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Commons Chamber

Volume 203: debated on Thursday 28 July 1870

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House Of Commons

Thursday, 28th July, 1870.

MINUTES.]—SUPPLY— considered in Committee—CIVIL SERVICE ESTIMATES.

PUBLIC BILLS— Ordered—First Reading—Meeting of Parliament [247].

First Reading — Beerhouses* [248]; Judicial Committee* [240]; Passengers Act Amendment* [251].

Second Reading — Census (Ireland)* [237]; Petty Sessions Clerk (Ireland) Act (1858) Amendment* [236]; Real Actions Abolition (Ireland)* [242]; Pensions Commutation Amendment* [244]; Norfolk Boundary* [217].

Committee — Report—Glebe Loans (Ireland) [222]; Census ( re-comm.) [211]; Brokers (City of London)* [71]; Corrupt Practices Acts Amendment ( re-comm.)* [235–246].

India—Army—Muzzle-Loading Rifle

Question

said, in the absence of his hon. and gallant Friend (Major Walker), he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, Whether it is the case that several Regiments of the Queen's Army, now stationed in India are still armed with the old muzzle-loading rifle, and that the drafts of their Regiments, having previously been instructed in the use of the breech-loading rifle in England, are compelled, on joining in India, to learn the use of that discarded weapon?

Sir, some of the regiments stationed in India are still armed with muzzle-loaders, and the rule laid down by the India Office is, that recruits going to those regiments go without weapons, and receive the weapons of their regiments on their arrival in India. Regiments going out to India carry with them the Snider rifle.

The Mona Brick And Tile Company

Question

said, he wished to ask the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Why the Commissioners of Woods and Forests refuse to compensate the Mona Brick and Tile Company on the ground of the Company having had granted them by the Commissioners a lease of the mineral substances on certain estates in the Isle of Man, for the sole purpose, as the Commissioners were informed and knew, of working the clay which the Agent of the Woods and Forests in the Isle of Man assured them was included in the term "mineral substances," and granted them under the said lease; it having since been decided in the Manx Courts of Law that the Commissioners are not the proprietors of clay in the Isle of Man, and had no right to grant the lease in question?

, in reply, said, it was true that an injunction had been granted in the Isle of Man Courts prohibiting the working of the clay on the ground the company had leased. But the Commissioners, after obtaining an opinion, and before the grant of the lease, had informed the company that they would not guarantee them the use of the ground for that purpose, and that, if they proceeded, they must do so at their own risk. Further, the Commissioners had since taken advice, and they were advised that the company had neither a moral nor an equitable claim against them.

Brazil—Crew Of The "Mary Hamilton"—Question

said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, If any information has been received at the Foreign Office from Rio de Janeiro, confirmatory of the report that the crew of the "Mary Hamilton" have been acquitted; and, if he will lay upon the Table any Papers in relation to this subject which may have passed between the Brazilian Government and the Foreign Office?

said, in answering the Question of the hon. Gentleman, he would at the same time answer a similar Question given Notice of by the hon. Member for Greenock (Mr. Grieve). Information had been received at the Foreign Office confirmatory of the report that the crew of the Mary Hamilton had been acquitted on their second trial, and he had no objection to lay on the Table the Papers which had passed between Her Majesty's Government and the authorities in Brazil. In reply to the Question of the hon. Member for Greenock, whether, after a detention in prison of nearly 18 months by the Brazilian authorities, the British Government would endeavour to obtain for those men, who had thus been declared innocent, adequate compensation, he had to say that the Government had been informed that the proceedings in the Brazilian Courts had been entirely in conformity with Brazilian law; but the long detention of these men was a matter which had attracted the attention and sympathy of Her Majesty's Government, and representations, merely of a friendly character, would be made, recommending their case to the favourable consideration of the Brazilian Government.

Export Of Coal To Belligerents

Question

said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, If the export of English Coal in British or other neutral Vessels by British Subjects to either France or Prussia will be a violation of Her Majesty's Proclamation against the export of articles contraband of war; and, to what Prize Courts exporters of Steam Coal, and Owners of Ships carrying the same, will be amenable when trading to non-blockaded ports?

said, he had been requested by the Prime Minister to answer this Question, and what he had to say was this—Her Majesty's Government had not undertaken to prohibit the export of coal to the ports of France or Prussia. Under certain circumstances coal would be considered as contraband of war; but the Government found it was impossible, as previous Governments also had, to define beforehand the circumstances under which coal would or would not be contraband. Those circumstances must be left to be defined by the tribunals before which the vessels were carried. He might further say, that in every case the tribunal would be the tribunal of the country into which the captured ship was carried, whether she was seeking to enter a blockaded or a non-blockaded port.

said, he wished to ask if the Government were prepared to prevent ships from carrying contraband of war?

said, the Government was not prepared to seize any ships, unless there was clear proof that they were store ships in the service of either of the belligerents.

said, he wished to ask, whether the Government were aware of the views of Foreign Governments upon this subject?

said, he did not know whether the House would think that was a question he ought to answer. He thought it might be assumed that Foreign Governments would take that view of the case which was in consonance with the principles of International Law. But it was not convenient to enter into discussions of this kind. If they received any definite information they would take care to communicate it to the House.

France And Prussia—The Frontier

Question

said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether there have been any representations or despatches received at the Foreign Office, since the year 1866, from our Ministers or Ambassadors abroad, upon the subject of an understanding between the French and Prussian Governments with respect to alterations of the French frontier?

said, in reply, that the Question of the hon. Gentleman was substantially the same as one put by the hon. Member for Cricklade (Mr. Cadogan), which he would answer at the same time. Some correspondence had taken place on the subject to which the Questions referred, and it was in the Foreign Office. He was informed, however, that it was of a confidential character. Those Papers would be examined, and on a future day he would be able to inform the House if they were of a nature that could be made public.

Army—Troops At Wimbledon

Question

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, The number of regiments, troops, and batteries which were sent from Aldershot to Wimbledon to take part in the late Review, and the strength of each regiment, troop, and battery respectively; what is the estimated war establishment of a battalion of infantry, a regiment of cavalry including men and horses, and of troops and batteries of artillery including men, horses, guns, and waggons; and, whether, with a view of preparing the country for any sudden emergency, it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to place any portion of the Army upon a war footing; and, if so, to what extent this can be done with trained or partially trained soldiers?

Sir, I hold in my hand a Return of the force which went to Wimbledon, numbering, in the whole, 2,905 officers and men. The detail is entirely at the hon. and gallant Member's service if he wishes to see it. There is no fixed war establishment; but I have a Return of the establishment of each arm at the time of the Crimean War, which is equally at his service. The hon. and gallant Member will not expect me on this occasion to make a statement of the views of Her Majesty's Government; but at the present moment 21,900 Reserve men, of whom 20,000 are Militia Reserve men, are under engagement to serve with the Army at home or abroad; and there are also between 19,000 and 20,000 of the second-class Army Reserve trained soldiers, but liable only to serve at home.

Temporary Clerks—Civil Service

Question

said, he wished to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether the claims of the Temporary or Supernumerary Clerks in the Civil Service will be taken into favourable consideration for permanent employment, as vacancies may occur in their respective departments, after the 31st day of August next, as an Order in Council provides that after that date all appointments to the Civil Service shall be made after open competition?

Sir, the Question of the noble Lord refers to a class of clerks called temporary clerks, who are employed in the public Offices but have no sort of claim to be placed on the establishment; and the noble Lord asks whether, in the change which is about to be made in regard to competition, anything will be done for these temporary clerks—that is to say, whether the principle of competition will be set aside, in order to give those clerks who have now no claim to be put on the establishment a claim to supersede successful competitors. My answer must be in the negative.

French Or Prussian Merchant Ships—Question

said, he wished to ask Mr. Attorney General, Whether a French or Prussian merchant ship, now in a British Port, if purchased bonâ fide by a British subject, and duly registered, would be exempt from liability to capture, as being indisputably British property?

Sir, I must remind the hon. and gallant Admiral that I am not entitled to give an authoritative opinion on this Question. I may also remark that these queries are points of International Law which it is obvious cannot decide the questions involved, and may lead to embarrassing discussions with Foreign Powers. According to my understanding of the decisions of the British Courts, such a vessel would be held exempt from capture, and I believe that is also the American doctrine. But I am bound also to state that the French have maintained a different doctrine. The French have maintained that if the subject of a belligerent State possesses a vessel liable to capture he cannot get rid of it by sale; and if a Prussian ship is captured the tribunal to decide the question would be a French one. Transactions of this kind are always looked on with a certain amount of suspicion by Prize Courts, which are very careful to inquire whether the transactions are altogether bonâ fide or only colourable; and if they come to the conclusion that the transactions are colourable, notwithstanding the apparent sale, the original owner retaining some interest, or having made some bargain to have the vessel restored after the cessation of hostilities—if the sale was not out and out, it is liable to capture.

Over-Regulation Price In The Army—Question

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, When he will lay the Report of the Royal Commission on over-regulation prices in the Army upon the Table of the House?

Exportation Of Horses

Question

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, If it be intended to put any restriction on the exportation of horses from the United Kingdom to France?

No, Sir; the Government have no intention of putting any restriction on the exportation of horses from the United Kingdom.

Proclamation Of Neutrality

Question

said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Why in the Proclamation of Neutrality issued by Her Majesty on July 19th, whilst the provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Act forbidding the equipment of vessels for the service of either belligerent are set forth, no special mention is made of the sections of the same Act which prohibit the enlistment of the subjects of the Crown in the naval and military service of the belligerent powers; whether there is any and what reason for departing in that respect from the precedent of the Proclamation of May 13th 1861, in which the provisions against enlistment, as well as those against the equipment of vessels, were set forth at legnth, and the act of enlistment specifically prohibited; and, whether Her Majesty's Government will not deem it expedient to make it clear to the subjects of the Queen, as was done in the Proclamation of 1861, that it is intended to enforce the law against the enlistment of men in as full a manner as against the equipment of vessels? He also wished to know when the amended Foreign Enlistment Act was likely to be introduced?

Sir, the Foreign Enlistment Bill has been introduced, and I hope it will be read a second time to-morrow. As to the other Questions of my hon. and learned Friend, I have to say that the Proclamation of the 19th of July last is precisely the same, with some necessary but trifling alterations, with that issued by the Government of Lord Derby in 1859, and with that issued in 1866—in general terms enforcing neutrality on all the Queen's subjects. It is not to be supposed likely that France and Prussia will enlist British subjects in any considerable numbers. In the Proclamation of 1861, on the breaking out of the American War, it was certainly apprehended that British subjects might extensively enlist, and therefore it was that an addition was made to the ordinary form of Proclamation; but when the new Foreign Enlistment Act becomes law, as I trust it will before long, it will deserve consideration whether another form of Proclamation may not be issued.

Objectionable Publications

Question

said, he wished to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been directed to publications relating to objectionable subjects which are now being delivered by post and otherwise at the houses of Members of Parliament; and, whether any means exist of subjecting the authors and publishers of these publications to criminal proceedings?

