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Commons Chamber

Volume 218: debated on Tuesday 21 April 1874

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House Of Commons

Tuesday, 21st April, 1874.

MINUTES.]—SELECT COMMITTEE—Dean Forest, appointed.

SUPPLY— considered in CommitteeResolution [April 20] reported—GRANT TO SIR GARNET J. WOLSELEY, K.C.B. (£25,000).

PUBLIC BILLS— Second Reading—Municipal Privileges (Ireland) [33].

CommitteeReport—Betting [78].

Ireland—Denominational Education—Legislation—Question

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Whether it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to bring forward, this Session, any measure relating to denominational education in Ireland?

, in reply, said, he understood the meaning of the Question to be this—whether it was intended to substitute any purely denominational system of education for the national system of education now existing in Ireland? It was not the intention of the Government to bring forward any measure during the present Session upon the subject.

Explosion At Astley Deep Pits (Dukinfield)—Question

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If, considering the frequency of the disasters in the Astley Deep Coal Pits near Dukinfield, he will consider the expediency of instituting a special and searching investigation into the causes of the recent accident, and also into the general management of the mine or pits?

, in reply, said, his attention had been called to the various serious accidents that had occurred at the colliery in question, and he had entered into communication with the Inspector of Mines on the subject. He would see what the inquiry that was to take place on the subject was to be, and it should be of a full and searching nature; but he could not say at present what form it would take.

The Judicature Act, 1873

Question

asked Mr. Attorney General, Whether it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to bring in a Bill to postpone the coming into operation of the Judicature Act beyond the time fixed, namely, November next; and, if not, whether he can state how soon the Code of Rules providing the new practice and machinery necessary for the working of the Act will be laid before the profession and the public?

The Government have not at present any reason to anticipate that it will be necessary to postpone the coming into operation of the Judicature Act beyond the time fixed by the Act—namely, the 2nd of November in the present year. The first division of the Rules of Court directed by the Act to be prepared for the purposes mentioned in the Act is already printed and in the hands of a Committee of Judges for their consideration and advice. The second division of the Rules is in the press, and will shortly be in the hands of the Committee of Judges and of such other persons and bodies as it may be judged right to consult upon the subject, and there is every reason to believe that the remaining Rules, with the exception possibly of a few of a more formal character, will be in print and in the hands of the parties referred to before the 1st day of June.

Army—Staff Appointments

Question

asked the Secretary of State for War, What is the number of Staff appointments of which the vacancies can only be filled by Officers who have passed the final examination of the Staff College by Royal Engineers or by Officers distinguished for service in the field; and, what is the total number of Staff appointments (including both the general and personal Staffs) provided for in the Estimates?

, in reply, said, that the hon. and gallant Gentleman would find the information he wanted in page 13 of the Army Estimates. There were 195 Staff appointments altogether which were provided for in the Estimates. There were 18 appointments of Deputy Assistant Adjutant-Generals and Deputy-Quartermasters. There were 22 Brigade Majors. Seven of these Deputy Assistant Adjutant Generals were Musketry Instructors and required special qualification.

Civil Service Commission

Question

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether, following the precedent adopted in the constitution of the Labour Laws Commission, upon which two representatives of the working men have been placed, it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to place upon the proposed Commission on the Civil Service one or more members of that Service of the grade of Clerk, taken from some public office outside the Treasury; and, whether it is intended that the proposed Commission should inquire into the alleged grievances of the permanent Civil Service as regarded organisation, or only into those grievances under which the temporary Clerks and Writers are said to labour?

, in reply, said, he had considered whether it would not be expedient to place upon the Commission on the Civil Service a person occupied as senior clerk in one of the offices, and he thought that in all probability a gentleman of that grade would be placed upon the Commission. He was in communication with the heads of several Departments upon the subject. It was intended that the Commission should inquire into the system of appointments and promotions and certain questions of organization in the Civil Service.

Houses Of Parliament—The Light In The Clock Tower—Question

asked the First Commissioner of Works, If the light in the Clock Tower of the Houses of Parliament is to be permanently retained; and, if so, whether its objects might not equally be secured without the projections by which the architectural outline of the building is at present disfigured?

The Clock Tower was proposed to the House as an experiment by a right hon. Predecessor of mine at the Board of Works—Mr. Ayrton. So purely tentative was it that Mr. Ayrton declined, at the time, to insert any sum to meet the expenses connected with it in the Estimates of that year. The question whether the light is to be made permanent or not is one in which I shall be guided solely by the wishes of hon. Members. I can, however, assure the hon. Member that, under any circumstances, it was never contemplated to retain the present glass lantern, which disfigures the Victoria Tower; at the same time, it is my duty to state that the cost of establishing a permanent light would be considerable both in the process of fitting up and its maintenance.

Army—Removal Of Knightsbridge Barracks—Question

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether, considering the importance of the neighbourhood and the strong feeling of the inhabitants against the continuance of the Knightsbridge Barracks, it is the intention of the Government to take down those barracks; and, if so, how soon?

, in reply, said, this subject was only brought under his notice last night, when he saw his hon. and learned Friend's Question for the first time. Therefore, he had not been able personally to come to any decision on the subject. There had been various negotiations and discussions on the subject; but no decision had been arrived at either with regard to putting the barracks in repair or removing them to another site. He could assure his hon. and learned Friend that the matter should have his consideration.

Army—Prison At Wormwood Scrubs—Question

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether the sum of £5,000 was not voted in the Estimates last year for the purpose of enabling a prison to be built at Wormwood Scrubs, with the view of removing there the prisoners now detained in Millbank Prison, and converting that prison into barracks for troops; and, whether any steps have been taken to give effect to such vote?

, in reply, said, that the two subjects mentioned in the Question had no reference to the War Office Estimates at all. With regard to the projected prison near Wormwood Scrubs, a Vote was taken last year in the Civil Service Estimates. The site, he might remark, was not on Wormwood Scrubs, but on some land adjacent, which had been purchased from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. No decision had been come to with regard to converting Millbank prison into cavalry barracks, and there were many objections to such a scheme.

Army—Medical Officers

Question

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether it is true that on the recent occasion of the moving a battery of Horse Artillery from Ballincollig to Woolwich, and thence to Shorncliff, a medical officer was sent to march with them who was unable to ride, and that in order to accompany the battery one of the officers had to lend him a dog-cart?

, in reply, said, his hon. Friend must imagine that some one at the War Office possessed the power of flying, or of being, like the bird mentioned by Sir Boyle Roche, in two places at once. The Question was only put on the Paper last night, and it referred to an occurrence in Ireland. It had, therefore, been impossible to obtain the particulars.

