House Of Commons
Friday, 1st August, 1873.
MINUTES.]—PUBLIC BILLS— Committee— Report—Duke of Edinburgh's Annuity ; Consolidated Fund (Appropriation)* .
Committee—Report—Considered as amended—Third Reading—Militia Pay Acts Amendment* , and passed.
Considered as amended—Third Reading—Gas and Water Works Facilities Act (1870) Amendment* , and passed.
Withdrawn—Real Estate Intestacy* ; Threshing Machines* .
The House met at Two of the clock.
Ireland—County Of Louth
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Whether, considering the freedom from crime which in the words of Mr. Justice Lawson "places Louth in the first rank as a model county," the Government will any longer retain in that county an extra police force, and exact payment there for from the payers of county cess, without at least giving them an opportunity of expressing, in some official or authoritative manner, their opinion as to the necessity under existing circumstances of burthening the rates with increased taxation for the maintenance of an extra police force?
Sir, last year the free force of Louth was reduced from 184 to 159 men. The constabulary reported that 174 would be required if the present number of stations were to be maintained, and that 170 was the lowest minimum, after allowing for abolition of some of the stations. The Government communicated with the magistrates, through the Lord Lieutenant of the county, and pointed out to them that if they wanted to maintain the existing number of stations they should apply for an increase to the county force of 15 men—half the cost to be paid by the county; and that if they did not do so, the Government would be obliged to abolish three stations, it being far better to have a small number of strong police stations than a large number of feeble ones. Twenty magistrates met, and they unanimously decided to apply for 15 extra men, in order to maintain the existing stations. It is to be borne in mind that Louth, although paying for 15 extra men, is in an exceptionally favourable condition, as its present free quota is 43 over the number to which it is entitled, according to area and population. The magistrates are responsible for the peace of the county; and however anxious the Government may be to consult the convenience of the cesspayers, they must be mainly guided by the opinion of the magistrates. If the cesspayers of the county object to the extra police force tax, it is quite competent for them to make a representation to Government upon the subject, and such representation, if made, shall be duly considered.
Dominion Of Canada—Charges Of Corruption In Reference To Pacific Railroad—Questions
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether any steps are being taken by Government to ascertain the truth or falsehood of the charges of corruption alleged against the leading Members of the Government of Canada in reference to the Pacific Railroad; and, whether the Treasury will refrain from guaranteeing any portion of the Pacific Railway Loan, under the Canada Loan Act of the present Session, until the charges have been disproved?
Perhaps, Sir, the Question of my hon. Friend would be more regularly connected with the Colonial Department in this House, but having made myself acquainted with the particulars of the case—which would not regularly have come under my notice—I am prepared to answer it. These charges, affecting at least some of the Members of the Government of Canada, are very decidedly within the power of the Legislature of the Dominion. The Canadian Ministers are responsible to their Parliament, and are not in any way responsible to us for their conduct. In the first place, these charges were denied; and in the next instance were placed under investigation. A Committee of the Canadian House of Commons was appointed for the purpose of examining into the charges, and power was given them to examine witnesses on oath; but unfortunately that power, considered to be given by the Canadian Parliament, was given in such a form that it went considerably beyond the power which the Parliament had the right to confer. That being so, it was not within the competency of this Government or of the Crown to advise the Canadian Legislature to make that a competent act. The Committee was therefore, on the advice of the Law Officers, disallowed. It is now for the Canadian Parliament to consider what course they will take, and I imagine they will act upon the principles of public conduct by which. I believe they are usually prompted, and will do everything that is right in the matter. In giving this explanation, I wish to say that I was unwilling to be silent when silence might have led to a suspicion of something wrong; but I do not think this is a matter in which it is competent or desirable for us to interfere. The hon. Gentleman may say we are responsible for the guarantee of the Canadian Loan, and that it is out of that, this arises; but that is not a grant to the Pacific Railway Company, or any company whatever. The Loan is granted to the Dominion of Canada, and the condition laid down in the Act of Parliament is not in any measure dependent upon the proceedings of any railway company in Canada, or upon any particular Ministers in the Canadian Legislature. The conditions are laid down in the Act, and in fulfilment of these conditions, on which the guarantee was granted, it will be our duty to go forward with, and give force to, our engagements, quite irrespective of any inquiry instituted in Canada, and which an untoward accident appears to have put a stop to.
asked, If the right hon. Gentleman had taken the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown on the subject, and if he was clear on the point as to whether the word "may" did not give power to refuse the guarantee?
I am not aware whether the opinion of the Law Officers has been taken; but if the hon. Gentleman likes to give Notice of a Question I will answer it.
Army—Issue Of Free Rations
asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether the scheme for the issue of free rations to soldiers has now been matured; and, if he will be so good as to state any changes or modifications of his first proposal which have been decided on, especially as regards the re-engagement penny and stoppages levied on men while on furlough?
Sir, the scheme has been matured, and has now gone to the Treasury, and will shortly be submitted for the sanction of the Queen. I am, however, able to say that as regards the re-engagement penny, the intention is that it shall continue to be drawn, in addition to the ordinary pay, by all who are in receipt of it under the Warrant of 1867, so long as they continue in the Service. With respect to furlough men, they will receive an allowance of 2d. a-day, by which arrangement it is evident that no man in any rank can be a loser, but on the contrary everyone must be a gainer on the year. The charge for the re-engagement penny is at present £53,000 a-year, and is a declining charge. The amount of the Estimate for the present year is therefore half that sum, but being partly balanced by other considerations, the total calculation which I now make for the year exceeds my original calculation by only £11,000, and so far as I can foresee, will not cause any excess on the sum already voted.
Officers Of Her Majesty's Army—Abolition Of Purchase
asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether he will be in a position to state, before the close of the Session, the names of the Royal Commissioners appointed to investigate the allegations of Officers of the Army, relative to injury sustained by them consequent on the abolition of purchase; and, when the said Commissioners will commence their inquiry, and whether any special directions will be given them as to the manner in which such inquiry is to be conducted; or whether it will be open to them to adopt any course which they may think best calculated to enable them to arrive at a proper decision?
As I believe, Sir, we hope to be prorogued on Tuesday, I cannot expect that the Royal Commission can be formed in time for the names to be announced in the House. The Commission will be framed in conformity with the terms of Her Majesty's gracious answer to the Address of the House of Lords, and the Commissioners will, I hope, commence and prosecute their labours without any unnecessary delay.
Army—Majors Of The Scientific Corps (India)—Question
asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether the question of the pay of Majors of the Scientific Corps (R.A. and RE.) in India has been definitely settled; if so, on what basis; and, if not yet decided, what is the position of the question at the present moment?
In reply, Sir, to the hon. and gallant Gentleman, I have to say that a despatch on that subject from the Government of India is at present under the consideration of the Secretary of State in Council.
Ireland—Drainage Of Land (Ireland) Act, 1863—Drainage Of The Rivers Suck And Shannon
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he has received a representation from the Grand Jury of the county of Galway relative to the obstructions which have been placed by the Government in the way of the drainage of the Suck Valley with its 72,000 acres of saturated lands; whether, as First Lord of the Treasury, he endorses the instructions given by their Lordships last month to the Board of Works to prevent the occupiers of the inundated lands in the Valley of the Suck from availing themselves of the Drainage Act of 1863, an Act specially passed to enable sufferers from inundation and bad drainage to combine for the purpose of protecting and improving their lands; and, whether, having regard to the fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will hold out no hope of anything being done to prevent the continuance of the dead lock on the Suck and Shannon, he, as First Minister, will take the matter into his consideration, and suggest what course should be pursued by the sufferers to prevent the Act of 1863 from remaining, as regards their district, a dead letter?
in reply, said, he had that morning received a representation from the Grand Jury of the County of Galway respecting the drainage of the Suck Valley; but although he had not had time to inform himself of what had been done by the Board of Works, so as to enable himself to offer an opinion on the merits of the case, he might mention that the power of the First Lord of the Treasury to intervene for the purpose of influencing the opinion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in a purely financial matter was a reserved power, which it was not desirable to call into existence, except on very special occasions; and that it was unnecessary to exercise it in reference to this subject appeared from the fact that his right hon. Friend far from saying he could hold out no hope to the hon. and gallant Member on the subject, having had under consideration the antecedent merits of the question, thought there was a fair case to present to the House on a proper opportunity for some further action on the part of the Government with reference to the drainage of the Valley of the Suck. His right hon. Friend, however, felt the necessity of reserving his own discretion as to the time when such an opportunity might arise.
further asked, whether the right hon. Gentleman was aware that in the meantime the people in the inundated districts were deprived of the fruits of their toil?
said, he was aware great inconvenience must arise from the undrained state of the district, but thought that the rules under which the intervention of the Government was invoked, in regard to local enterprise in this country, were of still greater importance than the consulting of the in- terests of a particular district, and prevented anything being done precipitately.
said, the people of this district required no public aid. All they wanted was permission to drain their lands.
admitted that to be the case, but said, the question was bound up with the drainage of another district which did require public aid.
