House Of Commons
Thursday, February 28, 1867.
MINUTES.]—PUBLIC BILLS— Ordered—Charity Funds and Estates.*
First Reading—Charity Funds and Estates* .
Second Reading—British North America ; Counsel to the Secretary of State for India .
Committee—Duty on Dogs ; Dublin University Professorships * .
Report—Duty on Dogs ; Dublin University Professorships* [10–59].
Considered as amended—Trades Unions * [18–58].
Third Reading—Marriages (Odessa) * , and passed.
said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether, concurrently with the Bill now before the House regulating the "Duty on Dogs," he will prepare another Bill authorizing the County Police to enforce that Duty; and also empowering them to seize and destroy all Dogs for which no licence shall be taken out?
No such Bill as that to which the hon. Member refers is now in preparation.
Paris Universal Exhibition, 1867
said, he wished to ask the Vice President of the Council, Whether it is true that a sum of £52 10s. is to be allowed to each English Juror on account of travelling expenses to and from the Exhibition at Paris; and, if so, whether this sum includes the whole amount to be given to each Juror, or whether he will receive any further payment?
Sir, the English jurors attending the Paris Exhibition will be entitled to receive fifty guineas each, as payment in full for their travelling expenses and all other expenses whatever. It is supposed that each juror will be required to remain in Paris for at least six weeks, and a great number of them for a longer period. No remuneration will be given to them for their services, which will be rendered gratuitously.
said, he rose to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty, If he will lay upon the table of the House any sub- sequent Correspondence between the Admiralty and Lieutenant Brand, since that officer was placed on half-pay?
said, his right hon. Friend (Sir John Pakington) was unfortunately absent from the House at the present time, being detained at a public meeting in the City, and therefore he should have to ask the hon. Member to postpone his Question.
said, he would now beg to be permitted to ask the hon. Member for East Surrey, whether he has not received a letter from Lieutenant Brand which was in every way satisfactory to his feelings.
Sir, in answer to the appeal of the hon. Member for Nottingham, I am happy to say that I have received from Lieutenant Brand a most ample and excellent letter of apology, and I shall be very happy to consent to its publication, if there is no objection.
said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for India, What is the present state of the question about a Contract Law for India, whether any legal opinion in England has been taken as to the principle of enforcing Indigo and other Agricultural Contracts by penal enactments; and, if so, whether he has any objection to lay that Opinion upon the table of the House?
A Bill, Sir, has been sent home from Calcutta, making a renewed attempt to settle this difficult question. It was submitted to the Indian Law Commissioners, and I am sorry to say they reported that, in their opinion, the principle it represented was not a sound one, that it was liable to abuse, and that it was not advisable it should be adopted. If the hon. Gentleman will move for the papers no objection will be made to the Motion. No despatch has yet been sent to the Government of India on the subject, because we have not yet surrendered all hope that we shall be enabled to discover some means of giving to the planters the redress which they undoubtedly require, keeping also in view a due regard to the protection of the ryots.
said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, Whe- ther the Report of the Committee on Land Transport for the Army, over which Lord Strathnairn presided, will be laid upon the table of the House; and, if so, when?
Sir, the Report of the Committee on Land Transport for the Army was one of a confidential character; and therefore, though I am always ready to give information to the House, I shall not feel justified in consenting to the publication of this Report.
said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If it is the intention of Government to propose any amendment of the Game Laws in Scotland during this Session?
Sir, the hon. Member for Linlithgowshire (Mr. M'Lagan) has given notice of a Bill on this subject for Tuesday next, and until I have seen that Bill I shall not be prepared to state whether further legislation will be necessary.
said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, If he can give the House any further information as to the present condition of the officers and crew of the Tornado?
Sir, forty-five of the crew of the Tornado, as I stated a few days ago, have been released by the Spanish Government. Immediate steps were taken by the Consul at Cadiz to provide accommodation for these men, and, if it should be necessary, they will be brought home at the public expense, as is usually done in the case of distressed British seamen. With regard to the eight others, they are still detained. I telegraphed to know upon what ground a distinction was made between them and the rest of the crew, and I received a telegraphic reply to the effect that they were detained in case they should be required as witnesses in the event of further proceedings. That reply is not altogether clear; but probably I shall receive more detailed information in a despatch, and until then it will not be expedient to take any further steps in the matter.
Reports Of The Bribery Commissioners —Question
said, he would beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether it is proposed to give the House an opportunity of considering the Reports of the Royal Commissioners respecting the Boroughs of Lancaster, Great Yarmouth, Reigate, and Totnes, before any measure for the disfrancliisement of those Boroughs is laid upon the table?
Sir, the evidence taken before the Royal Commissioners, and their Reports upon it, are now in the hands of hon. Members. They have been also under the consideration of the Government, who have arrived at the conclusion which I have I already announced. On the Reform Bill, which I hope in a few days to introduce, I there will be ample opportunity for hon. Gentlemen to challenge the conclusion at which we have arrived; and I do not contemplate on any other occasion to ask the opinion of the House.
The Bribery Commissions
said, he would beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether it is proposed to lay upon the table the Return of the expenses occasioned by the Commissions sent to Lancaster, Totnes, and other towns, and whether the Government contemplates any measure to throw expenses of that character on the inhabitants of the towns which are the cause of the Commissions being, issued?
I must ask the hon. Gentleman to give notice of this Question.
Ireland—Vartry Waterworks Embankment—Question
said, he wished to ask the Chief Secretary for Ireland, If there be any truth in the report of the continuance in the leakage of the Vartry Waterworks Embankment; and, in any case, whether it be the intention of the Government to appoint engineers to investigate and report upon the condition of the same?
said, in reply, that he had received no information with regard to the state of the Vartry Waterworks within the last four or five days. No request had been made to Government from any quarter to appoint engineers to investigate and report upon the condition of the same. The Government was perfectly satisfied with the Report that had been made by the very eminent engineers who had examined the works, and they had no reason to believe that any danger to the population living below the reservoir at present existed.
Copy presented,—of Minute by the Lords of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council [by Command]; to lie upon the Table.
said, that the Minute which he had just presented to the House contained provisions of more than ordinary importance, and would ultimately lead to a considerable increase in the Educational Vote; and he therefore thought it would be more respectful and satisfactory to the House if he departed from what he believed to be the usual practice on such occasions, and made some remarks explanatory of its nature, its objects, and the reasons which had induced the Government to submit it to the approval of Parliament. But before proceeding to do this, he was anxious that the House should understand that the Minute contained nothing at variance with the principles of the Revised Code. On the contrary, its object was, in the strictest conformity with the spirit of the Code, to render it more effectual for the purposes for which it was designed; and it could be no reproach, either to the Code or its authors, if, after the lapse of some years, experience should have suggested some amendments in a measure at once so original in its conception and so comprehensive in its design. He desired it should be further understood that the Minute which he had laid upon the table did not cancel a single article of the Revised Code. It was entirely supplementary to it, and all schools either declining or failing to fulfil its conditions would continue to be entitled to payment under the existing rules. When it became his duty to direct his special attention to the operation of the present system of popular education, as administered by the Privy Council, it appeared to him to be defective in three material respects. In the first place, not only in numerous instances, for that, he feared, was inevitable, unless under an entire change of system, but in instances far too numerous, the smaller schools continued unable to comply with the conditions which would entitle them to participate in the public grants. In the second place, there was a tendency to limit the education given in the schools to the three elementary subjects of reading, writing, and arithmetic; and even with regard to these subjects, the results were not altogether so satisfactory as they were entitled to expect; and, in the third place, there had occurred such a diminution in the number of pupil-teachers under the operation of the Code, as had not only unduly impaired the teaching power in the schools, but had also endangered the adequacy of the supply of candidates for certificates, the certificates being the very foundation upon which the whole superstructure of national education as aided by the State was raised. If these defects were inherent in the existing system, the House would admit that the subject was worthy of the consideration of Parliament. With respect to the first defect—namely, the exclusion of small schools, for, practically, it was exclusion, he had high authority for saying that it, at all events, was a matter deserving the attention of Parliament. His right hon. Friend the Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe), in his speech explaining the Revised Code in 1862, after having enumerated 964 parishes, in five counties only, having each a population of less than 600, which derived no assistance from the State, said—
In that opinion he (Mr. Corry) entirely concurred. Justice and policy alike required that small and poor schools should share in the contributions by the State towards the education of the poor; but it was well known that in thousands of instances they had failed to do so, and even if it were argued that their inability to fulfil the conditions required by the Privy Council was the result of the apathy rather than the poverty of the parishes in which they were situated, it could not be questioned that the proportionate expenses of small schools were far greater than those of larger ones; and this, in his opinion, gave them a peculiar claim to consideration. Compare, for example, two schools, one with 80 and the other with 40 children in average attendance. The Code did not require a pupil-teacher to be employed until there were 40 children above 50—that is, 90 children; and the grants could therefore be earned by the employment of one unassisted certificated teacher in both schools, while, assuming both to be equal in efficiency, the larger school, without any additional establishment expense, which the Royal Commissioners, in their Report (1861), estimated at more than 14s. in the pound of the whole of the expenses of schools, would receive twice the amount of public grants as well as, probably, of school foes from the parents of the children, in aid of private contributions. The Commissioners distinctly recognised the disadvantage under which small schools laboured in this respect. They said—"These districts contribute to the revenue equally with others, and it is exceedingly desirable, on the ground both of justice and policy, that they should receive back some share of the money."
and with the view of compensating this disadvantage they recommended a larger capitation grant in the case of schools having an average attendance of less than sixty children. That would form no part of his proposal, although one result of the Minute would be to give help to small schools, as well to those which were already connected with the Privy Council, as to those which had hitherto been prevented by their poverty from meeting the conditions of the grants. He would now pass on to the second defect to which he had adverted—namely, that there had been a tendency of late years to limit the teaching in the schools to the three elementary, to the neglect of what were called higher subjects, such as geography, English history, and grammar, and that even in the elementary subjects the average proficiency was unsatisfactory. He was aware that it was a fault of the old system that it was too ambitious, and he was by no means an advocate for giving a high education to the children of the poor, which he thought would be far more likely to unfit them for the state of life to which they had been called, than to lead to any useful purpose. But there was a mean in all things, and he agreed with Mr. Morell, one of Her Majesty's Inspectors, who had expressed the opinion in his last Report that—"The expense of a small school, efficiently conducted, is far greater in proportion than the expense of a large one, and it has always been considered a fault of the present system that it does not touch the districts which most require it,"
That these higher subjects were now too much neglected appeared from many passages in the Reports of the Inspectors, some of which he would ask permission of the House to quote. In the Reports for 1865–6, Mr. Barry said—"If the education given in a school is to be fruitful in after-life it is essential that it shall not consist merely in giving mechanical facilities, but that it shall arouse the intellectual power and give some taste of what knowledge really means, and draw out the determination and the will to acquire it."
Mr. Meyrick said—"In what are called the higher subjects of instruction (geography, grammar, and history), there has been a decided falling off since the introduction of the New Code."
Mr. Renouf said—"Geography, grammar, and history, all of them very efficient instruments for opening the mind, have disappeared as subjects of study, or when they exist are scarcely the ghosts of their old selves."
Mr. Wilkinson said—"There are very few schools in my district in which, except as regards religion,…the instruction is not conlined to reading, writing, and arithmetic."
With respect to this last remark, the House was aware that no payment was now made in respect of educational acquirement, except on the results of the examinations in reading, writing, and arithmetic. He did not deny that a good foundation in reading, writing, and arithmetic, was of the first importance to the poor man's child, and if the results in these respects had been satisfactory he might not, perhaps, have thought it necessary to call attention to the absence of instruction in the higher subjects. But it could not be said that those results were satisfactory, although he wished here to say that if the original plan of his right hon. Friend the Member for Calne had been adopted—which was that every child to earn the grants must be examined, at a given ago, up to a given standard—the state of things to which he was about to refer could hardly have existed. The statistics of the last Reports of the Inspectors would give the House a clear idea of the present average state of elementary proficiency. He found that in the assisted and inspected schools in England and Wales the scholars in average attendance in the year ending on the 31st of August, 1866, were 863,240. The percentage of infants under six years of age, and therefore by the rules of the Code not presentable for examination, was 25·97; above six, but not presented for examination, 8·44; presented for examination, 65·59; of these, there were presented in the three lowest Standards, I. II. III., 49·79 per cent; in the three higher Standards, IV. V. VI., 15·80 per cent, or less than a quarter. This was not an accident of ages, for if all above six years old had been grouped by age the percentage would have been 38·88 in Standards IV. V. VI.; and only 35·15 in I. II. III. Of the 15·80 per cent presented in the three higher subjects, 8·58 per cent were presented in Standard IV.; 4·96 in Standard V.; and only 2·26 per cent in Standard VI.; whereas, under a perfect system of grouping according to age, 11·51 per cent ought to have been presented in Standard IV.; 10·02 in Standard V.; and 17·35 in Standard VI. These figures referred not to passes obtained, but merely to the children presented for examination, and he would now state, not the percentage, but the actual number of children as they passed in the standards. Of the 863,240 children there were:—Under six years of age, 224,230; above six years of age, and presentable for examination, 639,190. Of these, there were actually presented 566,371; of which 364,126 passed without failure in the second standards. The number who passed in the three lower standards was 284,027, and in the three higher standards 80,099. Of the latter, 40,154 passed in Standard IV.; 26,884 in Standard V.; and no more than 13,161 in Standard vi. Of the 566,371 children presented for examination, only 13·161 had succeeded in passing in the sixth, or highest standard. To give the House an idea of what these standards were, he might state that, according to the Report for last year of the Committee of Council, "an ordinary child who was upwards of ten years of age could, if properly instructed, pass in Standard VI.," and the Report added "that the examinations continued to exhibit results which ought not to be regarded as satisfactory." The House would therefore see that his opinion in this respect was not singular, but was, on the contrary, supported by high authority. He must not, however, allow the House to consider that these unsatisfactory results were attributable altogether, or nearly altogether, to defective teaching. It was traceable to various other causes—to early removals from schools, to irregularity of attendance, to capricious removals of children from one school to another, and other such causes—but the fact remained that only a small proportion of the children ever reached the higher standards, and he would describe the value of such results in words which would carry with them much greater weight than any which he could utter. He would take the liberty of quoting from the Report of the Committee of Council for the year 1862, which bore the signature of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne, and of the late Lord President—Earl Granville—"Last year I reported grammar, geography, and history as being in abeyance in many of the rural schools of my district; these subjects, if not quite set aside, still continue to be materially curtailed in favour of the paying part of the school system."
