Henry Campbell-Bannerman – 1901 Speech Following the Death of Queen Victoria

Below is the text of the speech made by Henry Campbell-Bannerman in the House of Commons on 25 January 1901.

Sir, the gracious Message which we have received from His Majesty the King and the Address by which the First Lord of the Treasury proposes that we should make reply to that Message concern themselves with a subject on which, happily for us, the House of Commons forgets all differences of party and of political opinion. If I were to borrow a, phrase from the stately Proclamation which yesterday resounded through these islands, I should say that it is “with one voice and consent of tongue and heart” that on these occasions we are accustomed in this country to act. If this is so, if we are all of one mind to-day, it is not merely in giving formal expression to constitutional and traditional loyalty; there is a deeper and stronger chord, a more intimate chord, that has been struck by the events of this week. The ties that bind the people of this country to the Throne and the Royal House have not been created, they are not such as could be created, by the wit or theory of philosopher or statesman; they have been knit by the character and the life of Queen Victoria and the members of Her Royal Family. I am not going to attempt to add—because if I attempted to add to it I should spoil it—to the eloquent panegyric which the right hon. Gentleman has passed upon the great Sovereign whose loss we deplore to-day. One might, of course, enlarge upon many points that were most prominent in her character and conduct, on her ungrudging devotion to duty, on her scrupulous observance of constitutional rules, on the soundness of her judgement, on her unfailing discretion, on the unsullied goodness of her life, and on her singularly quick and watchful sympathy with everything that could bring joy or sorrow to any of her subjects.

But there is one thing which strikes me as having, above, all, from the earliest days of Her Majesty’s reign, won for her the hearts of her people, and which has increased her hold upon them as the revolving years succeeded each other, and this is a certain homely sincerity of character and life and purpose which, amid all the pomp and dignity of her august position, seemed to make the whole world kin. If we were to attempt to appreciate the light in which Queen Victoria has been regarded, and in which her memory will continue to be regarded by her people at home, and by her subjects within the vast bounds of her Empire—if we were to attempt it—we should search in vain down the long list of epithets expressive of pride and affection—admired, beloved, revered, even adored—to find one which accurately or adequately conveyed the real sentiment of her people towards her. I believe that this is because there was between them a friendly, tender, almost familiar, mutual understanding which it is impossible to put into words. Who can measure the strength which the existence of a relation such as this between the Sovereign and her people must have given through all these, years to this kingdom and this Empire? We have been so habituated to it that we hardly realise it; and it is now, when the relentless hand of death has taken Her Majesty from us, that we see how much we owed to her. Let me ask how often it must have happened during her long reign that some policy or action on the part of this country, either by fault of ours or not, may have failed to secure the goodwill of other States and nations among our neighbours, and how often may the evil effects of such a state of things have been averted by the knowledge, which was universal in the world, of the Queen’s personal and sincere devotion to the cause of peace and freedom and uprightness. It is, therefore, with a deep sense of gratitude for all the happiness and the strength which Her Majesty, by her own personal qualities, has given to her faithful people that we bow the head before the decree of Divine Providence which has put a close to a reign the most beneficent that has been seen in any nation and in any age of the world.

Happily, the grief with which we suffer this irreparable loss is in some degree assuaged by our well-founded confidence that the Monarch who succeeds to the Throne will follow the same line of public conduct and will adhere to the same principles of life as have wrought so much good in the past. It often happens when a new occupant comes to the Throne of a country, that he is an untried Prince, unversed in public affairs; it may be even that he is little know personally to those over whom he is called upon to reign. It is not so with King Edward. For the greater part of his life it has fallen to him not only to discharge a large part of the ceremonial public duty which would naturally fall to be performed by the head of the State, but also to take a leading part in almost every scheme established for the benefit, material or moral, of the people of this country. Religion and charity, the public health, science, literature, and art, education, commerce, agriculture,—not one of these objects appealed in vain to His Majesty, while he was Prince of Wales, for strong sympathy and even for personal effort and influence. We know how unselfish he has been in the assiduous discharge of all his public duties, we know with what tact and geniality he has been able to lend his aid to the furtherance of these great objects.