India—Telegraphic Correspondence

Question

asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether his attention has been drawn to the collection of "Telegrams between the Government of India and the Secretary of State in Council, from October 1873 to 31st March 1874;" and, if it be actually the case that from the 18th of December 1873 to the 11th of February 1874 no less than eighteen telegrams of the India and Bengal Governments failed to elicit a single telegram in reply from the Council of State for India?

, in reply, said, he had read the telegrams alluded to by the hon. Member, and they appeared to him to be of such a nature as not to require replies. No telegram had been received at the India Office from the Governments of India or Bengal which required a reply and which remained unanswered.

Metropolis—Victoria Park Act, 1872—Question

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, If he is aware that a notice has lately been put up in Victoria Park, near the Victoria Park Railway Station, offering to let ground in the Park on building leases direct from the Crown; and, if such appropriation of the ground to building purposes would not be in violation of "The Victoria Park Act, 1872," and the understanding come to between the Metropolitan Board of Works and the Government to secure the Park unbuilt over for the public?

I am aware that a notice has been put up offering to lot about half an acre of land in Victoria Park for building purposes. The proposed appropriation of the ground is not, however, in violation of the Victoria Park Act of 1872, or of the understanding come to between the Metropolitan Board of Works and the Government. This particular piece of land was offered to the Metropolitan Board of Works, and expressly excluded by them from the arrangement as too small to be of any use. I have visited the ground myself, and I am not without hopes that an arrangement may yet be made by which, without injury to the Crown Revenues, this half acre may be preserved to the Park; but there is no power under the Acts regulating the management of Crown Lands to make a free grant of it.

The Slave Trade Papers

Question

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Why the Slave Trade Papers, classes A and B, presented in August last, have not yet been distributed; and, whether a despatch dated the 30th of June has been correctly printed?

The papers referred to were presented in a merely formal manner in August last. They were not at that time ready to be laid on the Table. I am not aware of the precise cause of the delay; but they are ready now, and will be distributed next week. I have compared the despatch of the 80th of June with the copy in the Foreign Office, and find that it is given verbatim in the Papers already printed. Some additional Papers connected with the slave Trade on the East Coast of Africa are in preparation, and will shortly be ready for presentation.

Dean Forest

Motion For A Select Committee

, in rising to move that a Select Committee be appointed—

"To inquire into the Laws and rights affecting Dean Forest, and the condition thereof having especial regard to the social and sanitary wants of its increasing population; and further to inquire whether it is expedient that any, and if so what, legislation should take place with respect to such Forest, and the future disposition or management of the same,"
said, the Forest of Dean, which consisted of about 21,000 acres, was one which was famous in former times, but it was now being cut up and encroached upon. In 1712, according to Sir Robert Atkyns there were only six cottages in the Forest, and these were occupied by the keepers; and in 1788 there were 589 cottages erected in it—all encroachments—with a population of nearly 3,000. Ten years later—in 1798—it was found that a number of pieces of land had been enclosed also by squatters. In 1834, the cottages numbered 1,462, and the inhabitants 7,014, the total encroachments of land amounted to 2,108 acres. The total net revenue from the whole of these 21,000 acres was, according to a Return obtained in 1872, only £117,967 for 50 years, or £2,359 per annum, which was not more than 2s. an acre. But various deductions had to be made from this, which brought down the net income for the service of the State to £1,133 per annum, or about 1s. 7d. per acre. In 1831 a Commission was appointed to inquire into the conditions of the Forest, and in 1838 and in 1842 Acts of Parliament were passed in relation to it, but since then the work of improvement had not gone on as it ought to have done. There had been inquiries on the subject, but further inquiry was greatly needed. The policy of the past in regard to the Forest had been to treat it altogether as a nursery for the growth of timber for the Crown, and until lately attention had not been directed to its mining capabilities. While in 1712 there were only six cottages of workmen in the Forest, in 1871 there were 4,400 cottages, and a population of over 22,000. The net revenue to the Crown from coal, iron, and other minerals, was, in 1821, £73; in 1844 it was £2,858; in 1860. £6,635; in 1868, £13,983; and in 1871, £14,604. It was evident that the state of the Forest had completely altered during the last 50 years and more, and it was high time now to depart from the folly of continuing the costly system of growing timber, and leaving the waste lands uncultivated and unremunerative. The more prudent course would be to make a change to suit existing circumstances. The mineral riches of the Forest were still very great, the increase in the demand for coal and iron was still going on, and had led to the opening and diligent working of more mines, and consequently to a very great increase of the population. The sanitary condition of the Forest, however, was in a very bad, and even a deplorable state. There was no parochial system, no drainage, no surveyor of highways, and no constitutional authority whatever within its bounds. It had but one turnpike road, which was totally inadequate to its wants. Speaking from an experience of 22 years, he could say that, as regarded capabilities of locomotion, the condition of the Forest was as bad now as when he first knew it. Being Government property it could not be rated, and although the Crown contributed about £315 to the poor rates, in other respects it was not rated at all. The houses were built without any regard to order, there was no water supply, and typhoid fever had prevailed. These facts were attested by gentlemen who were total strangers to the district, except so far as they had visited it, and they were given in evidence before the Committees that had already inquired into the subject. He wished Members could go down to the place and see the condition of things which was due to the absence of any sanitary highway or parochial authority. This inquiry would, no doubt, be of great advantage to the Crown, as well as to the inhabitants of the district, if it led to increased powers being given by the Legislature to the former to allow waste land to be sold for building, as well as in small plots for cultivation, and thereby enable the latter to obtain proper and sufficient habitations, with the means of raising the necessaries of life. The hon. and gallant Gentleman concluded by moving for the Select Committee.

, in seconding the Motion, said, this was not a case of the familiar claims of the conventional working man; he did not advance the dubious claim of disaffection; the case simply was that there was a population; of 23,000 in the Forest, without sanitary provision for 5,000, or proper house room for half their number. From one of those complications of Bights so often fertile in Wrongs, the evils were daily increasing without the fault of any one and unless the question was taken up by the Government the evil would go on increasing as it had done up to that time. For years after the Forest of Dean had become an extensive iron and coal field, it was administered simply as if it were a forest for supplying oak to the Navy; and an administration admirably adapted to watching the slow growth of oaks was not adapted to the growing wants of a mining population. The population had trebled itself in 38 years, and such a rate of increase could not be met by inelastic legislation. The account given of the sanitary condition of the place by his hon. and gallant Colleague was in no sense exaggerated. There were no sanitary regulations—the people often had to go a mile for pure water, notwithstanding that miners often required a good deal, and the roads were very much neglected. During the last eight years only 13 acres 2 roods 17 poles of land had been sold, and, though it was called waste, it fetched £3,357 135. 6d., or about £246 8s. 6d. per acre. Much had been said about the extravagance of miners. Was not this making them extravagant? He did not ask that the miners should have free houses and free gardens; but, seeing that the mines were sometimes closed two and three days a-week, and the miners were driven to spend periods of compulsory idleness in the public-house, it would be in every way a great advantage if they could have gardens to cultivate when the pits were closed, and in which the women and children could work, instead of working, as they did now, on the pit bank. This of itself would be a great step towards sanitary reform, for the gardens would absorb those accumulations which were now insufferable nuisances around the homes of the people.

