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THE Editor of the ANNUAL REGISTER thinks it necessary to state that in no case does he claim to offer original reports of speeches in Parliament or elsewhere. For the former he cordially acknowledges his great indebtedness to the summary and full reports, used by special permission of The Times, which have appeared in that journal, and he has also pleasure in expressing his sense of obligation to the Editors of “Ross's Parliamentary Record,” The Spectator', and The Guardian, for the valuable assistance which, by their consent, he has derived from their summaries and reports, towards presenting a compact view of the course of Parliamentary proceedings. To the Editors of the two last-named papers he further desires to tender his best thanks for their permission to make use of the summaries of speeches delivered outside Parliament appearing in their columns.
ADDENDUM TO CHRONICLE OF EVENTS. March 4. The Senate of Cambridge University refused, by 1,559 votes to 1,052, to make Greek an optional, instead of, as at present, a compulsory, subject in the Previous Examination, or “ Little Go”.
FOR THE YEAR
Public Interest in the Fall of Port Arthur-Lord Selborne on Imperial Issues
Lord Roberts on the Army-Reorganisation of Military Commands-Compensation to Mr. Beck-Continued Set of Opinion against the Government and against Mr. Chamberlain's Fiscal Propaganda, Illustrated at ByeElections-Liberal Victory at Stalybridge-Mr. Chamberlain at Preston, on the Cotton Trade--Mr. Balfour at Glasgow on Military and Naval Questions -Mile End Bye-Election-Board of Trade Returns for 1904-Unionist Dissensions on the Fiscal Question-Discontents of Post-Office Employés and of the Sugar-using Trades-Working of the Education Act-Confusion and Disputes among Unionists at Durham and Elsewhere-Mr. W. Churchill at Manchester-Speeches by Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman, Mr. Morley and Mr. Asquith-The Prime Minister at Manchester; a Fighting Speech"; the Half-sheet of Notepaper-Ministerial Defeat in North Dorset-Lord G. Hamilton's Appeal to Mr. Balfour-Mr. Chamberlain's Campaign Continued at Grimsby—The Chancellor of the Exchequer at Malvern and BirminghamReplies to Mr. Chamberlain by Mr. Haldane and Mr. Bryce-Lord Spencer's Letter to Mr. C. Grant and Mr. H. Gladstone at Leeds-Irish Unionist Discontents; Sir E. Carson's Speech-The Tibet Blue-book-Speeches by the War Secretary-Mr. Arthur Lee's Speech at Eastleigh-Report on Coal Supplies—The Unemployed Question.
In England, as throughout the civilised world, the thoughts of men were more occupied during the first week of the year by the fall of Port Arthur than by any domestic event. With profound satisfaction at this signal triumph on the part of our allies there was associated much respectful sympathy with the gallant defenders of the great fortress. Lord Selborne, the first Cabinet Minister to speak in public after the arrival of the thrilling news from the Far East, endeavoured to utilise the prevalent admiration for the patriotic devotion exhibited by the combatants on both sides in order to drive home the importance of Mr. Chamberlain's injunction to “think Imperially.” The future, he argued (at Wolverhampton, Jan, 5), would lie with the nations and Empires which could be counted by hundreds of millions—which may be true, but was not the lesson emerging most prominently from the victory of Japan over Russia—and, therefore, it was essential that all Britons should work for a united British Empire—“ the greatest dream,” he said, which had “ever been put before the electors of this country.” To realise it we must strive—such was the burden of a second speech by Lord Selborne at Handsworth (Jan. 5)—for better Imperial organisation, both for commercial intercourse and for naval and military defence. The efforts of the approaching Conference with the Colonies should be directed to both these ends.
