military defeats were not to be weighed | one, to agree with the course which the in the scale for a moment with the great Government have taken; and although, political question before us. Our troops undoubtedly, it is a course which, owing were beaten under circumstances in to the previous policy of the Government which they really had no opportunity of and the mistakes they had been led into, displaying their military valour. They was full of difficulty and danger, was, I were shot down at great distances by have not the slightest doubt, the right deer-stalkers rather than by soldiers. policy to pursue. I entirely agree with The question for consideration was, whe- my noble Friend opposite in trusting ther it was worth while to get a military that the Government will now, in the triumph over the Boers and to stop all conduct of the negotiations, be firm with negotiations for peace? In dealing with the Boers, and give them clearly to unthis question we had to consider the derstand that the authority of the Crown nature of the forces by which our troops is to be maintained in South Africa in were defeated. The Boers are not an the fullest sense of the word suzerainty, army; they have no regiments, and no and that we shall not allow any portion artillery. They are simply armed farmers of that country to lapse into anarchy. who are accustomed to deer-stalking, and There was one argument used by my who are fighting for the independence of noble Friend, the relations of the British their country. Now, I ask any soldier Government to the Native population, in this House whether a great military which I cannot help saying has been triumph could be obtained by conquer- greatly overstated. “My noble Friend ing such men ? None whatever. Who opposite says that in South Africa we can doubt that the British Army which have always made a point of reserving soon afterwards assembled, consisting of our relations with the Native States. upwards of 10,000 men, had the perfect What is the meaning of that? Look at power of conquering the Boers ? The what is going on at the present moment. Boer force could hold a mountainous The Cape Colony has been waging war position like Laing's Nek with great against the Basutos contrary to the adsuccess; but on a plain they would not vice of the British Government. My be able to stand for a moment against noble Friend remonstrated, and his Rethe British Army. In my opinion it was presentative in the other House made no question of military glory, it was a some observations which gave great question of policy. Was it wise to stop offence in the Cape Colony. The conour negotiations for peace for the sake duct of the Sprigg Ministry towards the of defeating farmers who had succeeded, Basutos was pursued entirely indepenunder accidental circumstances, and by dent of the advice of the British Go. great rashness on the part of our com- vernment; and it is rather absurd to say manders, in gaining a victory over us? | that we are more responsible for our reThat was the position of the Govern- lations with the Natives in the Transment, and I maintain that the Govern- vaal, which we have held only two years, ment came to the right decision, that the than we are in the Cape Colony, which negotiations ought not to be stopped on we have possessed for many years. that account. I entirely agree with the LORD BRABOURNE felt strongly opinion expressed by my noble Friend that the policy pursued by Her Ma(the Earl of Kimberley) that the question jesty's Government in South Africa was entirely political and not military. would tend to produce the most disastrous In the event of our overcoming the results. It was said by the supporters Dutch population of the Transvaal, of the Government that the Transvaal would that have tended to the restora- ought not to have been annexed except tion of permanent peace in South Africa ? with the consent of a majority of the Looking to the undoubted sympathy of inhabitants. That, he was sure, was a the Dutch population in the Cape Colony doctrine which no one would dispute. with the Transvaal Boers, there was a Those who urged it forgot apparently serious danger of involving that country that possibly enough the annexation of in a war of races; the most calamitous the Transvaal was desired by a majority of all things in any country, and a result of the inhabitants at the time it was which any Government is bound in duty effected, as being their only hope of to avoid, if possible. These were the safety, and that they changed their main arguments which induced me, for views only after the English Govern