Navy—Officers Of The Navy— Relative Rank
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether, after holding Her Majesty's Commission for five years only, provided that their conduct has been satisfactory, Sub-Lieutenants in the Royal Navy are promoted to a rank corresponding with that of Captain in the Army; whether, after a further service of eight years as Lieutenants, naval officers are granted a rank corresponding with that of Major in the Army, thus obtaining a rank corresponding with that of Field Officer in the Army after thirteen years' service as commissioned officers; whether officers of the Royal Marine Artillery do not pass a more difficult examination than their brother-officers in the Navy, with whom they are constantly serving; and whether the former can at present only obtain the same relative rank as is obtainable by the latter after twice as long a time passed in the service; and, whether, if he answers the above questions in the affirmative, he will not place the officers of the Royal Marine Artillery on the same footing as the officers of the Royal Navy with regard to promotion?
Sir, the relative rank of Naval Officers and Officers of Marines has been so long established that it is known to every Officer in the service. The two services cannot be compared, and I must, therefore, refrain from contrasting the respective advantages of each. It will be impossible to place Officers in the Royal Marines and Officers of the Navy on the same footing as regards promotion; nor is it believed at the Admiralty that Marine Officers are anxious to see the system of promotion by selection, in force for Naval Officers, applied to them in place of promotion by seniority.
Metropolis—South Kensington Museum—Question
asked the Vice President of the Council, Whether any, and, if so, what new arrangements have been made as regards Parliamentary responsibility for the South Kensington Museum, and who is the Minister to whom questions should be addressed upon matters connected with it?
Sir, the Government are in communication with the Trustees of the British Museum in reference to a proposal for the transfer of the South Kensington Museum to their control; but no final settlement has yet been made, and therefore no change has been made in the Parliamentary responsibilities with regard to the South Kensington Museum.
The Military System Of Belgium
asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether any information has been received from Her Majesty's Legation at Brussels relative to the proposed changes or alterations in the military system of Belgium, which have for some time formed a topic of public discussion in that country; and, if so, whether such information can be communicated to the House?
Sir, we have received at different times information from Her Majesty's Legation at Brussels relative to the contemplated changes in the organization of the Belgian Army, but not in such a form as could be communicated to Parliament.
Army Organization—Exchanges— Hon Captain Drummond
asked the Secretary of State for War, Why Captain the honourable James Drummond was transferred from the 14th Foot to a vacant troop in the 6th Dragoon Guards in the Gazette of the 25th of June last; whether he is aware that this Officer exchanged of his own accord as a Captain from Cavalry to Infantry some years ago, receiving, as was then the custom, a large sum of money for so doing; and, whether he approves of officers who have exchanged to Infantry, and received money for so doing, being brought back to fill vacancies in the Cavalry?
Sir, Captain the Hon. James Drummond was transferred from the 14th Foot to a vacant troop in the 6th Dragoon Guards, upon the selection of His Royal Highness the Field Marshal Commanding-in-Chief, with the approval of the Secretary of State, in the manner prescribed by the Royal Warrant. I am aware that this officer exchanged from cavalry to infantry some years ago, when the practice enabled him to obtain money by doing so; and I have no reason to suppose that he omitted to avail himself of his opportunity. The present transfer gives him no pecuniary advantage, inasmuch as if he were to retire from the Army from either commission the Purchase Commissioners would give him exactly the same sum.
Elementary Education Act— Board Schools—The National Anthem—Question
asked the Vice President of the Council, Whether any instructions have been issued to the Inspectors of Schools in England and Wales directing them to exclude the National Anthem from the list of songs allowed to be sung in Public Elementary Schools on the ground that it contained an appeal to the Almighty?
in reply, said, a similar Question was addressed to him some time ago, in regard to an Inspector who thought the terms of the Act of Parliament might exclude the National Anthem from the songs permitted to be sung during the time of secular instruction. He stated at the time that he was much surprised at the Inspector having given such an opinion, which he deemed a mistaken one. That statement received public circulation, and the Department thought it unnecessary to do more than communicate it to the particular Inspector who had given the opinion. The noble Lord now said, another Inspector had pronounced a similar opinion, and if that turned out to be actually the case, he also would be informed by the Department that he had made a mistake. He should be loath to issue a general instruction to the Inspectors, because the matter was so very clear; but, nevertheless, if a general instruction were found to be necessary it should be issued. Perhaps he might prevent the necessity for any further action, if he stated now that it was decidedly the opinion of the Department that the National Anthem was not a song or hymn of such a kind that there could be any objection whatever to its being sung during the secular hour in which the children and the managers ought to be allowed to obey their own loyal instincts. The Committee of Privy Council would not feel it to be their duty to recommend any hymn or song, however excellent; but they could prevent them from being excluded.
said, he received his information from a clergyman who was sitting next the Inspector, and saw him strike out "God save the Queen" from the programme.
Will the noble Lord give me names and particulars?
replied in the affirmative.
Parliament—Order Of Business
In reply to Mr. FAWCETT,
said, he proposed that the House should meet to-morrow at 12 o'clock, and he hoped the Business would be finished at an early hour. He understood that his hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) intended on Monday to withdraw his Factories Act Amendment Bill. His hon. Friend had moved the second reading, to which an Amendment had been moved by the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett), who was entitled to speak on the Amendment. The discharge of the Order would be an entirely separate matter. It was the intention of the Government to give his hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield the means of having his Order moved, and then to allow him to move that it be discharged.
said, he did not object that his hon. Friend (Mr. Muttdella) should have an opportunity of speaking on his Bill; but he wished to know whether, being an Order of the Day, it would come on before the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Charles Adderley) on the Gold Coast?
said, that at that period of the Session all the arrangements were made at the shortest possible notice, and no one could tell beforehand the exact rate at which the business would be cleared off. What he hoped was that the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Charles Adderley) would not have to wait until Monday. He might, perhaps, find an opportunity that evening, or, if not, to-morrow.
said, that a Motion having been made for the second reading of the Factories Act Amendment Bill, and an Amendment having been moved to that Motion, the matter was in the hands of the House. Until that Motion and Amendment were disposed of, the Order could not be discharged without debate.
"That the Orders of the Day appointed for the Evening Sitting this day be postponed until after the Notice of Motion relating to the Widows and Families of Civil Servants of the Crown and the three Notices of Motions next following."
complained that he would be prevented from bringing on his Motion on the "treatment of prisoners removed" on the Four Courts Marshal-sea (Dublin) Bill, by the arrangement now made.
replied that the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Charles Adderley) would have all the assistance which the Government could give him in bringing on his Motion on the Gold Coast. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Butt) would suffer no detriment from the arrangement now made. The business of that night might, be divided into three categories—first, the Motions which would have been moved in case the Motion for the Adjournment of the House could have been put; then the Orders of the Day; and lastly, the ordinary Motions, in which category the hon. and learned Member's Motion came.
repeated that by the arrangement now proposed, he should be placed in a worse position than before. In reply to Mr. WHITWELL,
said, that many accidents having happened, he had desired the Factory Inspectors to put themselves in communication with the manufacturers of these threshing machines to see whether they could not be fenced off so as to prevent accidents. A Bill—the Threshing Machines Bill—had passed through the House of Lords, and now stood for a second reading; but unless it met with general acceptation, it could not become law at that period of the Session.
Motion agreed to.
Duke Of Edinburgh's Annuity Bill
( Mr. Bonham-Carter, Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)
Bill 272 Committee
Bill considered in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
Clause 1 (Power to Her Majesty to grant an additional annuity of £10,000 to Prince Alfred Ernest Albert for life).
said, the point to which he wished to call the attention of the House was that the hon. Member for Leicester had dealt with the so-called precedent in 1818, in which three of the Royal Dukes were tied together in the Message from the Crown. In reply, the right hon. Gentleman denied the statement that there was no precedent for a grant on a Royal Marriage except with reference to the Succession to the Crown, and after alluding to the case of the Duke of Clarence, he proceeded thus—
Now, the fact was the Duke of Cambridge was married in 1818, but that was a mere mistake as to a date, a mistake which he (Sir Charles Dilke) did not wish to make much of. The more material point was, whether the grant made to the Duke of Cambridge had reference to the Succession, and on that point the Message which then came clown to the House was clear. It said that—"But there is another case—namely, that of the Duke of Cambridge, who was the youngest son of George III., and in respect to that Prince, who had £21,000 a-year, an additional £6,000 was voted in 1820 on his marriage."
