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affirm that the proclamation was contrary to the usages of war. Its policy was a different question, and he was sceptical as to its inducing any large number of Boers to surrender. Still he accepted it as a step which might possibly accelerate the end of the conflict. Incidentally he expressed a hope that the Government intended to maintain an efficient force in South Africa till the war was over. To this Mr. Balfour replied that the Government hoped to be able to recall some of the troops before long, but not a man or a horse would be withdrawn till the military situation justified it. Thus was the division between the two schools of Liberalism maintained before the country in the closing days of the session.
Happily, it should be said, there was no equally extensive division in the Opposition with regard to the grant of 100,0001. by which the Government proposed that it should be made possible for Lord Roberts to support the earldom to which he had been raised in recognition of his South African services. The necessary resolution was moved (July 31) by Mr. Balfour in the House of Commons, in Committee of Supply, in a speech in which he sketched with much spirit and eloquence the conspicuous transformation achieved by Lord Roberts in the military situation which he found existing in South Africa when he went out there, in the darkest hour of the campaign, and under the shadow of a deep personal bereavement. The motion was cordially seconded by Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman. It was, no doubt, opposed by several Radical Members—Messrs. H. J. Wilson (Holmfirth, W.R., Yorks), Labouchere (Northampton), Caine (Camborne, Cornwall), Bryn Roberts (Eifion, Carnarvonshire), and by Mr. Keir Hardie, the Labour Member for Merthyr Tydvil, as well as by Mr. Dillon (Mayo, E.), who charged Lord Roberts with inhumanity, and by other Nationalists. Mr. E. Robertson (Dundee) also, from the front Opposition bench, objected to the motion for the grant as premature, in being brought forward before the promised inquiry into the whole conduct of the war. Mr. Haldane (Haddingtonshire) naturally supported the grant, and so likewise, speaking as a Radical, did Mr. Strachey (Somerset, E.), these two speakers condemning the Irish accusations against the Field-Marshal; and the resolution was carried by 281 against only 73.
The very important question of the native policy to be pursued in the new Colonies was raised in Committee of Supply (Aug. 6). On the heavy vote of 6,500,0001. in aid of the administration of the Transvaal and Orange Colonies, Sir, W. Harcourt (Monmouthshire, W.), while admitting that the Colonial Secretary had done something to mitigate the cruelty of the Pass Laws, regretted that he had not seen his way to abolish them. Those laws he believed to have been really forced on the Boer Government by the mining interest-an opinion which was strongly challenged by Mr. Lyttelton (Warwick), who had lately been thoroughly inquiring on the spot into this and cognate questions, as chairman of the Transvaal Concessions Commission. Sir Charles Dilke (Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire) insisted that the whole of the legislation against “colour" should be swept away.
In his reply Mr. Chamberlain agreed that the laws of the Transvaal with respect to native labour would have to be thoroughly revised, but held that they could not all be abrogated in a day—any more than could the Egyptian corvée. The magistrates had already discretion to impose very lenient punishments under the Pass Law of 1899, and the Native Commissioner, Sir Godfrey Lagden—a man who by his personal influence with the Basutos had restrained them from taking part in the war—was not likely to allow any cruelty. As for the Attorney-General, Mr. Solomon, he came of a family who had been stigmatised as negrophilists. Mr. Chamberlain gave a strong assurance that, 'while the subject required delicate handling, the Government were determined to secure a just and humane system of administration in regard to the natives.
In the same speech the Colonial Secretary, replying to Mr. Bartley (Islington, N.), recognised with emphasis the special claims of suffering loyalists in South Africa on the Government, but entirely denied that he or Lord Milner had in any way ignored them. Now that the large funds collected by public beneficence for the refugees in Cape Colony from the Transvaal were nearly exhausted the Government recognised their responsibility to supply whatever was necessary. Quite recently he had offered money by telegraph to the committee at Cape Town, but for the present it was declined.
