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THE PRIME MINISTERS OF ENGLAND


EDITED BY

STUART

J.

REID

THE EARL OF ROSEBERY

THE

PRIiME MINISTERS
A SERIES
EDITED BY

of

ENGLAND

OF POLITICAL BIOGRAPHIES

J. Author of "Thi; Life and Times of Sydney Smith,"


/F;/>4

STUART

REID

etc.

Photogravure Frontispieces.

Cloth, 2s. 6d.

7tet

per

vol.

VISCOUNT MELBOURNE.
By Henry Duncklev ("Verax").

Sn<

ROBERT PEEL.
By Justin McCarthy.

LORD JOHN RUSSELL.


By Stuart
J.

Reid.

Fourth Edition.

THE EARL OF DERBY.


By George Saintsbury.

THE EARL OF ABERDEEN.


By Lord StanmORE.
Third Edition.

VISCOUNT PALMERSTON.
By
the

Duke of

Argyi.i,.

I'hird Edition.

THE EARL OF BEACONSFIELD.


By James Anthony Froude.
Ninth Edition.

W.

E.

GLADSTONE.
By G. W. E. Russell.
Fifth Edition.

THE MARQUIS OF SALISBURY.


By H. D. Traill.
Second Edition.

LORD ROSEBERY.
By Samuel Henry Jeyes.
Larpe Paper Library Edition, printed on hand-made paper,
extra illustrations, fac-sinxilc reproductions of letters
witli

and speeches
to

in

some

cases.

Only

sold

in complete sets.

For price apply

the

booksellers.

THE EARL OF

ROSEBERY
BY

SAMUEL HENRY JEYES

s
[

LONDON M. DENT & CO. J. ALDINE HOUSE, BEDFORD STREET


1906

j4// rights restr-vcd

OP

PREFACE
The
writer of the following account of

Lord Rosebery's

public career wishes to acknowledge his obligations to the


successive volumes of the

Annual Register,

to

Mr. John

Morley's " Life of Gladstone," Lord

Edmond

Fitzmaurice's

recent biography of Lord Granville, Mr. Herbert Paul's


" Histor)' of

Modern England," and many

other standard

works which he has consulted.

He

has also

made

free

and

profitable use of Mr. T. F. G. Coates's " Life

and Speeches

of Lord Roseber}'," Miss Jane T. Stoddart's " Illustrated

Biography of Lord
"

Rosebery," Mr.

J.

A.

Hammerton's

Lord Rosebery, Imperialist," and " The Foreign Policy

of Lord Rosebery" (anonymous).

He

has to thank the Editor of this series, Mr. Stuart

J.

Reid, for

many

valuable suggestions.

TABLE
OF

CONTENTS
CHAPTER
Birth and parentage
First
I

speech in Parliament

history

Defence of Address to the Social Science Congress


CHAPTER
II

Eton

and Christ Church

Early travels Racing Scottish


.

TAGE

General Election of

1874

Mr.

Gladstone's retirement

The
^3

Eastern Question Reputation of England


Rosebery's marriage

Lord

Rosebery

and Mr. Gladstone Representation of Midlothian Lord

CHAPTER
Liberal foreign policy

III

General

Election of 1880

Mr.

Glad-

stone's second Administration

His relations with Scottish His resignation Scottish administration

Lord Rosebery's position Liberals At the Home Oflice


IV

....

23

CHAPTER
Colonial tour

Agricultural labourer's enfranchisement Reform agitation Lords and Commons Lord Rosebery's plea Appeal Moderation The solved Lord Rosebery
for
crisis

and reform of the House of Lords

J9

CHAPTER V
An
Imperialist address

Occupation of Egypt General Gordon's

mission

Rejoins the Ministry Dissensions in the Cabinet Lord Rosebery's supporters in Scotland First Reference to Home Rule Recent developments of the Irish Question Mutual
Rosebery at Epsom
Defeat of Mr. Gladstone

Lord

VIU

LORD ROSEBERY

suspicions and Farty competition

Mr.

PAGB
Pamcll's attitude

General

Election

of

1885

Mr.

Gladstone's

adoption

of

Home
tion

Rule

Lord
'

Rosebery's position

The

first

Salisbury

Administration defeated

Mr. Gladstone's third Administra Lord Rosebery Foreign Secretary Liberal Imperialism
'

The

Umbrella

speech

53

CHAPTER
Greek claims

VI

Batoum a free port Russian defiance of the Berlin Treaty Lord Rosebery's protest France and the New Hebrides Spanish Treaty Convention with China Duties of a Foreign Minister
Lord
Rosebery's note
. .

79

CHAPTER
General Election of 1886
tion
for

VII

Lord

Salisbury's second Administra-

Lord Rosebery and Gladstonian Liberalism Overtures Liberal Reunion Lord Rosebery on Reform of the House of Lords Speech at Leeds on Imperial Federation in 1888 Commercial and Fiscal aspect Subsequent development of Lord Rosebery's views Speech at Burnley Economic orthodoxy suspected Explanation the Liberal League Arguments against the Birmingham policy
at
. .

90

CHAPTER
Institution

VIII

Lord Rosebery Success with the Progressives Death of Lady Rosebery Second Municipal contest Lord Rosebery member for Finsbury Revival of London' Disavowal of Party aims Growing unpopularity of the Conservative Government Liberal campaign Lord Roseliery at Edinburgh General Election of 1892 Mr. Gladstone's new Administration Lord Rosebery's acceptof

the

London County Council


to his

elected

Opposition

Chairmanship

'

ance of Office

116

CHAPTER

IX

Lord Rosebery at the Foreign Office The British Occupation of Egypt Question of Evacuation Previous negotiations The young Khedive's bid for independence Prompt action

of Great

Britain Telegrams between Lord Rosebery and Lord Cromer Crisis settled Great Britain and FranceLord Rosebery and M. Waddington Indications of future

British policy

131


CONTENTS
CHAPTER X
British

ix

position in

Uganda Cabinet

differences

Portal's mission

Railway

to Victoria

bery and Sir William

Harcourt

Attempt

Sir Gerald Nyanza Lord Roseto

TACE

improve the

Anglo-German Convention Reasons of the failure French aggression on the Upper Nile Marchand's expedition Attitude of the British Government Significant warning Trouble in Siam High-handed action of France Dangers Lord Rosel>ery's diplomacy War between China of conflict and Japan British mediation suggested Attitude of the Great Powers Lord Rosebery's reply to criticisms On

Continental

suspicions

Treaty

of

Shimonoseki

Hostile

combination of Russia, Germany, and France

Japan

Coercion of Attitude of Great Britain Lord Rosebery justified DifiSculties with the South African Republic Mr. Kriiger's policy Persecution of Armenians Action of Lord Rosebery
CHAPTER
XI

147

Lord Rosebery on the Home Rule Bill of 1893 Sp)eech in the House of Lords *A question of policy' The possible alternatives Not a leap in the dark Phrases open to criticism The Coal Strike Lord Rosebery as mediator The Session of 1S93 Mr. Gladstone and the Peers Radical Mr. Gladstone's resignation Lord Rosebery his discontent

successor Rumours of a Central party Meeting of the Liberal party Lord Rosebery's statement Position of a 'Peer Premier' The new Administration The Queen's Speech Peers' Debate on the Address Lord Rosebery on the predominant partner Explanations in the Commons Speech at Edinburgh Attitude of the Nationalist parties Unionist criticism The new Administration beaten on the Address An absurd position The Prime Minister disparaged Agitation against the Peers National Liberal Federation at Leeds Lord Rosebery's advice Procedure by Resolution A Constitutional dilemma Lord Rosebery and Sir William Harcourt Mansion House banquet Murder of President Carnot Death of the Emperor of Russia .172

'
' . . .

LORD ROSEBERY
CHAPTER
XII
PAGE
Liberal meeting at CardilT Reception of the Prime Minister

Welsh Disestablishment Parnellites and Radicals Retirement of the Duke of Cambridge The Cordite Vote Defeat Lord Rosebery's resignation His views of the Government

on the position of a Prime Minister Platform speeches Defeat of his Administration Need for Liberal concentration

House

of Lords the

first

question

Lord

Salisbury's third

Administration
organisation

The question of Speech in explanation Disagreement with Mr. Gladstone This the straw Lord Rosebery's other reasons References to
The persecution of
Armenians
British intervention

Lord

Rosebery on Liberal failures Party


Rosebery's retirement

Lord

'

last

his late colleagues

Compromise in politics
CHAPTER
XIII

....

202

Reappearance

in

public controversy

Mr. Gladstone Fashoda speech Reconstitution of the Liberal party South African War Mr. Chamberlain and France The reference to Majuba
retrenchment

Eulogies on

Imperial

and Municipal

General Election of 1900

policy for Liberals

Death
letter

of

Queen Victoria Lord Rosebery


speech

Feuds

in

the Liberal party

from

At 'Clean the

the City Liberal Club


slate'

The

Chesterfield

Rejoinders
The

and

retorts

Anglo-

Japanese Alliance of 1902

Lord Kitchener proposal Free Trade speeches Anglo-French convention Reference Party dissensions modito Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman Lord Rosebery and Mr. Redmond On duality of fied government At Liberal League The League and the Party Speech at Stourbridge On continuity in foreign policy On Government by Party The example of Japan Party Resignation of Mr. Balfour Sir Henry versus Efficiency Lord Rosebery's Campbell Bannerman's Administration

position

Retrospect

.229
277

Index

LORD ROSEBERY
CHAPTER
Birth and parentage
I

speech

in

Parliament

Eton and Christ Church Early travels First Defence of Racing Scottish history
and fortune
hfe,

Address

to the Social Science Congress.

Of

the gifts from nature

that

smooth the road

to success in English
at the birth of

pubUc

none perhaps was lacking


Equally in evidence, how-

Lord Rosebery.

ever,

were opportunities and temptations that point to more


It is

facile paths.

the object of this sketch to describe the

use which he has


the period

made

of his advantages, especially during


last

Ministers

when he was the of Queen Victoria.


in

of the Liberal Prime


7

Born on

May, 1847,

^t

20 Charles Street, Berkeley Square, he was the son of the

Lord Dalmeny who died


fourth
to

1851,

and grandson of the

Earl of Rosebery.

His

father,

who did not


sat

live

complete

his forty-second year,

had

in the

House

of
to

Commons

as

member

for the Stirling

Burghs from 1832

1847, held office as a Lord of the Admiralty in Lord

Melbourne's Administration, and published 'An Address


to the
cises.'

Middle Classes on the subject of Gymnastic ExerIt

was written

in the fluent style of the period,

and

contained

much

excellent advice, which

may have been


But
in the light

required at the time


B

when

it

was

offered.

LORD ROSEBERY
records and the lesson
'

of subsequent developments in sports, games, and athletics,


the observations
it
it

enforces

seem
Lord

curiously antiquated.

In other countries,' wrote


is

Dalmeny,

'

the tendency

to think too

much
is

of diversions,

and too
to

little

of work.

Here the tendency

the reverse;

devote our whole attention to


. . .

business and none to

recreation.
tific

We

are,

indeed, rich in literary and scien;

societies,

mechanics' reading clubs

rich in institutions

for

bewildering and oppressing the overwrought brains of

our middle and operative classes with crude speculations

and
for

ill-digested

knowledge.
?

But where are the

institutions

gymnastics

Where

are the arenas where the limbs,

the sinews, the spirits of our merchants

and refreshed by manly diversions


sports of our ancestors
ting pastimes
?

may be recreated Where are the noble

Where

are the rude but invigora-

which hardened

their muscles, steeled their

nerves, exhilarated their spirits,


.
. .

and gladdened

their hearts ?

We
is,

are the wisest, the greatest, but the saddest nation


.

in the world.

Perhaps
is

it

may be

said, "All

is

very well

as

it

and where

the necessity for change?


city,
is

Every
its

large

community, every closely-thronged

must have

proportion of mortality and sickness. This


of Providence

the ordination

and the
"

lot of

humanity, and

why engage

in

a vain attempt to

combat an established and immutable


All
is
is

order of things
all is
all,

not well.

This doctrine, that


is,

well that exists,

a dangerous delusion, and

after

the lazy excuse of those spurious philosophers

who

avert

their faces

from abuses to escape the trouble of reforming

them.'

This

last

sentence,

and some

others,

in

the pamphlet

written by the father


distinction

who did not live long enough to win might have come from the pen of the accom-

BIRTH AND PARENTAGE


plished son.
It
is,

perhaps, worth note that the young


at

Whig

patrician

was independent enough to scoff


ill

the

'crude speculations and

-digested knowledge,' which, so

he thought, were produced by the philosophy and inquiry


of the Early Victorian period.

The thought
it

of that robust

and

fertile

epoch was
was able

essentially Radical, yet


to treat

Lord Roserelation to

bery's father

as having

no

the Liberal principles which he represented in Parliament,

and

quietly put
will
it

it

aside with an air of tolerant indifference.

Nor

escape remark that the heir to a Scotch earldom


'

looked on

merchants
'

'

and

'

operatives
'

'

as

both being
in

members of

the middle classes

and equally

need of
them.

advice from a person

who knew what was good

for

The

phrase was used and, no doubt, accepted without a

suggestion or suspicion of offence.

And

this

was

little

more

than half a century ago.

The mother

of

Lord Rosebery (who subsequently became

Duchess of Cleveland) was the only daughter of the fourth Earl Stanhope, and one of the most beautiful and gifted
ladies

about the Court of Queen Victoria.

The

distinction

of her personal appearance, the gaiety

and

wit of her con-

versation, her very considerable literary attainments,


interest in historical studies,

and her

rendered her one of the most

remarkable

women

of a reign which was conspicuous for

the development of feminine intellect and ambition.

De-

ductions in heredity are confidently drawn only by persons

unacquainted with the problems which they


to solve, but
it

undertake

may

fairly

be assumed that some of the

personal qualities and aptitudes displayed by Lord Rose-

bery were either inherited from his mother or inspired by her fascinating example.

Yet he owed as much, or almost as much, to training and

LORD ROSEBERY
and home surroundat Brighton,

instruction at school as to his descent


ings. After a period spent with

Mr. W. R. Lee

the boy, then Lord

Dalmeny, and heir

to the

Earldom

of Roscbery, was sent to Eton in September, 1861, where

he

fell

under the influence of Mr. William Johnson, better


the

known under
of Cory.

name, which he afterwards assumed,

Other scholars of the period were more learned,

more
'

exact,

and wider

in their

range than the author of

lonica,' but few

modem

Englishmen have so completely


spirit
it is

absorbed and assimilated the


culture.
It is possible,

and meaning of
easy, to

classical

perhaps

be

idle at Eton,

but at none of those foundations where a more strenuous


Hfe
is

inculcated and enforced, not even at


is

Rugby

or Win-

chester,

there a similar atmosphere of intellectual accom-

plishment.

Lads who are not wedded

to great thoughts

and high endeavour

at least cohabit with

them, and form

which they do not altogether shake when they mix in the rough-and-tumble of after life. The Old Etonian may be ignorant, or inefficient, or incurintellectual associations
off

ably lazy, but he

is

seldom a

Philistine.

Art, literature,

and

the personal side of English history have been to the most


graceless youngster a distinct part of the daily
'

life

of his

people at

home

'

or

'

people his people know,' and he

always preserves a certain respect, though he

may have no
is

personal liking, for the harmless hobbies of the noble or

opulent amateur.
set

In a school society like Eton the tone


'

by the traditions of aristocracy, and even the

young

barbarians' keep
Life.

up a bowing acquaintance with the Higher


would have

Acute, susceptible, and precociously clever,

it

been

in

any circumstances impossible

for

Lady Dalmeny's

son not to inhale some of the intellectual aroma of a place

EARLY TRAVELS
so rich in romantic and historical associations.

His

in-

timate friendship with William Cory


ship towards his tutor rapidly

for

such his relation-

became

enabled
He
'

him

to

reap
a

some of the

benefits of

Eton without, perhaps, taking


was, indeed,
dust.'

proportionate share in the labours.


like the

'one of those who


the
'

palm without the

In

Letters

and Journals of William Cory many references


brilliant

occur to the
all

but not industrious pupil.


tutor, 'to

'

am doing
man
as

can,'

wrote the

make him
if

a scholar; any-

how, he

will

be an orator, and,
in.'

not a poet, such a

poets delight

Already the

lad's interest

and
of

curiosity
Pitt,

had been

stirred

by the public and private

life

and

y^

they were further stimulated by Cory's letters and conversation.

In 1864 they visited


together.
It

Rome, and had many eager


some

talks

was the influence and kindly supervision of


degree, for the imperfect
for

Cory

that compensated, in

use which

he made

at

Eton of the opportunities

sound and systematic


was

instruction,

and

for the

abrupt cur-

tailment of his career at Oxford.


fired with the

As an undergraduate he
it

ambition to win the Derby, and

was
final

his persistence in

keeping racehorses that led to his


Christ Church.
All

quarrel with the authorities at


time, however,

this

and

for

many

years afterwards, he maintained

an affectionate correspondence with his old tutor, and the


letters are sufficient

proof that,

if

he lacked the application

required for academical success, his enthusiasm for picking

up knowledge by independent methods was quite unabated.


It

may sound
England

paradoxical, yet

it is

substantially correct, that

the alumnus
in

of,
is

perhaps, the two most famous foundations


largely a self-educated

man.

But he has
record of

always been, even in the years which show

little

LORD ROSEBERY
memory, he has accumulated a very

public activity, a diligent reader of books, and, as he has


quite a remarkable

considerable store of solid knowledge.

When

he has been
to

most vigorously amusing himself he has not ceased


a student

be

and

thinker.
after his matriculation at

In 1868, two years

Oxford, he

succeeded

his

grandfather as Earl of Rosebery, and, on

shortly afterwards attaining his majority, took his seat in

the

House

of Lords.

It is

one of the drawbacks which he

laments in a singularly smooth career that he never had the


\J

chance of

sitting in the

House

of

Commons, and he showed

no

special eagerness to

assume the duties of an hereditary

legislator.

The

first

years of his

manhood were
Address
year,

spent in

sport

and

travelling, but in

1871 he was selected by Mr.


for the

Gladstone to second the motion


the Queen's Speech.
part of
It

in reply to

was a memorable
set oration

and a

large

Lord Rosebery's

was naturally devoted

to the results of the great

war between France and Germany.

He

received,

and no doubt deserved, the kindly compliit

ments which

is
;

the custom to bestow

upon the duly


mention
appearance in

accredited novice
that he

but

it

may be

interesting to

was evidently nervous


it is

at this formal

Parliament, since

recorded that he 'spoke with a graceful


years.'

emotion which became his

Not

for

some time did he


at

seriously try to

make

for

him-

self a position

Westminster, though on two or three

occasions he intervened in debate on distinctively Scottish


matters.

He

was occupied largely with

social

pleasures

and on the Turf, not having been discouraged by the somewhat ignominious
Derby.
failure

of

his

first

Ladas

to his

win the
already
fashion-

But he exercised, now and again,

recognised capacity for ornamental oratory.

The

DEFENCE OF RACING
able
diversions

and sporting

tastes

with which

he was

associated did not prevent him from earning a more serious reputation. It was not at that time considered unbecoming
in

a young Liberal peer to take his pleasures amongst his

fellows,

although even

in

1S73 he seems to have thought

it

necessary to offer a humorous defence of racing.

He

was

asking in the

House

of Lords for the appointment of a

Royal Commission to inquire into the capacity of


country to meet the present and future

the

demand

for horses.

He

jeered at the moralists

who

attributed every crime to

the Turf, and declared that in his opinion racing was as

innocent an amusement as large numbers of people could


enjoy.

Hunting and shooting were reserved

for the wealthy,


visit

but there was no one so poor that he could not


course.

a race-

In a sanguine passage which has not been verified

by the event, he expressed his belief that gambling was on


the decline, and asserted that there were few owners

who

had as much

on their horses as would form the stake on an

ordinary rubber of whist.

As

for trying to

put

down gam-

bling by abolishing races, they might as well attempt to

abolish rain by suppressing the gutters.

Neither Mr. Gladstone,

who was

the undisputed dictator

of the Liberal party, nor his fellow-countrymen in Scotland,

thought the worse of Lord Rosebery because he was, more


or less, a racing
tician

man.

The

idea of banning a capable poliin his

because he diverted himself

own
or
their

fashion either

had not yet occurred to the


attained
in

zealots,

they had not

such

influence

as

to

make

views

count

public opinion.

Mr. Gladstone had already marked

Lord Rosebery

in his

mind

as

one of the coming men,


to lecture before the

and

in

Edinburgh he was invited

Philosophical Institution.

The

subject which he chose was

S
the

LORD KOSEBERY
Union of England and Scotland, and the paper which
fruitful

he read showed how


tory.

had been

his studies in his-

He

appealed to Scotch patriotism by dwelling sym-

pathetically

on the

sacrifice

imposed on the smaller partner.


she held most dear.

Except her Church, she

lost all that

For the sake of commercial advantages which few understood,

and most despised, she was reduced from a king-

giving

kingdom

to a province without a legislature.


;

Her

haughty aristocracy was despised and ignored

her capital,
its

famous and

brilliant,

was shorn of

its

Court,

society,

and

its

Parliament, and descended to the level of a country

town.

Nor were these


attention
to

sacrifices trivial at the

time when

they were made.


called

After these admissions Lord Rosebery


the

other

side of the picture.

He

spoke of the many great

men

who had come from Scotland


it

and won fame

in

England.

Their ancestors had put their


prospered.

hand

to

a mighty work, and

Two

great
local

nations

had been welded into one Empire, and

jealousies

moulded

into a

common

patriotism.

On

such

an achievement their

descendants must gaze with awe and

astonishment

the

means had been so adverse and the


8 7 3 he attested his Radicalism
to the

result so astonishing.

In the Sessions of 1 8 7 2 and

for

he was then regarded as belonging

advanced wing
of Lords

of the Liberal Party

by arguing in the

House

against applying, in the Scottish Education Bill, any part of

the rates to instruction in

denominational

religion,

and

protested against the statement that the 'religious difficulty'

had no existence
that the
in

in

Scotland.

He
to

proposed, therefore,

Cowper-Temple Clause which had been established


Scotland.
This, he

England should be extended


would

believed,

result in the peaceful settlement of

a long-

ADDRESS TO THE SOCIAL SCIENCE CONGRESS


vexed question.
favour with the

This suggestion, however, did not find


official Liberals,

and was

rejected.

In other

Scottish matters, such as

Church Patronage and the position


Lord Rosebery showed an
But
at

of the representative Peers,


interest

active

both

in

1873 and 1874.


fitful

his

Parliamentary
period,

appearances were somewhat

this

and

it

was by means of a non-political utterance that he


attracted that public attention

first

which he has ever afterwards


His address
to the Social

been able to

command

at pleasure.

Science Congress at Glasgow, in September, 1874, raised him


at

once

to the first place


It

among

the younger generation of

public men.
for a

was, indeed, a very remarkable performance

man

of twenty-seven,

who had never

before given any


It

striking indications either of thought or industry.

did

not cut very deep, but


social conditions,
it

it

showed sympathetic study of


glittering phrases.

formulated a distinct yet not extravait

gant programme, and


It

abounded with

was, he said, the duty of a Social Science Congress to

raise the condition of the nation

by means which Parliament

was unable or disdained to employ


operations.

an
he

illimitable field of

The

'

children of

toil,'

said,

were not mere

machines of production, but vehicles of


were a dark and mighty power
of
like

intelligence.

They
their

the Cyclopean inmates


in

^tna.

Yet they had not succeeded

making

wants, their creeds, and their interests sufficiently


gible.

intelli-

Why,

otherwise,

had so

little

been done to advance

their condition ?

confidence?

Why had both parties failed to win their How else was it that, when the working man
heard on any question,
It
it

had made
thunder

his voice

came

like

in a clear

sky?

was possible that some great


find us unable

catastrophe, such as a
to deal with a

European war, might


'

teeming population

confined within so small

lO
an
ark.'

LORD ROSEBERY
Suppose, again, that the United States should
fail

to provide

employment
was but

for the quarter of

a million emigrants

that

we were accustomed
little

to

send out every year.

Our

civilisation

removed from barbarism

witness
we can

the daily reports of outrage in the press, the horrors re-

vealed in Lord Ashley's Commission in 1842, and similar


horrors of quite recent date.
'

And

yet, after all,

only

come

to

the

hackneyed conclusion that the sole


humanizing

remedy

for this state of things is education, a


It is

education.

not a particularly brilliant or original thing

to say, but severe truth is

seldom

brilliant or original.'

The need
declared that

of

compulsory universal education having


illustrations,

been enforced by a variety of

Lord Rosebery
recklessly

we were

living riotously

and

con-

suming more coal than we need and spending


rightful heritage of posterity.

selfishly the

We

ought to be husbanding

our powers and educating our people.

There were no new


*

dominions

to explore

our island was

no more capable of
at

expansion than a quarter-deck.'


progress of Switzerland.
It

Look

the industrial

was due

to technical education.

Consider the deficiency in


for

this

country of rational training

commercial pursuits.

In agriculture, again, there was


for farmers at

need of special teaching both


intending
emigrants.
?

home and
in
it

for

Was
the

there any

instruction

the

business of legislation
sidered
'

Macaulay
Elder

told us that
Pitt

was con-

wonderful

that

had never read

Vathek.'

But could we

feel
'

any certainty that every

member
ployers.

of Parliament had read

Consider the strikes of working


Co-operation was the

The Wealth of Nations ? men against their em'

natural

remedy, but

it

required a more general intelligence and a greater accumulalioii of capital

among

the working classes than existed

ADDRESS TO THE SOCIAL SCIENCE CONGRESS


at that time.

II

of locomotion.

The housing problem was largely a question Tramways were the inconvenience of the
'

opulent, but the luxury of the poor,' and you might measure the extent of democracy in a country by the extent of
its

tramways.

But though there was

in great

towns a need

for

cheap
these

transit, yet a
facilities.

tendency was observable to diminish

After discussing such projects as the

Peabody Trustees'
Lord

scheme and the various


nation.

stages in factory legislation,

Rosebery passed on to the colonizing mission of the British

One

of the subjects discussed at the Congress was


for

what were the best means


of the United

drawing together the interests

Kingdom,

India,

and the Colonies.

'

The
be

primary means are to send forth colonists

who

shall

worthy of the country they leave and the destinies they


seek.

But whether we keep them


us,

in

England or they pass

from

we must look

to the nurture of this race of kings.

Will the great stream pass from us a torpid flood, of emigrants like

composed
the

some we now send

forth,

who shake

dust from their feet and swear undying enmity to us, or


shall
it

be a broad and beneficent river of

life,

fertilizing as

the Nile, beloved as the Ganges, sacred as the Jordan,


separated,

indeed, from us by the ocean, but, like that

fabled fountain Arethuse, which, passing under the sea from

Greece into

Sicily, retained its original


;

source in Arcadia?

We

do not know what our

perhaps, to hope that

fate may be we have no right, we may be an exception to the rule

by which nations prove the period of growth, and of


grandeur, and of decay.
shall pass
It

may be

that all

away

like the glories of

Babylon.

we most esteem But if we have

12

LORD ROSEBERY
well,

done our duty

even though our history should pass

away, and our country become

An

island salt

and bare,

The haunt
she

of seals, and owls, and seamews' clang,

may be remembered

not ungratefully as the affluent


Uiat

mother of giant Commonwealths and peaceful Empires


shall perpetuate the best qualities of the race.'

The
'

Social Science Congress


'

was the

birth of a disturbed

yet formative epoch.

Everywhere,' said Lord Rosebery,

there was breaking out

some

strange manifestation.
the

The

grotesque congregation of the Shakers,

agricultural

Socialism of Harris, the polygamous Socialism of


the lewd quackery of Free Love, the

Mormon,
are

mad

blank misery of

Nihilism, the tragic frenzy of the Parisian

Commune,

portents

no observer can

neglect.'

Most of these movePerhaps the most per-

ments are either dead or languishing, and the Social Science


Congress
itself

has disappeared.
its

manent

fruit

of
it

labours was
itself

the

spirit

of intelligent

inquiry which

set

to

organize,
in the

and which Lord

Rosebery so happily embodied

Address that made

men

look to him as one of the future statesmen of the

British Empire.

CHAPTER

II

General Election of 1874 Mr. Gladstone's retirement The Eastern Question Reputation of England Lord Rosebery and Mr. Glad-

stone

Representation of Midlothian Lord Rosebery's marriage.


dis-

The

General Election of 1874 resulted in a signal

comfiture of the Liberal party and a personal rebuff to

Mr. Gladstone.

His proposal to abolish the Income Tax


electors,

had not struck the imagination of the

nor did

some of
felt

his colleagues disguise the

resentment which they

at

his

having

made

the appeal to the country at a


It
is

moment
respect

v hich

they considered inopportune.

the
this

undoubted

privilege of
his personal
feel

a Prime Minister

to act

in

on

judgment, but the members of a


themselves aggrieved

Cabinet are apt to

when

their

advice has not been taken in a matter which so closely


affects

the

fortunes

of the

whole

party.

Perhaps

the

self-reliance of

Mr. Gladstone would have been


bid
this for

less sharply

criticized

if

his

a renewal of power had

been

successful.
in

But

was impossible.

The
official

party was torn

sunder by the feud between the


to

Liberals

who

had consented

the

well-known compromise on the

question of religious education in the elementary schools

and the Nonconformist Radicals, led by Mr. Miall, who had vainly held out for the institution of a purely secular
system.
for

There was disagreement also on the movement

extending the franchise to the agricultural labourer,

while the country as a whole was too prosperous to care


13

14

LORD ROSEBERY
the

about the financial retrenchment which was one of the

main planks

in

Mr. Gladstone's platform.


artificial

Still

in

enjoyment of the

expansion of trade brought about

by the Franco-German War, the middle-class electors did


not trouble about national expenditure.

ment of the Irish Church and the Irish had alienated many of the more cautious Liberals the abolition of purchase in the Army had given offence in
;

The disestablishLand Act of 1870

influential quarters; finally, the Licensing

Act of 1872 had

roused the unrelenting opposition of a powerful trade.


Hitherto
it

had divided

its

favours equally between the two


it

historical parties.

Henceforth

became, and has remained,

essentially Conservative.

defeated party

is

always apt to turn on

its

leader,

and

Mr. Gladstone,

who had
life

so long dominated

its

counsels,

was not the

man

to listen to remonstrance or accept advice.


to a limitation of his authority.

He

preferred private

more or

less confidential intimation of his intention to

retire

was sent to Lord Granville, and

this

was shortly

followed by the formal announcement.

He saw no advantage,

he wrote,
party
;

in

continuing to act as leader of the Liberal

at the

age of
life,

sixty-five,

and

after forty-two years of


retire.

laborious public
course,

he

felt

himself entitled to

This

he added, was dictated to him by his personal

views as to the best method of spending the remaining


years of his
life.

His decision was accepted by the party,


struggle

and,

after

a short

between the moderate and

extreme Whigs, Lord Hartington (the present


Devonshire) was appointed to succeed him.
It
is

Duke

of

unnecessary

to

refer

to

the early years

of the
after

Disraeli Administration, except to

mention that soon

the Conservatives had

come into power the Eastern Question

THE EASTERN QUESTION


was revived
in the

in

an acute form.

Though

the proposal

made

Andrassy Note of 1875, that the Powers should act

together in laying pressure on the Porte to institute reforms


in

the Turkish provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was

considered by the British Government, the Berlin

Memor-

andum
still

of 1876 did not

commend

itself to

Mr.

Disraeli,

who

adhered to the traditional British policy of supporting

Turkey against Russia.


During the anxious period that immediately preceded

and
Lord

directly

followed
in

the

war

between those
maintained
the

Powers,
attitude

Rosebery

Parliament

of a vigilant critic of the Government.

He

scouted the

suggestion of England taking up arms in defence of the


Sultan,

and declared

that the time

had come

for releasing

ourselves from the engagements of the Treaty of 1856.

The

fall

of Plevna and the advance of Russian

troops

on Constantinople was followed by the entrance of the


Dardanelles by the British
fleet

on 28 January

(it

withdrew

the next day to Besika Bay), and by an order calling out

the Reserve.
of

These

events,

which led to the resignation

Lord Carnarvon and Lord Derby, became the subject of keen criticism, and Lord Rosebery protested warmly
against the

mystery that was being practised as to the

negotiations in which

we were

involved.

He

complained

especially of the Secret Treaty signed

by Lord Salisbury

and Count Schuvaloff, and declared that no precedent could be found for British statesmen going to a Congress
with the view of discussing great treaties and defending
public law after they

had

secretly

bound themselves

to

concede the stipulations which they had denounced and continued to denounce. The return of the British envoys
from the Congress of Berlin
in

August, bringing

'

Peace

l6

LORD ROSEBERY

with Honour,' gave Lord Rosebery an opening for a general


attack on the Eastern poUcy of the Conservative Govern-

ment.

Speaking
ful

at

Aberdeen (18 October) he observed a


in

care-

moderation of tone which was

marked contrast with


Lord Rosebery
'

the impassioned oratory of Mr. Gladstone.

declined to charge Ministers with having been


reckless

deliberately

and wanton,'

yet

their

policy

had landed the and wantonness

country very

much where
it.

recklessness

would have landed

Their policy was a drifting policy.

They
of

talked about

maintaining the integrity and inde-

pendence of the Ottoman Empire.


it ?

What had become


that treaty?
all.

They declared

that the basis of their operations

was the Treaty of 1856.

Where was

Congress of Berlin had effected no settlement at

The The

Government had partitioned Turkey, had secured a doubtful


portion of the
soil for

themselves, had abandoned Greece,

and had incurred


Minor.

vast

and

indefinite responsibilities in Asia

As
to

to the acquisition of Cyprus,

Lord Rosebery
was
of

asserted that
judicial
effected.

no

defeat in battle could

have been so preit

our prestige as the manner in which


Hitherto,

thanks

to

our elevated
'

integrity

purpose and disinterestedness, we had been


the police of Europe.'

regarded as

We

could no longer keep up our

moral reputation

on the Continent.

We

had flaunted the


it

Treaty of 1856 as our banner and motto, yet when


to affect ourselves

came

we

treated

it

as so

much

waste paper.

We

had gained an unhealthy


lost in

island, of

which we had had

enough, but we had


not have too
ing nations.
It

exchange that of which we could

much the
unfair,

sympathy and respect of surroundthe

would be

perhaps, to take seriously

all

THE EASTERN QUESTION


propositions laid
period, but

down
that

in a

platform speech at an excited


so well versed in the history
to learn,

Lord Rosebery

is

of

modern times

one would be glad


at

on

his

authority,

which was the time

which we were credited by


purpose and
dis-

European commentators with


interested conduct,

integrity of

and

at

what precise date we were believed


be the
' '

to possess the qualities that entitled us to

police of

Europe.'
tion

It is

mere matter of
'

fact that

our

moral reputaworst,

on the Continent has always been of the

and

never worse than


affairs.

when Mr. Gladstone was

at the

head of

We
is

have not deserved either the imputations cast

upon us
but that

or the implied compliments to our political subtlety,

altogether a different question.

Lord Rosebery stood on firmer ground when he de-

nounced our undertaking


domains
institute.

to

defend the Sultan's Asiatic he promised to


like a

in return for certain reforms that

This news, he

said, fell

upon the nation

thunderbolt.

That, of course, was a rhetorical flourish.


quite justified in the interpretation which he

Nor was he

placed on the arrangement.


'

'Turkish reforms,' he

said,

have been promised, with every sanctity of pledge, a score


English ambassadors have called on the

of times before.

Sultan countless times, but no reforms have ever taken


place.

We

arrive

at

this

dilemma

either the Turkish

reforms are to be undertaken by the Turks, in which case

we know from experience


all,

that there will

be no reforms

at

or they will be undertaken by Great Britain, by British

officers, in

which case

it

will

mean

the practical annexation

of Asia

Minor

to this country.'

As a matter of

fact,

the

object of Lord Beaconsfield's policy,


to
institute

good or bad, was not

reforms in Asia Minor, either by British or


but
to

Turkish

officers,

prevent the annexation of that

LORD ROSEBERY
which he beUeved that she cared nothing.
It

region by Russia under the pretext of carrying out reforms


for
'

was a mistake,' exclaimed Lord Rosebery,


Turkey,' he said,
it
'

'

to treat

Turkey as a Great Power.


potence.

was an imas

But we treated
to

as a Great

Power or

an

impotence according

our
is

own

convenience.'

That

Turkey

is

'an impotence'
the spur of the

one of those declarations,


it

made on
have been

moment, which

is

somewhat
to

unpleasant for a statesman to recall


falsified

when they happen

by subsequent events.

Yet the speaker

was, perhaps, justified in calling attention to an aspect of

the Eastern Question overlooked or obscured by poHticians

who, from ignorance or recklessness, were playing to the


Jingo gallery of the period. having proved
itself

Bereft of moral authority,

and

incapable of self-reform, the Governto contain


it

ment of the Sultan seemed


of vitality.

none of the elements

In that sense

was, perhaps, admissible to

speak of Turkey as an impotence, nor would many English


politicians, at the

end of the 'Seventies or


that,

'Eighties,

have
it

ventured

to

predict

by sheer military strength,

would

survive, practically unimpaired, for another quarter

of a century.

In order to show
in support of

Mr. Gladstone's Eastern policy,


startling sentence.
sufficient

how far Lord Rosebery was prepared to go it may be well


Having pointed
on our
responsibilities

to quote

one somewhat

out that
shoulders

we had already

in

Canada,
his

in Australia, in Africa,

and

in India

he asked whether

countrymen were prepared

to undertake

the government of another entire dominion.

As

taxpayers,

would they provide the money


their

As men, would they shed


Turkish rule
in

blood

for the protection of


it

Asia
;

?
'

'

We
it

are told that

is

not a matter of choice,' he said

that

LORD ROSEBERY AND MR. GLADSTONE


is

I9
it

necessary for the preservation of India.

Sir, I

believe

is

no more necessary

for the preservation of India

than

it is

necessary that

we should damage Spain


But
I

in

order that we

should keep Gibraltar.

do say

this, that

we may pay
In

even too great a price

for the preservation of India.'

thought, though not in style, this utterance

may
!

reasonably

be compared with the famous


the late Professor
is,

'

Perish India

'

that brought
It

Freeman

into such

deep opprobrium.

indeed, astonishing to find this line of argument adopted


the

by

statesman

who was
however.

to

become

the

founder of

Liberal Imperialism.

At

this

time,

Lord

Rosebery enjoyed the

personal confidence and lived under the influence of Mr.

Gladstone.
spirit

It

was natural to

fight against that masterful

from the other side of the House of Commons, and

there was always a handful of his followers

who
it

cherished

a sense of detachment from their leader. But

was almost

impossible to stand within daily range of his compelling


genius and retain an independent judgment.
intellect,
fell

Men

of equal
inferior,

greater attainments,
his sway.

and character not

under

laugh,

They might criticise, object, and even but he always had his way with them. It was no
that

wonder

a young politician, as

Lord Rosebery was,


time have

whose

political

education had lacked the robust training


of

given in the

House

Commons, should
It

for a

surrendered himself to Mr. Gladstone.


for the practical
tice,

says something
still

discernment of one who was

an appren-

and not a

specially industrious apprentice, to public

life, that he promptly made up his mind that Mr. Gladstone was the one predestined leader of the Liberal party. His

retirement could not be permanent.


say that he

It

was

all

very well to

had withdrawn of

his

own

free will (which,

by

20
the way,
is

LORD ROSEBERY
not exactly true), and to plead the claims of Lord

Hartington,
day.'

who was

'

bearing the heat and burden of the

Lord Rosebery soon realised that Mr. Gladstone


to
all
'

meant

come

back, and that nobody could stop him.


that
in

We
by
his

know now

regard

to

the

'

Bulgarian

atrocities

agitation Mr. Gladstone was considerably misled


for the

generous enthusiasm

cause of Greek Chris-

tianity;
in

and our view of the different races and nationalities


was during the
Midlothian

South Eastern Europe has become more discriminating


it
'

than

campaigns.'

The

exaggerations

which then passed current on both sides

have long been exploded.

The

fancy pictures which were

drawn of the Turk,

either as a

demon

of lust

and

cruelty,

or as the exemplar of simple military virtues, would appear

almost absurd to our

fuller

knowledge and colder judgment.


was impossible
It is

But during the stormy months when Mr. Gladstone roused


the country against the Beaconsfield policy
for
it

a moderate

man

in either party to get a hearing.

not without amusement, and a passing sense of shame, that


a cool-headed person reads the excited declamations that

were then poured out from every public platform.


It
is

not necessary to inquire what proportion of the


to ignorance, misIt is

blame should be respectively assigned


of personal temperament whether one

directed enthusiasm, and partisan intrigue.


is

a question

more disgusted by

the cynical attitude of the Liberal politician

who remarked,
atroci-

with a chuckle, that he


ties

'

had no idea the Bulgarian

would turn out such a

clinker,' or by the raucous folly


is no need to condemn the when the whole people went

of music-hall patriots.

There

excesses of the politicians

mad

in

two

different directions.

In theory, of course, the

responsibility lies with so-called leaders of public opinion,

REPRESENTATION OF MIDLOTHIAN
but
it

21

may be

laid

down

as generally true that a country


it

has the sort of agitation which

deserves.

And

in the

England of 1875 to 1885 the strength of popular conviction on foreign questions was nicely proportioned to ignorance
of the facts

and problems involved.


it

Whether
in

be thought that Mr. Gladstone did well or

ill

the

vehement crusade which he raised against the


rule in Europe, a large share of the credit or disIt

Ottoman
credit

must be given to Lord Rosebery.

was

at

the
for-

invitation of the

young Peer
for

that Mr. Gladstone

came

ward as Liberal candidate

Midlothian, and

it

was from

Dalmeny

that the

momentous campaign was

directed.

The
was

appeal that Mr. Gladstone

made

to the Scottish electors

was, in effect, an appeal to the whole kingdom,


universally recognised that

and

it

much more would be

at stake

on polling-day than the decision of a single constituency.

From
and

the local point of view, the political conflict was a

struggle between the Buccleuch


in certain respects,
it

and the Rosebery


in

interests,

though not

the expenditure of

money,

recalled

some

of the historic elections in

the

pre-Reform period.
Primrose family
in

Distinguished and popular as was the


Midlothian,
it

could

scarcely

have

claimed to contend on equal terms with the ancient and


wealthy

House
;

that

championed the cause of Scottish


1878, with Miss
alteration
in

Conservatism

but the happy union which Lord Rosebery

had formed on
Rothschild

20 March,
a

Hannah de
his

made

material

position.

By

his close alliance with the richest

and most powerful

family in the world,


clever

Lord Rosebery passed from being a


an established rank

and

rising politician to

among

the magnates of the United

Kingdom.
in politics

The

direct

power of money

may have been

22

LORD ROSEBERY
less effective

reduced by the various more or


bribery

laws against

and corruption. But


'

its

indirect authority has under-

gone a more than corresponding augmentation.


days of
rotten boroughs
it
'

In the old

and the undisguised exercise of


for the cadet
if

personal patronage,
of a great house

was comparatively easy


for a

even

son of the people,

he had

found a powerful supporter


in the State.

to climb to the

highest places
is

At the present time, so keen


adventurers,

the competiis

tion

among capable

and so deep-rooted

the

popular distrust of

men who may

be charged with personal


the length of his

objects not of the highest order, that a man's independence


of spirit
purse.
is

too

commonly measured by
in the

There are great persons


to

country

whom

it

would be invidious
suspicion of

name, but who inspire confidence

simply because they have been raised by fortune above the

mercenary motives.

equally honest, and, perhaps,


heavily handicapped in public

There are other men more competent, who are


because, conceivably, the

life

hope of attaining the


unuttered imputation

salary of a Minister

might help to

influence their Parliamentary action.


is,

In most cases the

probably, quite unjust.

Yet

it

cannot be questioned that the uncertainty of Mr. Disraeli's


financial position

was a severe drawback

in his early career,

and

that

Mr. Gladstone, though never a rich man, was


Apart from

placed at a certain advantage when he became owner of

Hawarden.

this consideration, there

is,

in the

possession of great wealth, a certain glamour which affects


the imagination of
all classes.

Before 1878 Lord Rosebery

was a
in

politician

who might

reasonably hope to be included

the next Liberal Administration.

But

after

marriage he

became one of the few happy personages whose refusal of office would be a disappointment to the statesman charged
with the duty of forming a Government.

CHAPTER
Liberal foreign policy-

III

second Administration
with Scottish

General Election of i8So Mr. Gladstone's Lord Rosebery's position His relations Liberals At the Home Office His resignation
politics

Scottish administration.

It

is

one of the paradoxes of contemporary

that

the statesman
in
is

who has most

earnestly pleaded
distinctive

for continuity

foreign policy,
to

and whose most

achievement

have founded a school of Imperialist Liberals, was


Gladstone throughout the period
affairs

closely associated with Mr.

when
ting

his

conduct of our external


unsuccessful.
It
is

was equally

vacilla-

and

not necessary here to pass


as

judgment on such incidents

the

retrocession

of the

Transvaal, the evacuation of Kandahar, the imbroglio in

Egypt, the series of disasters in the Soudan, and the mis-

management
In each case

that nearly involved us in war with


it is

Russia.

possible for an impartial historian to dis-

cover reasons for modifying the popular verdict of the hour,

nor can

it

be denied that Conservative

critics

made

insuffi-

cient allowance for the special difficulties

under which the

Liberal

Administration

was labouring.

Now, however,
detachment,

when we
five
it

are able to look back

upon the events of those

years with

some approach

to a spirit of

is

admitted, even by party apologists, that the general

result

was injurious both to the


It
is,

interests

and the reputation


to charge

of Great Britain.

no doubt, unfair
to the welfare

Mr.

Gladstone with indifference

and advancement

23

24

LORD ROSEBERY
Apart from the fortunes
Europe,
his

of the Empire, but even his expansive intellect and wide

sympathies had their limitations.


of the

Greek Christians

in

South-Eastern

thoughts were preoccupied with the dramatic and always


anxious changes in the Irish Question, with the enfranchise-

ment of the

agricultural labourer,

and with an embittered

agitation against
crisis

the

House

of Lords.

Never

until the

had assumed a dangerous phase does he seem to have concentrated his prodigious powers on any of the great
foreign problems with which
fronted.
his

Government was concertainly

However
charge

this

may have

been,

it

is

wrong

to

Mr.

Gladstone with anything resembling public

cowardice, or even with shrinking from what he regarded as


a just war

e.g.

against Turkey.

It

would

not, perhaps,

foreign policy than his

be easy to give a more precise definition of his attitude in own explanation contained in one
the Liberals should

of the speeches delivered in his second Midlothian campaign. In reply to the statement that
if

come

into

power the destinies of the country would be ruled

by the Manchester School, he declared that


the foreign policy of the country
tive

it

had never ruled

'

Never during a Conservaspeaking

Government, and never especially during a Liberal


Disclaiming

Government.'

any

intention

of

slightingly of the Manchester School or the Peace Party,

he ventured

to point out their

'

great

and serious
'

error.'

It
all

was a respectable, even a noble


selfishness of policy, friendly to

error.

Abhorring

freedom

in every

country

of the earth, attached to the

modes of

reason,

and detesting
wars

the ways of force, this

Manchester School the Peace Party


to the conclusion that

has sprung prematurely

may

be considered as having closed their melancholy and miser-


LIBERAL FOREIGN POLICY
able history,

2$

and

that the affairs of the world

may henceforth
less

be conducted by methods more adapted to the dignity


of

man, more suited both

to his strength

and weakness,

likely to lead

him out of the ways of

duty, to stimulate his

evil passions, to

make him

guilty before

God

of inflicting

misery on his fellow-creatures.

But, gentlemen, no Govern-

ment of
a

this

country could ever accede to the management


affairs

and control of

without finding that that dream of

paradise on earth was rudely dispelled by the shock

of experience.

However we may
it

detest
is

war

and
it

you

cannot detest

too

much

there
but,

no war except one


elements

the war for liberty

that

does not contain in

of corruption as well as of misery, that are deplorable to


recollect

and

to consider

however deplorable they


;

may
fare

be, they are

and there are


of

among times when

the necessities of our condition


justice,

when

faith,

when

the wel-

mankind
fine

require a

man
in

not to shrink from the

responsibility of undertaking them.'

This

passage

the most uneasy patriotism

which, the abstract, should with which expresses the


spirit

satisfy

Mr. Gladstone believed himself to be animated


dealings with foreign Powers.

in

his

But the application of these


it

unexceptionable principles was,

is

generally confessed,

almost in every instance unfortunate.


question

Without
'

raising the

whether

the

'

magnanimity

claimed

by

Mr.

Gladstone
inflict
it

in regard to the

Convention of Pretoria did not

a heavy blow on our prestige throughout the Colonies,


it

cannot be disputed that the unrest which

brought

about in South Africa was the parent stock of the war that broke out
less

than twenty years afterwards.

It is

equally

certain that the failure to reheve

Gordon

led eventually to

the sanguinar)' operations conducted by Lord

Kitchener

26

LORD ROSEBERY
Soudan.

for the reconquest of the

Nor

is it

mere matter
of

of conjecture that the timidity which, rightly or wrongly,

was believed

to account for the evacuation

Kandahar

was followed by an overbearing attitude on the part of the


Czar's

Government, and thus led to the nearly

fatal

dis-

pute over Penjdeh, by which we were brought to the verge


of war in a case where our right was something worse than
doubtful.

Such have been some of the demonstrable


Gladstone Government's policy
in

results of the

1880- 1885.

Nor
the

is

it,

perhaps, out of place to remark that, by one of


ironies of history, the Cabinet

many

which

in recent times

has been most distinctively non-Imperialist unconsciously

paved the way

for

some

of the most important acquisitions


It

of the British Empire.

was under Mr. Gladstone that

we
the

first

made good

our footing in the valley of the Nile.

From

the indecisive action that led to the breaking-up of


series

Anglo-French Condominium followed the


almost against our
in

of

diplomatic negotiations and administrative measures which

have won

for us,

will,

a dominating,
Similarly,

if

somewhat anomalous, position

Egypt.

the

abandonment
recognised

of the
in

Soudan
that

at a

time when
has

we held no
rectified

status

region

been

by

the establishment of a no longer challenged ascendancy.

Again,

it

was under Mr. Gladstone that the events took


Finally,

place which led to the annexation of Burmah.


it

was by

his policy that the seed

was sown
in

tares

which
Africa.

sown

amid

eventually
It

bore

fruit

consolidated

South
pacific

was, indeed, the fate of an essentially


to leave a legacy

and home-keeping Administration

of troubles which

made

it

the duty, as well as the right, increase

of subsequent

Cabinets
frontiers,

to

our responsibilities,
It
is.

and extend our

both in Asia and Africa.


GENERAL ELECTION OF
therefore, a

1880

27

pious duty of the Imperiahst to deal gently

with the mistakes and oversights of a period which pre-

sented

itself

to
;

contemporary judgment

in

somewhat

inglorious light

and Unionists
for

in particular are

bound

to

remember

that,

any blunders which may have been


far greater share

committed by the Cabinet, a


belongs to the

of censure

Duke

of Devonshire

and Mr. Chamberlain

than to Lord Rosebery.


It
1

was mainly on foreign policy that Lord Rosebery,

in

880, challenged the opinion of the country while the General


still

Election was

in progress.

At Glasgow, on 29 March,

he repudiated the idea that Lord Beaconsfield would be

more highly esteemed than Mr. Gladstone by the European


Powers, and defined the foreign policy of the Liberal party.
Its

watchword would be

'

the

cause of England, peace

and freedom throughout the

By peace he did not mean peace at any price. By freedom he did not mean licence. By England he did not mean 'these two islands.'
world.'

He
we

meant 'the great Empire throughout the world, which


are as proud of as any

Tory can be
if

which

we

will

maintain even with our blood,


will

necessary, but which

we

not recklessly increase at the cost of the people of

England.'
in

At Edinburgh, again, on 31 March, he argued


vein,

the

same

and

combated the idea

that

Lord
to her

Beaconsfield's Eastern policy had restored

England

proper place in the councils of Europe.

On

this

point

he made a characteristic

sally.

It

was said by Napoleon,

he remarked, that we were a nation of shopkeepers.

That

reproach had vanished, because under the Tory Govern-

ment our trade had vanished

too.

But perhaps

it

might

be said some day that we were a nation of pettifoggers


going into the councils of Europe with secret agreements

28
with foreign

LORD ROSEBERY
Powers and with
little

terminable leases of

foreign islands that did not belong to us,

and which we

had managed

to filch

from the general scramble.

Within a week Mr. Gladstone was returned as


for

member

Midlothian by a majority of 21

votes,

and Lord Rose-

bery had

won

his first victory over the local influence of the


It

House

of Buccleuch.
for the

was as much a triumph

for

the

young Peer as
Rosebery seek

veteran statesman, nor did

Lord

to disguise his exultation.

With pardonable
was

exaggeration he declared that that constituency had been

chosen as the central


being waged.

battlefield of the great contest that

The

battle

had not been fought between Whig


It

and Tory, Liberal and Conservative.


Constitutional

was the

battle of

Government and of oppressed

nationalities

throughout the world.


it,

The

boast had this

much

truth in

that

Mr. Gladstone's speeches

in Scotland

had been

almost universally taken by the Liberal party throughout


the country as the statement of
its

policy,

and

that

much

more turned on the


party.

result of the

Midlothian polling than

the maintenance or loss of that seat by the Conservative

But

it

should, perhaps, be mentioned that Mr.

Gladstone had not been so confident of success that he


could afford to neglect insuring himself against defeat.

He

was also candidate

for

Leeds, a safe constituency, which

returned him by a large majority.


necessary, since,
if

The

precaution was

he had

failed to obtain a seat before the

meeting of the new Parliament, his claim to succeed Lord


Beaconsfield might have been successfully called into question.

His victory
it

in

Midlothian was the more important


as certain,

because

had not been counted upon


to

and he

was proportionately indebted

the supporter

who had

worked so indefatigably

for

their

common

purpose.

GENERAL ELECTION OF
Nor was Mr. Gladstone chary
Lord Rosebery that the moral
their hopes.
in his

1880

29

acknowledgment.

Five days after his return from Midlothian he wrote to


effect

had surpassed

all

The

feeling until
like

it

was over was so fastened

on

it

that

it

was almost

one of those occasions of old

when
'

the issue of

battle
it,

was referred to single combat.


apprehend,
lay
in

The

great merit of
I

the original

conception, which

take to have been yours, and to overdirect production


in

shadow even your operations towards the


of the result. But one thing
it

cannot overshadow

my mind;
tact."

the sense of the inexpressible aid and comfort derived day

by day from your considerate ever-watchful care and

similar tribute having

been paid to Lady Rosebery, the


that
laid

writer

went on

to

say

he should

feel

profoundly

ashamed of the burdens


seen

on

his

hosts unless he

had

how
all

truly they

were borne
'

in the spirit

which alone

makes

burdens

light.

It is

a very pleasant subject of

reflection to
in

me

that the riveting effect of

companionship

a struggle like this does not pass away with the struggle but abides.'
activity

itself,

The

which Lord Rosebery threw into

this

memorin-

able contest

perhaps the most strenuous period, though


hostile

terrupted by a serious illness, in his public career

had not
on no
such

passed without

comment.

Undoubtedly he had

strained the rule of Parliamentary etiquette


basis of binding law

it

rests

which forbids Peers


of

to take part in eleclight of

tions for the


criticisms,

House

Commons. But he made


when

and quoted, with humorous gusto, the remark of


the subject of Peers' inthe
It

a Conservative Minister that

terference in Parliamentary elections was mentioned

name

of

Lord Rosebery always occurred

to his

mind.

was, perhaps, not inconsistent that a

member

of the

Upper

30

LORD ROSEBERY
so strenuously advocated

House who had


of
its

some modification

hereditary privileges in regard to legislation should,

by way of compensation, rebel against what he considered

an antiquated
It
is

restriction.
tell

not necessary to

over again the story

which
that

has been related with half a dozen variants according to


the
narrator's

point

of

view

of

the

negotiations
for

resulted in

Mr. Gladstone being sent

by the Queen.

The

final

meeting of Lord Beaconsfield's Cabinet was held


2rst,

on April

and

on

the

evening

of

the

23rd

Mr.

Gladstone had kissed hands as Prime Minister.

Those

were the happy days of small Cabinets, but the task of


selection

among

qualified aspirants to the places of higher

dignity was proportionately

more

difficult.

Mr. Gladstone

had

to

contend with a special embarrassment, since the

relations

between the Moderate Liberal and Radical wings


far

of the party were

from cordial.

The admission

of Mr.

Chamberlain (Board of Trade) and the temporary exclusion


of Sir Charles Uilke were the result of an arrangement

between those two gentlemen and Mr. Gladstone.


with the appointment
the
the
their

This,

of

Mr.
as

Bright
partial
for

as

Chancellor of
to

Duchy,

was

accepted

compensation
appointment
Forster,
offices

Nonconformist
particular bite

Radicals
noir,

the
\i.

of

Mr. W.
Cabinet

as Chief
Sir

Secretary.

All

the

other
the

unless
was
to

William

Harcourt,

Home
Office),

Secretary,

be
:

counted among the Radicals

went to Moderate
(President
of the

Liberals

Lord Granville (Foreign


Chancellor),

Lord Selborne (Lord


Council),

Lord

Spencer

Lord Hartington

(India),

Lord Kimberley (Colonies), Lord


Office),

Northbrook (Admiralty), Mr. Childers (War


of Argyll (Privy
Seal),

Duke

and Mr.

J.

G.

Dodson (Local

1 '

MR. GLADSTONE'S
Government).

SECOND ADMINISTRATION

Mr. Gladstone himself became First Lord

of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer.


It will

be observed that most of the chief Departments

of State had been placed under the control of Peers, since

the Board of Trade and Local

Government Board were


in the party

considered offices of secondary importance and dignity.

There would have been even more discontent


the Cabinet

than was actually aroused by the distribution of places in


if

another

member

of the

Upper House had


this,

been added

to

Mr. Gladstone's

list,

and

no doubt, was
In a

one of the reasons why Lord Rosebery refused the honour


which,
it

is

understood, was placed within his reach.


'

private letter printed in Mr. Morley's

Life of Gladstone
'

there

is

a sufficient indication of the incident.

One

admir-

able man, with intrepid naivete,' wrote the Prime Minister,


'

proposed himself
less

for the

Cabinet, but was not admitted

another no

admirable was pressed to enter, but

felt

that he could be

more

useful as an independent

member,

and declined

an

honourable transaction repeated by the


later.'

same person on another occasion

The omission

of Lord Rosebery was a surprise to

some

of the best-informed commentators.

The immense

services

he had rendered to Scottish Liberalism, and


to the

in particular

Prime Minister, would, no doubt, have


place
if

entitled

him

to a high

he had cared
was

to press

his

claim

if,

indeed, he had not voluntarily stood aside.

The

reason
in

which he assigned
administration,

for refusal
it

his

want of experience

and

was

this

ground which the Prime

Minister had himself taken in order to explain his hesitation


as to admitting

Mr. Chamberlain within the Cabinet.


the cares of Office, Lord Rosebery did not
first

Exempt from

trouble himself in the

year of Mr. Gladstone's Adminis-

32
tration to take

LORD ROSEBERY
any active part
in Parliamentary debates, but
in

as President of the

Greek Committee took the chair

December

at a

meeting called to advocate the claims of the

Hellenic race in Epirus and Thessaly.

He

lent

no counten-

ance, however, to the firebrand advice of the enthusiasts

who
for-

wished to promote another war of Liberation.


i88r,

In June,

Lord
in

Fife,

in

the

House

of Lords,

brought

ward,

an emphatic fashion, the Scottish demand

for a

separate Ministry, and this was supported by Lord Rosebery.

The

proposal was put aside for the time, but, in recognition

of his unwavering advocacy of the interests of the Northern

Kingdom, he was pressed


Under-Secretary
give the
at the

and

consented

to

become
he might

Home Office,

in order that

Government the

benefit of his special

knowledge

of Scottish affairs.

The appointment was


it

not represented

as a fitting reward for his political services, or as worthy of


his abilities.