That, then, was a general provision, having regard not to the establishment of a single Royal Duke, but to the Succession to the Crown, and the cases of the three Royal Dukes were tied together. When the debate came on, Lord Castlereagh, speaking on behalf of the Government, said—"After the afflicting calamity which the Prince Regent and the nation have sustained in the loss of his Royal Highness's beloved and only child the Princess Charlotte, his Royal Highness is persuaded that the House of Commons will feel how essential it is to the best interests of the country that his Royal Highness should be enabled to make a suitable provision for such of his Royal brothers as shall have contracted marriage with the consent of the Crown."—[1 Hansard, xxxviii. 1.]
The whole cases of the Royal Dukes were tied together, and were looked upon as one single case, and he (Sir Charles Dilke) thought he was justified in saying the precedent which the right hon. Gentleman adduced had no existence whatever, and was not a precedent which should have been adduced to the House. He would only add a few words spoken by a Member of that House on a previous occasion—that where a sum of money was to be voted which ought not to be granted, it was almost always proposed at a season like the present, when the House was not well attended. That particular case was on the 28th of June, and this Bill was brought forward on the very same day in July. He begged to ask the Prime Minister, whether, in fact, there was any case which was not part of the single case brought before the House by the single Message in 1818?"A single marriage would not satisfy the anxiety of the people on the subject of the succession—though, if those illustrious individuals were less advanced in life, the case would be different. The Prince Regent, sensible of this, had made offers to such of his royal brothers as could reconcile marriage to their feelings. He had done this in the greatest spirit of affection; he had shown no preference to any one of those illustrious individuals beyond the other. He had considered that the people and the Crown had a common interest in the succession, and he had offered for such as should enter upon marriages, with the consent of the Crown, to propose to Parliament to make such a provision for them as would be consistent with public economy."—[l Hansard, xxxviii. 80.]
Sir, I cannot answer the question without expressing my very deep regret that it should have been brought forward. I think it is a thing very much to be lamented that a very limited number indeed of this House find it necessary to place themselves in opposition in so strong and marked a manner to the overwhelming majority of the House—and in this case an overwhelming majority without distinction of party—and that they should feel themselves bound to continue their opposition. There is something like indecency in the pursuance of such a course. Now, Sir, I come to the question itself, and say that if the hon. Gentleman had any complaint to make, his complaint ought to be against the hon. Member for Leicester. If there was any defective statement it was in the speech of the hon. Member for Leicester. It was the hon. Member for Leicester who referred to the Duke of Clarence, and he said the case of the Duke of Clarence was a case of Succession. My answer was, that when you got down to the Duke of Cambridge, who was the youngest son of George III., if that was a case of Succession, the case of the Duke of Edinburgh, who is the second son of Her present Majesty the Queen, is quite as good a case of Succession. I am very sorry to detain the House, but I must remark that the hon. Gentleman entirely forgets that my contention was, that while the reference was inaccurate—and I made use of the expression untrue, through being inaccurate, because it put forward the case of the Duke of Clarence—I ventured to point out that the whole of the sons of George III. were included, which destroyed the force of the argument, because if the case of the Duke of Cambridge was a case of Succession, the case of the Duke of Edinburgh is also a case of Succession. But I contend that it was wholly irrelevant. We have improved upon the practice of those times. The practice of this country then was to give the full allowance, or nearly the full allowance, to the Royal Princes, whether they were bachelors or married. What has been the case of allowances to unmarried Princes in recent times? Notwithstanding the great wealth and prosperity of the country, they have been kept considerably below the allowances made to the unmarried Princes of that period, and with the view which has been distinctly explained by myself, that a grant upon their marriage should be made. And, therefore, Princes upon marriage now stand in a perfectly different position from that in which they stood in the reign of George III if we had not shown precedents from the reign of George III. the arguments would remain perfectly good, because the grants made to unmarried Princes had been below the rates which were formerly given, and below the rates which we maintain ought to be given, when they are married, in order to sustain their position in society. So that every case of my hon. Friend entirely breaks down. I contend that precedents do exist; and I contend that if they did not exist the matter would not be in the slightest degree affected, because we have got into a better system, and instead of that ridiculous method of giving the full income before marriage, we have the principle that the incomes of these Royal Princes ought to be regulated according as they are married or unmarried, and have acted in our proposals to Parliament upon that principle. Then my hon. Friend has descended to pick up an argument in the dearth in which he finds himself, because the proposal was made on the 28th July. Does my hon. Friend think that the sentiment of love is to be controlled in its origin and growth by a regard to the convenience of Parliament. Love is not limited by any season, and I would remind my hon. Friend of the lines—
These things are beyond my control. I have no power to control Princes or anybody else as to the time of year at which they shall allow the invader to occupy their hearts, and to bring to an issue that great question. Beyond that, we have a precedent contrary to the argument of my hon. Friend. The Act passed for the marriage of the Prince of Wales was the first chapter of the Session of 1863. A more unjust charge was never made, or, if not made, insinuated, than that we have been parties to some arrangement for postponing the contract of these illustrious persons in order that we might have the advantage of making our proposals later in the Session. I believe I am not called upon to exculpate myself from a charge which is quite refuted by being stated."Love, free as air, at sight of human ties, Spreads his light wings, and in a moment flies."
merely wished to remind the House, that on the only occasion on which a younger son of the English Royal Family had married the daughter of one of the great Rulers of Europe, the proposal for a grant was made to Parliament after the marriage, and on that occasion, it was stated in the House of Lords by Lord Liverpool, that he hoped no such provision in such. a case would ever be made until after the marriage had taken place and the Treaty had been laid upon the Table of the House. That course had not been taken in the present instance.
said, he must enter his strong protest against the language made use of by the Prime Minister. The right hon. Gentleman had stated that it was indecent on the part of the minority to oppose the grant. But what was the fact? Not only had their forefathers, but the present generation had considered proposals of the sort in the House, and had done so without incurring any imputation of indecency. For his part he thought it indecent to suppose that the Crown did not wish the question to be fully discussed, so that the nation might know what Parliament was doing. What was the case in the year 1840? The right hon. Gentleman knew better than he did that in the month of January, 1840, a discussion took place in that House as to the grant to be allowed to that most estimable man the Prince Consort, whom they had unfortunately lost. The grant proposed by the First Minister of the Crown was £50,000 a-year, and it was opposed, the Opposition being led by Mr. Hume. The Opposition was unsuccessful; but there was no imputation of indecency, or of want of courtesy or loyalty to the Crown, on the part of those who joined in it, and Mr. Hume was followed into the Lobby by 39 hon. Members. What happened then? Why, a hon. and gallant Officer (the late Colonel Sibthorp), sitting on the Opposition Benches, moved the reduction of the grant to £30,000. The Motion was adopted by a large majority, and in that majority he found the name of the present Prime Minister, and also of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli), as well as the names of right hon. Gentlemen who sat with the Premier on the Treasury bench. But did the right hon. Gentleman think he was guilty of disloyalty in so voting, or of indecency in so acting? Knowing and appreciating the high qualities of the right hon. Gentleman, he was convinced that he considered he was doing his duty in the course he adopted. Well, hon. Members on either side of the House might differ conscientiously upon these questions in the belief that they were discharging a solemn duty, and it was their right as well as their duty to vote according to that belief. He did not wish to prolong the discussion; he was sorry it had arisen; but he could not help saying that it was the right of hon. Members to discuss any subject which was brought before the House. Speaking simply for himself he claimed for himself a loyalty not inferior to that of the right hon. Gentleman, and yet last evening he had voted in the minority upon that Bill, because he considered it his duty to do so. He also spoke and voted against another measure, the Crown Estates Bill, which he was sorry the right hon. Gentleman had introduced, not because it extended, but because it tended to injure, the power of the Crown, by interfering with an arrangement which had worked so beneficially. He had risen, not to enter into the general subject, but to vindicate the right of the House to discuss whatever subject was brought before it without incurring a charge of disloyalty.
