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Supply—Supplementary Estimates

Volume 217: debated on Wednesday 30 July 1873

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Class I Public Works And Buildings

The New Palace At Westminster And The Embankment

(6.) £8,500, New Palace at Westminster, and Embankment of the River Thames.

"That a sum, not exceeding £8,500, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the charge that will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1874, for the Acquisition of Lands for the purpose of the New Palace at Westminster, and for the further Embankment of the River Thames."

On Question? That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution,

I think, Sir, there are some circumstances with reference to this Vote which require a little explanation from Her Majesty's Government. I understood the right hon. Gentlemen the First Commissioner of Works to say the other evening that he was not responsible for the expenditure of this sum of money, whereas the House considers that he is responsible to it for this kind of work being properly done. It is a most extraordinary thing that the head of a Department should know nothing about the work undertaken by his Department. He is a Minister of the Crown who is responsible to this House in regard to the duties imposed upon him by Act of Parliament, and the main portion of his duties is the superintendence of buildings erected at the public expense. The right hon. Gentleman is clearly responsible to this House for the business of his Department being transacted in a right and proper way. This is a Vote for the commencement of a great building operation; but the Minister upon whom rests the responsibility of doing the work properly, gets up in this House and disavows having anything to do with it, adding that he is not the person to be applied to for an explanation. This is altogether a now theory of Ministerial responsibility, and is not the proper position in which the matter should be placed before the House. Suppose the matter comes up again, as it must do, and suppose the right hon. Gentleman still continues to be the First Commissioner of Works, and is called upon to explain either what has been done or what is going to be done; he would probably say—"I told you from the commencement I had nothing to do with the matter. It is true I am the First Commissioner of Works; but over these particular works I have no control, and in regard to them I incur no responsibility." if the right hon. Gentleman has undertaken to discharge these public functions which are cast upon him by Act of Parliament, he must discharge them to the best of his judgment, and according to his notion of what is right; but he is not entitled to stand up in the House of Commons and say—"I will do this work as a mere instrument of the Treasury; but I am not responsible for its being done, for it is entirely contrary to my view of what ought to be done, and somebody else must bear the blame, if any blame is subsequently imputed." Though this is a small matter, it shows the way in which the transaction had arisen between the Post Office and the Treasury, which had been discussed the previous day. The Postmaster General had certain public functions and duties to discharge to this House and the country; but another great Department stepped in over his head, and undertook the management of the business which he ought to have done. And when the Department had got the Postmaster General into a mess—which was to be expected from the way in which the transaction was conducted—we were told there is a divided responsibility, we cannot exactly say who is to blame, and that no blame attaches to anyone at all. I implore the House not to allow this state of things to grow up. The duty of this House is not to approve plans, or to constitute itself a Committee of taste. Its business is, as our ancestors stated, "to bring ill Ministers to account," and we can never do that, or keep the responsibility for bad work improperly done on the shoulders of a Minister, unless when we commence an operation involving the expenditure of public money we take care that the Minister is clearly responsible for what is done. Unless a more satisfactory explanation is offered than was given the other night, I shall, if I got any support, take the liberty of dividing the House on this Resolution.

pointed out that a sum of £35,000 had been asked for for the Embankment of about 200 feet, and bethought that that was an enormous sum for the purpose. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had said it was required for that purpose; but the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner had stated that it was more than sufficient, and he (Mr. Sclater-Booth) wished to know which statement was the correct one?

said, he should go into the Lobby with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmarnock if he divided the House, unless he heard a satisfactory answer as to who was responsible in the matter.

said, there was a general feeling that the sum of £8,500 was not too much for the Embankment; but as to the buildings referred to, he wished to point out that they knew nothing of their details, nor of their ulterior object, and he thought that the House was entitled to more information respecting those buildings. It could hardly have escaped the notice of any hon. Member that there was a want of accord between the Treasury and the Board of Works. If the right hon. Gentleman felt himself at liberty to declare the real state of the case, it would probably appear that this disagreement was at the bottom of the explanation he gave to the House the other night.

The Question is put to me whether the report in a newspaper of what I said the other evening is correct or not. After reading that report I looked at several other reports of what I said; but they so entirely differ from one another that it is difficult to say whether they were reports of the speech I am supposed to have delivered. What I stated was this—and I stated it clearly, because when the hon. Gentleman was addressing the House I interrupted him in order to make it clear that what I said was quite consistent with what I Stated to the House some years ago about the Embankment. I then said I thought it necessary, in order to protect the Houses of Parliament against fire and other injury, that there should be a clear space on the southern side of this building, and that this space should be embanked from the Thames so as to separate this building from any other which might be subsequently erected. A Bill had been passed before I took office for reclaiming a much larger space of ground and for embanking that ground; but, in my opinion, it was not necessary to reclaim so much land unless the House desired to embark on what I may term a metropolitan improvement. I thought it better to take my stand on this—that metropolitan improvements ought to be undertaken by the Metropolitan Board of Works at the expense of the ratepayers. It was my opinion that this great city ought not to go to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to have its improvements effected, instead of carrying them out itself. Such are the views which. I expressed to the House two or three years ago. Having stated that view I did nothing more when this Vote came before the House than repeat the opinion I had previously expressed—namely, that a certain portion of the Embankment mentioned in the Vote was necessary and desirable for protecting the southern side of the Houses of Parliament, and that any further extension of the Embankment and the purchase of land for building was a project disconnected with the Houses of Parliament, and that it ought to be so treated by this House. With regard to the particular Estimate, I stated that I had prepared an Estimate consistent with that view; and on the face of the Estimate I stated that a part of the Embankment was proposed for the purpose of public buildings. The Treasury, however, altered the Estimate, which was laid on the Table on the authority not of the Office of Works but of the Treasury;—and the Treasury has an undoubted right to alter any Estimate which I may prepare. It has before exercised that power without my knowledge, and such was the case on this occasion. I only acquired the knowledge of what had been done in the same way as every other Member of the House. Therefore, I stated that I did not hold myself responsible for this Estimate, because it appeared to be entirely at variance with the Estimate I had prepared. I had not changed the opinion which I had formely expressed, and accordingly I disclaimed the Estimate. The hon. Gentleman who addressed the House the other day (Mr. Rylands) challenged me with acting at variance with opinions which I had repeatedly expressed, and his challenge amounted to a suggestion that I was, in fact, deceiving the House. I replied to the suggestion of the hon. Gentleman that nothing of the sort had occurred, for I entirely adhered to the opinion I had often expressed that it was the duty of the Office of Works never to submit to the House any proposition for the commencement of expenditure without frankly stating to the House the conclusion to which that expenditure might lead. On one occasion when Lord Palmerston was at the height of his power I nearly carried a Motion in a large House on a question of this kind, and we never heard any more of the project which led to that division. I think myself, therefore, committed to this opinion. And I think it essential for the due conduct of public affairs. I have witnessed in times gone by that the House has been induced to pass comparatively small Votes, and that the Government has afterwards come forward for further Votes on the ground that they were absolutely necessary in consequence of what had been already done. I have always resorted to the opposite course. I have always endeavoured, since I have been connected with Her Majesty's Government, that every transaction involving public expenditure should be explained fully to the House in the first instance. As soon as I took possession of my present Office, I drew up Instructions which were delivered to every person employed in the Office of Works, by which Instructions he was required to state in his estimate, not only the mere work then proposed, but every collateral work to which it might lead, in order that I might know the full extent of the expenditure which the Office might ultimately have to adopt. Now, that being my view, it was right that I should state exactly what I thought when my hon. Friend (Mr. Rylands) imputed to me a departure from the views which I was known to have entertained. I must now state my position in regard to the present Vote. I had to explain to the House, as regards the Embankment, that, so far as it was necessary for the protection of the Houses of Parliament, I thought it a desirable work; but that as to any buildings on the Embankment I did not know the nature of them, and declined to have anything to do with them. That, I think, put the matter plainly before the House. But the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bouverie) says he cannot accept such a divided responsibility; and this gives rise to the following extremely complicated question:—"What is the responsibility of the First Commissioner of Works?" That is just what I myself should very much like to know. I am obliged to suggest this definition—he is responsible exactly to the extent and degree to which his communications with the Treasury make him responsible. I am unable to find any other definition of his responsibility, for the Act of Parliament under which his Office was established is so singularly drawn that I believe it defeats the chief purpose for which the Office of Works was established. Well, the legislation being of this character, the First Commissioner of Works looks in vain to discover what his responsibility is. In order to be responsible to the House of Commons for everything done in connection with public works the First Commissioner must hold his appointment under some Act of Parliament which gives him a power negative or affirmative in connection with public works, and which so vests that power in him as to make him the head of a Department independent of the action of the Treasury—as separate and distinct from them. But the Act of Parliament says the Office of Works shall do whatever it is ordered and directed to do by the Treasury:—therefore, the Treasury is by law an executive and not a controlling Department. The Treasury in regard to the Office of Works constitutes itself an executive Department, and when it does so you cannot have two executive Departments. You may have a controlling Department having a negative; but if it can also direct anything to be done with or without assigning any reason even to the First Commissioner of Works, it is quite clear that the First Commissioner of Works can have no responsibility in regard to what is so directed to be done. As I understand, we are going next year to have a Select Committee re-appointed to inquire how the public Departments are managed; what I have stated are matters of fact, to which I hope the attention of the Committee will be drawn. What I stated the other day, and what I now wish to repeat is this—so far as this money is required for the acquisition of land necessary for the protection of the Now Palace of Westminster, and for embanking the land so acquired, I think it necessary and desirable; but I know nothing, officially or otherwise, of the object or destination of the land beyond that which has been purchased and is proposed to be embanked, either as to the application of the land itself or of the buildings to be erected on it, except what has been stated in the Committee of Supply.