Therefore it is, not only that we hope, but that, from our past experience, we know, that His Majesty understands and enters into and appreciates and sympathises with the desires and needs of his people, and that he will devote himself even to a greater degree than he has been able to do in the past to the promotion of their welfare. And in this, perhaps, it may be light to say that it is an additional satisfaction to us to know that His Majesty will have by his side his august Consort, who has reigned in the hearts of the British people ever since she first set foot on our soil. Sir, there will be no discordant voice in this House to-day. If there were, we should not fittingly represent those who have sent us here. There will be but one universal feeling of sorrow for the lamentable calamity that has befallen the nation, and of hopeful confidence for a happy and prosperous future. I beg to second the motion.

Arthur Balfour – 1901 Speech on Death of Queen Victoria

Below is the text of the speech made by Arthur Balfour, the then First Lord of the Treasury (he wasn’t Prime Minister until 1902, this was a rare period when the First Lord of the Treasury wasn’t also the Prime Minister), in the House of Commons on 25 January 1901.

The history of this House is not a brief or an uneventful one, but I think it has never met in sadder circumstances than to-day or had the melancholy duty laid more clearly upon it of expressing a universal sorrow—a sorrow extending from one end of the Empire to the other, a sorrow which fills every heart and which every citizen feels, not merely as a national, but also as a personal loss. I do not know how it may seem to others, hut, for my own part, I can hardly yet realise the magnitude of the blow which has fallen upon the country—a blow, indeed, sorrowfully expected, but not, on that account, less heavy when it falls.

I suppose that, in all the history of the British Monarchy, there never has been a case in which the feeling of national grief was so deep-seated as it is at present, so universal, so spontaneous. And that grief affects us not merely because we have lost a great personality, but because we feel that the end of a great epoch has come upon us—an epoch the beginning of which stretches beyond the memory, I suppose, of any individual whom I am now addressing, and which embraces within its compass sixty-three years, more important, more crowded with epoch-making change, than almost any other period of like length that could be selected in the history of the world. It is wonderful to reflect that, before these great changes, now familiar and almost vulgarised by constant discussion, were thought of or developed—great industrial inventions, great economic changes, great discoveries in science which are now in all men’s mouths-—Queen Victoria reigned over this Empire.

Yet, Sir, it is not this reflection, striking though it be, which now moves us most deeply. It is not simply the length of the reign, it is not simply the magnitude of the events with which that reign is filled, which have produced the deep and abiding emotion which stirs every heart throughout this kingdom. The reign of Queen Victoria is no mere chronological landmark. It is no mere convenient division of time, useful to the historian or the chronicler. No, Sir, we feel as we do feel for our great loss because we intimately associate the personality of Queen Victoria with the great succession of events which have filled her reign, with the growth, moral and material, of the Empire over which she ruled. And, in so doing, surely we do well. In my judgement, the importance of the Crown in our Constitution is not a diminishing, but an increasing factor. It increases, and must increase with the development of those free, self-governing communities, those new commonwealths beyond the sea, who are constitutionally linked to us through the person of the Sovereign, the living symbol of Imperial unity. Hut, Sir, it is not given, it cannot, in ordinary course, be given, to a constitutional Monarch to signalise his reign by any great isolated action. His influence, great as it may be, can only be produced by the slow, constant, and cumulative results of a great ideal and a great example; and in presenting effectively that great ideal and that great example to her people Queen Victoria surely was the first of all constitutional Monarchs whom the world has vet seen. Where shall we find any ideal so lofty in itself, so constantly and consistently maintained, through two generations, through more than two generations, of her subjects, through many generations of her Ministers and public men?