said, he had no fault to find with anything that had fallen from his hon. Friend, with the exception of one word which his hon. Friend had attributed to him. [Mr. MUNTZ: Indecency.] What was the indecency? His hon. Friend founded his speech on the supposition that he had stated it was indecent to express an opinion in reference to this Bill. Why, hon. Members of the House had a perfect right and entire authority to refuse the grant altogether. That right he had never questioned. The allusion complained of had reference to an entirely different matter. His hon. Friend was vindicating the powers of the House of Commons. He, on the other hand, was vindicating the House of Commons against its own minority in certain cases. What he said was to this effect—that for a small minority to place themselves in persistent opposition to an overwhelming majority of the House, and of all sides of it, was to put themselves in a position which was scarcely consistent with decency. His hon. Friend had a perfect right to take a free and unrestricted course with respect to the Bill, and he did not intend to say—and did not say—that that course was indecent. There was a point, he said, at which opposition became indecent; but, as that expression had been objected to, he willingly withdrew it. All he would say was that there came a time when—what should he say?—propriety counselled that there should be a limit to discussions of that kind; and that was when the judgment of the House had been expressed by an overwhelming majority. It should be remembered that these Royal personages had feelings as well as others, and that there was a. point at which those repeated discussions should be brought to a close.
said, he was certain that only one feeling animated alike the bosoms of the minority and the majority of that House—that of loving and intense loyalty to the Crown. He must, however, be allowed to express his regret that the Colonies and other dependencies of the Crown were not represented in that House, in order that, through their Representatives, they might give expression to the loyal feelings which animated them, and the satisfaction with which they would receive intelligence of the auspicious alliance about to be entered into.
Sir, though I have supported this Bill, I would do nothing to derogate from the rights of a minority. A majority can generally take care of itself, but the rights of the minority ought to be carefully protected. I think that the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government the other day spoke with considerable severity of what fell from my hon. Friend the Member for North-east Lancashire (Mr. Holt). My hon. Friend asked the right hon. Gentleman to give him some information with regard to the conditions of the contract. I wish to put a question to the right hon. Gentleman, and it is this—whether this marriage is to be solemnized according to the rites of any other Church than the Church of England? I think there is no undue inquisitiveness in that question.
said, he thought he should not be acting consistently with his duty, if he went beyond the point at which he had already taken his stand. He must therefore decline to make any other answer with respect to the details of the proposals than that he had already given. It was no part of the duty of the Sovereign to inform him with respect to them, except within certain limits. He had already made a statement, in reply to an hon. Member opposite, which the House, he thought, considered more particular than it need have been. All he would now say was this—that he was confident the whole arrangements connected with the approaching marriage would give satisfaction to, and receive the warm approval of, the country. Beyond that he must decline to go.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 2 (Payment of proportionate part of annuity).
who disclaimed any idea of offering a factious opposition to the Bill, said, he would move, as an Amendment, to omit the words of the Proviso at the end of the clause, which enabled Her Majesty or her successors, with the consent of Parliament, to revoke or reduce the annuity in the event of His Royal Highness succeeding to any Sovereignty or Principality abroad; and substitute words that in that event the annuity should absolutely cease and determine. It would, he thought, be an invidious task to impose on Her Majesty the determination of the question whether the annuity should be continued in the event contemplated by the clause. By doing so, she would have to decide on the one hand against her own son, and on the other against the wish of Parliament. He thought that it would be a better arrangement if the annuity were absolutely to cease. Still, he would like to have an explanation from the Prime Minister on the subject.
Amendment moved, in page 2, line 8, to leave out all after "abroad," and insert. "the said annuity, as well as the annuity heretofore granted by Parliament shall cease and determine."—( Mr. Anderson.)
ventured to differ entirely from the hon. Member for Glasgow. He doubted the propriety of inserting such a Proviso as that. A Proviso of that kind might have been inserted in the original dotation to His Royal Highness the Prince Consort; but in a treaty for the marriage of the Prince, where a provision was made not only for the Prince himself, but for the family they might hope would come after him—the country being placed in loco parentis—such a Proviso would be wholly out of place. What the House did, it should do freely, voluntarily, ungrudgingly, and with the conviction that what was freely granted would be spent judiciously. Considering the great hopes which the marriage in question were likely to. realize, he thought it would not be well to couple the grant with any reservation, and he thought therefore that the existing limitation in the clause might be omitted entirely.
said, he could assure his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) that he would hear no reproach from him for making such a Motion, for his hon. Friend was acting not only within his right, but according to the propriety of Parliament, in moving such Amendments in the details of the Bill as he thought were called for. He could not agree with the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down that there was no room for such a Proviso. What was it that the Proviso really did? In case the Duke of Edinburgh in the course of nature should succeed to a Principality abroad, which would have its own revenues and general condition of existence, his position would be so materially altered from the simple position of a junior Member of the British Royal Family, that it would not be wise to prescribe beforehand what might or might not be done. It would be more wise to reserve power to do what circumstances might seem to call for. They had felt it their duty to Parliament and the people of this country to keep the matter open, subject to the usual working of the constitution in questions of this kind. In the illustrious case of the King of the Belgians, who received an absolute annuity for life of £50,000 a-year when he ceased to be connected with this country, no such provision was made, and it was felt that there was an incongruity in his continuing to draw so very large an annuity from the taxes of the people of England, especially when a new marriage was contracted which gave him a distinct place in a foreign country. His conduct was in conformity with all that had made him illustrious in Europe during his own time; by his own act he voluntarily relinquished the grant, and paid back the whole amount into the Exchequer, less the sum required to keep the house and grounds at Claremont in good order. But though that might be a generous act on the part of the King of the Belgians, it was, in truth, a testimony that the power should have been reserved to provide for such an event. It was not, therefore, unreasonable to insert this Proviso—a power, no doubt., to be used with moderation, with reason, and with liberality. His hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow said that annuity ought to cease and determine altogether on the succession of His Royal Highness to a foreign Principality. Now, he ventured to dispute that with his hon. Friend, and he would observe that though in the course of time the Duke of Edinburgh might become a foreign Sovereign, he would not therefore cease to be an English Prince. He would still continue to have family relationship and household connections to maintain. His visits would be frequent, if his stay was not long, and it would not be possible to treat him as entirely cut off from his own country. The grant might in that case, therefore, be modified; but it could not be extinguished. There was, however, a fair amount of reason for the proposal which had been made by his hon. Friend, and he would say that discussion on such subjects within fair limits was desirable. The second Amendment of his hon. Friend was, that the jointure provided for the Grand Duchess should only accrue in case the Duke of Edinburgh died before his accession to a foreign Principality. In the ease of the Prince of Wales, where the grant was £50,000 a-year, the jointure was fixed at £30,000. But in this case, where the grant was fixed at £25,000, the jointure of the Princess, in the event of her becoming a widow, was only £6,000. Now, looking to the small proportion which this jointure bore to the Parliamentary income to be given to the Prince, he thought it was so moderate and reasonable that probably his hon. Friend would not think it necessary to take the sense of the Committee on the subject.
said, he understood that the grant would be reduced, but would not terminate on the accession of the Duke to a foreign Principality. ["No, no!] Was not that so?
said, he did not venture to point out what would occur. What he said was, that it might be reasonable to reserve the power given in the Proviso; but, on the other hand, it would not be reasonable to provide for the extinction of the, annuity. He did not prejudge the case. There should be al a full and ample reservation of the course which Parliament might pursue.
thought it would be a most unreasonable condition to attach to this annuity, that if His Royal Highness succeeded to a foreign Principality it should cease and determine without reference to the circumstances of the case. He would venture to remind the House that the Royal Duke in question was not allotted a larger sum than would be received by the son of anyone not the reigning Sovereign. He hoped, therefore, after the ample discussion which the question had undergone, the Amendment would be withdrawn.
said, he was content to leave the matter on the footing on which it had been placed by the right hon. Gentleman, and he should therefore withdraw the Amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause agreed to.
Remaining clauses agreed to.
Bill reported, without Amendment; to be read the third time To-morrow.
Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill
Mr. Bonham-Carter, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Baxter.)