It might be said that the Revised Code had not been long enough in operation to enable them to judge of its ultimate effects; but the latest Returns did not exhibit improvement, but the reverse. The percentage of failures in England and Wales in 1865, were 13·09 in writing, 23·58 in arithmetic; in 1866, 13·67 in writing, and 25·28 in arithmetic; there had been a small diminution of the percentage of failures in reading, but in writing and arithmetic the reverse was the case. The second object of the Minute was to obtain more satisfactory results in these respects, and to improve the quality of the education given in the schools; and, with this, the third object was intimately connected—namely, the maintenance of a more adequate supply of pupil-teachers. The tendency of the old system, under which the whole of the salary was paid by the State, was to encourage the employment of too many pupil-teachers. The Revised Code had led to the employment of too few, for under it no pupil-teacher was required unless there were ninety children in the school. Now, he (Mr. Corry) held it to be plainly impossible for a single teacher to give efficient instruction to anything like that number of scholars, consisting of infants, and children of from six to twelve years of age, divided into various classes under the several standards, and he considered it to be absolutely necessary not only to arrest the decrease, but also to encourage an increase in the number of pupil-teachers. Exclusive of Scotland, which the Minute did not touch, as the schools in that part of the United Kingdom were still paid under the old Code—exclusive of Scotland, the number of pupil-teachers was 13,393 in 1861, 12,803 in 1862, 11,590 in 1863, 9,907 in 1864, 9,556 in 1865, and 8,970 in 1866; so that the pupil-teachers, who in 1861 numbered 13,393, were now reduced to 8,970, being a diminution in six years of 4,423. Even this did not represent the whole state of the case; because, concurrently with that diminution, there had been a considerable increase in the number of schools and of scholars. In 1861, there were 8,494 assisted schools in England and Wales, while in 1866 there were 9,844; and the average attendance of children at assisted day schools, which was 753,444 in 1861, was 863,420 in 1866; showing an increase of 1,350 schools, and 109,976 scholars. The ratio, therefore, of pupil-teachers to scholars, which in 1861 was 1 to 56, had become 1 to 96 in 1866. It was true that in 1861 the number of assistant teachers was 316, and in 1866 it was 974; so that there had been an increase of 660 in assistant teachers; but this was a very small set-off against a diminution of 4,423 pupil-teachers. This falling off had been noticed with regret, and even with alarm, by the great majority of the Inspectors. Mr. Campbell says—"We regret that our first proposal to examine children for grants according to age had to be withdrawn.…Age and proficiency coincide, in fact, far oftener than not.…The reason for examining according to age was that the amount of proficiency required by Standard VI. represents the minimum of book instruction which can he put to practical use in life. Less than this is almost sure to be forgotten, because it cannot be used with pleasure or profit.…It can never be too well remembered that the probability of the next generation becoming duly educated depends on the number of children who secure the indispensable minimum of instruction before a given age, which the labour market inevitably and inexorably fixes.…It may generally be assumed that each child who in the 10th, 11th, and 12th years cannot pass according to Standards IV. V. VI., will never possess even the humble attainments which those Standards denote, and that, so far as the secular instruction of that child goes, the school which is paid on his account has done little or nothing to better him in life."
Mr. E. P. Arnold says—"In my last Report I ventured to predict the demolition of the pupil-teacher system; as far as the circumstances of my district are concerned, I seem to have been correct."
Mr. Moncreiff says—"It is in the schools which have an attendance, averaging from forty to ninety children, that the loss has been especially felt."
Mr. Robinson says—"Male pupil-teachers seem to me to be rapidly disappearing from all except a very few of the larger schools."
Mr. Warburton says—"Pupil-teachers have decreased by exactly one-half. The majority of schools in this district fall below an attendance of ninety, which requires the employment of an apprentice. I believe the disuse of pupil-teachers to be the main cause of decline in many schools which have hitherto been most efficient."
Mr. Watkins says—"I feel bound to represent to your Lordships that very serious evils result from the (practical) abolition of pupil-teachers in schools containing between fifty and ninety children, a class which includes the majority of country schools. My almost daily experience has convinced me of the urgent necessity which exists for taking some steps to remedy this evil."
He would only add, in corroboration of his (Mr. Corry's) opinion as to the danger of the decline of the pupil-teacher system, a short extract from the evidence of Mr. Tufnell, a gentleman of great ability, who was well-known by many Members of the House, and who had devoted his whole life to the promotion of education. In his examination before Sir John Pakington's Committee in 1865, Question 1,160, that gentleman said—"Out of 160 schools (in this district) receiving annual grants, more than one-half of them are now without pupil-teachers. Considering pupil-teachers as the chief reservoir from which the great supply of school-masters and mistresses is to be drawn, their diminishing quantity is a fact of great importance for the future. Their place is not adequately supplied by assistant teachers."
He was aware that the falling off was attributable, in a great measure, to the state of the labour market, and that there was great difficulty in finding young persons willing to assist in schools at the small salaries which were given; but still, he did not doubt that the want of supply was, in a great measure, attributable to the want of demand, and the third object of this Minute was to encourage a greater demand for, and thereby a more adequate supply of, pupil-teachers. Having now pointed out the defects which he wished to remedy, he might state that the plan which he proposed was based on a recommendation by Mr. Moncreiff, one of the ablest and most intelligent of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools. His attention having been directed to the great difficulties of small schools, Mr. Moncreiff offer the following remarks, which were quoted in the last Report of the late Committee of Council on Education:—"There is one part of the Revised Code which is doing an injury to the country, which it is impossible to lament too seriously. I allude to the discouragement which is thrown upon the engagement of pupil-teachers. The whole pupil-teacher system is now in danger of being upset, and, with it, that of the training schools, and if you upset those two things you bring back education to the state in which it was twenty-five years ago, and all the labour which has been undergone, and the £4,000,000 which have been expended in that office during the last quarter of a century, will be rendered useless."
It might here be right that he should explain to those hon. Members who were not conversant with the subject that every child might obtain three passes—one in reading, one in writing, and a third in arithmetic—so that forty children, if all succeeded without failure, would obtain 120 "passes;" but, at the present average rate, it would require about fifty-four children to do so. Mr. Moncreiff's plan would, no doubt, have relieved small schools; but it would have done so in a costly manner, because it would have extended the increased rate to large schools, which, as a general rule, did not require it, and that without any compensating advantage. But when he (Mr. Carry) came to look into the subject, he found he had to deal not only with pecuniary poverty, but with educational poverty as well, and he therefore proposed, in conformity with Mr. Moncreiff's suggestion, to offer the increased rate to all schools, but subject to certain educational conditions the general character of which he would presently explain. The details of the plan embodied in the Minute were these:—in the first place, all schools fulfilling the required educational conditions would be entitled to payment at the rate of 4s. per pass (instead of 2s. 8d.) on any number of passes not exceeding 120; the present rate of 2s. 8d. per pass to continue in force in respect of all passes exceeding 120. The additional grant to a school obtaining as many as 120 passes would be £8, and less in proportion to any less number of passes obtained. In the second place, the educational conditions were—first, that there should be one pupil-teacher for every forty scholars above 25, instead of above 50, as at present (or one assistant teacher for every 80 above 25); and the result would be (as regarded pupil-teachers) that, to entitle a school to the additional rate of payment, a pupil-teacher must be employed when there were 65 scholars in average attendance instead of 90, as under the present rule, and in the same proportion in respect of larger schools, 25 being substituted for fifty as the starting-point throughout. The second educational condition was, that the number of passes obtained should bear a minimum proportion to the number of scholars above six years of age in average attendance. The third was, that a certain proportion of the whole number of passes should fall under Standards IV., V., and VI. The fourth, that a certain proportion of the scholars should pass a satisfactory examination in at least one subject beyond the elementary subjects specified in the several standards. Those were the educational conditions required by the Minute. It also provided that a scholar, after having passed in the sixth standard, might bring a further grant to the school for one year only, on passing a satisfactory examination in any higher subject or subjects. This last provision would, he thought, be found a very valuable one. At present, no scholar could earn a grant for his school after he had passed in Standard VI., and the result was that the managers had a pecuniary interest in presenting the more intelligent scholars, who might be capable of mastering two standards in a year, for examination in lower standards than they were qualified to pass in. In the third place, as a further encouragement to the employment of additional pupil-teachers, the Minute provided that grants should be made to the managers of all schools fulfilling the conditions of the Minute in respect of pupil-teachers (but not otherwise), of £10 for every male pupil-teacher passing into a Training College in the first class, and of £5 for every male pupil-teacher passing in the second class. Also, that grants should be made at the examination after the first year's residence of £8 for the students placed in the first division, and of £5 for those in the second division. This would also be found a valuable provision, and would encourage managers of schools, and he hoped teachers also, as he had no doubt a portion of these grants would be assigned to them, in their endeavours to induce the pupil-teachers to remain in the profession, and become candidates for certificates in the Training Colleges. This provision would be limited to male pupil-teachers, and would not at present extend to Scotland, where the payments, as he had before observed, were still made under the old Code. He would now come to the estimated cost of this scheme. The increase for the first year would not be very considerable, from three causes. In the first place, all schools were paid for the year, down to the last day of the month preceding that of their inspection—so that a school inspected in May next, for example, would be entitled to only one month's payment of the increased rate, from the 1st of April—and so in proportion, in respect of other schools, inspected in other months of the year. Another reason would be the difficulty which would be experienced for some time of complying with the educational conditions; and the third was that there would be no premiums on the second year's examination of pupil-teachers coming in course of payment during the ensuing financial year. For these reasons the Estimate of 1867–8 for the increased rate of grants was only £13,000; and for the premiums on the admission of pupil-teachers £2,200, making a total of £15,200. It was right, however, he should frankly tell the House that in future years the cost would be much more considerable. The Estimate for 1868–9 would probably fall not far short of £40,000; and eventually, in the course of three or four years, when the scheme would be in full operation, the annual increased expenditure calculated on the present number of schools would probably exceed £60,000, or might amount to £70,000. The plan which he had described had no pretension to be a complete remedy for the various defects he had indicated, still less for those shortcomings which had been the subject of debate two nights ago, and to which the attention of his right hon. Friend the Secretary for the Home Department had been directed; but he trusted it would give a stimulus to education, and produce results far more than commensurate with the cost of obtaining them. He hoped to give help to small and needy schools, already in connection with the Privy Council. He hoped to encourage small and needy schools, not in connection with the Privy Council, to place themselves in connection with it. He hoped to improve the quality of the teaching in all assisted schools, and to obtain a more adequate supply of pupil-teachers; and it would be a source of the highest gratification to him if the plan should prove conducive to the extension and improvement of the education of the poor."The schools which suffered most from the introduction of the Revised Code were the very small schools with certificated teachers. The loss of the augmentation can very seldom in their case be made up by the new grants. And even the augmentation hardly balanced the greater proportionate expensiveness of a little school kept up to the standard of efficiency. I propose, then, without drawing any line between school and school, that the first 120 'passes' in any school be paid it a higher rate—say 4s. instead of 2s. 8d. This would give but little trouble; the amount (£24) would become a fixed quantity for all except the very smallest, or the very feeblest schools. It is obvious that the additional amount would be a boon to the small, and but a trifle to the larger school. It would also diminish the relative loss by unavoidable accidents of inspection."
said, that the House was aware that ever since the Revised Code had been established efforts had been made to break down the certificate system, in order to facilitate the conditions of aid, and the extension of education. The question whether the certificate should be a necessary condition of the grant from the State was thoroughly examined by the Committee appointed the year before last on the Motion of the present First Lord of the Admiralty; and he believed he might venture to say that although no positive conclusion was arrived at, there was a very general concurrence of opinion on the part of the Committee that no change should be made in that respect. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir John Pakington) went into the Committee with strong views; but the result of the evidence adduced was that his opinions underwent much change, or at least modification, and a similar change took place in the opinion of at least one other member of the Committee. At the same time, there was a concurrence equally general that there were certain portions of the Revised Code which were susceptible of improvement, by which, without infringing any principle of that Code, greater encouragement might be given to schools in the poorer districts both of town and country. He should be the last man to underrate the advantages of the Revised Code, for he well knew how much it had effected. It had supplied an admirable, a searching, and a discriminating test of the education given in the schools; it had swept away a great deal of superfluous expenditure, and, above all, it had secured for every class of children, the youngest as well as the oldest, an equal share of instruction. Those were only a few of the advantages of the Revised Code; but, on the other hand, he was bound to admit that the change, coming suddenly as it did, pressed very heavily on the resources of managers, and tended in some cases to check the ardour displayed in the promotion of education. It had considerably reduced the salaries of teachers, and by so doing had affected the supply of pupil-teachers; and by its tendency to raise school-fees to meet the deficiency of the grant, it had aggravated one of the evils most strongly urged against our system—namely, that it gave aid where it was least wanted, and withheld it where the need was sorest. It was the object of the right hon. Gentleman, as the House must have perceived, to deal with all these points. As the right hon. Gentleman had truly stated, the position of the smaller as compared with the larger schools was no doubt one of hardship. The contribution of the State was a fixed quantity, whereas the expenses of the schools varied according to the numbers attending them. A large school might be conducted for 20s. a head, whereas in a small school the expense might be as high as 40s. or even 45s. per head, while the contribution of the State in both cases would be about 9s., and of course the difference had to be made up from the local contributions. The Revised Code, not as it was originally introduced, but as it ultimately passed that House, had the effect of reducing the grant from 11s. 6d. per child to 8s. In the country districts the pressure fell on the resources of the clergy, already overburdened. The decrease in the salaries of teachers had been very considerable. The salaries of the masters in 1865, as compared with 1861, had fallen from £92 to £84, and the salaries of the schoolmistresses had been diminished by the still larger proportion of about one-seventh, and there was every year an increasing difficulty in supplying the schools with proper staffs. So strongly was that felt to be the case by the Lord President and himself last year that, before they left office, they had determined to propose for the consideration of the Government a plan somewhat similar to the one which the right hon. Gentleman had just submitted to the House. An important point, no doubt, for the consideration of the House was the increased cost of these changes. They must, however, remember what had been the effect of the Revised Code in reducing the cost to the State of their educational system. In 1861 the sum expended for educational purposes by the State was £813,000; and last year it was only £626,000; they were, in fact, educating 300,000 more children in 1865 than in 1861, at a cost of £177,000 less. If this branch of their expenditure had gone on increasing in the same ratio as it had done before 1861, no doubt it would have exceeded £1,000,000 at that moment; so that it might be fairly said that the Revised Code had saved them somewhere about £400,000 per annum. But if that great reduction tended in any way to impair the efficiency of the education given, or to cut off the future supply of teachers, he was sure the House would be ready to make due provision for that which they had all most earnestly at heart—namely, the education of the poorer classes. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Corry) had endeavoured to grapple with these difficulties; but there was one point having an important bearing upon the case of the rural schools especially, for the maintenance of which additional means were to be provided, which deserved the greatest attention. He referred to the settlement of the question of the conscience clause. The chiefs of the Established Church had in many instances come forward and expressed most just and liberal views on that subject, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not during his tenure of office lose any opportunity of bringing that matter forward and endeavouring to effect its satisfactory settlement. Those among the clergy who objected to the Conscience Clause would, not improbably, accept from Parliament terms which, if consulted, they would not agree to; and the time had come when a final solution of this irritating controversy might, in his opinion, be effectually applied.