Motion made, and Question proposed.

"That a Select Committee he appointed, to inquire into the Laws and rights affecting Dean Forest, and the condition thereof, having especial regard to the social and sanitary wants of its increasing population: and further to inquire whether it is expedient that any, and if so what, legislation should take place with respect to such Forest, and the future disposition or management of the same.'"—(Colonel Kingscote.)

said, he should not detain the House at any length, as it was the intention of the Government to grant the Committee. In doing so they did not wish to commit themselves to any policy whatever, or to the acceptance of the statement of his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Kingscote); not that they questioned in the slightest degree the many facts he had communicated to the House. The question was one full of difficulties, which it was right a Committee should investigate. One of the main difficulties arose from the rights of squatters who had been allowed to occupy property belonging to the Crown, and had thereby acquired certain interests in it. Their rights could not be lightly tampered with, but it was desirable that they should be defined more clearly than at present. Another difficulty consisted in the limited power which the Crown had of selling property ill the Forest. It was probable that much good might be done by legislation, but it was certainly not expedient that it should be rash or hasty legislation.

Motion agreed to.

Select Committee appointed, "to inquire into the Laws and rights affecting Dean Forest, and the condition thereof, having especial regard to the social and sanitary wants of its increasing population; and further to inquire whether it is expedient that any, and if so what, legislation should take place with respect to such Forest, and the future disposition or management of the same."

And, on April 28, Committee nominated as follows:—Colonel BARTTELOT. Mr. WILLIAM CARTWRIGHT, Sir FRANCIS GOLDSMID, Mr. HERMON, Sir GEORGE JENKINSON, Dr. LUSH, Mr. NEVILL, Mr. PEASE, Mr. R. PLUNKETT, Mr. WILLIAM PRICE, Mr. WILLIAM HENRY SMITH, Mr. W. STANHOPE, and Colonel KINGSCOTE:—Power to send for persons, papers, and records: Five to be the quorum.

And, on May 4, Mr. GEORGE CLIVE, and Mr. GOLDNEY added.

India (Drought In Bengal)