I have taken, Sir, the rather unusual course of presenting myself to the House, because, under the circumstances, and considering the nature of the appeal of my right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie), and the wide scope of the duties which he attached to the office of my right hon. Friend who has just sat down, I think it my duty, considering the position I hold, to give at once to the House my views upon the subject. In the first place, I must say I think my right hon. Friend behind me is perfectly sound in the principle he has laid down. It is the right and the duty of this House to hold the Executive Government to account in the strictest manner in regard to proposals for the expenditure of public money, and on that point I shall endeavour to give my right hon. Friend those assurances which appear to be required by the nature of the case. Therefore, I shall not commit myself in any manner, except in the manner in which the whole Executive Government is prepared to be responsible. I shall, however, endeavour to meet the right hon. Gentleman's very fair and equitable demand. The House has just heard the statement of my right hon. Friend the First Commissioner of Works, which I will divide into its several parts. My right hon. Friend has stated—and I think in the exercise of a perfect right—that this is a question in regard to which he feels himself bound, and honourably bound, by declarations made on former occasions before he became a member of the present Administration. My right hon. Friend, acting with that manliness for which I must give him credit, and with which I may remark he constantly opposed me in this House while I was Chancellor of the Exchequer, set himself to maintain the perfectly sound principle that the metropolis ought to be called upon to defray the cost of metropolitan improvements. But it may be difficult at times to draw the line so as to say exactly what is a metropolitan improvement, and upon whom the responsibility as to such improvement should rest. I speak now as to the principle, and not as to the matter of fact. I myself, and I think my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in particular, and the other Members of the Government are entirely of one mind with the First Commissioner of Works upon that subject, they being distinctly of opinion that for metropolitan improvements properly so-called, which do not directly address themselves to the special duties incumbent on the Government in connection with the Government property and Government obligations, the metropolis ought to be called upon to pay. I must speak with frankness in regard to the other portion of my right hon. Friend's speech. I own I doubt whether my right hon. Friend has stated with perfect accuracy the law of Ministerial responsibility. I noticed when he said, in a passing ob- servation of good humour, that he should like to know what the responsibility of the Board of Works was, some hon. Gentlemen opposite applauded and seemed amused, and appeared to concur with him in the idea that there was something cloudy in the matter; and there is occasionally an idea entertained in the public mind that there is a doubt about Ministerial responsibility. I do not share that doubt. Sometimes a difficulty will arise, as, for instance, in the matter we were discussing yesterday, when there is a subject in regard to which various Departments are called upon to interfere, and when the law has not defined with precision how the several duties are to be discharged. But when the law has spoken clearly, or when the practice is well understood, I have never found any difficulty in fixing Ministerial responsibility. In this matter, in my judgment, the Treasury is not an executive Department, but a controlling Department; but occasionally, and, indeed, frequently, there are things to be done in the multifarious concerns of the country in regard to which the Treasury is compelled to act as a Department invested with the initiative, simply because there is no other Department to do so. Still, this ought not to be done when there is another Department which is able to take the initiative, and it is not in the power of a Minister representing a Department to remove himself from responsibility for the public expenditure of that Department, by saying that it had been ordered by the Treasury. The Treasury are invested with certain functions in these cases, and in this particular one the respective functions of the Treasury and the Board of Works were very clearly defined. The Act of Parliament passed in 1867 authorizes the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Works and Public Buildings to acquire lands for the purposes of the New Palace of Westminster and for the construction of the Embankment on the north shore of the River Thames in the parish of Saint John the Evangelist, Westminster. By the 2nd section they are invested with the power and the duty of carrying the Act into effect; but the 16th section provides that with respect to money matters their action is to be subject to the control of the Treasury, and that no charges should be made by the Commissioners without the consent of that Department. Here, therefore, is a statutory power placing the matter in the hands of the Commissioners of Works, and a power is also placed in the hands of the Treasury to limit and restrain the Commissioners of Works in the exercise of the functions which Parliament has intrusted to them. And now arises the question—What is the responsibility of an officer of the Government who is invested with certain statutory powers? Is he simply to look at the statute, and is he by the grant of such powers exempted from all control and interference on the part of his Colleagues other than that which the Act of Parliament gives; or is he, on the contrary, subject to the intervention of the Government as a whole? I answer that question without any doubt whatever. It constantly happens that for convenience sake this House and the Legislature find it necessary to intrust the discharge of a particular duty by statute to a particular Department of the Government; but it does not follow on that account that the whole Government is not responsible. In regard to this statute ay opinion is perfectly distinct. I hold it is not the Treasury as a Department which has or could have any power to take out of the hands of the Commissioners of Works any authority given to them by the statute; but I hold also, on the other hand, with regard to the First Commissioner—and with regard, indeed, to every Secretary of State who exercises statutory powers—that he must act as a Member of the Government, and be necessarily subject to the control of the Government as a whole. Therefore, I consider that my right hon. Friend near me (Mr. Ayrton), in the exercise of the positive powers given to him by the statute, is subject not to the control of a particular Department, otherwise than is laid down by the statute, but that he is subject to the control of the Government as a whole, and to no other control whatever. However, a question arises which all Members of all Governments have to put to themselves in the inner forum of conscience from time to time. If they are men of sense, as they sometimes are, they are occasionally obliged to forego their individual opinions on particular questions for the sake of avoiding greater evils, or for realizing less benefit than they personally deserve, or think attain- able. I apprehend that happens to all Members of the Government, and therefore it must happen among others to the First Commissioner of Works, and my right hon. Friend, by acting on the same principle, can yet act with the power and responsibility of the whole Government. Every Member of the Government may adopt a measure which is not that which his own mind would have dictated, and which may yet accord with the inner mind of the Government on the subject; but this does not exempt him from Parliamentary responsibility, which remains whole and entire; and Parliament has a right to exact from him a perfect responsibility for everything which is done in his Department, equally with that which appertains to him as a Member of the Government. After what I have said, I hope my right hon. Friend will not think I have done anything to weaken or extenuate the doctrines of Ministerial responsibility, or to evade the responsibility which rests upon the Government individually, and as a whole. With regard to the particular Vote before the House, the First Commissioner of Works is of opinion that there is a certain duty incumbent upon the House which involves a limited project of Embankment with a view to secure the Palace in which we meet from danger, and possibly also with reference to the beauty of the site. He thinks that beyond that the Government ought not to go. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, looking at the Act of Parliament, observes that the Act appears—and the question, I admit, is one of some difficulty—to give the authority of the Legislature to the execution of a considerable work, while it does not appear to contain that provision which some might think necessary for the division of the charge between the Government and the Metropolitan Board of Works. That involves a matter of very considerable difficulty, and one upon which no person can be greatly blamed for holding either one opinion or the other, but with respect to which the rights of this House are perfectly clear. I believe that the Vote which is now asked is a Vote which, so far as actual money is concerned, would be required by the limited view of the First Commissioner of Works. I do not know that it is precisely so, but it is substantially so. The Vote is within what the limited plan will require; but nothing can be done under this Vote which in any degree, great or small, will tend to commit the House to the larger plan. The question of that larger plan, which is of some importance and difficulty in connection with the terms of the statute, is one which shall be reserved entirely and absolutely for the future judgment of Parliament. That my right hon. Friend may fairly claim of me, and I give to him and the House the distinct pledge I have mentioned with reference to the execution of these works.

We have had to-day one more addition to the many curious revelations we have lately witnessed as regards the Treasury and its subordinates; but I think the episode of to-day exceeds in curiosity all those which have preceded it. I take no exception to the doctrine of Ministerial responsibility laid down by the Prime Minister. He says truly that any subordinate Member of the Government may be overborne by the opinion of his Colleagues on any matter under their consideration; but that so long as he consents to remain in the Government and acquiesces in its decision he must accept a part of the responsibility. The Prime Minister has alluded to the period when the First Commissioner stood up in a manful manner in this House and opposed him as Chancellor of the Exchequer on some proposal which he made. That, no doubt, was a very proper course to take so long as he was an independent Member of this House; but now we have the extraordinary spectacle of the First Commissioner of Works standing up from the Treasury Bench and protesting against the proposition made by his superiors at the Treasury and by the Government as a whole. In all the experience I have had in this House, I certainly never remember such a course being taken. The nearest approach to it was when the Prime Minister himself was continually protesting against the military expenditure which had received the sanction of the Cabinet of which he was a member. I am speaking of former years, before the right hon. Gentleman occupied his present position. The First Commissioner of Works says he sent an Estimate to the Treasury, and the Treasury, without consulting him, altered the Estimate, and that he is not responsible for the Estimate as it now stands.

What I said was that the Estimate was altered—not that it was altered with reference to the amount. The Estimate was made with reference to the particular work which the Treasury desired to have constructed. But, as I said before, the Estimate was altered with reference to that work, and the matter imputed to me was that I had not disclosed the purpose for which the work was undertaken. I simply said that the Estimate had been altered, and therefore the charge as regards myself was without foundation. ["Oh!"] Perhaps the House will allow me to explain, as the right hon. Gentleman rather misunderstood what I said. What I said was that I did not oppose any part of this expenditure or impugn it, but that I was not acquainted with the circumstances, and therefore I expressed no opinion upon the matter. That was the fact.

