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Supply—Civil Service Estimates

Volume 203: debated on Tuesday 2 August 1870

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(4.) Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That a sum, not exceeding £21,450, be granted to Her Majesty, to enable the Treasury to make the necessary Advances, during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1871, for the Purchase of a Site, Erection of Building, and other Expenses, for the New Courts of Justice and Offices belonging thereto."

said, he must draw attention to the extent to which the custom of introducing "Supplementary" Estimates was now carried; and, to put himself in order, he would move pro formâ that Progress should be reported. He admitted that within certain limits Supplementary Estimates were not only legitimate, but necessary; but an understanding was come to last year for the restriction of these Estimates to subjects upon which fresh legislation had taken place since the beginning of the Session. In the present instance, however, this rule had been wholly disregarded. Among the Estimates was one of £15,000 for the Science and Art Department at South Kensington, £21,450 for the Courts of Justice (of which, however, he made little complaint), £7,000 for New Post Office Buildings, £28,000 for Alderney, £6,000 for the Natural History Museum, a Vote for compensation to Foreign Office agents, and other similar Votes, all upon subjects on which the Government might, and ought to, have arrived at a decision at the time when the original Estimates were submitted to the House. What was the consequence? When the Estimates were introduced much stress was laid on the reduction that had been effected in them; but the Committee would find that, if they added these Supplemental Estimates together, they amounted to nearly £150,000, which, if added to the gross amount, would considerably alter the character of the Estimates as originally introduced, and would make the Civil Service expenditure little short of that of last year.

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

said, this was not the first or second time that the hon. Gentleman had endeavoured to show that the promise of economy in the Civil Service Estimates had not been fulfilled. But what were the facts? The Estimates this year showed a reduction of £250,000 as compared with last year; those of last year a reduction of £80,000 on the previous one; whereas the year before that showed not a reduction, but a very decided increase. With the increase of legislation upon these subjects it was also impossible to expect a reduction in the Civil Service Estimates, and all that could well be done was to check and moderate their growth. As to the Supplementary Estimates, he admitted that the Government must give sufficient reason when they came on for discussion not merely for each Vote, but for their not having been presented before. The increase to which his hon. Friend alluded was almost entirely in the first class; and, that being so, he was sure the hon. Gentleman would be the last man not to acknowledge that economy in the Estimates as a whole was being practised. The expenditure on Works and Buildings was, as he was aware, very great.

said, that all things that could be foreseen should be included in the original Estimates, and he believed that the only way to check the present system would be to reject the Supplementary Estimates in toto. There was a charge year after year for new furniture in the different Offices; as tables, chairs, and cabinets were not evanescent, the expenditure under that head required explanation.

said, he must complain of the continual increase of the Civil Service Estimates. They had increased by £5,000,000 within the last five years. Next Session he would give the House an opportunity of expressing their opinion upon the subject.

said, he would refer briefly to the history of the proceedings connected with the proposal for building the new Courts of Justice. The Act authorizing the erection of a new Palace of Justice on the north side of the Strand passed five years ago, and contemplated that the whole undertaking should be completed for a sum of £1,500,000. A Commission was appointed and satisfied themselves that £750,000 would be sufficient for the site and £750,000 more for the construction of the building. An arrangement was come to that instead of the Treasury preparing the plans a Commission should do so, and a Commission consisting of many persons eminent in the profession of the law, was appointed who employed an architect, who prepared plans,-and it was soon found that the land acquired was insufficient for the building. Next year another Act was passed, enabling a certain tax to be imposed upon the suitors, to enable the site to be enlarged, and in 1868 it was found that the cost of the buildings which had been planned would be £3,250,000. The late Board of Treasury sanctioned the acquiring of additional land for the enlarged design; but the present Board had to consider this matter in order to reduce the cost within reasonable limits, Last year it was shown to be unnecessary to spend such an enormous sum as £3,250,000, and this year, at the request of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he had communicated with all the parties concerned in order to see whether the scheme could not be executed within the limits of the sum originally sanctioned by Parliament. As regarded the acquisition of land the limit had already been exceeded, the expenditure having amounted to upwards of £800,000; but nothing had been done in reference to the building. All attempts to improve the site failed, because he was not possessed of compulsory powers; but the efforts made to improve the building were successful, and ultimately a radical change was effected in the plan, by which Mr. Street was enabled to adjust the building to the ground. The Royal Commissioners had then to be consulted; they had arranged what departments might be accommodated within the block of buildings, and the architect felt satisfied that he would be able to mature his design so that provision should be made for bringing together all the offices which were immediately concerned in the administration of justice in the Superior Courts. The Royal Commission had not declared their final adoption of the plan of Mr. Street; but they had expressed their readiness to approve of it, and he had no reason to doubt that within a few days the Government would obtain that acquiescence by the Royal Commissioners which was required by law, and then they would be in a position to proceed with the building. The object of the present Vote was to provide the sum required to clear the ground and lay the foundation. This and the preparation of the working drawings and the tenders would take some time, so that as to the building money, an account would not be required before the commencement of the next financial year. He therefore hoped that the building would proceed under such conditions as to give a seasonable security that the prescribed sum would not be exceeded.