On another question of wide Imperial interest, for the discussion of which a conference with representatives of the self-governing Colonies had been held at the Colonial Office, Mr. Chamberlain informed Mr. Bryce (Aug. 6) that it appeared that the great majority of the delegates were opposed to any drastic changes in the present Court of Appeal. Accordingly his Majesty's Government did not propose to suggest any such changes ; but in accordance with the resolutions passed at the conference they would ask the various Governments concerned to suggest such alterations of procedure as might appear to them advisable.
Two or three other subjects of Imperial concern were under consideration during the last few days of the session. One was the Pacific Cable. Following a resolution passed in committee of the whole House (July 30) authorising the issue of 2,000,0001. out of the Consolidated Fund for the purpose of constructing and working a telegraph cable from Vancouver to New Zealand and to Queensland, a bill was introduced and conducted through the Commons by Mr. Austen Chamberlain (Worcestershire, E.), Financial Secretary to the Treasury. Its object was to carry out an arrangement entered into with the Colonies, in virtue of which, the money being raised in the first instance on Imperial credit, they undertook to meet thirteen-eighteenths of the cost of what would be an “all-British " line of telegraphic communication from home through Canada with the Australasian Colonies. The Board controlling the cable would have three Treasury representatives, two Canadians and three Australasians, one of the Treasury representatives being chairman, with a casting vote. The Irish Nationalist members opposed the bill at its principal stages, evincing an interesting anxiety to retain the effective control entirely in the hands of the Treasury, which was most readily explicable to cynics in their case by an unwillingness to see Imperial bonds more closely woven. The measure was passed through all its stages and became law.
In connection with Imperial defences, sanction was obtained for considerable further outlay by the Naval Works Bill, which was read a second time in the Commons only on August 14, and passed into law within three days, not without natural protests from Lord Spencer and Lord Tweedmouth against having measures of such magnitude rushed upon the Peers in the last moments of the session. In moving the second reading in the Commons, Captain Pretyman (Woodbridge, Suffolk), Civil Lord of the Admiralty, made a statement as to the progress of the naval works sanctioned under previous bills, and explained the reasons for the additional undertakings now proposed. Justifying the expenditure for which these bills provided, he said it was necessary to make up various arrears and to adapt our harbours and docks to the size of our ships, and to render them safe against torpedo attack. Another cause of expenditure was the decision to provide largely for the accommodation of the personnel of the Navy in barracks on shore. The great improvements in the naval hospitals had also entailed heavy expenditure. He explained elaborately the principles upon which these Works Bills were based, and reminded the House that the bill of 1899 provided for a total estimated expenditure of 23,500,0001. The present bill would sanction an addition to that sum, which would bring it up to 27,500,0001. The House was asked to vote 6,000,0001, on account, five-sixths of that amount being expenditure to which Parliament was already practically committed. As to the items in the present bill, Captain Pretyman said that the committee that inquired into the subject of dock accommodation at Gibraltar had come to the conclusion that a harbour on the western side of the rock, even if risk was involved, was better than no harbour at all. The needs of the fleet necessitated the existence of three graving docks, which were superior to floating docks. He reminded the House that when the Gibraltar Committee issued their final report, they estimated that a harbour on the eastern side could be constructed for about 5,000,0001, in ten years. His own opinion was that these figures ought to be doubled, and our
6,000,0001. Ohich Parliamen present
fleet could not wait for twenty years before adequate harbour accommodation was provided for it. A project which would take so long a time to execute could not be accepted as a substitute for the Admiralty scheme. But the expediency of providing additional harbour accommodation on the eastern side was being considered. He next informed the House that the Hong-Kong dockyard was not to be transferred to the mainland, there being strong strategic reasons against the change. Owing to concessions of land made by the War Office and to reclamations, the Admiralty would have at their disposal 34} acres of land, an amount of space sufficient for all the works already projected and for the construction of an additional dock, if it should be required. There was an item in the bill for defraying the cost of deepening harbours and of improving the river approach to Chatham ; and for additional buildings and accessories at Keyham a million was required—the extension of work already sanctioned. Then it had been found necessary to provide more berthing accommodation for our ships in consequence of their length and size, and expenditure was also to be incurred in enlarging our magazines in various parts of the kingdom ; 170,0001. would be spent in constructing a large magazine inside the rock of Gibraltar. The only new items of expenditure which the House was asked to sanction were 1,000,0001, for a breakwater at Malta, which was a very urgent work, as it was necessary to protect the harbour against torpedo attack, and a corresponding sum for increasing the coaling facilities for the Navy. There had been no substantial improvement in the coaling appliances and facilities for the fleet for the last twenty years, and naval officers were of opinion that the next great naval war would be largely a fight for coal. At the great home ports arrangements were being made which would enable our ships to procure a sufficiency of coal at any moment when war was apprehended ; and at Gibraltar, Malta, Hong-Kong and other stations abroad large storage accommodation was to be provided. In taking this step the Admiralty were following the example of the United States and other countries. However desirable economy might be, we could not afford to stint the Navy in coal.