congratulated the right hon. Gentleman that he had been able to lay on the table a Minute conceived in a liberal spirit, and designed to carry out a reform of a kind and generous character towards those interested in promoting the education of the people. If there was any omission in his statement which he (Mr. Powell) regretted, it was the omission of any promise for larger building grants. There had recently been a great increase in the cost of building, and circumstances had arisen which had greatly increased the difficulty of all operations of that nature. He had hoped that whenever any amendment was made in the Revised Code, one important alteration would have been the providing of a more liberal grant towards the foundation and building of new schools. However, he hoped that during the Session of 1868 an Amendment of that kind might be introduced. He had heard with satisfaction that the Government intended to adhere to the practice of having certificated masters, the evidence in favour of which was very complete. There was some variety of opinion upon the question, and reference had been made to the United States, it being said that in many States of America there was not a system of giving certificates from the central Government. The reason, however, was that while in England we had a central grant and central certificates, they had in the United States local administration, local taxation, and, as a necessary consequence, a system of local certificates. On the Continent, wherever the educational system was of the same nature as our own, there was the same system of certificates as in England. There were now in many of the districts of the country signs rather of retrogression than of progress in popular education, and the Inspectors, who dealt with the small schools, were unanimously of opinion that those schools were falling back; it was therefore necessary that we should make some effort to stop the decay and disappointment that might otherwise ensue. The masters, it appeared, felt a great reluctance to have pupil-teachers, doubtless because of the trouble involved in instructing them; and on the part of the managers the same feeling existed, owing to the great complexity of the Revised Code; but he hoped that the portion of the Code which dealt with that point might be amended. He was sorry to find that the schools had been falling off in the supply of material—in maps, books, and illustrations. The contrast between the schools in England and Ireland was greatly to the disadvantage of the schools in this country, and we certainly had a right to expect that our schools should not be inferior to those in Ireland. Let the Irish schools be improved as far as possible; but let the English schools be equally improved at the same time. He was glad that the proposed step was to be carried out, and thought our educational system would be much benefited.
Perhaps the House will remember that the system of education in this country is a voluntary system, and that if it is pronounced by its friends and advocates, like the hon. and learned gentleman opposite (Mr. Powell), to be inefficient, the blame is not to be thrown principally on the Government, but on those by whom the present denominational mode of management has been set up. The hon. and learned Gentleman compares the case of England and Ireland; but in Ireland the system is a Government system almost entirely, and if the schools are bad, then blame the Government. But in England the foundation is voluntary, and all the Government does to the schools is to aid them. This is not from the wish of the Government, but from the wish of the different denominations themselves, for they knew very well that those schools which, were supported by rates would soon cease to be denominational. It is too much for those who are the friends and supporters of the system to turn round and complain of the Government because education on the system on which they have placed it does not go on so well as could be wished. Look at the fact as it stands. We undertook the Revised Code in 1862, when we found the expense of the grant was increasing at the rate of £100,000 a year; and when we found that the education given was very bad indeed. When we examined the children the statement of the Commissioners was borne out, for not one-fourth of the children were found sufficiently taught to be worth speaking of at all. We believed we could reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of the schools; and what have we done? We have reduced the expenses to the amount of £400,000 a year, according to the statement of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, who is supplied with later information than I am; though it occurred tome, when I estimated the matter from data supplied to me by Sir James Kay Shuttleworth and other gentlemen, that the figure should be put somewhat higher. And for this decreased expenditure I believe we have given a much more efficient education than before. We were told at the time "You may do that, but you will so screw and injure the schools that they will not be worth nearly so much afterwards." But what has been the result? As my right hon. Friend opposite has stated, 1,300 new schools have come into existence, and 110,000 more children have been added as scholars—and that at an expense, proportionately speaking, of £500,000a year less than you would have been paying had not the system been altered. But then you are not contented, although the work is done better and cheaper. You are not satisfied, but must all begin tinkering and pulling to pieces the system which has produced such results, because you say fewer pupil-teachers are employed. Of course there are fewer pupil-teachers, and so there ought to be. Under the old system we were paying the whole salary for every pupil-teacher, and only part for other teachers—giving a bounty for every one of them—and of course all school managers got as many as they could. But afterwards, a grant was given to the managers to spend as they pleased and they naturally spent it as economically as they could, fewer pupil-teachers were employed, the cost of education was diminished, not only to the State, but to the managers themselves, and now we have a better, because better tested, education, at a considerably less cost. Why cannot you let the matter alone? Why are we to be asked in the name of education to give £70,000 more to the grant, in order to undo the work that has done so well? You have adopted a system faulty in principle in deference to the feelings, or, I should say, in deference to the prejudices of the different denominations. If the managers are not contented, when it is proved to demonstration that the system yields much good, notwithstanding its faulty principle, I say they are acting most unwisely, and that if they attempt to bend the bow any tighter it will break in their hands. The system is not defensible upon abstract principles, and the only way to defend and maintain it is by making it so economical and so effective that practical men may hesitate to sweep it away, knowing the immense waste of time, of power, and of trouble which would be involved before you could get a new system which, though theoretically better, would be practically as good. If you, by making it needlessly expensive, break the system down, there is nothing before it but a speedy extinction.
thought it an immense drawback in the progress of education that children of ten years of ago were generally withdrawn from school and sent out to work by their parents. The consequence was, that they learned nothing that they retained. They got a smattering of reading, writing, and arithmetic, but that was soon forgotten; and even if it were not forgotten, it was not education—it was only a means for education. Reading, writing, and arithmetic no more made an education than knives and forks made a dinner. The consequence of all this was, that only 15 per cent out of 850,000 children acquired anything like an education at all. How, then, was the present state of affairs to be remedied? By nothing less, in his opinion, than the establishment of a compulsory system, as in Prussia, where the parent of every child was made responsible for its attendance at a public school. He should also recommend the giving of State aid to evening schools to which adults might be enabled to go when their day's work was over.
said, it was an entire mistake to suppose, as the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bruce) seemed to suggest, that the builders of schools would accept from a Tory Administration a less measure of justice than they were prepared to accept from a Whig Government, as regarded the privileges which, in a denominational point of view, they were entitled to expect. But he wished to correct an impression that seemed to have been conveyed in some of the remarks which had been made upon the Conscience Clause and the building grants. With regard to the building grants, the diminution in them arose out of the diminution in the applications for them—a circumstance which was due to the operation of the Conscience Clause. As to the clergy of the country generally, and their view of the Conscience Clause, they had a great duty to perform, and all they wanted was fair treatment—the same fairness which was given to Roman Catholics, Wesleyans, and other denominationalists.
asked on what night the right hon. Gentleman opposite proposed that his scheme, subverting that of his right hon. Friend the Member for Calne, should be taken into consideration by the House?
replied, that his plan, so far from subverting, would, in his opinion, rather tend to strengthen the system introduced by the right hon. Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe). As to fixing a day for the discussion of the Minute, he could only say that it would, in accordance with the rules, lie on the table for a month, when, if not opposed, it would be inserted in the Code for next year.
I am afraid there will be no vacant day during the ensuing month when the Minute can be discussed. Will the Government undertake that it shall not come into effect until we have an opportunity of pronouncing an opinion upon it?
replied, that such an opportunity would present itself on the Motion for going into Committee of Supply.
British North America Bill
(Lords)—Bill 52—Second Reading
Order for Second Reading read.
Sir, I rise to move the second reading of a Bill for the union in one Dominion, of the Canadas, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. What I have to ask the House to do is to give their consent to the proposal of the representa- tives of these three Provinces. Eminent public men representing all shades of political opinions in these Provinces are in this country at the present moment, having been delegated by the Governors, on Addresses of the Legislatures, to ask Her Majesty to submit to the Imperial Parliament a scheme of union which embodies almost literally and without modification the Resolutions adopted at a representative Conference at Quebec in the year 1864, I need not go far back to show the origin of this desire of the Provinces to be united in one Dominion. It has gone on increasing from year to year, and if it was well founded years ago it is infinitely more justified by the circumstances in which the Provinces are now placed. The first official document in which the many obvious reasons for this union are stated with great ability, is the Report of Lord Durham's Commission, published nearly thirty years ago. Since that Report was made the union has formed a prominent subject of discussion both in public and in private. It became the leading topic at public meetings and in Parliamentary debates, and the frequent subject of men's conversation throughout the Provinces. In the year 1849 an association called the North American League was formed, and held its meetings in Toronto, for the purpose of promoting this object. Its name will recommend itself to many Members of this House as expressive of popular feeling, and legitimate agitation. In the year 1854, the Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia came to a Resolution in favour of a general union, the Resolution being promoted by the most prominent men of all political parties. Mr. Johnston on one side, and Mr. Howe on the other, share together the credit of the first legislative action on the subject. In the year 1858, the Coalition Ministry of Canada, Sir Edmund Head being the Governor General, first made this scheme a Ministerial measure, and a despatch was addressed to the Home Government on the subject. This was the first correspondence with the Home Government relative to the union. In the year 1861, Nova Scotia again took the lead in the matter, and proposed a conference of delegates from each of the Provinces to consider the subject. The result of their deliberations was communicated to the Colonial Secretary of that period, the late Duke of Newcastle; and in reply to their communication he stated, that if it was clearly the desire of the Provinces to be united the proposal would be carefully considered in this country. I refer particularly to this fact, because it has recently been asserted that the measure was pressed on reluctant colonies by the Home Government, while in reality a more calm and colourless answer than that of the Duke of Newcastle was never sent from any public Office. In consequence of that answer, at the end of 1863, the people of Nova Scotia and of their fellow Maritime Provinces proposed to hold a conference, and Canada then, for the first time, asked to be a party to the proceeding. These are all important points in the history of this proposition, because it has been stated that Canada urged the measure on the smaller Provinces, and thus used its superior influence for local purposes; while that is so far from being the case, that it was after the Maritime Provinces had determined on holding a conference for the promotion of that object that Canada requested to be allowed to join in their deliberations. It has also been said that it was the constitutional difficulties of Canada that led to the formation of this project. Now, it is true that Canada had at that time constitutional difficulties to encounter; but those difficulties were no more the cause of the proposal for the union of the Provinces than the divorce of Henry VIII. was the cause of the Reformation. It was but an accident which precipitated that which was in itself desirable, and which every one wished to see effected. Those delegates from all the Provinces met at Quebec in the month of October, 1864, and they adopted a series of Resolutions for the project of an union which are embodied in the Bill now before the House. The proposals which they adopted were communicated to the late Minister of the Colonial Department, the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Cardwell), than whom I will now venture to express my opinion, as I have already frequently expressed it in opposition, this country never had a more statesmanlike Colonial Minister. He having received and carefully considered these. Resolutions, replied in a despatch addressed to Lord Monck, the Governor General—to whom also I will pay this tribute, that I believe it was fortunate for those Provinces that they had so able, so judicious, and so successful a Governor at so critical a juncture. The right hon. Gentleman opposite in his despatch expressed his belief that it was high time that the inhabitants of those Provinces should take upon themselves those duties of citizenship which we took upon ourselves at home; that it was absolutely necessary they should make greater military preparations and undertake some works of defence. It is by no means true that there is anything in that despatch which can be fairly represented as urgently forcing on the union—the fact is that at that time a correspondence was going on relative to the insecure condition of those colonies, and the right hon. Gentleman was justified in telling their inhabitants that they should take on themselves the duty of citizens, and that it was necessary that they should make greater provision for the defence of their country. To that appeal the colonies made a noble response. In the following year the Colonial Legislatures met, and in the three Provinces to which this Bill applies addresses were passed which led to the Governor General sending to this country those delegates who are now among us for the purpose of asking