House Of Commons
Thursday, 21st July, 1870.
MINUTES.] — NEW MEMBER SWORN — Julian Goldsmid, esquire, for Rochester.
SELECT COMMITTEE— Report—Steam Boiler Explosions [No. 370]: Pawnbrokers [No. 377].
SUPPLY— considered in Committee—CIVIL SERVICE ESTIMATES.
PUBLIC BILLS — Ordered — First Reading — Census (Scotland)* ; Corrupt Practices Acts Amendment* .
Second Reading—Matrimonial Causes and Marriage Law (Ireland)* ; Local Government Supplemental (No. 4) * ; Greenwich Hospital * .
Report of Select Committee—Factories and Workshops* [No. 378].
Committee—Pedlars' Certificates —R.P.; Sanitary Act (1866) Amendment* —R.P.
Committee— Report— Considered as amended—Sheriffs (Scotland) Act (1853) Amendment, &c.* .
Report—Factories and Workshops* [150–233].
Considered as amended—Elementary Education ; Army Enlistment ; Gun Licences .
Third Reading — Dublin City Voters Disfranchisement * ; Local Government Supplemental (No. 3)* , and passed.
Withdrawn—Steam Boilers Inspection * .
British Residents At Belize
said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, If the Colonial Office has received a Copy of any Memorial addressed to Lieutenant Governor Longden by any British residents at Belize, pray- ing for compensation for losses sustained by the irruption into the Colony of Indians under the command of a General in the Mexican Army; the amount of such claims, and if any determination has been come to thereupon; if any redress has been demanded of the Mexican Authorities; and what steps have been taken to prevent such outrages in the future?
, in reply, said: The memorial referred to by the hon. Member has been received. It is signed by 10 inhabitants of the Northern Province of British Honduras. The schedule of the estimated amount of their respective losses is given as nearly £36,000. Those who have embarked capital in British Honduras must always have known what were the risks to be encountered from the Indians, and that any charge which Her Majesty's Government might incur for the protection of the colonists must necessarily bear some moderate proportion to the population of the Colony and the interests requiring to be protected. The revenue, taxation, and expenditure of the Colony have been exclusively under the control of the Assembly. But the Assembly has refused to contribute any sum towards the military expenditure. My answer, then, to my hon. Friend's first Question must be that while Her Majesty's Government are willing to provide for some portion of the military expenditure, they could not propose to supply from Imperial funds compensation for loss of property exposed by its owners to risks to which, they must have known it must be subject. As to the second Question, the steps to procure redress are under the consideration of Her Majesty's Government. It is intended to station two companies of a West India Regiment at British Honduras; but the proportion in which the cost of maintaining them is to be divided between the Imperial Government and the Colony has not yet been settled.
Navy—Sale Of Stores At Woolwich Dockyard—Question
said, he wished to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty, Whether loss has not been incurred by recent sales of Government Stores at the Royal Dockyard, Woolwich; and, in particular, whether, on the 13th June last, "a self-acting curvilinear saw frame" (the recent cost of which to Her Majesty's Government was over £900) was sold for £70; and, that "two wrought-iron paddle-wheel shafts," weighing over 45 tons (the recent cost of which to Her Majesty's Government was over £500), were sold for £16 each; and, whether it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to continue such a sale of Government Stores?
Sir, in answer to the Question of the hon. Gentleman, I beg to say that a self-acting curvilinear saw frame, which originally cost about £800, was sold on the 13th of June last, at Woolwich, for £70; but the cost of its removal and re-erection will be at least £60, so that £130 will represent the cost to the purchaser. This machine was erected more than 20 years ago, is quite obsolete, and of a type rarely, if ever, seen out of a Government Yard. It was very doubtful whether anyone would bid for it, and the officers were only too glad to get the £70. Two! wrought-iron paddle-wheel shafts, weighing, not 45, but 22 tons, were sold for £16 each. They were returned many years ago from the Retribution, and were in such bad condition as to be perfectly useless for any other purpose than as old iron. Considering that all the good machinery had been removed from Woolwich to other yards, and that nothing was sold that was not obsolete and could not be used for the service, very excellent prices were obtained at the public sale there; prices, in fact, on the whole, greatly above the valuation, and which surprised both the auctioneer and the superintending Government officials. I may add that we have been equally fortunate at the sales at Deptford and Devonport, all the auctions having been largely attended, and the stores sold having brought prices exceeding our most sanguine expectations. In many cases the prime cost was approached, and in some even exceeded. The sum paid into the Exchequer at the close of the financial year I expect to be very large, and as everything has been retained which the officers reported might by any possibility be required for the public service, I feel confident that the House will be of opinion that a wise course has been followed.
said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether, in order to test by actual experiment at sea, the many novelties in the construction and also in the mode of arranging and placing the armament of the four new iron-clad ships of the "Vanguard" class, viz., "Vanguard," "Invincible," "Audacious," and "Iron Duke," it is his intention to send any of these vessels to sea on a trial cruise, or on the next cruise of the Channel Fleet?
Although I am sure, Sir, that the hon. Gentleman would not generally ask me what particular ships will be put in commission, I appreciate the object of his Question, and beg to inform him that one of those vessels will be put in commission shortly.
Vacant Judgeship In Chancery
said, he would beg to ask, Whether it is intended to complete the Court of Appeal in Chancery by filling up the vacancy caused by the death of Lord Justice Giffard, by whose death the country had sustained a great loss?
Sir, I join in the sentiment expressed by the hon. Gentleman as to the nature of the loss which the country has sustained by the death of Lord Justice Giffard, and it is the intention of the Government to fill up the vacancy which has thus occurred.
India—Old Bank Of Bombay
said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether the Indian Government intends to take action upon the Report of the Commissioners' Inquiry into the causes of the failure of the Old Bank of Bombay; and, with reference to the speech on the 27th March 1868 of the then Secretary of State for India, to ask the Under Secretary of State if he will now produce the Minutes recorded by Members of the Council of India relative to the failure of the Old Bank of Bombay?
Sir, my hon. Friend's principal Question appears to point to two kinds of action on the part of the Government—first, as to its policy with regard to the Presidency Banks; and, secondly, as to its policy with regard, to the misconduct of certain persons connected with the Old Bank of Bombay. As to the first of these kinds of action, I explained the policy of the Government in answer to a Question of my right hon. Friend the Member for North Devon (Sir Stafford Northcote), on the 17th of February last, and I can only repeat what I then said, namely—
As to the second kind of action, I regret that we have not seen, and do not see, our way to taking effective legal proceedings even against the persons most implicated in the unhappy transactions which led to the fall of the Old Bank of Bombay. We shall not oppose my hon. Friend if he thinks fit to move for the Papers about which he asks."The question for the Government now to consider is whether it should not withdraw from its position as a shareholder in the Presidency Banks, and we have asked the opinion of the Government of India on the whole matter, and especially as to the way in which it thinks our withdrawal could be effected with most advantage to the public and with least inconvenience to our fellow shareholders."—[3 Hansard, cxcix., 428.]
said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether it is true that a Prussian Man of War has lately visited La Guaica, and that in consequence of that visit, or subsequent to it, the Government of Venezuela have paid Prussian claims to the amount of about 50,000 dollars; and, further, whether information has been received at the Foreign Office that the United States Government are about to send ships of war to La Guaica to enforce the claims of American subjects?
said, in reply, that no information had been received at the Foreign Office that the Government of Venezuela had paid money over to the Prussian Government on account of certain claims, and he must observe to his hon. Friend that the Prussian Government was not in this respect a creditor of Venezuela. If there were any claims of that character against Venezuela it was on account of the detention of certain vessels; and information had been received from the Acting Chargé d'Affaires at La Guaica that three vessels of the Germanic Confederation had visited that port, but no official account had been received of the payment of the sum in question. As to the United States Government, it appeared that Mr. Fish had complained of the unpunctuality of Venezuela in paying her claims; had expressed the intention to insist on the fulfilment of her engagements, and had intimated that unless this was done the Governments concerned might think it advisable to send a few ships of war to La Guaica in order to show Venezuela that her engagements were not to be trifled with.
said, he wished to ask whether any steps were being taken by the Government to procure the payment of the large sum of money due from Venezuela to persons in this Country?
, in reply, said, the Government were taking all possible steps for the satisfaction of all such claims as they believed to be really due.
Spain—Choice Of A King—Prince Leopold Of Hohenzollern
It is necessary, Sir, that I should preface the Question which I have placed on the Notice Paper with a short explanatory statement, in order to make the Questions clear and intelligible; and, I may add, that I should not have put the Questions on the Notice Paper without having previously shown them to the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, who said there was no objection to their being put. The first Question has reference to the negotiations which led to the withdrawal of Prince Hohenzollern's nomination for the Crown of Spain. It is understood that the King of Prussia made that concession to France very reluctantly, under the advice of other Powers, and that one of those Powers was England—the advice being given, with the sanction and concurrence of France — avowedly in the interest of peace. ["Order!"] I am not going to say one word not strictly within the rules of the House. That object—the preservation of peace — not having been obtained, Prussia, if that nomination had not been withdrawn, and if it had been a cause of war between Prussia and France, would then have been in the position of having Spain for an ally; but now having made the concession of withdrawing the nomination of Prince Hohenzollern, and not having obtained the object of the concession—["Order!"]—I only wish to finish the sentence, and then my explanation will be at an end. I repeat that Prussia, not having obtained the object in view, by the withdrawal of the nomination of Prince Hohenzollern, the interposition of the other Powers had only operated as a cause of weakness to Prussia, inasmuch as it had deprived her of a sure ally. The first Question, then, I wish to put to my right hon. Friend at the head of the Government is, Whether the withdrawal of the nomination of Prince Hohenzollern was advised by England, and conceded by Prussia in the full expectation that by that concession France would be satisfied and war averted; and the second Question is one which in itself requires no explanatory statement. Intelligence has reached this country that within the last few days the Russian Government have communicated to France their disapproval of the declaration of war, and that in the event of war their sympathies will remain on the side of Prussia. ["Order, order!"] What I want to know is, whether any such communication has been sent by the Russian Government to the Government of France, and, if so, whether it was accompanied by an expression of opinion that the determination on the part of France to proceed to war after France had accepted the good offices of other Powers, and Prussia had made the concession recommended by those Powers, was a departure from the general understanding by which the Emperor of the French ought in honour and good faith to have considered himself bound?
said, he would also beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, If the Government have any information, other than that furnished by the newspapers, of the existence of a secret Treaty between France and Denmark; and if at any time within the last six months, they are aware that any formal proposal of mutual disarmament has been made by France to Prussia and refused by the latter Power, as stated by certain French and English journals?
Sir, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Liskeard was kind enough to show me in manuscript the Questions which he put on the Notice Paper, and I stated that I thought he might, according to his discretion, put them, and I would give the best answer I could; but the right hon. Gentleman did not mention to me that it was his intention to preface them.
said, that he made the statement to explain the Questions.
What I said was that the right hon. Gentleman did not mention his intention to preface his Questions by an explanation in the House to which I now refer; because, though it is, indeed, no part of my duty to refer to the explanation, yet, at the same time, the House could not expect that I should pass it over in silence. With respect to the Questions put on the Notice Paper by the right hon. Gentleman, the first is an inquiry as to the expectations by which the King of Prussia was induced to advise the withdrawal of the Prince of Hohenzollern's nomination for the Crown of Spain. Having considered that Question, I come to the conclusion that we have no knowledge ourselves of the degree in which the right hon. Gentleman's words would be borne out that the King of Prussia was induced to withdraw the nomination of the Prince, nor have we any precise knowledge of the expectations by which the King of Prussia was induced to act as he has done beyond that which is supplied by the Papers to be laid upon the Table of the House to-morrow. My right hon. Friend will then be able to judge whether the answer now given on the part of the Government is a just and reasonable one. With regard to the second Question, relating to the Governments of Russia and Austria, I do not think that we have precise official information of every step taken up to the latest moment by the Governments of Russia and Austria. We have sufficient information to be justified in believing that both those Powers used their best efforts, not only with one but with both the parties to the present unhappy war, in the interest of peace. Then, with regard to the Question of the hon. Member for Salisbury (Mr. A. Seymour), as to whether the Government had any information other than that furnished by the newspapers of the existence of a secret Treaty between France and Denmark, and whether, within the last six months, we are aware that any formal proposal of dis- armament has been made by France to Prussia, and refused by the latter Power, as stated by certain French and English journals, I have to say that we have no information whatever on the subject of a secret Treaty between France and Denmark, and have not the slightest reason to believe in the existence of any such Treaty. All the information we have would go to disprove its existence, so far as we are justified in forming a conclusion on the subject. The latter part of the Question I might answer in the briefest terms, for as far as we know no formal representation has been made by France to Prussia for mutual disarmament; but that is not the whole truth, for it is true that communications were carried on through Lord Clarendon with France and Prussia on the subject; but of those communications there was no official record, and as they were carried on confidentially by Lord Clarendon on behalf of both parties, I am disposed to think, even if there had been any official record of them—and in this opinion Lord Granville concurs — that we should not be entitled in courtesy to divulge them.
Army—Deputy Commissary General Lundy—Question
said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, Whether it is his intention to appoint Deputy Commissary General Lundy to be a Deputy Controller over the present Assistant Controllers, whose Commissions in the Control Department are dated the 1st of January 1870; and, if so, whether such a step would not endanger the position of the Assistant Controllers, and be in contravention of Article 12 of the Royal Warrant, dated the 12th of November 1869?
Sir, on the first formation of the Department, Mr. Lundy I was appointed Acting Deputy Controller at Jamaica, to introduce the new system there. As the force in Jamaica is to be reduced, Jamaica will not be a Deputy Controller's station; but upon the occurrence of a suitable vacancy Mr. Lundy's services will be transferred to it, and his acting appointment rendered permanent.