Sir, the publications mentioned in the Question of my hon. Friend have not been officially brought under the notice of the Home Office. In common with other Members of Parliament, I have received copies of these pamphlets, which are not only mischievous from the exaggerated statements they contain, but in the highest degree offensive from the nature of the details on which they enlarge. In my opinion the publication, sale, or distribution of such works is an offence under the 20 & 21 Vict., c. 81, notwithstanding that their object may not be immoral. In the case of "The Queen v. Hicklin," which was that of an equally objectionable publication, The Confessional Unmasked, the Court held that, notwithstanding the object of the defendant was not to injure morals, but to attack the religion and practice of the Roman Catholic Church, this did not justify his act nor prevent it from being a misdemeanour—

"Proper to be prosecuted, as the inevitable effect of the publication must be to injure morality; and, although he might have another object in view, he must be taken to have intended what was the natural consequence of his act, and had, therefore, been guilty of an offence within the meaning of the statute."
I hope the warning conveyed by this decision may have the effect of checking the further distribution of these offensive works, more especially at a season of the year when there are no fires to which they may be conveniently and immediately consigned.

The Truck System—Question

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he will state to the House the method in which he proposes to institute an inquiry into the working of the Truck Act?

Sir, on the Motion of the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella), I stated that the inquiry he asked into the offences against the Truck Act would be conducted by the Home Office in the manner it was done in 1854 by Mr. Tremenheere in England and Wales, and Mr. Hill Burton in Scotland. Subsequent information has, however, satisfied me that the inquiry must, to be efficacious, be conducted on the present occasion in a much more stringent manner. The evidence of offences against the Truck Act will have to be obtained from the masters who have committed the offences, from the foremen who have been instruments in the hands of the masters, from the shopkeepers who have shared the profits of the illegal traffic, and from the men who are dependent on the same masters for future employment. Production and examination of the books, and in many cases examination of the premises, will also be necessary in order that a right opinion may be formed of the legality or illegality of the payments. Under these circumstances, it has been thought expedient to apply to Parliament for the necessary powers, and notice of a Bill will be given this evening.

India—The Civil Service Commissioners—Question

said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for India, How many Asiatics had been disqualified for a time or altogether, after having passed a successful examination, owing to their being over age; if he would give their names, and state in how many cases an appeal had been made to reverse the disqualification, and in what instances it had been reversed; and, whether any Asiatics had been disqualified on the score of age previous to their presenting themselves for examination, they having given in their names as intending to compete?

Sir, the best information I can give on this subject is contained in a memorandum that has been forwarded to me from the Civil Service Commission, which I will read to the House—

"Last year (1869) two Asiatics—Mr. Banerjea and Mr. Thakur—who had been successful, were afterwards found to have entered their respective Universities in India at such dates, and under such regulations respecting age, as to make them primâ facie ineligible for the Civil Service. They were called upon to explain, and their explanation not being deemed satisfactory, they were pronounced disqualified. One of them, Mr. Banerjea, applied for a mandamus to compel the Civil Service Commissioners to hear further evidence. The Commissioners heard further evidence, both in his case and in the other, and made inquiries of their own; and in both cases they saw reason, after very careful consideration, to reverse the disqualification. No Asiatics have been excluded from competition on the score of age after having given in their names as intending to compete."

Strength Of The Army—Question

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, If it is true that the Army is at the present time between 3,000 and 4,000 men below the strength provided for in this year's Army Estimates?

Sir, it is not true that the Army is at the present time between 3,000 and 4,000 men below the strength provided for in this year's Army Estimates. Until recently there has been an excess in the actual force over that voted in the Estimates. On the 1st of July the Indian Depôts, which are sometimes above and sometimes below their establishment, were in a deficiency of 1,057, which is being supplied as the depôts are being completed for the approaching reliefs. The hon. and gallant Member has probably been misled by the fact that the Army in India, which is not provided for in the Estimates, is at present below its establishment. Excluding India and the Indian Depôts, on the 1st of July the rank and file was as closely as possible at the establishment.

British Subjects In Germany

Question

said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, If he is aware whether English subjects now in Germany can return to England by any of the ordinary routes, namely, viâ Hamburg or Cologne; and, if so, is there any understanding or announcement as to a limit of time; or, whether it is true that passenger boats are no longer permitted to run between Hamburg and the English ports; and, whether, in the event of the usual modes of return to England being stopped, the Government proposes to afford any and what special facilities to the large number of English subjects now in Germany, more particularly the children of English parents at school there to return to England?

said, in reply, that he was sorry to say, on behalf of the Government, that he could give no information upon the subject of the hon. Member's Question. The movements of English subjects in Germany desiring to return to this country must necessarily depend upon the military movements in that country and on the movements of the belligerents. Of these movements the Government had no information, nor were they likely to receive any. As to whether passenger boats between Hamburg and the English ports were no longer to be permitted to run, the Government had no information; but if stopped, the stoppage of those boats would doubtless also necessarily depend upon the military movements. With regard to the affording of special facilities to British subjects wishing to return to this country, he was not aware of any which the Government could afford except sending passports; and the rule with regard to sending passports abroad had been relaxed in consequence of the events which were occurring upon the Continent. Passports were now sent out for British subjects in Germany upon the application of persons of respectability in this country. But information as to the routes which might be taken by persons desiring to return to England would be far better obtained in the country where those persons were at present residing than here in England.

Supply

Order for Committee read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."

Mercantile Marine—Resolution

, in rising to call the attention of the House to the state of a portion of the Mercantile Marine of this Country, and to certain practices connected therewith; and to move a Resolution thereon, observed that shipowners, in consequence of the competition to which they were subjected, were driven into practices which many of them regretted, and from which they would be glad to have the opportunity of retreating. Parliament had extended its protection to the workers in mines and factories, and the safety of the people was one of its first considerations. He thought Parliament might interfere in the case which he was now considering, by providing that vessels should not be loaded beyond their maximum capacity, and that there should be a compulsory survey of unclassed ships. The colliers trading on the East Coast were notoriously unfit to carry human lives, yet such a thing as breaking up these ships had not been known for many years. Vessels like these could only be insured in the regular offices at premiums that would be totally prohibitory, and the result was that the owners mutually insured them in clubs, which, however, had broken down in large numbers within the last few years, after making very heavy calls upon the subscribers. The general results of the neglect of Parliament to extend to the Mercantile Navy such regulations for its care as were extended over other walks of industry had been most deplorable. The right hon. Member for Droitwich (Sir John Pakington) had referred on a previous occasion to one ship of 800 tons which was loaded with 1,600 tons of iron and despatched for the Baltic in the month of November; but, of course, that vessel being so dreadfully overladen was unable to get away from the coast, and she went down in sight of land, all her crew being saved. In another case a shipowner had lost seven sea-going ships within a very brief period, as the result of his inveterate habit of overloading; his name was such that at Lloyd's he could not get his ships insured; and the underwriters always refused to sign open policies to cover risks on vessels sailing from the port in which this particular shipowner did business, unless they had a written guarantee that none of his ships were included. The shipowner in question was a Member of that House. He also knew the case of a vessel called the Faith, which was so overloaded that one of Lloyd's surveyors said she was unfit to go to sea in that state; but more cargo was put on board of her even after that, and soon after she sailed from London she sank off the Isle of Wight. Indeed, the fact was that most of the calamities at sea, which were generally considered to be inevitable might be altogether prevented. Vessels carrying between this and the North, which spent the greater part of their time at sea, did so with perfect immunity from loss, the losses not exceeding 2 per cent in the year. Of course losses arising from fogs were, to a certain extent, inevitable; but they were not more frequent than accidents arising from fogs on railways. The worst case that had come under his notice was that of a firm on the Clyde, who, out of 21 ocean-going steamers, had lost no less than 11 since 1867, five of them being so totally lost that the only record against their names was that they had never been heard of more. The owners in that case kept their vessels constantly under weigh, not even allowing them to stop for necessary repairs, and never allowing an authorized surveyor to go on board to see their condition. The experience of the Cunard and Peninsular and Oriental lines was sufficient to prove that ocean travelling might be made quite as safe or even safer than travelling by railway. The objections to any system of Governmental supervision were easily disposed of. It was said that a Government survey would put an end to the individual responsibility of shipowners; but he could not admit this, as that which had never existed could not be destroyed. The responsibility would begin to be felt when shipowners saw Parliament determined to extend to our fellow-subjects at sea some portion of the care that had been so beneficially extended to those on land. Then it was said that an army of surveyors would be required to survey the unclassed ships; but seeing that there were only 27,635 ships registered in British ports, that 12,656 of them were surveyed by Lloyd's surveyors, that 6,182 of the remainder had been built within the last five years, and that from the residue all the ships belonging to the Cunard, the Peninsular and Oriental, the Inman, and General Steam Navigation Companies' lines must be deducted, a force of 19 surveyors would be quite sufficient to do all the work required. It was also said that to undertake the survey would entail upon the country a cost of £500,000 a-year; but so far from that being an accurate statement of the case, he would venture to commend the scheme to the Chancellor of the Exchequer as one by means of which, and without making the charges for surveys any higher than they are at present, a handsome yearly surplus might be handed over to the Treasury. Lloyd's Registry had sometimes a yearly surplus of £14,000, and in one year it was £18,000; the result being that having no company of proprietors among whom to divide the money, they found themselves in the embarrassing position of possessing a vast accumulated fund with which they did not know what to do. Another objection to such a proposal was that it would be an interference with, the private rights of shipowners; but that argument was worth nothing, seeing that Parliament had interfered with the private rights of all other persons whenever it was necessary to do so in the interest of life and property. As long ago as 1866 a memorial was sent from the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce, praying the Board of Trade to establish a maximum load line, and a compulsory survey of our Mercantile Marine, and in the prayer of that memorial the Chambers of Commerce of Dundee, Hartlepool, Bristol, Cardiff, and several other of our leading seaports concurred. In the case of the Mercantile Navy, it was proved by the evidence of the surveyor of the Board of Trade, given on the inquiry into the fate of the Sea Queen, that at present there was no legislative power whatever to stop a ship from going to sea, no matter what her condition might be. That was a state of things which required to be altered, and it ought to be provided by the Legislature that every ship which needed repair should be repaired, and that no ship should go to sea overladen. And what would be the result? That half of the lives lost every winter would be saved. No fewer than 500 lives per annum would be saved. If the Government would only bring in a short Bill this Session the whole thing might be done by October. If they refused, then these men must die. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving his Resolution.

