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to the representation of Ireland, he would explain for the benefit of Mr. Asquith that, if they proposed any change in it, it was not with the slightest hope that they would thereby do away with obstruction. If they took up the question it was because they thought that the present representation was an abuse and a scandal. No alteration could be made except in immediate anticipation of a dissolution, and that they were not now contemplating. “But when we get nearer to that time,” Mr. Chamberlain continued, “I think we shall ask you whether you think that the Irish representation is so precious to you, is so valuable to national interests, that it is desirable to continue it on a scale which gives to the Irish people a representation which enormously exceeds the proportionate representation of Scotland and of England.”
In reference to the war Mr. Chamberlain, after paying a tribute to the courage and tenacity of the enemy, went on to refer to the question which had been raised in some quarters at home friendly to the Government, of the possible necessity of resorting to sterner measures for the suppression of the present guerilla warfare. In this connection he employed a sentence which was made the subject of so much and such angry discussion in Germany that it is well to give it verbatim : “There is no subject,” he said, “which has given us greater anxiety, more anxious consideration. I think,” he proceeded, " that the time has come is coming—when measures of greater severity may be necessary, and if that time comes, we can find precedents for anything we may do in the action of those nations who now criticise our 'barbarity' and 'cruelty,' but whose example in Poland, in the Caucasus, in Algeria, in Tongking, in Bosnia, in the Franco-German war-whose example we have never even approached.” Mr. Chamberlain added that in these things, however, the Government would rather be blamed for going too slow than for going too fast, and when he read of demands for wholesale confiscation, for wholesale execution, he confessed that he had not, up to the present time, been able to convince himself that such measures would conduce either to a speedy termination of the war or to a satisfactory peace.
On the same evening Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman spoke at Stirling. As to the divergent views on the war among the Liberal party, he said that it was no part of his duty as leader to rebuke or confute or excommunicate those who might hold extreme views on any question. His business was to keep the head of the ship straight, whatever the theory of navigation which possessed the minds of some members of the crew. Criticising the conduct of the war, he contended, in effect, that it was rendering a happy settlement impossible. The whole country in the two belligerent States outside the mining towns was a howling wilderness. The farms were burned, the country was wasted. The flocks and herds were either butchered or driven off; the mills were destroyed, furniture and implements of agriculture were smashed. These were what he had termed methods of barbarism, and he adhered to the phrase. : This passage is from the first of a series of speeches delivered by Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman in the autumn. Its drift indicated what proved to be the fact, that his realisation of the idea of “keeping the head of the ship straight" was likely to afford much more satisfaction to the anti-war than to the
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of resolutions of Canter the summer
There is no space within the limits of this work to follow in detail the great number of speeches by leading politicians on both sides, and particularly the Opposition, by which the newspapers were filled. Ministers very possibly had their differences—perhaps as to the legislative programme for the ensuing session, and almost certainly, judging from their public utterances already mentioned, on the subject of a Redistribution Bill. But the date of that was yet a long time off, and even if they disagreed about nearer questions, as, for example, the right lines of an educational settlement—which seemed a not inconceivably dividing issue—they kept their own counsel. Many of their friends, the supporters of Voluntary schools to wit, were in great anxiety as to whether the Education Bill promised for the ensuing session would include arrangements relieving those schools of the still “intolerable strain caused by their inability to compete with the Board Schools supported out of the rates. In the summer a joint-committee of the Convocations of Canterbury and York had drawn up a series of resolutions, which were published in the autumn, setting forth the conditions deemed reasonable for a settlement of the elementary education difficulty. They were generally to the effect that in all elementary schools, Board or Voluntary, the cost of secular teaching should be met out of public resources, on the understanding that effective local control should be admitted by the supporters of Voluntary schools over the secular teaching given in them; that the buildings, which had been provided, should be maintained by the existing managers ; and that they should allow facilities for the teaching of children of other denominations in those buildings if desired. This last condition had special reference to the large number of country villages in which the Church school was the only one available. On the other hand, it was claimed that corresponding facilities for denominational teaching should, where desired, be allowed in Board schools. In support of a settlement on these lines, or something like them, there was manifested a very large body of Church opinion, as expressed in Diocesan Conferences and among bodies of Church educationists, and in Church newspapers. But the year closed without any indication of an at all authoritative character as to whether the Cabinet accepted the claims of the Church in this matter, or proposed to give them the go-by and confine their legislation to the problem of secondary education.