I accept the right hon. Gentleman's correction, but it really comes to much the same thing. What I understand is that in his view the acquisition of the land required only a limited portion of the Embankment to be made, and that he sent in an Estimate to the Treasury with that view; but that the form was altered, and that he never knew it was so altered as to embrace the larger scheme. I understand further that he had no opportunity of consulting with the Treasury, and that he only received information on the point in the same manner as other Members of this House.

The particular accusation made against me was that this Estimate did not disclose the purpose for which this money was required. In the Estimate I sent to the Treasury a Note was put for that purpose. The Treasury altered the Estimate, and struck out that Note. That Note had nothing to do with the amount of the expenditure for the Embankment.

What I understand is, that the right hon. Gentleman sent to the Treasury an Estimate with a Note defining the purpose for which the Vote was taken. Is that correct? [Mr. AYRTON: Yes: it stated the purpose.] I also understand that without consultation with the right hon. Gentleman the Treasury struck out that Note, and therefore altered the statement of the purpose for which the work was undertaken. We have heard that a certain incompatibility of disposition existed between the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works and the Chancellor of the Exchequer; but I thought the interposition of a broad street between the two right hon. Gentlemen would produce that amicable disposition which would allow the public service to be carried on. What I want to know is, whether it is the case that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not on speaking terms with the First Commissioner of Works? [Laughter, and "Oh, oh!"] Well, what is the revelation that the First Commissioner has made? What could be the relation between the right hon. Gentleman and the Treasury, when, without any communication between them, the Treasury altered the form of his Estimate, and that the right hon. Gentleman only learned it through the same channels as other people. Such a mode of administering affairs at the Treasury I never heard of before in my life. What is the practice of the Treasury? Is it that the subordinate Departments send in their Estimates to the Treasury, which exercises its control in cutting them down? But when any serious alteration is made by the Treasury communications are held between the Treasury and the head of the Department, the Treasury having the ultimate decision, and it is after those communications that the Estimates are finally prepared and laid before Parliament. In this case no such practice was adopted, and therefore such an exposition as that of the right hon. Gentleman might be left without further comment. But when the right hon. Gentleman stands up and protests that he cannot be held responsible for this Estimate, I will call the attention of the House to the form in which the Estimate is presented. The right hon. Gentleman is there described as the accounting authority for the spending of this money; and yet he stands up in his place and protests against any responsibility resting upon him with regard to that part of the Estimate applying to the project of extending the Embankment beyond where he thought it ought to be extended. I now leave the matter as it stands.

I have to ask the indulgence of the House for a moment to say a word of personal explanation. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Northamptonshire (Mr. Hunt) has found it necessary to illustrate the matter by stating that some seven or eight years ago it was my practice as Chancellor of the Exchequer to denounce the expenditure proposed by the Cabinet to which I belonged, and to deny my responsibility for it. I beg to meet that statement with the most explicit and unequivocal denial.

What I said was that the right hon. Gentleman was in the habit of protesting against it.

said, it was due to the House that it should not be asked to embark upon this expenditure without knowing what it would amount to in the future. He regretted that relations of a more friendly character did not exist between the Treasury and the Board of Works. He had listened to the speech of the Prime Minister; but he had by no means made it clear what the responsibility of the First Commissioner really was. If the law were hazy the House had a right to expect that the Government would take some steps to make it clear and distinct. It was a sound principle that the House should look to the Heads of Departments as responsible; but if the Treasury had the power of controlling the expenditure or plans of the Board of Works that responsibility was taken away from the First Commissioner. What had occurred to-day involved a very important constitutional principle and was very deplorable in itself, revealing as it did a lamentable state of affairs.

said, that neither the buildings nor any part of the plan to which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had referred the other night formed any part of the plan for which the present Vote was asked. It was simply for the Embankment of the Thames, and that Embankment would be very much longer than had been at first thought necessary. It would now be nearer 300 feet than 230 feet, and would cost every penny of the sum now asked for. Under no circumstances would anything be done under the present Vote to involve the House in any expenditure except for the Embankment.

said, he was afraid he was one of the Members referred to by the Primo Minister as having derived amusement from the very extraordinary scene which had just been witnessed. When the House saw considerable discord arising between the Treasury and the Board of Works, it seemed that the dramatist was not very far wrong in his idea that Ministerial existence was spent in a Happy Land from which, however, the ordinary vicissitudes of human life were not entirely eliminated. He would, however, say, with regard to the First Commissioner of Works, that he had never shared—he would not say the general, but the not inconsiderable condemnation which had been expressed in regard to his proceedings, a condemnation arrived at in ignorance of many circumstances connected with the facts of the case. He (Mr. Lowther) had had occasion before now to mark by his vote his opinion of the right hon. Gentleman's manner of proceeding upon certain architectural matters, and wrangles upon such affairs as lighting fires in hot-houses and gardens in the metropolis and elsewhere, and he believed that the right hon. Gentleman had always been considered by a discriminating section of that House—and a not inconsiderable portion of the public—as having watchfully exercised most important executive functions in controlling the excessive desire on the part of many subordinate public functionaries to gratify the hobbies, and even the crotchets, of a limited section of society at the expense of the public purse. He thought that the right hon. Gentleman had been somewhat precipitately thrown over by the Prime Minister. The First Commissioner had stated explicitly and clearly his view of the doctrine of Ministerial responsibility, which had been confirmed by the Postmaster General and the Chancellor of the Exchequer at no distant period; and whatever might be the views of the Prime Minister on the point—and for the most part they were sound—he had not during five years succeeded in inculcating those views upon those Colleagues with whom he was most closely identified. He trusted that the House would not allow this occasion to pass without expressing its deep sense of the importance of the question of Ministerial responsibility. No more important question could be submitted to it, and he hoped that the House would not allow the Session to close without recognizing the grave public danger of allowing Ministers to shift from one to another the burden of Departmental and Ministerial responsibility.

said, although on many occasions he had differed from the right hon. Gentleman, yet he himself, and he thought they all, believed that the First Commissioner of Works was one of the most valuable of public servants. He never lost his head, and before committing himself to any expenditure he always liked to see before hand how much it would amount to. He trusted that this remarkable discussion would be attended with beneficial results. It had been found that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had great powers of silence, but a policy of that kind would not always be successful. The House of Commons was not likely to vote a large sum of money because the Chancellor of the Exchequer chose to override the First Commissioner of Works and then refused to give him any information. He felt much indebted to the Prime Minister for having taken a course which would prevent the House from being compromised on this Vote. His opinion was, that the Board of Works was not an executive Department in reference to its own business, but was under the control of the Treasury; and that if there was to be a control Department it should have distinct statutory powers to enable it effectually to control the expenditure and preparation of Estimates by the subordinate Departments.

said, that he felt much indebted to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie) for having raised the question; because, although he (Mr. Newdegate) did not wish to undervalue the Vote which the House was asked to pass, a much graver question was involved in the discussion which had been promoted by the right hon. Gentleman, and that was, what was Ministerial responsibility? There was a collective responsibility on the part of the Government; but it would be a very great misfortune if, in that collective responsibility, the individual responsibility of Members of the Government were to be submerged or ignored. The Government existed through confidence, and it was a confidence extended to them collectively, and not merely a confidence reposed in the head of that Government; and as a Member of this House, he begged to thank the First Commissioner of Works for having refused to ignore the pledges he gave to his constituents, and his position as a Member of the House; or to evade, or seek to evade his responsibility for the opinions he had expressed, and by the expression of which he gained the confidence of his constituents, and established his position in this House; because he (Mr. Newdegate) held this—that when the right hon. Gentleman found himself unable to give the explanation which was demanded as to the purpose for which this space of ground and Embankment was eventually intended, the right hon. Gentleman behaved much more respectfully to the House, and much more consistently with his position, by at once avowing that he was unable to give that information, than if he had invented some excuse or put forward the idea of some project for the validity and carrying out of which he was fully conscious that he had no security to offer. Under these circumstances, he (Mr. Newdegate) rejoiced that this discussion had taken place. In his opinion, the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works had vindicated his position not Only as a Minister, but as a Member of the House.

thought the House had been fortunate in having elicited from the Prime Minister so clear and constitutional a statement of the doctrine of Ministerial responsibility. The practice of that House had, however, more weight than any theory, and the practice of the present Government had differed very widely from the doctrine laid down by the right hon. Gentleman. The head of the Department which had charge of the Vote found fault with it, and the scene of that day was unexampled. When the First Commissioner undertook to justify the Vote, he should have acted on the theory of the Prime Minister, and accepted his share of the responsibility. The Board of Works was by Act of Parliament subordinate to the Treasury, and if the Treasury had interfered with the right hon. Gentleman, and if the Estimate was really that of the Treasury, why had not the Secretary to the Treasury taken charge of it, and explained it to the House? As it was, the House was between two stools, and had neither the responsibility of the First Commissioner nor the Treasury. It was the first scene of the kind the House had ever witnessed, and he trusted it would not be drawn into a precedent. The First Commissioner of Works should have done one of two things. If the Estimate was so contrary to the right hon. Gentleman's convictions, he should have declined to propose it for the acceptance of the House. If, on the other hand, he took the official charge of the Vote, he ought not to have come down to the House to complain of the Treasury, and endeavour to attract the sympathies of the House on the ground that he had been ill-used. That; was not the way in which the business of the public ought to be clone. Such a course deprived the House of its fair right to know who was responsible for the Estimates, and what was to be done with the money to be voted. The statement of the Prime Minister, that this money was not going to be laid out in the manner against which the First Commissioner protested, was satisfactory to the House; but this was a most improper way of bringing the Estimates before the House, and he repeated that he hoped it would not be brought into a precedent.

said, that it was not the First Commissioner of Works but the Secretary to the Treasury who moved the Estimate. He did not see how the First Commissioner of Works could do otherwise, under the circumstances, than to say that he knew nothing about the Vote. He trusted that the result would be that these Votes would be drawn up in a more precise and definite form for the future.