Sir, it would be almost impertinent for me were I to attempt to express to the House in words the effect which the character of our late Sovereign produced upon all who were in any degree, however remote, brought in contact with her. In the simple dignity, befitting a Monarch of this realm, she could never fail, because it arose from her inherent sense of the fitness of things. And because it was no artificial ornament of office, because it was natural and inevitable, this queenly dignity only served to throw into a stronger relief, into a brighter light those admirable virtues of the wife, the mother, and the woman with which she was so richly endowed. Those kindly graces, those admirable qualities, have endeared her to every class in the community, and are known to all. Perhaps less known was the life of continuous labour which her position as Queen threw upon her. Short as was the interval between the last trembling signature affixed to a public document and the final and perfect rest, it was yet long enough to clog and hamper the wheels of administration; and when I saw the accumulating mass of untouched documents which awaited the attention of the Sovereign, I marvelled at the unostentatious patience which for sixty-three years, through sorrow, through suffering, in moments of weariness, in moments of despondency, had enabled her to carry on without break or pause her share in the government of this great Empire. For her there was no holiday, to her there was no intermission of toil. Domestic sorrow, domestic sickness, made no difference in her labours, and they were continued from the hour at which she became our Sovereign to within a few days—I had almost said a few hours—of her death. It is easy to chronicle the growth of Empire, the course of discovery, the progress of trade, the triumphs of war, all the events that make history interesting or exciting; but who is there that will dare to weigh in the balance the effect which such an example, continued over sixty-three years, has produced on the highest life of her people?

It was a great life, and surely it had a, happy ending. She found her reward in the undying affection and the passionate devotion of all her subjects, where so ever their lot might be cast. This has not always been the fate of her ancestors. It has not been the fate of some of the greatest among them. It has been their less happy destiny to outlive contemporary fame, to see their people’s love grow cold, to find new generations growing up who know them not, and burdens to be lifted too heavy for their aged arms. Their sun, once so bright, has set amid darkening clouds and the muttering of threatening-tempests. Such was not the lot of Queen Victoria. She passed away with her children and her children’s children, to the third generation, around her, beloved and cherished of all. She passed away without, I well believe, a single enemy in the world—for even those who loved not England loved her; and she, passed away not only knowing that she was—I had almost said adored by her people, but that their feelings towards her had grown in depth and intensity with every year in which she was spared to rule over them. No such reign, no such ending, can the history of this country show us.

Mr. Speaker, the Message from the King which you have read from the Chair calls forth, according to the immemorial usage of this House, a double response. We condole with His Majesty upon the irreparable loss which he and the country have sustained. We congratulate him upon his accession to the ancient dignities of his House. I suppose at this moment there is no sadder heart in this kingdom than that of its Sovereign; and it may seem therefore to savour of bitter irony that we should offer him on such a melancholy occasion the congratulations of his people. Yet, Sir, it is not so. Each generation must bear its own burdens; and in the course of nature it is right that the burden of Monarchy should fall upon the heir to the Throne. He is, therefore, to be congratulated, as every man is to be congratulated who, in obedience to plain duty, takes upon himself the weight of great responsibilities, filled with the earnest hope of worthily fulfilling his task to the end, or, in his own words, “while life shall last.” It. is for us on this occasion, so momentous in the history of the Monarchy, so momentous in the history of the King, to express to him our unfailing confidence that the great interests committed to his charge are safe in his keeping, to assure him of the ungrudging-support which his loyal subjects are ever prepared to give, him, to wish him honour, to wish him long life, to wish him the greatest of all blessings, the blessing of reigning over a happy and a contented people, and to wish, above all, that his reign may, in the eyes of an envious posterity, fitly compare with that great epoch which has just drawn to a close. Mr. Speaker, I now beg to read the, Address which I shall ask you to put from the Chair and to which I shall ask the House to assent. I move—

“That a humble Address be presented to His Majesty, to assure His Majesty that this House deeply sympathises in the great sorrow which His Majesty has sustained by the death of our beloved Sovereign, the late Queen, whose unfailing devotion to the duties of Her high estate and to the welfare of Her people will ever cause Her reign to be remembered with reverence and affection: to submit to His Majesty our respectful congratulations on His Accession to the Throne, to assure His Majesty of our loyal attachment to His person, and further to assure Him of our earnest conviction that His reign will be distinguished under the blessing of Providence by an anxious desire to maintain the Laws of the Kingdom, and to promote the happiness and liberty of His subjects.”