In the month of November there was a perceptible slackening of the tension which had prevailed in the public mind in the earlier part of the autumn with regard to the slow progress of the war, and also with regard to the deplorably high rate of mortality in the concentration camps, especially among the Boer children, who had been dying in the month of September in some of the camps at a rate of about 430 per 1,000 per annum. This relief was administered through a somewhat unusual channel—a letter from the War Secretary to a Bishop. It was in reply to an inquiry which he had received from the Bishop of Rochester that Mr. Brodrick wrote a sympathetic letter which was read (Nov. 6) at the Rochester Diocesan Conference. In addressing the Conference Bishop Talbot alluded to the fact, which could not be denied, that the consideration of the camps question had been prejudiced in the public mind by the manner in which it had been treated by the extreme advocates of the Boers. But for their unwise excesses the country would undoubtedly have been much more deeply moved than in fact it was by the tragedy of infant mortality. “They had struck across a complicated cause,” the Bishop said, “ with a sweeping judgment of condemnation on our own country,” with the result that they had helped to popularise the portrait of Great Britain as an unscrupulous and ruthless tyrant, and to convey to the Boers “ the moral encouragement of believing that all honest men in England were of their party, and the material encouragement that came from the most scornful estimate of our power and the most depressing forecast of our prospects.” As a consequence of this conduct the national conscience had grown resentful, if not callous. “ It was inclined to associate the moral appeal with what it considered unpatriotic.” Having rebuked, none the less, those who fell into the extreme of advocating indiscriminate severity, Bishop Talbot proceeded to avow his firm belief in the entirely humane feelings with which Lord Kitchener and Mr. Brodrick were animated in dealing with the camps question—a confidence which was fully borne out by the War Secretary's letter to him. He assured the Bishop that the subject had for many months received the most anxious attention, and that, despite immense difficulties, the most strenuous efforts had been made from the outset to secure “ full supplies of all necessaries and proper sanitation.” The Ladies' Committee sent out in July had made various recommendations, all of which had been adopted where possible under the circumstances. Mr. Brodrick then proceeded to indicate the special causes to which the lamentable rate of mortality was mainly attributable." Families," he said, “who had undergone severe privations in a country overrun by hostile bands, and who would have starved if they had remained in their homes, were ill clad and short of food before they came in. They have consequently
been unable to combat disease when attacked. These conditions have been aggravated by ignorance of ordinary conditions of health, which, with the addition of an epidemic of measles, has made camp life in winter fatal to a large number of children and weakly persons.” Mr. Brodrick added that if, on medical grounds, it should be deemed desirable to remove the camps to the coast, the expense would not stand in the way, and that anything else that was “ possible to alleviate suffering or to prevent mortality is being done and will be done.”
These assurances caused general satisfaction. But all the efforts made did not avail to stop the excessive mortality, and the very possibly overburdened War Office having handed the responsibility over to the civil authorities under the Colonial Office a few weeks later, it was decided, as was announced in a speech by Lord Onslow (Under Colonial Secretary) at Crewe (Dec. 9), that the larger camps would be broken up into smaller ones.
With regard to the progress of the war, Lord Salisbury adopted a curious air of mysterious optimism (Nov. 9) at the Guildhall. It would, he said, indeed be discouraging if we had any ground for supposing that we were making no progress, or not sufficient progress. “But there," the Prime Minister continued, “lies our difficulty. We cannot lay before you the whole circumstances of the case; we cannot tell you publicly all that is going on. We should be grossly neglecting our duty if we did so, and yet it is only by some revelation of that kind that we can give you full and entire satisfaction. All I can say is— and I am speaking not my own judgment, which would be of little value, I am speaking the judgment and the views of those who have the best opportunity of determining what is really going on and what is the real drift of events—that we are making, month by month and week by week, sure and substantial progress.” The country was almost inclined to feel that it had been trified with by these observations, which were part of a speech inferior in quality to the high level of the Prime Minister's public utterances. Speaking at the City Carlton Club, however (Nov. 13), Mr. Brodrick made no mysteries, and, on the contrary, set forth facts which undoubtedly were calculated to, and did, reassure the public mind. The story of the war is set out in another chapter, so it will be sufficient here, without quoting in detail from Mr. Brodrick's speech, to mention that he stated that great areas, which he specified, amounting to 14,700 square miles in the Transvaal and 17,000 square miles in the Orange Colony, had been securely fenced in by chains of blockhouses. It was obvious from a glance at the map that the measure of success thus secured was of great importance, with a view both to disabling and separating the bodies of the enemy still in the field, and to hastening the re-establishment of the necessary conditions of ordinary civil life and prosperity. Another satisfactorily significant fact mentioned by Mr. Brodrick was the practical cessation of interruptions of the railway.
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A fact may be conveniently mentioned here, as showing the great amount of energy and judgment which the War Secretary, burdened as he was by the charge of the war, threw into the discharge of his duties in regard to the Army at home. On November 6 he issued an important and well-considered Order in Council with regard to War Office administration. Its effect, as summarised in the Spectator, was to “place directly under the Commander-in-Chief the departments of the Adjutant-General, of the Director-General of Mobilisation and Intelligence, and of the Military Secretary. Before, these departments dealt directly with the Secretary of State, and, as it were, behind the back of the Commander-in-Chief. The system under which the Commander-in-Chief has not control, but only supervision, remains in respect of the great supply departments—i.e., those of the Quartermaster-General, the Inspector-General of Fortifications, and the Director-General of Ordnance. The Director-General of the Army Medical Department and the Financial Secretary are also not placed under the control of the Commander-in-Chief. Probably this was done so as not to overweight the Commander-in-Chief, and their exemption does not greatly matter, as they are departments for supplying the Army, rather than parts of the Army itself. The principle that the Commander-in-Chief is responsible to the Secretary of State throughout the Army is therefore now complete.”
Little more than a month earlier (Sept. 30) there had been issued the Report of the Committee appointed, and presided over, by Mr. Brodrick, on the organisation of the Medical and Nursing Services of the Army. The recommendations of this committee may be briefly summarised (from the same source) as follows: "(1) The establishment of an Advisory Board of ten persons, including at least four highly-qualified civilian representatives and the matron-in-chief, which would be charged with most of the duties at present entrusted to the DirectorGeneral alone ; (2) the remodelling of the entrance examination; (3) the adoption of a system of promotion by which at every stage continuance in the service would depend on compliance with regulations providing for the acquisition of further professional knowledge, to be tested by examination ; (4) the establishment as soon as possible of a Medical Staff College in connection with a large military hospital in London ; (5) special recognition of the claims of bacteriology, the science of hygiene, sanitation, etc. ; (6) a substantial increase of pay to all ranks of the corps, so that a lieutenant would receive from the first 3231. 10s. a year, and the Director-General 2,0001. As regards the Nursing Service, the committee recommended that its control be vested in a Board, of which the Queen should be president, composed of the Director-General and two members (one a civilian) of the Advisory Board of the Army Medical Service, the matron-in-chief, three matrons of large civil