said, he was glad that at last they were about to commence a building for which there had been an agitation during more than 30 years. It was true that the Estimate for the land had been exceeded; but, considering that the land taken was in the centre of London, and recollecting the amount of the purchase money, the increase was not a large one. With respect to the plans, he believed that all the accommodation that would be required for the administration of justice would be provided in the building according to the revised plan. The contemplated fusion of the Courts of Law and Equity could not be carried out until the proposed accommodation had been supplied, and he therefore hoped that, when this work was commenced, it would be energetically and successfully prosecuted.

said, he wished to ask whether, by this Vote, the sanction of the House would be given to all the arrangements, including the approaches?

said, he was glad that they had at last obtained a block plan, although it differed materially from the one originally prepared by Mr. Street, and which might be seen in the Library, for the building now proposed approached much nearer to the Strand and to Carey Street than in the former design. If the present plan were carried out the building would not be seen to advantage, nor would the approaches be anything like sufficient for the accommodation of the public. Here, as had been the case around the Westminster Palace, what was wanted was space, from which the buildings could be viewed. The extra traffic which will be brought to the Strand, to Chancery Lane, and to Queen Street, Holborn, by the New Law Courts will be large, and ought to be provided for by additional approaches to the building. They ought to look not merely to the wants of the day, but to provide for future require- ments. It was often said that Temple Bar was a great obstruction to the traffic; but it was not in consequence of Temple Bar that a congestion of traffic took place, but in consequence of the large traffic passing in and out of Chancery Lane. What was wanted was space in front of the building for six carriages to pass abreast, and that was what the plan did not provide.

said, he must express his satisfaction at seeing that they were at last approaching the accomplishment of this great work. He did not on principle object to the compression of the plan. The competitive plans, with all their magnificence, might be described as inflated. He thought a building could be erected on the present site which would be sufficient for the Law Courts, and, at the same time, be an ornament to the metropolis, satisfying the most fastidious taste. As regarded the reserve of open ground in front of the building, he found that it varied from 30 feet to 80 feet between the line of the building and the Strand; the broader spaces lying between projections, which would afford ample shelter for carriages and loiterers. If it were found by experience that more room would be required for further buildings, the south side of the Strand could be rebuilt for the purpose, and the sooner that was done the better, whether more Law Courts were needed or not. The advisability of opening up the great arteries of London was agreed on by all; but the requirements of the public in respect of the Law Courts had been greatly exaggerated; and he did not believe the traffic in the Strand would be increased by them to any extraordinary extent.

said, in reply to the hon. Member for Kendal (Mr. Whitwell), he had to explain that the question of approaches was in no way connected with the Vote under discussion, which would bind the Committee only to the block plan.

said, he must complain of the great expense attending the purchase of this site. The vendor's costs amounted to £36,000; surveyor's charges, £8,000; legal expenses, £8,000; accountants' clerks, £3,000, and preliminary expenses, including the Royal Commission, £17,000.

said, he desired, on behalf of the Bar, to congratulate the Government on having at last matured a plan for the consolidation of the existing Law Courts; but he doubted whether sufficient accommodation had been provided for extra Appeal Courts in the event of the future consolidation of Law and Equity. He hoped the unappropriated space within the building would be devoted to that purpose.

said, he was of opinion, as a member of the Royal Commission, that the present block plan almost entirety disregarded the chief points to which the Commissioners had directed particular attention—namely, light, air, and the approaches to the buildings. But all their recommendations seemed to have been sot aside for the sake of economy, and £600,000 or £700,000 would be required 20 or 30 years hence to rectify the mistake. The central hall of the building was much inferior to that shown in the original plan, and would, in his opinion, be found inconveniently small.

said, he must deny that light and air had been sacrificed to economy. The fact was exactly the contrary; the Office of Works had rejected the plans sanctioned by the Royal Commission on the ground that they did not afford so much light and air as those which had been adopted in lieu of them.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

(5.) £64,000, to complete the sum for New Palace at Westminster, Acquisition of Land.