Amendment proposed,

To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "in the opinion of this House, the statement in the Report of the Board of Trade, that more than half of the losses at sea for the six years ending in 1868 are owing to overladen and unseaworthy ships of the collier class, requires immediate legislation, with a view to the diminution of such losses,"—(Mr. Plimsoll,)

—instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

said, that the great thing which the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken, wanted to prove was that there was no intelligent and reasonable supervision over ships, and yet he stated that at least half of our ships were classed at Lloyd's. For their own part he did not see how that House could recognize the action of an irresponsible Committee sitting at Cornhill. But independent of the ships that were classed at Lloyd's, there were three or four large associations which inspected ships. If the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Graves) were in his place, he could tell the House that a great portion of the vessels which sailed from Liverpool were not classed at Lloyd's because the people of that port had a classification of their own. Why should they assume that Lloyd's was the only good classification of ships, and pass over all the other societies in the country? The hon. Member for Derby said the underwriters exercised no supervision over the character of the ships, and yet a few minutes afterwards he told them it was generally reported that there was a shipowner who could not get his ships insured. That showed that the underwriters did exercise a close supervision over the character both of the owners and also of the ships; and if a particular owner was found to lose a great proportion of his ships within a certain period he experienced a difficulty in insuring them. No persons were more qualified to give an opinion in regard to the ships on the East Coast than the sailors who worked in them, and yet they were told that the reason a great many of the men preferred these ships was because they had a greater number of opportunities of seeing their wives and families; whereas, if the statement of the hon. Member for Derby was accurate, it would lead them to infer that their object in joining this service of ships was that they might lose their lives and never see their wives and families again. No doubt some insurance clubs had failed, but so had many life insurance offices and mercantile associations, and he believed nothing would be found in these insurance statistics to justify entering upon the suggested course of legislation. What the hon. Member desired could only be done partially, and would have the undesirable result of leading people to suppose that ships in which no confidence could be placed were seaworthy, while an army of Inspectors would have to be employed. He therefore hoped that the hon. Gentleman the Secretary of the Board of Trade would not entertain the proposal.

said, he thought that the statement of the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Plimsoll) had established the existence of an amount of loss of life beyond what we, as a mercantile nation, should expect, and preceding discussions had shown that much of this calamity was quite preventible. But the proposals of the hon. Member, if adopted, would, in all probability, reduce the careful portion of the Mercantile Marine to a lower level without raising those whom it was his object to reach. In his (Mr. Samuda's) opinion the great cure for this evil would be found in one of the proposals of the Government when seeking to legislate on this subject—namely, to make it a misdemeanour on the part of the shipowner to send a ship to sea in an inefficient and unseaworthy state, and the further proposal to allow sailors to refuse to proceed to sea in unseaworthy ships, when discovered to be so, would also be a valuable security to the public. The attempt to establish a fixed load line would be open to many serious objections. It would be well to make it the interest of the owner to fit and equip his vessel in a proper manner, by insisting that he should be to a considerable extent his own insurer—say to the amount of one-third or one-quarter of the risk covered by each policy. The consequence of which would be that the loss of the ship, instead of being an immediate cash gain, would be a loss of a sufficiently serious character to induce carefulness on the part of the owner.

said, he deeply sympathized with the motives which actuated the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Plimsoll), and he fully admitted the importance of the subject he had so ably brought forward. That subject had already been brought before the House—once by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Droitwich (Sir John Pakington), and, secondly, on the second reading of the Merchant Shipping Code Bill. On both occasions he addressed the House upon this subject, and for that reason it would be the less necessary for him to go into it at any great length at present. He regretted that he had been unable to proceed with the Merchant Shipping Code Bill, owing to the exigency of questions of greater magnitude. The time devoted to that measure, however, had not, he trusted, been altogether lost, as it had received much consideration from an informal Committee of Members interested in the question, which had met at the Board of Trade, and was in such a forward state that he believed the House would be able to deal with the question at a very early period next Session. The extension to all vessels not classed at Lloyd's of the triennial inspection to which vessels so classed are subjected would be, to a great extent, useless for meeting the evils referred to. This triennial inspection of 12,000 vessels cost Lloyd's, he believed, about £40,000 a year; and if all vessels were to be surveyed at the commencement of each voyage an army of surveyors would be required, and the cost of inspection would be enormous. A further proposal was to establish an official load line. That was a subject worthy of great consideration, though it was one of extreme difficulty, for he had never met any persons who agreed as to what the line should be. The Bill for amending the Merchant Shipping Code proceeded in the direction of increasing the responsibility of shipowners, and making it a criminal offence to send a ship to sea in an unseaworthy condition; and he believed that this proposal would go far to meet the evils complained of. Allusion had been made to the case of colliers on the East Coast of England; but he was glad to know that natural causes were coming into operation which would be far more operative than any legislation. Steamers were being substituted for sailing vessels to such an extent that while in 1852 there were only 17 voyages of steam colliers from the Tyne to the Thames, last year there were 2,440 voyages of steamers, and they might therefore look forward to the time when the sailing collier would be extinct. He believed the case of the Sea Queen would have been met by the Amendments which the Government had suggested, and that they would do something to prevent disasters; but as it was out of the question that the Government should this Session deal with the subject in the limited way now suggested, he trusted the Motion would not be pressed.

said, he regretted the withdrawal of the Merchant Shipping Code Bill, which would have done as much as Government could do to remedy existing evils. The proposition to make it a misdemeanour to send a ship to sea in an unseaworthy state, and to give a sailor liberty to call for a public survey without being treated as a deserter or a coward, were very valuable; and, understanding that the Resolution merely asked the House to affirm the necessity for early legislation, he thought it would be wise to adopt it.

, while sympathizing with the motives which induced the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Plimsoll) to bring this question before the House, could not help expressing the opinion that the hon. Member had treated it in a somewhat exaggerated tone. Seeing that only 40 casulties had occurred in the case of vessels of 600 tons and upwards, he thought he was justified in asking them to exonerate the great merchant-shipping class of this country. There was, however, a class of shipowners on which blame did undoubtedly rest, and overloading did undoubtedly exist to some extent. The hon. Member had proposed that there should be a survey of every vessel leaving our ports which was not enrolled in the records of a private institution. He (Mr. Graves) agreed with the Secretary of the Board of Trade, that if they were to have a survey there should be no exception with regard to vessels connected in any way with a private institution. The unfairness of doing so would at once become patent by remembering that there was another institution which stood just as high—the Bureau Veritas—whose surveys were entitled to as much respect, and which had 17,000 classed on its books, as against 9,000 in Lloyd's. Yet the hon. Member would place a burden on those vessels which he would not place on these. France was the only country that he was aware of where the system of Government surveys existed, and their working in that country was, from his own personal investigation, very far from satisfactory. The opinion of the French people themselves was that these surveys were altogether useless, and that they threw upon the Government a very serious responsibility, which was by no means balanced by corresponding public advantages. The Deputy for Nantz had, in fact, in the month of February last, from his place in the Corps Legislatif, characterized these surveys as altogether useless and vexatious. That these Government surveys did not prevent the loss of lives and ships belonging to France was proved by statistics. In the year 1869 the number of English vessels that were lost was 1,172, being 4·40 per cent of the whole; German, 201, being 4·50 per cent; Norwegian, 105, being 3 per cent; and Swedish, 25, being 2·50 per cent. Government surveys prevailed in none of these countries; whereas the number of French vessels lost during the same year was no less than 279, or 5·30 per cent of the whole. He thought from these facts he was justified in saying that the Government survey in France had not proved a protection either to life or property. Looking at the vast commerce of this country, the enormous number of ships entering and leaving our ports daily, looking at the great competition that prevailed by which steam vessels were made to compete with railways by leaving port one afternoon and arriving the next, bearing all this in mind, any Government survey of a reliable character would in his opinion be totally impossible. With respect again to the load line, he quite admitted that if all vessels were built upon the same plan and principle there would be no difficulty in fixing such a test. But as it was, there were so many difficulties in the way that he was bound to say that the attainment of such an object was impracticable. Were a load-line system adopted owners would be led to build a peculiar kind of ship, which would be very bouyant but would be much more dangerous than any that were at present constructed. While thinking, however, that a load line was impossible, he thought something like a maximum line might beneficially be adopted. The whole matter, however, was well worthy of consideration, and he should not regret to see it referred to a Select Committee in the next Session. He believed that the mode in which the Secretary of the Board of Trade was proceeding for remedying the evils complained of—namely, by throwing the responsibility on the owners, and not shifting it on to the shoulders of the Government—was, perhaps, the best.

said, that vessels were not so much lost by overloading as by improper stowage, which was not to be charged upon the owners or captains, because they were obliged to place the stowage in the hands of a class of men who made it their special calling. Steamships had not been lost by overloading, and the loss of the City of Boston, which was under Government supervision, arose from causes in connection with the steam machinery, and not from overloading. The statement that had been made about the overloading of ships was incorrect, for of those which were alleged to have been lost from that cause three were driven on shore, one was capsized, and nothing had been heard of two others. When vessels left port no one could tell the dangers with which the seamen would have to contend, and, looking to the number of ships which formed the Mercantile Marine of this country, he submitted that the loss of life in them was comparatively very small. He urged the House to be very cautious in legislating for the Mercantile Marine, because, in his opinion, the shipping interests of the country already suffered from too much legislation.

said, he thought the House was not competent at this time to give an opinion on such an important subject; for to men who were unacquainted with seafaring matters, it was impossible to understand the great number of considerations that had to be taken into account. He admitted the importance of the subject, and thought there ought to be an investigation. If a Motion were made early next Session for the appointment of a Select Committee he would support it, for he believed that the inquiry would be acceptable to the seaports, and it would show that the matter was not so bad as had been represented by the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Plimsoll).

, while fully sympathizing with the Motion, could not help feeling that many of the statements by which it had been supported were exaggerated, and some of them quite untrue.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The New Law Courts—Resolution

, in rising to call the attention of the House to the building of the New Law Courts, and to move — "That in the opinion of this House, such building should be proceeded with without further delay," said, he should not trouble the House at any length with this subject, for he hoped that the First Commissioner was substantially of the same opinion as himself, that he would accept the Motion, and was prepared, on behalf of the Government, to say that they would place on the Votes an Estimate for proceeding with the works. If that were so, it would be unnecessary for him to proceed with the Motion.

said, it was of the utmost importance, now that the Government had fully resolved upon the site and were about to proceed to the erection of the buildings, that steps should be taken to have proper approaches made to the new Courts. A large amount of extra traffic would be concentrated round the new edifice, and it was the duty of the Government to provide proper accesses for the accommodation of that traffic. This had not yet been done; but he hoped they would soon be in possession of block plans of the Courts, which would enable them clearly to see where the new approaches ought to be formed. He urged that the metropolis had been unfairly treated in the matter of taxation, and care should be taken that further burdens should not be imposed upon it.

said, the hon. Member for Sussex (Mr. G. B. Gregory) lightly assumed that he was as anxious as he could be to see the building of the Now Courts of Law proceeded with at the earliest possible period. It was the intention of the Government to lay upon the Table of the House, either that evening or the next day, an Estimate for taking the preliminary steps, and what could be done between this and the meeting of Parliament next year. He thought, therefore, the House would be of opinion that it was not expedient to anticipate the discussion that would arise when that Estimate was considered in Committee. With regard to the remarks of the hon. Member for the City of London (Mr. Alderman Lawrence), he could only say that he had only undertaken to give effect to the Acts of Parliament already passed for the construction of the new Courts, and not to go beyond their provisions. The questions raised by the hon. Member were foreign to the legislation which had already taken place; but the hon. Gentleman and his constituents would set a good example by taking measures to remove the structure which public opinion did not sanction, either on account of its beauty or antiquity, and which was a serious obstruction between Fleet Street and the Strand. He hoped to be able to proceed with the Estimate on Monday, and a block plan was being printed, of which numerous copies would be found at the Vote Office to-morrow.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Metropolis—Southwark Park

Resoution

, in rising to call the attention of the House to the intended appropriation of a large portion of Southwark Park for building purposes by the Metropolitan Board of Works, and to move—

"That, in the opinion of the House, the whole of the land purchased under the Act of 1864 (The Southwark Park Act), should be preserved as a Park for the use and recreation of the Public,"
said, that it was originally intended to purchase 130 acres for the Park, but difficulties arising, only 63 acres were obtained; and he was sure the House would not think that space too large for the recreation of the population of Southwark, amounting to nearly 200,000 persons, of Deptford, and the other neighbouring localities. The Metropolitan Board of Works were now following the course which they proposed to the Open Spaces Committee, of which he (Mr. Locke) had the honour to be Chairman. Sir John Thwaites, in his evidence before that Committee, proposed that the Metropolitan Board should be empowered to take charge of the open spaces around the metropolis, and he suggested that they should purchase them, and recoup themselves for the necessary outlay by appropriating large portions of the land to building purposes. The Report proposed by Mr. Doulton embodying these views was rejected by the Committee, and his, the Chairman's Report, adopted. The Report directed that the whole of the land should in each case be preserved for the recreation of the people. Now, in the case of Southwark Park the Board had determined to take no less than 16 acres and sell it for the purpose of having it built upon. Additional land would be required for a road to approach the houses, and thus no less than 26 acres would be taken from the public and applied to the purpose of recouping the Metropolitan Board to some extent for their outlay in making the Park. He ought to state that the funds employed for the purchase of the land for the formation of the Park had been furnished by rates levied on the whole of the metropolis. Even if the Metropolitan Board had a right to do this, that House might fairly be called on to express their opinion against it; and with that view he now brought forward the subject. He well remembered standing beside Sir John Thwaites upon a platform on the day that he publicly declared this Park open. The whole 63 acres had over since been used and enjoyed by the public, and he contended that Sir John Thwaites had now no right to withdraw 16 acres of the area so declared to be open and available for public use and enjoyment. Open spaces were necessary not only for the recreation, but for the health of the metropolis; but they would both be endangered unless the House endeavoured to check the Board. There was an extremely strong feeling in the borough of Southwark against the course which the Metropolitan Board were taking, and this had been evinced by several large and influential meetings. He hoped the House would not be influenced by any technical objection to his Motion; but would express the opinion which was embodied in it. The hon. Member concluded by moving his Resolution.