Resolution

Selection Of Despatches

rose to move—

"That in the case of Abstracts and Summaries, such as the 'Abstract of Correspondence between the Government of India and the Secretary of State in Council relative to the drought in Bengal,' recently presented to Parliament without any guarantee as to the selection or editing of the contents, the name of the selector or editor shall he appended for the information of Parliament."
The hon. Member said, he could not help thinking this would be one means of insuring the bona fides of such abstracts and summaries, which were often over-carefully trimmed and edited. The Abstract of Correspondence between the Home and Indian Government, it had been generally observed, bore all the marks of having been carefully selected and prepared for a purpose. The Pall Mall Gazette had a leading article on the subject, pointing out that the practice of official editing was increasing and becoming dangerous. The Spectator remarked that an Abstract worse, or more carefully edited, had not recently come under its notice. It was above all things most important, at such a crisis, when a great calamity was impending over our fellow subjects in India, that public opinion should not be led in a wrong direction; but he was afraid it had been so led, and designedly. He did not wish to make more reference to debate-able matter in connection with the Indian Famine than was necessary; but it was known that two schemes of policy were under consideration and divided the supreme Government of India and the Bengal Government. There were two camps—one containing a large number of those old and experienced administrators in India who, being conversant with former famines and aware that the greatest efforts could alone deal successfully with the emergency, insisted that, if necessary, the entire force of the Imperial Government in India should be applied to stave off the famine; and in the other there were a number of gentlemen who—though no doubt equally willing to prevent disaster and equally sorry when that disaster turned out more serious than they had anticipated—did not rise to the height of the occasion, did not recognize the immensity of the disaster pending, and who, when the most vigorous measures were required, attempted to stop the famine by palliatives scarcely equal to alleviate the distress in a corner of the country. The despatches relating to this famine showed that Sir George Campbell, the; late Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, at the very first proposed that no more grain should be allowed to leave India. Lord North-brook trusted to private trade. A great many other propositions were made which were rejected by the Governor General, and though no doubt the Governor General had miscalculated the extent of the disaster, the Abstract presented to the House did not give them to understand that Sir George Campbell's policy was necessary for the occasion. Instead of being a fair and impartial summary of the state of affairs in India, the publication was what he might call in brief a Northbrook pamphlet, as it only showed one side of the ease, although the policy of the Viceroy had been entirely abandoned. On the 10th of November, 1873, a conference was hold at Calcutta House between the Governor General, the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, and a large number of Indian officials, when the question of the famine was fully gone into. During the whole of the discussion the Lieutenant Governor was prominent in recommending the most vigorous measures, while the Governor General was still unable to perceive the necessity for such measures. On the same clay the Lieutenant Governor wrote a remarkable letter pressing on he Government the measures to which he had called their attention; but the editor of the summary, in referring to that letter, said "it was written, it may be presumed, before the actual discussion at the conference." He could only interpret the words "it is presumed," as meaning that if Sir George Campbell had heard the cogent reasons of the Governor General he would not have written the letter; but this insinuation of the editor was contradicted by the fact that immediately after those reasons became known the Lieutenant. Governor followed up the policy he had already advocated by asking for a large advance of money on account of relief works. To this demand the Governor General replied on November 13 by a refusal. There could be no doubt that Sir George Campbell had been thoroughly alive to the severity of the crisis, and had been opposed in his schemes to remedy the evil; yet, from the account in the Abstract of a conference held at Government House, Calcutta, on the 8th of January, it appeared as if the Viceroy had been the prime mover and originator of everything that could possibly be necessary for the relief of the famine-stricken. In fact, one would think that but for the Viceroy, Sir George Campbell would have neglected the preparations which the crisis demanded. When it was remembered that two months previously Sir George Campbell had urgently besought the Supreme Government to take adequate measures, it did seem hard that all credit should be denied to him in this manner. There was another point to which he would direct attention, and in making these remarks he begged it to be understood that he was not discussing the policy of the Government of India, but was simply contending that the relative positions of the two Governments had not been fairly shown. The speech delivered by the Viceroy in reply to an address presented by the Municipality of Agra was described in the Abstract as "in the main a clear and forcible statement of facts and opinions which have already been collected and summarized." In point of fact, this speech of the Viceroy was of the most vague and generally optimist nature. "The Government had made every preparation"—"the Government had no apprehension"—"the Government were fully aware of the whole of the circumstances;"—such was the tenor of the observations; and by a sort of grim irony the official narrative of the dearth, drawn up at the time the speech was delivered, began with the remark that there was an "absence of any reliable information." On the one side it was stated that Government knew everything; on the other there was an admission that they were groping in the dark. He made no objection to the Viceroy's speech. Necessarily, being addressed to such an audience, it was of an optimist character, for it was important that no occasion should be given for a panic; but to bring it forward as a "clear and forcible statement of facts and opinions" was going a little too far. It was attaching importance to an utterly unimportant communication. There were distinct indications of an animus and bias in the publication to which he was drawing attention. Everyone who took an interest in Indian affairs and took a candid view of them, would have thought it only natural that in an Abstract of this nature some note should be taken and some specimens given of the highly important and weighty Minutes, anticipations, and estimates of the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal. Sir George Campbell's policy had been opposed by the Viceroy during the first two or three months of the Famine danger, and no doubt Lord Northbrook had thought that in taking this course he was working for the best; but, as a matter of fact, it was the policy of the Lieutenant Governor which was now followed, while that of the Viceroy, having presumably been found to be wrong, had been wholly abandoned. Although speaking from the Liberal benches, he had no hesitation in saying that nothing more fortunate had over happened to a population on the brink of a terrible distress than the appointment of the Marquess of Salisbury—a nobleman of high intelligence and masculine will—to be Secretary of State for India. With the accession of the Marquess of Salisbury a new era commenced in the treatment of the, Bengal Famine, and the policy of the new Secretary of State Lad been, in fact, a thorough adoption of that of Sir George Campbell, the late Lieutenant Governor of Bengal. In every respect the former policy of Lord Northbrook had been ordered to be given up—often in telegrams and despatches of singular insistence—by the present Secretary of State for India. Well, in the official publication there was not a single despatch from Sir George Campbell given in extenso. There were two despatches from the Duke of Argyll, in very guarded anodyne terms, acknowledging that Lord Northbrook was doing his best, and giving him full permission to do his best. Another document given in full was a Minute of the Viceroy giving his reasons for disapproving a prohibition of the export of grain. Now considering the great importance of that subject, it would surely have been well, when one side was given, to have given also some of the powerful statements of the Lieutenant Governor, so that Members of the House might be enabled to form a judgment for themselves. Another point to which he wished to allude was this, that at page 21 the Viceroy was represented as having alluded to the fact that every requisition and suggestion of the Government of Bengal had been complied with, except the prohibition of export." Now, considering Sir George Campbell demanded in November a great advance of money with a view to the immediate commencement of relief works, the scattering of relief houses broadcast over the land, and the distribution of grain within an easy distance of every village, and that this demand was positively refused by the Governor General, it did seem strange to find the Viceroy represented on the 23rd of January as having complied with every requisition and suggestion of the Government of Bengal. In one sense the words might be true, for the Viceroy, having discovered the utter inadequacy of his own policy, had found it necessary to adopt the great measures of relief proposed by Sir George Campbell, but the language of the Abstract conveyed the impression that there had been all along a hearty co-operation with the Lieutenant Governor. There was a minor matter—namely, the extraordinary style in which the Abstract was couched—to which it might be well to call the attention of the House. As much as possible, an Abstract ought to be a clear, dry, impartial summary, and any expression of opinion as to the importance of documents should be left entirely to the House. But the editor of this Abstract, trenching almost on the Privileges of the House, informed thou that such and such a document was "most important" and such another a "careful summary." Surely, it was not for an anonymous compiler or editor, or even any editor whatsoever, to suggest words of approval or reprehension for the adoption of Parliament. As a specimen of the style employed, the compiler stated that the Correspondence contained "a powerful letter from the Bengal Government." Who authorized him to say whether such a letter was powerful or not? It was little short of trenching upon the Privileges of that House to declare in what light they were to regard Papers which were to be subsequently submitted to their attention. In pages 10 and 17 similar expressions of opinion were to be found, and they were told that such a reply was "carefully prepared," and that such an address was "a clear and forcible statement." It would be some safe-guard against such a system if the House knew at least the name of the gentleman who had arrogated to himself such lofty functions, and it would be only due to his own sense of his importance that he should be required to put his name to his compilation. It was possible that if a man's name were brought forward he would be more cautious, both in the selection of the Papers and in the communication of his opinion of the importance of this or that document. He was perfectly willing to withdraw his Amendment if Members having greater experience could suggest some other means by which his object could be gained. Something, however, was necessary to re-assure the House and the country, and to restore a sense of confidence that Abstracts of this kind had not been tampered with. It was clear that departmental responsibility had not been sufficient to prevent excesses of this kind. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving his Resolution.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That in the case of Abstracts and Summaries, such as the Abstract of Correspondence between the Government of India and the Secretary of State in Council relative, to the Drought in Bengal,' recently presented to Parliament without any guarantee as to the selection or editing of the contents, the name of the selector or editor shall he appended for the information of Parliament."'—(Mr. O'Donnell.)

said, he did not see much objection to the Motion, and if the hon. Member would consent to strike out the four words "such as the Abstract" he should offer no opposition to the Resolution. He had, however listened with astonishment to the speech of the hon. Gentleman he had stated in plain language that, in consequence of no signature being attached to this Abstract of Correspondence, the India Office had trimmed and selected it for the purpose of loading the public to a wrong conclusion, and that it was not an impartial statement, but showed an animus and bias. This was strong language for any Member of that House to use, and before bringing forward such a charge against a public department, he ought to have availed himself of all the information within his reach. It was clear, however, that the hon. Member had not read the despatches from which the Abstract was made, for they were only published that morning; yet, not having read the original despatches, he declared the Abstract compiled from them to be garbled. He doubted whether the hon. Member had even read the Abstract with any care. His whole objection to it was that it was not signed; but if the hon. Member would look to the close of the Abstract he would see that it was signed—to use his own classic phrase—by the distinguished appellation of Sir Henry Anderson, the chief of the India Revenue Department. The present Government had nothing to do with the policy of Lord Northbrook and Sir George Campbell as originally proposed. When the Marquess of Salisbury came into office there was but one scheme before the India Office, and he felt it to be his duty to support it, because he believed that it was capable of saving the lives of many thousands who were seeking relief. If that scheme succeeded, there would be ample time afterwards to decide to whom the merit of having originated the scheme was due. He would not detain the House by contradicting the statements of the hon. Gentleman; but they were founded upon a complete misapprehension—namely, that no person had signed this Abstract, and that in consequence a licence had been taken which otherwise the head of the Department would not have allowed. Sir Henry Anderson, who had signed the Abstract, was a most distinguished public servant, and he was also an intimate friend of Sir George Campbell. He could, therefore, be implicitly trusted to make a fair and impartial Abstract of the despatches between the India Office and the Government of India. He could not conceive that a public Department would knowingly publish an unfair Abstract of Correspondence when they knew that the despatches themselves were to be laid upon the Table of the House a few days afterwards. The Marquess of Salisbury was most anxious to afford all information to the House of Commons and to the country at large upon the subject of the famine, and he directed Sir Henry Anderson to continue the Abstract, which had been commenced before he came into office, because it was impossible to publish within a few days so great a pile of despatches, and he wished the public to have the substance of the information without delay. The course taken by the Marquess of Salisbury would, he trusted, commend itself to the House. He did not think it necessary to enter into the merits of the measures adopted by the Indian Government. The hon. Gentleman would have an opportunity of reply; and he (Lord George Hamilton) hoped he would take the opportunity of withdrawing the charges he had made, not only against the India Office, but also against a distinguished public servant like Sir Henry Anderson.