I will ask the indulgence of the House to say that I may have spoken rather too sharply to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Northamptonshire (Mr. Hunt) when I denied having denounced expenditure which I myself proposed. I intended to say that I had pursued the same course in the late and in the present Government.

I did not take exception to the right hon. Gentleman's manner as being uncourteous.

Question put, and agreed to.

The next Resolution agreed to.

(8.) £5,000, Supplementary Sum for the superintendence of Convict Establishments, and for the maintenance of Convicts in Convict Establishments in England and the Colonies.

"That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £5,000, be granted to Her Majesty to defray the Chance which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1874, for the Superintendence of Convict Establishments, and for the maintenance of convicts in Convict Establishments in England and the Colonies."

On Question? That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution,

thought the House ought to have further explanations upon the Vote before it was passed.

said, that Millbank Prison, owing to faulty principles of construction, cost £3,000 a-year more for its maintenance than a properly constructed prison would cost. £3,000 a-year capitalized would amount to some £90,000, and for this sum he would undertake that an efficient prison should be built by convict labour, and a valuable site of 24 acres would then be at the disposal of Parliament. With the ulterior disposition of the site he had nothing to do. Parliament would have the subject in its own hands, and was in no way pledged to snake use of Millbank for the purposes of cavalry barracks, in place of those at Hyde Park.

said, he had no faith in the value of forced labour. The proposed new prison might be cheaply built by convicts; but he doubted whether the work would be good work, and whether the prison would not in the end be more cheaply built in the ordinary way.

knew his hon. Friend to be one of the most candid men in the House, and could show him additions made at Pentonville and a chapel built at Portsmouth entirely by convict labour which would convince his hon. Friend that the work could not have been better done by the most skilled labour in the country.

said, he wished to point out that convict labour in those cases was congregated. Did the right hon. Gentleman propose to bring up troops of convicts to build the new prison, and had he considered the difficulty attending such an operation?

having watched the results of convict labour, agreed with the Home Secretary that the work thus done was equal to anything done by unforced labour.

said, all the circumstances of the case had been considered, and no difficulty was apprehended in the case.

Question put, and agreed to.

The next Eleven Resolutions agreed to.

Twentieth Resolution,

"That a sum, not exceeding £10,000, 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 1874, for the enlargement of Dover Harbour,"

read a second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House cloth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

said, the Vote was brought forward late on Monday night, or rather Tuesday morning, and it was only by mistake that a division was not then taken upon it. He thought no sufficient excuse had been offered by the Government for having put off to this late period of the Session a Vote of this character, and he objected to the large expenditure which the project was likely to involve. The history of it was this—Originally a Bill was prepared by the Dover Harbour Board, by which certain improvements were to be carried out for the benefit of the trade of the port and of railway companies who had their termini at Dover. The Bill came under the notice of the Admiralty and War Departments, who thought it afforded them an opportunity of reviving an old scheme for making a large harbour of refuge and strengthening the approaches to Dover. Two eminent engineers—Mr. Hawkshaw and Sir Andrew Clarke—were engaged to report on the subject. Their estimate was that the scheme would cost some £850,000, of which the South Eastern and the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway Companies were to bear a certain proportion. A most absurd balance-sheet was prepared by the Harbour Board of their estimated receipts and expenses, and it showed that in the course of 20 years they would have a surplus, in addition to paying interest to the amount of £30,000, of £60,000 a-year. The Trea- sury condemned these calculations as being delusive. They also condemned the scheme, on the ground that the railway companies had not agreed to terms which would render them contributory parties, and on the ground that it was immature. However, on June 13, 10 days after pronouncing this condemnation, without any change of circumstances meanwhile, the Treasury assented to the scheme, apparently for no other reason than that the War Office, the Admiralty, and the Board of Trade had sanctioned it. This was an instance of the weakness of Treasury control. The Treasury were pertinacious in small matters; they tried the temper of the House by this pertinacity in small things; and it was therefore most disappointing that the Department should, allow their convictions to be over-ruled, and that the Government should at the end of July place upon the Table an Estimate for £10,000, which would commit the House to an expenditure of at least £850,000, and in all probability of a much larger sum. He would express no opinion upon the merits of the scheme; but upon the ground that according to the Treasury's own admission the scheme was immature and the Estimates unreliable, he appealed to the Government to postpone the Estimate until next Session, when there would be an opportunity of discussing it.

said, he thought the Government could have no difficulty in coming to the conclusion advised by the hon. Member for Warrington. Since this Vote had been determined upon, some definite plan must have been formed in reference to the scheme by the heads of the Admiralty, the War Department, and the Board of Trade; and, if so, the whole plan should be laid on the Table. That should have been done, in fact, at the commencement of the Session, and he protested against the course which the Government were taking in the matter. The House ought not to be asked to vote £10,000 in this manner for a work which would cost £850,000, and might, before its completion, cost £1,850,000, but ought to have a definite plan before it to decide upon. He protested against a subject of this importance being brought forward at the very end of the Session.

said, that the hon. Member for War- rington (Mr. Rylands) and the hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex (Colonel Barttelot) could not have read the Report and studied the plans for the extension of the harbour at Dover, which had been laid before Parliament for the last 10 days, or they would not have spoken on the subject as they had. That Report and those plans were the fruit of the labours of Mr. Hawkshaw and Sir Andrew Clarke. There could be no higher authorities. The latter had carried out most important harbour works; his estimates had never been exceeded, and he had every confidence that he had not made any miscalculation in the Estimate before the House. The reason why the Vote had been brought forward so late in the Session was, that a private Bill had been introduced dealing with Dover Harbour from the point of view of private interest. The three Departments were thus compelled to look into the matter and see what should be done; and they were unwilling year after year to continue what might be called a dog-in-the-manger policy, by raising objections to private schemes for improving Dover Harbour, without being able, on the part of the Government, to suggest any plan of their own. The negotiations entered into with the promoters of the Private Bill led to a prolonged correspondence, and necessarily delayed the Vote. With regard to the resources of the Dover Harbour Board, upon which it was proposed that a loan should be made by the Public Works Loan Commissioners, it was intended to increase those funds by enabling a passenger duty to be levied upon passengers making use of Dover Harbour. The Treasury had satisfied themselves that the surplus revenue of the Harbour Board would enable the Public Works Loan Commissioners to advance a very large portion of the funds required for the construction of this work. Parliament had already laid out £750,000 upon the Admiralty Pier at Dover, which was only a fragment of the intended works, and supplied only a partial advantage to the harbour. He believed that from every point of view it was desirable, in the public interest, that the scheme now proposed should be carried out through the instrumentality of the Dover Harbour Board, and it would be a pity not to make a start in the present year.

said, he wished the House to pause before granting the Vote. In the case of the Harbour of Alderney, it was only to cost £500,000, but in the end the actual expenditure upon the work was near £2,000,000; and now they had to choose whether they should let the harbour go to decay, blow it up, or put it in repair. That experience should teach them to be careful how they embarked in a similar course of expenditure; and he urged that the Government should not persevere with this scheme at the present period of the Session.

supported the Vote, knowing that there was a most anxious desire on the part of France to improve the Channel communication, and when so small a sum was asked for to commence the work he did not think the policy of delay was a wise one. He thought the country would support the House in endeavouring to improve the means of communication between the two countries. With regard to the works at Alderney, he thought it would be cheaper to lay out more money upon the harbour there, so as to make it effective, than to blow it up.

said, the French Government, if they were so anxious to improve the communication between the two countries, should set us the example by improving their own harbours. You could get into Dover at any time of the tide, but not into Calais or Boulogne. This was a most important matter, and as it would involve a vast expenditure he did not think the House ought to proceed with it on almost the last day of the Session.

reminded the House that the proposed works had nothing to do with the Admiralty Pier, which was now unfinished, but formed part of an entirely new scheme. In his opinion, the plans required more mature examination than they had yet received, for the Correspondence showed that up to a very late date the authorities themselves had not come to a conclusion as to what was the best scheme. From every point of view it was important that Dover should be made a first-class harbour; but at this late period of the Session it would be well for the Government to withdraw what seemed to him to be a crude and ill-digested proposal.