The Duke of Argyll

ment had warded off the danger which | immediately the Boers opened fire, withthreatened them. In any case the fact out giving him any reply or any intimaremained that a serious blow had been tion that he was in the presence of a struck at our prestige in South Africa. superior force. What would Lord PalHe would be told, perhaps, that prestige merston have done in such circumwas not a thing which a nation wanted, stances ? He would have demanded and he knew it was a word objected to explanations from the Boers; and if it by some of Her Majesty's Government. had been found--as he believed it would But what was prestige ? In its con- | have been found - that the act was ventional sense it was the reputation beyond the usages of civilized warfare, which a country possessed in the eyes of atonement would have been exacted others. It was very much the same to from the Boers, and the massacred a great country as credit was to a com- troops would have been avenged. Nomercial house, and could equally little thing of the kind was done by his noble be dispensed with. It would be un- Friend. No more official notice was becoming of him to criticize the lan- taken of the massacre of our soldiers guage of the Prime Minister's letter; | than would have been taken of the killbut he would observe that it was a mis- ing of so many dogs. He had inquired take to treat the literary productions of of his noble Friend, more than once, the right hon. Gentleman as those of an whether the perpetrators of this outrage ordinary individual. It was well known would be brought to justice, and the that the speeches of the Mid Lothian reply he had received was that the Comcampaign condemning annexation were mission would have power to deal with quoted by the Boer leaders in justifica- the matter, but that the amnesty would tion of their rebellion against British probably cover that act of the rebel authority, and his noble Friend the Se- Boers. Well, in the Instructions given cretary of State for the Colonies would to the Commission, there was not one find these statements in his own Blue word to call their attention to the occurBook, which he could hardly have read rence, and it appeared as if the Boer if he denied that the Prime Minister's version of the affair were to be calmly speeches had anything to do with the accepted, and the testimony of our own rising. Reference had been made to soldiers cast aside as worthless. The the massacre at Brunker's Spruit. That British soldier was not highly paid-his was one of the most disgraceful events was not a lucrative service--but he did he had ever heard of. He had carefully care for the honour of his flag, and up searched the Blue Books and had not to the present time he had always known found a single word from his noble that he could rely upon


support and Friend the Secretary of State for the sympathy of his fellow-countrymen at Colonies expressing his sorrow and in- home whilst fighting in distant lands. dignation at what had occurred. What, As far as the Government was concerned in fact, did occur? A detachment of some this support and sympathy had failed 250 British soldiers, marching in long him now, and the Secretary of State for convoy and with no knowledge of any the Colonies seemed to consider the state of war, with women, children, and slaughter of British soldiers a matter baggage, were stopped by the Boers and of no moment. From what he heard suddenly summoned to surrender. That he did not believe that the Boers war had not then been declared was were at all inclined to submit to the proved by the very letter delivered to authority of the British Crown. His Colonel Anstruther by the Boers, in noble Friend could hardly expect it. which they said—“We do not know whe- Why, those men asserted that they were ther we are in a state or war or not ;” but fighting for their independence and for that if he advanced, “we know what we the land of their fathers-a great portion will have to do in self-defence." Self- l of which, by-the-bye, had been pilched defence! when even while Colonel An- from the Natives within the last 20 struther was reading the letter, under ! years. But in his “Instructions” to cover of the flag of truce, the Boers were the Commission his noble Friend proquietly advancing to positions they had posed to cut off more than one-third of before planned, the distances having this land, either to be given to Nabeen marked by them and a regular tive Tribes or kept under British authoambush laid. The Colonel sent a mes- , rity. Did anyone in his senses supsage back, asking for an answer, but pose the Boers-exulting and victorious


- were going to submit to this ? Why, in the last Blue Book was printed their HOUSE OF COMMONS, notice to a Native Chief not to assist our enemies the English Government

Tuesday, 10th May, 1881. which we have already overthrown.” And again they say—“We alone are able to work out the English.” If we had defeated them, there might have been MINUTES. 1 - Public Bills-Ordered— First some show of generosity in our proceed

Reading - Local Government Provisional Or.

ders (Halifax, &c.) * (158); Local Govern. ings towards them; but as matters were

ment Provisional Orders (Acton, &c.) (159) the Boers, who, no doubt, considered Second Reading-Gas Provisional Orders * [1473; themsolves a match for us, would not Local Government Provisional Order (Bir. tamely submit to our terms. There was mingham) * (144); Local Gorernment Pro. no hope of tranquillity in South Africa

visional Orders (Brentford Union, &c.) until there was a law-abiding popula

[149]; Water Provisional Orders [146]. tion, under a Government which would

PRIVATE BUSINESS. assert and enforce equal laws for all ; and there was no Government which

--could and rould do that save the British

NEW STANDING ORDER. Government. It was well known that

MR. E. STANHOPE moved the folthe Transvaal rebellion took its rise in the refusal of certain persons to pay

lowing new Standing Order :taxes to the English, as they had pre- (Local Authorities to have a locus standi against

Gas and Water Bills.) viously refused to pay them to the Boer Government. He wished, too, to know of any town or district alleging in their Petition