King Edward VII – Statement on Death of Queen Victoria

Below is the text of the statement issued by King Edward VII on the death of his mother, Queen Victoria, which was read out in the Houses of Parliament on 25 January 1901.

The King is fully assured that the House of Commons will share in the deep sorrow which has befallen His Majesty and the Nation by the lamented death of His Majesty’s mother, the late Queen. Her devotion to the welfare of Her country and Her people, and Her wise and beneficent rule during the sixty-four years of Her glorious reign will ever be held in affectionate memory by Her loyal and devoted subjects throughout the dominions of the British Empire.

King Edward VII – 1901 King’s Speech

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Below is the text of the speech made by King Edward VII in the House of Lords on 14 February 1901.

My Lords and Gentlemen,

I address you for the first time at a moment of National sorrow, when the whole Country is mourning the irreparable loss which we have so recently sustained, and which has fallen with peculiar severity upon Myself. My beloved Mother, during Her long and glorious reign, has set an example before the world of what a Monarch should be. It is My earnest desire to walk in Her footsteps.

Amid this public and private grief it is satisfactory to Me to be able to assure you that My relations with other Powers continue to be friendly.

The war in South Africa has not yet entirely terminated; but the capitals of the enemy and his principal lines of communication 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.

The capture of Peking by the allied forces, and the happy release of those who were besieged in the Legations, results to which My Indian troops and My Naval forces largely contributed, have been followed by the submission of the Chinese Government to the demands insisted on by the Powers. Negotiations are proceeding as to the manner in which compliance with these conditions is to be effected.

The establishment of the Australian Commonwealth was proclaimed at Sydney on the 1st January with many manifestations of popular enthusiasm and rejoicing.

My deeply beloved and lamented Mother had assented to the visit of the Duke of Cornwall and York to open the first Parliament of the new Commonwealth in Her name.

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 interests, 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 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.

The expedition organised for the suppression of the rebellion in Ashanti has been crowned with signal success. The endurance and gallantry of My Native troops, ably commanded by Sir James Willeocks, and led by British officers, have overcome both the stubborn resistance of the most warlike tribes in West Africa and the exceptional difficulties of the climate, the season, and the country in which the operations have been conducted.

The garrison of Coomassie, which was besieged by the enemy, has been relieved after a prolonged and gallant defence; the principal Kings have surrendered, and the chief impediment to the progress and development of this rich portion of My West African possessions has now, I hope, been finally removed.

The suffering and mortality 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.

Gentlemen of the House of Commons,

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.

My Lords and Gentlemen,

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 Bale 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.

Winston Churchill – 1901 Maiden Speech in the House of Commons

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Below is the text of the maiden speech of Winston Churchill, held in the House of Commons on 18th February 1901.

I understood that the hon. Member to whose speech the House has just listened, had intended to move an Amendment to the Address. The text of the Amendment, which had appeared in the papers, was singularly mild and moderate in tone; but mild and moderate as it was, neither the hon. Member nor his political friends had cared to expose it to criticism or to challenge a division upon it, and, indeed, when we compare the moderation of the Amendment with the very bitter speech which the hon. Member has just delivered, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the moderation of the Amendment was the moderation of the hon. Member’s political friends and leaders, and that the bitterness of his speech is all his own.

It has been suggested to me that it might perhaps have been better, upon the whole, if the hon. Member, instead of making his speech without moving his Amendment, had moved his Amendment without making his speech. I would not complain of any remarks of the hon. Member were I called upon to do so. In my opinion, based upon the experience of the most famous men whose names have adorned the records of the House, no national emergency short, let us say, of the actual invasion of this country itself ought in any way to restrict or prevent the entire freedom of Parliamentary discussion. Moreover, I do not believe that the Boers would attach particular importance to the utterances of the hon. Member.