Amendment proposed, in line 2, to leave out the words "such as the 'Abstract.'"—( Lord George Hamilton.)

joined in the hope that the unpleasant charge against Sir Henry Anderson would be withdrawn, and bore testimony to the honourable character and good service of that distinguished public servant as a thorough guarantee to the House for the fidelity and trustworthy nature of the summaries of the Correspondence relating to the Famine. A more difficult task could not be assigned to anyone than that of placing before the House an exact and unobjectionable Abstract of the views about the Famine—so variously expressed by the many authorities who had recorded opinions—and tried to give facts which, though correct one day, were gain-said the next day by the ever-changing phases of the condition of the people. He deprecated any premature discussion on the Indian Famine, for the simple reason that if no greater evils than those at present known fell on the people, we had little to complain of; but he feared, from the alarming news recently received, that still greater calamities were to be apprehended next June, July, and August. This opinion was founded on the experience gained in the great famine of 100 years ago, when one-third of the population of Bengal were its victims. That famine was anticipated, owing to failure in the rains, as early as September, while this was not seen until November, whereby two months were lost in making more timely preparation to lay in stock's of grain. The population, which was then 10,000,000, had now increased to 60,000,000; and, judging from the information as to the extent of cultivation existing at the end of last century, the land set apart for raising rice was double the area of the land at present stated to be under this cultivation. But in respect to statistics, he was sorry to say that the Permanent Settlement had cut oft from the Government, or prevented the Government from collecting those useful statistics regarding the people and agriculture of Bengal, which could be obtained from all other parts of India.

said, that in the course of his speech he did his utmost to avoid imputing anything improper to any person; but, at the same time, men of the most honourable private character would, under the influence of strong party feeling, put forth statements to which legitimate objection might be taken. Nevertheless, respect for private virtue ought not to blind Members to what caused inconvenience to the public. Of course, he did not challenge the statement that the signature of Sir Henry Anderson at a certain page of the Abstract carried with it editorial responsibility. For all that, there had really appeared to be no clue to the person who was responsible for the compilation of these Abstracts. Sir Henry Anderson's signature seemed purely to refer to an isolated tabular Return of exports, and the presumption that this was the case was strengthened by the circumstance of the tabular Return in question emanating from the Revenue Department, of which Sir Henry Anderson was the Secretary. The noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for India had not given a single reason against the Motion; but he had resorted to a line of argument which it was difficult to reply to by appealing to the private virtue of officials, which was tantamount to closing a Member's mouth. If he had stated anything incorrectly, the vast experience of the noble Lord, and his knowledge of the despatches themselves, would have enabled him to point out the inaccuracy; but the noble Lord had limited himself entirely to a personal matter—namely, the great respectability of Sir Henry Anderson, which was not a fair way of putting pressure on a Member, He attached comparatively slight importance to the technical success of his Motion, and believing that publicity was the best correction of the practices of which he had complained, he was prepared to accept the alteration proposed by the noble Lord in the terms of the Motion.

said, if the Motion were altered as proposed, there would be very little sense in it.

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

Main Question, as amended, put, and negatived.

Explosion At Astley Deep Pit (Dukinfield)

Motion For A Return

MR. MACDONALD moved an Address for—

"Return of all the lives lost in the Astley Deep Pit, Dukinfield, with cause of the loss of life and date of the same; and, Copy of the opinion of the Inspector of the district, Mr. Wynne, on the management and state of ventilation of the Mine at the time of explosion on the 8th day of March 1870."

The hon. Member said, that in asking for this Return, he had no desire to appear to the House invidious by selecting this single colliery; but when such disasters as that which occurred last week were repeated again and again, he thought it was a fair subject for the fullest inquiry, in order to allay the

tremor in the public mind, and, if possible, to get at the true cause of the disaster. A short time ago that House, in conjunction with the other House, passed a Bill—the Mines (Coal). Regulation Bill—for the better inspection and regulation of mines, which gave to the mining population immense satisfaction and to the general community the impression that there would be perfect security to the men who worked underground in the pursuit of their occupation. But if there should be a repetition of such a disaster as that which occurred last week, by which 53 of our fellow men were almost in a moment flung into eternity, the public would lose confidence in a statute which he believed was well qualified, if fully carried out, to preserve the lives and the health of miners. He trusted that every facility would be afforded for obtaining full information as to the disasters in mines.

said, that no one was more anxious than himself that there should be a full and impartial inquiry into the cause of the accident referred to by the hon. Gentleman. It was an accident of no ordinary severity. He believed that no fewer than 48 lives had been lost by it. The Return for which the hon. Gentleman moved would be laid on the Table of the House as soon as it could be prepared. With regard to the opinion of the District Inspector, Mr. Wynne, if the hon. Member would look in the volume of Reports on Mines for 1871, he would find that an accident occurred in this mine in 1870 by which nine persons lost their lives. The Inspector made a Report, in which he said that nine persons had been killed; that the accident had been caused by bad management, or, rather, by no management at all; that for two years he had been warning the proprietor that some accident of the kind was inevitable if a competent manager were not appointed to that mine. The Inspector went on to say that he thought the manager a very good underground man, but not a man having the amount of specific knowledge that was requisite for managing a mine of that character, or one fit to meet any emergency which might arise. That opinion, of the Inspector was endorsed, not only by the Coroner, but by the jury. There was nothing more important than that the mining population should be assured that every possible precaution was taken to insure their safety, and that the Act passed some two years ago should be thoroughly carried out; while, on the other hand, he conceived there could be nothing more satisfactory to the proprietors of mines in general, or even of that particular mine, than that the case-should be thoroughly investigated, in order that, if it should be shown that there was no fault of their own part, their character might be cleared. In conclusion, he would take care that there should be a full, searching, and impartial inquiry made into the whole circumstances connected with this accident. The Returns for which the hon. Member had moved would be laid on the Table.

Motion agreed to.

Address for—

"Return of all the lives lost in the Astley Deep Pit, Dukinfield, with cause of the loss of life and date of the same; "
"And, Copy of the opinion of the Inspector of the district, Mr. Wynne, on the management and state of ventilation of the Mine at the time of explosion on the 8th day of Maxell 1870."—(Mr. Macdonald.)

