§ BARON HENRY DE WORMS
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, with reference to the facility with which it is feared the Suez Canal could at any moment be destroyed from its banks, his attention has been drawn to a statement 413 of Sir Garnet Wolseley, at a meeting of the Royal United Service Institution, that—It would be the easiest matter in the world to stop the traffic on the Suez Canal; this might be done by barges, by one large torpedo, by dynamite, or powder, in certain positions well known to our Intelligence Department, thereby doing damage sufficient to stop the canal for a year:"—("India and her Neighbors," by Sir W. Andrew, p. 297);whether, in view of an opinion emanating from so distinguished an officer, the presence of a gunboat at either end of the canal renders unnecessary the adoption of any precautions for the protection of its banks; and, whether he adheres to his statements in the "Nineteenth Century" for August 1877, with regard to the relative advantages of the routes to India via the Suez Canal and the Cape respectively.
Sir, I have already read the opinions cited from Sir Garnet Wolseley, and I read them without any surprise. I am not aware that those opinions are in conflict with anything that I have said, either personally or on the part of the Government. With regard to the second part of the Question, that raises a large question, which it is not possible to answer. If the police of the Canal were in our hands the case might be different. But there is the Suez Canal Company, with the administration of which there are very intelligent persons connected with whom the Government have had no communication; and we have not heard of any alarm on the part of these persons. The opinion of Sir Garnet Wolseley is, therefore, rather an abstract opinion, and not having reference, as I understand it, to any impending contingency. The hon. Member also asks me whether I adhere to my statements in The Nineteenth Century for August, 1877, with regard to the relative advantages of the routes to India viâ the Suez Canal and the Cape respectively. As far as I can recollect them I do; but I hope the hon. Gentleman does not wish to impose upon me the penalty of reading all that I have written on this question.
§ BARON HENRY DE WORMS
desired further to know whether the right hon. Gentleman was aware of the opinion expressed by Admiral Carr Glyn, who recently, at a public dinner, said that it was absolutely necessary to protect the 414 Suez Canal and that the only means of doing so was by sending a gunboat into the Canal?
No, Sir; I was not aware of that opinion; but it appears to me the question opened up is a very large one, and I do not feel at all certain that the opinion expressed contains a solution of it. It would not, however, be desirable to go into the question at the present time.