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[23 munication are in my possession, and measures have been taken which will, I trust, enable my troops to deal effectually with the forces by which they are still opposed. I greatly regret the loss of life and the expenditure of treasure due to the fruitless guerilla warfare maintained by Boer partisans in the former territories of the two Republics. Their early submission is much to be desired in their own interests, as, until it takes place, it will be impossible for me to establish in those colonies institutions which will secure equal rights to all the white inhabitants, and protection and justice to the native population.”
In regard to China, the King referred to the success of the allied operations there-towards which results “my Indian troops and my naval forces largely contributed "--and said that the Government of that Empire had "submitted to the demands insisted on by the Powers.” Negotiations, he added, were proceeding “as to the manner in which compliance with these conditions should be effected."
A sympathetic allusion to the inauguration of the Australian Commonwealth and to the late Queen's assent to the Duke of Cornwall and York's visit to open its first Parliament in her name led up to the following happily worded paragraphs :
“A separation from my son, especially at such a moment, cannot be otherwise than deeply painful ; but I still desire to give effect to her late Majesty's wishes; and as an evidence of her interest, as well as of my own, in all that concerns the welfare of my subjects beyond the seas, I have decided that the visit to Australia shall not be abandoned, and shall be extended to New Zealand and to the Dominion of Canada.
“ The prolongation of hostilities in South Africa,” proceeded the King, "has led me to make a further call upon the patriotism and devotion of Canada and Australasia. I rejoice that my request has met with a prompt and loyal response, and that large additional contingents from those Colonies will embark for the seat of war at an early date.”
Highly eulogistic reference was then made to the conduct of the expedition organised for the suppression of the rebellion in Ashanti, by the signal success of which the King hoped that the chief impediment to the progress and development of that rich portion of his West African possessions had been finally removed.
“ The suffering and mortality,” continued the King, “caused by a prolonged drought over a large portion of my Indian Empire has been greatly alleviated by a seasonable rainfall; but I regret to add that in parts of the Bombay Presidency distress of a serious character still continues, which my officers are using every endeavour to mitigate.”
The review of the recent and present Imperial situation being thus completed, the King, addressing the Commons specially, went on to say :
“ The Estimates for the year will be laid before you. Every care has been taken to limit their amount, but the naval and
military requirements of the country, and especially the outlay consequent on the South African war, have involved an inevitable increase.
“The demise of the Crown renders it necessary that a renewed provision shall be made for the Civil List. I place unreservedly at your disposal those hereditary revenues which were so placed by my predecessor ; and I have commanded that the papers necessary for a full consideration of the subject shall be laid before you."
And then, addressing both Houses, the Royal Speech concluded as follows:
"Proposals will be submitted to your judgment for increasing the efficiency of my military forces. Certain changes in the constitution of the Court of Final Appeal are rendered necessary in consequence of the increased resort to it, which has resulted from the expansion of the Empire during the last two generations. Legislation will be proposed to you for the amendment of the law relating to education.
Legislation has been prepared, and, if the time at your disposal shall prove to be adequate, will be laid before you, for the purpose of regulating the voluntary sale by landlords to occupying tenants in Ireland, for amending and consolidating the Factory and Workshops Acts, for the better administration of the law respecting lunatics, for amending the Public Health Acts in regard to water supply, for the prevention of drunkenness in licensed houses or public places, and for amending the law of literary copyright.
“I pray that Almighty God may continue to guide you in the conduct of your deliberations, and may bless them with success."
Their Majesties then left the chamber, in procession, as they had entered, and the assemblage dispersed.
The Address in reply to the Speech from the Throne having been moved by the Marquis of Waterford and seconded by Eari Manvers, Lord Kimberley dwelt mainly on South Africa. While disclaiming any wish to criticise the military operations of Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener, Lord Kimberley desired to direct attention to the way in which the Government had taken their part in the war. It seemed that steps were taken too late, that efficiency was not assured, and that in consequence a state of things had arisen which might be called guerilla warfare, but which meant a war in circumstances of much difficulty and danger in South Africa. He contended that our commanders in South Africa were not provided with a sufficient supply of mounted men and appliances of war. Lord Kimberley said that he and his friends were prepared to support the Government in any steps which might be taken to bring the war to a close, and he earnestly pressed them to spare no means and no money and to send adequate reinforcements of efficient mounted men to our troops at once, so as to
[25 enable our commanders to bring their operations to a successful issue. As to the promises in the Speech with regard to legislation, Lord Kimberley considered them either so vague that no kind of instruction could be gained from them, or else as referring to matters so trivial as to be hardly worth notice on the present occasion.
In reforming our military system, he assured his Majesty's Government that they might count on every possible support from noble lords on the Opposition side of the House if they went into the subject in a thorough-going manner.
In reply, Lord Salisbury denied that there was any ground for the anxious tone in which Lord Kimberley had spoken. He referred to the length of time during which the operations required for the suppression of the Indian Mutiny, the reestablishment of Federal authority after the American Civil War, and the establishment of Austrian authority in Bosnia had been protracted, as showing that there was nothing abnormal in the dragging-on of the war in South Africa.
" Where,' he said, “ you have great enthusiasm—as in this case you undoubtedly have had—where you have a country that is difficult to fight in, and which gives opportunities for a lengthened and daring resistance, however great the power that you have at your back, however wealthy the country that is attacking may be, many, many months may elapse, if the resistance is persistently and obstinately continued, before complete tranquillity can be restored.”