Betting Bill-Bill 4

( Mr. Anderson, Sir William Maxwell, Mr. Stevenson, Mr. M'Lagan.)

Committee

Bill considered in Committee.

said, it had been suggested to him that instead of moving the Amendments on Clause 4, of which he had given Notice, he should move certain alterations on Clause 3, and leave out Clause 4 altogether. He moved that the words "letters, circulars, and telegrams" be added to Clause 3.

did not propose to offer any objection to this Bill, but it was an inconvenient mode of proceeding, to move Amendments of which Notice had not been given.

said, the proper and more convenient course would probably be for the Chairman to leave the Chair and report Progress.

remarked that he had no objection to the hon. Member proceeding with the Bill if he consented to have it reprinted.

agreed to do so. Bill reported; as amended, to be considered upon Monday next, and to be printed. [Bill 78.]

Municipal Privileges (Ireland) Bill—Bill 33

( Mr. Butt, Sir John Gray, Mr. Bryan, Mr. P. J. Smyth.)

Second Reading

Order for Second reading read.

, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, he thought a simple statement of its provisions the best argument he could use to induce the House to assent to its principle. The object of the measure was to give to corporations in counties, cities and towns in Ireland the same privileges as corporations in counties, cities, and towns in England enjoyed. In the shape in which he intended ultimately to present it to the House, the Bill dealt with only two offices, those of the High Sheriff and the Clerk of the Peace. There was in the Bill at present a clause restoring to the corporation of Dublin the right of electing their Recorder as the corporation of London now elected theirs; but he thought there was an answer to that analogy. In a Bill professing to claim equal privileges for the two countries, he could scarcely avoid making that claim for the corporation of Dublin. But the Corporation of London was not included in the English Municipal Reform Bill. All the corporations which were included in it lost the privilege of electing their Recorders.' Therefore, he could not rely on that accident as entitling him to claim that privilege for the City of Dublin, and if the House read the Bill the second time he intended in Committee to move the omission of that part of the measure. As to sheriffs and clerks of the peace, he had an unanswerable case. From ancient times wherever there was a corporation in a county or town, that corporation possessed the right of electing its own sheriffs. On the reform of municipal corporations, the right was retained in England, while in Ireland it was vested in the Crown. Whatever might have been urged for this on the principles of a policy which he hoped was bygone, the distinction could not be justified in the present state of political feeling. Exclusive of the City of London, which elected sheriffs not only for London but for Middlesex, there were 20 English corporations which enjoyed the right; while in Ireland not a single sheriff was nominated by popular election. Could English Gentlemen assign any reason for this difference? The six or seven towns to which this Bill applied lost that privilege when the corporations were thrown open to public election, and the appointment was transferred to the Crown. He did not want to quarrel with the decision of the House on his proposal to allow Irish corporations to be elected by household suffrage; but that decision had made more odious the distinction between the two countries, for in England corporations elected by household suffrage enjoyed a right denied to Irish corporations elected on a very high franchise. In Kilkenny the corporation was elected by 272 burgesses; while in Lichfield, with a population about one-third that of Kilkenny, there were 1,000 burgesses, the sheriff being elected by an assembly chosen by household suffrage, while Kilkenny was denied that right. He asked, ought Irishmen to be satisfied with this? It might be called a light matter; but none of these things were light matters. It was a galling badge of inferiority to Irishmen to feel that a privilege conceded to an English was denied to an Irish city, and it could only be justified on the principle of treating Ireland as an inferior and conquered nation. In introducing the Irish Municipal Reform Bill in 1837, Lord Russell, a statesman still honoured in this House, said the question was whether the Irish people were fit to enjoy Constitutional rights, or whether they should be proscribed as unfit to enjoy the rights of Englishmen, and be proclaimed an inferior race of beings. The same issue was now raised, which no figures or ingenuity could evade, as was done the other night by urging a difference between the two countries as to the number of £4 or £5 occupiers—considerations by which the principles of the Constitution had been frittered away. Against Irish remonstrances, the class vested with the inheritance of the ancient charters had been fixed in Ireland on a narrow and exclusive franchise: but the persons so intrusted with corporate rights were plainly entitled to the same rights as English corporations. He thought that the decision come to by the House the other night with regard to the other Bill which he had proposed was an unanswerable argument in favour of the passing of the present Bill. For the sake of the peace of Ireland and of this country, for the sake of the union and the affection which, ought to exist between two members of an Empire which he hoped might long remain united—if it did not it would be the fault of this unwise and invidious legislation—he asked English Gentlemen whether they were prepared to treat him because he was an Irishman as an inferior being, and to treat his countrymen as an inferior race. The hon. and learned Gentleman concluded by moving that the Bill be now read a second time.

wished, first of all, to say that the Bill rejected on Friday night was not rejected from a desire on the part of any Member to deprive Ireland of any privileges conceded to England, but because the circumstances of the two countries were so different on that point that a franchise in Ireland would swamp property by numbers which had not that effect in England. The Bill now before the House might be considered under three heads. With regard to the Recorder of Dublin, he did not wish to make any remarks upon that point, because he understood the hon. and learned Member to say that he would not press it in Committee. But he might remind the hon. and learned Gentleman that, in addition to the reasons which he had himself given against his own proposal, there was this difference between the Recorder ships in London and Dublin—that whilst the Corporation of London paid the salary of their Recorder, four-fifths of the salary of the Recorder of Dublin was paid by the Crown. It, therefore, seemed reasonable that the Crown should have the power of appointment. But with regard to the matters which the hon. and learned Member proposed to leave in his Bill—namely, the transfer of the power of appointment of sheriffs and clerks of the peace from the Lord Lieutenant to the municipal authorities, it was true that in England, in boroughs having their own courts of quarter sessions, the Town Councils had the right of appointing their cleric of the peace, while in Ireland the appointment was vested in the Lord Lieutenant. Looking at the second reading of the Bill as the admission of a primâ facie case, he had no reason to offer why the practice in Ire-land should not be assimilated to that in England. At any rate, the point might fairly beconsidered in Committee, though technical questions might then arise as to the duties and position of clerks of the peace. With regard to the appointment of sheriffs, it occurred to him that some of the most important duties of the sheriff in Ireland had been taken away by the recent Jury Acts. But those Acts were at present merely temporary, and the whole question of juries in Ireland was under the consideration of a Committee which was only appointed last night; so that until the question had been settled it might be doubted how far it was advisable to deal with the mode of the appointment of sheriffs, who formerly selected jurors. This, however, was not a sufficient ground for his opposing the second reading of the Bill, as this point could be fully discussed in Committee, in the presence of the Attorney General for Ireland, who was now detained elsewhere by other duties. Subject to the understanding that both these questions could be discussed in Committee, he had no objection to offer on the part of the Government to the second reading. He hoped they would hear no more of a charge; which the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) was hardly justified in making—namely, that proposals made in respect of Ireland were dealt with on a different basis from that which was adopted in the case of England. He could assure the hon. and learned Gentleman that neither the Government nor, so far as he knew, any Member of the House, had any wish to deal with Irish measures except upon a fair and reasonable footing, and with an anxious desire to arrive at that solution which was best for the interests of Ireland.