in reference to the assertion that the scheme had not received the mature attention of the Government, said, it had received the most earnest and accurate attention of the authorities engaged; and, speaking for the Admiralty, he would say that they attached the greatest importance to the carrying out of this plan. The Government thought it to be their duty to construct a harbour which would not only servo for naval purposes, but facilitate communication between this country and France; an object, he need scarcely say, most earnestly desired. The Government were not proposing a new scheme; but they were substituting a new terminus for the work which was originally designed. It had always been contemplated that the harbour was to have two piers, the Eastern and the Western. The Western pier had been completed; the Eastern remained to be done. Various plans had been proposed for improving Dover Harbour for commercial purposes; but the Admiralty and the War Office were under the disagreeable necessity of rejecting them, because they interfered with the completion of the Admiralty Pier. Under these circumstances, the Government thought it their duty to propose a plan which would combine the double object, and it had received the sanction of the local authorities and the railway companies, as also that of eminent engineers and the Hydrographer of the Admiralty. With respect to finance, the sum to be contributed by the public funds would not be considerable, as it would be supplemented by contributions from harbour dues and from the railway companies, and also from a passenger tax. He trusted the works would not be deferred until next year.

expressed a hope that, as the proposed expenditure would be money well laid out, and absolutely necessary, in the interests of the town of Dover and of the navy and merchant shipping of the country, the Vote would receive the sanction of the House.

believed that the Public Works Loan Commissioners, of which body he was a member, had made no Report upon the subject of the security for advances to be made for the completion of the work. [Mr. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE said they had not.] The House, then, was now called upon, in the absence of full information, to sanction a small loan; but it was one which involved the ultimate expenditure of £850,000. For his part, he thought, however advantageous it might be to complete Dover Harbour, it would be wiser to defer the Vote till next year.

thought it very unwise to impose restrictions upon the passenger traffic between France and England, and inquired what the amount of the passenger tax would be?

also thought the House should be informed what the passenger tax would amount to, and whether a fixed revenue would be paid by the railway companies?

said, that according to the new view of Ministerial responsibility, the Government wore not bound by the views of the First Lord of the Admiralty. He did not object to the passenger tax, and was not unfavourable to the Vote; but he thought the House should be informed to what extent it was proposed to tax passengers.

said, it was stated in the Treasury letter which was on the Table with the other Papers that the passenger tax would amount to 1s. a-head—6d. only, however, to be levied after the completion of the landing jetty, and the 1s. to be deferred until the completion of the works. It was not intended that the railway companies should escape from contributing to the expense.

thought even 6d. a very high passenger tax, and hoped the House would hesitate before they sanctioned a scheme which involved such an impost.

strongly recommended the House to be cautious before they hurriedly assented to a Vote which involved so many serious considerations.

gathered from the smallness of the Vote that the object in view was not so much to carry on the works as to commit the House to the future expenditure which those works involved. As to reference about Alderney Harbour, it was commenced in the days of a generation now passing away. If it were intended to secure peace by increasing the means of communication between this country and the Continent, the object was praiseworthy; but he would suggest that the Vote should be postponed.

observed, that the passenger tax would be an indirect way of taxing French shipping, and would probably interfere with the Treaty of Commerce.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 61; Noes 60: Majority 1.

The next Two Resolutions agreed to.

Supply—Navy Estimates

(23.) £167,740, Freight of ships, &c.

"That a sum, not exceeding £167,740 be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the expense for the Freight of Ships, for the Victualling and for the Conveyance of Troops, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1874."

On Question? That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution,

said, that owing to certain regiments not having been relieved according to the Queen's Regulations, they had suffered great hardships in the passage home from North America. He had been informed that the thermometer stood much below 23 degrees, the point mentioned as the lowest reached during the voyage by his right hon. Friend opposite the Secretary to the Admiralty, in reply to a Question of his; and, indeed, he had seen the transport ship on her arrival covered with many tons of ice. He had been informed that in the daytime the temperature was below zero, and at night it must have been much lower. He hoped that when the Himalaya returned from the Gold Coast inquiries would be made into the matter. Ministers ought to impress on those who prepared their Answers to Questions put in that House the desirability of not treating them as if it did not signify what answers were given.

said, he had the greatest reliance on the credibility and honesty of the gallant Admiral who, at his request, investigated the case and gave him information, and he could assure the hon. And gallant Gentleman that Heads of Departments who supplied Ministers with answers were quite sensible of the necessity of condour and truth. It was not right, therefore, that such imputations should be cast on them. What the explanation of the discrepancy as to temperature might be he could not say; but there was no desire to throw dust in the eyes of the House. The greatest care was taken with respect to the transport of troops at the proper season and to the comfort of the troops.

remarked that the House had nothing to do with the sources of the information supplied by the Heads of Departments in the House. Those Heads alone were responsible, and not their subordinates.

concurred in this, explaining that his remark had been elicited by the hon. and gallant Member's wish to acquit himself at the expense of his subordinates.

asked whether the question of placing the transport service under the War Office was under consideration, and whether the Resolution of the House that soldiers under 20 should not be sent to India had been acted upon?

replied that the complicated question of the transport service was under the consideration both of the War Office and the Admiralty. The Horse Guards had, to the best of their ability, taken care that no man under 20 embarked for India.

disclaimed any reflection on the truthfulness of subordinates preparing answers, and any wish to fix the responsibility on them.

Question put, and agreed to.

(24.) £12,000, Supplementary Sum, Navy (Scientific Branch).

"That a Supplementary Sum, not exceeding £12,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the expenses of the Scientific Branch of the Navy which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1874."

On Question? That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution,

called attention to the Vote of £4,000 for cases for naval models to be transferred from South Kensington to Greenwich. He expressed a hope that the models should be complete, and was adverting to the mode of working the guns of the Devastation by hydraulic pressure, when

said, the noble Lord could not found on the Vote a discussion on the guns of the Devastation. Among the items of the Vote was a sum of £4,000 for supplying cases for models; but it was not open to the noble Lord upon such a Vote to discuss the structure of guns.

after alluding to the few opportunities now enjoyed by private Members of raising discussions, asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he was out of Order in discussing the principle of working guns?

said, that the Vote being for cases for naval models, the noble Lord was out of Order in discussing upon a Vote of that limited character the system of gunnery in the Navy.

thereupon stated that he should resist any attempt next Session to renew the Resolution as to Motions on going into Committee of Supply.

said, every care would be taken to make the collection at Greenwich as complete and satisfactory as possible.

Question put, and agreed to.

Subsequent Resolutions agreed to.

Factory Acts Amendment Bill Bill 47

( Mr. Mundella, Mr. Morley, Mr. Shaw, Mr. Philips, Mr. Cobbett, Mr. Anderson.)

Second Reading Adjourned Debate

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [11th June], "That the Bill be now read a second time."

Question again proposed.

Debate resumed.

