Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

4 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



PARLIAMENTARY. ATTACKS ON MR CHAMBERLAIN. Mr F S Stevenson resumed the speech in the House of Commons on Wednesday which was interrupted by the twelve o'clock Rule on Tuesday night. He had again to address a very empty House. Only a handful of Liberals were present, and the Ministerial benches also were but sparsely occupied. During four fjhours of the sitting, the attendance of the Opposition rank and file scarcely ever exceeded twenty members. The Front Bench itself was sometimes full, but oftener half empty, or all but vacant: Under these depressing circum- stances, the Debate was flat; but the various assailants of the Government persevered courageously in imposing speeches of great length upon an attenuated audience. Mr Steven- son quoted Lord Salisbury's reference at the small allowance of Secret Service money of the command of the Government, and added that if the Chancellor of the Exchequer bad asked for more, the House would have given it. Interrupting him, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said it was not for him to make such a proposition, unless at the instance of the Cabinet. It seems," reported Mr Stevenson, to be A GAME OF BATTLEDORE and shuttlecock." He then proceeded to discuss the future settlement after the war, but the speaker informed him that that did not arise out of tne Amendment, In conclusion, he said that the House would desire to see the war through in a way that would paeserve the supremacy of the British authority. Colonel Milward, who followed Mr Stevenson, charged Sir H Campbell-Bannerman with having done more to stay the hands of the Government in making preparations than any other man. Sir Henry at once got up to explain that what he bad said was that there was nothing in the whole story of the controversy in relation to the frenchise and the Uitlanders' grievances which furnished a casus belli. Colonel Milward replied that he was not speaking about a question of casus belli, but about a question of making preparations for war. Re- ferring to the nature of the preparations, Colonel Milward admitted that there was need for an inquiry, as many things required amendment at the War Office. Mr Buxton dwelt at length on the errors in the course of Mr Chamberlain's negotiations, and favoured the House with a sketch of what the Colonial Secretary should have done. On his remarking that the Prime Minister had said that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had hampered in every possible way the preparations for the war, Sir M Hicks-Beach interrupted him with the remark that the Prime Minister had never made any such statement, and he took the opportunity of stating that neither the Treasury nor he himself had in any way STINTED ANY PREPARATIONS or any expenditure which was thought necessary by the Government in regard to the war. All these statements in regard to himself were absolutely un- founded. Mr Buxton replied that he had never believed these scandalous expressions and insinua- tions. He did not believe in the Afrikander con- spiracy, and went on to show that the Government had betrayedgreat want of judgment. He admitted that the amendment would not be carried, but it might help to stiffen the Government in their con- duct of the war, the vigorous prosecution of which he advocated. Sir A Ackland-Hood and Colonel Brookfield both condemned our military system for much that had occurred, and Mr Buchanan cen- sured Mr Chamberlain for recklessness and care- lessness in his management of the negotiations, while, as regards the want of preparation, the facts Spoke for themselves. About four o'clock Sir R Reid rose, and members came pouring in from the lobbies till the empty benches on the floor of the House were overflowing. His speech expressed the views of the party below the gangway represented by Mr Labouchere and the Irish Nationalists, who cheered him con- tinuously. HE CRITICISED AND CONDEMNED, in the most uncompromising language, Mr Chamberlain's method of diplomacy. The Cabinet was responsible for recklessness, want of judgment, and want of straightforwardness; but he did not ask that the war should be stopped so long as there was an enemy in the Queen's dominions. He asserted that the war had been brought about by the wickedness of two men, supported by the lying of the Press. There was net the slightest proof of the existence of an Afrikander conspiracy, and the whole policy of driving the British into the sea was a myth, in substantiation of which he read out the annual sums spent by the Boers on munitions of war since 1893. The myth, he said, had been fabri- cated for the purpose of excusing the futile policy which the Government had pursued during the last four years. As to the Raid, a great many people, rightly or wrongly, believed that it bad been organised with the consent of the Colonial Secretary. This evoked bursts of vehement cheer- ing from the Radical and Irish benches. They were not entitled, he said, to accept a statement of that kind without proof. But the Raid HAD LED TO AN INQUIRY by a Committee of the House which was a scandal and a dishonour to the House and the country. This also produced repeated bursts of cheering from the same quarter. He went on to entreat the House to take up the broken thread of that inquiry -a suggestion which produced a further continuous outbreak of cheering. Mr Brodrick replied in a speech of remarkable vigour and animation, and made a point against Sir R Reed at the opening by saying that his whole attitude was that the war was unjust, and yet he was able to go into the Lobby in support of an Amendment to tbe effect that sufficient preparations hnd not been made. He ridiculed the figures quoted as the amount spent by the Transvaal Government since 1833 on munitions of war, which he totalled up to £ 1,186,000 asserting that the amount did not re- present a fourth of the sum, as the Boers had secretly laid out large sums, but had put down low figures TO GULL THIS COUNTRY into a false security. He condemned with severity also Sir Roberts's charge against the South Africa Committee that it had acted in a manner dis- honouring to the House of Commons. The I country did not care who occupied the Treasury Bench. What it wanted was that this war should be carried to a successful issue Mr Brodrick's speech was warmly cheered by the Ministerialists throughout, and was the most vehement and vigorous he has ever delivered in the House The debate was adjourned on the motion of Sir C Dilke.