expressed a hope that attention would be given to the details of the Bill in Committee, more especially to the proposal to vest in corporations the right of appointing clerks of the peace, because he was not at all certain that the duties of clerks of the peace in England and in Ireland were identical. With that observation, however, he was glad that the Government had assented to the second reading of the Bill.

observed that as to the appointment of clerks of the peace, he thoroughly concurred in the decision at which the Government had arrived—namely, that under certain conditions those appointments might he vested in corporations. He trusted, however, that the decision would not be held to confer upon those elective bodies any vested right in the appointment of those officers; and for this reason—that the late Government, after carefully considering the subject, had arrived at the conclusion that the office of clerk of the peace in counties and counties of cities might very well be abolished altogether, and the duties combined with those of the clerk of the Crown. That conclusion was embodied last Session in the County Officers Bill, but time did not permit of its being proceeded with. He trusted that Her Majesty's Government would take an opportunity of considering that question, and believed that if they did they would arrive at the same decision. If they should, the present concession to corporations ought not to be a barrier to giving effect to that view. With respect to the concession as to the appointment of sheriffs by the corporations, he could only say he was extremely glad that they had been able to come to that decision—if, indeed, they had done so—as the right hon. Gentleman had intimated that that part of the question might be open to further consideration, He could, however, hardly imagine that the Government, having assented to the second reading of the Bill, would in Committee oppose its most important clause. If the appointment of sheriffs was struck out, there would be nothing left but the power to appoint clerks of the peace, and to confer honorary freedoms he could hardly suppose, there tore, that the Government would refuse their assent to the principal provision of the measure. He must say, however, that had the Government arrived at a different conclusion, he should have felt considerable difficulty as to the way in which he should vote. The hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) had said that all the powers in reference to the selection of jurors had been taken away from the sheriffs. That was so under the existing Act; but then it should be borne in mind that a Committee had been just appointed to review that Act, and there was no saying what alterations in the law might be made. The sheriffs, however, had the absolute selection and nomination of grand jurors, whose duties were intimately connected with the administration of justice, and he was glad that the Government thought that the selection of so important a body could now be virtually intrusted to a popularly elected body. No more gratifying testimony to the state in which the present Government found Ireland could; be borne than was shown by the course which they had taken in regard to this Bill.

said, he could not help expressing the pleasure with which he had heard the speech of the right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary for Ireland. It seemed to him inconceivable that there was any truth in the rumour that the Government intended to pooh-pooh the Bill, for its principle was the principle of assimilation, which to his mind conveyed the principle of Union. The principle of action in that House was to determinedly oppose what was known here as Home Rule, and the more determined they were in that direction, the more resolved they should be to encourage and appreciate measures for Ireland of a remedial character promoted in the Imperial Parliament. The more strenuously they opposed separation, the more willing should they be to welcome overtures towards assimilation. The Bill went a small way; but it was impossible to overrate the importance of its acceptance, as an indication of the future policy of the Cabinet. Ireland had always been a difficulty to English Governments, and particularly to all Conservative Governments. Happily, that difficulty was now removed, because the present Government was in as smooth water as any former Government had been, and it was a matter of congratulation to all those who valued the peace and contentment of Ireland to see a course taken by the Government which not only met the approval of both sides of the House, but would be approved on both sides of the Channel.

said, that the other night the Government thought fit to oppose the second reading of a Bill to assimilate the Irish municipal franchise to that of England. He was glad that on this occasion the right hon. Gentleman did not think it desirable to pursue a similar policy. The Bill to which he referred—

I rise to Order. The hon. Gentleman, I submit, is not entitled to refer to a Bill not now under discussion.

I think I am entitled to refer to it for the purpose of showing the manner in which these questions have been dealt with in this House. On that occasion—["Order."]

said, the hon. Member was not in Order in alluding to a former debate of the present Session.

said, he should then confine himself to the Bill under discussion now; but seeing that the principle involved in both cases was the same, it was difficult to avoid illustrating the one by the other. The present was a particular Bill and a small Bill, but it had, no doubt, been carefully considered by the Government, and he hoped that the larger and more important Bills that would be brought before the House would be dealt with in a similar spirit. After all, there were only seven corporations in Ireland, and the Bill did little more than put into the hands of those corporations the power of selecting their own sheriffs, and give the appointment of an important paid officer, the clerk of the peace. He was glad that that patronage had been taken away from the Castle at Dublin; for it was mainly through those small offices that the whole country had been corrupted, and its Parliamentary representation demoralized. [A laugh.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite might laugh; but if they had read the history of the Union they would have seen that the policy which those appointments were to aid was deliberately intended for the corruption of Ireland, and had, unfortunately, only too well succeeded in its object. The Bill was to his mind inferior to others of its kind which would be brought forward, and unless the principle of assimilation could be conceded by both sides of the House, and they would lend their aid in extending to Ireland the privileges which larger measures would confer, there would be little advantage in passing this particular Bill.

said, that as a friend and well-wisher to Ireland, he desired to express the great satisfaction with which he had heard that it was not the intention of the Government to oppose the second reading of the Bill. He had not been aware that the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) intended on Friday night to bring on the second reading of his Bill for assimilating the municipal franchise to that of England, or he should have taken the opportunity of urging upon the Government the desirability of entering upon a course of conciliatory policy towards Ireland by consenting to the second reading of the Bill. He hoped that what had taken place that evening would prove to be the inauguration of a series of measures showing-high statesmanship, which he well knew no man in the House was better qualified to introduce than his right hon. Friend at the head of the Government. He was not a friend of what was ordinarily called Home Rule; although, looking back on the past history of his country, he almost hesitated to think that the Union, established by Pitt in 1800, had been the means of conferring great benefits upon Ireland. He could not say that the prophetic words of that great statesman, Grattan, had not been realized to a wonderful extent. The noble words which Pitt, with the most disinterested motives, and a sincere desire for the welfare of Ireland, used when introducing the Bill for the Union on the 2nd of April, 1800, merited attention, He said that his object in laying it before Parliament was—