in rising to move the following Amendment:—

"That, in the opinion of this House, it is undesirable to sanction a measure which would discourage the employment of women, by subjecting their labour to a new legislative restriction to which it is not proposed to subject the labour of men,"
spoke as follows:—Mr. Speaker*: It will be in the recollection of the House that at the close of the long speech with which my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) introduced the second reading of this Bill, not more than about five minutes remained before the debate, by the Rules of the House, had to be suspended. It was only possible for me, during these few brief minutes, to protest against some asper- sions which had, I thought, been unjustly cast upon the character of those employers who are opposed to this measure, and to indicate in very general terms the reasons which have induced me to meet the second reading of the Bill with the Amendment of which I have given Notice. In order to present as clear an issue as possible to the House, I am desirous at the outset to state that the Bill may be divided into two entirely distinct portions. One part of the Bill asks us to legislate for children; by another part of the Bill it is intended both directly and indirectly to subject the labour of adults to certain new legislative restrictions. So far as the Bill affects the employment of children, I have not a single word to say in opposition to it. On the contrary, no one would more cordially welcome proposals to raise the age at which children should be permitted to commence working, to extend the period of half-time, and to provide additional securities for the more efficient education of children when employed as half-timers. So far as we are able to judge from the opinions which have been expressed by employers in reference to the employment and education of children, it would appear that the portion of the Bill which refers to children might be passed with the general approval of the House. It is important to bear this in mind, in order to obtain a distinct idea of the real points at issue between the supporters and the opponents of the Bill. It has been attempted to make the country believe that many of the employers are anxious to have children overworked, and are perfectly indifferent to their education. Probably there is no one in this House who is pecuniarily less interested in industrial undertakings than I am. I have not a shilling embarked in any one of the trades which would be affected by this Bill. This has been one reason which has induced me to assume the responsibility of opposing the Bill. If the Amendment of which I have given Notice had been moved by some employer, interested motives would not improbably have been attributed to him, and perhaps he would have been accused of being more solicitous for his own gains than for the welfare of his work people. As it may be difficult for many of the employers to defend themselves without being charged with self-laudation, I feel bound in com- mon fairness to say that many of those who are most prominent in opposing this Bill are acknowledged to be among the best employers in the country. It has been admitted that there is no one in Lancashire who is more respected by those whom he employs for his great generosity and his judicious kindness than Mr. Hugh Mason, and there is no one who has written and spoken with greater ability and force against the proposals in this Bill to subject the labour of adults to legislative restrictions. Many hon. Members of this House, who hold opinions similar to those of Mr. Hugh Mason, are as much esteemed as employers as he is. Having made these few remarks in defence of those who, in the course of the agitation which this measure is likely to excite, will doubtless be subjected to many unjust insinuations, I will at once ask the House to consider the vitally important issues which are raised by this Bill so far as it will affect the labour of adults. It can, I think, be proved beyond dispute that this measure must operate in one of two ways. It will either be a Nine-hours Bill for men as well as for women, or it will place the labour of women under such serious disadvantages as greatly to restrict their employment. If the Bill is intended to be a general Nine-hours Bill, then the House has not been fairly dealt with; for why do not the promoters of the measure boldly come forward and tell us what they want? If they want this House to decide how long the artizans of this country shall be permitted to work, let them at least have the courage to tell us at what they are aiming. Do not let them cloak their intentions in the garb of a generous zeal for the welfare of women. I am perfectly ready to admit that the hon. Member for Sheffield has emphatically denied that this is a general Nine-hours Bill. He has told us that nothing would induce him to have anything to do with a Bill which would impose legislative restrictions upon the labour of men. But there may be the widest possible difference between what the promoter of an Act of Parliament wishes to be its consequences and what its ultimate consequences may actually be. The hon. Member may not intend this to be a general Nine-hours Bill, but it may become one, in spite of anything that he may say or wish to the contrary. But if it is not, as he asserts, a general Nine-hours Bill, then it can at once be proved that the Bill must most seriously interfere with the employment of women. The labour of men and women is so inextricably intertwined in the various manufacturing processes, that it seems nothing can be more absurd than to suppose that the women, after working nine hours, should be compelled by law to leave the factory, and then the men should go on for another hour working without them. It is therefore absolutely certain that if women are not permitted to work more than nine hours a-day, one of two things will occur: either the manufacturers will be unable to employ their men for more than nine hours a-day; or, if they wished to keep their machinery working for a longer period than this, they would only be able to do so by dispensing with the labour of women altogether or by employing them in double shifts, like halftime children. It can only be proved by experience which of these results will ensue. In those branches of industry in which the labour of women is indispensable—and I believe this is the case with the great majority of industries affected by this Bill—it is evident that if we impose certain legislative restrictions upon the labour of women, we virtually impose the same restrictions upon the labour of men. In some branches of industry, however, in which women form a very small minority of the entire number who are employed, this Bill would probably have the effect of causing the labour of women to be altogether dispensed with, or of reducing them to the position of half-timers. The question, therefore, which the House has to determine is this—Are we, in the first place, prepared for some of the most important trades in the country to enact a general nine-hours' law? Or are we prepared, with regard to other trades, to discourage and prohibit the employment of women? We probably have never been asked to give a decision upon issues of greater importance. Let me begin with the first. I am perfectly well aware of the prejudice which will be industriously excited against those who oppose such legislation as is now contemplated. It therefore becomes of greater consequence that we should make the grounds of our opposition as intelligible as possible. I therefore desire, in the first instance, to affirm that this House has no right to interfere with the labour of adults; and, secondly, if it had the right, it would be singularly impolitic to exercise it at the present time. If we once accept the principle that grown-up persons cannot determine for themselves the number of hours which they shall work, we virtually treat them as if they were helpless children, who find it so impossible to get on without our control and guidance, that we shall soon have to regulate their wages. And when are we asked to start on this career of paternal legislation? When are we asked to wrap the artizan population of this country in the swaddling clothes of babyhood? Why, at the very time when our working classes are proving, in a thousand hard-fought industrial contests between themselves and their employers, that they have not only the will but, the power to protect their own interests. But even if the State had the right to decide how many hours a-day a grown-up person should work, I confidently appeal to the House, whether it would not be impolitic to exercise this right. My chief contention is this—that the working classes can settle such a question as this far better for themselves than the State can settle it for them. No one now would think of invoking the aid of Parliament to determine the amount of remuneration which our artizans should receive for their labour, and if they can regulate the amount of their wages, why, in the name of common sense, cannot they also arrange the number of hours which they shall work? Not only have they the power to decide for themselves what shall be the length of the day's work, but I believe they will decide it far better without than with the interference of this House. Employers and employed know the peculiar circumstances of each branch of industry infinitely better than they can be known by this House. Employers and employed, if left to themselves, can make such arrangements as are most fitted for each special trade. Occasionally it may happen that it may be desirable to work somewhat longer than the ordinary time. The employed recognize the truth of this just as much as do the employers, for it is particularly to be noted that in those trades where the employed have been most successful in shortening the hours of labour, they have always suggested certain arrangements for occasionally working overtime. Arrangements for controlling trade, which are voluntarily made between employers and employed, have not the rigidity and unchangeableness of a legislative enactment. They possess sufficient elasticity to be adapted to the peculiar circumstances of each special case; but this Bill, on the contrary, proposes to lay down one uniform rule for a great variety of industrial processes which often differ widely in the character and quality of the work they require. If we pass this Bill, it will be decreed by an inflexible rule, that in the most important trades in the country no women shall, under any circumstances whatever, work for more than a prescribed number of hours. It has been said, and it will no doubt be often repeated, that it is now too late to raise objections to Parliamentary interference with the labour of adults; such interference was sanctioned by the Factory Acts, and no one would now think of repealing them. As I have before remarked, so far as these Acts refer to the labour of those who are not adults, not only do I not wish to repeal them, but I should be perfectly willing to strengthen them, and to attempt to render them more efficient. But legislative interference with the employment of adults cannot, at the present time, be regarded in precisely the same light as it was when the Factory Acts were passed, a quarter of a century since. The trade of the country has now to contend with many difficulties which were then scarcely foreseen. I shall presently refer to the serious effects which may be produced upon the industrial future of our country by the rise in the price of coal. Again, if the existing Factory Acts are to be quoted as a conclusive argument in favour of this Bill, the same kind of reasoning would justify an eight—nay, even a seven—hours Bill. Lastly, it may be asked—what becomes of the great progress in the people's condition, which was quoted as an unanswerable argument in favour of their political enfranchisement, if they require the protection of the State just as much now as they did 25 years since? Those, I think, do a very serious injury to the working classes, who are perpetually encouraging them to ask the State to do what they could far more effectually do for themselves. It has lately been shown how much more promptly and properly a matter is dealt with when the people take it into their own hands than when they rely upon Acts of Parliament. It will be in the recollection of the House that last year the Home Secretary introduced a Bill with the view of putting down truck. Something like 60 Acts had already been passed with the same object, and we wore told that, in spite of all this legislation, truck was flourishing as vigorously as ever. Directly I read the Bill of the Home Secretary, I determined to oppose it with an Amendment which asserted the principle, that all questions as to the time when, and the manner in which, wages should be paid, had better be settled by the employers and the employed rather than by Parliament. Many came to me then, as they have come to me now, and said—"We wonder that you are insensible to the evils of truck, and that you wish to see them perpetuated." I simply replied—"If I held such opinions as you attribute to me, I would do all in my power to promote the passing of the Home Secretary's Bill; because experience has shown that innumerable Truck Acts may be passed, and truck will continue to exist, until those who are interested in its discontinuance take the subject into their own hands." It could scarcely have been foreseen that the truth of what has just been stated would be so soon proved. The Bill happily not having passed, the Home Secretary was lately asked whether he intended to re-introduce it during the present Session. What was his reply? It was so significant, that I earnestly commend it to the particular attention of this House. After having stated that he did not intend to re-introduce the Bill this year, he went on to confess that one of the chief reasons which had induced him to come to this decision was, that since his failure to legislate last year the working classes had to a great extent taken the matter into their own hands, and had by their own voluntary efforts abolished truck. If Parliament would only once declare that it would never have another Truck Bill introduced into this House, I believe that, in five years, all that is mischievous in connection with truck would have ceased to exist. Just in the same way do I believe that if we would once declare that it was entirely beyond the province of this House to decide how many hours an adult should work, we should do far more to cause the day's work to be adjusted to such a length as would be most advantageous both for employers and employed, than will ever be done by such a Bill as we are now asked to approve. This is not simply a theoretical opinion; for it is to be particularly remarked that those trades in which the hours are at the present time the shortest are exactly those to which it has never been proposed to apply any legislative interference. In the nine-hours struggle which commenced in Newcastle, and has been so successfully continued in other parts of the country, the aid of Parliament was never invoked. But the hon. Member (Mr. Mundella) will probably rejoin: "It is very well to leave men to take care of themselves. They are independent, they are free, they have the power to do what they think is best for themselves. But when we come to consider the case of women, what are they?" The hon. Member has told us that they are servants up to the age of 16 or 17; they then enjoy a year or two of independence; they then marry, and are henceforward the slaves of their masters. In the former debate, some who are opposing this Bill were taunted with being "cold-blooded economists." But we have never been so cold-blooded as to bring such an accusation against our fellow-countrymen. If this assertion were as correct, as I believe it to be incorrect, instead of sending an expedition to Zanzibar to put down the slave trade, we ought to send an expedition to Lancashire and Yorkshire to emancipate our countrywomen from the fetters in which warm-blooded philanthropists are content to see them bound. But the hon. Member was shrewd enough to see that the principles of his Bill forced him into the position of saying that the women for whom he proposes to legislate are slaves. There is only one justification for limiting the hours of labour of women, unless it is proposed to subject the labour of men to similar legislation, and that is, that women are not free agents. This is, in fact, the justification for legislating on behalf of children: they are not free agents; and this suggests at once the fundamental distinction between State intervention on behalf of children and on behalf of adults. But we now have to consider what may possibly be the second effect of this legislation—namely, that it may in some instances discourage the employment of women. Anyone who considers the social condition of this country; anyone who knows how many women there are who have a severe struggle to maintain themselves by toil; anyone who reflects that if a woman is driven from honest labour, she may be forced by dire necessity into a life of misery and degradation, will hesitate to sanction legislation which may possibly have the effect of throwing impediments in the way of women earning their own maintenance. I know that the workmen who are demanding this Bill indignantly repudiate the idea that they are jealous of women's labour. No one would more regret than I should to bring against them any unjust accusations. We are bound at once be accept their assurance that they are no longer influenced by any jealousy of women's labour, and we may indeed rejoice that that is not to happen in the future which has, undoubtedly, sometimes occurred in the past. For fairness compels me to say that our workmen have not always been uninfluenced by this jealousy of women's labour. We cannot forget that some years ago certain trades-unionists in the Potteries imperatively insisted that a certain rest for the arm, which they found almost essential to their work, should not be used by women when engaged in the same employment. Not long since, the London tailors, when on strike, having never admitted a woman to their union, attempted to coerce women from availing themselves of the remunerative employment which was offered to them in consequence of the strike. But this jealousy of women's labour has not been entirely confined to workmen. The same feeling has extended itself through every class of society. Last autumn some of the Post Office clerks objected to the employment of women in the Post Office, which had been so wisely decided upon by Mr. Scudamore; and we have lately had abundant opportunities of judging of the extent to which the medical profession is jealous of the competition of women practitioners. I think it necessary to make these remarks, as we should at any rate be very cautious and very watchful when we are asked to interfere with the employment of women. But we have been told that one of the great arguments in favour of this Bill is, that it is demanded by the fathers and husbands of the women affected by it. But, in pressing this argument, does the hon. Member forget that upon his own authority we have been assured that these very women are in servitude and slavery to these fathers and husbands, and therefore he asks us to place ourselves in the ridiculous position of letting those whom he has himself described as slave-masters, decide what is best for their slaves? But enough has now probably been said on the general principles involved in this Bill. I will therefore proceed to deal with the specific facts and statements on which the hon. Member supports his case. The Government, through the Homo Secretary, having stated that—