Besides Nationalist resistance to this bill, its second reading was opposed by Mr. E. Robertson (Dundee)—who objected to the House being asked to sanction costly new works so late in the Session-and by a few other Liberals. Sir C. Dilke, however, gravely deprecated this opposition, and the minority was only 82.
The coaling question also loomed largely in connection with the Military Works Bill, in which provision was made for the expenditure of some 6,300,0001, for defence works, barracks, and ranges. On the second reading of this bill (Aug. 14) Lord Stanley (West Houghton, Lancs), Financial Secretary to the
War Office, explained the reasons which had induced the War Department to make this further demand upon Parliament. He stated that the defence works for certain ports and coaling stations, the utility of which had been questioned, had been undertaken on the advice of naval and military experts whose advice the War Office was bound to accept. For the safety of our fleet, our first line of defence, coaling stations were of vital importance. It was undesirable to specify the exact amount to be spent on any particular port or coaling station, as the information would enable other countries to guess what the intentions of the Government were. As to the proposed expenditure on barracks, he thought the House would agree that our troops ought to be properly housed.
This measure also went through, after encountering the same kind of opposition, supplemented, however, in this case by some responsible criticism of the financial aspects of the measure, and the character of the contemplated expenditure.
Malta was brought before the Commons, not only in respect of its proposed breakwater, but in regard to discontent in the island, said to be due to recent action of the Imperial Government on the language question, and in putting taxation into effect by order in Council. This subject is dealt with in a later chapter. It is sufficient to mention here that the alleged grievances of the Maltese having been raised by Mr. Boland (Kerry, S.), Mr. Chamberlain (Aug. 17) strongly denied that the Government were forcing any language on the Maltese people against their will. On the contrary, they were securing to them the liberty to make their own choice, and it was only because that choice seemed to have been against the feelings of the elected members, who were chiefly lawyers, that this agitation arose. The elected members of the Council at Malta, the Colonial Secretary went on to say, in their desire to revenge themselves on the Imperial Government for the action they had taken, had refused all taxes. Of course, it was perfectly absurd to allow that kind of thing to go on, as it had a most injurious effect on the industries and prosperity of Malta. Where Imperial interests in the shape of the health of the island and the security of a great fortress were concerned, the Government had thought it necessary to intervene; and he did not believe there would be any serious or lengthened objection to what they had done.
On the previous day (Aug. 16) the Indian Budget had been taken in an almost empty House. Indian finance is treated, in sufficient detail, in a later chapter, and it will be enough to record here that the situation expounded by Lord George Hamilton (Ealing, Middlesex), the Secretary of State, was unexpectedly pleasant. In spite of a famine which had cost the people 50,000,0001. and the Treasury 15,170,0001, in three years, the surplus for the past year had amounted to 1,670,0001. In salt, Excise, Customs, Post Office, and telegraphs there had been