“ That the municipal or other local authority what was to be done for the loyal in- that such town or district may be injuriously habitants of the Transvaal, who had affected by the provisions of any Bill relating to lost their all because they trusted Eng- the lighting or water supply thereof, or the land ? There were good words concern

raising of capital for any such purpose, shall be

entitled to be heard against such Bill." ing them, no doubt, in the Instructions; but what power would the Commis- The hon. Gentleman said, that anyone sioners have to enforce their decisions, who undertook to propose any alteration or to procure any redress for those men ? in the Rules and Orders of the House, Judging from appearances, he very

and still more anyone who ventured to much feared that we were only at the invade the sacred precincts of the Court beginning of our troubles in South of Referees, incurred considerable reAfrica, and he should be only too glad sponsibility: He possessed, however, if the result should show that he had some knowledge of the practice before been mistaken in his prognostications. Committees upstairs, and the Board

LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY: of Trade with respect to Provisional The only sense that can be attributed to Orders. In the first place, he must be the words of Mr. Gladstone's letter are allowed to say that although, undoubtthat he considers himself not responsible edly, the object of his proposal was to because no Boers were killed at Laing's overrule the Court of Referees, he did Nek or Majuba Hill, and only our own not intend any act of discourtesy towards soldiers were sacrificed in vain; but any that body, who rendered great and imtheologian will tell him that whoever portant services to the House. But the wages an unjust war is responsible for Honse would recollect that when any those that fail on both sides. And Mr. particular practice was objected to, and Gladstone is responsible for the war, any wish expressed to alter a precedent as he did not enter into any commu- established by the Court of Referees, the nications with the Boers after denounc only way in which a re-consideration of ing the annexation in his Mid Lothian the practice or precedent could be sespeeches. As to the other matters re- cured was by bringing the question reguferred to, I entirely concur with the larly before the House, and proposing an speech of the noblo Duke (the Duke of alteration of the Standing Orders or a Argyll).

new Standing Order altogether. The House adjourned at a quarter before proposal which he was about to lay beSeven o'clock, to Thursday next, fore the House had no reference to any

half past Ten o'clock particular case, or to any particular place, Lord Brabourne

He desired only to discuss the matter first established Gas and Water Comas one of the general principles which panies, give them an easy power by some ought to govern the relations between simple process of acquiring the addithe local authorities and the Gas and tional capital which might be necessary Water Companies of their particular for the future development of their undistricts. As it stood at present, the dertaking. Parliament decided that it Rule practically laid down by the Court would grant capital to a limited extent of Referees in that House was that when only, and that every subsequent applia Gas and Water Company went to that cation for additional capital must be House for the purpose of asking for made to Parliament itself, so that Paradditional capital, leave to oppose that liament might have an opportunity of proposal was not given by the Court of reviewing altogether the terms of the Referees to the local authorities. The concession. If that were the intention object of this new Standing Order was to of Parliament, surely it followed as the provide that when a Gas or Water | logical sequence that Parliament inCompany came before Parliament, the tended that the local authority who best local authority of the district should be represented the interests of the consuentitled to be heard generally against mers of the particular district should have such Gas or Water Company. Notice a locus standi before a Committee of the of an Amendment had been given House, and should have an opportunity by his hon. Friend the Member for of calling the attention of the House to East Kent (Mr. Pemberton), who was the manner in which the monopoly had himself a member of the Court of Re- been exercised, and of explaining wheferees, and the object of the Amend. ther there were any reasons why a ment was to limit very much the pro- further extension of capital should not posal which he (Mr. Stanhope) made. be granted, or to suggest the terms His hon. Friend wished to lay down by on which it should be granted. It the Amendment that the opposition was was now the constant practice of the to be limited to any matter contained in local authorities to purchase these unor proposed to be enacted by the Bill. dertakings; and in consequence of the In his (Mr. Stanhope's) opinion, that existence of that practice, and of would be far too limited a proposal. the fact that Parliament usually gave The practice which he desired to estab- its assent to it, it became more neces. lish in that IIouso was exactly the same sary to entrust the local authorities practice as that which now existed at with the power of guarding against the the Board of Trade in regard to appli- unnecessary increase of capital on the cations for Provisional Orders. And it part of these Companies. No doubt, in was the same practice as that which now these days there was some safeguard existed in regard to Private Bills in the by the introduction of “the auction” House of Lords. He thought that the clauses; but perhaps he might be allowed local authority ought to have power to to represent to the House that these appear in the case of any application by clauses did not apply at all to Water a Gas or Water Company for an in- | Companies; and that, over and beyond crease of capital. The Gas or Water anything covered by these clauses, there Company possessed a monopoly practi- were many other points which had been cally limited in duration by the amount developed by experience year by year, of its capital; and what was sug- / which showed that those who repregested loy the Standing Order ho now sented a particular district should be desired to propose was that whenever empowered to go before a Committoe of the Gas or Water Company desired to the House of Commons. They were extend its capital and came to Parlia- told that the passing of this new Standment to ask leave for that purpose, Par- ing Order would have the effect of inliament ought to have the power of re- creasing litigation. He could not see viewing generally all the circumstances why that supposition should be enterof the proposal, and of imposing any taint d. The adoption of the same fresh conditions which the circumstances principlo had not led to any unduro of the case might seem to require. In litigation in the case of Provisional the first place, be thought that this was Orders, or in the case of Committees in the manifest intention of Parliament. the House of ords. Then why should If not, why did not Parliament, when it it be supposed that it would be likely