Army—Retirement By Sale Of Commission, Circular 220, 1862—Question
said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, Whether his attention has been called to the Horse Guards Circular 220, of the 2nd September 1862, by which
and, whether he sees any good reason wiry that Order should not be rescinded, and Officers who have contracted mortal disease in the service of their Country should not be permitted to realize the value of their Commissions for the benefit of their wives and families?"No application from any Officer to retire from the Service by the sale of his Commission is, under any circumstances, to be entertained unless the application be accompanied by a Military Medical Certificate of the state of health of the Officer who desires to retire;"
The object, Sir, of the regulation is to secure to non-purchase officers that they shall not be deprived of the intended number of commissions. In 1867 the attention of my Predecessor was called by Captain Hayter to a case in which it was supposed that a sale had been effected in violation of the rule, and he pledged himself to take steps to prevent in future an arrangement prejudicial to the interest of the non-purchasing officers. I am not prepared to depart from this engagement.
Army—Capitation To Volunteers
said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, as to his new proposal for Volunteer Capitation Grant, May any eight out of the Officers and non-Commissioned Officers of a Company earn for it £2 10s. each; if more than eight are sufficiently qualified, will no more be given; is the £2 10s. additional to the 20s. or 30s. earned at present; and, in the case of consolidated battalions, say of eight Companies, will it be enough that any sixty-four Officers and non-Commissioned Officers of that battalion so qualify themselves, and may Field Officers be included?
The eight officers and non-commissioned officers to whom the power of earning an additional £2 10s. for the corps is intended to apply are the captain, lieutenant, ensign, and five sergeants. It is intended to be in addition to the present capitation grant, so that an officer who complies with the conditions may earn £4. I may add that I have already made arrangements with the Artillery Volunteers for enabling 100 officers and 1,000 privates to go into camp at Shoeburyness, and that I am prepared to consider with the Rifle Volunteers arrangements for enabling a certain number of officers and men of that arm the better to practise in camps.
Army—Military Labour—Report Of Committee—Question
said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, Whether the Committee which he stated last February had been appointed by His Royal Highness the Commander in Chief, composed of competent Officers, to draw up Regulations for extending the system of "Military Labour to Military Works," have made any Report; and, if so, if he has any objection to lay it upon the Table of the House?
Before making their final Report detailed examination has been necessary in the different corps to ascertain the qualifications of the men proposed to be established instructors. It is hoped that, when all the Reports have been received, the Committee will be enabled to recommend a system by which every man in the Army who wishes to work at a trade may obtain employment.
Army—Examination For Direct Commissions By Purchase
said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, Whether his attention has been directed to the case of several young gentlemen at present on His Royal Highness's the Field Marshal Commanding in Chiefs list for direct commissions by purchase, who not having attained the age requisite (17 years) prior to presenting themselves for examination on the 25th instant, are precluded from presenting themselves for examination on that day, and consequently will be prevented from ever hereafter receiving a commission in the Army, as by the Horse Guards rule, when all those who shall have successfully passed the coming examination have received their commissions, the new rule greatly limiting the age of future candidates will come into operation, excluding all now on the list who have not passed on the 25th, and whether under these exceptional circumstances, the Secretary of State for War will permit such young gentlemen as are now prepared to present themselves for examination, and are at present on His Royal Highness's list, to be examined on the 25th of July, notwithstanding their not having attained the age of 17 years by that day?
Sir, it is a mistake to say that they are excluded, since the Regulation says—
How soon there will be another examination will depend on the number who succeed at the first, and on the requirements of the Service. Due consideration will be given to those already on the list, who, in case the absorption goes on rapidly enough to create vacancies, will have the first claim."Candidates, whose names are on His Royal Highness's list, but who will not be old enough for examination in July next, will remain on the list; but owing to the number who will most probably qualify for commissions, and who will have to be provided for, there will be no further examination for commissions in the cavalry and infantry of the Line for a considerable length of time after July next, before the expiration of which period revised Regulations for examination will be issued."
said, he would hog to ask, If there would be another examination before the new Rules come into operation?
The new Rules will come into operation after the examination to be held on the 25th instant.
Army—Staff Sergeants Of Irish Militia—Question
said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, Whether, having regard to the present condition of affairs on the Continent, he does not think it expedient to reconsider his recent order for the reduction of one-half of the Sergeants on the Staff of Irish Militia Regiments?
No sergeants on the Staff of the Irish Militia regiments have been reduced. What has been done is this—a rule has been laid down that, until there shall be a prospect of calling out the Irish Militia, on vacancies occurring in the permanent Staff for one sergeant in each company, those vacancies shall not be filled up. The answer therefore, is that as soon as there shall be a prospect of calling out the Irish Militia, the vacancies in question will be filled up.
Water To Animals In Transit
said, he wished to ask the Vice President of the Council, Whether the Privy Council have received any information as to the working of the Order in Council of May last relating to the supply of Water to Animals when in transit by Rail?
Sir, there are now upwards of 300 railway stations in Great Britain at which water is provided, and many others are having the necessary works constructed, so as to provide a supply. There are other railway stations at which water has not been provided, especially in Scotland. In addition, 271 local authorities have already been invited by a circular sent round by the veterinary department of the Privy Council Office to suggest other stations, and the remaining 132 will be communicated with in the course of a few days. As the matter is one of some interest, I may read an extract from the Report of Professor Simonds, respecting arrangements made by the Great Eastern Railway, dated July 7, 1870—
"With regard to the general question of watering animals, it may be stated that almost every station-master whom I saw during the several days of my inspection spoke of the great advantages of the system and the evident benefit derived by the animals from its adoption. Instead of being restless, as heretofore, when in the pens or the reception yards, many would lie down and quietly rest after having had a supply of water. It was further remarked that dealers and persons who had opposed the introduction of the system had now become its advocates, from having had practical proof of its benefits."
Neutral Condition Of Luxembourg—Question
said, he would beg to ask the First Lord, of the Treasury, Whether he has received satisfactory assurances from the Governments of France and Prussia relative to their respecting the neutral condition of Luxembourg? He hoped he might be allowed to state, in explanation of his Question, that with respect to the conditions on which the neutrality of Belgium and the neutrality of Luxembourg reposed there was a certain difference. He could have no doubt as to the position in which we stood with respect to Belgium, because each Power had entered into a separate individual Treaty, binding itself to guarantee Belgium's neutrality, so that if one, two, three, or more Powers failed in their duty the other Powers would still be as imperatively bound in honour to do theirs. But that with respect to Luxembourg the Treaty entered into was a collective one. It bound all the parties who signed it; but Lord Stanley stated at the time that if any of these parties violated this joint obligation the question might then arise as to whether its full responsibility would fall on the remaining ones. He did not agree with this view; still it made it very important to know whether Prussia and France, in the present condition of affairs, had declared they would abide by their collective engagement.
asked a similar Question in regard to Belgium.
I will answer the Question put to me by my right hon. Friend, but I think the House will agree with me that it is not desirable I should refer to the statement he has made. I should wish, deliberately and advisedly, not to make myself a party to any difference that may arise. But with respect to his Questions I hope the answer I have to give will be satisfactory. I will at the same time answer the Question of the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Heygate). There is another country which, though not the subject of European guarantee like Belgium, must necessarily be the subject of very great interest—I mean Holland—and I may state that we have received assurances which are satisfactory in the fullest sense of the word with regard to Luxembourg, Belgium, and Holland. Both the parties to the war have expressed their earnest desire and full intention to respect their neutrality—it being always understood, necessarily and justly, that a country like Belgium is disposed to assert and maintain its neutrality, and that it has not been violated by the other belligerent. It is but fair that I should state that, because I must not give the answer broader than it really is; but I am bound to say it is as broad, full, and satisfactory as could be expected.
France And Prussia—Neutral Vessels—Question
said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, If Neutral Vessels will be interrupted in their trade with France and the North German Confederation; if so, what time will be granted for sailing to and from belligerent ports; within what distance of British and Colonial Coasts and Harbours capture or seizure by either of the belligerent Powers will be considered legal; and, if it is intended to define what Merchandize is contraband of war, in order thereby to avoid many of the complications which arose during the American Civil War; and, if Coal conveyed to non-blockaded ports will be legal traffic?
Sir, the Questions on the Notice Paper which have been put by my hon. Friend, and two other Questions of which he has given me private Notice, are of very great importance; and I must ask permission to preface my replies with two observations. In the first place, without in the slightest degree finding fault with my hon. Friend in putting his Questions, I must venture generally to express a hope that as far as possible, and for the better security of those who are interested in mercantile transactions affected directly by the war, it is advisable that they should depend on written rather than spoken answers—a written answer being always in their hands for reference and guidance. The other remark I have to make is this—that my hon. Friend will recollect that I cannot pretend to speak with any authority for the conduct or views or intentions of any Government except our own; and with regard to the views this Government take of points of law arising in connection with the position and duties of Neutrals, they must never be understood to lay down rules of law as binding on other Powers, or undertake to speak for other Powors. The first Question of my hon. Friend is—
Upon that subject I do not know that the information in our possession is absolute and final. It has come in two documents by telegram, which, if he pleases, I will read in the terms in which I received them. Of course, they are of the same authority as if they had been received by despatch. I have no reason to doubt them—"If Neutral Vessels will be interrupted in their trade with France and the North German Confederation; if so, what time will be granted for sailing to and from belligerent ports?"
"Paris, July 21, 10 a.m.
"The following, dated yesterday, appears in the official part of the Journal Officiel of to-day:—With regard to the enemy's merchant vessels which are now in the ports of the Empire, or which may enter them in ignorance of the state of war, His Majesty has been pleased to order that they should be allowed a period of 30 days to quit those ports. Safe conducts will be given to them to enable them to enter freely the ports to which they belong ( ports d'attache) or to sail direct to their port of destination. Vessels which shall have shipped cargoes for French ports and on French account in the ports of the enemy or of neutrals previous to the declaration of war are not subject to capture. They may freely discharge their cargoes in the ports of the Empire, and receive safe conducts to return to the ports to which they belong ( ports d'attache).'"
That is on the part of France. This is a telegraphic despatch that relates to the other party to the war—
"Ministry of Commerce, Trade, and public Works.
"Official Telegraphic Despatch.
"The Ministry of Commerce to the Presidents of Königsberg, Stettin, Hanover, and Kiel.
"The Federal Council has decided that in the event of the outbreak of war with France, French merchant vessels which may happen to be in German ports at the commencement of the war, or which may enter such ports before they shall have been informed of the outbreak of war, will be permitted to remain in the ports in which they may find themselves for a period of six weeks, reckoned from the day of the outbreak of war, and to take in or discharge their cargoes as the case may be."
That is all the information which is in our actual possession; but I do not doubt that the proceedings of those two great, powerful, and highly civilized States with reference to Neutrals and the transactions of commerce will be directed by liberal principles. With respect to the next Question—
"Within what distance of British and Colonial Coasts and Harbours capture or seizure by either of the belligerent Powers will be considered legal?"
I presume that the three-mile limit is that which will be applicable to the decision of these questions; but I believe the right in all cases of decision is with the Prize Court of the capturing Power. My hon. Friend next asks—
"Whether it is intended to define what Merchandize is contraband of war, in order thereby to avoid many of the complications which arose during the American Civil War; and if Coal conveyed to non-blockaded ports will be legal traffic?"
In answer to the first part of that Question, I have to say that it is not intended on the part of Her Majesty's Government to define what merchandize is contraband of war. As far as I can answer that would be a task too difficult to undertake by any general definition. There are some articles which from their character are easily pronounced to be contraband of war, but there are others which, though of vital importance in carrying on belligerent operations, can only have their character defined by the circumstances of the case. But it may be as well that I should read to the House a Letter that was written from the Foreign, Office by the direction of Lord Malmesbury on the 18th of May 1859. It contains the view which Her Majesty's Government of that day held, and that view we have seen no reason to change, especially as far as it relates to the subject of coal. The letter is addressed to Messrs. Smith and Gregory, and is as follows—
"Foreign Office, May 18, 1859.
"Gentlemen,—I am directed by the Earl of Malmesbury to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 18th inst., requesting to be informed whether, under the Proclamation lately issued by Her Majesty, there is any restriction to British ships loading coals and proceeding therewith to French ports, and I am to state to you, in reply, that Her Majesty's Proclamation does not specify, and could not properly specify, what articles are or are not contraband of war, and that the passages therein referring to contraband are intended not to prohibit the exportation of coal or any other article, but to warn Her Majesty's subjects that if they do carry, for the use of one belligerent, articles which are contraband of war, and their property be captured by another belligerent, Her Majesty's Government will not undertake to interfere in their favour against such capture or its consequences. I am to add that the Prize Court of the captor is the competent tribunal to decide whether coal is or is not contraband of war, and that it is obviously impossible for the Government of Her Majesty, as a neutral Sovereign, to anticipate the result of such decision. It appears, however, to Her Majesty's Government, that, having regard to the present state of naval armaments, coal may in many cases be rightly held to be contraband of war, and, therefore, that all who engage in this traffic must do so at a risk from which Her Majesty's Government cannot relieve them.
"Messrs. Smith and Gregory."
I have also been asked whether the Proclamation of Neutrality issued by Her Majesty's Government is based upon law, or whether it is merely intended to act as a guide to Her Majesty's subjects. As far as I am aware, the Proclamation is strictly based upon law, and quotes, as my hon. Friend will see, the provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Act. It is possible, if the foreign enlistment be extended, though I will not say whether it will be necessary, that the provisions of that Act may be embodied in a separate Proclamation.
Army—Military Surgeons At French And Prussian Head Quarters
said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, Whether he intends to request permission for a British Military Surgeon of experience to be attached to the head quarters of the French and Prussian Armies for the purpose of studying and reporting upon the effects of the more recent inventions of modern warfare, and the most approved methods of transporting sick and wounded Men during rapid movements of Troops? He would also beg to ask whether the statement in the leading article of The Times that morning was correct, that Her Majesty's Government had refused permission to Officers on half or on full pay to proceed to the seat of war; and, if so, what were the reasons that had led to that decision?