"To calm the dissensions, allay the animosities, and dissipate the jealousies which have unfortunately existed: as a measure whose object is to communicate to the sister kingdom the skill, the capital, and the industry which have raised this country to such a pitch of opulence; to give to her a full participation of the commerce and of the constitution of England: to unite the affections and resources of two powerful nations; and to place under one public will the direction of the whole force of the Empire."—[Parl. History, vol. xxxv. p. 40.]
He (Sir Eardley Wilmot), then, would go further, and say with reference to the sacred compact then made—and upon the foundation of which the Union was established—namely, the maintenance and preservation of the Established Church of Ireland—if Pitt, when he used those words, could have foreseen that a statesman equal to himself in power and ability would ever consent to the introduction of a measure by which that sacred compact would be broken asunder, he would rather have cut off his right hand than propose the Union to the House. Here they were, however, with the Union before them, and certainly, also, with many of the results which Grattan had anticipated. Now, too they were confronted by the Home Rulers, of whom he wished to speak without the least disrespect, and, indeed, he was ready to give them credit for upright and honest intentions, fully believing that they had the interest of their country at heart. After this lapse of time, however, it was impossible that the Union, which had been brought about with so much care, could be dissolved. The Union was a final and inviolable settlement from which there was no return—"Vestigia nulla retrorsum"—Nor could Ireland ever have again her separate Legislature. But though it was now impossible to put an end to the Union, it was their bounden duty to introduce and carry to completion all measures that were calculated to promote the interests of Ireland, and develop more fully titan had hitherto been done the material and internal resources of the sister country. The prosperity of Ireland had been checked, her industry damped, and her wealth drained from her. All that had been foreseen, and therefore it was that he for one would support to the utmost, not only measures introduced by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Limerick, but every other measure which he conscientiously felt would bring the people of Ireland into an equal state of prosperity with ourselves. He agreed with the hon. Member (Mr. Mitchell Henry) that the system of administration which existed in Ireland was not the form and mode of government which ought to continue any longer in that country. The appointment of a Lord Lieutenant fostered and promoted party feelings, party jealousies, and party animosities to such a degree that he would appeal to his right hon. Friend at the head of the Government to say whether he would not sooner or later, introduce a measure by which that state of things should be put an end to. He should like to see a member of the Royal Family permanently installed there as Viceroy, but without any political character, like our own Sovereign in England; which would tend to the return of that resident wealth and influence and nobility to Ireland, which now found a permanent home in the attractions and luxuries and pleasures of this country. The present office of Lord Lieutenant was, as they might say, merely a sham. It was not the first time he had avowed that opinion; and he did not hesitate to say it was from a strong feeling of attachment to Ireland—he having many friends and some relatives there, admiring the many noble qualities possessed by her people, and knowing their loyal and generous feelings—that he urged these views upon the House, assuring them that if we did not take an unfair advantage of Ireland. Ireland would give us in return the strongest feelings of love and affection. He cordially supported the second reading of the Bill. He was glad the Government meant to allow the Bill to go into Committee, and only hoped they would take the same course on a future day, when the hon. and learned Gentleman's Bill to assimilate the franchise in the boroughs of Ireland to that in the English boroughs came on for discussion.

was happy to say that he entirely disagreed with the observations of the hon. Member who had just sat clown. He congratulated the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Butt) on having achieved, with that brilliant strategy which he had already exhibited this Session, a third triumph of party feeling. He (Mr. Leslie) had a horror of Bills such as the one now before the House, which he believed were, in common with many others that were to come, both plausible and mischievous. The sister of this Bill, now happily entombed, had the same peculiarities, for while it pretended to assimilate the law of Ireland to that of England, the hon. and learned Member took care not to make known how totally different were the circumstances between the two countries. He detested Bills of this kind—possibly from a superstitious veneration for the principles of the old Constitution, which could never be departed front without danger to public liberty. He would not detain the House, especially as he appeared to be arguing against the wisdom of the Government, which was far from his intention. But he must hazard one more observation. In a speech which the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) delivered not long since, he complained of a grievance which now no longer existed—namely, that Irish questions were put off to the dead hours of the night, that it was frequently 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning before they came to be considered, and he added "that there were then only the dregs and refuse of the House of Commons left to transact Irish business." These were the hon. and learned Member's words, and he could not deny them. [Mr. BUTT: Hear, hear.] He (Mr. Leslie) appealed to the "dregs and refuse" of the House to show real respect for, and fair appreciation of the true interests of Ireland by voting against the second reading of the Bill.

remarked that the hon. Member for Monaghan (Mr. Leslie) had informed them that he detested this Bill, but he did not give them any particular reason for doing so.

"I do not like you, Dr. Fell;
The reason why I cannot tell,
But this I know; and feel full well,
I do not like you, Dr. Fell."
The hon. Member detested the Bill, and there his argument began and ended. The speech of the hon. Member was a perfect contrast to the genial, kindly, and generous remarks of the hon. Baronet (Sir Eardley Wilmot) who had just spoken, and said that if he had been in the House the other night he would have voted for the second reading of the Municipal Franchise Bill. He congratulated the Chief Secretary for Ireland upon having had the courage to make the promise he had done in reference to this Bill. He would not refer to bygone debates; but the right hon. Gentleman must have gained great experience within the last few days, and he regarded in his altered conduct an honest desire to repair the mistake of a previous evening. He rejoiced at the support which the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland gave to the second reading of the Bill, the frank manner in which he expressed himself in reference to Ireland, and in his declaration that he would in the present Session do all in his power to promote the interests of that country. Such a declaration deserved the acknowledgment and support of Irish Members. The secret of the difficulty which Conservative Governments had previously had in governing Ireland was that they were hampered by a section of their own followers from one corner of Ireland, who made up in the force of their acrimony for what they lacked in point of numbers. The right hon. Gentleman would find the history of the government of Ireland studded over with instances of a mistrust of popular government. He would find the greatest possible errors on the part of the authorities at the Castle in performing duties which ought to be entrusted to local bodies. They had recently taken over the power of appointing prison warders, and in one of the Dublin prisons a schoolmaster was appointed who could neither read nor write, whilst a master weaver was sent down from the Castle who had never seen a loom. The whole system in Ireland was cursed with this marked distrust of popular government, and the people of Ireland viewed with the greatest jealousy this constant withholding from them of privileges and rights which they could obtain by transferring their domicile to the other side of the Channel. He trusted that Her Majesty's Government would prefer having the support of such hon. Gentlemen as the hon. Member for South "Warwickshire (Sir Eardley Wilmot), whose kindly feelings Irish Members were most happy to reciprocate, to relying upon the co-operation of that small contingent whose Representative had spoken that night.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for Tuesday next.

said, he hoped that some facilities would now be given for proceeding with the Bill as the Government had given their sanction to it. He most cordially accepted the assistance which the Government had afforded him, and he hoped that he might look upon it as a kindly intimation of the friendly feeling of the Government towards Ireland.

desired to ask the Prime Minister, whether the Bill could not, after what had occurred, be dealt with as a Government measure?

It appears to me that some business ought to be reserved for hon. Gentlemen opposite.

House adjourned at a quarter before Eight o'clock.