No people in the world received so much verbal sympathy and so little practical support as the Boers. If I were a Boer fighting in the field—and if I were a Boer I hope I should be fighting in the field—I would not allow myself to be taken in by any message of sympathy, not even if it were signed by a hundred hon. Members. The hon. Member dwelt at great length upon the question of farm burning. I do not propose to discuss the ethics of farm burning now; but hon. Members should, I think, cast their eyes back to the fact that no considerations of humanity prevented the German army from throwing its shells into dwelling houses in Paris, and starving the inhabitants of that great city to the extent that they had to live upon rats and like atrocious foods in order to compel the garrison to surrender. I venture to think His Majesty’s Government would not have been justified in restricting their commanders in the field from any methods of warfare which are justified by precedents set by European and American generals during the last fifty or sixty years. I do not agree very fully with the charges of treachery on the one side and barbarity on the other.

From what I saw of the war—and I sometimes saw something of it—I believe that as compared with other wars, especially those in which a civil population took part, this war in South Africa has been on the whole carried on with unusual humanity and generosity. The hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs has drawn attention to the case of one general officer, and although I deprecate debates upon the characters of individual general officers who are serving the country at this moment, because I know personally General Bruce Hamilton, whom the hon. Member with admirable feeling described as General Brute Hamilton, I feel unable to address the House without offering my humble testimony to the fact that in all His Majesty’s Army there are few men with better feeling, more kindness of heart, or with higher courage than General Bruce Hamilton.

There is a point of difference which has been raised by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition upon the question of the policy to be pursued in South Africa after this war has been brought to a conclusion. So far as I have been able to make out the difference between the Government and the Opposition on this question is that whereas His Majesty’s Government propose that when hostilities are brought to a conclusion there shall be an interval of civil government before full representative rights are extended to the peoples of these countries, on the other hand the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition believes that these representative institutions will be more quickly obtained if the military government be prolonged as a temporary measure and no interval of civil government be interposed. I hope I am not misinterpreting the right hon. Gentleman in any way. If I am, I trust he will not hesitate to correct me, because I should be very sorry in any way to misstate his views. If that is the situation, I will respectfully ask the House to allow me to examine these alternative propositions. I do not wish myself to lay down the law, or thrust my views upon hon. Members. I have travelled a good deal about South Africa during the last ten months under varying circumstances, and I should like to lay before the House some of the considerations which have been very forcibly borne in upon me during that period.

In the first place I would like to look back to the original cause for which we went to war. We went to war—I mean of course we were gone to war with—in connection with the extension of the franchise. We began negotiations with the Boers in order to extend the franchise to the people of the Transvaal. When I say the people of the Transvaal, I mean the whole people of the Transvaal, and not necessarily those who arrived there first. At that time there were nearly two and a-half times as many British and non-Dutch as there were Boers, but during the few weeks before the outbreak of the war every train was crowded with British subjects who were endeavouring to escape from the approaching conflict, and so it was that the Uitlanders were scattered all over the world. It seems to me that when the war is over we ought not to forget the original object with which we undertook the negotiations which led to the war. If I may lay down anything I would-ask the House to establish the principle that they ought not to extend any representative institutions to the people of the Transvaal until such time as the population has regained its ordinary level. What could be more dangerous, ridiculous or futile, than to throw the responsible government of a ruined country on that remnant of the population, that particular section of the population, which is actively hostile to the fundamental institutions of the State? I think there ought to be no doubt and no difference of opinion on the point that between the firing of the last shot and the casting of the first vote there must be an appreciable interval that must be filled by a government of some kind or another.