Amendment proposed,

To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "in the opinion of this House, the whole of the land purchased under the Act of 1864 (The Southwark Park Act), should be preserved as a Park for the use and recreation of the Public,"—(Mr. Locke,)

—instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

said, that if the question was merely as to the extent of land which it was desirable to retain he did not think that 63, or even 163, acres would be too much for the recreation of so large a body of persons as dwelt in Southwark and upon the south side of the river; but the real fact was that, in the negotiations which took place for acquirement of the land, it was foreseen that unless some precautions were taken the acquirement of such a space would immediately raise the value of the property all round the Park, and it was in order to prevent private persons obtaining that advantage that the power was taken by the Board of Works to take more land than was actually to be devoted to the Park, in order that the ratepayers, at whose cost the Park was made, might reap any advantage that would result to the surrounding property from the maintenance of this open space. By the course they proposed taking the Metropolitan Board of Works hoped to return to the ratepayers a sum of nearly £36,000, which might possibly be used hereafter for the provision of another park in another part of the metropolis. He asked the House to consider whether it would not be beneath their dignity to pass a Resolution which would be a mere brutum fulmen, for they could not by a mere Resolution override an Act of Parliament. The proper course for his hon. and learned Friend to take would be to give notice of his intention to bring in a Bill to repeal the Act which conferred on the Board of Works the discretionary power they were now using; or if the proceedings of the Board could be proved to be ultra vires, it would be easy to obtain an injunction to prevent them proceeding in the course on which they had entered. He hoped his hon. and learned Friend would be content with the expression of opinion which had been elicited, an expression which would, no doubt, cause the Board to reconsider its decision, and if it should have the effect of producing an alteration in the direction sought by his hon. and learned Friend, he, for one, should feel gratified.

, in accepting the suggestion of his right hon. Friend and withdrawing his Amendment, hoped that, after what had been said, the Government would support the Bill of which he would give Notice for next Session.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Spain—Case Of The "Tornado"

Resolution

, in rising to move—

"That, in the opinion of this House, it is not competent for a Minister to allege or read in debate in defence of his policy any Document which is not upon the Table, and which he is not prepared to communicate to the House; and that it is incumbent upon Her Majesty's Government to lay forthwith upon the Table Copy of the entire deposition or statement of facts made in writing by one Holmes, erroneously represented by the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to have been in command of the British Ship 'Tornado,'"
said, the matter he had to lay before the House involved a question of Privilege, for it was clear that, unless a distinct rule was laid down as to which documents, after having been used in debate, should be produced and which should be kept back by the Minister, a serious injury would be inflicted upon the rights of independent Members, which had been encroached on too much already by the present Government. The fact was that two months ago he called attention to the case of the Tornado, with a view to show that it had been illegally seized, and was answered by his hon. Friend, the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs and the Attorney General. His hon. Friend (Mr. Otway) said that this vessel had been "steeped in crime from her very cradle," and the Attorney General said that beyond doubt the vessel was a privateer, and both the Under Secretary and the Attorney General rested their case upon the statement made by Captain Holmes of the Cyclone. He (Mr. Bentinck) afterwards addressed a Question to the Prime Minister, who admitted that the allegation of the Under Secretary was founded on a statement made by Captain Holmes. This document, which the Minister declined to lay on the Table of the House, proved to be the embodiment in writing of a statement on the subject which his hon. Friend had refused to accept verbally. Thus, his hon. Friend had first presented to the House a spurious article, and then refused a sufficient opportunity for its contradiction — a proceeding which might do very well in Spain, but was opposed to the principles of law and equity as understood in this country, and opposed, moreover, to the practice of Parliament. Sir Erskine May, in his text-book on this subject, laid it down that the proceedings of that House ought to be conducted similarly to the proceedings in a Court of Law, and that no person had a right to produce evidence, without giving to those affected by it a full opportunity of examining and, if possible, disproving it. The precedents on this subject were also very numerous. In 1857, in the debate on the China War, Lord Halifax, thon Sir Charles Wood, stated a certain position, and said that he had in his possession a letter from Sir Michael Seymour which bore out his view. Mr. Roebuck asked if Sir Charles Wood had any objection to produce the letter. Sir Charles Wood replied that it was a private letter, but that he was willing to bring it down to the House and show it to any hon. Gentleman. Upon that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) said it was monstrous that a Minister should rise in his place and make a statement upon an important matter, founded on a document which had not been produced, and he went on to say that neither a public nor a private letter ought to have been used that could not be laid on the Table. That was a principle which had ever been accepted in that House, and which he hoped would ever be their guide in such matters. The next case was in 1862, when the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth (Sir Robert Peel), then Chief Secretary for Ireland, stated that the Longford election was a mockery, and in proof of the assertion referred to certain documents in his possession. The Irish Members demanded that the documents should be laid on the Table, and Lord Palmerston expressed himself thus—
"It may, no doubt, be the true doctrine that when a Minister of the Crown reads a document in this House and founds upon it an argument or an assertion that document, if called for, ought to be produced."—[3 Hansard, clxvi. 2129.]
The last instance he would refer to occurred two years afterwards, when, in the Leeds bankruptcy case, the hon. and learned Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer) read his answer from a written statement which he had before him, and Mr. Ferrand moved that the Paper be laid upon the Table. The Speaker, being appealed to, said that public despatches, documents, and papers relating to public affairs, when read or quoted by a Minister, ought to be laid on the Table. But there was an additional reason why this document should be laid upon the Table, because, though the Spanish Government had at first agreed to give £1,500 by way of compensation to the unfortunate crew of the Tornado, it appeared that the money had not been paid, and, if so, he wished to know why there had not been payment. A rumour had reached him, which he hoped was not true, that the Spanish Government had declined payment because they had read the speech of his hon. Friend the Under Secretary, and because it was clear from the statement made that this was a Chilian vessel. He hoped his hon. Friend would press the case upon the Spanish Government, and he would, therefore, add to his Motion the words, "or any further paper in the matter of the Tornado.

Amendment proposed,

To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "in the opinion of this House, it is not competent for a Minister to allege or read in debate in defence of his policy any Document which is not upon the Table, and which he is not prepared to communicate to the House; and that it is incumbent upon Her Majesty's Government to lay forthwith upon the Table, Copy of the entire deposition or statement of facts made in writing by one Holmes, erroneously represented by the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to have been in command of the British Ship 'Tornado,' and also further Papers relating to that Ship,"—(Mr. Bentinck,)

—instead thereof.

fully recognized the constancy which the hon. Member had shown with regard to this case. The hon. Gentleman had now for some time been advocating the claims of the captain and crew of the Tornado; but whether his advocacy had been advantageous to those people was open to doubt, especially if it was true that the Spanish Government had now determined to withhold the £1,500 which they had previously offered as compensation. It was not his intention in any way to dispute the general principle for which the hon. Gentleman had contended, fortified as it was by the high authority of the right hon. Gentleman in the Chair and Lord Palmerston. It would have been more satisfactory, however, if the hon. Gentleman had read the whole of Lord Palmerston's opinion, for he would, if he was not mistaken, have found towards the end something to qualify the passage which he had quoted. But that ride did not apply in the present case, for here no despatch was used, but a verbal statement which had been made to him within the precincts of that House, which statement for greater accuracy he himself took down in writing, and then he asked the person who made it whether it was correct, and in proof that it was so to put his name to it. His hon. Friend admitted that he had seen the document, if it could be so called, indeed, there was no desire whatever to withhold it from any Gentleman who wished to see it. The hon. Member for Penrhyn (Mr. Eastwick) had also seen it. What was more he was ready to place it at the disposal of any hon. Member in that House. Now, though he was bound to state that it was not convenient to lay on the Table a memorandum of conversation passing within the limits of the House, this he would say—he was prepared to verify all the statements made in that memorandum; and though he would not be fulfilling his duty if he were to lay it on the Table, he was quite willing to make the hon. Gentleman a present of the only really important part of it—namely, the private instructions given to the commander of the Tornado and the other ship how they were to proceed so as to avoid capture. The photographs were open to the inspection of his hon. Friend. It was only the verbal statement of the individual reduced to writing by himself (Mr. Otway), or certified as correct by Captain Holmes. Under these circumstances he must decline to produce the Paper, because to do so would be to depart from Parliamentary usage in cases of that kind.

said, he did not rise to speak on the question of the Tornado, of which he had heard in his time a great deal, and on which he had formed an opinion which it was not necessary he should state at present; but he must say that the point brought forward by his hon. Friend (Mr. Bentinck) was well worthy of the attention of the House, and he was not himself quite satisfied with the observations made by the Under Secretary of State. One of the great securities for fair discussion in that House was that a Minister should not be permitted to refer to documents, public or private, if he was not prepared to communicate them to the House. He did not say there might not be special reasons why the particular document now in question should not be placed in the usual category in that respect; but at the same time it was not the interest of the House to encourage any laxity in regard to the rule on that subject. It was one of the guarantees for sufficient discussion that a debate should not be allowed to be unwarrantably influenced by speakers appealing, in order to sustain their views, to documents which were not in the possession of the House. That was a principle of which the House should be most jealous. It might be all very well for the Under Secretary of State to invite them to come down to Downing Street, and inspect the documents; but every Member must see that this was an important question, the importance of which was not diminished because the special instance which had now come before the House was not one of great dimensions. The principle was the same. When a document was appealed to and the Minister did not place it on the Table, it would be most inconvenient for hon. Members to call at Downing Street to examine whether the document referred to was a valid one or not; and they ought to be careful how they waived the Privileges of the House. The question was, whether their right to the production of documents quoted by persons in authority to influence debate was a right which ought to be maintained or not. He recommended the House to maintain it as being most important, and not to permit the comparative insignificance of the transactions connected with a case like that of the Tornado to blind them to what, if allowed to pass unnoticed, might be converted into an injurious precedent. He thought that the House could not be too strict in maintaining this ride, and though it was not desirable that his hon. Friend who brought forward the Motion should formally take the opinion of the House upon it, yet he thought it ought not to be disregarded, and that they ought to express in a manner that was not to be mistaken their resolution to adhere to their rules on the subject.

said, he thought it would be a pity if it should go forth to the world that there existed any serious difference of opinion with respect to the Rule of the House on that subject, as might perhaps be inferred from what has just fallen from the right hon. Gentleman. The Rule was intended to prevent undue advantage being taken by official Members in order to influence the judgment of the House. Ministers might often be supposed to have an advantage in discussion through their official knowledge, and it was quite right that every proper control should be placed on their use of that advantage. In the present instance, however, the issue was extremely narrow. The particular case before them was one that could occur only very rarely, and he thought his hon. Friend (Mr. Otway) was right in the view he took of it, which did not in the least degree derogate from the obligation to produce official documents. The question here was whether that was an official document at all. It was the substance of a conversation within the limits of the House, and reduced to writing for greater certainty; and it might impart an almost ridiculous air to the Rule if words so taken down were to be treated as coming within the definition of an official document. Although that very narrow issue might, however, give rise to some difference of opinion, still it was hardly a matter on which it could be thought desirable to take the formal judgment of the House. The Rule of the House would be made more safe by avoiding any attempt to stretch it. They should keep within the definition which the Speaker had given of it on a former occasion, and which made it apply to public despatches, documents, and papers relating to public affairs which were read and quoted by Ministers. This Paper was much more analogous to the report of a conversation given by a Gentleman in that House than to an official document. But, be that as it might, it was the desire of the Government on every occasion to observe the general Rules of the House with fidelity and strictness.

Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question," put, and agreed to.

Main Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put, and agreed to.

Supply—Civil Service Estimates

SUPPLY— considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

  • (1.) £238,000, to complete the sum for the County and Borough Police, Great Britain.
  • (2.) £315,627, to complete the sum for Government Prisons, England, and Transportation and Convict Establishments, Colonies.
  • (3.) £203,880, to complete the sum for County Prisons and Reformatories, Great Britain.
  • (4.) £26,943, to complete the sum for Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum.
  • (5.) £12,790, to complete the sum for Miscellaneous Legal Charges.
  • (6.) £48,533, to complete the sum for Criminal Proceedings in Scotland.
  • (7.) £37,630, to complete the sum for Courts of Law and Justice, Scotland.
  • (8.) £18,001, to complete the sum for the Register House, Edinburgh.
  • (9.) £17,075, to complete the sum for Prisons, Scotland.
  • (10.) £52,403, to complete the sum for Law Charges and Criminal Prosecutions, Ireland.
  • (11.) £30,294, to complete the sum for the Court of Chancery, Ireland.
  • (12.) £19,477, to complete the sum for the Common Law Courts, Ireland.
  • (13.) £5,790, to complete the sum for the Court of Bankruptcy and Insolvency, Ireland.
  • (14.) £8,997, to complete the sum for the Landed Estates Court, Ireland.
  • said, that as this Court existed only for the benefit of the buyers and sellers of estates it ought to be maintained by fees, and not at the expense of the Exchequer. There were fees paid to the amount of £4,291; but the charge on the Votes was £12,907.

    said, considerable fees were received from this Court, which were paid into the Exchequer. At the same time, there was much apparent justice in what the hon. Gentleman had said, and he would look into the matter.

    said, the operation of the Encumbered Estates Court Act had been most injurious to Ireland not only for the losses it had occasioned to creditors, but also in consequence of the land being compulsorily sold under it for so much less than its real value. £8,000,000 of Irish capital was confiscated—a larger sum than the boasted assistance in the potato famine years.

    pointed out that it was not a matter in which the public of Ireland was concerned, but only the sellers and purchasers of land.

    Vote agreed to.

    (15.) £7,421, to complete the sum for the Probate Court, Ireland.

    (16.) £1,340, to complete the sum for the Admiralty Court Registry, Ireland.

    (17.) £10,430, to complete the sum for the Registry of Deeds, Ireland.

    (18.) £2,066, to complete the sum for the Registry of Judgments, Ireland.

    (19.) Motion made, and Question proposed,

    "That a sum, not exceeding £65,900, 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 Commissioners of Police, of the Police Courts, and of the Metropolitan Police, Dublin."

    objected to the whole of the police charge for Ireland being saddled on the Consolidated Fund. He particularly objected to the police charge for a rich city like Dublin being paid out of the Imperial taxation. It ought to be compelled to make a contribution like the large towns of England, if only as a matter of policy, for under the present arrangement the people felt that they had nothing to do with the police, whom, they looked upon as a foreign body. Dublin was a rich town, and ought not to escape from paying police charges. He moved that the whole Vote of £100,000 be reduced by £25,000, so as to make the people of Dublin pay one-fourth of the charge.

    Motion made, and Question proposed,

    "That a sum, nor exceeding £40,900, 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 Commissioners of Police, of the Police Courts, and of the Metropolitan Police, Dublin."—(Mr. Lusk.)

    called the hon. Member's attention to a foot-note in the Estimates, which showed that the City of Dublin contributed not merely £25,000 for the police, but £41,000, that amount being raised from the hackney carriage licence and from an eightpenny rate on the property of the town.

    supposed that the only object the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Alderman Lusk) could have in view was to get rid of the police force of Dublin entirely. The hon. Member was a great economical authority; but he had never known him to succeed in reducing a Vote by a single penny.

    pointed out that £23,000 of the Vote was spent in pensions, many of the persons concerned receiving pensions to the full amount of the salaries they had had. It was a matter for serious consideration whether a quarter of the whole amount ought to be paid for purely unproductive labour.

    distinguished between the police force of Ireland generally, which was a semi-military body defended on special grounds, and that for Dublin, which was one of the richest cities in the kingdom; and there was no more reason for relieving it of the expenses of its police than there was for relieving London or Manchester. As to the amount paid for pensions he looked upon it as a scandalous misappropriation of public money, which the Legislature ought to stop.

    said, he had no reason to doubt that the pensions had been awarded in each case on sufficient grounds; but there used to be a much higher rate of pensions under the Act 10 & 11 Vict., and that still operated in keeping up the total amount.

    Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

    Vote agreed to.

    (20.) £643,007, to complete the sum for the Constabulary, Ireland.

    pointed out that the sum of £110,632 paid for pensions and gratuities was printed in the Estimates in a lump sum, without any details of the names of the persons receiving the money. He thought those details ought to be given, and he also hoped that the Government would set on foot in Ireland the plan observed in this country, of the police making contributions from their pay towards their own superannuation fund.

    said, he wished to know how it was that £47,000 was paid to the magistrates in Ireland out of the Consolidated Fund, while in England all stipendiary magistrates were paid out of local taxation?

    said, the resident stipendiary magistrates in Ireland were to a great extent officers of the Executive Government, and of the greatest value to the Government in Ireland. Indeed, he did not know what could be done without them. No doubt the system in Ireland was a system of greater centralization than existed here, which, on abstract grounds, was to be deplored; but the circumstances of the country made it necessary.

    said, that after this friends in Ireland could not say they were taxed in the same way as the people of Great Britain.

    observed, that if the English magistrates were superseded to the same extent as Irish country gentlemen by stipendiary magistrates, he believed they would retire in disgust from the unpaid duties which they now discharged with so much advantage to the country. The policy the Government had pursued had offended the local magistracy, and he would advise them to adopt a totally different system—to trust the people and the magistrates, which they never had done, and they might thus hope to establish peace and tranquillity.

    said, he could not help thinking that the Irish Constabulary force would be rendered more popular in Ireland if the people were allowed to take a greater interest in it, and to bear their fair share of its cost. The present system of centralization was not desirable.

    called attention to the rate at which the superannuation had been increased, and expressed his opinion that it was worthy of consideration whether a superannuation fund might not be established out of contributions subscribed by the police themselves. The details of their pensions ought also to be given in the Estimate.

    said, the notion of making a force, which was supposed to be unpopular in Ireland, popular by the imposition of a financial blister on the people, was worthy of the ingenuity of a Scotchman. The House might, if it thought proper, adopt the suggestion as to superannuation money, but it must first increase the pay of the force; so that, practically, nothing would be gained. The Irish Constabulary were a most meritorious body of men; he had seen them on occasions of great excitement; he knew their wonderful good temper and forbearance, and the great services which they were enabled to render to the Queen and to the country. He warned the House against touching one penny of their pay or their pensions.

    said, to adopt the suggestion which had been made would be to reduce the pay of the men, and nothing would be gained by increasing the pay in order to establish a superannuation fund out of enforced contributions. Further particulars would be given if necessary; but it was not desirable to overcrowd the Estimates with the various items which made up small amounts.

    Vote agreed to.

    (21.) £32,960, to complete the sum for Government Prisons, &c., Ireland.

    (22.) £28,211, to complete the sum for County and Borough Prisons, Ireland.

    (23.) £3,610, to complete the sum for Dundrum Criminal Lunatic Asylum.

    (24.) £1,630, to complete the sum for the Four Courts Marshalsea, Dublin.

    (25.) £6,070, to complete the sum for Miscellaneous Legal Charges, Ireland.

    (26.) £644,721, to complete the sum for Public Education, Great Britain.