Order for Committee read.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, upon what grounds the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury had declined to comply with the recommendations of the Trustees of the British Museum, for an addition to the salaries of the officers and assistants in that Establishment; and, whether it was the intention of the Lords' Commissioners to re-consider the request of those officers and assistants for a readjustment of their salaries? There had been no rise in wages since 1837, although not only had the price of provisions been much augmented, but the duties of the several officers had been largely increased. Various meetings, attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Sydney, Lord Derby, Mr. Walpole, Lord Eversley, and others, had recommended an increase of the wages; but the increase had boon refused, and he would urge that a recommendation to which they had pledged their character was not one that ought to be lightly disregarded. The Treasury had, however, expressed their regret that they were unable to accede to the application. What the officers asked for was an increase proportionate to that of other Departments, and he hoped that in that, as in the other cases recently brought forward, a satisfactory assurance would be given by the Government.
wished to say a few words in support of the hon. and learned Member. Looking at the salaries paid in other Departments, there was very great force in the recommendation of the Trustees. Considering the great value of the British Museum Collection, it was of the utmost importance to the country that it should be superintended by gentlemen of the highest attainments in Science and Art. The collections, moreover, had been greatly enlarged during the last few years, without any corresponding increase in the staff.
complained of the abruptness of the answer given by the Treasury to the Trustees. No reason was assigned why the salaries should not be increased; and, if there were any reason, he hoped it would now be given.
said, the terms of the answer of the Treasury to the Trustees of the British Museum had been misunderstood, as it was certainly not intended to show any want of respect or consideration towards them. He himself had the honour of being one of the Trustees of the British Museum, and nothing was farther from his thoughts than to treat that body of gentlemen with anything like disrespect. There was, however, no use in arguing upon the terms of the letter, and he would come to the merits of the question. It was quite a mistake to suppose there was nothing to say because so little was said. The matter underwent very careful and elaborate consideration at the Treasury before the answer was returned. The Trustees, however, asked the Treasury to do for the Museum what they had not done for any other office under the Crown—namely, to raise the salaries of all persons employed in the establishment, from the principal librarian down to the messengers with one exception. That was a course which the Treasury had never yet followed in any case. They had always professed themselves perfectly ready to listen to any complaints of inadequacy of salaries, taking each class of cases by themselves, and investigating them carefully; but they had always set their face against acceding to a proposal for raising the salaries of a whole department en bloc, and for one very suffi- cient reason—namely, that there was no public Department so constituted that all persons employed therein were equally ill-paid. He thought the Trustees had given themselves an unnecessary amount of trouble, and that they had been led into an error in the manner in which they conducted this case; and that if they had considered the matter more they would have seen that the course they recommended was extremely undesirable, because they avowed their opinion not only that everybody almost was entitled to an increase of salary, but they stated the exact amount of salary to which they thought everybody was entitled. This they did with the great authority which naturally attached to their name, without consulting in any way previously that Department of the Government which was answerable for this expenditure. He was quite sure there was no such intention on the part of the Trustees; but by thus acting they placed the Government in this position—that if they refused or altered any of these things, every single person who found the Trustees had recommended him to a particular salary, or increment that he did not get, would consider he had a grievance. Such a mode of proceeding placed an undue difficulty in the way of the Treasury discharging their duty. Again, the arguments adduced by the Trustees did not altogether produce conviction in his mind. For instance, they said some of their best men were from time to time enticed away into other employments. Well, he believed that would always be the case in the British Museum even if the salaries were considerably raised. People employed there not only conducted the business of the establishment, but had extraordinary opportunities for acquiring knowledge which was extremely valuable to themselves and to other persons. The feeling of the country was running very strongly in favour of physical science, especially of those sciences that depended upon observation—such, for instance, as Natural History and Geology. There were institutions of all kinds growing up where men who were capable of giving instruction in those subjects wore very much wanted. The result was a competition for persons possessed of such acquirements, and the men were naturally sought for at the British Museum. Indeed, one of the inducements to persons to enter the Museum was that they were placed in a position where their talents and industry were sure to be known and appreciated. Therefore, the notion that they were to raise salaries with the object of competing with the public outside was a delusion. It was impossible for the Treasury in these things to compete with the wants of the public generally. Then it must be considered that the salaries at the British Museum were confessedly lower than in the Civil Service, and for obvious reasons. In the first place, instead of the drudgery of a clerk in an ordinary office, of the driest and most repulsive nature, very often spending whole days poring over figures, or transcribing, or indexing, these public servants were employed in a manner most delightful—that was, they were generally men of decided tastes for particular branches of science and learning, and they spent their time in a treasure house in which objects of art and antiquarian interest and books on every subject were collected together. They had the further advantage of a social position somewhat higher than that of officials holding corresponding places in the Civil Service. It had always been assumed, therefore, that it was not necessary to give salaries quite on the scale of the other offices. Moreover, the proposal of the Trustees was of the most sweeping description, inasmuch as it would give an increase of salaries all through the establishment from the top to the bottom, the superintendent of the Natural History Collection being the only officer who was not recommended for a rise of salary. A few years ago, it should be borne in mind, the Blacas Collection was purchased for £48,000, and since he had been Chancellor of the Exchequer the Castellani Collections had been secured, one of them at a cost of no less than £27,000. Now, the British Museum must not altogether expect to light the candle at both ends, and when the Government were spending large sums in enriching the collections, it was not a proper time for pressing for a general and sweeping rise of salaries. Such were the considerations he begged to submit to the House in order to justify the Treasury in declining to accede to the proposal of the Trustees of the British Museum for a general rise of salaries in the direction marked out by them. He did not think a case had been made out for raising the salary of the secretary and principal librarian, Mr. Winter Jones, who could hardly consider himself ill-paid if he received the same salary as his excellent and deserving predecessor, Sir Antonio Panizzi. He must repeat that the Treasury were always ready to consider recommendations made to them as regarded individual cases or classes of officers. If the Trustees would give up the notion of a general and sweeping rise, and, above all, if they would make a communication to the Treasury in such a way that it would not be known to everybody in the Museum, so as to raise hopes and expectations which might not be gratified, the Treasury would carefully consider their proposals. In conclusion, he might remark that there was one other consideration which ought not to be left out of sight by the Trustees—that was, that the British Museum formed an exception to the general rule laid down by Parliament for the public service. The Trustees had declined to accede to the suggestion of the Government, to allow such places as the principle could be properly applied to, to be open to public competition. It was not unreasonable to ask those who wanted them to increase the salaries not only of the present officials, but of those coming after them, to show a willingness to adopt competition as being, in the opinion of Parliament, the best means of securing the services of the most efficient persons.
said, it followed that if some valuable collections had been added to the Museum, additional trouble was imposed upon the employés, and formed an argument for and not against raising their salaries. He was therefore glad to find that the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not discourage the Trustees from making to hint some modified proposal for the better remuneration of the officials employed in that institution.
Bill considered in Committee, and reported, without Amendment; to be read the third time To-morrow.