"Greatly as our knowledge has been supplemented by the Report of the Commissioners recently appointed to investigate the condition of the women and children employed in factories, it is not large enough to justify the great economic changes proposed by this Bill,"
the hon. Member naturally came to the conclusion that this assertion of the Home Secretary must be controverted. Anyone who reads the hon. Member's remarks in the previous debate, and at the same time remembers with how much ability and ingenuity he can speak, will at once see how extremely weak is his case. Instead of directly meeting the assertion of the Home Secretary, he endeavoured to disprove it by introducing a great mass of matter entirely irrelevant to the measure we are now considering. We remember, for instance, the piteous picture he drew of women coming to work in all weathers, be-drabbled in mud and wet up to their middles. He surely does not think that his Bill will regulate the elements, and convert a wet day into a fine one. It really might be thought that there was a clause in the Bill to supply women with waterproof cloaks and umbrellas. He also gave a harrowing description of the evils resulting from working in bad smells and in ill-ventilated rooms; but we look in vain in the Bill for a single sanitary regulation. Again, we had a frightful account of the increasing number of accidents. The fallacies involved in these statistics of accidents will be referred to by subsequent speakers. But it is sufficient here to say that even if it is admitted that accidents have increased, this Bill can exert no influence whatever in diminishing their number. There is not one word in it which would either cause machinery to be better fenced, or which would enable those who may be injured more easily to obtain compensation from their employers. We next listened to an eloquent description of the terrible consequences which ensue from a woman returning to work too soon after her confinement. On the authority of the Commissioners we were told that when a woman thus returned to work, it was virtually a sentence of death to the child. But if this Bill became law tomorrow, a woman would be able to return to work within a week, nay, even a day, of her confinement. It was next attempted to shame this House into accepting this Bill, because we were asked to, believe that in factory legislation, we were behind almost every other European country. In one respect this is no doubt true. In those countries, such as Prussia, where there is a general system of compulsory education, greater security is taken for the education of factory children than is the case in our own country; but, as I have before said, this is not the part of the Bill which we are opposing. We are as anxious as the hon. Member for Sheffield can be to provide additional guarantees for the education of factory children. The point of difference between him and us is, that we object to the new restrictions which he wishes to impose upon the labour of adults; and with regard to this kind of legislative interference, instead of being behind other European countries, we have already imposed restrictions far more stringent than those which have been imposed in Germany, Austria, Baden, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Russia, or France. The Beehive newspaper, the leading organ of the trades-unionists in this country, which has not only warmly supported the hon. Member's Bill, but which has with the utmost asperity attacked those who venture to oppose it, has recently said—
"England is, without doubt, far in advance of every country in this matter, whether we consider the law itself, or the strictness of its execution."
Again, the hon. Member for Sheffield endeavoured to make it appear that the employment of women in the textile manufactures produced great mortality, and was particularly destructive of infant life. He seemed to think that he had proved his case when he showed that there was a much greater mortality among women in the manufacturing districts than there is in four towns in the Black Country. These four towns were alluded to as if they were so unhealthy that the sanitary condition of a district must be most deplorable if it had a higher rate of mortality than prevails in these towns. But on referring to the Returns of the Registrar General, what do we discover? These towns in the Black Country, so far as the mortality of married women is concerned—and the hon. Member was careful to confine his comparison to this point—take rank, not among the most unhealthy, but amongst the very healthiest districts in the kingdom. As an instance of the caution which ought to be exercised in drawing conclusions from incomplete statistics, it may be remarked that the rate of infant mortality is not greater in the textile towns than it is in these four towns where the rate of mortality of women is so low. But now I come to certain statements which the hon. Member made, when he was not anxious to prove the unhealthiness of the manufacturing districts, but when he vas pleading for their healthiness. I should be the last to accuse any man of inconsistency. We all, probably, in some period of our lives, have changed our opinions. [Mr. MUNDELLA: Hear, hear!] Oh, I quite understand that cheer. When I came into this House, when I was younger and perhaps more enthusiastic than I am now, I was more in favour of legislative interference. But is it to be supposed that anyone coming into this House when still young, is to learn nothing from experience? But the inconsistency which I am referring to with regard to the hon. Member is not a change of opinion which has gradually come over him as facts have dawned upon him or as years have rolled by. I wish to direct the particular attention of the House to certain statements he made in reference to the Report of the Factory Commissioners, when a few weeks since he was speaking in favour of the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts, and to compare what he then said with the statements he made in reference to the same Report when moving the second reading of this Bill. On the former occasion we were reminded that two Commissioners had lately been down to the manufacturing districts; they had examined 10,000 children entirely at haphazard, and had found them healthy and entirely free from diathetic disease. But this is not the strangest part of the story. The hon. Member was anxious to make a point against the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Droitwich (Sir John Pakington), who had spoken in the debate on the Contagious Diseases Acts. He therefore said—"Let the right hon. Gentleman (Sir John Pakington) see the width and weight of the men of Sheffield, and then he will cease to deplore a sickly population." Well, if the right hon. Gentleman will give a similar invitation to the hon. Member for Sheffield, and ask him to visit the textile towns, he, in his turn, will cease to deplore a sickly population; for he will discover that in the health of their population, whether estimated by the death-rate of women between 15 and 45, or between 45 and 55, or the death-rate of children under 10, the 15 principal textile towns are from 15 to 20 per cent healthier than the sanitary paradise the hon. Member has the happiness to represent. I have now gone through most of the statements of the hon. Member, and I will refer again to the remark of the Home Secretary—that although the knowledge of the Government has been extended by the inquiries of the Commissioners, the facts do not justify such a great economic change as is proposed by this Bill. I hope the Home Secretary is of the same opinion still; I hope this sensible remark of his will not be repudiated by the Government, and that upon this question he represents not only himself, but the Government. I shall be able to show from the Report of the Commissioners, who were specially sent down to ascertain the facts of the case, that the Home Secretary did not speak half strongly enough, and that he ought to have said not only that the facts did not justify the Bill, but that they absolutely disproved the necessity for this legislation. All the facts that I am about to mention are taken from this Report, and their significance is greatly increased when it is remembered that the Commissioners evidently have a bias in favour of this legislation. In the first place, there is this most remarkable fact—they asked 163 medical men whether the present hours of labour were injurious to women. If a great majority of these medical men had answered this question in the affirmative, I could understand this Bill being introduced; but far from a majority being of the opinion that the present hours of labour are too long, only 32 out of the 163 are of this opinion, the remaining 131 distinctly affirming that the present hours are not too long. But this is not all; 171 medical men were asked whether factory labour was especially injurious to women; 99 gave a direct negative to the question, 12 returned answers which were irrelevant, and the remaining 57 chiefly confined their remarks to defective sanitary arrangements, which are injurious to men and women alike, and which are not in the slightest degree touched by this Bill. Medical testimony, therefore, entirely fails to provide a justification for this Bill. I will now refer to another very remarkable admission contained in the Report of these Commissioners. Anyone who is practically acquainted with cotton manufacturing processes knows perfectly well that the great majority of the women who are employed are engaged in the five processes of reeling, doubling, winding, warping, and weaving. The Commissioners themselves admit that three-fourths of the women employed in factories are engaged in one or other of these occupations, and they further admit that these occupations have no debilitating tendency. It is particularly worthy of remark that in almost every instance the complaints of the Commissioners refer to evils resulting either from defective sanitary arrangements, or from the employment of married women. Thus, with regard to defective sanitary arrangements, they speak of cesspools. It surely cannot be supposed that a Nine-hours Bill will empty or purify a cesspool. Once more let me say that there is not a single sanitary clause in the Bill. Then, again, with regard to the employment of married women, it is to be observed that the Bill makes no distinction whatever between married and unmarried women. It has been calculated that only a small minority of the women at work are married. The proportion is said to be about one-tenth. [Mr. MUNDELLA: One-third of the women employed are married.] I believe such an estimate is far too high; but oven if we assume it to be correct, we must remember that perhaps not more than one-third of the married women have young children. Now, the evils upon which the Commissioners lay the greatest stress are to be attributed to women going to work too soon after their confinement, and to their neglecting their young children. Now, it appears from the figures just quoted, that these evils can only happen in the ease of a small minority of the entire number of women who are at work. I will now ask the House for a moment to consider some of the absurdities into which we shall be led if we are prepared to legislate upon the Report of these Commissioners. In mentioning various disadvantages associated with the employment of women and children in factories, there is one subject on which they lay particular stress. They bring forward medical evidence to show that the diseases of the digestive organs prevalent in the factory districts are induced by the excessive use of tea. Well, I suppose, if this mania for legislative interference continues, we shall soon have introduced into this House a Permissive Prohibitory Tea Bill. Having studied the Report of the Commissioners with the greatest care, I believe I am justified in saying that it does not contain one single argument to justify legislative restriction upon the labour of adults. They adduce some facts with the object of showing that certain restrictions should be imposed upon the employment of married women, and they mention many facts to prove that the sanitary condition of the mills, although improving, is still in a state which leaves much to be desired. Now, as I have occupied so much of the time of the House, I will refer very briefly to the vexed question of foreign competition. Others are far more competent to deal with it. I confess I have no special knowledge of the subject; but this I am bound to say, that considering the serious and gratifying rise of wages—serious in one aspect, and gratifying in another—considering, I say, the marked rise of wages in this country, the great increase in the price of coal, the rapid development of manufacturing industry in countries in which formerly there were few manufactures—considering all these facts, we must come to the conclusion that foreign competition presents itself in a very different light from what it did some years since. I can speak with impartiality upon this subject, because I have no personal interest in the matter. But it is a subject which I have examined with the greatest possible care, and I believe this to he the case—that at the present time, in many most important branches of industry in this country, the competition between us and foreigners is so keen and so close, that if you place the slightest legislative impediment in the way of industrial development, the balance may be turned against us, and our trade may greatly suffer. There cannot be a greater delusion than to suppose that with regard to foreign competition employers are chiefly concerned. They have accumulated capital. If trade declines, they can retire from business and live upon their means. But the decline of trade means loss of employment to the labourer, and upon him will fall with maximum intensity the bitter consequences of industrial depression. There is one other consideration which, if the House will allow me, I will present to them for a moment. Now that the artizans of this country have happily been enfranchised, if you once concede their demand for a Nine-hours Bill, where is this legislation to stop? High pledges and great expectations will be held out to them, and at the coming Election we shall see with what eagerness and avidity candidates will rush in and pledge themselves in favour of a Nine-hours Bill. Can there be any security that we shall stop there? Why, what security can we have that we shall not next have an Eight-hours Bill? Some operatives came to me the other day and said—"If you don't give up your opposition, we will demand an Eight-hours Bill." "Well," I said, "you will not stop there; of course, you will demand a Seven-hours Bill." Encourage these demands, and what shall we see? We shall see the industry of this country, we shall see the self-reliance and independence of its people, put up to a demoralizing Dutch auction of degrading promises and delusive pledges. I have opposed this Bill in the interests of the working classes. I ask the House to reject this measure as far as it applies to the labour of adults, because I believe that at the present moment we can render no greater service to the working classes of this country than firmly to check the growing tendency they show to rely upon State intervention. If we encourage this tendency, step by step we shall so enervate them, that at length they will come to us like helpless children and ask us to be their guardians, to say what wages they shall receive, what time they shall go to bed, and to prevent them doing a hundred things which they know they ought not to do. I entreat the House to remember this—that it is not by the act of the despot alone that liberty is destroyed. That vigour of national life which is the only guarantee for freedom must inevitably decline if the Government is permitted to envelop the people in a great network of officialism. I believe the day is not far distant when, if we are not very careful, the labouring classes of this country will find, from bitter experience, that their worst enemy is not the so-called cold-blooded economist, but that they have infinitely more to fear from a misguided benevolence and a mistaken and meddlesome philanthropy. The hon. Member concluded by moving the Resolution which stood in his name upon the Paper.