Sir, the Director General of the Army Medical Department has called my attention to the importance of the measure suggested by my hon. and gallant Friend, and I will endeavour to carry it into effect. In answer to the second Question, I have to say that, in laying down as a general ride that such permission should not be given, I believe Her Majesty's Government have pursued the course adopted on former occasions. I am aware that, in former cases, exceptions have been made; but, in the present instance, Her Majesty's Government have thought it right to adhere to the general rule, and have not felt themselves at liberty to make any exception.
Mr Layard And The Prince Of Hohenzollern—Question
said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether there is any foundation for a statement which appeared in the "Daily News" of Tuesday last, to the effect that Mr. Layard was aware of the candidature of Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern, and spoke to M. Mercier on the subject before the action of the French Government in the matter, but did not communicate this important information to the Foreign Office until it had learnt it from other quarters?
replied that the first official notification of the candidature of Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern that came from Mr. Layard was on the 9th instant; but the candidature had been a matter of notoriety before. He might state that on the 11th of May Mr. Layard, in a despatch, spoke of the probable candidature of a Gorman Prince, and stated what he thought would be its effect upon the relations between France and Spain.
Exportation Of Horses
said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether the attention of Her Majesty's Government has been called to the number of Horses which are being purchased in this Country by Foreign Agents and being shipped to the Continent; and, whether it is intended to put a stop to this export?
We have heard, Shy that there is at present a considerable export of horses going on. That export, I believe, is much more brisk at this than at other seasons of the year. It may possibly be more brisk now than it would usually be at this season; but we do not see any reason, under the circumstances, for any interference.
said, he wished to ask the First Commissioner of Works, Whether there is any sufficient reason for closing the gates of Richmond Park at so early an hour as nine o'clock?
replied that the authority to determine when the gates were to be opened or closed was exercised by His Royal Highness the Ranger, and he (Mr. Ayrton) had no right to interfere. If the inhabitants of the neighbourhood felt aggrieved, the best course would be to present a notification of their views and wishes to His Royal Highness, who, no doubt, would give them proper consideration.
Parliament—Business Of The House—Bills Affecting The Clergy—Question
said, he would beg to ask the hon. Member for South-west Lancashire, Whether he intends to proceed with the Sequestration Bill to-night? He also wished to ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in the present exhausted state of the House and of the Session, they will not consider whether it may not be well to postpone to next Session many of those Bills affecting the Clergy, some of which were printed and some not?
said, in reply, that if the Sequestration Bill had been brought down to this House in the state in which it had been originally introduced to the notice of Parliament, it would not have been in his hands; but, as he understood that the objectionable features of the Bill had been removed, he had taken charge of it. Having, at the request of the Solicitor General, hitherto postponed taking the Bill, he would like to put it down for Monday, and then he would state what course he would take.
said, he wished to ask, with regard to two of the Bills to which the right hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley) had referred, the Union of Benefices Bill and the Resignation of Benefices Bill, whether Her Majesty's Government, in deference to an opinion generally entertained in the House, does not think it would be expedient, after communicating with the promoters of the Bills, to state on Monday next that they would consent to postpone them to another Session?
I hope on Monday next to be able to give the answer required.
Strangers Ordered To Withdraw
, addressing Mr. Speaker, said, he saw Strangers present.
Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER ordered Strangers to withdraw.
Elementary Education Bill—Bill 218—Consideration
( Mr. W. E. Forster, Mr. Secretary Bruce.)
Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment [19th July] proposed to be made on Consideration of the Elementary Education Bill, as amended in the Committee, and which Amendment was,
To insert in the Second Schedule, page 37, line 10, after the words "provided that any poll shall be taken by ballot," the words "in accordance with the principles upon which a poll is taken under 'The Metropolis Management Act, 1855.'"—(Mr. William, Edward Forster.)
Question again proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
defended himself against any imputation that he wished to impede the progress of the Bill, and said that the proposal of the Government would give the Ballot only in name, and would make it as ridiculous as the hon. Member for West Essex (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbotson) said he wished to make it when he proposed the insertion of the word "open." The right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council had spoken of those words as having been accepted on both sides of the House; but he should like to know who had expressed an opinion favourable to them except the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert), and the right hon. Member for South Hampshire (Mr. Cowper-Temple), the latter of whom was opposed to the Ballot, while the former seemed to have a facility for suggesting compromises which were considered untenable by hon. Members sitting in that portion of the House, but which were commonly accepted by the Government. The present Amendment, however, was suggested not by the hon. Member for Oldham, but by the hon. Member for Boston (Mr. Collins), who would frankly admit that his intention was to make the Ballot as ridiculous as it was the intention of the hon. Member for West Essex to have made it. The Act was passed at the time when Lord Palmerston was Leader of the House, and at the time when the anti-Ballot party was in a majority in the House; and it was never intended to give the Ballot and to provide for secret voting. The working of the Act in London had certainly not developed anything like what was known as the Ballot; and the very fact that the churchwardens were to nominate the Inspectors under the Act was a very strong reason for regarding the application of it to elections under the Education Bill with suspicion; not that churchwardens would take any unfair advantage of the powers intrusted to them, but in people's minds they would naturally be associated with the Church, and in that way the religious difficulty would be imported into the elections. With regard to the nature of the Ballot which would be established under the alteration which the Government wished to adopt, it was a secret Ballot only in the sense that the Ballot for places in the Ladies' Gallery were secret. Coloured papers were continually used in order to give facility to terrorism. The right hon. Gentleman said it would be his business to improve the working of the old Act. Why, then, put down the words which were on the Paper, for the insertion of which there was no necessity whatever. He believed there had been an agreement arrived at between the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert) and the right hon. Baronet the Member for Droitwich (Sir John Pakington), and that that explained the course which had now been taken. He (Sir Charles Dilke) had never been one of those who asked for the insertion of the Ballot in that Bill; but if the Government had decided to give that security to the country, it was of the greatest importance that the Ballot should not degenerate into a sham. Hon. Gentlemen opposite, in opposing the insertion of any words in regard to the Ballot, used the ordinary argument that it was un-English and sneaking. But he would call their attention to the fact that all the supposed disadvantages of the Ballot would be as certain to occur under the form now proposed, while those advantages which so many hoped for—such as security against intimidation—would have no chance of being secured.
denied that there was the slightest foundation for the statement made by the hon. Baronet that there was an understanding between the hon. Member for Oldham and himself.
said, that what led to his suggestion was this—that the other night, after 10 or 11 Divisions on the present subject, it struck him that it would be well if some steps were taken to get rid of the opposition of hon. Gentlemen opposite; and it appeared to him that this might easily be done if they confined themselves to principles already embodied in an Act of Parliament—namely, the Metropolis Local Management Act. He had had no consultation whatever with hon. Gentlemen opposite. Shortly after he had made his suggestion the Government expressed their readiness to act on it. The Government, not having decided to omit the Ballot, or adopt what was called a perfect Ballot, had no other course open to them but that which they were now taking. For his part, though a friend to the Ballot, he thought more of the Education Bill than of the Ballot, and if it was necessary to sink the Ballot he would do so rather than sink the Education Bill. It had been said the Ballot of Mr. Hob-house's Act was not worth having; but, whatever might be done in Chelsea or elsewhere, there could be no doubt that if the conditions of the Act were complied with anybody that liked might secure perfect secresy, those who might try to contravene it being subject to a penalty of not more than £50, and not less than £10. It was not fair to leave to the Education Department, as the hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke) wished to do, the determination of the mode by which the Ballot should be taken, for it was quite possible they would then be one day calling the representatives of the Department to account. Ear better was it to legislate according to a principle already embodied in an Act of Parliament.
, said, this was the 21st night of the Education Bill, and he would beg their attention while he explained why the Government had adopted the Ballot question at all in this Bill, and also why he had introduced certain qualifying words. It was not the wish of the Government to raise any other question by the side of such an important one as that of Education; but hon. Members would recollect that during the debate on the second reading many observations were made as to the mode in which elections were likely to be held in the country. He then explained why the Government proposed to introduce the Ballot into this Bill—namely, in order to afford the utmost possible security that the Board which would have to deal with the education of the children should be freely elected by the parents. To insure that being done they struck out the provision relating to plural voting and they introduced the Ballot, and hon. Members ought not to be surprised that the Government had in that way fulfilled their promise. At a later stage his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department alluded to the fact that vote by Ballot was in the Bill, and it was on that understanding that the House went into Committee on the measure. The first re-printed Bill contained clauses providing how the Ballot should be put in operation; but great changes were made subsequently, one of which was the result of an Amendment by the noble Lord the Member for the West Biding (Lord Frederick Cavendish) by which the Committee adopted with unanimity the principle of the cumulative vote. The Government had then to decide whether they would, in a great hurry, draw up a scheme for the working of the Ballot together with the cumulative vote, or whether they would ask to be intrusted with power to provide a plan in their discretion. They drew up clauses which would probably have carried out the views of the Government and have given satisfaction to the House, yet they felt that it would be dangerous to deal with such a difficult matter in so short a time as they had at their disposal. He (Mr. Forster) therefore, gladly accepted an Amendment of the hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke), who thought that discretion should be given for one year to the Government to make regulations about the Ballot which was to be adopted. There was, however, another remark he might make in reference to the question of the Ballot. When they first proposed to adopt the Ballot in reference to this measure, it seemed certain that during the present Session that question would have been settled by Parliament upon its merits. That was, he knew, an argument against the action which the Government had taken, and although his saying so might seem to give an advantage to his opponents, yet he thought it would be the best policy to state the case fairly. When, however, it became doubtful whether the Ballot question itself would be settled this Session, they considered whether they ought to strike it out of this Bill; but the Government felt they could not do so—firstly, because of the pledge they had given on educational grounds to introduce the Ballot; and, secondly, because the metropolitan Boards would be elected under a system the principle of which was already voting by Ballot. They, however, thought it was their duty to prejudge the question as little as possible, and they, therefore, proposed that their regulations as to a Ballot should last for one year only. These were the reasons why the Government had adopted the Ballot, and they had since introduced the qualifying words in order to meet a suggestion which was made by the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert) and accepted by several hon. Members opposite, and which seemed to carry out the object which the Government had in view—namely, that the poll should be taken upon the principle of the Metropolis Local Management Act. That principle he understood to be that a Ballot should be taken by means of papers, containing the names of those candidates for whom the electors voted being put into a Ballot-box. His hon. Friend (Sir Charles Dilke) had called that "a sham Ballot;" but he (Mr. Forster) maintained that it was not so. It was established by the 1 & 2 Will. IV., commonly called Hob-house's Act; it was made use of at Maryport; and in reference to its adoption there, Mr. Francis Taylor, of Manchester, the chairman of the Liberal Association of that city, had been examined. When he was asked—"Does it secure secresy?" he replied—"Yes, certainly." That was the evidence of a gentleman who had paid great attention to the system, which was the foundation of the Ballot as carried out in South Australia. He had himself seen the plan in operation. No one know the object of his visit, and it was clear to him that, if he pleased, any voter could insure secresy. The mode in which he saw an election carried on was this—On a table in the room where the voting occurred there was an official list containing the names of the candidates. Several gentlemen and some ladies, who voted in his presence, entered the room, and, without anybody being able to see what they did, they struck off the papers which they received the names of those for whom they did not wish to vote; those papers were then folded up and put into a Ballot-box, and he defied anybody to find out how those persons voted. Some others came in with coloured papers which showed how they were going to vote; but it was evident that no one cared whether the voting should be secret or open, for there was no excitement; but that was no fault of the plan, while nothing could be easier than to make a regulation to the effect that none but the official voting papers should be used. He had, on behalf of the Education Department, to solve the very difficult question as to what kind of Ballot ought ultimately to be adopted in reference to the election of Boards. There appeared to be two kinds of Ballot—in one the voter might have secresy if he pleased; but in the other secret voting was compulsory, and it was because he understood his hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke) and those who thought like him, to mean that secresy in the election of Boards ought to be of the compulsory kind, that he felt it would not be desirable for the Government to be hampered with that condition. He, however, maintained that the plan on which the election of vestrymen in the metropolis was conducted was one by which the voter might secure secresy if he pleased, and therefore the hon. Member for Oldham was right in saying that there was no sham or deception about that system. He submitted that the Government had not gratuitously imported the question of the Ballot into this Bill, while it was due to his own personal character to say that in proposing a particular form of Ballot he did not intend to be any party to a deception. The Government made this proposition for only one year. In conclusion, he appealed to hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House, and to his hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke) whether, after the explanation he had given them, they would not allow the Bill to proceed.
said, the suggestion did not originally come from the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert). He (Mr. Collins) objected on all occasions to increasing the power of the Executive, his maxim being rather to cripple it. He did not like a set of clerks prescribing to the country the mode in which they were to be governed. There was no constitutional objection at first, when clauses were proposed to be inserted embodying the mode of Ballot to be adopted, nor was there any objection on that ground when the hon. Member for Oldham suggested a mode authorized by an Act of Parliament. He regarded it as unfortunate that the Ballot had been introduced into this Bill, for he did not doubt that had the House passed the Parliamentary Elections Bill, the adoption of the Ballot in reference to the election of education Boards would have been a natural consequence.
said, he had no hesitation as to the course he should pursue after the explanation of his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council. The settlement now proposed would in no way interfere with what should be done next year when they came to deal with Parliamentary and municipal elections. All that was now proposed was such a mode of election as should be accurate and efficient to meet the necessity of the case. He should vote with the Government.
said, he was not satisfied that the ratepayers in the rural districts would have what was promised to them by the right hon. Gentleman — sufficient protection. It was said this was a temporary measure, and would not in any way govern the future application of the Ballot to Parliamentary and municipal elections. But they should now either have a real and honest Ballot or none at all; and he would be content to see the Ballot struck out of the Bill altogether rather than have the proposal now submitted to them carried into law. It would give no protection whatever. In rural districts it would leave matters very much in the hands of the churchwardens. There was nothing to prevent them from determining that the votes for the clergyman's candidates should be on red paper and the Dissenting minister's candidates on blue paper. [Mr. W. E. FORSTER: That will be prevented by our regulations.] He would then ask why the regulations were not put in their Amendment. He did not wonder that the hon. Member for Boston (Mr. Collins) was in favour of the Amendment. In fact, out-of-doors it was called "Collins's Patent Open Voting Ballot." He should be no party to such an arrangement. They would either have a Ballot that would give security or no Ballot at all.
insisted that protection would be given to voters by the proposal of his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council.
said, that some Gentlemen scorned to think that the rural districts were the proper ground for ex-perimentalizing with respect to the Ballot. For himself, he could not see why these districts should be selected more than the town districts. Such a proposal was based upon the old squire and parson argument, which had long ago been exploded. He himself believed that an unfounded prejudice existed against the parsons and squires, and the idea of trying the Ballot in the rural districts as an experiment was based upon that prejudice. He protested against such a procedure.
observed that the position in which they found themselves was not a very agreeable one, owing to the course which had been pursued by the Government. If it was the case, as had been stated by the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council, that the metropolis was the only place in which there would be an election within a limited period, it might have been sufficient to provide that it should be held under the conditions of the present law. But they were now in a different position. The right hon. Gentleman did not ask them to adopt the Act in force in the metropolis, but something which he believed to be in accordance with the principles of that Act. The right hon. Gentleman not only asked them to grant larger powers than he thought ought to be accorded to any Education Department, but wanted to select what constituencies he pleased and to impose upon them what rules he pleased. He found himself, therefore, compelled, though entirely disagreeing from the opinions of the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Charles Dilke), to support his Motion in preference to that proposed by the right hon. Gentleman.
