the Bahr el Ghazel, and had reached the Nile. The Egyptian
Government, he added, had not relinquished any of its claims to territory in the basin of
the Upper Nile. April 26.

Mr. Curzon announced that the Italian Government did not desire to maintain the
occupation of Eassala, and would consult the convenience of the British and Egvptian
Governments as to the time of withdrawal. May 20.

In Supply, Mr. Dillon (N.) moved a reduction of the Diplomatic vote to elicit inlopna-
tion ; negatived by 225 to 86. June 24.



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PARLIAMENTARY SUMMARY, 1897. 233

S— Africa — 'Egy^t— continued.
r. Brodrick (G.)f Under Sec. for War, stMied that if any operations were undertaken
in the valley of the Nile they would bb coridncted by the Government of Egypt. July 5.

L — ^NiGBR Tbbbitoby.— Lord Stanmore (L.) asked whether the Government proposed
to extend their control over the Niger Company by the addition of nominees of the Crown
to the board of directors. — ^Lord Salisbury replied that the suggestion for placing
Government directors on the board did not offer a practical solution of the problem,
but he admitted that more direct Govemment influence would be desirable. The many
difficulties attending the present state of things were receiving anxious attention.
He concluded by expressing great admiration of the administrative success of the
Company.— Lord Kimberley concurred. May 24.

O— *SouTH Africa. — Mr. J. Chamberlain (L.U.), Colonial Secretary, moved the re-appoint-
ment of the Select Committee to inquire into the origin and circumstances of the incursion
into the South African Republic by an armed force, and into the administration of the
British South Africa Company. — Mr. Maclean <C.) opposed the motion, as circumstances
had very much changed since 1896. Jan. 20.

Mr. Maclean moved an amendment that an inquiry was unnecessarjr in view of the
peaceful settlement of affairs, the punishment of the raiders, and the inexpediency, in
the interest of South Africa, of re*opening questions which had been disposed of. He said
that if any arrangement had bean made with the South African Republic, it had been
cancelled by the conduct of President Kruger, but the blue-book did not show any
such compact.— Sir J. Lubbock (L.U.) seconded the amendment, admitting that H.M.
Govt, were fulfilling their pledges, but holding that the House must consider what
would be best for the general interests of the Empire. The re-appointment of the com-
mittee might lead to disastrous consequences in South Africa, and no good could arise
out of the inquiry. Jan. 28.

Mr. J. Chamberlain said the Government could not consent to treat the resolution
as an open question. All sections of the House desired to promote good relations
between the Dutch and English in South Africa, and it had been and would be his
policy to do so. Referring to the rumours current with regard to his action and policy
previous to the raid, he said that if there were any who believed that he approved of that



Online LibraryJ. Just LloretThe Constitutional year book → online text (page 42 of 74)