the Imperial Parliament to sanction in the form of a Bill the Resolutions to which they agreed at Quebec. I need not, I believe, now weary the House by entering into any minute explanations with respect to the details of the measure; for though the Bill was presented to Parliament only about fourteen days ago, yet the substance of its provisions have for a long time been discussed in the public press before it became the subject, a few nights ago, of an able and elaborate statement made by the noble Earl the Secretary for the Colonies. I therefore may reckon on the House being pretty well acquainted with the details of the Bill, and it will be sufficient if I give only a general outline of its provisions. The Bill provides that the Canadas, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia should form one dominion, under the common name of Canada; and that the colonies so united should comprise four Provinces—Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. It was proposed that the four Provinces should have a common Parliament at Ottawa, consisting of a Senate and a House of Commons. By Her Majesty's Proclamation, Ontario, which is now called Upper Canada; Quebec, which is now known under the name of Lower Canada; New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, will become one Government. The Senate will be composed of seventy-two Senators, nominated by the Governor General, in the name of Her Majesty, for life—twenty-four of them for Ontario, twenty-four for Quebec, and twenty-four for the Maritime Pro- vinces. But as the strict limitation of these numbers might lead to a dead-lock between the Upper and the Lower Chambers, it is provided that the Governor General shall, with the Queen's approval, have the power of adding two triplets of Senators to these seventy-two, so that he might enlarge the Senate to seventy-eight members; but that number they can never exceed. If on any occasion such additions are made the number will be allowed to die down again to seventy-two. The House of Commons is to consist of, at first, 181 Members—eighty-two for Ontario, sixty-five for Quebec, nineteen for Nova Scotia, and fifteen for New Brunswick. The existing election laws will continue; but these numbers are to be adjusted to population from time to time, according to a decennial census, in the manner adopted in the American House of Representatives. The Provinces are to have Local Legislatures for local purposes; and each of them is also to have a Lieutenant Governor, named by the Governor General. Ontario will have a single Chamber, to be styled the Legislative Assembly; Quebec will retain the present form of the Legislature of the United Canadas; New Brunswick and Nova Scotia will retain their present Legislatures. The power of the Provincial Legislatures, in reference to legislation, will be confined to a certain number of specified subjects. The Governor General will have a veto on all legislation; and the Central Legislature will be invested with a general power of providing for the good government and peace of the country; but without derogating from the general power, certain specified powers are enumerated for the Central Legislature. It will be seen that by these provisions arrangements are made as far as possible for ensuring the unity and strength of the Central Government. I think I need hardly trouble the House with the other provisions of the Bill. There is, I believe, only one other clause to which I need now allude, and that is a clause by which these Provinces bind themselves immediately to proceed to the construction of a great international railway, which they regard as the backbone of the general scheme of union. There is nothing in this Bill which implicates this House or this country in that undertaking; but it is only right I should add that the adoption of that provision will render it necessary for me to ask the House to guarantee the interest of a loan by means of which the railway is to be constructed. I think I have now sufficiently described the Bill. The House will see that its most striking feature is a scrupulous adherence, as far as the circumstances of the case would permit, to the constitutional forms of this country. I leave every Gentleman to judge for himself, and appreciate, as I hope they will, the causes which have led to this sensitiveness of filial piety—this almost morbid dread of departure from the institutions of the mother country, and of any approximation to institutions nearer to themselves; but certainly that is one main feature of the Bill as presented to the House. The adoption of the principle of federation, as compared with what might be preferable if practicable, a solid legislative union, is simply the consequence of the absolute necessity of the adjustment of inveterate local interests, and the ultimatum of mutual compromise between the Provinces. The House may ask what occasion there can be for our interfering in a question of this description. It will, however, I think, be manifest, upon reflection, that, as the arrangement is a matter of mutual concession on the part of the Provinces, there must be some external authority to give a sanction to the compact into which they have entered. It is very true we have often given to colonies, secondary in importance to these, the task of framing their own Constitution. A general Act was passed two years ago which gives to all colonies with representative institutions the power, at any time, of altering their Constitution within certain limits; but it is clear the process of federation is impracticable to the constituent Legislatures. If, again, federation has in this case specially been a matter of most delicate treaty and compact between the Provinces—if it has been a matter of mutual concession and compromise, it is clearly necessary that there should be a third party ab extra to give sanction to the treaty made between them. Such seems to me the office we have to perform in regard to this Bill. We have, in fact, to accept or reject the proposal which the Provinces have made to us. We certainly ought to guard most carefully against anything being effected by the Act injurious to Imperial interests, as distinguished from colonial interests; but I ask the House whether any Imperial interests are involved in this Bill which can in any way be distinguished from colonial interests? I say our interests are identical. Whatever developes the resources and contributes to the prosperity of the colonies contributes to the prosperity of the Empire; whatever strengthens them strengthens us; and no one can for a moment harbour the thought of doing anything to impede or obstruct the progress of the colonies by way of retaining them in a condition of dependent weakness. But if no Imperial interest is sacrificed by this Bill, let us see whether we can hope to improve it in the interest of the Colonies. I think the time has gone by for either the Parliament or the Government of England to attempt to teach colonies like these their interests better than they can judge of them themselves. It is now nearly 100 years since the Parliament of this country was engaged in precisely the same task for the New England States which it is now undertaking for our present North Amercian Colonies, with the object of enabling colonies that never thought of coming here for any assistance, either in money or arms, better to defend themselves against the attacks of neighbouring Indian tribes, and even against the invasion of European armies. It is to no purpose to say that the union which afterwards took place was in antagonism to ourselves—that was simply our own fault and folly; but it is significant that the union proved its effectiveness. We have since attempted both to maintain and govern colonies from this country, but the attempt has utterly failed; and to our largest colonies within the last few years we have, without exception, given the powers of self-government. What the North American colonists ask us to do by this Bill is to extend to them the natural corollary of self-government, and to enable them by union to take upon themselves all the duties of British citizenship. But I am aware that criticisms of this scheme are not wanting; and I find that some persons object to the existence of a nominated Senate. Those critics allege that a nominated Chamber of Legislature never succeeds in our colonies, and that as regards this particular case the Canadians themselves had a nominated Chamber, and afterwards thought it advisable to substitute an elective Chamber. Strange that those who are quite willing they should have made this change cannot allow that they may have satisfactory reasons, on further experience, for returning to the system of nomination. I say nothing of what may have made the old nominated compact distasteful and the new elections intolerable; but who is the best judge? If they wish for nomination in the new plan, why should we forbid it? Another critic, who demands that the central power shall be strengthened by every possible means, says the Lieutenant Governor should be elected. I think the difficulty lies in making the central power sufficiently strong. The nomination of the Provincial Governor by the Central Power is in the interest of united government. Lastly, there are some who say that, whatever the merits of the measure, it ought not to receive the sanction of the Imperial Parliament until it has been referred again to the voice of the people. Can anything be more absurd or inexplicable, except by an utter ignorance of the subject? For instance, is Canada to be thrown back upon a General Election in order to repeat an expression of her opinion upon this subject, which she has been discussing and urging for the last twenty years? There was a General Election in 1863, and both in 1863 and 1864 the question was fully debated in the Colonial Legislature. Since that period, there have been no less than twenty-four vacancies in the Legislative Council, and every one of these has been filled up by unionists. Can any other proof be required of the sustained conviction of Canada that her interests require that the proposed union shall be carried out without unnecessary delay? Canada, indeed, has not been precipitate in this matter'. She was the last to come to the conference at Quebec, and the last to come now to England. She kept the delegates of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick waiting six months before she came to this country. Therefore, the very last assertion which could be made by the Maritime Provinces against Canada would be that of precipitancy of action in urging on them this scheme of union. But no more do the other Provinces require re-consultation. New Brunswick has had an election on the subject itself, and deliberately pronounced in its favour. Nova Scotia initiated the proposition, and has had repeated elections since. I must point out that the advocates of delay are of the most remarkable kind, both personally and with respect to the nature of their arguments. The person who is most anxious for delay was the first and ablest in promoting the proposition; and what does he say? He says—"I allow something must be done. It is impossible to leave things as they are. But there is another alternative, and that is, the whole British Empire might be organized into one—Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick might meet here in Westminster, instead of having their Provincial Parliament in Ottawa." This, Sir, is a subject that has been discussed over and over again, more as a exercitation than as a practical or rational proposition. It does not require more than a moment's consideration to show that it is futile and visionary. The objections to union, then, being futile, and the only alternative proposed being visionary, I will ask the House to consider what are the palpable reasons and advantages which fully account for and justify the deliberate decisions to which these colonies have come to ask this House to sanction the terms of union to which they have agreed among themselves. The commercial advantages are, perhaps, the most prominent, and the least open to question or dispute. The idea is absurd of retaining a system of different commercial tariffs amongst these contiguous Provinces which are ruining and keeping down their trade. Why, the effect of the reciprocity treaty between the United States and Canada was to develop the commerce between these countries in one year from 2,000,000 to 20,000,000 dollars. That treaty has now ceased; but surely that is a reason why, at least amongst themselves, there should be the most perfect reciprocity. Well, then, as to their mutual interests, who can doubt that these three Provinces—the wheat-growing West, the manufactures Centre, and the fisheries and outlet on the coasts, are necessary to each other to make one great country jointly developing diverse interests. Was there ever, let me ask, a country so composed by nature to form a great and united community? By their mutual resources—by the assistance of their different interests, they would make together a powerful and prosperous nation. As long as they remain separate they are a prey to the commercial policy of other nations, and mutual jealousies among themselves. Disunion saps their liberty as well as their power, and paralyses their self-reliance. On the other hand, one united Government would be able to keep the peace, and would remove every temptation to aggression. One national Government composed of the best men out of all the Provinces, would draw out and develop the resources of the country for the common interest; and, at the same time, a combined revenue would give larger credit, and enable greater economy. I wish to read a short extract from a letter of Queen Anne to the Scotch Parliament in 1706, on the union of these two countries. It bears upon the case before us in two ways; because it not only shows the reasons for union in striking language, but is a precedent for existing Legislatures being considered able to deal with a question of this sort without any further appeal to the people. In the letter, Queen Anne said—
This extract is taken from the Federalist, where it is quoted by the eminent statesman who wrote that work as expressing their own views respecting the necessity of a closer union between the American States. In conclusion, I will say that I believe and think that it is a great and grave undertaking that we are engaged in this evening. It is no less than liberating to its natural destinies of self-reliance and innate growth and expansion a large portion of the largest pastured quarter of this earth. When we remember with what rapid strides, and in how short a time, America has taken a great place among the Powers of the world, and that its vast extent and gigantic features are not yet animated by not one-hundredth part of the life which will soon replenish them, it is a serious occupation to be engaged in even having a share in the disposal of its future destinies. A large portion of this Continent is already in full vigour, and might have been so in connection with ourselves but for our own folly. I believe, however, that at heart the American people are still attached to us as brothers, though they are disposed to quarrel, as brothers often are. The rest of this large Continent, still British, is now asking us to assist them to develop their own strength and resources in retained connection and in partnership of allegiance to one common Sovereign; and confident that this House will willingly contribute its sanction to the measure now introduced in order to carry out so great a purpose, I move the second reading of this Bill, which presents for our acceptance their own proposition."An entire union will be the solid foundation of a lasting peace between you. It will remove animosities, jealousies, and differences amongst yourselves; it must increase your strength, your riches, and your trade. By this union the whole country, being joined in affection as well as resources, and free from all apprehensions of different interests, will be able to resist all its enemies. We earnestly recommend unanimity in this weighty affair, that the union may be brought to a happy conclusion. It will be the only effectual way to secure our present and future happiness, to disappoint the designs of your enemies, who will certainly use all their efforts to prevent or delay your union."
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—( Mr. Adderley.)
