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THE VOTES OF CENSURE. !

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THE VOTES OF CENSURE. PARLIAMENT has met, and for" the despatch of business" as the avowed object of it" meeting, but little business has been trans- acted, although ten days have elapsed since the day of its re-assembling. Statements were made by the Ministers in both Houses of Parliament with regard to the state of affairs in Egypt and the Soudan. The past action of the Jfovcrnmect and its policy for the future were clearly and ably set forth by Mr GLADSTONE in one House and by Ear; GRANVILLE in the other. The fall of Khar- toum and the death oi General GORDON, how- ever, had cast a shadow over the country which could not fail to be reflected in the halls of St. Stephen smd so the commcnco rrent of the Sessiou of 1885 ia-,is made under' uo pleasant auspices, but rather under the j c depressing influence of a general gloom. An empire's misfortune and the world's loss were to be used as the occasion of the Tory party, and so Votes of Censure again became the order of the day. There was an oppor- tunity, and it must not be lost, and so on the day after the re-assembling Sir STAFFORD NOBTHCOTE, the leader of the Opposition in the House ol Commons, gave notice that on Monday he should move a Vote of Censure which was couched in the following terms:— That an humble Address be presented to the QUEEN, humbly representing to her MAJESTY that the course pursued by her I MAJESTY'S Government in respect to the affairs of Egypt and the Soudan has involved a great sacrifice of valuable lives and a heavy expenditure without any beneficial result, and has rendered"—that is, the course pursued by the Government has rendered—" it im- peratively necessary in the interests of the British Empire and of the Egyptian people that her MAJESTY'S Government should dis- tinctly recognise, and take decided measures to fulfil, the special responsibility now incumbent upon them to assure a good and stable government to Egypt and to those portions of the Soudan which are necessary to its security." In moving this resolution Sir STAFFOEJO NORTHCOTE went over the same grotni as had been traversed in the debate in May last when he moved his last Vote of Censure. There was of course the additional matter contained in the unfortunate events which have transpired in the Soudan during the past few weeks, and the Tories no doubt thought that they could make capital out of the position. In fact, the element of doubt if it entered into the calcutations of any one was dispelled by the statement of the Mar- quis of SALISBURY at the Tory caucus which took place at the Carltou Club on Tuesday, to the effect that he and his party were ready to take office and assume the responsibility of Government in the event of the present Ministry being defeated. Of course such a statement as this gladdened the heart of such men as the Hon. LOWTHER, Mr CHAP- LIN, and Mr ASHJIEAD BABTLETT, and all such men whose thoughts and wishes and aspira- tions are for their party, and not for the State. It was not a difficult task for the PaIME MINISTER to reply to the charges brought against the Government by Sir STAFFORD NOKTHCOTE, but he did a great deal more. It had been said with less of truth than of bad taste by the Tories that Mr GLADSTONE in his speech on the first day ofthe Session had spoken of General GORDON in slighting terms, at any rate in terms not sufficiently praise- worthy and in terms unbecoming the occasion. Whether these allegations were true or not it does not signify now, but the splendid eulogium which Mr GLADSTONE pronounced on the departed hero, will last so long as the English language, and it will stand as a noble vindication of the PBIME MINISTER from the charge of apathy or in- difference. He Baid:—" The hon. gentleman has dealt with the utmost propriety and the utmost feeling on the loss which the country has sustained in the death of General GOR- DON. He stated that General GORDON had devoted his life and all that makes life valu- able to his sovereign and to his country. Sir, he might even have enlarged that eulogium, for the purpose of General GOR- DON was not limited even to those great and noble objects. His life was devoted to his Sovereign, to his country, and to the world. General GORDON'S sympathies were not limited by race or colour or religion, and in point of fact he seems to have deemed it his special honour to devote his energies and to risk his existence on behalf of those with whom he had no other tie that of human sympathy. General GORDON was a hero, and, permit me to say, a little more. He was a hero amongst heroes. For there have been men who have attained and who have deserved the praise of heroism, whose heroism notwithstanding was manifested chiefly on the field of battle or of other contests, and who when examined in the tenor of their personal life wera not in all respects heroic. But if you take the ease of this man, pursue him into privacy, investi- gate his heart and his mind, you will find that he has not proposed to himself any indeal of wealth, or power, or even fame, but that to do good is the object wh ch he has proposed to himself in his whole life, and that for that object it is his one desire to 81 end and be spent. Such is the man we have lost." We pass on now to that position of the PRIME MINISTER'S speesh, when he insti- tuted a comparison between the contentions or arguments of the Opposition when they bronght forward their Vote of Censure and the contention of the Government or