    said, this year the Education Estimate was £914,721, being a net increase over the sum voted last year of £74,010. This increase arose, he might say, almost entirely upon two items—the annual grants and the sum for the training Colleges. There was a small saving of £173 in the administration office in London, arising from the experiment which had been successfully tried of having boys as clerks. The cost of inspection had increased by £2,166, owing to the employment of three more inspectors. In the building grants there had been a decrease of £3,000, about £4,000 less than the Estimate of last year being spent. In Scotland there was an increase of £6,300, owing to the number of certificated masters having increased by 35, the certificated schoolmistresses by 45, and the pupil-teachers by 308. Scotland was still working on the old system, payment for results not having been yet introduced. As to the two great sources of increase to which he had alluded, in England and Wales there was an increase of £54,732 on the annual grants, which was owing to an increase in the number of scholars, a thing which no one would regret. Last year the average attendance of day scholars was estimated at 1,082,000. This year it was close upon 1,200,000, being an increase of 114,000. In evening scholars there was an increase of close upon 8,000, bringing the number up to nearly 80,000. The capitation grant was 1d. less than it was last year, when it was 9s. 11d. They had found that to be rather over what was required, and this year it was proposed to make the grant 9s. 10d. Though they asked for 1d. less, the scholars were not earning less. An increase had been going on from year to year, but not quite so fast as had been expected. For the year ending the 31st of August, 1868, the sum actually paid was 9s.d. per day scholar; for the year ending All gust, 1869, it was 9s. 7d.; and for this year they were, as he had said, asking 9s. 10d. There was a large increase in the sum for the training schools. Last year there had been none; but this year they found the training schools so much more vigorously in operation that they were asking for an increase of £14,000; and, considering the demand that there would be for teachers, he was not sorry to be obliged to ask it. There were 223 more male students in residence, and 104 more female students, which was the explanation of the increase in the item. Now, as to the results, or the value received for their money. Let them take England and Wales, leaving Scotland out of the account — though no one could suppose that Scotland would be without the Revised Code much longer. Indeed, the Government looked forward to the English Education Bill of this year being followed by a Scotch Education Bill next year. In the year ending August 31, 1869, the separate schools in England and Wales, assisted by the State, were 7,845, comprising 11,404 day departments, and 2,240 evening schools. These schools provided accommodation for 1,766,000 scholars. There were 1,570,000 scholars on the school books, and the average number in attendance was in day schools 1,063,000, and in evening schools 64,000. There were 11,752 certificated teachers, assisted by 12,357 pupil-teachers and 1,253 assistant-teachers. The cost of the schools was defrayed by a Government Grant, amounting in round numbers to £465,000, school fees £456,000, and endowments and subscriptions £489,000. Thus, in a population estimated at about 22,000,000, there were being taught in the schools at an expense to the State of £465,000, to the parents of £456,000, aided by subscriptions amounting to £489,000, about 1,570,000 children, taking the number on the books, and 1,063,000, taking the average attendance, in 11,404 day schools and 2,240 evening schools, by rather more than 11,700 head teachers, assisted by 1,230 assistant-teachers and 12,300 pupil-teachers. Of the total number of children on the register, about 425,000 were under six years of age. Deducting the infants, there were 1,145,000 children on the books. There were presented for individual examination 696,440 in day schools, and 63,174 in night schools. The number who passed without failure in reading, writing, and arithmetic, was 470,000 in the day schools, and 43,000 in the night schools, or a percentage of 67·5 in the day schools, and 70 in the night schools. The estimated increase of the population in England and Wales in the course of last year was 1 per cent, and he was glad to be able to state that this year, as well as last, the increase of scholars was much greater than the increase of population. Speaking generally, the percentage of increase was greater this year than in the previous year. The population had increased about 1 per cent, the number of children on the register had increased 8 per cent this year as against 7 per cent last year. The attendance this year showed an increase of 8 3–5ths per cent against 7 1–3rd last year. The numbers presented for examination had increased 9 per cent, as against 8 per cent last year, and the number who passed without failure had increased one-half per cent. One or two facts now with regard to the present state of the training schools. He had said they were asking for an increase of £14,000 on account of these schools—namely, £87,000 this year as compared with £73,000 last year. He had frequently been asked what prospect they had of supplying the probably large demand that would be made for trained teachers. The training schools would hold 3,261 students—namely, 2,945 in England, and 766 in Scotland. There were now in residence 2,600, or an increase of 327 over last year—namely, 223 male and 104 female students. That number would enable the Education Department to turn out at Christmas, 1870, 1,122 teachers trained for two years; 906 for England and 216 for Scotland; and at Christmas, 1871, 1,478 teachers—namely, 1,191 for England and 287 for Scotland. Supposing the training schools were full they would be able to turn out 1,630 trained teachers—namely, 1,247 for England and 383 for Scotland. But, as he had said, they were really prepared to turn out next Christmas 1,122 and the following Christmas 1,478 trained teachers. Last August they had 1,474 certificated teachers. They calculated the waste—if he might use that expression in such a case—which had to be supplied at 7 per cent—a large and liberal calculation. It had been a question in the office whether they ought to put it at 5 or at 7 per cent; but 7 per cent would be an outside figure. That required them to turn out 980 teachers per annum to meet present wants. Consequently unless they expected a considerably increased demand they would be overstocking the market at the present moment. With regard to the increase in the number of pupil-teachers, he would give the number of pupil-teachers who had been admitted in each year, at Christmas, since 1861, which would show the effect of the Revised Code, and also the subsequent recovery. In 1861 the number admitted was 3,092; in 1862 it was 2,934. Then the Revised Code came into operation, and the number fell in 1863 to 2,315. In 1864 it reached the minimum number of 1,895, after which it began to recover, being, in 1865, 2,355; in 1866 it was 2,720; in 1867—when the Minute of the right hon. Member for Tyrone (Mr. Corry) produced its good results—the number rose to 3,446; in 1868 it was 3,882; and in 1869 he was glad to say it reached 4,031. There were 2,033 more pupil-teachers on December 31, 1869, than on December 31, 1868, the number in 1868 being 13,668, and in 1868 being 15,701. Having given these dry details, he did not know that he had any other remark to offer to the Committee; but if any questions were put to him by hon. Members he would be happy to answer them.

    said, he hoped the Government would assist the teachers in a movement they were desirous of originating to make some provision for their old age by means of a mutual insurance association.

    said, he was desirous of taking that opportunity of obtaining some explanation on a subject in regard to which the people of Scotland took a considerable interest. So far as the Imperial expenditure on education went, the Vice President of the Council was responsible to that House for the state of education in Scotland. Last year they had a Bill for the extension of education in that country, brought in by the former Lord Advocate, whose enlightened labours in education they all knew; but though it passed through that House after much labour, it did not become law. During the Recess the people of Scotland used their best exertions to have a Bill introduced in that Session, and he believed every burgh in the kingdom memorialized the Government on the subject, and the country districts were not backward in their representations of the absolute necessity for such a measure. But the great English Bill stood in their way, and they found that an English and Scotch Bill were two omnibuses that could not go through Temple Bar at the same time; so that though their Scotch omnibus had a start by 12 months, it still remained far behind. It required no prophet to foretel that Scotland would expect their educational omnibus to be put on the road early next year; but they wanted to know who was to be its official driver? The House had expressed during the course of their recent debates an unmistakeable desire that the Education Department which administered the Votes, should be made responsible, and sharply responsible, for the education of the people. It was quite possible then, that the Scotch people might find that if they expended their energies for the edification of the Lord Advocate during the Recess, that it was not him, but the Vice President of the Council to whom their efforts should have been directed. His own views were expressed in the remarks which he made to the House when the Education Bill went into Committee. He then urged the necessity of having a Minister of Education, who should be responsible to them in all matters relating to the education of the people. Practically they had, in the person of his right hon. Friend who filled the Office of Vice President of the Council, a Minister well capable of fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of such an Office. When the Scotch Education Bill was to be introduced into that House next Session—a Bill which would in effect largely increase the Votes on Education—were they to look to that responsible administrator of the expenditure for its preparation, or were they to look to the Lord Advocate? His right hon. and learned Friend who filled the latter Office was a man of distinguished ability. He did not profess to be an educationalist; but if he undertook the preparation of the Bill, he would bring to it that ability which would enable him to master the situation, and to prepare a Bill suitable to the wants of the country. There were some advantages, doubtless, in his being entrusted with it. The people of Scotland desired their education to be administered with reference to their habits and the peculiar character of their schools. These, they feared, might be lost sight of in the uniform system of the Council Office, and they apprehended that English ideas would soon swamp Scotch ideas of education. No doubt there was a danger of that; but as no Scotch Bill could be carried through the House that did not obviate those just fears, he had more faith in intrusting the preparation and responsibility to the Minister who had to see to its working, rather than to one who might devise but who had no power to execute. He confessed that, from the ease with which Scotch Bills were shunted into sidings, he would have far greater hope of seeing an Education Bill carried through Parliament when entrusted to an Imperial Minister who was in the Cabinet, rather than when confided to a Scotch Minister who was not in the Cabinet. In any case, it was important that during the Recess the Scotch people should know whether the Lord Advocate was to continue his responsibility for the preparation of an education measure, or whether the Government, yielding to the wishes expressed in that House, would concentrate the responsibility on that Department which was entrusted with the administration of the Votes relating to public education. There was much vis inertiœ to be overcome not on the part of the Scotch people who were the motive power, but in the Government who were to be moved; and they did not wish to waste their energy by giving it a wrong direction.

    congratulated the Vice President of the Council oil his able statement, and also on the increased attendance at the schools shown by the statistics he had quoted. At the same time he thought that 7 per cent was scarcely a sufficient allowance for the "waste" of certificated teachers, as there was found to be a tendency among the teachers to retire after a certain time. On the new educational measure coming into operation, a larger supply of teachers would be required, unless they relaxed the condition as to having certificated teachers—a course which he should regret to see them have to adopt. He hoped they would be enabled to look forward to having an adequate staff of property-trained teachers who had obtained certificates.

    said, he was not surprised that the hon. Member for the Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities (Dr. Lyon Playfair) had broached the subject of Scotch education and of Scotch legislation, and he wished to state that he greatly admired the patience which the Scotch people had shown during the present Session on many points, for it must be admitted that they had been scurvily treated. However, in that respect they were not alone, for there were large masses of people who had looked forward to legislation other than that which had occupied the attention of Parliament this Session. There had been on the part of Scotch people a natural and proper jealousy of any confusion of the two systems of England and Scotland, which were so essentially different, and he could understand their desire to see a measure of Scotch education introduced by Scotchmen; but, at the same time, the Education Minister was the dispenser of the Parliamentary Grant for Scotland as well as for England; and the Bill which this House had passed for Scotland in 1869 admitted the principles on which the Scotch system was based, and contained nothing to discourage that mixed education which was the distinction of Scotland. He was unable to say what course would be pursued in the matter, as the Lord Advocate was not in London, and it would be necessary to consult him before deciding on any line of policy. He thought the right hon. and learned Gentleman would have his hands full next Session; but his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council would have little legislative work, unless he assisted the Home Department in passing certain measures in which the Privy Council was nearly as much interested as the Home Office.

    expressed a hope that drilling would form part of the school treatment.

    said, he hoped that some arrangement would be made for a retiring allowance, by superannuation or otherwise, for decayed schoolmasters, who were particularly subject to disease of the eyes, and were quite unable to obtain remunerative employment after their forced retirement from that cause.

    said, he thought there would not be so much difference of opinion in Scotland with regard to this question of education, as there would be with some others. He had consulted many well-qualified persons to judge, and they did not object to payment by results; but they considered that payment by results, according to the English system, was far too low a standard as applicable to Scotch schools. A very large proportion of the population in Scotland, although as poor as those in England, desired to carry education to a higher pitch than the same class did in England. The educated schoolmasters of Scotland complained that payment by results according to the English rule, if applied to Scotland, would lead to this,—that all the best scholars would be cut off from producing anything by this rule of results to their schoolmasters. The effect would be to reduce the education given in the schools in Scotland to the three R's, and not to carry it to a higher degree as it was at present. What they contained of was, that the Privy Council had not hitherto been willing to recognize a higher-class education as existing, and while they rewarded boys of inferior attainments, they gave nothing at all for those whose attainments were very much greater. If they applied the rule of payment by results in Scotland, he hoped this difference would be kept in mind; for it never would and never ought to satisfy the people of Scotland, unless there was a power of carrying education to a higher pitch than in the lower-class schools in England. The people of Scotland would expect two things—First, that no denominational schools should be erected after the passing of this Act; and, secondly, that no additional encouragement should be held out to existing denominational schools. If those two points were kept in view, they would greatly facilitate the passing of an educational measure for Scotland.

    inquired whether the increase of £54,673 was the equivalent to be given for the present arrangement, and whether there would be any additional Inspectors appointed; and whether a Supplementary Estimate for the increased expenditure would be introduced this Session?

    said, he had designedly abstained from proposing a Motion of which he had given Notice, to the effect that it was unfair that the management of voluntary schools should be vested in those who contributed the smallest part of the cost, inasmuch as the larger proportion was defrayed by the public taxation and school-pence not because he abandoned the principle, but because he thought this was not the most convenient opportunity for raising a definite issue. In future years he believed that this Vote would attract more than any other the attention of Parliament. It was, however, his firm conviction that under the provisions of the Bill very few rate-aided schools would come into existence except in the large towns. He believed that in consequence of the arrangements of the Bill no rate would ever be raised in the rural districts; but that, on the other hand, voluntary schools would be promoted and would greatly flourish under the donative given to them by the Vice President of the Council. Parliament would, therefore, naturally examine the principle upon which those voluntary schools were established, and it would find that this donative granted by the State was given to persons who contributed very little, and, in some cases, nothing to the schools. Consequently, when the principle of the grant was examined into it would be condemned by the public opinion of this country. His right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council had, using, he would not say clap-trap expressions, but attractive phraseology, stated that his great object was to give the control and management of the schools to the parents; but the fact was that in voluntary schools the parents would have no voice whatever in the management, and when that circumstance came to be thoroughly understood, it would be fatal to the present system of voluntary schools. Parliament was called on to vote large sums of money to be placed in the hands of a limited number of persons, who were the patrons of voluntary schools, and who would have the control of those schools, and that system was to be extended and aggravated. Now, if his right hon. Friend had left matters as they stood no question need have been raised on this point, for hon. Members sitting on the Benches near him would not then have been disposed to interfere; but his right hon. Friend in departing from existing arrangements had called in question the principle on which the grants to voluntary schools rested. When the question came to be submitted to the crucible of public discussion, it would be found that the present system violated the settled principles which had always been upheld by the Liberal party.