Sir, I rise with the greatest satisfaction to support the Motion of my right hon. Friend. I have the greatest pleasure in congratulating the noble Earl now at the head of the Colonial Office and my right hon. Friend in having the honour of submitting this most satisfactory measure to the British Parliament. My right hon. Friend in his opening speech stated, what was most true, that there was no occasion during which I had the honour to hold office, when I submitted to the House any measure dealing with subjects to the consideration of which he had devoted so large a portion of his time, that he was not forward in expressing his cordial concurrence, and rendering to those who were his political opponents all the assistance in his power. I therefore rejoice to see in his hands a measure which is calculated not only to be of the greatest benefit to those whose interests are more immediately involved, but which also will prove an era in the history of the government of dependencies by a great Imperial and metropolitan country. The right hon. Gentleman has so well stated both the provisions of the measure and the arguments by which they are to be supported, and I believe the House has so unmistakably signified its concurrence in the remarks he has made, that it would only be an unpardonable waste of time were I to meet by anticipation arguments which I do not believe will be raised. I only wish, therefore, to make a few remarks in illustration and support of the arguments of my right hon. Friend. It requires, indeed, no argument to justify the intended union of these colonies. Look at the map which displays their geographical position—look at the great inland seas of Canada, and the fertile plains which border them;—look also upon the fertile plains of the United States of America that are so close to them, and to that noble river which, by the aid of mechanical science, affords opportunities to carry the produce of the Western Provinces to the sea. This alone is sufficient to show what great advantages must necessarily be derived from an union between the inland and the Maritime Provinces. Look at the shipping and timber trade of New Brunswick, the mineral wealth and commercial enterprize of Nova Scotia, and the noble harbour of Halifax, and let me ask you, Is it possible to believe that it was the intention of nature and Providence that all these great sources of wealth and power should be separate? And as they are physically conterminous, so they are morally united in the firmest and deepest attachment to the Crown of England and her institutions. This remark applies not only to those who have sprung from our own loins, and who speak our language, but also to that other people resident in Lower Canada, which is to be called in future the Province of Quebec. They yield to no other British subjects in their loyalty and attachment to the throne and to the institutions under which they live. Well, then, if you have the unanimous request of these Provinces, if you have their earnest wish and desire that these bounteous intentions of Providence should be realized, what objection can there be against it? I am, at least, certain that the House of Commons will not seek to prevent so laudable a desire from being gratified. What, let me ask you, is the country you are about to constitute if you agree to this Bill? It is a country—and here I am speaking solely of the three Provinces embraced in the measure—of nearly 400,000 square miles and 3,750,000 of inhabitants. But in speaking of it prospectively, I am not disposed to exclude the two Provinces which are not comprehended in the Bill. When I think of Newfoundland and Prince Edward's Island, and their objection to join in this arrangement, I am reminded of some of those towns which, when railways were first introduced, petitioned that they should be excluded from the benefits of railway legislation. Optantibus ipsis Dî faciles. Parliament acceded to their request, and what has been the result? Why, some of them have been "out in the cold "ever since, vainly endeavouring to place themselves in the position which they had improvidently lost. That last observation, however, does not apply to Newfoundland or Prince Edward's Island, the door being left open to them to join this federation at any time, and I rejoice to see in the papers that my right hon. Friend has laid upon the table that the expression of feeling in this country and the arguments employed will, probably, not be without result. If, then, I speak of these five Provinces, what a country you are going to establish—a country greater in extent than France and Spain united—a country which at the present moment has 4,000,000 of inhabitants, but which it is reasonably calculated, according to the ordinary rate of computation, at the end of the present century will include 12,000,000 of people—a country which, in the strength of its commercial marine, will be inferior only to Great Britain and to the United States of America, with a population superior to many of the most flourishing kingdoms of Europe. My right hon. Friend, speaking of the policy of establishing this great organization, said truly, Does it require any argument to show where will be the field for enlightened public spirit—where will be the field for honourable ambition—where is it likely that the highest intellects will be devoted to the public service-where will be shown the greatest amount of public spirit in the discharge of public duties? Will it be in a great community like this which the Bill under discussion will constitute, or in small and scattered communities like those which desire to continue no longer in their inferior and isolated condition, but wish to enter this great Confederacy? Consider the nature of the duties which these Provincial statesmen are called upon to discharge. During the time I had the honour of holding the seals of the Colonial Office duties of no merely Provincial or ordinary character were necessarily discharged by Canada. At the time when the St. Albans raid attracted so much attention and alarm in this country, what were the duties discharged by the Government of Canada and the Governor General—to whom my right hon. Friend has paid so just a tribute? The highest Executive duty was discharged by the Government of Canada when it called forth its own army to guard its own frontier. The highest judicial duties were discharged when, under your statute, they were constituted interpreters of the treaty for the extradition of offenders subsisting between you and the United States of America. The highest legislative duties were discharged when, in compliance with the suggestion of the British Crown, they passed an Act to render such raids impossible for the future. I ask you, then, if you have the statesmen of these countries necessarily discharging the highest Executive, legislative, and judicial functions, is it desirable that men exercising these duties should be the representatives of 4,000,000 of people, and should be animated by the public spirit of these 4,000,000, or that they should exercise them as the representatives of small communities such as Prince Edward's Island will continue to be, if it remains excluded from the provisions of this Bill? Again, let us consider the bearing of this measure upon the diplomatic relations of this country. Look at the disadvantages which were incurred when we were endeavouring at Washington to negotiate the renewal of the Reciprocity Treaty. The fiscal portions of the treaty, if we had succeeded, must have been submitted to five Parliaments before it could have received the Royal Assent. Ts it desirable, that when the populations of these Provinces, through the representative of the Queen, negotiate treaties with foreign Powers, the adoption of these treaties should be ratified by the Parliament of one great community, or should be subject to the criticisms, and, perhaps, the local interests of five Parliaments of five different communities? Then, again, with regard to the complicated question which arose in the spring of last year between this country and the United States of America on the subject of the fisheries. These fisheries were regulated by the municipal laws of different colonies. When we had to deal with this, was it desirable in the negotiations between this country and the United States of America upon a matter of that vital importance—was it desirable that we should be required to go to several Parliaments in order to get these laws altered? Sir, no practical difficulty, I am happy to say, arose in the case; but I think all those things I have referred to are proofs of the great advantages that will accrue, both to the colonies and to the mother country, by such a scheme of consolidation as that which is proposed in the present Bill. Look, again, to the important matter of defence. My right hon. Friend has referred to the despatches which I addressed to the colonies, pointing out, that while the mother country makes the defence of the colonies a matter of Imperial concern, she still calls upon them to discharge the first duties of citizenship, to be the main agents of their own defence, and to protect their own shores. But if the colonists are thus to be the principal agents in their own defence, is it not obvious that they will be best able to discharge this duty when they are united under one government? Why is one policy to be established for Italy and Germany, and another for the Provinces of British North America? Is union to be the general law, and yet not be the law for British North America? Is it not the law over the whole world that union is strength? Is it, therefore, not perfectly obvious that the country, which by this Bill you are to create, will be as powerful for defensive purposes as if you reject it the colonists will be powerless? Time was when it was the policy of this country to exercise a strong Imperial control over her colonies. If that policy continued, it would be unwise to pass this Bill; divide et impera would be the maxim of a country which wished to rule its colonies from home; but that policy has now passed away, and the sole object of our Colonial Government now is to have the satisfaction, pride, and pleasure of witnessing the growth, under the Crown of England—under the flag of England—of great and powerful communities attached to the mother country by no other ties than those of love and affection and a reciprocal regard, which will prove a source of strength in the hour of danger. For all these reasons I cordially support the proposal of my right hon. Friend. I admit that there is a provision not in the Bill which I should have been glad to have seen there—namely, the overriding and controlling power on the part of the Central Legislature which was given in the New Zealand Act. But I think the noble Earl at the head of the Colonial Office and my right hon. Friend are perfectly right in not pressing the question more at the present moment. It is, as he justly said, not our arrangement, but theirs. It has been made by men of great ability, patience, and temper, and they have done it with a perfect knowledge of the circumstances with which they had to deal. Even we, who do not know and cannot appreciate all these difficulties, can yet see many reasons why, on the first creation of this Confederation, it might have been impossible to have given that power. In the first place, the inter colonial railway is not completed; and though in a few years these Provinces will be physically united, still a little time must elapse before the union proposed by the Bill can be entirely accomplished and consolidated. Another reason is that it is necessary that for municipal and local purposes there should be large powers of legislation in the Provinces there. They will, I hope, gradually approach more nearly to the character of municipal institutions than the Bill at present contemplates. But even then they must continue to be more than mere municipal councils. They must discharge for the several Provinces much of that private business which is here discharged by Parliament at so much cost to the suitors and so much inconvenience to ourselves. Therefore it is well that these wise men have left it to a future time, when experience will enable them to determine how far these legislative bodies may continue to retain their inherent powers, and how far they can be reduced to the level of municipal institutions. As the matter now stands, the Bill gives to the Governor General an actual veto over every measure passed by the local Legislatures, and it allows the local Legislatures only to deal with those questions which are supposed to be matters of local concern. There is also provision in the Bill that a certain sum of money shall be allowed from the central Government to each of the Provinces for the maintenance of its institutions. If the sum be exceeded the Provinces must provide the difference by direct taxation upon its inhabitants; and if it does not equal the amount it may carry the balance to its own account for local purposes. That will be a strong inducement to the Provinces to reduce their local institutions to a moderate level. I do hope that for the reasons I have stated the House will give the Bill its cordial assent. I cannot be surprised if, in a great undertaking like this, we make a tentative arrangement which hereafter may be susceptible of such improvements as experience may suggest. The subject is one in which I take so deep an interest, and its details are so familiar to me, that I might trespass on the attention of the House, but I will not now further enlarge on the subject. My right hon. Friend has stated the particulars of the measure. I congratulate him on being the instrument of proposing a measure like this to the British Parliament; I cheerfully join him in supporting it, as I have, while in office, cordially assisted in promoting it; but the main honour is due to those who have laboured, with great patience, temper, and sagacity to bring about a plan which they believed calculated to strengthen the colonies in time of war and increase their prosperity in time of peace, and who have adopted that course, not as a preliminary to a future separation from this country, but under the influence of a loyalty to the British Crown and an attachment to British institutions which cannot be surpassed even in the assembly that is about to ratify their acts.
protested against this measure being pressed forward with such unprecedented and inconvenient haste. It had been introduced into the House of Commons only on Tuesday last, and only been placed in the hands of Members that morning; and the fact that it had been discussed in "another place" and in the newspapers was no reason why the House should be asked to proceed to a second reading without the usual notice. It might be, as had been said, that the Bill would prove very beneficial to the colonial interests—of that he could not speak—but many hon. Members were under the impression that its provisions concerned only colonial interests; but so far was this from being the case, that the 118th section would most materially affect the interests of the people of this country. That clause provided that it should be the duty of the Canadian and other local Parliaments to construct a railway from Halifax to Quebec; and if the House assented to that provision they would be bound in honour to give the Imperial guarantee to the loan which was to be raised for the purpose, upon the promise of which it was that the delegates from the colonies had undertaken the construction of this line. Now from what he had heard of the prospects of the line unless this clause was struck out, this country would have to pay the guarantee. The railway itself would be useless for military purposes, because it would pass through a strip of territory which was exposed to a flank attack, and it might at any moment be cut by the Americans, and as o commercial speculation it would, in his opinion, result in failure. Some years ago a friend of his, who was in favour of the line, admitted that its earnings would never pay for the grease of the carriage wheels. He should be glad to see the colonies united; but he should feel bound at a future stage to move the omission of the 118th clause, the retention of which would in nowise affect the general character of the measure.
Although this measure has not excited much interest in the House or in the country, yet it appears to me to be of such very great importance that it should be treated rather differently, or that the House should be treated rather differently in respect to it. I have never before known of any great measure affecting any large portion of the Empire or its popula- tion, which has been brought in and attempted to be hurried through Parliament in the manner in which this Bill is being dealt with. But the importance of it is much greater to the inhabitants of those Provinces than it is to us: but it is not on that account that we should be expected to examine it less closely, and see that we commit no errors in passing it. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Adderley) has not offered us, on one point, an explanation which I think he will be bound to make. This Bill does not include the whole of the British North American Provinces; I presume the two left out have been left out because it is quite clear they do not wish to come in.
I am glad lean inform the hon. Gentleman that they are, one of them at least, on the point of coming in.
Yes; the reason of their being left out is because they were not willing to come in. They may hereafter become willing, and if so the Bill will admit them by a provision which appears reasonable. But the Province of Nova Scotia is also unwilling to come in, and it is assumed that because some time ago the Legislature of that Province voted a Resolution partly in favour of some such course, therefore the population is in favour of it. For my part, I do not believe in the propriety or wisdom of the Legislature voting on a great question of this nature with reference to the Legislature of Nova Scotia, if the people of Nova Scotia never have had the question directly put to them. I have heard there is at present in London a petition complaining of the hasty proceeding of Parliament and asking for delay, signed by 31,000 adult males of the Province of Nova Scotia, and that that petition is in reality signed by at least half of all the male inhabitants of that Province. So far as I know, the petition does not protest absolutely against union, but against the manner in which it is being carried out by this scheme and Bill, and by the hasty measures of the Colonial Office. Now, whether the scheme be a good or a bad one, scarcely anything can be more foolish, looking to the future, than that any of the Provinces should be dragged into it, either perforce, by the pressure of the Colonial Office, or by any hasty action on the part of Parliament, in the hope of producing a result which Probably the populations of those Provinces may not wish to see brought about, I understand that the General Election for the Legislature of Nova Scotia, according to the Constitution of that colony, is inevitable in the month of May or June next; that this question has never been fairly placed before the people of that Province at an election, and that it has never been discussed and decided by the public; and seeing that only three months or not so much will elapse before there will be an opportunity of ascertaining the opinions of the population of Nova Scotia, I think it is at least a hazardous proceeding to pass this Bill through Parliament, binding Nova Scotia, until the clear opinion of that Province has been ascertained. If, at a time like this, when you are proposing a union which we all hope is to last for ever, you create a little sore it will in all probability become a great sore in a short time, and it may be that the intentions of Parliament may be almost entirely frustrated by the haste with which this measure in being pushed forward. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I think, in the early part of the evening, in answer to a question from this side, spoke of this matter as one of extreme urgency. Well, I cannot discover any urgency in the matter at all. What is urgent is this—that when done it ought to be done wisely, and with the full and free consent of all those populations who are to be bound by this Act and interested in its results. Unless the good-will of those populations is secured, in all probability the Act itself will be a misfortune rather than a blessing to the Provinces to which it refers. The right hon. Gentleman amused me in one part of his speech. He spoke of "the filial piety"—rather a curious term—of these Provinces, and their great anxiety to make everything suit the ideas of this country; and this was said particularly with reference to the proposition for a Senate selected, not elected, for life by the Governor General of Canada. He said they were extremely anxious to follow, as far as possible, the institutions of the mother country. Well, I have not the smallest objection to any people on the face of the earth following our institutions if they like them. Institutions which suit one country, as we all know, are not very likely to suit every other country. With regard to this particular case, the right hon. Gentleman said it is to be observed that Canada had had a nominated Council, and had changed it for an elected one, and surely they had a right, if they pleased, to go back from an elected Council to a nominated Council. Well, nobody denies that; but nobody pretends that the people of Canada prefer a nominated Council to an elected Council. And all the wisdom of the wise men to whom the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford (Mr. Cardwell) has referred in such glowing terms, unless the experience of present and past times goes for nothing, is but folly if they have come to the conclusion that a nominated Council on that Continent must be better than an elected Council. Still, if they wish it, I should not interfere and try to prevent it. But I venture to say that the clause enabling the Governor General and his Cabinet to put seventy men in that Council for life, inserts into the whole scheme the germ of a malady which will spread, and which before very long will require an alteration of this Act and of the constitution of this new Confederation. But the right hon. Gentleman went on to say that with regard to the Representative Assembly—which, I suppose, is to be called according to his phrase the House of Commons—they have adopted a very different plan. There they did not follow the example of this country. They established their House of Representatives directly upon the basis of population. They adopted the system which prevails in the United States, by which upon every ten years' summing up of the census in that country the number of Members may be changed, and is by law changed, in the different States and districts as the rate of population may have changed. Therefore, in that respect his friends in Canada have not adopted the principle which prevails in this country, but that which prevails in the United States. Well, I believe they have done that which was right, and which they had a right to do, and which was inevitable there. I regret very much that they have not adopted another system with regard to their Council or Senate, because I am satisfied—I have not a particle of doubt with regard to it—that we run a great danger of making this Act work ill almost from the beginning. They have the example of thirty-six States in the United States, in which the Senate is elected, and no man, however sanguine, can hope that seventy-two stereotyped provincial Peers in Canada will correspond and work harmoniously with a body elected upon a system so wide and so general as that which prevails in the States of the American Union. There is one point about which the right hon. Gentleman said nothing, and which I think is so very important that the right hon. Member for Oxford, his predecessor in office, might have told us something about it. We know that Canada is a great country, and we know that the population is, or very soon will be, something like 4,000,000, and we may hope that, united under one Government, the Province may be more capable of defence. But what is intended with regard to the question of defence? Is this new State—or this new nation, as I think Lord Monck described it—to be raised up under the authority of an Act of Parliament—is everything to be done for it? Is it intended to garrison its fortresses by English troops? At the present moment there are, I believe, in the Province 12,000 or 15,000 men. There are persons in this country, and there are some also in the North American Provinces, who are ill-natured enough to say that not a little of the loyalty that is said to prevail in Canada has its price. I think it is natural and reasonable to hope that there is in that country a very strong attachment to this country. But if they are to be constantly applying to us for guarantees for railways and for fortresses, and for works of defence; if everything is to be given to a nation independent in everything except Lord Monck and his successors, and except in the contributions we make for these public objects, then I think it would be far better for them and for us—cheaper for us and less demoralizing for them—that they should become an independent State—and maintain their own fortresses, fight their own cause, and build up their own future without relying upon us. And when we know, as everybody knows, that the population of Canada, family for family, is in a much better position as regards the comforts of home than family for family are in the great bulk of the population of this country—I say the time has come when it ought to be clearly understood that the taxes of England are no longer to go across the ocean to defray expenses of any kind within the Confederation which is about to be formed. The right hon. Genleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies has never been an advocate for great expenditure in the colonies by the mother country. On the contrary, he has been one of the Members of this House who have distinguished themselves by what I will call an honest system to the mother country, and what I believe is a wise system to the colonies. But I think that when a measure of this kind is being passed, having such stupendous results upon the condition and the future population of these great colonies, we have a right to ask that there should be some consideration for the revenue and for the taxpayers of this country. In discussing this Bill with the delegates from the Provinces, I think it was the duty of the Colonial Secretary to have gone fairly into this question, and, if possible, to have arranged it to the advantage of the colony and the mother country. I believe there is no delusion greater than this—that there is any party in the United States that wishes to commit any aggression upon Canada, or to annex Canada by force to the United States. There is not a part of the world, in my opinion, that runs less risk of aggression than Canada, except with regard to that foolish and impotent attempt of certain discontented not-long-ago subjects of the Queen, who have left this country. America has no idea of anything of the kind. No American statesman, no American political party, ever dreamt for a moment of an aggression upon Canada, or of annexing Canada by force. And therefore, every farthing that you spend on your fortresses, and all that you do with the idea of shutting out American aggression, is money squandered through an hallucination which we ought to get rid of. I have not risen for the purpose of objecting to the second reading of this Bill. Under the circumstances, I presume it is well that we should do no other than road it a second time. But I think the Government ought to have given a little more time. I think they have not treated the Province of Nova Scotia with that tenderness, that generosity, and that consideration which is desirable when you are about to make so great a change in its affairs and in its future. For my share, I want the population of these Provinces to do that which they believe to be the best for their own interests—remain with this country if they like, in the most friendly manner, or become independent States if they like. If they should prefer to unite themselves with the United States, I should not complain even of that. But whatever be their course, there is no man in this House or in those Provinces who has a more sincere wish for their greatness and their welfare than I have, who have taken the liberty thus to criticize this Bill.