Lord Salisbury expressed himself as glad that Lord Kimberley had given no countenance to the views of the set of people, who might not be numerous, but were certainly noisy, who advocated some policy short of that of carrying the war to a successful issue. The security of the whole of our proud Colonial Empire required that the war begun by the insulting invasion of the Boers should be carried on our part to complete triumph. As to the questions raised by Lord Kimberley about the conduct of the war, they could not be judged until there had been full inquiry, which Lord Salisbury did not deprecate, but which could not be undertaken profitably until evidence could be had from those who had seen the facts on the spot.
As to Lord Kimberley's complaint of the slightness of the domestic bill of fare offered by the King's Speech, the fact was that there were more interesting things with which the time of Parliament would be occupied; but of course any legislative proposals from the front Opposition bench would be received by Ministers with “sympathetic interest.” In concluding, the Prime Minister reiterated his wish that Lord Kimberley could impose his opinion upon those of his political co-religionists whose criticisms, though recognised at home as hollow and empty, yet created an impression in South Africa that the English people were not whole-hearted in the object they were pursuing
The Address was then agreed to. The matter was not raised
immediately in the House of Lords, but the first day of the session was not allowed to pass without the formal communication to the Lord Chancellor of a document, signed by the Duke of Norfolk, Lord Ripon, and twenty-eight other Roman Catholic Peers, on the subject of the declaration against Transubstantiation and other Roman Catholic doctrines and practices which had been read by the King at the outset of the proceedings. The signatories recognised that, as they had been previously informed by the Lord Chancellor, the Sovereign had no option, and was obliged by statute to use the words prescribed, but they urged that the expressions used in the declaration had made it difficult and painful for Catholic Peers to attend the opening ceremony in the House of Lords in order to discharge their official or public duties, and that those expressions could not but “cause the deepest pain to millions of subjects of his Majesty in all parts of the Empire, who were as loyal and devoted to his Crown and person as any others in his dominions.”
In the House of Commons (Feb. 16) the Speaker informed the House that he had received addresses of condolence on the death of Queen Victoria from the House of Representatives of the Hungarian Parliament, from the Chamber of Deputies of the Republic of Uruguay, and from the Italian Chargé d'Affaires in this country on behalf of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.
The sessional orders were then reaffirmed, after Mr. James Lowther had renewed his wonted protest against the rule prohibiting Peers from intervening in Parliamentary elections. He pressed his opposition to a division, and was defeated by a majority of 326 against 123. Then began a long and, though diversified, drearily protracted debate. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (Stirling Burghs), after a few happy references to the commencement of the new reign, and the usual compliments to the mover, Mr. Forster (Sevenoaks, Kent), and the seconder, Sir A. Agnew (Edinburgh, S.), of the Address, turned, like Lord Kimberley, to a consideration of the state of affairs in South Africa. But there was a perceptible difference between the attitude of the two Liberal statesmen. Lord Kimberley had insisted only on the necessity of the adoption by the Government of all steps necessary for the vigorous prosecution of the war; Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman emphasised that duty also, but laid quite equal stress on the importance of facilitating the conclusion of peace by holding out terms which the Boers might reasonably be expected to accept.
For a long time, he said, our forces on the spot had been insufficient, and peace was not likely to be secured by a policy of drifting. It was only when Parliament was about to meet that steps were taken to collect a heterogeneous force of 30,000 men who could hardly be efficient for service in the field before two or three months had elapsed. There would be no reluctance in Parliament to assist the despatch of such a number of troops as might suffice to clear our colonies of the invaders and to restore
1901.) Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman and Mr. Balfour. [27 the superiority of our arms.
When that had been accomplished would be the moment for declaring such terms of settlement as would secure for the Empire all that we had contended for, and as would assuage the fears of the Boers, save their dignity, and induce them to lay down their arms.
He blamed the Government for not having authorised the Commander-in-Chief to declare such terms of settlement after the occupation of Pretoria, and for having insisted on unconditional surrender, The burning of farmhouses he condemned as cruel, and he observed that the country was still without information as to the extent to which the policy of devastation had been carried out. The prolongation of the war might have been in large measure due to the policy of severe measures. He was not afraid of using the “ mailed fist,” but let the other hand hold out the olive branch.
To preserve and strengthen the British Imperial power in South Africa was the end they all had in view; but a condition of success, if that object was to be attained, was the recognition of Dutch opinion. He implored the Government now, or as soon as possible, to make known a more generous policy. The legislative programme of the Government he described as “ poverty-stricken," and he expressed regret that no attempt was to be made to take in hand such subjects as temperance reform, local taxation, and the housing of the working classes. With regard to the Civil List, he expressed his conviction that the Commons would cheerfully make adequate provision for the needs of the Crown.
Mr. Balfour (Manchester, E.), First Lord of the Treasury, after referring to the fact that this was the first Parliament of a new reign in the first year of a new century, reminded Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman that when his party were in power the speeches from the Throne were apt to be rich in promises but poor in performance. He thanked the Opposition leader for the promise of his support in the matter of the Civil List, and observed that there were no difficulties in connection with this subject such as had arisen in other days, and that there were no debts to make good. Replying to a question as to the behaviour of our troops in China, he said that he believed they had conducted themselves in an exemplary way, and that the arrangements made in regard to their transport, provisioning, and discipline reflected the highest credit on all concerned. With regard to the charge, strongly emphasised by Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman, that the Government had misled the country at the time of the general election by speaking of the South African war as over, Mr. Balfour confessed that they were mistaken, but held that they could not be greatly blamed for not foreseeing the continuation of opposition by unorganised guerilla forces. He assured the House that the Government had not lagged behind the demands of their generals, and had even rather exceeded the demands made by Lord Kitchener. He feared that the leader of the