Nevertheless

appears to have given

satis-

faction to his friends,


to
at

who looked on it merely as a first step high advancement. It may here be pointed out that, even those periods in his career when he was least in favour
This
is

with the great body of the Liberal party, he has never lost
the confidence and regard of his countrymen.
factor

which

his rivals

and adversaries must never

forget to

take into account.

In this respect he presents an interest-

ing parallel to a statesman with

whom, perhaps, he has


Great Britain there

nothing else

in

common.

Behind the general reputation


in
is

which Mr. Chamberlain enjoys

the keen and always unabated enthusiasm of the solid and

populous wedge of central England which

is

known

as the
for the

Birmingham
Colonies,

district,

and the ex-Secretary of State

amid the

cares of Office or the distractions of

controversy, has never omitted to keep himself in close

and

HIS POSITION
constant communication with his political base.

33

He

has

always been

loj'al to

Birmingham, and

in return

Birmingham
Simito woo,

has always been faithful to him and proud of him.


larly,

Lord Rosebery, though he has no constituents

and, more from natural preference than from prudence or


gratitude, has never allowed the duties of statesmanship,

the attractions of sport, or the calls of Society, to interrupt,


for

any length of time,

his intimate association with his

own

people in Scotland.

Like Mr. Chamberlain, he has been repaid in undeviating

and

inflexible

support

even
Yet

against fellow-Liberals
it

are fellow-countrymen.

many
regard

of his Scottish admirers,

who may be conjectured that especially those who are


type of Protestantism,

most closely associated with a

strict

him

in their hearts as

standing in need of a certain

indulgence.

He

is,

as

it

were, a spoiled child,

and they
they

pardon

his love of racing in

much

the

same

spirit as

overlook the amorous irregularities of their great national


poet.

In each case their toleration has,

perhaps,

been

influenced by an unconfessed pride in the success of their


brilliant

prodigals.

If

Lord Rosebery has gone upon

the Turf, he has almost


just as

made

a habit of winning the Derby,

of his
Justly

Bums, when he departed from the Simple Life time, became one of the lions of the London season.
proud of
their

own

land

and people

as Scottish

patriots are, they are intensely flattered

when

the merits

of their

countrymen are recognised


of this

in the southern capital.

Men
in

way of thinking saw nothing derogatory

the

statesman

whom

they

looked upon as destined

for the highest office

accepting a minor post in Mr. Gladrecruit,

stone's

Government, especially as the new

with his
as

unfailing tact, described himself

amongst

his

own people

34
a
'

LORD ROSEBERY
backstairs Minister for Scotland.'

The

political position

of the Under-Secretary was, of course, already very different

from that of the ordinary young Peer on

his promotion.
at

Having established himself with Lady Rosebery

Lans-

downe House, he made


for

it

one of the chief meeting-places


the

Liberals

of

every

denomination, and

frequent

presence of Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone, as intimate friends of


the host and hostess, rendered the gatherings in Berkeley

Square one of the inner forces of the party.

Having assumed the


on public platforms.

responsibilities

of

Ofifice,

Lord

Rosebery did not neglect the duty of frequent appearance

With the

Irish policy of the

Govern-

ment

the

Land

Act, the Coercion Act, the imprisonment


'

of Mr. Parnell and the other

suspects,'

and

their subse-

quent

release

under

the

Treaty

of

Kilmainham

he
and
an

thoroughly identified himself, and was rewarded, wherever

he went, by a sympathetic and cordial reception.

In the

House

of Lords also he was a fairly constant attendant,

his personal popularity,

combined with ready speech, helped


far

the Government,

so

as

possible,

in

reconciling

adverse majority of Peers to the policy of a Government

which had already been weakened


the revolt of the
late

in the

Upper House by

Moderate Liberalism represented by the


Neither at this nor any subsequent
is it

Duke

of Argyll.

period of his career


policy,

easy to say whether, in domestic

Lord Rosebery can more properly be claimed as an


Mr. Gladstone and
were so firmly

adherent of the advanced or the more timid wing of the


party.
his colleagues

concentrated on the Reform side of their programme that


they
left

themselves

little

time or energy

for social legisla-

tion, but with

such projects as they were enabled to bring


active

forward

Lord Rosebery manifested a vivid and

THE
sympathy.

IRISH QUESTION

35

Outside the sphere of his Parliamentary work


for the non-pohtical

he was associated with various schemes

advancement of the condition of the people.


would be
difficult to fix

Though

it

upon any distinctively SociaHstic

proposal to which he has lent his support, his subsequent


election as

Chairman of the

first

London County Council


was regarded

showed
one of

that

he had been regarded by the Progressives as

their

own

people,

and

that his position

as essentially different

from that either of the high and dry


their inspiration

Whigs or the Radicals who derived Bentham and John Mill.


In the early 'Eighties, however,
that,
it

from

should be remembered
legislation
for

although

Mr.

Gladstone's

agrarian

Ireland

had alienated a certain group of Liberals,


still

his

Government
and cautious
shire, the late

included

such

'

orthodo.x

'

economists

politicians as

of DevonLord Northbrook, and Lord Spencer, while

the present

Duke

the most extreme

men

in the

House of Commons had

not yet displayed any tendency to go beyond the individ-

uahst doctrines of Philosophic Radicalism.

The

spirit

of

young Liberalism was considered


Mr. John Morley, and
of 1882
at a

to

be well personified by
in the early part

banquet held

Lord Rosebery proposed

his health as fitly

symbol-

ising the future of the Liberal party.


sion,

He

seized the occa-

however,

to

insist

upon the duty of union, and


if

expressed his hope that,


within
itself,
it

the party remained at peace

and

at

the

same time

retained
in
this

popular
country.

sympathy,

must always predominate


still

Powerful as the Liberals

were on paper, unshaken as


of

was

their majority in the

House

Commons,

the signs of

coming dissension were already


below the surface.

visible to those

who looked

Partly through Mr. Gladstone's master-

36
ful

LORD ROSEBERY
genius,

and

partly through

the

unexampled anarchy
But even the

among

the Conservatives, they were enabled to carry on


till

the government of the country

18S5.

reticent pages of Mr. Gladstone's biographer show that the

gossip of the period scarcely exaggerated the dissensions


that prevailed within the

Cabinet.

The

extremists

who
those

could not have their way in directing the councils of the


party were at least able to

make

life

uncomfortable

for

who

were identified with the established authority.


their first victims.
in
It is

Lord Rosebery was among


of the
failings

one

that

impair his usefulness

the

rude

conflicts of English politics that

he

is

unduly sensitive to

pin-pricks.

Perhaps because he never went through the

daily discipline of the

House
is

of

Commons, which

indurates
it

the cuticle against minor flagellation, or even renders

stimulating experience, he

impatient of vicious criticism.


friend,

Because he was Mr. Gladstone's intimate


was resolved to give him a

and

sus-

pected of exercising influence over the autocratic mind of


his Leader,
it

fall.

Complaint
Office

was made that the Under-Secretary of the


not a

Home

was

member

of the

public criticism.

House of Commons and amenable to The absurd cry was kept up with suffiLord Rosebery
to resign a post
it

cient pertinacity to induce

that was not worth his


dignified to fight for.

keeping, and which he thought

un-

Indeed, his original acceptance of


sacrifice.

the

duties had

been something of a personal


in giving

Probably he made a mistake

way, and he after-

wards stated that he had made up his mind never again to


retire

from a position merely on the ground of his being a

Peer.

There appears

to

be no

justification,

in

spite of the

dissensions that afterwards broke out between Lord Rose-

HIS RESIGNATION

37

bery and Sir William Harcourt, for the suggestion that the

Under-Secretary had taken offence

at

anything said or done


statement was ex-

by

his

Chief

at the

Home

Office.

The

pressly contradicted, both by Sir William Harcourt

and by
an
of

Lord Rosebery,
ventions
of the

in

language that passed beyond the conofficial

perfunctory

dementi.

'

It

is

entirely untrue statement, which

has

not

colour
'

foundation of any kind or

sort,'

said Sir William.

know

what you must be feeling under so undeserved an innuendo,'


wrote Lord Rosebery to him,
as
'

but

am

quite as indignant

you
It

are.'

was explained that the arrangement under which Lord


office

Rosebery had taken

was never intended to be per-

manent. That, no doubt, was correct.


only gone to the
until the

Lord Rosebery had

Home

Office to bridge over the period


establish a separate Depart-

Government should

ment under a Secretary


contemplated.
that

for Scotland.

Nevertheless,

the

sudden termination of this stop-gap


It

scheme had not been


little

was brought about by a


if

intrigue

might have been defeated

Lord Rosebery had pos-

sessed the requisite Parliamentary temperament or thought the prize worth the struggle.
off the

But he had not yet shaken


in his

proud indolence discerned


that

boyhood by the
of those
the dust

Eton tutor who remarked

"Dalmeny" was one

who

desired

palmam

sine pulvere

in

this case

raised

by partisan animus.
to

His severance from the Government was not taken


indicate any modification of his political attitude,

and the

Prime Minister,
sion of regret

in reply to a formal

and

significant expres-

on the

part of the General

Committee of

the Scottish Liberal Club, intimated his hope that before

long Lord Rosebery's abilities might

'

again be turned to

38
account

LORD ROSEBERY
in active public service.'

As a

further demonstrain

tion of the

undiminished confidence reposed


(July,

him by

his

countrymen, he was presented

1883) with the

free-

dom

of the City of Edinburgh, and, by way of making a

suitable return, stated a strong case for the establishment

of a Scottish Local

Government Board under a


in the

Scottish
intro-

Minister

this

was the object of a measure, already

duced by the Government,

framing of which Lord


It

Rosebery had taken an active

part.

was crowded

out,

however, by the presence of more urgent and contentious


business, and, though further efforts were
it

made

to carry

it,

was not to be numbered among

the legislative achieve-

ments of Mr. Gladstone's Administration.


occasion
it

On

the

first

was introduced too

late in the Session to


it

stand

any chance of success.


at the
it

On

the second

was abandoned

annual

'

slaughter of the innocents,'

and on the

third

was put down

for Second Reading on the very day on

which the Government announced


ing,

their intention of resign-

having been defeated

in

the

House
Bill.

of

Commons

by

a majority of twelve on the Finance

CHAPTER
Colonial
tion

IV

tour Agricultural labourer's enfranchisement Reform agitaand Commons Lord Rosebery's plea Appeal for Moderation The crisis solved Lord Rosebery and reform of the House of Lords.

Lxjrds

Being released from administrative


Rosebery spent some of
his leisure

duties,

and a

little dis-

gusted, perhaps, at the treatment he

had received, Lord


After a few weeks

on an extended foreign
where he met
reform

tour in the company of Lady Rosebery.


in the

United States they sailed

for Australia,

with a hearty welcome.

His aspirations

after social

appealed to the advanced democratic sentiments of the


Colonists, while his taste for sport

made him popular

with

a class that cares


It is

little for politics.

interesting to notice that, before

Home

Rule had
Liberal

been adopted by any considerable group


party,

in the

he used language as to local self-government which,

rightly or wrongly,

was interpreted

in Victoria as signifying

willingness to

'

ease the work of the Imperial Parliament.'


rival

Nor should
banquet
in

it

be forgotten, amid

claims for

'

the dis-

covery of the British Empire,' that,

in

1884, at a public

Melbourne, he expressed hopes and adumbrated

a policy almost as advanced as those of Tory Imperialists.

He

contemptuously dismissed the suggestion that the then


lines,

contemplated Federation of Australia, on Canadian

might lead to separation from the

Mother Country.

He

could give no logical explanation, he admitted, of the bond


that kept the

Empire

together.

The arrangement between

39

40

LORD ROSEBERY
contract.
at

Great Britain and the Colonies was not a compact or a


civil It
all.

was a marriage of the

affections, or

it

was nothing

The prophecy had been made

that the

connexion would not survive a war.

Lord Rosebery was


would
survive,

more sanguine.

He

believed

it

other

things being equal, so long as the

home

country and the

daughter country were allowed to preserve their positions


of mutual independence and self-respect.
the union of races

He

had

faith in

by

which he meant the community of

memories, of work, of object, and of aim.

He had
e.xist
it

always

hoped

that this

communion
him

of races would
visit

so long as

his life lasted,

but since his

to

Australia

would
to

become

a passion with

to preserve that

union and

serve that country of Australia, of which he could never

have any but the most happy and pleasant memories.


After
all

allowance

is

made

for the natural

exuberance of
is

rhetoric at a public
sufficiently

welcome

of this kind, the utterance

remarkable as coming from the intimate friend

and

private counsellor of the Statesman


all

who was

charged,

above

his predecessors, with neglect

and indifference

towards the duties and privileges of Empire.

During Lord Rosebery's absence abroad the Radical


party had been getting up steam for the long-promised

and

often-deferred agitation for the enfranchisement of the agricultural labourer.


It

was known that no


in the

effectual resist-

ance would be offered

House

of

Commons

to the

County Franchise
carried before the
it

Bill

which Mr. Gladstone introduced on

the last day of February, 1884,

and the Third Reading was


of Lords.

end of June. The only question was how


in the

would be treated

House

Lord Salisbury,

who had now come


party, but

forward as Leader of the Conservative

whose authority was by no means unquestioned,

LORDS AND COMMONS


announced, before the
Bill

4I
to Parlia-

had been presented


it

ment, that he should oppose


it

in the

Upper House.

But

was

far

from certain that he would be supported by the

whole
of

party.

The

attitude of the

Tory Democrats, a force


to

unknown dimensions, was not

be calculated by the

ordinary laws of political reason, and besides

them there

were among the Conservatives a good many politicians


who, from timidity or fataUsm, were ready to accept, or not
willing to fight against,

what they regarded as inevitable.

By playing on the
the other,
it

intrigue of

one section and the

fears of

was hoped by some of the Radicals that the


might be deterred from exercising
its

House
the

of Lords

undoubted

right of throwing out the Bill,

and thus forcing

Prime Minister

either

to

accept defeat or dissolve

Parliament and appeal on that issue to the verdict of an

unreformed electorate.

Either alternative would be equally


if

inconvenient to the Government, and,

possible,

they

were determined to detach a

sufficient

number

of Peers

from the policy announced by Lord Salisbury.


It

would have been a comparatively simple matter


if

to get

up a cry against the Peers

they

came forward as out-and-out


Lord Salisbury had chosen
It

opponents of enfranchisement.
his

ground with a more subtle judgment.


said, to pass a

was impossible,

he

Franchise

Bill

without a Redistribution

Bill.

This would but abolish one anomaly and create

another.

Nor would
If the

it

do

for

the

Government

to pass
Bill

a Franchise Bill in 1SS4


in 1885.

and promise a Redistribution


first

Peers consented to the


to

measure they

would be powerless
of the second.

have any voice as to the nature


able,
if

The Government would be


Bill,

the

Lords objected to their Redistribution


constituencies which they

to appeal to

had

just flooded with

new

voters.

42
No,
if

LORD ROSEBERY
the

Government wished
electorate.

on the present

to dissolve, let them dissolve Those were Lord Salisbury's

terms to Mr. Gladstone.

To

the Franchise Bill as

it

stood

the Conservatives would not say either Yes or No.

They

must
It

first

be shown the Redistribution Scheme.


easier to
it.

was

denounce Lord

Salisbury's attitude than

to

change

All the paraphernalia of popular agitation

was brought into operation


processions,

platform speeches, pamphlets,


For a time public
feeling

and demonstrations.

ran very high, and so sincere were the misgivings

among

many moderate-minded
flict

politicians at the prospect of a con-

between the two Houses that some of the Liberals,

whose allegiance had been shaken by the Irish policy of the Government and the mismanagement of affairs in South
Africa, in Egypt,

and the Soudan, were beginning


It

to rally

again to Mr. Gladstone.


the

was known that such Peers as

Duke

of Argyll and Lord

Cowper would

exert their

influence in the

House

of Lords towards averting a rupture,

and the
uncertain.

result

of their mediatory action was

somewhat

From

a different point of view Lord Rosebery

was working towards the same end.


tary reform within the

On

several occasions

he had come forward as the advocate of internal and volun-

House
House

of Lords,

and on 20 June,
in the

within a few days of the Third Reading Debate on the

Franchise

Bill

in the

of

Commons, moved

House of Lords
pointed to
efficiency.

Committee should be apconsider the best means of promoting its In spite, however, of the imminent quarrel
that a Select

between the two branches of the Legislature, the proposal

was treated as being of an academical character, and


rejected, after
ville

some not

unfriendly remarks from Lord Gran-

and Lord

Salisbury, by a two-to-one majority

seventy-

seven against thirty-eight.

THE ENFRANCHISEMENT BILL


On

43

26 June the note was sounded for a grand attack by

Mr. Gladstone, who took the opportunity of the Third

Reading Debate

in

the

House

of

Commons
he

to

utter a

solemn warning to the Peers.


anxious to avert a collision
It

Ministers,

said,

were

between the two Houses.


serious problems

would open up

far

more
first

than

any

he remembered since the

Reform

Bill,

and, though he
to the con-

had no

fear as to the result,

he looked forward

sequences with the gravest apprehension.

His warning

was openly derided by Mr. Balfour, who declared that


it

would no longer be worth


of Lords
its
if
it

lifting

a finger to defend the

House
It

were to be considered incapable

of giving

opinion on a great constitutional question.

was now evident that the more vigorous section of the

Conservatives would follow Lord Salisbury in defying the

Radical agitation, and that a sufficient majority was ensured


in the

House

of Lords to reject the

Bill.

When

it

came

up

for

Second Reading Lord Cairns proposed what was


While the Peers would be

practically a negative motion.

ready to concur in 'a well-considered and complete scheme


for the extension of the Franchise,' they

would not consent


full

to a Bill that did not provide for

'

the

and

free repre-

sentation of the people,'

and was

'

not provided with any

adequate security that

it

should not come into operation

except as an entire scheme.'


Issue was
Salisbury.

now joined on the lines The cautious attitude of


Lord Carnarvon.

laid

the

down by Lord Duke of Argyll


so

and

Lord Cowper was repudiated


as

by

moderate a

politician

He

was scornful of the

'monotonous, stupid, and ridiculous threats' uttered against


the Lords, and did not believe that
resent their rejecting the Bill.

the country would


poUtical clubs might

The

44
be angry, but
it

LORD ROSEBERY
was to the decision of the country that

the Lords wished to refer the question.


Liberal

He

taunted the

Government with shrinking from appeaUng to the 'source of their strength,' and intimated that they were
deterred from dissolving Parliament by the fear of being

condemned for their foreign policy. Lord Rosebery took the ground
yet they were resolved to throw
it

that,

on the confession
But they would
it.

of Conservative Peers, the Bill deserved to be accepted,


out.

not defeat the measure, they could only retard

The

demand
in the

for a

simultaneous measure of Redistribution could

not be granted, because, in view of the state of business

House

of

Commons

during the past few years,

it

would be impossible

to pass a Redistribution Bill in conBill.

nexion with a Franchise

Every member whose seat

would be affected might


point,

raise a distinct discussion


for

on

that

and the opportunities

obstruction (which had

recently been reduced to a system in the

House

of

Comof

mons) would be unlimited.


Ireland, of

On

the representation

London, and of Scotland, on the representation

of minorities, and on whether the

number
its
'

of

members
it

should be increased or retained at

present figure,

would be possible
hnking
in the

to raise a discussion

on the

first

breath

of a measure of Redistribution.
it

Besides, the question of

to the Franchise Bill

had already been

settled

House of Commons, wlien the amendment moved by Lord John Manners was defeated by a majority of 130.' The fears of the Opposition that Ministers, having carried
the Franchise
Bill,

would break

their

promise to bring in

a Redistribution Bill in the following Session, implied an


insult to the

Government.
join in a

If

such a breach of

faith

were

committed, he and half the members on his side of the

House would

Vote of Censure.

LORDS AND COMMONS


some of

45

Passing to more dangerous ground, Lord Rosebery sought


to allay the irritation caused in
his hearers'

minds

by the language
action of that

in

which Mr. Gladstone had spoken of the

House.

They regarded
said,
'

his

words as a

menace. This, Lord Roseberj'

was a misunderstanding.
a strictly Conserva-

Mr. Gladstone's speech was meant in


tive sense.'

Those who had the


'

privilege

and honour of

his

acquaintance knew the

essentially Conservative basis

on

which

his

political

opinions rested,' and Lord Rosebery


last

ventured to assert that this


to avert a collision

utterance was intended

between the two Houses.

Very few

Conservatives at the time accepted Lord Rosebery's assurance, but


it

was amply borne out by the subsequent course

of this agitation

and

also

when

a similar crisis arose in 1894.

On

both occasions Mr. Gladstone uttered solemn words of

warning

hoping

that the Lords

would give way

and

on

both occasions, when they held out. he declined, in spite of


strong Radical pressure, to place himself at the head of a

movement

against them.
right of the Peers to

While admitting the indefeasible


reject the Bill,

Lord Rosebery argued


for rejecting
it

that they

had no
for

moral justification
delaying
it.

on Second Reading or

Referring to the large muster of Peers

who had

come up
list,

to vote against the measure,

he asked what the

country would think

when

it

came

to analyse the division

and found

that the large

majority was

members who did not


time

habitually attend the

made up House?

of
If

they rejected the Bill this time, would they do so a second


?

Perhaps

it

would be found that the army had melted on the Government, there

away.

But

if

the measure were thrown out a second time

and

a Dissolution were forced


in

would be

the country

'

an agitation of a violent and

46
terrible kind.'

LORD ROSEBERY
And,
in the end, if they

might judge by the

experience of 1867, a

much
it

stronger measure of reform

would be

carried.

Was

of the interest of the Conservative

party or of the

House

of Lords that they were thinking?

connoisseur the other day had paid ;;^4,5oo for an

ancient, elaborate, costly horn.

That would be a very bad


But that was precisely
institu-

instrument for poking the

fire

with.

what they were then about to do. They were using an


tion of the

most ancient and valuable kind


which
it

to

poke up a con-

flagration for

was wholly unsuited and of which he


limits.

could not pretend to see the

They were

setting

themselves against two millions of persons desirous of the


vote

few hundreds against a host as large as that of

Xerxes, and without the singular advantages that Ther-

mopyla conferred upon

its

little

band of defenders.

The
and

conclusion of the speech was an elaborate appeal

to the statesmanship
Spiritual.

and prudence of the Lords Temporal

If the

people of this country be with you you are justified in

the course you are

now

taking.

If the

House

of

Commons

does

not represent the people of this country, you are justified in the course you are going to take to-night.
voters
If the three millions of

who

already possess the suffrage are anxious to pre-

serve the artificial legal distinction between the town and the
country, then, my lords, you are justified in the course you are going to take to-night. If the two million non-electors who are reckoning on the promises and the votes of the House of Commons, and upon the practical unanimity with which the Bill has been passed, feel that they are not entitled to the vote

which you are going

to

deny them, and are prepared


in

to kiss the

rod with which you chastise them, you are justified

the course

you are going


But,

to take to-night.

my

tions that

lords, is it on such hopes and on such prognosticayou are about to face the storms of popular prejudice


LORD ROSEBERY'S PLEA
precipice

4/

and popular indignation ? The crisis is grave. We stand by a if we are not hurrying to it, and I cannot console myself with any of those honeyed expressions about our authority and our standing in the country which aftbrd so much
consolation to the noble Earl.
1

see a situation as grave as the

unwisdom of a Leader and the strength of a party in this House are able to produce. I do think that when we consider what we have at stake to-night, we have a right to appeal to the more independent members of this House. I do not pretend to say that we have at stake the existence of this House, because I do not think so but we have at stake that without which existence is not valuable or tolerable the weight and authority which are given by wise decisions and by sympathy with the nation that nation for which we legislate and which governs us. I venture to appeal to the independent members of this House to pause
;

before they vote for the


I

amendment

of the noble Earl (Cairns).

was delighted with the defence of the cross-benches which came from the noble Duke (Argyll), who has sat so long during his Parliamentary career on the front bench, and I am quite willing to endorse all that he said. But I appeal to these crowded cross-benches which are always asking to be enlarged.
I appeal to them to those who can regard politics without being affected by mere temporary party prejudices I appeal to

them

pause before they endorse the action of the noble Earl. But, my lords, if I may make another appeal, it would be to those right reverend prelates who in this House represent
to

who preach a gospel, which is not merely a message and goodwill to men, but which is also the highest and purest theory of democracy which has yet been vouchsafed to men. I appeal to them to assist us in giving this great privilege to two millions of men, and I appeal to them to separate this House from the storms and anxieties that we must face if we pass this Resolution. I do not say that I regard this Motion as a wanton one wanton is too strong a word. I have no right, either from my standing or my age, to use such an expression. But I have
a faith, and
of peace

the right to ask your lordships to pause on every consideration,


public, private,

and personal, which can influence an ancient

48
and
illustrious

LORD ROSEBERY
Senate.
I

would ask you,


blow
at

in the

interests of

your Order, of your authority and of your Party, not to pass a


Resolution which

may

strike a fatal

your existence.
fifty-

The speech
and
such
fifty-one
result.

turned no votes

in the division only

nine Peers supported the Government against three hundred

nor can Lord Rosebery have looked


It

for

any

was

in the highest

degree improbable that

any appreciable number of the members of the House

would attend

it

without having

made up

their

minds on

an elementary question which they had enjoyed ample


time to consider.

Lord Rosebery's speech on

this occais

sion has been given at


representative,

some
style.

length, because

it

fairly

though not specially favourable, example


It

of his

Parliamentary

contained

some

telling

passages, which lost

none of

their effect
is

from the manner

of delivery

but the argument

beaten too thin for an


less

assembly of educated and more or


ticians.

experienced poli-

In

truth,

Lord Rosebery was addressing the


is

country rather than the Peers, and he


effect at

heard to best

Westminster when his tone

is

more conversational

and

his reasoning

more condensed.

It

may

also be objected

that in the special appeal to the bishops he struck what

many

of his audience

would consider a

false note,

and thus

impaired the force of an eloquent peroration.

The importance

of the speech, coming from a statesman


it

not directly associated with the Government, was that


suflEiciently identified

the orator with the

more advanced
conducted
that he

section of the Liberal party


viso

in

spite of a suggested pro-

against

the

agitation

which was

being
it

against the hereditary

Chamber

while

showed

was

still

in

the enjoyment of Mr. Gladstone's most in-

timate confidences.

REFORM OF THE HOUSE OF LORDS


It

49

would be a tedious story to describe the subsequent


leaders.
for

movements of the party


were engaged
in
'

For a long time they


position
'

manoeuvring

rather than

preparing to join battle.

The

Liberals flatly declined to


Bill,

expose the text of the Redistribution


drafted by a small
servatives

which had been

Government committee, while the Conthat


until they

vowed

had seen
law.

it

they could

not permit the Franchise Bill to

become

The

impasse

had apparently become absolute, when the situation was


suddenly relieved by the happy accident or indiscretion
through which the
full

text of the draft


'

scheme

for

Re-

distribution was published in


it

The
in

Standard.'

After this,
to arrange

was comparatively easy

for the party

managers

terms of accommodation, and,


personal incidents, the
crisis

spite of certain

stormy
Redis-

was resolved.

The

tribution Bill was introduced in the Lower,

and the Fran-

chise Bill was read a second time in the

Upper House
the Gladstone

but

it

was not

till

12 June, 1885, that the final stages of

the latter measure were concluded

after

Government had ceased


Returning from
that,

to exist.

this brief anticipation of events,

we
to

find

not discouraged by the action of the Peers in their


repudiation
Bill,

emphatic
Franchise

of

his

advice

in

regard
his

the

Lord Rosebery continued


their

missionary
for

work as a reformer of
Select

House.

In his motion

Committee

to inquire into

and report on the whole

question he had given definite form to his views.


plained that the existing

He

com-

House represented nothing except

the Church, the Law, and the Hereditary Principle. desired


that
it

He He

should include exemplars of

Medicine,

Science, Art, Literature,

Commerce, and even Labour.

suggested also that India and the Colonies should be given

50

LORD ROSEBERY

a more direct way of expressing their views, and he further

proposed that the question of Life Peerages should be considered,

and whether, on

special

occasions, the

House

should be empowered to consult persons who were not


Peers.

This scheme

though some portions of

it

have since been


at a time

tentatively carried into effect

found

no favour

when
whole
sides

excitable Radicals were threatening to destroy the


fabric.

After the temper had cooled


that he might

down on both
renew
his pro-

Lord Rosebery thought

posal with a better chance of success.

Accordingly, he drew

up a

circular letter

(dated December, 1884), which was


of the House.

addressed to

many members
to

Li this brief

document he simply asked


with any Peer

be placed

in

communication

who would

express himself in favour of the

general principle of the reform of the

House

of Lords

without adopting any particular method, or accepting any of


the views of the organiser of the movement.

In this way

Lord Rosebery hoped


action.

to bring

about some sort of concerted

The

invitation, however,

met with no response.


in

One

reason of this failure

may be found

Lord Roseat the

bery's close association with

Mr. Gladstone

who

time was generally,


of the

if

erroneously, regarded as an

enemy

Upper House.

Another reason may have been

that the Peers, like the

Commons, have a
differs

standard of their

own

for

judging their colleagues, and very often the inner

estimate of a public

man

widely from the popular

opinion of him.

Quite other factors than eloquence and


it

administrative capacity are taken into account, and

some-

times happens that the

men most

powerful at Westminster or

most

influential in party councils are hardly


If ever a

known

outside

the walls of Parliament.

reform of the House of

HIS REPUTATION
Lords be brought about from within,
the agency of
it

will

be done through

very clever

some of those unobtrusive and, perhaps, not persons who have acquired a reputation, not
in

always deserved, for solid judgment and practical sagacity.

Such a position had not been attained


brilliant

1884 by the
already reck-

too

brilliant

young
look

Peer

who was

oned
by

in the

running

for the succession to

Mr. Gladstone.

This peculiar kind of reputation, though keenly enjoyed


its

possessors

who

with

kindly

toleration

or

superior

contempt upon mere Ministers and leaders of

public

opinion

should

be studiously avoided by every


Consistently,

aspirant to the highest places in the State.

and sometimes

in defiance of

common

prudence, Lord Rose-

bery has manifested his scorn of the average intelligence

and the commonplace opinion.


fallen into a

More than once he has

mistake frequently committed by

men

conscious

of cleverness
persons.
dullards,
It

he exaggerates the
is

inferiority of second-rate

a dangerous challenge to declare war on

and Lord Rosebery has been pursued by them


sides

on both
life.

ever since
that

he became prominent

in public

The Demos

he has courted has been an abstract


it

Demos, and he has credited


self for

with those qualities in him-

which he has the greatest regard.

This Demos,

which has a certain existence

in the intelligent

and

recep-

tive spirit of the high-class Liberal

working-man, has always

appreciated the compliment, and will be faithful to him


so long as he continues to stimulate and

amuse

it.

His

love for racing, his occasional disappearances from public


life

and apparent neglect of its


and reproof

duties, his

seeming indifference

to censure

these

rank for virtues rather than

vices in the eyes of a class

world than those

who are much more men of the who hold a somewhat higher rank in

52
society.

LORD ROSEBERY
They
relish his

rank,

they

do not

dislike

his

wealth, while they admire his facile success in everything he

has undertaken.

He

has the art of winning their sympathy

because he speaks to them in such a way that they understand what he says, while he never makes them
is

feel that
if

he

talking

down

to

them.

At any moment,

he could

appeal directly to the Liberal working-men,

they would

acclaim him as their chosen Leader.

But besides them he


he had almost won

has to reckon with a solid mass of middle-class opinion.

This
over.

in the earlier period of his career

Undoubtedly

it

supported him during the closing

years of Mr. Gladstone's second Administration.

CHAPTER V
An
address Occupation of Egypt General Gordon's Lord Rosebery at Epsom Rejoins the Ministry Defeat of Mr. Gladstone Dissensions in the Cabinet Lord Rosebery's supporters in Scotland First reference to Home Rule Recent developments of the Irish Question Mutual suspicions and party competition Mr. Parnell's attitude General Election of 1885 Mr. Gladstone's adoption of Home Rule Lord Rosebery's position The Salisbury Administration defeated Mr. Gladstone's third Administration Lord Rosebery Foreign Secretary Liberal Imperialism The Umbrella speech.
Imperialist

mission

first

'

'

The

quasi-official
in

position wliich

Lord Rosebery had


his

re-

established

the

public

mind by

speech on

the

Franchise Bill was strengthened by a

visit that

Mr. Glad-

stone paid at the end of August to his Midlothian constituents.

This was part of the movement which had been


for

planned

the intimidation of the Peers.


as
local

Once again
the

Lord Rosebery stood


Minister,

sponsor

for

Prime

and

it

was remarked that the young host was not

less cordially

greeted than the veteran statesman.

few

days after his guest's departure Lord Rosebery delivered an


address to the Trade Union Congress at Aberdeen, and

took the opportunity of enlarging upon Imperial Federation.


It

should be borne in mind that Mr. Gladstone, to

whom

he had scarcely bidden adieu, was then at the height of the


unpopularity caused by real or apparent neglect of our
foreign

and Colonial

interests.

Many
it

of his supporters
after-

through a mistake as to public feeling, for which they

wards paid a heavy penalty

thought
53

necessary to assume

54
an indifference
to

LORD ROSEBERY
which their Leader had never confessed.
the end of his days Mr. Gladstone did not admit that
inefficient

To

he had been an

custodian of the Empire, nor did

he lend countenance to what for convenience' sake must be


called the Little

England view of our

responsibilities.

Some

of his most trusted colleagues,

Lord Rosebery amongst


Mr.

them, were closely associated with the Imperial Federation


League, and
at
all

times,

so far as language went,

Gladstone paid extreme deference to Colonial sentiment.


Nevertheless
it is

worthy of more than passing remark that

Lord Rosebery should have selected such an audience and


such an occasion
for

dwelling on a

theme which had

scarcely passed from the rank of amiable visions.

In the very fever of a great domestic agitation he told the

Trade Unionists
tion in the

at

Aberdeen

that the question of Federa-

Empire was more important than the Franchise.


are curious in the search for political parallels

Persons

who

may be

referred to the passage in which

Lord Rosebery

(in

1884) declared that the bond which united the various

component
somewhat
working

parts

of

the
it

Empire must

either
its

become
present

stronger or weaker

could not continue in


It

indefinite form.

was most desirable, he mainstronger,

tained, that the


classes,

bond should become

and

that the

who made up
for early

the main population of our

Colonial Empire, should place that important subject in


their

programme

and serious consideration.


laid

During part of the autumn Lord Rosebery was


consequence of a
of
fall

up

in

from

his horse, but in the early part

December he was entertained by

the Liverpool

Reform

Once again he dwelt on Imperial topics. He declared that no six months of his life had yielded him so much instruction and profit as his recent voyage round the
Club.

GENERAL GORDON'S MISSION


world.

55

He

insisted

on

the necessity

for

maintaining a

strong Navy, and protested against any immediate evacuation of Egypt.

We
to

had duties

to perform in that country.

The

first

was

set

up a stable Government there

a
re-

Government
spected.

that

could stand alone and

make

itself

A
'

second duty was to take care that no foreign

nation should afterwards


vacate.

occupy the position we might


in

Whether there be two schools or not


is

the

Liberal party on this question, there


this

only one opinion on

point

that
it

no strong

foreign nation should be per-

mitted to occupy the great highway between our Indian and


Colonial possessions and ourselves.'

At

this time,

should be remembered, the opinion was

generally held that


to
fulfil

we should be able

at

no distant date

our intention (and redeem our pledge) of arranging

to terminate the occupation of Egypt.

Even

in

the militant

group of Conservatives there were but few who ventured


to regard
it

as permanent.

Lord Rosebery's

declaration,

therefore,

marked the extreme point of then accepted Imwas the attitude of parties and public

perialism as regards Egypt proper.

Very

different

opinion as to our duty in the Soudan.

The

perplexing

and dismal

story of Gordon's mission


It
is

has not yet been

fully revealed.

possible that the fuller light which


will

may some day be forthcoming


and
his colleagues

relieve

Mr. Gladstone

from part of the blame with which

they have been visited on account of their failure to rescue

Gordon from
Whether
saved
is

perils

incurred

on a hopeless
his
life

enterprise.

in

any circumstances

might have been

a question that cannot at present be answered.


is

But there

no doubt

that the apparent

vacillations

of

the Government, their seeming lack of consistent purpose,

56
brought
naturally,

LORD ROSEBERY
them
into

deep

odium.

The

Conservatives,
if

worked up

a violent agitation, and,

Ministers

had ever hoped to survive another Session, the prospect had vanished by the end of the
disunion and discontent that
tion,
it

year.

In spite of the

still

prevailed in the Opposiall

was considered

certain,

by

cool-headed judges,

that the General Election


suffering a severe defeat
it

would

result in

Mr. Gladstone
lead, so

one that would probably


all

was

said, to his final

disappearance from public

life.

The
to

Liberal clubs, of course, did


spirits

that was possible

keep up the
passed

of the party.

They held meetings


her
Majesty's
in

and

resolutions

of

confidence in
to

advisers, caUing

on them

persevere

the cause of

domestic reform.
9 February,

One

of these was brought forward

on
dis-

1885, at the

Epsom
it

Liberal Club
its

specially

adapted to the taste and public record of


tinguished member, since
public
insisted

most

expressed sympathy with the


of General

anxiety

as

to

the

fate

Gordon, and
ties

on

'

the necessity of drawing closer the

which

unite Great Britain to her Colonies.'

The

address which

Lord Rosebery gave was more


understood.
but

significant than his audience

The announcement had


received,

not yet been made,

when he spoke he had


as

and probably had


Govern-

accepted, Mr. Gladstone's invitation to rejoin the

ment

Lord Privy Seal and

First

Commissioner of Works,

with a seat in the Cabinet.

Speaking

for the last

time as a private and irresponsible

person, he reminded his

Epsom neighbours

that

on more

than one

occasion

he had expressed the opinion that

Ministers might have adopted a bolder and clearer course


in regard to the

Soudan.

But they had been called upon

to

deal with a situation of

unexampled

difficulty.

He

REJOINS THE MINISTRY


protested against the idea that the
fall

57

of

Khartoum

[the

news of which was expected every day


should involve the
it

to reach

London]

fall

of the Ministry.
at

On

the contrary,

was the duty of every Englishman,

such a moment,

to strengthen the

Government.

On

the next day the fatal

intelligence

was received, and Lord Rosebery was able to


It is

prove the sincerity of his declaration.


at the airs of self-sacrifice

easy to laugh

assumed

by certain politicians

when they have


the
that

at

last

obtained,

by much

solicitation,

summit of
for

their hopes.

But there can be no question


to accept Cabinet office at this

Lord Rosebery

particular

moment was
for a

a distinct proof of political courage


to

and personal devotion


he could hope

Mr. Gladstone.

At the best

few months of nominal power, in a

Department

that offers

no scope

for public talents, while for

the sake of this doubtful advantage he saddled himself with


responsibility for several years'
affairs,

mismanagement of

foreign

and became

liable to a share of the

odium incurred

by every

member

of the Administration on account of the

death of Gordon.

The

action or inaction of the Governas a blunder


:

ment was not merely blamed


denounced
took no
as a crime,
interest

it

was

freely

and persons who


in

in a general
in
It

way

vivid

politics

joined

the outcry
said,

against Mr. Gladstone

and

his colleagues.

may be

perhaps, that by this

evidence of staunchness he established

an indefeasible claim on the Leader of the party, and made


it

certain that he

would

receive, at the next distribution of

public offices, a fuller and


services.

more
is

suitable recognition of his


it

This, of course,
to say

true in a sense, but

was by

no means easy

when

the Liberals, after their impendit

ing defeat, would return to power, nor was


that their leader in that event

very likely

would be Mr. Gladstone.

58
It

LORD ROSEBERY
was hoped
that,

by recruiting a statesman distinguished

for Imperial sympathies, the

Government might

partly reloyalty,

habilitate itself in public opinion.

With complete

Lord

Rosebery,

on public platforms, associated himself

henceforth with the Soudan policy of his colleagues, but


it

is

stated,

though without any external evidence, that he

set

himself to stiffen the attitude of the Government in


affairs.

regard to foreign

There was no

visible indication

of such a change having been effected.

Certainly
crisis.

it

was

not provided by their handling of the Penjdeh

In pursuance of an agreement between Lord Granville

and M. de

Giers, a Joint

Boundary Commission had been


acting for the British and

appointed, Sir Peter

Lumsden

General Zelenoi for the Russians.

The

late

Ameer

of

Afghanistan had, however, announced that he would


rather than give

fight

up a piece of a fragment from the


'

ruins

of his frontier.'

He

sent

up a party of native

levies to

hold Penjdeh
ally,

the Russians advanced to Yalatan.

Natur-

a collision took place, and the Afghans were


the

mowed

down by

Russian

breech-loaders.

The Ameer had


it

been warned beforehand that we should not protect him


from the consequences of his rash challenge, but
humiliating that British
ofificers

was

should have to stand by with

folded arms while our allies were being put to rout.

The
Orders

Ameer had
were given
offers of

successfully forced his partner's hand.


for the mobilisation of

two army corps

in India,

help were received from Scindiah, Holkah, and the

Nizam.
to both

At home a message from the Queen was delivered

Houses of Parliament, which were informed


arrived.'

that a

'time of emergency had

The

first-class

Army
longat

Reserve and

Militia

Reserve were called out.

The

anticipated war between

England and Russia seemed

DEFEAT OF MR. GLADSTONE


last to

59

be imminent.

On

April 8th Mr. Gladstone spoke


'

of the action of Russia as an

unprovoked aggression,' and


sterling.
refer-

on the

St

he submitted a vote for eleven millions

In asking for this

sum of money he made no special


affair,

ence to the Penjdeh


for the

but spoke only of requirements


affairs,

Soudan, the general condition of public

and

the

'

possible

demands

'

on the

military resources of the

Empire.

The

reticence,

however,

was

sufficiently

well

understood, and there seemed no way out of the difficulty At the last moment, however, except by resort to arms.

Abdur Rahman discovered, after an interview with Lord Dufferin, the new Governor-General of India, that he was
not prepared to insist that Penjdeh was within his boundary.

He
him

was quite content to accept any delimitation that might


it

be arranged for him by the British, provided that


certain points
it

gave

which he

specified.

In these circum-

stances

became

feasible to negotiate with St. Petersburg,

and the whole dispute was referred


award, given two years
It
later,

to a

Commission, whose
effect.

was duly carried into


this

cannot be said that the conduct of

dangerous busi-

ness reflected credit on the sagacity of the Government.

They had narrowly escaped being rushed


dispute in which
it

into

war over a

was extremely doubtful whether we had


Nevertheless,
it

a presentable case.

was proved that a

point might be reached at which Mr. Gladstone's Administration

would prefer

fighting

to

concession.

Nothing,

however, could

now redeem

their character,

and on June

9th they were defeated by twelve votes on an


to the Finance Bill

amendment

dealing
No

mainly with the proposal to


spirits.

increase the duty on beer

and

It is

possible that

Mr.

Gladstone might have reversed what he chose to


Confidence, but this would only

accept as a Vote of

6o
have been
day,
to

LORD ROSEBERY
prolong a
futile

agony.

He

resigned next

and Lord
for

Salisbury agreed to

form a stop-gap Govern-

ment

winding up the business of the Session.

Mr. Gladstone's Administration was destroyed not so

much by
feuds,

the

House
four

of

Commons'

vote as by internal

and the

months' experience of Cabinet Ufe

which had been enjoyed by Lord Rosebery were, perhaps,


chiefly

useful as a preparation in the art of maintaining

outward harmony amongst dissentient colleagues.

The

Radical members, elated by their triumph in having ejected

Mr. Forster, but smarting under the subsequent necessity of accepting and defending the Coercion in Ireland which
they had

made

the ground of their latest attack

upon him,

showed

their

independence by advocating a programme of

domestic legislation which their Whig colleagues repudiated


with open disgust.
It

would be going too


to the

far to

say that

Mr. Chamberlain paid no regard

remonstrances of
his

his Chief, but they did not prevent

him from repeating

indiscretions.

We

can read in Mr. Morley's pages the alarm


in

inspired in
'

Mr. Gladstone's mind


'

July,

1883, by the

unlimited liberty of speech

claimed by the President of


at the recent dinner of

the

Board of Trade and exercised

the
*

Cobden Club. It was in the autumn of 1884 that the Doctrine of Ransom was expounded, and in January,
'

1885, in the course of his agitation against the Peers, Mr.

Chamberlain advocated certain reforms which,

in the excited

controversy of the time, were considered to portend an


attack on private property in
land.

In consequence of

these and similar utterances


'

we

are told that Mr. Gladstone


to the
orator,'

made

a lenient

communication

and sug-

gested that explanations should be given at the next meeting of the Cabinet.
It

must not be supposed, however,

DISSENSIONS IN THE CABINET


that the

6l

Prime Minister was

specially irritated by the left

wing.

Writing to Lord Granville, he declares, just after


'

this incident, that,

on the whole, weak-kneed Liberals had

given more trouble than the Radicals.'


berlain's

But

in

Mr.
'

Cham-

conduct he found a

'

method and system which

indicated a 'far-sighted purpose' that was 'ominous enough.'

Moreover,
for attack.

it

provided the Opposition with an opportunity

On
policy,

the

Soudan question, of

course,

the feuds in the

Cabinet were even more hotly contested than on domestic

and
'

after

one meeting Mr. Gladstone remarked


fair

to a

colleague,
tions.'
It

very
his

Cabinet to-day

only

three resigna-

was

one object

to avert a public rupture,

and

to attain

that object

he balanced carefully between the

Whigs and Radicals, between the advocates of a stronger


foreign policy
price.

and the supporters of peace


Cabinet, and

at

almost any

As Prime Minister he represented the

central group

within his

own

it

was, no doubt, with a view

of strengthening his personal influence, that he invited

and

pressed Lord Rosebery to

become
stand

member,
with
the

as being a

Radical
Liberals.

who would

yet

well

Moderate

This, no doubt, was the chief reason

why Mr.
in

Gladstone urged him, and why he consented, to throw


his lot with the destinies of a falling Administration.
It

was a generous act done without any ostentation or

pretence of self-immolation on the altar of friendship or


public
duty.

Nor was

it

without

reward.

After

every

allowance had been

made

for the national,

and occasionally
countrythis year

clannish, spirit, in which

Scotchmen back
in the

men, the demonstration held

their own November of

was a signal proof of public esteem.

banquet

in

Lord

Rosebery's honour was given by the Scottish Liberal Club

62
at

LORD ROSEBERY
Edinburgh
in special recognition of the
'

very remarkable
in

services' which

he had rendered to the party 'both

Scotland and England.'

What,

in fact,

had he done?
in

He

had brought about Mr. Gladstone's victory

Midlothian
Parliament
office in the

he had made a certain number of speeches

in

and on public platforms

he had held a minor


period
;

Government

for a brief

he had been a member


;

of the Cabinet about four months

he had been vigilant

in looking after distinctively Scottish interests at


ster
;

Westmin-

and he had spent a


This
is

certain

political parties.

fair

amount of money in giving summary of Lord Rosebery's


It
'

achievements during the


account
for the
'

last five years.

would scarcely

admiration and gratitude to which Scottish

Liberals had assembled to give formal expression.

The

explanation

is,

in

the

first

place,

that

Scottish

Liberals were absolutely devoted to Mr. Gladstone,

and and

looked upon
efficient

Lord Rosebery

as

the

most

faithful

supporter of their hero's authority.

In the second

place,

he had always shown himself a good Scotchman, and

maintained the credit of his country by his success in every


sort of undertaking.

Finally,

he combined a sincere, though

not extreme. Liberalism with high birth and a great fortune.

He

was not merely a capable

politician

he was also a
fit

social

ornament of the

party.

It

seemed eminently

and

proper that the Liberal leadership should be kept amongst

Scotchmen, and that when

it

passed from the hands of their


it

adopted countryman, Mr. Gladstone,

should be trans-

mitted to the Lord of Dalraeny. This was the object of the

ceremony which was graced by the presence of Mr. Gladstone.

The

allusions

made by

various

speakers

to

the

distinguished position that the guest of the evening was

destined to occupy were cheered with an enthusiasm which

THE
priate to a

IRISH QUESTION

63

was significant of something more than the geniaHty appro-

complimentary gathering.

In reply Lord Rosebery spoke of his efforts towards

reforming the House of Lords and of his hope for a closer

union with the Colonies.

In

alluding

to his

work on

behalf of Scottish administration (which had resulted, under

Lord Salisbury's Government,


tinct

in the establishment of a disat the

Department) he made use of language which

time attracted no special attention.

When,
cause,
I

as Mr. Parnell would say,


it
I

took off

my

coat in that

did

not merely on behalf of Scottish administration,


believe that there
is

one principle with which the do the principle that, when there is a vigorous and a real and a loyal nationality, it is not wise to suppress or to ignore that nationality, and that the better policy is to satisfy its just aspirations, for by doing so you will be promoting, in the highest and the best sense, the efficiency and the unity of the Empire at large.
Liberal party will have

but because

much

to

have

left

the greatest question to the

last.

As

it

seems

to

me, far from there being no questions of the future, these great subjects come rolling towards us like the waves of the Atlantic,
straight from the shores of America to break themon the shores of Europe but high above them all there comes the supreme billow of all, with appalling volume and with

that

come

selves

the wave of Irish demanu and of Irish discondo not pretend to be any judge of the procedure of the House of Commons, but I do venture to say this, that if things turn out as we are told they will, that question will elbow and shoulder away all others, and will absorb the mind and the time and the energies of Parliament to the exclusion of every other question we may have to deal with. I do not pretend to say how that question is to be settled, but I believe it can be settled only in one direction. If you can obtain from the representatives of Ireland a clear and consdtutional demand which will represent the wishes of the people of Ireland, and which will
curling crest
tent.
I

64

LORD ROSEBERY
I

not conflict with the unity or supremacy of this country,


believe that by satisfying that

demand

in

such a way as not to

need further readjustment, but to meet the just requirements of the Irish people, you will have cut oft" for ever the poisonous spring of discontent, and that Ireland in the future may see in this country not her hereditary foe and her hereditary oppressor,
but her best ally and her best friend.

In

order to explain

the

significance

of

these

words,

coupled though they were with general declarations as to


maintaining the strength and the authority and the stability
of the Empire,
relations of the
it is

necessary to give a brief resume of the

two English parties towards the Nationalists


office in

since
last

Lord Salisbury had taken


urgent instance of
Bill in

June.

One

of the

decisions of the Gladstone Administration had been,

at the

Lord Spencer,

to

bring in a

Coercion
servative

place of

the expiring Act.

The Conas as Indian


try

Government (which included Lord Carnarvon


at

Lord Lieutenant and Lord Randolph Churchill


Secretary)

once announced that they would


dispensing
official

the

experiment

of

with

exceptional
to

legislation.

The Viceroy quoted


had diminished
in

statistics

show

that crime
practical

Ireland,

and there was the

objection to proposing a measure of Coercion that Lord


Salisbury had no majority in the

House

of

Commons and
Finally

was, therefore, afraid of doing anything that might prolong

a Session in which he might easily be defeated.

and
alists

this,

perhaps, was the operative reason

the

Nationit

were now

at bitter feud with the Liberals,

and

was

considered good
against

electioneering

not

to

exasperate
the

them

the Conservatives.
to
It

On

these grounds

new

Government resolved
But they went
further.

'trust the people

of

Ireland.'

was known

that

Lord Randolph

THE

IRISH QUESTION

6$

Churchill had entered into

some

sort of

understanding with
at least
'

Mr. Parnell, while Lord Carnarvon and

one other
'

member

of the Cabinet were considered

unsound on the

Home

Rule question.
not been
interview
'

The Lord Lieutenant had when he held his secret


'

many days
with

in office

Mr. Parnell,

in

an empty house

in

Dublin, and

made

certain overtures

which he stipulated should not be taken as binding on the

Government, but which induced the Nationalist Leader


believe,

to

or

at

least

gave him

afterwards an excuse for


if

stating, that the Conservatives,

returned after the next

General Election, would propose a Statutory Parliament


for Ireland with

power

to protect Irish industries

and buy
were not

out the landlords.

The

details of the interview

made
ticians

public for nearly a year afterwards, but that


all
is

some
poli-

negotiations were in progress was understood by

who were
that

at

all

behind the scenes.

It

also
to

known
Rule.

Lord Carnarvon hoped, and even attempted,

convert Lord Salisbury to a modified scheme of

Home

But even those who stood outside the confidence of

Ministers had their public acts and words to

show which

way the wind was blowing.


in the

When

Mr. Parnell moved

House

of

Commons

that an inquiry should be held


in regard to the

into the

conduct of the Irish Executive

Barbaville

and

Maamtrasna
still

murders,

the

House
of

of

Commons, which
Liberals,

contained a nominal majority of


in
fact

rejected

what was

a Vote

Censure

on Lord Spencer.

The

reply of Sir Michael Hicks Beach,

who was then Leader


to
all

of the

House

of

Commons,

was,

perhaps, sufficiently correct


receive a memorial

Lord

Carnarvon was willing

on the subject and inquire into

the circumstances, just as he would in any other case

66

LORD ROSEBERY
But Lord Randolph

that might be brought before him.

seized the occasion to say that the

new Administration
for

divested

itself

of

all

responsibility

the acts of

its

predecessor.

This demonstration was warmly resented by

moderate men of both the English parties sanctioning an attack on Lord Spencer for

it

seemed

like

his unflinching

vindication of the law against persons convicted of grave

crime on absolutely unquestionable evidence.

The blunder
first

was partly

rectified

by Lord Salisbury, who took the

occasion of paying a public compliment to Lord Spencer

on the high and manly courage he had shown in enforcing But, though Lord Salisbury and his justice in Ireland.
Administration were thus exonerated from complicity, the
suspicion aroused by the
'

Maamtrasna
at
this

intrigue' clung to

Lord Randolph, who was


dominant
force,

time regarded as the


future Leader, of

and possibly the

the

Conservative party.

The

Liberals, therefore,
for

had already

been given some excuse

accusing

the

Government

of trafficking with the Nationalist party.

On Home

24 August Mr. Parnell

at

Dublin formulated the


Parliament was to be

Rule demand.

The

Irish

given practically absolute power in the island, nor was there

then any suggestion

of control from Westminster.

Mr.

Chamberlain, who, as we have seen, had already identified


himself in Mr. Gladstone's Cabinet with a scheme for a

National Council, and was not opposed to the principle


of

Home

Rule, retorted that Mr. Parnell's latest proposals

were quite unacceptable, and marked a great advance on


anything previously

known

as

Home

Rule.

This would

be establishing a new foreign country, and not a friendly Even Mr. John one, within a few miles of our shores.

Morley declared (16 September) that Separation would be

THE
a disaster
to

IRISH QUESTION
a

6^
England.
later,

Ireland and

disgrace

to

Mr.
con-

Gladstone's election address, issued two days


tained a fairly explicit passage.
for the first
'

In niy opinion, not


is

now

time delivered, the limit

clear within

which

any desires of Ireland, constitutionally ascertained, may,

and beyond which they cannot, receive the assent of


ment.

Parlia-

To

maintain the supremacy of the Crown, the unity


all

of the Empire, and

the authority of Parliament necessary


is

for the conservation of that unity,

the

first

duty of every

representative of the people.

Subject to this governing

principle, every grant to portions of the country of enlarged

powers

for the

management

of their

own

affairs

is,

in

my
it,

view, not a source of danger, but a

means of averting
ior

and

is

in

the nature of a
happiness,

new guarantee

increased
inter-

cohesion,

and

strength.'

The

natural

pretation to place in Mr.

Gladstone's words was that he


local govern-

would give Ireland a very extended form of


pendent of the Imperial Parliament.

ment, but would not sanction a separate Legislature inde-

Lord
weeks

Salisbury's well-known speech at

Newport, three

later,

was

less

easy to construe than most of his


it

utterances.

Certainly

could not

fairly

be made to bear

the interpretation placed


tators.
It

upon

it

by some Liberal commen-

was not a promise of

Home

Rule or even a

suggestion that he would favourably consider such a scheme,


yet
it

did not absolutely close the door against the prin-

ciple.

Having pointed out the dangers and drawbacks of


government
in

local
ties

a country like Ireland, where majori-

might make an oppressive use of their power, he de'

clared that, with respect to

larger organic questions,' the

Conservative party looked upon the integrity of the Empire


as

more important than any other

political consideration.

68

LORD ROSEBERY
and Hungary, and seemed
to suggest a

Mr. Parnell had recently made a marked reference to the


position of Austria

similar arrangement

though

'

between Great Britain and Ireland, some notion of Imperial Federation was floating

as
in

his mind.'

Lord Salisbury regarded Imperial Federation,


still

though the idea was

shapeless and unformed, as one of

the questions of the future.


to discourage a closer

He would

not say anything

union between the mother country

and the 'marvellous


modern.

cluster of dependencies' that distin-

guished the British from any other Empire, ancient

or

'But, with respect to Ireland,' Lord Salisbury


'

went on,

am bound

to say that

have never seen any

plan or any suggestion that will give


slightest

me

at

present the

ground
shall find
I

for anticipating that

it is

in that direction

that

we

any satisfactory solution of the


it

Irish proshall

blem.

wish that

may be

so,
if

but

think

we

be

holding out false expectations


'

we avow
entertain.

a belief which

as yet, at

all

events,

we cannot

To

maintain
first

the integrity of the

Empire must, undoubtedly, be our

policy with regard to Ireland.'

This somewhat abstract argument was,


refusal to

of

course, a

contemplate

Home
it

Rule as part of any immedi-

ate party
It

programme, but

did not altogether ban the idea.

was suspected, quite

unfairly, that

Lord Salisbury was

but temporising, and might be found amenable to pressure.

Also

it

was believed, not without grounds, that

his counsel

might not be followed by his party.


proof of the
skill

He

had not yet given

and determination

that he afterwards

displayed in leadership, and the

movement had

already

been planned

for

pushing him on one side

in favour of
it

Lord Randolph Churchill. What he

said, therefore, might,

was argued, be taken rather as expressing what he believed

THE
to

IRISH QUESTION

69

be the right policy than as pledging the party against a

course that he considered inexpedient.

On

the very day of Lord Salisbury's speech at

Newport

Mr. Chamberlain arrived at Hawarden, and had a long talk


with Mr. Gladstone
to Irish policy

on various questions of the day.

As

Mr. Gladstone wrote to Lord Granville that


'

they were
still

'

pretty well agreed

though

Mr. Chamberlain

thought, while Mr. Gladstone doubted, that Mr. Parnell


in a

would acquiesce
as
it

County Government

Bill,

'good as

far

went, maintaining on other matters his general

atti-

tude.'

What they were agreed upon was


far to

that

'

it

would be a
if

disgrace to the political genius of the two nations

they

could not continue so

understand one another as to

bring their differences to an accommodation.'

Thinking, not without reason, that some of the most


influential Conservatives

had been coquetting with


in his

Home

Rule, Mr, Gladstone,


the

who had supported

Cabinet

scheme

for

an Irish National Elective Council, proposed

by Mr. Chamberlain, had already begun to think about


taking the plunge.

few days before this interview with

Mr. Chamberlain he had written privately to Mr. Childers


expressing
'

decided sympathy

'

with what Mr. Morley calls

'a tolerably full-fledged

scheme of

Home

Rule.'

But he

pointed out the untrustworthy character of the Nationalist


leaders

and

their disposition to

'

raise their

terms on any

favourable indication.'

His intention, already formed, was,

therefore, not to refuse their

demand, but

to reduce

it

to the

lowest possible dimensions.

A letter,
It
is

dated November loth, addressed


to

shows

sensible

advance.

Lord
to

Hartington,
Ireland of
This,

and
full

speaks
to

of

'a

possible

concession
local

power
was

manage her own


ultimate
point
to

affairs.'

however,

the

which

Mr.

yo

LORD ROSEBERY
He
himself thought that,
at
all,

Gladstone assumed that Lord Hartington could be induced


to proceed.
if
'

that

consummation

'

were to be contemplated
'

action at a stroke would be

more honourable,
This

less unsafe, less

uneasy, than the jolting

process of a series of partial measures.'


letter

was written from Dalmeny, and


fairly

it

was

in this

spirit,

we may

assume, that the conversations were


host.

conducted between guest and

Lord Rosebery,
to

in fact,

had called Mr. Gladstone's attention


tion that the Liberal

Mr. Parnell's suggesfor giving

Leader should frame a plan


affairs

Ireland the
to Imperial

management of her own


unity

without prejudice

and

interests.