    said, there were two things in regard to education in Scotland which required attention—that was, the connection of the schoolmaster with the Universities, which gave facilities which were unknown in England of controlling any man who deviated from the high moral standard which it was so important to set before the young; the other was, the maintenance of high education in schools. In his own neighbourhood the Nonconformist school was chiefly attended by the children of the members of the Church of England, because of the very superior class of education given there.

    said, that he entirely disagreed from the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Vernon Harcourt), that the effect of this Vote would be to place money in the hands of persons who had contributed little or nothing to the cause of education. His own experience on this subject was very different from that of the hon. and learned Gentleman. It was clear that the sole object of the hon. and learned Gentleman during those education debates had been to crush, if possible, the efforts of those who had been the first volunteers and pioneers in education and to whom we were almost wholly indebted for what had been done. His views were extremely narrow, unfounded, and not justified even by his jealousy of what the Church had done in the cause of education, and his prophecies were little likely to be fulfilled.

    said, that he must decline to follow the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Vernon Harcourt) through his speech, or to consent to taking part in what threatened to become a sort of fourth reading of the Bill. He thought that it was hardly becoming in the hon. and learned Gentleman to talk of clap-trap having been used in the debate. For his own part, he was quite prepared to submit to the opinion of the country on that subject, and he was also quite content to let the future prove whether the prophetic declarations of the hon. and learned Gentleman were well or ill-founded. If they should turn out to be based upon error, he hoped that the hon. and learned Gentleman would be ready to admit hereafter that his views were liable to error. The hon. and learned Gentleman was of opinion that no rate-supported schools would be established under the Bill. [Mr. VERNON HARCOURT: Except in large towns.] Well, that was a considerable exception. But he was willing that the argument of the hon. and learned Gentleman should be judged of by results even as regarded the agricultural districts. Again, the annual cost to the State in respect of the schools assisted by the Government was £465,000, while £488,913 was contributed by voluntary subscriptions. It was, therefore, quite a mistake to suppose that the men who took part in the management of these schools contributed little to their support. He joined the hon. and learned Gentleman in the hope that this Vote would receive a large share of attention next year. The Code would be revised, the Vote would be larger, and the new conditions which would be framed for spending the money would, he hoped, be carefully examined by the House. The Education Department would spend more, but they intended that the monody should be earned. If they did their duty, he believed they might give an immense stimulus to education, and the country would be well content, and not complain that the money had been given in partnership with those who gave it out of their own pockets voluntarily rather than raise it from the rates. The country would, no doubt, be discontented with the voluntary schools if the education were bad, and in that case such shools would fail; but they would be paid by results, and if they gave educational value for their money the country would be well satisfied with them. In reference to the question which had been asked respecting pensions for the schoolmasters, he was 10th at present to make any remark, because it concerned the interests of so many hard-working and highly-deserving men, and he was afraid of raising hopes which he might not be able to fulfil. But he promised that the Government would examine the question with the greatest possible attention, and with the earnest desire to arrive at a satisfactory solution. From the fact that the Department would have somewhat more money at its command, they might hope that in the case of these deserving men—who now looked forward to old age with so much fear—they might discover some means of enabling them to lay by against the time when their active powers would fail them. He had been asked about training Colleges, and his reply was, that he did not rely entirely upon the present training schools for the supply of masters. If the Bill became law and answered his expectations, there would, doubtless, be a great demand for masters, and it would be his duty to consider how that demand should be met, without relaxing the conditions which were necessary for the due performance of educational work. He should be glad to see the boys drilled, but it was necessary first to consider the glaring want of elementary education, and to supply that before anything else was supplied. He had looked narrowly into the demands that were likely to be made owing to the passing of the Bill, and he did not think it necessary to apply for a Supplementary Estimate this year, though it might be necessary to do so at the beginning of the next Session—not for additional schools, which could not be got to work even in London, but there would be some expenses connected with obtaining the Returns. It was impossible to tell what additional inspection would be necessary.

    Vote agreed to.

    (27.) £164,836, to complete the sum for the Department of Science and Art.

    complained that Scotland had only 24 science and art schools, while there were 10 times that number in England and 93 in Ireland. He also complained that the grant to the navigation school at Leith had been with drawn.

    said, he regretted that there were not more schools of science in Scotland. There were very few a short time ago in Yorkshire; but this want the people of that county were now supplying. The science schools for the last three years were in number 300,516, and 810; and the students instructed last year were 21,956 higher in number than in the year previous. With regard to art, the number of students had also considerably increased.

    Vote agreed to.

    (28.) £61,265, to complete the sum for the British Museum.

    said, there were few points that required elucidation from him; but there were one or two particulars which he thought he ought to mention. The expenditure of the present year and the past could not be compared, because the structural expenses had been transferred to the Public Buildings. The internal arrangements, however, those which related to the cases, and ventilation, and warming, were still charged to the Museum. One of the special expenses of the year was connected with the purchase of the Marc Antonio Collection at a recent sale, which he thought would be advantageous to the country. Some years ago a discussion arose as to the Museum being open at night. The Trustees were anxious to do all they could in that direction consistently with the safety of the building and its contents, and they had tried the experiment of opening the Museum from 6 to 8 o'clock in the summer on Saturdays and Mondays, with every prospect of its turning out a complete success. By that means, not only those who were admitted from 6 to 8 were enabled to view the admirable collection which the Museum contained, but those who went there at 4 or 5 had the opportunity afforded them of prolonging their visit. The general result was that 2,000 persons had been admitted from 6 to 8, and that the number was raised beyond that by those who had entered previously to 4,000 between those hours. The result would probably lead to the two days being extended to three days. On several occasions large bodies of men had visited the Museum, under the guidance of gentlemen quite competent to explain the various objects of interest, and they had derived great advantage from inspecting the collections in that manner.

    asked whether the grant in respect of the Marc Antonio Collection was an extra grant or not?

    replied that it was, and that the amount would not be deducted from the annual grant next year.

    said, his right hon. Friend had not noticed the fact that the objects in the Museum were so numerous, and some of them so closely packed that it was quite impossible for them to be seen at all. He asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he proposed to move the Supplementary Estimate for the removal of the Natural History Collections?

    asked whether, if the Committee received the Supplementary Estimate to-morrow, and passed it on Monday, they would be precluded for ever from raising the question of the site of the Museum?

    said, the very object of passing the Estimate was to determine the site of the building. If they took the money they must have a site. The object of the Estimate was to pledge the Committee to a site. The sum of money to be taken this year would be very small.

    complained that in that event there would be only some 48 hours left for considering so important a question.

    said, to his certain knowledge the hon. Gentleman had been considering the question these seven years.

    Vote agreed to.

    (29.) £10,681, to complete the sum for the National Gallery.

    (30.) £1,100, to complete the sum for the National Portrait Gallery.

    (31.) Motion made, and Question proposed,

    "That a sum, not exceeding £6,827, 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 University of London."

    said, he wished to bring before the Committee a matter which, though small in itself, was of great importance. In the Report of the Committee on Public Accounts for the year 1868–9, he found mention made of a small item which was taken from the Education Vote and applied to a purpose that was never contemplated by Parliament. It was a sum of £32 17s. 1d. ["Oh, oh!"] He thought he could convince those hon. Gentlemen who cried "Oh, oh!" that it was not without good reason he challenged this application of the sum in question. The money was taken to pay the returning officer of the University of London for the expenses of the last election. In most other cases these expenses were paid by the candidates; but Parliament had made no provision for the expenses of the University election; and, therefore, the Lords of the Treasury had sanctioned this application of the public money. It was well known, however, that the First Lord of the Treasury did not directly interfere with the affairs of the Exchequer; that was left to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the sum related to the expenses of his own election. When the Secretary of the Treasury was called before the Committee of Public Accounts, he stated that Parliament would have sanctioned this application if its attention had been called to it. He thought the Secretary of the Treasury ought not to be allowed to decide what Parliament would do if its attention had been called to a subject; it was difficult enough sometimes to divine its intentions when it did consider a subject. The Auditor General, made a Report on this subject; he did not consider that there was any justification for the manner in which the money was applied. The Committee considered it to be covered by the Appropriation Act, but however that might be, he thought it right to call attention to the subject that they might have an assurance from the Government that money should not be expended on one purpose when it was voted for another and totally different purpose.

    said, he thought the hon. Gentleman had performed a public service in bringing the question before the Committee. It was a small matter, but the principle at stake was a large one. As a member of the Committee referred to, he might say that they were all of opinion it was their duty to report specially to Parliament on the subject, as he believed no Member of the House could have anticipated that a portion of the sum voted for the University of London would be applied to the election of a Member of Parliament. He was glad the question had been raised, because it was essential that the Committee should express its opinion as to the way in which the money voted by the House had been appropriated.

    said, that every shilling given by Parliament to the University had been appropriated to the purposes for which it was voted, and the practice had been to return to the Treasury all the fees that were received. Out of £5,977 this year voted by Parliament, probably £5,000 would be returned to the Treasury. When it was proposed that the Senate of the University should reimburse the Vice Chancellor the sums which he had paid or was liable to pay (£32) as returning officer, they agreed to pay the amount, as there was no obligation on the part of the candidate to do so, and to that extent the Return to the Treasury was diminished. He asked the Committee to say whether the purpose for which the money was spent was not a proper one.

    said, the argument of the hon. and learned Member might be very good in Westminster Hall, but it was not in accordance with the doctrines of the House, and it would go the length of saying that the whole income from fees might be appropriated by the Senate. The question was, whether the money ought to be paid by the Vice Chancellor—as the right hon. Gentleman had not volunteered to pay it—or should be treated as an incidental. The majority of the Committee on Public Accounts supported the view of the Treasury that it might be so treated; but they had not the least hesitation in saying that Parliament in its Vote did not intend to provide for such expenses.

    said, that at Cambridge he paid all the expenses, which were reduced to a minimum, and were chiefly personal. The Committee ought to know what the £32 was spent upon, because it might alter the complexion of the matter if the expenses were those of the University and not of the candidate.

    said, the expenses were incurred at two elections, the greater part being for circulars issued by the Vice Chancellor, giving to the members of Convocation notice of the day of election.

    observed that the question under discussion involved one of those nice points which might be discussed for a long time without coming to any satisfactory conclusion. He would state how the question came before him, and how he decided it. The expenses incurred were for summoning the members of the University with reference to the election. These expenses, amounting to £32, not only fell within the Appropriation Act, but came within the definition of incidental expenses. The Senate of the London University wrote to the Treasury to know whether they were to be allowed to charge these expenses against the Vote, or to leave the Vice Chancellor to pay them out of his own pocket. The liability of the Vice Chancellor to pay the expenses simply arose from the accident that he was the person to whom the orders for materials or services could be traced, and, therefore, he became legally responsible for the payment; but it was impossible to leave the Vice Chancellor to pay the money simply because he had authorized the expenditure. The opinion of the Committee on Public Accounts was that there was no technical incorrectness in debiting the charge to the University, and, in his opinion, he (Mr. Stansfeld) had no alternative but to put the payment on the University Vote. At the same time, he wished the Committee to understand, as he had stated before, that he was responsible for the way in which the same came before the House,

    said, there was one question which it was important to consider on such a matter—namely, whether or not the candidate should not have paid those charges. Were they different from any charges paid by candidates of other constituencies? He moved the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £32, on the ground that the sum, ought to be paid by the candidate.