East India Revenue Accounts
Committee Adjourned Debate
Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [31st July], "That Mr. Speaker
do now leave the Chair;" and which Amendment was,
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "in the opinion of this House, the present constitution of the. Government of India fails to secure an efficient or economical management of its finances, and that this House views with apprehension the state of local taxation in that Country, and is of opinion that its financial condition must be regarded as unsatisfactory so long as the income Tax forms its only financial reserve,"—(Mr. Fawcett,)
Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
said, that taking the statement that had been made by the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for India for granted, the financial prospect was not re-assuring:—in an Empire so vast we were subject to many unforesoen contingencies, and no margin had been left for emergencies that might any day arise. Our Indian Empire was just able to carry on without getting into debt, and without any provision or resource in case of trouble or calamity except the obvious plan of borrowing or the re-imposition of the Income Tax, which was ill suited to India, and had caused the greatest dissatisfaction, and he must express his satisfaction that the now Governor General had seen his way to relieving the Natives from this tax. He had more than once called attention to the grievances which existed between the Native Princes and the Supreme Government; it was therefore satisfactory to observe that these relations appeared to be improving, and he felt convinced that a more generous, considerate, and conciliatory treatment of the Native Rulers would pay in the end. He wished to acknowledge the improvement that had been made in the financial accounts with the Native States, which were much more clear than heretofore; and he was glad to find an admission that £52,000 was to be credited as a balance to the Nawab Nazim of Bengal, and that last year there was a similar balance of £55,000. There remained a balance of £50,000 or £55,000 to be carried to the fund for the use and benefit of the Principality. Sir John Kaye put these accumulations at £150,000; but it was desi- rable that whatever was really due as accumulations should be carried to the benefit of the Principality. He passed now to general and more important considerations. The hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett), in his able statement yesterday, approached this subject from an Indian point of view, pleading eloquently and earnestly on behalf of those who were not represented in this House. He (Mr. Torrens) wished to deal with it from the Home point of view, and consider it in the interest of the British taxpayer, whose interests were deeply involved in the financial prosperity of our Indian Empire. In taking over from the Company this magnificent estate, to hold with the rest of the Empire, we were bound to watch the growth of expenditure; because we could not but feel that, if ever there came a time when India could not pay her way, England could never shelter herself under a plea of limited liability, but would have to make up the deficiency. We could not fall back upon over-taxed India. It was said that the value of Indian securities was greater now than had been the case under the Company. The reason was clear—India remained the same, but there was added the additional security afforded by the Queen's Government. If, however, during a period of political fine weather, the Secretary of State for India could only show a bare financial equilibrium, with nothing to spare, what would happen at a time of disturbance in India or troubles in Europe which might affect the peace of the East? There was good reason for falling back under such circumstances upon the warnings of the late Governor General and Commander-in-Chief, which hitherto had not had the effect of producing any material reduction of expenditure. No material retrenchment was made or promised in military expenditure, and we were dependent upon poppyheads for one main branch of revenue. It was the duty of the House to provide, as far as possible, for a better state of things. Enormous sums had been spent upon military and commercial railways; but the military railways were not completed and the commercial did not pay. The interest upon these unprofitable works went into the pockets of British stockholders, and the House of Commons was bound to see that the construction of railways in India did not become a burden upon the Indian people. In the same way the Indian debt was held mainly by Europeans. These questions were generally discussed at a time when Parliament was out of town. The Members now present were a poor remnant of the House, and he hoped no hon. Gentleman would be unkind enough to take steps to ascertain how many were present. The fact was that England was adding to its wealth by a percentage upon expenditure in India which the work executed did not return. Turning now to the question of local taxation, he understood the Under Secretary of State to say last night that the incidence of local taxation in our Indian Empire was a question of insignificant item, because it was levied on such an enormous population. But Parliament was bound to see that taxes were not levied oppressively upon the poorer part of the people of India; and he could not help reminding the Under Secretary that the number of the people and the average of the tax per head had no more to do in showing the incidence of taxation than the average length of the spinal column or the average length of the noses of the people. Remembering the value of property in India compared with the value of property in this country, and bearing in mind also that the whole earnings of India only amounted to from £250,000,000 to £300,000,000, while those of England amounted to £900,000,000, it was absurd to compare the amount of taxation paid per head by the people of the two countries. If the true measure of taxation were the capacity of the thing taxed then the people of India, in their poverty, paid twice as much as did the people of England. A very suggestive piece of evidence was given before the Committee upstairs by Lord Lawrence, who was so justly regarded, not only by the Under Secretary, but by hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House, as the very highest authority on the subject. He was asked by a member of the Committee—"In case the revenue should fall short, is there any existing tax you know of which can be increased with safety to the State?" His reply was—"I know of none." Then he was asked—"Is there any new tax that could, in your opinion, be levied?" and he replied—"I am not aware of any." We were therefore in this position—that the richest country in the world, having taken over a great Empire from an independent Company which had managed its affairs satisfactorily, saw it now burdened as heavily as it was possible to bear. Was that, he asked, a creditable state of things? In this state of things it was most desirable and expedient—it had become the bounden and indispensable duty of the Government of India—to cut down the gigantic expenditure which now existed, and to free the taxpayers from the oppressive burdens which were now laid on them. No great political question now agitated the Indian Empire; but how long might that state of things continue? It would be mere affectation to pretend that there existed no smothered griefs and grievances capable at any moment of becoming pestilent sources of embarrassment. It was the duty of the House of Commons not to wait until serious difficulties arose, but to warn the Government in time, so that they might take preventive and remedial measures. The present discussion was therefore likely to be beneficial. The Treasury did not like to be overhauled, but investigation had led to good results. The Colonial Office had been brought to book with a like effect. It could not but be attended with satisfactory results that the authorities at the India Office should hear the opinions of the House of Commons freely expressed. This Session that House had been surprised by receiving a Bill from the House of Lords, by which the Lords declared themselves weary of their jurisdiction in the matter of appeals, and they accordingly divested themselves of their ancient powers which were to be committed henceforth to a new Court of Appeal. Coerced by that expression of opinion on the part of the other House, he had voted for the second reading of the Bill; but he was very sorry the other House should have thought it necessary to deprive themselves of their ancient powers; but that being so, they were, in his opinion, more bound than ever to do all they could in other ways to exercise their combined efforts for the benefit of the people of India. In the House of Lords there sat ex-Governor Generals of India, ex-Commanders-in-Chief, and others long intimately connected with that country. Here, then, were the materials of a tribunal of which they should avail them- selves for the benefit of India. Why should they not act together, as by a Joint Committee between the two Houses coming together from time to time, in the consideration of difficult questions affecting the welfare of India? He merely threw this out as a suggestion. Parliament was responsible to the Sovereign, to the people of India, and to the people of this country for knowing how India was governed, and no mere neglect or evasion of that duty would exonerate them from it; and they should provide some means by which their best men could be brought together to consider questions of great and perhaps perilous importance which might arise in India. He thanked the House for the attention with which they had listened to the few observations he had felt it his duty to make, and he would conclude by repeating that in discussing Indian matters they should keep steadily in view their primary duty—while sustaining the executive Government to take care that they were not left uninformed of the financial conditions and prospects of that country.
said, that he should not have addressed the House but for some observations that fell from the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) in his speech last night; he hoped, therefore, the House would extend its indulgence to him in his endeavour to answer them. Although he dissented in great measure from many of the hon. Member's opinions, still he could not but think that in his vigorous denunciations of extravagance in the Government of India, he was doing good service to the State; and every one connected with the Government of India should hail him as a most valuable ally. He believed that the Government of India must look upon these denunciations as most valuable to them; because the Government of India was such a vast machine that it was impossible that the Executive could know everything that was going on in different parts of the Empire; and the more extravagance and abuse were brought to light, the more chance the Government of India would have of governing in a manner that would be satisfactory to themselves and to the country. He also thought, however, that when the hon. Gentleman took such interest in the Government of India, and made such long speeches upon the matter, he should be very careful to sift what was sound from what was unsound. He did not wish in any way to detract from the merit of the hon. Member; but still he must say that he thought he was a little hard last night on the Government of India to represent the remission of taxation which had taken place to the extent of £6,000,000 as entirely owing to the agitation which he had inaugurated three or four years ago. No doubt it was a great advantage to have public opinion directed to Indian matters; but he could not help thinking that those who were engaged in the Government of India were influenced by much higher motives. They felt it to be their duty to leave no stone unturned and no effort unexerted to bring the expenditure of India within the revenue. He would leave many of the observations of the hon. Member upon the general policy pursued in India to be replied to by some Member of the Government. He believed that most of those observations could be satisfactorily answered, certainly those with regard to cash balances and public lands. He agreed with him that India was a very poor country, and that it was almost impossible to institute any analogy between the incidence of taxation there and in this country. He thought that the Under Secretary of State for India had put the matter much higher than he might have done when he said that the taxation in India amounted to 3s. 7½d. per head; because in making that estimate, he took into consideration the whole of the taxation of the country, whilst £30,000,000 of it was really not taxation at all, but was derived from land revenue, opium, and two or three other items. [Mr. GRANT DUFF observed that he had included the land revenue, but not the opium revenue.] He thought that the hon. Gentleman had understated the case. On the other hand, he could not agree with the hon. Member for Brighton when he said that the income tax was the only reserve which India possessed. He would be sorry to imagine a change of circumstances in India which would make the income tax its only reserve. Many taxes had been mentioned as likely to suit the wants of the people of India, and to fall upon them with less severity than the income tax; but he believed it would be unnecessary, unless some great disaster should happen, that any increase should be made in the taxation of the country. The real reform we must look for was in a reduction of expenditure, and he had himself on two or three occasions that Session brought the subject before the House. The hon. Member for the City of London (Mr. Crawford) was directly interested in the railways of India; the railway over which he presided had reduced its rates to the very lowest point; others were in the same position; and he looked forward with considerable hopefulness to a large reduction in the enormous amount the taxpayers were obliged to pay on account of railways, which was nearly £2,000,000 altogether. It was said that we had made them too expensively; but, having made them, we must do the best we could with them. Although the passenger traffic was increasing, the goods traffic was not increasing appreciably, and that was a point well worth consideration. He came now to what was the real cause of his addressing the House, and that was the attack which had been made on what the hon. Member called the "scheme of decentralization," though its proper name would have been the "provincial service scheme." He thanked the hon. Member sincerely for the way in which he had spoken of the late Viceroy, whose public acts were of course open to the severest criticism; but he complained of the hon. Member saying that the decentralization scheme of Lord Mayo was answerable for the prominence of late years of the question of local taxation, because that scheme involved an expenditure so large that they had to resort to expedients to meet it. Now, what was the system which had been so denounced? Though there were under it large powers given to local bodies over local taxation, it was not the fact, as the hon Member seemed to suppose, that local taxation had its foundation and origin in 1870; and, indeed, nothing could be farther from the real state of the case. Money had been levied for years by local bodies, and there was hardly anything over which local governments could not exercise powers of taxation; whilst at the same time they could not control the expenditure in any way whatever. That was the evil aimed at by the policy of 1870, and it was a policy that was by no means new. The hon. Member for Orkney (Mr. Laing) was almost the first to speak in high terms of operations of the kind; and the right hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Massey) bore similar testimony. Until 1870, however, such a scheme was never put into practice, though it had been advised. Now how was that scheme put into practice? In 1870, the income tax was very high, and it was thought very desirable by the Governor General to take steps to remedy a financial policy which was so unsatisfactory. The plan he proposed was that, in order to remove a large amount of income tax he should carry the matter out through local governments, by adopting such methods of taxation as would be most suitable for each province and least embarrassing to the people. Then certain sources of taxation were delivered over to local bodies to provide for certain services, and local taxation was to be raised to supply the deficiency. When this was called "decentralization" it should be borne in mind that no control was given up, and there were the greatest safeguards that local bodies should not exceed their powers. What the Government said was—
The difficulties were not ignored, for it was said—"In sharing with the local Governments a portion of the control which it now exercises, the Supreme Government gives nothing that can be retained with advantage to Imperial interests. On the contrary, it will associate with itself an authority by whose assistance the administration can be made more efficient."
