Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/134

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in great danger, therefore send me troops." He would probably have cut off his right hand before he would have sent such a telegram. But he did send a telegram that the people of Khartum were in danger, and that the Mahdi must win unless military succor was sent forward, and distinctly telling the government—and this is the main point—that unless they would consent to his views the supremacy of the Mahdi was assured.

My lords, is it conceivable that after that—two months after that—in May, the prime minister should have said that the government was waiting to have reasonable proof that Gordon was in danger? By that time Khartum was surrounded, and the governor of Berber had announced that his case was desperate, which was too surely proved by the massacre which took place in June.

And yet in May Mr. Gladstone was waiting for reasonable proof that they were in danger. Apparently he did not get that proof till August.

A general sent forward on a dangerous expedition does not like to go whining for assistance, unless he is pressed by absolute peril. All those great qualities which go to make men heroes are such as are absolutely incompatible with such a course, and lead them to shrink as from a great disgrace from any unnecessary appeal for exertion for their protection. It was the business of the government not to inter-