argu- ment by which they met it. In almost plain words they have said, Send off an exped- ition to Khartoum to rescue General GORDON, no matte: what the time of the year is, no matter what it may cost, never mind the burning sun on the lands of Africa, heed not the thousands of miles which the British soldier will have to walk on those burning sands, heed not the thousands of lives which would be lost, or the thousands of carcases which would have to be left bleaching in the desert." The PREMIER drew a picture of the hindrances to such a march. Here it is :—" The contention of the opposite party was, as I understand it—and I must say after listening te the right hon. gentleman to-night I am confirmed in that interpreta- tion—that then and at orce it was our duty to send forward the forces of Her MAJESTY for the purpose of relieving General GORDON at Khartoum. That was the ground on which they stood in the debate of last May. Considerations of distance, considerations of climate, considerations of the terrible char- acter of those weapons which nature wields, ten times more formidable than the sword of any enemy—all these were to be cast aside, and the forces of the QUEEN were to be seut either along a railway from Souakim whiob did not exist, and which under any circum- stances it must have taken several months to create, or nlong the river Nile at a time when the water was low, and when the ascent was absolutely impossible. That was the contention on which hon. gentlemen fought last year iu May, supported, I grant, by all those appeals to sympathy and feeling for which the character of General GORDON and his exposed position atlbrdcj them the most arcple opportunities—opportunities of which they were not slow to avail themselves. What, on the other hand, was our content- ion ? We never for a moment denied that, we were under obligations to General GOR- DON—I mean obligations not in the sense of feeling only, but obligations which it might be necessary to carry out," We commend to our readers a careful perusal of the extracts which we make from Mr GLADSTONE'S speech. They are pregnant with thought and they are couched in the choicest of language. One more we give in which he justifies the action taken by the Government and gives his reasons for the advance of British troops into the Soudan. It is at once a justification and an explan-i aiion. He gives the .safety of Egypt as Lis reason, and there are many aud obvious reasons why England should be concerned for the safety of Egypt. Mr GLADSTONE also discussed the difficulties which have be- set the path of the Government, and with honest frankness he claimed for the Gov- ernment the right to plead that it was not infallible. Fallibility is the lot of humanity, and as long as mankind will last, so long will man make mistakes and err in his on- ward path. On this subject he said :—"The purpose for which we are in the Soudan is the safety of Egypt, it was for the sake of defending Egypt that we first concerned our- selves in the affairs of the Soudan. My hon. friend who moved the amendment has, in the exercise of entirely justifiable freedom, said he thought the Government had been want- ing in courage, and even in honesty. I quite understand his meaning to be our failure to resist influences that were urging us on. I am very glad to be challenged in the face of day on a point of this kind. Want of courage there may have been. Want of judgement there may also have been. It is not for me to arrogate to myself or my colleagues infallibility. The difficult- ies of this case have passed beyond the limits of political or military difficulties which I have known in the course of half a century. And I do not ask the House to believe that what we have done is necessarily right. But as to honesty of purpose, pain- ful as the course we have had to pursue haa been to me, I felt that we had no alternative. We have been bound from the first to sup- port the KHEDIVE on his throne, and at no point have we had before us the choice or possibility of return." Before this meets the eye of our readers the divisions on the Votes of Censure in both Houses of Parliament will in all probability have taken place. In the House of Lords it will be carried by a large majority, but very few persons care about such a vote in such a place. Between that august assembly and the people of these islands there is little sym- pathy and less care, and so the shot which it will fire will fall harmlessly to the ground. But with the action of the House of Commons the case is different. It represents the people, and the Government of the day must stand or fall by its decree. There will doubtless be deserters from the Liberal ranks, and the action of the Irish party is uncertain and in- determinable but despite all this we fully believe that the Government will win, and that by a substantial majority. The choice between GLADSTONE and SALISBURY is a pain- ful one to have to be made. Nevertheless the vote of the House of Commons will hare to be made on those very grounds. SALISBURY sowed the seeds of the evil in Egypt which we are now reaping, and hefis hardly the man with such antecedents as those to cure them. The lofty destinies of Great Britain would never be safe in the hands of such a man, nor would the weal of her people be a consideration for the party which he leads. Toryism means legislation in the furtherance of class interest, Liberalism is for that of the people. The people made their choice in 1880, and they will ratify that choice in 1885.

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