I have seldom heard an observation in the House with greater regret than that of the hon. Member for Birmingham when he said, a few moments ago, that he thought the loyalty of Canada has its price. [Mr. BRIGHT: I did not state that as my opinion.] I do not know whether the hon. Member stated it as his opinion; but certainly he stated it in such a way as to leave a very painful impression on the minds of the House; and I am sure that in the colonies a most painful impression would be created if it went forth that the House of Commons for a moment believed the loyalty of Canada has its price. Sir, we have not forgotten the events in which the loyalty of Canada was strikingly displayed. We have not forgotten the way in which, at the time of the Crimean War, the Patriotic Fund was swollen by contributions from the colonies, and on that occasion no colonies were more conspicuous than the North American Provinces. We have not forgotten the spirit with which the colony of Canada raised a regiment at a time when it was supposed that additional troops might be required. The Canadians, on those and other occasions, have acted with a most honourable and loyal spirit; and therefore, in the face of such facts, I regret the hon. Gentleman has used an expression which, whatever may have been his intention, is so obviously liable to be misunderstood. I may further observe that I believe, if any one feeling has been stronger than another with Canada in taking the part she has done in obtaining this Bill, it is a feeling of attachment and loyalty to the mother country. I do not collect from the speech of the hon. Gentleman that he is opposed to this Bill—on the contrary, I think he concluded his speech by saying he would not oppose the second reading; but the hon. Gentleman throughout his argument seemed to be contending for delay. He appeared to think that this was not the moment when this Bill ought to be put forward. Now, it seems to me that if ever there was a favourable conjuncture of affairs for bringing about a union of the North American Provinces, it is at the present moment. I cannot see that in his views concerning Nova Scotia the hon. Member for Birmingham is borne out by the facts. The best way of collecting the opinions of the Province on a question of this kind is, I should say, through the acts of its Legislature—through the proceedings of its representative body; and the hon. Gentleman is the last person from whom I should have ex- pected an objection to our ascertaining the opinion of the Province from the sentiments of its representative body. [Mr. BRIGHT: It has not been elected on this question.] But the hon. Gentleman must recollect that this union of the North American Provinces has been the subject of discussion and of proceedings in the different colonies for a longtime. The union of Nova Scotia with the other Provinces has been discussed on several different occasions. In 1862, I think, debates took place on this question, and the Representative Assembly was called on to express its opinion. It did so by deciding in favour of a union of the Provinces. In 1863 a General Election took place, and again in 1864, after that General Election, we find the representative body still favourable to the union. These are facts which, in my opinion, at once destroy the argument of the hon. Gentleman. I know that there has been opposition in Nova Scotia. Mr. Howe, a gentleman well known in the colony, is opposed to the union, and the hon. Member for Birmingham is to-night the exponent of Mr. Howe's views. But I would remind the hon. Member that the views on the subject entertained by Mr. Howe a short time ago were the very opposite to those held by him now. No man in Nova Scotia was a more prominent advocate of the union than Mr. Howe, though he opposes it now. The hon. Member for Birmingham proceeded to argue that as two of the Provinces are not included in the Bill, it must be presumed that they are opposed to the union. I believe, however, the facts to be this—that one of those Provinces is negotiating for an entry into the union, and that the other is pie-pared to do so at the earliest opportunity. It appears to me that the hon. Member's appeal for delay is grounded on an entirely erroneous argument, and that be has not approached it with that frankness and candour which characterized the views of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford. We must not forget that, with great judgment, the Provinces selected statesmen of opposite political parties to represent them as their delegates in this matter. Such delegates may be regarded as men who fairly represent the opinion of the Provinces; and, under such circumstances, I trust this Bill will receive the unanimous approval of the House.
said, he fully concurred in the statement of the right hon. Gentleman (Sir John Pakington), that the House of Representatives and the Senate of Nova Scotia had approved the scheme of Confederation. The Representative Body approved it in 1861, not 1862, as the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Admiralty had stated. There was a General Election in 1863, and the Prime Minister (Mr. Tupper) went through, the country preaching this Confederation of the Provinces. It was brought under the notice of the electors at every polling-booth, and at every hustings the issue was distinctly raised. Well, after that General Election, the plan of the Government was sustained by an enormous majority in the House of Representatives, and delegates were sent to the Conference to carry out the plan. If there was any question on which the British, North American Provinces not only had enjoyed an opportunity of expressing, but had actually expressed opinion, it was on this very question of Confederation. Mention having being made of the name of Mr. Howe, whose acquaintance he had the honour of possessing, he might state his own conviction that a man of purer patriotism, or one who had rendered more able and distinguished service to the Crown of this country did not exist. He remembered the speech delivered by Mr. Howe some years ago at Detroit, on the question of whether the Reciprocity Treaty should be continued or not, and he believed it was in no small degree owing to that remarkable speech—one of the most eloquent ever heard—that the unanimous verdict in favour of continuing the treaty had been arrived at. It was matter of surprise and regret to him that the valuable and life-long services of Mr. Howe had not received any recognition at the hands of either the late or the present Government. The hon. Member for Birmingham seemed dissatisfied with the phrase used by Lord Monck respecting the establishment of a new nation. Now he (Mr. Watkin) supported the Confederation, not because it was the establishment of a new nation, but as the confirmation of an existing nation. It meant this, that the people of the Confederated colonies were to remain under the British Crown—or it meant nothing. He joined issue with those who said, "Let the colonies stand by themselves." He dissented from the view that they were to separate from the control of the British Crown the territory of this enormous Confederation. But there was a vast tract beyond Canada, extending to the Pacific, and the House should bear in mind that more than half of North America was under British dominion. Did the hon. Member (Mr. Bright) think that it was best for civilization and for public liberty that this half of the Continent should be annexed to the United States? If that were the opinion of the hon. Gentleman he did not think it was the opinion of that House. Every man of common sense knew that these territories could not stand by themselves; they must either be British or Americau—under the Crown or under the Stars and Stripes. The hon. Member for Birmingham might think that we should be the better of losing all territorial connection with Canada; but he could not agree with that doctrine. Extent and variety were amongst the elements of Imperial greatness. Descending to the lowest and most material view of the subject, he did not believe that, as a mere money question, the separation would be for our interest. Take, again, the question of defence. Our North American possessions had a coast line of 1,000 miles on the east, and 800 on the west, and possessed some of the finest harbours on the Continent, and a Mercantile Marine entitling it to the third rank among maritime nations. The moment these advantages passed into, the hands of the United States that country would become the greatest naval Power in the world. In preserving commercial relations with the United States, the Canadian frontier line of 3,000 miles was likewise extremely useful. As long as British power and enterprize extended along one side of this boundary line, and as long as the tariff of extremely light duties was kept up by us, and that imposed only for the purposes of revenue, it would be impossible for the United States to pursue what might be called a Japanese policy. If England, therefore, desired to maintain her trade, even apart from other considerations, it was desirable for her to maintain her North American possessions. They had lately had to pass through a cotton famine, and they had been taught the inconvenience of the prohibition of the export of cotton by the American Government. Now a large proportion of the corn imported into this country was brought from America, and in what state would England find herself if all the food exports of North America were placed under the control of the Government at Washington? If the frontier line became the sea-coast, what might be looked for then? Scarcely three years had elapsed since Mr. Cobden declared that if there had not been a plentiful harvest in America he did not know where food could have been procured for the people of this country. Now, the corn-growing fields of Upper Canada alone ranked fifth in point of productiveness. Did England not wish to preserve this vast storehouse? Suppose that Canada belonged to America, in the event of a quarrel with England there was nothing to prevent the United States from declaring that not an ounce of food should leave its territories, which would then extend from the Arctic regions to the Gulf of Mexico. He had hoped that upon this Bill, not only both sides of the House, but every section of the House might have been found in unison. It was no use blinking the question. This would not be a decision affecting Canada merely. We had sympathies alike with Australia and the other colonies. If it were seriously proposed that England should denude herself of her possessions, give up India, Australia, North America, and retire strictly within the confines of her own islands, to make herself happy there, the same result might be brought about much more easily by those who wished it. They might become citizens of some small country like Holland, and realize their ideas of happiness in a moment. But he hesitated to believe that the people of England did really favour any such policy. If any one were to hoist the motto, "Severance of the colonies from the Crown" he did not believe that 1 per cent of the people would adopt it. He believed that the people of England felt a deep attachment to their Empire, and that not even a barren rock, over which the flag of England had once waved, would be abandoned by them, without a cogent and sufficient reason. Every argument used in support of the necessity of giving up the Provinces, which lay within eight days of our own shores, would apply with equal force in the case of Ireland, if the people of the United States chose to demand possession. Was this country prepared to give up Gibraltar, Malta, Heligoland, all its outlaying stations merely because some strong Power took a fancy to them? He did not believe that the people of England would ever act in such a spirit. As to the argument of expense, if Canada chose to pick a quarrel on her own account, clearly she ought to pay the bill; but if she were involved in war on Imperial considerations, then he maintained that the Imperial revenues might properly he resorted to. The British Empire was one and indivisible, or it was nothing. And what was the principle upon which the United States acted? If any portion of the territory of the Union was touched, were there one of its citizens who would not be ready and forward to defend it? Should we then be less determined to maintain intact the greatness and the glory of the British Empire? He, for one, would not give up the opinion that Englishmen were prepared to maintain, in its integrity, the greatness and glory of the Empire; and that such a feeling would find a hearty response in that House.
said, he did not regret that the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) had made the speech they had heard that night, as it had elicited so conclusive a reply from the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, and because they had at last arrived at what the real opinions of the hon. Gentle man the Member for Birmingham were. The hon. Member had, in the first instance, cast doubts upon the loyalty of the people of Canada; and, having done so, he concluded his speech by an expression of opinion that we ought to sacrifice our colonies, and said that England would be as well without them. The hon. Gentle man had alluded to the defences of Canada. Now, if there was one thing more honourable than another to the Canadians, and to those who now represented Canada in this country, it was the fact that the only danger Canada ran of a collision with the United States must invariably arise from Imperial questions. The Trent difficulty, the Enlistment question, and the dispute about the Oregon territory, were all Imperial questions, and were therefore questions upon which this country was bound to step forward to the protection of Canada. To what, in a great degree, was our greatness owing? It was our manufactures that had made us the greatest country in the world—the conquerors of the conqueror:—and to what was the growth of our manufactures so much due as to our colonies? ["No, no!"] Did the House suppose that England would ever have been so powerful on the seas, had it not been for our colonies? He thought that the noble Lord at the head of the Colonial Office, his right hon. Friend who had introduced the measure, and also the late Government, were entitled to great credit for the ability, assiduity, and care with which they had promoted a mea- sure which was calculated to be so beneficial, not only to the colonies, but to the mother country. He would concur in expressing his congratulation on the admirable judgment displayed by the colonists themselves in this matter. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham had stated that the majority of the people of Nova Scotia were opposed to this Confederation; but he (Mr. B. Cochrane) doubted whether that was ever their feeling.
What I said was, that there was a petition in London from 31,000 of the people of Nova Scotia, and that that number amounted to one-half of the adult males of that colony.