That was the principle upon which the scheme of provincial service was established, and, so far from its operation having increased the burden of taxation, it had effected economy by giving the local Governments inducement to pro- mote it. Notwithstanding the denunciations of the hon. Member for Brighton, he should be able to show that the scheme had been eminently successful, Sir Richard Temple, in his financial statement for this year, said—The Governor General in Council is aware of the difficulties which surround the practical adoption of these principles in India. But they are not insurmountable. Serious obstacles will have to he overcome, and much prejudice, ignorance, and suspicion encountered. Disappointments and partial failures are certain to occur; but when the object in view is the instruction of many peoples and races in a good system of administration, his Excellency in Council is fully convinced that the local Governors and all their subordinates will not be slow to take every opportunity of enlisting in the great work of general improvement the active assistance, and, at all events, the sympathy, of many classes who have hitherto taken little or no part in the work of social and material advancement."
Further, he showed that the burdens of the people had been lessened and not increased, because the whole amount levied under the new system was £212,000, and the allotments of the Supreme Government to the local governments were £320,000 less than in the preceding year. While Sir Richard Temple said the answers of the local governments to the inquiries addressed to them were satisfactory, Sir George Campbell, Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, in one of the most interesting documents connected with the administration of India ever produced, after discussing the two courses that were open—the increase of taxation, or the reduction of expenditure—said—"During the current year a circular was addressed to the local Governments, asking opinions as to the working of the system of provincial services; and the replies are unanimously and strongly in favour of the system. Improvements, both in efficiency and economy, and abridgment of labour, are attributed to it by all the authorities consulted."
The result was that, instead of producing greater taxation, economy resulted from their being able to make both ends meet. It would be a great misfortune, therefore, for the people of India if, in consequence of the remarks of the hon. Member for Brighton, anything should occur to prevent that experiment from being carried out still further. The first step was not intended to be a final one, and many improvements were necessary in order to carry out the scheme to its ultimate end. No doubt the present Viceroy of India was impressed with that feeling, and that he would introduce modifications such as the late Lord Mayo had intended to introduce; and in that case, he might look to that House to uphold him in that policy. In conclusion, he expressed a hope that the House would not concur in the views of the hon. Member for Brighton."Before leaving this subject the Lieutenant Governor would ask to be allowed to submit his humble testimony to the wisdom and the practical efficiency of the system of provincial finance inaugurated by the Government of the late Earl of Mayo. It seems to him that for a beginning it went quite far enough and not too far; that it has most successfully supplied a motive to economy and method which has taken full effect; that it has immensely diminished the friction between the Supreme and subordinate Governments to which the finance of the civil departments continually gave rise; and that has enabled the local Governments to mould and shape the departmental establishments and expenses with a view to their efficiency and their adaptation to local requirements in a way which was impossible under the old system. The experiment has been, the Lieutenant Governor ventures to say, a complete and unalloyed success."
said, he had had the good fortune to be present at the annual duel which took place between the Under Secretary of State for India and the hon. Member for Brighton; but he could hardly make up his mind to decide between the gloomy statement of the hon. Member for Brighton and the bright description of the Under Secretary for India, who would wish them to believe that India was an earthly paradise. The latter hon. Gentleman appeared to attribute that glowing state of affairs to economy, opium, and Providence. [Mr. GRANT DUFF said, he only mentioned economy, and opium.] As the hon. Gentleman excluded Providence, it was satisfactory to hear that the other agencies were at work for good, and that they were approaching the happy state that had been described. It should not be forgotten, however, that there were other great nations in the world besides England and India, and that we ought to have some regard for the happiness and welfare of neighbouring countries. Instead of that, we poisoned them with opium. He complained that it was disgraceful to this country to force opium upon China—a traffic which in its effects had been described as worse than the Slave Trade. How, he asked, should we like it, if the Chinese were able, by maintaining larger armies, to insist on carrying on a trade with us in some injurious drug, which our Government strongly objected to being introduced into the country. Our influence abroad was damaged in consequence of the extraordinary course which we had pursued with reference to this in matter, and. yet when we had succeeded in pauperizing large numbers of the Chinese the Under Secretary of State rose in his place, and thanked Providence because the people of that country were becoming oven more demoralized than hitherto. His right hon. Friend the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley) might, perhaps, say the opium revenue in India was not worse than the spirit revenue in England. Well, for his part, he did not think it was so bad; for, as the late Sir Benjamin Brodie remarked, an opium eater was useless but not mischievous, whereas a spirit-drinker was both useless and mischievous. He very often admired the masterly statements made by his hon. Friend the Member for Brighton with respect to the affairs and Government of India, and he thought the hon. Member ought to speak out boldly, and say whether he thought it was right to raise a revenue from opium. Not many Sessions ago he (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) moved a Resolution condemnatory of the system of raising a great part of the Revenue of India by a tax on opium. The Government thereupon moved the Previous Question, which was always a slippery way of getting out of a question. The Prime Minister on that occasion said, that the Government would inquire into the subject. He would shortly give the House another opportunity of deciding whether it was right to raise our Indian Revenue by that means, when he trusted the House would agree with him in condemning that cruel and inhuman method of raising revenue, which was unworthy of being supported by the Parliament of a great, humane, and generous people.
said, he had supported the hon. Baronet's Motion for three years, and if he had the opportunity, he should do so when it was again brought under the notice of the House. One of the reasons why India had been transferred from the old Company to the Government was, because of the scandal of the opium trade, and yet nothing had been done in that respect, and whatever had been the sins of the old Company in encouraging the opium trade, the sins of the House of Commons had been three times greater. The subject was one that greatly interested the English people; for if they decided on stopping it, they must consider how far they would be prepared to assist the Revenues of India. He could not agree with the hon. Member for Brighton, and deal with opium revenue as a financial question on account of its doubtful source. If China were to cultivate opium, there would be the risk of losing it, in which case India would have a deficit instead of a surplus. They should bear in mind how precarious that source of revenue was, and consider how unwise it was to build all our financial arrangements in India upon such a basis. The salt tax of India was one also that pressed very heavily upon the poor of that country, and it was an unsound principle to tax the ordinary and common necessaries of life. The income tax was not suited to India, and he rejoiced that Lord Northbrook appeared disposed to put an end to it. It was not advisable to persevere in the imposition of a tax against public feeling, but when they yielded to the feelings of the higher classes of India with reference to a particular tax, it would be unfortunate to be compelled to retain one like that on salt, which materially affected the poor. As the sources of taxation were very limited in that country, he thought that the only thing they could do was to see whether they could not make some reduction in the expenditure, and he was of opinion that it would be well for them to consider whether they might not with safety diminish the Native Army. The Native Army consisted of 120,000 men; and the question which he wished to submit to the Government was, whether such a large force was necessary. He thought a considerable reduction might be made with perfect safety, especially in the case of Madras, where there were 27,000 men. He thanked the hon. Member for Brighton for having so forcibly brought his views under the notice of the House, and he believed that the devotion which he had shown to their interests would prove to be most advantageous to the vast population of India.
