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Report Adjourned Debate

Volume 217: debated on Wednesday 30 July 1873

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Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [29th July], "That the Resolutions which were then reported from the Committee be now read a second time."

Question again proposed.

Debate resumed.

said, he hoped that the Report might now; be received with the general concurrence of all parties, because it was desirable to avoid any needless delay in winding up the business of the Session, and the Appropriation Bill, which it was desirable to bring in as soon as possible, was a measure the obstruction of which ought not to be resorted to except under extraordinary circumstances. He regretted to say he himself was obliged to leave the House last evening at an early hour, leaving his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer under an impression which he himself shared. There was before the House a Motion for the Report of Supply which did not admit of Amendment. Had it admitted of Amendment it would have been in the power of his right hon. Friend to speak on the Motion and likewise on the Amendment; but as it happened he had only the power of speaking once on the question, whereas there were two subjects on both of which it would have been right for him to address the House—the one relating to the subject brought forward by the noble Lord the Member for Liverpool (Viscount Sandon), and the other relating to the salaries of the officers of the British Museum. He left his right hon. Friend under the impression—and he himself concurred with him in the impression—that the proper course would be for him to speak when both subjects were before the House. Practically, however, he (Mr. Gladstone) understood the state of the case to be as follows:—Very many hon. Members of the House, and the majority of those who were present last night, were under the impression that in respect to the date assigned for the commencement of a particular arrangement as to the pay of the Custom House officers at the out-ports, those officers had suffered a grievance, and it was thought the subject ought to be favourably considered by the Government. The view of his right hon. Friend was not in unison with that of the House; but he would, when the circumstances of the case permitted, consult with, and state the view entertained by his Colleagues upon the subject. They were not at present cognizant of all the facts of the case in detail, but they would make them the subject of careful inquiry. He might mention that there was a general disposition on the part of his Colleagues to meet the wishes which were widely entertained in the House; but, as the information possessed by the Members of the Government generally, as distinguished from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was not perfect, he could not state what conclusion they would arrive at. On the other hand, the noble Lord the Member for Liverpool would remain perfectly free to raise the question without prejudice, should he not be satisfied with the conclusion at which the Government might arrive. Under these circumstances, he trusted there would be no difficulty in allowing the Report to be received.

hoped the House would allow him, though out of Order, to thank the First Lord of the Treasury for the handsome way in which he had met the question; but he should, of course, reserve to himself the full right of asking next Session for the appointment of a Select Committee to investigate the subject.

hoped the claims of the clerks in the British Museum would also be favourably considered by the Government.

took occasion to advert to the extraordinary circumstances under which important matters in Supply were brought before the House. The Navy Estimates had not been considered since May last until half-past 2 o'clock the other morning, when it was too late to discuss them. He intended to bring several important subjects connected with the Navy under the consideration of the House on the earliest opportunity next Session.

Question put, and agreed to.

First Five Resolutions agreed to.