Thereupon, though Mr.


to

Gladstone was staying

in

Lord Rosebery's house, and was

appear that evening on the same platform, he put down his


views in writing.

He

set forth five reasons


It

why he should not


scheme

accept Mr. Parnell's challenge: (i)

was not the duty of

the Leader of an Opposition to produce a detailed


(2)

It

would be better

that the Conservatives,

if

they had a

majority after the election, should bring forward the proposal


(3)

The

feud between the late Liberal Government and the

Nationalists

had

left

Mr. Gladstone
(4)

in great ignorance of

their 'interior

mind';
'

The
(5)

principle

and

basis of 'an

admirable measure
others

had already been


;

laid
final

by himself and

before the country

The

and paramount

reason was that the production of a plan by the Liberal

Leader would ensure

'

the opposition of the Tories en bloc'

Mr. Parnell, we are


the

told,

was

afraid of the opposition of


little

House

of Lords.

That idea weighed

with Mr.

Gladstone.
land,

The

idea of constituting a Legislature for Ire-

whenever seriously and responsibly proposed, would,


cause a mighty heave in the body
politic.
*

he

said,

It will

be as

difficult to carry

the Liberal party and the two British

MR.

PARNELLS ATTITUDE
it

nations in favour of a Legislature for Ireland as


to

was easy
I

carry
it

them

in

the case of Irish Disestablishment.


full

think

may
'

possibly be done, but only by the

use of a

great leverage.' His greatest endeavours were therefore confined to

laying the ground

'

by

insisting

on

'

the possibility,

the gravity, even the solemnity,' of the Nationalist demand.

Such were the circumstances


to the

in

which on 13 November

Lord Rpsebery made the reference which has been quoted


Irish

Question.

It

did not commit the speaker


Rule, or even pledge him
to the

to

any known scheme of

Home

to consider

any such plan as would be acceptable But


it

NationaUsts.

showed

that his

mind was open on


It

the Imperial side to any proposal for extended devolution


that

would not

conflict with certain essential conditions.

was as an Imperialist
well

though, perhaps, for other reasons as


gift

that

Mr. Rhodes contributed ^^ 10,000 as a free

to the Nationalist Exchequer,

and among the supporters of

Imperial Federation there were not a few


the

who

believed that

movement might

well be inaugurated by a considerable


in regard to the special affairs of

measure of devolution

England, Wales, and Scotland, as well as Ireland.


Nothing, however, that Mr. Gladstone or any of his late
colleagues could say, whether in public or private, availed
to modify the attitude of Mr. Parnell.
craft

past master in

and

intrigue,

he penetrated
Liberal
!

at a glance the

ingenuous Gladstone
!

dissemblings

of the

statesman.
well,

Mr.

declined to be drawn

Very

he should be driven
the

On

21

November Mr.
all

Parnell issued

manifesto in

which he exhorted

Irishmen in Great Britain to vote

against the Liberal Party

against the men who had covered


who were menacing
of speech

Ireland and deluged Egypt with blood,


religious liberty
in

the

schools and freedom

JZ
in Parliament,

LORD ROSEBERY
and who promised
Mr.
Gladstone
in the

country generally
last

a repetition of the crimes and blunders of the


Administration.

Liberal

from

Midlothian

had

asked

for

such a majority as would maintain the independ-

ence of the House of

Commons,

as a whole, in dealing

with the Irish Question, and hoped that, from one end
of Great Britain to the other, not a single representative

would be returned who,


to

for

one moment, would

listen

any proposal tending

to impair the visible

and

sensible

Empire.

The
House

result of the appeal to the country

was precisely the


far

one Mr. Gladstone had deprecated.


of

So

from the new

Commons

being in an independent position for

dealing with the Irish Question, the Nationalist

were masters of the Parliamentary situation.


vatives (249)

members The Conser-

and the

Home
till

Rulers (86) were exactly equal

to the Liberals (335).

Up

to this point, or

about

this point,

it

seems pretty
in favour of

clear that,

though Lord Rosebery was generally

an approximation to the Nationalist views, he had not given


his

adhesion to any definite plan of

Home

Rule.

Early in

December Lord Spencer, who was


Lord
Granville,

staying at

Hawarden

with Mr. Gladstone, was joined by Lord Rosebery; and

who had

recently gone away, was informed


his con-

on the 9th by Mr. Gladstone that he 'thought


versations with
satisfactory.'

Lord Spencer and Lord Rosebery had been

slow
feeler

What he looked forward to was 'a healthful, fermentation in many minds.' Three days later a
was thrown out
in the
'

Daily News,' suggesting that

a small committee should be formed of the leaders of both


parties

with Mr.

Parnell

and some of
it

his friends

to conto

sider

what

sort of a legislature

would be

sale

and wise


THE
establish in Dublin.

IRISH QUESTION
But by
this

73

time the hesitating Con-

servacives
his

had made up

their minds.

Lord Salisbury and

immediate followers had never wavered, and the others


official

found themselves compelled to accept the

policy.

They
open

realised also that Mr.


trap.

Gladstone was walking into an

On

17

December,

in

reply to a definite inquiry from


in his

Lord Hartington, Mr. Gladstone had explained what

mind were

the conditions of an

'

admissible plan.'

They
supre;

were, briefly (i)

Union of the Empire and the due


;

macy

of Parliament

(2)

Protection
;

for

Minorities

(3)

Fair allocation of Imperial charges

(4)

statutory basis

as being preferable to a revival of Grattan's

Parliament.
in-

Mr. Gladstone added that


structions have
as decided
I

'

neither

as

opinions nor

to

any one ahve promulgated these ideas

upon by me.'
announced
that Mr. Gladstone

Nevertheless, on that morning the 'Standard' and the


'

Leeds Mercury

'

was pre:

pared to deal with

Home

Rule on the following

lines

The

unity of the Empire, the authority of the Crown,

and

the supremacy of Parliament were to be maintained.

An

Irish

Parliament was to be established and entrusted

with administrative and legislative powers.

There was

to

be

security

for

the

representation

of

minorities

and the

partition of Imperial charges.

certain

number of

Irish

members were

to

be nominated

by the Crown.

The

parallelism was very remarkable.


it

Yet

in the letter to

Lord Hartington
of disclosure.

had been

plainly intimated that in

Mr.

Gladstone's judgment the time had not arrived for any sort
In the evening papers of that day, accord-

74
ingly,

LORD ROSEBERY
a disclaimer was published.

The

statement, Mr.

Gladstone asserted, was not an accurate representation


of his views, but was, he presumed, a speculation upon

them.

It

had not been published with


;

his

knowledge

or authority
declarations.

nor was any other, beyond his own public

The
borne

denial was tantamount to admitting that the statesubstantially correct.

ment was
out

This interpretation was


that

by

speech

made

evening

by

Mr.

Chamberlain,

who

boldly declared that Mr. Gladstone was

prepared, subject to maintaining the integrity of the Empire

and the supremacy of the Crown,


ceived or desired.'

to

give

'

the largest

possible measure of local government that could be con-

Mr. Chamberlain also stated, with

refer-

ence to the stories about negotiations between Mr. Parnell

and the
no part

leaders of the Liberal party, that


in

he had had
it

such negotiations.
in the letter to

In this connexion

should

be added that

Lord Hartington Mr. Glad-

stone had said that amongst his late colleagues he had had

most communication with Lord Granville, Lord Spencer,

and Lord Rosebery.

Writing next day to Lord Granville,

he again referred to Lord Spencer and Lord Rosebery


as the only other colleagues

whom

he had seen.

So
the

far is

it

from being true that Lord Rosebery was from

first

a lukewarm adherent of
first

Home

Rule, that he

is

seen to be one of the


general idea.

who supported Mr.


more
his Chief,

Gladstone's

As

it

gradually assumed

definite shape.

Lord Rosebery was constantly with

and was, no
At

doubt, taken into frequent and intimate consultation.

the fateful Christmastide, which was to determine the course

of party politics for the next twenty years, he was at Mr.

Gladstone's side at Hawarden.

SALISBURY ADMINISTRATION DEFEATED

7$

little

time before Mr. Gladstone had met Mr. Arthur

Balfour at the

Duke

of Westminster's, and, after leaving

Eaton, took advantage of an informal conversation which


they had held on Irish
tive
still

affairs to

suggest that the Conserva-

Government should take up


anxious before
all

Home

Rule.

He

was

things not to identify the fortunes

of the Liberal party with the Nationalist cause.

His com-

munication was, of course, forwarded by Mr. Balfour to

Lord

Salisbury,

and

politely declined.

He

was, therefore,
to rely

compelled either to give up


Liberal party carrying
it

Home

Rule or

on the

through.

Mr. Parnell also had

arrived at a corresponding conclusion.

Though he made

no attempt
of Lord

to conceal his dislike of the Liberals

especially
his

Hartington and Mr. Chamberlain, with a new


Bill in their

Coercion

pockets

he had

made up

mind
after

that the Conservatives

would not touch


'

Home

Rule

the publication of the

seemingly authoritative statements

of Mr. Gladstone's intention to deal with the question.'

Moreover, the friendly Viceroy, Lord Carnarvon, had


signed,

re-

and with him the Chief Secretary

(Sir

William Hart-

Dyke), whose successor, Mr.

W. H.
Bill.

Smith, was

known
that

to

have prepared a Coercion

This, of course, meant

what Lord Salisbury expected and intended


eighty-six

the

Nationalist votes on the

first

opportunity after
cast against

the meeting of the


his

new Parliament would be

Government.

The chance was provided on the Address, when Mr. Collings moved and carried an amendment, expressing regret that Ministers had made no proposal to
Jesse

provide agricultural labourers with 'allotments and small


holdings on equitable terms as to rent and security of
tenure.'

This embodied what was known as the policy

76

LORD ROSEBERY
Cow/ and was thought
a

of 'Three Acres and a

good

enough

stick to beat a

Government which
votes,

neither desired

nor would have been able to carry on public business.

The
Salis-

motion was carried by seventy-nine


bury's
first

and Lord

Administration was brought to an end.

Mr. Gladstone was entrusted with the duty of forming


a

new Government.

Of

his old colleagues, those

who would
at

not even consider the principle of

Home

Rule

once

stood aside

Lord Hartington, Lord Selborne, Lord Derby,


Sir

Lord Northbrook,

Henry James, and


:

others.

The
(First

Cabinet was constituted as follows

Mr. Gladstone
Seal);

Lord of the Treasury and Lord Privy


(Lord Chancellor);
William
Childers
tary)
;

Lord Herschell
Sir

Lord Spencer (Lord President);


;

Harcourt (Chancellor of the Exchequer)

Mr.

(Home

Secretary);

Lord Rosebery (Foreign Secre;

Bannerman (War

Lord Granville (Colonial Secretary) Mr. CampbellOffice); Lord Kimberley (India); Mr.

George Trevelyan (Scotland); Lord Ripon (Admiralty); Mr. John Morley (Chief Secretary) Mr. Mundella (Board
;

of Trade)

Mr. Chamberlain (Local Government Board).


pass

We may

over the

negotiations

which

resulted,

shortly afterwards, in the retirement of Mr. Chamberlain

and Mr. George Trevelyan from


from minor posts
in

their

posts within

the

Cabinet, with those of Mr. Jesse CoUings and Mr.


the Government.

Heneage
public

So

far as

attention could be turned to any other subject than

Home

Rule,

it

bery to
ville

was attracted by the appointment of Lord RoseFairly or unfairly, Lord Granthe F"oreign Office.

was so closely associated with the mismanagement of our external affairs during Mr. Gladstone's previous Administration that
restore
it

would have been highly injudicious

to

him

to his old position.

Lord Rosebery, on the

LIBERAL LMPERIALISM
Other

TJ

hand, had already been given,

and had proudly


During

acknowledged, the
the Election

name

of Liberal Imperialist.

Campaign of the autumn of 1885 he had by


to the stock subjects of party
in favour of

no means confined himself


controversy.

More than once he had spoken


tie

strengthening the

between the Mother Country and the

Colonies. At Paisley, in October, he declared that to Liberals


the

Empire was

'

most

dear.'
oflf

It

was the Liberal party that

had struck the chains


system by which our

the slaves, and put an end to the

fairest

Colonies were flooded with the


convicts.

refuse of our civilisation

the

The

Liberals had

given them

Home

Rule, had favoured and fostered that


at present their

commerce which was


the Mother Country.

most

practical link with

And

the Liberals hoped to broaden

and strengthen the foundations of a noble structure by basing them on the affection, sympathy, and intelligence of
the scattered but united races of the Empire.

At Kilmarnock, again, two or three days

later,

Lord Rose-

bery remarked that he had recently been described as a


Liberal Imperialist.
I
'

If

a Liberal Imperialist means that

am

a Liberal

who

is

passionately attached to the Empire,


in

and interested intensely

the best

means of sustaining
if it

and promoting the


believe
it

interest of the
I

Empire;

means

as

does

that

am

a Liberal

who

believes that the

Empire

is

best maintained

upon the
is

basis

of the fullest
it

democracy, and that the basis


represents the greatest

most powerful when

number

of persons

and subjects

if

these be accurate descriptions of what a Liberal Imperialist


is,

then

am

a Liberal Imperialist, and I believe that you

are Liberal Imperialists, too."

There was, perhaps, nothing very

definite or enlightening

in these declarations, but the general sentiment

had been

78
sufficiently clear.

LORD ROSEBERY
The
fact that
it

had been thus emphati-

cally asserted

by the statesman who had been chosen to

replace Lord Granville was generally taken to indicate that

the Liberal party did not intend to have their prospects


blighted by repeating the worst and most serious errors

committed

in their previous

term of power.

We

have seen that the defeat of the Liberal Government


to take a

had spurred on Lord Rosebery


than recently in the platform
services were
in

more

active part

work of the
his Chief.

party,

and

his

amply recognised by

At a meeting

Midlothian, over which he was presiding, a letter was

received in which Lord Rosebery was mentioned as one


'

who has

to play,

if

his life

is

spared, an important part in


It

the future

politics

of the United Kingdom.'

was
'

at

Edinburgh that he asked and answered the question,


is

a Liberal
"
is

'

'I

remember,' he
for

said,

'

that

the

What name

" Liberal

good enough
I

Mr. Gladstone and good

enough

for

Mr. Bright.

am

quite content to walk under

an umbrella with those gentlemen.'


protesting against a split in the party.
said
'

He He

was vigorous

in

sympathised,' he
let

on another occasion,
'

'

with the Radicals, but

us

take care,' he added, able

that in straining after


is

what

is

desir-

we do not
to have

lose

what

vital

and

essential, that

in

grasping what we should like to have

aye,

and what we

mean
and
bog.'

we

do not

slip

down and plunge

leaders

party, Parliament

and Government

into the Serbonian

CHAPTER
Greek claims and the

VI
a free port

Lord

Rosebery's note

Batoum

defiance of the Berlin Treaty

Lord

Rosebery's protest

New

Hebrides

Duties of
The

Spanish

Treaty

Convention

Russian France

with China

a Foreign Minister.

few months in 1886 during which Lord Rosebery held

the office of Foreign Secretary gave him ample opportunity

of justifying the expectations of his friends.

Fortunately he
declarations,

went

to his

work unfettered by compromising


exercise

while his Chief was far too deeply immersed in the Irish

problem
external

to

any

active

supervision

over

our

affairs.

Lord Rosebery had, indeed, taken a


in

prominent part
Beaconsfield's

Mr, Gladstone's crusade against Lord


policy,

Eastern

but

even with regard to

Turkish misgovernment he had observed a certain moderation of language.

Of

his criticism

upon the Berlin Treaty


to enforce

an

instrument which has been somewhat hastily conit

demned, since no attempt has ever been made


as a whole

the

most

distinctive feature was, perhaps, his

complaint that the claims of Greece had been unfairly over-

looked or

set aside.

He

had been chairman of the Greek

Committee, and was therefore known as a friend and supporter of the Hellenic race

and

aspirations.

The

reputation

stood him in good stead, since one of his

first

duties was to

control the indiscretions of Athenian statesmanship.

The

predisposing cause of trouble had arisen in the previous

autumn, when the incorporation of Eastern Roumelia with


Bulgaria was effected by a sudden stroke of policy.
79
It

8o

LORD ROSEBERY

was one of the charges against Lord Beaconsfield that he

had flouted Russia and helped Turkey by


natural union of the two Provinces.

resisting the

But with the ingratitude


nationalities

which has distinguished most of the

that

Russia has befriended, the policy of Bulgaria had become,


if

not amicable towards the Porte, at least hostile to her


Servia,

northern benefactor.

more amenable

to St. Petersgratify,

burg influence, and having ambitions of her own to

was foolish enough

to

make war on

Bulgaria,

and

ex-

perienced an exemplary defeat.

But the seeds of trouble

had been sown

in the Balkans.

The Greeks had armed


if

themselves for a campaign against Turkey, and,

they

had been allowed

to carry out their purpose,

might have

raised a worse disturbance than the

one which the Berlin

Treaty had been meant to appease.

There was never any question of Great Britain going


war
in

to

support of Greek aggression, nor were the most

ardent Radicals disposed to aid


Russia.

and abet the aims of


dis-

The Penjdeh
all

affair

had frightened some, and

gusted others, and

that

Englishmen

just at present cared

about was that nothing should be done which might land


us in a fruitless struggle.
Relying, perhaps, on their use-

fulness as constituent parts in a crazy fabric,

and hoping Note

that the Great

Powers would see them

safely

through their

adventure,

Greece and Servia defied the Identic

issued by Europe, and refused to disarm.

The

absurdity

of the situation did not prevent


It

it

from being dangerous.


should

was necessary that prompt and

efficient pressure

be applied to M. Delyannis.
to the
that
it

Another Note was addressed

Athens Government, which was bluntly informed had no legitimate grievance against Turkey, and
to

would not be permitted

make any

naval attack.

The

GREEK CLAIMS
Greek Premier, who always played
spirit,

8
audacious game with

his

replied that for his country to submit to the


to

menaces

of

Europe would be

compromise
It

its

liberty.

The

Greeks, therefore, would not yield.


period that Lord Rosebery went to

was

at this critical

Downing

Street.

He
6th
It

decided to make no departure from the policy of his predecessor.

In a Note despatched to the Powers on

May

he reviewed the conditions with which they had to deal.

had been hoped


spectacle of
material

that

Greece would display

in the

East 'the path


of

a well-ordered State pursuing the


progress.'

and constitutional
'

Her

recent conduct,

however, had
her friends.'

encouraged her enemies and disheartened


irritation against the possible

In a paroxysm of

enlargement of a neighbouring and friendly Christian State


she had rushed to arms, and

made

herself not the calming

and exemplary, but the menacing, element in the East. At a ruinous sacrifice she has raised an army wholly dis'

proportionate to her population, on the one hand, and, on


the
other,

wholly

inadequate

to

cope with the largely


soldiers
is

superior forces of an
tional reputation,

Empire whose

have a
at

tradi-

an Empire with which she

peace and

which has

oflFered

her no imaginable cause of offence.'


sacrifices

Her

conduct had imposed immense


Turkey, where agriculture had at
to a standstill.

on the part of

many

places been brought

Turkey had addressed a


Great Powers, and
finally

series of representations to the


for the

had presented a demand

disarmament of Greece.

Having

referred to events

which

have already been described, Lord Rosebery stated that on


13 April the Powers had intimated their hope that Greece

should comply with the unanimous wish of Europe for the

maintenance of peace. G

M. Delyannis

replied that Greece

82
had done nothing

LORD ROSEBERY
to disturb peace, but could not give

up

her claim to the frontier indicated at the Berlin Conference.

As the warlike preparations


in,

at

Athens were
issued

still

persisted
Britain,

peremptory Note

was

by Great

Germany, Austria, and Russia,


was not

fixing a date at

which the
it

disarmament should be commenced.


seen,
in this instance acting

France,

will

be

with the other Powers.

Taking advantage of
that

this fact,

M. Delyannis announced
This

he had been advised, by a telegram from M. de

Freycinet, to

comply with the wishes of the Powers.


was too vague

counsel the Greek

Premier intimated that he intended


to satisfy the
it

to adopt, but the undertaking

Powers.

When
insist

further

evasion

was attempted,

was

decided to

on a

satisfactory explanation from Athens.

By

joining in the application of pressure.

Lord Rosebery
in

believed that the British

Government were acting

a more

friendly way to Greece than by allowing her to face a conflict

with the power of Turkey.

'The

welfare of Greece
frontier

and of the Hellenic races outside her


country has already given so

has not

ceased to be the object of that friendly solicitude of which


this

many

proofs, but they feel

bound, for that very reason, to oppose a policy of unjust


aggression, not less unjustifiable because pursued by a small
State,

which threatens disaster

to

Greece and a wanton

disturbance to European peace.'

In accordance with these principles, the representatives


of Great Britain, Germany, Austria, and Italy (the Russian

Minister was at the time absent) withdrew from Athens, and


a notice of blockade was presented against
all

Greek

ships.

Presently

it

became apparent

that public opinion


to

was no
for

longer behind

M. Delyannis, and he had

make way

M.

Tricoupis.

Within a few days the order was given for

BATOUM AS A FREE PORT


disarmament, and
for the

83
in

time the fear of an outbreak


It

the East passed away.

should be explained that the

coercion of Greece by the Concert of Europe would not

have been quite so simple a matter as


ficial

it

seemed

to super-

observers.

France stood aside, through the national

and Russia
upon.

sympathy of a Liberal Republic with the Greek cause, all along showed that she could not be depended

At one

point, indeed, she


it

seceded from the Concert


audacity of

and almost broke


therefore,

up.

The

M. Delyannis,
it

was not absolutely

irrational,

but he carried

to

such lengths that Mr. Gladstone himself expressly gave his


personal sanction to the coercive action instituted by his

Foreign Secretary.

more severe

test

of

Lord Rosebery's capacity was

provided by the action of Russia in regard to Batoum.


the Treaty of Berlin this was declared to be a
'

By

free port,'

but in July,

ISL

de Giers announced on behalf of the Czar

that this covenant

would no longer be held binding on


for
this

Russia.

There was no kind of excuse

breach

of faith, though

many

precedents might have been quoted.

The

Article was infringed, like several other Articles of the


it

same instrument, because


act against Russia,

was evident that the signatory


it.

Powers had no inclination to enforce

France would not

while Germany, seeing no interest of

her

own

imperilled,

would not move, and Austria was

unwilling, even with Great Britain, to risk a quarrel with

a Power whose military strength in Europe had been proved

by her victory over Turkey.

In these circumstances what

could Lord Rosebery do but acquiesce


recording a
'

with
off

or without of

formal protest?

He

sent

a couple

strong

'

despatches, and in an interview with the Russian


his

Ambassador spoke

mind about the

action of the Czar.

84

LORD ROSEBERY
that
all

Lord Rosebery pointed out


Powers
Russia,
celled
that

the matter

did

not

concern Great Britain alone, but


as
well.
Its

the other signatory


in

gravity consisted

the fact

that

without consultation

with

the
in

others,

had can-

one of the principal covenants had


been
accepted as

the Treaty

one
re-

'a set-off against the

linquishment of claims which were considered essential by


the British representatives at the Congress.'

Great Britain
w^ith

had no

special interest in the

freedom of a port

which

her trade was very small, but 'one direct, supreme, and
perpetual interest' was at stake

the

binding force and


Great Britain, said

sanctity of international engagements.

the Foreign Secretary, was ready at

all

times and in

all

seasons to uphold that principle, and 'could not palter


with
it'

in that instance.

It

declined, therefore, to re-

cognise in any way the action of the Russian Government,

and was compelled

to place

on record the view that

'

it

constitutes a violation of the Treaty of Berlin, unsanctioned

by the signatory Powers, that


conventions of the kind
to cast

it

tends to
if

make

future

difficult,

not impossible, and

doubt on those already concluded.'


it

Perhaps
protest

would have been more dignified


would only be laughed
to

to record the

and withhold the consent without reading a moral


at in St.

lecture that

Petersburg.

As we were not prepared


which,

make any
of

practical sacrifice

on

behalf of this Article in the Treaty, the show of indignation

from every point

view

Lord

Rosebery was

justified in feeling, did but intensify the insult put

on Great
an

Britain.

It

is,

however, permissible to argue that no harm


this formal protest against
in-

was done by delivering

defensible breach of treaty obligations.

question

that

arose in regard to the

New

Hebrides

FRANCE AND THE NEW HEBRIDES


required delicate handling, since
it

85

involved us in one of

our then frequent discussions with the French Government,


while
it

touched the interests and aroused the

sensibilities

of Australians and
in Paris

New
to

Zealanders.

The
that

Colonial party
it

had long coveted these


in

islands,

and

was proRepublic

posed,

deference

their

views,

the

should take them over


recidivists
in

promising
the
missions.

in return not to export

future

to

Pacific,

offering

to

make a

general agreement with reference to that region,

and under-

taking

to protect all

The

suggestion was not

altogether unreasonable,

and

New

Zealand would have

been glad to be
Australians

rid

of the recidivist nuisance, but the

protested,

with

characteristic

vigour,

against
striking

the

establishment of a

European Power within

distance of their shores.


in Victoria,

keen agitation was worked up

and Mr. Graham Berry was deputed by the Federal Council of Australia to resist by every means in his power any attempt on the part of a foreign Power to
'
'

annex any of the Pacific


Colonial

islands.

The

sensitiveness of the

statesmen

was quite

natural.

For one

thing,

they regarded these outlying places as natural appanages of


their continent.

Moreover, they were painfully conscious

of their inability to protect their coasts against a hostile


raid.
It

must be borne

in

mind

that in 1886 the British


it

Navy did not occupy


unwilling to

the predominant position which

afterwards attained on the seas, and the Colonies, though

make any
it,

material sacrifice for the sake of

strengthening

were acutely conscious and distressingly

candid about any shortcomings on the part of the Mother


Country.
It

was, perhaps, fortunate that

Lord Rosebery

was

at this

time in charge of the Foreign Office, since the

Australians

knew and

liked him, while he displayed tact

and judgment

in his dealings with

them.

86

LORD ROSEBERY
proposal
of
the

The

French Government had been

accepted by Great Britain subject to various conditions,


of which the most important was the previous consent of

the AustraHan Colonies.


that

This being withheld, he replied

he could not assent to any departure from the present

understanding between Great Britain and France, by which

both countries were bound to respect the independence of


the

New

Hebrides.

Meantime, however, two French men-of-war had landed


a small force of troops, and hoisted the national
flag.

This

enterprise was explained by the Government as having no

object

beyond the protection of French

subjects, but

it

was considered advisable by Lord Rosebery to keep a

strict
it

watch over the doings of the military expedition, which,


appeared, had provided
itself

with building materials and

other apparatus that seemed to suggest a permanent occupation.

couple of British vessels were at once desfate

patched to the scene of operations, and the


islands was
left

of

the

to

be determined by negotiations between

the two Governments.

The

business, however, was not


retired

settled before Lord Rosebery had

from

his brief

tenure of the Foreign Office.

In this instance, though the

impatient patriotism of Australia


action,
'

demanded more

drastic

he had been able to save the islands from being


'

rushed

by the

sort of unauthorised tactics


if

which Govern-

ments are apt to endorse


carried out.

they have been successfully

The most important

of the other matters


less

on which Lord

Rosebery was engaged were of a

troublesome nature.
with
Spain,

He
tion

concluded

Commercial
all

Treaty

and

accomplished, perhaps,
of

that was possible in the direc-

modifying the vigour of the Protectionist policy

CONVENTION WITH CHINA


pursued by the Madrid Government.

87
the

By lowering

duty on the h'ght wines of Spain he gained for us such

advantages as result from the position of a most favoured


nation.

Another matter of diplomatic routine was the Convention


with China in regard to the recently annexed province of

Burmah.
certain

The Court

of Pckin, rightly or wrongly, claimed

immemorial

rights over

Burmah

as a vassal

State,

and

it

was considered advisable to recognise them


admission by China that we were at

in return

for a formal

full liberty

to regulate

Burmese

affairs

according to our discretion.

It

was agreed that the alleged custom of sending a tribute


every ten years, consisting of articles produced in

Burmah

by the hands of native persons, should not be discontinued.

The prudence

of giving the Pekin Court an excuse for pre-

tending that we paid tribute to the Emperor of China was


questioned at the time, but
it

does not appear that any

practical mischief has resulted.

The

opportunity had not

come

for

reducing the claims of the Mandarins to their

correct proportions, and, in return for the ceremonial concession,

we obtained

a formal delimitation of frontier

and

an agreement to promote trade between China and Burmah.


It

was

not, perhaps, a very valuable consideration, especially

as

we
It

also undertook to

countermand a commercial mission

which had been contemplated to Tibet.


is,

of course, misleading to credit the head of a Departall

ment with

the work achieved during his tenure of office,


exclusively for such mistakes or

or to blame

him

may have
be due,
staff.

been committed.

The

praise or

blame may

really

partly to his predecessor, partly to his

permanent

But

the theory of a Minister's personal responsibility to Parlia-

ment

is

so far confirmed by administrative facts that the

88

LORD ROSEBERY
is

general success or failure of his Department


correct test of his industry

a roughly

and capacity

for affairs.

The

foreign interests of Great Britain had not suffered while

Lord Rosebery was Secretary of

State,

and

his first experi-

ence at the Foreign Office may, therefore, be said to have


justified

the

hopes and expectations

that

induced

Mr.

Gladstone to appoint the youngest member of his Cabinet


to the to

most

intricate

and anxious work

that can be allotted

an English statesman.

The

duties

of Foreign Minister were humorously ex-

pounded by Lord Rosebery at a Royal Academy banquet, when he had returned to them in 1893. The passage is
characteristic of his after-dinner oratory
:

carpet which took

open a red box to be possessed of that magic its possessor wherever he would go. Perhaps sometimes it carries me a little farther than that. I open it, and find myself at once in those regions where a travelled monarch and an intellectual Minister are endeavouring to reconcile the realms of Xerxes and Darius with the needs of
I

have only

to

nineteenth-century civilisation I smell the scent of the roses, and hear the song of the bulbul. I open another box, which

enables

me

to share the sports of the fur-seal


;

his island loves,

his boundless

swims in the Pacific I can even follow him to the corpus delicti laid on the table of the Paris and see him Court of Arbitration. I can go still further. 1 can transfer myself to the Southern Pacific, where three of the greatest

success, to administer

States in the world are endeavouring, not always with apparent one of the smallest of islands the island

of

Samoa in
brilliant

close conjunction and alliance with one of our

most
office

men
I

of letters.

will

say this

in virtue of

my

follow every Court.

Not a monarch

leaves his capital

on a journey, but
the body.
I I

am

on the platform

in the spirit, if not in

am

in spirit in the gallery of

every Parliament.

am

ready and anxious

but

not always successfully


I

to

be

present at the signing of every treaty.

think

have

laid

DUTIES OF A FOREIGN MINISTER


sufficient claim before

89

when you you may not consider them merely as political creatures, but as persons who have also their imaginative side, as official Ariels roaming through time and space, not on broomsticks, but on boxes.
you to
insist that, in future,

consider

Her

Majest>''s Ministers,

CHAPTER
General Election of

VJI

1886 Lord Salisbury's second AdministrationLord Rosebery and Gladstonian Liberalism Overtures for Liberal Reunion Lord Rosebery on Reform of the House of Lords Speech at Leeds on Imperial Federation in 18SS Commercial and Fiscal aspect Subsequent development of Lord Rosebery 's views Speech at Burnley Economic orthodoxy suspected Explanation at the Liberal League Arguments against the Birmingham policy.

The rejection Commons by a

of the

Home

Rule

Bill

in

the

House

of

majority of thirty,

more than ninety Liberals


With the
politics,

having voted with the Opposition, did not convince Mr.

Gladstone that the country was against him.

high courage that distinguished him in domestic

he refused to resign, and


stituencies.
It
is

made an

appeal to the conin this

said

that

he was influenced

decision by the advice of party

managers, who knew more

about electioneering than


in the

electors.

There was no ambiguity

answer he received from the people of Great Britain,


returned
less

who

than

two hundred supporters of

his

policy.

Before the last returns had been received, he called

a meeting of the Cabinet, and announced his intention of


offering his resignation
to

the

Queen without

waiting to

meet Parliament.

strong Conservative Administration


for,

was formed by Lord Salisbury,

though Lord Hartington

and the other Liberal Unionists were unwilling to join the


Government, they could be
relied

upon

for

outside co-

operation, while the group of Radicals

who had voted


Bill

with

Mr. Chamberlain against Mr. Gladstone's


pared to lend a general support.
90

were pre-

HIS POSITION IN 1886

91

In these circumstances there was no special work for

Lord Rosebery

to prosecute at

home, and he resolved


But

to
it

make

a journey to India with Lady Rosebery.


that, in the tribute

should be mentioned

which was paid


to

by the defeated Prime Minister


colleagues

at

Manchester

the
trial,

who had

stood by him in the hour of


for

a significant

compliment was reserved


'Of him

the

youngest

member

of the late Cabinet.

I will say to the

Liberal party of this country


reflection, for
if

and
in

say

it

not without

said
to

it

lightly I

should be doing injustice

not

less to

him than

them

that

him they see the man


that

of the future.'
these words.
It

There could be no misunderstanding of


was
to

Lord Rosebery
contained,

Mr. Gladstone

intended, when the time


leadership of the party.

should come, to transmit the


It

we know, a

states-

man who had


far as

still

stronger claims

on the

reversion, but, so

Mr. Gladstone had authority to designate his suc-

cessor,

he had made
It

it

plain in

1886 what would be his

choice.

was a decision that was never accepted by the


at this

whole party, though


as popular

time Lord Rosebery was quite

among

Radicals as

among Moderate

Liberals.

After spending about six

months

in the East,

he threw

himself vigorously into partisan controversy.


first

public appearances was

made
his

in April,

One of his 1887, when he


to
'

delivered an address to a Liberal Association in Glasgow.

There was no mistake about


prejudice

loyalty

that effete

which,

it

was

said,

would
'

soon

die

out

Gladstonian Liberalism.'
in

Mr. Gladstone.'

He had almost unUmited belief The Home Rule question could not
it

be postponed.

Indeed the Government and the Liberal


for-

Unionists, by their policy of Coercion, were pushing

ward.

The

defeat of the late

Government had not altered

92

LORD ROSEBERY
'

the principles of the party.

Our

policy

is

one of absolute
Ireland shall

determination to carry out the principle

tliat

be allowed to manage her own


legislation.'

affairs in

the

way of domestic
'any and

Subject to that principle, Liberals were prespirit,

pared to consider, in the most conciliatory

whatever proposal which

is

a bona fide offer to construct a

plan acceptable to the Liberal party and to the people of


Ireland.'

They had no rooted


'

love of their

own

plan,

no

pride of authorship.

We

only desire that

some plan may


;

be found which

shall

enable us to carry out our object


is

and

by whomsoever that plan


privately,

proposed, whether publicly or

whether from the Tory benches or from the

Liberal benches, or from the Liberal Unionists benches, we,


I

venture to say,

will
it.'

always be glad to consider and,

if

possible, support

These words were spoken with a purpose.


was labouring
it,

Lord Rosebery
not purchase

for a Liberal reunion.

He would

as

had already been proposed, by dropping

Home

Rule,
for

but he was ready

and
He

here,

no doubt, he was speaking

Mr. Gladstone as well as for himself

to accept

any com-

promise offered by Liberal Unionists to which the Nationalists

would

agree.

was not thinking of the Hartington

group.

They had irredeemably pledged themselves to Lord SaHsbury's Government since, with their assent, Mr.
Goschen had
Rosebery had
succeeded

Lord

Randolph

Churchill

as

Chancellor of the Exchequer.


in

The

politicians

whom Lord
somewhat
that

view were the Radical Unionists acting

with Mr. Chamberlain.

Their position was

still

undefined.

Mr. Chamberlain had confessed

at

Birmingham

Lord

Randolph's resignation had weakened his confidence in the

Government

he

feared a recourse to reactionary policy.

GLADSTONIAN LIBERALISM
The
their

93

Liberals, he said, were agreed

on ninety-nine parts of

programme

they disagreed only on one.


far apart.
:

Even on the
had been
I

land question they were not


solved
solved,

Until that had been

Home Home

Rule was impossible

when

it
'

Rule would be unnecessary.


'

am

con-

vinced,' he added,

that sitting

round

a table,

and coming

together in a spirit of compromise and conciliation, almost

any three men

leaders of the Liberal party although they

may hold
tion,
It

opposite views upon another branch of the ques-

would yet be able to arrange some scheme.' was on this hint that the Round Table Conference was

organised.

The

collapse of that undertaking, though

it

led to acrimonious charges

and recriminations, and though


in favour of

Mr. Chamberlain spoke and voted


the only

Coercion as

means of dealing with the Plan of Campaign, had


It
all

not definitely destroyed the hope of a Liberal reunion.

should be borne in mind, however, that not

the English

Home
dation.

Rulers were anxious to bring about an accommo-

The more

zealous would accept from their late

colleagues nothing short of absolute submission, especially


after the

pubUcation of the 'Parnell Letters' by the 'Times'


passions.

had exacerbated party

An

extremist speech by

Mr. John Morley was seized upon by Mr. Chamberlain as

marking 'the turning-point.'

He

was driven, he

said, to the

conclusion that on the Gladstonian side there was no longer

any desire

for reunion.

'We

shall

be taunted,
least,

suppose,

with an alliance with the Tories.

At

our

allies will

be

English gentlemen, not the subsidised agents of a foreign


conspiracy.'

This was decisive.

The

Parnellites

would no longer
flew

co-operate with a party of which Mr. Chamberlain was


a

member.

But on 27

April,

when Lord Rosebery

94
his
kite
at

LORD ROSEBERY
Glasgow, there was just a remote possibility
it.

of appeasement, and he did his best to realise

Mr.

Gladstone himself,

for

some

reason,

was not altogether


two statesmen.

without hope of winning back Lord Hartington, but there

was no longer any

common ground

for the

Although

fitful

to re-establish

made from time to time an understanding, it presently came to be


attempts were
the breach was past

recognised that

mending, and the

three parties stood firm in their respective positions, the


followers of
tually

Lord Hartington and Mr. Chamberlain even-

forming a regular coalition.

Although Lord Rosebery remained staunch on the

Home
it,

Rule question and the various


was glad enough to
test

issues

connected with

he
In

opinion on other subjects.


in the

March, 1888, he returned

House

of Lords to his

favourite idea of modifying the hereditary principle in that

Chamber.

The

opportunity seemed favourable

for

self-

reform since, with a strong Conservative Government in


office,

the discussion would not be embittered by a prospect

of collision between the two Houses.

He

again

moved

for

the appointment of a Select Committee,

and

justified his

proposal by the example recently set in Hungary.

The

House

of Lords was already

cumbrous

in point of

numbers,

yet the only

way

in

which

it

could be brought into harmony


great constitutional question

with the

Lower House on a

was the creation of more Peerages.

The

incompatibility

between the two Houses was more


to increase than diminish.
It

likely, as

time went on,


at

was therefore expedient,


to

'moment
strength

of comparative

calmness,'

reckon up 'our
illustrious

and weakness.'

The

strength lay in

members,

in ancient tradition, in

persons

who

represented

some

of the wealth,

some

of the ancient blood, and

some

REFORM OF THE HOUSE OF LORDS


of the genius in the country.

95
the

The weakness

lay in

'indiscriminate and intemperate application of the hereditary principle.'


It

was not even an ancient principle.


Monasteries had
its

Not

until the Dissolution of the


tives

representait

acquired a majority in the House. Nor was


well.
It

justified

by working
to be Peers.
tors.
'

made

legislators of

wish to be legislators, and Peers of


It also

men who did not men who did not wish


legisla-

brought in persons unfit to be


generally
that
five

think

we may say
families

or

six

hundred not unprolific

must always be accompanied


It

by a proportion of black sheep.'


sheep were also found in the
the responsibility did not
lie

was true that black

House

with the
it

Commons. But The wind House.


of
'

of the electorate bloweth whither


with the

will.'

It

was

different

House of Lords.
fool,

If a

Peer should happen to be

a knave or a

people at once began to blame the con-

stitution of the

House.

After drawing such distinction as was possible between

the applications of the hereditary principle to the

Crown

and the Peerage, Lord Rosebery declared that the authority of the House had been greatly weakened by its conversion
to

some extent

into a party instrument.


it

Up

to

1832

it

had

hardly been a party assembly

had usually supported the


Conse-

Government
with
Pitt,
it

of the day.

It

was Whig with Walpole, Tory

and Tory again with Lord Liverpool.

quently

had exercised great power and influence, and


In those

the Peers formed the majority of each Cabinet.

days an adverse vote in that


strong Government.

House might throw out a


7

This had happened on

May, 1832.
be

Lord Roseber)', however, did not wish

to appear to

arguing against the abstract principle of a Second Chamber.

That principle he regarded as established by strong argu-

96
ments.

LORD ROSEBERY
As
for practical reforms,
it

would not be enough to

introduce, as had been proposed, the 114 chairmen of the

contemplated
great

'

County Boards.'

Again, the creation of a

number

of Life Peerages would increase rather than

diminish the present evil

the
real

House was
principles

already too large.

What, then, were the


should proceed?

on which reform

The
Of

Privy Council would be an ideal


its
'

Second Chamber.
were Peers.
figures.

211 members no less than 109


'

There was

something ominous

about these

The

average attendance of Peers throughout a

Session in a recent year (1885) was

no.

Nevertheless,

Lord Rosebery did not suggest the adoption of the Privy


Council as the Second Chamber.
In the
first

place,

it

might be flooded with new creations.


the

In the second place,

House

of Lords

would have

to be abolished.

Now

it

was a cardinal principle

in English politics to respect old

names and

traditions.

The name

of the

House

of Lords

must be retained, and the reconstructed Chamber must


contain, as before. Peers

and Lords of Parliament.

The
adopted.
size
;

principles

of delegation

and

election

must be

This would reduce the House to a manageable


;

it

would exclude unworthy persons


;

it

would establish

a popular basis
viding for

would guard against stagnation by proa constant succession of new members. Next,
it

there must be a representative element in the

House

or

large infusion of elected Peers, elected either by the

County

Boards, the Municipalities, or the

House

of

Commons,

by

all three.

Further, Life Peerages would form a valuable


Lastly, the

element in the House.


representatives

Agents General or other


colonies

of the

self-governing

should be

given seats.

The

proportions of these various elements


fixed.

would of course be

REFORM OF THE HOUSE OF LORDS


It

97

had been said that no increase of the power of the


of Lords could be effected without diminishing the

House
ment

power of the House of Commons.


it

In case of a disagree-

would, no doubt, be necessary to find some other


creation of Peerages for bringing about a
real

means than the


balance.

But the

Mother of Parliaments had been the


in the reigns of the

Magnum

Concilium, which,
itself into

Edwards,

had divided

two (and nearly into

three).
it

Lord

Rosebery thought that under certain guarantees

might be

provided that in any scheme of reform the two Houses

should meet together and form one body, and by certain


fixed majorities carry or reject a

measure which had been

in

dispute between them.

Another remedy had been propounded.


twice by the

It

had been

suggested that a measure which had been passed once or

Commons, and
'

rejected once or twice by the

Peers, should be

enabled, in the language of diplomacy, to

passer outre.^
time,

This, however, would involve great waste of


also

and would

reduce the House of Lords to a

second-rate court of revision or a debating society. Finally,

Lord Rosebery suggested

that

any Peer should be

at liberty

to accept or refuse a writ of

summons

to the

House of

Lords, and, having refused, should

become
97

eligible to the

House of Commons. The motion was


in

rejected

by

votes

against

50,

but when, in the following month, Lord Dunraven brought

Bill

embodying most of Lord Rosebery's proposals.


in

Lord

Salisbury,

opposing

it,

promised

himself

to

introduce a measure for the creation of Life Peerages.


also favoured the idea of enabling the

He
in

Sovereign,

an

Address from the House of Lords,


right

to deprive a

Peer of his
15th he

to

receive a writ

of

summons.

On June

98
redeemed

LORD ROSEBERY
this promise,

and the

Bill

obtained

its

Second

Reading, but there the matter ended.

One

of Lord

Rosebery's most important speeches was


1 1

delivered this year (1888) at Leeds, on


claration

October.

The

de-

of
at

his

views

on

Liiperial

Federation,

though

accepted

the time without unfavourable

comment, has

since been

made

the basis of attacks on his orthodoxy as

a Free Trader.

Having discussed the question whether


towns should give active assistance

our Consuls

in foreign

to the commercial undertakings of British subjects, he

pointed out that of recent years our foreign policy had

become more

of a Colonial policy.

Formerly
this

it

had been
avoided,

mainly an Indian policy, and, although


us in complications that

had involved
in

we might otherwise have


rightly

we

felt

that they

had been

undertaken

defence of

so splendid a possession.

Now, however, Colonial


foreign policy.
in

influence

overshadowed

our

In the

first

place, the Colonies were rising

importance and making constant representations on their


Secondly, other Great Powers had started on

own behalf

a career of Colonial aggrandisement.

Here Lord Rosebery

adverted to several questions of the day which were occupying the attention of the Foreign Office.
fisheries dispute between

There was the Canada and the United States,

the

French

rights

in

Newfoundland, the settlement of


trade with Tibet, the competition in

boundaries
the
Pacific

in Africa,

all

of

them

questions

relating

to

one

or

another of our Colonies.


trade between the
it

Then

there was the question of

Mother Country and the Colonies.


in full
:

Here

will

be best to quote Lord Rosebery's words

There was at one time in this country a very great demand, founded on the belief that our Colonies were not trading with us as well as they do now, to be free from the responsibility of a

SPEEf'H AT LEKDS
Colonial Empire.
I

99
to a great extent

think that

demand has

ceased

but the people of this country

will, in

a not too distant

time, have to

make up

their

minds what footing they wish the

their

Colonies to occupy with respect to them, or svhether they desire Colonies to leave them altogether. It is, I believe,

Ions.; run your present loose and indetinite relations to your Colonies, and retain those Colonies as parts of the Empire. That is a question as to which Chambers of Commerce ought to be able

absolutely impossible for you to maintain in the

to

make up
it

their

minds very

definitely, because, in the first


I

place,

is

a commercial question.

do not

believe,

if

our
us

Colonies

left

us in that amicable spirit in which they

tell

do not believe that if they left us in however amicable a spirit you would find them as good customers as they are now. We have an opportunity of comparing our relations between a Colony that has left us and the Colonies that remain with us. When I speak of a Colony that has left us, I mean, of course,
I

they might leave us

The United States have taken from us years an average of ^24, 350,000 of home produce. Their population is nearly 60,000,000, and therefore they have taken of our home produce at the rate of about eight
the United States.

during the

last ten

shillings a head. Now Canada, which, as you know, is coterminous with the United States, and which remains to us, has taken on an average ^{^7, 300,000 during the last ten years.

Take

the population at 5,000,000,

shillings a head, or nearly three

and that gives nearly thirty and a half times what the
that the United

United States take from


States have a

us.

You may say

more

hostile tariff against us than

Canada

has.

you think for a moment you will remember that if Canada were to leave us she would be pretty certain to adopt the tariff of the United States, and we should not be nationally benefited by that proceeding. But let us take one other great Colony abroad. Let us take But
if

Australia takes from us on an average about the same as the whole of the United States, though its population is only 3,250,000 or at the rate of ] a head, being more than seventeen times more than the
;^24,5oo,ooo

the case of Australia.

or

United States with

ics

population of 60,000,000.

lOO
1

LORD ROSEBERY
wish to say that, on that ground of commercial interest

is worthy of the consideration of our great commercial communities. I do not think it receives the conThe question of the sideration it deserves for this reason. retention of our Colonies may be opened upon us at any moment by some unforeseen incident. I think I know enough of public opinion in this country to know that it matures slowly, and I believe the Chambers of Commerce would be performing a useful task if they made up their minds to mature They might come to a conpublic opinion on this question. clusion different from that at which 1 have arrived but at any

alone, the question

Chambers of Commerce of this country should know what their mind is, and should make that mind known. You must remember what it involves.
rate,

whatever

it

is, it is

well that the

it is It is not only commercial interests that are involved A narrowing-down of this country to its European possessions. Do not flatter yourselves that, if Canada and Australia were to
;

leave you, you would retain your smaller Colonies. Indies

The West

would take in As to the Cape, I think you might make up your Australasia. minds for the secession of the Cape under circumstances such

would

go with

Canada

Australia

as these.

Well, if you wish to remain alone in the world with Ireland, you can do so. I do not see that you can obtain the great boon of a peaceful Empire, encircling the globe with a bond of commercial unity and peace, without some sacrifice on your part. No great benefit, no such benefit as that, can be obtained without a sacrifice. You will have, I think, to admit the Colonies to a much larger share in your affairs than you do at You will have to give them a right to prompt the present. voice of England when it speaks abroad to a much greater extent than you do at present. You must be prepared for

demands, sometimes unreasonable, such as spoiled children sometimes make. You must be prepared, in some respects, to diminish your own insular freedom of action on behalf of your But to my mind the sacrifice is worth great offspring abroad. The cause which we call Imperial Federation, for want it. of a better name, is worthy not merely of the attention of

Chambers of Commerce, but

of the devotion of the individual

IMPERIAL FEDERATION
minds of the people of
forgive
tliis

lOI

country.
I

mc

this little bit of egotism,


it

For my part, if you will can say from the bottom

of

my

heart that
I

is

the dominant passion of

my

public the
felt

life.

Ever since

traversed those vast regions which

own
have

sway
that

of the British
that

Crown

outside these islands,


all

there was a cause which merited

the enthusiasm and energy

man

could give to

it.
;

It
is

is

a cause for which any


if

man

might be content to live anyone might be content

it

a cause for which,

needs be,

to die.

At

this point

it

may be convenient

to describe briefly
all

Lord Rosebery's
of Imperial
attention

attitude towards that feature in

schemes

Federation

which has attracted the closest


fiercest

and aroused the

controversy since Mr.


still

Chamberlain, on

May

15,

1903, while

member
favour of

of
re-

Mr. Balfour's Cabinet, made his declaration

in

considering our Free Trade policy and of establishing a


Preferential system between the
different Colonies.

Mother Country and her


still

The
to

plan was

inchoate when, four


first

days afterwards, Lord Rosebery offered his

comments.

He had

paid a

visit

Burnley

in order to inaugurate a

newly established Chamber of Commerce.

question had been raised in a very powerful speech the

other night, and he was not treating

it in any political or critical was a topic of so great importance as regarded the existence and the future of the Empire, as regarded the basis on which it was to rest and its ultimate development, that he was sure it was one of the subjects that the Chamber of Commerce must discuss at a very large meeting. It was not a matter of party politics as yet, and in one sense he did not think that it ever would be a matter of politics as affect-

sense that evening

but

it

ing politics as at present existing, because

it

cut across that line

diagonally and not by the ordinary separation of English party

Another reason why he would not discuss it politically was that he would not hastily reject, without mature consideration, any plan offered on high authority and based on
lines.

that night

I02
large experience

LORD ROSEBERY

for really cementing and uniting the British Their Chamber of Commerce would have to consider this matter apart from the blast of party passion or personal pre-

Empire.

judice, because they

would have to consider whether any such which had been adumbrated oftcred a real prospect for the unity of the Empire and a better arrangement than that which at present existed. It would have to be considered whether there was any practical scheme possible for having a reciprocal tariff with the Colonies which would have the effect that was expected and which would be workable. It would have to be considered whether the people of this country could be brought to agree to a system which would satisfy the British dependencies. The Chambers of Commerce would have to consider it from an Imperial standpoint. We were told that we did not do much for the Colonies. But it must be remembered that though we were not able, under our present fiscal system, to give advantages to our Colonies, yet at the same time we bore practically the whole burden of Imperial defence, for which we paid about seventy millions sterling this year and when the balance was cast that great factor should not be left out of sight, and we should not be told that we were not doing our duty by the Colonies. It would have to be considered from the Imperial point of view whether the system of reciprocal tariffs would really bind the Mother Country more closely with the Colonies than was now the case. The Chamber of Commerce would have to think what the situation might become how Great Britain might have annually to submit to the pressure of various Colonies who were discontented with the tariff as then modified and wanted it modified still further. If they considered Great Britain as a target at which all these proposals for modification and rectification would be addressed, he thought it would occur to their Chamber that it would not altogether add to the harmony of those relations to have these shifting tariffs existing between Great Britain and her Colonies. Again, from the Imperial point of view, it would have to be considered whether those relations could be modified materially for the belter without having direct Colonial representation in some form in the government of this country. One thing was certain that before any real change was made in our fiscal

scheme as

that

IMPERIAL FEDERATION

IO3

system we must, as a practical measure, have a conference around a round table or square table, as the case might be, a
private

conference, not for the

delivery

of speeches

to

the

gallery, but a real

and business conference between the best financial and commercial experts of this country and of the Colonies, to say whether such a new system of tariffs was practicable and advisable or not. There was also the commercial aspect. He did not suppose that trade had prospered in every respect as every individual in Under a system of Free Trade every that hall would wish. branch of industry did not prosper. He was interested in the landed industry, and he did not know that the land industry had prospered particularly under Free Trade but he dismissed his own case, as he knew that the landlord was not a subject of interest except to himself; but there were, he thought, classes connected with land more important than the landlord and he thought it could not be denied that under a system of P'ree Trade
; ;

large tracts of country

had been turned out of

cultivation, that

our owTi food-supply had been diminished, and that the populations which had been reared in the rural districts had ceased to

be reared in those districts and he feared that they would not be so again reared until some possible change could be devised. He was not, however, going to dwell upon that aspect of the He was only showing them that he was not a subject to-night. person who believed that Free Trade was part of the Sermon on
;

the Mount, and that

we ought

to receive

it

in all its rigidity as

a divinely appointed dispensation. The figures of our commerce must be remembered, figures so surprising that he did and their Chamber of not dare to cite them from memory
;

Commerce would probably ask

the question as to whether

it

was wise without long and deep consideration to change a fiscal system under which such results had been obtained. It must be remembered that, if we quarrelled with or separated materially from the customers who gave us at least two-thirds and
possibly three-quarters of our trade

tomer who gave us a quarter or a third


wise thing in our

order to oblige a cus we should not be doing a


in
;

own

interest

even

in the interest of
if

oor Colonial customer

and not be doing a wise thing because it was

possible that,

we were not

able to accumulate wealth by the

104

LORD ROSEBKKY

trade by which we had accumulated it we should not be able to bear the expenditure of seventy millions for defence which we bore in the common interests of the Empire. These topics

were worthy of the grave and deliberate considerations of the new body which they were setting on foot. He did not pretend because, as a very old to argue definitely one way or the other Imperialist, and a very convinced one, he should not condemn
;

any plan, as he had said before, for the unity of the Empire before he saw that plan practically before him. There was another point of view from which they would have He held that Chambers of Comto regard it, and it was this. merce ought to be made thinking centres for our policy. Our foreign policy sadly needed thinking power. He was not alluding It was a matter, to any Ministers, past or present or future. to his mind, entirely beyond Ministers, who did their best and

worked very hard

in doing it. It would be necessary to consider very carefully, therefore, the alteration which would be made in our foreign relations by any such cast-iron boundary round our
tariff, as that which some was quite possible that the advantages of such a course in uniting the Empire at large might counterbalance the disadvantages that would have to be Of that he knew nothing. All he weighed against them.

Empire, any such cast-iron fence of


It

thinkers proposed to introduce.

pleaded for was that they of that Chamber should carefully weigh the disadvantages in a cool and calculating spirit before they adopted one course or the other in regard to this proposal.

In the general tone of the Burnley speech, though not

perhaps in any opinion definitely expressed,

it

must be ad-

mitted that Mr. Chamberlain's supporters had some excuse


for claiming

Lord Rosebery
It

as, if

not a convert, at least open

to conversion.

must be remembered, however, that he

had spoken

to a

non -political audience, and


at
all,

that,

if

he
the

touched upon the subject


courtesies of public
It is
life,

he was bound, by
it

all

not to treat

in a

contentious

spirit.

also true that Mr. Chamberlain had not yet developed

the Protective side of his programme, having insisted chiefly

IMPERIAL FEDERATION
on the necessity
tariffs

10$
foreign

for retaliation against oppressive

and on

the importance of establishing a Preferential


its

system between the United Kingdom and


Nevertheless,
its
it

dependencies.

was a 'tolerably full-fledged scheme,' and

bearings can hardly have been misunderstood by Lord


first

Rosebery even within the


is

week of

its

publication.

It

admitted by many persons who have since definitely


Free Trade standard that
at first

rallied to the

they were

dazzled and fascinated by Mr. Chamberlain's exposition of


his idea.

To Lord Rosebery

the statement must have been

especially attractive, since every idea

and thought

in the Bir-

mingham

oration could be paralleled in his

own speeches

on Imperial Federation.
in identifying the
'

We
'

are,

perhaps, not justified

sacrifices

contemplated by Lord Rose-

bery in 1888 with those


in

recommended by Mr. Chamberlain


sufficiently evident that, so far as

1903, because

it

is

Lord Rosebery and other Liberal members of the Imperial


Federation League looked forward to any modification of our
fiscal

system, they had in view, not a series of separate com-

mercial treaties between the Mother Country and her respective Colonies, but a

complete Zollverein.

Now

it is

possible

for a

man

to adhere to nearly all the

arguments that P>ee

Trade

rests

within an

upon, and yet to accept a Customs Union Empire which includes almost every soil and

climate of the habitable globe, and which would, therefore,

be

self-sufficient.

Literally, of course,

it is

correct to speak
Practically

of the United States as a Protectionist nation.


it

is

a vast Free Trade area, which produces, or could


it

produce, everything

requires except a few luxuries.

It

was a Zollverein of

this sort

which had captivated Lord

Rosebery's imagination

fifteen years ago,

and

it

was, per-

haps, because he discerned an approximation to this ideal

ro6
that he offered,

LORD KOSEBERY
on 19 May, so tolerant a
at

criticism of
fifteenth.

Mr.

Chamberlain's speech

Birmingham on the

This tolerance was keenly resented by the great body of


the Liberal party.

They were

not disposed to look kindly


fathered,

upon any proposal which Mr. Chamberlain


by blind tradition
creed.

and

they had been trained some by study and thought, others

to regard Free Trade as an unassailable


therefore,

They were shocked,

by Lord Rosebery's

profession of readiness to reopen

and reconsider the con-

troversy of sixty years before, and though he had spoken

no

word of

direct heresy, he
it

was regarded with some mistrust.


group which he had formed
rigid.

Moreover,

was

in the special

around himself that economic orthodoxy was most

His chief lieutenants


in the attack

in the Liberal

League were foremost

on Mr. Chamberlain.
that, if

There could be no doubt


to retain

Lord Rosebery wished


party,

any position within the Liberal

he would

have to clear away the suspicions which had gathered about


his fiscal reputation.

The
It

task of self-explanation was disat the

charged

at a

banquet of the Liberal League held

Hotel

Cecil on June 12th.

was not an altogether pleasant duty,

though

his backsliding

had been considerably exaggerated.


airs

In order to divest the performance of any


or recantation he
tions

of penance

commenced by

reaffirming the proposi-

which had caused the scandal, and passed on to show


they were of economic offence.

how innocent
dispensation
sion.

He

was

still

of opinion, he declared, that Free Trade was not a divine

to

be accepted without question or discus-

Free Trade was made for man, not


Again,

man
its

for

Free

Trade.

he was quite willing that


the subject of public inquiry

operation

should be
that

made

he

believed

investigation

would confirm the doctrine.

But the

AT THE LIBERAL LEAGUE


burden of proof
lay with the critics of
If

IO7
fiscal

our

system.

Had

Free Trade failed?

we had found

ourselves with a

shrinking trade, a diminished revenue, a population on the

verge of poverty, we should long ago have reviewed the

whole question.
statistics

Instead of that
'

we had reached, so

far as

could give us a clue,


size

such a pinnacle of wealth


in the history of

as

no nation of the

had attained

the

world.