The House divided:—Ayes 185; Noes 115: Majority 70.
, with a view to preventing a secret candidate being foisted upon any district and carried without the knowledge of the ratepayers, moved an Amendment, requiring that public notice should be given of the nomina- tion of a candidate seven days before taking the poll.
In the Second Schedule, page 37, at end of first paragraph, to add the words "but no person shall be elected unless he shall have been proposed for election in the manner prescribed by such regulations, and public notice of his nomination shall have been published by the officer appointed to conduct such election, not less than seven clear days before the day appointed for taking the poll."—(Mr. Cawley.)
Question proposed, "That those words be there added."
said, he hoped his hon. Friend would not press his Amendment, remembering mat this power was given to the Education Board only for one year. He would bear the suggestion in mind, in order to prevent any election being made without proper publicity.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
moved, Fifth Schedule, after "Marylebone," insert "Paddington, Saint Pancras." The noble Lord observed that, by adopting the Parliamentary divisions of the metropolis, they would be placing the election of school Boards in the hands of those who managed the Parliamentary elections. The borough of Marylebone occupied 5,000 or 6,000 acres, and contained a population of 600,000; and the object of his Amendment was to divide that immense constituency into the three well-recognized and long-established divisions of St. Marylebone Proper, Paddington, and St. Pancras, for the purpose of facilitating the election of a school Board.
Amendment proposed, in the Fifth Schedule, page 42, after the word "Marylebone," to insert the words "Paddington, Saint Pancras."—( Lord John Manners.)
reminded the noble Lord that the principle adopted by the House was not school Boards for each division, but a school Board for the whole metropolis; and it would be impossible to carry that principle into effect if the divisions suggested in the Amendment were to be made. The objection with regard to the danger of these elections following in the same groove as Parliamentary elections would be removed by the operation of the cumulative vote.
Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and negatived.
Bill to be read the third time Tomorrow, at Two of the clock.
Irish Land Bill
Lords' Amendments Considered
Lords Amendments to Commons Amendments to Lords Amendments, and Lords Reasons for disagreement to certain Amendments, considered.
Now clause (A), (Permissive Registration of Improvements).
said, the Government regretted that the Lords had thought it necessary to insist upon the retention of this clause, and the Government had not changed their opinion as to its disadvantages; but, rather than risk the safety of the Bill, they did not propose to insist upon the Amendments made by the House of Commons.
said, the adoption of the Amendment was substantially a repeal of the 5th and also of the 4th clause. The Bill had been framed on the principle that the tenant was not a free agent and could not consent, and yet it was now proposed, if a landlord, with the consent of the tenant, registered any improvements as made by himself, the tenant should be deprived of all title to compensation. The landlord would be enabled to register improvements as his own which the tenant had really made, and the tenant must either allow the landlord to register them, or he must give up the farm, if the landlord was so bad as to insist upon it. If there were no bad or felonious landlords in Ireland the Bill was unnecessary; and if the Bill was necessary, this Amendment would defeat its object, and sanction the bad system it was intended to put an end to.
said, the Government agreed in many of the objections raised by the hon. Member; but it was not necessary for him to enter into arguments which had been fully discussed on many previous occasions. The Government adhered to the opinions which they had already expressed; but he wished to point out an overstatement of the case from the hon. Member's own point of view, and a material omission in his speech. He thought the hon. Member overstated the case when he gave the House to understand that under the operation of this Bill, if passed in its present form, such would be the condition of the Irish occupier that, however extraordinary or monstrous might be the claim made by the landlord, he would not venture to resist. Without going into the question as to how far landlords would be likely to claim to register as their own the tenants' improvements, he would remark that the Government believed that the restraints imposed on evictions by this Bill would give the tenant a position such as he had not before known, and one which would enable him to enforce his rights. The omission of the hon. Member had reference to an essential point in the argument. The question for him was not whether this was a good or a bad clause, but whether he would be content, upon the rejection of this clause by the House of Commons, to see the Bill lost in the Lords. They had now reached a point at which it would be unseemly and absurd to bandy the Bill backwards and forwards between the two Houses. Such a procedure would not be to the advantage of either, and nobody would derive an advantage from a prolongation of the controversy. The Government wished, therefore, to send the Bill back to the House of Lords, after the operations of that night, in a form to which they meant to adhere, leaving it to others, if they chose, to raise further difficulties to the passing of the measure. With that intention they could not piroperly—or, he would even say, honourably—insist upon anything which they did not consider to be of vital importance. Was the hon. Member prepared to say that rather than pass the Bill without this clause he would see the Bill lost? If he was, then he was consistent in the course he was pursuing; but if he was not, then he was raising an irrelevant issue. As stated by his right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland, the Government were unwilling to risk the passage of the Bill, and they therefore waived their objections to the clause.
said, his opinion had always been in favour of the clause, and reminded the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Synan) that the larger tenants were now excepted from the presumption of Clause 5, and it was chiefly with regard to the larger farms that the preservation of evidence would be important. He hoped the hon. Gentleman on reflection would not think it was really probable that Irish landlords would claim a right to improvements which they had never made.
said, he regretted that the Government had acceded to a clause which, in his opinion, would lead to much litigation. He thought also that they might have found a cheaper tribunal for registration purposes than the Landed Estates Court; the clerk of the Union might have performed this duty.
The Clerk at the Table then read the following:—Resolved, That this House doth not insist upon the Amendments to which The Lords disagree; and doth agree to the Amendments made by The Lords to the Amendments made by this House; and doth not insist upon its disagreement with The Lords in the Amendments as far as the Amendment in page 8, line 16.
"The Lords insist on their Amendments in page 8, line 8 and line 16, to which the Commons have disagreed, for the following reasons:—Because it would be unjust to treat a landlord as disturbing a tenant in his holding who does no more than proceed to evict the tenant because the tenant makes default in the fulfilment of his part of the contract of tenancy—namely, payment of the stipulated rent; and because the clause, as altered by the Commons, would leave it virtually open to every judge, without any principle or rules being laid down to guide him, to determine arbitrarily what shall or shall not be a disturbance by the landlord."
said, that this was the only point in the present stage of the Bill upon which the Government felt it to be impossible to agree with the Lords. The Government had already made considerable sacrifice for the sake of agreement at this final stage; but on this important clause they could not entirely concur with the Lords; on the contrary, they were obliged to differ from them to some considerable extent, though not altogether. The state in which this clause, now numbered 9, but best known as Clause 8, came before the Commons was this—The well-known words which enabled the Court to deal with certain cases of ejectment for nonpayment of rent as a cause of disturbance upon "special grounds" had been struck out—that was, the words "on special grounds" had been omitted by the Lords, for the reason that they would confer on the Judge a dangerously extensive and vague power, and would enable him to determine arbitrarily what should or should not be deemed disturbance by a landlord. After careful consideration, the Government had made up their minds to give up the words "on special grounds;" but, on the other hand, they could not concur in confining the clause to the single special case which had been substituted by the Lords for the wider discretion originally vested in the Judge; the special case being that of a tenant over whose head old arrears for rent were hanging. That case, no doubt, was an important one; but the Government were strongly of opinion that, considering the admittedly unprotected condition of the smaller tenants, and the numbers of them who had been obliged to submit to the rents they now pay, it would be unjust and impolitic to leave them without some protection from the clause. For that purpose the Government proposed—without striking out any of the words now in the clause—to insert, in line 34, these words—
By the adoption of this Amendment the operation of the clause would certainly be reduced to something narrower and more definite than was originally proposed; but it would at least provide for the protection of that class of tenants who most needed it, and he earnestly hoped that the clause, as thus amended, would meet with the acceptance of both of the Houses of Parliament. He moved that the House should agree to the Lords' Amendments, and should insert the words above mentioned."Of a holding valued at a sum not exceeding £15 per annum, if the Court shall be of the opinion that the non-payment of the rent is owing to its being excessive."
said, that the case provided for by the Lords' Amendment of a tenant who owed three years' rent was a purely imaginary one. Such a provision might have been of some use in the years immediately following the famine; but everyone who knew anything of the present condition of Ireland was aware that you might go through the length and breadth of the land before finding a tenant who was three years in arrears with his rent.
said, it was not proposed to strike out anything which the Lords had put in, but to add the words alluded to.
said, that by the course now proposed to be pursued it was evident that all persons whose holdings were above the annual value of £15 were, at a stroke, deprived of the benefit of the clause. To that extent the Bill was rendered illusive. He also entirely agreed with his hon Friend (Mr. Downing) that tenants owing three years' rent might be searched for almost in vain all over Ireland. But, after what had been said by the Prime Minister, it seemed that the House must either accept the Lords' Amendments, or sacrifice the Bill; so that all he could do was to utter his ineffectual protest.
said, this clause, and especially the section of it now under discussion, had been strongly opposed when they were in Committee on the Bill, though no Division was taken, the fact being that the House was so thin, and so many of the Members of the Opposition were away, that it appeared to him to be useless to challenge a Division. The present concession of the Government was undoubtedly valuable, and took away the unlimited powers formerly given to the Judge; but the section still contained an objectionable element, because it allowed the chairman to be the judge of the rent—to say in the case of all holdings under £15 that the rent was too high, and that to attempt to enforce it would be equivalent to disturbance. The fact would not be confined to the particular cases adjudicated upon. For instance, if a tenant was considered by the Judge to be paying too high a rent for a particular piece of ground, it was clear that all the other tenants in the same district and of about the same sized holdings would take advantage of the decision, and that thus a readjustment of rents would virtually be the result. He should have greatly preferred the Bill if all reference to ejectment for rent had been omitted; but, at the same time, it would be matter for consideration whether, with the view to the success of the measure, the concession of the Government ought not to be accepted.
confessed that he was disappointed in all but the last sentence of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. He denied that when the clause was originally under discussion that the House was a thin one, and the right hon. and learned Gentleman was not entitled now to plead the absence of his friends as a reason why no Division was taken. Besides, other opportunities for raising the question had not been taken advantage of by hon. and learned Gentlemen opposite. The truth was, that the right hon. and learned Gentleman was obliged to search far and wide in order to justify—not his own conduct, which needed no justification—but the conduct of noble Lords in "another place." The right hon. and learned Gentleman also misapprehended the nature of the clause. It would have no effect in determining rents. Whatever rent any peasant in open market was ready to offer, after eviction had taken place, might be received by the landlord, and no person could interfere, either directly or indirectly, with the contract. The whole operation of the clause was retrospective, and it was not even retrospective with regard to rent; but it only provided that where, in the opinion of the chairman, rent had been extortionate, he should be entitled to make an allowance to the tenant. The Government admitted that they attached great value to this clause. They had themselves done all in their power, and they had exerted their utmost influence with their followers, to avoid conflict, and to wash their hands of the responsibility of a confirmed difference of opinion between the two Houses. In order to bring about agreement, they had now given up a large portion of the clause, though it had originally passed through the Committee without a Division or serious opposition. He trusted, therefore, that they might accept the last sentence of the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite as the key to the intentions of the Opposition; for it would be painful to contemplate the breaking down of such a Bill as this, and there were other consequences of such a breaking down to which it was not now necessary to refer. They made with the greatest pain and reluctance this concession, because it was against their conviction of what the Bill ought to accomplish, and they only did it under a sense of the extreme responsibility that would rest on those who left anything undone that might avert a rupture between the two Houses. Government had not desired, and did not desire to go into any general discussion as to the course that had been taken in reference to this Bill in "another place," and they hoped they would not be driven into such a discussion, for he was sure that if they were the results would be painful and injurious. He hoped that the concession they now made would be met in a corresponding spirit, if not, they would feel that after all the pledges they had given, and the exhortations they had addressed to the Members on their own side of the House, the very ground upon which those appeals were based had been cut away under their feet.
said, that the right hon. Gentleman had said that the Amendment of the Government would not give the chairman power to lower the rent of a tenant; but as the right hon. Gentleman had admitted, in the next sentence, that it would enable him to grant a compensatory allowance to the tenant in instances where he considered the rent to be extortionate, it was difficult to understand the point of the right hon. Gentleman's denial. He strongly objected to the Amendment of the Government.