(6.) £13,000, to complete the sum for New Home and Colonial Offices.

said, that as these new offices were intended to form part of a very important block of buildings, he thought hon. Members ought to have the opportunity of inspecting the elevations, and forming a judgment upon them.

said, that the elevations of the building would be designed by Mr. Scott, the same architect who had built the other part of the block, and he would make it harmonize with the whole. No advantage would result from delaying the construction of the building for another year, simply to enable hon. Members to look at the elevations.

said, he accepted with gratitude the testimony which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Ayrton) had borne to the honour and capacity of the profession of architects, and to the utter inefficiency of amateur meddlers.

Vote agreed to.

(7.) £37,250, to complete the sum for National Gallery Enlargement.

said, he wished to know what architect would be employed on this important work?

said, that Mr. Barry, who was appointed by the late Government, would be engaged, provided he subscribed the conditions of the work.

Vote agreed to.

(8.) £44,000, to complete the sum for Science and Art Department.

said, he wished to inquire as to the nature of this large work, and why the Vote had been increased since the Estimate was laid on the Table?

said, that the explanation was simple. The Vote was originally proposed without the knowledge of some facts which had subsequently transpired. It was found that a large amount of work had been already done by the contractor for which he had not been paid.

Vote agreed to.

£644, for the Monument to the Duke of Wellington.

said, that since this Vote had been proposed his attention had been called to this great national monument, and he had found it necessary to take steps to secure its completion. Those steps had involved the discontinuance of the services of the superintending architect, and the setting aside of the contract entered into with the sculptor. The Vote would have to be submitted in a different form next Session, and it was likely that the present Estimate of the sum required to complete the work would have to be greatly exceeded. Papers which he presented a few days ago, and which he thought would have been distributed by this time, would put hon. Members in possession of all the facts. In the meantime it was best that the Vote should be withdrawn.

Vote, by leave, withdrawn.

(9.) £5,513, Royal Parks and Pleasure Gardens, Supplementary.

(10.) £7,000, Post Office and Inland Revenue, Works, &c, Supplementary.

explained that a large hall was required for the sorting of newspapers, under the arrangements that were shortly to come into operation.

Vote agreed to.

(11.) £28,500, Harbours, &c., under Board of Trade, Supplementary.

said, he must call attention to the expenditure upon the Alderney Breakwater. The original Estimate of £620,000 had been supplemented by £1,355,000, and now a further sum was asked for, and there was a note indicating that the Vote would not be sufficient to complete the works. He should like to know how much more money was likely to be required?

said, he could see no reason why the charge on account of that breakwater should not have been included in the original Estimates.

said, he had to explain that, as the breakwater sustained serious injury last winter, it was reported upon by Mr. Hawkshaw and Colonel Clarke, whose opinion was that it would yet take something like £250,000 to complete the breakwater, and then considerable expense would have to be incurred in fortifications to protect it. Further, they said that if the work was completed it was doubtful whether it would stand, because the foundation appeared to be overweighted; that there was also an idea that the breakwater stood on the brow of a hill, and there was considerable danger of its sliding down into the sea, and that it would require 18 months' observation of vertical sections to ascertain whether the work would stand or not. Before deciding either to abandon a work, on which so much money had been expended, or to incur considerable additional expenditure, the Government thought it well to subject the breakwater to the test recommended for 18 months. These were the facts which explained the delay that had occurred in submitting the Vote. The amount now asked for—something more than £10,000—on account of the harbour, was required for the completion of works with regard to which arrangements had been entered into with the contractor.

said, he had Session after Session objected to the continuation of these works, and he protested against any more money being expended on them. Of what use had the breakwater been? The idea that the fortifications and works at Alderney were to be regarded as a protection to England against Cherbourg was ridiculous; and if the breakwater slipped into the sea was it intended to fish it out again?

said, the suggestion made by Mr. Cobden 15 years ago, if adopted, would have been a great saving to this country—namely, that it would be better for Her Majesty's Government to purchase the fee simple of the island and blow it into the sea,

said, he hoped the House would be informed upon whose advice this enormous expenditure was originally incurred.