said, that although agreeing with much of the powerful speech of the hon. Member for Brighton, he yet regretted that that hon. Gentleman had placed his Amendment on the Paper. After the House had appointed a Committee to consider the whole subject of Indian Finance the hon. Member could hardly expect that before the Report of the Committee was complete, the House would pronounce an opinion on controverted questions, and affirm the Resolutions which he had put on the Paper. Nobody who had any hand in framing the scheme of local taxation to which reference had been made, had yet been examined before the Committee in its defence; and it would therefore be more judicious not to pronounce a judgment upon it until the other side of the case had been heard. He thought the hon. Member for Brighton had drawn too dark a picture of the state of India and the conduct of the Government. If our government of that country had been so bad as the hon. Member had described, it was doubtful whether even so patient a people as the inhabitants of India would have sat quiet so long under such a rule. He could not be accused of flattering the Government of India, various of whose measures of late years he had condemned; but it was impossible for any one who had long been concerned in the civil administration of India, and who had studied its history and condition in times before it came under British sway, not to be convinced of the great benefits which our rule had conferred on that country and its people. The native Press of India was not slow to recognize the advantages of English rule; for while frankly owning that foreign rule was not in itself a desirable thing, and while charging our Government with many shortcomings, yet it admitted the great benefits it conferred, and declared that if a struggle should arise between England and Russia, it would be the duty of the Natives heartily to support England. He did not regard with unalloyed satisfaction the discontinuance of the income tax. That tax, if it applied to very low incomes was objectionable, but it afforded a means of bringing under contribution the moneyed and trading classes, who would not otherwise bear their fair share of the burdens of the State, and he thought that if it had been restricted to incomes of £150 a-year and upwards, the tax would have been paid cheerfully. If they should require in any emergency to increase the revenue of India to any considerable extent, it could only be done by taxing the rich, and the rich could only be reached by an income tax. In his opinion, however, the question of the income tax shrunk into insignificance when compared with the greater question of local taxation. The hon. Member for Brighton had correctly represented his (Sir Charles Wingfield's) evidence before the Committee. In his instructions for the settlement of the land revenue of Oude 12 years ago, under the authority of Lord Canning, he distinctly said that the cesses in addition to the land revenue proper should be 2½ per cent, and he gave the people an assurance that those cesses should not be increased during the period of the settlement. Notwithstanding that fact, an Act was, two or three years ago, passed by the Legislative Council doubling those cesses. In that manner faith had been broken with the landholders not only in Oude, but in the Punjaub also. He deprecated the attempt to push on public improvements too far. Rapid progress meant increased taxation, and increased taxation meant discontent. The Under Secretary, in alluding to the recent decrease in expenditure, forgot to state that it was accounted for to a great extent by a decreased expenditure on public works. He entirely concurred with the hon. Member (Mr. Fawcett) that Madras and Bombay should be administered by Lieutenant Governors instead of by Governors, and one advantage of the arrangement would be that you would then get rid of the expense of Councils and of Commands in Chief at these Presidencies. He opposed any legislation which was atvariance with the traditions and habits of the people. But it sometimes happened that upon the Council there were two or three doctrinaires who favoured such legislation, and that showed the necessity of a Secretary of State with a controlling power in England. No real disposition had been shown to admit the Natives of India to the Civil Service; and the Natives could not but contrast the hot haste of the Government in imposing taxes with the delay in carrying out an Act of Parliament. One of the most important questions in India, therefore, was how to give effect to the Act of Parliament, and Her Majesty's Proclamation, in which it was stated that the subjects of all races were to be admitted to all employments for which they were suited. No doubt, Natives were employed now, but in small and underpaid posts. They were, however, well qualified for the higher judicial offices, and their appointment to such offices would not only satisfy them, but conduce to economy; because it was not necessary to give as much money to Natives who were serving in their own country, as to Europeans who must be tempted by high salaries to leave theirs.
said, his hon. Friend the Member for Brighton had expressed an opinion that the proposals of the Government of India, in reference to military expenditure, were frequently overborne by the War Department at home, and that in that way the interests of India were in many cases disregarded. His hon. Friend, by his frequent allusions to the evidence taken by the Committee upstairs, rather conveyed the impression that the conclusion he arrived at was founded on that evidence. As a Member of the Committee, he (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) was bound to say that no evidence was given on the subject, except of a very general character, and to a very slight extent, and no opportunity had been afforded to the War Department to refute it. When the Committee met next Session, however, that opportunity would be given, and he merely rose to ask the House to suspend its judgment on that subject until both sides had been heard. He was much mistaken if it would not be shown that if proposals had been set aside and a new system adopted, the result had not been beneficial to India in an economical point of view. The fact was that the Secretary of State for War had not the slightest desire to impose upon the Indian Government any charge which was not justly due from them.
thanked the Under Secretary of State for India for his able and interesting statement. He, for one, was not satisfied that there was any sufficient reason for adopting the Resolution which the hon. Member for Brighton had brought forward. In one expression of regret on the part of his hon. Friend they would all concur—namely, that the Indian Budget had been presented at so late a period of the Session. His hon. Friend and the Under Secretary for India were doubtless at one upon that subject; although the mere fact that the Budget was brought forward at a late period of the Session was no proof of indifference on the part of the Government. With respect to the subject of taxation, he could not help thinking that his hon. Friend had painted the condition of India in too dark colours when he said it would be impossible to raise an extra £5,000,000 of revenue on account of the poverty of the country. In one sense India was a poor, in another sense it was a rich, country. If Englishmen could wear little clothing, sleep in the open air, and be induced to give up the use of intoxicating drinks, it would be difficult to raise the revenue which the Chancellor of the Exchequer now received. And with respect to local taxation, it should be borne in mind that one beneficial result of local burdens was to educate the people in self-government. His hon. Friend complained that the management of the affairs of India was placed in the hands of officials who were not elected by those whom they governed. But representative government was a thing unknown in India. The former Governors of India governed the country for their own benefit. We endeavoured to govern India for the benefit of the people of India. Of course, we had made mistakes; but, on the whole, he maintained that we had no cause to be ashamed of our conduct as regarded. India. He could not, therefore, help regretting that his hon. Friend had used such phrases as "squandering the revenues of India" and "contemptuous indifference of the House of Commons," because they were unfair to the Government and unjust to the House and to the people of this country.
inquired the reason of the delay in furnishing a Return for which he had moved last year, as to the relative number of Hindoos and Mussulmans officially employed in India; also why it was that the system of Staff appointments which prevailed in England was not adopted in India?
moved the adjournment of the debate.
asked when the debate would be resumed?
said, it would be taken to-morrow, at 12 o'clock.
Motion agreed to.
Debate further adjourned till To-morrow.
And it being now five minutes to Seven of the clock, the House suspended its Sitting.
The House resumed its Sitting at Nine of the clock.
Civil Servants (Pensions To Widows And Families)
in rising to call the attention of the House to the circumstance that there is no power to grant any Pensions to the widows and families of those Civil Servants of the Crown who die while in the performance of their duties, whatever the duration of their public service, and more especially with reference to the Foreign and Colonial Services, and to move a Resolution upon the subject, said, that the Civil Servants had very great cause to complain. Since the salaries wore fixed many years ago there had been a great change in prices, which during the last 20 years had nearly doubled. The case that he had to submit was a grievous one, and he trusted the Government would see that justice was done to the widows and families of those deserving men, who, after from 20 to 50 years' service, had died, leaving their widows and families entirely unprovided for. The first case to which he would refer was that of Mr. Keith E. Abbott, who had been 35 years in the service of the Crown—for 27 years in Persia, and afterwards for five years as Consul General at Odessa. He died last year, leaving a widow and eight children, and no provision had been made for them by the Government. The next case was that of Mr. Erskine, senior clerk of the Accountant General's department of the Admiralty, who served for 35 years. He died in 1872, after a brief illness caused by extreme application to public duties. The application of the Admiralty to the Treasury for an allowance to the widow and children was immediately rejected. He had for 17 years paid his contribution to the Superannuation Fund; but, notwithstanding that, nothing was done for the widow and children. In the case of Governor Keate, who, after having been 30 years in the employment of the Government, was sent out to the coast of Africa and died within seven days, no provision had been made for his family. Then there was the case of Mr. Tomline, who was a clerk at Devonport Dockyard for 25 years. He died after six weeks' illness, caused by overwork, and not a single sixpence was given to his wife or family. In justice to the Departments it should be said that the resistance in all these cases came from the Treasury, in spite of the recommendations of the Departments. The hon. Member was proceeding to refer to other instances of alleged hardship in support of his Motion, when—
Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members not being present,
House adjourned at a quarter after Nine o'clock