said, he thought it expedient, after all that had occurred, that the suggestion of the Government should be favourably considered. He must, however, correct the right hon. Gentleman the First Minister of the Crown in the representation he had made as to the conduct of his right hon. and learned Friend near him (Dr. Ball) when he said that he had taken objection to this principle at the ninth hour. The fact was that his right hon. and learned Friend had continually, during the discussion, objected to this principle, and, although he did not consider it expedient to test the favour in which his views were held by the House—he would not go into the details to which the right hon. Gentleman referred—his right hon. and learned Friend did take frequent opportunities to reiterate his objection, He, therefore, could not agree with the right hon. Gentleman that this objection was now taken at the last moment. He thought if anything had distinguished the conduct of his right hon. and learned Friend in reference to this Bill, it was not so much the learning, eloquence, and readiness with which he addressed himself to every question—quite superior to all petty party considerations—but the fair and candid spirit he had exemplified throughout the conduct of the measure. He could not refrain, in justice to his right hon. and learned Friend, from making these observations against the attack of the right hon. Gentleman, which he thought was not well-founded. So far as this proposition of the Government was concerned, he should not oppose it or ask the opinion of the House upon it. He would leave those to deal with it who had recently considered it, and he had no doubt they would deal with it in the spirit of wisdom and patriotism.
said, he was willing as any other Member to bear his testimony to the ability and good feeling displayed by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Dr. Ball), who, he was proud to say, had eminently upheld the fame of the Irish Bar in that House; but the question before them was not one of a compliment to that or the other Law Officer or ex-Law Officer; it was one of serious moment to the tenantry of Ireland; and in that sense he alone would regard it. The light hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury rightly appreciated the difficult position of those Irish Members who had given a consistent support to the present Bill in all its stages, and who, while endeavouring to render it more useful, never failed to admit the value and importance of its main provisions. It was hard enough for them to render their constituents contented with the measure, even as it left that House for "another place;" and therefore every attempt at curtailing its protective provisions, or in any way diminishing its value, enhanced the difficulty of their task. Admitting, as he must do, the critical position of the Bill at the present moment, and the absolute necessity of removing any serious impediment to its success, he could not but deplore the course the Government felt themselves compelled to take with respect to the Amendment now before them. In his opinion, the line was drawn too low down, and might have been placed at a much higher without alarming the susceptibilities of those who were ever in alarm about the so-called rights of property. There seemed no reason why it should not be raised much higher than £15 valuation. However, as the Government stated their determination to take that course, and adopt that figure, he knew it was impossible because useless to resist; and therefore he and his hon. Friends around him had no option but reluctantly to submit. But, now that the Bill was leaving the House, probably for the last time, he would say that he was anxious to render it as acceptable as possible to all classes of the Irish community—that it might be felt as a gift from Parliament to the people of Ireland—a gift from the English people to the people of the sister country. The Bill did not, it is true, realize all the hopes entertained of it; but no reasonable man could doubt that it contained in it enough to do great good, in developing by protecting the energy of the tenant, and promoting a mutual good feeling between the one class and the other. He regretted the decision of the Government in the present instance; but he felt, under the special circumstances in which the Bill was placed, there was no choice left to those who were responsible for its carriage, though in their anxiety to deprecate opposition he thought they had gone too far.
Amendment in page 8, line 16, upon which their Lordships insist, agreed to, with an Amendment.
Lords Amendment to Commons Amendment to Clause (D) disagreed to.
proposed an Amendment on the Lords' Amendment relative to the form in which the chairman's award should be given. The Lords had inserted a clause which required the chairman, in every case, to state in detail "the particulars and character" of the compensation awarded. This, it was thought, would tend to multiply appeals, and he now proposed to insert "the nature or particulars," &c.
said, the award ought to state the character of the loss for which compensation was to be given, whether it was for improvements or loss of occupation.
suggested that the word "character" should be retained as sufficient.
Committee appointed, "to draw up Reasons to be assigned to The Lords for disagreeing to the Amendment made by The Lords to the Amendment made by this House to Clause (D), to which this House hath disagreed:"—Mr. GLADSTONE, Mr. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE, Mr. Secretary BRUCE, Mr. SOLICITOR GENERAL for IRELAND, Hr. ATRTON, The JUDGE ADVOCATE, Mr. GLTN, and Mr. ADAM:—To withdraw immediately; Three to be the quorum.
Supply—Civil Service Estimates
SUPPLY— considered in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
(1.) Question again proposed,
"That a sum, not exceeding £1,794, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1871, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Offices of the Registrars of Friendly Societies in England, Scotland, and Ireland."
said, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer brought in a Bill on this subject he stated that the duties of registrar were of an insignificant character, and might be performed by a clerk of the Board of Trade, which would save the country £1,000 a year, which was paid to the late Mr. Tidd Pratt. He found, however, that £800 a year was given to the present registrar, who was also in receipt of £1,200 a year as assistant solicitor to the Treasury, so that that gentleman was either receiving his salary as solicitor without having a corresponding amount of work, or he was receiving this £800 a year without justification. He moved that the salary of the registrar be omitted from the Vote.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That the Item of £800, for the Registrar of Friendly Societies, be omitted from the proposed Vote."—(Mr. Rylands.)
trusted that the matter would be allowed to stand over for this Session, at all events, as the members of the friendly societies attached great value to the existence of the office.
believed that what duties there were could be as well performed by a clerk of the Board of Trade as by an official with £800 a year, and supported the reduction all the more readily as the continued sanction of the present arrangement might ultimately involve a claim for compensation if the office were abolished.
believed that the salary was not paid for any useful purpose.
explained that the appointment was only temporary, and could in no case give rise to any claim for compensation. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had proposed to deal with this appointment, and modify the character of the work, but had not yet been able to carry out his intention, and a Commission was about to be appointed to inquire into the operation of these societies. That Commission would be immediately appointed; but until it had reported, and the Government had considered its recommendations, it would be necessary that some person should hold the office. The most reasonable way of managing the matter was to appoint some one to the office temporarily. The effect of the Amendment, if successful, would be that the business of the Department under the Act of Parliament could not be done.
said, he wished it to be clearly understood that the work done in the registrar's office was by no means of a perfunctory or formal character. The most vigilant watchfulness was exercised in the office over the various benefit societies which came under it. What was to be regretted was that the signature of Mr. Tidd Pratt to the legality of friendly societies was taken to mean a great deal more than it really did.
said, that if the assistant registrar had time to earn £800 in another department, he must be overpaid in the law department.
said, that the services of the late Mr. Tidd Pratt as registrar were most valuable, and the necessity for obtaining his signature to the rides of a benefit society had often prevented the establishing of rules which would have operated most prejudicially upon the members of such societies.
said, the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself had stated that the office held by Mr. Tidd Pratt could be done away with without detriment to the public service, and its duties distributed among other Departments, so that the salary of £1,000 a year could be altogether saved.
said, that the duties of the office could have been delegated to the assistant registrar, who had a salary of £500 a year, and who, as a matter of practice, did the main part of the work, if he was not clothed with the main responsibility.
said, the assistant registrar was appointed in consequence of the great accumulation of the work.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Original Question put, and agreed to.
(2.) £241,656, Stationery, Printing, &c.
suggested that The London Gazette, instead of being sold at a high figure, should be reduced in price. He believed that would be true economy; for though a profit was realized upon it now, its sale was very limited, and if the price were lowered the sale would greatly increase. He also suggested that greater facilities should be given to the public for the purchase of Parliamentary Papers, which at present were only sold to the extent of £542.
In reply to Mr. WHITWELL,
said, the Army and Navy Lists were not sold at a profit.
In reply to Mr. HERMON,
said, there was a reduction of nearly £30,000 on the Stationery Vote, but it was obtained by legitimate economy, and not by means of keeping a smaller stock of stationery on hand.
said, that the sale of waste paper in the Stationery Department and in Hansard's office had realized £10,000. It would be very beneficial if a portion of the Parliamentary Papers, which were of general public interest, should be sent to public libraries and museums.
In reply to Mr. CANDLISH,
said, that the sum of £23,000 received for advertisements in The London Gazette was obtained partly from private advertisements, and partly from public advertisements inserted by the various Departments of the Executive. The item, therefore, was not all profit.
Vote agreed to.
(3.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That a sum, not exceeding £17,524, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1871, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of Woods, Forests, and Land Revenues, and of the Office of Land Revenue Records and Inrolments."
said, it was very difficult to describe the position held by Mr. Gore and Mr. Howard. From the remarks made respecting this office the other day, they seemed to be almost above the law and beyond the purview of this House. Still, he did not consider that they were quite heaven-born administrators; and it was instruct- tive to note that in the Report of the Commissioners of Woods and Forests and Land Revenues for the year 1868–9, which was the last year they could refer to, the Woods and Forests, once the principal sources of Revenue of this Department, yielded from some 120,000 acres a gross revenue of £49,532, the expenditure being £48,763, leaving a net balance of £769. But if a fair proportion of the Vote of £26,958 for Salaries, Law Charges, and Expenses of the Department be charged to the Woods and Forests, the expenditure will be found to exceed the income by many thousand pounds. It was true that the expenditure on Windsor Forest was £20,000, while that on the other forests was £28,700. Everyone knew that the New Forest contained something like 63,000 acres. The receipts from that forest last year amounted to £15,534, and the expenditure to £13,766, leaving a profit of only £1,768, a sum on which the Commissioners could scarcely pride themselves. He thought that by a judicious appropriation of some parts of that forest, it might be made much more remunerative without depriving the people of the enjoyment which it afforded them. He was convinced that nothing would be done by the Commissioners unless pressure was brought to bear on them from outside. It was said they were bound by their oaths to obtain as much money as possible for the State, and that was, he supposed, the reason why they dug gravel pits in Blackheath; and it would, perhaps, be gratifying to the inhabitants of Blackheath to know that a sum of £53 had been spent on levelling those gravel pits, which, was exactly one year's income from their working. With regard to the Thames Embankment, which was one of the most beautiful as it was one of the greatest works of the century, he could not but point out the want of taste displayed by the Commissioners in erecting a dead wall on the land side of the Embankment, instead of having a beautiful railing, such as that which surrounded Hyde Park. He supposed we might consider ourselves fortunate if the Commissioners, in obedience to their agreement and oaths, did not let out this wall for advertising purposes, by which means possibly £700 a year might be realized, if a proper appeal were made to sensational advertisers. The Commissioners of Woods and Forests had obstructed the improvements at Hamilton Place and Park Lane. He could not avoid referring to the very heavy item for the Queen's Road (better known as Palace Gardens), Kensington, it being no less than £1,185, from which £307 received from the inhabitants was to be deducted. Vet cabs were not permitted to be driven on this road, which certainly required alteration. A sum of £7,860 was charged for legal expenses, and this, in his opinion, was very high. The expenditure last year of receivers, for their salaries and incidental expenses, was £14,500, which, added to the sum of £27,227 for offices and including law expenses, amounted to £41,727. He was not prepared to move the reduction of the Vote; but he should like to have some explanation of the figures he had brought before hon. Members.
said, that his analysis of those accounts brought him to very much the same results as those previously indicated by the worthy Alderman. The receipts from all sources upon those various estates were £446,173, while the total expenditure upon the Department was no less than £101,717, or over 22 per cent. This was a matter which really required the attention of gentlemen at the head of these Departments, and he hoped that some attention would be paid to it during the Recess, else he would find himself compelled next Session to move the omission of the Vote altogether.
said, that the evidence taken before a recent Committee showed that all the establishment charges for the Woods and Forest Department were voted in the Estimates, whilst all other expenses were, to a certain extent, in the discretion of the heads of the Department, subject, however, more or less, to the approval of the Treasury. Unfortunately the Treasury understood their duty to be to get as much money as they could from the estates, without considering the means of enjoyment or the privileges of the public. He concurred in thinking that the whole subject ought to be reconsidered next year, for there undoubtedly existed a growing feeling of dissatisfaction with the mode in which these large estates, and especially the New Forest, were managed. In a few days it would be his duty, at the request of the people living in the neighbourhood of the New Forest, to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether the Commissioners would not abstain from incurring further expense in planting that estate with timber. He was one of those who did not believe in the growth of timber. If land would produce a rental of 10s. an acre, then it did not pay to grow timber on it; and there was no justification for growing timber in the New Forest, except when the ships of the Navy used to be built of oak, and it was thought expedient to have a supply of seasoned timber obtained in that way, because in times of emergency they might not be able to get it from private traders. That state of things had, however, now passed away, and those large estates might be made much more productive in a pecuniary point of view, and also much more conducive to the pleasure and recreation of the community.
said, they had an opportunity the other evening of hearing what were the Prerogatives of the Crown in that matter, and the nature of the contract between the Crown and its subjects when any new Sovereign succeeded to the Throne. It was well known that estates that originally belonged to the Crown, and were formerly managed by Royal functionaries, at the commencement of every reign became national property, the Crown being voted a certain income, and the public taking those estates into their own management. For that purpose the Commissioners of Woods and Forests had been appointed, and the question which any ordinary man of business would ask was, whether those estates were now managed profitably and for the advantage of the nation? The answer unfortunately must be that they were notoriously and infamously mismanaged, and of this fact the New Forest was one illustration. He did not know who the Commissioners now charged with the duty of looking after those estates for the benefit of the nation were, and therefore it must not be supposed he was making a personal attack on them, but he must say he believed that property had not been managed either carefully or creditably. Not only in many instances was little or no revenue derived from this valuable property, but when the account was taken the balance was on the wrong side, and losses had resulted consequently. It was now proposed to act as spendthrifts and dispose of the estates, whereas by good management a larger income might be received from them. As to the Now Forest, he did not agree that all the timber should be cut down, and the place parcelled out in farms. There was a Bill now before the House in reference to Epping Forest, over which the Crown possessed extensive rights; but unless the public looked uncommonly sharp those rights would be sacrificed for the sake of convenience and to save trouble. He would not propose any reduction of the Vote; but he earnestly suggested that steps should be taken by the Government to make the Crown Lands as profitable as possible.