Take

the Income-tax figures: in 1891-2 the

amount
risen
in

paying
to

this tax

was ;!^537, 000,000.

In 1900-1

it

had

;^594, 000,000

an

increase of ;!^57,ooo,ooo
classes.

nine
at

years in the yearly

income of the assessed

Look

the foreign trade of the country for the previous year

^870,000,000.
But you are told that those figures are nothing this is not a it is a matter of Empire. I am afraid that without trade you will have no Empire. I remember a story of Lord Beaconsfield, who heard the late Dean Stanley a most convincing theologian holding forth against dogma. Lord Beaconsfield heard him with great pleasure for a considerable time, but at last he laid his hand gently on his arm and said, "Yes, that is all very well but remember no dogma, no Dean." So when I hear these gentlemen say this is not a mere matter of trade, but a matter of Empire, I think of that story no dogma, no Dean. No trade, no Empire. Why, you might as well think of this island doing without the Gulf Stream as doing without the fullest amount of trade which it can possibly do with the world at large. I, at any rate, who may be a retrograde politician as belonging to the Liberal League, with all its suspicious surroundings, should lament anything, and I tliink all who are interested in the prosperity of this country would lament anything, that could divert the greatest possible flow of trade throughout this great mart of the world. I come to my second heresy that I uttered at Burnley my second platitude, as I call it, because it conveniently divides what I have to say to I said then, and I say now, thai I will not dismiss withyou.
;

matter of trade,

I08

LORD ROSEBERY
it

out examination, or without learning what

however wild
say that
it is

it is, any proposition, which has for its object the closer union of the British Empire. I will go further I will

may seem

at

first,

I find myself unable scheme, so far as I know it, which has been put forward with that object during the past three weeks. We do not, indeed, know what that scheme is itself. That will require time to develop. But we do know the kind of barren outline of

with pain and with grief that

to support the

what it must be. Indeed, by a master-hand, I do not know that the design could be more complete. It is to tax raw
that
sufficiently to realise

scheme quite

until the colours are filled in

materials or food for the benefit of the Colonies, and, of course,


I

suppose

also,

for

our

little

population here

to

tax raw
together.

materials and food in order to cement the

Empire

Now we

can narrow that down a

little

because the Prime


it

Minister and the Colonial Secretary have stated that


impossible to tax

is

or they consider

it

impracticable to tax

the

raw materials that enter the country. And, therefore, we are limited to a tax on food a tax on food, followed by a rise in wages which will more than compensate for the enhanced prices of food. Well, I take that as it is stated, and I see that it divides itself into two parts a hindrance to the food-supply of a teeming and increasing population in a limited area, which has long been accustomed to the most unlimited supply of food and, in the second place, it means the enhancing of the price of our food by the enhancing of the wages which is to follow the

rise in the price of food, and, therefore,

a greater difficulty than

we have

at present with

regard to the placing of our manu-

factured goods, unaccompanied at the


the working classes the enhanced price of food.

same time by benefit to whose enhanced wages would scarcely meet


Well, now,
I

am

not going to

labour that point to-night, because the question of the food of


is one so important that it cannot take a back seat in an after-dinner speech. But there is a question with regard to the food-supply which I will touch upon, and which is not connected so much with the welfare of the working classes of this country a point which I

the country

should like to treat differently on some future occasion.

You

come

in this

question of deriving food-supplies entirely from your

AT THE LIBERAL LEAGUE


Colonies to the great point which makes in
present,

IO9
judgment,
is

my

at

and probably

for

many

years to come, perhaps for ever,

the question of a Zollverein impossible

and that

the question

of distance.

The

Zollvereins of which you have record, that in


practically exists in the United States

Germany, and that which

of America, are Customs Unions between contiguous areas,

same language, having the same currency, within immediate communication of each
large self-contained areas, speaking the
other,

and

in fact,

except as regards language, in a very different

How are you to adjust these and food which are to come from the different parts of the Empire ? They come at present from Canada, from India, and from Australia. Canada is some 3,000 miles off, India is some 7,000 miles off, Australia is some 13,000 miles off. How are you to make your rates even of your duty between these different competing sources of supply? I suppose you will have to find some advantageous tariff for India as compared with Canada, and some much more advantageous tariff for Australasia as compared with either to compensate for the enormous difference of freights and the enormous distances that these food-supplies will have to come. Why, it does not seem so simple an affair after all, this supplying ourselves with grain from the resources of the Empire alone. You will have
position to the British Empire.

supplies of corn

at the very first aspect of the matter, in looking at the very

elements of the proceeding, to have different

tariffs

adapted to

the different distances that you have to traverse in order to establish fair trade between the different parts of the Empire.

Well,

I say that it is a preliminary obstacle which has no doubt been considered by a united Cabinet in long and careful deliberation. It is only one of many obstacles. But it is impos-

sible, as

I I

say, to survey this vast question in all

to-night.

its aspects only offer that preliminary problem for their investi-

gation.

But
I

at

or not,

think

to the fiscal

whether that problem be surmountable the right to say, as I do with regard system, that the burden of proof lies with those
rate,
it

any

gives

me

who would substitute the new arrangement for the present arrangements of the British Empire. WTiat is the present arrangement ? The Empire is built up on Free Trade. And by Free Trade I do not mean, of course, that

no
tliere

LORD ROSEBERY

are not multifarious tariffs throughout the Empire. That would show a very elementary ignorance of the situation situation which 1 have studied for many years. It does not mean that there are not tariffs throughout the Empire, but it does mean this that your Empire is founded on the condition, and it could not have existed until now except on that condition, that every self-governing part of it shall have the right to work out its own prosperity by its own methods. I do not know why it should enter the heads of any statesmen to deny that liberty to the United Kingdom, which, after all, is not an insignificant The system under which we have lived, part of the Empire. that system of free option for every part of the Empire, has

enabled us

in

these islands to bear the great but the grateful

burden of Empire, and in that respect at any rate it is surely not to be passed on one side. It has made the heart of the Empire, which is this island, the mart of the world, and it has brought that united state of feeling which led to the remarkable outburst of loyalty during the late war of which we are never weary of
boasting,

and

rightly boasting, but which,

think, in the course

of a few weeks

we

shall

some Protective
proof
lies

tariff.

be asked to believe was the result of Well, then I say that the burden of

who would disturb the existing arrangements of the Empire which in different directions have had their fair development and under which it has grown to the If I may say a present world-wide position which it occupies. word to those who endeavour to force the pace with regard to the union of the Empire, I would say that I trust they may never have to write the epitaph of that Empire in the well-known words, I was well, I would be better, and here I am.' But I do not ask you to accept my view of the present relations of the Empire as being an authoritative one and as being weighty as I would rather quote against the idea of a Protective tariff. from the words of one who, I think, outside these islands has and as he is the the highest claim to be heard on the subject Prime Minister of the Canadian Dominion as well, I think his words may be entitled to some weight in view of what we hear of the relations of Great Britain and Canada. What did Sir Wilfrid Laurier say, I think five years ago? I think he has been continuously in office ever since, and I have not heard that he
with those
' ;

AT THK LIBERAL LKACUE


has ever revoked those words.
'
*

III
he
said,

There are

parties,'

who hope

to maiiuain the British

Empire on

lines of restricted

If the British Empire is to be maintained it can only be upon the most absolute freedom, politically and commercially, in building up this great enterprise, to deviate from the principles of freedom will be so much to weaken the ties and bonds which now hold it together." I recommend that passage to the

trade.

attention of the Colonial Office.

agree,

confess, with Sir

from any want of thought that I have come to that conclusion, because it is not one of the recent discoveries of the Colonial Ofifice that the Empire might be united by a bond of trade. was a member of the old Imperial Federation League perhaps some of you, some of the hoaryheaded ones among you, have been members, too and we
;

Wilfrid Laurier

nor

is it

worked out this subject as well as we were able, and we were always met with the absolute and insuperable difficulties which I believe will confront anybody who attempts to deal with it. My view of the policy which is really adapted to raise the strength and prosperity of this Empire is that of Sir Wilfrid
Laurier.

Having quoted the opinion of a Times correspondent


'
'

that the tie between

the

little

European

island

and

its

Colonies could only be strengthened by making that


island as strong

little

and

rich as possible,
tarifTs
'

Lord Rosebery
it

said,

the

'

bribe of Preferential
effort,

might make

poorer, less
itself.

capable of an
Well, then,
I

and

less

capable of defending

cementing answer is that, if carried, it will not probably have that effect, because I may mention incidentally that 1 cannot conceive do not propose to enter at length I
the

ask, will this policy have the effect of

Empire? And

my

that I cannot conceive what are the Colonial markets which are to be offered to us in return for the markets we intend to resign or to forfeit, and that will

into the Fiscal Question to-night

produce some discontent in this country if not elsewhere. I say, if it is carried, I do not think it will have the effect of cementing the union of the Empire. If it is not carried, the

112

LORD ROSEBERY

ineffectual raising of this question will do, perhaps, irreparable

damage.
hypothesis

We
I

shall

have raised expectations which, under the

am

discussing, are destined to be disappointed.

We
my

shall have set on foot discussions eminently detrimental, in judgment, to what I may call the moral of the Empire. We shall have thrown the union of the Empire a question so sacred that it has always been held aloft into the base arena

of party politics.
sent

These are the

results that

see from the preespecially

if it be But suppose by any chance I confess I do not think it probable that this policy were successful. Then I will put a different question affecting the most important

method of

raising this question,

more

unsuccessfully raised.

of

all

considerations

the risk and damage to our foreign trade,


But
in

80 per cent of the whole of our trade on which we live and thrive. That question is a question that ought to be dealt with
in

a separate speech.
I

the case

am

imagining we

should have, as
the

meet annually before the preparation of the Budget, with representations from every part of
conjecture, to

Empire

for a revision of the tariff for their

own

particular

advantage.

am

constant apprehension that


to the idea of

a sane Imperialist, a lifelong Imperialist, and it is with I look to emything that may set the

Imperial interests of the people of this country in hostility


think, a point
will,
I

Empire. Let me take another point, and it is, I which has been insufficiently considered. You suppose, stimulate by your Protective tariff, in part it
case, the cultivation of those vast virgin

must inevitably be the


tracts of soil in

possibly also in Australia but I do on Australia, as owing to drought the supply of wheat from there must always be fitful but I will take the case of Canada, and you will stimulate there the ploughing up of great tracts of virgin soil into wheat land. Canada is not exempt from the visitations of Providence any more than any other part of the world. Suppose some calamity occurs in Canada, and she is not able to send you your supply There is not a man in this country who believes that of food. if such a catastrophe occurred it would be possible to close the

Canada and
stress

not lay so

much

Af.AINST

Tir?:

BIRMINGHAM POLICY

II3

ports to the free importation of food stuffs from all over the world. Do you suppose that if you once opened the ports after

you would ever close them again? There who thinks that it would be possible. Sir Robert Peel himself pointed out that no sane man could contemplate such a contingency, and what could not be done m a limited population fifty years ago certainly could not be done in a comparatively unlimited population. But what would your position be, what would the complaint, the just complaint of Canada, be? These people, who had brought their lands under cultivation for the purpose of supplying you with food under a restricted tariff", would probably be ruined, and a great
that experience
IS

not a sane politician

industry would be probably put out of court, destroyed by the

and your Legislature. Why, the grievance of Canada against you would be enormous. Who knows what the feelings of Canada might be after that event had occurred? I do not know, I do not attempt to predict, but I do say I deduce two considerations from that fact. One is, that any such Protective tariff on food-stuffs could not be permanent, and secondly, that it could not conduce to the consolidation or union of the Empire.

action of your Ministry

Lord Rosebery next turned


United
States.

to the probable effect in the

In spite of certain failures and miscarriages

in policy,

a great and solid understanding with America


'

was growing up, though

still

in its infancy.'

But

it

would

be primarily against the United States that this Preferential

system would be directed.

This consideration alone was

enough
way.
'

to

throw doubt on the new policy.

Again, the scheme had been propounded in the wrong


If put forward at all
it

should have been put forward


inquiry.'

after

most careful and secret


it

Moreover,
a

it

should

have had behind

the authority of

united

Cabinet.

Having adverted

to the disagreements

and inconsistencies

already manifested within the Government, he asserted that,


so far as he understood Mr. Chamberlain's proposals, Lord
1

14

LORD ROSEBERY

Rosebery could conceive nothing so detrimental as they


were to the union and prosperity of the Empire, both
their nature
raised.
in

and

in the

manner

in

which they had been

speak to-night entirely from the point of view of an who has been at work on this question for some three-and-twenty years, and who has naturally not overlooked
I

Imperialist

the

bond of union which might be cemented if a ZoUverein was possible or practicable. I confess that we who have so worked have regarded with the greatest pride and satisfaction the moral union, the union of sympathy, which has sprung up within the bounds of our Empire, and which produced that great burst of loyalty in the various parts of the Empire at the commencement of the South African War. But now we feel that it has been placed at hazard by forcing the running prematurely, and hastening on a consummation for which the Empire is by no means ripe. What the effect will be on the stability of the Ministry, or even on the welfare of parties, is to

me important

as these circumstances are

comparatively

a
It

matter of indifference.
to this or that party
is

What may happen

to the Ministry or

merely a ripple on the sea of time.

cannot

in reality affect the great historical course of the nation.

What

I do tremble to see imperilled is the delicate, the worldwide organisation of the British Empire, that majestic structure, the secular structure on which all the best part of Great Britain aye, all lovers of progress and freedom in the world

outside Great Britain

have

laid their surest

and

their safest

hopes.

There could be no
attitude.
It w^as

further mistake as to

Lord Rosebery's
as

a fighting speech,

and was recognised

such by his colleagues of the Liberal League.

Lord Rose-

bery had stated, Mr. Asquith said, the ground on which the

whole Liberal party were prepared to take part

in the great

campaign that

lay before the country.

Sir

Henry" Fowler

declared that the speech was a trumpet note to which the

AGAINST THE BIRMINGHAM POLICY


whole party would respond.

II5

From

the attitude definitely

assumed on 12 June, 1903, Lord Rosebery has made no departure, and it will, therefore, be unnecessary to make
further detailed reference to his views

on Fiscal

policy.

CHAPTER
Institution of the

VIII

Opposition to his Chairmanship

Lord Rosebery elected Success with the Progressives Death of Lady Rosebery Second Municipal contest Lord Rose " Revival of London" Disavowal of bery member for Finsbury
London County Council
Party aims

Growing

unpopularity of the Conservative Govern-

ment

Liberal

campaign

Election of 1892

Mr.

Lord

Rosebery

Gladstone's

at Edinburgh General new Administration Lord

Rosebery's acceptance of Office.

The

chief legislative achievement of 1888 was the Local


Bill for

Government
into

England and Wales.

Roughly,
it

it

trans-

ferred to the elective

County Councils which

had called

being the non-judicial duties hitherto performed by

the justices in Quarter Sessions.

This change was intro-

duced by the Conservatives, not because they believed that


the country gentlemen had proved themselves either inefficient

or extravagant, but because the party managers


forestall the Liberals

wished to

who, no doubt, would deal


much

with the whole question of Local Government in a

more

drastic spirit.

In order, however, to make an imposing


original draft of the Ministerial

show of thoroughness, the


Bill

provided not only for the creation of County Councils,

but also contained a scheme of District Government and


a set of licensing proposals, which invested local committees

with the power of closing public-houses on the payment of

due compensation.
Council
part

It

was found, however, that the County


measure was enough
for

of

the

a single

Session, especially as the

Government
116

insisted

on convert-

ing

"London" i.e.

the

metropohtan area outside and

THE LONDON COUNTY COUNCIL


around
fictional

II7
this

the

City

into
it

" County,"

and

treating

unit as
life.

if

possessed corporate interests and a


effort

common

This

of Municipal imagination was

regarded with open alarm by most of the Conservatives

who had made acquaintance

with the opinions and feelings

of the great mass of the people in our

amorphous

capital,

and some concession had been yielded


the rights and privileges of the Lord

to their fears

by

excluding the City from the new jurisdiction and preserving

At the
but

first

election for the

Mayor and Corporation. London County Council a praisepolitics out of the contest,
all

worthy attempt was made to keep


it

soon became evident that for


little

practical purposes

there was

or

no difference between Progressives and


one hand,
or,

Radicals, on

the

on the

other,

between

Moderates and Conservatives.


In spite of the extreme views professed by some of the
Progressives, the party as a whole were anxious to disarm

suspicion and allay the nervousness excited by their ad-

vanced Municipal programme.

For this purpose they turned,

almost instinctively, towards Lord Rosebery.

The

opinions

which he had often expressed on

social

reform, and his

frequently displayed interest in philanthropic enterprises

he was a good Londoner as well as a good Scotchman

rendered him acceptable to the Progressives, while

it

was

hoped

that

his

rank and wealth would shield the whole


the imputation of predatory aims.

movement from
gether

The
alto-

ignominious termination of the Board of Works' not


unbeneficial
career

had

put

most

unprejudiced

persons out of conceit with the old-fashioned administration


of Metropolitan
was,
therefore,
affairs.

The

genesis of the

new

authority

watched with not


quite

unkindly curiosity by

persons

who were

innocent of sympathy with any

LORD ROSEBERY
candidate

form of Socialism, and the appearance of Lord Rosebery


as
for a

seat

on the Council

lent

an

air

of

distinction to what might otherwise have been considered a

second-class contest.

He

was returned

for the City,

though second
a

to Sir

John

Lubbock (Lord Avebury), by


honours.

heavy vote, nor had he

disdained the ordinary arts of the candidate for election

He
in

delivered

numerous speeches, and

at

once

succeeded

making himself immensely popular, not only

amongst

his

new

constituents, but throughout the

County

of London.

Indeed, his utterances were reported to the


fully as if
It

newspapers almost as

he had been speaking on

some Imperial
have a

topic.

has hitherto been his fortune to


public

'good

Press.'

No

man

has been

more

soundly rated by declared adversaries and candid friends,


yet

the newspapers, even

when they condemn

his views

and reprobate

his conduct,

are constrained to report his

speeches at considerable length.

He

has the art of saying

things that people wish to read, and, though most of his

speeches are too topical to stand the


they are, for that
reason, apt
to

test of republication,

the

moment

In

this

respect he was never

more

successful than in his series of

appeals for the confidence of the

London

Progressives.

The

proposal to

make him Chairman


majority

of the Council,

however, was not welcome to some of the more extreme

members
preferred
directly
this

of

the

Progressive
to

they

would have

their proceedings

be guided

by a

member
and
on
salary.
re-

connected

with

the

working-classes,

ground argued that the


it

ofifice

should carry a
its

This,

was thought, would make

occupant more

sponsive to their views, and there was some reluctance to


confer the most democratic
ofifice in

the country on a Peer,

THK LONDON COUNTY COUNCIL


associated though he was with the

I9

movement

for

converting

the hereditary

Chamber

into a representative body.


in his

But

no man

in

England was ever damaged


title

career by

owning a
popular

though

few

able

Peers,

conscious

of

gifts,

and amongst them Lord

Rosebery,

have

aflfected to

deplore their inheritance.

When
It

the question

was put to the vote, he was elected

to the Chair

by more

than a hundred votes against seventeen.


his personal tact that in a very few days

was evidence of

he had established

relations of special

cordiality with

the very group which

had opposed

his

nomination.

Indeed, he soon

showed
Council

that he had taken up Municipal business in earnest, and

was equally diligent


Committee, and
week,
first

at the routine business of the

in

the

full-dress

debates held once a


at

at

the Guildhall

and subsequently

Spring

Gardens.

He

afterwards remarked, with justice, that few

of the early critics of Progressive activity

had any notion

of

'

the labour and drudgery which a conscientious Coun-

cillor

must give

to his work,'

and he described

his motives
fidelity as is

in entering the

Municipal arena with as much

obtainable by any
duct.

man who

offers to analyse his said, with

own

con-

He

saw a vast experiment, he

enormous

possibiHties

and enormous
heedlessly

risks,

being, as

he thought,
wrongly,
of
it

somewhat

launched.
the

Rightly

or

seemed

to

him

that

public were

not aware

its

magnitude, and that


capacity ought to

men

of thought, leisure,

and business

so noble a work, and

come forward and give their energies to make it a success. He felt, however,
do what he shrank from
so,
'

that he could not expect others to

doing himself, and

very reluctantly, and with a strong

sense of unfitness,' he

became a candidate.
allowance
has been

When

the

necessary

made

for

I20

LORD ROSEBERY
is

graceful habit of self- depreciation which


to deceive the public before

not intended
it

whom

it is

practised,

may be

conceded

that

Lord Rosebery's work on the Council was


1888 was second to

undertaken without any idea of promoting his personal


ambition.
that of

His

political standing in

no Liberal statesman except only Mr. Gladstone

and, perhaps. Sir William Harcourt, and his entrance into

London

politics

was regarded rather as a condescension

than a means of advancement.


In the result, his position was materially strengthened by
the judgment

and moderation with which he guided,


say, steadied the action of the

or,

perhaps we should
nant party.
also
If

predomi-

he adorned and advertised the Council, he


backing of enthusiastic and attached

won

solid

supporters.

inspired
only,

The popularity he won and the confidence he among the advanced Radicals, not in London
when he withdrew from Municipal
following
yet
activity,

by a few months of strenuous association did not


nor
a

pass away

has

his

personal

been

extinguished

in

section of the working classes which in other respects has

shown no marked sympathy with Liberal Imperialism.


His London work was, however, interrupted
1890, by the death of
in

October,

Lady Rosebery.
he
in

This cruel bereave-

ment was followed by prolonged insomnia and mental


depression.

Moreover,

was

called

away

from

the

Municipal administration

which

he

had so rapidly

proved himself singularly


party politics.
tive

efificient

by the demands of

The decaying
revival

popularity of the Conservaof

Government, the

Liberal hopes,

and the

vigorous resumption of Mr. Gladstone's campaign, called


for

the

effective

co-operation of the

statesman

who by

universal consent was designated for the office of Foreign

MEMBER FOR FINSBURY


Secretary
if

121

the Opposition should carry the day at the

General Election.

Though he was
of Chairman
'

re-elected to the

London

County Council,
to take the
ofifice

for East Finsbury, in 1892,


for a

and consented
'

few months

which

meant

until the

General Election

he
faith

was unable to play

so prominent a part as before in the Progressive

movement.
distinctive

Nevertheless,

he reaffirmed

his

in

the

articles of the party faith

some

of which appear to have

since
place.

been quietly dropped or relegated to a secondary


In
1892, along with the removal of
'

'petty

and

annoying
the
right

restrictions

on the expenditure of the Council,


'

of

'

London

to

control

its

water-supply, the

readjustment of local taxation, and Municipal management


of the police, he advocated what was called the Unification

of

London which meant

the absorption by the Council of

the powers and properties of the Corporation

and the City


the

Companies.
as
certainly
it

This he regarded as the most important,

was the most

difficult

to

realise,

of

objects

aimed
it

at

by the Progressive

party.

But
than

was on the sentimental or philanthropic, rather


combative, side
of the

the

movement

that

Lord

Rosebery preferred to

lay stress.

Instead of demonstrat-

ing by argument the need for increased outlay on public


objects,

or justifying

it

by dry financial

statistics,

he

as-

sumed

the

one point and took the other


which
he
delivered
in

for

granted.

speech

Whitechapel

was

model of
lowed
said,

adroitness.

He
fret

began with a reference to the


political

General Election, and the


it.

languor which had

fol-

After the

and

fever of such a contest, he

public opinion has to be wheeled about in a bathIts

chair.

knocker
it

'sometimes

is tied up, it speaks in a whisper, and makes an expedition and goes altogether

122
abroad.'
'

LORD ROSEBERV
But
in

England, should party

politics

become

a mere scene of violence and corruption, slander and maligthere


is
life.

nity,'

always a safe and solid substratum of public


'

Municipal
calling

When

your orators are banging tables and

each other every kind of

name, the Municipal

authorities

go on providing gas and water, and pavements

for their streets, free public libraries,

and public baths and


speaker's

washhouses, and do not care one farthing about these conflicts

that are going on.'

From

the

words

it

would be impossible

to infer that

any question had ever

arisen as to the right or duty of a Municipal


into such undertakings or to
to all-comers.
ofifer

body

to enter

these gratuitous comforts

In the same way, he went on to discuss


revival of

'

this

sudden

London,' and promptly, perhaps not unjustly,


it

attributed

County Council i.e. to the Progressive majority. Of course, he was not so inept as to claim the whole credit for that party, but made due acknowledgment
to the

of the philanthropic efforts of persons outside the Council.

On

another

occasion,

which also was


life,
'

non-political,

he

declared that, as regarded Municipal

London had
Lazarus
fell

been,
in the

before the institution of the Council,


parable,'

like

and only took the crumbs


'

that

from the rich

man's

table.

We

at last feel that

we have

a centre for our

hopes and aspirations, that we have a body, industrious,


zealous, pure, practical, to

which we can look


is

in order to

carry out our wishes.

There
spirit

another quality which has


life

been developed by the new birth of


that
is

in

London, and

emulation.
is

The

of civic emulation has been

aroused, which
as ours.
ple's

a healthy sign in such a

commonwealth

When

the people's representatives spend the peo-

money

they will not spend too much, and they will


it

endeavour to spend

to the best advantage.'

DISAVOWAL uF PARTY AIMS


When
money
the people's representatives spend
will

23

the

people's

they

not spend too

much

'.

It

would, no doubt,

be unfair to describe the sentence as a bundle of disguised


fallacies,

but

it

might be an amusing exercise


all

for the

young
it

logician to set out

the disputable propositions which


is

implies, while, perhaps, there

hardly one of them to which

Lord Rosebery would

deliberately give assent.


facility

He

has

not seldom been betrayed by his

of expression into
are led into a

untenable declarations, just as other


different class of blunders

men

by

inability to put their thoughts

into appropriate words.


It

must not be supposed, nor


ol

is it

here suggested, that the

disavowal

party aims which Lord Rosebery has so often

made
of

is

a mere pose or pretence.

He

has enlarged on this

text ever since


Pitt,

he joined

in the political fray.


in

In the memoir
of

which he dedicated
it

1891 to the

memory

Lady

Rosebery,

is

made
that

a special subject of praise that 'he

managed
tion.

to extinguish Party from this brilliant Administra-

He knew
came

he was fighting a

battle,

almost for the

existence, but certainly for the future, of the countrj-.

The

nation

to recognise, too, that

he was their champion

in the battle

that

they could trust

him

and Parliament
Votes of

met

in reality for little

more than

Vj register the

Supply that
Well, that
entirely
in
is

Pitt required to carr}-

on

his great enterprise.

an example we ought never to lose sight of


country.

this

To such
after Pitt

a degree had

things
it

arrived that, in a

document

of the City of

London,

is

mentioned that four years

came

into

power they

spoke of the " present happy extinction of

parties.''

Such sentiments would admirably become a philosopher


or a disappointed
politician,

but they proceeded rather

strangely from the pen of a public

man

reeking from the

124

LORD ROSEBERV

turmoil of a General Election, an active lieutenant of the

most combative Prime Minister of the century, and a


ner in every scheme and

part-

movement

of the party to which he


for fifteen years

had given an unwavering allegiance


supported
it

having
policy.

with undeniable chivalry, though, on at least one


its

cardinal point, he was admittedly dissatisfied with

There was,

in fact,

nothing in Lord Rosebery's past career


in abstract speculation

except these occasional exercises


that could justify the air of
in regard to the traditional

detachment which he assumed

dichotomy of English
belief in

politics.

The one proof

of

practical

such a theory was


to stand for the

given in January, 1892,

when he declined

City as a candidate for the

London County Council because


But as he sub-

the election was to be run on party lines.

sequently accepted the seat offered him by the electors of

East Finsbury, the demonstration did not prove very much.


It is true

enough

that he has never sought Office, but he

went where Office was

and went
it

willingly

enough.

From 1889 onwards


a Liberal victory.

had been

plain to

any cool-headed

observer that the next appeal to the country would result in

The

concession of Free Education by

Lord Salisbury

to the insistent pressure of Mr.

Chamberlain

and the other Radical Unionists had given deep umbrage


to

many

old-fashioned Conservatives.

The

fusion of the

Unionist party,
organisations,
politicians

though

its

two wings retained separate

had caused jealousy and misgiving amongst


feared that their prospective claims to office
in

who

might be ignored

favour of their Liberal

allies.

The

exposure of Pigott's forgeries was by no means counter-

balanced
of the
that

in the public

judgment

either

by the other findings


fierce

Parnell

Commission, by

the

pubhc
of

light

was thrown

upon the

private

irregularities

the

AT EDINBURGH
once solid

125

Nationalist leader, or even by the feud that broke out in


his

party.

The

series of conciliatory

arrange-

ments by which the Prime Minister had minimised the


chances of the conflict with European Powers over undeli-

mited

territory in Africa

had exposed him


failures, first of

to the charge of

making bad
afterwards

bargains.

The

Mr. Ritchie and


an acceptable

of Mr. Goschen, to propound

scheme

for

reducing the number of public-houses had given

the general impression that Lord Salisbury and his colleagues

were incompetent

in their treatment of

domestic

affairs

an
or

impression which was seriously strengthened by the draft


of their Local

Government

Bill

for

Ireland.

Fairly

unfairly, all these influences told strongly against the

Governfor

ment, and

far

outweighed the credit due to them


if

an

important body of useful,


in social reform.
It is

unpretentious,

accompHshment

obvious to those

who

are wise after the event that

Lord Salisbury made a


term of suspense

tactical

mistake

in

postponing the

General Election to the summer of 1892.


is,

prolonged

as a rule, demoralising to the defence,

while the spirits of the attacking party are raised by expectation.

Among

the most vigorous assailants of the Govern-

ment was Lord Rosebery.


12

Speaking

at

Edinburgh on

May, he affected

to regret his return to active politics.


crisis

But on the eve of a great

he was unwilling to have

it

thought that his retirement was due to any loss of faith in


Liberal principles or want of loyalty to the policy in which

he had taken
of Scottish

part.

After dealing gently with the question

Home

Rule, he passed on to Labour problems.

Some

of these, he considered, were not yet ripe for solution,

but he favoured a certain amount of experimental legislation.

Unless the Liberal party recognised

this necessity,

it

would

126
find
itself,

LORD ROSEBERY
when next
it

obtained power, out of touch with

the great mass of the people.

On

the Irish Question he

spoke out strongly.


for

He

fastened on Mr. Balfour's excuse


trial

having occasionally suspended the system of

by

jury

that the only object of the system was the administraand


if

tion of justice,

that

end were obtained

in

any other

way

it

was equally good.

That observation, Lord Roseignorance of every rule

bery said, showed fundamental

of English jurisprudence and every idea of British liberty.

He

quoted Lord Salisbury as evidence that


'

after five or

six-

years of the

resolute
'

government which he had postulated


'

Ireland was

still

a hostile country.'

Turning on the Duke

of Devonshire

and Mr. Balfour, he pointed out that they


Rule would not be before the country
But Land Purchase and Free Educaat the last Election,
resist

declared that

Home

at the next Election.

tion

had been before the country


breath in their bodies.

and the

Tories had promised that they would


last

both with the


five

Yet when they had been

years in office, they had passed both.

Lord Salisbury was

attacked for his tortuous and incomprehensible treatment


of the

Roman

Catholic Question.

Sometimes, with more

than pedantic arrogance, he excommunicated the Catholics


of the south-eastern part of Ireland from any benefits in
their

Church.

At other times he said he hated any

inter-

ference of ecclesiastics in political matters, and in the

same

sentence laid his

homage

at the feet of the

Pope

for

having
Again,

interfered in Ireland from his

own
if

point of view.

he told the
a

men

of Ulster, that

they chose to rise against

Home

Rule measure, they would not lack countenance

from the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Ireland.

He
was

was the security

for the public

peace of the country, and


It

every word he uttered might cause a dislocation.

GENERAL ELECTION OF
had not been a violent
fall

1892

12/

uncomplimentary to Lord Salisbury's sincerity that there


in the public securities
!

There
sinister

had been

in

that generation

no darker or more

contribution to the

history of Ireland.
final

This dark and

desperate appeal was the


repression out of

outcome of a Government of

was

tolling his

harmony with the nation. Lord Salisbury own knell when he meant only to sound the
call

tocsin that
If that in

would

the nation to war.


it

was not a party speech

would be

difficult,

even

the angry politics of the period, to find an utterance

that
it

would
few

justify the epithet.

Yet Lord Rosebery bettered

days

later

at

Birmingham.

Having invaded

Mr. Chamberlain's

district (21

May), he began by paying

a graceful and quite sincere compliment to the civic services of the Radical Unionist statesman.
of
his

But by the weight

personality

Mr.

Chamberlain

had

transformed
to

Birmingham from the foremost town


the pocket borough
of a

of Liberalism

Tory Government.

Yet Mr.

Chamberlain and Mr.


earliest

Matthews had

been among the

and most strenuous of English

Home

Rulers.

Without saying that the leaders of the party had entered


into a foul conspiracy, without speaking of their shameless

apostasy,

and without, when

all

other words

failed, calling

them knaves, Lord


should
as
at least

Rosebery argued that


it

Home Home
The

Rule
Rule

be discussed since
it

affected

Birmingham

deeply as

affected

Ireland.

While

blocked the way Birmingham would get no Liberal measures


effectively

supported by

its

representatives.

repre-

sentation of

Birmingham

recalled the condition of a bird

tied to a string

by a bad boy.

The

bird was occasionally


its
it

allowed to sing the old notes of freedom and to wave


wings
:

the

moment

it

got a certain height from the wrist

128

LORD ROSEBERV

was pulled back again.

'policy of twitter
'

and

flutter'

rather melancholy to the bystander

the bird.'

and infinitely tragic to Those who worshipped the Act of Union were

following a phantom,
futile

and

fighting for the

remnant of a
Rule would be

and discreditable

transaction.

Home

a test question at the next General Election.

The

great

mass of the people had made up

their minds.

But the

Government had an
in their

alternative policy
Bill

which was embodied

Local Government

then before Parliament

was

measure to which Mr. Chamberlain had given a not very


enthusiastic

support.
it

Nevertheless,

the

proposal

welcome because

put before the country a definite issue


Bill

the
Rule
the

Local Government
Bill of the

of Ministers or the

Home

Opposition.
subject.

But the former did not touch


It

fringe

of

the

was part of the eternal


in regard to

misconception of Tory and Unionist policy


Ireland.

They gave

Ireland not what she

wanted, but

what she ought to want.

Liberal

Government could not be

indiflferent to the

claims of Ulster.

They would not be

selling her

into

slavery because they invited her to take her part


in Ireland

and share

from which she had reaped so much prosperity.

The

secret of the British

Empire

lay in equal liberty

and

equal justice.

There was no other British-speaking


of

state in

the world into which Ministers would venture to introduce


the
provisions

the

Local

Government

Bill

(Lord

Rosebery was here alluding


the
Nationalists called

to the part of the Bill

which

'the put-them-in-the-dock clause,'


to provide against maladministra-

and which was intended


prevailed freedom

tion by local authorities).

In every British-speaking state

free Parliaments, free discussion, and,

above

all,

justice.

The

rule of

England

in

Ireland had

GENERAL ELECTION OF
corrupted both countries.
distant

892

29
far

But the moment was not


party

when

the

Liberal

proposed to
all.

settle

the

question of Ireland once and for

From
it

these and other speeches delivered at this time

is

clear that

Lord Rosebery had once again thrown

himself heartily into the political turmoil.

On

28 June,

the day on which the writs were issued for the General
Election,
politics

he dedicated himself, as

it

were, to

Imperial

by resigning the chairmanship of the


Evidently he
felt

London
as to the

County Council.
no

no doubt
that he

attitude of the country,


leisure for

and made sure

would have

Municipal work.

The

results did not bear


;

out the estimates of sanguine Liberals


Conservatives, though decisive, was

the defeat of the


crushing.

not

The
Rulers

voting was somewhat chequered, for though the Unionists


lost 81 seats,

they gained 26.


strong,

The

English

Home

came back 275

and with the 81 Nationalists would

have a majority of 42 over the combined strength of the


Conservatives (268) and the Liberal Unionists (46)
against 314.
:

356

"Too
figures,

small," said Mr. Gladstone

when he was

told the

"too small."

Obviously, too small a majority for

passing measures of organic reconstruction such as were

contemplated

in the

Newcastle Programme of 1890.

Too

small either to ensure victory in the

House

of

Commons
new

or to intimidate the Peeis.

Nevertheless the Liberals did

not hesitate to press their advantage, and when the

Parliament met on 4 August an

amendment

to the

Address

was moved and carried by Mr. Asquith.


being taken on
1 1

On

the division

August the Government were beaten by


later

40

votes.

Four days

Lord Salisbury resigned, and


the

Mr. Gladstone was

summoned by

Queen

to form a

130

LORD ROSEBERY
the office of First Lord

new Administration. He combined


Rosebery,
invited to

of the Treasury with that of Lord Privy Seal, and Lord

who had gone away on a become Foreign Secretary.


but
the
real

yachting

trip,

was

At

first

he made

excuses on the plea of his health, which had not yet been
restored,

ground of

his

hesitation was,

no

doubt, that Mr. Gladstone, Mr. John Morley, and other


leading Liberals had recently used language that pointed to

an early evacuation of Egypt.

It

was on the understanding

that in this respect he should be allowed to act

on

his

own

judgment

that he consented to throw in his fortunes with

the Administration.

The
Sir

other most important appointments were those of

William Harcourt (Chancellor of the Exchequer), Mr.

John Morley (Chief Secretary), Mr. Campbell-Bannerman I>ord (War Office), and Lord Spencer (Admiralty). Lord Ripon took Herschell was made Lord Chancellor
;

the Colonies

and Lord Kimberley


Bryce
(Chancellor

India.

The

remain-

ing members of the Cabinet were Mr. Asquith


Secretary),

(Home
Sir

Mr.

of

the

Duchy),

G. Trevelyan (Scotland), Mr. Arnold Morley (Post Office),

Mr. Mundella (Trade), Mr. Henry Fowler (Local Government), Mr. Arthur Acland (Vice-President of Council), and

Mr. Shaw-Lefevre

(First

Commissioner).
list

The most

surpris-

ing nomination in the above

was that of Mr. Bryce to


office,
it

an unimportant sinecure.

He

had accepted the

was understood,

in order that

he might be able to

assist

Lord Rosebery, who had not


buoyancy of
successfully
spirit,

yet recovered his energy

and

though, as we have seen, he could

brace himself,

when occasion demanded,

for

a special

effort in

polemical oratory.

CHAPTER

IX

Lord Rosebery at the Foreign Office The British Occupation of Egypt Question of Evacuation Previous negotiations The young

Khedive's bid independence Prompt action of Great Britain Telegrams between Lord Rosebery and Lord Cromer Crisis settled Great Britain and France Lord Rosebery and M. Wad
for

dington

Indications of

future British policy.

It was well that Lord Rosebery went to the Foreign Office


with something like a free hand in regard to Egypt.

He
Street

had only been

installed a few

months

in

Downing

when

the trouble

which

for

some

little

time had been

brewing suddenly became

critical.

Before we pass judgment,

however, on Mr. Gladstone for having expressed his hope


(in
1

891) that Great Britain would before long be relieved


a
'

from

burdensome and

troublesome

Occupation,'

it

should be remembered that our position on the Nile

position which was then a long distance from being regularised by international compacts

was a bone of frequent conof the Republic were

tention with France.


still

The statesmen

smarting under the sense of their blunder in having

broken up the Anglo-F'rench condominium, and permitted


us to undertake single-handed the work of restoring order
in 1882.

The

pledges which

we had given and


to
it

repeated,

under two Administrations, as


the
first

withdrawing our troops on


is

safe opportunity were,

true, conditional,

but

they were absolutely explicit.


that in 1887
it

So

clear

was the obligation


to carry

Lord Salisbury had made an attempt


Sir

out at

least, in part.

Henry Drummond Wolff was

^31

132

LORD ROSEBERY
country, and
the

sent to confer with the Sultan as to our eventual evacuation

of the

proposed that
of

his

Majesty should
retaining

recognise

independence

the
of

country,

only a nominal suzerainty.


privileges enjoyed
territory

Some

the extra-territorial

by foreigners were to be modified.

The

was

to

be neutralised under the guarantee of the

Great Powers, who, in return, would be given the right of

moving

their troops either

through the Canal or by land.

On

the other hand, the British

Government should have the


officers in the
its

nomination of the majority of the


army,
retain

Khedive's should
case of

and, after
the

it

had

withdrawn
the

troops,

right of reoccupying

country in

necessity.

On

these terms

we were prepared
sufificiently

to terminate

our Occupation.
Happily, this
offer,

which

proved the honesty

of our intentions, did not satisfy either the Porte or the

French Government.

further concession

was afterwards

suggested by Lord Salisbury.


tion to three years from date,

We

would

limit the

Occupa-

and would define beforehand


assert the right of re-

the conditions under which


entry.

we should

Even
the

this

a
The

great advance

on the previous pro-

posal

was rejected by the Sultan, while France, of course,


in

saw

proposal

an

insuperable

barrier

against

its

ultimate policy.

object of getting British troops out


in.

was

to get
offer,

French troops

After the refusal of our

second

there was nothing

more

to be

done

at

least

for the present.

Nevertheless,
;

we were

still

bound by our

conditional engagement

and our delay

in giving effect to

the promise, though the withdrawal of the garrison would

have thrown the whole of Egypt back into anarchy and


corruption, was said to lend fresh colour to the traditional

imputations on the good faith of Great Britain.

AT THE FOREIGN OFFICE


It
is

33

hardly too

much
If

to

say that

we owe our now


to the

legitimated

and recognised position on the Nile


he had been
'
'

Mahdi's rebellion.

smashed by Gordon
trust,

we should very soon have surrendered our


civilisation

but year

after year brought accumulating evidence that the helpless

of

Egypt could only be protected by foreign


grew

help against the very efficient barbarism of the Soudan.


It

may

as well be admitted also that the opinion


that

in

England

we were morally
fulfilled

entitled to ignore an under-

taking which ought never to have been entered into, and

could

only be

by jeopardising our interests


that

in

the East.

The one European Power

would derive

advantage from our withdrawal had deliberately refused to


share in the risk and cost of instituting and maintaining a
stable government, while to yield to the insistent

demand
way

of
to

France would have a very unpleasant

air of giving

menace.
in

The diplomacy
spirit
it

of Paris was not conducted either


or

conciliatory

by straightforward methods.
almost contemptuously
in-

Moreover,

had shown

itself

different to the welfare of the people for

whom we

were

making considerable
wish

sacrifices.

In short, we could point to

half a dozen excellent reasons for not doing what


to

we did not

do.

The

increasing

reluctance

in

England to
was not con-

abandon control of the short route


fined to Conservatives.
It

to India

was shared by many Liberals


as Imperialists,
to repre-

who could not have described themselves


and they looked confidently
to

Lord Rosebery
In the

sent their views in the Cabinet.

The
of

occasion was not long in coming.

last

days

December, 1892, the news was received from Lord Cromer that Mustapha Pasha Fehmy, the Egyptian Prime
Minister, was suffering from congestion of both lungs,

and

134
that the

LORD ROSEBERY
young Khedive was already thinking of appointing

a successor.

Mustapha was a manageable man, and

it

was

important that the next Prime Minister should not be antiBritish.

The

best

solution,

Lord Cromer telegraphed,


But our

would be the appointment of Riaz Pasha, who was the only

Mohammedan
'

in

Cairo possessing any influence.

Representative did not propose to interfere directly unless

some highly objectionable appointment were proposed.


'

The

right of the British

Government
it

to offer advice to

the Khedive, and to see that

should be accepted, had


in

been emphatically asserted by Lord Granville

1884,

when
in the

the Ministry of Chcrif Pasha had declined to concur

abandonment of the Soudan, but wished


Nile,

to

'

protect

the

Upper

including
'

Khartoum'

an

object which

they hoped to attain by

the retrocession of the Eastern


to the

Soudan and the Red Sea shores and


on
January, to resign.

Sublime Porte';

as they held firmly to this policy they were compelled,


7

The
'
:

position

of the

British
in

Government had been explained by Lord


a telegram of three days before
I

Granville,

need hardly point

out,'

he wrote,
tration

'

that in important questions,


safety of

when
it

the adminis-

and

Egypt are

at stake,

is

indispensable

that

her

Majesty's

Government should,

as

long as

the

provisional occui)ation of the country by English troops

continues,

be assured that the advice which, after

full

consideration of the views of the Egyptian Government,

they

may

feel

it

their

duty to tender to the Khedive should

be followed.

It

should be

made

clear to

the

Egyptian

Ministers and Governors of Provinces, that the responsibility

which, for the time, rests on England, obliges her

Majesty's

Government

to

insist

on the adoption of the


that
it

policy which they

recommend, and

will

be necessary

OCCUPATION OF EGYPT
that those Ministers

135
this

and Governors who do not follow


offices.'

course should cease to hold their


the
'

To

this principle

Khedive (Tewfik) promptly assented.


'

He

not only

accepted cordially

the policy of the British


reflection,

Government
he believed
that

as to the

Soudan

which, on mature
that
in

to be best in the interests of the country

but added

he

'

had thorough confidence


This happened

any advice given by Her


the true interests of

Majesty's
Egypt.'

Government would be
in

18S4, and so long as Tewfik

Pasha

lived, there

was no serious misunderstanding between

the British authority and the Egyptian Government.


in

But

1892 he died, and his successor. Abbas Pasha, was a lad

of eighteen, who, not unnaturally,

made
head

a bid for indepen-

dence.

He

had

fallen

under dubious influences, but the


to a
at the

insubordination which

came

beginning of

1893 h^^ been foreseen and provided against.

From
between

the brevity of the telegrams so briskly exchanged

Lord Cromer and Lord Rosebery


evident that the two

[cf.

Further
i,

Correspondence respecting the Affairs of Egypt, No.


1893, C. 6849]
it is

men had

thoroughly

agreed on the proper line of policy, and relied on each


other's

help and support.

Not inopportunely, while the

political crisis

was

at its height in Cairo, in the

came the news of


loss inflicted

smart Dervish raids

Soudn, and the


to

on

the Khedive's troops

may have helped


appoint his

quench

his in-

cipient rebellion against the protecting Power.

Nevertheless
Minister,

he persisted

in the claim to

own Prime

and
that

after the post

had been offered

to

Tigrane Pasha, and


15 January,

declined by him. Lord

Cromer was informed, on


in his place.

Mustapha

Pasha Fehmy had been dismissed and


Fakhry,
it

Fakhry Pasha named


noted,

should be
Ministry

had been a member of the

anti-British

136

LORD ROSEBERY
we have
seen, was dismissed in
Justice,

of Cherif Pasha, which, as


1884.

He

had subsequently been Minister of

and

again dismissed, at Lord Cromer's instance, as being opposed


to Judicial

Reform.

His appointment, therefore, was eminently unacceptable


to Great Britain.

Lord Cromer, accordingly,


protest.

visited the

Khedive and delivered a strong


his

He

pointed out to

Highness that no change was necessary, since Mustapha's

health had improved.


in

To

the changes which were proposed

the

Ministries

of Finance and Justice,


to the

Lord Cromer

offered

no objection, but as

Premiership he wished

to impress very strongly

on her Majesty's Government the

importance of the question.

How

concisely

statesmen

business may be conducted between who understand each other will appear from the
:

following messages

l^he

Earl of Rosebery

to

Lord Cromer.
16, 1893.

Foreign Oyvick, Jamiaty

Your telegram of yesterday. Her Majesty's Government expect important matters as a change of

to

be consulted

in

such

Ministers.

No

change

appears to be at present either necessary or


Pasha.

])erenij)tory.

We

cannot, therefore, sanction the proposed nomination of P'akhry

Lord Crofucr

to

the

Earl of Rosebery.
16.)
\6, 1893.

(Received January

QMViO, Januaiy
I

hear rumours from a

fairly

good source
officials.

that

if

the Khedive

is

successful in his present undertaking, the next step will be a

wholesale dismissal of English

The latter, acting on my nise new Ministers pending

instructions,

have declined

to recog-

receipt of instructions from

London.

PROMPT ACTION OF GREAT BRITAIN


Lord Cromer
to the

37

Earl 0/ Rosebery.
17.)
l"]
,

(Received January

Ckiko, January

1893.

propose to make communication contained ship's telegram of the i6th to-morrow morning.
I

in

your Lord-

On

the receipt of

this

last

telegram,

Lord Cromer

at

once called on the Khedive, and told him that he could


have his own way as to the Ministers of Finance and
Justice
if

he would reinstate Mustapha as Prime Minister.

'In the contrary event' Lord Cromer must reserve the


liberty of action of her Majesty's
all

Government
it

as regards

those Ministers.

He

did not think

fair to

press for

an immediate
It

reply, but

would

call for

one next morning.

was not yet too

late to yield,

and Lord Cromer earnestly

hoped he would do so, 'as otherwise matters might

become
but
the

more

serious

and complicated.'
sufficiently
explicit,

This representation was

Khedive

as yet

had given no indication

at this interview

as to the nature of his decision.

While he was hesitating

came Lord Rosebery's telegram


refusing

to

Lord Cromer.

Your Lordship should inform the Khedive, in case of his to take your advice, that his Highness must be prepared to take the grave consequences of his act, and that you must at once refer to her Majesty's Government for instructions.

The

next day

the crisis had

been solved.
the

On Lord

Cromer's paying the promised

visit,

Khedive 'expressed

his regret at the occurrence of the present incident,' but

pointed out that


all

it

would humiliate him and make him lose


in

his authority

the

country

if

he were obliged to

reinstate

Mustapha.

He

therefore begged her Majesty's

Government not
to

to insist

on that

point, but

was prepared
that 'it

name Riaz

in

place of Fakhry.

He added

138
was

LORD ROSEBERY
his earnest wish

to

entertain most friendly relations

with the British Government,' and for the future he would

be willing to follow

its

advice on

all

important matters.

Lord Cromer undertook, on the


mission as a
the
final

spot, to accept this sub-

settlement of the matter, and asked for


Majesty's

approval of her

Government.

This was

accorded by a telegram sent off the same day by Lord


Rosebery,
that

who asked Lord Cromer

to inform the

Khedive
was
with
in

'the sound judgment exercised by his Highness in

retracing the
gratifying to

untoward course which he had taken


her Majesty's Government,
his

'

who noted
their

pleasure the solemn assurance of


cordial co-operation
in all
It

desire to

work

with them, and

follow

advice

matters of importance.
was, no doubt, an easy matter to crush the insub-

ordination of a ruler
at this

time we were dealing not so

who had no army to defend him, but much with the Khedive

as with the French Government.

On
his

the day on which


to

Lord Rosebery had despatched


of the Republic,

resolute message

Lord Cromer, he had been called upon by the Ambassador

who
'

protested against what

seemed

like a

claim on the part of Great Britain to nominate the Khedive's

Prime Minister.
Paris,
'

said,'

he informed our Ambassador in

that that was not the

way

should put the matter,'

but Great Britain did claim to give 'authoritative advice as


to the choice of Ministers.'

So long as the

British flag

was

in

Egypt, and British forces were in occupation,

we

could not allow the whole administration, beginning at the


top, to

be

'

reversed at the

whim
'

of the Khedive.'

The
of

situation

was undoubtedly grave, and he trusted that the


to a

Khedive might be brought

more reasonable frame

mind' without

'further measures.'

PROMPT ACTION OF GREAT BRITAIN


to

39

This was a polite intimation to France that we intended

manage our own business

in

Egypt without any kind of

interference.

Nevertheless, the French

Ambassador was

instructed to try the effect of further pressure.


is

The

story

told

by Lord Rosebery
:

in

another despatch to Lord

Dufferin

Foreign Oytxck, January


At a further interview with the French

i8, 1893.

Ambassador to-day, his Excellency stated that he was instructed by his Government to lay a formal protest against the action taken by Lord Cromer with regard to the nomination of Fakhr>' Pasha as Prime What the French Government chiefly Minister in Egypt.
It objected to was the high-handed nature of the proceeding. amounted to this, that the Khedive was not to appoint any

Government.

Minister except at the good-will and pleasure of her Majesty's Such an event was unprecedented in the history
It

of the British Occupation.

went, in the opinion of the P>ench


Granville's despatch

Government,

far

beyond the terms of Lord

and would,
nexation.

his Excellency feared, be taken throughout

Europe,

as in France, to be a long step in the direction of actual an-

to

As regards the nature of the proceeding, I said in my reply M. Waddington that I was aware that there had been some
;

high-handedness but that it had been on the part of the Khedive, who, without notice, warning, or consultation, had selected as his Prime Minister a person notoriously unfitted for the position. To admit such a pretension would be to deprive the British Occupation of any reason for existence, as it would open the door to the very maladministraton to prevent which this country had, in concert with France, intervened in Egypt. For, as a matter of fact, if his Highness had 'carte blanche to
appoint

beginning

any post in the Administration, would be no safeguard whatever against the return of the worst abuses which existed under the regime of the ex- Khedive Ismail. His Excellency had said that the proceeding was unpreceIt had dented, and indeed it was so for one obvious reason.
he pleased
to
at the top, there

whom

HO

LORD ROSEBERY

never happened in the reign of the Khedive Tewfik, for, though the Prince had often changed his Ministers, he had always been wise enough to take the British Representative into his counsel.
his Excellency spoke of the high-handed nature of Lord Cromer's proceeding, I was at a loss to understand his meaning. The Khedive had named an unacceptable Minister, and Lord Cromer, on the grounds I had mentioned, had entered a protest. At any rate, when his Excellency called to mind the express object for which he had sought the present interview, he could hardly contend that a protest was in itself a highhanded proceeding.

And when

Throughout the

affair,

the

Khedive had, no doubt, been

acting on the advice of French agents,

and he only yielded


that

when he discovered
receive

at

the

last

moment

he would
Its assist-

no

practical support from the Republic.

ance would be moral, not material.

Even now, however,


Lord
similar
that,

we could not regard


that

the matter as quite at an end.


to

Rosebery had pointed out on the 17th

Lord Cromer

we must be prepared

for the recurrence of

incidents,

and on the 19th Lord Cromer had replied


was

though the Khedive's language and demeanour had been


'

satisfactory/ there

the situation.

large

room number of
still

for

apprehension about

natives

had been

calling

on
the

his Highness,

and demonstrations had been


press was
'

held, while

ultra-Mohammedan

very violent and mis-

The British garrison was not sufficiently strong, and Lord Cromer would like to announce at once that it would be increased. The next day came Lord Rosebery's
chievous.'
'
'

reply that the British

Government would be prepared


the necessity should arise.

to

increase the garrison

if

At

this point,

however, Lord Rosebery had to contend


of
adversaries

with a

new

set

certain

members
not

of

the

Cabinet

who had

been watching,

with

altogether

FRENCH PROTEST
admiring eyes,
crisis

I4I
of

his

summary treatment
It

the

political

in

Cairo.

The

telegram of the 20th was not

an

unconditional promise.

was not

until the

23rd that Lord

Rosebery was able to announce

definitely that, 'in view of

recent occurrences,' and the opinion

expressed by Lord

Cromer and the


rison

British

General

in

command,

the gar-

would

be increased.

The consent

of the doubting

Ministers had only been obtained on condition that the

announcement which would be made

to the other Great that

Powers should be coupled with a declaration


measure did not indicate any alteration of

the

policy, or

any

modification of the assurance which the British Govern-

ment had from time


tion of Egypt.
all

to

time given

in

regard to the occupawhile observing


its

The French Government,

the courtesies of diplomacy, did not disguise

annoy-

ance.

On

the 25th a formal protest was

handed

to

Lord
the

Rosebery by M. Waddington.

After acknowledging

communication from Great

Britain,

and taking note of the

statement that no alteration of policy was signified by the


increase of the garrison, the

document proceeded

effet, au moment ou 11 a cru devoir occuper I'Egypte, k la de I'insurrection d'Arabi, le Gouvemement de Sa Majestd a pris I'engagement que cette occupation ne durerait pas au deli des dvcnements qui I'avaient provoquee. Toutes les fois

En

suite

que

le

Gouvemement de Sa Majestd a

6tc interrogd depuis

il

renouvel^ express(?ment ces assurances et cet engagement.


Toutefois, il est h. craindre que le projet du Gouvemement de Sa Majestc d'augmenter la gamison Anglaise en Egj'-pte ne soit interprc^te dans un sens directement opposd h. ses intentions. Aussi suis-je chargd de demander h. votre Seigneurie de bien
vouloir preciser les incidents qui auraient motivd cette mesure.

Apr^s

M.
si,

communication que Lord Dufferin vient de faire a le Gouvemement de Sa Majestd comprendra que centre notre attente, des troubles venaient h se produire en
la

Develle,

142
Egypte,
le

LORD ROSEBERY
Gouvernement de
la

R^publique se reserverait
le

d'examiner, d'accord avec les Puissances et avec Sa Majestd


Sultan, les mesures qu'il y aurait
les intdrets qui
h.

prendre pour sauvegarder


toutes les Puissances

nous sont

commons avec

garantes de I'inddpendance de I'Empire Ottoman.

The

last

sentence was almost a menace, but Lord Rose-

bery, with excellent

judgment, ignored

it.

This was,

in-

deed, the
since,

only way of dealing with an


law,

awkward
it

point,

on grounds of international

could not be

denied that the French Government did possess the right

which

it

claimed to exercise in conjunction with

'

the other

Powers guaranteeing the independence of the Ottoman


Empire.'

Lord Rosebery forwarded the Note


in
Paris,

to the British

Ambassador
receiving
it

and describes

his

own manner

of

:
it
I

After reading

observed to M. Waddington

that, without

entering on any matter in his Note that might be debatable,


I

perceived that

its

main purport was


('

to press that

should

state with greater precision

preciser

')

the causes which


I

had

led
I

her Majesty's Government to take this step.


difficulty in

should,

remarked, have no
in the

doing
first

this, for
it

the causes were

simple

extreme.

In the

place,

observe that so long as the British flag


held responsible for public order.
place,

was necessary to was in Egypt we were


riot

Should, then, a

take

we might be

called to account for the losses sustained

by

the subjects of other Powers resident in Egypt, which would be

a serious matter. It was also necessary to remember that in a time of popular excitement some insult might be offered to the British uniform or to the British flag which might compel an
intervention of a very different

one, indeed, that might raise the Egyptian question in

and more formidable character its most


:

acute phase.

Moreover, very recently the Egyptian Govern-

ment had asked the Powers for their consent to the increase of the native army by 2,000 men, a request which had been Almost simultaneously the Dervishes had invaded refused.

CRISIS
Egypt, and
Khalifa.

SETTLED
been
a

I43
of

the

result

had

sanguinary contest

doubtful issue between the Khedive's troops and those of the


All these circumstances, the necessity of precaution
riot,

against
refusal

the renewed activity of the Dervishes,

and the

of the

increase in

the Egyptian army, had led her

Majesty's Government to examine more closely the


their force

for

could not call

it

an army
;

which

number of had been

reduced to the lowest possible limit and, prevention being commonly better than cure, they had determined, as a precautionar>' measure, to increase the
at

number, which now stood

about 3,000 men, by two battalions. M. Waddington inquired whether we had


riots.
I

any reason

to

apprehend
I

told his Excellency that

could offer no opinion.


liable

But

there had no doubt been

some

efifervescence observable in the


to fanatical
tell

populace, and

in

an Eastern people,

and

other obscure influences, one

a smouldering spark might leap into a sudden flame. His Excellency thanked me and said he would instantly transmit a Report of our conversation to his Government.

could never

how soon

full

explanation of British policy was given in a des-

patch dated 16 February, 1893, in which Lord Rosebery

made

a brief recital of the measures he had taken to vindi-

cate the principle laid


principle

down by Lord

Granville in 1884

which

in
'

1893 had

for the first time

been called

into question

and

was

the present Khedive.'

for a moment openly set aside by Though the attempt had since been
it

abandoned, and promises given that


newed,
it

would not be
positively that

reall

was not prudent

to

assume

prospect of future trouble was therefore at an end.


fact,

(In

both

in

1894 and 1895 ^ certain revival of unpleasant-

ness had to be checked by the

summary

action of

Lord

Cromer, vigorously supported, as before, by Lord Rosebery.)