    Motion made, and Question proposed,

    "That a sum, not exceeding £6,795, 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 University of London."

    said, he could not vote for the Amendment after the explanation given by the Secretary for the Treasury. Those charges ought not to be paid by the Vice Chancellor, nor were similar charges paid by either himself or his Colleague in the representation of the University of Cambridge. It might be an awkward arrangement that the University of London had no University chest but the Treasury; but, as such was the case, he thought those charges must be paid by the Treasury.

    remarked that, as the money in question had been paid out of last year's Vote, the hon. Member for Whitehaven (Mr. Bentinck) would not effect the object he had in view even if he carried his Amendment. The hon. Member asked him why those expenses had not been charged against the candidate. As Secretary to the Treasury he had taken legal advice on the matter, and he found that the candidate was not liable. The payment was one with which the candidate had nothing whatever to do.

    said, the candidate might not be legally liable; but the question of his hon. Friend the Member for Whitehaven was, whether the charges in question were analogous to charges which in other constituencies were borne by the candidate, though the returning officer was legally liable for them.

    said, the questions involved were important matters of principle, for he thought there ought to have been no power to enable the Secretary to the Treasury to put this sum down on the University Vote. He regretted that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had not prevented this complication by signing a cheque for the amount.

    said, he had not intended to take part in the discussion: but after what had just been said he wished to point out that the University took the opinion of the legal advisers of the Treasury on the point, and they advised that the candidate was not liable for the amount. The Committee might believe him when he said that he would have preferred to pay the £32 odd rather than have the pleasure of listening to this discussion. What right had he to make a precedent for the University of London by paying a sum for which he was not legally liable? He had no right to do so, and therefore he had not paid the money.

    said, that this was one of the expenses which properly fell under the head of incidental expenses. He could well understand that his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer would much rather have paid the sum than had this discussion about it; but he was very glad he had not done so. He hoped a precedent would be established by this case, and that the returning officers' expenses in other contests would in future be paid by the constituency.

    considered that an important question of principle was involved in this case. The amount was trivial; but the real question was one which had been submitted more than once to the judgment of the House by the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) and others, and on which the House pronounced an opinion in opposition to the view taken by the Treasury on this occasion. He did not think they had anything to do with the practice of the elder Universities. They had funds belonging to them, and were in the practice of paying these expenses; but the University of London had no funds of its own. It was supplied with funds by that House, and was expected to account to the House for the fees it received. It therefore paid £32 less than it received.

    explained. The whole of the receipts were paid into the Exchequer; but he authorized the payment of this charge out of the Vote.

    apprehended the expense would have fallen on the returning officer if it had not been paid. The question then arose whether the same rule should not be extended to other constituencies. Upon that point he thought the sense of the Committee should be taken.

    observed that in the case of the two University constituencies in Scotland, which got Members at the same time as the University of London, the Act declared that the expenses of the returning officer should be paid by the candidates. He could not see why the same rule should not apply to London University.

    said, he hoped the House would show its appreciation of the independence of the public auditor.

    Question put.

    The Committee divided: — Ayes 39; Noes 115: Majority 76.

    Original Question put, and agreed to.

    (32.) £8,220, to complete the sum for the Endowed Schools Commission.

    (33.) £12,894, to complete the sum for Grants to Scottish Universities.

    (34.) £1,350, to complete the sum for Board of Manufactures (Scotland).

    Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—( Mr. Maguire.)

    Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

    (35.) £425, to complete the sum for Public Education (Ireland).

    (36.) £1,290, to complete the sum for National Gallery (Ireland).

    (37.) £1,134, to complete the sum for Royal Irish Academy.

    (38.) £2,140, to complete the sum for Queen's University (Ireland).

    (39.) £2,915, to complete the sum for Queen's Colleges (Ireland).

    House resumed.

    Resolutions to be reported To-morrow, at Two of the clock;

    Committee to sit again To-morrow, at Two of the clock.

    Glebe Loans (Ireland) Bill

    ( Mr. Chichester Fortescue, Mr. Stansfeld, Mr. Solicitor General for Ireland.)

    Bill 222 Committee

    Order for Committee read.

    Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."

    said, there were several important considerations connected with the measure which appeared not to have been at all entertained, even if at all perceived and all understood on the occasion of the second reading, when he was unable to be present in the House. The declared purpose of the Judge Advocate who introduced a similar Bill in 1867, was to secure endowments in order to the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, and the present Bill, though less candid, had an object precisely similar, for it proposed to enable any person having a limited or only a trustee's interest in landed property to charge it by way of mortgage, or to alienate it altogether to the extent of 10 acres for each glebe, which would then be held virtually in mortmain. The Bill, if passed, would, taken in connection with the Ecclesiastical Titles Repeal Bill, enable the Roman Catholic Bishops to hold these glebes in mortmain, and he found that the Bill contained no provision to secure the protection of the Bequests Act. For these reasons, and because at that late hour it would be idle to attempt an analysis of the various powers and provisions of the statutes for the improvement of landed property, which by this Bill would apply to the incumbrance and to the alienation of that property, he should move the adjournment of the debate.

    Motion made, and Question put, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—( Mr. Newdegate.)

    The House divided:—Ayes 31; Noes 113: Majority 82.

    Main Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put, and agreed to.

    Bill considered in Committee.

    Bill reported; as amended, to be considered upon Monday next.

    Meeting Of Parliament Bill

    Leave First Reading

    , in moving for leave to bring in a Bill to amend the existing Acts by which the time at which Parliament could be appointed to meet after the date of the Proclamation summoning them together was regulated; and also to move a now Standing Order by which the time within which it was at present practicable to obtain Votes in Supply would be shortened, said, that by the existing law Parliament might be summoned by Royal Proclamation, to meet on any day not less than 14 days from the day of the date of such Proclamation. No doubt that interval was fixed upon consideration of the speed of communication and travelling in the reign of George the Third. At the present time such an interval was quite unnecessary. At the time when Parliament was called together in the autumn of 1867, for the purpose of providing for the Abyssinian War, Parliament stood prorogued from the 21st August to the 6th November. On the 4th of November the Royal Proclamation was issued summoning Parliament to meet for the dispatch of business on the 19th; when it accordingly met, and proceeded immediately to consider the proposition of Her Majesty's Government with respect to the Abyssinian Expedition. Such, however, were the delays interposed by the Standing Orders, and by the rules and practices of the House, that it was not until the 27th that the Supply was voted in Committee; the necessary means in Committee of Ways and Means on the 28th; and the Bill received the Royal Assent only on the 7th December. Thus a period of 33 days elapsed after Parliament had been summoned to meet to deal with a business of pressing importance, before the means necessary to meet the emergency could be legally provided. It appeared to Her Majesty's Government that those periods were unnecessarily long, and they therefore proposed by the present Bill to reduce the interval between the Proclamation and the meeting of Parliament to six days. There were special Acts relating to the Militia (the 42 Geo. III., caps. 9 and 91), which provided that when Her Majesty should think fit to call out the Supplementary Militia, and Parliament stands prorogued for more than 14 days, Her Majesty shall issue a Proclamation for the meeting of Parliament within 14 days—14 days is the maximum, not the minimum. It was not proposed to interfere with that special provision. With regard to the Voting of Supplies—at present, after Her Majesty's most Gracious Speech from the Throne, the House proceeds to vote an Address. The Address having been reported and agreed to, Her Majesty's Speech is ordered to be considered at the next Sitting of the House. At its next Sitting the House, accordingly, takes the Speech into consideration; and a Motion being made—"That a Supply be granted to Her Majesty," a Resolution is agreed to that the House will to-morrow (or on a future day) resolve itself into a Committee to consider that Motion. On that day, on the Order of the Day being read, Her Majesty's Speech is ordered to be referred to the Committee; and the House having resolved itself into Committee, and the Queen's Speech being read, the Committee resolves—"That a Supply be granted to Her Majesty." This Resolution being reported to the House, the Report is ordered to be received on a future day. The Resolution being reported, the House thereon resolve that "This House do agree with the Committee in the said Resolution," and resolve—"That this House will, upon a future day, resolve itself into a Committee, to consider the Supply granted to Her Majesty." This Committee is the Committee of Supply. On the appointed day, on the Order being read for the Committee of Supply, and the necessary explanations given, Accounts and Estimates are referred, and the House resolves itself into the Committee, and at last proceeds to consider the matter referred to it. Whatever Resolutions the Committee of Supply may come to, the Report having been made to the House, it is ordered to be received on a future day; and the Resolutions are on that day severally moved and agreed to. When the first Resolutions in Committee of Supply have been agreed to, it is resolved—"That this House will, on a future day, resolve itself into a Committee to consider of Ways and Means for raising the Supply granted to Her Majesty." This Committee is the Committee of Ways and Means. The Committee, on a day appointed, consider of Ways and Means, and having come to a Resolution, that Resolution is reported to the House on a subsequent day; and, having been so reported and agreed to, a Bill is ordered, which must pass through both Houses of Parliament. Through these forms it must be on the ninth Sitting after the meeting of Parliament before the Supply can be agreed to by the House of Commons; and a Bill could not be pushed through Parliament (in the ordinary course) in less than six days. It seemed to Her Majesty's Government that these formalities were unnecessary, and occupied a great deal of time to no good purpose. The new Standing Order he was about to propose would enable the House to appoint the Committees of Supply and Ways and Means without the interposition of the customary forms between the Address in Answer to Her Majesty's Speech and the Committee. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving for leave to bring in the Bill.

    Motion agreed to.

    Bill to amend the Acts of the thirty-seventh year of George the Third, chapter one hundred and twenty-seven, and the thirty-ninth and fortieth years of George the Third, chapter fourteen, ordered to be brought in by Mr. GLADSTONE and Mr. Secretary BRUCE.
    Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 247.]

    Committees Of Supply And Ways And Means—New Standing Order

    then moved that the following be a new Standing Order:—

    "That this House will, in future, appoint the Committees of Supply and Ways and Means, at the commencement of every Session, so soon as an Address has been agreed to, in answer to Her Majesty's Speech."

    Motion agreed to.

    Ordered, That the said Order be a Standing Order of this House

    Irish Land Bill

    Lords Amendments to Commons Amendment to Lords Amendments, and Reasons assigned by The Lords for insisting on their Amendment to the Amendments made by this House to the Amendments made by their Lordships, considered.

    Lords Amendments to Commons Amendment to Lords Amendments agreed to.

    Resolved, That this House doth not insist upon its disagreement to the Amendment made by The Lords to the Amendment made by this House to the Amendments made by their Lordships upon which their Lordships insist.

    Beerhouses Bill

    Bill "to make provision in relation to certain Beerhouses not duly qualified according to Law," presented, and read the first time. [Bill 248.]

    House adjourned at Two o'clock.