said, he was aware that the Office of Woods and Forests was not a popular Department, because the interests which it was their duty to defend did not always commend themselves to popular approval. He, however, should not be doing his duty if he did not make some reply to the remarks of the hon. Member for London (Mr. Alderman W. Lawrence), who had introduced this subject, and whom he should hold responsible for the speech which had succeeded his own. [A laugh.] Nothing could please his hon. Friend. When the Commissioners sought to manage the Crown estates profitably, he said they were disregarding the interests and rights of the public. With regard to allowing cabs to go through Palace Gardens, to do so would be a breach of the covenants of the leases on which the houses were built. He must know that before that road was executed the land was Crown property let upon certain leases, one of the conditions of which was that the road was to be kept a private one under an Act of Parliament. Then, the hon. Member for the City had talked about the Thames Embankment; but he had no intention of following his example and reopening that subject further than to say that the Commissioners of Woods had felt bound, in the discharge of their duty, to take care that the rights of the Crown should be secured. The hon. Member, referring to the administration of the Royal Forests, had dealt with Windsor Forest as though it were one of the Royal Forests, which was not the case, it being merely a sort of appendage to the Castle, and being appropriated for the recreation of the public. The hon. Member had said that that forest only produced a balance of £700 per annum profit; but he must bear in mind that the property was not maintained with a view to profit. The total receipts for the Royal Forests, properly so-called, for the year 1868–9, amounted to £42,606 15s., against an expenditure of £28,752 18s. 8d.; but that expenditure included large sums expended on capital account for making new plantations. When the subject of the New Forest was under discussion in that House some months ago he had stated that he could not consent to deal with that forest on an account which merely showed the receipts and the expenditure, unless the sums expended or accruing on capital account were plainly shown. Mr. Clutton, the well-known eminent surveyor to the Office of Works, had just made his Report to the Treasury on that footing, and that Report would receive the most careful consideration of the Treasury, who would be prepared to advise the House of Commons upon the subject next year, and to suggest the course that should be pursued with respect to that property. The administration by the Office of Woods of the ordinary property of the Crown, consisting of houses, farms, &c, would compare favourably with that of the best managed private estates, the gross expenditure being 10 per cent on the total receipts, but 4 per cent was due to the property tax allowed to Crown tenants, and the various other fixed charges over which the Commissioners of Woods had virtually no control, and 2 per cent was expended for repairs and other necessary expenses, leaving only 4 per cent for the costs of actual management. In reference to the last somewhat remarkable speech to which they had listened, he must say that the hon. and learned. Member for Devonport (Mr. M. Chambers), when he charged the Commissioners of Woods with having infamously mismanaged the Crown property, should have been prepared to substantiate that charge by facts and figures, and not have contented himself with mere vague generalities. As far as his personal knowledge of the Commissioners went, he must say that they were actuated by a most rigid sense of duty with reference to the trust imposed upon them. He might further say that both the surveyor and the solicitor to the Commissioners were gentle men whose eminence in their professions was a guarantee that the confidence of the Commissioners and of the Government in them was not misplaced. It would be as well for hon. Members to remember that in all matters where a directionary power was to be exercised it was the Treasury and not the Commissioners who were responsible for the course to be adopted.
remarked that his right hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Stansfeld) had done no more than justice to the position and the conduct of the Commissioners of Woods and Forests. The right hon. Gentleman was also correct in stating that the Treasury were responsible in all cases where the most rigorous exercise of the rights of the Crown were departed from. He protested against the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Devonport (Mr. M. Chambers), which contained statements which could not be established. The net revenue of the Crown estates had increased, and was likely to increase from year to year. The 14,000 or 15,000 acres of which Windsor Park consisted were a vast pleasure ground, which was available for the people as well as for the Sovereign. With respect to the New Forest, he trusted his right hon. Friend would consider well before he determined upon the policy of breaking up that ancient and remarkable district, though it might be many years before the young plantations were likely to supply a pecuniary return. In his opinion, no gentlemen were more unjustly accused in that House of niggardliness than those who in these matters had the management of the rights of the Crown.
desired to know what was the remuneration paid to the surveyor?
said, he concurred with the Secretary to the Treasury that no estates had been better managed simply with a view to pecuniary return; but it was a question, nevertheless, whether a larger portion of the property of the Crown might not be devoted to public purposes.
said, he did not see why hon. Gentlemen who criticized these Estimates should be charged with attacking the Commissioners of Woods and Forests. He had watched the course of this Department for a long time, and the language used in its defence had always been—"We hope that, next Session, something will be done." He, however, would take the liberty to propose something this year. He found that the receiver general was paid £600 a year; the assistant receiver, £400; the solicitor, £1,800; a clerk, £550; and two other clerks, £250 and £210 a year respectively. Without objecting to any of the salaries, he would move that the Vote be reduced by £1,000.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That a sum, not exceeding £16,524, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1871, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of Woods, Forests, and Land Revenues, and of the Office of Land Revenue Records and Inrolments."—(Mr. Muntz.)
said, the hon. Member (Mr. Muntz) would himself be amazed and abashed if he succeeded in carrying his Motion, as the effect of it would be to take away the salaries of certain gentlemen. He objected to the hon. Member drawing his bow at a venture and moving the reduction of the Vote, without pointing out in detail the mode by which the reduction was to be effected. The hon. and learned Member for Devonport (Mr. M. Chambers) had made some heavy charges. When charges were made against members of the permanent Civil Service they ought either to be met, or inquiries ought to be made. He believed that the two gentlemen who were at the Woods and Forests might vie with any other gentlemen in the Civil Service as regarded the manner in which their duties were discharged. He hoped that his hon. and learned Friend would recede from the broad proposition he had laid down, for which he had not quoted authority. Such charges ought not to be made without good ground, or unless it was designed that an investigation should take place. The Treasury were as responsible for the acts of the Woods and Forests as for any other Department of the Government. There had been a steady increase, amounting, he believed, to £5,000 a year in the rental of the Department of Woods and Forests during a period nearly approaching 20 years. They had now reached the time when, under the management of those gentlemen, the revenue paid into the Exchequer—which was £385,000 this year—equalled exactly the charge which had been made upon the Civil List. He hoped his hon. and learned Friend would mitigate his condemnation of the Department.
said, he thought that the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Muntz) was scarcely open to the charge made against him by the right hon. Gentleman of being deficient in detail. On the contrary, he appeared to be eminently remarkable for detail, for he went through the salaries of the officers mentioned in the Vote, and approved of them all. Then he arrived at the logical conclusion that it was necessary to reduce the Vote. In fact, the hon. Member had the same command of detail that characterized his distinguished predecessor, Mr. Joseph Hume, in the old days; only he did not reach conclusions so satisfactory. He trusted, therefore, that the hon. Gentleman would not press his Motion to a Division. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister had adverted to some painful circumstances which rendered it necessary for him to effect a change in the administration of the Woods and Forests. When he (Mr. Disraeli) was Chancellor of the Exchequer the whole of the management of the Woods and Forests was, in consequence of that change, brought under his consideration, and he had to go minutely into the subject. The gentlemen who at present held the office of Commissioners were in no way connected with him in political life, and he concluded that laborious investigation with the impression that there was no private property in this country better managed than were the Crown estates. He quite agreed with the Prime Minister in thinking that there were no public servants who were more deserving of the confidence of the country than the gentlemen to whom he alluded.
said, the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) had evidently misunderstood him; for while he approved of the first class, he disapproved of items in the second class, to the amount of £1,000. However, as both sides of the House were opposed to a Division he would withdraw his Motion.
said, he had purposely abstained from details for fear the main issue should be lost sight of; and declaring that he know none of the Commissioners, he disowned any intention of making a personal attack, but charged all the mismanagement home to the Government as trustees of the pro- perty. The estates had been infamously mismanaged; the country had even been confronted with a balance on the wrong side.
asked the Secretary to the Treasury how the surveyor was paid?
said, the surveyor was paid out of the gross proceeds of the estates.
said, he hoped the £35,000 for irrecoverable rents would be written off. He believed the amount was made up of quit rents due from Ireland during the last 120 years, and was accurately described in the Commissioners' Report as "irrecoverable."
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Original Question put, and agreed to.
(4.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That a sum, not exceeding £22,028, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1871, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Works and Public Buildings."
, in rising to call attention to the office of Director of Works and Buildings, and to move that the salary be reduced by the sum of £750, said, he meant to cast no reflection upon the gentleman to whose Office he had referred; his objections would be directed against the new system which had been inaugurated in the Department. He was glad to see the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury in his place, because the First Commissioner of Works, when questioned on these subjects, had invariably shifted the responsibility which ordinarily attached to his Office upon Cabinet Ministers; and there might now be an opportunity of ascertaining the views of the Government upon the most extraordinary alterations which had recently been made in this most important Office. The Office of Works had always had the direction of the architectural works belonging to the Government, and therefore the First Commissioner had associated with him architects of the greatest eminence. For many years that distinguished gentleman, Mr. Pennethorne, filled the post of salaried architect and surveyor, receiving as remuneration £1,500. He continued in that position until 1868 when Mr. Layard, becoming First Commissioner, proposed to divide the Office into two, so as to pay Mr. Pennethorne £750, and appropriate the remainder to a new officer, to be called Inspector of Works and Buildings. The matter was referred to a committee of the Treasury, who approved of the suggested arrangement, at the same time expressing an opinion that the First Commissioner required the aid of an officer conversant in a high degree with architecture. Mr. Fergusson was accordingly appointed Inspector of Works and Buildings; but in pursuance of a previous intimation which he had given, resigned on the appointment of the present First Commissioner of Works. That right hon. Gentleman than united the functions previously discharged by Mr. Pennethorne and Mr. Fergusson in the office held by Captain Galton. However eminent Captain Galton might be as an engineer and in other respects, he was not an architect. The gallant gentleman himself did not profess to be one. The result of this arrangement was not discovered until the debate on the alleged dismissal of Mr. Barry. Then his right hon. Friend must see that in the resignation of Mr. Fergusson there was an opportunity for an entire reorganization of the duties of the Office. [Cries of "Agreo!"] If interrupted, he should move to report Progress. He had a right to proceed without interruption. Mr. Layard denied all responsibility with regard to the mosaics in the roof of the Houses of Parliament. He said he had to take a Vote of the House, and hand the work over to the architect to carry it out. Captain Galton was appointed to carry out the work. And what were the fruits? A most lamentable failure in the only instances in which that officer had been called on to act. This was a real question of policy—of a departure from an established principle by his right hon. Friend the First Commissioner. Until this year the Office of Works had never been without an architect. His right hon. Friend deemed himself to be above experts, and in the proposal for improving the refreshment rooms, a portion of the plan consisted in breaking the continuity of one of the corridors in order that a scullery might be erected. He begged to move the reduction of the Vote by £750, the amount of the salary of Captain Galton.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That the Item of £1,500, for the Salary of the Director of Works and Buildings be reduced by £750."—(Mr. Bentinck.)
, while admitting that the substitution of Captain Galton for Mr. Pennethorne in the Office of Works was a very fair question for the hon. Member for Whitehaven (Mr. Bentinck) to raise, thought that many of the topics referred to by the hon. Gentleman were quite beside that question. He quite admitted that an important change had been made, and one which ought to invite the closest scrutiny of the House; but he must correct the hon. Gentleman on one particular. He said it had been determined to do away with architects in the Office of Works; but he mistook the state of things which had prevailed in that Office for a long time. He was correct in saying that for a great many years the First Commissioner had in connection with the establishment a consulting architect; but for a long period the consulting functions of Mr. Pennethorne had passed into abeyance, though he acted as practical architect of several works carried out under the Office. The termination of Mr. Pennethorne's connection with the Office of Works as consulting architect had not been brought about by his right hon. Friend the present First Commissioner. It had been determined on long before his right hon. Friend became First Commissioner. During all the years that the consulting functions of Mr. Pennethorne had fallen into abeyance, the Office of Works had really been without the advice of experts. It was rather soon to pronounce positively on the merits of the new system, but the Government thought it was a good one. It was not one by which the Office of Works was to proceed without an expert. In every considerable work it would have the assistance of architects, and it would on all occasions have the assistance of an expert in Captain Galton as Director of Works. The question was whether the Government had done right in calling in the assistance of Captain Galton, who was acquainted with construction and with the mechanism employed in construction, but who was not a professional architect. The Government had reviewed the history of our public buildings; and, first of all, they came to the conclusion that, if the Office of Works were fortified by the assistance of a consulting architect, whose consulting functions were not placed in abeyance, conflict would constantly arise between him and the professional archi- tects employed in connection with particular works. That conclusion was borne out by the fact that, in reality, Mr. Pennethorne had not acted as consulting architect for a very long time. So far from acceding to the sinister representations of the hon. Gentleman, as to the experience they had heretofore had, he would express a confident expectation that the working of the new arrangement would be found satisfactory even to the hon. Member himself. Independently of architectural taste, there were many questions on which it was desirable to have the advice of a practical man, and one who would not be ashamed to keep economy in view. In their great work, too, where they called in the assistance of special architects, it was most important to have the aid of a man who would look with the eye of an economist as well as of a constructor at the plans of those architects. Let them take their recent public works. There was the building in which they were assembled, which had cost between £,3,500,000 and £4,000,000. If they had had well established in the Board of Works a competent adviser to the First Commissioner, who could have interfered with great knowledge and authority not as an architect, but as a constructor and an adviser with reference to economy, to check and control the execution of that vast Palace, he did not hesitate to affirm that an enormous saving would in all likelihood have been effected, and effected where it was greatly needed; for he owned he thought it a great reproach to the House of Commons during the last 30 years—and he must take his own share of it, whatever that share might be—that they, as administrators of the public purse, had allowed such an unbounded expenditure upon the building in which they held their deliberations. Therefore, no did not say that at this moment they could claim for the new arrangement the assent and approval of the hon. Gentleman. The First Commissioner of Works himself had had great doubt and hesitation in regard to an opinion which was strongly entertained by the Chancellor of the Exchequer; but the measure had been adopted by the Government on its own responsibility. There was about it a fair promise of success; there was no fear that this officer, who was not an architect, but a constructor, would fall into a state of inutility; and the wise course was to allow an arrangement which had only been in operation three months a reasonable time to work, say till next year. Then the Government would not discourage the hon. Member's endeavour to call the attention of the Committee to the subject; but would look with considerable confidence to its being sanctioned by the House.