In the event of further serious trouble, Lord Rosebery

144

LORD ROSEBERY
it

went on, the question might be raised whether

was But

advisable that the Occupation should be maintained.


against bringing
it

to a close in such circumstances certain

elementary considerations were opposed.


'

Firstly,'

wrote Lord Rosebery,


in

'it is

necessary to consider the

important interests, and indeed the safety, of the large European

community

Egypt.

Secondly,

it

is

by no means clear that


is
it

the real feeling, even of the native population in the country,

otherwise than friendly and grateful, although


to elicit

may be
It

difficult

any public or decisive expression of

it.

right or proper that the policy of this country, based

would not be on conin

siderations of

permanent importance, should be modified


Thirdly,
it

deference to hasty personal impulse or to ephemeral agitation

among

certain classes.
first

seems impossible

lightly,

and on the

appearance of difficulties, to retire from the task which was publicly undertaken in the general interest

of Europe and civilisation, and to abandon the results of ten

years of successful effort in that direction.

And,

fourthly, the

withdrawal of the British troops under such circumstances would too probably result in a speedy return to the former
corrupt and defective systems of administration, and be followed

by a relapse
it

into confusion
still

intervention under
is

more
to

not

now necessary

which would necessitate a fresh difficult circumstances, though discuss the particular form which
All these considerations point
is

that intervention might assume.

to the conclusion that for the present there

but one course to

pursue

that

we must maintain

the fabric of administration

which has been constructed under our guidance, and must continue the process of construction without impatience, but with-

out interruption, of an administrative and judicial system, which


shall afford a reliable

guarantee for the future welfare of Egypt.'

In a few significant words Lord Rosebery showed that


his

own

solution of the difficulty

would be something very


Circumstances
it

different

from the policy of evacuatioii

might

arise,

he discreetly hinted, which might render

necessary to consider the expediency of fresh consultations

FUTURE BRITISH POLICY


with the Suzerain and with the European Powers.
it

I45

But

would serve no useful purpose


it

to

discuss at present

proposals which
forward.

might hereafter be desirable to bring


fairly

We may

conjecture that what Lord Rose-

bery had in his mind was to obtain, without any breach


of the obligations
into

which we had entered, a

fuller

mandate and
affairs

a less fettered discretion in dealing with the

of Egypt.

The

realisation of that idea

was more than

ten years distant, and was to be accomplished by other

hands than those which had guided Great Britain and Egypt through this dangerous crisis. The action of Lord

Rosebery had infringed none of the tenable claims of any


other Power, and justified no charge against our good
faith.

At the same time


minate position

it

had sensibly strengthened our indeterEgypt, and prepared the way for the

in

subsequent achievement of British arms and British diplomacy.

Moreover,

it

extinguished, once for

all,

the move-

ment
tions
It

in

England

for

withdrawing from our tutelary obligainterests in the Valley of the Nile.

and almost vested

would, of course, be absurd to claim for Lord Rosebery

the entire credit of this adroit and courageous passage in the history of the Foreign Office.

At each step forward he


it is

consulted with Lord Cromer, and at every point

evident,

even from the reticent pages of

Official

Correspondence,

that the two partners in a complicated


fully

each into the other's hand.

game played careThe Foreign Secretary


British Representa-

strengthened the British Representative's cards as against


the Franco-Egyptian intrigue,
tive, in return,

and the

enabled the Foreign Secretary to apply the

necessary pressure to hesitating or recalcitrant colleagues in


the Cabinet.
It

was fortunate, perhaps, that those politicians


hostile to extending our responsibilities

who were most

and

146

LORD ROSEBERV

developing our authority abroad were so deeply involved in


the fortunes of the

Home

Rule

Bill for

Ireland that every

other issue was, for the time, secondary in their estimation.

On

no account were they


result
in

willing to take
crisis

such action as

would

Ministerial

that

might destroy

the chances of the great domestic measure on which they

were resolved.
the situation,

Lord Rosebery,
his

therefore,

was master of
effect.

and used

advantage to the best

CHAPTER X
British position in

UganJa

mission

Railway
Reasons

Cabinet
to

difterences

to Victoria

Nyanza

Lord

Sir

Gerald Portal's

Rosebcry and Sir

William Ilarcourt
vention Nile

Attempt

improve the Anglo-German Con-

of the failure

French

aggression on the

Upper

Marchand's expedition Attitude of the British Government Significant warning Trouble in Siani High-handed action of France Dangers of conflict Lord Rosebery's diplomacy War between China and Japan British mediation suggested Attitude of the Great Powers Lord Rosebery's reply to criticisms On Continental suspicions Treaty of Shimonoseki Hostile combination of Russia, Germany, and France Coercion of Japan Attitude of Great Britain Lord Rosebery justified Difficulties with the South African Republic Mr. Kriiger's policy Persecution of Armenians Action of Lord Rosebery.
If

Lord Rosebery had certain

difficulties

to

surmount

within the Cabinet in regard to Egypt, they were trifling


in

comparison with the resistance offered to

his

poHcy of

strengthening British control over Uganda.


the directors of the British East Africa
that they

In June, 1892,

Company announced
as the pearl

had

finally

decided to withdraw from a region

which the
of

late Sir

Henry Stanley described


likely to pay, for the

Central Africa, but which had shown

no indication
expenses of

of paying, or

becoming

administration.

Here, again, French ambitions, though in


guise,

a very

difl"erent

had been working against British

influence.

For some years the domain of King

had been made the battle-ground of


British Protestants

religious feuds.

Mwanga The
how-

were

first

in the field,

and resented the


Presently,

subsequent settlement of French Jesuits.


147

148
ever,

LORD ROSEBERY
the

two Christian sects joined hands against the


but after routing the Pagans renewed their
It

Mohammedans,

mutual animosities.

was the

duty of Captain

(Sir

Frederick) Lugard, the Company's administrator, to keep


the peace between the two factions, and, as the Chartered

Company were

evidently weary of a profitless outlay, the


to

French party began

hope that they might found a Roman

Catholic State in Central Africa, especially as they had ac-

quired influence over the King.

certain sort of order


to use the force

was maintained by Captain Lugard's threat


at the

Company's disposal against whichever party should

attack the other; but the condition of the country was considerably

more disturbed than before

it

became the prey of

Christian feuds
to bloodthirsty

we can apply the name of Christians savages who adopted one faith or another
if

simply as an excuse for waging war against a


things dragged on

rival sect.

So
time

from
' ;

bad

to worse.

But

at this

the great nations of Europe were actively engaged in the


'

scramble for Africa


that

and

in this

country a strong feeling


as

had grown up

we should not abandon such hold


and
certainly

we

possessed on a district that might offer a new market to


British

industry,

possessed a

romantic,

if

somewhat

sinister,

interest.

Nor must we overlook

the

influence of religious Scotland, which keenly resented the

suggestion of withdrawing from any part of a region where


so

many

of

its

sons had carried on the work of spreading


the heathen.

the Gospel

among

All these considerations told strongly in Lord Rosebery's

mind, and he was resolved to use every means

for

keeping
dis-

Uganda.

Mr. (iladstone, however, did not conceal his


'

gust at being
quarrels of
'

dragged into Central Africa

'

through the

those wretched missionaries.'

He

did not

BRITISH POSITION IN
realise

UGANDA

149

how immediate was


Nile, while,

the need for preventing our

being forestalled by foreign rivals in the region of the

Upper

not

unreasonably, he was

somewhat

incredulous as to the mercantile possibilities of

Uganda

and the neighbouring

countries.

Almost universal as was no doubt, he agreed


protested against our

Mr. Gladstone's intellectual curiosity, his African geography

was scarcely up to date, and


with the

at first,

members

of his Cabinet

who

involving ourselves in what


enterprise.
Sir

seemed a dangerous and costly Nevertheless, he was somewhat influenced by


and
have

Henry

Stanley's vigorous advocacy, both in public


to

private,

and eventually he allowed Lord Rosebery

his way.

Friendly pressure was brought to bear on the

directors of the Chartered


to dispose of their plant

Company
and

who naturally wished


Government

stores to the

and

in

October they announced that they would further

postpone their contemplated evacuation to the end of the


year.

Sir

Gerald Portal was appointed British Commisto

sioner,

and instructed

report

on the best means of


to establish

administering the country.


relations with the King,

He

was

friendly

and

to effect a general settlement of

the country so as to promote the interests of


civilisation, religion,

good

order,

and

British trade.

Sir Gerald,

prompt
had
law

and resourceful
and

in

his dealings with African natives,

very soon reduced anarchy to what might pass for


order.

Early

in

the

following

year

the

Company
Office.

were bought out by the Government, and the administration

was formally taken over by the Foreign

By

agreement with King


torate

Mwanga on

29 April, 1894, a Protec-

was proclaimed, which included the whole of Uganda

and a portion of Unyoro


been put to
flight.

the rebel chief

Kabarega having

I50
It

LORD ROSEBERY
had been argued from the
first

by the advocates of

annexation that no serious measures for the improvement


or exploitation of

Uganda could be undertaken

until a rail-

way had been constructed from the East Coast of Africa


the Lakes.

to

This project had been pressed on the Cabinet


it

by Lord Rosebery, but


economists.

was persistently put aside by the

Perhaps he was not sorry when the subject


in the

was ventilated (14 February, 1S95)


After
referring

House

of Lords.
the
in-

to

the

'

lengthened consideration of
it

Government,' Lord Stanmore asked whether

was

tended that a sum


that year, and,
if

should be placed on the Estimates for

not,

what steps would be taken to improve


sea.

communication between Victoria Nyanza and the

Lord Kimberley (who had then become Foreign Secretary) made a dilatory reply, which gave Lord Salisbury an opportunity of intervening.
spirit of

He

expressed regret that the hostile

the Treasury had not yet been conciliated.


lightly

The
a

Government were dealing


grave matter.

and
to

cavalierly with
lost.

There was no time

be

At a period

when our commerce was being circumscribed on all sides by the enormous growth of Protectionist doctrines in other
States,
it

was our business

to

smooth the path of

British

enterprise

and

facilitate

the application of British capital.

Our Government were


while four,
to the
if

sitting with their

hands before them

not

five,

other Powers were steadily advancing


It

upper waters of the Nile.


if

would be a disgrace
of the
rail-

to the present generation

the

commencement

way were longer delayed.


In reply, Lord Rosebery,

who agreed
saying

with almost every

word spoken by Lord


Ministerial
reflect

Salisbury,

but was prevented by

etiquette

from

anything

that

would

on any member of

his Cabinet, confined himself to

ANGLO-GERMAN CONVENTION
safe generalities.

151

He

admitted the expediency of construct-

ing a railway at the proper time, though at present

no

definite

arrangement had been reached as to the

territories

through
in pro-

which the
gress,

line
at

should pass, but negotiations were

and

any moment the work might be commenced. had not been caused
it

He added
Treasury.

that the delay

at

the

Ministers had thought

right to

'

weigh well

the expediency' of at once

'commencing such an under-

taking in a country circumstanced as

Uganda had

been.'

Not till June, ment fell, was


Supply.
It

a few days before the Rosebery Governthe long-awaited

announcement made

in

was not

likely that the Unionists

would overlook

so excellent an opportunity for baiting Sir William Harcourt,

who, when

in Opposition,

had

fiercely attacked the project

which he was now supporting.

He

disarmed

his antagonists
!

by remarking that he had not changed

his opinion

It

was

an excellent

House

of

Commons

joke,

and the incident

did but emphasise what was already notorious

the profound

difference of opinion as to Imperial policy that prevailed

between the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the


Exchequer.
the two
policy.

But on no point was the divergence between

men more distinct than in regard to the Uganda From the outset Lord Rosebery had made it clear
the country were

that

if

abandoned he should leave the

Cabinet.

But the railway construction was delayed on

various grounds until he had

become Prime

Minister, and,

even then, he did not carry his view without a struggle.

He
to the

was equally long-sighted

in

purpose, though

less

fortunate in the choice of means,

when he addressed himself

self-imposed task of

amending and supplementing


criticised agree-

the Anglo-German Convention arranged by Lord Salisbury


in 1890.

Under

that

complex and much

152

LORD ROSEBERY
to

ment we ceded Heligoland


Berlin

Germany, and
our

in return the

Government
its

recognised

Protectorate

over

Zanzibar, withdrew
delimitation

claims as to Witu, and accepted a

of

the

Hinterland,

which brought Uganda

within our sphere of influence and gave us free access to

the Great Lakes at the source of the Nile.

These lakes

form a considerable part of the waterway flowing along


territory

that

was either

British

or

within

the

British

sphere of influence, except for one short reach where the


'wasp's waist,' as
it

was

called,

is

intersected by a strip of

land occupied on the one side by Germany, and on the


other by the
nately,
it

Congo Free

State.

In

this

way,

unfortu-

came about

that the desired line of

communi-

cation

between the Cape and Cairo was broken except

as regards a stipulated right of

way over the non-British


in

portion.

This was admittedly the weak point

Lord

Salisbury's bargain,
that, in failing to

and many of
an

his

critics

complained
he had given

complete the
for

all-British route,

away Heligoland
Germans,
it is

inadequate consideration.
to

The

known, were quite ready

concede what we

asked, but the price they

demanded was more than we


strip

could pay.
insisted

In return for this narrow

of land they
British

on being given Walfisch Bay, an isolated

port on the south-west coast of Africa the


but,

and situated within


to us,

German sphere
if
it

of influence.

It

was of no value
it

had been transferred

to foreign hands,

might
part

have been made a formidable


with
it

rival to

Capetown.

To

would, therefore, have caused deep offence in the

British

Colony, but, as Germany would accept no other

terms,
line. It

we had
to

to accept the breach in our

Cape

to Cairo

was

remedy

this fault that

Lord Roscbery and Lord

FRENCH ON THE UPPER NILE


Kimberley,
in

53

1894, concluded an arrangement with King


as Sovereign

Leopold of Belgium,
our sphere, and he,

of the

Congo

State-

under which we gave him

certain leases of territory within

in return, leased to us,

on the western
was an admir-

side of the lake, a strip of territory sufihcient to establish

telegraphic

and railway communication.


unfortunately,
vires, as

It

able

conception, but,

King Leopold was

found to be acting ultra

the concession which he

had made

to us

was inconsistent with a Treaty that he had

concluded ten years before with Berlin.

To

complete the

absurdity of the diplomatic blunder, the concessions which

we had

leased to King Leopold were upset by a Convention


State.
It
is

between France and the Congo

pleaded in

excuse for Lord Rosebery and Lord Kimberley that they

were led into

this

somewhat humiliating

position through the

carelessness of

some permanent

official in

Downing

Street,

whose duty

it

was to inquire beforehand whether any


could be urged against the Treaty
It
is

indefeasible objection
that Ministers

had

in contemplation.

not an excuse

that will stand examination.

How many
for

times does the

head of a State department take credit


really

work which has


part

been accomplished

wholly

or in

by
is

some

capable

member

of the permanent staff?


is

He

awarded

the praise because he

responsible for having accepted

or rejected the plan of his subordinate.

Obviously he can-

not be permitted to share the credit unless he will also bear


his part of the blame.

matter of far more serious import, since

it

directly

involved our

command

of the upper waters of the Nile,

and
of

therefore threatened our position in Egypt, was raised in the

House

of

Commons, on 28 March,

1895.
fell

The duty
to Sir

explaining the policy of the

Government

Edward

154

LORD ROSEBERY
But
his state-

Grey, as Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs.

ment was formally


was responsible
It

written out,

and Lord Rosebery sub-

sequently avowed that both personally and Ministerially he


for the

language held by his junior colleague.


secretly despatched

had become known that France had

from the west an armed expedition, under Major Marchand,

which aimed
territory

at

anticipating

us

in

taking possession of

which we regarded as within our sphere, and

which, undoubtedly, was necessary to secure our position in

Lower Egypt.
said,
*

'

Egypt
is

is

the Nile,' Lord Rosebery has

and the Nile

Egypt.'
definite than Sir

Nothing could be more announcement.

Edward
Egypt

Grey's

He

spoke of our position

in

in

such

terms as seemed to preclude the idea of any contemplated


withdrawal.
After passing in review the agreements con-

cluded

five years

before with

Germany and
by

Italy,

he pointed

out that,

although

not

recognised

other

European

Powers, they were well


question.

known and had not been called into The dependence of Egypt on the Nile made it
the

necessary to treat the whole of the waterway of that river as


falling
It

within

Anglo-Egyptian

sphere

of

influence.

had been stated that a French expedition was marching

towards that valley, but he could not give credence to

such a rumour.
territory over

The advance

of such a

force

into

which our claims had so long been known


inconsi.stent

would not be merely an


but
it
'

and unexpected

act,

it

must be well known

to the

French Government that

would be an unfriendly

act

and would be so regarded by

us.'

After a brief reference to complaints of French aggres-

sion
in

on the

territory of the

Niger

Company and
that

to events

Siam, Sir

Edward confessed

French action had

produced an uneasy

feeling in the country,

and caused anxiety

TROUBLE
as to

IN SIAM

155

what might happen

in the future.

We

had given no

provocation to France, and had


conflicting interests with the

striven hard to reconcile

maintenance of good relations

between the two countries.


nothing
consistent

The Government would omit


the

with

preservation

of important

British claims to maintain those

good

relations.

Ministers
fair-

relied then, as they always had relied, on the justice and

ness of the French

Government and French people

to enable

them
be

to reconcile

whatever conflicting interests there might


world with the maintenance

in little-known parts of the

of close

and good

relations

between the two countries.


the representative of our

The announcement made by

Foreign Office that an attempt by France to interrupt our


control of the Nile would be resented as 'an unfriendly
act
'

was meant, and taken,

to

be an intimation that
fight

in

the last resort


safety of Egypt.

Great Britain was ready to


It

for

the

cannot be said that the warning was

successful, since the

French Government persisted

in

its

perverse scheme,
into war.
Still,

and nearly brought the two countries


in

1S95 there was nothing further that


to ensure peace,

Lord Rosebery could have done


statement placed in Sir

and the

Edward
he

Grey's

mouth was the


not
to

more

significant

because

professed

credit

the alarmist rumour on which he had been questioned.

Yet
he

he was well aware, and the House of

Commons knew

was aware, that

this incredible report

was absolutely

correct,

and

that the crisis

which the Government chose to describe

as hypothetical was already imminent.

For the waters of the Upper Nile,

as,

no doubt,

for

Egypt

itself,

Lord Rosebery was prepared Very


was

to fight France.

But he was not prepared


for the sake of Siam.

to risk a struggle with that


different

Power

his bearing in

156
the

LORD ROSEBERY
summer
of 1893 from

what
it

it

had been

at the begin-

ning of that year and what

was to be

in 1895.

I" judging

Lord Rosebery's treatment of the Siamese


been strained almost to the breaking point.
scurrilous

crisis it is well to

recollect that our relations at this period with

France had
violent

So

and

had been the attacks

in the Paris press


in

on the

English in general and our Ambassador


in

particular, that
it

the early part of July Lord Uufferin had thought

necessary to
capital,

mark

his indignation
later

by withdrawing from the

but a few days

he was ordered to return, so

that

he might be on the spot to deal with any specially


affairs.

threatening development of Siamese

For some years the French agents


or without the countenance of the

in the

Far East, with

Home

Government, had
their Colonial

been watching

for a

chance of extending

Empire over Siam.

An

excuse was provided by an attack


expedition
fortified

made on

small

military

that

had
the

been

despatched to establish a

post on

Khong

Rapids, which was intended to open up a railway communication with Saigon.


military

In a subsequent disturbance a French


his death, whereupon the Bangkok demanded reparation for the

inspector
at

met with

Consul-General

murder, and gunboats were ordered to Siamese waters.

The prompt and abject apology of the Siamese Court was of no avail. The island of Samit was occupied in the
middle of June, and
in defiance of
in the following
it

month

the gunboats,

Treaty and,

was

said,

without orders from

the French (lOvernment, forced their

way up the Menam.


far
first

This

illicit

procedure however, was so


pacific

recognised that
threatened and

what was called a

blockade was

eventually enforced.

The
i

practical result
in

was summarised

by Lord Rosebery on

August

a brief statement to the

TROUBLE
House
of Lords.

IN SIAM

157

Two

ultimatums had been presented by

France, and in

each case compliance was made by Siam.

Under the first Siam recognised the rights asserted by Cambodia and Annam (in the name of the Republic) to the
territory

on
;

the

left

bank

of

the
all

Mekong
on

(with

the

islands)

promised to evacuate

ports

that territory
all

within a

month

agreed to give satisfaction for


subjects,

acts

of

aggression

on French

including

pecuniary
;

indemnities and punishment of the guilty persons

under-

took to pay 2,000,000 francs on various counts as damages,

and

to lodge a

sum

of

3,000,000 dollars on account of

certain claims to be subsequently determined.

Under

the
for

second ultimatum France was given the right to occupy


a time the port of Chantabun, while

no Siamese were

to

come
Siam

within twenty-five kilometres of the


to navigate the

Mekong, nor any


;

Siamese armed vessel

Toule-Sap Lake

and

further undertook to negotiate a Treaty of

Commerce

with France.
All these points were

conceded by the helpless Siamese.


Britain been doing
?

What meantime had Great


stood.
British

She had

given no help or countenance to Siam

that

was underprotect

Nor had she taken any


commerce, although
far

special

pains to

the

greater

part of

the

foreign trade of the country was in our hands.


that three British gunboats

It is true

had been ordered

to Siamese

waters to provide against any disturbance arising in


that might endanger the lives of British residents.

Bangkok
It

might

have been better

for

our dignity

if

this

precaution had been

omitted, since the presence of our vessels

which were prefor the

vented, of course, from taking any action on behalf of

Siam

constituted a provocation

to the
it

French commanders.

When

the blockade was declared

was necessary

158
British vessels to

LORD ROSEBERY
lie

outside a certain

line,

and from

all

accounts the directions were not given


officers
in

by the French

the most conciliatory

spirit.

On
to

at least

one
it,

occasion, though Lord Rosebery sought


there
'

minimise
of

was danger of

conflict.

The commander

the

Lion,' believing, or affecting to believe, that her Majesty's


'

ship

Pallas

'

would

interfere with the blockade, bore

down

on her with his crew at quarters and guns out, while the
British officer,
naturally, arranged that
his vessel

should

not be taken at a disadvantage.

Feeling in both countries


this

was so excited that an incident of

kind might easily


It

have led to the gravest complications.

was, however,

settled by the French admiral ordering the offending officer

to apologise to the British

commander, who,
self-control.

it

was admitted,

showed admirable temper and

There was a

good deal of bickering between the London and Paris journals over other features of the blockade, and Englishmen
found
it

rather difficult to digest


in the crisis.

some of the remarks made


French Govern-

on our behaviour

There

is

no disguising the

fact that the

ment
It

carried the whole affair through with a very high hand.


their wish to

was not

smooth the trouble

over.

On

the

contrary, they were playing for popularity, and this could

most
that

easily

be won by

irritating the English.

The

truth

is

Lord Rosebery had exposed us


Sir

to

humiliation

by

taking up from the outset ground which he was not pre-

pared to contest.
instructed to

Edward Grey,

for

instance, as

was

speak

in the

House

of

Commons
It

though

the integrity of Siam were essential to the safety of India.

Yet we stood by and saw

it

dismembered.

was a dangerous
in

and

futile

game

to interfere with the

French

Siam as

dangerous and

futile as their

poaching on the waters of the

JAPAN AND CHINA


Upper
Nile.

159

In each case

it

was

like trying to take a


It is

bone

away from a rather

irritable dog.

true that in Siani

we
But

could point to an established and

fairly

prosperous trade,

while in Central Africa the French were strangers.


politically

we had only an

indirect

interest

in

regard to

Siam.
that in

It

may, however, be claimed

for

Lord Rosebery

his negotiations with the


in

French Government he

succeeded

maintaining the two most essential points.


far

more important one was to prevent the extended French frontier from reaching the boundary of British India. If the two Empires should become coterminfirst

The

and

the

ous he apprehended

infinite possibilities of future mischief.

Accordingly
a
buffer

it

was stipulated
should be

in Paris

by Lord Dufferin that

State

established

and subsequently

delimited.

In the second place, Great Britain declined to

be restricted to one bank of the Mekong, and formally


occupied the

Mong Hsing
us,

district

on the east
title

side.

It

possessed no value for

but our

was indisputable,

and Lord Rosebery thought that the French, who desired


it,

might be induced to pay a good price when the whole

question should be taken into settlement.

The

final dis-

posal of the Siamese question was, however,

left

over to

Lord
guilty

Salisbury,

who made

it

the subject of one of his less

fortunate

Conventions.

Mr.

Chamberlain was, perhaps,

of exaggeration

bequests of the

when he said that amongst the Rosebery Government was a mess in Siam,

nor can

it

be claimed on Lord Salisbury's behalf that he

bettered the position.

The

really

serious feature of the


in the

whole business, as regards Lord Rosebery, was that


eyes of the world

French diplomacy, and had thus


since 1885.

we had been bustled and brow-beaten by lost some of the ground


in the

which we had gradually recovered

esteem of Europe

l6o

LORD ROSEBERY
opportunity of vindicating his somewhat damaged

An

reputation for poHtical courage was afforded to Lord Rose-

bery in the following years (1894 and 1895), when the war

broke out between China and Japan.


opinion
of

It

was the general

Continental

statesmen,
to

supported

by

some
in

Englishmen who professed


the Far
ter

understand the position

East, that the solid qualities of the


illimitable

Chinese charac-

and the

resources

of the

Empire would

prevail in the

end against the showy valour and shallow

civilisation of the Japanese.

They were
battle of

rapidly undeceived.

The

collapse of the Chinese by land

and sea was equally


Ping Yang, on the

sudden and complete.

The

great north road to Korea,

on 16 September, which, two


at the

days

later,

was followed by the naval engagement

mouth of
Sir

the Yalu, opened the eyes of the Pekin authorities

to the nature of the struggle

on which they were engaged.


on the part of

Robert Hart was instructed to sound the British Governas to the chance of an intervention

ment

Europe, China being already prepared to make substantial


concessions for the sake of peace.

Lord Rosebery under-

took the

office in

order that he might avert the catastrophe

of anarchy throughout the Chinese Empire


that

a catastrophe
delivered
at

might involve a massacre of Europeans and the deof


foreign
trade.

struction

In

speech

Sheffield near the


his action.

end of October, he explained and

justified

Information had reached him, he said, from


that

an

authoritative quarter,

China would

offer

terms

considerably exceeding those which Japan had


before entering on the war.
'

demanded

It

seemed

to us,'

he went on, 'that

it

lutely

to put this information in our pockets


I

was impossible absoand keep it to

ourselves, because

think you will agree with me, to whatever

ATTITUDE OF THF GREAT POWERS


party at

l6l

home you may


is

belong, that no Ministry could have

incurred such a responsibility.


nation whose interest
in the East, and, let

Representing as they do a

peace, a nation so largely engaged

me

add, without cant, a Christian nation,

they could not disregard such overtures.


great hopes upon that, but
in their opinion, there

We

did not found

we did

think

it

our duty to sound the

other courts of Europe and of the United States, to ascertain

Japan and China I have indicated. The reception of these approaches was extraordinarily favourable. The Powers of Europe seemed to feel that a common calamity overshadowed them but in the judgment of one or two of them only one, I think, but we will say one or two to be within the confines of truth it did not appear that the time had yet arrived when conditions could be put forward with any advantage for the consideration of the combatants. I do not say that I disagree with that view. I am inclined rather to concur with it but to represent that when the Powers of Europe consider a question of this kind, if one of the Powers thinks the time has not yet come and the other Powers are prepared to strain a point, and think that the time has come,
if,

was any

possibility of

coming

to

terms upon any such conditions as those

that there

is,

therefore, a rebuff for the Pow-er that has

sounded

them

in the interests of

peace,

is,

to

my

mind, one of the most

hostile

preposterous propositions, and one of the propositions most and damaging to the peaceful relations of the world,
that can possibly be conceived.

and ask most


pockets,

fairly,

we

did not

You may ask. Master Cutler, we had these conditions in our take them ourselves to Japan? "Why,"
why,
if

you may

say, " consult other

own

peaceful mission alone


is

Powers at all ? Proceed on your and unaided." Well, I think the


In the
first

answer to that

tolerably clear.

place, in a great

catastrophe of this kind the more great

Powers you have

engaged
is this,

in

peacemaking, the better


it

for peace.

The

ne.xt

reason
In

that in all great International concerns a Concert of the

Powers, when

can be obtained,

is

increasingly valuable.

my

belief,

the object of every Foreign Minister of the country

should be to aim, whenever he can, to secure a concert of the Powers and therefore in any case of this kind a Foreign Minister, to my mind, would have been grossly blameable if he
;

62

LORD ROSEBERY

had not sought in some respect to obtain the concert of the Powers. Another reason is this, that between combatants it is a point of pride not to be the first to ask for peace, and it is a vahiable matter, both in pubhc and private hfe, to have
a mediator from whom peace may be accepted honourably, and in an international instead of accepting it from the enemy
;

consideration of this kind the

more mediators

there are, the

more hkely you are

to secure the object in view.'

There was another reason,


bery,

also

mentioned by Lord Rose-

which had induced him

to appeal to the other

European

Powers.

They were profoundly


'

suspicious of one another,

and especially of
state of affairs

innocent Great Britain.'

In the jealous
conflict in the

produced by the unsettling

Far East

it

would have been,

as he said, impossible for us

to go in alone

and

act

as

bottle-holder between

China

and Japan without incurring the suspicion of every Power and all Powers were interested in the East. interested

The statement was


of the reasons

as

complete and candid as

inter-

national etiquette would permit,

and was a

sufficient

account

why Lord Rosebery


in
fact,

resisted the temptation to

commit Great

Britain to a single-handed intervention.

Nor

had there been,


would be
shrank

any genuine prospect of peace

being arranged, and even the United States


less

whose motives
Britain's

open

to

suspicion than Great

from what appeared to be the hopeless task of

bringing the conflict to an end, since two at least of the

Continental Powers would have objected to such a

settle-

ment
did
that

as

would alone have


its

satisfied Japan.

Russia would

not have tolerated

intended annexation of Korea, nor

Germany

care to promote any definitive arrangement


to her

would have put an end

own ambitions

in the

Far East.
large,

The mere payment

of an indemnity, however

would not have contented the Tokio Government,

TREATY OF SHIMONOSEKI
and
that

163
in

was practically

all

that

would have been obtained

a Treaty concluded under European auspices.

The Japanese were soon weary


war
until

of

negotiations

that

served no practical end, and determined to carry on the


proposals for peace should

be brought by an
Port
great

accredited envoy from Peking.

Arthur was proceeded with,


fortress
sea.

The investment of and on 2 1 November the


combined
assault

had

fallen before a

by land and

The southern
later.

ports of Wei-hai-wai were stormed


till

on

30 January, 1895, but the town was not entered


days

some

The

full

surrender was

made on

13 February,

and before the end of the month the Japanese armies were
well

on the way

to

Mukden.

It

was no longer safe

for the

Peking Court to
Li

trifle

with the situation, and on 19

March

Hung Chang had

arrived at Shimonoseki with pleni-

potentiary powers.

month's armistice was granted by

the Mikado, and four days before the term had expired the
Articles of

Peace were signed.


of Shimonoseki provided that China should
taels,

The Treaty

pay an indemnity of two hundred million

and should

cede Formosa, the Pescadores, and the Liao-tung peninsula,


while several

new

ports should be thrown open to foreign

commerce.
effect
it is

Had

such an arrangement been carried into

probable that the recent war between Russia and


less likely

Japan would have been averted, but nothing was


than that
St.

Petersburg would acquiesce in the sudden


rival

aggrandisement of a

in

the Far East for


It

whom

it

cherished an ignorant but supreme contempt.

must not
Their

be supposed, however, that Russia was alone

in

underrating

the military and naval efficiency of the Japanese.


victories

had been gained against an enemy who had not


in the field,

even displayed the elementary virtue of bravery

64

LORD ROSEBERY
preparation for war, and whose Generals
unskilful,
if

who had made no

and Admirals were conspicuously


not notoriously corrupt.
the campaign were already

they were of

The few
full

scientific observers

of praise for the genius and


victors,

methodical organisation of the

but their opinion

had not yet penetrated the minds of European statesmen,

and the rapid success of the Mikado's


was
set

fleets

and armies

down, not without reason,

to the utter

incompetence

of the vanquished Government.

Even

after ten years of

sedulous preparation the formidable nature of the Japanese

armaments was not generally

realised in the West.

It

was

only in this country that the body of expert opinion inclined


in

1904 to the belief that Japan would prove herself a


for

match

Russia in the Far East.

We

were aware

i.e.

our

Admiralty was aware

that seamanship

in the Czar's

Navy
with

was practically non-existent, and that


largely turn

in a

war which must


start

on maritime superiority Japan would


likely to

an advantage not

be reversed even by great prepon-

derance of strength on land.

But

in

1895 none of the truths

which

in

1904 were to receive so remarkable a demonstra-

tion were understood in Europe,

and

it

was considered a

simple matter to apply coercion to Japan.

coalition

was

formed by Russia, France, and Germany to deprive her of


the fruits of victory, and a formal protest was

made

against

her acquisition of the Liao-tung peninsula.

Great Britain stood aloof.

Lord Rosebery was urged by


But
this,

Japan to intervene on her behalf.


personally considered
that
if

he believed,
if

would not be sanctioned by public opinion even


it

he had

advisable.

There was no doubt

we had taken
in full force,

this

ourselves in

war with the three Powers.

was then

we should have involved The Dual Alliance and Germany had the strongest pescourse

BRITISH MEDIATION SUGGESTED


sible reasons for obliging Russia in

165

Europe, while at the


for her

same time she would have been paving the way


Colonial ambitions in China.

Some

of us, wise in the light

of subsequent events,
seized that

may

wish that Great Britain had


for using her
is

memorable opportunity
to

Navy
that

in

a just cause, but a Prime Minister

bound, as the

late

Lord SaUsbury often


that time

said,

remember always

he
at

stands to the nation in the position of trustee.

We

had

no

alliance, not

even an understanding, with Japan.


for believing that

We

had, indeed,

some reason
fact,

she might

eventually find her account in making terms with St. Petersburg.

In point of

she did subsequently intend to follow


if

that course,

and would have done so

we had not agreed,


inter-

in 1902, to enter into a

mutual guarantee against the


in

ference of a third

Power

any non-aggressive war that


In 1895
it

might be undertaken by either nation.


like

seemed

Quixotism, almost

lunacy,

to

defy Russia, France,

and Germany
them

in a conflict that

would have consolidated


in every part of

in a joint attack

on our possessions

the world, while a large part of our

Navy must have been


Admirable as
fleet,

detached

for active service in the

Far East.

were the ships and the

officers of the

Japanese

they

could not have held the waters of the Pacific against such a
force as France

and Germany might have sent


to give the

to the attack.

There was but one answer

Tokio Government.
it,

We

would take no part


its

in the coalition against

but

we

could not go to
advise the
necessity,

help.

Moreover, we were bound to


to

Mikado's Ministers to submit

the

bitter

and bide

their

time for

more

favourable
false

opportunity.
to

For Lord Rosebery to hold out

hopes
to

Japan would have been inexcusable


intervention which

levity,

while

threaten an

we could not

carry out

66

LORD ROSEBERY
sort of diplomatic

would have been the

braggadocio that

leads to national' disaster.


It

might have been possible, perhaps, to throw the whole

question into the caldron of an International Conference.

But what would have been gained

None

of the European

Powers, except the three members of the hostile coalition,

had

sufficient interest in the


in

Far East to

risk a ship or

an
for

army corps

the quarrel, nor was there any reason

thinking that the Washington Government would have con-

sented to take an active part in the struggle.

Had Lord

Rosebery desired

to

commit our

fortunes to the test of a war

which would, no doubt, be waged around our own shores, he


did not, in the April and

May

of 1895, possess the political

authority that would have enabled

him

to venture

on so
in

momentous an undertaking.

His Administration lived

daily expectation of defeat in the

House

of

Commons, and

so fierce was the conflict of party passion that he could not

with

much hope of success have


support even
if

turned to the Unionist ranks

for effective

any considerable number had His Cabinet was 'on


its

approved so hazardous an enterprise.


its last legs,'

and the utmost hope of


its

Chief was that

it

should meet

appointed end with dignity and decorum.


a
'

To embark on

spirited foreign policy

'

would

instantly

have brought about a Liberal secession.

It is

impossible to

imagine Sir William Harcourt or Mr. John Morley remaining

members

of a

Government which had thrown down the


on the Continent.

glove to the three greatest Powers

To

blame the Prime Minister


Japan to
is

in

such circumstances

for advising
spirit.

kiss the

rod
to

is

an extravagance of party
for

He

fairly

entitled

credit

not having given his un-

palatable counsel in such terms as would have provoked

resentment

in

Tokio

Japanese statesmen are eminently

THE SOUTH AFRICAN REPUBLIC


reasonable, and

167

they realised on this occasion that our

sentiments were absolutely friendly and that, as regards


action,

we had done
Foreign

all

that

was

fairly to

be expected.

Among
either as

the minor duties discharged by Lord Rosebery,

Secretary

or

as

Prime Minister, and

therefore specially responsible for the work of the Foreign


Office,

may be mentioned
in

the conclusion of an agreement

with Russia as to the Pamir region, negotiations with the

United States

regard to the Behring Sea, the coercion of

the Nicaraguan Government by the temporary occupation

of Corinto, and the issue of an ultimatum to the Sultan of

Morocco.
importance

question of graver anxiety, though

its

full

may

not have been understood

till

a later date,
in

was raised by the growing restlessness of the Boers


the Transvaal.
to

Mr. Kriiger had been re-elected

in

1893

the

Presidency of the South African

Republic, and

presently

recommenced

his legal or semi-legal persecution

of the Uitlanders.

He

began

in

1894 by commandeering
though they were
citizens.

Englishmen
rigidly

for

the

Burgher

militia,

excluded from the ordinary rights of

This

dispute was settled by the vigorous intervention of Lord

Loch, the High Commissioner, but no sooner was one


quarrel

appeased than a
out.

still

more

serious

controversy

would break

The Dopper

party in the Volksraad

were incensed by the vigorous terms in which Lord Ripon,


the Colonial Secretary, insisted, in October, on the Transvaal

Government making a genuine attempt

to deal with the

Franchise question.

They were even more wrath because,


South African Republic,

after the cession of Swazieland to the

Lord Ripon

quietly proceeded to anticipate the purpose for


to acquire that territory.

which the Boers had been anxious

The

British annexation of

Sambaanland and Umbigesaland

l68

LORD ROSEBERY
Kriiger's ambition

the next objects of President


Transvaal to the
sea.
'

cut

off,

as he complained in his Memoirs, the last outlet of the


It

goes without saying that the

Republic protested against the annexation, but England did


not trouble herself about
that.'

Mr. Kriiger was especially

severe in his condemnation of Lord


stroke
of Colonial
Office

Ripon

for this

smart
that

diplomacy,

and declared

there was nothing to choose between


servatives.

Liberals and Con-

But

it

was on a point of railway policy that war


In order to develop

was on the point of being declared.


the
traffic

between Pretoria and Delagoa Bay he sanctioned

a tariff-war against the

Cape

line,

and,

when an attempt
in

to

evade the prohibitory duties was made by unloading goods

on the

riverside

and sending them across

ox-waggons to

their destination. President Kriiger closed the drifts

in

defiance of the

London Convention, which gave


full liberty to enter,

all

persons,

other than natives,

and carry on comBut, treaty or

merce within, the South African Republic.

no

treaty, this

was an injury that the Cape Colony would


If the
it

not endure.

Boers had not given way, the Cape

Ministry, though

relied largely

upon the Dutch

vote,

had

resolved to go to war with the Transvaal, and in taking this


resolution
it

is

understood that they had obtained the con-

sent

and approval of the

Home

Government.

Once

again,

Mr.

Kriiger yielded to superior force, but his general


at

conduct

had been so disobliging and insolent that

any moment
It
is

war might be commenced almost without notice.

known

that the Cabinet

had discussed a scheme

for the

invasion of the Transvaal,

and Lord Wolseley was summeeting of Ministers and advise

moned

to attend a special

them on the

military position.

He gave them

so formidable

an estimate of the British force that would be required for

THE ARMENIAN QUESTION


According
to the story current at the time
!

169

the invasion of the Transvaal that the project was abandoned.

he asked

for

an

army of 100,000 men

Of

all

the questions with which

Lord Rosebery had

to

deal in 1S92-5, none perhaps

not

even the Egyptian or


as the Armenian.

the Siamese

gave

him so much anxiety

When

all

allowance has been made

for the exaggerations

of excited philanthropists, and


seditious plots of

after admitting

that

the

Armenians

in the

Turkish capital gave

the Sultan a pretext for severe treatment of the whole race,


it is

impossible to find any excuse for the barbarous perse-

cutions which were carried out by his agents in Asia Minor,

The

trouble

arose

in

November,

1894,

in

the

Sassun

district,

when

the Armenians pleaded inability to pay taxes,

on the ground that they were hopelessly impoverished by the depredations of the Kurds. Whether the statement was
true or untrue,
it

was ignored by the Turkish

authorities,

and the Sultan was informed that a serious insurrection had


broken
out.

Before the matter could be taken in hand by

Zeki Pasha, to

whom

it

had been committed by the


let his

Sultan,

the Governor of Bitlis

troops loose on the Province.

Twenty-five villages were destroyed, and


of

many thousands

persons perished.

When

the

news of these savage

doings reached

London through our Consuls, urgent remonstrances were addressed to the Porte. The official
that

account was
joined
villages,

a
in

body of
an

'

Armenian brigands
on
a
several

'

had

the

Kurds

attack
alive

Mussulman
notable.

and had

burned

Mussulman
inhabitants.

Regular troops had at once been despatched to establish


order

and

protect

the

law-abiding

What
it

amount

of truth was mixed up with the


little

official fable

is

impossible to say, but

hope of elucidation was derived

I/O

LORD ROSEBERY
it

from the Porte's announcement that

would
'

institute a

Commission

to inquire into the

conduct of the

Armenian

brigands,' especially as the

Commissioners were Turks, and

Zeki Pasha was, by anticipation, given a decoration.

The
but
pro-

Foreign

Office,

then directed by

Lord

Kimberley,
supervision,

acting under

Lord Rosebery's constant


of

posed that the Consuls

Great

Britain,

Russia,

and

France should undertake an independent inquiry.


co-operation of the other Great Powers
tories

The
signa-

who were
but,

of
it

the

Berlin

Treaty was

invited,

as

time

pressed,

would be convenient that the three who were

represented on the spot should act at once.

The French
nor did the
its

Government agreed

to

co-operate with
aloof, but

us,

Russian hold altogether

expressed

unwillingit

ness to 'raise the political question.'

Indeed,

did not

intend to intervene, or allow intervention to be carried out

by others.
Sultan's

The
There

historic

sympathy of
is

Russia
to

for

the

Christian

subjects
is

not

extended
the
St.

the Ar-

menians.

nothing which

Petersburg

Government
race.

less desires

than to incorporate within the


that capable but turbulent

Empire any more members of


Everywhere
intriguing,

they are

everywhere

op-

pressed.

They

are quite as

warmly detested, and have been


Russia as
in

almost as harshly treated,

in

Turkey.

An

independent observer who had been sent out to the


all

disturbed region by Reuter in January, 1895, bore out

the reports of Turkish barbarity, but he also asserted his


belief that the

Armenians were engaged


that

in a revolutionary

movement, and
to the Turks.
justify the

some
this

of their leaders did not shrink

from committing outrages which they afterwards attributed

Even

view of the case, however, did not

methods of repression sanctioned by the Porte,

ACTION OF LORD ROSEBERY


and
in

17I

May

stiff

Note was presented by the three Powers

which contained a definite scheme of Reforms.


these

Amongst
and the
Chrisin the

may be mentioned

the appointment of a

High Commis-

sioner, a general

amnesty

for political prisoners,


sit

establishment of a Commission to

at

Constantinople and

supervise such reforms as might be decided upon.


tian officials

were to

be associated with Mussulmans

The taxes were to be collected by the The ordinary rules of judicial procedure were to be enforced, and the number of Christian judges to be made proportionate to the Christian population
local governorships.

provincial authorities.

in

each

district.

After a delay of several

months the Porte

agreed, not to accept these stringent terms, but to

make

certain concessions, which, of course, were duly formulated.

They were not considered


had they been meant
ever, the long-expected

satisfactory

by the Powers, nor

to be carried out.

Meantime, howthe

blow had

fallen in

House of

Commons,
to power.

and a Unionist Administration had succeeded


But, as

we

shall presently see, the

subsequent

history of the

Armenian question exercised a not unimportstill

ant influence on the personal fortunes of the

acknow-

ledged leader of the Liberal party.

CHAPTER

XI

Lord Rosebery on the Home Rule Bill of 1893 Speech in the House of Lords 'A question of policy' The possible alternatives Not a leap in the dark Phrases open to criticism The Coal Strike Lord Rosebery as mediator The Session of 1893 Mr. Gladstone and the Peers Radical discontent Mr. Gladstone's resignation Lord Rosebery his successor Rumours of a Central Party Meet-

ing of the Liberal party

Lord

Rosebery's statement

Position of

The new Administration The Queen's Speech Debate on the Address Lord Rosebery on 'the predominant partner' Explanations in the Commons Speech at Edinburgh Attitude of the Nationalist parties Unionist criticism
a
'

Peer Premier

'

Peers'

The
Peers
advice

position

new Administration beaten on the Address An absurd The Prime Minister disparaged Agitation against the

National

Liberal Federation at Leeds

Lord

Rosebery's

dilemma Lord Rosebery and Sir William Harcourt Mansion House banquet Murder of President Carnot Death of the Emperor of Russia.
Constitutional

Procedure

by Resolution

In order

to preserve a certain continuity in the account of

the various foreign problems with which Lord Rosebery

was concerned,

it

has been necessary to anticipate the chronoevents.

logical order of

We
far

must now go back

to the

record of those domestic matters in which he was pro-

minently engaged.

So

as possible,

it

is,

no doubt,

advisable for a Foreign Secretary to hold aloof from the

more

controversial side of
in

home politics, and

to

some

extent

Lord Rosebery

1893 availed himself of a privilege which,


liabilities

with the increasing complexity of our

abroad, has

become almost

a duty.

But
if

it

would have given an openthis

ing to misinterpretation

Lord Rosebery had on


to the

ground refrained from giving active support


172

second

THE HOME RULE BILL Home


Rule
Bill

173

when

it

was sent up to the House of Lords

in September.

On

the motion for the Second Reading he

referred, in his opening, to the unreality of the discussion.

Not one

of the Peers, he said, had entered that


It

House

without a preconceived opinion.

was not a dissecting


itself.

room

it

was the chamber of death

There was no
one party

equal division of parties in that

House
After

only

and a percentage of the


nage of the
(late)
'

other.

some

friendly badi-

Duke

of Argyll,

who regarded

the

Home

Rule Peers as
imperious and,

merely Gladstonian items, blind tools of an


if I

rightly

understood him, a

partially insane

Prime

Minister,'

he protested against members of the

House who had


any special

resolved to reject the whole Bill fastening on

details.

For instance, the retention of the Irish


of
it

members should not prevent any one who disapproved


from voting
for the general principle of the measure.

The

point on which they were engaged was something larger

than the particular

Bill before
'

the House.

They might do
Bill or

something better than

chew the dry bones of the

what had been


teeth of the
desist

left

of
of

them by the keen and unwearied

House

Commons.'

Moreover, they should

from petty and personal recriminations.

Not one of

the Unionist Peers really believed that their


colleagues were
'

Home

Rule

Separatists

and

traitors

and place-hunters.'
had puzzled the

The
self

question

how

best to govern Ireland


ages.

wisest

minds of past

He

did not profess to have him-

reached absolute certainity, but he did say that the

conviction which he held had been arrived at 'after long

and
that

painful study

'

and

'in the teeth of

all,

or almost

all,

would tend

to

make him

take the other side.'

An amusing
Bill

review was given of the treatment which the


in the

had received from the Opposition

House

of

1/4

LORD ROSEBERY
which, he said, was
institutions

Commons treatment
bring

calculated

to

Parliamentary

into

contempt

and
that

reference

was

made

to

the

special

responsibility

would be incurred

in the rejection

of the Bill by an un-

reformed House of Lords.


threw
out a
suggestion.

At

this point

Lord Rosebery
the

Why

not

accept

Second

Reading and then hold a Conference with the other House


as to the terms

on which Ireland should be given


that

self-

government
in

a conference similar to
witness,

which assembled

1787 to
'

settle the

'matchless constitution of the United

States

Lord Rosebery was 'a


witness,' in favour of

but not an enthusiastic


;

Home
or

Rule
of

with him,

it

was not
of

question
It

of

fanaticism,

sentiment,

scarcely
It

history.

was not a
'

counsel of perfection.

was,

on the whole,
in
It

the best of the courses to


critical

be pursued
subject.'

dealing with a highly

and complex

was simply a question of policy

nothing
Duke
necessary

higher and

nothing lower.
the

He

agreed with the


to
Pitt a

of Argyll that
refuge

Act of Union was

and
But

guarantee against disaffection.

Pie was confronted with

a great foreign war and with the Rebellion of 1798.


the Act of

Union was only

a part of Pitt's policy.


if

If the

payment of the
Emancipation,

Roman
if

Catholic clergy,

Roman

Catholic

the abolition of tithes


the

had been concurat the present

rently carried out,

House would not

moment be

discussing a

Home

Rule

Bill.

brief account

was given of the circumstances

in

which

the Liberal party had taken up

Home

Rule, with

some

taunts against Conservative vacillations in regard to Coer-

cion
'

Lord Rosebery then proceeded to deal with the There had dismemberment of the Empire argument.
;
'

SPEECH IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS


only been one great dismemberment of the Empire
the American Colonists broke away.

75

when The reason of it was that we had forced on them our own ideas of law and order. Ireland was practically dismembered when she was
sullen, discontented,

and

rebellious.'
It

At

present, Ireland

was a source of weakness.


25,000 or 30,000

required an army there of

men
in

in

time of peace.

How many

should we want there

time of war?
the most

In a European war,

Ireland would present

vulnerable point to an
its

enemy, and the invader would fmd many friends on


shores.

How
to

were

the

Irish
?

party

in

the

House of

Commons
be 'a
of
the

be dealt with

The

Liberal

Government

might go, but the Nationalists would remain.


clog,

They would
in the

a calculus,
politic'

and an aneurism

middle

body

What was

the Unionist policy?

Twenty

years of resolute government

and

free emigration

But the democracy would not govern by Coercion, and


emigration only increased the
difificulty
if

you sent out


in

discontented

emigrants

Irish

peasants

planted
their

the

United States or Australia,


the
impossibility of
living

torn
there,

from

homes by
This would
laid.

going with a burning

hatred of our institutions and our monarchy.

be raising up ten devils

for the

one that had been

The Unionist policy had been tried, and had failed. The only alternatives were Home Rule and the conversion of Ireland into a Crown Colony which was impossible.

If the Unionists

would not accept

Home

Rule

in

some

form, they must persist in their present policy.

That would

mean a
tion,

revival of secret societies for assassination

rage, Parliament

and outimpeded from English and Scotch legislaand great waste of


time.
'

great expense,

Whether

you plaster Ireland with your garrisons or your gold, the

176 end of
it,

LORD ROSEBERY
by some devious path or other,
Rule.
It is

will

be only some

form of
tions,

Home

animated by these considera-

both positive and negative, that we have adopted the

course which has brought so


Bill

much obloquy upon us.' The House was proposed as an experiment, as the establishment of the London County Council in 1888 and the Reform Bill of 1867 had been experiments.
before the

Lord Derby had declared


in the dark.'

that the

Reform

Bill

was a

'

leap

The Home Rule

Bill

was not a leap

in the

dark.

It

was a leap towards

light,

a leap and a long stride

towards a more generous Irish policy, towards the reconcilement of


'

two great nations too long connected and too


'

long divided

and,

furthermore,

considerable

stride

towards that adjustment and devolution of local business

which alone would enable the British people


vast

to support the

and various burdens of

their

Empire.

It was not probable, nor was it hoped, that such a speech would induce any appreciable number of Unionist Peers to

refrain

from voting against the Second Reading of Mr.


Bill.

Gladstone's

In

fact

Lord Rosebery had scarcely


All he

troubled to speak to the Motion before the House.

had

in

mind was

to assert his faith


'

as a

'

witness, but not an

enthusiastic witness
to

in the principle of

Home

Rule, and

make

a formal offer

on behalf of the Prime Minister. In

order to save his Bill from Parliamentary extinction, Mr.

Gladstone was willing to abandon everything except the


general principle, since he was well aware that
it

would

be useless to appeal to the country against the judgment of


the Peers.

The

object of

Lord Rosebery's speech was,

therefore, to dissociate the

Home

Rule policy from any of

the details which had been so remorselessly criticised in the

House

of

Commons, and

incidentally, perhaps, to

show

PHRASES OPEN TO CRITICISM


that the Peers were opposed, not merely to the

177
measure

before them, but to any and every concession to Nationalist


aspirations.

In this purpose Lord Rosebery was, no doubt,

succe<^3ful, but, so far as

may be judged from


if

external indi-

cations of public opinion, the demonstration of Gladstonian


pliability

or openness of mind,
lost cause.
It

the term be preferred


universally

weakened rather than strengthened what was


admitted to be a
that for the specific proposals in the second
Bill

should be added, perhaps,

Home

Rule

no

personal
his

liability

attached

to

Lord

Rosebery

beyond
Cabinet.
mittee,'

share in the collective

responsibility of the

was not a member of the 'excellent Comso Mr. John Morley says, which prepared the

He

scheme

for the

House

of

Commons. The

colleagues

whom

Mr. Gladstone invited to those confidential discussions were Lord Spencer, Lord Herschell, Mr. Campbell-Banner-

man, and Mr. John Morley.

It is true that

other

members

of the Cabinet were kept advised of the progress


in

made

Committee, but Lord Rosebery, during

this

period of
his time

incubation, had

more pressing matters

to

occupy

and thoughts than the proposals to be embodied in a scheme which in no circumstances would have stood any
chance of being passed into
It

law.

was a considerable
Bill

feat of political dexterity to

'speak

columns' on the

dexterous than prudent.

Unionist

critics

it. More The sinister commendations of did not make up for the suspicions excited

without saying anything about

among

Liberals.

In assuming the moderate and reason-

able air which Lord Rosebery thought best calculated to

appeal to an audience

who have

little

tolerance for oratorical

exuberance he was tempted to use such phrases as his being a witness, but not an enthusiastic witness, in favour
'

178
of

LORD ROSEBERY
Rule.'

Home

enemies

in the

They were treasured up against him by camp who were quite determined, if possible,
to the leadership of the

to prevent
party.

him from succeeding


at present there

But

was no immediate question

of Mr. Gladstone's retirement,


as Foreign Minister

and Lord Rosebery's position


his

was unassailable, while

personal
at

popularity outside the


attested

House

of

Commons

was

once

and increased by

a great opportunity.

The
give

dispute between the coal-owners anil the miners had

lasted nearly four months, and,

though neither side would

way

to the other, both were exhausted,

and would,

it

was thought, welcome friendly intervention.


for

The

Press had
to offer

some time been clamouring

for the

Government

mediation, but Ministers, with excellent judgment, decided not to corne forward until the disputants had reached a

mood

of accommodation.
at

On
of

13

November Mr. Gladstone


in

announced,

the

close

business

the

House

of

Commons,
tives of

that he

had addressed a

letter to the representa-

both

parties,

and proposed
over which

that they should hold

a joint
preside.

conference,

Lord

Rosebery should

The

failure of previous discussions

had suggested
chairit

that better success might attend

one held under the

manship of 'a member of the Government who,


hoped, would not be unacceptable
to either side.'

was

Lord

Rosebery, at the request of his colleagues, had undertaken


that important duty.

But he would not assume the position

of arbitrator or umpire, or vote in the proceedings.

He

would simply
settlement.
It

assist

the

parties

to

arrive

at

friendly

requires no effort of the political imagination to infer

that

Lord Rosebery's name had been previously submitted

to the representatives of both the coal-owners

and miners.

THE SESSION OF
Four days
later the

893
in six

79

meeting was held, and

hours

inclusive of a luncheon adjournment,

which was, perhaps,

as efficacious as the period of conference

a
A

settlement

had been arrived

at.

It is true that

the points in dispute

were adjourned rather than decided, but the important


matter was that work should be resumed.

more

per-

manent
the
first

basis of

agreement was

laid

by the

institution

in
It

instance, for twelve

months

of a

Board of Con-

ciliation,

with an outside chairman, which should determine


rate of wages.

any subsequent controversy as to the


was
confessed

on both

sides

that

Lord Rosebery had

displayed absolute impartiality in his direction of the proceedings,

and had

also

shown
at

great skill

from

his

experiences

Spring Gardens

derived, perhaps, in guiding a


to

discussion which, at one


in

moment, seemed Ukely


to

end

a fresh rupture.

There

is

no need here

do more than make a passing


to

reference to the legislative proposals with which Mr. Gladstone's

Government sought
of

compensate

their party for

the miscarriage

the

Home

Rule Bill the measures

dealing with
tration,

Employers'

Welsh Disestablishment, Local Veto, RegisLiability, and Equalisation of London

Rates.

The

and

into

prolongation of the Session over Christmas March, 1894, was largely due to the controversy
Bill.

between the two Houses on the Parish Councils


final stage in

Its

the

Commons

was marked by the words of

grave warning addressed by Mr. Gladstone to the Peers,

whose

final set of

Amendments he

advised his supporters


i

to accept.

'My

duty ends,' he said on

March, 'by

calling the attention of the

sidering

seem

to

House to the these Amendments, limited as some to be, we are considering a

fact that, in con-

their
part,

scope

may

an essential

l8o
and inseparable

LORD ROSEBERY
part,

of a question enormously large, a


acute,

question which has

become profoundly

which

will

demand

a settlement, and must, at an early date, receive

that settlement, from the highest authority.'

These were words of warning


is

not words of menace.

It

no

secret that

some of

the

more

militant spirits in the

party had long been urging Mr. Gladstone to head a cam-

paign against the Peers, and that he had steadily refused to

commit himself

to such an undertaking.

As Lord Rose-

bery once stated in the

House

of Lords, there was a strong

vein of Conservatism in Mr. Gladstone, and he was always


reluctant to attack an ancient institution unless
it

stood

between him and the accomplishment of the policy which


for the time

he had

at heart.

Amongst

all

the articles from

the Newcastle
to

Programme

there was not one which appealed

him

as sufficiently important to justify

an assault on the
Rule, as he

Peers,

Home

Rule excepted.
it

And on Home
at

was painfully aware,

would

that

time

be vain

to

challenge the opinion of the country.

Now
their

the Radicals behind him were sincere enough in


to

desire

carry

Home
and

Rule,

partly

because

they

believed in

its

justice,

also because they

wished to get

the Irish question out of the way, so that they might set to

work on the

distinctive

programme

of their party.
'fill

It

was

held that the most effective method would be to

up the

cup' of the Peers' iniquities by pressing on them a number


of democratic
reject.

measures, which

they would

be sure to

In this way sufficient steam would be got up for


tlie

a general attack on

House

of Lords.

This, however,

was a policy

in

which, whether wise or unwise, Mr. Gladif

stone had not the physical strength,


take an active part.

he had the

will, to

The

occasional efforts to which he

RADICAL DISCONTENT
braced himself
cative
in the

l8l

House
retire,

of

Commons
before

were not

indi-

of

sustained vigour, and,


a

he had himself

expressed

wish

to

many

of the

more

militant

Liberals were

murmuring against the

paralysis

which they

considered that he had brought upon the party.

There
their

was no insubordination or indecent demonstration of


discontent, but
it

was well

known

that
to

they were dis-

satisfied with the leadership,

and meant

change

it.

Nor

had they
successor.

fixed

upon Lord Rosebery


not

as

Mr. Gladstone's

The time has


or
full

come

to write, either with impartiality


facts,

knowledge of the
in

the

inner history of the

party

1892-5,

but the broad tendencies of Liberal


It

opinion were sufficiently manifest.

had several times


frequently contra-

been announced
dicted,

in the

Press,

and

as

that

Mr.