I invite the House to consider which form of government—civil government or military government—is most likely to be conducive to the restoration or the banished prosperity of the country and most likely to encourage the return of the population now scattered far and wide. I understand that there are hon. Members who are in hopes that representative institutions may directly follow military government, but I think they cannot realise thoroughly how very irksome such military government is. I have the greatest respect for British officers, and when I hear them attacked, as some hon. Members have done in their speeches, it makes me very sorry, and very angry too. Although I regard British officers in the field of war, and in dealing with native races, as the best officers in the world, I do not believe that either their training or their habits of thought qualify them to exercise arbitrary authority over civil populations of European race. I have often myself been very much ashamed to see respectable old Boer farmers—the Boer is a curious combination of the squire and the peasant, and under the rough coat of the farmer there are very often to be found the instincts of the squire—I have been ashamed to see such men ordered about peremptorily by young subaltern officers, as if they were private soldiers. I do not hesitate to say that as long as you have anything like direct military government there will be no revival of trade, no return of the Uitlander population, no influx of immigrants from other parts of the world—nothing but despair and discontent on the part of the Boer popuation, and growing resentment on the part of our own British settlers.

If there was a system of civil government on the other hand, which I think we have an absolute moral right to establish if only from the fact that this country through the Imperial Exchequer will have to provide the money—if you had a civil government under such an administrator as Sir Alfred Milner—[Cries of “Hear, hear,” and “Oh”]—it is not for me to eulogise that distinguished administrator, I am sure he enjoys the confidence of the whole of the Conservative party, and there are a great many Members on the other side of the House who do not find it convenient in their own minds to disregard Sir Alfred Milner’s deliberate opinion on South African affairs. As soon as it is known that there is in the Transvaal a government under which property and liberty are secure, so soon as it is known that in these countries one can live freely and safely, there would be a rush of immigrants from all parts of the world to develop the country and to profit by the great revival of trade which usually follows war of all kinds. If I may judge by my own experience there are many Members of this House who have received letters from their constituents asking whether it was advisable to go out to South Africa. When this policy of immigration is well advanced we shall again have the great majority of the people of the Transvaal firmly attached and devoted to the Imperial connection, and when you can extend representative institutions to them you will find them reposing securely upon the broad basis of the consent of the governed, while the rights of the minority will be effectively protected and preserved by the tactful and judicious intervention of the Imperial authority. May I say that it was this prospect of a loyal and Anglicised Transvaal turning of the scale in our favour in South Africa, which must have been the original “good hope” from which the Cape has taken its name.

It is not for me to criticise the proposals which come from such a distinguished authority as the Leader of the Opposition, but I find it impossible not to say that in comparing these two alternative plans one with the other I must proclaim my strong preference for the course His Majesty’s Government propose to adopt. I pass now from the question of the ultimate settlement of the two late Republics to the immediate necessities of the situation. What ought to be the present policy of the Government? I take it that there is a pretty general consensus of opinion in this House that it ought to be to make it easy and honourable for the Boers to surrender, and painful and perilous for them to continue in the field. Let the Government proceed on both those lines concurrently and at full speed. I sympathise very heartily with my hon. friend the senior Member for Oldham, who, in a speech delivered last year, showed great anxiety that everything should be done to make the Boers understand exactly what terms were offered to them, and I earnestly hope that the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary will leave nothing undone to bring home to those brave and unhappy men who are fighting in the field that whenever they are prepared to recognise that their small independence must be merged in the larger liberties of the British Empire, there will be a full guarantee for the security of their property and religion, an assurance of equal rights, a promise of representative institutions, and last of all, but not least of all, what the British Army would most readily accord to a brave and enduring foe—all the honours of war.

I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not allow himself to be discouraged by any rebuffs which his envoys may meet with, but will persevere in endeavouring to bring before these people the conditions on which at any moment they may obtain peace and the friendship of Great Britain. Of course, we can only promise, and it rests with the Boers whether they will accept our conditions. They may refuse the generous terms offered them, and stand or fall by their old cry, “Death or independence!”[Nationalist cheers.] I do not see anything to rejoice at in that prospect, because if it be so, the war will enter upon a very sad and gloomy phase. If the Boers remain deaf to the voice of reason, and blind to the hand of friendship, if they refuse all overtures and disdain all terms, then, while we cannot help admiring their determination and endurance, we can only hope that our own race, in the pursuit of what they feel to be a righteous cause, will show determination as strong and endurance as lasting. It is wonderful that hon. Members who form the Irish party should find it in their hearts to speak and act as they do in regard to a war in which so much has been accomplished by the courage, the sacrifices, and, above all, by the military capacity of Irishmen. There is a practical reason, which I trust hon. Members will not think it presumptuous in me to bring to their notice, is that they would be well advised cordially to co-operate with His Majesty’s Government in bringing the war to a speedy conclusion, because they must know that no Irish question or agitation can possibly take any hold on the imagination of the people of Great Britain so long as all our thoughts are with the soldiers who are fighting in South Africa.