regarded the appointment of an Assistant Surveyor of Works as a starting-point of a new and vicious system against which he felt bound to protest. The new policy of the Government was to dispense with the services of eminent architects, and to entrust the architecture of our first public buildings to a mere subordinate in the Department of Works. He found his evidence in the circular advertisement which lately appeared in the public prints inviting competition for the office of assistant surveyor in the Board of Works, which stated that the candidates "must be competent to design, and to superintend the construction of buildings;" and, finally, as a remarkable qualification, they would have to be "capable of making technical reports properly composed and spelt." What, he asked, was the use of seeking out an official who was to be capable of superintending and designing buildings if he was not intended to do both? and what sort of an architect would the person be who would have to prove that he could compose those reports without committing errors in orthography? This, then, was to be the subordinate who was to be put in to prompt that Director of Works who was to be chosen because he was an engineer officer, although he might have no taste, no knowledge of the science of beauty, no knowledge of architectural symmetry and proportion, but would simply be a judge of construction and of material, and a practical builder. If, behind that engineer, behind that under-servant of the Department of Works the "assistant surveyor," there was not to be an architect of eminence, experience, and wide learning, of the class of those whom the nation had hitherto employed to construct its public buildings, what were they to say to the new system? After further referring to the list of qualifications required to be possessed by the candidate for the new office, the hon. Member said there was room for grave suspicion that it would be found to be a part of the new policy of the Department of Works, when fully revealed, that not only was a consulting architect to be dispensed with, but that they should not, in future, engage the services of any independent architect of European reputation such as Wren, Inigo Jones, Barry, Scott, or Street, whom the State had heretofore delighted to employ. The hon. Member concluded by asking for distinct assurances from the Government as to their real intentions in the matter, and by declaring that he would support the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Whitehaven (Mr. Bentinck).
said, he wished to call attention to the extraordinary position in which successive changes had placed the Office of Works. When the present Government came into Office they appointed a small but effective Committee to consider the question; and the Committee presented a Report, which was acted upon by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the then First Commissioner of Works, who appointed Mr. Fergusson as a competent architectural authority to assist the Office of Works, Mr. Pennethome still retaining his original position. Mr. Layard stated with great delight that the result would be a saving of many thousands a year, and he augured a period of success and satisfaction; but suddenly he went to Madrid. Mr. Fergusson disappeared, Mr. Pennethorne disappeared, and Captain Douglas Galton came in; and all this without further inquiry and without the issue of Papers to explain it. Of the architectural capacity of Captain Galton he knew nothing; and no answer had been given to the question of the hon. Member for Whitehaven (Mr. Bentinck—namely, What is to be the architectural advice to which the Office of Works is to have resort? He gathered that it was not to be expected from Captain Galton. No doubt it would be a happy solution of the question if the Government were to say that, the Office being now denuded of first-rate architectural advice, no structural alterations should be made in any great building without the advice and assistance of the architect most competent to give it. It would be madness to trust any structural alteration of the Tower of London, for instance, to any architect who had not made such work his special study, and if it were the intention of the Government always to call in the most competent architect he should be quite content; but in the darkness which prevailed the hon. Member for Whitehaven had done good service by calling attention to the state of the matter.
, having been accused of adopting an unprecedented course in seeking to make the Government responsible in cases such as had heretofore rested entirely with the First Commissioner of Works, wished to say that the position he had assumed from time to time had been based upon the statute law regulating his Office, and nothing could be more idle than for a person in Office to seek to inflate his position by assuming powers and authorities which did not belong to him. The truth was, that the Office of First Commissioner was entirely subservient to the Treasury; he was unable to undertake a single work, or to make any change in his Department, without the sanction of the Treasury; and, indeed, he had heard his Office described by a predecessor as little better than that of a superior Treasury clerk. This was not a very dignified view of the Office; but he thought it best that Members should keep within the line prescribed by the law. It had been suggested that he was engaged in dark mysteries, and to prove that he was concealing his operations, reference had been made to a printed pamphlet which explained to all the world what he was doing. In point of fact, what was being done was well known to all who would take the trouble to make inquiry; but misunderstanding would continue so long as hon. Members would undertake to criticize the proceedings of this Office without informing themselves accurately as to facts. He had already, on two occasions, explained this matter fully to the House, and yet remarks had been made at variance with his statements, and therefore he would for the third time explain the constitution of the Office. In the first instance, the office of consulting architect having degenerated almost into a sinecure, and that official being employed chiefly in works of construction, his predecessor, Mr. Layard, made an arrangement for the honourable retirement of Mr. Pennethome, who had been many years in the public service; who was not responsible for the fact that he had not been consulted; and whom there was no idea of dismissing, for he had held his office with considerable credit. Instead of appointing a consulting architect, the Government created a new Office of Secretary of Works, and appointed a gentleman conversant with all questions appertaining to the discharge of his duties; but he found that the arrangement did not meet his views, and he determined to resign. And in reference to his case, again, it was very unfortunate that such a term as dismissal should be used. This happened before he accepted the Office of First Commissioner, and the retirement of this gentleman rendered it necessary to consider what should be done to make the Office of Works efficient for its purpose; and the arrangement made by the Government was that there should be in the Department an officer to be called the Director of Works, independently of him, or of a consulting architect, or of Mr. Fergusson. There was in the Office of Works, as there always had been, a body of gentlemen who were called assistant surveyors, a name calculated to mislead, because, in point of fact, they were architects, and the circular which had been quoted described their duties and qualifications. These gentlemen were always held qualified to undertake works of a general character, and they would continue to perform such duties; but the office of Director of Works was one of very great importance, and if he discharged his duty he would render very valuable service to the public. Before, however, an eminent architect was called in, there were always a number of preliminary questions connected with public works which required to be carefully considered and examined with a view to economy and efficiency; and it would be premature and attended with risk to hand over works to such architects before all preliminaries had been properly considered and dealt with. They had had experience of that in respect to the Foreign Office, which everybody complained of as being most inconvenient for the purposes of the service. It was to guard against danger of that kind that the Director of Works could be most usefully employed; and, when necessary, an architect of ability and genius would be called in for particular purposes. He ventured to say that the result would be a saving not of thousands of pounds, but of hundreds of thousands in the course of the next few years.
suggested that the salary ought to be reduced not to £750, but to £1,000, which was a round sum.
explained that this would be no saving, as Captain Galton's pension, added to his salary, would be more than £1,500, so that the office had made a good bargain in securing his services for £1,500.
said, that might be time with regard to Captain Galton; but he wanted to fix the salary for the office in future times.
said, he thought it would be better to give compensation of £500 and fix the salary at £1,000.
said, he had heard the speech of the First Commissioner of Works with astonishment. There were eight surveyors in the office, and according to his right hon. Friend they were all architects, and yet it was proposed to call in the occasional services of a ninth architect. If so, where was the use of a Director of Works? He certainty thought the Vote ought to be reduced to £1,000.
said, that Captain Galton, in the way of mere pension, was entitled to £750 a year, irrespective of performing any duty, so that in fixing his salary at £1,500 a year the Government had not made a bad arrangement.
said, that in consequence of the Report of the Committee that a person of architectural skill should be selected, Mr. Fergusson was appointed; yet when that gentleman resigned, that recommendation was reversed without any fresh investigation, and a gentleman not an architect took his place.
said, he thought the argument of the Prime Minister not a sound one, for the salary was voted for the office and not for the particular officer.
said, it was impossible for him not to see that the opposition to the item arose on account of the change made in reference to Mr. Barry, and not from a regard to the public interest. Now, as he held the old system to have been a very extravagant system, he would be no party to covert attacks on the reforms which the present Government had initiated.
said, that his object was not to reduce Captain Galton's salary, but to raise a discussion on the subject, although neither the Prime Minister nor the First Commissioner of Works had given any reason why an architect should not be employed.
Question put, and negatived.
Original Question put, and agreed to.
(5.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That a sum, not exceeding £17,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1871, for Her Majesty's Foreign and other Secret Services."
moved to reduce the Vote by the sum of £10,000. He did not intend to go into the general question; but he had reason to believe that in the expenditure for the Foreign Office certain amounts were devoted by the officials to augment the salaries or pensions of persons formerly employed in the Foreign Office. In the Select Committee on the Diplomatic and Consular Services he had put certain questions on the subject to some of the witnesses.
rose to Order. The hon. Member was not entitled to refer to anything which had taken place before a Select Committee which had not yet reported to the House.
said, the rule undoubtedly was that until the Report of a Committee was laid before the House it was not regular for any Member of the Committee to refer to its proceedings.
said, he would only then say that as he had reason to believe that a portion of the secret service money voted by the House went to increase the salaries and pensions of persons formerly employed in the Foreign Office, he should move a reduction of the Vote in order that the expenditure might be submitted to the House. The Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs could not justify the expenditure of the money to the House, as he was entirely ignorant of the purposes to which it was applied, no one having any control over it except the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. There was another ground on which he entirely objected to the mode in which the secret service money was expended. It did not come under the examination of the Audit Department. In the opinion of the Committee on Public Accounts the Foreign Office, in declining to submit the expenditure of secret service money to the Audit Board, were guilty of a breach of the law—at all events, they did not fulfil the requirements of the law. What he wanted was a voucher that the amount voted by the House had been actually expended within the year; whereas, he had every reason to believe that there were at the present moment several thousand pounds of the secret service money in the hands of the Foreign Office unexpended. He thought this question deserved the attention of the Committee, and he moved the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £10,000.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That a sum, not exceeding £7,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1871, for Her Majesty's Foreign and other Secret Services."—(Mr. Rylands.)
said, he wished, as this was but the fourth Vote they had been able to arrive at that evening, to lay before the Committee in a few words what he hoped would save them from an extended discussion on this subject. The subject of secret service money was a difficult and delicate one; but all he could say was it was totally impossible to dispense with it entirely; but the practice, the feeling, and the desire of the Government was to limit it, from time to time, as much as possible. That must, however, necessarily be done by a gradual process; because, where funds of this kind had been given, the mode of disposing of them fell into shapes which involved considerable expectations for the future. It was, therefore, a very gradual process by which the House of Commons must be content to walk if it sought to reduce the amount of secret service money annually voted. There were two things he was desirous to say. He did not think his hon. Friend, if initiated into the mysteries of this department of the public service, would find that the expenditure of this money was open to the imputations he had directed against it. But with regard to a public audit of secret service money, that amounted to a contradiction in terms. It would be very objectionable to institute a secret audit, and he should not bike the Audit Commissioners to perform their work in secresy. The principle on which Parliament had always proceeded was this—that if it was necessary to allow something in the nature of secret service money, the best mode of dealing with it rested on these two con- ditions—first of all to confine the knowledge of it to the smallest possible number of persons, and, having thus concentrated responsibility, to trust to their honour and discretion. He did not think they could obtain a better system for the management of the thing than that. Nor had his hon. Friend, in the present state of the case, reason to be dissatisfied. Great progress had been made towards the establishment of strict economy and moderation in regard to this Vote. With the exception of six months, during which he was Secretary for the Colonies, 24 years ago, he never knew one syllable as to the administration of the secret service money. He remembered perfectly well when the sum annually voted was £38,000; then it was reduced to £32,000. It remained at £32,000 for a considerable number of years. Within the last few years it had gradually been brought down. The last sum asked for was £27,000, and this year it was down to £25,000. Until this year the Foreign Office had been entitled to retain the unexpended balance of secret service money; but in future the balance at the close of the year would be restored to the Treasury. The immediate effect of that concession, however, must necessarily be to keep up the sum voted, as there must be a small margin beyond what would be necessary to meet immediate demands. He hoped the statement he had made would save the time of the Committee.
observed, that a voucher from the hands of the Foreign Secretary that the sum voted by the House had been expended would be quite sufficient for all practical purposes.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Original Question put, and agreed to.
Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next;
Committee to sit again To-morrow, at Two of the clock.
Army Enlistment Bill—Bill 106
( Mr. Secretary Cardwell, Captain Vivian.)
Bill, as amended, considered.
said, that some of the most experienced officers were of opinion that the Secretary of State ought not to have the power of putting into the Reserve men who had served only three years in the artillery, the cavalry, and the engineers. They thought the period should be extended to seven years. He concurred in that opinion, and, therefore, he begged to move, in Clause 4, line 25, to leave out "Army service," and insert—"the infantry, and seven years in the cavalry, artillery, and engineers."
Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 25, to leave out the words "Army service," in order to insert the words "the infantry, and seven years in the cavalry, artillery, and engineers,"—( Colonel Barttelot,)—instead thereof.
said, he hoped the House would adhere to the decision they had come to in Committee. The hon. and gallant Gentleman having been defeated when he brought forward a somewhat similar Motion in Committee now attempted to go still further. In Committee the hon. and gallant Gentleman moved five years.
said, that the figure five got into the Amendment instead of seven, owing to the mistake of one of the clerks.
said, that at all events the Committee decided against five years, and now the House was asked to adopt seven years. The proposal in the 4th clause was not one to fix the time the soldier should serve, but the minimum of time at which it would be competent to the Secretary of State to remove him into the Reserve if he were not further required for active service. At present the soldier was enlisted for 12 years, or as long within that period as Her Majesty might require his services. After the Indian Mutiny it became necessary to considerably reduce the Army, and no one could forget the moral effects which resulted from throwing a large number of men out of employment. The proposal in the Bill was one in the interest of the soldier and of the nation, because it enabled the Secretary of State to place in the Reserve soldiers who had served for three years. He was astonished that hon. and gallant Gentlemen who had the interest of the soldiers at heart should oppose such a proposition. No doubt it took a longer time to train a cavalry, artillery, or engineer than an infantry soldier; but that had nothing to do with the proposal. What he said was this—that it would be far better, both for the soldiers and the public, that the Secretary of State should have power to put the men into the Reserve than, as had been done in former instances, that they should be suddenly disbanded and turned out upon the country without any provision whatever. He trusted that the House would adhere to the decision which it had already arrived at.
said, the right hon. Gentleman was under an entire misapprehension as to the views of hon. Gentleman on the Opposition side of the House. Those hon. Gentlemen did not wish to place any difficulty in the way of increasing the Reserve; but what they protested against was the short period of enlistment. The men should be enlisted for 10 or 12 years, and then, if it were necessary, every facility should be given them to leave the active Army at any time, and to pass into the Army of Reserve, their places in the active Army being filled by recruits. The right hon. Gentleman had got rid of a great many more soldiers than he was likely soon to get in the Army of Reserve. He had got rid of 23,000 men in the course of two years, and he (Sir Percy Herbert) wished to know if the country would not give a great deal, under the circumstances of the present moment, to have those men back again. At the present moment — and he challenged contradiction on this point—we were without a single battalion which was fit for service, or fit even to form part of our Army of Occupation for Belgium. ["Oh!"] He was quite prepared for those cries. But perhaps hon. Gentlemen were not aware that we were bound by honour and by our treaties to ensure the neutrality of Belgium, and to defend her against aggression. Had not every one seen in the papers the demand addressed by the French Government to Belgium, whether it was able to defend its neutrality, and did they suppose that the French or the Prussian Government, either of which was equally suspicious, would have asked such a question if there were a corps of 25,000 British soldiers occupying the line of the Scheldt, without menace, but with a determination to uphold the Treaty? The present Government was mainly the same as that we had 16 years ago. He repeated, what was matter of notoriety, that many impartial men were of opinion that it was owing to the character of the late Earl of Aberdeen and the right hon. Gentleman at the head of Her Majesty's Government that the Crimean War had broken out. For the Emperor of Russia and his Minister could not believe, after the speeches that had been made, that the British Government would ever go to war. He warned the Government not to be too sure that the same thing would not occur again. A very pacific Government, which took every step and precaution to prevent its country from being in a fit state for defence was the very Government of all others which was likely to force a manly nation like England into war. Other nations knew the unprepared state of such a country, and placed affronts upon her which they would never venture to offer under other circumstances. Our regiments now mustered only 500 on paper; on parade they did not average 300, and if we were to send 25 battalions into Belgium to-morrow they would not average more than 300 each. He would, therefore, support the Amendment.
said, he wished to see England with a good Army of Reserve; but he did not wish to see that Army created at the expense of the regular Army. He was surprised the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War had not taken a hint from the late Division on this subject. Every military roan who had supported him with regard to the line, had voted against him when it was a question that concerned the cavalry and artillery. The opinion of the Army was most decidedly against the Bill.
implored the House to discuss this measure wholly apart from the question of war, and to discuss it only from a national point of view. We had a perfect right to discuss the great question of the organization of our Army, or the creation of a Reserve Force wholly independent of any circumstances that might exist abroad. He regretted extremely to have heard an eminent British soldier (Sir Percy Herbert) whom they all respected, and whose distinguished services had been of so much value to his country, declare that there was not a single battalion of the British Army which was fit for protective services, and he hoped that it was not a well-founded statement; but he hoped the whole question would be discussed calmly, and wholly apart from those circumstances which they all deplored, but in which they had no part, and in which they intended to take no part.
said, he would not allude to the question of war or no war; but he would like very much to know whether the officers of the Royal Artillery, who were competent to form a sound opinion upon such a matter as this, had been at all consulted as to the short period of enlistment which was proposed under it. From the time he had served in the Royal Artillery, he was led to believe that anything short of seven years' permanent service would reduce that branch of the profession to an utter nullity.
held that the special services of the Army should be dealt with distinctly from the line. What he and those who thought with him decried was that a matter which involved the success of the Army should be left to the option of any Secretary of State. With reference to his own corps, the Engineers, he knew, as a matter of fact, that the force at Chatham was for three years under instruction. Nominally it was for a year and a-half; but, from one cause or another, in practice it came to this—that the force of Engineers was three years under instruction. If, therefore, this Bill were put in force, the whole time of the Engineers would be spent practically under instruction.
believed that the point which hon. and gallant Gentlemen wished to see carried out could be effected by the Bill.
said, that if the Amendment were negatived the material of cavalry regiments would be entirely destroyed, for it was impossible to make a soldier in three years. The right hon. Gentleman wished to have power to discharge soldiers in case of a war coming to a sudden termination; but that power he had already under Acts which he had stated would remain in force. Those, however, were the very men who ought not to be turned away when they were approaching the close of their service. He trusted the House would accept the Amendment.
said, the Bill had two objects in view. One was to increase the power of enlistment, the other was to form an Army of Reserve. He believed the Bill was calculated to effect both objects. The Bill did not limit the power of the Secretary of State for War, nor require him to discharge troops; but it only enabled him to do so if he found the men were ready to be discharged into the Reserve.
said, no one disputed that more men would enlist under the Bill; but the question was, whether they would be worth having after they had got them. The opinion expressed by cavalry officers was decidedly to the effect that cavalry soldiers in an Army of Reserve would be of little use. An Hon. MEMBER said, that if men were enlisted for so short a period as three years, power would be taken out of the hands of commanding officers to promote young hands to be non-commissioned officers, and which would have the effect of weakening the regiment. The power was not to refuse men going into the Reserve; but what was wanted was to make a man a perfect soldier and then let him join the Reserve.
said, that hon. and gallant Gentlemen opposite seemed to think that it was the intention of his right hon. Friend to dismiss every soldier, whether infantry or cavalry, at the end of three years. As one who had served Her Majesty, he should take exception to any such provision; but there was no such intention in the Bill. Soldiers would be enlisted, as before, for a period of 12 years; but circumstances might happen which would render it-desirable to dismiss a large number before that period had expired, and by this Bill his right hon. Friend would be able to release them on paying them a small retaining fee instead of being obliged to disband and dismiss them them without making any payments. If hon. and gallant Gentlemen understood that, they would not oppose this clause, which would be very advantageous to the soldier.
said, he would not take upon himself the responsibility of voting against the Amendment at this juncture, as it was supported by so many hon. and gallant Members, who had a practical knowledge of the subject.
Question put, "That the words 'Array service' stand part of the Bill."
The House divided:—Ayes 124; Noes 79: Majority 45.
Bill to be read the third time Tomorrow, at Two of the clock.
Gun Licences Bill—Bill 134
( Mr. Dodson, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Stansfeld)
Bill, as amended, considered.
moved the omission in Clause 7, line 21, after "thereof," of the words "or upon lands in the occupation of the owner of the gun."
Amendment proposed, in page 2, line 21, to leave out the words "or upon lands in the occupation of the owner of the gun."—( Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson.)
protested against omitting these words, which were essential to the fair protection of small farmers, in whose case it was more necessary that they should carry a gun on their own lands, and he would feel compelled to take the sense of the House on the point.
said, the reason why the hon. Baronet wished to reverse the decision at which the House arrived on a previous occasion, was because the words would enable persons in easy means to shoot other than game, over large tracts of land, without any licence.
believed the Bill to be a most objectionable one, observing that the number of exemptions had been extended from two to six since the Bill had been introduced, and that other exemptions would have to be made. How, for instance, he should like to know, was it proposed to deal with a man who had changed his residence? He would certainly support in a Division his hon. Friend (Mr. C. S. Read).
said, he thought that instead of dividing now, it would be better to take the opinion of the House on the Amendment of which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had given Notice.
Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
The House divided:—Ayes 34; Noes 123: Majority 89.
moved, in Clause 7, sub-section 2, line 34, after "constable," to insert "owner or occupier or any person having a licence under this Act." Under the existing law only a police- constable or a revenue officer could make such a demand.
was willing to confer such a power on owners and occupiers, but not on persons having a licence.
Amendment agreed, to.
moved, in Clause 7, after line 36, insert—
"4. By the occupier of any lands which are cultivated solely by his own labour using or carrying a gun for the purpose only of scaring birds or of killing vermin on such lands, or by any person using or carrying a gun for the purpose only of scaring birds or of killing vermin on any lands by order of the occupier thereof, who shall have in force a licence or certificate to kill game or a licence under this Act.
"5. By any gunsmith or his servant carrying a gun in the ordinary course of the trade of a gunsmith, or using a gun by way of testing or regulating its strength or quality in a place specially set apart for the purpose.
"6. By any person carrying a gun in the ordinary course of his trade or business as a common carrier."
Motion agreed to.
gave Notice that he would move on the third reading that these exceptions be extended to those acting by the order of the persons excepted from the tax.
, in moving that this Bill do not extend to Scotland, protested against any such additional tax being imposed on the Scotch agriculturists; none could be more unpopular with the middle and lower classes of that country. This Bill, as originally proposed, was a substitute for the game licence; but that being given up, it was simply an additional burden upon the industrious tenantry, with a string of exemptions, affording a fertile source of dispute, and having the still more lamentable effect of increasing that unhappy feeling which now existed in Scotland on the subject of the Game Laws, and which the speech delivered yesterday by the Lord Advocate was calculated so much to embitter. This was a tax to which the great mass of the people in Scotland would not quietly submit; and he told the Prime Minister that, highly and deservedly as his great public services were appreciated in Scotland, the manner in which its interests were now being treated was causing there a feeling of alienation from his Govern ment and general discontent throughout the country.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Bill to be read the third time Tomorrow, at Two of the clock.
Pedlars' Certificates Bill
( Mr. Secretary Bruce, Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen.)
Bill 199 Committee
Bill considered in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
made an appeal to the Government not to proceed with the measure at that late hour. He said that there were several Amendments on the Paper, and he had given Notice of several others which he intended to press to a Division; but so little did he anticipate the Bill going through Committee at that hour that he had only a short time previously given to the Clerk his Amendments for the purpose of having them placed on the Votes. He considered that it was most improper to proceed with the Bill at present, and that if they did so it would be a direct violation of the understanding that no opposed Bill would be taken after half-past 12 o'clock. He moved that the Chairman report Progress.
said, it had been introduced in accordance with an assurance given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the expressed wishes of the chief constables of counties. The Amendments, he thought, might be got through in a few minutes.
said, he hoped the hon. Member for Edinburgh would not press his Amendment, for the Bill had become necessary as a corollary to the proposals of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
said, the provisions of the Bill were most arbitrary, and he protested against its being proceeded with at that hour in violation of the undertaking given by the Prime Minister. He would not give way, but would move the adjournment of the House rather.
said, the Bill was too important to be discussed at so late an hour.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Clauses 1 to 4, inclusive, agreed to.
Clause 5 (Grant of certificate).
said, that he had an Amendment to move to one of the subsections of this clause. By one of the provisions of the Bill, it was only the chief officer of police who was permitted to grant a certificate to a hawker. Now, according to the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, it was desirable that pedlars should be allowed, without requiring any licence, to carry free trade into every little village in the country in order to enable the people distant from towns to get goods at a cheap rate. It was therefore not devised as a police measure at all; but since its introduction the views of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary seemed to have undergone a change, and hence this was a mere Police Bill. Under this clause, a magistrate, whether of a burgh or a county, could not grant a certificate to any pedlar or hawker. The certificate must, in all cases, be from the chief officer of the police; so that, in point of fact, the power was entirely handed over to that functionary. He considered that such a power was of the most arbitrary character; and in some places with which he was acquainted, he knew that the chief officer of the police was entirely under the control of a small police committee, composed of men who would not allow a single person to get a pedlar's certificate to trade in the county if they could prevent it. He thought such a power might well be vested in the hands of the magistrates of Scotland, and he reminded the Committee that under the new system there would be a far stricter surveillance over hawkers than there was at the present moment, because licences by the old law were granted by the Excise, and the greatest vagabond in the kingdom could get a hawker's licence if he chose to pay the duty. In future no certificate was to be granted except by the chief officer of police who would thus have every pedlar in his power. The Amendments which he proposed, and which he had given to the Clerk to get printed, was to insert the words "or any magistrate, if the person applying for the licence be known to the magistrate to be of good character." He thought there ought to be strong reasons shown why the magistrates ought not to have this power.
said, that the question had been carefully considered, and the magistrates after all would have to rely upon the information of the police.
said, that he should be quite satisfied if the licence were granted by the magistrates after hearing the statement of the chief officer of police respecting the character of the applicants. If that suggestion was adopted, he would withdraw his Amendment.
Amendment proposed, in line 30, to leave out the words "chief officer of police of the police district," in order to insert the words "magistrates in petty sessions assembled."—( Mr. M'Laren.)
Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
The Committee divided: — Ayes 72; Noes 46: Majority 26.
moved to insert after the words "chief officer of police," the following:—"And in case of his refusal, subject to appeal to the magistrates assembled at petty sessions.
said, that if the hon. Member would withdraw the Amendment, he would take care that those words should be inserted in the Report.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 6 (Effect of certificate).
said, that he had an Amendment to move. By the clause, as it at present stood, if a pedlar got a certificate from the chief constable of a burgh it would not enable him to hawk his goods in the county in which it was situated; and if he got it in the county he could not hawk within the burgh. Now that was a decided infringement of the liberty of the subject. The pedlar had as much right, as far as he could see, to be protected against such arbitrary restrictions in carrying on his trade as any other person. The law would work in the most injurious manner. In many parts of the country he knew that there was such a strong feeling against keeping up cottages, which the landlords deemed superfluous, that poor people labouring in rural districts were obliged to come into the towns to sleep, and, of course, they bought everything they wanted before they went out into the fields to their labour. But it was for the sake of the poor people residing in the country that the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to take off the licence on pedlars, that they could go from door to door and supply the wants of country people on free trade principles.
Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.
Census (Scotland) Bill
On Motion of The LORD ADVOCATE, Bill for taking the Census in Scotland, ordered to be brought in by The LORD ADVOCATE and Mr. Secretary BRUCE.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 234.]
Corrupt Practices Acts Amendment Bill
On Motion of Mr. BOUVERIE, Bill to amend the Acts relating to the expense of Commissioners to inquire into Corrupt Practices at Elections, ordered to be brought in by Mr. BOUVERIE and Mr. BONHAM-CARTER.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 235.]
Irish Land Bill
Reasons for disagreeing to the Amendment made by The Lords to the Amendment made by this House to Clause (D) reported, and agreed to.
To be communicated to The Lords.
House adjourned at half after Two o'clock.