Vote agreed to.

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

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

(12.) Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That a sum, not exceeding £6,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1871, for the erection of a Natural History Museum."

said, the British Museum had long been suffering from repletion, and there were no means of exhibiting the valuable articles which, from time to time, were bought for the national collection. Five years ago the Trustees resolved in favour of separating the collections, and it had been determined to separate the Natural History Department from the Books and Antiquities. For the Natural History Collection the typical mode of exhibition had been decided on, and the building required must cover at least four acres. Even the present collection would pretty well fill a building of these dimensions, and provision must be made for further extension. The question was, where should this building be situated? It had been proposed to place the Museum on the Embankment between Charing Cross and Waterloo Bridge; but then it would be necessary to take land destined for public gardens; and, if even this were permitted, it would be also necessary to buy the land from the Metropolitan Board of Works, no doubt, at a high price. That proposal was, therefore, untenable. Then, it was suggested that there should be an addition to the British Museum. But land there sold for £50,000 an acre, and the expense of such a site would be quite out of the question. Another proposal was for placing the Museum between the Admiralty and the War Office; but sufficient land could not be obtained in that position. This being so, the thoughts of the Government naturally turned to Brompton. The Trustees of the Exhibition of 1851 sold to the Government 16½ acres of land at £7,000 an acre. It therefore cost £120,000; but if it now went into the market it would fetch £100,000 more. The sale was coupled with the condition that any buildings erected upon the land must be for purposes of science and art. For seven years the land had remained waste, a sort of Potters' field, and a scandal to that part of the metropolis. The Government now proposed to place on that piece of land the museum required for the natural history collection. It would occupy four acres; there would be room for wings, and the outside estimate for the building was £350,000, not an unreasonable price, considering its extent. For the present, however, the Government merely asked for a small Vote to enable them to clear the ground, and in order to take the opinion of the House. Railway communication had now made South Kensington easily accessible, and unless a more eligible, a more accessible, and a cheaper site could be suggested, he hoped the Committee would agree to the proposal. He might add that, if it were hereafter thought desirable to do so, there would be room enough on the same site for the Patent Museum, the necessity of which had been much insisted on.

said, he thought the separation of the Natural History Collection from the Library, the Staff, and the Antiquities of the British Museum a great misfortune; but, even if that had been necessary, another objection to the proposal was, that the Natural History Museum would not be in a central position. As to this special proposition, he had in his hand evidence given before a Committee last year condemnatory of it from Professor Owen, Professor Huxley, Sir Roderick Murchison, and Mr. Cole. At the same time, he admitted that the site proposed by the right hon. Gentleman had the advantage of expansiveness. If he saw a reasonable hope of postponing the question and obtaining a site nearer to the centre of Loudon, he would divide the Committee against the Vote; but he did not wish to go into the Lobby with only a small minority at his back. He regarded the present proposal as a mistake, for he thought the British Museum ought to have been fostered and developed as one united institution. It was clearly an anomaly, a mistake, and a blot upon our system that, after erecting the huge and expensive building in Bloomsbury, the various collections should be broken up, and some of them should be sent to a distant suburb of London. The site proposed would be inconvenient to the working classes, to whom, on the contrary, a museum on the Embankment would be accessible and welcome.

said, he wished, as one of the Trustees of the British Museum, to say that this proposal was against the wishes of the Trustees generally, and was opposed to the opinions of all the most eminent scientific men of the country. If this gross Brompton job were carried out it would be an enormous expense to the country, for everything would have to be provided in duplicate at Brompton. The working Trustees of the Museum had been swamped by the official Trustees. He deeply regretted that the property in the rear of the Museum belonging to the Trustees had not been utilized, as the leases fell in, for the enlargement of the building. He should certainly divide against the Vote.

said, the hon Gentleman was mistaken as to the views of scientific men, for three years ago a Memorial had been presented by him to the then Treasury, signed by the most conspicuous scientific men in the country, in favour of the separation, and expressing indifference as to the site chosen for the Natural History Collection.