Gladstone's

resignation

was imminent.
inventions
of
to

These communications were not


be probable.

simply

speculative reporters stating as fact what everybody

knew

They proceeded from


in

quarters that should

have been well informed.


tion

Indeed, Mr. Gladstone's inten-

had been discussed


therefore,

a series of Cabinet Councils,


secret as against those

and was,

no longer a

who

were most interested in learning the truth.


lost

The

Radicals

no time

in laying their views before the

Chief Whip,

who promised to represent them in the proper quarter. They protested, formally and emphatically, against the
leadership of the party being given to a

member

of the

House

of Lords.

There was,

it

must be confessed, some


was
their desire to get

reason in their attitude, since

it

up
it

an organised movement against that Chamber.


lessen their opposition to

Nor did

Lord Rosebery

as their future

leader that he was deeply committed to the principle of

l82
introducing into the
element.

LORD ROSEBERY
House
of Lords a certain representative This, they feared, would strengthen the
its

House and
would,

perpetuate

authority.

In the political jargon of the time,

they were for 'ending,' not for 'mending.'


therefore,

Any Peer

have been

less

objectionable in their eyes than a

reforming one.

But

their antipathy to
it

Lord Rosebery was

even more personal than

was

political.

They detested
for

his

Egyptian policy, they derided his schemes


they mistrusted
principle, they

Uganda, and
a matter of

him on

Home

Rule.

As

would probably have raised

their voice against

any other Peer, but the agitation would not have been conducted with equal pertinacty
if

Mr. Gladstone's nomination


us say) on Lord Spencer or

had been expected

to

fall (let

Lord Kimberley.
Mr. Gladstone, however, had made
his decision,

and was

never easily turned from a deliberate purpose.

In public

and

in private

he had several times indicated

his views,

and

during the

last

few years they had been strengthened by

his close intimacy with

Lord Rosebery.

It is

even possible

that his mind, which to the last was progressive


tive,

and recepand
hold the

had

realised that the Liberalism of the 'Seventies

'Eighties

must be rejuvenated, and,


itself

if it

were

to

English people, must divest


which, justly
or
unjustly,

of the Anti-Imperialism
its

had been associated with


in

name.

He

had cheerfully concurred

what was very

like

a reversal of his

own

foreign policy by the colleague

whom
our

he had appointed, and re-appointed,


external relations.

to the charge of

He

was also, in his old age, keenly

susceptible of the importance of youth, and was convinced


that

amongst

his colleagues

Lord Rosebery would be the


such

most

efficient as his successor in the party leadership.


in

Mr. Gladstone, of course, had no right to dictate

LEADER OF THE LIBERAL PARTY


recommend whom he pleased
This
is

83

a matter to his followers, but he was incontestably entitled


to
to

the choice of the

Sovereign.

not the place to discuss the rival claims

of Lord Rosebery and Sir William Harcourt.

The warmest

admirers of the chosen candidate must sympathise with


the bitter
brilliant

disappointment inflicted on one of the most

and most industrious of modern Parliamentary

statesmen.

He

possessed

many

qualities

which have been


free

withheld from Lord Rosebery, and was


defects which have impaired

from certain
as

Lord Rosebery's usefulness


it

a party leader.

Nevertheless,
the

cannot be denied that the

choice

made by

Queen on
of

the advice of Mr. Gladstone

was, at the time, heartily endorsed by the great

body of
even

Liberals in the

House

Commons, and

cordially,

enthusiastically, approved by the party as a whole.

The

Radicals

who objected were

a comparatively small group at

Westminster, and represented a somewhat antiquated school


of middle-class thought

cultivated, earnest, and consistent


its

though

it

was.

Whether

influence
in

may
it

revive in the
clearly lost

future remains to be seen.


its

But

1894
it

had

grip on the popular mind, though


its

retained, thanks to

the intellectual power of

Parliamentary exponents, no
It is

slight influence in directing the counsels of the party.

idle to speculate

on what might have been the fortunes of

Liberalism

if

they had been entrusted to other guidance

than Lord Rosebery's, or to trace in imagination the lines

he might have followed


as

if,

from the outset of his career

Prime Minister, he had not had to contend against a

strong current of disaffection in the

House

of

On
task,

5th March, 1894, Lord Rosebery entered on his


offices of First

Commons. new
at the

having taken the

Lord of the Treasury

and Lord President of the Council, and making way

184

LORD ROSEBEKV
His health was by no

Foreign Office for Lord Kimberley.

means
and
the
it

re-established at this critical period of his career,

would have been impossible


to

for him, in addition to

work of Prime Minister,

go through the daily routine

of his previous post, though, as


close

we know, he remained
built

in

and constant collaboration with the chief of the


in

Department
reputation.

which he had so quickly

up a high
rendered

He

introduced no important change in the


transfers

Cabinet

beyond such

as

had

been

own promotion. At more than one moment in his career Lord Rosebery has been made the object of conjectural statements pointnecessary by his
ing to

him

as the chief of a Coalition Cabinet.


his accession to

The

gossip

was started on

Mr. Gladstone's place.


it

He

would throw over

Home

Rule,

was confidently
to the party

stated,

and bring the Liberal Unionists back


they had so reluctantly abandoned.

which

Some
the

of them, perif it

haps, would have accepted such an invitation

had been

extended to them.

But, between
offer

terms that

Lord

Rosebery could honourably

and those which they

might reasonably be expected to accept, there was too wide


a gulf
to

be bridged over by a practicable compromise.

The
shire

declarations promptly

destroyed any hopes that


fantastic

made by the Duke of Devonmay have been reared


Mr.
Gladstone's

on a somewhat

foundation.

successor could not renounce the principle of

Home

Rule;

and the Liberal Unionist leader would not even consider


it.

Thus,

for the first time,

passed away the vision of a

Ministry of Affairs, based on a Central party of moderate-

minded

politicians,

and

led

by Lord Rosebery and the

Duke
It

of Devonshire.

need hardly be explained that such rumours, though

MEETING OF THE LIBERAL PARTY


who aims

85

spread with the best of good intentions, tend to prejudice


a leader
at keeping together a concentrated party.
it

This, of course, was the main object which

was incumit

bent on Mr. Gladstone's successor to pursue.

Yet

cannot

be denied that some of the expressions which Lord Rosebery was soon to employ lent a certain countenance to the

imputations of his enemies and the conjectures of maladroit


friends.

At the meeting of the Liberal

party, a

week

after

his accession,

he began by paying a tribute to Mr. Gladstone,


that
it

and explained
leader should

had been thought proper

that the
'

new

make some
'

declaration of policy.
is

In

my

opinion,' he went on,

no such declaration
There
is

necessary.

We

stand where we did.


is

no change

in

measures

there

only a most disastrous change in men.'

Cabinet remained pledged to the proposals laid

The down in
Bill

the Queen's Speech of 1S93, and did not intend to recede

from any one of them.

The Welsh Disestablishment


and
pressed,
if

would be pressed
to a definite

to the forefront,

possible,

and

successful conclusion.

But the group of

questions
a word.

known
'

as the Irish questions required

more than
in the

To

that question

we

are pledged by every tie of

honour and

policy.'

He

admitted that his speech

House
those

of Lords

on the

Home

Rule
only,

Bill

had raised some

doubts as to

his position

but

he thought, amongst
manner.

who had

read

it

in a cursory

It is said that all roads lead to Rome, and there are many roads by which to arrive at a conviction on Home Rule but I venture to say that our line is as direct as any that conducts to
;

the goal, and that


If,

it will not be any the less steadfastly pursued. gentlemen, you had any doubts in your minds as to the course that I am likely to pursue, I think there is one pledge

that the

Government

gives, the character of

which

is

as sig-

nificant as the

headship of Mr. Gladstone lately imparted

l86

LORD ROSF.BERY
the presence of Mr. John Morley.
It is

mean

an open secret

that higher office, from the hierarchical point of view,

was

pressed upon

thought
Ireland.

it

Mr. John Morley's acceptance, but that he his duty not to sever his career from the cause of

Next Lord Rosebery spoke of the need

for reforming the

House
cratic

of Lords
suffrage

a Chamber so constituted, with the demothen established, was an anomaly and a


of

danger.

The House

Lords, from

being a

body of

hereditary legislators

more

or less equally divided in party,


at the

had become 'one great Tory organization, guided


beck and
call of
it

a single individual.'

This account of the

Upper House,
gerated.

should be pointed out, was somewhat exagPeers have always held

A considerable number of

themselves aloof from any sort of party control, and, even


in

Lord

Salisbury's time, occasionally


It is

went out of

their

way

to assert their independence.

by no means correct to
is

say that 'when a

Tory Government
in power,

in

power the power of

veto

is

not exercised by the

House
it is

of Lords, but

when

Liberal

Government

is

exercised at the dicta-

tion of the Carlton Club.'

But Lord Rosebery would not go so


friends
I

far as

some

of his

and represent Peers

as pariahs.

am

not disposed to think that, because a

man
I

is

born to a

particular position he should therefore be debarred from the

higher opportunities of serving his country.


entirely, so far as
I

sympathise

know them,

with the views of a certain

deputation which waited on our late


I

Whip (Lord Tweedmouth).


House
of

hold that

it

is

a great inconvenience to the Liberal party


is

a Liberal Prime Minister


is

not in the

when Commons. It

a grave inconvenience especially to the Prime Minister. But I am not one of those who think that he is under a stigma and a ban. I have not so learned the Liberalism in which we were brought up, and which has broadened the confines of our

THE queen's speech


body
politic.

187

It is comprehensive enough to satisfy the most Our Liberalism has been an enfranchisement, and not an exclusion. In this century we have freed the Jews, we have freed the Roman Catholics, and it is not in this stage of our political development that I am prepared to make a new

exacting.

genus of exclusion,

to create a fresh disability,


shall

and

to set

up the

principle that the accident of birth

debar a

man from

be written over Peer need apply here.' It was against my will that I left the Foreign Office the Office in which we are assembled and which I loved with intense devotion to come to a post where I might not be unanimously acceptable, but where I felt that the call of honour was so clear as not to be mistaken. I sympathise with those who view it otherwise I hope they will forgive me if I cannot share their opinion. I would only ask you to judge me, not by my words, but by my acts. WTien you are tired of me I shall only be too ready to relinquish a serv-ice which, though honourable, is
in future there is to
'

reasonable service, and that


the doors in

Downing

Street,

No

arduous
that
to

but while I am where I am you may be sure of this, no Liberal in your ranks will endeavour more steadfastly do his duty to the Liberal party.
;

The language was


Though none
protest,
it

dignified

and

graceful, but the fact of

such an appeal being necessary was not of good omen.


of the Radicals present offered any public
for a

was known that they were only waiting


Sir

favourable opportunity.

William Harcourt and Mr. John

Morley, however, expressed their concurrence with the Prime


Minister's declaration.

Thus a meeting which had been

awaited with some anxiety passed off smoothly and successfully


;

but before the Prime Minister could derive any ad-

vantage from the good impression he had produced he


deliberately, so
it

seemed,

set

himself to efface

it.

The Queen's Speech contained no


offered
little

item of interest, and


controversial

opening

for

specially

debate.

The Government programme included

Bills for the relief

88

LORD ROSEBERY
Evicted Tenants, the abolition of Plural Voting,

of the

for Disestablishment in

Wales and Scotland, and

for pro-

moting Conciliation

in

Labour

disputes.

The

references

to foreign events were necessarily

somewhat

jejune, since

only a few days had elapsed between the Prorogation and


the opening of the

new

Session.
in

Nevertheless, the debate

on the Address was marked


inauspicious incidents.

both Houses by singular and

In reply to a rasping speech from

Lord

Salisbury, the

Prime Minister, having paid another

glowing tribute to the


briefly in

memory

of Mr. Gladstone,^ passed

review the recent occurrences and more immediate

prospects in Egypt, Siam, and Uganda.


policy,

Turning

to

domestic

he adverted

to the legislative

measures to be brought

before Parliament, and explained

why they did not include

another

Home

Rule

Bill.
it

Ministers had no wish to shirk

the Irish Question, but


'
'

did not appear to be the proper

character and attainments, but there

Every one can appreciate the greatness of Mr. Gladstone's is one aspect of his career which
his retirement pathetic

makes

and

interesting

mean

the long reach

over which his recollection passes.


battle of Waterloo, he heard

He

heard the guns saluting the

some

of Mr. Canning's greatest speeches,

he heard the Reform debate

memorable speech.

He

in 1 83 1 and Lord Brougham's was, over half a century ago, the right-hand
in this

House

and when to this coatadded his own transcendent personality, one cannot, it seems to me, help being reminded of some noble river that has gathered its colours from the various soils

man

of Sir Robert Peel's famous

Government
is

ing of history which he acquired so long ago

through which

it

has passed, but has preserved

its

identity unimpaired,

and gathered itself in one splendid volume before it rushes into the sea.' These sentences mark, perhaps, the highest point reached by Lord RoseIf in mere point of language they fall bery's Parliamentary oratory.
short of classic simplicity, they express a fine thought in generous

words that lost nothing from the manner of delivery. But Lord Rosebery is not often at his best in the frigid atmosphere of the House His more earnest moods are better adapted to the platform, of Lords. his lighter essays to an after-dinner celebration.

THE PREDOMINANT PARTNER


function of the
Bills

89

House

of

Commons
for the

to prepare

and pass

merely to furnish sport

House
Bill

of Lords.

To

bring forward another

Home

Rule
for

would mean the

postponement of
Scotland.
country.
It

all

legislation

England, Wales, and

was possible, of course, to appeal to the


Ministers be afraid to

Nor would

do so when
Mr.

the time should be ripe, but they would never concede the
right of

an hereditary House to force a Dissolution.

Disraeli's prediction in

1844 that

fifty

years would suffice


falsified

to

make

Ireland contented

and happy had been


was

by

events.

If at that time the country


it

in a quieter

and
was

better state,

was not owing

to the light railways or other


It

remedial measures adumbrated by Lord Salisbury.

due
great

to the hope, held out

by the Liberal

party, that the

boon of

local self-government for purely local affairs,

so far as this was consistent with the supremacy of the

Imperial Parliament, would not long be delayed.

Up

to

this

point the Prime

Minister had ruffled no

susceptibiHties.

Nor was

there any reason

why

his state-

ment should be
the next.

carried further, since there was

no intention

of introducing another

Home

Rule

Bill in that Session or

Why

should a Prime Minister who had only been


?

a few days in Office trouble to look further ahead

But, by

some

reckless impulse of proleptic candour,


to

Lord Rosebery
Salis-

was induced

comment on
'

a remark

made by Lord
Before
Imperial

bury with which he was

in entire accord.'

Home

Rule could be conceded


England, as
'

by the

Parliament,
Salisbury,

the predominant partner,' said


its

Lord

would have

to be convinced of

justice.

'That may seem a considerable admission to make,' Lord Rosebery continued, 'because your lordships well know that the majority of English members of Parliament, elected from

190
England proper, are
that

LORD ROSEBERV
hostile to

Home

Rule.

But

believe

England in regard to Home Rule depends on one point alone, and that point is the conduct of Ireland herself. believe that if we can go on showing this comparative absence of agrarian crime, if we can point to the continued harmony of Ireland with the great Liberal party of this country, if we can go on giving proofs and pledges that Ireland is entitled to be granted that boon which she has never ceased to demand since the Act of Union was passed I believe that the conversion of England will not be of a slow or difficult
the conviction

of

character.'

It

may be
in

argued, from the text of these remarks, that

Lord Rosebery was saying no more than he had already


stated
public.

But the phrases used,

'

predominant

partner'
critics,

and 'considerable admission,' were seized upon by


as evidence that the speaker

and taken

was prepared
be-

to throw

Home

Rule

over.

Nor could he complain


Just as a

cause such a view was taken.

man

is

legally held

responsible for the natural and reasonable consequences

of his action, so politically he


to any natural
It
is

is

liable to

be fixed down
his language.

and reasonable interpretation of

probable that Mr. Gladstone could have expressed

precisely the

same idea

in

words that would have given no

opening to adverse criticism, but Lord Rosebery does not


possess the
gift

of dexterous ambiguity,

and found himself

saddled with repudiating, when he had only meant to argue


for postponing,

Home

Rule.

The
of

explanations given by

his

lieutenants in the

House

Commons

neither did
to

of

them, perhaps, quite sorry to see that the Leader imposed

on them had already been involved


William Harcourt admitted that

in difficulty

not

satisfy the Nationalists or the recalcitrant group of Radicals.

Sir

Home

Rule was

be

hung

up, but pointed out that this was better than Coercion

SPEECH AT EDINBURGH
in

IQI
that the
all

action,

and Mr. Motley could only promise


'

Home

Rule policy would be

prosecuted with

the

despatch that circumstances would allow.' language


in

The emphatic

which he put aside the idea that Lord Rosebery


from an honourable obligation was regarded, not
for

would
as a

flinch

compliment to the Prime Minister, but as a device

tying

him down

to an

unwelcome

task.

Mr. Morley's denial

of the rumours as to dissensions within the Cabinet was


received with laughter, and, quite apart from the merciless
gibes of the Opposition,
it

was admitted that the defence of

the Prime Minister as offered in the

House
speak

of

Commons
himself.

had injured rather than helped


It

his case.
for

was necessary that he should

Fortunately, he had previously arranged to address a great

meeting

at

Edinburgh on the seventeenth.

He

complained

that the criticisms of his speech in Parliament

had not been


tolerable.

animated by the benevolence that makes criticism

What I we must
'

said was, that

if

we wanted
I stand.

to carry

Home

Rule

carry conviction to the hearts of the people of

England, and by those words

They
I

are a truism,

they are a platitude in the sense in which

uttered

them

but in the sense in which they have been interpreted they


bear a meaning which, as a Scotchman,
first I

should be the

to repudiate.'
for

He

did not suggest that they would

have to wait

an English majority
at all.
Still,

at

that rate they

might get no reform

he did believe they

would

get an English majority for

Home

Rule

at the next

General

Election.

In

126

Home

1886 England returned 339 Unionists, to Rulers; and in 1892 the figures were 266

against 199, so that in six years the Unionist majority in

England had

fallen

from 213 to 67.

Nevertheless, they
if

could do without an English majority

they were to get,

192

LORD ROSEBERY
roo with the help of an increased

say, a clear majority of

Scotch and Irish vote.

This statement was scoffed at by the Unionists as a


humiliating recantation forced upon the Prime Minister by
the

Home
words

Rule

party.

Certainly

it

was a repudiation of

one of the meanings


his
at

that'

might legitimately be placed on


it

Westminster, but

was quite

in

harmony

with the equally justifiable interpretation claimed by the

speaker himself.

It

was accepted as satisfactory by Mr. John

Dillon, as representing the great

body of the Nationalist


were then called

party

the

anti-Parnellites, as they

but

not by Mr. Redmond's small group of Parnellite intransigents.

The

average opinion

among English
Those who

Liberals was

decidedly

unfavourable they
'

considered that the Prime


in their hearts

Minister had been

squeezed.'

disliked the idea of

Home

Rule blamed him

for giving

way, while those


felt

who
for

staunchly adhered to that principle


It

no gratitude

an involuntary concession.
but the
political

was

all

quite illogical, perhaps,

intelligence

of

Englishmen

is

not subtle, and scarcely ever allows a public


first

man

to

modify the

impression produced by his words.


in

Nor had Lord Rosebery strengthened confidence

his

Home
Irish

Rule orthodoxy by linking the Scottish with the


'

demand.

I,

for one, believe

speak

now

not as a

Minister, but as a

land that national


fast,

a national

man that when we receive from Scotdemand which appears to be ripening so demand for that local power of self-governthe business of Scotland, so long
I,

ment which would cause

neglected in England, to be settled in Scotland,

as a

Minister, shall not be standing to oppose you in the breach,

and,

if I

am

not a Minister, as a

man

I shall

hope to be

in

the storming party.'

Now

as there

was not

at the time, or

UNIONIST CRITICISM
likely in

I93

the near future to be, aoy effective

demand

in

Scotland for such

Home
to

Rule as the Nationalists claimed

in

Ireland, the association of a full-fledged with an unhatched

scheme was held

imply disregard for both.

The

general estimate of Lord Rosebery's position was,


:

perhaps, not unfaithfully expressed by Mr. Chamberlain

have now a Prime Minister who is willing to support no firm faith in its early success. one Church, or to establish three, as may be most convenient. He is willing to abolish the House

We

Home Rule, though he has He is willing to disestablish

of Lords, even at the cost of revolution, though he is himself in favour of a Second Chamber. There is no change, then, in

But there is a change. There is a change in the Prime Minister. In Mr. Gladstone, at any rate we had a man who succeeded in convincing himself the more he tried to convince others. But Lord Rosebery is not convinced, and he does not seem to think that any one needs conviction. Mr. Gladstone was one of whom it was sometimes
policy.

attitude of the

said that his earnestness ran

away with
to
I

Rosebery allows
is

his

judgment
It is

his judgment, but Lord be run away with by the


this situation

earnestness of other people.


likely to last very long.

do not think that

too strained to continue.


it

The

criticism

was harsh, but

did

fairly

represent the

current opinion, and the

concluding sentences were unhas any respect


for a

doubtedly correct.

Nobody

weak

Government, and Lord Rosebery's reputation as a leader was impaired by the obvious fact that his task was hopeless.

All that

he could do was to postpone defeat

defeat which every day


it

seemed imminent, and which, when should come, would be welcome to a large section of his

nominal supporters.

The

spirit in

which he was received by an active group of

the Radicals was illustrated by an incident in the Debate

on the Address.

An amendment

was

moved by Mr.

194

LORD ROSEBERY
passed by the

Labouchere, praying that the power of the Lords to reject


Bills

Commons

should cease, and expressing

a hope that her Majesty, with the advice of her Ministers,

would secure the passing of


law of Parliament,
it

that reform.

By an

unwritten

is

considered impermissible for a

Government
and,
if

to

accept any

Amendment

to the Address,
it

Mr. Labouchere's were to be treated seriously,


as a question of Confidence.

must be regarded
sented

The humour

or malice of the plot was kept


itself,

up

till

an opportunity presnap division,"

at dinner-time, of taking a "

and the Government were placed


against

in a minority of 2

145

having

147
severe

been

saved

from

more

defeat only by Conservative votes.

There was, of course,


though the Opposition

no question of Ministers
pretended to expect
it.

resigning,

But

Sir

William Harcourt had to


against

announce

that

the

Government would vote


a

the

Address which they had themselves drafted, and


this

that, after

had been negatived, he would move


sometimes was

new

one.

Lord Rosebery

suffered especially from the praise

luketo

warm though
already been

it

bestowed upon

his foreign

policy by the leading Unionist speakers.

Reference has

made

to his attempt in the

autumn of 1894

bring about a joint intervention of the Powers in the Chino-

Japanese war, when

his action

was equally misinterpreted


spirit,

on both sides

by Radicals as breathing a Jingo

and

by Conservatives as having brought a rebuff on


try.

this

coun-

Moreover, he had failed to

effect the

completion which
in Central Africa

he desired of the British communications

between Cairo and the Cape, while he had given offence


both to France and Germany.
to escape discredit for

Nor was
legislation

it

possible for

him
of

what he was unable to avert


in

the

miscarriage of

Government

the

House

PARLIAMENTARY POSITION
Commons.

195
the

The

only material success achieved by

party in the popular

Chamber was

the

'

democratic Budget,'

introduced by Sir William Harcourt, which, while placing

an extra penny on the income-tax, introduced a certain

number
means.

of

new exemptions in favour of persons of small The long-threatened reform of the Death Duties
'

was now executed, and, though


a few wealthy
lar

it

gave deep
it

ofiFence

to

members

of the party,

was generally popu-

because

it

averted the necessity for laying fresh taxes on

the ordinary voter.

The

equalisation of rates in

London

was also embodied

in a Statute,

and a

first

step towards

the Unification of the Metropolis was taken by the publication of the

Royal Commissioners' Report.


sterile,

Otherwise the

Session

was practically

and the more energetic


of Lords

Radicals

made up

their
until

minds that no important reforms


the

would be carried
'

House

had been

dealt

with.'

At the annual meeting of the National on 20 June, a resolution was

Liberal Federation at Leeds,

adopted which called on the Government to introduce


during the existing Parliament a measure for the abolition
of the Veto of the

House of Lords upon measures passed

by the House of Commons.


Conservative speakers, naturally,
agitation,

made

mock

of the

and inquired how the House of Lords would be


Bill for its

induced to accept a

own

extinction,

and the speech


at

which Lord Rosebery had promised to deliver

Bradford
exist-

was anticipated with much


ing constitution of the

interest.

His views on the


well

Upper House were

known, and
direc-

on various occasions he had thrown out hints of the


tion that might be

taken by reform.
its

But he had never


it

proposed a limitation of
a
nullity.

powers which would reduce

to

His reception on 27 October was very cordial;

196

LORD ROSEBERY
which undoubtedly he had suffered

for the loss of reputation,


at

Westminster, had not affected the enthusiastic Liberals

in the north of England.

He

frankly accepted the

'

fiU-

the-cup

'

policy of his party.

When
polls

the Dissolution should


it

come, he declared
deferred

and

perhaps

would not be long

the

battle of the

would be fought, not

on DisestabHshment or

Home

Rule or Local Option, but


all

on a question which included and represented


question of the
with
of
it

the

House

of Lords.

The time

for dealing

had

arrived.

Thrice within sixty years the House

Commons had
It

been popularised by successive extensions

of the franchise.

The House

of Lords, however, was un-

changed.
of
'

contained 5 per cent of Liberals and 95 per cent another party which he would not define.' It mattered

not
of

how many

Liberals the country returned to the


it

House
still

Commons

might return 600

yet

there would

be only 30 Liberal peers.


free institutions.

That was a mere mockery of

In principle he was a Second

Chamber

man, but

if

he had to choose between no Second Chamber

and such a Second Chamber as the House of Lords, he


should
feel

there

was ground

for

hesitation
its

as

to

his

principle.

The House
Chamber

of Lords in

present position was


It

an absolute danger, an invitation to revolution.


not a Second
at all,
it

was

was a party organisation

controlled for party purposes.


It

was said that the Peers never resisted the known

will

of the people.

How

could the

will

of the people be better


?

expressed than through the representatives of the people

Who

gave the Peers the right to decide what were or were

not the wishes of the people


representatives?

when expressed through

its

To concede

such a right would be to

imply that Liberal legislation would only be carried under

PROCEDURE BY RESOLUTION
threat of revolution,
as
in

97

1882,
Bristol
it

when Birmingham and


was
in flames.

Glasgow were arming, and

The country had

before

a great national question and


issue

a great national danger.

The

was tremendous

the
were
of

greatest since their fathers resisted the tyrannies of Charles


I

and James

11.

But the

difficulties of

dealing with

it

enormous.

Constitutionally, the powers of the

House
Bill

Lords could only be abolished or modified by a


through both Houses.

passed

Any

other way was a revolution.

He

did not think, however, that matters would

come

to a

revolution

there

were means of making the

will of the

country

felt

without violent or unconstitutional methods.


place, the

In the
as
it

first

House

of

Commons
1678
it

should proceed,

always had proceeded in


Resolution.
free

its

contests with the

House

of Lords, by

In

had asserted by

Resolution

its

and uncontrollable

right to represent the

people in matters of finance.


in

The Resolution which he had


and unmistakable terms,
that

mind would

state, in clear

the

House

of

Commons,

in the partnership with the

House

of Lords, was the predominant partner.

Such a Resolution
very different thing
It

would be proposed by Ministers


represent

from one proposed by a private member.


the joint

would

re-

demand

of the

Executive

and the

popular

Chamber for a revision of the Constitution. Afterwards the House of Commons would call on a power

greater than itself

on the people of
it is

Great Britain

to give
On
the
fling

them a mandate

for dealing with the question.

verdict of the people the issue

would depend.
to

'

We

down

the gauntlet

for

you

back us

up.'

How many
reliance

readers

to-day of this

summary of Lord

Rosebery's challenge to the Peers could say off-hand, in

on

their unassisted

memories, whether such a Resolu-

iqS
tion

lord rosebery
was ever proposed
?
is

The whole
somewhat

business was fatuousastonishing,

ness and bathos, and

it

when we
as

review the situation at a distance of time which removes


all

party prepossessions, that so shrewd a

man

Lord

Rosebery, assisted by colleagues of such great intellectual

power as

Sir

William Harcourt and Mr. John Morley, could


Instead of a declara-

have settled on so tame a conclusion.


tion of war,

the party

had given a public confession of

impotence.

What

authority would reside in a Resolution

carried by a strict party

Whip?

If there

had been any

hope of detaching a considerable body of the Unionists,


or

even compelling them to stand aside, the proposal

might have been worth bringing forward.

Then

it

would

have been possible to represent the dispute as one between the two Houses.

The

issue

that

Lord Rosebery

sought to raise was a mere popular Chamber.

trial

of party strength in the

There were but two constitutional methods which were


likely to

be effective

for abolishing or abridging the


it

powers

of the Lords.

But

was

at least doubtful

whether the

Crown would assent to the simpler means the creation of a sufficient number of Peers to vote the extinction of their House

while

the other expedient was forbidden by the

tactical position of the Liberal party.

The Prime

Minister

might recommend the Crown to dissolve Parliament on the


Peers' rejection of any or
all

of the measures passed by the

Commons. But to this course there were two valid objecThe first was that such action would seem to tions.
recognise a right in the Peers to force a Dissolution of the

other House.

The

other was that the Liberals were by no

means confident
trial

of getting a majority,

and

to challenge a

of strength without the certainty of a striking success

A CONSTITUTIONAL DILEMMA
would but strengthen
wished to overthrow.
that

I99

adverse authority which they

The
at

difficulties of

the position were frankly recognised

by Lord Rosebery
Glasgow.
It

in a

speech he delivered

later in the year

was a reply to recent criticisms by Mr.

Balfour and other leading Conservatives.


his faith in

Having reaffirmed

the principle of a Second Chamber, he sugit

gested the sort of powers which he would repose in


indirect rather than direct,

more consultative than

legislative

so that

it

would be a

sort of

High Court of

Justice for the

Empire, and represent those Imperial interests which as yet


were unrepresented
in

Parliament.
the

Meantime, however,
readjustment of
will

the country had to deal with

the

powers of the two existing Chambers, so that the


the popular
festly

of

Chamber should be made

'

plainly

and maniPeers to

predominant.'

This, he thought, could be brought


the

about either by obtaining the consent of

abridge their Veto or by the old Parliamentary system of a

conference between delegates of both


first

Houses.

In

the

instance, however, the

Government would proceed by

Resolution.

But the

efficacy of this

method would depend


If Ministers

on the support received from the nation.

were

sent back with such a majority as in 1892 they could not


effect

much
if

against the

House

of Lords

On
it

the other
it

hand,

the Liberal party obtained such a majority as

had received on some previous occasions,


the fault of Ministers
if

would not be

the

House

of Lords were not

made

to feel the force of the nation's will.


It

came back

to the old
it

dilemma.

The

Cabinet's hands
if
it

were tied unless

could dissolve Parliament, while,


it

did go to the country,


out of existence.

would, in all probability, be swept

The

position was essentially false,

and

it

200
was impossible
for

LORD ROSEBERY
any Prime Minister
to

mend

it,

even

if

he were a member of the House of Commons, or had


enjoyed an early training in
at least conceivable that
its

moods and methods.

It is

Lord Rosebery's
it

political reputa-

tion

would have stood higher than


if

stood at the end of

1894

the honours

and

responsibilities of

Prime Minister
Sir

had been withheld from him and conferred on


Harcourt.

William

That

practised

Parliamentarian

would
if

have

exercised a fuller authority as leader of the


also

House

he had

been leader of the

party, whereas

if

in the difficult

circumstances of the period he had

failed, the position of

Lord Rosebery would have been materially strengthened. If, on the other hand, Sir William had been successful, his
colleague would have been able to devote the whole of his

thought and energy to the active administration of foreign


affairs.

Apart from minor

slips

(as

e.g.

in

the

curious

incident about the

New

Zealand Ministry wishing to take

over the management of Samoa), his supervision of Lord

Kimberley's Department was

so

effective

as

to

deprive

Unionists of one of their stock subjects of invective against


the

Liberal party.

Especially

when he approached

the

ornamental side of international politics he acquitted himself

with singular grace and distinction.


9 November,
it

At the Mansion
to his lot to tender

House banquet, on

fell

the sympathy of the nation to the two States with which

our diplomatic relations were

least cordial.

With Russia
as to

we had indeed concluded a


irritating

treaty of delimitation

Central Asia, but the policy of France had been persistently

and almost

'

unfriendly.'

International jealousies,

however, were

laid in the presence of

domestic

affliction.

The

assassination of

President Carnot gave the English

Prime Minister a

fitting

opportunity of referring, in kindly

DEATH OF THE EMPEROR OF RUSSIA


terms, to the country with which,
war,
in

20I

our

last

European

we stood shoulder

to

shoulder,

and with which we

always desired to stand shoulder to shoulder, not in war,

we did not desire war, but in the generous rivalry of commerce and peace. The death of the Czar Alexander III the master of many legions, who never waged a war
for

was made the subject of a touching passage


Death
is

infrequently,

always a terrible thing, though sometimes, and not more terrible to the survivors than to those who

aie taken.

But
is

it

must always seem that death comes more

appallingly to the occupant of a throne.

The

light that beats

upon him
in

so fierce

he has seemed, up to the


in

moment
it

of his

removal, so sublime and so uncontrolled that

would not be

human

nature not to think that the coming of the angel of

death did not seem more sudden and tragic


in ours.

such a case than

The
There

general

tribute

of

Europe

to
:

the

memory

of

Alexander III was a tribute to Peace


is

Lord Falkland, Newbury. He was comparatively a young man there was nothing to distinguish him from many who died in that campaign. Though he was brave, he was constantly heard murmuring among his companions, Peace, Peace.' He could think of nothing but an end to that war. Well, my Lord Mayor, there are millions of Lord Falklands in Europe now. The one passion, the one secret
a character in English history
at

who was

killed

the battle of
;

'

passion of every disinterested


industrial

bosom and international Peace.

in this world, is for

Peace,

CHAPTER
Liberal meeting at Cardiff

XII

Reception of the Prime Minister Welsh Parnellites and Radicals Retirement of the Duke of Cambridge The Cordite Vote Defeat of the Government Lord Rosebery's resignation His views on the position of a Prime Minister Platform speeches Defeat of his Administration Need Liberal concentration House of Lords the question Lord Salisbury's third Administration Lord Rosebery on Liberal Party organisation The persecution of Armenians The question of British intervention Lord Rosebery's retirement Speech explanation Disagreement with Mr. Gladstone This the straw Lord Rosebery's other reasons References to
Disestablishment
for
first

failures

in

'

last

'

his late colleagues

Compromise in politics.
was
in

Disunited
cause,

as the Liberal party

Parliament, each

group intriguing to obtain precedence


all

for its

own

particular

differences

were sunk

at

the meeting of the

National Liberal Federation held at Cardiff just before the

opening of Parliament

in

1895.

Confidence was voted

in

Lord Rosebery's

leadership.

Home

Rule was declared to


satisfaction

hold the foremost place

in the

programme,

was

expressed at the Prime Minister's declaration with regard


to the Peers, the

announcement of Welsh Disestablishment


for

as the

first

Government measure

the coming Session

was heartily welcomed, Local Option and the Unification


of

London were mentioned

with respect, and a similar comlist

pliment was paid to the other items in the Newcastle


agenda.

of

spirited address

was delivered by the Prime

Minister chiefly in support of Welsh Disestablishment.

On

the general question of an Established Church, he declared

202

PARNELLITES AND RADICALS


the matter to be one for national option

203
in

whether

Wales,

Scotland, or England.

As

to

the

House

of Lords, the

reason

why

the Resolution which Ministers had in view

was not

to be at

once pressed on the House of


entail

Commons

was that doing so would

an instant Dissolution.

Before taking that course they wanted to do something

more

for the people

control of the liquor


little

traffic,

payment
Next

of members, and

One Man One

Vote, without which their

democratic suffrage was

more than a sham.

day he declared that he saw no probability of an immediate


Dissolution.

The
'

majority in the

Commons was
for their
'

small,

but

it

was a working majority, and

own

sakes

he thought that

even discontented friends

would be too
It

wise to turn out the Liberal Government.


spell of

had a long
significantly

good work before


its

it

if

Lord Rosebery
and
its

added

friends in the country

friends in

the

House
Mr.

of

Commons
its

gave

it

their support.

Amongst

friends, however, could


his

no longer be counted
extreme Nationalists.
to call

Redmond and

group of

Privately they

had invited the Opposition whip

upon

them when he pleased

to vote against Ministers.

This was

a length to which the malcontent Radicals would not quite

venture to proceed, though they could not be relied upon


for positive support in a critical division.

They were

further

incensed by the outlay which

it

was understood that the


for the

Government intended
ing the

to

propose

purpose of bring-

Navy up

to a higher standard of efficiency.

The

Queen's Speech announced no important legislation beyond

what had already been promised out-of-doors, and the most


striking passages referred to the

Armenian disorders and


'

the pacific understanding which,


tions,'

after protracted negotia-

had been reached with the French Republic

as to

204

LORD ROSEBERY
This was

the delimitation of boundaries in West Africa.

undertaken to prevent such unfortunate conflicts as had


taken place in the previous year between the British and

French, and which, for a few days, seemed likely to cause


a serious quarrel over territory of disputed ownership and
far

from ascertained value.


foreign affairs

On

Lord

Salisbury's attitude

was

fairly in

accord with the Government's policy, but his caustic review


of their domestic achievements drew a sharp reply from

the

Prime Minister.

It

appeared that

Lord Rosebery

particularly

resented the suggestion that their legislative


in a

promises were only acts

drama, not seriously intended.

Ministers, he declared, were bent

on the honest fulfilment

of their pledges, and as long as they possessed a majority

would use

it

in

redeeming them.

The

business of the Session was almost confined to the

House of Commons, nor would Lord Rosebery have been


able to take an active part in Parliament even
ings in
if

the proceed-

the other Chamber had been more important.

Early

in the spring

he had been seized with a sharp attack of


for

influenza,

and paid

resuming

his

work too soon by a


re-

severe

relapse.

Confident reports of his impending


several

signation were on

occasions

circulated,

and the

cause was asserted to be, not so

much
an

the unconcealed

feuds in the Cabinet, as the physical collapse of the Prime


Minister.

On

May

he delivered

address

to

the

National Liberal Club, and paid elaborate compliments


to
his

chief

colleagues,
'

and

especially

to

Sir

William
of the

Harcourt, the

indefatigable

and

brilliant

leader

House
and
at

of

Commons.'
it

But the
as
if

effort

taxed his strength,

one time
speech

seemed

he would not be able to


the main, an exhortation

finish his

which was,

in

THE CORDITE VOTE


House
of Lords, which was, he said, a hindrance
to legislation.

20$

to the party to strengthen Ministers in dealing with the

and

per-

manent obstacle

In spite of the opposition offered by those Radicals

who

wished to retrench expenditure on the national defences, Lord Rosebery, with his colleagues at the Admiralty and

War Office, was genuinely anxious to place the Navy and Army on a sound and permanent footing. During the
Siamese
sidered

when the gravest he had been rendered, on the best


crisis

possibilities

had

to

be con-

official

informa-

tion, painfully

aware of the insufficiency of our preparations


defence,

for Imperial

and Lord Spencer had asked

for

between four and


Estimates.

five millions sterling extra in the

Naval
it

On

the

Army
first

there was no increased Vote, but

was believed was

that the

essential to effective reorganisation

to induce the late

Duke

of

Cambridge

to resign the

office of

Commander-in-Chief.

This being accompHshed,

would carry out the main principles of the The announceReport of the Hartington Commission.
Ministers

June by Mr. Campbell-Bannerman that his Royal Highness would not stand in the way of the contemplated reforms in Army administration,^ though accom-

ment on

panied by
in-Chief,

many compliments

to the retiring

Commanderin

was paraded as a Departmental success, but

a few hours the Government had been defeated on a War Office vote. The division had been suddenly taken, and
if

Ministers had cared

to ask

the

House

to rescind

its

action they would have been


^

amply

entitled to take that

The

resignation of the

Duke

of

Cambridge was brought about by

the late Queen, who, acting, no doubt, on the advice of her Ministers,

addressed an aflfectionate but imperative letter to the Commander-inChief.

206
course.

LORD ROSEBERV
But they were weary of existing on Parliamentary

sufferance.
it

They would never be


if

safe

from

surprises,

and

was extremely doubtful,

the Cordite vote should be

reversed,

whether a similar disaster would not overtake


after.
it

them the next week or the week

Moreover, Mr. Campbell-Bannerman,

was understood,

chose to regard the action of the House as a personal


affront,

and

at all costs

was determined to

resign.

It

was

idle to think of reconstructing the Ministry at

such a moment.

What

recruit

worth having could


not so

fairly

be invited to join a
external pressure as

Cabinet

falling

much through
Its hopeless

from internal divisions?

condition had been

so keenly realised about ten weeks before that,

when Mr.

Campbell-Bannerman wished
draw
his candidature simply

to

be nominated for the vacant

Speakership, he had been induced by his colleagues to with-

because they were not willing

to face the risks involved in

any rearrangement of the Deinadvisable on lo April

partments of State.

What had been


suicidal

would have been

on 21 June, and on 22 June Lord Rosebery went down to Windsor and placed his
resignation in the Queen's hands.

On

the 24th he was

succeeded by Lord Salisbury, who formed the Unionist


Administration that lasted over the General Elections of

1895 and 1900


"

down
is

to his retirement

There are two supreme pleasures


"

in life,"
is

on 24 June, 1902. Lord Rosebery

has said.

One

ideal, the

other

real.

The

ideal

is

when a man receives the seals of Office from his Sovereign. The real pleasure comes when he hands them back." Even before he had enjoyed any personal experience of the
privileges

and embarrassments of a Prime Minister, except


had distinguished between the theoretical and the

indirectly through his confidential intimacy with Mr. Glad-

stone, he

POSITION OF A PRIME MINISTER


actual position.

20/

The

passage occurs in his Preface to Mr.


Sir

C.

S.

Parker's biography of

Robert Peel.

To

the

ordinary apprehension, wrote Lord Rosebery in 1891, the

name
of

of Prime Minister implies


finds
its
is

a dictator, the duration

whose power

only limit in
very

the

House of
Technically

Commons.'
and

The
he

reality
is

different.

practically

a chairman of an Executive

Committee

of Privy Councillors, the influential foreman of an executive


jury.

His
exert in

influence.

power is mainly personal, the power of individual That influence, whatever it may be, he has to many directions before he can have his way. He has

to deal with the Sovereign, with the Cabinet, with Parliament,

and with public opinion. ... All his colleagues he must convince, some he may have to humour, some even to cajole Nor is it only his a harassing, laborious, and ungracious task.
:

he has to masticate their he has to blend their public utterances, to fuse all this as well as may be into the for these various records must be policy of the Government Without the external reconciled, or glossed, or obliterated.
colleagues that he has to deal with
pledges, given before they joined
;

him

support of his Cabinet he


colleague,

is

disarmed.

The
is

resignation of a

however

relatively insignificant,

a storm signal.

The

position of

Prime Minister,

in

Lord Rosebery's
he

opinion, delivered before he was swayed by personal prepossessions,


is

only tolerable to a sensitive statesman


will

if

can impress his


generally,
if

upon

his colleagues

as Mr.

Gladstone

not always,

succeeded

in doing.

That was

impossible for Lord Rosebery, because in his Cabinet he

numbered

several Ministers

who

disagreed in principle with

the general lines which he had laid

down

for the direction

of foreign policy, while in domestic affairs they placed a very


difi"erent

interpretation

upon Liberalism.

They adhered,

208
except
in

LORD ROSEBERY
the Irish land legislation inherited from

Mr,

Gladstone, to the individualist doctrines of the old Ben-

thamite doctrines of Philosophical Radicalism, while they


limited, so far as possible, their conception of the State to

the

British

Isles.

Lord Rosebery, on the other hand,

was enthusiastically an Imperialist and tentatively a Socialist

i.e.

he held no a priori objections to State or Munici-

pal guidance of social

and

industrial evolution.

It

was,

therefore, a genuine discord in principle, as well as

a certain

personal incompatibility, which led to the incessant friction


in his

Cabinet.

These disintegrating and demoralising

in-

fluences

might, perhaps, have been counteracted by the


if

'sense of self-preservation,'

behind the Administration

there

had stood a strong majority in Parliament. But as there was no hope of practical accomplishment no induce-

ment

existed for mutual accommodation,

and the utmost


'

that the

Prime Minister, holding, as he


fall

said,

office

without

power,' could attain was to

honourably.

Nevertheless, no sooner had he given

up the

seals than

he plunged
for,

into the political fray with

unwonted energy,
for

since the time

when he worked

Mr. Gladstone

in

Midlothian, he had
It

indulged a growing distaste for


that,

platform oratory.

appeared afterwards
of
his

almost im-

mediately

on

the

defeat

Government, he

had

intimated to his late colleagues his readiness to give


the party leadership.
signs of retirement.

up
he

But

for the present

he exhibited no
July,

At the Eighty Club, on 2nd


surprising

made
tering

the

somewhat
of

claim

that

rarely

had a

Government been more


the
affairs

successful than his

own

in adminis-

the

country.

But there were two

lessons which Liberals should have learned from their late

experiences.

One was

the danger of a multifarious pro-

DEFENCE OF MIS ADMINISTRATION


gramme.

209

The

other was the necessity of a large majority

for dealing with the

House of Lords.

Neither

Home

Rule

nor any of the other great questions raised by the party


could pass the portals of the Constitution and become law
'except over the body of the

House
its

of Lords.'

If they

could relegate that institution to


reforms would present
Election,
if

proper place, the other

little difificulty.

At the next General

they had a majority of two hundred on the

Local Veto, they would not necessarily be any nearer to


carrying

dred

for

Home Home

Rule.

If they got a majority of

one hun-

Rule, they would not necessarily be nearer Vote.

to carrying
'

One Man, One annihilation of the House

But

if

they carried the


its legisla-

of Lords as regards

tive

preponderance, which keeps our party in manacles,'


half,

they would have gone, not

but three-quarters of the

way

to carrying the other reforms.

Two
had

or three days later he delivered at the Albert Hall

another fighting speech.


lived a noble
life

The

late

Government, he
It

said,

and died a noble death.

had

passed great measures and wrought great acts of administration

the Parish Councils Act, the Equalisation of London


He
had
for establishing continuity in

Rates, the Factory Act, and the Budget of 1894.

worked with Lord Kimberley


foreign policy,

and

as for the taunt that he

was a Liberal
pointed to the
confidence in
just,

Imperialist, he gloried in the

shame

He
*

comparative tranquillity of Ireland, due to


the
Liberal

its

Government and
'

to the

vigilant,

and

sympathetic administration
not want
'

of Mr. Morley.

The
for

Irish did

separation

'

what they asked

was a local For

legislature for the

management of

affairs that

were misunder-

stood, mismanaged,

and neglected

at

Westminster.

Wales and

for

Scotland something had been attempted by

210

LORD ROSEBEKV
come
in ?

the late Government, but England might ask the question,


'

Where do

'

As
its

Sir

Robert Peel once

said,

'

the country had outgrown

institutions.'

If real legisin the


all

lation

was required there must be a drastic reform


of

House
*

Commons
'

procedure.

But the

tap root of

political questions

was the power of the House of Lords.

We are

told that

any violent demonstration of the popular

will will

always be obeyed by the


legislate

House

of Lords.

But
Say a

you cannot

by a

series

of hurricanes.

Government comes
is

in with five first-class measures.


first.

There
nature
fifth

one hurricane to support the


?

Is

it

in

human

that there should be a second, a third, a fourth,


to support the remaining four

and a

The
be put
its

question of the
first.

House

of Lords must, therefore,

The
it

Liberal

party

ought to hold by
its

all

pledges, but

should place confidence in


to the order in
'

leaders

as to

when, as to how, and as

which those

pledges should be redeemed.


air

We

want

in future a little

and elbow-room.'

At Bradford,
insisting

again, he preached

on

the

same

text

always

on the necessity of

first

dealing with the Lords.


It will

be seen, then, that Lord Rosebery entered with


task which Mr. Gladstone

a will

upon the

had declined
In 1893
it

not only from a sense of declining powers.

was,

of course, impossible for the aged statesman to start on

a crusade against the Peers.


unwilling to take up the

But he had been


menace,

similarly

movement when
by

his leadership

was demanded, almost

with

the

Radical

advocates of the Reform Bill of 1884.

At that time Mr.

Gladstone was

full

of energy and

had a popular cause.

The

Conservatives, though they encouraged the Peers in

resistance to the

Commons,

scarcely disguised their nervous-

THE HOUSE OF LORDS


ness as to the issue of the threatened struggle, and of the

211

some

trimmers were counselHng submission.

Yet Mr.

Gladstone, though he issued words of grave warning, as he

was

to issue

them again a decade


ever charged

later,

declined to give
of political

battle.

Nobody
it

him with lack

courage, but
apart

seems to have been


never -eradicated

his deliberate opinion,

from

his

Conservatism,

that

the

country would not support him in so violent an assault on


the Constitution.

Lord Rosebery formed a

different esti-

mate, but the result of the General Election scarcely justified his

innovation on Mr. Gladstone's

tactics.

When

all

that

is

possible has been said about the shock inflicted

on

the party by the retirement of the veteran, about the dis-

cords between

its

leaders, about the conflicts of the different

groups and

their

struggles

for

precedence,

it

must

be

remembered, on the other

side, that

no case could have been one which they

more complete

against the Lords than the

had themselves presented by

their treatment of successive

measures sent up from the House of Commons.

If the

country did really object to the Peers exercising an inde-

pendent judgment,

it

had ample ground

for

resentment

in

their handling of the


Bill,
Bill.

Home

Rule

Bill,

the Evicted Tenants


Liability

the Parish Councils

Bill,
fill

and the Employers'


up the cup of
?

If these acts did not


it

their iniquities,

what would cause


If

to overflow

we

are to judge by results

which,

in practical politics,

are the final criterion

Lord

Rosebery's agitation against

the

House

of Lords was a mistake.

Whether
party,

it

might
if is

have been successful, or come nearer to success,

he
im-

had been
Election

heartily

backed up by the whole

it

possible to conjecture.

When

the returns of the General


it

of 1895 were completed

was found

that,

as

212

LORD ROSEBERY

into a minority of 152

compared with 1892, a majority of 42 had been turned 340 Conservatives and 71 Liberal

Unionists against 177 Liberals, 70 Anti-Parnellites, and 12


ParnelHtes.

There was nothing

to be

done except

to face the music,

and Lord Rosebery,

at the

opening of the new Session,


in the

was perhaps more comfortable

House

of Lords as

leader of a small Opposition than as occupant of a place of

nominal authority

nor would he be

much

disconcerted at

being brought face to face with the Peers whose power he

had
it

set

himself to reduce or destroy.

His reception was,

of

may be imagined, not men who regarded him


for

altogether cordial on the part


as

an enemy of

his

own

Order,

but his defeat had been so exemplary that the victors had

no excuse

any display of ill-humour.

In the Debate on
affairs,

the Address he rose to review the general position of

and found plenty of subjects


massacre of
missionaries

for his

speech before he dealt

with the changed position of parties.


in

The
the

reports of the

China,

persecution

of

Armenians, and the occupation of Chitral were discussed


before he

came

to
said,

the results of the General Election.

There was, he
party in the

nothing discouraging to the Liberal


affairs.

new

state of

He bowed

before the
its

will of the nation,

and did not seek

to analyse

comlate

ponent

parts.

The

verdict passed too readily

on the
It

Government would, he thought,


possible, after

yet be reversed.

was

what had happened, that there might be

a variation in Liberal policy, but there would be none in


their principles.

ing majority in the

The new Government had an overwhelmLower House and a virtual monopoly in the Upper. What did the Prime Minister intend to do by way of setting their lordships' House in order ?

THE LIBERAL FAILURE


If

213

Lord Rosebery was able

to bear with equanimity a

defeat which had

removed him from

a false position

and

restored

him

to the liberty of unfettered criticism, the rank

and

file

of the party were by no

be thankful.
late disaster

means inclined to rest and They wished to examine the causes of the and to learn how it might be retrieved. It was

natural that they should look for

some

light

and leading

to

Lord Rosebery.

Unfortunately he did not realise the

desperate seriousness of their mood, and, in the whimsical


fashion which he sometimes affects, chose to play with the
subject.

At Scarborough,

for instance,

on 18 October, he

delivered several speeches in which he scarcely tried to

answer the all-important question.


in the collective

He

believed, he said,

nation, and,

if

common-sense of the great mass of the the party had been rejected by that common'

sense, they must,

unconsciously and in some way of which

they were unaware, have deserved that rejection.'

This

remark,

if it

were to be taken seriously, would be construed

as an insult

by the earnest party workers.


it

If

it

were an

essay in political humour,

would only be understood by

a small circle of cultivated persons.


inspired

Nor was he
gullibility
'

better

when he commented on
and proposed
motto.
that
'

the

of the

electorate,

Educate, educate
to

should be

the

party

He

did

not wish

be returned to

power under
Liberals

false issues,

or through a petulant impulse.

should

'go for the sober and well-considered

support of sober and well-considered reform,' and again he dwelt on the need for altering the present constitution of
the

House

of Lords.

average sentiment.

Once more he failed to grasp the What the disappointed Liberals were
House
of

thinking of was the present composition of the

Commons.

214

LORD ROSEBERY
last

In a third speech he at
the hour.

approached the problem of

The

failure of

the Liberals was, he said, ex-

plained

by various causes.

There was the

loss

of the

magic personality of Mr. Gladstone.


length of their programme.
their hold

There was also the

Thirdly, they had

weakened

on the mass of the people because they had

spent so large a portion of their Parliamentary time on

comparatively small portions of the United

on Ireland and Wales.

Kingdom The Home Rule and the Welsh


in

Disestablishment Bills were great measures

themselves,

but they did not touch

Englishmen.
satisfied the

This, of course,

was to the point, but,


electors in

if it

bulk of the Liberal

constituencies represented by Conservative or


it

Unionist members,

roused the suspicion of their Welsh

and

Irish

allies

who,

by the way, had nearly

all

kept

their seats.

The programme
in the

of the Unionist Government, outlined


at the

Queen's Speech

opening of the 1896 Session,


criticising

gave

Lord Rosebery an opportunity of

their

policy in detail.
distress

He

scoflfed

at

the idea of agricultural

being

relieved

by
to

Rates
extend

Bill,

and warned
to

Ministers,

who proposed

assistance

the

Voluntary schools, that public funds could not be applied


to

such a purpose without introducing popular control.


'

After protesting against a


aliens
affairs.

rather brutal paragraph

'

about

imported into

this country,

he passed on to foreign
for the
in

He

doubted the necessity

Ashanti War,
the Siamese

and complained, with some


deal and got
return.
'

justice, that

Treaty with France we seemed to have given up a good


little in

Dr. Jameson's Raid

and Mr.

Chamberlain's proposal of

Home
light

Rule

for

the

Rand
ap-

were made the subjects of

and not altogether

VOTE OF CONFIDENCK
propriate banter, while severe
irritating

21 5
the

comment was passed on


been
used
to

language which

had

Germany.

Finally,

he called
little

Lord Salisbury
but

to account for having

effected so

on behalf of the Armenians.


all

He

had

threatened the

Sultan,

his

strong

language was
that all
It

only a delusion.

Lord Rosebery could not believe

had been done which might have been done.


question as hard

was

evident that he meant to press the Government hard on


this

as

he was himself being pressed by

members of his own Meantime he had


against his authority.

party. to face a

movement openly

directed

proposal was

made by

a Radical

group to upset the arrangement under which the Central


Liberal Office and the National Liberal Federation were

housed

in the
staflF.

same building and

practically

worked by

the same

Under
in

this

system the Whips and the


association,

Caucus were kept


the
official

close

and constant
party

and

leaders

of

the

were thus enabled to


less

exercise control over the


ganisation.

more or

representative orto liberate

The

Radicals were

now working
its

the Federation from this sort of supervision, and gradually


force
bers.
it

to

adopt the poHcy of

most advanced mem-

But when the meeting

at

which the scheme was


at

to be discussed

was held, on 26 March

Huddersfield,

the innovators hardly put in an appearance, and a special


resolution was passed to express confidence in
bery.

Lord Rosegiven
satis-

His speech

next

day

should

have

faction to fighting politicians, since


point,
fair

he made every possible

or

unfair,

against

the Unionist Government.


critical.

Especially in regard to foreign policy was he

He
with

complained that Lord Salisbury, who hitherto had leaned


towards the Triple Alliance, had, on
difficulties arising

2l6

LORD ROSEBERY
in

Germany
in

connexion with South Africa, sought to win

the good graces of France by the Siamese Convention, yet,


starting

the Soudan

Expedition, he

had given deep

offence to France and fallen back on the Triple Alliance.

What should we

gain

by that expedition?
its

As

for

the
it

contemplated limitation of
could be observed.

scope, he did not believe

He

complained of lack of candour


said that their policy

on the part of the Government, and


inspired

much

uneasiness.

On

28 March, at a meeting
party

of

Liberal

agents,

he discussed the question of

organisation, and defended the arrangement under which

the Secretary of the National Liberal Federation acted in the same capacity for the Central Liberal Office.

This active interest


the
party

in the electioneering

machinery of
it

does not suggest

that

Lord Rosebery had

already in his

mind

to relinquish the

command.

So

far the

manoeuvres of the Radicals had not materially weakened


his position.

The

fatal

blow was
has

to

be dealt by a friendly

hand.

Brief

reference

been

made

in

previous

chapter to the vigorous part which Mr. Gladstone had been


playing in the Armenian agitation while Lord Rosebery

was

still

Prime Minister.

As

the accounts of

Turkish

cruelty

became more
the
old

horrible

and more circumstantial, the

energy of

statesman was redoubled, and, just

before the meeting of the

new Parliament

in

1895, at a

non-party meeting, he professed his wish to strengthen Lord


SaHsbury's hand.

From

the

first

he had declared that

Turkish promises were valueless, and no scheme of reform

worth considering unless


foreign guarantee.
It

it

were supported by a

sufficient

was necessary
line

to apply coercion to

the Sultan.
hered.

To

this

Mr. Gladstone steadfastly adirrelevant,

He

appeared to ignore, as quite

the

PERSECUTION OF ARMENIANS
insubordination and seditious conspiracies

21/

of the perse-

cuted

race.

He

asserted that the atrocities practised in


if

Bulgaria nearly twenty years before were,


'paler colour' than those which
recesses

anything, of
in

had taken place

the

of the Armenian

hills.

The

distinctive feature

of the Constantinople massacres was that they had been

perpetrated under the eyes of the world.

To

moral

in-

famy had now been added consummate insolence.


Mr. Gladstone, as we have seen, was eager
country to take up the crusade by
itself.

for

this

He

did not
result

fear that single-handed coercion of the


in war.

Turk would

Lord Rosebery was of a

different opinion.

He
force,

was convinced that the Sultan would not submit


tation

to dic-

unless

it

were backed up by actual use of

nor would Lord Rosebery support any menace that was


not to be followed up with acts.

In both respects

it

can

hardly be questioned that his was the better judgment.


Nevertheless,
stirring
felt in

he threw himself
to

into

the

movement

for

up the Government
Constantinople.

make

the opinion of England

So

far,

he was willing to go with


passed upon
letter

Mr. Gladstone.

But there was a point beyond which he


in spite of the criticisms

would not proceed,

him by some
wrote with

enthusiastic

Liberals.

In a

to

Dr.

Guinness Rogers, published on 14 September, 1896, he


all

possible

indignation
It

against

these

last

atrocities in Constantinople.'

would be a mistake, how-

ever, to 'ask the leaders of

the Liberal party to give an

impulse.'