[ocr errors]

to lead to litigation in this instance ? | arisen, and how it was regulated. He There were

or two safeguards thought that his hon. Friend had not de. against undue litigation already in ex. scribed the course of the practice of the istence. First of all, the House would Court of Referees quite accurately, and remember that a statutory power was he hoped that he should be able to set him given to every Committee of that House right in one or two points. The Standing in any case where they considered Order under which the Court at present the opposition to have been frivolous acted was the one numbered 134, which and vexatious, to inflict the costs upon saidthe opposing parties. That power had

“It shall be competent for the Referees oc already been exercised in not a few Private Bills to admit the petitioner, being the cases, and must have had the best pos- municipal or other authority having the local sible influence upon local authorities management of the Metropolis, or of any town, in inducing them to abstain from op- to be injuriously affected by a Bill, to be heard

or the inhabitants of any town or district alleged posing a Bill where their opposition against such Bill if they shall think fit.” would not be justified. In the second place, the operation of the Bo. Under that Order the House would see rough Funds Act of 1867 had also that the power given to the Referees operated as

a salutary check. That was optional. They might, as they Act would be perfectly familiar to the thought fit or not, allow the local authoHouse. Under its provisions it was rity of any town or district alleged to be absolutely necessary before any local injuriously affected to be heard against authority could oppose a Gas or Water the Bill. And he might say this-that Bill, that it should obtain the sanction in every case that had been before the of a majority of the ratepayers at a Court, wherever any alteration was meeting specially called for that purpose. sought to be made, either in the quanHe did not think that at this moment it|tity or the quality of the gas or water was necessary to add anything to what supply, or in the extension or diminution he had now stated; but he would simply of the limits of the district, or in the price submit his proposal for the discussion of the gas or water supplied, the Peti

. of the House. He felt that the best tioners in every case had been admitted. mode, after all, of protecting the inte. They had gone further than that. They rests of the ratepayers, was to strengthen even admitted them in a case where the hands of the local authorities. the place of testing the gas was simply He believed, also, that this popular altered—where it was shifted from one House of Parliament would not refuse place to another. They had considered to the local authorities the power which that even so trifling an alteration formed day after day, without jealousy and a sufficient ground for their admission. without inconvenience, was given by the The only cases in which they had ever House of Lords.

been refused a locus standi were cases Motion made, and Question proposed, tional capital, and upon that point be

where it was simply sought to raise addi“ That the municipal or other local authority must entirely differ from his hon. Friend of any town or district alleging in their Petition that such town or district may be inju- . who had moved this new Standing Order. riously affected by the provisions of any Bill Where new capital was sought to be relating to the lighting or water supply thereof, raised it did not in any way increase or or the raising of capital for any such purpose; extend the monopoly, but it simply gave shall be entitled to be heard against such Bill." additional facilities to the Companies for -(1i. E. Stanhope.)

the purpose of carrying out purposes MR. PEMBERTON moved, as an which the Legislature had previously Amendment, in line 4, after the word sanctioned and authorized. Of course, against,' to insert the words “any the Court of Referees

were only matter contained in, or proposed to be anxious to carry out the Orders of the enacted by.” The hon. Member said, House, and it would relieve them, to a that in rising to propose the Amendment great extent, froin very laborious duties which stood in his name, he hoped the if this Standing Order was carried. The House would allow him very shortly to House would observe that his Amendstate, in order to explain the nature of ment did not in any way oppose the the Amendment, what the practice in principle-as he understood the printhe Court of Referees was, how it had ciplo-of his hon. Friond's Motion. His

Jr. E. Stanhope

« ForrigeFortsett »