in seconding the Amendment, said, much had been expressed on this question by the professed advocates of benevolence; but say what they might, they could not establish true benevolence by Act of Parliament. The promoters of the objects of this Bill did not confine their professed objects to the protection of women and children. There was the remarkable fact that the employers of labour in the textile manufactures had offered to concede everything that was just and considerate in relation to women and children; but the promoters of the movement were not satisfied, and agitated for the employment of adult labour, short hours, and increased wages. It was stated in The Times and other papers that the deaths and accidents in manufactories were very great; but he and those who acted with him confined themselves to the manufacture of textile fabrics, and were able to show that the accidents in them were few. The advocates of this Bill did not do so; but they embraced in their calculations various factories in which the labour and danger were great, and amongst those manufactories were blast furnaces. Now with those factories neither women nor children had anything to do. The accidents in the year in those various factories he found set down in Returns at 14,168, including 308 deaths; and it was imputed that women and children were severe sufferers by those accidents, but so far as the textile fabric manufactures were concerned that was not so. Out of the 50,000 accidents of all kinds that annually happened in this country, resulting in 29,176 deaths, only 4,346, resulting in 65 deaths, were referable to our textile manufacture; and he submitted that, so far as the allegation that textile manufactures were fraught with danger to women and children, they were, on the contrary, their best source of help and protection. Then, compare their work with that of the "maid-of-all-work," the poor servant who rose early in the morning and worked hard throughout the long day until 11 o'clock at night, who was an object entitled to sympathy. Why, there was, in fact, no comparison between her labours and those of women and children in the textile fabric manufactories, whose employment was light and agreeable, while that of poor domestic servants was most laborious. With regard to the manufactories in Manchester, he might state that large numbers of the young persons employed in them went in the evenings, when their day's work was over, to dancing saloons, and passed a considerable portion of time in the amusements of those saloons. He thought the House should not lend itself to raise wages by Act of Parliament, and yet such was the object of the Bill now before the House, because to lessen the hours of labour meant, in point of fact, to grant additional wages. The manufacturers of this country, who were most heavily taxed, were exposed to foreign competition—by Russia, America, Germany, Belgium, France, and other foreign countries; and it was a fact that the competitors in those countries had purchased latterly the very best machinery produced by the skill of this country, and, by the aid of that machinery, were now competing with British manufacturers, the cost of production to them being in every respect much less than that of the cost of production in England. Would the employers of agricultural labour in this country like to be told that the hours of labour of their labourers must be shortened and that their wages must be increased? He could not understand upon what principle they could consistently join with the agitators for the adoption of short hours and increased wages in the textile fabric manufactories. This interference with trade by Act of Parliament could not but be productive of the worst results to common industry. The manufactures of the country were not at present in a satisfactory state, as many manufacturers were, he believed, paying wages out of capital. All this ought to make the House very careful not to legislate in the direction of increasing the cost of manufactures, as, if we did; we should most certainly diminish the amount of our business. The hon. Member concluded by seconding the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Brighton.

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 undesirable to sanction a measure which would discourage the employment of women, by subjecting their labour to a new legislative restriction to which it is not proposed to subject the labour of men,"—(Mr.Fawcett,)

—instead thereof.

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

regretted that his hon. Friend the Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) was not content with merely expressing his opposition to the Bill, and that he had made an attack upon those feelings of philanthropy which were manifested by its promoters in relation to the working classes. He had always regarded his hon. Friend as a philanthropist, and he should like to know when it was he ceased to be a philanthropist and turned "a man hater." His hon. Friend condemned freedom of contract; but seeing that Parliament had provided 14 years ago for that principle in those Acts, the question now was, whether the freedom of contract ought to be extended or contracted? Let him remind the House how the question now stood. They had come to the conclusion that inquiry into the subject was necessary; and he held that a more fair and important Report was never submitted to Parliament. His hon. Friend the Member for Brighton said that no inquiry and no Report were necessary. He (Mr. Hughes) would show by one or two facts stated in the Report that they were necessary. The hon. Member was proceeding to argue in support of the Bill, when— It being a quarter of an hour before Six of the clock, the Debate stood adjourned till To-morrow.

Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill

On Motion of Mr. BONHAM-CARTER, Bill to apply a sum out of the Consolidated Fund to the service of the year ending the thirty-first day of March, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-four, and to appropriate the Supplies granted in this Session of Parliament, ordered to be brought in by Mr. BONHAM-CARTER, Mr. CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER, and Mr. BAXTER.

Bill presented, and read the first time.

Militia Pay Acts Amendment Bill

On Motion of Mr. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN, Bill to explain the Militia Pay Acts 1868 and 1869, ordered to be brought in by Mr. CAMPBELL BANNERMAN and Mr. Secretary CARDWELL.

Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 273.]

House adjourned at five minutes before Six o'clock.