The

responsibility rested less with the Govern-

ment than with the Great Powers of Europe, and with none of them, unfortunately, did the Government seem to
be on friendly terms.
party question
;

It

would be

fatal

to

make
If

this

it

must be a national question.

there

2l8

LORD ROSEBERY
'

were to be meetings, they should be


unsectional.'
'

national, spontaneous,

Let them not be suspected of the whisper

of faction

let

them be broadly and indisputably the unnation, for this will double

prompted voice of the


their influence

and

treble

and

effect.'
it

Only a few days passed before he found


to

necessary

remonstrate with some of the


of these

'

Friends of Armenia.'

One
safely

had suggested
a necessary
to

that

Great Britain

'could
his

go forward, depose the Sultan, and appoint


with
curtailment

successor

of his

power.'

Lord Rosebery had

point out that in the August of

1895 Russia had declared her intention of opposing any

Power
that

that might take separate action.

As

to the

demand

Lord Rosebery should define the duty of the Governits

ment, he remarked that


not
to

duty was to take every measure,

involving the

a European war, that

would put an end


(for
it

detestable

system of government

was a
Turkey.

system as well as a man) which then existed

in

He

did not doubt that the Government were taking that


it

course, since to doubt

would be
But

to
'

doubt equally

their

humanity and common-sense.


in

he was not prepared,

ignorance of

much

that

only the Government could


to

know, to assume the position of the Executive and


attempt to direct the government of the country.'

Acting on the admirable principle of not saying anything


in

Opposition that

may hamper one

in Ofiice,

Lord Rose-

bery steadfastly resisted the strong pressure applied from


several quarters.

On

24 September an indignation meeting

was held

at Liverpool, at

which Mr. Gladstone disclaimed

the idea of driving this country into war against united

Europe, but he did not believe that 'independent action'

on the part of Great Britain would produce war

in

Europe.

THE EASTERN QUESTION


It

219
Under
entitled

was not a question of war, but coercion.


18 78

the
to

Anglo-Turkish Convention of
insist

we were

upon reform.

It

was on

that condition that

we had

guaranteed the integrity of the Sultan's Asiatic possessions.

We

might begin by withdrawing our Ambassador from


In the next place, we might publish a
'

Constantinople.

self-denying ordinance
to our

that

on no account would we turn

the hostilities
receiving this

own advantage. If, however, after assurance we were threatened with war by

Europe,
receded

it

might be necessary to recede, as France had


1840

in

and

receded without loss of honour or

of power
I

declare, in

my
I

judgment,

it

the risk, which

believe to be

would be no risk at

far better
all,

even to run

of recession than

to continue the present state of things, in

which we become
his

Ministers and co-operators with the Sultan, by ensuring his

impunity and
acts.

encouraging him to continue

monstrous

To advance
menace
itself to
!

with a view to

possible
that

recession

under

That was hardly a course

would commend
it

a statesman whose distinctive achievement

was

to have

redeemed the Liberal party from the charge of

vacillation in foreign policy.


tion, to

Nor does the Cyprus ConvenCyprus was given


to us in

which Mr. Gladstone appealed, impose the obliga-

tion that he

assumed
us
in

to exist.

order to assist

the task of defending the Asiatic

territories of the Sultan.

This we undertook to do, and in

return the Sultan promised to introduce the necessary re-

forms

in Asia.

As

Sir

Henry Fowler pointed


Turkey
to
if

out,

we were
she

entitled to refuse to defend

she refused to reform,


her
if

and we should
reform.

be

bound
in a

assist

did

Lord Rosebery,

published

letter,

repudiated

220
the

LORD ROSEBERY
charge
that

he was lacking

in

sympathy with the

Indignation movement, but he was not willing to

jump
or

from the frying-pan into the

fire.

'

European war would

be a scene of universal carnage and ruin

preceded

accompanied by the extermination of the Armenians.'


trusted in diplomatic action to bring the Powers, or

He
some

of them, into
succeed.

line.

If

that

should

fail,

nothing would

In this

crisis

of foreign politics

it

should be mentioned
in little else with

that Sir William Harcourt,


his Chief,

who agreed

supported him in a policy of moderation.

He
alto-

adopted the same view of the Cyprus Convention as had

been expressed by
gether to

Sir

Henry Fowler, and declined


in

entertain the project of separate intervention.

Lord Rosebery, however, found himself


something
tion
like direct conflict with

a position of

Mr. Gladstone

posi-

which he considered

intolerable, in view of their past

relations.

He

decided, therefore, to retire at once from

the leadership of the party.


his
letter

On
the

the morning of 8 October

of resignation, addressed to the chief Liberal


in

Whip, was published

newspapers.
it

The

recent

course of events, he wrote, had rendered

necessary to

clear the

air.'

He

found himself

in apparent difference

with a

considerable

mass of the Liberal party on the must necessarily always exercise a

Eastern Question, and in some conflict of opinion with

Mr. Gladstone

who
'

matchless authority in the party

while from no quarter did


except as regards

he receive

'explicit support.'

The situation,

Mr. Gladstone, was

not altogether new.'

Lord Rosebery
try the faith of

made no complaint
longer to
Liberals.'
'

against any one, but was unwilling any

appear to divide the energy and

The

question, however, was not merely personal,

HIS

RETIREMENT
make

221
that week,

and, in the speech which he intended to

he wished to speak not as a Leader, but as a free man.


therefore, notified

He,

Mr,

Ellis that the leadership of the party,

so far as he was concerned, was vacant,


liberty of action.

and he resumed
who,

his

Finally,

he expressed

his deepest grati-

tude
Ellis,

to,

and

regret in parting from, those


loyal co-operation
in

like

Mr.

had given him

very difficult

circumstances.

On

the next day he delivered at Edinburgh his farewell

address,

and began by declining the suggestion

that he

should

treat of various policies that

he might bequeath as a

sort of legacy to the Liberal party.

With reference

to the

Armenian

agitation,

which was being carried on with so


that were being

much
held.

energy, he

welcomed the meetings


the

They showed
from
fatty

that the spirit of the country


:

was not

dead, but had only been dormant


suflfering

nation was not

degeneration of the heart.

Also they
this

tended to convince foreign Governments

which on point required a good deal of convincing of the unselfishness and integrity of our policy.
Finally, they strengthened

the hand of the Government.


declared,

In foreign politics, he truly


party.

he had

never

known

The

difference

between the Bulgarian and the Armenian agitations was


that in the former case Russia

and her armies had been


Again,

with us, in the present case they were against us.


in the

former case the Government of the day were thwarting

the wishes of the nation, in the latter they were acting with

them.

Nothing was further from

his

mind than
;

to palliate

the horrors revealed in the Consular Reports

they seemed

to transcend the imagination of every fiendish device.

But

what could be done


get a better

Depose the Sultan

They might
But they had

man, and could not get a worse.

222
to deal, not with a

LORD ROSEBERY
man, but with a method.
?

And how

could they depose the Sultan


the Powers.
It

Only through concert with


to him,

was suggested that they might withhold But


this

the Cyprus tribute.

but to the bondholders.


Sultan.

money was paid, not They would be injured,


to

not the

Another proposal was

hand over the Dardanelles


to Russia.

and the administration of the Turkish Empire


It

was enough to say that neither

the

passage of the

Dardanelles nor the Turkish Empire belonged to Great


Britain.
criticize

Moreover, though he never permitted himself to


the internal government of other civilized countries,

he might point out that there had been a time, not very
distant,

when we
'

strongly

deprecated Russian methods

towards

Poles,
to

Jews,

and

some

Dissenters.'

Another

scheme was
nople.

withdraw our Ambassador from Constanti-

That would make an end of our only remaining


influencing the policy of the Sultan.
in

method of
it

Besides,

would deprive our Consuls


all

Asia Minor and elsewhere

of almost

their use
in

and employment.
which we might
by one Empire

Moreover,

this

was one of the ways

drift into

war

it

would be a great
'

affront

to another.
'

am

obliged,' said

Gladstone, but we

differ as friends.

Lord Rosebery, to differ from Mr. Perhaps Mr. Gladstone

has been the indirect cause, or the latest indirect cause, of the There is another action that I have thought fit to take. What part of Mr. Gladstone's policy which I deprecate. that you are to put pressure on I understand it to be is this
.
.

the Sultan by threatening him with certain action that if you get no support from the other Powers you are not to take action,
;

and then withdraw, so


against that policy.
after
all,
if

but throw the whole of the responsibility on the other Powers, protest I to speak, into your shell.

It seems to me most unfortunate, because, you can have concert with Europe, bring your concert to bear on the whole question but do not first announce
;

SPEECH IN EXPLANATION
action,

223

and then, when you are unable


will

to take action, withdraw,

because you

only find yourself in the same position as

now

plus a public and humiliating confession of impotence.'

As

for solitary intervention,


it

Lord Rosebery would

fight

against

tooth and

nail.

There was, he believed, an


resist

agreement amongst the Powers to

by force

the

single-handed action of England, and thus isolated action

would mean a European war.

He

did not profess, however, that his resignation of the

leadership was entirely due to his disagreement with Mr.

Gladstone and other Liberals on the Armenian Question.


It

was

'

only the

last

of a series of incidents.'

He

did not

refer to the

newspaper attacks directed against him.


it

Such

criticism,

when

was

fair

and moderate and reasonable,

braced and stimulated a

man
it

when

it

was

unfair,

im-

moderate, and unreasonable,


favour.

produced a reaction
difficulties of

in his

He

did not think that the


party,

a Peer, as

Leader of the Liberal

were generally appreciated.

He

was shut up

in a

permanently hostile Chamber with a

handful of followers.

His voice could only be heard


through the mouth of another.

in the

House

of

Commons
man
in

At a

General Election he was restricted to absolute silence.


Well, a
that position has

no chance of succeeding

unless he receives very exceptional support, very exceptional


loyalty, and very exceptional co-operation from the party inside and outside Parliament. Perhaps I had no right to expect any such exceptional measure to be dealt out to me but, at any
;

rate,

cannot say that


first

received
at

it.

In the

place,

the

very

opening of the
their

1894

Session, his Administration


followers

had been beaten by


for

own

not
the

God-speed

new
at

Government.
the

Secondly,

party

had

not

adopted

General

224

LORD ROSEBERY
policy which he
agitation,

Election the definite and concentrated

recommended.
Our
leader

Thirdly, there was the


'

Armenian

which had been the

last straw.'

Gladstone must always lead the to has come forward, as I told you, in a noble and sublime spirit, but he has equally innocently and unconsciously administered the final coup de grdce to his successor, because however much I differ from Mr. Gladstone on this or any other question, I will never appear in sharp conflict with him while 1 am holding the position titular or other-

for

Mr.

Liberal party

when he wishes

wise

of leader of the
difficulties

Liberal party.

The

with which Lord Rosebery had to deal

were internal as well as external.


almost untenable

His position had become


it
'

he had held
and

almost beyond the con-

ditions of dignity

self-respect.'

resigned after the General Election


his party turned their

Then why had he not when a large number of

backs on his advice?


not follow,
I will

Why
'

had he
Because

not said,

'

If

you

will

not lead

the party was then at a low ebb.


well,
it

It

would not have looked


at the first

would not have been

well,

breath of
;

adversity to desert the sinking or almost sunken ship

but

ever since the General Election his resignation had been in


the hands of his colleagues, to use and put in force when-

ever they should think

fit,

and whenever the party and the


it.

unity of the party should require

That was why he had


had been overridden

not consulted certain of his colleagues before making this

announcement of
meant

his decision

he

before by their kindness and sympathy, but this time he


to override them.

He

trusted that the sacrifice he

had made would promote unity


been made
in vain.
its

otherwise

it

would have
leader

Let the party choose


Finally,

its

and

then close up

ranks.

he offered especial thanks


Asquith, Mr. Fowler,

to four of his late colleagues

Mr.

Mr. Bryce, and Mr. Arnold Morley.

LOYALTY TO I'RINCTPLK
The
omissions were sufficiently significant, and
if
it

22$

may be

declared with confidence that,

the

Armenian

agitation

had stood alone, Lord Rosebery might .and should have


weathered that storm.
obviously right
vindicated
in

The

line

he

laid

down was

so

and
public

prudent

that
as

he would have been soon as the English


fit

judgment

people had recovered from their passing

of emotion.

How

violent

the

feeling

against

him was among the

enthusiasts

may be

seen from the fact that his

name was

hissed at a public meeting after Lord Salisbury's had been

cheered

an

incident that did not disturb him, he said,

since, so far as

he was aware, he was entirely

in

agreement

with Lord Salisbury.

Nevertheless, though Lord Rosebery

professes to ignore unreasonable criticism, he has sometimes

been unduly sensitive to

it

perhaps
House
of

through lack of con-

troversial discipline in the

Commons.
for

Nor has

he

hitherto

shown much aptitude


conciliatory, but

compromise and
to

accommodation.
genial

His manner and temper are admirably

and

he seems

expect that his

opinions, because they are urged with grace

and

tact,

must
called

be accepted as they stand.


loyalty to principle, but

This, of course,

may be

how

a Cabinet could be formed


similarly inflexible,
it

of a dozen or twenty

members

is

not easy to understand.

He

wished other

men
for

to sink or

abate their convictions

Mr.

John Morley,

instance,

on the question of Egypt

yet

would not himself make


Mr. Glad-

corresponding sacrifices for the sake of unity.

stone was, perhaps, the most dominating personality of the


last

century at least, in his own party yet on occasion he was more ready than Lord Rosebery to modify his pro-

gramme, hold

his

theories in

suspense, and

accept the

views of powerful colleagues.

326

LORD ROSEBERV
far

How
defined

a statesman

is

justified in

merging

his individual

opinions for the sake of co-operating with others for certain


objects
is

question
that

for

his

own

conscience.

Lord Rosebery beheved


his colleagues
is

between himself and some of


it

compromise had become impossible, and

not for any outside observers to question his judgment.

But the system of Party Government


admitted
faults,

which,
on
his

with

all

its

Lord Rosebery does not seek


if

to displace

becomes impossible
For practical purposes

every

member

of a Cabinet, even

the Chief, insists on always acting


it

own

beliefs.

was, perhaps, a misfortune that


in literature, in society,

Lord Rosebery possessed


the
turf,

and on
self-

interests

which consoled him


he

for

political

extinction.

Had

been consumed with the ambition

which
lesser

fired

Mr. Gladstone, Lord Beaconsfield, and many

men, the uneasy prompting of a susceptible conmight

science
still

have

been
appeal.

stifled

by
in

the

voice

of

a
re-

more powerful

But

one respect he

sembled Lord Salisbury.


detached
politicians.
tion, that

He

looked upon Office


life
is

less as

a prize than a public service, and his

even more
English

from

the

ordinary

paths

of

average

Yet he seems

to lack that large spirit of tolera-

power of ignoring the immediate and

non-essential,

which

for so

many

years enabled the Conservative states-

man

to arrange

and maintain a cordial modus vivendi with

Liberal and Radical allies like the

Duke

of

Devonshire

and Mr. Chamberlain, and


to Free Education,
It is possible,
pliability,

to adopt a policy, e.g. in regard

which he had quite recently repudiated.


to

no doubt,
it

blame Lord Salisbury

for

such

yet

preserved his main object

the

union of

the LInionist party.

Was Lord

Rosebery,

in

1895 and 1896,

prepared to undergo similar sacrifices for the sake of main-

COMPROMISE IN POLITICS
taining unity in his party?
If not,

227

was

this assertion of

independence due
or
is it

to a

permanent quality of temperament,

explained by the shortness of the period over which

his official experience

had then extended


lies

In the answer to that question


future.
It is

the key to his political

true that in the Unionist coalition there was

no personal

intrigue to fight against,

and

that the Liberal

party of 1S95

^"^ 1S96 was rent by

conflicting ambitions.

This notorious
promise.

fact greatly increased the difficulties of


it

com-

Perhaps

rendered them insurmountable, since

the recalcitrants did not intend to be appeased.

But Lord

Rosebery's frequent

complaint that the party would not

follow his lead at the General Election,


for

and concentrate
hardly

an attack on the House of Lords,


It

will

commend

itself to political tacticians.

was

his business as leader

to ascertain,

by consultation with the various groups, what

would be the most generally acceptable programme, and to


force this

on the whole party


rejected
it

on

the understanding that


If

those

who

would be

politely ruled out.

he

had pressed such a

policy, with all his personal

and derived

authority, he might not, perhaps,

have materially increased


in

the

number of

Liberal

representatives

the

new
and

Par-

liament, but they


fore a

would have come back a

solid,

there-

powerful, group.

The

recusants would, probably,


fallen

have disappeared, or by degrees


the handful of cranks

into

line

except

Commons,
parties.

but

who are found cannot make or mar

in every
in at

House of

the

fortunes of

Lord Rosebery, however, was


to take that course.

once too proud


If the party did

and too soft-hearted

not want him, he could do without the

party.

But no

statesman

is

indispensable.

To

carry the airs

and scruples
is

of the grand seigneur into the epoch of the Caucus

228

LORD ROSEBERY
Lord Rosebery

a glaring affront to political chronology.

has a very intimate accjuaintance with the modern history


of

England, but

in

the closing

years of the nineteenth

century he had not carried his studies


of his

down

to the period

own

Administration.
life
it

For the everyday purposes of

Parliamentary

is,

perhaps, advisable to learn one's

history backwards.

CHAPTER
Reappearance
in public

XIII

controversy

the Liberal party A letter from Lord Rosebery At the City Liberal Club The Chesterfield speech "Clean the slate" Rejoinders and retorts Anglo-Japanese Alliance of 1902 The Lord Kitchener proposal Free Trade speeches Anglo-French convention Refer

on Mr. Gladstone Fashoda speech Reconstitution of the Liberal party South African War A reference to Majuba Mr. Chamberlain and France The General Election of 1900 A policy for Liberals Death of Queen Victoria Feuds in

ment

Eulogies

Imperial and Municipal retrench

ence to Sir Henry CampbcU-Bannerman Party dissensions modified Lord Rosebery and Mr. Redmond On duality of government At Liberal League The League and the Party Speech at Stourbridge On continuity in foreign policy On Government by Party The example of Japan Party versus Efficiency Resignation of Mr. Balfour Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's Administration Lord Rosebery's position Retrospect.

BRIEF review

may be added

of Lord Rosebery's sub-

sequent career as a public man, though divested of the


responsibihties attached to leadership of a party.

He

has

frequently declared himself unwilling to return to active


politics,

nor has he ever recanted that view.


still

But many

Liberals

believe,

and wish

to believe, that his reluctance

may

not prove invincible, especially as he has shown a


all

steadily increasing interest in

the chief controversies


ofificial

of the day.
for

If

he
it

is

able to disclaim

responsibility

his

views,

cannot be denied

that

he has made

almost as

many

public speeches as any of the recognised


at least

champions of Liberalism, and he has created


crisis

one His

in the party.

At

first

he showed himself disposed

to

make

a free use of the leisure which he claimed.

229

230

LORD ROSEBERY
in

two most important appearances


political character,

1897 were of a non-

yet they
to

had a bearing on questions

which before long were

be raised in an acute form.

On

6 October, on being presented with the freedom of Stirling,

he commented on the need


expenditure.
peace, ;i
1

for

retrenchment
spending,
in

in Imperial

The country was

a time of

2,000,000 a year, without a voice being raised,


it,

either in Parliament or outside

to

check the growth

of the nation's outlay.


said, 'for a few
later (i

'

We

should be none the worse,' he


nowadays.'

Joseph

Humes

few weeks

November) he was

the guest of the Manchester

Chamber of Commerce, and Trade. Even on agriculture


beneficial, for,

delivered a eulogy on Free


its

general result had been

though landlords had suffered, the position

of farmers and labourers had improved since the abolition of the


off

Corn Laws, and the industry generally was not worse

than in countries where bounties and Protective duties

prevailed.

He

believed that an Imperial Customs


internally

Union

would weaken the Empire


he considered
they would
all

and

excite the ani-

mosity of outside nations. If such a Union were possible


it

impossible

it

would be something which


Let them remember

combine

to destroy.

what happened that year when the Government, under the


'

happy impulse of Canada,' took the


'

'

iimocent, simple,

and necessary step of denouncing the Commercial Treaties


with

Germany and Belgium.

Throughout Europe,
at

in

every

newspaper and every country, protest was raised

what we

had thought quite an ordinary proceeding.


would be said of an Imperial Customs Union
days every

What, then,
?

In these

swamp and

every desert was an object of eager

annexation, and a Customs

Union would be regarded

as a

challenge to every nation, a defiance of the world.

The

EULOGIES ON MR. (GLADSTONE


British

23

Empire

at present

had peace, made peace, meant


But an Empire presenting

peace,

and aimed

at
all

peace.

a uniform barrier

over the world would be a perpetual


irritation to war.
fell

menace, a perpetual incentive and


In the following year (1S98)
it

to

Lord Rosebery

to

pay several tributes to the memory of Mr. Gladstone.


the

In

House

of Lords he dwelt chiefly

on the

faith, bravery,

and sympathy of the great statesman, and mentioned,


what was only known
last

to
life

some

of his intimates, that the

few months of his

had been months of unspeakable


of

pain and distress.

Towards the end


at

the year

Lord

Rosebery pronounced

Edinburgh (24 November) a


to the City to raise
illustrious representative.

more elaborate eulogy, and appealed


a

memorial worthy of

its

The
of the

next day he dealt, at the Philosophical Institution, with


the intellectual

side of

its

late

President
lived.'

'one
He

most bookish statesmen who ever


never a bookworm.
'

Yet he was

It

was

his

principle in reading to

make

his exports

balance his imports.'

took in a

great deal, but he put forth a great deal.

Indirectly,
in a

Lord

Rosebery touched

this year

on foreign policy

speech

delivered at the Imperial Institute after a lecture by Professor

Waldstein on 'The English-speaking Brotherhood.'

He

argued that the growing jealousy, commercial and Colonial,


felt

by Continental

states for Great Britain

and the United

States

must tend

to bring the

two great English-speaking

nations

more

closely together.

He

also offered, at the St.

James's Hall, a vigorous defence of the Progressive policy

on the London County Council.

This was a few days be-

fore the triennial election of councillors,

and was followed


Lord Rosebery

by the striking success of the party he had supported.

But

it

was on the Fashoda

crisis

that

232
proved
in

LORD ROSEBERY
his
still

undiminished capacity

for taking the lead

his

party.

At a dinner of the Surrey Agricultural


he
seized

Association

the

opportunity

of

making
the

an

important
stances
led

declaration.
in

First

he

related

circum-

(summarised

a previous
to

chapter) which
intimate through

had
Sir

him when Prime Minister


Grey
that

Edward

the

expedition

which

the

French

Government had been


by Great Britain as an
'

said to favour

would be regarded

unfriendly

act.'

As

for

what had
for

been done or attempted since that warning, he hoped


a friendly settlement, since the language of

M. Delcasse had
This

been conciliatory.

But

it

should be understood that there

could be no compromise as to the rights of Egypt.


declaration was almost universally approved in

England.

Very few were the Liberals who suggested


used by the

that

we should

submit to an inexcusable aggression, and the resolute words


late

Foreign Secretary materially strengthened


in

Lord Salisbury

dealing with France, since he could

speak with the voice of a practically unanimous people.

Not

quite so general, however, was the praise bestowed

on the peroration of Lord Rosebery's speech.


been a disposition to
quantity.'

He
'

com-

plained that in various parts of the world there had recently


treat

Great Britain as a

negligible

She had been

conciliatory,

and her conciliatory


If the nations of the
spirit of

disposition

had been misunderstood.

world were under the impression that the ancient

Great Britain was dead, that her resources were weakened,


or her population less determined than
to maintain its rights
it

had been before


they were con-

and the honour of

its flag,

making a mistake which would only end


flagration.

in a disastrous

Cordiality between nations could only rest on

mutual respect

respect

for

each other's

rights,

each other's

THE LIBERAL TARTY


territories,

233
were not
cul-

each other's

flag.

If that respect

tivated

on both sides

and both Africa and Asia had

furnished

some

strange object-lessons in regard to inter-

national law

and international practice

the

world would
for the

relapse into a state of things

most perilous

peace

and welfare of humanity

at large.

There was not a sentence

in this resolute

speech to which
it it

exception could fairly be taken, yet, while

at

once

re-

placed Lord Rosebery in general popularity,


in quarters

gave offence

where the

least

symptom

of Imperialism was

regarded with misgivings.

On

March,

1899, he con-

firmed these suspicions by a speech delivered at the City


Liberal Club,

when

the mischievous spirit to which he


to discourse

sometimes

listens

moved him

on the decay of
he
said, 'to
if

Parliamentary Liberalism.
offer
I

'I have

no
I

right,'

advice to the politicians


so, I

whom

see about me, but,

did venture to do
it

should say that until you have the


in

Liberal party, as

was before 1886, reconstituted


until

some

form or another, or

you have a new

party which will

embody
existed

all

the elements that existed before 18S6, you will


the

never achieve that predominance in

country which

when

began public

life

the heritage and almost


spirit

the birthright of the party.'


tion

In the revival or reconstruc-

which he desired a prominent factor must be that


a
'larger

of

patriotism'

which he called

Imperialism.

These general and intentionally provocative sentiments he


pointed by a reference to Mr. Morley,
raise the

who proposed

to

whole question of the Soudan by opposing a grant

to

Lord Kitchener.
Next evening,
Sir

William Harcourt,

who had

equally
inter-

been aimed

at,

took an opportunity of replying.

He

preted Lord Rosebery's timely advice to reconstitute the

234
party as
it

LORD ROSEBERY
had been before iS86
the old
as indicating a desire to

revert to

party

programme

before

it

had been

identified with

Home

Rule.

Mr. Gladstone's ashes were

hardly cold before the Liberals were invited to wipe out


the whole of the inheritance he had
left
!

Ten days

later

Lord Rosebery made a neat


to

rejoinder.

At a dinner given
his party in

Lord Elgin on

his

return

from India, he remarked


left

that

when

the Viceroy had gone out he

power, or at any rate in Office.


it
'

On

his return

he found

disheartened by

a superfluity of retired leaders.'


politics,
it

In view of these occasional incursions into


difficult

is

to

understand why Lord Rosebery so studiously

refrained from giving a lead to his party during the anxious

period that preceded the South African War.

Not

until

the Boer ultimatum had been launched did he publish


(ii

October) his views.

When

declared they were

suffi-

ciently definite.
I

in the relations of

think that in a survey of the past three years there is much our Government with that of the Transvaal
if

to criticise,
It is

needless to discuss

not to condemn, but that is all over for the present. how we could best have attained our

simple and reasonable object of securing our fellow-countrymen in the Transvaal from an intolerable condition of subjection and injustice, and of receiving equal rights for the white races
in

Britain

South Africa, for an ultimatum has been addressed to Great by the South African Republic, which is in itself a
its

In the face of this attack the nation will, ranks and relegate party controversy to a more convenient season. There is one more word to be said. Without attempting to judge the policy that concluded peace after Majuba Hill, I am bound to state my profound conviction that there is no conceivable Government in this country which
declaration of war.
I

doubt not, close

could repeat

it.

After the Fashoda speech and the

more recent one

at the

City Liberal Club, there was a certain lack of reality in

SOUTH AFRICAN WAR


Lord Rosebery's statement
that

235

he had not previously

explained his position because he was unwilling to re-enter


the field of politics.

him
was

to

make

inactive
'

The country had been looking for move and to speak out, yet he remained and silent. It was known also that Mr. Kriiger
a

waiting for

the

Opposition,'

and

that

the

ill-con-

sidered utterances of
led

some of
that

its

best-known speakers had

him

to

believe

he had a strong body of symmight have been disillusioned,


to the front

pathisers in England.

He

so

it

was argued,

if

Lord Rosebery had come

and proclaimed the sentiments which everybody felt sure that he entertained. It would be going much beyond the
ascertained probabilities to suggest, as was suggested at the
time, that

Lord Rosebery might have prevented the war.


the Boer Government, partly in exagger-

We know now that

ated self-reliance, partly through the expectation of Euro-

pean help, had decided


Power.
Nevertheless,
this

to pick a quarrel with the Suzerain


it

must be confessed that Lord


missed,
as

Rosebery on
in

occasion

conspicuously as

the

Fashoda

crisis

he had seized, an opportunity of

doing a great service to the Empire.

On

the other hand,

it

may be claimed

that

once he

had declared himself he drove the moral home.

The

opening misfortunes of the war did not tempt him to

make
well,'

party

capital
at

against

the

Government.

'You do

he said

Bath on 27 October, 'to

trust the

at the

helm when you are passing through


the war

a storm.

man You
it

do
will

well to present a united front to the

enemy, and

be time enough when

is

over to examine
that

the questions of correspondence

and of preparation

may then

present

themselves.

To my mind

all

those

questions are wiped out by the ultimatum received from

236
the Boers.'

LORD ROSEBERY
In reply to the criticisms passed upon his

utterance about Mr. Gladstone's magnanimity after


Hill,

Majuba

he repeated

his statement in

still

stronger language.
'

The
and

retrocession of the Transvaal was a

sublime experi-

ment,'
his

prompted by

'

Mr.

Gladstone's

deep Christianity

overpowering conviction of the might and power

of England.'
'

But how was

his

magnanimity rewarded?

We may

feel

perfectly confident,
alive,

we who followed Mr.


would not be possible
his

Gladstone, that, were he


the destinies of this
for

and had he the control of


it

country,
it

him, nor would

enter

into

contemplation, to
the

make such terms as were made after Majuba Hill.' It was not to be expected
and indeed the
that
late

skirmish

of

that this account

of Mr. Gladstone's motives would be generally accepted,

Lord Kimberley afterwards revealed

the

policy

of our

Government

in

1881

had been

largely

determined by the threat of the Orange Free State


with the South African Republic.

to

make common cause


up
for

Nevertheless,
for standing

nobody thought the worse of Lord Rosebery


Mr. Gladstone's

memory
spirit

while he

re-

nounced

his policy.

Not

less

useful
i

was the cheerful

in

which he
received

discussed, on

November, the bad news

just

from South Africa.

He

spoke

of a recent disaster as

one

of those incidents that must be expected in the course of

a considerable campaign.

We

had

had experience
right at the end.'

of plenty, but

we

'generally

muddled out
the

The
it

phrase was fastened upon for adverse comment, but


far

was

more bracing

to

public

mind than the


public

dolorous exclamations uttered by

many

men who

seemed

to

have forgotten that they were sprung from a

fighting race.

MK.
'

CHAMBERLAIN AND FRANCE


'

237

Whatever happens,' said Lord Rosebery, there can be no this we have j,'^ot to see this thing through. It may cost us more battaHons than we have lost it may cost us the lives of more officers and men than we have already lost it may cost us millions we do not yet dream of; but there is one thing certain we mean to see this thing through.'
mistake about

The

distaste for party politics

which Lord Rosebery had


in-

lately reaffirmed

did not debar him from a favourite

dulgence

bout with Mr. Chamberlain.

The

disgusting
in

caricatures of the

Queen which had been published

some
There

of the great Continental cities had roused the Colonial

Secretary to an outburst of patriotic indignation.


was,
it

is

true,

nothing to choose amongst the obscene

libels sold in

Berlin, Brussels,

and

Paris, but

it

happened
had

that

an

exceptionally

odious

French
notice.

production

come under Mr. Chamberlain's


and declared
did not

At Leicester, on
produced
if

20 November, he took to task the whole French Press,


that the natural indignation
in this

country would have serious consequences

our neighbours
to criticism

'mend

their manners.'

Even more open


to the

was the invitation he extended

United States and

Germany
of the

to form a great Triple Alliance with

England

not, perhaps,

on paper, but an understanding

in the

minds

statesmen

who
it,

represented

the

three

countries.

Lord Rosebery pounced upon the


amusing play with
I

indiscretion,

and made
lecture.

winding up with a neat moral


right,

do not say these sentiments are not

but

it

is

new

for

our responsible channels to express them, and I do trust that this career of undiplomatic frankness will cease, because, let us
that that

remember, these stinging words remain long after any solace we can apply to them will endure. Long after the words

we

utter in the hurr)' of the

moment

are buried in oblivion

by us they are cherished and brought up against us by the


nations they offend.

238

LORD ROSEBERY

In the General Election of 1900 Lord Rosebery showed an almost ostentatious lack of interest, except that in an open
letter to

Captain Hedworth Lambton,

who was
if

standing for

Newcastle as a Liberal, he declared that

he had a vote

he should not give

it

to the Unionist

Government, though

in the present situation of

the world he would vote for

almost any strong Administration.


tried to support the present
it

For that reason he had


But
was the

one

in its external policy.


it

was strong only

in votes.

In other respects

weakest he could recollect.


cination,
Bill,

Witness

its

dealings with vacfirst

the Spion
retreat

Kop

despatches, the

Education
it

and the

from Port Arthur.

Moreover,

had

neglected social legislation, alienated foreign nations while

keeping our own


its

in a state of disquietude

lack of military foresight

and distrust, and had exposed the country to

humiliations unparalleled since the American war.

Lord Rosebery went on


reforms which could not
tion,

to indicate, as 'three national


wait,'

(i)

Temperance
classes,

legisla-

(2) Better

housing of the working


reform,

and
the

(3)

Fearless
Office.

administrative

especially

of

War
for

\Vith regard to these, nothing could be

hoped

from the present Government.

The housing of the working classes they have touched and scamped. They have appointed a Royal Commission as to Temperance, and then flouted the Commission and dismissed
Administrative reform could not be entrusted to those who appointed, conducted, and ignored the Hartington Commission.
safely

the subject with a sneer.

He

would vote

for Liberals like

Captain Lambton,

who

would support home

legislation

and administration on sound


'

Liberal and practical lines, while they would

maintain and

consolidate the priceless heritage of the Empire.'

On

the

DEATH OF QUEEN VICTORIA


text of
ful

239

Imperialism he enlarged, in an eloquent and thought-

address delivered on 16 November, as Lord Rector of


In this kind of ornamental rhetoric,
facile

Glasgow University.
if

he would but polish and condense his too


periods,

phrases

and

Lord Rosebery would take a high place among


His commonplaces are gracefully ornate,
is

English orators.

while he generally contrives to say .something that


quite

not

commonplace.

noble theme was


Victoria.

provided for

him by the death of Queen


nounced
1

His eulogy, pro-

at the Royal Scottish Hospital, on 30 January,

90 1, contained a striking passage.

'Have you realised,' he asked, 'what the personal weight of Queen was in the councils of the world ? She was by She was, it far the senior of all the European Sovereigns.
the late

no disparagement to other Kings to say, the chief of all European Sovereigns. The German Emperor was her grandson by birth. The Russian Emperor was her grandson by marriage. She had reigned eleven years when the Emperor She had seen two dynasties of Austria came to his throne. pass from the throne of France. She had seen as Queen three Monarchs of Spain and four Sovereigns of the House of Savoy in Italy. In all those kingdoms which have been carved out of
is

the

Empire she had seen the foundation of their reignCan we not realise, then, what a force such a Sovereign was in the troubled councils of Europe ? And when, as we know, that influence was always given for peace, for freedom, and for good government, we feel that not merely ourthe Turkish ing dynasties.
selves, but all the

world has

lost

one of

its

best friends.'

The

feud which had raged in the Liberal party in regard

to the South African

war came to a head

in

190 1.

In the

previous year

some decent attempt was made

to conceal

the discord, but the extravagant language held by a few

extreme sympathisers with the Boers appeared to receive

some sanction from the terms

highly

injudicious,

if

not

240

LORD ROSEr.ERV

intentionally calumnious

in which the

official chief

of the

party

condemned

the

manner of conducting the

war.

By

way of

protest Mr.

Asquith, as representing the Liberal

19 June a very frank deliverance. who had thought with him about those and He said that he the war had been branded as heretics and schismatics.
Imperialists,

made on

Because they had not hitherto protested,


that they

it

was being said

had begun

to see the error of their ways.

But

they did not repent of their views, and would not recant

them.

They were

Liberals by conviction, Liberals to the

core, eager, after these distractions

were over, to resume

the struggle which their party had always


political inequality

waged

against

and

social injustice.

But there could

be no genuine co-operation except on terms of mutual


tolerance and reciprocal respect.
It

was better that they

should

differ

openly and

frankly than that they should


;

pretend to be at one when they were not


that

or,

worse

still,

one section of them should exult

in

the supposed

capture or humiliation of another.

This determined attitude was hailed with delight by the


Liberal Imperialists, and
it

was proposed to entertain the

speaker

at

banquet.

This meant open war, and Sir

Henry Campbell-Bannerman announced that a general meeting would be held at the Reform Club with a view to restore the efficiency of the party. Between the summons
and the assembling the fervour of
abate,
strife

had some time to

and on the appointed day


antagonisms.

Sir

Henry

attributed

the schism, not to real and essential differences, but to


personal
until

The

party would
;

never prosper
all

these cabals were put down

he appealed to
Sir

present to help him in extinguishing them.

William

Harcourt offered

his testimony in favour of

peace and con-

OPEN FEUnS
cord,

IN

THE LIBERAL PARTY

24

and

a resolution of thanks to Sir

Henry Campbell-

Bannerman and
Sir

of hearty confidence in his leadership was

carried with acclamation.

Nevertheless, Mr. Asquith and


their right to

Edward Grey claimed

speak their minds


It

on matters connected with the war.


Mr. Asquith, to seek to get
rid of

was

futile,

said

fundamental differences

of opinion by 'ambiguous formulas.'

He

and others who

thought with him intended to express and act upon their


honestly entertained convictions.
Sir

Edward Grey con-

sidered that the resolution passed at the meeting had given

them

all

a charter to utter their opinions freely on ques-

tions as to

which they were known

to differ.

Sir

Henry,

in reply, passed over the point raised

by these

inferences,
for

but protested against organisations

established

the

purpose of perpetuating and accentuating differences.

Lord Rosebery had been out of England, but returned


in

time to intervene in
letter in

the party quarrel.


that,

On

17 July
re-

appeared a

which he explained
^^

when he
Since

signed the leadership in 1S95,

^'^^ ^''^^ ^^^

hope, rather
that

than

the

expectation,

of

promoting

unity.

time he had effaced himself so as not to embarrass his


successor, but the hberty of speech

and action

lately conrestraint.

ceded

in regard

to

the war absolved

him from

He

pointed out that no greater issue could divide a party.


this

Moreover,

was only one of a group of questions


a

in

which

there

was

sincere

and fundamental difference

between two schools of statesmanship


insular, the other

the

one avowedly
its

holding as the

first article

of

creed the

maintenance of our free and beneficent Empire.


sections might call themselves by the
in the

The two

same name, and row

same
R

boat.

But

if

so the boat could not advance,

for they

were rowing in opposite directions.

242
Incidentally

LORD ROSEBERY
Lord Rosebery disclaimed the idea of
arena
of
it.

re-

entering

the

parly

politics

he

would

never

voluntarily return to
friendly rebuke

by

Sir
if

This was made the text for a Edward Grey, who complained, at
to

Peterborough, that

Lord Rosebery wished beyond the


in

promote
pub-

the unity of the party he must go


lished that day.

letter

He

must 'step

from outside.'

The
fitful

confidence of the public could not be gained by


interventions,

however

brilliant

it

could only be gained by


political
life.

remaining in the stress and struggle of

At the City Liberal Club, on the day of the Asquith


dinner,

Lord Rosebery remarked

that

the
that

'

hullaballoo
it

excited by his letter had convinced

him

expressed
sec-

the truth.

The

differences

between the two Liberal

tions were of old standing.


divisions in the Cabinets of

He

pointed to the notorious

1880-5 ^"^ of ^^^^

^^^y
The
on

were chiefly due to foreign and Imperial questions.


present paralysis of the party was caused by
its

attitude

matters of Imperial concern.


a

Had

the Liberals put forward


it

good programme of home reform, and made

clear that

they were heartily in accord with the national feeling on the war, the result might have been very different.
It

was

noticed that his personal references were less decided than


hitherto.

While he
life,

still

disclaimed the idea of going back


little

to

public

he made his decision a

conditional.

must plough
is

'For the present, at any rate,' he said, 'I must proceed alone. my furrow alone, but before I get to the end
it

of that furrow
that

is

possible
If
it

may

not find myself alone.

But

be not so, I shall remain very conIf it be tentedly in the society of my books and my home. othenvise, I shall wait for those other circumstances to arise
another matter.
before
I

pronounce with any definiteness upon them.'

THE CHESTERFIELD SPEECH

243

The Asquith Dinner was only attended by about thirtyfive members of Parliament, but the Liberal Imperialists
so far succeeded in asserting their freedom that

no subse-

quent attempt was made to browbeat or boycott them,


and, though

some

of those present at the demonstration

objected to the detached position which Lord Rosebery

chose to

retain, the

remarks of others showed that


solid

if

he

would return there would be a


him.
Early in

party

to

support

November

it

was announced that he had ac-

cepted an invitation from the Chesterfield Liberal Association,

and would make an important speech on 16 DecemIt

ber.

was even more outspoken than had been expected.

He
that
free

began by asking whether the party

through a long and painful malady


it

which had gone was even yet sure


It was,

was approaching convalescence.

however,

from the Irish

alliance, as the Nationalists

had repudi-

ated any compact in terms almost of insult.


point was that the party must regain unity.

The

next
it

Finally,

must win back the confidence of the country.

Lord Rosebery's
was
since they

first

advice was, 'clean the

slate.'

It

six years since the Liberals

had been

in office, sixteen

had been
still.

in power.

Meantime the world had


in Liberalism as

not stood
great

But there was Toryism


it

and as deep, though

may be unconscious,

as in

the Carlton Club.

There are men who sit still with the fly-blown phylacteries of bound round their foreheads, who do not remember that, while they have been mumbling their incantations to themselves, the world has been marching and revolving, and that if they have any hope of leading or guiding it they must march and move with it too. I, therefore, hope that when you have to write on your clean slate you will write on it a
obsolete policies

244

LORD ROSEBERY
Again,
I

and not a policy adapted to would strongly urge you, and I may add that this advice applies to all parties I would strongly urge you not to promise more than you can perform, to profess an honest Liberalism, to cut your coat according to your cloth, and not to hold out visions before the constituencies or the country which it is impossible for you to realise. Now, I speak under some reproach on that matter. I speak in the garb of a penitent, for I was a member of the Government which drew up the Queen's Speech of 1893. I looked over that document the other day. It promised for the one Session, as a beginning, a new Statutory Parliament for Ireland. It went on to promise It proceeded the disestablishment of two State Churches. with six first-class measures, any one of which would have been sufficient to tax the endurance of an entire Session, and it ended
policy adapted to 1901 or 190:?,

1892 or 18S5.

by promising some other measures as

well.

That Queen's Speech was a model


Another piece of advice was not
faster

to to

be avoided

move

very

much
in

than the great mass of the people was prepared to go.

If the Liberal party

had not learned that lesson

the
last

many
even

years of

its affliction it

had learned nothing. The

piece of advice to the party was not to dissociate


indirectly,

itself,
'

from the

'

new sentiment

of

Empire

that

occupied the nation.

You may ask me what is the line of policy and what are the measures to which I should apply the axioms which I have laid down, and which I am happy to see have received the meed of your approval. Well, it is a little difficult to put oneself in the place of proposing measures. One can only do that by imagining oneself the responsible Minister at this moment, and any so But my wild a flight of imagination I can scarcely conceive. watchword if I were in office at this moment would be summed up in one single word the word Efficiency. If we have not learned from this war that we have greatly lagged behind in Efficiency, we have learned nothing, and our treasure and our

'THE CLEAN SLATE'


lives are

245

has given

thrown away unless we learn the lessons which the war us. The first thing you have to look to is the efficiency of your machine your parliamentary machine and your legislative machine. They say that Parliament is on its trial. In

my judgment

it

has long been on


left

its

trial,

sure that the jury have not

the box

and I am not at all and are not now begin-

ning to consider their verdict.

The
of the

great function of the

House

of

Commons was

its

control of the public purse, yet

more than

three-fourths

money voted by Parliament had been

carried by the

closure without discussion.

In the administrative machine what sort of efficiency was


there at the

War
for

Office?

In commerce and industry there


In
the
if

was room

an energetic action by Government.

education we Temperance question a Government might do much

were lagging behind other countries.

On

it

would make up

its

mind

to deal firmly with the

problem
careless

disregarding

the

fanatics

on both sides and


its

even of sacrificing

its

majority and

power.
that

This, practically, was the

programme

Lord Rosebery
it

put before the party, but by universal consent


least interesting part of the speech.

was the
it

The bulk

of

was

devoted to a discussion of the origin and conduct of the war,

and the
peace.

difficulties, real

and imaginary, in the way

of arranging

He would

not sanction overtures being

made

to the

Boers

they would only be misunderstood.


real obstacle.

not an active, but a passive, policy of


believe that any
their

He advocated peace. He did not


The
:

hope on the part of the Boers of regaining


real difficulty
in favour of

independence was the

was as to amnesty.

Lord Kitchener had been


it

amnesty, and Lord Milner was against

Now, if you want to consider this point, I beg of you to remember the four elementary conditions which are required

246

LORD ROSEBERY
You must
first

of any peace in South Africa.

recollect that the

settlement must be a real settlement


it

not

a sham settlement-

must be a real settlement and a permanent settlement. Then you must remember \\hat is due to our loyal and suffering people in South Africa. Again, you must bear in mind that you do not wish to do anything to humiliate the Boers unnecessarily, or to crush the Boers unnecessarily, for they are

hereafter to be your fellow-subjects, and,

valuable elements in your Empire.


of
all,

Lastly,

I trust, loyal and and most important

you cannot forget the great


is

crucial, capital, radical fact

of the situation, whicli

end of the war, the two combatant races have got to settle down and live together in such harmony as may be in South Africa. I wish the Boers to
that, at the

blend with our people when that time comes, and not to settle once more as a hostile and injured and a sullen camp of menace and disaffection in the midst of our territories. Well, Sir, whether they do or not, you have to deal with two capital facts:

you have

to deal with the fact that these

Boers have hereafter

by side with the British, and you have to deal with the further fact that you have to bring forty thousand of them back from prison to their own country. I say, then, that in view of these facts I do not doubt on which side my vote would be cast. I am for as large and as liberal an amnesty as it is possible
to live side
to give as part of the final settlement.

Well, gentlemen, that policy represents the best advice that can give the country to-night. What I can do to further it I will do, for my services are, as they have always been, so far
I

as health and strength


subjects

permit as the

services of

all
I

British

are at

the disposal of
I

my

country.

But

am
I

under

no

illusion.

Had

the tongue of

men and

of angels,

could do

little

or nothing, for the country last year parted with its liberty of action for the ne.xt six years on the representation that the

war was
this

over.

am
;

quite aware, too, that


it is

my
I

policy does not

run on party lines

but

not to party that


or nothing.
I

appeal.

Party in

matter can avail

little

appeal unto Caesar.

From Parliament with its half-hearted but overwhelming majority for the Government and its distracted and disunited

PARTY DISSKNSIUNS

24/

Upposition, I appeal to the silent shapes and controls, in the long run, the destinies of our people,
I

but supreme tribunal which

mean

the tribunal of public opinion

and of common
I

sense.

If that fail us,

we

are lost indeed,

and

know

of nothing else

that remains to avail us.

The speech was


'

republished, as a Liberal Imperialist

manifesto, with a preface from

Lord Rosebery asking


policy,
'

for

spade-work

'

on behalf of

its

or else the

wave

of popular adhesion will be lost in space.'

Although some

passages had reflected, not indirectly, on Sir

Henry Campat a

bell-Bannerman's censure of the methods adopted by British


officers,

he took the speech in good

part,

and

meeting

held in
:hat

London on
the

13 January, 1902, expressed his regret


life.

Lord Rosebery had ever withdrawn from public


treated

He

Chesterfield

utterance

as

sign

that
Sir

co-operation would be renewed.

Even on the war

Henry appeared

to

think that his differences with Lord

Rosebery were non-essential.


If

any hopes of party reconciliation had sprung up they


In the middle of

were soon destroyed.

February Lord

Rosebery paid a

visit to

Liverpool, where he delivered a


dealt very faithfully with the Irish
Bills

series of speeches.

He

question.

Mr. Gladstone's

were both dead and buried.

The alliance of Liberals and Nationalists had been dissolved. The demand of Ireland had been met by the Local Government Act. Moreover, the Nationalists were now demanding
more than they had asked from Mr. Gladstone
dependent Parliament. At no time, and
in

an

in-

no circumstances,
still

would he agree to

that.

Yet they had gone


for

further,

and confessed they were working

Separation.

Lord

Rosebery's view was that, as County Government developed


in Ireland

and showed the administrative

qualities of the

248

LORD ROSEBERY

people, the sphere might be enlarged so as to support a


superstructure.

He

was prepared

for

'

much

devolution

'

and

this in a 'national direction'

so as

to relieve an over-

burdened Parliament.

He

looked forward to some scheme

of Imperial Federation which would admit local subordinate


legislatures, but, as for

an independent Parliament, or anythat 'was not

thing leading up to

it,

on

his slate.'

few

days

later the

annual meeting was held of the National

Liberal Federation, and

some sharp

things were said about

Lord Rosebery.

Finally, however, a resolution

was carried

which, while condemning the insistence on unconditional


surrender from the Boers
po\verful stimulus given
still

in the field,

welcomed the
to the policy of

by Lord Rosebery

settlement on terms, rejoiced in the practical unanimity of


the party, and calling on
all

Liberals in Parliament to supin

port Sir

Henry Campbell-Bannerman

advocating

it.

But
Sir

in

regard to domestic policy a conflict broke out.


rejected the Chesterfield advice
inevitable

Henry emphatically
its

the clean slate and,

accompaniment, the pen-

ance

in a

white sheet.
his creed

He

declined to erase from the

tablets of

any

article of the Liberal faith.

He
in-

refused

to

abandon

Home

Rule.

Nor did he know


to

whether Lord Rosebery had spoken


terior of the political tabernacle or

him from the

from some vantage ground


replied, in a published

outside.

Lord Rosebery promptly


he remained outside
in solitude.

letter, that

Sir

Henry's tabernacle, but

not,

he thought,

He added

one word more

at

'moment of definite separation.' Nobody appreciated more than Lord Rosebery the honest and well-intentioned devotion of Sir Henry to the Liberal party and what he
that

conceived to be

its

interest.

'I

only wish that

could have

shared his labours and supported his policy.'

From

the

THE EDUCATION BILL


'definite separation
'

249

the only visible result was the Liberal

League

an

institution

which reminded

Sir

Henry, so he
officers

presently said, of the

new Army Corps which had

but no men.
parture.

He

could see no reason for the new de-

either

Of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in 1902 which protected Power against a hostile combination Lord Rose-

bery spoke in Parliament with general approval, though on

subsequent occasions he has praised


reserve.

it

with

a certain

He

elicited

from Lord Lansdowne that Manchuria


phrase
'

was

covered

by

the

integrity

of the

Chinese

Empire,' and that the modification of our original plans


with regard
to

Wei-hai-Wei might have been brought


this

about by the knowledge that

Treaty was impending.


it

On

the Education

Bill

he rejoiced that
lustre of

tended to

enhance the strength and

Municipal institutions

by placing the supervision of education under the Municipal authorities, but in other respects
it

'conflicted with

every Liberal principle.'


It

was

at

Plymouth, on

16 January,

1903, before the

opening of Parliament, that Lord Rosebery developed his


favourite idea of
for

making Lord Kitchener Secretary of State


There was no need

War.

He

was the Hercules who alone could have


for

carried out the necessary reforms.

the head of the

War
'

Office to be a

member

of the Cabinet.

He
his

need only attend those meetings which had to do with


department.
It is in

the power of the Sovereign to

summon any

Privy Councillor to the Cabinet for any par-

ticular purpose,

and there

is

no reason why he should not


regard to Lord Kitchener.

have adopted that course

in
it,

There were precedents


not dwell upon them

for

but Lord Rosebery would


a great reform to

'When you have

250
carry out,
it,

LORD ROSEBERV
and when you have a great man
at

hand

to

do
to

for

God's sake drop precedent

for once,

and come

business.'
in

Other subjects that Lord Rosebery dealt with

a thorough-going party speech were Lord Lansdowne's

co-operation with

Germany

against Venezuela (for which

he presumed that

sufficient reasons existed)


'

and the action


'

of the bishops in adding the


the

wear-and-tear

provisions to

Education Act.
it

It

was only carried by the 'rebel

Irish vote,' as

was called when the Nationalists supported

a Liberal measure. Near the end of the Session he attacked the

Government

for their

policy of inquiry in regard to


as

the Fiscal controversy, and,

described

in

a previous

chapter, delivered a series of speeches against Mr.


berlain's proposals.

Cham-

Last year and this year (1904 and 1905) he has energetically pressed the

Free Trade cause, and rumours have

been circulated that some of the Unionists who decline to


accept even Mr. Balfour's intermediate policy were sounded
as
to
their willingness
It

to

join

forces with

the

Liberal

Imperialists.

was also stated that the terms offered by


or

Lord Rosebery,

upon

his

behalf,

were such as could

not be entertained, because they involved the abandonment


of such distinctively Conservative principles as the right of
the Voluntary schools to receive a share of the local funds
available for education.
true, the story

Whether

true or untrue, or partly

derived

some

plausibility

from Lord Rose-

bery's
his

known unwillingness to agree to any compromise of own opinions. Meantime, there had been an evident

tendency towards mutual agreement between the Imperialist

and non-Imperialist sections of the Liberal party


through the retirement of Sir William
because some of
the
politicians

partly
;

Harcourt

partly

who had most

loudly

AT THE LIBERAL LEAGUE

2$

expressed their sympathy with the Boers had been sobered

by what they considered the near prospect of obtaining


Oflfico
;

partly, also,

because most of the ablest platform

speakers in the party were more or less closely associated


with Liberal Imperialism.

The meeting

of the Liberal League, held on 29 February,

1904, was chiefly devoted to combating the Protectionist

views which had taken hold of so large a portion of the

Unionist party.

This, said
It

Lord Rosebery, was the primary


'set

duty of the League.

was criminal, he declared, to


life

our people balancing between the necessities of

and the

maintenance of their Empire.'

At another meeting of the

same

organisation, held in June, a similar spirit animated

the speaker.
for Efficiency,

Though he
legislation

reiterated his favourite

demand
Liberals

he dwelt on the

common

duty of

all

to fight

bad

and bad administration, Protection


such as

avowed and
the

insidious, the corrupt rule of interests

Liquor trade

and

two consummate Parliamentary


overtures
to the

strategists.

He
if

held

out certain

Free

Trade Unionists, who, he believed, might be brought over


to

Liberalism

the Liberalism were not


or

of

a narrow,
for

fanatical,

vindictive,

retrograde

type.

As
yet

Home

Rule, the 'predominant partner' had not


over, so there

been won

was no present

possibility of establishing, or

attempting to establish, a Parliament in Dublin. In neither of these gatherings of the Liberal League was
there anything to revive controversy with the followers of
Sir

Henry Campbell-Bannerman, and

in

Lord Rosebery 's


to
criticising

other speeches, whether in Parliament or on public platforms,

he practically confined himself


party,
its

the

Unionist
questions

leaders,

and

its

policy.

In foreign
principle

he

carefully

observed

his

own

of

252
ignoring Party.

LORD ROSEBERV
In the

House

of Lords, for instance,

on

the Tibet expedition, he studiously refrained, at the opening of the Session, from the

making out a case against


Government.
said,
if

either

Indian

or the

Home
he

The

enterprise

could

only be

justified,

there

existed

some
of

understanding between Russia and Tibet which might be

dangerous

to

India,

but

he admitted

the existence

certain suspicious facts,


St.

such as the Tibetan Mission to

Petersburg.

Similarly,

on 29 October, he did not

seize

the political opportunity presented by a certain maladroit-

ness in the Government's handling of Admiral Rodjestvensky's outrage on British vessels, but congratulated Lord

Lansdowne on
to

the happy settlement effected.

The Anglo-French Convention


Lord Rosebery's
liking,

of 1904 was by no

means

though he expressed cordial


at

sympathy with the object aimed


with France.

good understanding

But he said that a more one-sided agreement


in a state of

was never concluded between two Powers


peace, nor could he approve of the coast of

Morocco being

handed over

to

a great

military Power.
illegitimate,

The

criticism,

though exaggerated, was not


fairly

and could not


that

be resented.

There could be no doubt

M.

Delcasse had driven a hard bargain at the expense of Great


Britain, but

Lord Lansdowne,

it

became

clear,

had correctly
receive

interpreted the feeling of this country that

we could

no consideration more valuable than the good-will of France.


In this connection
it

is

worth while to

recall that all the

most anxious questions with which Lord Rosebery has had


to deal

have arisen from French ambition

Egypt,

Siam,

and Fashoda.

In each of these grave crises he had to fight

hard against the dexterous and aggressive statecraft of the

Quai d'Orsay, and

it

has been stated, quite without founda-

THE PROPOSED COLONIAL CONFERENCE


tion, in

253

some of
It

the Parisian journals, that he

is

an

'

enemy
far

of France.'

is,

however, true that his sympathies, so

as a Foreign Secretary or

Prime Minister may indulge such

moral luxuries, have hitherto leaned towards Berlin.

He

was intimate with Prince Bismarck and

his family,

and was

picked out, by the great Chancellor, as the most capable of


British statesmen,

and

in

Germany

generally he has been


is

regarded with more kindliness than

extended to most of

our public men.

Lord Rosebery's
Fiscal policy has,

hostility

towards

Mr.

Chamberlain's

we have

seen, increased rather than abated


It

with the course of discussion.

was, he said, the duty of


'

Liberals to support sane Imperialism against the


advertising,

shoddy,
'

and

terrifying kind.'

He
in

declared that

this

hanky-panky Government,' which had been called


existence

into

simply to

settle

affairs

South

Africa,

pro-

longed
lain.

its

existence merely for the benefit of Mr.


for the

Chamberbut an
If

As

proposed Conference with the Colonies,


'

he welcomed the idea

under certain

limitations,'

abortive meeting would do

more harm than good.


its

Great

Britain were expected to tax or narrow

food-supply,

the

result

would be disappointment and


replied
that
to

reaction.

Mr.

Chamberlain

suggest

Conference

on

Preferential tariffs

and exclude the taxation of food would

be childish and almost insulting.

To

this

Lord Rosebery

retorted that Mr. Chamberlain had killed his

own

proposal.
it

The
tax

question had been put to the country whether


its

would

food,

and the reply had been an emphatic

refusal.

The
at

proposal for a Conference at that stage of the movelike the


at the
'

ment looked
Glasgow,
that there

second string of a broken bow.'

And

end of 1904, Lord Rosebery asserted


in the

was danger to the Empire

threatened clash

254

LORD ROSEBERY
The
tyranny he most loathed was

of pecuniary interests.
that of corrupt

and corrupting weatlh.


all

In this controversy
the
aristocracy,

there were

on one side almost

the

journalism, and the wealth of the country; on the other,

was the people.


distress.

Protection, he added, was

no remedy

for

In France,

which was the most Protectionist

country in Europe, there were at that time 400,000


out of work.

men

Let the Liberal party deal with social reform

with

education, housing, temperance, and administrative

efficiency.

Several significant speeches have been delivered by Lord

Rosebery

in the course of the present year (1905).

At the

City Liberal Club, on 9 March, he spoke of the 'scorn

and
was

detestation

'

with which Mr. Balfour's Administration

was regarded
to

in the country.

Before such an audience


stress

it

be expected that he would lay special

on

the disturbances apprehended in the banking world from


'

trifling

and tampering with the


to

fabric of
'

our Fiscal

policy,'

and from having anything


Protection.'

do with

the accursed thing,

He

also set himself to mitigate

any alarm

that might exist in regard to Liberal attacks

on Property,

and dwelt on 'the debt

piled

up

in

mountains by the

Conservative Government.'

On
its

the Irish question he re-

ferred to the fact that the Imperial

Government had within


to

the

last

two years pledged

credit
soil

the

extent of

;^i 1 2,000,000 for redeeming the


ownership, but declared
that

of Ireland from dual

no Liberal Administration
in

would propose

to set

up a Parliament

Dublin, however

subordinate, without having

appeal

to

the

country.

made it Ten days


avowal.

a matter of special
later

he replied,

at

Epsom,
Mr.

to

what he called the 'genial criticism' passed by


this frank

Redmond on

He reminded

the

AT THE LIBERAL LEAGUE


Nationalist leader that only seven years

255

had passed since would


utter-

he had moved, on the x\ddress,


that nothing short of an
satisfy the
'

in the

House of Commons,
'

independent Parliament

wants and needs of Ireland.