At the close of his second speech Lord Selborne expressed the opinion that the future division in politics was going to be between those who believed in a greater future of the Empire and those who did not. If so, and if, as the public were no doubt intended to understand, the Unionist Ministers and Mr. Chamberlain were the leaders of the believers, the elections to which we shall shortly have occasion to refer threw a discouraging light on the immediate prospects of the Imperial faith. There was, however, in the early weeks of the year, and there grew as the year advanced, a sentiment of anxiety among many persons remote from the position of “Little Englanders” as to the existence in the Government—however high their patriotic aspirations—of the clearness of view and organising capacity necessary to meet the national requirements in the sphere of defence. This uneasiness, indeed, was not felt in regard to the Navy, Lord Selborne's administration of which service was generally held to have been vigorous and enlightened. And so his explanation in a letter published on January 3 correcting current reports—that the Admiralty had not reversed their decision to utilise Rosyth, in the Firth of Forth, as a naval base ; that in fact it would be continuously more and more used by the Fleet; that plans had been deliberately drawn for its development, but that the extent and rate of that development must be influenced by financial as well as naval considerations, was accepted with little if any demur. But as to military administration there was a different feeling, which was stimulated by an article by Lord Roberts in the January number of the Nineteenth Century and After on “ The Army as It Was and as It Is.” Its effect was to declare that in order to render the Empire safe under the present conditions of war Great Britain must have a large reserve of officers, who must be scientifically trained, that the Army or its reserves must be larger, and that the privates must be better educated, so that they might rely more on themselves. Such conditions of national safety as these obviously could not be improvised, and not only did Lord Roberts's emphasis upon them indicate that, in his view, they had not yet been provided, but the rumours current at the same time of dissensions in the Army Council made it seem doubtful whether the War Secretary, with all his knowledge and his zeal
for progress, was likely to carry through any coherent scheme of reform. There was, however, satisfaction at the issue (Jan. 5) of a special Army Order giving general effect to the reorganisation of military commands recommended in the final report of the Esher Committee. Under its provisions London was made an independent district and the rest of the United Kingdom was divided into seven commands as follows : The Aldershot Command (the Army Corps), with headquarters at Aldershot. The area of this command was as before, and it was to consist of the First, Second and Third Divisions. The Southern Command, with headquarters at Tidworth, comprised the counties of Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire (except Windsor for Household Troops and that portion of the county included in the Aldershot Command), Cornwall, Devonshire, Somersetshire, Dorsetshire, Wiltshire and Hampshire (with the exception of the portion included in the Aldershot Command). It was to consist of the Fourth Division. The Eastern Command was to have its headquarters in London, and to consist of the Fifth and Sixth Divisions. Its area comprised the counties of Northamptonshire, Rutlandshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Huntingdonshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Middlesex (except that portion included in the London district), Kent, Surrey (except that portion of the county included in the Aldershot Command), and Sussex. The Irish Command, with its headquarters at Dublin, consisted of the Seventh and Eighth Divisions, and included the whole of Ireland. The Scottish Command, with its headquarters at Edinburgh, comprised Scotland and (so far as regarded the Regular forces) Berwick-on-Tweed. The Northern Command, with its headquarters at York, comprised Berwick-on-Tweed (so far as regarded the Militia, Yeomanry and Volunteers) and the counties of Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmorland, Durham, Lancashire, Yorkshire and the Isle of Man. The defences on the southern shore of the estuaries of the Humber and Mersey were included in the Northern Command. The Welsh and Midland Command, with its headquarters at Chester, comprised Wales and the counties of Cheshire (excluding the Mersey defences), Shropshire, Herefordshire, Monmouthshire, Lincolnshire (excluding the Humber defences), Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Leicestershire.
The London district had its headquarters in London, and comprised the London County Council area within the county of Middlesex, the Guards' Depôt at Caterham and (for Household Troops) Windsor. For purposes of training the camp at Pirbright was included in the London district.
In each command there was to be a general officer commanding-in-chief who would be responsible for the training, efficiency and discipline of the troops and also for the administration of the command. But on the staff of the general officer commanding-in-chief there was to be appointed, in each case, an