If the hon. Gentleman would refer to the papers he would find that the sentiments of those colonists had very much changed. He had seen it stated that the Governor of Maine had expressed his disapprobation of this scheme of Confederation; and he believed that that expression of opinion by the Governor of Maine had had a very great effect in opening the eyes of the people of Nova Scotia, and had made it appear to them that this Confederation would be beneficial to the colony. There were one or two points, connected with this Bill, which he thought were open to some discussion. He understood from his right hon. Friend, or rather from the noble Earl at the head of the Colonial Office, that, as the Bill was a kind of compact between the colonies, the House could not alter it at all; for, if they touched any part of it, the alteration would affect the whole of the measure. Now he (Mr. B. Cochrane) did not see how that could be: and he would remind his right hon. Friend that there were parts of the Bill which were not quite clear. He would ask, whether the Governor General would be appointed for life? ["No!"] The Bill did not state for what period the Governor General would hold his office, and he would suggest that a constant change would be a very great disadvantage to the colony. Another important point was this—it appeared that the Lieutenant Governors were to be appointed by the Governor General. He regretted that very much; because they all knew how important it was that the Lieutenant Governors should be persons of position and distinction. It would have been better if there had been a provision that the Lieutenant Governors should be appointed by the Crown. He must say upon this occasion, when such an arrangement as proposed by the Bill was about to be carried out, they ought not to lose sight of the fact that the tariff imposed by Canada had been excessively high. The ad valorem duty upon imports from this country to Canada was, some time ago, 25 per cent; while Now Brunswick imposed only 12½ per cent upon her imports. It was true that Canada had reduced the ad valorem duty to 15 per cent upon her imports; but he thought the people of this country might fairly claim that when they were giving to Canada almost perfect independence—with the exception of the appointment of the Governor General—and paying a large expense for troops and other things in the defence of the colony, and guaranteeing the construction of railways, the ad valorem duty upon goods from this country should not be excessive. He threw out these considerations, although he feared, from what had been said, that they could not make any alterations in the Bill. He thought that, upon the whole, they might congratulate themselves upon the heartiness with which these four colonies had entered into this arrangement. As to Prince Edward's Island and Newfoundland, they occupied quite a different position. It was true that Prince Edward's Island was near to Nova Scotia; but Newfoundland was at a great distance from that colony, and there was a very small connecting link between them and the Confederating colonies. But their joining the Confederation was not a question of immediate interest. What was of interest was this—that when persons had been going about the country, trying to make Englishmen believe that England would be as great a country without her colonies as with them, they found that the colonists themselves had, by joining in this great Confederation, entered their protest against doctrines which, if carried out, would not only be injurious to the material interests of the country, but be destructive of the greatness of this Empire in the counsels of Europe.
said, that as it had been his fortune for some years to take an official and personal interest in colonial affairs, he was unwilling to allow this great measure, upon the successful introduction of which he congratulated his right hon. Friend opposite, to pass without remark. The occasion was one for congratulation both to our fellow-subjects in North America and ourselves. The people of Canada, a name rightly retained for the Confederation, would continue to enjoy all the rights and privileges of British citizenship, and would also become members of a great community with larger opportunities for social and political distinction and a promise of more rapid growth in wealth and strength. On the other hand, he thought, too, this measure was matter for congratulation for ourselves, not only because we were by this great measure giving effect to the wishes and promoting the happiness of our fellow-subjects in North America, but because we were now enabling them to perform much more effectually than heretofore the duties they owed towards the great Empire of which they continued to form a part. This great change would make no change in the relations between the mother country and her great dependencies. The duties which devolved upon her now would rest with her still, and those duties might possibly, though he hoped not probably, become most difficult and dangerous; they were duties, nevertheless, from which she had no right to shrink; at the same time, this measure would fit the colonists, by a rapid development, of resources and of public spirit, for taking their rightful share in the performance of these duties. One point required to be carefully watched—he referred to our military expenditure in North America. The accounts procured, some eight or ten years back, by the Committee upon Military Defences in our Colonies, showed that while our military expenditure was decreasing in places like the Cane and New Zealand it had very largely increased in North America. Mr. Merivale, a most competent authority, reckoned that in 1858 our military expenditure in colonies to which we sent troops, not as a protection against Native tribes, but against possible external attack (these being, almost exclusively, our North American colonies), amounted to £400,000 a year, whereas the Estimate for the present year for British North America alone amounted to £950,000. No doubt this largo expenditure was due to exceptional causes, such as the circumstances which had arisen in the neighbouring States, and the curse of that Fenianism which the Canadians had so effectually silenced within their own borders, and so gallantly repelled from without. They might hope that these exceptional causes would pass away; but it was of importance to remember that we were now placing our colonists in a position to play their part in the defence of their own territory more effectually than they had hi- therto done. He trusted and believed that to-night would be the birth of a large British community in North America, which they might hope, whether in union with this country or at any distant day separate from it, would continue in their prosperous career in cordial friendship not only with the mother country but with the great neighbouring people of the same race as themselves; and they might also hope that Canada in her prosperous history would follow in the happy footsteps of the people of the United States; but that that history might not be disfigured by the follies and misfortunes which had sometimes marked the relations between the United States and Great Britain.
desired to know why Nova Scotia should not be left out of this Bill. The people of that colony had not approved of it; but their General Election would shortly take place, and then if they approved of the measure they could have the benefit of it. The right hon. Baronet the First Lord of the Admiralty had taunted the hon. Member for Birmingham with saying that the people of Canada had their price, and the right hon. Gentleman who spoke last had shown that Canada had cost this country this year for military expenses £950,000. He thought that a Bill of such great importance ought not to be pushed through Parliament with such haste. It was read a third time in the House of Lords only on Tuesday night, and two days after they were called to give it a second reading in that House. That was a bad precedent to establish, and might produce ill effects at another time. If the Bill had been delayed only for a few weeks the people of Nova Scotia would have been able to express an opinion upon it. He had not had time to consider either the Bill itself or the papers on the subject which had been put into his hands.
desired only to make one suggestion—he thought it would have been better that the Lieutenant Governors should be appointed directly by the Crown, and not by the Governor of the Confederation, for in that case the men appointed would be less likely to be objectionable on local grounds. As far as Nova Scotia was concerned, it would have been better to have waited a little time until they should have learnt the result of the General Election upon this particular point; and even if unwilling at first, he had no doubt the people of that Province would come into the Confederation afterwards, just as those States of America which did not join the Union in the beginning afterwards came in. He wished to say one word as to our military expenditure in colonies. Hon. Gentlemen were not, perhaps, aware that the protection of our trade cost very much more in places which were not colonies than in those which were. For instance, our expenditure in the Mediterranean, China, Japan, and South America for the protection of our trade was enormous; while it was very light as regarded our great trade with Canada and the Australian colonies.
Motion agreed to.
Bill read a second time, and committed for Monday next.
Duty On Dogs Bill
( Mr. Dodson, Mr. Hunt, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)
Bill 36 Committee
Bill considered in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
Clause 1 (From and after 5th April, 1867, in England, and 24th May, 1867, in Scotland, Assessed Taxes on Dogs to cease.)
said, he should feel obliged if the Secretary to the Treasury would give the House some of his reasons for reducing the duty on dogs. The greyhound was a useful animal, no doubt, but he saw no reason why the duty payable for a greyhound should be reduced 75 per cent, nor why the tax upon poodles and pug dogs should be reduced from 12s. to 5s., The real difficulty experienced in collecting the dog tax in rural districts was the number of exemptions. Then, again, the proposed transfer to the Excise of the collection of the tax could not be in consequence of a desire to lessen the expense, for he believed that no taxes were collected at so cheap a rate as the assessed taxes, as the cost of collection amounted only to 3d. in the pound. Unless the police were employed he did not see how the Exciseman could collect this tax. In his opinion, if all exemptions from the payment of the tax were abolished, and the present machinery was kept up for the purposes of collection, the existing duty might be kept up on sporting and fancy dogs. A large increase in the revenue, and a cure for the dog nuisance, would be the result.
hoped that the collection of all the assessed taxes would be transferred to the Excise; but he doubted whether 5s. was a sum sufficiently large to secure the collection. He trusted that his hon. Friend had considered whether under the reduced duty he would get as much money as he did at present, for if he calculated upon twelve dogs being kept in future where five were kept now, that would be a great nuisance. One could hardly have an idea as to the nuisance dogs were where there was no dog tax. In Australia he had several times endorsed petitions from the inhabitants praying that a tax might be imposed; and every one would admit that the nuisance must be very great indeed when people, in order to get rid of it, asked that they might be taxed. Then in Ireland it was universally admitted that dogs were a nuisance. The curs which abounded in that country bit children, flew at horses, killed sheep, and did all kinds of mischief. Indeed, most of the evil deeds laid to the account of the innocent fox were in reality the work of these curs.
said, the Government proposed to do away with all exemptions, and to make no distinction between different kinds of dogs. His hon. Friend thought that sporting dogs should be rated higher than sheep dogs; but then the question arose, "What is a sporting dog?" Supposing a man was found walking upon another person's land accompanied by his dog, he would say, "Oh! this is a pet dog or a lap dog;" although if an inquiry were made about the dog when he was lying quietly before the fire in his master's house, the reply might be, "That is a most valuable sporting dog." Again, it would be difficult to say exactly what was a greyhound. There were sporting dogs which some people would term lurchers, though their masters, when they took them to a coursing match, would describe them as greyhounds. Thus dogs would be described differently, according to the circumstances in which their owners were placed when the character of their dogs was called in question. The Government, therefore, thought it would be better that no exemptions should be allowed, and that no distinction should be made between different classes of dogs. At present the duty was 12s., and when the tax was high there would, of course, be considerable evasions, which, to a great extent, were sanctioned by public opinion. When, however, the tax was reduced to 5s., he hoped public opinion would be in favour of the tax collector. As regards the transfer of the jurisdiction from the assessed tax collector to the Excise, the House was aware that under the present system a return was made one year, but the person making it did not become answerable until the year following. So that if a question were raised about the age of a dog, a difficulty was experienced, as in many instances the most clever man could hardly tell in the succeeding year whether the animal was under six months old a twelvemonth before. It was believed that the tax would be collected upon a great number of dogs which were now exempt, or which evaded the duty, and that the revenue would not suffer from the reduction. The Government found that a Bill had been prepared by their predecessors transferring the duty from the assessed taxes to the Excise, and fixing the amount at 6s.; but they thought this rather too high, and believed that, considering the abolition of exemptions, it might be reduced to 5s.
inquired whether an addition to the Excise staff would be required by this collection of the duty being imposed on them?
said, no addition would be required. Notices would be published in every parish stating where licenses were to be procured, and the police would be required to give information of what dogs were kept.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 2 (Assessed Tax on Dogs kept within the year ending 5th April, 1867, in England, and 24th May, 1867, in Scotland, reduced to Seven Shillings.)
reminded the hon. Gentleman of the Asylum recently established in the metropolis for Destitute Dogs, and asked whether it was intended to levy the tax upon that institution, in which he was told there were about 3,000 dogs?
inquired whether the hon. Gentleman had considered the case of the dealers in dogs? It appeared to him that there ought to be an express provision to meet that case.
said, the question as to charitable institutions had been raised some years ago, and a strong opinion was expressed that they should be exempted from taxation. But he was not aware that the feeling extended to the case of the canine charitable institution, He took it that if any persons became owners of dogs within the meaning of the Act, even for charitable purposes, they would be required to pay the tax. The dog-dealers would, of course, have to pay under this Bill; but as dog-dealers were at present liable for the largest number of dogs they kept in the year, he thought that they would be rather benefited in the reduction of the duty by this measure than otherwise.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 3 (Duties of Excise to be paid on Dogs) agreed to.
Clause 4 (Duties and Licenses to be under the Management of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue.)
asked what were the powers under the Excise laws of modifying or reducing penalties? The penalty for evading the tax—£5—was too much—he would move that it be reduced to £2.
said, under the General Excise Act all the Excise penalties might be reduced to one-fourth the amount stated. The penalty of £5, therefore, might be reduced to 25s. at the discretion of the magistrates before whom the case was heard. It frequently happened that the magistrates thought in some cases that even one-fourth was too much. Under such circumstances, it was usual for the bench to make a representation to the authorities at Somerset House for a further reduction of the penalty, and thou the application might be granted.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 5 (Licences to be in such form as the Commissioners shall direct), and Clause 6 (Register of Licences to be kept) agreed to.
Clause 7 (Commissioners to cause Notices to be affixed on Church Doors) agreed to.
Clause 8 (Penalties for keeping a Dog without a Licence.)
thought the penalty of £5 much to high, and moved that £2 should be inserted in the clause instead. He also considered the wording of the clause somewhat obscure, and would move after the word "pounds" the insertion of the words "for every dog so kept."
did not think the penalty too high, particularly when it was recollected that there was £50 penalty for not putting a penny stamp to a receipt for money over £2.
was of opinion that if the penalty were lowered parties would be tempted to run the risk of evading the tax. The prosecutions would be left in the hands of the Excise.
had every reason to believe that the difficulty in the way of the collector was to obtain the tax from the poor man.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 9 (Penalty [of £5] for not producing the Licence when demanded by the Excise Officer.)
MR. HUNT moved the addition of the words "or Police Constable" after "Officer of Excise."
said, there ought to be a provision that the Excise or the police should have the power of killing dogs for which no owner could be found. Under the Act, if a humane person fed a stray dog that was dying of starvation, he would be treated as the owner, and be liable to the duty or the penalty. The result would be that dogs would die of starvation after doing all sorts of mischief.
said, it was to be hoped that persons would be indisposed to take a strange dog home and feed it, when it was known they made themselves liable to the duty. The Government in this Bill only treated the fiscal question. The subject of killing dogs for which no owner could be found might be dealt with hereafter.
said, he approved of the Bill, not only as to its general object, but as to nearly all its details. It had been the intention of the late Government to introduce a Bill with almost identical clauses. That Bill contained a provision which this Bill did not, under which it was possible for the officers of Excise and the police to take up dogs which were not properly licensed, and either to sell or kill them under proper restrictions. When a licence was taken out it would bear a particular Excise number, and it was provided that when a dog was away from its master, unless it had a collar bearing that Excise number, it should be liable to be seized. The officers of revenue thought such a proposal reasonable, and anticipated no difficulty in working it. His hon. Friend, legislating for the subject in the cooler months of the year, had left out this provision from the Bill; but last Session during the dog-days a pressure had been brought to bear upon the late Government from all sides of the House to make some provision to meet the case of ownerless dogs. He hoped the hon. Gentleman would introduce into the Bill some clause of this nature, for if he did not he would be sure to hear something of it when the dog-days came round.
said, that many persons kept dogs who were not able to pay the tax, and he wished to know what was to be done with those dogs. It would be necessary to enforce the law in some way.
said, it was quite true that in the Bill prepared by the late Government every dog, except a sporting dog, was required to bear a ticket, which should be a voucher that its master had paid the license duty. He did not approve of this sporting exemption, and the very fact of there being such an exemption showed that the system could not work.
said, the provision of the Bill was not an exemption; but dogs out with their masters, or being one of a pack of hounds, were not to be required to carry a ticket.
said, that when he came into office he had to look into this question as a practical man, and to say whether the owner of a dog that had lost his ticket ought to be liable to have the dog destroyed. A boy in the street might wrench it off, or two dogs might fight together, for "'tis their nature to," and one might get the other's ticket in his mouth and run off with it. The ticket, too, would involve the necessity for a collar, and that would be an additional burden for the poor man, who would have to pay for the collar as well as the duty. He could not therefore bring himself to defend the ticket system. He had had to consider the question whether, if a dog during the year were transferred from one person to another, one license should be paid between them. He thought it advisable that every person should pay the license if he kept a dog for only a portion of the year. It was the intention of his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary to consider the question of police regulations respecting dogs, and he hoped to submit to the House in the course of the Session some proposal on the subject.
explained that the proposal of the late Government simply was that dogs found about the streets, without owners or without collars, should be liable to be taken to the police-station and kept there for a certain number of hours.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 10 (Act not to apply to Bogs under Age of Six Months.)
proposed that three months should be inserted instead of six.
supported the clause as it stood. Many persons were in the habit of breeding dogs, cither to make presents of them or for sale, and as it was not thought that they should be made to pay duty for them, the limit of six months had been proposed.
said, that puppies began to be dogs at three months old, and people then made presents of them to their friends.