said, he might add that of the working Trustees the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli), the right hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Spencer Walpole), and himself were in favour of separation. And Sir George Lewis was also of the same opinion.

said, the scientific men were then divided in opinion, for he know that many of them considered that it would be almost fatal to the real utility of the Natural History Collection to carry out such a scheme.

said, he wished to ask, when an examination was last made of the Natural History Collection, which was generally described as a lot of stuffed monkeys? He had heard that many of the specimens had never been seen for many years past, and the majority of them were quite unfit for removal. He wished to know whether that was so?

said, that point had been considered. All that was visible was movable, and he hoped the invisible would prove to be as movable as the visible.

said, that was no answer to his question. An economical Government would scarcely ask the House to build a museum for stuffed monkeys that turned out on examination to be nearly eaten away.

said, he must ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to state more fully the opinions of the Museum authorities. Certainly, Professor Owen, Professor Huxley, Sir Roderick Murchison, and even Mr. Cole, although in the Kensington interest, had all formerly pronounced against so great a separation as would be involved in an emigration to South Kensington.

said, he had already stated the opinion of the working authorities of the Museum.

Question put.

The Committee divided: — Ayes 96; Noes 34: Majority 62.

(13.) Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £851, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1871, for Superannuation and Retired Allowances to Persons formerly employed in the Public Service."

said, he had to explain that the Government had resolved to allot to the Foreign Office agents compensation to the extent of two-thirds of their net profits during their tenure of office as clerks in the Foreign Office. Their not profits amounted in the aggregate to £3,829 per annum. The two-thirds of that sum was £2,552. It was only fair to state to the Committee that the late Board of Treasury altogether declined to grant compensation to these gentlemen, and suggested a scheme of gradual abolition fnstead. The late Earl of Clarendon, however, looking to the character of the proposed arrangement and to the strong opposition manifested to the existing system in that House, came to the conclusion that Foreign Office agencies ought to be abolished not gradually but at once. The noble Earl announced his opinion on the subject to the present Board of Treasury, remarking that he did not think that, under such circumstances, compensation could in justice be refused. This system of agencies had existed in the Foreign Office almost from time immemorial, and as far back as the year 1785 a Commission appointed to examine into fees and emoluments of public offices recommended its discontinuance. The subject was considered by three Secretaries of State, and in 1795 the Privy Council arrived at the conclusion that the continuance of the system would not be productive of any inconvenience. As, therefore, the system had been accepted as part of the arrangements of the Foreign Office for the last 80 years, the Board of Treasury and his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had decided that as the offices were to be at once abolished, compensation ought to be granted to the gentlemen who held them. A third of the sum of £2,552 was being taken on the Estimate.

said, he must contend that the Foreign Office agencies were a system of levying black mail upon our Ministers and Consuls abroad. Mr. Layard had characterized the system as an abomination, and many other gentlemen of great official experience having condemned it, it was determined to abolish the agencies. The Committee ought not to regard the clerks in the Foreign Office as having any vested interests, as those gentlemen not only received ample salaries, but had no goodwill in the agencies; they had given no pecuniary consideration when they succeeded to them, and they would lose the profits of the agencies without any compensation on their being superannuated, or otherwise ceasing to be employed in the Foreign Office. The agencies were private speculations of the clerks, who became bankers and commission agents, and as the House had thought it right that they should cease to fulfil such functions the Committee ought not to be called upon to grant compensation.

said, the question was not whether the system of Foreign Office agencies ought to be abolished, but whether the Secretary to the Treasury was justified in asking for compensation to be given to those whose occupations had been abolished? He denied the assertion that the agents levied black mail, as it was optional on the part of any Consul to have an agent. Compensation was always given in analogous cases connected with the public Departments. The amount asked for in the present instance was very small, and he looked on the Vote as a cheap mode of getting rid of the agencies. The service regretted that the system had come to an end.