What are the military measures we ought to take? I have no doubt that other opportunities will be presented to the House to discuss them, but so far as I have been able to understand the whispers I have heard in the air there are, on the whole, considerable signs of possible improvement in the South African situation. There are appearances that the Boers are weakening, and that the desperate and feverish efforts they have made so long cannot be indefinitely sustained. If that be so, now is the time for the Government and the Army to redouble their efforts. It is incumbent on Members like myself, who represent large working class constituencies, to bring home to the Government the fact that the country does not want to count the cost of the war until it is won. I think we all rejoiced to see the announcement in the papers that 30,000 more mounted men were being despatched to South Africa. I cannot help noticing with intense satisfaction that, not content with sending large numbers of men, the Secretary of State for War has found some excellent Indian officers, prominent among whom is Sir Bindon Blood, who will go out to South Africa and bring their knowledge of guerilla warfare on the Indian frontier to bear on the peculiar kind of warfare—I will not call it guerilla warfare—now going on in South Africa. I shall always indulge the hope that, great as these preparations are, they will not be all, and that some fine afternoon the Secretary of State for War will come down to the House with a brand-new scheme, not only for sending all the reinforcements necessary for keeping the Army up to a fixed standard of 250,000 men, in spite of the losses by battle and disease, but also for increasing it by a regular monthly quota of 2,000 or 3,000 men, so that the Boers will be compelled, with ever-diminishing resources, to make head against ever increasing difficulties, and will not only be exposed to the beating of the waves, but to the force of the rising tide.

Some hon. Members have seen fit, either in this place or elsewhere, to stigmatise this war as a war of greed. I regret that I feel bound to repudiate that pleasant suggestion. If there were persons who rejoiced in this war, and went out with hopes of excitement or the lust of conflict, they have had enough and more than enough to-day. If, as the hon. Member for Northampton has several times suggested, certain capitalists spent money in bringing on this war in the hope that it would increase the value of their mining properties, they know now that they made an uncommonly bad bargain. With the mass of the nation, with the whole people of the country, this war from beginning to end has only been a war of duty. They believe, and they have shown in the most remarkable manner that they believe, that His Majesty’s Government and the Colonial Secretary have throughout been actuated by the same high and patriotic motives. They know that no other inspiration could sustain and animate the Regulars and Volunteers, who through all these hard months have had to bear the brunt of the public contention. They may indeed have to regret, as I myself have, the loss of a great many good friends in the war. We cannot help feeling sorry for many of the incidents of the war, but for all that I do not find it possible on reflection to accuse the general policy which led to the war, we have no cause to be ashamed of anything that has passed during the war, nor have we any right to be doleful or lugubrious. I think if any hon. Members are feeling unhappy about the state of affairs in South Africa I would recommend them a receipt from which I myself derived much exhilaration. Let them look to the other great dependencies and colonies of the British Empire and see what the effect of the war has been therel Whatever we may have lost in doubtfu. friends in Cape Colony we have gained ten times, or perhaps twenty times, over in Canada and Australia, where the people—down to the humblest farmer in the most distant provinces—have by their effective participation in the conflict been able to realise, as they never could realise before, that they belong to the Empire, and that the Empire belongs to them. I cannot sit down without saying how very grateful I am for the kindness and patience with which the House has heard me, and which have been extended to me, I well know, not on my own account, but because of a certain splendid memory which many hon. Members still preserve.