Clause agreed to.
Bill reported; as amended, to be considered upon Monday next.
Sugar Duties Bill—Bill 37
( Mr. Dodson, Mr. Hunt, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)
Consideration As Amended
Order for Consideration as amended read.
said, that when this Bill was last upon the Order of the Bay he stated that he was in hopes that he should be able to-night to state the exact day upon which the new scale of duties and drawbacks would come into force. Since then communications had been made to the other Powers that were parties to the Convention, and though France and Belgium had expressed their willingness to give effect to the arrangement at once, an unexpected difficulty had arisen with regard to Holland. At the Conference of September it was recorded in a Minute that the alterations should take place on the 1st of May, or at an earlier day, in case Great Britain should have sooner obtained legislative sanction for the modifications that would be required in her Customs duties. The Government, therefore, anticipated no delay on the part of other countries; but as the Declaration signed in November at Paris mentioned the 1st of May as the latest on which the alterations must come into effect, it was in the power of the Butch Government to delay the changes in her tariff to that date. Her Majesty's Government had that day learnt from the Hague that the 1st of April was the earliest day that the Government there could fix upon, and this only on certain conditions as to floating cargoes. Her Majesty's Government required a few day's time to confer with the other Powers who were parties to the Convention as to the effect of these conditions, and whether England could accede to them; but the House must understand that under no circumstances could the change be made before April I. On Monday he hoped to state whether that day would be fixed upon, or whether they must postpone the alteration until the latest day named in the Declaration—namely, May 1.
regretted the hitch which had taken place, and thought the Dutch had got the better of our Government considerably. He acknowledged the courtesy and attention shown in that matter by the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hunt); but he believed they would have these hitches occurring continually as long as the sugar duties continued in their present anomalous state.
Consideration, as amended, deferred till Monday next.
Parliamentary Reform— Representation Of The People
Order for Committee to consider the Act 2 & 3 Will. IV. c. 45, read.
asked, whether it was the intention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to bring forward his Reform Bill on Thursday next?
I stated on Tuesday that at the earliest moment I would state to the House the day on which I hoped to be able to bring forward the Reform Bill; and at that time I thought it was not improbable that on Thursday next it might be brought forward. I was not certain as to the day, and I said it was then impossible to bind myself to any particular day, but that I would give fair notice to the House; and I will give it fair notice.
Counsel To The Secretary Of State For India Bill—Bill 51
( Mr. Setwyn, Mr. Buxton, Mr. Coleridge.)
Order for Second Reading read.
in moving the second reading of this Bill, said, that as there was no notice of opposition from any quarter, he need not make any lengthened state- ment in introducing it. The Bill was rendered necessary by a recent decision of an Election Committee of that House, which had held that by the combined operation of the statute of Queen Anne, and that of 1858, transferring the dominion of India to the Crown, the person holding the office of Standing Counsel to the Secretary of State for India was precluded from sitting in that House. That exclusion did not apply to the Standing Counsel of the Admiralty, inasmuch as the late Mr. Phinn and the late Solicitor General both sat in the House while holding the office; and the present Counsel to the Admiralty (Mr. Huddleston) was then sitting in the House as Member for Canterbury; nor was it understood when the Act of 1858 passed, to apply to the holder of this very office, for its then holder, Mr. Wigram, sat at the time of its passing, and for some time afterwards, as Member for the University of Cambridge; and no one questioned his right to do so, while those who were intended to be excluded—that is, the Members of the Council, were expressly excluded by the Act. This exclusion was therefore at once an accident, and an anachronism. He would not dwell on the legal attainments or literary eminence of the learned Gentleman (Mr. Forsyth) who now held the office, lest he should be suspected of excessive partiality—he would rather rest his advocacy of this measure on the convenience of the House. On Friday last they had a long and interesting discussion on the construction of Indian treaties, and a question was soon to be brought forward respecting the tenure of land in India. These discussions, he believed, would become more frequent as our connection and commercial and social intercourse with India grew, and as the Native Princes came over, as he hoped they would, to this country, for education; and it was extremely desirable that a gentleman who, from his professional practice, must be familiar with the questions that would thus from time to time arise, should be a Member of that House, to supply the special information the House might desire. But he would put it on the still higher ground—advantage to the public service. It was an office the emoluments of which were not large, but which it was very desirable should be filled by a man of ability; and if in addition to the smallness of the salary, they were to say that its holder should be disqualified from that object of honourable ambition, a seat in that House, he was afraid the choice of the Secretary of State for India would be limited to a very narrow range. For these reasons he hoped the House would assent to the second reading of the Bill. The only objection he had ever heard to the measure was that it did not go far enough, and that there were a great many other cases of exclusion which might be properly dealt with. He would admit the force of that argument if the Bill were proposed by the Government, but he had confined himself to such a measure as he thought a private Member could carry; while he admitted there were other disqualifications that ought to be removed, and he would be ready to assist others in removing them.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."— [Mr. Selwyn.)
said, the learned Gentleman who at present filled that office would be an ornament to the House as a lawyer, a scholar, and a gentleman; but he objected to the Bill on principle. The learned Gentleman (Mr. Forsyth) had been returned for the borough of Cambridge; the question arose whether he could sit, and a Committee decided that he was excluded by the statute of Anne (the 6th Anne, c. 7, s. 55) The object of that Act was expressly to exclude persons holding places under the Crown—"placemen"—from the House of Commons. If that statute was not a wise one, repeal it altogether; but he did object to repealing it by piecemeal and in favour of an individual. If the learned Gentleman had a seat in that House, he doubted whether the noble Lord the Secretary of State for India would permit him to open his mouth. The case of the Solicitor to the Admiralty had been referred to; but that gentleman was appointed by the First Lord of the Admiralty, and not directly by the Crown, and when Mr. Wigram, the counsel for the East India Company, sat in the House, that company was distinct from the Crown. He thought it was not desirable to increase the number of placemen in that House, and he therefore moved that the Bill be read a second time this day six months.
seconded the Amendment.
Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six mouths."—( Mr. Serjeant Gaselee.)
Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
said, it seemed that the main objection of the hon. and learned Gentleman who moved the Amendment was not an objection to allowing the Counsel of the Secretary for India to be a Member of that House, but that this measure should be adopted in place of re-considering the statute of Anne, with a view to determining bow many other offices should be relieved from the existing disqualification; and no doubt it might be desirable to consider whether that Act might not be altered so as to enable persons, not under the direct influence of the Crown, to obtain seats in that House. There were two clauses in the statute of Anne of very different and distinct operation, the one requiring persons who took office under the Crown to go back to their constituents, and therefore effect a permanent exclusion from the House of Commons; and the other prescribing that certain offices should be disqualifications altogether from sitting in Parliament. The object of this distinction was to exclude those who were under the direct influence of the Crown; but the office now in question was not one of that description which could be said to place the holder under the direct influence of the Crown. The office of Counsel for the Secretary of State for India was held independently of the Secretary of State for the time being; and therefore not being under the direct influence of the Minister, or of those who exercised the patronage of the Crown, it was not one of those offices to which the argument founded upon the statute of Anne would apply. That being the case, it did not appear to be desirable that they should continue to exclude from a seat in the House a person who might be of great use in its deliberations. The holder of this particular office would have been enabled to sit in the House had not the Government of India been transferred from the Board of Control to the Crown; and yet the Board of Control was as much appointed under the influence of the Crown as the Secretary of State for India. It therefore seemed to him that this particular office was one from which the disqualification might well be removed. The Bill of the hon. and learned Member appeared to be a reasonable measure, and one that would add to the character and influence of the House.
said, it was not the President of the Board of Control who made the appointment to this office before the transfer of India to the Crown, but the Chairman of the East Indian Company, and he apprehended that the Secretary of State for India on entering office might appoint a new Standing Counsel. It was no doubt important to have the best information when they were discussing questions of Indian law or land tenure; but, at the same time, it would be very inconvenient to have the Standing Counsel getting up in the House to answer the Secretary of State, as might very well happen if this measure passed. If Mr. Forsyth were admitted to a seat, although counsel to the Secretary for India, what was to exclude Mr. Greenwood, of the Treasury? The Bill would altogether upset the principle of the statute of Anne; and if that was to be done they had better at once take the whole subject into consideration, and determine what placemen should be permitted to hold seats in the House.
submitted that the argument founded on the statute of Anne did not apply to the case. The real point seemed to him to be this—that it was of the utmost consequence that the India Office, which had to decide upon questions of the most enormous importance, should be able to secure the assistance of the very highest talent in the legal profession. Happily, in the present instance, they had a gentleman of great eminence; but if they laid or continued a penalty on the office, if they shut the door to a distinction which was not only the highest to which an Englishman could aspire, but in the particular instance of the legal profession led to all the highest awards of that profession, he apprehended that men of first-class talent would no longer be willing to accept the office. It seemed to him, therefore, that the balance of advantage lay in the removal of this disqualification, they argument for which rested rather upon old prejudices than on sound reason. He should therefore support the Bill.
objected to the Bill, on the ground that Parliament had formerly found it necessary to limit very narrowly the number of placemen who were allowed to hold seats in the House, and the present Bill was calculated to evade this wise precaution. The question had been deliberately decided when the Government of India was transferred from the Board of Control to a Secretary of State. The measure would, moreover, be attended with practical inconveniense. The Standing Counsel to the India Office was the confidential adviser to the Secretary of State for India; and it would be extremely inconvenient that a Member of the Opposition should hold that office and he in the secrets of the Government for India. Yet this was likely enough to happen if the gentleman who filled that position was suffered to sit in Parliament. The question was one of considerable importance; and, as it had been brought on unexpectedly, he trusted that his hon. Friend would not press it to a division in so thin a House.
in opposition to the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ayrton), maintained that there was never any intention to deprive the Standing Counsel to the India Office of the power of a seat in Parliament; that the exclusion had resulted accidentally from the Act of 1859. By that Act it was necessary that, within a few days after its enactment, a list of the establishment should be submitted to Her Majesty, and in that list appeared the officer in question. He (Sir James Fergusson) was a member of the Committee which had had to perform the painful duty of unseating Mr. Forsyth; but they had done so not because the patronage of the office had been transferred to the Crown, which would not have rendered it a new office under the Act of Anne, but because the sanction of the appointment by the Queen in Council, as one of the Establishment of the Secretary of State, had that effect. But there was no ground, in reason or precedent, why the holder of the office should not have a seat; and, indeed, after the transfer of the Government of India to the Crown, the Standing Counsel to the Court of Directors—who was continued in office—was allowed to sit without objection. Mr. Forsyth had been unseated under very peculiar circumstances; for until the petition was presented no person was aware that the learned Counsel was disqualified from sitting in that House by reason of the office he held. ["No, no!"] At all events, his predecessor had sat without objection for the University of Cambridge.
said, that of the five Secretaries of State three were assisted by Standing Counsel. The Standing Counsel to the Secretary of State for the Home Department was not able to sit in that House, and he did not see how the Standing Counsel to the Colonial and Indian Secretaries could have any better claim to sit there. As the course taken by the House on the present occasion would probably form a precedent, he thought it would be better to read the Bill a second time, and then refer the question to a Select Committee for careful consideration.
said, the real question before the House was, whether the Bill before them should be read a second time. His own belief was that had the attention of the House been drawn to the matter at the time the Act creating the office was passed, the Standing Counsel to the Secretary of State for India would have been permitted to sit in Parliament. What was the state of things? For many years before the passing of the Act there had been an office of Counsel to the India Board, and it had never been suggested that the person holding it was incapable of sitting in Parliament. Under the Act the office was retained, and it was now held that persons holding it could not sit. The office was the same, and the functions were the same; and therefore it could not have been the real intention of the Legislature that the holder of the office should be incapacitated from having a seat in that House. Parliament had frequently authorized persons holding office under the Crown to sit in the House of Commons. It must be recollected that the holder of the office in question only advised upon legal and not upon political questions. He hoped that the House would read the Bill a second time.
thought the question of so much importance that the House should not decide hastily upon the matter. In his opinion there were already too many placemen in the House. He moved the adjournment of the debate.
supported the second reading of the Bill, contending that there was no tangible objection to such an officer of the Crown sitting in the House, and that had it had his assistance at the time of the India Bill, he would have been able to have given it much information on the question then before it.
Motion made, and Question put, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—( [Mr. White.)
The House divided:—Ayes 34; Noes 58: Majority 24.
said, that he had voted for the adjournment because he thought the question was one of considerable importance and delicacy, and because he thought it would have been better to have the further discussion on the Bill before, instead of after, the second reading. The House, however, having decided otherwise, he would counsel his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Serjeant Gaselee) not to oppose the second reading any further, but to debate the matter as a constitutional question on the Motion for the Speaker's leaving the Chair.
Question, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question," put, and agreed to.
Main Question put, and agreed to.
Bill read a second time, and committed for Monday next.
Charity Funds And Estates Bill
On Motion of Mr. RICHARD YOUNC, Bill to invest in Municipal Corporations the management of their Charity Funds and Estates, ordered to be brought in by Mr. RICHARD YOUNG and Mr. WILLIAM EDWARD FORSTER.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 60.]
House adjourned at a quarter before Eleven o'clock.