This formal
Liberals

ance had compelled many English

who were
It

Home

Rulers before to reconsider their position.

was

unwise, Lord Rosebery thought, to identify the cause of


Ireland with 'duality of government.'
It

was a demand to

which there would be no response from the 'predominant


partner.'

Short of such duality, however

the proposals brought forward by Mr. Gladstone

short, even, of there was

'a wide field to cover,' which might confer great benefits

on Ireland and

satisfy its aspirations.

At the meeting of the Liberal League (13 April), while Lord Rosebery developed, in his address, the topics most
distinctively

associated

with

that

body

'practical

and

common-sense Imperialism,'
Temperance
Classes
in

EflSciency in administration,

legislation,

and Better Housing of the Working

neither
to

he nor any of the other speakers sought


differ-

any way

emphasise their previous points of

ence from the other wing of the Liberal party.


Rosebery's concluding words

Lord

may be quoted

as indicating

what he considered to be the proper attitude of the Liberal

League towards the next Liberal Administration


Perhaps
that
it

one of the drawbacks of descending the vale of by the light of a somewhat bilious experience these evanescent hopes of political parties that we practical and common-sense politicians cannot omit from the calculations and the possibilities of the new Government the dead brick wall of
is

life

one

sees,

House of Lords. My belief is that after the first year of this new Government you will find the House of Lords as resolutely,
the
aggressively,
I

and

defiantly

Tory as

it

has ever been

in the past.

know

it

is

very galling to the young and powerful section of the

256

LORD ROSEBERV
House
but, at

Liberal party to be even reminded of the existence of the

of Lords

any

rate,

am

doing a good service to the


in-

next

Liberal

Government

in

somewhat damping down the


it

expectations of their supporters by reminding them of the


evitable fact of the
to

House of Lords, which, though


is

may bow

an outburst of national
if

feeling, will take the first favourable

opportunity,

when the nation


possible,
I

not excited, of trimming and

mangling and,
I

rejecting

your

measures.

Well,

have not wearied you by recalling to you the programme on which we were founded, and our watchword
hope, gentlemen,

common-sense Imperialism practical, plain, However discouraging may have common-sense politics. seemed to be the tinge which was imparted to my remarks by the inevitable and utilitarian references to the House of Lords, I am, at any rate, animated by a youthful spirit of hope with regard to the future achievements and the future prospects of the next Liberal Government, if, as I hope they will be able to, if they will preserve a peaceful and powerful foreign policy they are able to inspire the various limbs of the Empire with
of practical, sane,
;

a feeling of confidence that both parties


aspirations
if

in the old

country are

equally anxious to do justice to their strength and to their


;

they are able to

we cannot

yield to unreasonable

make Ireland feel that, though demands which would impair


yet, at

our national freedom of action,

any

rate,

they have a

Government anxious and

willing

to

redress every grievance

which can be substantiated,


can

to equalise as far as

may be
If

the

conditions in Great Britain and the adjoining island.

they

merely the voting fix in a satisfactory condition, not machinery that leads up to the House of Commons, but also restore to that august assembly something of its pristine power and authority, if they are able to repeat myself once more to remember that the first duty of an Imperial Government is to rear an Imperial race if, as I say, they are able to do these things, they will be acting, I do not say under the inspiration,

for that

would be presumptuous, but in the spirit and according League, and they will make it easy for all that body, whether they sit behind the Government or do not, to co-operate with all their heart and mind and energy in the glorious task which they have undertaken.
to the policy of the Liberal

ON FOREIGN POLICY

257
political

more

detailed statement of

Lord Rosebery's

views was

made

at Stourbridge,
still

and, though he
sponsibility

on October 25th, 1905, disclaimed any sense of official reLiberal


that
party,
it

towards the

was observed

that he used

no language

must preclude him from


This reserve was especi-

joining a future Administration.


ally

remarkable

in

regard

to

two questions

on which

avowedly he was not


Imperialists.

in entire

accord with other Liberal

As

to the

Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Alliance


it

of the present year (1905), he declared that


natural consequence of the Treaty of

was the

1902

nor

would

he have been bold enough, he added, to face the alternative of

not making a Treaty at

all.

Similarly, in his refer-

ence to the Anglo-French Convention, while he reaffirmed


the doubts which he had several times expressed in 1904,

and repeated even more strongly


Liberal

in

1905

at

the

City

Club, as to

the

prudence of the bargain over


his
'

Morocco, he rejoiced that

old friends on the front

Opposition bench did not share his misgivings,'

'They
of

have swallowed the policy of the Government whole, they


have taken
it,

it

at a gulp.

was not able to masticate

all

but that was a matter only for


;

me and my
it

political
all,

digestion

they
I

have been able to swallow

and,
I

although

have not been capable of that heroic have done


so.'

feat,

rejoice that they

If these

words seemed

to

any of

his hearers to suggest a

doubt as

to

Lord Rosebery's
facts
'

acceptance of the
diplomacy,
it

two

accomplished

in

British

would be removed by
felt.
'

his

explanation
'

of

the satisfaction he
tinuity striven

It

means,' he went on,


object
for

con-

of foreign

policy
for

'

an
'

which he had
at last

and laboured
to

twenty years, and which

seemed nearly
s

be realised.

A second-rate

foreign policy

258
which which
is

LORD ROSEBERV
continuous
is

better than a first-rate foreign policy

in not continuous.'

One that is
feel

not continuous inspires


if inferior,

distrust abroad,

whereas a continuous one, even

enables foreign countries to

confidence in Great Britain

and

to

throw aside their misgivings as to the play and

reaction of our Parliamentary institutions.

Lord Rosebery's general

criticism of these

two Agree-

ments, apart from his special objections to the Morocco

arrangement, was based mainly on the duty of impressing


the country with a sense of the heavy obligations
it

had

in-

curred and of the enmities that might have been awakened.


'

Whether

for

good or

for

evil,

a Treaty

is

an engine of
It

tremendous power and tremendous

liability.'

may

give

rise to animosities, counter-intrigues,

and

hostile

combina-

tions.

Lord Rosebery's allusion

to

German

feeling

was

what might have been expected from a statesman whose


inclination, as

we have already

seen, has

been towards a

cordial understanding with Berlin.


I

cannot understand
violent

why

friendship with

France should
as

involve such

polemics with

Germany

now rage

between the two countries, and which I do not believe represent the real feeling of the two nations though they may represent
the feeling of

some
I

or

all

of the

Governments of

that

know

do view these polemics as a serious danger to peace, as poisonously influencing the two nations and the growing generations of the two nations. Therefore I am one of those who deprecate most sincerely the view, which appears to prevail in some quarters, that cordial relations with France mean irreconcilable animosity to Germany.
nothing

but

There was, of course, no foundation


suggestion that Mr.

for

Lord Rosebery's
might con-

Balfour's Administration

ceivably have been influenced by the

motive which he

deplored, but in other respects his words of warning were

ON LIBERAL POLICY

259

such as might well have been uttered by a statesman who


would, in easily imaginable circumstances, be called on to
play an important part in directing international relations.

Nor

in the

passage in whicli he discussed the position of

Home

Rule was there any expression that need debar him


It

from active co-operation with the Liberal party.


Election without making
Liberals
creating

was

impossible, he said, to go through the stress of a General

some

definite declaration.
still

Those

and there were many who were


a Statutor)- Parliament for
it

in favour of

Ireland
in the
'

must either
Parlia-

confess that they could not deal with

coming

ment or they must treat


and
vital

it

as a matter of

such imperious
to the constit'

interest' that they


'

would put

it

uencies as the
Election and
of the

main and supreme question


it

at the
first

General
Session

make

the

first

measure of the
latter

new Parliament.
'

The

course,
party.

he

inferred,

would not be adopted by the Liberal


not do to attempt a
in

middle policy
reliquary,

'

to place

Now it would Home Rule


it

the position

of a

and exhibit

at

great

moments
would
it

of public stress, as

Roman

Catholics exhibit the


sincerity,

relics of a saint.

This was not consistent with


policy and which seemed

nor

gain sympathy or success in the country.


this

There

was, however, another

Lord Rosebery

manifestly favoured

to

be marked out by the

course of political events for the next Liberal Government.

This was to carry out

'

large administrative reforms


local institutions.'

'

and

to

aim

at

'

development of

Briefly,

Lord
ulti-

Rosebery, without abjuring

Home
is

Rule as a possible

mate concession, declared

that, for the present, the Liberal

party should limit itself to what

somewhat vaguely, though

not inconveniently, described as Devolution

a policy that
spirit in

the phrase

may mean much may be

or

little

according to the

which

interpreted.

26o
Obviously, this
ists
is

LORD ROSEBERV
an arrangement
in

which the Nationalin

cannot be expected to concur unless the Liberals are

a position to dictate the terms of co-operation, and, therefore,

Lord Rosebery,

like

Mr. Gladstone in 18S5, asked for

something more than a bare majority


majority.'

'

a great and swinging

All the chief articles of the party

programme
at

so

far as

they had been formulated

when he spoke
first

Stourbridge

were adopted and commended, the


Housing

place

being given to the establishment of national education on

a national foundation.

Special stress was laid on

Temper-

ance

legislation, the

of the working classes. Relief

of meritorious poverty, and the


course,
'

Land
'

question,

while, of

the blessed word Efficiency

was again mentioned

with honour, and

the need of Imperial

and Municipal

retrenchment was dwelt upon, particularly in regard to the

Army.

In the past ten years we had spent ^^2, 7 10,000,000

as against ;i^i,639,ooo,ooo in the previous decade


rate of ;,^i 07,000,000 a year

at the

more than we did

in

1885-95.

When
they

the electors meditate, said Lord Rosebery, on the

figures of this
will

enormous expenditure, they

'

will think once,

think twice, they will think thrice before they play


or tax the food of the people on which so
rests.'

any

fiscal tricks

heavy an encumbrance
not a policy at
all
;

Retaliation, he declared,

was

it

was but a half-way house

for tender

and

afflicted

consciences.

The

issue before the country

would be Free Trade versus Protection.

On

the Licensing Act, the

Education Acts, and

the

Chinese Labour question. Lord Rosebery has recently shown


himself to be in harmony with the main body of the Liberal
party.
It

was also noticed with much interest that

at Edinin

burgh

in

October he had gone out of his way to speak

the most cordial terms of Sir

Henry Campbell-Bannerman,

GOVERNMENT BY PARTY
and welcomed him 'on
holiday to take the
party.'

26
his

his

return from

well-earned

command

of the forces of the Liberal

Sir

Henry, perhaps by way of acknowledgment,

disclaimed any intention of reversing the foreign policy of


the Unionist Government.

few days previously, however.

Lord Rosebery had


was

spread consternation
ing an attack

among some

of his friends by publishIt

on the system of Party Government.


Great Japan

contained in a Preface which he contributed to Mr. Alfred


Stead's book,
' :

a Study in National Efficiency.'


resist,

Such a
readers
will

title

was more than Lord Rosebery could


will

but

who

go carefully through what he then wrote


is

discover that his conclusion

less

formidable than his

premisses.

He

maintains

what
It
is

cannot be denied

that

many

persons in our country, especially in high places,

worship Party as a god.


as the fog,
yet
its

considered as inevitable

operation blights Efficiency.

It

keeps out of employment


It

a great
the
that
is,

many men

of precious ability.

puts into place not

fittest,

but the most eligible from the Party point of view


Efficiency implies the rule of

very often, the worst.


;

the

fittest

Party means the rule of something else


fit,

not

the

unfittest,

but of the few

the accidentally not unfit, and the

glaringly unfit.

Lord Rosebery does not seek


nises
in
it

to abolish Party, he recog;

as part of our moral climate

but

we must bear
be 'handi-

mind

that

when we aim

at Efficiency

we

shall

capped by

this

formidable encumbrance.'

We
Our

regard our parties as interesting groups of gladiators.

firmest faith appears to be that the

one
. .

will

do worse than

the other, so

we maintain

the other.

We

know

too well

that our Ministers,

however great the ardour and freshness with


soon be
lost
in the

which they

set to work, will

labyrinthine

262

LORD ROSEBERY

mazes of Parliamentary discussion, and that whatever energy when they emerge must be devoted to strugghng for existence on provincial platforms.
they can preserve

On

that showing,

it

might well be retorted that eminent

servants of the State should be provided with seats in that

House of Lords whose shortcomings and


so often been

iniquities

have

denounced by
his

its

most

brilliant
is

member.
but con-

Even of the Party system


ditional.

condemnation

We are to learn

from Japan, where


'

political strife is

more

violent than here,

how

to obtain Efificiency in spite


is,

of the party systems.'

There

perhaps, no living student


write a

of our Parliamentary history


taining defence of that

who could

more

enter-

Government by Party which has


set

won

us our liberties,
illogical,

and given us a

of institutions

which,

anomalous, and incomplete as they may


efficiently

be, work,

on the whole, more cheaply and

than

what Lord Rosebery has called the 'matchless Constitution'


of the United States.

We

have traced the course of what seemed to be a

mutual approximation between

Lord Rosebery and


It

Sir

Henry Campbell-Bannerman.
not
universally,

was generally, though

expected

it

was generally, though not

universally

hoped

that the

two

men would

find a

way of
as

working together

in the

same Administration, although,

we have

seen.

Lord Rosebery had never made any

explicit

intimation of readiness to forsake his independent position.

These sanguine anticipations were confirmed towards the

end of

last

month (November, 1905) by


in

a series of fighting

speeches delivered
party.
It

Cornwall on behalf of the Liberal


last

was not before the

day of

this

political

tour throughout which he had been received by


Associations with
all

the local

the wonted honours of a Party leader

FIGHTING SPEECHES
that

IN

CORNWALL
to his

263
to

Lord Rosebery gave a sharp and unexpected turn

the position.

He

had

just

had brought

notice a

certain passage, in a speech recently dcHvered at StirHng by


Sir

Henry Campbell-Bannerman,
I

in

regard to

Home

Rule:

If

Hkely

by

were asked for advice which is not, perhaps, very an ardent Irish Nationalist, I should say, 'Your
is

desire, as mine,
affairs
in the

to see the effective

management

of Irish

hands of a representative Irish authority. If I were you I would take it in any way I could get it, and, if an instalment of representative control were offered to you, or any administrative improvement, I would advise you thankfully to accept it, provided it was consistent with and led up to your larger policy.' I think that would be good advice but I lay stress on the proviso that it must be consistent with and lead up to the larger policy.'
;

'

Later on in the same speech Sir

Henry went on

to

express his hope that the opportunity of making a great

advance

in the question of Irish

Government would not


might be taken as

long be delayed.
reading Sir
explaining
Minister,
in a

Now

there were two possible ways of


It

Henry's declaration.

why he did not intend, if he became Prime as it was known that he did not intend, to bring
Rule
Bill

Home

during the next Parliament.

In lieu

of that, however, he undertook to propose a considerable

measure of Devolution
Irish Nationalist

a measure which the most ardent


it

might accept, because


to.

would not be
Rule.

in-

consistent with,

and would lead up

Home

On

the

other hand, the words might

mean

that the official Liberal

Leader had once again pledged the Party to


though not
light in

Home

Rule

to a Bill for the

new Parliament.

This was the

which Lord Rosebery viewed the position, and


that banner," he exclaimed at

"under
fight."

Bodmin, "I

will

not

Here,

it

appeared, was a sharp rupture between the

264
two men. was
it

LORD ROSEBERY
Did
it

mark an

irreconcilable disagreement, or
?

only a misunderstanding that might be removed

No

explanation was offered to Lord Rosebery, either in

public or private.

But the three most prominent of Lord

Rosebery's associates in the Liberal League


Grey,

Mr.

Asquith,

and Mr. Haldane

made
at the

Sir

Edward
haste
to

announce
utterance.

that they did not accept his view of the Stirling

Speaking on December nth,

Council of

that body, he did not complain because their interpretation


differed

from his own, but showed plainly that his own

opinion was unchanged.

He

suggested that they might

have received private explanations which enabled them to


reconcile their

known

principles with the attitude taken

up

by

Sir

Henry, but pointed out that his own interpretation


Press,

had been adopted by the Nationalist


asserted that every vote given for Sir

which had

Henry CampbellRule.
the

Bannerman would be a vote given


Liberal
Sir

for

Home
at

Meantime, between the speeches


League,

Bodmin and
Office,

Mr.

Balfour

had resigned
the
list

and
form

Henry had been summoned by


His Cabinet, the
the

King

to

an Administration.
published on

of which was

morning of the day on which Lord


his

Rosebery

made
Grey
of
as

second

statement,

contained

Sir

Edward
Minister,

Foreign

Secretary,

Mr.

Asquith
as

as

Chancellor

the
Sir

Exchequer,

Mr.
as

Haldane

War
the

and

Henry Fowler
touch
of

Chancellor of

Duchy

of Lancaster.

There

was no

bitterness,

or

even of
to

dis-

appointment, in

Lord Rosebery's reference

the

new

Cabinet
Let
lating

take the opportunity of publicly congratuSir

me at once my friend

Henry Canipbell-Bannerman on

the

DUTY OF THE LIBERAL LEAGUE


position which he has achieved,

265

and which

is

so entirely his

due

in respect of his

long fidehty and strenuous exertions on

behalf of the Liberal party, a distinction which none will grudge him, and which all must wish to see him fill with

approbation for himself and success for his country.


also

Let

me

congratulate
are,
I

the

other

members
in private

of

the

Government.

They
I

think, all of

them

my
;

personal friends.

speak generally, because there are so many of them that I should not like to be certain of every one but certainly my view, unless I receive any disclaimer, is that each and all of

them are my personal friends. And, gentlemen, I think we must all feel that the constitution of the Government as announced this morning is one that must fill us with confidence. All the offices are well filled, some of them by men
of established reputation, although the ranks of the Cabinet of

But others, and welcome and you will welcome with equal heartiness are what is called young and fresh blood, so desirable, as I think, in the Government of the country. But there are among these appointments four which interest us specially and
1S92-1895 have been sadly thinned by death.
I

these

peculiarly
I

mean

those of the vice-presidents of this League.


feel, if for

think that the League must

no other reason, that


it

it

has not lived and worked

in vain

when

sees those four vicetrust,

presidents, in positions of high


in the

and conspicuous

included

new Government.
only complaint

The
he

had not been vouchsafed by

made by Lord Rosebery was that Sir Henry Campbellof the Stirling speech,

Bannerman any explanation


an explanation
*

as such
to

would not have been derogatory


But, though
still

any

Leader or Minister.'
Irish question,

unsatisfied as to the

Lord Rosebery recognised

that the duty of

the Liberal League was to assist in maintaining the unity


of the Free

Trade party

to strain every nerve that


'

'

an

overwhelming number of the constituencies

should return

members

in favour

and

in support of the

new Government.

266

LORD ROSEBERY
foregoing

The
in

record of
to

Lord Rosebery's public


Prime

life

was undertaken in order


the
series

supply the missing volume


Ministers,'
fall

of

'

The Queen's

but

the narrative has been carried beyond the


Liberal Government, and brought
Sir

of the last

down

to the formation of

Henry Campbell-Bannerman's Cabinet (December


partisan
bias in
his

1905).

Throughout, the writer has endeavoured to divest himself


of

treatment of such questions as

required

comment

or explanation, and, in every instance,

to set out both sides of the case.

No

attempt has been

made

to

pronounce judgment on a career which may not


its

yet have passed

middle

stage, or to present a
is

complete

picture of the statesman


less

who
of

at

once better known and


In one

known than any

his
;

contemporaries.
in

sense he lives in a glass-house

another sense, behind


the
;

an unlifted curtain.
of Parliament and
philanthropic

We

all

know

Lord Rosebery
the chairman at
of

political

platforms

banquets and the advocate

Technical

Education

the historical essayist

and the

literary critic.

We

are almost equally familiar with the

Lord Rosebery of
companion
politicians.

the Turf, at the Theatre,


of Princes

and

in Society, the

and the comrade of working-men

Yet of the man himself, of the objects which he has


in

view and the motives that guide his conduct, the nation
for

which he has interested

more than a quarter


frankly admit

of

century has no distinct conception.

Those who speculate


that

most keenly as

to his

future course

they possess insufficient data for their forecast.

The
time

difficulty

arises

from
are,

no special inconsistency
need

in

his principles.

There
as
little

indeed, few politicians of our


to practise

who have

to recant or less

the arts of self-sophistication.

On

the

Home

Rule question

CHARGED WITH IN'CONSISTENCY


his attitude has,

267

no doubt, varied with altered circumstances.


first

He

was,

it

will

be seen, one of the

of Mr. Gladstone's

colleagues to join in the


witness, he was
'

new

departure.

But, though a
'

not an enthusiastic witness

in favour of

Home

Rule.

In 18S6, as in 1S93, the question to him

was one of policy

'no

higher and no lower.'


admission,'

In 1894,
that

when he made
alist

his

'considerable

'the

predominant partner' must be convinced before the Nation-

demand could be conceded, he was


it is

thinking, not of

abstract justice, but of Parliamentary possibilities.

few

days afterwards,
tion,

true,

he withdrew

his disturbing declaraif

and professed

his readiness to bring in a third Bill


in the

he were supported by a majority of a hundred


of

House

Commons.

More

recently he claimed that the Liberal


its

party had been released from


alist

pledge when the Nationinsisted

leader raised his terms,

and

upon an indepen-

dent

Parliament with an

Executive responsible to that


still

Parliament.

Though he

is

willing to support a con-

siderable extension of

local

self-government, and would

not perhaps oppose a moderate measure of Devolution, he

has

made
'

it

plain that he will take part in


to

no policy
idle to

that

may
and

lead

up

Home

Rule.'

It

would be

deny

that his course


regress,

on the

Irish question
fairly

marks both advance

but he

may

claim that the successive

modifications of his attitude have always been adjusted to


the changing conditions of the problem.

He
on the
less

has been charged with inconsistency in regard to

the Fiscal policy of the


fact that

Empire because
Olifice

in

1S88 he dwelt
to

our Foreign

had come

be occupied

with the protection of India than with the growing

interests of the self-governing Colonies.

He

contrasted our

exports to

Canada and

Australia as measured by their popu-

268

LORD ROSEBERY
one
case,

lations (thirty shillings a head, in


in the other, per

and seven pounds


to the

annum) with our exports


left us,

United

States

the

Colony which had


shillings a head.

and was then taking


would remain
question
said,

about eight

If the other Colonies were as


to

to leave us he did not believe that they

good customers
retain

as they

had been.

The

how

them within the Empire was, he

one which

should be pressed upon the attention of the British Chambers of


*

Commerce.

It

was, he believed, impossible to

maintain in the long run the present loose and indefinite

relations with the Colonies.'

He
and

looked forward to the


circling the globe with

'great

boon of a peaceful Empire


unity

bond of commercial

peace,'

and admitted

that

such benefits could not be obtained without some

sacrifice.

Great Britain must be prepared to admit the Colonies to


a

much

larger share in

its affairs

must expect

to be pre-

sented with demands 'sometimes unreasonable, such as


spoiled children sometimes

make'; must reconcile

itself,

perhaps, to diminishing
of
its

its

own

insular

freedom

in favour

great offspring abroad.


it

Here, as

has been pointed out. Lord Rosebery was

thinking, not of a series of commercial treaties between

the Mother Country and the Colonies, but of a single and

comprehensive Imperial Zollverein

Free Trade within the


possibility of Protec-

Empire coupled with Protection, or the


tion, against outside nations.

Nevertheless,

when Mr. Cham-

berlain's

scheme was

first

launched on 15 May, 1903, Lord


refused to

Rosebery, four days

later,

In a speech to the Burnley

condemn it off-hand. Chamber of Commerce he


sides,

weighed the

fiscal

arguments on both

and intimated

that the balance

might perhaps be turned, even against

economic considerations, by the advantage of uniting the

ins
Empire.

LUKEWAKMNESS
of

269

His subsequent repudiation

Mr. Chamberlain's
re-

policy, root

and branch, was mainly based on what he

gards as the impossibility of working out a detailed arrange-

ment, but he was also influenced by the fear that the jealousy
excited

among

foreign powers by a policy of Fiscal ex-

clusion would

more than counterbalance the


Here, again,
it

benefits of

Imperial consolidation.

is

perfectly legiti-

mate

to

complain that Lord Rosebery has changed his


has given

mind

or, at least,

new

values to old facts, but

in this case, as in that of

Home

Rule, his reasoning, whether

good or bad, must be quite


reject the conclusion

intelligible

even to those who

which he has reached.


is

There

is

no uncertainty, because there

no obscurity, as

to the workings of

Lord Rosebery's mind.


confidence.
will

What he

thinks
antici-

and what he
pated with

will say

on any given question may be


apply

tolerable

when we ask how we


been
oflfered to their

The difficulty begins his known or deducible

principles to his practical conduct.

No

such enigma has

countrymen by other Party leaders of

modern times
or

not by Mr. Gladstone or Lord Beaconsfield


Lord Randolph Churchill,

Lord

Salisbury, Mr. Parnell or

Mr. Balfour or Mr. Chamberlain.


of their intellects
it

The

inner operations

may have been


for

difficult to forecast, but,

the opinion once proclaimed, the resulting action could in

each instance be a matter


ference.
is

obvious and confident

in-

In Lord Rosebery's case the unascertained factor


to all

that,

outward seeming, he
statesman of

is
it

the very antithesis

of the

Roman

whom
acts,

was said that 'what-

ever he desired he desired very strongly.'

judge Lord Rosebery by his


that he has never

If we are to we should probably say

made up

his

mind whether he does

or does not wish to play a great part in the political history

270
of England.
his

LORD ROSEBERY
But
it

must be remembered

that,

with

all

debonair frankness as to his opinions, he has never,

directly or indirectly, taken the country into his confidence

about his ambitions.

So long
his course

as he acted

under the influence of Mr. Gladstone

was

plain.
is

Though he declined high

Office in

1880, his refusal

sufficiently explained, as will

be seen in

the text of this sketch, by motives creditable to his personal

modesty.

Nor can he be charged with


in the

vacillation because

he subsequently accepted, and soon afterwards resigned, a

minor post
stood aside.
as will

Administration from which he had at

first

His consent

to enter the Cabinet in 1885 was,


self-sacrifice,

be seen, an instance of

and of the

personal devotion to Mr. Gladstone which was the dominating influence of his earlier career.
lose,

He

had something
Government.

to

and nothing

to gain,

by associating himself with the


falling

fortunes of a discredited and


his

But

allegiance to Mr. Gladstone implied

no surrender of

the right of independent judgment.

Indeed, he

may be

said to have set himself by degrees to convert the Chief of

the 1880-5 Administration from that indifference to our


interests

abroad which had brought about


interval

its

collapse.

There was no long

between

his

assumption of the
that

name

of Liberal

Imperialist
to
'

and

his declaration

he

would be content

walk under the same umbrella as Mr,

Gladstone and Mr. Bright.'


It

was the natural sequel to

this definition of his political

attitude that he should take office as Foreign Secretary in

the Cabinet of 1886, and

it

has been shown

how

successful

he was,

in those

few months of probation, in reversing the

public verdict on the conduct of our external affairs by


the Liberal
party.

From

that date

he seemed to have

KKIHT TO CRITICISE
deliberately set himself to maintain

271

and
to

practise the rule

which constitutes
tude

his
all

permanent
things
it is

title

deep national

grati-

that before

necessary that the foreign

policy of Great Britain shall be unaffected by the vicissi-

tudes of Party fortunes.

As he has
is

recently put the matter,


is

a second-rate policy which


first-rate

continuous
continuous.

better than a

policy which

is

not

This binding

principle he again maintained

when

after

some

hesitation,

due, however, to the state of his health


the Foreign Office in 1892,
it,

he

returned to

and he has

faithfully

observed

during ten years of Opposition, in the criticisms which

from time to time he has passed on the diplomacy of Lord


Salisbury and Lord Lansdowne, and in the backing which

he has given them

at

more than one important

crisis.

This self-imposed obligation does not, of course, exclude


tlie

right

of pointing out mistakes which he believes to


perils

have been committed, or

incurred.

It

cannot be
if

considered incumbent on an Opposition leader, even

he

be

ex- Secretary of State for

Foreign

Aflfairs,

to

applaud a
Great

Treaty,
Britain

such

as

the

1904

Convention

between

and France, which he looks upon

as improvident or

one-sided.

He

is,

again, clearly entitled to point out the


in

heavy responsibilities involved


Japan.
served

the

new Alliance with


is

The principle of when an ex-Minister

continuity
is

sufficiently

pre-

ready to abide by the underday.


fear,

takings given by the


avail to

Government of the

This should
entertained

redeem Great Britain from the


its

by foreign statesmen, that

action abroad

may suddenly
motives

be modified or reversed by the play of

political

and the turns of domestic controversy.

The
Lord

explanation, in domestic

affairs,

of what
critics

some of
call

Rosebery's

detractors

or

candid

his

272

LORD ROSEBERY
may be
that he has

indecision, vanity, or even perversity,

developed

in recent years the habit of

judging the present

by the

past,

and of looking beyond the opinion of to-day


a handicap to the

to the verdict of to-morrow.

the philosopher
ably,

is

What would be a merit in man of action. Proba


full

when
it
'

the time

comes

for

appreciation of his
*

career,

will

be found that none of the

bookish

states-

men
for

of

whom
evil,
is

he has pleasantly discoursed were, whether


guided in an equal degree by that historical
imparted by a minute study of previous

good or

sense which
centuries.
It

has even been said of Lord Rosebery that he

knows more about the English Parliament in the time of Pitt and Fox than about the present House of Commons.
Certainly he has been disposed, on various occasions, to

take 'long views' of current controversies, and pay

little,

perhaps too
hour.

little,

heed to the opinions and judgment of the

Occasionally he has given offence to practical politicians


of the

more strenuous order by ignoring the


was

topic

on which
an
air o'

their attention

fiercely concentrated, and, with

philosophical detachment, ventilating

some irrelevant theory.


round

Worse
and

still,

he cannot always control a whimsical humour,


with
exasperating
zest,

plays,

and

about

subjects of serious concern.

His followers are awaiting a


;

solemn pronouncement from the platform


withdraws, as
it

suddenly, he

were, into his library,

and produces an

elegant essay on nothing in particular.

Only the other day,

when the

dissensions in the Liberal party

seemed on the

point of being healed, and

men were wondering whether


in the fruits of the

he would be induced to claim a share


anticipated victory, he
felt

himself impelled to denounce


straits

the system of Government by Party, and jeer at the

DEFIANT RATHER THAN CONCILIATORY


of Ministers
'

273

emerging from the

toils

of Office

only to

struggle for existence

on provincial

platforms.'

Free as he

is

from any affectation of social superiority,


politics with the bearing of a
life

he has hitherto approached

grand

seigneur, as

though public

has nothing to bestow

with which he cannot easily dispense.


it

This attitude, while


is

gives

him an independence which

specially important
it

in the treatment of foreign affairs, since

holds him above

the currents of a hasty popular judgment, prevents

him

from

realising the necessity,

under which

all

modern

states-

men

incessantly labour, of carrying with

them the opinion

of those to

whom

they are accountable

whether

of the

country

at large or only of Parliament.

This patrician disregard

for the verdict of the

moment is,

no doubt, explained by the fact that Lord Rosebery never


sat in the

House

of

Commons, and

thus received no train-

ing in the task of working, hour by hour, to win or retain

a majority for the business of the day


able by defeat in the Lobbies.
is

neglect being punishHouse


is

In the

of Lords,

it

useless for the leader of the Liberal party to practise the

arts of tact

and compromise, since he

at

any moment

liable to discomfiture

when

his adversaries

choose to exert

their strength.

Living on sufferance leaves no

room

for

the exercise of generalship, and, in spite of his personal


popularity,

Lord Rosebery's bearing towards


the critical occasions

his

brother

Peers

on

when

his

good-humoured
sometimes,

irony would be inadmissible


concihatory.

has

been defiant rather than


is,

In the House of Lords he

almost aggressively democratic, while on a public platform,


if

he

is

dealing with a matter of controversy, he

is

apt to

exhibit for other men's views an intellectual intolerance

which

is

in

marked

contrast with his easy humour.

2/4

LORD ROSEBERY
any of
his personal

Similarly, his unwillingness to abate

convictions in deference to the views of his colleagues

may
In

be traced

to his brief experience of Ministerial

life.

taking account of the dissensions which broke out in his

Cabinet almost as soon as he had formed


be borne
in

it,

the fact should

mind

that his previous training

had been limited

to a few troubled

weeks

in 1885,

when even Mr. Gladstone's


outward sem-

strong

hand hardly availed

to maintain an

blance of unity, and to a similarly brief term in 1886,


the
first

when

Home

Rule

Bill

was being threshed out amidst


strife

daily conflicts of opinion

and the
been

of jarring ambitions.
it is

Handicapped
mitted

as he has

in these respects,
least

ad-

by Liberals who have


his

sympathy with the


that
his

Imperialism associated with


following

name

personal

among
if

the electors has been and remains very

strong

that

he chose to use his power he could upset

any Liberal Cabinet of which he was not a member.

Amongst Scotchmen, whether they


try or in

live in their

own coun-

England, he

is

regarded with affectionate pride

as an Imperial statesman

who

has always kept up a close

connection with his own people,

who

is

never happier than

when he

is

celebrating the glories of the national history

or dwelling

on the beauties of the national

literature.

His

fervid yet scholarly appreciations of

Burns and Scott are

assets in

his

political

estate.

Again, the

London

Pro-

gressives retain a kindly


early days of the

memory

of his services in the


out-

County Council, while he has not

lived the gratitude of the working classes for his settlement

of the Coal Strike and for his unfailing sympathy with the

needs and claims of Labour

sympathy which he has


its

proved by practical

efforts,

while he has never marred

grace either by airs of condescension or by incurring the

LORD ROSEBEKY
suspicion of political courtship.
like

275

Certainly, they

do not

him the

less

because he

is

a Peer or because, like

Cromwell, he 'owns some good horses.'


In spite of his detached attitude, nothing
is

less

probable

than that a statesman so vigorous in criticism, and so active


in propagating his views of a constructive policy for the

British

Empire, has

finally

relinquished the intention of

claiming once again a front

place in the public

life

of

England.

December

15,

1905

INDEX
ABB
Abbas Pasha,
ence, 135-7

CAM
Balfour, Mr. Arthur, 43, 75, 199 administration, 254, 258, 259
;

bid for irnlependcrisis,

Abiiur
5S.

Rahman, Penjdeh

Bangkok, 156
Barhaville murder, 65 Batoum, a free port, S3, 84 Beaconsfield, Earl of, Eastern
policy,

59 Acland, Mr. Arthur, 130 Agents General, 96


Agricultural lal)Ourers' enfranchisement, 40 el seq. Alexander III, Czar, death of,

17

financial position,

201

Andrassy Note, the, of 1S75, 15 Condominium, Anglo - French breaking up of, 131 Anglo-French Convention, 252,

22; out of office, 30; anecdote of, 107 Berlin Congress, 15 Berlin Memorandum, the, of 1876,
15 Berlin Treaty, Russian defiance,

83.84
Berry, Mr.

Graham, 83
at,

Anglo-German

Convention, attempt to improve, 15 1-3 reason


;

Birmingham, Lord Rosebery


127

of failure, 153

Birmingham

policy,

arguments

Anglo-Japanese Alliance of 1902, 249 of 1905, 257 Anglo -Turkish Convention of 1878, 219
;

against, 113, 114 Bishops, Lord Rosebery's appeal


to the, 47,

48
253

Bismarck,

I'rince,

Annam,
Arg)ll,

157

Duke

of,

30, 34, 42, 43,

Board of Works, 117 Bodmin, Lord Rosebery's speech


at,

173

263

Armenians, persecution of, 169, action of Lord Rosc216, 217


;

170, 171 ; question of British intervention, 217-24 Army, abolition of purchase in, 14
liery,

Bright, Mr., 30, 78 British East Africa Co., 147, 149 Bryce, Mr., 130

Ashley, Lord, to Asquith, Mr., 114, 130 ; represents the Liberal Imperialists, 240, 241 ; in present Cabinet,

264
Australia, attitude on rides question, 85,

New Heb-

86; trade with Great Britain, 99 Avebury, Lord. See Lubbock,


Sir

Buccleuch, fight for Midlothian, 21, 28 Bulgaria and Eastern Roumelia, incorporated, 79 Bulgarian atrocities, 20 Burmah, annexation of, 26 China's claims, 87 Burnley, Lord Rosebery's speech at, 101-4
Cairns, Lord, 43

John
277

Cambodia, 157

278

LORD ROSEBERY

CAM
Cambridge, Duke of, retirement, 205 Campbell-Bannerman, Sir Henry, in Gladstone administration, 76, 130; and the Speakership, 206; and the Liberal Imperialists, 240, 241 and the Chesterfield speech, 248 Lord Rose;

EDI
Coal
strike,

Lord Rosebery as

mediator, 178, 179 Cobden Club, 60 Coercion Act, 34, 64

Commune,
on, 15

Collings, Mr. Jesse, 75, 76 the Parisian, 12

Constantinople, Russian advance

bery's reference to, 260,

261

Home Rule speech at Stirling, Lord Rosebery's attitude, 263forms his Cabinet, 264 5 Canada, trade with Great Britain,
;

99.

meeting at, 202 Carlton Club, 186, 243 Carnarvon, Earl of, 15, 43, 64, 65. 75 Carnot, President, murder of,
Cardiff, Liberal

200
Central Liberal Office, 215, 216 Chamberlain, Mr. Joseph, in Gladstone's administration, 30,
31 Birmingham policy, 32, 33, 113, 114; 'Doctrine of Ransom,' 60 altitude towards
; ;

Convention of Pretoria, 25 Cordite Vote, the, 205, 206 Cornwall, Lord Rosebery's speeches in, 262-3 Cory, Mr. Wm., 4, 5 County Franchise Bill, 40-2 Cowper, Earl of, 42, 43 Cromer, Lord (Earl), telegrams to Lord Rosebery, 134, 135, 136-8, 140 Cyprus, acquisition of, 16 Cyprus Convention, 219
'

Daily News,' 72
of,

Dalmeny, Lord, pamphlet


Dardanelles, British
15
fleet

1,2

enters,

Death

Home
Mr.

Rule, 66, 69, 93, 94 on Gladstone's Home Rule


;

duties, 195 Delcasse, M., 232

Delyannis,

M., Greek Minister,


of,

Local Government Board, 76 Lord Rosebery's attitude towards, 92 ; views on Coercion, 93 fiscal policy of, 10 1, 104, 106 estimate of Lord Rosebery, 193 and France, 237 Lord Rosebery's hostility towards fiscal policy, 253 Chantabun, port of, 157 Cherif Pasha, 134, 136 Chesterfield speech of Lord Rosebery, 243-7 Childers. Mr., 30, 69, 76 China, Convention with, 87 Chinese Labour Question, 260 Chino-Japanese War, 160; British mediation suggested, 160 attitude of the Powers, 161, 162 Churchill, Lord Randolph, 64-6, 68, 92 City Liberal Club, 233, 254 Cleveland, Duchess of, 3
policy, 74
;
;

80-2 Derby, Earl


Dervishes,

15, 76,

176
142,

activity

among,

143 Develle, M., 141 Devonshire, Duke of See also Hartington, Lord, 27, 35, 184 Dilke, Sir Charles, 30 Dillon, Mr. John, 192 Disraeli. See Beaconsfield, Earl of Dodson, Mr. J. G., 30 Dual Alliance, the, 164
Dufferin,

Marquis
of,

of,

59,

139,

141, 156, 159

Dunraven, Earl

97

Eastern Question, 14-20 Eastern Roumelia, incorporation with Bulgaria, 79 Edinburgh, Lord Rosebery's
speeches, 27, 125-7, 191, 221-4

INDEX

279

EDU
Education Act. 249, 250, 260 Egypt, British occupation of, 55 131-2 ; question of evacuation, previous negotia130, 132-3 tions, 134 Khedive's bid for crisis independence, 135-7 settled, 137, 1 38 future British
; ;

GRE
Freeman, Professor, 19 Freycinet, M. de, and
affairs,

Greek

82

General Elections, 1874, 13; 1880, 26-30; 1885,72,77; 1886,90; 1892, 127-9; 1895,211; 1900,

policy, 144, 145

Eighty Club, 20S Elgin, Earl of, 234 Ellis. Mr., 221 Employers' Liability Bill, 179 England, Continental reputation
of,

Germany,

hostile

combination

16, 17

Epsom

Liberal Club, 56 Equalisation of London 179

Rates,

Fakhry Pasha,

135, 136 Fasho<la question. Lord Rosebery on, 231, 232 Federal Council of Australia and the New Hebrides, 85 Fehmy, Mustapha Pasha, 133,

with Russia and France, 164 Giers, ^L de, 58, 83 Gladstone, Mr. VV. E., opinion of Lord Rosebery, 7 retirement of, 14; Eastern policy, 18, 21 Bulgarian atrocities, 20; policy, 1880-5, 26 ; returned for Midlothian, 28 second administrareform agitation, 40 tion, 30 Imperial Federation, et scq. Cabinet defeat, 59, 60 54 dissensions, 60; on Mr. Chamconduct, 61 ; berlain's 60,
;
;

Scottish

support,
of

62

et

seq.

135
Fife,

Duke

of,

Finance

Bill,

32 38

Government

defeat, 59

Finsbury, Lord Rosebery County Council member for, 121 Foreign Minister, duties of a, 88,

89 Formosa, 163 Forster, Mr. \V. E., 30, 60 Fowler, Sir Henry, 114, 130, 219, 220, 264
France, attitude during coercion of Greece, 82, 83 and New Hebrides, 84-6 ; attitude towards British occupation of Egypt, 131, 132, 138-44; aggressions in Upper Nile, 154, 155 ; highhanded action in Siam, 155-9 ; hostile combination with Russia and Germany, 164 ; Mr. Chamberlain and, 237
;

Rule, 67 et seq. ; letter to Mr. Childers, 69, 70 ; third administration, 76 ; tribute to Lord Rosebery, 91 ; Home Rule policy, 93 ; fourth administration, 129, 130; the Egyptian policy, 130; Uganda Question, 148 Home Rule committee, 177 ; suggests Lord Rosebery as mediator in the Coal Strike, 178; legislative proposals, 179; and the Peers, 180, 181 ; resignation, 181-3 ; Lord Rosebery's tribute, 188 . and Armenian persecutions,2i6; Lord Rosebery's disagreement with, 217-21 Lord Rosebery's eulogies on, 231 Glasgow, Lord Rosebery's speech
; ;

adoption

Home

at,

27

Gordon, General, mission of, 25, 55-7 Goschen, Mr. (Lord), 92, 125
Granville,
Earl, 14, 30, 58, 69, 72, 74, 76, 78, 134, 143 Greece, abandoned, 16; claims
of,

Franco-German War,
Free Education, 124 Free Trade, Lord
opinion on, 106

results of, 14

Rosebery's

79,

80

Lord Rosebery's

28o

LORD ROSEBERY
GRE
LEE
Identic Note, Servia and the, 80 Imperial Federation, Lord Rosebery's views, 53 ; Lord Rosebery's speech at Leeds 1888,

Note, 8 1 ; Note of the Powers and withdrawal of Ministers, 82 Grey, Sir Edward, 158, 232; on
the policy of the Government, 153. 154; and the Liberal Imperialists, 241, 242; in present Cabinet, 264 Guildhall, 119

9S-101

commercial and

fiscal

aspect, 99-101 ; Lord Rosebery's subsequent views, 101

Haldane, Mr., 264 Harcourt, Sir William, 30, 120; and Lord Rosebery, 36-7, 151, 200, 220, 233, 234 in Mr. Glad;

Imperial Federation League, 54 Imperial Institute, 231 Income-tax, proposed abolition by Mr. Gladstone, 13 Irish Church Disestablishment, 14
Irish

Land
et seq

Act, 1870, 14, 34

Irish Question,

24

developments,

stone's administration, 76, 130, Leader of the Commons, 187, 190, 194, 195, 19S, 200; and

64

the Liberal Imperialists, 240 retirement, 250 Harris, Socialism of, 12 Hart, Sir Robert, 160 Hart-Dyke, Sir William, resignation of, 75

James, Sir Henry (Lord James of Hereford), 76 Japan, coercion of, 164 attitude of Great Britain, 164, 165 example of, 261
; ;

Jesuits in

Uganda,

147, 148

Hartington Commission, the, 205, 238 Hartington, Lord. See also Devonshire, Duke of, 30, 69, 70, 73. 74. 76, 94 Heligoland, cession of, 152 Heneage, Mr. (Lortl), retirement of, 76 Herschell, Lord, 76, 130, 177 Hicks-Beach, Sir Michael, 65 Hinterland, delimitation of, 152

Johnson, Mr. William. Mr. William

SeeQoxy,

Joint Boundary Commission (Penj-

deh

crisis),

58

Kabarega, chief, 149 Kandahar, evacuation


Khalifa, the, 143

of,

23, 26

Kilmainham, Treaty Kilmarnock, Lord

of,

34 Rosebery's

Holkah,
58

offers

of

help

from,

speech, 77 Kimberley, Earl of, 170, 209; in the Gladstone administration,

Home
et

Rule, first reference, 63 ; Mr. Gladstone's adoption, 67


seq.
;

Round Table Con;

and Uganda, 150; 30, 76, 103 negotiations with King Leopold, 153 at the Foreign Office, 184 Kitchener, Lord, 233, 245 Soudan
;
;

ference,

Lord

connexion 93 Rosebery, 127-9,


190,

with
173,

Campaign,

25, 26

Lord Rose-

1 89, 184, 185, position in Liberal

202;

bery's idea regarding, 249, 250 Kriiger, Mr., policy, 167-9, 235

Programme,
Labouchere, Mr., 193, 194 Lambton, Captain Iledworth, 238 Lansdovvne House, 34 Lansdowne, Marquis of, 249 Lee, Mr. W. R., of Brighton, 4 Leeds, Lord Rosebery s speech at, 28

259

House

Lords, reform, 42 et seq., 195-7 ; Lord 50, 49, Rosebery on, 94-8, 186; Mr. Gladstone and, 180, i8i ; Peers' debate on Lord Rosebery 's adof

dress, 188

INDEX
LEE
'Leeds Mercury,' 73 Leopold, King, 153 Li Hung Chang, 163 Liao-tung Peninsula, 163, 164 Liberal Association, Glasgow, 91 Liberal Imperialists. Lord Rosebery and, 77, 7S and the South African War, 239-42 and Mr. Asquith, 240 the Asquith dinner, 242, 243 Liberal League, 106-13, 251, 255, 265 Liberal party, foreign policy, 23 campaign, 1892, 125; meeting of, reconstruction, 185, 202 Lord Rosebery on, 233 feuds, 240, 241 Liberalism, Gladstonian, 91-3 Licensing Act, 14, 260
;
;

281

PAR
Melbourne, Viscount,
i

forcing of the, 156 Miall, Mr., leads Nonconformist Radicals, 13 Midlothian, representation of, 21 Mr. Gladstone elected, 28 Mill, John, 35

Menam,

Life peerages, 50, 96, 97 Liverpool, Earl of, 95

Liverpool Reform Club, 54 Local Government Bill for England and Wales, 116; for Ireland, 125, 12S Local option, 202 Local Veto Bill, 179 Loch, Lord, 167

Milner, Lord, 245 Mong Hsing, 159 Morley, Mr. John, 177, 233; 'Life of Gladstone,' 31 ; Liberalism, 35 ; attitude towards separation, 66, 67, 69 Gladstone's administration, 76, 130; speech, 93; on evacuation of Egypt, 130 ; Chief Secretary for Ireland, 1S6, 187, Lord Rosebery's tribute, 191 209 ; and Lord Rosebery, 225 Mormon, Socialism of, 12 Mundella, Mr., 76, 130 Mwanga, King, 147, 149
; ;

National Liberal Club, 204 National Liberal Federation, 195,


215, 216, 248 Nationalists' feud with Liberals, attitude towards Lord 64 ; Rosebery, 192 ; attitude towards Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman,

London County
tion,
1

Council, institufirst,

16-18; Lord

Chairman of

35,

Rosebery 117;

264
Hebrides, France and, 84-6 Newcastle Programme, 129 Newport, Lord Salisbury's speech,

second contest, 121 Lubbock, Sir John (Lord Avebury), 118 Lugard, Captain, 148 Lumsden, Sir Peter, 58

New

,67 Niger Company, 154


Nihilism, 12
Nile,

Maamtrasna murder, 65
Macaulay, Lord, 10

Upper, French aggression,


155
offers of

.154,

Magnum

Concilium, 97

Nizam,

Majuba, reference to, 234, 236 Manchester School, 24 Manchuria, 249 Manners, Lord John, County Franchise Bill, 44 Marchand, Col., expedition of, 154; attitude of British Government, 155 Matthews, Mr., 127

Northbrook, Earl
Paisley,

help from, 58 of, 30, 35, 76

Lord Rosebery's speech,

77

Mekong

River, 157, 159

Pamirs, 167 Parish Councils Bill, 179 Parker, Mr. C. S., 207 Parnell Commission, 124 Parnell, Mr. C. S., imprisonment, proposes Home Rule, 66, 34
;

22

LORD ROSEBERY
PEA ROS
Edinburgh,
at
7,

75 attitude and manifesto, 71 opposition to Chamberlain, 93, 94; publication of letters, 93


;

Scottish
;

affairs, interest in, 8,

Peabody
Penjdeh

trustees'

crisis, 58,

scheme, 59
.

li

Pescadores, the, 163 Philosophical Institution of Edinburgh, 7, 8, 231 Pigott letters, exposure of, 124

9 lecture Congress, Glasgow, General 9-12; Election, 1874, 13; Eastern Question, 15-20 and Gladstone, 19-21, 50, 72, 74, 91 ; marriage, 21, 22 and Scottish
Social

Science

Ping Vang, battle


Pitt,
;

95 123 Plan of campaign, 93 Plevna, fall of, 15 Port Arthur, investment, 163 Portal, Sir Gerald, mission of, 149 Privy Council as a Second

160 Lord Rosebery's memoir,


of,

61 ; 32, President of the Greek Committee, 32 at the Home Oflice, 32-S Chairman of first London and Sir County Council, 35
Liberals,
28,
31,
; ;
;

William Harcourt,
1S7, 200, 220, signation from
;

36, 37, 151, 233, 234; reOffice,

Home

Chamber, 96
Progressives on the first London County Council, 117, 118

36-8 freedom of City of Federal AusEdinburgh, 38 tralia, views regarding, 39 colonial tour, and 40 39, House of Lords reform, 42
; ;

Quai d'Orsay, 252

et seq.,

49, 50, 63, 94-8, 186,


;

Queen

Victoria, death of, 239

Radicals, discontent of the, 181 ; opposition to Lord Rosebery,

210; plea for county reputation at franchise, 44-8 Westminster, 50, 51 Imperialat Epsom, 56 ist address, 54
193-7,
;

215
Redistribution
Bill, 41, 42,

49

rejoins the Ministry, 56, 57 associations with the Soudan

Redmond, Mr. John,


Reform agitation, 40 Reform Club, 240

192, 203, et seq

254

61-4;

Registration Bill, 179

Revival of London, 121, 122 Rhodes, Mr., 71 Riaz Pasha, 134, 137 Ripon, Marquis of, in Gladstone's administrations, 76, 130; Transvaal questions, 167, 168 Ritchie, Mr., 125 Rodjestvensky, Admiral, 252 Rogers, Dr. Guinness, 217

Scottish supporters, address to Scottish Liberal Club, Aberdeen, 63 attitude towards Home Rule, 63, 72 ; Foreign Secretary, 76; Camj^aign, 1885, 77 ; Liberal Imperialism, 77, 78 ; ' Umbrella speech, 78 Note to
policy, 58
; ' ;

Greek Minister, 81-3 protest on Russian defiance of Berlin Treaty, 83, 84 action regarding New Hebrides, 84-6; Spanish Treaty, 86, 87 ; Convention
; ;

Rome,

Rosebery, Lady, 29, 34, 39, 91 ; death, 120 Rosebery, Earl of, birth and parentage, I ; Eton and Christ Church, 4, 5 early travels, 5 Parliament, first speech in, 6 ; lecture racing, defence of, 7 Institution, Philosophical at
; ; ;

87 ; duties of a Minister, 88, 89 General Election, 1886, 90 ; his position, 1886, 90; visit to India, 91 address on Gladstonian Liberalism, 91-3 Imperial
with
P'oreign
;

China,

Federation, speech at Leeds, 98-101 ; subsequent 1888, views, lOi economic ortho;

INDEX
ROS
doxy
suspected in Burnley speech, 104-6 ; explanation at Liberal League of tiscal views, 106-13; first Chairman of London County Council, 118-20; success with the Progressives, iiS, 120; opposition to chairmanship, 118, 119; death of
of,

283

ROS
National Liberal 194, 195 Federation at Leeds, 195 procedure by resolution, 197, 198 ; Mansion House Banquet, 200 ; reception at Cardiff, 202, 203 ; Parnellites and Radicals, 203 Welsh Disestablishment, 203 ;
; ; ;

Lady Kosebery, 120; London County Council member for


Finsbury, 121 ; disavowal of party aims, 123; at Edinburgh, 125-7 ; at Birmingham, 127 ;

General Election, 1S92, 127-9; at Foreign Office, 130 et seq. Egyptian affairs, 132-46 telegrams to Lord Cromer, 134, 13^8, 140; and ^^ 135. Waddington, 138-40, 141-3 letter to Lord DutTerin, 139; Uganda trouble, 147-51 ; attempt to improve Anglo-German Convention, 151-3 attitude towards French aggression in Upper Nile, 155 Siamese trouble, 155-9; diplomacy on Siamese Question, 159; Chino-Japanese War, reply to 160-2 criticisms, on Continental suspicions, 162; attitude on the coercing of Japan, 164-7
;
;

of his administration, 205, 206 ; retirement, 206 ; references to his late colleagues, 207-9 01^ Lil)eral failures, 208, 209, 211; speech on his failure, 213, 214; vote of confidence in, 215; party organisation, 216; Armenian persecutions,
defeat
;

217; disagreement with Mr. Gladstone, 2 1 7-2 1 compromise in politics, 226-8 reappearance
; ;

public controversy, 229 Imperial and Municipal retrenchments, 230 eulogies on Mr. Gladstone, 231 reconstitution of Liberal party, 233 ; South African War, 234-7 ; and Mr. Chamberlain, 237 General Election, 1900, 238 ; eulogy on deathof Queen Victoria, 239; the Chesterfield speech Clean
in
; ;
;

'

>

the slate,' 243-7 ; on AngloJapanese Alliance, 249 ; the Lord Kitchener proposal, 249,

action regarding
secutions,

Armenian
;

per-

169-71

on
;

Home

Rule Bill of 1893, 173 mediator in the Coal Strike, 178, 179; the session of 1893, 179, 180; succeeds Mr. Gladstone, 183 ; rumours of a Central party, 184 meeting of Liberal party, 185; positionof a Peer Premier, 186, 187 ; the new administration, 187 the Queen's Speech, 187-90; on the 'Predominant Partner,' 189, 190 attitude of Nationalists, 192; Unionist criticism, 192 a Constitutional dilemma, 194 ; Unionist praise of foreign policy, 194; new administration beaten on the
; ; ;
;

Address,

194

disparagement

250; Anglo-French Convention of 1904, 252; hostility towards Mr. Chamberlain's fiscal policy, on duality of govern253 ment, 255 at the Liberal League, 255 continuity of foreign policy, 257 ; government by party, 261 Speeches at Aberdeen, 1875, 16-18 in House of Lords for at county franchise, 44-8 Trade Union Congress, Aberat deen, 54 at Paisley, 77 Kilmarnock, 77 the Umbrella' speech, 78; on Imperial Federation, at Leeds, 1888, 98at loi ; at Burnley, 101-4 Edinburgh, 125-7; at Sheffield, on Chino-Japanese Peace, 160;
;

'

284

LORD ROSEBERY
ROT
TRI
Scottish Home Rule, 125 Scottish Liberal Club, 37, 61 Scottish Local Government Board

162 ; in House of Lords, 172-6; at EdinburG;h, 191 ; at Bradat Glasgow, 196, 197 on retirement, 207 farewell address at Edinburgh, 221 on Fashoda, 231, 232 at 4 Chesterfield 'Clean the slate,' on Free Trade, 250, 243-7 251 at Stourbridge, 257-9 at Bodmin, 263-5 attitude towards Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman after Stirling speech, 262-

ford,

199
;

proposed, 38 Selborne, Earl of, 30, 76 Servia, 80

"'

" Shakers," the, 12 Shaw-Lefevre, Mr., 130 Shimonoseki, Treaty of, 163 Shuvaloff, Count, secret treaty
signed,
1

5 ; estimation of political character, 266-75

Siam, trouble in, 155, 159 Siamese Convention, 216 Smith, Mr. W. H., Coercion

Bill,

Rothschild, Miss

Hannah

de.

See

Rosebery, Lady
Russia, Penjdeh crisis, 58, 59 defiance of Berlin Treaty, iS3, hostile coml^ination with 84
;

75 Social Science Congress, 9-12 South African Republic, difficulties with, 167-9 South African War, Lord Rose-

France

and

attitude towards question, 170

Germany, 164; Armenian

Saigon, 156 St. James's Hall, 231


Salisbury, Marquis treaty signed, 15
to
;

bery on, 234-7 Spanish treaty, 86, 87 Spencer. Earl, 72, 177, 205 in Mr. Gladstone's administration, vote of censure, 30,35,76, 130;
;

of,
;

Secret opposition

County Franhchise Bill, 402 forms Government on defeat of Mr. Gladstone's second administration, 60 Newport speech, 67-8 Irish question, 74
; ; ;

publication Redistribution Bill, 49 Stanhope, Earl, 3 Stanley, Dean, 107 Stanley, Sir Henry, 147, 149
'

64-6 Spring Gardens, 119 Standard,' the, 73


of
'

'

administration, 76 second administration, 90; reform of the Lords, 97 ; Free


of
first
;

defeat

Education,

124;
;

Lord Rose-

Stanmore, Lord, 150 Stead, Mr. Alfred, 261 Stourbridge, Lord Rosebery's speech at, 257-9 Surrey Agricultural Association,
232 Swazieland, 167

bery's attacks on, 126, 214-16 ; resignation, 129 on occupation

of Egyyt, 131, 132; Uganda question, 150; African policy, 152; Siamese question, 159; third administration, 206

Tewfik Pasha, 135


Til>et, 87 Tigrane Pasha, 135 'Times,' ' Parneil Letters,' 93 Toule-Sap Lake, 157 Trade Union Congress Aberdeen,

Sambaanland, 167
Samit, island of, 156 Scindiah, offers of help
from,

Scottish administration, 32-8 Scottish education, 8 Scottish history. Lord Rosebery's lecture, 8

53 Transvaal, retrocession of, 23 Trevelyan, Sir George, 76, 130 Tricoupis, M., 82 Triple Alliance, 215, 216

INDEX

285

TUR
Turkey, partition of, 16 Tweedmouth, Lord, 1S6

ZOL
Waddington, M., and Lord Rosebery, 138-40, 41-3
1

Uganda,

British position, 147-9

Unibigesaland, 167

Umbrella speech, the, 78 Unification of London Bill, 202 Union, Act of, 174 Unionist administration of Lord Salisbury, 206 Unionists, the, criticism of Lord
'

Waldstein, Professor, 231 Walfisch Bay, German claims, 152 Walpole, Sir Robert, 95 Wei-hai-Wai, 163 Welsh Disestablishment Bill, 1/9, 185, 202, 203 Witu, German claims, 152
Wolft",

Sir

Henry

Drummond,

'3'

Rosebery, 192

Wolseley, Viscount, 168

United

States, trade with


;

Great
105

Britain, 99

resources

of,

Unyoro, 149
'Vathek,' 10 Victoria Nyanza, railway to, 150, 151 Voluntary schools, 214, 250

Yalatan, 58 Yalu, the, 160


Zanzibar, British Protectorate, 152 Zeki Pasha. 169. 170 Zelenoi, General, 58 Zolh-erein, question of a, 105, 109

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