said, he must state, in justice to the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Rylands), that his opinion on this subject was not changed. There was no real ground upon which compensation for the loss of the post of Foreign Office agent could be charged on the public funds, because such offices had never existed for the benefit of the public. It was proposed that the individuals to be compensated should only receive compensation so long as they remained Foreign Office clerks; but in that case no Foreign Office clerk entitled to the compensation would ever resign. It would have been far better to have offered a lump sum in lieu of a retiring allowance, and the measure of compensation ought to be the value of the business if disposed of to a private person. The opinion of the Foreign Office being in favour of the retention of these offices, why were they abolished? No action of the House had signified a desire for their abolition, although some observations might have been made by hon. Members. The right hon. Gentleman said Lord Clarendon thought them objectionable; but he was surprised to hear that, for a few weeks ago he had heard from that lamented statesman a contrary opinion. More than two years ago Lord Stanley, in accordance with a decision of the Board of Treasury, directed that no now business should be undertaken by Foreign Office agents. If that policy had been adopted in 1854, when Lord Clarendon first mooted the question, the whole system would now have been at at end; and, as a matter of equity, those agents who had taken new business within the last 16 years, had done so under notice. He was of opinion that the proper course would be to allow these agencies to die out.

said, that the sum and substance of the case was, that the House was called upon to compensate gentlemen whom they had not appointed and whom they had not displaced.

Question put.

The Committee divided: — Ayes 70; Noes 52: Majority 18.

(14.) £8,450, to complete the sum for Learned Societies.

said, he thought that the sum should be placed under the control of the Board of Trade, who should be made responsible to the House for its administration, and that £200 should be placed at the disposal of the Meteorological Society of Scotland.

said, it was most desirable that the whole sum should be under the control of one central authority. He hoped that before next year the form of the Vote would be changed. It might be supposed that the expenses of the learned societies were paid out of the grant; but those expenses were entirely paid out of the subscriptions of members.

said, he wished to call attention to the Vote for the Royal Irish. Academy of Music. He thought it was too little to place the institution in a satisfactory position, and he should like to hear some explanation on the subject.

said, that the Irish Academy of Music had in the course of recent years received certain expectations of assistance from the Government of the day, and that their application had been renewed this year. In considering how to meet it, the Treasury came to the conclusion that the best method would be to offer them £70 for two scholarships at the English Academy in London; thus following the advice of Lord Kildare's Commission, which condemned the establishment of independent institutions in matters of science and art, and laid great stress on the advantages resulting from the widest competition among the students. The offer was made in that view; but a representation had lately come from the Academy that it would be practically useless to them, as they could not find students willing to reside in London, and it was thus for the Treasury to consider what further steps to take. It appeared to them that, considering how small the grant was to the English Academy, it was not worth while to insist on the principle of centralization; and, recognizing the usefulness of the Academy in supplying the musical needs of Ireland, although the standard of instruction might not be so high as in the case of the English Academy, they thought that £150 would be a fair proportion to give as a direct grant in aid of the expenses of the Institution. The Academy, how-ever, must not regard the grant as necessarily of a permanent character, as its continuance must depend on the good results they might be able to show.

Vote agreed to.

(15.) £221,172, to complete the sum for National Education in Ireland.

said, he would appeal to the Government to take into consideration the miserable rate of payment at present given to national schoolmasters in Ireland. There was no more respectable or meritorious body of men in Ireland, and members of all political opinions would be willing to join in this request. School-teachers in England were paid nearly three times as much as teachers in Ireland, 8,500 of whom received only the wages of ordinary labourers, about 1s. 8d. a day; and in two cases, to his knowledge, female teachers in Ireland, after 30 years' service, were now paupers in the workhouse.

hoped that action in the matter would not be deferred till the Government scheme of education for Ireland was matured. This class of schoolmasters numbered 10,000 persons, and their average wages were less than those of good artizans and policemen. Schoolmasters had in their hands the moulding of the opinions of the Irish rising generation, and it was of the first importance that they should be contented with their position.

said, that the question, however important, could not be treated as an isolated matter, but must be considered with the other questions which would have to be decided in connection with Irish Education by the Government, who had only just received the Report of the Royal Commissioners. His hon. Friends might be assured that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Government would give the fullest attention to the case put before them, in the hope that they might be able to improve the condition of the national teachers of Ireland.

asked whether the poor Irish schoolmasters were to remain perhaps for two or three Sessions more without their grievance being redressed?

Vote agreed to.

Resolutions to be reported.

The Clerk Assistant, at the Table, informed the House, That Mr. Speaker was unable to resume the Chair this evening.

Whereupon Mr. Dodson, the Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, took the Chair as Deputy Speaker, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.